COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
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
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
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
Gutu/Chatsworth - No communications with them this
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
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
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
Farmers in the region are delighted with the half to one inch
of rain because it has made the non-invited guests very
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.
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
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
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
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.
your information, election observers can be contacted at:
1. Monomatapa Hotel - for EU observers
Fax: 781228 - for Commonwealth Observers
HORRIFIC TALES OF RAPE, MURDERS, BEATINGS AND DISAPPEARANCES...
MDC battles with a critical shortage of resources
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
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
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."
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.
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
"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
"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
"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.
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
May 31 2000 AFRICA
Hidden victims of Mugabe's
FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN HARARE
fate of Learnmore Chagonda is not recorded on the small list of 26
officially acknowledged to have been killed in the campaign of
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
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
According to his brother, who asked to remain anonymous,
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
"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
When they had finished, they dumped him on the roadside and left him
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
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
Again they were warned not to take him to hospital. When
supporters woke all the members of the village at 4am to attend
rally, his family were able to use the confusion as cover to
of the village and take him to a hospital in
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
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
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
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
MDC Election Directorate
National Westminster Bank
MDC Trust UK
Account No: 71070397
Sort Code: 50-00-00
City of London Office
Cape of Good Hope Bank
Branch No: 1000909
P O Box 2125
Keep up the momentum!
8th Floor, Gold
Chinja Maitiro / Maitiro
Warning : attacks on ladies
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
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.
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
This group does not talk - they just attack -
the next victim may not be so lucky and may be
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
Situation Report, 31May, commercial
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
position in the areas they have invaded. The list of
800 farms designated for acquisition was gazetted
yesterday and it
will be interesting to see if there is any change in
activity in the rural areas as a result. It is unlikely that
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
- 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
- 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
- Farmers and workers have been forced to attend local
rallies, usually addressed by the local ZPF leadership/MP
and the local
senior WVC. Farmers have been forced to supply
transport to and from
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
large ZPF "star" rallies outside the district to enable the
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.
the latter part of this period there has been an improvement
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
improve the situation in the rural areas to any marked degree.
resulted in a few cases of retaliation by the invaders
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
with personnel moving through the districts to receive
going to district and provincial command centres for
There is a regular rotation of invaders in some areas. There
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
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
participate in the process of resettlement at district level.
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
not possible while farm invaders remain on farms.
Given that the police and the army (ZRP and ZNA) are not
enforcing the rule of law and that there has been no
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.
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
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
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, foodÂ sufficient to last 7 days.
People requiring assistance in the event of
- Phase 2. Evacuation of all non - essential
- Phase 3. Evacuation of remaining personnel.
This plan applies firstly at the rural district level
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
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
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.
From The Daily News, 1 June 2000
Methodist Church calls for new
Daily News Correspondent, Bulawayo
Church minister of religion, Rev Graham Shaw, says Zimbabwe now
needs a new
and effective national leadership to pull the country out of its
predicament. This becomes the second church in Zimbabwe to call for
government's resignation in the wake of the political violence which
gripped Zimbabwe since 16 February Shaw, the superintendent for the
circuit, told The Daily News in Bulawayo the Methodist Church
use of political coercion and the threats of a civil war at a
Thekwane, Plumtree, recently. While there was a culture of fear in
country, Shaw said, the church was urging its members to stand up and
a return to the rule of law and respect for the judicial
He said the church had lost faith in the Zanu PF government
ruling party was threatening a return to war if it did not win
parliamentary elections. "We are hoping that despite problems, there will
a moment of change and a new beginning for this country," said Shaw.
church strongly condemns the use of violence and the racist and
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
Shaw, who conceded that the church had been too silent for too
now there were signs that it was waking up from its slumber. He
we have not been as alert as we should have been. But there are
signs that the church is beginning to express these issues in a
way." The Methodist Church sought to ensure that people were alert
abuse of human rights. "Our concern is that elections should be free
fair and there is a desire to let people speak their minds. There
also be a legal redistribution of land," he said.
Comment from The Daily News, 1 June 2000
We can easily rewrite our
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
But it also goes without saying that the drama has also
country with an opportune moment to rethink and redefine hunhu
Shona term which underlines what it means to be human. Current
led serious-minded Zimbabweans to slowly engage in a conscious
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
We had fun and played games. But not feminine frivolity such
lips and nails. You see, it's now an accepted tradition that
mother-to-be always has to correctly guess the concealed presents for
baby. Wrong guesses attract punishment. Therefore, when the
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
when she was made to parade down the road a hoe in one hand and a
maize stalk with wilted cobs in the other! The shower party satire
the general wider picture of events in Zimbabwe, where currently
seems to be quite real. Everyday living can best be described as both
tragedy and a comedy. It's incredible how short a distance my monthly
accompanies me during the month. I would have found it inconceivable
someone had predicted four years ago, that by the Year 2000 I'd have
spare change to indulge my child a boat-ride at Greenwood Park, the
children's recreation ground in the centre of
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
sophisticated young woman adorning tatters sent a shock wave, the fear
given the way things are going in Zimbabwe, such an image can easily
reality that could be any Zimbabwean woman, that could be me,
out of employment, perhaps divorced with no income, without
and venting misdirected anger by joining the invasion of a
real farm, and
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
Alongside our nose-diving economy and the decimating Aids
1990s were dominated by stories of armed robberies and muti
murders, manifested by a rise in disappearances of people, mutilated
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
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.
incidents were reported to have taken place at the University of
supposedly a place of higher learning. But some among us applauded
bullies, whose equivalents you will most likely find at the invaded
Women's rights activists spoke out against these incidents, but there
deafening silence coming from elsewhere. This kind of thing happened
other people's daughters, therefore many parents were not too
about the trauma or psychological effects suffered by a young woman
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
Samuriwo is the Editor of the Catholic Church News
2000 08:05 PM - (SA)|
UK Conservatives slate Mugabe
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
"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
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
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
"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
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).
Sunday, June 4 11:35 PM SGT
Opposition leader likens Mugabe to baboon stealing cropsMUTARE,
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
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.