A battle for the soul of
A STRUGGLE FOR THE soul of Africa is to be waged
over the coming week as the continent's leaders try to arrange a transition from
the 39-year-old Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to a new and hopefully more
effective African Union (AU). At stake is whose vision will prevail -- that of
modernists like President Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and the
Presidents of Senegal and Algeria, or of neanderthals like Muammar Gadaffi,
Robert Mugabe and Kenya's Daniel arap Moi.
The outcome is
crucial to South Africa, because a better neighbourhood is essential if this
country is to realise its full economic potential. It cannot become an island of
prosperity in a sea of poverty and disorder. Our image in the eyes of those
badly needed foreign investors is inextricably tied up with that of the
continent in which we are located. People steer clear of bad
President Mbeki understands this, which is why he has
worked so hard to try to give substance to his vision of an "African
renaissance." Those who condemn him for spending so much time on the project
miss the point.
A continental GEAR
far Mbeki, Obasanjo, Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika
have made good progress. They managed to get the G-8 to sign on last week to
their New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) plan, which is essentially
an attempt to commit African countries -- at least those who sign on -- to a
continental equivalent of South Africa's GEAR programme.
In other words a commitment to democracy, good governance, fiscal
discipline and market-oriented policies, in return for more help from the
developed countries, especially by giving better access to Africa's
But the G-8 are sceptical of Africa's ability
to deliver its side of such a bargain. Africa has a long record of failing to
criticise, let alone discipline, the most delinquent of its leaders, from Idi
Amin to Mobutu Sese Seko, and its reluctance to do so now in the face of Robert
Mugabe's grotesque misrule in Zimbabwe surely the only leader ever to have made
farming a crime has not inspired confidence that anything has changed. Which is
why the G-8's pledges of help at Kananaskis last week were so disappointing. The
G-8 want to wait and see before committing themselves further, and then they
will do so individually and through established channels such as the World Trade
Organisation, rather than by collective agreements with
This is why the coming week's negotiations in
Durban to set up the African Union are so important. Nepad has established an
important political framework for ongoing negotiations with the G-8, but Nepad
is going to be locked in to the AU. Who wins the battle to determine what kind
of organisation the AU becomes is therefore vital to Nepad's
The key difference between the OAU and what the modernists
want the AU to become is on the issue of how African states relate to one
another. A fundamental principle of the OAU was that no African country could
interfere in another's affairs, which is why the Mobutus and Idi Amins went
By contrast, a Constitutive Act of the African
Union adopted at an OAU summit two years ago envisages mechanisms that would
enable the AU to intervene actively in wayward African countries to prevent
genocide and crimes against humanity.
A rejection of
It provides, too, for sanctions against member
countries which violate principles contained in the Constitutive Act, which
include "respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and
good governance" -- and, in particular, for unconstitutional changes of
In other words, the AU would refuse to
recognise military regimes that gained power through coups.
The Constitutive Act envisages an African Parliament and, in effect,
Africa's own version of the UN Security Council, to be called the Peace and
Security Council, consisting of elected members from 15 countries who would have
the power to advise, mediate and even intervene in a member country held to be a
threat to the peace or violating human rights.
Not surprisingly, not all African leaders are
enamoured of this kind of scrutiny. The continent is still full of military
dictators and other autocrats who don't like the idea at all. Only 15 of
Africa's 54 countries have so far signed on to the Nepad partnership, which is a
voluntary association, suggesting that a majority dislike the "peer review"
provisions Nepad will have.
The likes of Mugabe and Gadaffi,
who would obviously fall foul of any serious scrutiny of this kind, and who like
to portray themselves as African radicals waging a struggle against
neo-colonialism and the dominance of the West, are bound to campaign for the
modification of the provisions and the inclusion of more strident
anti-imperialist language. Already they are labelling Nepad an "elitist" project
and suggesting that Mbeki and his fellow architects are lackeys of the
imperialist West who are trying to impose the “Washington consensus” on the
whole of Africa.
If they win, the reformist concept
behind the AU idea will be dead in the water, and Nepad with it.
Mbeki’s early advantage
So far Mbeki, whose low-key
diplomatic style is well suited to this kind of struggle, has done well. Gadaffi
has been lobbying hard to have the summit in Libya, but Mbeki's visit to him
last month secured it for Durban. It was an important achievement, for had it
gone to Libya Gadaffi would have been the chairman, putting him in the driving
seat to set the AU's direction in its all-important first year. As it is, Mbeki
will fill that role.
Even so, it is going to be a tough battle. The OAU
Foreign Ministers, who began meeting in Durban yesterday to prepare the ground
for next week's summit, have to reach agreement on the dismantling of six
protocols governing the OAU’s legal persona before that body can make way for
the new one. It presents a tangle of technical undergrowth which the opponents
of reform can use to snarl up the whole process if they wish to do
Finally, even if the transformation goes through in accordance with
Mbeki and his allies' plans, it will remain to be seen to what extent the new
commitments can be translated into action. A whole culture has to be changed,
but at least this would be a start.
Daily News - Leader Page
State could be setting stage for firm
7/2/02 7:37:08 AM (GMT +2)
government could be setting the stage for a possible takeover of
much the same way they have seized commercial farms.
The charge of
sabotage raised against the companies could merely be an
excuse being used in
order to dispossess the companies' rightful owners,
because they are
suspected of being sympathetic to the MDC. But it also
clearly incitement and
a signal to the so-called war veterans to do to the
companies what they did
to the farms.
When commercial farmers showed their support for the
were threatened with seizure of their farms. So far the
government has taken
almost 95 percent of the total commercial farmland under
the guise of
correcting historical imbalances. But today those farms have not
to the ordinary people. Instead, it is senior government and Zanu
officials who have allocated themselves prime land and are now
villagers and so-called war veterans from these properties. Zanu PF
become adept at creating the impression that it is embarking on
in the name of the ordinary people when, in fact, it is taking
care of the
interests of a few in its hierarchy.
This time they
are after companies, and one argument is to seek to
ensure all of them defend
the status quo, however unjust it is because all
their fortunes become
intertwined with those of Zanu PF. But it is hoped
that the war veterans have
opened their eyes to this reality, for example,
that 10 000 of them were
moved into Harare's Whitecliff residential scheme,
where they were used to
vote for Zanu PF during the 9-11 March 2002
presidential, mayoral and
municipal elections. After using them as canon
fodder, the government is
seeking to move them out.
That these people had invaded residential
land instead of a commercial
farm and that this was being run by an
indigenous person, counted for
nothing. What mattered most was that Zanu PF
interests were being
At the weekend President
Mugabe threatened the takeover of companies
suspected of sabotaging the
economy. But this is how the farmers' nightmare
began. The tragedy in this
case is that it is the government alone that is
defining what constitutes
Yet when the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
effects power cuts
to industries, subsequently leading to reduced
productivity, does this not
constitute sabotage of the highest
When the Grain Marketing Board fails to maintain adequate
grain for the nation's consumption requirements, or delays in
agricultural inputs to the government's brave new farmers,
impacting on production, is this not sabotage? When the National
of Zimbabwe's bungling affects the availability of petroleum
more than two years with grave consequences to the whole
economy, is this
also not sabotage of the worst kind? When the Agricultural,
Development Authority fails to ensure maize and wheat production is
for domestic consumption, does this not constitute a subversion of
economy? When the National Railways of Zimbabwe fails to move sugar
other raw materials for industry for weeks on end, subsequently
shortages, because it has to service government projects such as
"Freedom Train", is this not sabotaging the economy? The thriving
market in foreign currency has played havoc with the economy and
this is one
area into which the government should have moved long ago and put
a stop to.
It has not done so, which some people might call the worst
dereliction of a
government's duty imaginable.
In all other
countries in the region, the crisis is nowhere near the
Zimbabwean mess. Why
is the government unable to solve the problem
only possible explanation would be that it is in the interests of
Zanu PF and
government officials to prolong the trade in foreign currency.
issuing threats, the government would do well to seek dialogue,
that is if it
is genuinely interested in solving the myriad of problems
Workers hold boss hostage
PM (GMT +2)
About 85 workers at
Alcatraz security firm in Marondera have been
holding their boss, Campdell
MacMillan hostage for the past two days
demanding retrenchment packages which
would cost Campdell, the firm, a total
of $16 million.
Speaking from his office in a telephone interview on Saturday,
Marondera police had taken him into protective custody on
but released him the following day.
"I have been in my office since
then and the entire workforce are
camped outside my office in Birmingham Road
demanding this outrageous figure
of $16 million. I have told them I don't
have that kind of money and that in
fact, I am closing down because the
business is not viable. I have done all
the necessary paper work and spoken
with the labour people but the workers
think that I have a lot of money," he
MacMillan's lawyer, Lawrence Chibwe of Stumbles and Rowe
sit-in by the workers.
ZIMBABWE NEWS- Colin Macmillan
In the middle of our farming town of Marondera, in plain view of
thousands of passers by, a man has been held hostage for three days, surrounded
by a large group of thugs belonging to the ruling party and is still
He has no food and is being held in his cold offices in the middle of
The police visited the scene and left cheering and waving to their
comrade friends . No one can help as they would be first beaten up by the thugs
and then arrested by the police for disturbing the peace. While the members of
G8 summit look for ways to pour money into Africa and believing the assurances
they are being given to promises of good governance from the various countries,
both the North and south are desparately trying to ignore the fact that there
has been a coup in Zimbabwe supported by the whole sorry bunch of them.
soon as the ruling Zanu pf realised that they would definetly lose they ensured
that every war veteren in the police and army were given fast track promotion to
senior district positions who in turn will not allow any of their junior force
members to arrest anybody connected to the party without orders from the top.
They then ordered the civilian war vets to take part in the land invasions or
risk losing their pensions which have to be authorised by the War Vet District
committees before payment by the government. The party is organised into
marxist cells which means that control from the presidents office is absolute
and very quick and party discipline is ruthless and not subject to to any
sanction by the police.
Even murder of a party cadre for discipline, or
perhaps a farmer or an opposition activist for intimidation purposes is excepted
by the po;lice and allowed, indeed actively used by them to assist in the
concept of absolute control from the politburo.
The politburo itself consists
for the most part of members who have been appointed by the President and given
cabinet posts without ever having had a vote cast for them. It is the fact that
Mugabe can appoint his own 30 members that saved him in the parliamentary
In 30 days time myself and 3000 other farmers are going to
be penniless and jobless along with 2 million farm workers and their
Plans are being made to bring in the desperately needed food which
the system above will be allowed to distribute to their supporters and to hell
with the rest ,and their control will finaly be absolute. The system is also
used to plunder the economy on every front in the name of indigenisation for the
benifit of the same 10000 or so people that have access to the spoils and
therefore encourage and shore up the lawlessness.
The most depressing view of
the future is that this country will eventually become victim to the 20 second
sound bite.All foreign reporters are either banned or will be if they dont sing
the praises of these thugs, so when Colin Macmillan, the chap being held
hostage, is beaten and maybe killed in full view of the public, all the world
will hear is a very smartly dressed, well spoken and caring politician producing
evidence of suicide, before BBC and CNN move on to a bus bomb in Israel. What
can I do for Colin ? If I even make an attempt to feed him I could trigger of a
worse situation for him and with the orwellian control of the media that the
propaganda machine has , my visit will be presented as an attack by a large
group of fascist whites who were seriously hurt / killed in self defence by the
brave comrades who were merely waiting peacefully outside. Courage under fire
is what brings victory .
Government must not frustrate democratic governance:
7/2/02 12:45:36 PM (GMT +2)
The Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, says the government
obligation to be fair and just in its use of State
Speaking at the launch of the well-attended Harare
on Saturday, he said State power should not "be used to
popular will and mandate of the people, but to facilitate their
He said the clean-up campaign had to
be seen as a symbol of the
council's desire to clean up the city and the
negative aspects of people
that do not bring them together.
campaign was designed to transform Harare from a decaying to a
he said. "We expect the central government to understand and
accept the fact
that we have our own ideas and programmes on how to
effectively serve the
people of this city and country," said Mudzuri, the
first mayor of Harare
elected on an MDC ticket. He said the council expected
all democrats in
government to totally submit themselves to the voice and
will of the people
of Harare as declared in the last mayoral polls.
Mudzuri said his
council believed in the meaningful participation of
the citizens in city
affairs and decision-making as this was a prerequisite
for the establishment
of self-governance. "I am asking you to assume
ownership of the affairs of
your city and be able to define and determine
your destiny in civic matters,"
the mayor, an engineer by profession, told
the gathering. The mayor said the
council disapproved of violence and
criminal behaviour in the city as well as
people who sold their goods
After the launch of the
campaign at Town House, hundreds of Harare
residents split into different
groups and undertook various tasks as part of
the campaign. They swept the
streets and cleaned public toilets.
Commonwealth secretary-general Mckinnon critical of G8
plan for Africa
7/2/02 2:08:41 PM (GMT +2)
LONDON - Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon, whose 54-member
includes 17 African nations, said at the weekend the G8 summit's
help Africa were inadequate and smacked of too little, too
"The outcomes of the G8 summit at Kananaskis are disappointing for all
who are keen to support Africa's efforts to help itself and were
more," McKinnon said of the rich nations' meeting in a Canadian
"The G8 countries have to move away from an attitude
consistently delivers 'too little, too late' to a more
approach that provides Africa with a level playing field to
enable it to
Leaders of the poverty-wracked
continent had pressed for full backing
from the Group of Eight leading
industrial nations for their ambitious New
Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad) which pledges corruption-free
governments in return for
aid and investment.
But aid groups and analysts accused the Western
nations of "hot air"
and a "no-action" plan which merely latched onto the
cost-free aspects of
Nepad - conflict resolution, improving governance and
At the same time the G8 spurned
proposals to fund large-scale
infrastructure projects, side-stepped the issue
of rich farm subsidies
freezing out African imports, and ignored Nepad's
ambitious targets for debt
relief, the critics charged.
justify Kananaskis's outcomes it must be seen as a first step in
expected to be a far more generous process," added McKinnon. His
group of mostly former British colonies includes almost one
third of the
world's countries comprising 1,7 billion people.
"There is still a
long way to go and we must go the distance as the
New Partnership for
Africa's Development has the potential to transform
Africa," McKinnon added
in a statement issued by the Commonwealth
Although acknowledging Commonwealth members Britain and
leadership on the Africa issue at the G8 summit, he said there was
evidence of the same generosity as that of the Marshall Plan for
Europe after World War Two. And he lashed out at Western
subsidies for their own farmers as "perverse".
"There must be a firm and time-bound commitment to phase out the
agricultural subsidies in the industrial countries which bankrupt
African farmers by artificially depressing world prices,"
"To preach trade liberalisation while maintaining such
subsidies is unsustainable."
The G8's pledge of an
additional US $6 billion (Z$330 billion) in aid
for Africa was, he said, just
repackaging an earlier announcement -- "a drop
in the bucket for the G8, and
inadequate when the United Nations had
estimated that Africa needed $25-$35
billion (Z$1 375 billion to Z$1 925
billion) to meet the Millennium
The G8's promise of an additional $1 billion in
debt relief for Third
World nations was similarly inadequate, McKinnon
"Half the countries which have embarked upon the programme
Indebted Poor Countries are still spending more on repayments to
creditors than on public health." - Reuter
Commonwealth despairs over Zimbabwe
7/2/02 12:48:46 PM (GMT +2)
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon has expressed
prospects for change in Zimbabwe, which his group recently
protest at alleged flaws in President
"It is sad that nothing is improving in that
nation," McKinnon said
late last Saturday.
"I am not at all
hopeful that anything is going to change." McKinnon,
whose group of 54 mainly
former British colonies suspended Zimbabwe for a
year in March, said Mugabe's
ruling Zanu PF party was showing no sign of
easing its pressure on the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Nor was there any let-up in
the policy of seizing white-owned farms for
black resettlement, he
"On the contrary, there is a determination now to go on and
About 3 000 farmers, branded last week by
Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement Minister Joseph Made as
"unrepentant racists and fascists",
were given until midnight last Monday to
stop working their farms and just
over a month to leave. McKinnon said
international pressure was being
ignored. "All the things that any
international organisation has done have
not had any impact," he
"We, the Commonwealth, have done more than anyone, but I
that anything that we have done has had any effect on putting the
on another course of action."
suspended Zimbabwe on 19 March after the group's
observers and the opposition
reported dubious practices in Mugabe's
re-election. The decision was
recommended by a Commonwealth task force in
charge of Zimbabwe policy: the
so-called troika of Australian Prime Minister
John Howard, South African
President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President
After the poll, reconciliation talks began between the two parties,
PF later suspended the discussions until the country's courts rule
on an MDC
challenge to the result.
McKinnon said the Commonwealth "troika"
was staying in touch with
Zimbabwe, but with little progress so far. "It is
still in the hands of the
troika. They are continuing the dialogue among
themselves, but at this stage
there is nothing on the horizon," he
International pressure has eased in recent months as other
replaced Zimbabwe on top of the international agenda. "You have
got to allow
for the fact that the Middle East and India-Pakistan issues have
the headlines that Zimbabwe was holding," McKinnon
Despite its suspension of Zimbabwe for a year, the
has urged humanitarian aid for thousands of Zimbabweans
aid groups say are
facing starvation. The Commonwealth group includes 50
developing countries -
17 from Africa - among its 54 members.
The group joins almost one third of the world's countries with 1,7
people. Nearly 13 million people in six southern African countries
starvation later this year due to drought and flooding. - Reuter
Repression Lasts Long After Zimbabwe Vote
Continues Political Crackdown
By Jon Jeter
Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, July 3, 2002; Page A16
Johannesburg - Almost four months after Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's disputed re-election to a fourth term, any hope that the 78-year-old
former guerrilla leader would relax his crackdown against political opponents
has all but evaporated. Since turning back the toughest political challenge of
his career in a campaign marked by violence and allegations of fraud, Mugabe has
put restrictions on white farmers at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's
population faces starvation. He has also continued repression of dissidents and
journalists and, most recently, threatened to nationalize one of the country's
largest companies. "Things have not improved for Zimbabweans since the
election," said an African diplomat based in Zimbabwe. "I'm afraid that things
are only getting worse. This government knows it no longer has the popular
support of its people, so it must govern with the only tool it has left:
The U.N. World Food Program estimates that nearly half of Zimbabwe's 11
million people urgently need international assistance to avert starvation as a
result of famine. Donor nations blame the famine on bad weather and the
government's policy of seizing the country's most productive farms, owned by
whites, and handing them over to poor blacks. Relief agencies say that Mugabe's
ruling party, Zanu PF, has used food donations from abroad to reward its
supporters and punish members of the opposition MDC. Tawanda Hondora, chairman
of Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum, said the government has required peasants to
show Zanu PF membership cards to receive food rations and has stopped
organizations thought to be sympathetic to or aligned with the MDC from
distributing food. On Saturday, however, Mugabe blamed the nation's food
shortage on National Foods, a multinational subsidiary of Anglo American, a
South African mining firm. In remarks published in a state-owned newspaper,
Mugabe accused National Foods of hoarding such basic commodities as salt. "We
will not allow Anglo American to become the principal saboteurs of our economy,"
he said. If National Foods does not "want to operate in partnership with the
government and the people," Mugabe said, "the government would put the
enterprise in the hands of the people." Last week, Mugabe's government ordered
nearly 3,000 whites to stop farming as he prepared for their eviction next
month. Branding them "unrepentant racists and fascists," Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made has given them until Aug. 10 to vacate farmland to make way for
And even as his fellow African leaders court Western investment with an
ambitious revitalization plan that promises good governance and democracy,
Mugabe's party has continued to intimidate and prosecute independent
journalists, opposition politicians and their supporters. Using a new press law
passed only days before the March 9-11 election, Mugabe's party has arrested 11
journalists for writing stories critical of the government. An icon of
Zimbabwe's fight for independence, Mugabe has portrayed Zanu PF's struggle
against the MDC as a battle against a puppet of Britain, the country's former
colonial ruler, and his land reform program as the last piece of unfinished
business of the independence war. Western governments widely accuse Mugabe of
rigging the March election, using youth gangs and militias led by war veterans
to wage a campaign of torture and intimidation against MDC supporters,
particularly Zimbabwe's wealthy elite of white farmers and their poor, black
employees. Human rights organizations say that torture of dissidents has
continued in the months since the election, and the U.S. and European
governments have refused to recognize the election results or sanction travel of
Mugabe and his top lieutenants. But Mugabe has not wavered. "It is sad that
nothing is improving in that nation," said Don McKinnon, the secretary general
of the Commonwealth, a coalition of 54 nations, many of them former British
colonies, which suspended Zimbabwe for a year in March. "We have done more than
anyone, but I cannot say that anything that we have done has had any effect on
putting the government on another course of action," he told reporters in London
The direction that Zimbabwe takes is critical to the success of an
economic plan proposed by South African President Thabo Mbeki and other African
heads of states. At a meeting of the world's eight leading industrialized
countries last week, Mbeki persuaded the West to support - at least in principle
- the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), in which African nations
commit to good governance and democracy in exchange for increased investment and
debt relief from wealthy nations. "Zimbabwe is clearly the West's test case for
NEPAD," said an African diplomat in Zimbabwe, "and unfortunately for Africa, it
does not appear that Mugabe gives a wink about what the West thinks."
From ZWNEWS, 3
As food runs out, malevolence
It is hard to think of any disaster in human history quite
comparable with Zimbabwe’s food crisis, where mild adverse natural factors
combine with crass malevolence. At Binga, where self-styled ``war veterans" have
forcibly closed a church relief project, the first 27 children were reported to
have succumbed to malnutrition-related disease, despite Robert Mugabe's
oft-repeated pledge "no one will die". On Monday June 22, Land Acquisition Act
"Section 8" orders came into force against 2 900 commercial farmers, in terms of
which they were supposed to stop all cropping and livestock management
programmes. Last week, the regime came up with a new official term: "farmers of
European origin", not "whites". They were "confined to their homesteads" from
June 22 and must quit their properties entirely by August 5. The Commercial
Farmers Union’s spokeswoman Jenni Williams asked: "Do the farmers tend 22 547
hectares of wheat or let it shrivel and die? Do they grade their tobacco,
bringing it to the floors to earn US $330 million in foreign currency or does it
sit in the tobacco barns? Do they leave unattended thousands of cattle, pigs and
other farming animals?" Williams was addressing the same politicians who, in May
2001, spurned warnings to start importing maize (then obtainable at 25 percent
of the current price) and boost the commercial maize crop for 2001-2002. Peasant
farmers, reliant on ox-ploughing, were unable to exploit the good 2001 early
This past week, peanut butter and salt have disappeared from
the supermarket shelves along with maize meal, sugar and cooking oil. Wheat
flour is being rationed, and bread shortages are imminent. Milk supplies are
drying up, with grave implications for young children. In a few weeks, the
majority of the population will be surviving on sweet potatoes and - if they can
afford it - rice. We are eating the last of our pig and poultry production and
slaughtering the national beef herd as fast as the abattoirs can handle it. The
2 000 farmers not yet given Section 8 eviction orders face the imminent prospect
of them. Or they have gangs of carpet-bagger wannabes roaming the country,
telling them to get out regardless of formalities. Or they cannot get feed for
their livestock and dare not retain what they have grown for fear of accusations
of hoarding and sabotage. A ruling Zanu PF functionary was hailed as a hero for
"discovering" salt in warehouses belonging to National Foods, in which Anglo
American has a 34 percent shareholding. Such is the mood of paranoia whipped up
by the Mugabe regime and its media that few were surprised to hear the Minister
of Agriculture, Joseph Made, declaring that farmers were "racist and fascist -
wanting to continue white dominance" by approaching officials for permission to
keep their stock and crops alive. "The confrontational approach by the
commercial farmers was another conspiracy to wipe out the indigenous peoples of
this country as they had tried in India, Australia and New Zealand," Made
The 26 member Zanu PF Politburo met under Mugabe's chairmanship
and threatened to "de-register" (ban) the Commercial Farmers Union, a move Zanu
PF’s former Justice Minister Edison Zvobgo says would be a blatant violation of
constitutional rights. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo claimed "some farmers
have vacated farms leaving behind a trail of malicious destruction of property".
The state media, meanwhile, played down the gift by Britain of a further £22
million relief. The regime claims it has resettled 354 000 people on former
white-owned farms, but independent observers say fewer than 40 000 are squatting
on ill-organised and as-yet unproductive holdings. Much land is lying derelict.
Many of the "354 000" are urban people with mere pieces of paper, promising them
plots at some future date. Up to 500 000 farm workers and their families have
already been displaced, and another two million face eviction. A visiting UN
mission, headed by Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Kendo Oshima, stubbornly parried all questions on the political dimensions of
the crisis. The mission had been specifically told by the Amani Trust of the use
of relief food as a ruling party weapon, but he spoke blandly about "expanding
their monitoring system" to stop the denial of food to children of suspected
opposition supporters. In a masterpiece of understatement, Oshima said 6 million
Zimbabweans "face a serious health challenge". People aren't being more-or-less
deliberately starved: they are "seriously health challenged". Be ready for
allegations the famine is due to broken promises of aid, as well as sabotage "of
Zim famine will affect SA
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe has a
75% "food gap" - one of the highest in the
world, Democratic Alliance (DA)
leader Tony Leon said upon his return from a
fact-finding mission on
The gap is defined as a shortfall between the provision of the
nutrition required for the population and the food at
"This famine will not contain itself within the borders of
told reporters in Johannesburg.
He said a United
Nations World Food Programme official told him the 75% food
gap was one of
the highest recorded in world history.
The South African government
needed to look ahead and put contingency plans
in place because the food
shortages would soon start impacting on South
moving out of the urban areas somewhere else because there is no
"I think the impact on us is going to be immense ... If we
continue with our
policy on the one hand and their policy on the other, we
are facing big, big
Leon, DA land affairs spokesman Dan
Maluleke, rural safety spokesperson
Andries Botha, and Nick Clelland-Stokes
embarked on a two-day fact-finding
mission to Zimbabwe and met commercial and
small farmers, South African
property owners, the UN and
They also visited farms occupied by so-called war veterans
in Mazoe Valley
and in Bindura, north of Harare.
Leon said the South
African government should protect South Africans who own
farms and businesses
in the neighbouring country.
"South Africa should stand up for the
commercial and property rights of its
of all commercial farms in Zimbabwe have been served with
Section 8 Land Act
notices, making farming activity on those farms a
criminal offence on pain of
"There are 2 900 commercial farmers willing and ready to
produce, but they
are told to seize farming. At the same time, the Zimbabwean
asking for international food aid. I really can't understand
Leon said it was impossible for any importer of
basic commodities to sell
"The government sets prices
at a level completely unrelated to market
conditions but forces importers to
bring their goods into Zimbabwe on a
"In the case of
salt, the cost of importing it has gone up as much as 100%
during the past
two months while the controlled selling price has
Clelland-Stokes said it was an eye-opener to "actually be
there and see for
yourself" what was happening.
"There are orchards
laden with fruit, but farmers will be criminally
prosecuted if they pick the
fruit from the trees. It's an entire waste."
Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 14:19 GMT
Now Mugabe must tackle the economic
Joseph Winter |
President Robert Mugabe may have won the election but his victory
celebrations will be short-lived.
His first priority will be to consolidate his hold on power in the face of
opposition charges that the poll was rigged.
Remembering recent examples from Yugoslavia and Ivory Coast, he will be
worried that street protests might succeed where the elections failed, in
Zimbabwean political analyst Masipula Sithole told me: "Dictators don't leave
power after elections, they only leave under intense pressure."
But Mr Mugabe is trying to avoid being put under that kind of pressure.
Even before the results were announced, soldiers were deployed in potential
flash-points across the country in case opposition supporters took to the
In the past few years, the security forces have managed to crush a series of
anti-government protests and Mr Mugabe will certainly not be afraid to give them
orders to shoot at demonstrators and arrest opposition leaders.
Alternatively, he may try and work with the Movement for Democratic Change in
order to end the bitter divisions which have held Zimbabwe back in recent years.
Such a move would come as a major surprise after Mr Mugabe repeatedly accused
the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai of being a traitor.
But after years of directing a guerrilla war, he did extend the hand of
reconciliation to his erstwhile enemies who had established white minority rule
in the then Rhodesia.
In any case, Mr Sithole says the MDC would be
unlikely to take such an olive branch - were it offered.
Assuming he does manage to ride out this initially bumpy period, his next big
task will be to kick-start the economy.
With inflation running at around 120%, hundreds of thousands dependent on
food aid and millions out of work, this will be a huge task.
Mr Sithole says that the newly re-elected president will try and use his
regional allies, South Africa and Nigeria, to make overtures to the west on his
Again this would constitute an astonishing about-turn but Mr Sithole says Mr
Mugabe would have no choice as "the country is bleeding".
A resumption of aid by the IMF would be the quickest way of getting badly
needed foreign currency back into the country.
But this is unlikely to happen while Mr Mugabe is in power, especially with
most western countries deeply suspicious about his election victory.
The European Union and the United States have already imposed "smart
sanctions" on Mr Mugabe and his associates and are unlikely to change their
views on his leadership.
Mr Mugabe has been trying to make alliances with alternative sources of cash,
from Libya to Malaysia.
He will also try to retain the support of his southern African neighbours to
counter Western attempts to isolate Zimbabwe.
Half-a-million Zimbabweans need food
Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi has supplied lots of oil but the reality is that
only the West can supply the huge amounts of hard cash Zimbabwe needs.
Mr Mugabe ran his campaign on the slogan, "The economy is the land," arguing
that giving plots of land to poor black farmers will raise their living
standards and so boost the economy.
Mr Mugabe will undoubtedly continue with this programme and with a new,
six-year term will now have the time to put this theory - rejected by mainstream
economists - to the test.
Responding to suggestions that at 78 and after 22 years in charge, he should
consider stepping down, the president has hinted that he will do so when he
completed his land "revolution".
There has been speculation that he may finish this within a year or two and
then resign, handing over to his chosen successor - tipped to be Emmerson
Mnangagwa, speaker of parliament.
But the constitution at present states that this would require new elections
after three months, plunging the country back into the political uncertainty of
UN: AIDS will claim 70 million by 2022
July 2, 2002 Posted: 2003
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- AIDS
will kill 70 million people over the next
20 years unless rich nations step
up their efforts to curb the disease, the
United Nations warned on Tuesday in
a report showing the epidemic is still
in its early stages.
40 million people worldwide have AIDS or are infected with HIV,
that causes the disease, up from 34 million two years ago, and
rates are climbing, said the latest report from UNAIDS, the agency
coordinates U.N. AIDS programs.
"We haven't reached the peak of the AIDS
epidemic yet," Dr. Peter Piot, the
UNAIDS executive director, told Reuters in
an interview, scotching experts'
hopes it would level off. "It's an
unprecedented epidemic in human history."
AIDS threatens to wipe
out a generation in Africa and destabilize the whole
continent, warns the
report, released ahead of the 14th International
Conference on AIDS which
opens next week in Barcelona.
"From a pure medical problem, AIDS has
become an issue for economic and
social development and even for security,"
Piot warned, saying the disease
was eating away Africa's work force, holding
back economic development and
"The world can't
afford a whole continent to be destabilized because of
AIDS. It's going to
have implications for all continents," Piot said.
latest UNAIDS report, updating its study of two years ago, makes
AIDS killed a record 3 million people last year -- 2.2
million in Africa
alone -- and HIV infected another 5 million worldwide. The
has killed 20 million since its discovery in 1981, has so far
million orphans. Three million of the 40 million people now
children under 15 years of age.
Although the disease has
drifted from the public eye in developed countries
after awareness campaigns
in the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic is wreaking havoc
in sub-Saharan Africa,
where 28.5 million people have HIV or AIDS -- more
than 70 percent of those
Nine percent of adults between the ages of 15 to 49
in sub-Saharan Africa
are now infected, the report said, up from 8.6 percent
at the end of 1999.
In Zimbabwe, one-third of adults are infected, up
from one-quarter two years
ago. Botswana, the worst-hit country, now has a
staggering 39 percent of
adults infected with HIV or AIDS, up from 36 percent
two years ago. Because
of AIDS, life expectancy in Botswana has dropped below
40 for the first time
The disease is also spreading
quickly in East Asia and Eastern Europe, where
the total of infected people
has roughly doubled.
Rich must pay
The report called for more money
from rich countries to combat the epidemic.
The world must spend $7
billion to $10 billion a year by 2005 to tackle
AIDS, under targets set last
year at the U.N. General Assembly Special
Session on HIV/AIDS in New
"It's not asking for the moon," said Piot. "By any standards that
for breaches in security, that's peanuts."
funding is now spearheaded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Malaria, which was inspired by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan and launched
in January with the help of the United Nations, the World
AIDS spending in poor countries is set to reach $3 billion this
report said, well above the $165 million spent in 1998, but far
short of the
"The international community has not given
what it should have," Piot said.
"They have considered it a marginal
Rich countries must do more to get drugs to AIDS victims in
"It's still an enormous scandal," Piot said,
pointing out that just 4
percent of infected people in developing countries
have access to the latest
antiretroviral drugs, as opposed to about half in
In rich countries, where 500,000 are receiving
antiretroviral drugs, 25,000
people died of AIDS last year. In Africa, where
only 30,000 are receiving
these drugs, 2.2 million died of
Although the price of antiretroviral AIDS drugs dropped recently to
a day, Piot said, the cost of treatment had to fall even more to
Doctors will be discussing the latest in
anti-AIDS medicine at next week's
international conference in Barcelona.
Rising forex rates peel off Zimbabwe's economic
7/2/02 7:54:27 AM (GMT +2)
pound now fetches more than Z$1 200 at the so-called
parallel market, 15
times the official rate.
Depending on the amount, any Zimbabwean
can negotiate up to 20 times
the official rate at a bureau de change, a
registered financial institution.
With a mere £1 000, a Zimbabwean student in
London is a millionaire at home!
At the rate at which the dollar is
crashing, the same student could be
a multi-millionaire with the same £1 000
by December. The print-run of the
dollar has seen a phenomenal growth in the
past two years. It seems the
government no longer cares about a reasonable
exchange rate necessary to
ensure external competitiveness and restore
Investment is impossible in an insane society where exposure
negative, populist economics dominates policy at the expense of
business planning and forecasting. Viability can never be guaranteed
risks of policy reversals and fluctuations are real.
When Zimbabwe began its accelerated economic slide into chaos two
the currency business steadily entrenched itself, fuelling
property prices way upwards and mocked the government's
controls on the money
market. The State turned a blind eye to this
development. Instead, the
government hatched the phrase "parallel market" to
avoid the shame of openly
declaring its support for a currency black market.
The reason is
clear. Zimbabwe is stone broke and prospects for a
turn-around, under this
regime, are zero.
The black market has kept us going, enabling our
commerce, industry and agriculture to source essential imports
Without that market, nearly all
our businesses could have closed down.
The currency trickle became the mask
or deceptive membrane that maintained a
flicker of what is today known as
Those forced to deal with the senseless official rate
cried foul, sounding an early warning note.
current rates reflect the reality of our poverty. Any measures to
them are mere wish lists and will fail. Every black Zimbabwean
can have a
piece of land, but for as long as President
Mugabe remains hamstrung by
a suspect election victory, the Zimbabwean
dollar will continue to lose its
colour. The value of a currency is
generally determined by faith and
creditworthiness, not ideology or claims
to sovereignty. Raiding foreign
currency accounts or forcing the closure of
bureaux de change will open up
new ways of circumventing unrealistic and
Tobacco farmers and gold miners were given preferential
after they threatened to stop production.
entire economy depends on some form of import content. For the
months, the black market provided the answers, giving the government
chance, if not breathing space, to resist change. That market is now about
give in to pressure. The State was unconcerned about the brain drain and
rising numbers of young professionals seeking economic security in
lands. The exiles, in sympathy with their desperate kith and kin at
repatriated whatever surpluses saved under near slavery working
These savings were gobbled up by bureaux de change owners,
mostly senior Zanu
PF politicians, employing nationals of a certain ethnic
well-connected relatives as fronts.
The owners are so powerful that
neither the Reserve Bank nor the
government's security services have come
anywhere near them for scrutiny.
Civil servants, including security
personnel, and reporters accompanying
Mugabe on his numerous presidential
trips are now known for the extreme
frugality while on tour. The idea is to
come back home and scoop a
reasonable supply of Zimbabwean dollars. The
private sector cannot be
expected to respect price controls after buying raw
materials with currency
obtained on such a speculative and volatile
Businesses are now being forced to pierce the veil, unmask
and tell the real story.
The present position with salt
is a case in point. The people must
brace themselves for more
Mugabe and his government are haunted by the disputed
Government economists are skating
around the issue of Mugabe as a key
factor to our disappearing
They have allowed the State to banish thousands to the
bush in the
name of land resettlement. The main economic activities in the
areas today are the manufacture of animal snares, tree- cutting
In the rural areas, public works programmes are being
villagers go for months without pay or food.
matter what we say about the manner in which we attempt to
poverty by pointing fingers to historical injustices arising
and the behaviour of the British, the fact remains that we
risk turning the
whole country into a wasteland where millions beg and take
on menial work in
The spectre of shortages is set to be with us
for a long, long time
because of our refusal to conduct a reality check on
our status and lives.
These shortages have already reached embarrassing
levels, with salt now only
available on the black market.
Whatever the arguments between the government, importers and
fact remains that the consumer is failing to access salt on
Salt and matches - of all essentials - were the last items
thought could be unavailable. Senior citizens confess that they never
of, or experienced, a salt shortage through several generations. The
are known to resort to salt, as a relish, when the going gets
At US$65 (Z$3 575 at the official rate, Z$52 000 on the
a tonne, salt is a cheap, basic item that graces every home.
As poverty levels rise daily, families are
splitting up. The family,
as a unit, is under so much pressure to a level
that affects people's
participation in national affairs. Many spend hours
searching for survival
techniques, often in ways that compromise their
dignity, esteem and
Any country that boasts of a
vibrant informal sector, hedged by
fast-growing funeral services industry,
can never claim social stability.
Invasions And Security Report
This report does not
purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial
farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers
from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names,
are omitted to minimise the risk of
NATIONAL REPORT IN
There is a volatile
situation on a farm, which was allocated to Mr. Machirore of the Tobacco
Industry and Marketing Board. He
threatens to remove the owner from his homestead. He already has a State farm close by.
In Mvurwi, at Forrester J, about
30 or 40 settlers arrived on 26.06.02. They said they required accommodation and
would be moving in within the next fortnight.
They wished to move on in peace and live in
One farmer had a work
stoppage. The owner’s son asked for a letter from DA, which they did not
receive. "War vets" told non-working
occupants of the compound to leave.
Farmers continue to be prevented by police from moving irrigation equipment.
· Chiredzi - Reports of citrus being stolen by
settlers and farm machinery from cane farms.
Ongoing poaching and snaring within this area.
· Mwenezi – the Limburgia Ranch owner is
experiencing continued problems with settlers and massive cattle theft. Detailed report in the Sitrep.
Nothing to report except that the weather is
awful. It is overcast and Chipinge is having a wet and cold day.
Raffingora - The 12 farmers arrested and
held at Banket during the elections in March 2002 had their case heard again in
Chinhoyi Magistrates Court on 27.06.02.
The Public Prosecutor tried to have the case remanded once more, however
the lawyer persuaded the Magistrate the accused were being severely prejudiced
by continual remands. The Magistrate
decided the farmers must be summoned to Court by the Police through the lawyer
if the State wanted to continue with the case.
The Lawyer managed to get the bail and passport money released into his
safe custody, and if everything goes according to plan radios, weapons, files
etc., which were taken at the time of the arrests, should be released later on
this week. Farmers are very relieved and
appreciate all the help received by the surrounding communities. A2 Settlers are still pouring into the
District on their “feeding frenzy”, but most farmers are managing to keep the
peace. There are two farmers still
unable to return to their farms during the last two months, but the DA is
investigating and has visited the District to negotiate with the Police to allow
farmers to return to their homesteads.
There are two farms where settlers have forcibly taken up residence in
manager’s houses whilst they oversee their planted crops. There is a volatile situation on a farm,
which was allocated to Mr. Machirore of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing
Board. He threatens to remove the owner
from his homestead. He already has a
State farm close by. Only three farms have managed to plant wheat, but several
farms have a situation where the farmer has grown a portion of wheat for himself
but a larger portion for the settlers.
On one farm settlers have grown wheat, but the farmer is not on
farm. The hectares are hugely reduced in
comparison to normal years. Theft still
continues as in other Districts at an alarming rate: in particular irrigation
equipment, electric motors and slaughtering of cattle. There has been a slight improvement in Police
reaction with Tredar’s help. Some items
have been recovered. Labour forces are
very unsettled, but all recently attended meeting held by Zanu PF, reassuring
them settlers would not evict them.
Farmers are making every plan to try and stay on the land. Some have
fumigated and sown tobacco seedbeds.
Plenty have individually met with the PA and DA Chinhoyi and Mr.
Murambedzi, with nothing concrete so far.
– the owner is off Umsengesi Farm and still negotiating termination
benefits. He is standing fast on the
provisions of the Statutory Instrument but the workers are demanding more. At Forrester J, about 30 or 40 settlers
arrived on 26.06.02. They said they required accommodation and would be moving
in within the next fortnight. They
wished to move on in peace and live in
Beatrice - A large amount of
settlers moved on to one farm. The same farm had two cattle stolen. Another
farmer saw a blue Mazda arrive and later heard four shots fired but could not
find anything slaughtered.
- One farmer
had a work stoppage. The owner’s son asked for a letter from DA, which they did
not receive. "War vets" told non-working
occupants of the compound to leave. Another farmer’s labour refused to load
tobacco until they were paid their "packages". This farmer was due to leave at
the end of June. The labour surrounded the house but the situation was resolved
when the farmer moved off. One farmer
has ARDA ploughing around his house. Youths are being trained for Neighbourhood
One farmer had
a work stoppage. Police arrived and the
situation was resolved, but the "war vets” want another meeting with the owner
on 03.07.02. One farm received a Section
There is much concern in the province
and these mostly centre on the economy, the Land Acquisition Act and its effect
on farmers and their labour. Several
concerns expressed are also to do with the movement of farm assets. There has been a case of cattle chased off a
farm in Doma
Norton - On Grasmere we failed to report that
the contents of the house were completely looted a couple of weeks ago.
Selous - On Hillview the
settlers told the owner he must plough 2 hectares for each of the 65 families
resident on the property, otherwise he would be evicted. The owner is prepared
to plough, but the settlers are not prepared to pay him anything for the
service. As this is the owner’s only
farm and he has no other source of income he is not able to accept these terms.
On Claremont a bakkie was stolen and has not been recovered.
Kadoma - Farmers continue to
be prevented by police from moving irrigation equipment.
General - The D.A. Chegutu, in
a written communication to the regional office, stated "a farmer should not
blame anyone if they are arrested for violating the requirements of Section 8
Orders". So far no farmer has been arrested for continuing production.
Masvingo East and Central – nothing to
Activity within Masvingo - Mr. Keith Harvey (81 years of age) was checking
the fences at the Masvingo Shagashe Game Park (He is a member of the Wild Life Society)
when three men approached him. They pulled him out of his car and asked him for
the immobiliser for his car. He told them he had left it at home. He was
harassed, then assaulted, shoved on to the ground and searched all over
including his socks. They eventually left him, whereupon he got into the car and
rode home. On reaching his homestead gate within the Masvingo residential area,
the same three youths approached the car again as the gardener was unlocking the
gate. They pulled him out of the car,
again assaulted him and stole his Mazda 323. This incident has been reported to
the Police and the car has not yet been recovered.
Mateke Hills – at Battlefields
Ranch another two Kudu have been removed (dead) from
Chiredzi - Reports of citrus
being stolen by settlers and farm machinery from cane farms. Ongoing poaching and snaring within this
Save Conservancy - Poaching
and snaring continue.
Mwenezi – the Limburgia Ranch
owner is experiencing continued problems with settlers. Settlers are releasing
his cattle from pens at night and subsequently driven and scattered. Many cattle
remain unaccounted. Approximately 5000 ha of grazing was burnt out on this
property. This constitutes approximately 90% of paddocks the owner is allowed to
use. At the bottom half of the property occupied by settlers, there is no
grazing available. Of the 104 head of cattle stolen last week, the owner has
recovered 73. He reports five dairy cattle are still missing. A submersible pump
was burnt out due to someone tampering with the power point, which resulted in a
drop of phase. The owner reports settlers have started to move into the staff
living quarters. Cattle losses on this
property are as follows: Between March 2000 to March 2002 a total
amount of 166 head. These were all killed, hacked, snared, pushed on to the main
road and railway line. Between April
2002 to date a total amount of 686 of which 177 head have been reported stolen
in the last week. (Week ending 30.06.02).
Of the owner’s entire herd, only 80 head of cattle are left. There is an urgent call going out to
everybody to be on the lookout for stolen cattle on the surrounding properties.
The owner’s old brand was E Lazy two bar (two on an animal’s back); the new
brand being HTV. There is approximately 800 to 1000 head of communal cattle on
the property at any given time excluding goats, sheep, donkeys and even
pigs. . At Lochinvar Ranch 15 cattle
were stolen and two slaughtered. The total stolen from this property is now 140
head. Poaching in the Mwenezi area
remains rampant. Marcon Ranch reports
one cow and one giraffe snared. The Quagga Pan owner has lost one Giraffe and
two horses in the same snareline. On
Sweetwaters Ranch in one snareline the owner found 3 dead Eland and 5 broken
snares. Battlefields Ranch reports
another Kudu snared. (Removed dead from snare).
General / Mwenezi - Reports
are coming in of owners beginning to lose cattle and sheep due to poverty on
properties. Examples are La Pache, Umbono and Quagga Pan A ranches. Although
there is not sufficient grazing available the deaths have occurred as a result
of overstocking of communal cattle. Poaching and grazing issues are very
Gutu / Chatsworth – three
rifles were retrieved by Police from settlers. Police arrested those settlers
concerned. Stolen goods (200kg wire and gates) have also been recovered from
settlers’ huts. Stocktheft is rampant
and stealing of wire is critical. At Nuwejaar Farm another 6 beef cattle were
reported stolen from the property. On 30.06.02, the owner’s son-in-law was
taking dogs for a walk and one was caught in snare. Whilst retrieving the dog,
he found many other snares. He also walked into approximately twelve poachers.
The owner reported to the Police who reacted and found another animal killed in
the snare. At the homes of one of the alleged poachers (who was not present at
the time) five skins of animals were found and plenty of
General / Gutu / Chatsworth -
Continued theft of wire. Poaching and snaring continues on a daily
General - Theft continues to escalate from
petty theft to serious theft of equipment and crops. Kill and carry stocktheft
is widespread. Poaching and woodcutting are increasing. Gold panning activities
are on the increase and the panners' camps are providing a haven for all kinds
of criminals and lawbreakers. Section 8 Orders are still being served
firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the CFU Website www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
Unless specifically stated that this message is
a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded
to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein
are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any
organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any
legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and
transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to
Mugabe's onslaught on farmers is lunacy: Leon
2002 at 08:28PM
By Makhudu Sefara
Robert Mugabe's "campaign of terror" against farmers
can be described in one
word - lunacy.
This is the view of Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon,
who jetted into
Johannesburg on Tuesday after a two-day fact-finding mission
He said the abuse of farmers was in violation of the
principles of the
African Union, which is expected to be launched next
Leon said it was ironic that on the eve of the launch of the AU,
Africa's commitment to clean democratic rule with stated respect
rights, Mugabe was continuing his calamitous campaign against
He described the onslaught on farmers as "an inspired form of
adding that the looming famine in Zimbabwe would make earlier
Somalia and Ethiopia look like a sideshow.
Mbeki was not saved from Leon's salvos. He said there was
enough evidence of
failure of quiet diplomacy.
It was about time Mbeki stood up for the
rights of South Africans in
Zimbabwe, he said.
Catastrophe looms in Zimbabwe
Noelani King and Carmen
July 03 2002 at 11:26AM
Below please find comments from our
Political Consultant Gary van Staden on
the latest developments regarding our
northern neighbour Zimbabwe.
The United Nations has warned that the
looming "catastrophe" in Zimbabwe
could not be exaggerated and that basic
food shortfalls of 600 000 metric
tons - over and over what aid agencies, the
UN and South Africa could
provide - implied that by early next year Zimbabwe
and the SADC region faced
an unprecedented crisis.
Apart from death
and disease in the mainly rural areas of Zimbabwe that will
claim tens of
thousands of lives the food shortages and total collapse of
economy will add to the estimated 400 000 young Zimbabweans
country each year to seek work and further education in other
many of them in South Africa. Unofficial South African estimates
close to two million Zimbabweans have fled across the border to
in the past six years. The pressure this massive migration will
South Africa will begin to have a significant impact on
social services, unemployment and crime and there is little
or nothing South
Africa can do to stem the tide across its porous borders.
from this month the Zimbabwe government has opened its border
Africa for 24 hours a day - a decision South Africa has
snubbed by keeping
its own border post hours the way they were. While
apparently encouraging its
citizens to cross into South Africa - albeit if
only to stock up on food and
other essentials - the now seemingly deranged
ZANU-PF government will
introduce new laws forcing young Zimbabweans into
national service for a
period of six months.
The new legislation would compel all the country's
students to undergo six
months training in ruling party militias from next
year. Education Minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi said that "national service"
would become compulsory "to
impart patriotism and national consciousness in
There is little doubt in the minds of observers,
opposition groupings and
international agencies that the youth militia will
be used to prop up the
Robert Mugabe regime as it becomes increasingly
unpopular. But there are
problems - not least of which is that the Zimbabwe
government may not have
the cash or other resources to keep their youth
organs happy with widespread
reports that conditions in the camps that do
already exist were less than
ideal. This youth militia was the front line
intimidation weapon used by
Mugabe during the recent parliamentary elections
and there are real fears
that Mugabe is creating another para-military
organisation to keep order at
home while his regular army continues to do
duty in the Democratic republic
of Congo (DRC).
None of this is good
news for South Africa and while President Thabo Mbeki
bought some time on the
Zimbabwe issue at the G-8 Summit last week by
suggesting that the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) should
be judged on the basis of
the actions of those countries who had subscribed
to NEPAD's frameworks and
not the actions of those who has clearly not
subscribed. Mbeki would have
suggested that some time was needed to bring
nations such as Zimbabwe to the
table but that in the meanwhile the rest of
NEPAD should not be
But the president would not have won a great deal of time and
the implosion of Zimbabwe presents real and immediate threats to
in South Africa. Our social services, police, infrastructure and
relief programmes let alone job creation programmes simply cannot
more of an added burden. The growing pressure is likely to
xenophobia, suspicion and mistrust and while South Africa does have
rights obligations its own citizens deserve to be served first - they
waited too long for social and economic development to be pushed to the
of the line once again. South Africa is not solving its Zimbabwe problem
ignoring it - it is merely growing larger by the day.
King Conradie, Group Economist at PSG Investment Bank
Mugabe foes accused of creating food
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: July 3 2002 19:42
| Last Updated: July 3 2002 19:42
Zimbabwean police on
Wednesday accused opponents of Robert Mugabe's
government of creating
artificial food shortages in a campaign of economic
With bread joining a growing list of basic foods that are scarce -
the staple, mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar and salt - the police
had recovered hoarded or illegally traded basic foods worth Z$37m
"It is believed the underlying cause is economic
intended to discredit the lawfully elected government,"
said the police.
The police accused the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change of
seeking to gain political mileage by orchestrating
But as the police were claiming that the food
shortage was artificial,
bakers held a meeting in Harare and called on the
government to import
50,000 tonnes of wheat to avert shortages.
An opposition spokesman, Eddie Cross, estimated that the country
import 1.5m tonnes of maize, 280,000 tonnes of wheat and 60,000
vegetable oil in the next year, at a cost of $500m.
was described as "conservative" by aid officials working
to alleviate the
At the weekend, Mr Mugabe accused the country's
largest milling group,
National Foods, of hoarding salt, warning that the
government would take
over "rogue" firms that were guilty of sabotaging the
But the company, which is 34 per cent owned by Anglo
American of South
Africa, denied the charge, saying that because of heavy
losses it was
incurring on imported salt, which is subject to government
it had halted sales pending a government price
National Foods has since been instructed to sell the salt
control price set last October, which it says will result in losses
The dispute over food supplies coincides with
mounting criticism by
the state media of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. In an
Wednesday, the state-owned Herald newspaper said there was
confidence in the central bank's ability to safeguard the
value of the local
This criticism follows the recent
collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in
the parallel or unofficial market where,
at one stage, it fell to Z$750
against the US dollar, compared with the
official rate of Z$55 to the
In the past few days the
currency has strengthened to about Z$600
against the US dollar, but banks say
this correction is no more than
temporary and reflects nervousness in banks
and foreign exchange bureaux
over the possibility of government
A prominent government backbench member of parliament has
the dismissal of the governor of the central bank, Leonard Tsumba,
finance minister, Simba Makoni.
As well as tightening
exchange controls and clamping down on the
parallel market, government
hardliners are demanding that the central bank
cut interest rates, which are
already massively negative - some 80
percentage points below inflation of
122.5 per cent recorded in May.
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Zimbabwe opposition accused of
Anti-government demonstrations have been repressed
Police in Zimbabwe have accused the opposition of
deliberately causing massive food shortages in a campaign of "economic sabotage"
aimed at creating anarchy in the country.
The police have seized food worth 37m Zimbabwe dollars (US$46,000) from black
market traders who they say work for the opposition Movement for Democratic
The MDC has denied the allegations, saying the government
was trying to find a scapegoat for its economic "mismanagement" and "disastrous"
It is believed the underlying cause is economic sabotage
maliciously intended to discredit the lawfully elected government of Zimbabwe
The police statement comes as Zimbabwe is suffering a severe food crisis due
to a combination of the controversial land redistribution programme and the
drought currently affecting Southern Africa.
But the police blame the food shortages on an alleged plot by the opposition.
Sugar, salt, cooking oil and maize meal were seized at a time when all are in
short supply in Zimbabwe's shops.
"It is believed the underlying cause is economic sabotage, maliciously
intended to discredit the lawfully elected government of Zimbabwe," says a
police statement in the state-run Herald newspaper.
"The artificial shortages, in the minds of detractors, would ferment or
agitate the masses to engage in looting and defiance of the law," the police
Mugabe says his land reform programme will enhance
In turn, they say, that "would lead to an ungovernable state of anarchy,
which would pave the way for the overthrow of the government".
The police say they have erected roadblocks across the country "to cut off
supply routes " in order to prevent the alleged illegal export of staples.
They have also asked for more search prerogatives, and have suggested the
government take control of food production and distribution to ensure "patriotic
Zimbabweans" occupy key positions in strategic firms.
Last week, Mr Mugabe warned that his government could take over National
Foods, a subsidiary of Anglo-American, after he accused it of creating the
shortage of salt.
With the prices of some basic foods controlled by the government, some
exporters are smuggling their produce abroad, where they can sell it for hard
In Zimbabwe, US$1 can raise Z$800 on the black market, compared to an
official exchange rate of Z$55:US$1.
The MDC, the strongest challenge to Mr Mugabe's regime since he came to power
after independence 22 years ago, has rejected the accusations made by the
MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said the government appeared to be paving the
way for a state of emergency, which would give the "increasingly authoritarian"
Mr Mugabe even greater powers.
Mr Mugabe's regime has recently tightened the laws relating to public order,
the media and land reform.
The leader of the MDC has warned of mass
Farmers, economists and foreign donors say that the land redistribution
programme will worsen the country's food crisis.
Up to six million Zimbabweans may need food aid this year, according to aid
But Mr Mugabe says that giving land to poor black families will increase
their living standards and enhance food security.
ZIMBABWE: Govt urged to control production, distribution of basic
JOHANNESBURG, 3 July (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean police have blamed
opposition-led "economic sabotage" for shortages of basic commodities, the
official Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper quoted a
police report as saying that basic foodstuffs worth Zim $37 million (US $670,000
at the official rate) were recovered in a crackdown on hoarding, black market
trading and illegal exports last month.
Sugar, cooking oil, maize meal
and salt have all been in short supply in official retail outlets where they are
price controlled, but readily available on the black market where they are sold
at exorbitant prices, the Herald said.
According to the police report,
the shortages began to worsen after the March presidential election, and "it is
believed that the underlying cause is economic sabotage maliciously intended to
discredit the lawfully elected government of Zimbabwe".
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the report said, was hoping to gain
political mileage "by orchestrating artificial shortages".
said the police had recommended that the government make concerted efforts to
control the "production and distribution systems" of all basic commodities. They
also urged the government to "ensure key positions in parastatals and board
memberships were offered to patriotic Zimbabweans who have the nation at heart".
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11
ZIMBABWE: Grain stocks at critical levels - government
July (IRIN) - Levels of Zimbabwe's current grain stocks are critical, the
government said on Wednesday, echoing recent warnings that the country was
headed for famine if help didn't arrive soon.
Secretary for Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lancester Museka told IRIN: "The current
situation is one of hand to mouth."
On Monday the World Food Programme
(WFP) launched a US $507 million appeal to alleviate severe food shortages in
Southern Africa. Shocking regional assessments have shown that of the estimated
12.8 million people in need in Southern Africa, 5.6 million people are in
Zimbabwe. That is half the country's population. President Robert Mugabe has
already declared a disaster.
A recent Famine Early Warning Systems
Network (FEWSNET) report said that: "Only two of the 57 districts of Zimbabwe
are estimated to have less than 10,000 people requiring food aid." All but 13 of
the remaining districts had more than 50,000 people desperately in need of food
aid, and the worst affected districts were concentrated in the eastern and
western parts of the country with more than 100,000 people in dire
Faced with a foreign currency crisis, being out of favour with the
International Monetary Fund for not making repayments, and growing international
hostility towards the current government, Zimbabwe is battling to
However, with its limited resources the Zimbabwe government is
trying to provide some form of assistance.
Museka explained that under a
drought relief programme, the government was providing cash to 7.8 million
people which enabled them to buy food from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
which has a monopoly on grain. The first part of this strategy was to distribute
Zim $500 (US $9 at the fixed rate or about US $1 at the parallel market rate)
cash grants to the destitute, elderly, chronically ill and the disabled. The
second part was to pay able-bodied people that amount for a maximum of five
days' work per month on public works projects.
The projects include
repairing soil erosion or broken bridges and a maximum of three people per
household are allowed to participate in these programmes. The government could
also give one person permission to do the work of another two people in the
household, provided it did not exceed the 15 days' work allocated to that
household. That way they can increase their earnings to Zim $1,500 per
All the names of beneficiaries are recorded in registers at each
payment point and payments are carried out by the Rural District Councils each
month. In the public works programme, paying teams go to each payment point.
Though there are no food distribution outlets in the programme, the GMB,
under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, has grain
selling points throughout the country for people to buy stocks.
communities, villagers have pooled their resources to purchase and deliver maize
grain to their villages," Museka said.
However, there have been concerns
recently that the government might not have the foreign exchange to keep the GMB
stocked and the government's price controls and GMB monopoly would discourage
"What's very worrying now is that not only are poor
people suffering because they couldn't afford to buy food anyway, but you have
another sector of the population who still could afford to buy food but there's
nothing available so that just exacerbates and compounds the complexity," said
Judith Lewis, WFP Regional Director.
When asked if Zim $500 was adequate,
Museka told IRIN: "When you put it together it's billions. We're giving to 7.8
million people and when you compute it, it comes to a big amount. On a 50 kg bag
of food the family can pull through."
It costs about Zim $1,000 to buy
one bag of grain.
Museka said it was hoped that funds raised from
Monday's appeal would help. The WFP said cereal import requirements for this
coming year are 1.8 million mt, not far from the government estimate of 1.6
However, experts said the drought was not the only factor in
Zimbabwe's crisis. They have cited Zimbabwe's land reform policy, under which
almost 3,000 white commercial farmers have been ordered to stop farming, as a
disruption to commercial production.
Tel: +27 11
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
ZIMBABWE: Food crisis forcing people from homes
JOHANNESBURG, 3 July
(IRIN) - Zimbabwe's food security crisis, brought on by drought and a
controversial plan to redistribute commercial farms to landless citizens, has
forced people to leave their homes in search of food, UN sources
The creation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the food
crisis is cause for concern as there are no accurate figures on the number of
IDPs in need of aid, said the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Harare.
The UN's World Food Programme and Food and Agricultural Organisation
estimate that about six million Zimbabweans require food aid.
In order to
enable aid agencies to better prepare themselves to mitigate the complex
humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, the UN is set to begin an independent
assessment of the number and situation of food security-related IDPs in the
The UNDP said: "Issues around the food security crisis in the
country have raised the concern of population movements and IDPs. The matter,
however, has become highly politicised on all sides and it is very difficult to
get precise figures on [IDPs]."
The issue was raised with the government
by UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, during his recent mission to Zimbabwe. It was now
being pursued by UNDP Resident Coordinator Victor Angelo.
will be carried out, and a database established, of IDPs in the near future
through the Resident Coordinator's Relief and Recovery Unit," the UNDP
While there was concern that the food crisis in Zimbabwe could
cause refugees to flee to Zimbabwe's neighbours - South Africa, Botswana and
Mozambique - there had as yet been no reports of this, said the UN High
Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pretoria.
Representative Abel Mbilinyi told IRIN that "if there were any large movements
we would certainly know". He said Zimbabweans continued to cross regularly into
South Africa but that this was not out of the ordinary.
"For the time
being we have not been alerted [about refugees fleeing Zimbabwe] either by Home
Affairs [in South Africa], or our other offices [in the region], but we are
watching what is happening," Mbilinyi said.
Kadoma Mayor Elections - Appeal
I have been fairly silent over the
last couple of months in the political field.
The disastrous state of the economy
is causing all of us a lot of distress.
The next big political fight that
we have is the Mayoral elections which will be taking place in the next few
The MDC candidate is a person that
many of you who have had dealings with Casmic or J.K. Structures should know.
Daniel Mugombe is a Fitter &
Turner by trade and has been employed by me for over 14 years.
He is one of the most reliable and
honest people that I know.
He is exceptionally hard working,
intelligent and most of all humble.
A tradesman's wages are enough to
get by these days but only just enough.
He has been at the forefront of the
MDC political movement in Kadoma from the very start.
He declared his willingness to
stand as Mayor to the party a few months ago and was approved by the party last
Almost a week to the day after
declaring his candidacy publicly his house was petrol bombed.
There were two petrol bombs thrown
through his bedroom window at about 2am on Tuesday the 25th June whilst he was
Luckily he was not injured and some
of his property was saved.
Everything in his bedroom was
destroyed, including beds, wardrobes, blankets, & bedding, all his personal
clothes and property.
My appeal is Two pronged.
First of all I would like the
community to rally round and donate any excess sheets, clothing, and furniture
that would be suitable .
This would make ZANU-PF aware that
we as a community stand squarely behind our candidate.
I would like to repair the damage
caused by the fire and get him back into his home.
Secondly I would ask the community
to rally around and get behind him with support of money and anything else
appropriate to enable the party to fight and win the forthcoming mayoral
Please get hold of myself or
Charlie with anything you can spare and money donations can be given in the
I cannot emphasise the importance
of keeping the pressure on this regime and every little victory we are able to
gain will ultimately lead us towards a return to sanity in our country.
Telephone (263)(9) 251542
Facsimile (263)(9) 255315
Mobile (263) 11 601 057