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 Victory Block - The farm manager at Prangmere was threatened this morning following a refusal to supply war vets with bread last week, but negotiations are underway and the situation is stable.  Two rallies were held in the area yesterday without incident.
 Glendale - Zanu PF youths caused some disruption to work at Longcroft Farm but the situation is currently stable. War vets are attempting to extort money at Chibara Farm and it is hoped that the situation will be resolved today.
 Bindura/Mtepatepa - Requests for food and transport at Butleigh Farm have been denied, but war vets have been allowed to view the farm for pegging.
 Mazowe/Concession - A Zanu PF rally was held at Jumbo Mine yesterday at which an internal management problem was blown out of proportion and the mine was closed down after threats were made to the manager.
 Horseshoe - After a rally held at Makombe Farm yesterday, a farm lorry was commandeered to transport people home. This was reported to the police.
 Save Conservancy - This morning all was reported to be quiet on Sango Ranch. On Angus/Mukwasi Ranch, more snares have been set and threats have been made to the game scouts if they dismantle them. There is also an increase in poaching. There has also been talk of more people coming onto this ranch today - but the weather is overcast and this is hoped to deter them.
 Mwenezi - There has been a report of people to be moving on to Sosonye Ranch today.
 Gutu/Chatsworth - No communications with them this morning.
 Chiredzi - Alstar Haved is expecting an increase of people on Tuesday 6th June.  A report was received that a meeting was held in Chiredzi on Friday and only 3 farmers attended it as it had been kept very quiet. Reports are that the war vets are not concerned about the farm list in the paper and that they are planning to take away farms/land that is underutilised and farms from any farmer that has more than one property.
 Masvingo East and Central - Quiet
 Chimanimani - Janita Farm was invaded by 40 on Friday 2 June. The outbuildings are being used as a base.
 Nyazura - Intimidation of labour by Zanu PF is ongoing. Vets at Nyazura are stating they they will decide which land is for resettlment, and that it will not necessarily be in accordance with the list that appeared in the Herald on Friday.
 Gweru - "Gunpowder" was at a rally inciting people to invade farms. A guard was threatened when looking for missing cattle on Wildebeest Farm. On Friday, Hillside Farm workers were told to attend a rally on Highlands. On Saturday afternoon demands were made for advance party to practise for rally , transport demaned and denied as it was very late in the evening. On Sunday the workers attended the rally, and the owners were not allowed to return to their property after an outing. Police are not moving the invaders as they say they are peaceful.
 Somabhula - a new, non-hostile invasion on Prospect Farm.
 Nothing to report from the rest of the region.
 Fynnlands Farm reported a shot heard at approximately 1 p.m. on Sunday 4 June.  Occupiers are threatening a work stoppage on Sholliver Farm.  93 wire snares have been found on Kuti Estates in the past two weeks.
 Norton - Police were called in to defuse a situation on Clifford Farm.  On Idaho Farm, invaders tried to  stop grading, but eventually allowed the labour to continue.
 Chakari - A further group of 28 have arrived on Blackmorevale Farm.
 Kadoma - Berkely Chase Farm was invaded yesterday by 70 people from the neighbouring resettlement area. This farm is on the gazetted list.
 Selous - There was an invasion onto Virginia yesterday with workers forced to pay $25 for a plot and having to do their own pegging.
 Farmers in the region are delighted with the half to one inch of rain because it has made the non-invited guests very uncomfortable.
 Macheke/Virginia - Police reacted to an assault on the foreman of Airlie and made two arrests.  On Fairview invaders assaulted the crop guard and stole some maize on Saturday. Police have made arrests. Paradise - relating to attempts at extortion by invaders on labour, police visited and gave the invaders a stern warning.
 Marondera North - Rapid was invaded, but not occupied yesterday.
 Marondera South - Land prep prevention continues on Gerejena Farm. The owner was assured co-operation from war vet Marimo but he will now have to liaise with DISPOL to address this issue. 3 beasts were slaughtered by stock thieves on Eirene. On Elmswood the whole farm is pegged for residential plots.  The whole of Lendy Farm is pegged and the farmer has been instructed to leave the farm. He told the invaders that it would be their responsibility to tell the 300 children that pass through the lands to school not to remove them, and to punish them if they knock the pegs over. Once the onus was put onto the war vets they left the farm.
 Beatrice/Harare South - Auk's Nest had a visit by a group intending to peg, but they did not stay. 40 people from Marondera went onto Karreboom to peg as the farm has been relisted, but the owner managed to negotiate with them and they moved onto Argyle, where the heavy rain in the area seems to be sending a couple of invaders home early.
 Wedza - A meeting took place yesterday at Kuatora.  Three farmers attended and were not treated well. A threat was made at the meeting that those voting for opposition would be identified. Chigwadere stated that they are not interested in the gazetted list as they will have half of every farm in the area.
 Featherstone - The hard rain seems to be keeping the war vets quiet.  On Charter Estates it has been decided to build bomas to keep animals in whilst all of the poaching is going on.
 Bromley/Ruwa/Enterprise - no report.
 Bulawayo Land Owners Farmers' Association  - A total of about 150 plots pegged by townsfolk on Standish Estate and Umgusa Valley Estate over the weekend.
 Nyamandhlovu - On Saturday poaching of game was confirmed on Redwood Park, and four shots were reported to have been fired. The invaders occupied the school buildings yesterday, and the school was closed today. A cow has been slaughtered. Occupiers have been caught with the meat.
 Insiza/Shangani - Three poachers who were arrested on Friday from Debsham were war veterans and CIO details. Police are proceeding with prosecution. War vets are threatening the farm manager and the destruction homesteads in retribution. 5 homes have been vacated, and staff is being intimidated. Police support from local and provincial level has been excellent.
For your information, election observers can be contacted at:
1.   Monomatapa Hotel - for EU observers
2.   Fax: 781228 - for Commonwealth Observers
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as MDC battles with a critical shortage of resources

The Movement for Democratic change, Zimbabwe's main opposition party had barely announced its list of 120 candidates on Saturday (June 3) when horrific tales of gang rape, beatings, murder, disappearances and the burning of homes and vehicles reached MDC offices.

In the Mutaga area there have been nine reports of women being raped by so-called war veterans supporting Zanu-PF. In one instance the wife of a senior MDC official was attacked in her bedroom by seven men claiming to be Zanu-PF supporters to "punish her for selling MDC cards."
She was held down at each arm and each leg by four men, a fifth man sat on her neck and pummelled her while they took turns beating her and her husband claims she was raped. They beat her so severely that she can barely walk and her skin is navy with bruises. Sekai Holland, the MDC candidate for the area said: "the woman now walks around telling people she is no longer a person."

When the woman's husband, Mr Chinyerere (39) went to report the attack to the police, they allegedly told him they had no time to help him.  The attackers later beat him up with rocks. When Chinyerere went to report the assault on himself, the police again allegedly said they could not assist, according to Holland. On Sunday night Mr Chinyerere was taken off a bus and beaten savagely, he is not expected to live.  Holland has reported the incidents to Willard Sande, the officer in charge at Mataga but no arrests have yet taken place.

Another man, Elton Shoko, who on Thursday reported the abduction of his wife two days before by so-called war vets has been arrested by police. The whereabouts of his wife is still not known and his children are without adult care. 
The homes of two further MDC supporters - Tongiso Mutsungi and Goodwill Shoko - were razed on Sunday night in Mberengwa;
and Z$135 000 stolen from Holland.
Her campaign manager, Thandi Mukariti whose bookshop was looted and stoned last week has disappeared, "she phoned for us to fetch her on Friday, the car sent for her was attacked and burnt and we have not seen nor heard from Thandi since."
An angry, but determined Holland said: "I am going to campaign face to face with Zanu-PF, if it means I am going to die then it tells what is happening in Zimbabwe."

MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said he was distressed by the acute levels of violence against supporters, in particular the rape and abduction of women.  There is also a growing refugee problem in Zimbabwe with various agencies estimating that up to 10 000 people may have been displaced by land invasions and violence.
"On Sunday I was in Mutase where 100 people have been displaced by attacks on their homes, I managed to find tents for them, but they have no blankets and it is bitterly cold in that area. People are showing exceptional bravery and commitment in their quest to bring in a new government.

"The MDC has demonstrated that it has a credible alternative programme with the leadership and competence to lead the country. However, public perceptions are that we have unlimited resources, but we are desperate for every necessaity whether photocopiers, transport or volunteers.  The challenge is for people in Zimbabwe and wellwishers inside and outside the country to help our support centres not only with office equipment and resources, but assistance for displaced and severely traumatised people.
"Mutase as an example, is an area of some 100km across with poor roads, there is no way an organiser can cover that area on a bicycle. The support centre there does not even have a telephone.

"In Chikomba, the constituency Zanu-PF war veterans leader, Hitler Chenjerai Hunzi is contesting; teachers have been beaten up and constituents. The MDC candidate, Peter Kaunda faces a tough battle. It is a totally rural area, with poor roads and infrastructure, people are very frightened in that area and need reassurance,'' Tsvangirai said.

In the main MDC support centre in Harare, the mainly volunteer staff range from economists to engineers, journalists, farmers and academics, many of whom have worked without pay for months.  The office is shared with an architect's firm. There are only two operative telephone lines, a single photocopier, one fax machine, a single printer to serve four computers - "and very energetic, hardworking, optimistic people," Morgan Tsvangirai said.  "This election will be won through the bravery and powerful commitment of Zimbabweans to bring about peaceful, democratic change regardless of the obstacles. "But the cost of this change is already very high, Mugabe's actions have been nothing short of treasonous to his own people." ends

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The Times
May 31 2000  AFRICA

Hidden victims of Mugabe's election campaign


THE fate of Learnmore Chagonda is not recorded on the small list of 26
people officially acknowledged to have been killed in the campaign of rural
terror in Zimbabwe.
But there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, like him who have died after
receiving a savage beating by pro-government supporters. President Mugabe's
Zanu (PF) party is determined to bully the electorate into voting for him
next month's parliamentary elections as it is to keep the official toll of
deaths a secret.

Learnmore's real name has been withheld to protect the surviving members of
his family who are now living in daily fear of their lives. He was killed
not because he was a supporter of any opposition party but because he was
fingered by a jealous villager, who saw in Zimbabwe's raging political
turmoil an opportunity to settle an old score.

According to his brother, who asked to remain anonymous, Learnmore's shack,
in a village west of Harare, was surrounded last week by 15 Zanu (PF)
supporters who were looking for evidence that he was a member of the
opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Three Zanu youths forced their way into the house," he said. "They looked
around but they couldn't find anything. Then they started beating his wife,
accusing her of hiding MDC T-shirts. Then they said they were taking her
husband for further interrogation. He was taken to a local indoctrination
camp which Zanu had set up as a base for its campaign in the surrounding

"All night they beat him. He was beaten with logs, iron bars and a sjambok
[a heavy whip] wrapped in barbed wire. They kept telling him to denounce
MDC. When they had finished, they dumped him on the roadside and left him
for dead."

Learnmore was recognised the next morning by a member of his village. An
ox-drawn wagon was found to haul him to a nearby Roman Catholic mission.
Ignoring threats from Zanu (PF) youths that they would be attacked if they
treated him, the nuns bandaged his wounds, and released him the next day.
Learnmore was carried home by members of his family.

Again they were warned not to take him to hospital. When Zanu (PF)
supporters woke all the members of the village at 4am to attend a political
rally, his family were able to use the confusion as cover to smuggle him
of the village and take him to a hospital in Harare.

Learnmore's brother said: "He arrived at the hospital at ten in the morning
but the doctors did not get round to examining him until eight in the
evening. He had a huge bump on his head. He had torn flesh all over his
body. On the back of his right leg was a deep wound. He was in great pain."

Learnmore's brother said that in African villages there is a great deal of
jealousy. Learnmore did not have a job but he had relatives who had good
jobs in Harare, who gave him money to buy food and clothes for his family.
Other villagers were less fortunate. He said: "I suspect someone in the
village was envious of Learnmore and went to Zanu and said, 'Do you know
that man? He's an MDC supporter.' That's all it takes. That's how personal
vendettas get settled."

Learnmore was hospitalised eight days after the assault. His brother said:
"Some of the wounds had gone septic. They said they would have to cut it
to stop the gangrene. Then they said if the worst comes to the worst, they
would have to amputate. His whole body had started to swell and he had
stopped speaking. The next day we were told that he was dead.

"We have lost our brother. We are not the only ones. The beatings and
killings are happening all the time. People in the village were warned that
if the MDC wins the election, Zanu will shoot everybody. Everyone fears
Zanu will know how you vote."

Struggling to hold back his grief, Learnmore's brother said that his loss
would only bolster his defiance. He said: "It is only us, the people of
Zimbabwe, who can stand up and say no, no, no, we have had enough. Until
that fear has been shaken off, nothing will change."

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Campaign Funds

Zimbabwe needs your help!!
Dear All,
WE are desperately short of campaign funds to fight the coming election. Candidates need to have posters printed, we need to pay for transport, and many, many other items. As you are aware, Zanu-Pf has unlimited access to public funds (and I mean totally unlimited - my guess is they have already consumed around Z$100 million in the terror campaign, radio, TV and press). Under undemocratic legilisaltion, which typifies a de facto One Party State, parliament automatically provides vast amounts of the tax payer's money, under the Political Parties Finance Act, to the ZANU-PF campaign.Furhtermore, please add to this the daily payments made to the  so called War Vets  and the cost of deploying the thugs and ZANU-PF youth in army vehicles - Simon Spooner
WE appeal for anything you can spare to try and save our country from otherwise certain disaster, bloodshed and mayhem.
Charles Frizell
MDC Election Directorate
National Westminster Bank
MDC Trust UK
Account No: 71070397
Sort Code: 50-00-00
City of London Office
1 Princes Street
Cape of Good Hope Bank
Account No: 9325388
Branch No: 1000909
P O Box 2125
Cape Town 8000

Keep up the momentum!
MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge
Chinja Maitiro / Maitiro Chinja
Website :


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Warning : attacks on ladies

I know, you've heard it before, but you can't be too careful, it happened to my mom when she was also walking back from Honey Dew aroung 11.00am.

There is a group of four black males running around in a white  mazda 323.  They are targeting  females so far, ALL females should be aware of this, and be very careful, but men too, should be aware.   They attacked an elderly white lady  walking home from Honeydew in Greendale a week ago, right outside a friends house. Luckily they heard her screaming and this gang ran away, but not after  assaulting her.  A couple of days  ago, a young white girl was attacked across the road from the Convent, just outside the Catholic Church, at about  11am.
She managed to get away from them  and suffered only a cut on the head.
  Another victim was waiting on the road for a lift or a bus, and was using a cellphone - this one, I believe, was a  male, who has now suffered injuries and  has lost a cellphone.  These are the attacks I know of - there are most likely plenty more that I DONT know  about!
These men are armed and  dangerous. They have guns, and they also use
sticks and axes.  The police have ordered their force to shoot  to kill if they see these men.
If you have to walk somewhere, go in a group -  if you cant do that, make sure you look  around you, notice everything, dont flash your cellphones around, hide them in pockets or under jerseys/jackets.  At night clubs, if you have to go to the  car, or anywhere outside, DO NOT go on  your own, go with two or even better, three or four others. Try not to go walking around with a handbag. If you are  walking to your car, have the keys  already in your hand - DONT wait until you get to the car before you start looking for them, so that when you get to the car, you can just unlock and get in  AND LOCK YOURSELF IN. MAKE SURE you look  inside your car before you get in also - as it has happened that car-jackers hide inside the vehicle and wait till  the person is settled in and driving  off!  Look around you when walking, and also when you park somewhere - be on your guard for anything that  looks suspicious.  Everyone has a  sixth-sense - a gut feeling - instinct - LISTEN to your instinct.
This group does  not talk - they just attack - the next victim may not be so lucky and may be killed.
Parents with schoolgoing children - please tell them  about this - if this gang has started  watching schools, they will wait for a victim who is standing on her own waiting for a lift home, or will see  who walks home, etc...the more people  that know about it the better.

Please pass this  information on to everyone you know.
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An overview.

Situation Report, 31May, commercial farming areas.

There have been few new invasions of commercial farms over the passed
two weeks, the focus of "war veteran"/Zanu PF (ZPF) youth activity at
the beginning of this period changed from occupying new territory to
consolidating their position in the areas they have invaded. The list of
approximately 800 farms designated for acquisition was gazetted
yesterday and it will be interesting to see if there is any change in
political activity in the rural areas as a result. It is unlikely that
the farm invaders will move off occupied farms until after the
elections, the objective being to secure a poll result favourable to

Reports from Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) regional offices and
reports in the press over the last two weeks characterise "political
activity" in the rural areas as follows, to a greater or lesser degree
depending on the region.

- Establishment of "base camps" by the invaders on farms in the
intensive farming areas. Typically a group of a few "war veteran"
commanders (WVC) and a larger number of ZPF youth (protection) establish
a camp on one farm, where they sleep. During the day they move about
within a group of 4-8 neighbouring farms, checking on the residents and
for any political activity by opposition members.

- Farm workers and farmers have been subjected to political
"re-education" meetings, sometimes all night. In some instances
"re-education specialists" have been imported from outside the area for
this purpose.

- Farmers and workers have been forced to attend local political
rallies, usually addressed by the local ZPF leadership/MP and the local
senior WVC. Farmers have been forced to supply transport to and from
these meetings.

- The invaders have extorted food from farmers, in some cases indulging
in game and fish poaching, and a large number of cattle have been
slaughtered illegally. Farmers have been forced to provide transport to
large ZPF "star" rallies outside the district to enable the invaders and
farm workers to be addressed by senior ZPF members. Vehicles have been
taken without the farmer's knowledge/permission in some instances to
enable the local WVC to move both within and outside the district.

- In a few cases in areas where there is no established invader
presence, "strike teams" of "war veterans" and ZPF youth from outside
the district have commandeered trucks and light vehicles to raid farms,
especially those where the farmer or farm workers are active MDC
supporters. In some cases there has been a well organised placement of
small "stop groups" on routes off the farm before the main raid takes
place, intended to prevent the farmer or workers from leaving.

- Towards the latter part of this period there has been an improvement
in police action where arrests of invaders have been made and stolen
property recovered. This has followed the rotation of police district
leadership in some cases, but this new action has not been sufficient to
improve the situation in the rural areas to any marked degree. It has
resulted in a few cases of retaliation by the invaders against farmers
and the police, as in an attack on the Mvurwi Police Station where one
invader was shot and killed.


There is a definite command and control structure co-ordinating the farm
invasions, in terms of timing and place and in terms of the process that
unfolds once the invasions have occurred. Farmers have spoken about WVC
rendezvous with personnel moving through the districts to receive
"orders", or going to district and provincial command centres for
briefing. There is a regular rotation of invaders in some areas. There
have been reports in the press about the use by invaders of cell phones
and portable radios in farm invasions, and the involvement of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIO) in this regard.

Efforts by the CFU leadership to engage in dialogue and de-escalate the
invasion of farms have been thwarted by insincerity and lack of
commitment on the part of government and the War Veteran leadership.
Several statements by government ministers that invaders should vacate
the farms have been ignored. In some cases these statements have been
directly contradicted by President Mugabe. The farm invaders have been
resolute in pursuing their pattern of activities throughout, suggesting
that the "agenda" for farm invasions has little to do with land reform.
Despite this the CFU has advised farmers' association chairman to
actively participate in the process of resettlement at district level.
They are advised to work with local authorities in identifying suitable
farms with the intention of minimising the effect on existing
communities and to facilitate the return to orderly farm production as
soon as possible. The CFU has stated that free and fair elections are
not possible while farm invaders remain on farms.

Given that the police and the army (ZRP and ZNA) are not actively
enforcing the rule of law and that there has been no authoritative
statement as to what their intentions are, and given the intolerance by
ZPF of any opposition political activity in the rural areas, there is a
real threat of widespread civil strife during and after the elections.
There have been press reports of the ZNA giving military training to ZPF
members, and of over 20000 assault rifles being offloaded at Manyame Air
Base in Harare from an unmarked military aircraft originating in Angola.
This implies a more sinister motive to the land invasions.

The situation in the urban areas is relatively calm at present. There
have been incidents of intimidation and disruptions to work by "war
veterans" in some government owned factories in Harare, as well as an
increase in car hijacking and mugging in Harare. Given the uncertainty,
though, the situation is being taken very seriously with plans being
formulated to deal with any further escalation. This is not to imply
that the situation will deteriorate.

For the sake of information, broadly speaking the measures would take
place in three phases, if implemented:
- Phase 1. Preparation to move to a place of safety/assembly point.
Personal and official documentation, storage/movement of valuable items,
transport arrangements, food  sufficient to last 7 days. Communications.
People requiring assistance in the event of evacuation. Pets.
- Phase 2. Evacuation of all non - essential personnel.
- Phase 3. Evacuation of remaining personnel.

This plan applies firstly at the rural district level (farmers
association, town), ie evacuation to an urban area/assembly point, and
at the national level (neighbourhood watch, suburb, city). At the
national level the progression from one phase to another would be
measured in terms of existing diplomatic/international criteria and
would be announced on the BBC radio and television services. All rural
communities are advised to familiarise themselves with this process, for
the sake of preparation.

We are currently in phase 1, with some evacuation having already
occurred by people threatened in the rural areas. Over 6000 rural people
are being given refuge in Harare.

At the present time there is generally a watch and wait attitude and
there is a general downturn in business activity, pending the elections
later this month.

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From The Daily News, 1 June 2000

Methodist Church calls for new leadership

Daily News Correspondent, Bulawayo

A Methodist Church minister of religion, Rev Graham Shaw, says Zimbabwe now
needs a new and effective national leadership to pull the country out of its
present predicament. This becomes the second church in Zimbabwe to call for
the government's resignation in the wake of the political violence which has
gripped Zimbabwe since 16 February Shaw, the superintendent for the Wesley
circuit, told The Daily News in Bulawayo the Methodist Church condemned the
use of political coercion and the threats of a civil war at a meeting in
Thekwane, Plumtree, recently. While there was a culture of fear in the
country, Shaw said, the church was urging its members to stand up and demand
a return to the rule of law and respect for the judicial process.

He said the church had lost faith in the Zanu PF government because the
ruling party was threatening a return to war if it did not win the
parliamentary elections. "We are hoping that despite problems, there will be
a moment of change and a new beginning for this country," said Shaw. "The
church strongly condemns the use of violence and the racist and inflammatory

While the church has been condemned for sitting back while the country was
degenerating into anarchy, individual clergymen and laymen have spoken out
against the present situation. Catholic cleric Archbishop Pius Ncube, of
Bulawayo, is among those who have openly stated their opposition to
intimidation and the alleged arming of Zanu PF supporters in the run-up to
the elections. Recently security agents visited Ncube and questioned him on
his political stand but Ncube said he was not afraid of them. He would
continue to press for human rights, he said.

Shaw, who conceded that the church had been too silent for too long, said
now there were signs that it was waking up from its slumber. He said: "Yes,
we have not been as alert as we should have been. But there are encouraging
signs that the church is beginning to express these issues in a prophetic
way." The Methodist Church sought to ensure that people were alert to the
abuse of human rights. "Our concern is that elections should be free and
fair and there is a desire to let people speak their minds. There should
also be a legal redistribution of land," he said.

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Comment from The Daily News, 1 June 2000

We can easily rewrite our story

Petronilla Samuriwo

THERE is so much political drama going on in our country. Stephen Spielberg,
the Hollywood film producer, could stitch up more than enough ideas, and
cook up just as many Zimbabwean ingredients of a morally low flavour,
associated with the makings of Tinsel Town blockbusters murder, racism,
police brutality, corruption and intimidation.

But it also goes without saying that the drama has also presented the
country with an opportune moment to rethink and redefine hunhu (dignity), a
Shona term which underlines what it means to be human. Current events have
led serious-minded Zimbabweans to slowly engage in a conscious re-analysis
of this concept.

These days the politically correct terms to use are "lawlessness", "anarchy"
and "breakdown of law and order". But if we have to call this whole thing by
its proper name, it might just be said that kurasika kwehunhu hwedu (we have
lost our human dignity). Among the Shona, the majority ethnic group in the
country comprising some three-quarters of the 12 million national
population, the traditional ethical code promotes morality respect, human
dignity, relationship, brotherhood, support of family and its extensions,
and good neighbourliness. Professor Michael Gelfand, once wrote in his book,
The Genuine Shona, that the rich beauty of the Shona ethical code stands out
in sharp contrast to the material individualism of the West. But today one
may well ask if the Shona still possess their original beauty, and if at all
they still have something to offer the world in terms of human behaviour.

This concept of hunhu can be seen in many dimensions social, political,
religious, etc. As events unfold, politics continues to touch every facet of
Zimbabwean life. Even women's weekend baby-showers and tea parties have not
been spared. Who said women were not interested in politics? Recently I
attended one such party. A "womanist" gathering indeed. And "womanism" need
not be interpreted as uncompromising and militant ideas of single
parenthood, or husbands changing nappies.

We had fun and played games. But not feminine frivolity such as painting
lips and nails. You see, it's now an accepted tradition that the
mother-to-be always has to correctly guess the concealed presents for her
baby. Wrong guesses attract punishment. Therefore, when the mother-to-be
guessed wrongly, someone had the idea to dress my good pregnant friend as a
war veteran out to invade a farm. She cut both a hilarious and sorry sight
when she was made to parade down the road a hoe in one hand and a dried-up
maize stalk with wilted cobs in the other! The shower party satire mirrored
the general wider picture of events in Zimbabwe, where currently nothing
seems to be quite real. Everyday living can best be described as both a
tragedy and a comedy. It's incredible how short a distance my monthly salary
accompanies me during the month. I would have found it inconceivable if
someone had predicted four years ago, that by the Year 2000 I'd have no
spare change to indulge my child a boat-ride at Greenwood Park, the popular
children's recreation ground in the centre of Harare.

Somehow, it seems as though we are all still rehearsing, each their part and
role to play for the final dramatic scene. This rustic image of my friend's
caricature of a war veteran somehow managed to induce my sympathy and fear.
Sympathy for the many poor women struggling to get on in life victims of
society, victims of the system. The image of a usually smart and
sophisticated young woman adorning tatters sent a shock wave, the fear that,
given the way things are going in Zimbabwe, such an image can easily become
reality that could be any Zimbabwean woman, that could be me, retrenched,
out of employment, perhaps divorced with no income, without accommodation,
and venting misdirected anger by joining the invasion of a real farm, and
without hunhu.

For many people though, these things happen elsewhere, and to other people.
Strife and discord happen next door. We are only ruffled when we discover
them in our own backyards. Remember the baby-dumping cases of the 1980s?
Blood-curdling news stories of newly born babies found in trash cans or
Blair toilets, some lucky to be alive, some not so lucky. During that
period, cases involving the misappropriation of funds in schools and banks
also competed for space in The Herald, then the only daily newspaper.
Alongside our nose-diving economy and the decimating Aids pandemic, the
1990s were dominated by stories of armed robberies and muti (ritual)
murders, manifested by a rise in disappearances of people, mutilated bodies
and missing body parts.

By the time we entered the new millennium, Zimbabwe ranked high in Aids
infection rates, while child physical and sexual abuse had become
commonplace. Crime has escalated to a point where citizens are constantly
terrorised by knife-wielding and gun-totting cellphone thieves. There is a
close link between poverty and crime, and our Zimbabwean situation follows
the law of cause and effect. In many respects, colonisation naturalised
inhuman ways, hardening our people. But Zimbabwe's political independence
also came with its own challenges impacting negatively upon the fabric of
our society. Law and order in our country - natural, customary, and/or
otherwise - started breaking down a long time ago. We should not really be
surprised by current acts of violence and aggression, because for some time
now, and for various reasons, we have chosen to look the other way, so long
as we are safe in our ghettos.

For a good number of years now, there has been systematic beatings of young
women whose dressing is regarded as offensive to morals. Girls have been
stripped naked, molested and humiliated in the city centre. Similar
incidents were reported to have taken place at the University of Zimbabwe,
supposedly a place of higher learning. But some among us applauded these
bullies, whose equivalents you will most likely find at the invaded farms.
Women's rights activists spoke out against these incidents, but there was a
deafening silence coming from elsewhere. This kind of thing happened to
other people's daughters, therefore many parents were not too concerned
about the trauma or psychological effects suffered by a young woman mobbed
and invaded by a group of ruffians.

For some time now Zimbabwe has condoned violence. We have also seen the
abuse of public office by government officials who have amassed wealth and
property at the expense of hard-working taxpayers. There are very few
upright role models for our children. We are a broken people in urgent need
of mending. But the successful recovery of our being as a nation means
participation from all members of society. The storyline can be changed for
the better for future generations. By each playing their part, we can
conclude this drama with a grand real live performance of our own true

Petronilla Samuriwo is the Editor of the Catholic Church News

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04 June 2000 08:05 PM - (SA)

UK Conservatives slate Mugabe

Jeremy Lovell

Harare - Britain's opposition Conservative Party accused President Robert Mugabe of using state-sponsored terrorism to undermine the opposition in an election campaign that started formally on Sunday.

Francis Maude, Conservative Party spokesperson on foreign affairs, told reporters in Zimbabwe at the end of a 36-hour visit there was little hope of a fair election on June 24-25.

"It is absolutely clear that what is going on here is a deliberate policy of state terrorism which derives directly from the head of state. It is an appalling breach of trust," he said.

Zimbabwe's election campaign started in earnest on Sunday with political analysts crediting international observers with the success of an incident-free nomination race on Saturday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which had feared obstruction by government officials and ruling party supporters, registered candidates in all 120 constituencies.

Thirty of the 150 parliamentary seats go to tribal chiefs and provincial governors appointed by President Robert Mugabe and to 10 people he appoints directly to the assembly, giving his ruling Zanu-PF a built-in lead.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai remained confident, however, telling about 2 000 people at a rally that voters had the power to end the 76-year-old Mugabe's rule.

"You should not fear to vote. We are going to win. If they cheat we are not going to use guns, but we will be tough on them in parliament.

"Pressure from the people"

"If they cheat, they are going to get pressure from the people. We must never again betray the people of Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader.

MDC officials said on Sunday it still was impossible for their candidates to campaign in some areas and even to move around in others.

The MDC defeated Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF in a referendum on a new constitution in January. Political analysts say that without intimidation, the party could bring Zanu-PF's 20-year rule to an end later this month.

At least 28 people have been killed and scores more injured, raped or forced to flee in a violent run-up to the poll.

Maude said he spoke to leaders of civil society and would meet Tsvangirai before flying home later on Sunday, but would not see any government representative.

Mugabe has put Britain at the centre of the election campaign, charging that British colonial rulers stole land that he is trying to return.

Maude criticised Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon for saying after talks with Mugabe last month that a free and fair election was possible in Zimbabwe.

"I find it very hard from what we have heard and seen to believe that there can be an open and fair election in this country. There has been a lot of gerrymandering, a systematic rigging of the electoral roll, actual violence and threats of violence," he said.

Maude said he would press the Commonwealth to send between 300 and 500 observers to monitor the election and would propose that they stay on for several weeks after the vote.

Mugabe bans British nationals

Mugabe has banned British nationals from all observer groups and has said only those white Zimbabweans who can prove they have renounced their right to British citizenship will be allowed to vote.

Mugabe, who faces presidential elections in 2002, is expected to bring his party's campaign to a climax in Harare on June 22, two days before polling on June 24-25.

Political scientist Alfred Nhema told Reuters on Sunday the incident-free nomination process could signal a drift away from lawlessness and intimidation.

"There is some difference in the behaviour. What happened yesterday is an indication that things could get a little smoother," he said.

Nhema said the presence of foreign observers in the 10 special nomination courts across the country had helped.

Political analyst Masipula Sithole said observers had been able to influence the process because they needed only to monitor 10 venues.

"You get the impression that they (the government) are trying to put up a veneer of order because there are international observers in town.

"It was too limited a space to play tricks...The voting and campaign field is much larger and this will be much more difficult to observe," he said.

Observer missions already in the country include advance teams from the European Union, the Commonwealth, the World Council of Churches and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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Sunday, June 4 11:35 PM SGT

Opposition leader likens Mugabe to baboon stealing crops

MUTARE, Zimbabwe, June 4 (AFP) -

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai brought his campaign to eastern Zimbabwe Sunday, telling some 2,000 supporters in the Mutare suburb of Dangamvura that President Robert Mugabe was like a baboon stealing crops in a field.

"He is a thief," the fiery trade unionist declared in Shona, as he lambasted corruption in the government.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is contesting all 120 electorates in parliamentary elections on June 24-25, but says that attacks by stalwarts of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) make it too dangerous for candidates to campaign in most of them.

At least 29 people have died in political violence since February, and squatters led by veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war from Britain have occupied 1,500 white-owned farms. The government has identified the first 804 white-owned farms -- not all of them occupied -- which it will seize without payment and distribute to landless blacks.

Many of the crowd at the Dangamvura football field wore MDC T-shirts, but few T-shirts were visible on the streets outside after the rally ended -- supporters generally take them off to avoid being beaten up by ZANU-PF militants.

Daniel Sithole, the MDC's vice president for Manicaland privince, claimed however that such attacks had stopped in Mutare because the ruling party realised the MDC was in a majority here.

"Some police and soldiers buy MDC membership cards in secret," he told AFP.

Marshals frisked supporters for weapons as they arrived, and police -- some with bayonets fixed to their rifles -- stood by in six Land Rovers and one truck, but the rally went off peacefully, as did an earlier one at the nearby town of Odzi.

The good-humoured crowd chanted and performed toi-tois -- victory shuffles -- as Tsvangirai and his officials and bodyguards arrived in unmarked cars.

The MDC has an uphill task, because the president appoints 30 of the 150 members of the unicameral parliament, but, Tsvangirai told the cheering crowd, "We shall find a way to celebrate because we're going to win."

He said that if the government rigged the elections, "we are not going to find guns -- we shall fight with our fists."

The opposition leader called for the imbalance in land distribution to be corrected -- white Zimbabweans own big commercial farms while millions of blacks farm small plots on less fertile land -- but said it should be done without violence, and with the introduction of the necessary infrastructure.

But his main message was that the 76-year-old Mugabe, whose mandate expires in 2002, should leave office after ruling Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 -- "he is too old to do anything" -- and give power to the people.

One young MDC supporter told AFP he regarded Mugabe as a "father," but added: "He hasn't done anything for us.... There are no jobs."

Said another: "The politicians are stealing like hell.

Both were too frightened to give their names, but in Mutare later an AFP photographer witnessed an unprecedented sight: young people wearing MDC and ZANU-PF T-shirts drinking beer together in a Mutare tavern and obviously the best of friends.

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