Farmers arrested under Land
News: 4th July
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers Union)
FIFTEEN Sugar Cane
Farmers from the Chiredzi farming area of Zimbabwe have been told to report to
the Chiredzi Police to be charged under the Land Acquisition Act Chapter 20:10
Section 8 Sub (7) Sub Section 1 for 'interfering with the Resettlement Programme
by the Acquiring Authority'.
Four of the fifteen have signed
warned and cautioned statements and the remainder are still to attend the Police
Station to do so. The first four are under arrest but were released on 'free
bail'. The Farmers are then expected to make statements as to their reasons for
'continuing to farm' and will appear before a magistrate who it is believed will
make a ruling. The Farmers have been asked to provide proof that they had
applied to continue farming as part of their defense.
Background regarding the Amendments
to the Land Acquisition Act : The Order was radically changed by a special
session of parliament that was convened on 10th May at which amendments to the
Land Acquisition Act (LAA) were promulgated (Act 6 of 2002). The Orders,
including all those served before
10 May, transfer ownership of the land to
the State immediately, and constitute a notice to stop farming after 45 days,
and to vacate the homestead within 90 days. To exceed either of these time
limits was made a criminal offence.
4th July 2002
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FROM: PETER GOOSEN ON BEHALF OF
TO ALL FARMERS
I AM HAPPY TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT THIS MORNING
IN THE HIGH COURT OF HARARE RELIEF WAS GRANTED TO OUR URGENT INTERDICT SEEKING
RELIEF FROM A SECTION 8 ISSUED TO ONE OF OUR FARMERS. AS PART OF THE J.A.G TEAM
I AM HUMBLED TO SEE HOW OUR LORD ANSWERS PRAYERS. ISAIH 41-10.
FULL DETAILS TO FOLLOW.
(JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE)
Rumours of fuel price hike start
7/4/02 9:51:42 AM (GMT +2)
Gande in Bulawayo
FUEL supplies ran out at most service stations in
Bulawayo and other
towns in Matabeleland yesterday as long queues formed at
outlets that had
Workers at BP and
Shell, the major fuel suppliers, attributed the
shortage to panic-buying by
motorists amid speculation of a price increase.
"We are delivering
fuel but it is running out faster than usual
because people are are hoarding
petrol and diesel. We have the fuel but it
could run out soon," said one fuel
attendant, who asked not to be named.
Petrol started running out at
the service stations in the city on
Tuesday night and by yesterday morning
only diesel was available.
An attendant at the Bulawayo Service
Station said the industry was
shocked to see people buying fuel in large
quantities in anticipation of the
expected price increase.
"Nobody seems to know how the panic-buying started. We just saw
trickling in with jerry cans and all sorts of containers and suddenly
started forming," said the attendant.
The shortage of
fuel yesterday immediately affected the public
transport sector as workers
were stranded in the city centre when they
wanted to return to their
The fuel situation worsened the transport situation which
been affected by the impounding of defective buses by the Vehicle
But the fuel queues in Bulawayo dwindled
at some service stations at
the close of business.
in Gwanda was reported to be the same, with most service
limited supplies of petrol while diesel ran out on Tuesday.
Victoria Falls both diesel and petrol were reported to have run out
Monday, although there was limited delivery yesterday, which did not ease
long queues which formed at the town's two service stations.
were beginning to have an increase in tourists but the fuel
definitely worsen the situation," said an operator in
Meanwhile, bread joined the list of scarce commodities in
Long queues could be seen at some bakeries including leading
chains like TM.
Army, police nab border jumpers in Mutare
7/4/02 9:47:45 AM (GMT +2)
Mangwende in Mutare
A COMBINED police-army operation in Mutare has
sealed off all illegal
entry points into Mozambique from Zimbabwe in a blitz
which netted hundreds
of cross-border traders.
traders allegedly enter Mozambique through bushes surrounding
density residential suburbs of Morningside, Darlington,
and Tiger's Kloof.
The traders have been observed in the early
hours of the day, trekking
back from Mozambique with empty bags in
The legal entry point is through Forbes border post. During
the traders allegedly make their way to neighbouring Mozambique
mountains which divide the two countries, to sell scarce
commodities such as
salt, sugar, cooking oil, margarine and white maize-
Last week, heavily armed police and soldiers raided major
in Mutare and impounded essential commodities worth millions of
after suspecting the companies of hoarding the products and selling
illegal traders for export.
Edmund Maingire, the
provincial police spokesman, could not be reached
for comment yesterday.
There was no immediate comment from the army either.
has been dogged by shortages of basic commodities since
embarked on its controversial land reform programme,
activities and forcing industries to shut down.
are mounted along the Beira Road towards Forbes
border post where vehicles
crossing into Mozambique are thoroughly searched
immigration officer who refused to be named said: "This is a joint
by the police and soldiers. Our department has nothing to do
"We heard that illegal cross-border traders are being
beaten up, but
have not actually got in contact with the
The immigration officer dismissed reports that military
being smuggled into the country through the border post as
claimed by the
"We have not heard of any such cases," he
said. "If indeed that's
happening, it is certainly not through Forbes border
Zanu PF loses bid to overturn Chegutu mayoral poll
7/4/02 9:45:56 AM (GMT +2)
THE High Court yesterday dismissed with costs the election
the ruling Zanu PF party's mayoral candidate for Chegutu, Stanley
challenging the victory of the opposition MDC's Francis Dhlakama in
Justice Tedius Karwi granted
Dhlakama's lawyer, Lewis Uriri, an order
He found that Majiri had failed to comply with
obligations under the
Electoral Act, after filing his petition.
The order reads: "Whereupon after reading documents filed of record,
ordered that the petition filed by Majiri against Dhlakama and
Mudede, the Registrar General, as the Registrar of Elections, be and
hereby dismissed with costs of suit to be paid by Majiri."
day after Dhlakama was declared the Chegutu mayor-elect, rowdy Zanu
youths, armed with sticks, whips and assorted weapons, forced him out of
municipal offices, claiming Majiri was the legitimate winner.
Dhlakama was only sworn in as mayor after he obtained a High Court
compelling the Town Clerk, Gerald Mudimu, to administer the oath of
the new mayor in terms of the Urban Councils Act.
government allowed the former Chegutu mayor, Zanu PF's Willie
buy at a give-away price the mayoral mansion and Mercedes Benz
saloon as part
of his exit package.
The town's Zanu PF-dominated council passed a
Dhlakama's security personnel.
founding affidavit, Dhlakama, who polled 2 900 votes to
Majiri's 2 452, said
when Majiri brought a petition on 12 December
challenging the results of the
mayoral elections that had been conducted two
days earlier by Mudede in
Chegutu, there were certain obligations he was
required to comply
He said Majiri was supposed to have within a week provided
not less than $1 000 for the payment of all costs to be paid to
or on the respondent, in terms of Section 133 (3) of the Electoral
Further, within 10 days after presenting the petition, Majiri
serve the petition and the names and addresses of his sureties on
Dhlakama had said: "In his electoral petition, Majiri did
terms of the law, provide security within seven days of the
the petition. He did not present and serve the petition and
"The net effect of this is that Majiri
denied me the opportunity of
objecting the sureties as is provided for in
terms of Section 135 of the
"I contend that the provisions
of the Act are mandatory, to the extent
that the petitioner failed to comply
with the law. I contend that the
petition challenging my victory should be
dismissed and dismissed with
Zimbabwe judge on the carpet for 'abuse of office'
04 July 2002 10:38
The Zimbabwean government plans to
order a probe into the conduct of a white
judge who last week ordered the
arrest of the country's justice minister for
contempt of court, the state-run
Herald said on Wednesday.
High Court judge Fergus Blackie issued the
arrest warrant last week after
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa failed to
appear in court because he was
on a trip abroad.
Chinamasa told the
Herald the warrant against him was a "gross abuse of
He said he would recommend to the country's chief justice that a
set up to investigate the conduct of the judge, who is expected
to retire on
July 18. Chinamasa told the newspaper he wanted the probe to go
regardless of Blackie's imminent retirement.
The minister had
been due to appear in court to answer charges for
criticising the High Court
for imposing a six-month jail sentence on three
US missionaries convicted of
weapons possession in 1999.
Concerns have been voiced abroad and at home
over the alleged erosion of the
rule of law in Zimbabwe and reports that the
southern African country's
judges are being intimidated.
president Robert Mugabe on Thursday congratulated the US on its
day and said he hoped for improvements in relations between the
"I am confident that the years ahead will witness great
relations between our two countries," Mugabe said in his
message to his US
counterpart, George Bush.
"I wish you continued good
health, peace and prosperity for the people of
the United States of America,"
The United States has banned Mugabe and his inner circle
from entering its
territory, accusing the Zimbabwean head of state of
widespread rights abuses
and of using violence and fraud to win the March
9-11 presidential election.
Last week the US decried an order from
Mugabe's government for 2 900 of the
country's 4 000 white farmers to stop
working their land, calling it part of
a misguided reform
And this week a US magistrate in New York recommended that
party pay $73-million in compensation for several cases of
killings and torture of political opponents. - Sapa
Mugabe inquisition into gay politicians
Peta Zimbabwe Correspondent
05 July 2002
Robert Mugabe has ordered his spy
agency to investigate and compile a list
of possible gay ministers and
officials in the Zimbabwe government.
President Mugabe is well known for
his hatred of gays and lesbians, and has
described them as being worse than
"pigs and dogs". He said the British
Government was made up of "gay
He has ordered the Central Intelligence Organisation to spy
on possible gay
people in his administration. How CIO officials will arrive
conclusions is unclear. "That is inside information ... those tasked
the job know how best to achieve it," one said.
Mr Mugabe may use
the list to rid his cabinet of gays. Officials said he
became furious when
allegations of homosexuality were raised against the
former president Canaan
Banana. Mr Banana fled the country before being
charged and convicted in 1998
of sodomising an aide.
Alum Mpofu, one of Mr Mugabe's chief propagandists
during the March
presidential elections and the former head of the
Broadcasting Corporation, resigned from his post after
homosexuality were levelled against him. Mr Mpofu was caught
compromising position with a man at a Harare
Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's
close ally, has also been implicated in an alleged homosexual
affair with Mr
In a separate development, the Zimbabwe
government plans to investigate a
white judge who ordered the arrest last
week of the country's Justice
Minister for contempt of court, the state-run
Herald newspaper reported
Fergus Blackie, one of only two
white judges left in Zimbabwe, issued the
arrest warrant last week after the
Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
failed to appear in court. Officials
later said the minister was on a trip
abroad. Mr Chinamasa said he wanted the
investigation to go ahead regardless
of Justice Blackie's retirement in two
Mugabe, rivals argue over food crisis
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blames saboteurs for
country's emptying food shelves, but political opponents and analysts
his land confiscation drive is fuelling the worst food shortages in
Analysts said on Thursday they saw no sign that Mugabe will
allow the food
crisis to halt or slow the campaign, which has dominated his
agenda for the past two years.
This week, Zimbabweans added
bread and flour to a long list of foodstuffs -
everything from salt to staple
maize - which are now in short supply.
Aid agencies say four to six
million Zimbabweans need food aid this year,
part of a wider food crisis
threatening nearly 13 million people in six
The government has blamed dwindling food supplies on its
and foreign interests, who it says want to punish Mugabe
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless
"There is no doubt that we have become the victims of a
sabotage programme whose aim is to tarnish our image as a
government and to
inspire a political rebellion," Vice-President Joseph Msika
told state radio
But the shortage of maize, the
country's staple crop, is due solely to a
drought that has hit the
small-scale black farmers who produce 70% of the
crop, the government
Analysts say Mugabe is unlikely to change course on the issue that
dominated his political agenda since 2000, when pro-government
began invading white-owned farms.
"At this point, I think
his natural pride is such that it will be very
difficult for him to come up
with a policy change on the agricultural front
that might appear like
capitulation," said leading political analyst
Masipula Sithole on
"Then there is the question of belief. It appears he really
his land policy is the right one and that he is right," said
professor at the University of Zimbabwe.
White commercial farmers, some of whom are challenging
in court a government
order to leave their farms by August, and the
opposition say the land
campaign has aggravated the food crisis.
it not clear to everyone... (that the shortages) are a function of
Zanu-PF regime's disruption of agriculture through its
fast-track land reform nonsense?" the opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) said this week.
Zimbabwe's independent press
has published letters from frustrated readers
blaming the government and its
land reforms for the lack of food.
"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,"
journalist William Bango of the Daily News
wrote in a recent column.
Mugabe has taken aim at foreign-owned
businesses, accusing them of creating
shortages by hoarding foodstuffs and
fanning panic buying by suggesting that
some commodities were in short supply
and displaying fewer goods on
The government has
raided private industrial warehouses for "hidden goods",
and cracked down on
a fast-growing black market where traders are selling
goods at well above
Food companies say the goods found during the police
raids - ranging from
sugar and salt to cooking oil and maize meal - are being
stored until the
state sets new realistic prices.
Mugabe's anger peaked last Saturday when he threatened to take
Foods - a local food company 42% owned by London-based Anglo
American Plc -
which he blamed for the shortage of salt.
still want to operate in partnership with our government? With our
not, we will take over their enterprises," Mugabe said.
has denied that it was trying to create a shortage by
subverting the normal
chain of supply, and said salt found at its warehouses
by the police would be
sold once the government had approved a new price
said the slumping local currency had pushed up the cost of imported
100% in the past two months, to well above the government's fixed
The government, following up the invasion of hundreds of
in the past two years, has ordered nearly 3 000 farmers to
stop all farming
operations and given them 45 days from June 25 to quit their
Many farmers have vowed to defy the order, and at least two
have filed a
suit in an attempt to have it overruled in court. Others are
watching this test case.
The farmers say it is absurd for the
government to disrupt farming in a
country where millions are facing
Mugabe says 70% of the country's best farmland was in the
hands of 4 500
white farmers before his land campaign began two years ago,
and has warned
farmers not to obstruct him.
Harare 4th most expensive city
London - Tokyo remains
the world's most expensive city, though Harare has
shot up to fourth place on
rampant inflation while Buenos Aires has tumbled
to 120th after the
devaluation of the peso, according to a report published
The three costliest cities in the world are still found in Asia
Osaka Kobe in Japan and Hong Kong - unchanged from last year, the
Intelligence Unit said in its Worldwide Cost of Living
But one surprise contender for the title of the world's priciest
the Zimbabwean capital, which surged to number four from 120th last
according to the survey, which excludes housing costs.
inflation of over 100%, shortages of goods on the shelves and a
doggedly holding on to an overvalued exchange-rate peg, Harare
has risen from
120th a year ago to fourth this time round, joining the
Libreville in sixth," the report's author Bill
"Conversely, the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, has
plummeted from 22nd
to (the) 120th most expensive city," he
"This mainly reflects differing exchange rate
"Whereas the Argentine peso has been allowed to devalue, the
government has doggedly held the Zimbabwean dollar's peg to the US
despite inflation running at over 100 percent," Ridgers
The most expensive European city remains Oslo at number five, while
is the priciest in the European Union in eighth place, shared with
New York tops the North American cities in seventh place,
last year, followed by Chicago at number 10. - Sapa-AFP
Row over bus disaster fund
AM (GMT +2)
From Energy Bara in Masvingo
tension in Masvingo this week amid fears that the $4 million
Teachers' College bus disaster fund could be abused if it is
from Harare by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works
Finnie Munyira, the ministry's permanent
secretary, on Monday directed
that the funds raised in Masvingo for last
month's bus tragedy be deposited
in a national account in Harare with
This has been met with outrage by community
leaders in Masvingo, with
strongly-felt concerns that the fund could be
misappropriated instead of
assisting the intended beneficiaries.
The fund is presently being administered by a four-man team made up of
Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Higher Education and Technology who is
PF provincial chairman and the MP for Chivi North; Masvingo
Governor Josaya Hungwe; A S Dugunye, the Principal of Masvingo
College; and the Masvingo Provincial Administrator,
The fund was established following the death
of 37 people, mostly
students from the college, in the accident.
James Murapa, the Civil Protection Unit provincial chairman, said they
been directed by Munyira to deposit the money into the national account.
unit falls under the Ministry of Local Government.
"The money is
going to be deposited in the national account and it is
likely to be
disbursed in August.
Everything will now be done from Harare," he
said. Munyira could not
be immediately contacted for comment as his secretary
advised The Daily News
to submit questions to him in writing.
But some community leaders in Masvingo on Tuesday said they would
Munyira's directive because they did not see any sense in the ruling
the money be administered from Harare.
"What we want is to
assist the people most affected by the disaster,"
said one leader who refused
to be named. "It would be easier to help them if
the funds were administered
We are going to ensure that the order is disregarded
because it is
likely that the money will be abused."
A list of
companies and organisations which donated money was produced
at an emergency
meeting chaired by Murapa in Masvingo on Tuesday following
But it emerged that the names of some companies and
donated funds, such as Nyaradzo Funeral Home, were missing
from the list.
Prominent individuals whose names were also missing
from the list,
included the ruling Zanu PF party's Dzikamai Mavhaire, Eddison
Josiah Tungamirai and Walter Mutsauri, who each donated $10
Some companies had come up with disbursement plans which were
by the Civil Protection Unit.
Some well-wishers had
asked that the funds be paid out immediately in
order to assist those
accident victims still detained in hospital and the
Investigations by The Daily News revealed that nearly all
survivors are now out of hospital, but they have not received a single
from the fund.
For example, Nyaradzo Funeral Home donated
$450 000 with the explicit
instruction that each bereaved family be given $10
000, while those who were
in hospital by then were entitled to $3
One of the survivors said: "We have not received anything from
fund. I used my own personal funds for treatment.
reported for lessons this week because I had been transferred
to Harare for
treatment. We are not happy with the manner in which the funds
handled, especially following the latest directive."
MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT (ZIMBABWE)
Weekly Media Update No. 22
June 24th -
June 30th 2002
2. RIGHTS ABUSES AND
3. FARM EVICTIONS
It is a great irony
that during the week in which a delegation of the
African Commission on Human
and People's Rights came to investigate
allegations of human rights
violations, Zimbabwe's media were littered
with prime examples.
political violence populated the pages of the privately owned
Press and the
bulletins of Short Wave Radio Africa during the week.
They also carried a
number of reports reflecting the excesses of state
the police and the prisons department, and even
one report of magistrates
imposing excessive sentences.
All of this was ignored by the
government-controlled media, which
concentrated instead, on reflecting the
vehemently dogmatic opinions of
government ministers responding to a decision
by some commercial
farmers to seek legal recourse challenging official orders
to stop farming.
These media reported the government and ruling party as
decision by "unrepentant racists and fascists." was ".cheap
propaganda.to attract the attention of the G8 summit." where
African economic development plan was due to be discussed (The
27/6). But neither the officials nor the media provided a shred of
to support this familiar refrain.
Commodity shortages, particularly of salt,
provided the vehicle for the
government-controlled media to develop economic
theories and allowed President Mugabe to threaten a
over of commercial enterprises "which are sabotaging the
deliberately creating shortages of basic commodities
hoarding," (ZBC all stations 29/6 and The Sunday Mail
Although the public Press did make the connection between the
cost of importing commodities like salt and the inability to sell it
under price controls, it preferred to bury this fact in the witch-hunt
saboteurs who had salted away tonnes of the commodity in depots
And in another breathtaking example of government's
intolerance, the national state broadcasting corporation even quoted
Speaker of the House, Emmerson Mnangagwa, (ZTV 25/6. 8pm)
that he had told the African human rights commission that
would be prepared to torture journalists again if the
demanded. He was quoted saying "I told them that if Chavunduka
Choto repeat what they did last time again what happened to them
happen again". Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were tortured
years ago by the army for a story alleging that some members of the
had been incarcerated after plotting a coup attempt.
startling remarks, glaringly highlighted government's intolerance
freedom of expression, and escaped any interrogation by ZTV.
private Press and SW Radio Africa told the public what the
MDC and civic
organizations had presented to the commission.
However, the short wave
station was guilty of the same offence
committed by ZBC in that it ignored
2. RIGHTS ABUSES AND REPRESSION
Daily News (26/6) carried a disturbing report in which High Court
Justice George Smith was reported saying police officers and
misinterpreting a number of laws and continued to pass
sentences beyond their
authority, apparently unmindful that the General
Laws Amendment Act had been
Another report of a court case involving MDC members arrested
commemorating Soweto Day (see Media Update#21) also revealed
gross fabrication contained in earlier public media reports of the
claiming that MDC supporters had gone on the rampage stealing
passers-by and disrupting traffic. According to The Daily News
the police officer who had ordered the arrests admitted in court that
MDC members were only "milling around the (MDC) offices".
defendants' lawyer said those arrested only intended to hold meetings
the MDC offices. However, the prosecutor, Thabani Mpofu,
said, "the State was not obliged to prove its case 'beyond
reasonable doubt'". The meaning of this statement
Separately, The Daily News (26/6) reported the
release of an Amnesty
International (AI) report, "The Toll of Impunity",
which reported AI
saying impunity from justice was fuelling human rights
The Daily News and The Financial Gazette (27/6)
reported that Khami
Prison officers had refused to comply with two court
them to release from custody two MDC suspects in the
investigation of war veterans' leader Cain Nkala. The Daily
initially reported that Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice
Chiweshe, had issued the first warrant of liberation, and the
Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, in the Supreme Court, issued the
after the State failed to submit an opposing appeal.
None of the
state media reported any of these important developments.
However, while the
two privately owned newspapers were reporting
efforts by the MDC defendants'
lawyers to have the two men released,
The Chronicle (27/6) only reported that
they had been indicted for trial,
ignoring the whole issue surrounding the
warrants for their liberation. In
fact, the story, confusingly headlined "MDC
activists indicted for trial",
only reported on a successful application by
office to have warrants of arrest issued for the two
men. It provided no
evidence to support the headline or the first sentence of
its story and
speculated about a trial date with the help of "sources close
to the case".
It only reported the Attorney-General's chief law officer
saying the two
"should be indicted for trial." in its application seeking the
of arrest but provided nothing to say why the magistrate considered
sufficient evidence to grant them. In addition, the story, which
"The two, who are jointly charged with 12 other members of
went on to state in its very next sentence that the two men ".have
been formally charged." It also reported the A-G's chief law
apparently misinforming the magistrates' court that one of the two
still in remand prison, while the other was out of custody after
granted bail by Justice Chiweshe.
The inconsistencies contained in
this story compounded the paper's
failure to report the illegal detention of
the two men.
The next day The Daily News (28/6) provided some context to the
tug-of-war over the two men when it reported that they were likely
remain in custody following a belated indictment application by the
office opposing bail, until defence counsel makes a fresh appeal.
Daily News (28/6) and (29/6) closely followed the prison officials'
of court case. According to the reports, the prison officers said
awaiting "orders" from their "superiors" to uphold the court
According to the paper, one of the officials said, "I work on
orders. I could
not release the suspects because I was awaiting orders
from the State." It
remained unclear what constituted the State, if not the
usual three arms of
government - the executive, the legislature, and the
to The Daily News, the AG's application was granted parallel
to the contempt
of court hearing.
The Herald, The Chronicle and ZBC ignored the contempt of
The Daily News (24/6), and later, The Financial Gazette reported
police had broken up an MDC organised social soccer tournament
Mabvuku and arrested 10 MDC officials and supporters. According to
first report, most of the people present were children and the arrested
charged with "engaging in conduct likely to provoke the breach
of peace" and
More evidence of government intolerance appeared in The
Gazette article "Iron fist will fail, analysts warn", which
report that armed riot police stormed the University of Zimbabwe
mistaking students celebrating Senegal's win over Sweden in the
Cup for a demonstration as an illustration of the security forces'
The private press continued to report the persecution
of the opposition
and their perceived supporters in many parts of
For example, Short Wave Radio Africa (25/6) reported that the home
the MDC's mayoral candidate for Kadoma had been petrol-bombed
suspected ZANU PF militants, although it provided no
evidence to support the apportionment of blame. The Daily News
picked up the story later.
Another Daily News report (26/6)
recorded MDC allegations of the
assault and displacement of its supporters in
Manicaland by ZANU PF
supporters and war veterans in collusion with the
police and the army.
An army spokesman passed the responsibility for comment
police and the police were reported as refusing to comment.
Daily News (28/6) also reported that four soldiers had appeared in a
court facing charges of assault which culminated in the death
of one of the
victims. Reportedly, the victims were assaulted for allegedly
opposition MDC in the presidential election. The state
media again ignored
these two stories.
It can only be hoped that the fact-finding mission of
Commission on Human and People's Rights were paying attention
these reports and at least the omissions committed by the public
during the week of their visit.
Government's decision to boot white commercial farmers off the
out of their homes continued to attract media attention during the
The private press condemned government's two-stage eviction
served on hundreds of commercial farmers and gave their plight -
that of Zimbabwe's declining agricultural capacity - significant space
Conversely, the public media simply endorsed the
evictions as normal
government procedure and indeed, reflected and amplified
nature of government's determination to stamp out any
defiant farmers and strip them of their
Following reports in The Daily News and The Chronicle (25/6) and
the next day (The Daily News and The Herald) of farmers seeking
challenge their eviction in the courts or ignoring Monday's deadline
stop farming, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo appeared on ZTV
8pm) expressing government's determination to crush the defiance.
Daily News (26/6) noted that it was not possible "to wind up
50 years of farm
work in 45 days", the government controlled
newspapers (26/6) simply
presented the farmers' resistance as ".a
racist ploy.to delay the
This was reinforced the next day by Agriculture Minister Joseph
who resorted to a crude, racist assault on the farmers to
government's position and justify its inhumane treatment of them.
was quoted in The Chronicle and The Herald (27/6) branding the
farmers as "unrepentant racists and fascists." The paper reported him
saying: "The confrontational approach of the farmers was
conspiracy to wipe out the indigenous people . as they tried in
Australia and New Zealand."
Notably, this diatribe was not reported
by ZBC in its main news bulletins,
although it was echoed in The Herald's
comment that day and was
preceded by a comment in The Chronicle (26/6)
entitled 'Hit defiant
farmers hard', which threatened them with retribution:
Rhodesians should be warned that the people of Zimbabwe have
forgotten the atrocities they committed on blacks during the First
For its part, ZBC aired a report (all stations
26/6 8pm) that farmers
"reluctant to leave their land" were engaging in
sabotage and gave the
example of a homestead that was burnt down on a
commercial farm in
Mount Hampden. It quoted an eyewitness saying the farmer
delayed calling the fire brigade. In the same news item, the
referred to another case of alleged sabotage where "300 irrigation
destined for Harare were intercepted at the Manyame Bridge
Chinhoyi by vigilante ZANU PF youths," the reporter said
questioning what authority ZANU PF youths had intercepting
people's property. The report also cited other cases of alleged
in Mashonaland West.
The same ZTV bulletin quoted a senior
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
official, Kobus Joubert, candidly conceding
defeat: "The fact is we
support the government of the day. We must recognize
on the ground that we have a government, we have a
government is ZANU PF, the president is President Mugabe.
that's how we gotta work. We gotta work within those parameters."
his remarks were not enough to convince the ZBC reporter, who
farmers had made similar statements before and had failed to
fulfill them, a
sentiment reflected in The Herald's comment the next
morning: "White farmers
have never been sincere on land matters and
should never be taken
Introducing Minister Moyo's attack on the farmers, ZTV's
Obriel Mpofu (26/6 8pm) described the farmers' decision to seek
redress as "taking the law into their own hands" as if they
criminals and had no constitutional right to access judicial
But Moyo's ensuing remarks explained Mpofu's comment: "We will
tolerate lawlessness from anyone, not even from the
descendants. No one can defy the government.If they imagine
they can defy the government because they are white or because
are British kith and kin.they are wasting their time."
attacked CFU spokesperson Jenni Williams, accusing her of
international platform given to her by the British hoping
to influence the G8
and preaching lawlessness".
Moyo's remarks were also broadcast on Radio
Zimbabwe the next
morning (27/06, 6am) and appeared in similar form as a
statement in The Herald (27/7). But nowhere was the CFU or
accorded an opportunity to respond to the tirade.
Radio Africa (27/06) followed up an earlier Daily News
story (25/6) by
quoting the lawyer for one of the farmers justifying their
action. He stated
that farmers were challenging the constitutionality of
the amendment to the
Land Acquisition Act, which in effect stripped
farmers of their right to seek
Only a Reuters story in The Daily News (24/6) and an SW Radio
report the next day highlighted the negative impact government's
policy was having on farm workers.
Wide-ranging reports and analysis
in the private press articulated the
farmers' dilemma and provided statistics
of the land taken and the value
of the farmers' moveable assets "seized,
impounded or looted" (The
Daily News 24/6).
In reporting President
Mugabe's submissions to the delegation of the
African Commission on Human and
People's Rights, The Herald (26/6)
quoted him providing an evasive
explanation of government policy: "No
farmer need go without land. The
Government is opposed to a 'one
farmer, 20 farms' scenario", which the paper
then editorialised on,
"quashing fears that some 2 900 white commercial
farmers would be
left landless". No comment was sought from the CFU.
The Standard (30/6) ran a BBC News Online report recording a CFU
saying, "Hundreds of farms have been listed, although their
owners do not
have any other properties". The Financial Gazette was
more precise, saying 1
024 single-owned farms out of about 3 000 had
been served with eviction
In the same vein, The Herald (27/6) quoted Minister Made as
government had acquired 10 million hectares, of which only 86 000ha
been legally bought by the farmers, reiterating that ".the bulk
stolen from our forefathers."
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The International Criminal Court
The Zimbabwe Victims Coalition (ZVC), a
newly-formed organisation, has
announced that it will take President
Robert Mugabe to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes
Zimbabwe Victims Coalition
Du Toit of the
Zimbabwe Victims Coalition.
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