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

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Farmers arrested under Land Act

Breaking News: 4th July 2002
(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

For more information, please contact, Contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829 email:
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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TO:             ALL FARMERS
SENT:         4/07/02
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Daily News

      Rumours of fuel price hike start panic-buying

      7/4/02 9:51:42 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris 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
limited supplies.

      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 people
trickling in with jerry cans and all sorts of containers and suddenly queues
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 homes.

      The fuel situation worsened the transport situation which has already
been affected by the impounding of defective buses by the Vehicle Inspection

      But the fuel queues in Bulawayo dwindled at some service stations at
the close of business.

      The situation in Gwanda was reported to be the same, with most service
stations having limited supplies of petrol while diesel ran out on Tuesday.

      In Victoria Falls both diesel and petrol were reported to have run out
on Monday, although there was limited delivery yesterday, which did not ease
the long queues which formed at the town's two service stations.

      "We were beginning to have an increase in tourists but the fuel
situation will definitely worsen the situation," said an operator in
Victoria Falls.

      Meanwhile, bread joined the list of scarce commodities in Bulawayo.
Long queues could be seen at some bakeries including leading supermarket
chains like TM.

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Daily News

      Army, police nab border jumpers in Mutare blitz

      7/4/02 9:47:45 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian 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.

      The traders allegedly enter Mozambique through bushes surrounding
Mutare's low density residential suburbs of Morningside, Darlington,
Bordervale, Greenside and Tiger's Kloof.

      The traders have been observed in the early hours of the day, trekking
back from Mozambique with empty bags in hand.

      The legal entry point is through Forbes border post. During the night,
the traders allegedly make their way to neighbouring Mozambique through the
mountains which divide the two countries, to sell scarce commodities such as
salt, sugar, cooking oil, margarine and white maize- meal.

      Last week, heavily armed police and soldiers raided major wholesalers
in Mutare and impounded essential commodities worth millions of dollars
after suspecting the companies of hoarding the products and selling them to
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.

      The country has been dogged by shortages of basic commodities since
the government embarked on its controversial land reform programme,
disrupting farming activities and forcing industries to shut down.

      Security roadblocks are mounted along the Beira Road towards Forbes
border post where vehicles crossing into Mozambique are thoroughly searched

      An immigration officer who refused to be named said: "This is a joint
operation by the police and soldiers. Our department has nothing to do with

      "We heard that illegal cross-border traders are being beaten up, but
have not actually got in contact with the victims."

      The immigration officer dismissed reports that military weapons were
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 post."
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Daily News

      Zanu PF loses bid to overturn Chegutu mayoral poll result

      7/4/02 9:45:56 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      THE High Court yesterday dismissed with costs the election petition by
the ruling Zanu PF party's mayoral candidate for Chegutu, Stanley Majiri,
challenging the victory of the opposition MDC's Francis Dhlakama in last
December's polls.

      Justice Tedius Karwi granted Dhlakama's lawyer, Lewis Uriri, an order
dismissing Majiri's petition.

      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,
it is ordered that the petition filed by Majiri against Dhlakama and Tobaiwa
Mudede, the Registrar General, as the Registrar of Elections, be and is
hereby dismissed with costs of suit to be paid by Majiri."

      A day after Dhlakama was declared the Chegutu mayor-elect, rowdy Zanu
PF youths, armed with sticks, whips and assorted weapons, forced him out of
the municipal offices, claiming Majiri was the legitimate winner.

      Dhlakama was only sworn in as mayor after he obtained a High Court
order compelling the Town Clerk, Gerald Mudimu, to administer the oath of
office to the new mayor in terms of the Urban Councils Act.

      But the government allowed the former Chegutu mayor, Zanu PF's Willie
Muringani, to 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 resolution withdrawing
Dhlakama's security personnel.

      In his 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 with.

      He said Majiri was supposed to have within a week provided security of
not less than $1 000 for the payment of all costs to be paid to witnesses,
or on the respondent, in terms of Section 133 (3) of the Electoral Act.

      Further, within 10 days after presenting the petition, Majiri had to
serve the petition and the names and addresses of his sureties on Dhlakama.

      Dhlakama had said: "In his electoral petition, Majiri did not, in
terms of the law, provide security within seven days of the presentation of
the petition. He did not present and serve the petition and the proposed

      "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
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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
judicial office".

He said he would recommend to the country's chief justice that a tribunal be
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 ahead
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.

Meanwhile, president Robert Mugabe on Thursday congratulated the US on its
independence day and said he hoped for improvements in relations between the
two countries.

"I am confident that the years ahead will witness great improvements in
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," Mugabe added.

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 programme.

And this week a US magistrate in New York recommended that Mugabe's ruling
party pay $73-million in compensation for several cases of political
killings and torture of political opponents. - Sapa
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Independent (UK)

Mugabe inquisition into gay politicians
By Basildon 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 gangsters".

He has ordered the Central Intelligence Organisation to spy on possible gay
people in his administration. How CIO officials will arrive at their
conclusions is unclear. "That is inside information ... those tasked with
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 state-owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, resigned from his post after allegations of
homosexuality were levelled against him. Mr Mpofu was caught in a
compromising position with a man at a Harare nightclub.

Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's spokesman and
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 weeks.
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Mugabe, rivals argue over food crisis

Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blames saboteurs for the
country's emptying food shelves, but political opponents and analysts say
his land confiscation drive is fuelling the worst food shortages in a

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 political
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
southern African countries.

The government has blamed dwindling food supplies on its political opponents
and foreign interests, who it says want to punish Mugabe for seizing
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

"There is no doubt that we have become the victims of a well-orchestrated
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
on Wednesday.

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 says.

Analysts say Mugabe is unlikely to change course on the issue that has
dominated his political agenda since 2000, when pro-government militants
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 Thursday.

"Then there is the question of belief. It appears he really believes that
his land policy is the right one and that he is right," said Sithole, a
professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

Campaign said worsening crisis

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.

"Is it not clear to everyone... (that the shortages) are a function of the
Zanu-PF regime's disruption of agriculture through its ill-planned
fast-track land reform nonsense?" the opposition Movement for Democratic
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
supermarket shelves.

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 state-set prices.

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 threatens takeover

Mugabe's anger peaked last Saturday when he threatened to take over National
Foods - a local food company 42% owned by London-based Anglo American Plc -
which he blamed for the shortage of salt.

"Do they still want to operate in partnership with our government? With our
people? If not, we will take over their enterprises," Mugabe said.

National Foods 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

Analysts said the slumping local currency had pushed up the cost of imported
salt by 100% in the past two months, to well above the government's fixed
price for the commodity.

The government, following up the invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms
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 farmhouses.

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 closely
watching this test case.

The farmers say it is absurd for the government to disrupt farming in a
country where millions are facing starvation.

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.
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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
on Thursday.

The three costliest cities in the world are still found in Asia - Tokyo,
Osaka Kobe in Japan and Hong Kong - unchanged from last year, the Economist
Intelligence Unit said in its Worldwide Cost of Living survey.

But one surprise contender for the title of the world's priciest city was
the Zimbabwean capital, which surged to number four from 120th last year,
according to the survey, which excludes housing costs.

"With inflation of over 100%, shortages of goods on the shelves and a
government doggedly holding on to an overvalued exchange-rate peg, Harare
has risen from 120th a year ago to fourth this time round, joining the
perennially expensive Libreville in sixth," the report's author Bill Ridgers

"Conversely, the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, has plummeted from 22nd
to (the) 120th most expensive city," he added.

"This mainly reflects differing exchange rate policies.

"Whereas the Argentine peso has been allowed to devalue, the Zimbabwean
government has doggedly held the Zimbabwean dollar's peg to the US dollar
despite inflation running at over 100 percent," Ridgers said.

The most expensive European city remains Oslo at number five, while London
is the priciest in the European Union in eighth place, shared with Zurich.

New York tops the North American cities in seventh place, unchanged from
last year, followed by Chicago at number 10. - Sapa-AFP
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Daily News

      Row over bus disaster fund

      7/4/02 10:29:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      THERE was tension in Masvingo this week amid fears that the $4 million
Masvingo Teachers' College bus disaster fund could be abused if it is
administered from Harare by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing.

      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 immediate effect.

      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
Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Higher Education and Technology who is
the Zanu PF provincial chairman and the MP for Chivi North; Masvingo
Provincial Governor Josaya Hungwe; A S Dugunye, the Principal of Masvingo
Teachers' College; and the Masvingo Provincial Administrator, Alphonse

      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
had been directed by Munyira to deposit the money into the national account.
The 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 defy
Munyira's directive because they did not see any sense in the ruling that
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 in Masvingo.

      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
the directive.

      But it emerged that the names of some companies and institutions which
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 Zvobgo,
Josiah Tungamirai and Walter Mutsauri, who each donated $10 000.

      Some companies had come up with disbursement plans which were rejected
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
bereaved families.

      Investigations by The Daily News revealed that nearly all the
survivors are now out of hospital, but they have not received a single cent
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 $3 000.

      One of the survivors said: "We have not received anything from the
fund. I used my own personal funds for treatment.

      "I only 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
are being handled, especially following the latest directive."
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Weekly Media Update No. 22
June 24th - June 30th 2002




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.
Reports of 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
institutions, including 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 saying the
decision by "unrepentant racists and fascists." was ".cheap British attract the attention of the G8 summit." where an
African economic development plan was due to be discussed (The
Herald 27/6). But neither the officials nor the media provided a shred of
evidence to support this familiar refrain.
Commodity shortages, particularly of salt, provided the vehicle for the
government-controlled media to develop economic sabotage conspiracy
theories and allowed President Mugabe to threaten a government take-
over of commercial enterprises "which are sabotaging the economy by
deliberately creating shortages of basic commodities through
hoarding," (ZBC all stations 29/6 and The Sunday Mail 30/6).
Although the public Press did make the connection between the soaring
cost of importing commodities like salt and the inability to sell it viably
under price controls, it preferred to bury this fact in the witch-hunt for
saboteurs who had salted away tonnes of the commodity in depots
around the country.
And in another breathtaking example of government's evident
intolerance, the national state broadcasting corporation even quoted the
Speaker of the House, Emmerson Mnangagwa, (ZTV 25/6. 8pm) boasting
that he had told the African human rights commission that government
would be prepared to torture journalists again if the circumstances
demanded. He was quoted saying "I told them that if Chavunduka and
Choto repeat what they did last time again what happened to them will
happen again". Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were tortured three
years ago by the army for a story alleging that some members of the army
had been incarcerated after plotting a coup attempt. Mnangagwa's
startling remarks, glaringly highlighted government's intolerance of
freedom of expression, and escaped any interrogation by ZTV.
Only the 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 government presentations.


The Daily News (26/6) carried a disturbing report in which High Court
judge, Justice George Smith was reported saying police officers and
magistrates were misinterpreting a number of laws and continued to pass
sentences beyond their authority, apparently unmindful that the General
Laws Amendment Act had been nullified.
Another report of a court case involving MDC members arrested while
commemorating Soweto Day (see Media Update#21) also revealed the
gross fabrication contained in earlier public media reports of the event
claiming that MDC supporters had gone on the rampage stealing from
passers-by and disrupting traffic. According to The Daily News (26/6),
the police officer who had ordered the arrests admitted in court that the
MDC members were only "milling around the (MDC) offices". The
defendants' lawyer said those arrested only intended to hold meetings in
the MDC offices. However, the prosecutor, Thabani Mpofu, reportedly
said, "the State was not obliged to prove its case 'beyond any
reasonable doubt'". The meaning of this statement remained
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 abuses in
The Daily News and The Financial Gazette (27/6) reported that Khami
Prison officers had refused to comply with two court orders compelling
them to release from custody two MDC suspects in the on-going murder
investigation of war veterans' leader Cain Nkala. The Daily News (24/6)
initially reported that Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice George
Chiweshe, had issued the first warrant of liberation, and the Chief
Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, in the Supreme Court, issued the second
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 the Attorney-General's
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 warrants
of arrest but provided nothing to say why the magistrate considered this
sufficient evidence to grant them. In addition, the story, which noted
"The two, who are jointly charged with 12 other members of MDC."
went on to state in its very next sentence that the two men ".have not
been formally charged." It also reported the A-G's chief law officer
apparently misinforming the magistrates' court that one of the two was
still in remand prison, while the other was out of custody after being
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 legal
tug-of-war over the two men when it reported that they were likely to
remain in custody following a belated indictment application by the AG's
office opposing bail, until defence counsel makes a fresh appeal.
The Daily News (28/6) and (29/6) closely followed the prison officials'
contempt of court case. According to the reports, the prison officers said
they were awaiting "orders" from their "superiors" to uphold the court
orders. 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
According 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 court case.
The Daily News (24/6), and later, The Financial Gazette reported that
police had broken up an MDC organised social soccer tournament in
Mabvuku and arrested 10 MDC officials and supporters. According to
the first report, most of the people present were children and the arrested
were charged with "engaging in conduct likely to provoke the breach
of peace" and fined.
More evidence of government intolerance appeared in The Financial
Gazette article "Iron fist will fail, analysts warn", which included a
report that armed riot police stormed the University of Zimbabwe after
mistaking students celebrating Senegal's win over Sweden in the World
Cup for a demonstration as an illustration of the security forces' state of
The private press continued to report the persecution of the opposition
and their perceived supporters in many parts of Zimbabwe.
For example, Short Wave Radio Africa (25/6) reported that the home of
the MDC's mayoral candidate for Kadoma had been petrol-bombed by
suspected ZANU PF militants, although it provided no independent
evidence to support the apportionment of blame. The Daily News (27/6)
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 onto the
police and the police were reported as refusing to comment.
The Daily News (28/6) also reported that four soldiers had appeared in a
Masvingo court facing charges of assault which culminated in the death
of one of the victims. Reportedly, the victims were assaulted for allegedly
supporting the 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 the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights were paying attention to
these reports and at least the omissions committed by the public media
during the week of their visit.


Government's decision to boot white commercial farmers off the land and
out of their homes continued to attract media attention during the week.
The private press condemned government's two-stage eviction notices
served on hundreds of commercial farmers and gave their plight - and
that of Zimbabwe's declining agricultural capacity - significant space in
their columns.
Conversely, the public media simply endorsed the evictions as normal
government procedure and indeed, reflected and amplified the fanatical
nature of government's determination to stamp out any resistance from
defiant farmers and strip them of their property.
Following reports in The Daily News and The Chronicle (25/6) and again
the next day (The Daily News and The Herald) of farmers seeking to
challenge their eviction in the courts or ignoring Monday's deadline to
stop farming, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo appeared on ZTV
(26/6 8pm) expressing government's determination to crush the defiance.
While The 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 delay the inevitable".
This was reinforced the next day by Agriculture Minister Joseph Made,
who resorted to a crude, racist assault on the farmers to defend
government's position and justify its inhumane treatment of them. He
was quoted in The Chronicle and The Herald (27/6) branding the defiant
farmers as "unrepentant racists and fascists." The paper reported him as
saying: "The confrontational approach of the farmers was another
conspiracy to wipe out the indigenous people . as they tried in India,
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: "The unrepentant
Rhodesians should be warned that the people of Zimbabwe have not
forgotten the atrocities they committed on blacks during the First and
Second Chimurenga."
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 deliberately
delayed calling the fire brigade. In the same news item, the reporter
referred to another case of alleged sabotage where "300 irrigation pipes
destined for Harare were intercepted at the Manyame Bridge in
Chinhoyi by vigilante ZANU PF youths," the reporter said without
questioning what authority ZANU PF youths had intercepting other
people's property. The report also cited other cases of alleged sabotage
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 certain realities
on the ground that we have a government, we have a president. The
government is ZANU PF, the president is President Mugabe. And
that's how we gotta work. We gotta work within those parameters."
But his remarks were not enough to convince the ZBC reporter, who
stated that 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 seriously."
Introducing Minister Moyo's attack on the farmers, ZTV's newscaster
Obriel Mpofu (26/6 8pm) described the farmers' decision to seek legal
redress as "taking the law into their own hands" as if they were
criminals and had no constitutional right to access judicial arbitration.
But Moyo's ensuing remarks explained Mpofu's comment: "We will not
tolerate lawlessness from anyone, not even from the British
descendants. No one can defy the government.If they imagine that
they can defy the government because they are white or because they
are British kith and kin.they are wasting their time."
Moyo also attacked CFU spokesperson Jenni Williams, accusing her of
"taking the 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 ruling party
statement in The Herald (27/7). But nowhere was the CFU or Williams
accorded an opportunity to respond to the tirade.
However, SW 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 legal recourse.
Only a Reuters story in The Daily News (24/6) and an SW Radio Africa
report the next day highlighted the negative impact government's land
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.
But The Standard (30/6) ran a BBC News Online report recording a CFU
official as 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 orders.
In the same vein, The Herald (27/6) quoted Minister Made as saying
government had acquired 10 million hectares, of which only 86 000ha had
been legally bought by the farmers, reiterating that ".the bulk was
stolen from our forefathers."


The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park,
Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:
Feel free to respond to MMPZ. We may not be able to respond to
everything but we will look at each message. Also, please feel free to
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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 against humanity.

Zimbabwe Victims Coalition
Dr Phillip Du Toit of the
Zimbabwe Victims Coalition.

Should you wish to contact the organization:
tel number is 27 12 664 0704
fax number is 27 12 664 2557
the e mail address is
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