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Jongwe dismisses Mugabe’s stance on political violence
THE MDC yesterday dismissed as “dishonesty and unacceptable hypocrisy”, President Mugabe’s statement on Thursday last week condemning political violence in the country.
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC
secretary for information and publicity, said in a statement: “Although
President Mugabe has for the first time in 18 months attempted to speak against
political violence, we all know that he does not believe in his statement.”
Mugabe told guests at a pass-out parade for 326 police officers at the
Morris Depot in Harare that the government “strongly condemns irresponsible behaviour by obviously misguided elements within our society”.
He was referring to the attack on Chief Chiweshe by suspected MDC supporters last month. Six MDC supporters have since appeared in court on attempted murder charges following the incident.
“While Mugabe may attempt to speak against political violence during the day, every Zimbabwean knows that he Nicodemusly encourages his angels of death and other deacons of political violence to unleash untold terror on innocent Zimbabweans as is currently happening in Mashonaland Central in general and Bindura in particular,” Jongwe said.
“Zimbabweans will recall that on 14 December 2000, President Mugabe himself urged his supporters to Śstrike fear in the heart of the white man’.”
On 23 May, Zanu PF militia attacked and looted MDC MP Willas Madzimure’s home in Kambuzuma. No one was arrested in connection with the violent incident.
Two days later Joel Sithole, the MDC candidate for Bulilimamangwe Ward 10, was abducted and tortured by alleged Zanu PF supporters in Plumtree and on 26 May about 10 Zanu PF supporters abducted and brutally assaulted Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC MP for Nkayi.
No one was arrested in both cases. Mugabe has pardoned those who committed political violence in the June 2000 parliamentary election.
Also not arrested are Central Intelligence Organisation officer, Joseph Mwale, and Tom “Kitsiyatota” Zimunya, a war veteran, alleged to have killed MDC activists, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, at Murambinda last year.
Farmer arrested after workers’ fierce battle with war veterans
Daily News: 6/11/01 9:07:30 AM (GMT
Richard Thorne, owner of Blackfordby Farm in Waterfalls, was arrested yesterday on charges of public violence after his workers allegedly attacked war veterans occupying the farm on Saturday.
The war veterans accused
Thorne of inciting the workers to attack them.
One of the invaders, a woman, was hit on the head with an axe and lost a finger as she tried to block the blow.
Several others were injured.
At least 30 workers were arrested in connection with the violence.
Yesterday, Thorne denied he incited his workers to attack the war veterans.
“It's all false,” he said.
“I was in Kwekwe on Saturday, and I did not incite anyone.”
Thorne said because of the continued disruption of operations, he had decided to vacate the 1 700-hectare farm.
“I want to leave the farm, but they are preventing me from doing so,” he said.
“I want to stop farming.”
Thorne said in the past the war veterans attacked his driver and schoolchildren.
The police did not take any action, he said.
However, whenever war veterans reported alleged attacks, the police were quick to react, he said.
War veterans at the farm said a group of youths in a tractor approached their base on the farm on Saturday morning.
The youths allegedly then drove away only to return in larger numbers.
“The youths were singing a song about Hunzvi, saying since he had died, the country had now been liberated,” said one of the illegal settlers.
Chenjerai Hunzvi, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, died last Monday.
The war veterans said they were taken by surprise when the group returned and attacked them with axes and machetes.
When Thorne returned to the farm, he was held hostage by war veterans until he was saved by his arrest.
Yesterday, The Daily News found a group of youths, men and women sitting outside the farm after locking the gate. Some of them were armed with catapults. They only opened the gate after Thorne’s arrest.
The police could not be reached for comment.
Late yesterday afternoon, Thorne's wife said: “He is in police custody and he is to appear in court tomorrow to answer charges of public violence.
“The war veterans are still here driving up and down and I am a bit worried.”
Health Minister Timothy
Stamps was quoted in the Press and on radio and television as having said Hunzvi
succumbed to kidney failure linked to cerebral malaria.
Speaking in Milton Park at Hunzvi’s funeral wake, President Mugabe repeated the claim by his Health Minister. Addressing mourners at Heroes’ Acre, Mugabe again stated that the deceased war veteran leader had died of malaria at Parirenyatwa Hospital. Hunzvi died on his third admission to hospital over a fortnight.
The President said contrary to rumours that Hunzvi had died of Aids, Stamps had briefed him that the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association had died of cerebral malaria.
“I know malicious rumours are already circulating in Harare that Cde Hunzvi died of Aids,” Mugabe said, “but that is not true.”
On Friday the weekly Zimbabwe Independent published a well-researched story that went to great lengths to prove that Hunzvi had not died of malaria either.
As Mugabe spoke at Heroes’ Acre where thousands witnessed Hunzvi’s burial, he again stated that Hunzvi had died of malaria, a theory that had already been dismissed by The Independent that morning.
Quoting medical sources, which it described as well placed in Bulawayo and Harare, the paper said the medication prescribed for Hunzvi did not in any way suggest he was suffering from cerebral malaria.
“When Hunzvi was readmitted to Parirenyatwa Hospital last Thursday, he was given anti-biotics, anti-fungal and anti-viral drugs,” the paper reported. “These included ceftriaxone, high doses of cotrimoxazole, ketoconazole and acyclovir drugs.”
Medical experts had told the paper that these drugs were not meant for the treatment of cerebral or any other malaria.
Reference had then been made to a booklet published by the Ministry of
Health. The booklet, Essential Drugs List and Standard Treatment Guidelines for Zimbabwe, states: “High doses of cotrimoxazole are used in HIV-related diseases.
“Cotrimoxazole has been shown to lengthen life and reduce hospital admissions in those with symptomatic HIV or Aids.”
Elsewhere, the booklet states that the drug normally prescribed for cerebral malaria is quinine. It appears, in any case, that quinine was not prescribed for Hunzvi when he was admitted to United Bulawayo Hospitals after his collapse in a city hotel. Hunzvi, a Polish-trained doctor, was not diagnosed for malaria.
The official government line has been that prior to his collapse in Bulawayo, Hunzvi had been infected with malaria while on a visit to Muzarabani.
The Independent reported that the medication administered to the deceased war veteran leader also included isoniazid, yrazinamide, ethambutol, rifampicin and diazepam. Experts said this combination of drugs suggested that Hunzvi was diagnosed for tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is one of the HIV/Aids related diseases.
Hunzvi was also put on folic acid, the paper said. Folic acid induces the increase in the generation of red blood cells, which produce blood in the body.
Officials in the Ministry of Health and in the Ministry of Information and Publicity have since Friday morning maintained a respectful silence over the story.
Stamps could not be reached for comment yesterday.
He was said to be travelling to India.
Meanwhile, last night Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, went to great lengths to deny a front-page story published by The Standard that Mugabe faces excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church following serious concern about his presiding over a government with no respect for human rights.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 11 June
Mugabe says democracy 'extraneous' in land crisis
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Monday his land reform efforts have been distorted by "extraneous political issues", such as democracy, the rule of law, press freedom and judicial independence. Mugabe said his government had "a clear conscience" in going ahead with the violence-wracked program to resettle poor blacks on white-owned lands, despite what he called "hostile western media coverage of this country."
"The land issue has now been extensively distorted by the deliberate introduction of extraneous political issues, such as the questions of governance, democracy, the rule of law, freedom of the press, the judiciary, and so on," Mugabe said at the opening of a regional defence ministerial meeting. He said those issues were "concepts that were in any case alien to the Rhodesian regimes until we introduced them ourselves in an independent Zimbabwe through our revolutionary struggle."
Criticism of his land reform scheme, he said, had a racial motivation, "since the world is being deceived into believing that a villainous black government is victimizing the white people in Zimbabwe." "We cannot allow such deceit to succeed in destroying our efforts to correct this colossal colonial injustice that has caused untold poverty and suffering among our people," Mugabe said.
Since February 2000, Mugabe's efforts to redress colonial-era inequalities in land ownership have been accompanied by the violent occupations of white farms by self-styled veterans of the 1970s liberation war to end white-minority rule. Mugabe has publicly backed the war vets' campaign, which has been closely tied to political violence that left at least 34 people dead before parliamentary elections almost one year ago. Thousands more have suffered beatings, rapes or other intimidation. The government says it has resettled 105 000 families on three million hectares of land since July last year.
From The Times (UK), 12 June
Mbeki faces call to solve Zimbabwe crisis
Britain will tell South Africa this week that it must do more to defuse the crisis in Zimbabwe after an initiative launched last year by President Mbeki was said to have "run into the sand". The South African leader arrives in Britain today on a four-day state visit in which he will seek British backing for an ambitious plan to haul the African continent out of its seemingly endless cycle of poverty, mismanagement, corruption and war.
Mr Mbeki, who took over from Nelson Mandela as President in 1999, will meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle. They will host a state banquet in his honour before he embarks on a whirlwind round of meetings with political leaders and captains of industry. The trip is likely to be overshadowed, however, by the troubles in the region, which threaten foreign investor confidence in South Africa. The political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe and the civil wars in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo will top the agenda when Mr Mbeki holds talks with Tony Blair on Thursday.
From The Daily News, 11 June
Thousands celebrate MDC’s Masvingo mayoral poll win
Thousands of people on Saturday defied threats by war veterans to attend the MDC's mayoral election victory celebrations at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo. Despite the threats, over 4 000 people thronged the stadium where they were addressed by Isaac Matongo, the MDC national chairman. The crowd was entertained by a variety of recorded music. Thomas Mapfumo’s hit song Mamvemve and Oliver Mtukudzi’s Wasakara, with their overtly political messages, kept the party supporters on their toes.
War veterans and Zanu PF supporters last week threatened to disrupt the ceremony, on the grounds that the MDC’s Alois Chaimiti fraudulently won the 12 and 13 May mayoral poll. Soon after the celebrations, riot police were deployed in Mucheke high-density suburb in fear of political violence. However, no incidents of violence were reported. Addressing the audience, Matongo said his party was geared for a rerun if the courts decide to nullify the results of the poll. Matongo said: "Whatever the court decides - even a rerun - we are prepared for that. We are going to win the rerun with a higher margin. We want to show Zanu PF that our victory was genuine."
Matongo invited those who lost in the election to join the MDC. He attacked Zanu PF for postponing the Bulawayo mayoral election but said his party would win the election whenever they are held. "We are going to win the election in Bulawayo and anywhere else in the country," said Matongo, amid wild cheers from the crowd. Chaimiti beat Zanu PF’s Jacob Chademana by over 2 000 votes in an election described by the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, as free and fair. However, Zanu PF is challenging the result arguing that the election was rigged by officials from the Registrar General’s Office in favour of the opposition.
From Business Day (SA), 11 June
Union president optimistic on land proposal
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union president Tim Henwood says he believes the union's proposal for land redistribution will be favourably received by the government. Speaking in Durban at the World Economic Forum's meeting on Friday, Henwood said war veteran land invasions were posing a mounting threat to food production in the country. Henwood submitted a redistribution plan to the government more than two weeks ago, but has not received a formal response yet. The plan proposes that commercial farmers deliver an initial one million hectares of suitable land for acquisition by the government to enable the settlement of at least 20000 families.
From The Daily News, 11 June
Hunzvi did not die of malaria
The government has not challenged a story published in a weekly newspaper last Friday that war veteran leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, did not die of malaria, as claimed by government officials last week. Health Minister Timothy Stamps was quoted in the Press and on radio and television as having said Hunzvi succumbed to kidney failure linked to cerebral malaria. Speaking in Milton Park at Hunzvi’s funeral wake, President Mugabe repeated the claim by his Health Minister. Addressing mourners at Heroes’ Acre, Mugabe again stated that the deceased war veteran leader had died of malaria at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Hunzvi died on his third admission to hospital over a fortnight. The President said contrary to rumours that Hunzvi had died of Aids, Stamps had briefed him that the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association had died of cerebral malaria. "I know malicious rumours are already circulating in Harare that Cde Hunzvi died of Aids," Mugabe said, "but that is not true." On Friday the weekly Zimbabwe Independent published a well-researched story that went to great lengths to prove that Hunzvi had not died of malaria either.
As Mugabe spoke at Heroes’ Acre where thousands witnessed Hunzvi’s burial, he again stated that Hunzvi had died of malaria, a theory that had already been dismissed by The Independent that morning. Quoting medical sources, which it described as well placed in Bulawayo and Harare, the paper said the medication prescribed for Hunzvi did not in any way suggest he was suffering from cerebral malaria. "When Hunzvi was readmitted to Parirenyatwa Hospital last Thursday, he was given anti-biotics, anti-fungal and anti-viral drugs," the paper reported. "These included ceftriaxone, high doses of cotrimoxazole, ketoconazole and acyclovir drugs."
Medical experts had told the paper that these drugs were not meant for the treatment of cerebral or any other malaria. Reference had then been made to a booklet published by the Ministry of Health. The booklet, Essential Drugs List and Standard Treatment Guidelines for Zimbabwe, states: "High doses of cotrimoxazole are used in HIV-related diseases. Cotrimoxazole has been shown to lengthen life and reduce hospital admissions in those with symptomatic HIV or Aids." Elsewhere, the booklet states that the drug normally prescribed for cerebral malaria is quinine. It appears, in any case, that quinine was not prescribed for Hunzvi when he was admitted to United Bulawayo Hospitals after his collapse in a city hotel.
Hunzvi, a Polish-trained doctor, was not diagnosed for malaria. The official government line has been that prior to his collapse in Bulawayo, Hunzvi had been infected with malaria while on a visit to Muzarabani. The Independent reported that the medication administered to the deceased war veteran leader also included isoniazid, yrazinamide, ethambutol, rifampicin and diazepam. Experts said this combination of drugs suggested that Hunzvi was diagnosed for tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is one of the HIV/Aids related diseases. Hunzvi was also put on folic acid, the paper said. Folic acid induces the increase in the generation of red blood cells, which produce blood in the body.
Officials in the Ministry of Health and in the Ministry of Information and Publicity have since Friday morning maintained a respectful silence over the story. Stamps could not be reached for comment yesterday. He was said to be travelling to India. Meanwhile, last night Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, went to great lengths to deny a front-page story published by The Standard that Mugabe faces excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church following serious concern about his presiding over a government with no respect for human rights.
From The Globe and Mail (Canada), 11 June
A monster's death leaves hope for peace
With strongman 'Hitler' Hunzvi gone, President Mugabe may be persuaded to use more peaceful methods, says former diplomat Harry Sterling
He had the most unlikely of nicknames, especially for an African. But he revelled in the shock it provoked in others, particularly the country's small white minority. His short-term notoriety came to an abrupt end on June 4 when 51-year-old Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi died in Harare, Zimbabwe, reportedly from malaria. While scarcely known by the outside world until recently, Chenjerai Hunzvi was increasingly a destabilizing factor within Zimbabwe. As the leader of the country's so-called "war veterans" from the liberation struggle, Mr. Hunzvi was the driving force behind the seizure of white-owned farms, and attacks against white farmers in which several were murdered and countless others badly beaten by his followers. He was also responsible for attacks and killings committed against Zimbabwe's pro-democracy movement, reportedly resulting in at least 30 deaths.
Mr. Hunzvi's own death could have important ramifications for the repressive regime of President Robert Mugabe, as well as for pro-democracy forces. Mr. Hunzvi and his men (many too young to be veterans of the 1970s guerrilla war) were responsible in recent months for invading businesses and other institutions, and extorting money from management for alleged severance payments for previously dismissed personnel. In one highly publicized incident, they abducted the Canadian director of the CARE office in Harare, Dennis O'Brien, and manhandled the Canadian High Commissioner, James Wall, when he tried to intervene.
As a result, Canada has suspended bilateral aid. The veterans' acts of violence had already prompted the British to close their cultural office in Harare. Other Western governments have taken similar measures. Neither Zimbabwe's small white minority nor the pro-democracy Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, headed by trade-union leader Morgan Tsvangirai, will mourn the demise of Chenjerai Hunzvi. Both suffered at the hands of his "war veterans." However, it's uncertain what effect his departure will have on Zimbabwe's highly charged atmosphere as President Mugabe endeavours to intimidate his opponents in his bid to win re-election next April.
Mr. Hunzvi's actions were always a double-edged sword for President Mugabe. On the one hand, Mr. Hunzvi and his followers played critical roles during recent elections, in which Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF party won, and Mr. Hunzvi, a trained doctor, was elected a member of parliament. But while Mr. Hunzvi was useful to Mr. Mugabe, the violence he unleashed created problems for the President: The country's growing instability caused economic havoc and ended business investment. This, just as the nation was confronting almost 50 per cent unemployment in urban areas, and escalating food and gas shortages. Mr. Hunzvi's strong-arm methods were uncomfortably familiar to Mr. Mugabe personally. In the 1990s, Mr. Hunzvi extorted the President into increasing pensions and other payments for war veterans. There have been recent signs that President Mugabe was finding Hitler Hunzvi a liability; other African leaders counselled him to rein him in.
The man's departure provides an unexpected opportunity for the various sectors of Zimbabwean society to step back and think about where the turmoil has been leading the country. If, as some suspect, it was Mr. Hunzvi's powerful personality and willingness to use brutal tactics to achieve his goals that gave the war veterans their clout, his death could weaken his followers' resolve. This does not mean Mr. Mugabe himself will suddenly become a born-again statesman. Far from it. He and his own followers have no intention of advancing the cause of democracy. That would mean putting at risk all the power and privileges that Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle – including senior military officers - have been enjoying since independence in 1980.
But without Mr. Hunzvi around to carry out his dirty work, Mr. Mugabe may have to use less coercive measures in coming days. Were he to use the security forces against the civilian population, the action could boomerang on the President if neighbouring countries felt compelled to disown him. (During his recent visit to Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell pointedly suggested it was time for Mr. Mugabe to hand over power to a new generation.) Now's the time for Commonwealth countries, including Canada, to press President Mugabe to use Chenjerai Hunzvi's passing as the opportunity to end the violence and tension gripping the nation. And pivotal African states, such as South Africa and Nigeria, should be persuaded to play leading roles in the effort.
Harry Sterling, a former diplomat, is an Ottawa-based commentator. He served in Africa twice and writes regularly on African issues
From The Financial Times (UK), 11 June
S Africa and UK to work together over Zimbabwe
Pretoria - South Africa and the UK were agreed in their approach to resolving the instability and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, Essop Pahad, the minister in charge of the South African presidency, said at the weekend. Mr Pahad said discussions on helping bring peace to Zimbabwe would take place during President Thabo Mbeki's three-day state visit to the UK, which begins on Tuesday. There were "no fundamental points of difference" between the two governments.
South Africa has pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" in response to illegal farm occupations, the breakdown of the rule of law and intimidation of political opposition in Zimbabwe. It argued that it would bear the brunt of its neighbour's collapse and has maintained economic links and conciliatory diplomatic contact. "If there were a collapse in Zimbabwe, all those people wouldn't go to the UK, they would come here," Mr Pahad said. Last week Mr Mbeki received a vote of support from an unexpected quarter when Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Zimbabwean opposition, endorsed the South African approach. Mr Tsvangirai insisted that South Africa should keep lifelines in place instead of applying economic pressure.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the UK, its former colonial power, have deteriorated since farm invasions and political violence last year. Ann Grant, the British high commissioner in Pretoria, said in a radio interview that frank discussions would be held in London about Zimbabwe but acknowledged the governments did not see entirely eye-to-eye on the matter. Frank Chikane, a senior presidential adviser, said Mr Mbeki's visit was intended to strengthen business ties between the two countries.
From BBC News, 10 June
Zimbabwe farm invasion threatens business
The occupiers of a foreign-owned ostrich farm in Zimbabwe have cut water to the site, threatening the survival of the bird and the multi-million-dollar business, the state news agency has reported. So-called war veterans have occupied the farm as part of their drive to seize white-owned farms for landless blacks. A spokesman for the company that runs the farm says the action jeopardises 500 jobs and an important foreign-currency earner for Zimbabwe, which suffers serious financial problems. On Friday, President Robert Mugabe vowed to push ahead with his controversial land reform programme, despite international criticism. But the government has reportedly tried to get the squatters to end the occupation of the Dollar Bubi ostrich farms, the Ziana state news agency reported. The Indonesian-owned farms were projected to earn 1.5 billion Zimbabwean dollars from the export of ostrich meat and skins this year.
A spokeswoman for Dollar Bubi told Ziana that the birds were suffering due to the lack of water and other harassment. "The ostrich rearing and breeding environment is an extremely sensitive one and great care has to be taken to ensure food and water are readily available," the unnamed spokeswoman said. The occupation of white-owned farms has been going on since last year, spearheaded by people who say they are veterans of the country's 1970s war against colonialism. One of the leaders of the war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi, died last week of malaria. He was declared a national hero and given a state funeral last Friday.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 10 June
Chihuri’s term extended again
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has been rewarded for his loyalty to Zanu PF with yet another extension to his term as police chief. President Robert Mugabe has extended Chihuri’s term by another year. Chihuri, who became commissioner in 1994, has had his term renewed annually since his first term expired in 1998. "It is hereby notified that His Excellency the President has extended for twelve months with effect from 1st September 2001, the term of Augustine Chihuri, as commissioner of police," reads the latest Government Gazette. Chihuri becomes one of the longest serving but most unpopular police commissioners in the country’s history. He has persistently ignored calls for his resignation. Chihuri’s health has also become a matter of public concern, with speculation that the commissioner might not be in the best of health. Last year he collapsed at State House where he had gone for a routine briefing with the president.
A war veteran himself, Chihuri last year publicly declared his unwavering support for Zanu PF, in the process contravening the Police Act which guides his conduct as a policeman. Reads the Act: "A regular force member shall be deemed to be actively participating in politics if he joins or associates himself with an organisation or movement of a political nature." According to the Act, Chihuri was supposed to have been disciplined for his action. His tenure has seen the once professional police force turning into a trigger happy and partisan one that takes no notice of basic human rights. A senior police officer, who requested anonymity, told The Standard on Friday the reappointment showed how low the police force had sunk. He described Chihuri as the most incompetent police commissioner since independence. "In a normal country, you can’t continue extending the term of a commissioner who has proved that he is incapable of upholding the law. The force has gone to the dogs under his command. The country deserves better," the officer charged.
Of late, Chihuri has been victimising officers who have refused to be used by Zanu PF. Others have been transferred to remote stations or obscure positions while yet others have opted to resign. Recently, two senior assistant commissioners, Emmanuel Chimwanda and Solomon Ncube, resigned after being transferred to the Commissioner’s Pool, a curious department meant to frustrate unfavourable officers into resignation. Ncube had made a name for himself last year when he arrested senior government officials, including a cabinet minister, on allegations of corruption, while Chimwanda publicly refused to be used by Zanu PF in the Bikita West by-election.
MDC spokesman, Learnmore Jongwe, said Chihuri should not have been reappointed. "Mugabe’s decision to reappoint Chihuri is regrettable. The latest move signals the intensification of the Zanu PF strategy to appoint its functionaries to key state institutions. The appointment of Chihuri will not stop the resolve of the people to replace this repressive government," said Jongwe. In April this year, police officers brutally murdered a young University of Zimbabwe student. No action has been taken against the officers. Zimbabwe Students Union spokesman, Phillip Pasirayi, said Chihuri’s reappointment was a tragedy. "This is a tragedy for Zimbabweans, especially students who have suffered from the police’s incompetence. This man has presided over killers and he should have resigned on his own accord," said Pasirayi.
From Business Day (SA), 10 June
Woman loses fingers in attack on farm occupiers
Harare – A woman lost her fingers and seven other people were seriously injured when farm labourers in Zimbabwe allegedly attacked war veterans and villagers at a farm on the outskirts of the capital on Saturday. A witness told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) that a group of about 30 assailants chanting that "Zimbabwe was now free because (Chenjerai) Hunzvi was dead" launched a dawn attack on the occupiers at Blackfordby farm. Hunzvi was Zimbabwe's leading war veteran leader who died last week. "Settlers are said to have been attacked by alleged farm workers at the instigation of the farm owner today," said ZBC. "One woman was struck by an axe, and when she tried to defend herself, her fingers were chopped off," an unnamed witness said. Victims claimed that the farm owner sent youths to attack the war veterans and other landless villagers occupying the farm, saying the death of Hunzvi had brought an end to the land reform programme. Police said they had arrested about 30 people suspected of taking part in the attack.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 10 June
Mugabe faces excommunication
President Robert Mugabe faces excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church following serious concern about his presiding over a government with no respect for human life and the rule of law. Excommunication is the severest censure the Church can impose, and is reserved for very grave offences. According to the Catholic encyclopaedia, it is a medicinal rather than a vindictive penalty, being intended not to punish the culprit but to correct and bring him back to the path of righteousness.
There is strong feeling among Catholics and non-Catholics alike that Mugabe’s conduct as Zimbabwe president seriously compromises the Church, hence the need to excommunicate him. Mugabe is a Catholic by birth and his marriage to Grace in 1996 was solemnised by the Church in questionable circumstances. Dissenting voices argued that the Church was solemnising an unholy relationship between the two. Mugabe and Grace had two children when Mugabe was still married to his late wife, Sally.
Last week, the International Union of Students (IUS), the umbrella body of all student unions around the world, based in Prague, Czech Republic, wrote to the Chief Cardinal at the Vatican asking the church to excommunicate Mugabe. The students’ plea follows representations by other groups, including Catholic bishops and other human rights activists. In the letter, signed by the IUS political advisor to the secretary for African affairs, Nicholav Kalav, the union said that Mugabe should be excommunicated on the grounds that he presides over a government responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans.
Mugabe, the group said, was leading a "repressive government" and the Catholic Church should mete out its worst form of punishment - excommunication. "Our request is premised on the following: Mr Mugabe presides over a government that massacred thousands of civilians in Matabeleland in the early 1980s in Zimbabwe. We are reasonably informed that as president and commander-in-chief of the defence forces, he instructed the army to commit these atrocities. As a means of reviving his fading political fortunes he has deployed some ex-freedom fighters to harass, harangue, torture, rape, and murder supporters of opposition parties in the country.
"A number of people have disappeared since the June 2000 parliamentary elections and remain unaccounted for," reads part of the letter, a copy of which is in the hands of The Standard. Mugabe stands to join the ranks of Cuban president Fidel Castro, who was excommunicated from the church in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. Like Castro, Mugabe is a communist and has a deep rooted hatred for Western countries, particularly Britain and the United States. Human rights activist and former director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, MP Mike Auret, told The Standard that the Vatican would act on the students’ request if they presented a strong case. "If it is a serious request then the Vatican could act on it. This is also a very large group so the request should be strong," said Auret.
Auret, in his own representations calling for Mugabe’s censure, described the president as an "ostentatious Catholic" and "murderous dictator" whose government had brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Of late, Mugabe has been at loggerheads with the local Catholic Church which has criticised his leadership. In a pastoral letter entitled "Tolerance and Hope", the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference recently told government to stop interfering with law enforcement agents and denounced political violence which left dead more than 35 opposition supporters during the run-up to last year’s parliamentary elections.
From the Los Angeles Times, 8 June
Journalist describes being tortured in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean journalist Ray Choto spoke recently at Caltech about
press freedom and the torture he suffered in the hands of the Zimbabwe military
when he would not reveal his sources for a 1999 news article. "I see the role of
the media as that of a mirror, where the people can see how beautiful or how
ugly you are," Choto told a small audience at the William G. Kerkhoff Laboratory
at Caltech. "Journalism should not direct life, but journalists should be in a
position to put things in context," he said.
Choto was the chief writer of the Zimbabwean newspaper, The Standard, in 1999, when he was arrested for printing an article that was "likely to cause alarm or despondency" -- a criminal offense, according to the local laws at that time, Choto said. The article described the arrest of 23 people involved in a failed military coup in December 1998. While Choto and his editor were detained in an underground prison, they were beaten with boards and subjected to electric shocks, Choto said. Still, they did not reveal the sources for the story.
"This is a reality. This is what is happening in the country" Choto said. The threat of arrest or torture is a deliberate means of intimidating the independent press in Zimbabwe, a country which has both a free and a state-run press corps, Choto said. Choto, who is also an established novelist, has been awarded a Knight Fellowship from Stanford University and will remain in the United States for the next 10 months. His speech was arranged by Amnesty International as a part of its two-year campaign against torture. He is not certain what kind of a reaction he will get in his home country if he returns. "If I go back, I may end up in the same place I was," Choto said.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 8 June
Mugabe expected to reshuffle cabinet
President Mugabe will soon announce a cabinet reshuffle that will result in the relocation of ministers following the loss of three cabinet members, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. Highly-placed sources told the Independent that Mugabe, usually slow to make changes to his team, would be making the moves soon. Ministries left without direction are Industry and International Trade, formerly headed by Dr Nkosana Moyo who resigned in despair early last month citing differences with the Ministry of Finance and government’s lack of coherent policies; Defence, headed by Moven Mahachi who died in a road accident on May 26 in Nyanga; and Gender, Youth and Employment Creation headed by Border Gezi who died on April 28 in another road accident.
Zanu PF’s young Turks are reportedly unhappy with the performances of the ministries of Finance, Mines and Energy, and Transport and Telecommunications. Together with Industry and Trade, the four ministries and their incumbent ministers have been blamed for failing to find a panacea for Zimbabwe’s foreign currency problems. Finance is headed by Simba Makoni, Mines and Energy by Sydney Sekeramayi, and Transport and Communications by Swithun Mombeshora. "They should just go," said a party source close to Cabinet.
Although it was not clear which ministers would be targeted, there was consensus in Zanu PF circles that Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s performance has been disastrous to both government and the ruling party whose image has never been worse. But sources said Mugabe was perfectly happy with Moyo’s performance which suited his own combative style and would resist pressure to move him. If he was to be moved, he would probably go to Gender. Moyo would have to compete for that post with MP for Rushinga, Lazarus Dokora, also tipped to replace the late Gezi. Mt Darwin MP Saviour Kasukuwere, earlier tipped for the post, was said to be too young and lacking the political clout and experience to run a ministry.
Dokora was once in the Ministry of Higher Education as a director and hails from Manicaland, the same province as Mahachi. Mugabe usually weighs ethnic considerations when making appointments. Rural Resources and Water Development minister Joyce Mujuru has been named for the Defence post. Mugabe appears unworried by charges by a select committee of parliament that she violated laid-down tender board procedures in awarding a $585 million contract for the supply of DDF equipment to Chinese company CAMC. The former president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Nhlanhla Masuku, has been tipped for the Industry and International Trade ministry, as has Finhold chief executive and prominent banker, Elisha Mushayakarara.
However, it is understood some of those approached in the private sector have turned the job down on the grounds that they would share Nkosana Moyo’s fate in being marginalised. Other names being bandied about are those of Zimbabwe International Trade Fair chairman and banker Mthuli Ncube and Metropolitan Bank boss Enoch Kamushinda. A number of prominent government and party functionaries were busy lobbying for their candidates of choice with Mugabe, the Independent has been told. Masuku was however the front-runner due to his experience at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and strong links to Jonathan Moyo who recently appointed him to head the Broadcasting Authority. Masuku yesterday said that he had not been approached by the government. "I have no clue on that. I am only hearing it from you for the first time," he said. Mushayakarara once served in the Ministry of Finance before leaving for Finhold. "I have no comment to make on that issue," he said when asked if he had been approached.
From The Sunday Times (SA), 10 June
Mugabe 'wants martial law'
Talk of coup is an excuse to allow new government crackdown, says Tsvangirai
The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused President Robert Mugabe of planning to declare martial law and call off next year's presidential elections. Tsvangirai told the Sunday Times there were signs that Mugabe and Zimbabwean generals were worried about an MDC victory in the presidential elections and were creating conditions under which they could say free and fair elections would be impossible. He said Mugabe would use claims of a "coup plot" against him by army officers as proof that he needed to tighten security measures. The escalation of political violence, largely at the instigation of Mugabe's war veteran allies, would also be used to back up the need for martial law.
Tsvangirai said his party believed these incidents were part of an orchestrated campaign to create "a climate of fear" in the country. "In our opinion all this talk about a coup is only posturing and preparation for a clampdown on the opposition ," he said. "The army's top brass and Zanu PF leaders have benefited immensely from the war in the DRC and they are not in the least ready to give that up. They also realise that for the first time the opposition is ready to take over the presidency. "They have therefore together with Mugabe started a silent campaign to create conditions to call off the presidential elections until they are ready and assured of victory," Tsvangirai said.
He said state-sanctioned violence unleashed on farms and factories by liberation war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters had escalated and displaced MDC supporters from their homes, particularly in rural areas. "Zanu PF has created a refugee situation in Zimbabwe today because of violence being perpetrated by its supporters and war veterans with virtual impunity," Tsvangirai charged. He said his party had evidence that Zanu PF was training a 2 500-strong youth militia in the country's eastern highland resort town of Nyanga to target MDC leaders in both rural and urban areas.
Tsvangirai warned Zimbabweans to brace themselves for more violence and bloodshed in the run-up to the presidential polls. He said Zanu PF was arming war veterans and fast-tracking their promotion in the police and army to suppress the opposition, and warned that his supporters would retaliate if their patience was stretched. He said that despite the violence, the MDC had managed to penetrate the rural areas and was confident of forming the next government if the presidential elections were held next year. Mugabe has said he would contest the election as he was the best hope for Zanu PF, and that he would not retire until he was sure Zanu PF could survive without him. Over the past few months, Mugabe has tightened his grip on the party by dissolving its provincial executive committees and installing hand-picked war veteran loyalists.
Tsvangirai praised the SA government for its vocal role in Zimbabwe, saying he did not believe it was engaging in quiet diplomacy. He said his party's hopes for a free and fair presidential election rested on the influential role that could be played by the SA government to convince Mugabe that delaying tactics would not be tolerated. Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said the party's supporters had been "gravely provoked" and were merely retaliating, and denied that the party was training militias.
From The Independent on Sunday (UK), 10 June
Mugabe party 'fears the hand of Lucifer'
Harare - The deaths of the three key men behind President Robert Mugabe's coercive electoral strategy has left the embattled Zimbabwean leader and his ruling Zanu PF party in disarray and confusion. Mr Mugabe and his ministers appear to believe these deaths are not natural or accidental. His officials have openly said they believe their party is haunted, some even saying that "the gods must be angry". Others have blamed the deaths on black magic. "We don't know what is hitting us. Something unnatural must be behind all this," said Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mr Mugabe's right-hand man, who is also speaker of parliament. Another senior ruling party official said: "The party is haunted ... We fear the hand of Lucifer is at work."
Although analysts say that Mr Mugabe's use of terror tactics remains his only trump card in presidential elections next year, they agree that the deaths of the three ruling party firebrands is a huge drawback. The three - Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, 51, the war veterans' leader, Moven Mahachi, 52, defence minister, and Border Gezi, 36, youth affairs minister - had all played prominent roles in formulating Mr Mugabe's terror tactics. Mr Mugabe himself has acknowledged the role of the three, ahead of some of his ministers. He recently said the three had remained steadfast in their support of his compulsory confiscations of white farms at a time when some "doubting Thomases" within cabinet had shown signs of relenting.
Mr Hunzvi, the latest victim of suspected black magic, was buried at the national heroes' shrine on Friday. He led the militant war veterans in the field, while Mr Gezi was responsible for their upkeep and logistics in various parts of the country. Mr Mahachi, in turn, was responsible for converting the war veterans into a reserve force of the Zimbabwe National Army. Mr Hunzvi led vicious attacks on commercial farmers, industries and factories, opposition parties and aid agencies. In the process, he carved his place among Mr Mugabe's most trusted lieutenants. His onslaught killed six white farmers and 31 opposition supporters. Mr Hunzvi, who died of cerebral malaria according to the government, revelled in his 1970s independence guerrilla war nom de guerre of Hitler. To many, the official middle name reflected his racism as much as his militancy. During his election campaign rallies in the Chikomba constituency which he won for Mr Mugabe's ruling party in parliamentary elections last June, he was asked what he liked in a name that depicted the worst murderer in the history of mankind. He replied: "My hatred for white people."
Mr Mahachi's conversion of the war veterans into a reserve force of the army was meant to give them access to military weaponry for their terror campaign. And Mr Gezi is alleged to have been on a mission to distribute the cash to war veterans based in Masvingo province when he died in a car accident. Apart from his role in maintaining the war veterans in the field, Mr Gezi had started dissolving the ruling party's provincial committees opposed to Mr Mugabe's attempt to cling to power. "The three were key to Mr Mugabe's terror strategies," said Lovemore Madhuku, an analyst at the University of Zimbabwe. "No wonder Mr Mugabe and his guys are shocked and short of words to describe the deaths, which they now foolishly blame on black magic," he said.
Mr Mugabe's failure to quickly replace Mr Gezi and Mr Mahachi has been interpreted as showing his lack of confidence in some of his party officials. It also underscored the confusion within the party, as some potential candidates shunned appointments by Mr Mugabe. Nkosana Moyo, the trade and industry minister, who resigned over a month ago and fled to the US with his family, has not been replaced. "The feeling among some is that accepting an appointment by Mr Mugabe is to invite bad luck. The man has spilt a lot of innocent blood," said one junior official of the ruling party. A number of prominent personalities declined an invitation by Mr Mugabe to stand as the ruling party's candidate in executive mayoral elections in Bulawayo. The move forced Mr Mugabe to postpone the mayoral elections indefinitely.
Although Mr Mugabe's campaign for re-election has suffered a major blow in the loss of his three key allies, his use of violence looks set to continue. "The violent use of the militant war veterans remains his only trump card," said Masipula Sithole, another University of Zimbabwe analyst. He said Mr Mugabe would never allow a free and fair election. Addressing mourners at Mr Hunzvi's burial on Friday, Mr Mugabe vowed to continue with his confiscations of white farms without compensation. He said the land redistribution crusade would not be stopped by "small boys" such as Britain's Prime Minister. "Perhaps Tony Blair was too young ... to appreciate what his predecessors did [in dispossessing blacks of their land]," he said. "He should learn a bit about our history, at least now that the British people have returned him to power."
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 10 June
Mugabe embroiled in warvets split
As war veterans jostle for the top post left vacant by the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, President Mugabe has indicated his support for Hunzvi’s faction to continue at the helm of the war veterans association. The president, who is the patron of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is pushing for Andrew Ndlovu and Joseph Chinotimba to lead the grouping. Insiders told The Standard that Mugabe, whose political future hinges heavily on the activities of the war veterans, wanted to ensure that the association was led by people of unquestionable loyalty.
Joseph Chinotimba is the Zanu PF political commissar for the Harare province and the ZNLWVA’s Harare provincial chairman, while Andrew Ndlovu is the association’s secretary for projects. Ndlovu confirmed his interest in Hunzvi’s former post, telling The Standard this week: "I’m ready to lead the organisation anytime. Who am I to refuse the post if the comrades choose me. Hunzvi afa asi atisiira basa saka handingarambe kurishanda. (Hunzvi is dead but he left us to carry on the job so I can’t refuse it.) Some of us understand this revolution better. I was very close to Dr Hunzvi and I know how he worked." He added that he took very seriously Mugabe’s plea to him to ensure that peace prevailed within the association. Mugabe particularly favours Chinotimba and Ndlovu because of their militant stance on issues he considers important, and for their unconditional loyalty to himself and his party. The two were also close lieutenants of the late Hunzvi.
During the run-up to last year’s parliamentary campaign, Ndlovu declared that war veterans would wage a war if Zanu PF lost to the MDC. Chinotimba has also been leading violent farm and company invasions which have led to millions of dollars being extorted from company executives by war veterans. During proceedings at Hunzvi’s funeral in Milton Park, Mugabe openly put forward his case for Chinotimba and Ndlovu. Preaching the need for unity in the war veterans’ body, Mugabe made a passionate plea to Ndlovu to ensure that unity prevailed within the association. He also made constant references to Chinotimba throughout his speech.
Sources, however, doubted whether Mugabe’s manoeuvres would bring calm to the association, long rocked by factionalism well before Hunzvi’s death. "There are people who are already leading the organisation and there is no need to fast-track some people into leadership positions. We know Ndlovu and Chinotimba are favoured by the president, but I don’t see them getting those positions. Hunzvi’s death changes nothing really. Life in the association goes on," said one member. There are two camps vying for control of the association. The camp which has Mugabe’s blessing is led by Ndlovu and includes Chinotimba, Lucky Gumbe, and Cain Ndlovu from Bulawayo. The other camp is led by Endy Mhlanga and Patrick Nyaruwata. The latter assumed the post of acting chairman following Hunzvi’s death last Tuesday. Other members within this camp include the director of war veterans affairs Agrippa Gava; deputy political commissar Douglas Mahiya; and Mike Moyo.
Without Mugabe’s support, however, Ndlovu’s camp is considerably weaker than its rival. Mhlanga’s camp, in an effort to position itself strategically, has already appointed Nyaruwata as acting chairman. This was done the day after Hunzvi’s death. "We have a constitution which guides us and so far we recognise Patrick Nyaruwata as our acting chairman. Anyone wishing to be the chairman has to wait until the dust settles and then present himself to the comrades for election. Any legitimate war veteran knows the leadership and so those who are campaigning are misguided," said Mhlanga. Said Ndlovu: "Nyaruwata is there only on a temporary basis. We should have worked out modalities for an election by month end." Ndlovu has been referred to in the press as the war veterans’ spokesperson, a position he does not in reality hold. Mhlanga, as the secretary-general, is the official spokesperson for the association.
From The Daily News, 9 June
Candidate snubs Zanu PF
Bulawayo - The MDC yesterday threatened to take the government to court over its decision to postpone indefinitely the Bulawayo mayoral election, which was scheduled for later this month. MDC officials said the government had flouted electoral laws. They accused Zanu PF of deliberately delaying the election to search for a candidate after George Mlilo turned them down two days before the scheduled sitting of the nomination court yesterday. MDC officials David Coltart and Paul Themba Nyathi said the party would seek a court order before Tuesday compelling the government to go ahead with the election as scheduled. The government had done something illegal, said Coltart, the MDC’s secretary for legal affairs. It had to comply with laws relating to election procedures. He said the government had no power to defer elections indefinitely for feeble excuses.
Mlilo, the Bulawayo city council’s director of engineering services, said yesterday Zanu PF had not consulted him before nominating him in absentia last Wednesday. He was in Mutare attending an Urban Councils Association meeting and had no intention of standing as a Zanu PF candidate, he said. "I was elected in my absence and I have no intention of standing for Zanu PF. I just can’t," said Mlilo. He had beaten his only rival, the former mayor, Joshua Malinga, after other Zanu PF nominees snubbed the party. In fact, Mlilo, according to relatives, will soon take up a pastor’s post with the Brethren in Christ Church. In Bulawayo, the reluctant candidate could neither confirm nor deny he was going to be a man of the cloth.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, announced the decision to postpone the elections in an Extraordinary Government Gazette on Thursday, citing the shambolic state of the voters’ roll in Bulawayo. Yesterday, he defended the decision and dismissed charges that Zanu PF had delayed the elections because Mlilo had snubbed the party. "I don’t know where that is coming from. The postponement has nothing to do with what is happening at Zanu PF there. I have not been in touch with anyone from Bulawayo this week and, therefore, that clears any Zanu PF influence," said Chinamasa, speaking by telephone from Harare.
The Daily News has it on good authority that a selection committee headed by the former Minister of Home Affairs, Dumiso Dabengwa, had short-listed seven candidates to compete for the mayoral position, but they all declined the offer. The shortlist included former Speaker of Parliament and lawyer, Cyril Ndebele, former Town Clerk, Mike Ndubiwa, former Mayor Nelson Sidanile and the former Minister of State in Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s Office, Sithembiso Nyoni. They all spurned Zanu PF. Also on the list was former mayor Malinga, who was the only other contestant for nomination against eventual winner Mlilo, who has since declined the nomination.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 10 June
Recount proves MDC win was clean
The inspection of the Masvingo mayoral voters’ roll ended on Friday night at the High Court, with the results yielding nothing to warrant nullification of the elections results, The Standard has established. Joubert Mudzumwe, election manager for the MDC winner Alois Chaimaiti, told The Standard that there were no major discrepancies but that many voters were simply turned away because their names were not on the voters roll. The registrar general’s office is expected to announce its findings sometime this week. Said Mudzumwe: "We are satisfied with the inspection of the voters rolls. We are now waiting for the registrar general’s office to make their final report, but as a party we are happy that there was nothing seriously wrong with the voters roll as alleged by Zanu PF."
On allegations by Zanu PF that about 3 000 of its supporters were turned away on the day of voting, Mudzumwe said during the inspection, it was discovered that these people were not even on the voters roll but they still tried to vote in Ward 10. Zanu PF candidate for Masvingo, Jacob Chademana, who lost the elections by over 2 000 votes had, based on those allegations, appealed to the High Court to inspect the voters roll, and in the event that irregularities were found, wanted the results of the elections nullified. Chamaiti polled 4 532 votes while Chademana had 2 188. Independent candidates Femias Chakabuda had 578, Alois Chidoda 78, and Alex Mupa, 12 votes. The elections were marked by voter apathy with only 7 000 out of 27 000 registered voters casting their votes.
From Business Day (SA), 9 June
COSATU Calls for Mugabe's Resignation
Johannesburg - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should resign and call for early elections because the country is on the brink of collapse, says the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi. "We are disgusted with the way Zanu PF has handled the situation," he said. Vavi was commenting on "the attempt of the so-called war veterans to render unions ineffective" in Zimbabwe. The approach by Zanu PF and the war veterans "shows the extent of their desperation to make themselves relevant after dismally failing the poor and the working class". "This is basically an attack on the trade union movement and human rights," said Vavi. He said factory invasions and extortion could only lead to more potential investors staying away and "those with factories packing their bags and heading elsewhere, where there is stability". Vavi said Cosatu would hold a meeting with Zimbabwean Labour Minister July Moyo to discuss the issue. "We are not sure how to handle the situation but we need to address it." Cosatu would also meet representatives of the MDC and Zanu (PF), he said. Cosatu's decision to get involved is also the result of discussions held at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions conference held in Kenya two weeks ago.
From The Daily news, 9 June
MDC candidate’s farm invaded
Scores of Zanu PF supporters and war veterans have invaded a Chegutu farm owned by Philemon Matibe, the MDC candidate for the town who lost in last year’s Parliamentary election. Matibe, 33, the only black commercial farmer in the area, lost the Chegutu seat to Webster Shamu of Zanu PF. Interestingly, the day before the invasion became known, Shamu had issued a Press statement, published in The Herald yesterday, denying "allegations that he had threatened to have the farm of the losing MDC candidate Mr Phillip (sic) Matibe designated if he did not withdraw his election petition".
Matibe said the irony of the invasion was that his farm is surrounded by white-owned farms, some of which have been designated, but they have not been invaded by the war veterans. He said he is surprised that his farm was invaded without any notice to him. At about 4pm on Thursday, a group of war veterans led by Christopher Shumba, the district administrator for Chegutu and a policeman, descended on Matibe’s farm and started allocating pieces of land to some people who claimed to be landless. One of the vehicles used to transport the invaders belongs to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. Matibe said the invasion of his farm was politically-motivated and meant to intimidate the opposition MDC ahead of next year’s crucial presidential election.
Flanked by the MDC district chairman for Chegutu, Albert Ndlovu, Matibe accused Zanu PF of fuelling fresh farm invasions. "This is a new phase of farm invasions targeted mainly at President Mugabe’s political "enemies". I hold Mugabe accountable for the new invasions because he openly told his war veterans not to relent. He made it clear at Hunzvi’s funeral that farm invasions had to be intensified and this is exactly what is happening now," Matibe said. In the meantime, Matibe said he was moving into the town of Chegutu following the invasion. He accused Shamu of masterminding the invasion. He said Shamu had been thrown into desperation after some people he had lined up as witnesses in an electoral petition filed in the High Court by the MDC defected from Zanu PF. "We have a lot of people defecting from Zanu PF, including some of Shamu’s key witnesses in the petition," said Matibe. Shamu has denied allegations that he told Matibe that if he did not withdraw his election petition, he would have his farm designated.