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

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The Australian

Annan's team to see the madness of Mugabe
Jan Raath, Harare
June 23, 2005
ROBERT Mugabe has bowed to international pressure and agreed to let the UN
assess a state "clean-up" operation in Zimbabwe that is estimated to have
left 1million people homeless.

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, head of UN-Habitat, will be allowed to examine the
destruction of thousands of homes and street traders' businesses.

A spokesman for Mr Mugabe's office said that after telephone calls from UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan about "the misplaced hue and cry" over the
destruction of hundreds of thousands of "illegal" homes and street traders'
businesses, the Government had decided to allow Mrs Tibaijuka's visit.

The Government insists it has moved to clean up "criminal havens" in the
slums. Diplomats believe that the operation is a pretext for crushing
political opposition to Mr Mugabe.

Whatever its rationale, aid agencies say that Operation Murambatsvino
("drive out the rubbish"), which is in its fifth week, has created a
humanitarian crisis. Thousands of families have lost food, shelter and
income, and vast groups of people have been forced to flee to rural areas.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference said in a statement this week:
"Countless numbers of men, women with babies, children of school age, the
old and the sick, continue to sleep in the open air at temperatures near to

"These people urgently need shelter, food, clothing, medicines, etc. Any
claim to justify this operation as a desired orderly end becomes totally
groundless." Charity and church officials say the Government is blocking
attempts to deliver aid to the displaced. "They tell us we are trying to
embarrass the Government when we distribute food and blankets," one aid
worker said. "They say we are from the Opposition."

In a further move to undermine opponents of the Government, state radio
announced that the Government had outlawed the growing of crops in tiny
patches around urban areas - an important source of food for the urban poor.

The Times

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The End of the Mugabe Era.

In 1973 a small group of us in what was then Rhodesia, got together to
do a detailed analysis of the situation that faced us. We had been under
UN mandatory sanctions for 8 years and at war with our own people for
two years. All of us were well informed and well educated. We were all
under 35 and constituted what I still believe to be amongst the most
outstanding young men of our time in our country.

After several meetings we drafted a brief report, signed it and sent it
to the Prime Minister, Ian Smith with a request that he meet us to
discus our conclusions. We had concluded that we could not win the war,
that time was running out and that if a deal was not struck in the near
future, eventually power would be taken away from Smith and his cohorts
and we would be left to mercy of our history and our time.

We had a prompt reply and the Prime Minister agreed to meet us at a
private home in Highlands. He arrived on time and then spent two hours
listening to us and debating the issues we had raised. But in the end he
rejected our conclusions and said, "We are winning this war, right is on
our side and eventually we will get through our difficulties and gain
acceptance of what we stand for." For the majority of our group it was
the end - out of 35 only
8 remained in the country after 6 months. The others simply said we
cannot go on throwing our lives away on a lost cause - they believed we
were right and they took themselves off to pursue their careers and
lives elsewhere.

Looking back on that time and recalling that document, we were
absolutely spot on. Three years later - almost to the day, Smith was in
Pretoria capitulating to the strong men of the day and from then on we
were not out of the woods, but we were on the way to a final resolution
of our conflict.
But from September the 23rd 1976, Ian Smith no longer controlled the
destiny of the country he had led since 1964.

On the surface Mugabe and Smith are chalk and cheese and yet there are
striking similarities. I often say to fellow Zimbabweans that Mugabe is
a "black" Smith. Hard, unflinching, stubborn, harsh on his opponents.

Mugabe has been in power longer than Smith - 25 years as against 16 but
he now nears the end of his time in power. For those who have held power
and done terrible things, such a moment is a time of terror. To let go
means to fall and such a fall would be absolute. So they hang on,
persuading themselves that they can win through and forcing others by
naked power to stay with them to the end. Some go with dignity - Smith
did, Hitler did not.
But eventually they all go.

I remember Malawi in the dying days of Dr. Banda - of cocktail parties
in the capitol where people shrank from talking politics - any sort of
politics. Where real fear stalked the land and the aging tyrant - short
and stooped with his flywhisk held onto power by the skin of his teeth.
For Malawians in those days it seemed as if he would never go or let go
but eventually he did and his shattered country could start to build

Mugabe has done just about everything he could do to hang onto power -
he has subverted our justice system, our electoral system is a sham, he
controls the media totally and has intimidated the opposition and civil
society. He has created a political army and police force and a huge
secret service that monitors all aspects of our lives. In pursuit of
safety he has destroyed the economy and cut himself off from the rest of
the world. Now he is doing the unforgivable - he is denying the absolute
poor of this country the right to earn a living and their right to
shelter and food.

Even before this latest madness, we were reeling from the events of the
past five years. Our life expectancy has halved, agricultural output is
down by half, exports by two thirds, and incomes are a fraction of what
they were 20 years ago. Hundreds of thousands are dying every year and a
similar number flee the country for greener pastures as economic and
political refugees.
More people have died in armed conflict under Mugabe than under Smith -
and that remarkable achievement was made without the benefit of a decent

I do not know how many will die in the next few weeks - but they will
run to their thousands as hungry and thirsty people go to sleep in sub
zero temperatures on open ground next to the ruble of their homes and
small businesses. They will mainly be the very vulnerable - the elderly,
the very young but they will include many who are sick from Aids and HIV
related diseases. To Mugabe these are "rubbish", to the Commissioner of
Police - former Deputy Head of Interpol, they are "maggots". But to God
they are the "blessed" and those who abuse them are condemned in the
strongest terms in Scripture.

I estimate that 1 million small businesses have been destroyed in this
exercise - their capital stolen and their premises burnt. This will deny
3 million people their sole means of making a living. I estimate that to
1,5 million people have been made homeless and am told that over 300 000
children have dropped out of school. The impact on the formal sector
will be very significant and may well accelerate the present decline in
national GDP - that is if the fuel crisis does not simply close us down
completely, a possibility that now seems more than likely.

We arrived at our conclusions about the end of the Smith era in 1973 on
the basis of a premise that no one can fight the whole world and his own
people and get away with it for very long. Smith lasted 12 years, Mugabe
will go sooner. It was not the war that toppled Smith - it was global
consensus that he had simply become too expensive to be allowed to carry
on. Mugabe has now done enough to ensure that he to, like all tyrants in
history is about to go. Will he go with dignity? I doubt it, he has now
done enough to his own people for them to turn on him when the time
comes and it will not be pleasant.

We all want to be remembered for what we achieved in our short time on
earth. Mugabe has destroyed his legacy and will not be remembered for
what he did in the struggle for independence - even though that too was
over the bodies of his own associates at the time - he will be
remembered for Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 23rd June 2005

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Evicted Zimbabweans moved to 'transit camp'
Opposition says 're-education' campaign under way

Wednesday, June 22, 2005; Posted: 3:47 p.m. EDT (19:47 GMT)

 HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- State radio said Wednesday people displaced by a
government eviction campaign were being provided for in a "transit camp."
Meanwhile, the government's campaign to clear the homes, businesses and even
gardens of the poor from its cities has sparked more violence, a
pro-government newspaper reported.

The U.N. estimates up to 1.5 million people were left homeless after police
burned or demolished their shacks in what the government calls a clean up
campaign in the cities. The political opposition, which has its base among
the urban poor, says the 4-week-old Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out
Trash, is meant to punish its supporters.

The government said Tuesday that besides knocking down shacks and the kiosks
of street vendors, police were intensifying efforts to destroy vegetable
gardens the urban poor plant in vacant lots around Harare, saying the plots
threatened the environment.

The pro-government Daily Mirror reported Wednesday that there had been
rioting by scores of people resisting demolitions in the Marondera and Wedza
townships, 110 kilometers (68 miles) east of Harare on Tuesday.

Police spokesman Darlington Mathuthu told the newspaper police had to call
for reinforcements and arrested at least eight people who had been involved
in running battles with security forces.

Such violence has not been uncommon since the campaign started May 19.
Thousands of urban poor have had their homes burned or bulldozed, or pulled
them down themselves on orders given at gunpoint. Babies, the terminally ill
and the elderly have been forced to sleep out in freezing midwinter

State radio, though, said Wednesday some of those displaced had been moved
to a farm 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Harare. The broadcast said
charities were working with the government of President Robert Mugabe to
turn the site "into a healthy comfortable destination."

"Some families have already been resettled after vetting," said Inspector
Eunice Marange, the police officer in charge of what the state radio said
was a "transit camp" at Caledonia.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has since moved in to vaccinate
children and provide other services, while accommodation, water and food
have also been made available," Marange told the radio.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says "vetting" means proving
loyalty to Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
party, with suspected opposition supporters being forced into the
countryside for "re-education," under a policy similar to that of the former
Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.

During the weekend, independent journalists reported there was one toilet
for 3,000 people at Caledonia Farm, with new arrivals required to register
with local ZANU-PF officials before they were allowed to line up for it.

They also reported a heavy presence at Caledonia of secret police agents who
said they wanted to hear what the people said and to see who visited them.

A U.N. spokesman said Monday that Anna Tibaijuka, the Tanzanian head of UN
Habitat, would be coming here soon to judge the impact of Operation
Murambatsvina for Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Tibaijuka's office said Wednesday the date for her visit had not yet been
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      UN Special Envoy on Habitation to Visit Zimbabwe
      By Blessing Zulu
      21 June 2005

The United Nations secretary general's special envoy for human settlement
issues was expected to arrive in Harare today. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka is
the executive director of the Nairobi-based UN Habitat agency. She is to
prepare a report on the housing situation in the country in the wake of the
state crackdown on illegal structures under its controversial operation

The government said it welcomes the visit by the UN envoy. The official
Herald newspaper quoted Secretary for Information and Publicity George
Charamba as saying Harare agreed to the fact-finding mission "against the
background of the misplaced hue and cry over the operation and an apparent
reluctance by the Western media to acknowledge that government has put in
place measures to rehabilitate those affected."

The Ministry of Finance said it has set aside one trillion Zimbabwe dollars
to mitigate the effects of the clean-up, including building homes for the
displaced. The government said it has created an inter-ministerial committee
to coordinate aid. But executive director Arnold Tsunga of the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights said the move was just a smoke screen for the
benefit of the envoy.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Mr. Tsunga what
he hoped to see develop out of the envoy's mission to Harare.

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Business Day

Mbeki, Mugabe and the G-8
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen


SINCE the election in Zimbabwe earlier this year, developments have taken a
brutal turn, with the forced mass evictions of hundreds of thousands of
informal traders and squatters. Not having to be seen to be playing fairly
in front of election observers, President Robert Mugabe believes he has a
free hand to destroy businesses, civil society groups, and generally crack
down on dissidents to build the power of his coterie.

Stolen elections, economic decay, and the latest crackdown should mean that
Zimbabwe is a topic that cannot be avoided at this year's Group of Eight
(G-8) summit. Indeed, it might be a good time to remind Mugabe that under
international law, when a population is suffering serious harm through
repression and the state in question is unwilling to help, the principle of
nonintervention could yield to intervention under the principle of the
international responsibility to protect.

But there is a strong desire among the G-8 and African countries to avoid
detailed and forthright talk on this issue. That means the opportunity to
intensify pressure on Mugabe to quit will be lost.

The summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, early next month will focus on Africa -
specifically on how the proposals of the Commission for Africa, set up by
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to boost economic growth on the continent,
can be implemented. The heart of the report is that low levels of governance
and accountability are root causes of Africa's crises. Zimbabwe is a prime
example of the issues contained in the report. But the G-8 is not about to
hold the continent hostage over lapses in one country, and is likely,
instead, to stress that there are high rewards for democratic reformers.

Zimbabwe is not of strategic importance for any world power. It is
landlocked, has no oil, is not particularly resource-rich, and has fewer
than 15-million people, most of them increasingly poor, who do not
constitute a great market. Given this strategic insignificance, it is clear
that no G-8 country would sacrifice good relations with SA by placing
pressure on Pretoria to take a tougher stand on Harare.

The US and the European Union have said the recent election in Zimbabwe was
neither free nor fair. But SA and the region have said the poll was a fair
reflection of the will of the Zimbabwean people. The US has declared
Zimbabwe to be one of six "outposts of tyranny" and there is no sign it is
about to change its mind on this. The disagreements are not about to be
resolved, but neither will there be intensified pressure.

Meanwhile, the crisis in Zimbabwe worsens with increasing strife in the
ruling party, greater repression, and continued economic decline opening up
the prospect of a disaster scenario.

SA's strategy of encouraging change within the ruling Zanu (PF) has failed.
After his recent meeting in Washington with US President George Bush,
President Thabo Mbeki said SA was working to bring about dialogue but
produced no evidence of success. And since the election, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change has said it will no longer look to Mbeki as a

The tough position of the west African regional grouping, Ecowas, on what it
said was tantamount to a coup d'etat in Togo, has to raise questions about
the Southern African Development Community's limp response to the Zimbabwean
elections. There are unlikely to be direct questions about this in
Gleneagles, but it does make things awkward.

So, the question has to be: what will Mbeki tell the G-8 about Zimbabwe?

Southern Africa's approval of the Zimbabwean election would seem to indicate
that SA favours a policy of engagement by the G-8. But arguing to the G-8 -
now the election is over - that it is time to engage Mugabe and allow donor
funds to flow to ease a transition to reform is unlikely to receive a
sympathetic hearing. The argument that, since the election, Mugabe is better
positioned to advance a reform agenda, is simply not one that could go far
with the G-8 - especially after his crackdown on the urban poor. It would be
tantamount to rewarding Mugabe for stealing an election and destroying a
potential source of opposition in the informal sector.

The argument that smart sanctions have not worked cannot be advanced. After
all, SA and the region are the lynchpin to the effective application of
sanctions - and they have not tried sanctions and are unlikely to do so.

And any argument about engagement being the way to effect reform in Zanu
(PF) ignores the fact that free and fair elections are the only route to
legitimate government.

The hope in Pretoria is that change will come from within Zanu (PF) - but it
is only likely to be the controlled change desired by the geriatrics who
control the party. It is unlikely to repair the deep economic damage and
bring about free and fair elections.

Mugabe's practice has been to feign a willingness to ease restrictive laws
when under pressure and then stall when he is no longer under pressure.
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are far too wily to make engagement worthwhile. Given
Mugabe's past, reform and succession had best come before any engagement.

There is no possibility that the US and Europe will switch to an engagement
stance as long as Mugabe is in power. Stories on the eve of the summit of a
plan to replace him, and that a reform agenda is in place, will not be

One option for the African delegation at Gleneagles is to talk about the
broader issue of progress in Africa's conflict zones. SA's efforts in
Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Côte d'Ivoire are yielding
progress. But Zimbabwe is a special case as it is our neighbour. Zimbabwe
stands out because the early warning signs of crisis, food insecurity, and
possible extensive conflict have been visible for so long.

Mbeki could tell Mugabe after Gleneagles that he tried to get the G-8 to
engage, but it said no - unless a succession plan was implemented and the
repressive legislation was dropped.

The tragedy is that Mugabe may not care about engagement. After all, his
politics are not about development, but about staying in power and ensuring
that he chooses his successor. That's why an Africa united with the G-8 on a
plan for the continent - a plan which includes pressure on dictators - could
be the best outcome. But that is not on the cards.

Katzenellenbogen is international affairs editor.
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Business Day

Echoes of Mao, Pol Pot in Mugabe's clean-up blitz
Dumisani Muleya


WHAT started as a civic clean-up campaign in Zimbabwe by President Robert
Mugabe's increasingly repressive government has degenerated into a man-made
disaster, spawning a humanitarian crisis.

The nationwide demolition blitz - which has caught the attention of the
United Nations - has destroyed more than 200000 shantytown homes, as well as
informal businesses and a sprawling black market economy. The ramifications
are shocking. Human rights groups say up to a million people have been

About 30000 people have been arrested during the campaign, which has been
widely condemned by foreign governments, civil society organisations and

Tens of thousands of people were thrown into the streets - with no jobs,
shelter, food, water or sanitation. The campaign has left thousands of
pupils out of school. Women and children face hunger and disease. Some live
in the open, while others were packed like sardines into trucks and driven
to drought-stricken rural areas with no means of livelihood. The smouldering
ruins of their houses and businesses bear testament to the campaign. A huge
internal refugee population has been created.

Innocent civilians' social and economic rights are being violated on a
massive scale by security forces serving a discredited regime whose
leadership and policy failures are rapidly turning Zimbabwe into a failed

Those banished to the impoverished rural areas - in Mugabe's own version of
balkanisation, reminiscent of the apartheid bantustan model - wallow in
abject poverty. People living in rural areas survive largely on food aid due
to the food crisis.

After the chaotic land seizures that began in 2000, when Mugabe's rule was
challenged by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe
plunged into a cycle of hunger. The country has undergone an alarming
regression in the past five years because of the political and economic

The scenario is almost like a theatrical revival of Mao Zedong's Cultural
Revolution or Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge rampage. The political philosophy and
motives are similar. There are several theories - ranging from the absurd to
the rational - to explain Mugabe's dangerous political stunt. Some say it is
ethnic cleansing, others say it is a kind of social engineering, and yet
others think it is simple tyranny and a cynical way to divert attention from
the economic crisis.

Others say Mugabe has created a Frankenstein and that a third force is at
work. The Zimbabwean government claims that the blitz is merely a clean-up
campaign to get rid of the black market, criminals and illegal structures.

Whatever is happening, it is clear that this is not a public policy issue.
There is nothing to be gained politically by destroying people's homes, and
no politician in their right mind would expect to consolidate power through
such a move.

The deployment of security forces to execute the crackdown suggests the rise
of a police state and a breakdown of social order. It looks like the centre
can no longer hold and Mugabe might well be hostage to negative forces
within his regime. Mugabe has become a prisoner of a situation of his own
creation and is lashing out in all directions. He is surviving only due to
the lack of organised opposition.

Mugabe has managed to survive electoral defeat by stealing the elections
three times in a row. He obfuscates about his failures by waving the race
card, pointing fingers at alleged foreign saboteurs and playing to the
nationalist gallery. By legitimising terror, coercion and intimidation,
Mugabe is desperately trying to maintain his faltering hegemony.

His ideology - if he has any beyond profound political irrationality - is a
hodgepodge of authoritarian prescriptions, crude racism and propaganda, all
wrapped up in a package labelled "sovereignty and nationalism".

Muleya is Harare correspondent.
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Christian Science Monitor
from the June 22, 2005 edition

HOME GONE: Zimbabwean Jabulani Tshuma sits on the debris that was once his bedroom in Plumtree, 310 miles southwest of the capital, Harare.

Zimbabwe 'cleanup' taxes churches
An estimated 300,000 people are homeless after the government razed houses and shops.
| Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
In a dark and dusty churchyard, scores of Zimbabwean families are quietly trying to come to terms with losing their homes.

Small groups huddle around fires. Their possessions are piled high around them - the sofas and bedsteads, dressers and wardrobes that they managed to save when police destroyed their homes as part of a controversial city "cleanup" campaign.

Reporters on
the Job

The Monitor gives the story behind the story.
In the Monitor
Wednesday, 06/22/05

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The township of Tafara, which means "we are happy" in the local Shona language, is now a place of devastation.

Zimbabwean police launched "Operation Murambatsvina," or "drive out trash," more than a month ago. It started with the destruction of flea- market stalls, moved to squatter camps, and then swept through poor suburbs of Zimbabwe's towns and cities. Tuesday the government extended the demolitions to urban gardens that many residents relied on for food.

Zimbabwean authorities say the operation is meant to restore the glow to urban areas, long-blighted by unplanned developments such as sprawling shanties and informal markets the size of football fields. But critics, including the US, say the crackdown is politically motivated, designed to strengthen even further Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's already iron grip on the country.

"When you see one [resident] with a little beautiful house, here today and gone tomorrow, it breaks the heart," says the Rev. Raymond Mupandasekwa, a Roman Catholic priest.

At least 300,000 people have been made homeless across the troubled Southern African country, according to the Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association. With foreign aid organizations relegated to the sidelines due to recent government threats, the humanitarian crisis is stretching churches like Mr. Mupandasekwa's to the limit. They are providing shelter, clothing, and transport to the homeless.

Bumping over Tafara's potholed roads in his church bus, Mupandasekwa points to the piles of rubble that lie heaped outside front gates. Plastic sheeting covers open porches where people now sleep, despite the near-freezing temperatures.

Mr. Mugabe told senior ruling party officials last month that the operation would create "a whole new and salubrious urban environment." But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the motives are much more sinister. The party says the government is punishing urban supporters for voting against it in parliamentary elections in March.

Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front, won the election, taking 78 seats to just 41 for the MDC. But the ruling party failed to win back parliamentary seats in cities and towns, which have been in the hands of the MDC since 2000.

Says Timothy Mubawu, the MDC member of parliament for Tafara: "You clean out a house that has pests in it. That's how the government views MDC supporters in urban areas." Mr. Mubawu says 20,000 people have been displaced in his constituency alone.

"Operation Murambatsvina" has been condemned by Britain, the US, and the European Union. So concerned is UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that he has appointed an envoy to travel to Zimbabwe soon to measure the "humanitarian impact" of the evictions, a spokesperson announced on Monday.

Inside the brightly lit church hall in Tafara, women and children chat in low voices among the wicker baskets and shabby mattresses. Music from a radio blares out. There's no fury here, just a palpable sense of resignation.

Chipo, a 32-year-old woman dressed in a thin grey pullover, has been sleeping at the church.

"This country is horrid. What does he [Mugabe] want us to do?" she asks with a nervous giggle.

Like most people here, Chipo is looking for a lift to the "rural areas." She wants to get to Karoi, a small town 125 miles northwest of the capital, Harare. She plans to leave her two daughters there with relatives and come back alone in the hope of finding work.

But not everyone has family to turn to, says Mupandasekwa. Many Tafara residents are of Malawian or Zambian origin and have nowhere else to go in Zimbabwe. "The only place they've known as home is here," he says. "They don't know the rural areas. This is their only treasure."

The government has set up a temporary "holding camp" at a farm on the outskirts of Harare where around 2,000 displaced families are sleeping in tents. According to local press reports, conditions there are harsh, and fears of disease are running high. State radio announced Tuesday that a few local aid organizations have been allowed to distribute blankets and other provisions to people in the camp.

The government says it is committed to the development of small businesses, but wants them to operate in an "orderly fashion," as Mugabe said recently on state radio. But with 80 percent unemployment and an economy that has been foundering since 2000 when the government took land from white farmers, residents here rely heavily on "informal" businesses and urban gardens to sustain them. Once the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe announced earlier this year that it needs to import as much as 1.2 million metric tons of food to feed the country's 12 million people.

Although many city residents are bitter about "Operation Murambatsvina," it appears unlikely to loosen Mugabe's 25-year old hold on power. His party swept to victory in a by-election held in a rural stronghold this past weekend.

"[The police operation] has hurt him tremendously, except it's in areas that he doesn't value in terms of his tenure in office," says John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe.

But Mr. Makumbe says there was evidence that Mugabe, the 81-year-old former guerrilla leader, had lost some support among veterans of the country's 1970s war against white minority rule. Some of the ex-fighters, traditionally strong supporters of the president, were horrified to see their homes destroyed.

"We've even had some of them saying, 'Down with Mugabe,' something we couldn't imagine war veterans saying six weeks ago," Makumbe adds.

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The Times

            Letters to the Editor

                        June 22, 2005

                        Zimbabwe action
                        From Dr David Kane

                        Sir, The genocide in Rwanda happened at such a rapid
pace that the international community was unable, or unwilling, to act.
                        In Zimbabwe the selective food distribution and
starvation, and mass displacement with removal of basic sanitation and
shelter, point to a similar tragedy unfolding.

                        This time there is considerable time, opportunity
and means for the international community, and in particular the Government
of South Africa, to act.

                        DAVID KANE
                        Newcastle upon Tyne

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Washington Post

Homeless in Harare

Wednesday, June 22, 2005; Page A20

A SWARM of helmeted police, backed by paramilitaries toting AK-47s, descend
on a poor urban neighborhood, demanding that residents get out of town.
Families hurriedly gather their few possessions before the bulldozers
demolish their homes. Many head for the countryside, although a fuel
shortage makes travel difficult. Some end up sleeping on the streets or in
overcrowded refugee camps, burning whatever they can to keep warm through
frigid winter nights. Others huddle in churches packed with still more
displaced people, all with similar stories.

This scene and hundreds like it have been playing out across Zimbabwe over
the past month while outsiders pay scant attention. At least 200,000
people -- possibly as many as a million -- have been rendered homeless by
President Robert Mugabe's "Operation Murambatsvina" ("drive out the
rubbish"), which bears a disturbing resemblance to Pol Pot's brutal
"ruralization" campaign in Cambodia three decades ago. Mr. Mugabe's long
years of autocratic misrule have broken Zimbabwe's economy and produced
chronic food shortages. Now he appears worried that the misery he has
created could lead to an uprising. His bulldozing campaign seems intended to
disperse the urban poor, who overwhelmingly favor the opposition.

Mr. Mugabe is also targeting the illegal structures of the economy's
informal sector -- the black market -- by shuttering flea markets and
roadside kiosks across the country. Even in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, where vendors had permits from the city council, stalls
were closed and in some cases were destroyed. Once bustling marketplaces sit
empty. For many Zimbabweans, these were the only source of affordable food
and clothing -- and often the only source of jobs in a country where the
formal-sector unemployment rate hovers near 80 percent.

The crackdown appears to foreshadow Mr. Mugabe's next objective: to
nationalize all land, annulling titles and freeing up property for use in
international bartering. In return for huge swaths of farmland, as well as
mining interests and Zimbabwe's unwavering support of its Taiwan policy,
China has supplied fighter planes, armored personnel carriers, AK-47s and
riot gear. This close alliance with China is part of Mr. Mugabe's "look
east" policy, under which the country also maintains ties with Iran and
North Korea. Mr. Mugabe's fellow tyrants are untroubled as Zimbabweans face
starvation, malnutrition and disease.

Too many African leaders seem untroubled too. Neighboring South African
President Thabo Mbeki in particular clings stubbornly to his failed "quiet
diplomacy," despite the similarity between Mr. Mugabe's campaign and the
routine demolition of shacks that displaced millions during South Africa's
apartheid era. Mr. Mbeki leads the country with the most potential influence
over Zimbabwe. If he wants the New Partnership for Africa's Development -- a
program his country helped initiate -- to have any credibility, he must
speak up about the dictator next door.
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Cape Times


      Mugabe's madness
      June 22, 2005

      The latest "joke" in Zimbabwe is that the police, having demolished
the homes of many thousands of poor people, are now going into the
prosperous suburbs of Harare to target "illegal property developments".

      Police spokesperson Whisper Bondayi said: "We cannot stand aside while
people run out of accommodation when houses are being turned into offices."

      President Robert Mugabe's government calls the destruction of many
thousands of shacks and market stalls an attempt to "restore order" to

      And our government turns away from this tragedy and says nothing in

      Forgive me if I start screaming and beating my head against the walls
of my home until the gentlemen from Valkenberg come with their restraining

      Myke Ashley-Cooper

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Zim Online

Grace Mugabe's relative seizes farm
Thu 23 June 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe police yesterday ordered white farmer, Louis Firk,
to vacate his 400 hectare farm near the town of Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West
province to pave wave for a relative of President Robert Mugabe's wife,

      Armed police first visited Firk's Fridawill farm, about 31 km north of
Chinhoyi, and were back again yesterday to tell him he should surrender the
property to Michael Bimha, who is believed to be a cousin to Grace.

      Firk could not be reached for comment yesterday but some workers at
the farm indicated he was "busy running around trying to get a court order"
to stop the eviction.

      Bimha, who is a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe board and is
also president of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), told
ZimOnline he applied for land from the government "like anyone else" and was
offered Firk's farm.

      But Bimha, who is said to own another property, Dumpsell Farm in
Banket also near Chinhoyi, insisted he was not behind attempts by the police
yesterday to force Firk to immediately surrender his property.

      Bimha, who said he gave up Dumpsell farm before re-applying for land
to government, said: "I have nothing to do with what is going on at the farm
(Fridawill Farm) at the moment.

      "I applied for land like anyone else and I was given an offer letter
after I surrendered Dumpsell Farm and I have even negotiated with the farm
owner (Firk) through his lawyers to buy the equipment on the farm. So there
is no way I could be said to have invaded that farm."

      But workers at Fridawill farm said Bimha has for several months now
stationed security guards from a security firm called Track Inn, which is
owned by the wife of Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo - a move
they said appeared to have been designed to intimidate the white owner to

      And yesterday, police were physically removing some of Firk's
furniture from the farmhouse as pressure mounted on the embattled white
farmer to surrender the farm.

      Firk, among about 500 white farmers remaining in Zimbabwe, had in the
last five years survived farm invasions by villagers from nearby communal
lands who spared his farm because they depended on it for seasonal
employment and food during years of drought.

      The white farmer had also reportedly helped bankroll ZANU PF functions
in Mashonaland West offering beasts to be slaughtered to feed guests during
party functions, according to witnesses.

      One of the biggest livestock farms in the province, Fridawill boasts
of 12 000 crocodiles, 3 000 pigs and 2 000 head of cattle among its stock.
An abattoir at the farm slaughters an average of 50 beasts and pigs daily
for supplies to butcheries and supermarket chains in Chinhoyi and around the

      Powerful officials of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and their
relatives have continued to evict the few remaining white farmers long after
the government said it had completed its farm seizure programme.

      Earlier this month, Mugabe had to intervene and order Deputy
Information Minister Bright Matonga off Chigwell Farm, where he had evicted
white farmer, Tom Beattie.

      Beattie is regarded as a friend of Mugabe, who helped bankroll the
ageing leader's wedding to Grace nine years ago, besides regularly helping
sponsor ZANU PF party functions.

      Mugabe has in the last five years seized land from Zimbabwe's about 4
000 white commercial farmers and parcelled it out to landless blacks in a
campaign he said was necessary to correct an unfair land tenure system under
which the minority whites owned 75 percent of the best arable land while
blacks were cramped on poor soils.

      But top officials of his government and ZANU PF party kept most of the
best farms seized from whites while villagers resettled on the former white
land were not given skills training and financial support to maintain
production, a situation which saw farm output dropping by about 60 percent.

      Zimbabwe has virtually survived on food handouts since Mugabe's land
seizures and this year four million or a quarter of the country's population
could starve unless the World Food Programme and other donors chip in with
1.2 million tonnes in food aid. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

MDC-led councils face axe over crackdown
Thur 23 June 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government plans to dismiss opposition-led urban
councils for refusing to support its controversial clean-up campaign, Policy
Implementation Minister Webster Shamu said yesterday.
      Shamu said the government had ordered all opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party-controlled councils to support the highly
unpopular crackdown against informal traders and shanty towns or they will
be dismissed.

      The government official, who was speaking in Mutare city where he was
assessing progress of the clean-up operation, did not say when exactly
opposition-led councils were given the ultimatum to back the government
campaign or when they will be fired if they did not comply.

      Shamu said: "We want to fire all these MDC-led councils. They have
deliberately chosen not to support and co-operate with the government to
ensure that this important (clean-up) operation succeeds. They have refused
to be partners. As government we have now ordered them to co-operate or they
should resign forthwith. If they fail, we will go ahead and fire them."

      The MDC, which has condemned the government clean-up campaign as an
inhuman exercise to punish urban residents for backing the opposition party,
controls all the major cities in Zimbabwe except Harare.

      The government regained control of Harare after it controversially
dismissed an elected MDC-led council and appointed a commission to run the

      Shamu claimed that the opposition urban councils had in some cases
refused to give police demolition teams master plans of cities to guide them
in the operation that has seen more than 22 000 people arrested mostly for
selling basic goods without licence and close to a million people left
without shelter after their homes were destroyed.

      The mayors of Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo -
Zimbabwe's four biggest cities after Harare - have publicly condemned the
clean-up campaign defended by President Robert Mugabe as necessary to
restore the beauty of the country's cities and towns.

      The United Nations, United States, European Union, Amnesty
International, local church and human rights groups have all condemned the
campaign calling it a gross violation of poor peoples' rights.

      UN secretary general Kofi Annan is sending his envoy on human
settlement Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuke to Zimbabwe next week to make a first
hand assessment of the negative impact of the clean-up exercise on poor
urban families.

      Meanwhile, the police across Zimbabwe pressed on with the clean-up
exercise ordering residents in many suburbs of Harare, Chitungwiza and other
cities to demolish homes deemed illegal or face punishment

      Several hundreds of small businesses in Harare's affluent northern
suburbs remained shut after the police ordered them to close because they
were operating in residential areas.

      The police were also demolishing pole and dagga huts on mostly
peri-urban former white-owned farms and ordering black families, who settled
there in the last five years with open encouragement from the government, to
leave. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Corruption deepens in Zimbabwe
Thur 23 June 2005
  HARARE - Corruption is worsening in crisis-hit Zimbabwe with the country
now ranked 114 out of 146 nations surveyed by world corruption watchdog,
Transparency International.
      The southern African nation ripped apart by political and economic
strife was last year ranked number 106 on the Transparency corruption

      The ladder traces the degree of corruption in a country as perceived
by business people and special analysts.

      Botswana, regarded as one of Africa's best democracies, remains the
most corruption-free country on the world's poorest continent occupying
number 31 on the ladder, according to a report released by Transparency
earlier this week.

      South Africa, where President Thabo Mbeki fired his deputy president
Jacob Zuma last week after he was linked to a corruption scandal, is among
Africa's cleanest countries perched on number 44. Tunisia is also among the
most corrupt-free countries on the continent and is ranked on 39. Indian
Ocean island nation, Mauritius is ranked number 54.

      Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ivory Coast are among
some of the most corrupt countries in the world with the three nations all
tied on number 133. Oil-rich Nigeria remains the worst corrupt nation at
number 146.

      Commenting on Zimbabwe, Transparency said the southern African nation
had been persistently stripped of public assets by corrupt individuals and
firms both in the public and private sectors.

      President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and violent seizure of farms from
whites for redistribution to blacks was also riddled with corruption with
most of the best farms taken from whites ending up in the hands of top
officials of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.

      Transparency said substantial amounts of local and foreign currency
have been siphoned out of Zimbabwe and said a new Bank Use and Suppression
of Money Laundering Act was a positive but inadequate step because money
laundering was not limited to the official banking sector alone.

      Mugabe last year launched an anti-corruption drive that saw senior
banking executives arrested while others fled the country as police closed
in on them. Two senior ZANU PF politicians including the then finance
minister, Chris Kuruneri, were arrested on allegations of externalisation of
foreign currency.

      Kuruneri, accused of siphoning money to South Africa to buy expensive
properties in that country's Cape Town city, is on trial at the High Court.

      But critics say the corruption witch-hunt has been selective,
targeting people perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition or those who
have fallen out with Mugabe and ZANU PF. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

African leaders must push to end Mugabe's tyranny: UK
Thur 23 June 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has called on African
leaders to condemn tyranny in Zimbabwe and help end the "horrors" President
Robert Mugabe was perpetrating against his own people.
      Straw told the Press that as former colonial ruler, London had done
all it could to mobilise international pressure on Harare to stop violating
the rights of its citizens. But much depended on African leaders recognising
"the scale of the horror that is taking place in Zimbabwe", and acting to
pressure Mugabe to abandon his controversial policies, said Straw.

      He said: "The problem that we face is a lack of real commitment by all
of Africa's leaders to recognise the scale of the horror that is taking
place in Zimbabwe.

      "Bluntly, unless and until African leaders as a whole recognise what
is going on and take action, not only to condemn it but to deal with it, we
are likely to be in for many more months of this kind of tyranny until
President Mugabe moves aside."

      Mugabe and his government, accused of denying food to opposition
supporters, murdering political opponents and rigging elections, have
conducted a month-long "clean-up exercise" that has cast thousands of
families onto the streets after their homes and informal businesses were
destroyed by armed police and soldiers.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party says up to a
million people have been left homeless and without a means of livelihood by
the campaign which Mugabe has defended as necessary to restore the beauty of
cities and to smash an illegal black market for foreign currency and basic
commodities in short supply in Zimbabwe.

      But Zimbabwean church and human rights groups say the highly unpopular
exercise has only helped worsen the plight of jobless people and their
families who are surviving on informal trading in a country where
unemployment is over 70 percent.

      The United Nations (UN), European Union, United States and Amnesty
International have all condemned the government campaign as a gross
violation of poor people's rights.

      UN chief Kofi Annan is sending his envoy on human settlement Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuke to Zimbabwe next week to make a first hand assessment of
the impact of the campaign on poor people.

      African states and the African Union (AU) have however remained mum on
Mugabe's clean-up campaign.

      Meanwhile, 150 international civic rights groups will today launch an
urgent appeal to the AU and UN to intervene and help masses of Zimbabweans
evicted from their homes in the ongoing clean-up exercise that Harare has
now widened to include former white farms and rural areas.

      The joint appeal is being co-ordinated by Amnesty International, the
Center on Housing Rights and Evictions, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human

      Other prominent signatories to the appeal include: Inter Africa
Network for Human Rights, Housing and Land Rights Network of the Habitat
International Coalition, International Bar Association's Human Rights
Institute, International Crisis Group and the International Commission of
Jurists. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mlambo-Ngcuka appointed new SA deputy president
Thur 23 June 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who
controversially endorsed Zimbabwe's parliamentary election last March as
reflecting the will of the people, was yesterday appointed South Africa's
new deputy president.
      Mlambo-Ngcuka replaces Jacob Zuma who was fired last week after he was
implicated in a corruption and bribery scandal.

      Mlambo-Ngcuka was the head of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) election observers to Zimbabwe for the March poll which was
controversially won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.

      Speaking after the poll, Mlambo-Ngcuka said the election "was free,
credible" and reflected "the will of the people of Zimbabwe".

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party angrily
dismissed Ngcuka's comments insisting Mugabe had used open fraud to secure

      Observers say the appointment of Mlambo-Ngcuka will not usher in
significant policy changes towards Zimbabwe from South Africa which has
persistently refused to openly criticise Mugabe's human rights record
against his political opponents insisting on pursuing a policy of "quiet
diplomacy" towards its troubled northern neighbour. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Minister barred from travelling to Brussels
Wed 22 June 2005

      HARARE - Industry and Trade Minister Obert Mpofu has been denied a
visa to travel to the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union meeting
in Brussels, Belgium.

      The European Union imposed targeted sanctions against President Mugabe
and senior ruling ZANU PF officials three years ago for human rights
violations and failing to uphold democracy.

      Mpofu was set to visit Brussels and Luxembourg for a meeting to review
the Cotonou Agreement which deals with the relationship between the ACP
countries and the EU.

      The EU has been at the forefront in criticising Mugabe's human rights
record. The United States, Canada and Australia have all imposed targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and his ministers in a bid to force him to embrace

      Mugabe says the sanctions are meant to punish him for seizing land
from the small white community for redistribution to landless blacks. -

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Please note that in one rural area the Police have been destroying vegetable
gardens - in the Sezani district of Beitbridge an operation is under way to
destroy vegetable gardens with the farmers being told to reduce the size of
gardens to subsistence levels only and to form Co-ops with the permission of
the traditional leaders. All vegetable production will then be undertaken
only in controlled areas under supervision. The Sezani area voted MDC in the
last election.

Eddie Cross

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FW: MurambatsvinaMurambatsvina

The barbaric 'Operation Murambatsvina' has claimed another victim. A 30 year
old mother of two, Chipo Nhongo Rusere, died in Mutare's Sakubva township
Tuesday of pneumonia. The woman has been sleeping out in the cold for
several weeks with her two children.
The deceased's uncle, Peter Buzuzi, said that the desperate mother had only
one blanket that was donated to her by the Mayor of Mutare, Misheck
Kagurabaza.  She has been living in the open since the 27th May with her 3
year old child and 5 month old baby.
Not only did she lose the shack she lived in but her only source of income,
a vegetable stall, was also destroyed during the raids that have left over a
million people homeless. Mourners are gathered at her demolished house and
are paying their respects in the open.
Some family members went to the MDC offices in Mutare to appeal for help to
buy food and a coffin. They were also looking for a vehicle to transport the
body from the mortuary. There are concerns over the state of the surviving
children's health.
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      African Union Refers Crackdown to Human Rights Body
      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      21 June 2005

The African Union said it was not ready as an institution to respond to
situations like the Zimbabwean government crackdown on informal businesses
and homes deemed to be illegally constructed. The African Union is just two
and a half years old and lacks the means to address all of Africa's
problems, said its acting head of communications, Desmond Orjiako. He told
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the AU must prioritize and leave issues
like Murambatsvina to other AU entities - in this case its Commission on
Human and People's Rights.

African Union Acting Head of Communications Desmond Orjiako spoke with
reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe from the AU
headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Stuff, New Zealand

Zimbabwe presses on with crackdown
23 June 2005

HARARE: Zimbabwe says more than 42,000 people had been arrested or had their
goods seized as it pressed ahead with a crackdown on shanty-towns that has
sparked worldwide condemnation.

Police said crime in the capital Harare had fallen by nearly a fifth since
the start of "Operation Restore Order" in early May.

"This shows that the operation, despite being condemned, has started bearing
fruit," police spokesman Inspector Whisper Bondai told the official Herald

President Robert Mugabe says the operation is necessary to flush out
criminals who have turned informal townships into sanctuaries for illegal
trading in anything from food to foreign currency.

But critics say the exercise has left tens of thousands homeless or without
jobs, piling pressure on Zimbabweans facing 70 per cent unemployment and
chronic shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the operation had slashed crime in
Harare adding that 42,415 people had been arrested, fined or had their goods

He said 120,000 people were left homeless after their structures were
demolished. Aid groups and churches, who have condemned the operation, put
the figure at 200,000.

"We observe that crimes such as plain robbery, murder and theft have
declined because we have cut the ready market that criminals had for stolen
goods," Bvudzijena said.

The United States, Britain and the European Union who are critical of
Mugabe's rule, have condemned the operation which has prompted the United
Nations to send a special envoy to assess the situation.

Police continued the crackdown yesterday, shutting down a four-storey
building in central Harare which housed a dress-making business, forcing all
occupants on to the street with their sewing machines. Police barred
journalists from the building and did not give a reason for targetting the

On Tuesday, Reuters journalists saw families huddled in the open in the
evening after police launched their biggest single operation so far,
destroying illegal structures in Chitungwiza, an opposition stronghold
south-west of Harare.

Bvudzijena said 2104 people were settled at what the government has labelled
a "transit camp" in Caledonia on the outskirts of the city. He said a lack
of funds was delaying transfers to proper settlements.

Zimbabwe faces food shortages this year after a severe drought, but
authorities in Harare have warned they will enforce a ban on informal
cultivation of crops in open areas in the city to prevent environmental

City councils in previous years have destroyed crops planted in banned
areas, but this has not been consistent.

In its monthly update on Zimbabwe, the US-based Famine Early Warning System
Network said the crackdown on informal trade had led to serious food supply
problems in most urban areas.

"The majority of the affected households lived from hand to mouth and had no
accumulated savings to see them through. Consequently, destruction of their
business operations means immediate deprivation and destitution," it said.
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Mail and Guardian

      Zimbabwe crackdown sparks violence


      22 June 2005 02:07

            The Zimbabwe government's campaign to clear the homes,
businesses and even gardens of the poor from its cities has sparked more
violence, a pro-government newspaper reported on Wednesday even as state
radio claimed those displaced were being provided for.

            The United Nations estimates up to 1,5-million people are
homeless after police burned or demolished their shacks in what the
government calls a "clean-up" campaign in the cities.

            The political opposition, which has its base among the urban
poor, says the four-week-old Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out Trash",
is meant to punish its supporters.

            The government said on Tuesday that besides knocking down shacks
and the kiosks of street vendors, police are intensifying efforts to destroy
vegetable gardens the urban poor plant in vacant lots around Harare, saying
the plots threaten the environment.

            The pro-government Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday that there
has been rioting by scores of people resisting demolitions in the Marondera
and Wedza townships, 110km east of Harare on Tuesday.

            Police spokesperson Darlington Mathuthu told the newspaper
police had to call for reinforcements and arrested at least eight people who
had been involved in running battles with security forces.

            Such violence has not been uncommon since the campaign started
on May 19.

            Thousands of urban poor have had their homes burned or
bulldozed, or pulled them down themselves on orders given at gunpoint.
Babies, the terminally ill and the elderly have been forced to sleep out in
freezing midwinter temperatures.

            State radio, though, said on Wednesday that some of those
displaced have moved to a farm 30km east of Harare. The broadcast said
charities are working with the government of President Robert Mugabe to turn
the site "into a healthy, comfortable destination".

            "Some families have already been resettled after vetting," said
Inspector Eunice Marange, the police officer in charge of what the state
radio said was a "transit camp" at Caledonia.

            "The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has since moved in to
vaccinate children and provide other services, while accommodation, water
and food has also been made available," Marange told the radio station.

            The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says "vetting"
means proving loyalty to Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party, with suspected opposition supporters
being forced into the countryside for "re-education", under a policy similar
to that of the former Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.

            Over the weekend, independent journalists reported there was one
toilet for 3 000 people at Caledonia Farm, with new arrivals required to
register with local Zanu-PF officials before they were allowed to line up
for it.

            They also reported a heavy presence at Caledonia of secret
police agents who say they want to hear what the people say and observe who
visits them.

            A UN spokesperson said on Monday that Anna Tibaijuka, the
Tanzanian head of UN Habitat, will be coming to Zimbabwe soon to judge the
impact of Operation Murambatsvina for Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

            Tibaijuka's office said on Wednesday the date for her visit had
not yet been set. - Sapa-AP

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      Conditions for Displaced in Harare Continue to Worsen
      By Patience Rusere
      21 June 2005

Despite assurances by the Zimbabwe government that it is attending to the
needs of the many thousands of people displaced by its demolition of housing
in what it says is an urban cleanup operation, the plight of the displaced
in Harare and elsewhere to deteriorate as authorities fail to provide

A humanitarian source familiar with the situation at Caledonia Farm outside
Harare told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that children there must walk long
distances to school and many children have stopped going at all. The source
was speaking on condition that neither he nor his organization be

He said there are no sanitation facilities at Caledonia Farm and frequent
water shutoffs, and that most of the people on the farm are sleeping in the
open. He said he had heard that a young girl was sexually assaulted by a
policeman but added that he was unable to confirm this information.

Similar conditions were reported in the south of the country where churches
have mobilized to assist homeless families. About 3,000 people, mostly from
the Ngozi and Killarney squatter settlements near Bulawayo, were living in
churches in and around Zimbabwe's second largest city and capital of

Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke about
conditions with Communications Coordinator Useni Sibanda of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe.
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MDC renews call for "political solution"

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 22 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has renewed calls for a "political solution" to the
escalating crisis in the wake of the controversial clean-up campaign, which
has left thousands of people homeless.

"We have to ask, 'Where is the country going?' We have been calling for
talks all along," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told IRIN.

A government crackdown on informal settlements and markets has left about
200,000 urban dwellers without shelter or the means to survive, while trying
to cope with fuel and food shortages. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of
70 percent.

Unofficial talks between the two parties have been 'on' and 'off' since the
2002 presidential election, which many poll observers rejected as flawed and
marred by political violence. Earlier this year the clergy attempted to
break the political impasse between the two parties, but failed.

The call to reopen talks between the two parties is perhaps the only
feasible strategy the MDC can pursue, according to Chris Maroleng, a
researcher with the Institute for Security Studies, a Pretoria-based

The clean-up campaign targeting informal settlements in cities and towns has
challenged the MDC's support base, which is largely urban, he added. "The
MDC has to look within to identify a workable strategy to challenge the
ZANU-PF hegemony."

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ABC Australia

Opposition calls to annul Zimbabwe election results
Zimbabwe's electoral court has started hearing petitions by the main
opposition party to annul some results of parliamentary elections held in
March that were won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, a state-run
daily said.

"The Electoral Court has begun hearing petitions by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) challenging results in some of the constituencies it
lost to ZANU-PF," the Herald said, referring to the governing Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front.

The newspaper said the court heard the first case on Tuesday in which
Heather Bennett, wife of jailed former opposition MP for the eastern
Chimanimani constituency Roy Bennett, is challenging the victory of Samuel
Undenge, the ruling party candidate.

ZANU-PF won 78 seats against 41 for the MDC in the March 31 polls, giving it
a crucial two-thirds majority needed to make changes to the constitution.

The elections were endorsed as "reflecting the will of the people" by
observer missions from a southern African regional bloc and South Africa but
the MDC rejected the results, alleging electoral fraud, intimidation and the
misuse of food by ZANU-PF to garner votes.

The MDC, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai described the polls as a "massive
fraud," said it was reluctantly taking the legal route because a challenge
of results in 39 constituencies in the 2000 elections never yielded results.

The opposition party argued that it still hoped to "expose the fraud" of the
elections through hearings in open court.

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Harare crime rate down, say police

Wednesday 22 June 2005, 21:44 Makka Time, 18:44 GMT

Crime in Zimbabwe's capital has fallen by nearly a fifth since the
government's demolition of thousands of illegal urban shops and houses, say

The official Herald newspaper on Wednesday quoted police spokesman Inspector
Whisper Bondai as saying criminal activity in Harare fell by 16% in May
compared to the same month last year, citing the campaign dubbed "Operation
Restore Order".

"Cases such as theft, theft from motor vehicles and housebreaking among
others have gone down by half compared to those we recorded during the same
period last year," Bondai was quoted as saying.

"We are pleased to announce that the general crime figures have gone down.
This shows that the operation, despite being condemned, has started bearing

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Thousands of self-employed people have seen their informal shops demolished
and goods confiscated in the six-week campaign, which has also left an
estimated 200,000 homeless.

Illegal activities

President Robert Mugabe's government says illegal structures in cities were
a haven for illegal trade in foreign currency and scarce food items and
other banned activities.

The campaign has sparked angry criticism from Zimbabwe's main opposition
party as well as human rights and religious groups, who say it is unfairly
targeting the urban poor.

The United Nations said it planned to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe to
investigate the crackdown.

Local authorities in Harare have also warned they will enforce an existing
ban on growing crops like the staple maize in open areas including along
stream-banks, which they say have caused environmental degradation in urban

City councils in previous years slashed crops planted in banned areas, but
this has not been consistent.

Food shortages

Zimbabwe has suffered serious food shortages for the past five years
following Mugabe's land redistribution move, in which white-owned commercial
farms were handed over to the landless.

The World Food Programme has estimated that between three and four million
of Zimbabwe's 12 million people may need food aid this year.

Critics say the current crackdown has worsened the country's economic
crisis, which has already led to chronic shortages of foreign currency for
key imports like fuel, high inflation and unemployment of over 70%.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
responsibility for the crisis.

He says opponents of the land redistribution - which he says is meant to
restore land taken from blacks during colonialism - have sabotaged
Zimbabwe's economy.

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Filling Stations Take Deliveries

The Herald (Harare)

June 22, 2005
Posted to the web June 22, 2005


SOME filling stations in Harare yesterday took delivery of fuel raising hope
that the prevailing shortages might ease.

Several fuel tankers were seen at the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe depot
in Msasa after loading fuel for deliveries to different service stations.

Officials at the depot remained mum about the fuel situation although some
of the tanker drivers confirmed that they were carrying either diesel or
petrol in their vehicles.

"I have just collected petrol for deliveries and those other trucks in the
queue at the gate are also waiting to load fuel for deliveries," said one
tanker driver who refused to be identified.

A number of service stations in different suburbs had received the scarce
commodity yesterday with staff at other service stations saying they were
anticipating deliveries anytime.

At Chadcombe Service Station along Chiremba Road, fuel had just been
delivered yesterday afternoon and two long queues were visible.

More motorists were still rushing to the service station after word spread
that fuel had been delivered. Other service stations like Royal Oil in Msasa
had both diesel and petrol, which were available to account holders in
limited quantities.

The situation was the same at Comoil Service Station in Graniteside where
account holders were in a queue waiting for their vehicles to be filled up.

There was commotion at another Comoil Service Station in Highfield where the
bulk of commuter omnibus operators had queued to buy diesel.

They were jostling with each other to reach the pump.

However some service stations in the city centre were empty by yesterday
afternoon but vigilant motorists waited patiently in the queue although it
was not clear when fuel would be delivered.

Some motorists at a Caltex Service Station in Houghton Park said they have
been queuing for fuel since Friday last week without luck. In Hatfield,
unscrupulous dealers were reportedly selling a 210 litre drum of diesel for
$4 million. Under normal circumstances, the same drum costs about $800 000.
Despite the slightly improving situation, transport problems still persist.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing erratic fuel supplies over the past few
months because of the shortage of foreign currency. The country on average
requires 2,5 million litres of diesel and two million litres of petrol
everyday and about US$62 million worth of fuel every month. The national oil
procurement company has however admitted that fuel queues in the country
would take time to disappear because of the high demands for foreign
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police barred from speaking on clean-up

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-23

The government has barred the police from making policy statements regarding
the on-going clean-up, saying they have no right to do so.

During Parliament's question and answer session yesterday, the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, said contrary
to earlier reports banning all forms of urban agriculture, the practice
would still be allowed in designated areas.
He added that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development would issue all policy statements pertaining to the clean-up.
The session was dominated by questions from MDC legislators who expressed
reservations over the clean-up.
" I know what you are saying and it will be corrected. The police have no
right to pronounce policies. From now on, all policy pronouncements
concerning the two operations, Murambatsvina and Restore Order, will be
issued from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development," said Chinamasa.
He was responding to a question from Pumula-Luveve Member of Parliament and
the opposition party's national organising secretary, Esaph Mdlongwa, who
had asked whether the government had empowered the law enforcement agents to
issue policy statements.
Mdlongwa gave the recent announcement by the Officer Commanding Harare
Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai that urban farming had
been outlawed as an example.
However, Chinamasa said urban farming would be permitted in areas where it
would not interfere with river systems and degrade the environment.
The minister added that government would identify appropriate places and
give directions and guidelines on how to embark on the activity.
He also said the government was aware that the clean-up had resulted in some
damage and accused some non-governmental organisations of exploiting the
situation to their advantage.
" We are aware that there is damage; people are homeless and so forth. We
are aware and we accept that the dislocation has affected the immediate
interests of the people but government has put into place the necessary
logistics to address those immediate concerns such as health," said the
He denied assertions by the MDC secretary for legal affairs and Bulawayo
South legislator David Coltart that the government was committing a crime
against humanity in terms of Article 7 of the Treaty of Rome, which
describes the forcible removal of people as such.
Chinamasa said government had no intention to breach any laws, treaties or
conventions, but was pushing for the observance of the rule of law, which he
said the MDC always talked about.
He said the exercise was only meant to ensure that people followed the
country's laws by not building wherever they wanted without regard to local
authorities by-laws or the rights of others.
Answering questions on the same issue, the Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, said all school children displaced by the
operations would be admitted to educational institutions where their parents
would settle.
However, he did not give figures of the affected children as had been
asked.Chigwedere said government expected that all people at Caledonia Farm,
a transit camp for all those who were displaced by the operation, would have
been cleared within the next 14 days.
The operation continued in Harare yesterday with the removal of tailors from
some buildings in the city centre and razing of home industries in Mufakose.
In the suburbs, property owners continued demolition of illegal

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MIC reserves judgment on closed newspapes

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-23

The Media and Information Commission (MIC) - under fire from journalists for
shutting down publications - has reserved 'judgment' on whether or not to
issue operating licences to two newspapers it closed; the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) and The Tribune.
ANZ are publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday whose two
titles were closed on September 2003 for allegedly contravening provisions
of the restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act - a
law the government is currently attempting to put a human face to.
The Tribune - owned by a consortium of journalists led by former Makonde
legislator, Kindness Paradza - was shut down in June 2004 on allegations of
failing to notify the MIC of material changes in  its new ownership and
Speaking to The Daily Mirror this week, MIC chairman Tafaona Mahoso said:
"The matters were considered over a number of days. What is now only left is
for us to make a determination, we have to be satisfied that the information
we were given is correct."
The long and short of the closure of ANZ is that after the passing into law
of AIPPA in March 2002, it was now a requirement for media houses and
journalists to register.
ANZ subsequently lodged a constitutional appeal with the Supreme Court
challenging what it said were provoking provisions of the Act.
ANZ said certain sections of the AIPPA tore into smitherings the basic
fundamentals of freedom of expression.
The Supreme Court bench threw out ANZ's application saying their hands were
dirty and should return to the MIC, comply with the law by registering and
then go back to the highest court on the land to challenge the
constitutionality of the law.
However, ANZ published the next day and subsequently shut down and police
seized it equipment.
Earlier, the administrative court had ruled that the MIC was improperly
constituted prompting the government to amend the law to legitimise the
current board.
Meanwhile, the MIC also closed another newspaper, The Weekly Times, based in
Bulawayo for operating licence cancelled by the MIC early this year for
failure to adhere to the same media regulations.
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SW Radio

      Detainees On Hunger Strike over abuses

      By Tererai Karimakwenda and Violet Gonda
      22 June 2005

      Zimbabweans in the UK who are in detention seeking asylum status have
decided to go on a hunger strike to try to end any further deportations.
They say that given the ongoing destruction of homes and businesses in
Zimbabwe, it would be cruel to send anyone back home knowing they would face
this suffering. The hunger strike is also to bring attention to abuses in
the detention centres in the UK. Detainees say officials are abusing them
and important documents are being misplaced or stolen. The protest is to go
on until Saturday.

      The detainees have organised themselves under the name United Network
of Detained Zimbabweans UK and are communicating with others in different
detention centres. Despite numerous newspaper accounts, radio interviews and
covert video evidence of abuse in detention centres, the problem is reported
to be continuing. Letters detailing the abuse have been written to officials
but to no avail.

      Tafara Nhengu was a detainee who was saved from being deported at the
very last minute on April 21st. His story was featured on SW Radio Africa
after he was brutally assaulted by guards who twisted his handcuffs so tight
they cut off his circulation and shoved his face into a seat on the
airplane. Tafara has been languishing at Harmsworth detention centre ever
since and is now involved with the newly formed network of detainees.

      Tafara said they have begun a hunger strike to bring their suffering
to the attention of the world and to officials with the power to change the
situation. Their actions are also in solidarity with Zimbabweans starving
back home.

      Immigration officers are allegedly physically and verbally abusing
detainees who resist deportation. Zivai Mupotaringa is a detainee who said
he was forced onto a plane to Zimbabwe last week. He said officers held him
down while they tried to make him sit on the plane. Zivai escaped
deportation after the immigration officers saw that he had been injured and
was bleeding. He says he sustained injuries on his wrist and ankles and had
to spend 4 days in heath care. He is back at the detention centre where he
has been for 3 months.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1:


Please read the attached and lobby your MP. Why cant Britain, in fact the
whole of the G8, do to Mbeki just what was done to the Apartheid regime
regarding ridding Rhodesia of Ian Smith? June 2 is the ideal opportunity.
Please also pass this on to everyone you know in the UK who has an interest
in this Country, and request them to also lobby their respective MP.

The Hitler youth, dressed in riot police uniforms and using arms of war
supplied by China, are busy carrying out the most brutal attacks on the
poor, totally smashing their homes and businesses, and stealing anything
they fancy. The people are either being dispersed to G-d knows where or
very often being carted off to overcrowded concentration camps; we are
told, to be "re-educated"!!

Can you just imagine the pressure this has put on the SPCA? We now have NO
petrol in this Country. Any fuel required for emergencies has to be stolen,
begged for or borrowed; to be paid back once we have a legal Government
here. Who knows when?

Our kennels are bulging at the seams with dogs, cats, chickens, geese,
ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and goats!!!!!!! These are the ones we have
managed to save, wandering around aimlessly amongst the rubble and debris
that once was their owners homes. Some of us still have to stay here if
only to help deal with the suffering being metered out.

These evil creatures have even smashed down orphanages leaving orphans from
young babies to teenagers huddled together for warmth with no roof over
their heads. It is now mid winter here and the night temperatures reach
freezing point and below.

After World War II, the World said "We will never let this happen again"

Is the World turning a blind eye to what is going on here simply because we
have nothing to offer them? (Oil, perhaps?)


Brian Louth

None but the brave


Dear Jag

It is only when someone like Kingston Dutiro writes that the OLF wakes up.
Let Kingston have his say - if he writes it he thinks it, and it is better
expressed.  We need to know the spectrum of opinion.

If we had known what was being thought on the other side, we farmers might
not have been taken by such surprise in 2000, and I would rather have been
forewarned, and therefore forearmed.  We had been so brainwashed by the
outrage expressed over the farm eviction, we missed the fact that a whole
pile of people, world wide, admired President Mugabe for doing what he did,
and gave him that standing ovation in Johannesburg.  That was a revelation
to me.

As for staying, or not staying, you can either get used to living in
another country by leaving, or by staying in your own home - who can
quantify the trauma? But live and let live has always been the way to go.
Sadly, we arent allowed this.



Dear JAG,

This letter is in response to Trevor and Tracey Midlane's recent letter
referring to Zimbabweans as 'spoilt and pampered'.

Why are you both so angry and apparently 'wallowing in self pity'? It was
your choice to move to the UK, just as some people choose to remain in Zim.
The problem of ice on your ladder is all part of living in the UK, Trevor,
and I cant understand why Tracey is earning a pittance. I am doing ever so
well, in fact, I have a healthy bank balance, a car, I have been on holiday
twice to Zim/SA. once to Portugal and in 2 weeks time I am off to Israel
for 10day, and have done all this in just on 2 years working in the UK,
cleaning toilets and making beds. I find this occupation quite lucrative!!!
I came to this country penniless having lost my husband, I am 58 years old
and just a simple farmers wife from Zim. With the right attitude and
determination to survive, anyone can do it. Yes, there are some 70 year
olds stacking Supermarket shelves here in the UK, most likely they are
forced to do this because they have mortgaged thier house to help thier
spoilt Grandchildren to buy thier own houses!!! As for those who have
chosen to remain in Zim for whatever reason, that is thier decision, and go
easy on that 'fat asses' bit!!! My son and daughter-in-law who are trying
to survive with thier 3 children in Zim, are exceptionally thin, due to
stress, hard work and no Tescos!!! As for Taxes being paid to help Zanu PF
'fat cats' get rich, well, if you are paying your Tax here in the UK,
Surprise! According to ITV News last week, this Government, gave £3 million
aid to Zim last year!! At the end of the day, you are still helping to line
the 'fat cats' pockets in Zim Cheer up, stop wasting your energy on being
angry with those who have remained in Zim and channel your energy to making
a better life for yourselves in the UK.  Focus on the good things here in
the UK,- free medical , free schooling, no fuel queues, huge choice of
Supermarkets, phones that work, lights that dont go out, the list is
endless!!  Now who is spoilt and pampered???

Gayle Williams


I read Deneys Reitz' "Commando" the other day - a fine book. Before he goes
into exile in St Helena after the Boer War his father gives him this note:

"Whatever foreign shores my feet must tread My hopes for thee are not yet
dead Thy freedom's sun may for awhile be set But not for ever, God does not

Despite my irreligious nature, I thought it worth passing on.

Paul Kuhn

Thought for the Day

"Beware the man who does not return your blow, he neither forgives you nor
allows you to forgive yourself"

- George Bernard Shaw

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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