Zimbabwe's Government Prints Money to Fund Campaign, Paper Says
Bloomberg News - Jun 9 2000 3:19AM
Harare, Zimbabwe, June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's government two weeks ago ordered the printing of 250 million Zimbabwe dollars ($6.5 million) so that the ruling party, Zanu PF, could borrow funds to finance its election campaign, reported the weekly Zimbabwe Independent reported, citing sources at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Fidelity Printers. Zanu depleted the Z$76 million it was allocated for the election by Parliament by using $20 million to fund the invasion of at least 1,608 white owned commercial farms by armed squatters in what analysts say was a bid to win support from land-hungry peasants ahead of this months parliamentary elections. ``Fidelity Printers does not mint money to service government's overdraft,'' said a Reserve Bank spokesman in response to queries from the paper.
Opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is expected to pose the strongest ever challenge to Zanu, which took power in 1980, at the polls on June 24 and 25.
Parties threaten court action on shambolic register
Thousands missing from roll
Abel Mutsakani - Financial Gazette 8 June 2000
ZIMBABWE’S eagerly-awaited general election was thrown into turmoil this week when thousands of ordinary people complained that their names are missing from the voters’ roll and opposition parties accused the government of leaving out from the roll young voters and whites sympathetic to them.
The country’s largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), yesterday threatened to take the matter to court unless Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede undertakes in writing to prepare a supplementary roll of all the people omitted from the roll released last month.
A supplementary register would enable the people who have been omitted from the roll to vote in the June 24-25 poll.
But Mudede immediately dismissed the charges as unfounded. “Surely if it was intended that a certain section of the community should be disenfranchised, then why put the voters’ roll to public inspection?” Mudede asked.
“This allegation is unfounded and baseless,” he said. Mudede has in the past been accused by opposition parties of manipulating the voter registration in favour of the ruling ZANU PF party.
Mudede said the turnout of voters at various centres set up across the country for voters to inspect the roll had been low and the number of people whose names had been omitted could only be clear at the end of the inspection exercise.
In a snap survey in Harare yesterday, this newspaper found dozens of voters at the inspection centres angrily arguing with Mudede’s officers after being told that their names were not on the voters’ register.
One top Harare business executive was shocked to discover that although himself, his wife and teenage son registered at the same centre and on the same day, his son’s name did not appear on the roll.
The officers told the business executive that his son could still re-register but would not be able to vote in the coming election because no supplementary roll was being prepared.
“This is clearly an orga-nised plan to disenfranchise the young people,” the incensed executive, who preferred not to be named, said.
Out of five Financial Gazette workers who went to their respective constituencies to check if their names were appearing on the roll, only two were listed.
Joseph Ngwawi, a senior reporter with this paper and a resident of Dzivaresekwa constituency, was told by officers manning the inspection centre at Warren Park One Primary School that his name did not appear on the voters’ roll and that he could re-register but would only be able to vote in the 2005 parliamentary elections.
Thelma Chikwanha, a proofreader with this paper, could not find her name on the roll although she registered in February well before the April 16 registration deadline for the coming election.
Abel Kaingidza, also with this paper, could not find his name on the voters’ roll at Mabvuku Primary School in his Mabvuku constituency but the officers there re-registered him and told him he would be able to vote in this month’s election.
Mudede said voters whose names had been left out would be allowed to re-register and vote in the June election only if “there is evidence that an omission took place and it can be established beyond doubt that a voter who had registered before was not listed on the voters’ roll”.
Mudede did not indicate what type of evidence Zimbabweans had to produce to show they had registered. During an exercise to register voters conducted by Mudede’s office earlier this year, no receipts or any form of proof was given to all who registered, sparking a public outcry.
Mudede ignored the complaints.
Isaac Manyemba, secretary-general of the opposition Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD), said: “Where does Mudede expect the evidence to come from when he knows his officers did not give people receipts when they registered? Or is he saying his officers are able to remember the faces of all the people who passed before them during the so-called voter registration exercise? This man is insulting our intelligence.”
Manyemba said besides the omission of several thousand young party supporters, investigations by ZUD had also established that many names of deceased people, particularly in the party’s Harare South stronghold, still appeared on the voters’ roll.
Manyemba said ZUD was now preparing a comprehensive list of its members who registered before the April 16 registration deadline.
The United Parties (UP) publicity and information secretary David Mukome said the majority of his party’s supporters registered by school-leavers employed by Mudede during a door-to-door voter registration campaign at the beginning of the year did not appear on the roll.
In one case, UP parliamentary candidate for Mhondoro West constituency Titus Mukarati had found that 300 supporters at his home who had registered were not on the roll.
“The government cleverly ensured that there would be no evidence by not giving these people receipts and now there is no proof that they indeed registered in the first place,” Mukome said.
The MDC’s David Coltart said his party was setting up a hotline just to handle thousands of complaints from members whose names are missing from the roll.
“If Mudede does not give us assurances in writing that these people who have been omitted will be re-registered and issued with receipts and a supplementary roll prepared in time for them, then we will have no option but to seek the courts’ intervention,” he told the Financial Gazette.
A legal wrangle over the voters’ roll could delay the potentially history-drawing poll.
Last month the MDC successfully appealed to the High Court to delay the nomination of candidates from May 29 to June 3 because the government had fixed the nomination and election dates before the voters’ roll had been published.
A committee that was marking out constituency boundaries had also not finished its work at the time, making it difficult for candidates to know which constituency they could stand in and which voters could support their nomination as required by law.
Judges face the sack?
JUSTICE Minister Emm-erson Mnangagwa this week met two of the six Zimbabwean High Court judges accused of carrying dual citi-zenships, prompting fears in the legal community that Zimbabwe might be preparing to dismiss all foreign judges.
Mnangagwa confir-med to the Financial Gazette on the sidelines of a ZANU PF Politburo meeting held at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday that he was in the process of “interviewing” all the six white judges to ascertain their citizenships.
International media reports say Zimbabwe intends to fire all judges with foreign passports just after the June 24-25 poll.
The government has in the past accused judges of the Supreme and High courts of being ill-qualified to pass judgment in politically sensitive issues because they are not Zimbabweans.
It is believed that the six, including Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, are holders of dual British and Zimbabwean citi-zenships. It is an offence for Zimbabweans to have dual nationality.
The Zimbabwean judiciary has had an uneasy relationship with the government over the past 20 years, with the government openly questioning and, at times, defying High court judgments.
The latest standoff between the government and the judiciary centres on the seizure of white-owned farms by independence war veterans and followers of the ruling ZANU PF party, which began in February.
Two High Court rulings ordering the veterans off the farms have been ignored by the police, who were ordered by President Robert Mugabe to do so.
Mnangagwa said: “As soon as the probe is complete, I will make a comprehensive report and issue a public statement clarifying the whole situation.”
Government sources confirmed yesterday that moves are underway to introduce legislation in Parliament that would require that only Zimbabwean nationals become judges.
Under current legislation, there are no prohibitive clauses which bar foreigners from being appointed to the bench.
Two of the five Supreme Court judges, including Justice Gubbay, are white. Four of the 20 High Court judges are also white but some are Zimbabwean by birth.
Justice Gubbay declined to make any comment on the issue this week.
Mugabe gets his ban on British poll observers
Blair in Harare
THE European Union and the Commonwealth have caved in to
Robert Mugabes demand to exclude Britons from their election
teams, it emerged yesterday.
After a campaign that has been
exceptionally violent even by Zimbabwean
standards, all remaining hopes of a
free and fair contest are vested in
the teams of election observers, who have
already arrived in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe made clear last month that he
could accept scrutiny from "our
friends", but "not from Britain".
the clear approval of the British Government, the EU and the
have quietly accepted this ruling. The EU has committed a
team of 200 to the
task and the first 105 are due to start work today.
Irene Eich, speaking
for the EU, confirmed that no Britons were among
their ranks. She said: "If
there is a particular sensitivity about
sending observers from a given
country, then it is not done."
The Commonwealth, whose credibility has
already been damaged by the
resignation of Moses Anafu, formerly its most
senior observer in
Zimbabwe, after the disclosure of his business links with
government, has promised a team of 40. The first six arrived last
A statement issued by its Secretariat does not list any Britons
However, Richard Lindsay, spokesman for the
British High Commission in
Harare, said: "We regard it as important to get
observers here, rather
than respond to an inflammatory comment." Mr Mugabe
added to the tension
yesterday by threatening white farmers who oppose the
seizure of their
land. Addressing 4,000 supporters at a campaign rally in
130 miles south-east of Harare, he said: "If they try to resist,
At least 28 people have been killed during the last
three months of
political violence, five of them farmers. Amnesty
a report yesterday, Terror Tactics, in the run-up to
elections, which documented killings, abductions and
Maina Kiai, director of Amnestys Africa department, said Mr
government had been guilty of: "A deliberate, systematic human
violations, constituting state sponsored terrorism."
From the Zim Standard
First Lady is taking full advantage of her derived office, it
President Mugabe went to Cuba recently, Grace saw an
opportunity for a family
holiday away from the turmoil at home.
While Bob went to Havana, Grace
and the kids remained in Paris,
Muckraker is informed. Unimpressed with
endless speeches on South-South
co-operation and parades by brainwashed Cuban
kids, she understandably
decided Euro-Disney would be more
There were no foreign currency shortages there, we gather.
a whole week indulging the kids at the various theme parks while
to know some of the French capital's more exclusive
establishments. Although Harrods may no longer be accessible, its
Mohammed Al-Fayed also owns the Ritz in Paris where the contents
various de- partment stores were delivered to the Mugabe's suite
A number of designer suitcases stuffed with goodies for the
items for the personal clothing business were loaded into the hold
the returning aircraft.
But there appears to have been problems
once the consignment reached
Harare. As the president was greeting the new
landowners of Harare
South at the airport, impressing upon them the
importance of seizing
other people's property, some of his entourage were
effect to his remarks by sub-dividing Grace's consignment
Certain their employer would not recall exactly how many
loaded at Charles de Gaul-le airport they apparently decided to
deter-minations of their own.
Investigations are un-derway,
Muckraker under- stands, but it is a case
of putting the poachers in charge
of the game.
Residents of Glen View in Harare have appealed for more
in the area citing increased cases of mugging and house
late. The muggers move around in groups of 10 or more, carrying
bars and knives, the residents say. The problem is that the
won't do anything.
You cannot tell the difference these days
between Zanu PF thugs and war
veterans on the one hand, and ordinary
criminals on the other. It seems
both groups have been given carte blanche
to do what they want. All
that a criminal needs is a Zanu PF T-shirt and a
party card to break
into your house.
Even the police, it seems, can't
tell the difference seeing as their
powers of law enforcement have been
curtailed ahead of the election.
After going through the list of
candidates for this month's
parliame-ntary election, the Herald declared on
Monday: "From the ruling
Zanu PF's point of view there is very little to
worry about." This is
because most MDC candidates, said a smooth-talking
commentator, "are failed politicians".
Chance would be a
fine thing. But Zanu PF has a monopoly on that corner
of the market. And
its frantic and violent campaign to stop the MDC
indicates that the real
failed politicians are running scared.
The party is in mortal terror,
trying to blame the whole world for its
failure to run the country.
indeed there is nothing to worry about why has President Mugabe
unprecedented campaign of violence, bludgeoning opposition
burning their homes, and disenfranchising thousands of
voters? Is this the
behaviour of a confident leader?
In a Ziana report we are told, "Zanu PF
has to convince the masses that
it is not the only one to blame for the
prevailing economic and
political insta- bility".
This may explain a
funny little article on the front page of Tuesday's
Herald headed "Several
factors responsible for economic decline".
In what must be one of the most
dishonest pieces of journalism in the
Herald's election campaign to date we
were told that the fall in world
mineral prices was beyond the control of
Nothing here about the artificial exchange rate that is
exporters. The opposition was using the state of the economy as
campaign tool, the Herald complained, as if the total collapse
Zimbabwe's productive sectors - the result of criminal mismanagement
was something candidates were supposed to ignore!
The private sector
was accused of "taking a back seat" during the
government's land pillaging as
if it was the function of business to
endorse policies that sabotage the
There was very little governments could do to stem economic
fragile economies like Zimbabwe's were vulnerable to turbulent
markets, the Herald bleated.
This had all the hallmarks of the
Ministry of Information's bankrupt
electoral pitch. But the fact is
economies in many developing countries
around the world, including Africa,
are riding out downturns on the
world market very successfully because,
unlike Zimbabwe, they adhere to
policies that work and encourage
Botswana is a good example of a country whose mineral exports
suffered in some instances but whose economy is otherwise
because it is well managed. Zimbabwe is a mess because its ruling
is oblivious to elements of good governance such as the rule of law
sound fiscal management. The Herald should tell its readers
although we suspect they already know.
Dumiso Dabengwa recently
appeared on ZTV in support of the invasion of
vacant buildings and flats by
AAG members in Bulawayo.
Why should they remain unoccupied, he wanted to
A reader in Chivhu has written asking why a house in the town,
belonging to one Grace Mugabe has remained unoccupied for
years. The writer claims Gracelands in Harare has never been
What is so special about these costly white elephants? Why are
Meanwhile Dabengwa, who is himself beginning
to represent a vacant lot,
should not expect to get away with lame excuses
for his failure to act
against lawlessness and thuggery being orchestrated by
Hunzvi, the AAG
or other gangs of hooligans. He has been delinquent in his
uphold the law and will be judged accordingly in the years to
Mugabe's claim that the British were the cause of the current
shortage has been greeted with an appropriate degree of derision
the country. Showing all the sad symptoms of senile dementia,
said the British were patrolling the high seas intercepting
bringing fuel to Zimbabwe from the Middle East.
addressing a largely indifferent group of women who had
apparently been given
new Zanu PF T-shirts before being frog-marched
from Mbare to Zanu PF
The British, revealed Mugabe with an air of omniscience,
fuel suppliers twice or three times what Zimbabwe was paying.
why I am saying 'down with the British'," he thundered, brandishing
trademark fist of fury.
Some of the women in the crowd yelled back
in solidarity. The price of
not doing so can be pretty nasty. But you could
tell they didn't
understand a thing about the ships and British piracy. What
was the stark reality that after the singing and slogans they would
back to their shacks in Mbare and start the endless search for
stent illuminating paraffin. Nothing would change in the
pattern of their lives.
Did Mugabe tell them why he allowed
the massive corruption at Noczim to
persist for years despite repeated
warnings from the press and the
private sector? Why did he do nothing about
it, allowing his friend
Enos Chikowore to cling to office despite the
evidence of the
disappearing billions? And for how long can he go on
responsibility for the petrol queues and an economy on the brink
Let's have less presidential dishonesty and dodging of
Here's a straw poll for readers. Ask
your friends: Do you read Jonathan
Moyo in the Sunday Mail, and see what
percentage actually do? We know
this because when we ask people if they saw
the latest attack on
Muckraker or some other nutty diatribe in the paper we
always get the
same reply: "We don't read that column.
Mahoso's, it is completely unreadable." Which perhaps
explains why the Sunday
Mail has put the two Nutty Profs together on the
same page - both raving on
about conspiracies to bring down the Zanu PF
government. Unfortunately we
have to read them because insanity needs
to be monitored.
increasingly de-lusional Moyo claims Muckraker was started with the
intention "to discredit Zimbabwe's national leadership and
academics through ridicule, abuse and insults".
Is he thinking of any
'pro-nationalist' academics in particular, we
wonder? For how long has he
been selling himself as "pro-nationalist"?
And did Alfred Nhema ask to be
dragged into Moyo's quarrel with us? Is
he also selling himself as a
Moyo wants to know who pays the Independent's
editors. But he doesn't
say who signs his cheques! Let's hope it doesn't
turn out to be the
taxpayer as was the case when he misled the country on
behalf of the
constitutional commission because one day the nation will want
And when Moyo attacks Chief Justice Gubbay and white
judges, why doesn't
he disclose an interest? Why doesn't he have the honesty
to tell Sunday
Mail readers that he holds a long-standing and bitter grudge
Gubbay for ruling against his 1994 appeal over the custody of
children. The chief justice, in concurrence with other Supreme
judges, ordered Moyo to return his children from Kenya to their
custody in Zimbabwe.
The whole matter was mysteriously
cleared up by the Justice ministry
when Moyo became a covert (at that stage)
Zanu PF nominee on the
Moyo claims that he
got the idea of asking whether the judiciary was
Zimbabwean or British from
"the respected independent weekly newspaper",
the Zimbabwe Mirror. Is this
by any chance the same "respected
independent weekly newspaper" Moyo used as
a platform for venomous
attacks on critics of the constitutional commission
Meanwhile, Moyo appears to think that oppo- sition supporters
change for its own sake - that "democratic change is about
personalities, targeting indivi- duals in very personal terms and
looking at systematic issues".
He needs to be disabused of that
illusion, just as his colleague Mahoso
needs to be disabused of the idea that
good governance has no definition
for ordinary Zimbabweans.
no intention to replace Mugabe with another tyrant. Rather
there is an
imperative need to sweep away the whole rotten system
Mugabe, Moyo and Zanu
PF represent, a system that spouts spurious
slogans about "land and the
economy" while destroying the economy
through incorrigible mismanagement and
syste- matic looting of national
How many people have been
deprived of jobs because of Zanu PF's
childish, misplaced nationalism or
because recovery programmes have been
cast aside by a delinquent ruling
class? How many people would have
been resettled if the government had not
reneged on the 1998 donors'
Good governance is
not an imported agenda. It is a survival plan to
make sure national leaders
serve their people instead of lying to them
and stealing from
When Obert Mpofu this week tried to parrot the Zanu PF line that
and other business leaders were plotting to close down the
economy for political reasons, AAG president Matson Hlalo
retorted that the state of the economy was so bad that any
leader with acumen would close shop or scale down
"There is nothing political about it," he said. "Companies
difficulties raising forex to finance operations. The only way is
close." Can the AAG now be included in the "enemy plot"? After all,
former Nigerian vice-president together with a distinguished
parliamentarian have been written off as imperialist stooges by Zanu
spokesmen for saying free and fair elections were not
When Nick Ndebele joined in the ruling party's chorus of
the National Democratic Institute's statement our worst fears
ZimRights were confirmed. And then he wonders why donors have cut
aid to the NGO.
They were using certain individuals to further
their agenda, he claimed
in regard to their protests at David Chimhini's
Either that or they are determined not to give money to
infiltrated by the CIO!
President Mugabe's claim that
with the opening of the Cresta Lodge Pandu
Ondangwa project his political
partnership with President Sam Nujoma had
taken on a "socio-economic
dimension" is all very well. But if the
project suffers from negative
publicity resulting from events in
Zimbabwe and the war Nujoma has foolishly
invited the MPLA to pursue
against Unita in northern Namibia it will quickly
become a good example
of the lethal effect on socio-economic development of
partnerships! This must have occurred to the German investors
opening ceremony, if not to anybody else.
Finally, what contact
has there been between President Mugabe's office
and George Speight's racist
rebel group in Fiji? We ask this as several
pronouncements by Speight on
minorities, contempt for the rule of law,
and not giving "a damn" about what
the world thinks appear to have been
written in Harare!
HARARE, June 9 (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe's threats against
white farmers was criticised Friday by the country's
farming union and the
main opposition party which accused him of
seeking to incite violence ahead
of general elections later this
Mugabe told white farmers
Thursday they would die if they tried
to resist squatters led by
independence war veterans who are
occupying their farms.
"If they try
and resist them they will die," he told a campaign
rally in Mpanawanda, 220
kilometres (130 miles) southeast of
David Hasluck, director
of the country's predominantly white
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said:
"The statement is extremely
unhelpful and not conducive to having a credible
election in this
"We are absolutely committed to following
the legal processes of
this country and not to be intimidated by these
statements," he told
General elections are due June 24-25.
The government plans to seize 804 white-owned farms for
of landless blacks. An official list was published last
week giving the land
owners until next month to object to the
David Coltart, the
secretary for legal affairs in the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), said Mugabe's fighting talk
was "the only language he
understands" and would be likely to bring
international sanctions on himself
if he continued to "incite
"It's high time the
international community realized the true
nature of Robert Mugabe," said
Mugabe's fighting talk was likely to cause headaches for
Zimbabwe's neighbours as well as problems in his own beleagured
a political analyst told AFP.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist,
John Makumbe said:
"He's pursuing his strategy of using the land issue and
racism as the only cards for survival in this election."
He said Mugabe's statement Thursday contained the words of a man
intimidating voters ahead of the June elections and
polarising society along
"He is essentially promoting the same kind of violence he
the past months," said Makumbe, in reference to the killings of
white farmers, beatings of farm workers and victimisation and murder
opposition political party supporters in the country's rural
Makumbe said that by pursuing such a course of action, Mugabe
has "detached himself from the rest of his party."
He said the
president had aligned himself with "the third force"
comprising members of
the country's liberation war veterans who have
lead the countrywide invasion
of white-owned commercial farms.
The political scientist noted that
Mugabe's actions, in addition
to "creating more problems for Zimbabwe" were
also likely to give
headaches to its neighbours.
"He is making it
very difficult for neighbouring countries to
condone outright violations of
the rule of law," noted Makumbe.
Land reform in Zimbabwe has been
condoned by neighbours Lesotho,
South Africa and, most recently, Zambia.
But Makumbe said this did not mean those countries supported the
lawlessness accompanying the often violent seizures of farms and
beatings inflicted on farm workers for their suspected support of
Coltart said it was unlikely that Zambia's
support for land
reform -- and that of South African President Thabo Mbeki
intended to condone the violence and intimidation that has
accompanied farm occupations in Zimbabwe.
"I would be highly
surprised if they condoned the lawlessness,"
NDI CALL TO END STATE OWNED MEDIA BIAS WELCOME
MMPZ welcomes the first
pre-election report of the National
observer delegation to Zimbabwe, which
states that "conditions for
credible democratic elections in
Zimbabwe do not exist at this
While the report identifies the current widespread political
violence as the main culprit for this state of affairs, it
also identifies a number of other factors that have
contributed to this oppressive political climate.
One of these
factors is the critical role the mass media plays
in providing the
electorate with adequate and accurate
information upon which
voters make an informed political
choice. The NDI noted that the
Broadcasting Corporation holds a monopoly on
radio and television broadcasting and that
controlled media news coverage has been found to be
biased in favour of the ruling party.
in news coverage conditions the electorate's attitudes
inaccurate information, which negates the rights of
seek and receive the information needed to make a
informed choice when voting," says the NDI report.
"Bias also can
easily negate the effect of information
supplied by political
parties and candidates through free
media access messages and paid
political advertisements. It is
therefore critical to the
credibility of the election process
that directors of
state-controlled media act to ensure that
bias is eliminated from
its coverage, because state-controlled
media have an obligation to
operate in the public's interest
rather than for the benefit of
one political party," the
endorses these sentiments since they represent a
principle of the democratic process.
Numerous MMPZ reports have
called upon government to separate
ZBC from government control and
to end its monopoly of
broadcasting. MMPZ has also appealed to
(1980) Pvt Ltd, to stop the flagrant bias in
favour of the
government contained in its publications and adhere
governing deed of trust which states that it should act in
interests of the Zimbabwean public.
We remind the
authorities that balanced, fair and accurate
reporting is the duty
of the public media, which also has the
responsibility to provide
clear and unbiased voter information
for their audiences.
A report from someone in Harare who has checked the Voters' Roll in his
It's the first day the public can check the Voters' Roll
ahead of the
elections on June 24-25 and after the usual wild-goose chase
where we were
sent to 3 different places, we eventually got to look at the
for Harare Central. Amazing thing that -- the ****** family en
disappeared from the roll, having been there a mere 3 months ago
the referendum to give the president new powers -- the defeat of
resulted in the orchestrated land invasion onto commercial farms by
thousands of "war vets". Other friends were missing while friends who had
died around 7-10 years ago, are apparently alive and well. On
re-registering, we were told that this was for voting in the election in
2005! In disgust, I phoned local representatives of the BBC, Guardian,
Reuters, AFP, Economist, etc ... but I have just phoned by other friends
who say while we are not on the Harare Central roll at Avondale Primary, we
are on the rolls being shown at Strathaven and Alex Sports Club. That the
Voters Roll is in a mess and gives the scope for electoral fraud is nothing
new -- this has been known about for ages with about 25 pct of the
electorate having died due mainly to AIDS.
No one here is really
surprised by this. The fear is that even if the
people do vote out Zanu PF
legitimately, they will rig the result anyway.
It is really the biggest
unknown as to who will win. For fear of being
beaten up, people say they
support Zanu (Harare East's Zanu PF candidate is
"Stalin Mau Mau") and the
belief is the intimidation will backfire on them
when they vote MDC at the
polls. But the intimidation in the rural areas is
hard to monitor and
threats the veterans will plunge the country back into
war is what most
worries the rural folk. Harassment in the city comes in
the form of road
blocks on every main road where the Police, who have a lot
better things to
do, stop motorists and search their boots. Rarely do they
stop whites and
once more this is where the international press have only
started to get it
right recently. It is not about land, or the whites, but
about a dictator
who is politically, morally and economically bankrupt,
trying to remain in
power. The offer of land is nothing more than a cynical
exercise that has few people conned. The "war vets" are being
used to this
end, and there is the added unknown as to how they will behave
if Mugabe is
defeated because he is their "patron". Ahead of the South
there was a similar fear: that the elections would be
followed by violence
-- fortunately the saintly Nelson Mandela won,
unfortunately Mugabe has none
of his statesmanship. The fear of
instability, violence and reprisals could
see some vote in favour of Zanu
PF. But while everyone might not be
convinced by the MDC opposition, one
thing is for sure: people want change
and hopefully that is the way they
will vote. The 0.5 pct whites are a
non-entity in this equation. If the
unpopular Zanu PF is returned by
whatever means, it will be up to the
people to remove them.
that assessment, those familiar with Harare (temp today 25C with not
in the sky) will be pleased to know that life pretty much goes on
Things are a good deal tougher economically and petrol queues
have sprung up
again over the past 2 days, but you can still walk down the
street with the
only people hassling you being the vendors trying to palm
off some soapstone
carving. There is no open hostility. Same places to go
out that have gone
through the usual evolution of changing their names and
the restaurants are
still pretty good. A de facto devaluation has already
gone through with the
black market operating at Z$50 to the US$ instead of
the pegged rate of
Z$38. It is expected that the currency will be allowed
to fall after the
elections. Harare is a bit more rundown with more
potholes, which is useful
for those trying to improve their defensive
driving skills. Half finished
government buildings as they have run out of
money means that building
supplies that always used to be hard to get are
freely available. The
violence has seen mass cancellations at the tourist
resorts... but it only
seems bad when you are not there -- at least now you
get the places to
yourself without the dreadful middle class tourists.
People may be aware
of the shooting of a 5th white farmer today, but it is
broadly understood to
have been a break in. Those murdered before is not
the first hand work of
the "war vets", but the shady CIO taking out
opposition members. I
personally witnessed a few "war vets" on Monday at a
friend's farm in
Centenary, right next to the Communal Lands. Most farmers
have tried, as
hard as it is, to adopt a sense of humour to the situation
which is deeply
trying as the "war vets" -- this group all under 40 years
except for the
leader, a woman -- break every taboo possible -- steal
maize, fish the dams,
wander around the yard, trying to get a reaction.
There are few people who
do not agree on the need for land reform, but
aside from these land
invasions being the work of the CIO, state machinery
and not "landless
blacks hungry for land", the process of resettlement has
been poorly managed
in past. Resettled people have no tenure over the land,
so they cannot
borrow against, there is no technical crop assistance so it
back to subsistence. People need tenure if a land programme
is to work.
Zimbabwe police have acted for the first time to end the invasion of a
white-owned farm and warned on Tuesday they would crack down on political
violence in the run-up to parliamentary elections in June. The opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the police appeared to be
becoming more active in enforcing law and order than they had been since
self-styled veterans of the 1970's liberation war began to invade farms in
The MDC said police on Monday evicted war veterans from a
farm in the
Chimanimani area in eastern Zimbabwe owned by Roy Bennett, a
MDC parliamentary candidate. A group of 60 war veterans
farm three weeks ago and temporarily took his wife
hostage and removed
tractors and trailers, MDC legal secretary David Coltart
Inspector Bothwell Mugariri said on Tuesday the police were
ensure peaceful elections. "We are in the process of making
nothing goes wrong in the election. Our police stations have clear
instructions to clamp down on violence," he said.
The leader of the
war veterans who have invaded hundreds of white-owned
farms warned police on
Tuesday against trying to evict his men from
occupied land. "We are staying
on the farms until the President (Robert
Mugabe) says we should leave. The
police know they should not interfere,"
veterans' leader Chenjerai Hunzvi
Home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa was reported by the state
agency, Ziana, as saying the veterans should move to farms already
earmarked by the government for acquisition. "Most of the already
designated farms are not occupied and therefore we expect the war veterans
and villagers to move to these as the resettlement begins," Dabengwa said.
The government last week passed a law giving it the power to acquire land
while only paying for the improvements made to it and not the underlying
asset itself. South Africa said Saudi Arabia and Nordic countries had
agreed to help fund the acquisition of 118 white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks with a donation of £9m.
20 000-strong police force has been criticised for standing by
veterans and supporters of Mugabe have occupied farms and
workers and opposition supporters ahead of the June 24-25
The nine-month-old MDC is regarded as the biggest electoral
Mugabe's party since it assumed power when the former Rhodesia
independence from Britain in 1980. The MDC has accused the Mugabe
government of orchestrating a campaign of violence that has killed at least
25 people, mostly black opposition supporters, since February. In the
latest incident, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that
a campaign manager for a Zanu (PF) candidate was killed at the weekend by
political rivals. He was the second member of the ruling party to be killed
in the escalating political tension.
The first members of a
160-strong European Union (EU) observer mission are
due to arrive this week
and will join a Commonwealth advance team and
observers from the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) already in
the country. The European
Commission on Tuesday approved $1,72m in funding
and said Pierre Schori, a
former Swedish government minister, would head
the mission. Schori is
expected to arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday. The MDC
said it expected the
observers to help bring calm to the strife-torn
country. "As more and more
observers are deployed, the government will be
forced to enforce the law,"
Coltart said. The 11-member SADC team arrived
earlier this week and did not
comment on the prospects for free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe. The team
said it would observe the conduct of the
campaign and voting and "does not
seek to interfere in this or any other
election observer group said earlier this month that Zimbabwe
was not ready
to hold free and fair elections because of the campaign of
intimidation. - Business Day
Zimbabwean farmers investigate the north - Woolf, Karratha
The group of
Zimbabwean farmers travelling around the state has now reached
Station in the Gascoyne. It's difficult for them to talk about
situation, because they fear the stories will make their way back to
war torn country, where friends and relatives are in danger. But they
can say they've been impressed with agriculture they've seen in Western
Australia (and why wouldn't they be), and say there are a number of
similarities with Zimbabwe, including the weather.