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      Lloyd Midzi victim of a frightened government

      6/12/02 7:19:12 AM (GMT +2)

      LLOYD Midzi, shot dead in cold blood by a policemen in Harare on
Monday, must be the first casualty of a war a frightened government has not
officially declared against its phantom enemies.

      Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the official police spokesman
who is often unable to disguise his contempt for government critics, told us
why Midzi was killed.

      Bvudzijena told ZBC-TV that the roadblocks in Harare were mounted in
anticipation of the mass action planned by the opposition MDC. That party
has yet to announce the date for its mass protest against the government's
catalogue of anti-democratic actions.

      But this hasn't deterred the government from taking what we may call
precautionary measures - mounting roadblocks during which policemen can
shoot in cold blood taxi drivers they suspect are defying their orders to
stop because they may be carrying arms of war in their vehicles.

      Certainly, Midzi's death would seem to suggest a government whose
galloping paranoia now calls for a long overdue visit to a psychiatric ward.

      Bvudzijena had the decency, at least, to describe the shooting as
"regrettable". Still, the big question remains whether Midzi acted with the
sort of tell-tale suspicion which prompts a cool, calm and collected
policeman to shoot to kill.

      The suggestion has been made by others that the policeman could have
shot at one of the tyres of Midzi's taxi. Bvudzijena claims he fired warning
shots, but eyewitnesses - the passengers in the taxi - say they heard only
one shot - the one that killed Midzi.

      No doubt there will be an inquiry into the incident. And no doubt, as
we have now come to expect, the likelihood of the policeman receiving
anything more severe than a rap on the knuckles is remote.

      The police have in the past few years shot dead unarmed civilians in
circumstances which can only be described as weird. The record of such
police officers being punished with a severity approximating their misdeed
is not inspiring.

      Midzi's tragic death has to be viewed in the context of the political
storm that has hovered over the country since the controversial presidential
election in March. The MDC and many other people, in and out of Zimbabwe,
are convinced that President Mugabe's victory was achieved in dubious
circumstances, to put it very mildly.

      The loser, the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, has described it as the
"biggest election fraud" ever. Efforts by two influential African
presidents, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, to
strike some kind of deal between the two parties have so far yielded
precious little.

      Recently, Obasanjo muddied the waters slightly by insisting that the
MDC must recognise that Zanu PF was the ruling party.

      But this is the crux of the impasse: from the MDC's point of view,
Zanu PF "stole" the presidential election and is, therefore, not a
legitimate government.

      The MDC's view is shared by others, including many Zimbabweans and a
good number of foreign governments, including the 15 European Union members
and the United States. Fifty-three members of the Commonwealth, of which
Zimbabwe is a member, decided on the basis of the election result, that
Mugabe's victory was so flawed his country deserved to be suspended for a
year from membership of the organisation.

      There are no doubt people who believe it is futile to punish Mugabe
and his government through these rather feeble measures.

      The MDC, for instance, believes that the majority of the people of
Zimbabwe are outraged enough with the Mugabe government and its ruling party
to want to support the mass action the party has called for.

      The government itself must believe that the MDC is right - a majority
of the people would take part in the mass action because they, too, feel

      If the government denies it is frightened of this probability, then it
ought to let the mass action go ahead - and not forestall it by shooting
dead unarmed citizens in broad daylight the way Midzi was killed.
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      Fresh wave of farm invasions hits Masvingo

      6/12/02 7:45:32 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      Masvingo province has been swept by a fresh wave of farm invasions
with those evicted from farms in the area moving onto new properties,
plunging the controversial land reform programme into more chaos.

      At least six properties in Masvingo were last week invaded by illegal
farm occupiers defying the government order which halted fresh farm

      Mike Clark, the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) regional chairman,
said smooth implementation of the reform programme was being hampered by the
new invasions.

      Clark said the illegal farm occupiers were randomly moving onto new
properties with their livestock and most of the affected farms were now

      Some of the properties affected by the new invasions include Moria
farm in Mwenezi, Umbono, Reinette and Lizunga farms and Quaggapen and
Kayalami ranches.

      About 20 families have moved onto Reinette farm, 30 have occupied
      Umbono ranch while about 10 families have settled on Lizunga farm.
      Clark said: "The new invaders have been taking huge portions of land.
The affected properties are now overstocked with cattle and the situation is
very serious.

      "There is confusion on the ground and people need direction.

      "As always, we are willing to co-operate but the situation has become
chaotic. It appears people are being used for political gains and not for a
proper land reform programme."

      The Masvingo provincial land committee chaired by Governor Josaya
Hungwe expressed concern at the new development.

      The committee was worried about the wave of fresh farm invasions in
some parts of the province and resolved that all illegal settlers should be

      "These people should be removed as a matter of urgency", the committee

      In Masvingo the government's ongoing evictions have hit a snag as some
illegal farm invaders are refusing to leave.

      About 12 000 people in Nuanetsi, Eaglemont and Wasara-Wasara ranches
have defied a government order to leave.

      Since the evictions started about a month ago, only 700 illegal farm
occupiers have been thrown out of farms in the province.

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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: Hunger warning could be last straw

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

JOHANNESBURG, 11 June (IRIN) - The recent warning that six million Zimbabweans face hunger could be the final straw for the country, already reeling from high inflation, daily food shortages and political instability.

A regional food assessment puts almost half of Zimbabwe's population at risk of having no food mainly because of a drought and the country's land reform programme. Last week Finance Minister, Simba Makoni, told the World Economic Forum that Zimbabwe's economy had lost a third of its jobs since 2000 and was set to contract by 10 percent this year.

He also conceded that the land reform policy had contributed to this year's poor harvests. Last week a survey revealed that the tourism industry, once a major money spinner, was losing millions of dollars to bad publicity.

Critics are rounding on the part President Robert Mugabe's economic and political policies have played in the country's food crisis. Opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was quoted by AFP as saying: "Robert Mugabe is deliberately misleading the world by claiming that Zimbabwe has no food because of drought. The chaotic land reform, and government failure to take urgent measures to avert the crisis are to blame."

Brian Kagoro, co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, an affiliation of about 250 NGOs and church groups, said: "In the populist sense it is nice give land to the landless but realistically they will have no resources, no agricultural input and no technical input. The nation will wake up with insufficient wheat and grain and the people will revolt."

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) vice president Lucia Matibenga said: "People have been living with other problems over the last few years but starvation is the end of the road. People are only buying basics now, no luxuries like bacon and eggs.

"Workers are living from hand to mouth and this year's wage negotiations are going to be very difficult. It will be like milking a dry cow. Business people are struggling in a collapsing economy and employees can't survive with the current high prices."

Parallel markets were created during shortages, pushing prices up even more. Matibenga said urban Zimbabweans sometimes sent money to rural areas for farming, later collecting some of what was farmed to supplement their own food stocks. There had been instances lately where some of this food was confiscated.

Matibenga said: "Once the state takes away what belongs to you, a person is bound to react."

She also warned that in rural constituencies, where opposition members are allegedly denied access to buy food, there could be civil unrest as people tried to snatch grain from ruling party members.

"It might implode to where people think 'at least I will get food in jail'. We all know that a hungry person is an angry person," she said.

Matibenga said the ZCTU had no protests planned over the rising cost of living, but would concentrate on wage negotiations.

Economist John Robertson told IRIN: "The crisis has had a gradual development and people adapt as they go and they tend to forget what they used to enjoy. They get used to the increasing stresses.

"People do have jobs but the prices increase to double, sometimes treble, and inflation is over 100 percent. People get used to lower standards of living and get used to doing without."

He said the inflation rate - at 114 percent in April - made people spend more on basics and less on luxuries.

Robertson said the formal exchange rate had not changed since October 2000 and was still at ZD 55 to one US dollar. People had to use the parallel market to raise currency to source raw materials and this rate could be as high as ZD 640. This pushed up the price of finished goods.

Government introduced price controls, which served only to drive the trade in such goods underground.

"Now people don't buy a kilogram of sugar, they buy a cup full. Things like sugar run out very quickly. Mealie meal [maize meal] and cooking oil is scarce. To get milk you have to be at the shop first thing in the morning," he said.

Robertson also referred to the government fixing the bank interest rate below inflation to bring down the interest payments on its own debts.

"To blame the problems on drought is a simplification," he said. "Some of the shortages were because of reduced production. The war veterans on commercial farms didn't want farmers to grow maize because they were afraid that this would strengthen the farmer's claim to the land. Last year maize prices were rising so the government put price controls on maize. When people were planning for planting, the prices were less attractive so smaller crops were planted."

Robertson said the government did subsidise communal farmers to help them plant more crops, "but they led people to believe they would get a large handout of fertiliser and seed but this came too late and crops were planted late".

The effects of the economic crisis cut through all aspects of life in Zimbabwe, he said. School textbooks were almost "impossibly expensive" and parents claimed they could not pay levies to keep their children in school.

He said up to 100,000 children were not going to school because schools on commercial farms had been closed by the disruptions.

Fuel consumption in Zimbabwe had dropped because prices had gone up and many commercial farmers were not using their normal quotas of fuel.

"The country is slowing down quite badly. It's a sad picture because none of this is necessary. It's going to impoverish people and take a great number of years to repair," Robertson said.

However, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce played down the problems, blaming them primarily on the drought and pressures from the International Monetary Fund.

A spokesman, who declined to name himself, said: "All the surrounding countries have food shortages. We are trying to source maize from markets that have got surpluses and the government has put in place measures to mitigate the effect [of food shortages].

"The government has subsidised the cost of maize and put in place adjustable price controls which can be reviewed to have a balance between the manufacturer and the consumer."

He said the government's commitment to agri-economy, linked to the land reform programme, and an irrigation scheme should pull the country out of the mire.

A senior researcher at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies, Richard Cornwell, said Zimbabwe currently had "an economy in reverse".

"They've fixed the currency, closed off the economy to outside forces and run interest rates below inflation. I can't see how the agrarian revolution will take place. Plots are too small and there is no money for inputs, no skilled farmers and bad weather," he said.

Cornwell said the country was also handling a huge domestic debt and could currently only pay salaries. "There is also the collapse of the education and health sector. Sooner or later certain people in the palace guard will start asking questions," he said.


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Leader Page

      Should teachers stand this abuse at every election?

      6/12/02 7:19:48 AM (GMT +2)

      IT IS true that the whole of the Zimbabwean community is largely
disenfranchised at the moment.

      Anger and frustration has for some time been simmering in us. This
predicament in which we find ourselves in is not by natural causes, but is
caused by some few fellow Zimbabweans.

      The problem with Zimbabweans is that we have developed an attitude of
individualism without developing the "an injury to one is an injury to all"
approach. This has seen us being subjugated to abuse.

      As teachers, let us rest if we are tired. A good lesson would be
learnt if we show cause that we are entitled to rest. Somebody called a
teacher (myself included) has been denigrated to the lowest social and
economic echelons in this once beautiful country.

      Prior to this unfortunate era all of us had pride being professionals.
The majority who had some form of employment could send their children to
school with ease.

      I remember I was at a boarding school with children of gardeners and
bar tenders. During those days anyone in that social stratum, which today is
the miserable and destitute class, could afford to build a small house with
a corrugated roof.

      These old, plastered but unpainted structures dotted around the
country are testimony to what the economy used to be. Not many new
structures of this nature are being erected there today and there is very
little diet choice in those structures.

      Teachers could afford to purchase new cars. The ministry was grateful
and paid satisfactorily and the heads in the ministry never attacked their
professional kinsfolk. Today you can see a whole minister spitting fury at
the teachers without whom the ministry would not exist.

      Without the teachers, it would prove very difficult for anyone to
fantasise about having all children monotonously look alike in one coloured

      Retired Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who we are being taught to hate so much,
actually is the one known in history to have acknowledged the importance of

      In that regard, a substantial salary increase was awarded to the
teachers, but it should not be forgotten that he never got to be in office
for even 22 months. It is teachers who drove new Mazda pick-ups, Datsun
pick-up trucks, Peugeot 404s and 405s. Today no one dares dream about
affording such things.

      Those who wished to purchase or build houses in the urban areas were
people like anybody else. Today a completely different scenario exists.

      The teacher is miserable and caricatured by the bigger part of the
community. Our own pupils pour scorn on us.

      School-leavers who have failed school and are unemployable entertain
themselves by harassing teachers among other nauseating misdemeanours they
indulge in.

      The greatest of all ignoramuses is suddenly above both the headmaster
and the teacher as they set bases at schools. Mountains are hardly suitable
for these bases for the enemy is at school. The base is suddenly more
important than the school. Remember the teacher is the one who used to be
unkind by gently giving out homework. Love had long been lost between the
ignoramuses and homework. Society folds its arms
      because these are mere teachers anyway.

      The 9-11 March presidential election came and went but look, who has
been bruised most? The teacher. Who has been made to make contributions to
political events to which the police, the driver, the district administrator
and others have never been asked to make contributions?

      Is there no end to the teacher's monetary resources? Who else has been
made to pay protection fees in this country where independence is said to be
in abundance? Remember this is done well after the official tax deductions
from this teacher's peanuts.

      Hopefully, the teacher might have solace in that the protection fee
collectors may now look smart in green uniforms after they "graduate" from
the "patriotism colleges" and their performance shows that at these colleges
they pass with flying colours after the "turn right left" and the "hit them
hard" examinations.

      The teacher can now have relief that the young boy and the young girl
now practise "national service". It is there and glaringly clear to the
teacher. No such other profession has been chosen for the purpose of hate.

      The security guards are even better. Landscape technicians have not
been mentioned. Bus drivers were only asked to put posters on their
windscreens during the campaign, but they have since been absolved. The
Agritex officer is fine; after all his task concerns cattle and crops and he
may teach them as much as he can about the gay gangsters or even "change" as
long as these are not genetically engineered.

      The teacher is hated only for having the potential to talk and
convince others that life is about alternatives and one can shift from what
used to be the only thing to something else.

      Also, you pose a danger in that you might one day remind people about
alternatives and they could start clamouring for change. That's the teacher'
s crime.

      Move away from politics, but do not doubt that we are very many. Our
ubiquity explains why we are the biggest group that ever got victimised. Do
not teach people about stale things. Your focus should cease to be the
society that spat bile at you.

      Why should your profession not be singled out where there are so many
other professions and professionals around? Let us agree that being a
teacher is asking for trouble. Are we as teachers capable of being organised
in any way?

      If some of us are not tired, let us do it in solidarity with others
and let us also think about the future because more elections are coming and
we are going to face more challenges.
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      How to become a player in the corruption market

      6/12/02 7:53:17 AM (GMT +2)

      THIS is not a falsehood under any law - here or even in Mars. For
years, I have associated with corruption a young man who called me Popeye in
Cyril Jennings Hall way back in the late 1950s.

      We were staging our first show in New Highfield when it was really
new, and no longer the dump we all used to call Kufomaera - because it was
four miles from Harare township.

      There I was, belting out a solo, and hoping the audience was enjoying
the show.

      Then, in the silence - I believe they were quiet because we were THAT
good - a lone voice shouted: "Popeye!"

      For years, I have been intrigued by the identity of this insufferable
spoilsport. Nobody joined him: he had to be one of those Highfield boys who
hated anything from Harare township - at the time, generally the most the
upwardly mobile township. And we were, at the time, the toast of that
township, born and bred.

      I doubt that any decent, well-bred Highfield girl (I know some who
went on to achieve success of Harare township proportions) would be so rude.
      Popeye was a cartoon character which, in the parlance of the ghetto,
was translated to describe anybody whose face looked odd or funny.

      Great singers and musicians can look funny when they are gripped by
the emotion of the lyrics or the beauty of the music. Take Dizzy Gillespie
and his balloon cheeks or Luciano Pavarotti belting out Santa Lucia.
      Or the late Safirio Madzikatire, as lead singer of The Safe Brothers,
looking comical in a straightforward song like Amai, Rugare Rwandinetsa, and
not in what we called masketch, comedy.

      Nobody joined the young man in deriding me as Popeye because I am now
convinced he was a paid stooge of our rivals - us being The Milton Brothers.
Or he was one of those obsessive attention-hungry freaks whose low
self-esteem makes them want the whole world to notice them.

      Or both.

      Popeye was the most popular cartoon character at the bioscope shows at
Mai Musodzi Hall. Spinach, which he seemed to carry everywhere with him,
gave him enormous strength.

      After pouring it down his throat, the villain would soon be flying
through the air, after being thumped by one of Popeye's massive fists.
      But mapopayi in ghetto parlance referred to all cartoons.

      At the time, I was only slightly offended, but largely pleased because
I knew that the rest of the audience enjoyed our music.

      The Harare-Highfield combat for fame spilled over into independence,
with Highfield people claiming the struggle began there, rather than in
Harare township. For the record, the inaugural conference of the Southern
Rhodesia African National Congress in 1957 was held in Mai Musodzi, not in
Cyril Jennings Hall. That, I hope, settles the argument once and for all.

      But on and off I have wondered about people like that wet blanket in
Highfield. They could be easy targets for a bribe: if someone bribed them to
make a spectacle of themselves during our show because they thought we were
doing better than they were, then they would not hesitate to take the money,
would they?

      There were other attempts to disrupt our shows. One of them featured a
fist fight between my cousin, a real ghetto roughhouse artist, and a known
bully of the township.

      There was so much blood it put me off boxing for a long time.

      I have come across people like that quite often since, on the commuter
omnibuses, people who are loud, totally lacking in self-esteem. You can be
sure that if they were offered the proper incentive to stick a knife into
your guts they would do it gladly, no questions asked.

      People like that could sell their mother for a scud: believe you me,
there are people like that, or Zimbabwe would not be in the mess that it is
in today: corruption.

      That is why corruption thrives, not only in African society, but in
societies throughout the world. To be a good player in the corruption stakes
you have to be utterly focused on one thing: you will do anything if the
price is right.

      It begins with what the Shona call tsvete: doing someone a favour,
usually a small one. It goes back to the days before the settlers landed on
our shores. The chiefs practised the kind of tsvete the panel on ZBC-TV's
Nhaka Yedu haven't told you about it and which the dubiously named Heritage
Foundation probably knows very little about: if, brought before him (most
chiefs then were men) was a defendant remotely related to him, the chief
would contrive to lessen the punishment, or turn the tables on the accuser.
This was tsvete.

      So, we didn't have to be taught the ways of the corrupt world by the
colonialists. Perhaps they helped us to refine our methods into a fine art.

      Here is an apocryphal tale of African corruption:
      An Asian and an African become friends while they are both attending
graduate school in the West. Years later, they each rise to become the
finance minister of their respective countries. One day, the African
ventures to Asia to visit his old friend, and is startled by the Asian's
palatial home, the three Mercs in the circular drive, the swimming pool, the

      "My God!" the African exclaims. "We were just poor students before!
How on earth can you now afford all this?"

      And the Asian takes his African friend to the window and points to a
sparkling new elevated highway in the distance.

      "You see that toll road?" says the Asian, and then he proudly taps
himself on the chest. "Ten percent." And the African nods approvingly.
      A few years later, the Asian ventures to Africa, to return the visit
to his old friend. He finds the African living in a massive estate sprawling
over several acres. There's a fleet of dozens of Mercs in the driveway, an
indoor pool and tennis courts, an army of uniformed chauffeurs and servants.

      "My God!" says the Asian. "How on earth do you afford all this?"

      This time the African takes his Asian friend to the window and points.

      "You see that highway?" he asks. But the Asian looks and sees nothing,
just an open field with a few cows grazing.

      "I don't see any highway," the Asian says, straining his eyes.

      At this, the African smiles, taps himself on the chest, and boasts:
"One hundred percent!"

      This was sent to me by a reader and is taken out of Keith B Richburg's
book Out of America. Recently, there has been much astonishment at the
events preceding that amazing purge at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting

      If tsvete doesn't feature somewhere in that debacle, then I'll eat my
radio and TV set, and change my name to Popeye by deed poll.
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      Populist policies ruining economy: business leaders

      6/12/02 7:55:10 AM (GMT +2)

      By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

      The business community says as long as nothing materialises on the
political front, the government will continue with populist policies to the
detriment of the economy's health.

      The performance of the economy has continued to deteriorate and in
2001 it was estimated to have nose-dived by 7,3 percent compared to 4,2
percent in 2000.

      The Discount Company of Zimbabwe Limited (DCZ), in its June economic
analysis said viable economic policies would not be implemented as long as
there was economic uncertainty.

      The ruling Zanu PF and major opposition, MDC, have been engaged in
discussions over several political issues as well as the economic malaise
facing Zimbabwe.

      Unfortunately these talks have been shelved as the political parties
have disagreed on the way forward.

      The DCZ said: "Reflecting the political impasse that characterises the
post-election period, the business community has discounted any breakthrough
by the government in putting in place viable economic policies to encourage
the economy back on track in the short to medium-term.

      "It is difficult to imagine what policy instrument the government can
effectively use to significantly bring down inflation to levels that are
consistent with the current rate of inflation of around 114 percent so as to
choke consumption expenditures, may cause significant company closures due
to the resultant punitive interest rates."

      The company said tightening fiscal policy through strictly controlling
government expenditures was not possible due to significant expenditure
commitments that face the government this year.

      The expenditures include food imports to alleviate the severe food
shortages of at least 7,8 million individuals, as well as health-related
expenditures aimed at fighting the HIV/Aids scourge.

      The government is also committed to reducing the tax base due to the
continued fall in output and subsidies to gold producers and tobacco farmers
through support price schemes.

      "Furthermore, price controls have proved ineffective, as they have
created suppressed inflation whereby the resultant shortages have caused
parallel markets, long queues and waiting lists," the DCZ said.

      The financial institution said unfortunately, the ability of the
government to improve the economic well-being of Zimbabwe depended on the
political environment.

      "As long as nothing materialises on the political front, government
will continue with populist policies to the detriment of the health of the
economy," the DCZ said in its analysis.

      "In other words, viable economic policies will not be implementable."

      Last year the country's economy experienced declines of more than five

      Performance of the sectors was negatively affected by high rates of
inflation, low commodity prices mainly for agriculture and mining, acute
foreign currency shortages, as well as a fixed exchange rate.
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      Police vow to crush proposed mass action

      6/12/02 7:32:17 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      Manicaland police yesterday warned people they could be killed,
injured or arrested if they supported an MDC-initiated mass protest to force
a rerun of the 9-11 march presidential election.

      A circular distributed in the city centre yesterday by Brian Makomeke,
the acting police spokesman in Manicaland reads:
      "Mhirizhonga inourayisa. Mhirizhonga inokuvadzisa and Mhirizhonga
inosungisa (Violent demonstrations may result in death, injury or arrest).

      The circular says: "Do not get involved in political protests over
matters of governance and do not be fooled to get involved. You will be
arrested as an individual and not the political party. You have been

      Later, Makomeke said: "I am just warning the people that the
      action is illegal and may result in unfortunate scenes."

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC's spokesman in Manicaland, said the police
warning was hypocritical and intimidatory.

      He said: "That's being very hypocritical because the warning applies
only to MDC members. It's all about intimidating the suppressed. I believe
it's a desperate attempt by the government to hoodwink people, but the
struggle continues and we will never give up until there is law and order in
the country."

      Earlier, police, soldiers and Zanu PF youth brigade members kept an
all-day vigil in Mutare apparently in anticipation of the mass action.
      A senior police officer who identified herself only as Moyo at Mutare
Central Police Station said the operation was routine.

      "I cannot speak for the others, but the exercise is routine," she
said. "We carry out these operations from time to time and we do not alert
the public in advance. You will see more of these operations in future."

      Soldiers, police and Zanu PF youths from the Border Gezi Youth
Training Centre were seen loitering in the city centre and the high-density
suburbs of Sakubva and Dangamvura.

      Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF's spokesman, said the youth brigade
members had finished a training course and returned to their homes. But an
insider said the youths were deployed in anticipation of the intended mass
action to beef up security.
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      Police, CIO ban MDC

      6/12/02 7:30:43 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      IN A COMBINED operation, police, soldiers and members of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), on Monday allegedly cracked down on MDC
members in Chimanimani, banned all activities linked to the opposition party
and shut down its offices.

      Roy Bennet, the MDC Member of Parliament for Chimanimani said all
opposition party gatherings had been banned.

      "We are no longer allowed to hold any meetings or rallies in
Chimanimani," Bennet said.

      "They have vowed to stamp out all opposition activities in my
constituency, but they will face a tough time in their endeavour."
      Surprisingly, the police have allowed MDC rallies to be held in Mutare
and Chipinge.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland said the security
forces led by Joseph Mwale of the CIO beat up four MDC supporters, arrested
Elliot Anahu, a driver and impounded a pick-up truck registration number
675-589K which belongs to the MDC at a roadblock in the constituency.

      Mwale is implicated in the murders of two MDC members who were set on
fire during the run-up to the June 2000 parliamentary election, in which
Zanu PF lost 58 constituencies.

      Muchauraya said: "With the assistance of soldiers and CIO agents
stationed at a police roadblock at the turn off to Charleswood estate, Mwale
stopped our vehicle and asked Anahu to disembark.

      "He asked him whether he was aware that MDC activities had been banned
in the area before he beat him up and threw him into his car and drove to
Chimanimani Police Station.

      "A sergeant Zulu then drove our vehicle to the police station where it
was impounded."

      Charleswood estate belongs to Bennet.

      Muchauraya said hours later, Mwale, still in the company of other
security agents, descended on MDC offices and stopped all activities taking
place there.

      "Out of fear, our members, including Talent Barara, David Jagidhi,
Kumbirai Chikukwa, Lovemore Mbiri and Tiyai Tsodzai scurried for safety,"
said Muchauraya.

      "But Mbiri was caught, beaten up and left for dead. He was picked up
by other members and taken to Charleswood estate. They then closed our

      Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman said, "If the police are
overstretched, they can turn to us for assistance. But this one seems to
have been a police operation. Army officers should not act independently."

      Major Taderera of the army's 3 Brigade in Mutare said he was unaware
of the presence of soldiers in Chimanimani.
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Daily News

      Journalist's trial under notorious Act begins

      6/12/02 7:34:07 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ANDREW Meldrum, the British Guardian's correspondent in Harare, will
become the first journalist to be tried in Zimbabwe under the
internationally-condemned Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), when his trial opens in Harare today.

      Harare provincial magistrate Joyce Negonde on 30 May referred Meldrum'
s matter for trial to a regional court.

      Meldrum will be tried in Court Number 14, she said.

      On the same day, Negonde had earlier referred the matter of Daily News
reporter Lloyd Mudiwa to the same court for trial eight days later.
      The two journalists are facing allegations of breaching Section 80 of
AIPPA by publishing a story of an alleged murder in Magunje which later
turned out to be false.

      Whether or not Meldrum's trial will open today, depends on the outcome
of an application for a review in the High Court of a ruling by another
Harare provincial magistrate Lilian Kudya on 7 May to place Meldrum and
Mudiwa on formal remand.

      Meldrum and two other foreign journalists are challenging the
constitutionality of the controversial media law in the Supreme Court.

      Kudya had, however, absolved Collin Chiwanza another Daily News
reporter who was picked up from the newspaper's offices together with Mudiwa
on 30 April over the story.

      Meldrum was arrested at his Harare home a day later, after he
allegedly used the story in The Guardian.

      Geoffrey Nyarota, the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, was also
arrested over the same story. Police said they would summon him to court.

      Though she ruled that there were "reasonable grounds" to place Meldrum
and Mudiwa on remand, Kudya gave the journalists' lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa
and Lawrence Chibwe respectively, leave to challenge in the Supreme Court
the constitutionality of Section 80 of the AIPPA under which their clients
are being charged.

      About 12 journalists, all from the private media, have been arrested
in the ten weeks since the introduction of the draconian law, which together
with the equally repressive Public Order Security Act, stifle free media in

      This has given rise to talk by the government's critics of the
selective application of the law.
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Daily News

      Bulawayo residents urge wide

      6/12/02 7:40:28 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      BULAWAYO residents have urged the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
to consult the masses before engaging in the proposed mass action to force
Zanu PF to rerun the presidential election.

      Residents who spoke to The Daily News in a survey said there was every
reason for a successful mass action as long as it was properly co-ordinated
and organised from the grassroots level.

      The residents warned that if the proposed mass action was to be
conducted through the Press, as has been the case with flopped mass protests
recently conducted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly, the action would not be successful.

      The MDC has said that it has taken a three-pronged approach in
response to the March presidential election which has been described as
flawed by some local and regional observers and the international community.
      These are the legal route, mass action and through the engagement of
the international community.

      However, the MDC leadership last week said under the prevailing
situation it was going to be difficult for them to openly co-ordinate the
mass action because they would be arrested.

      Abednico Bhebhe, an MDC MP, said they had received "inside
 information" that police were under instructions that should any MDC leader
be heard calling for the mass action they would be swiftly arrested.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, has been conducting well-attended
post-election rallies throughout the country and has said the general
feeling among the people was that mass action should be staged.

      The Daily News survey revealed that the public was agitating for mass
action as long as it was going to be carried out in a peaceful manner.

      Raymond Phiri, a Sizinda resident, said the MDC should organise the
proposed mass action properly for the people to take part as they were "
tired of Zanu PF rule".

      "People no longer care about being arrested, but what they want is a
properly organised mass action not what they will read about in the papers,"
he said.

      Sabelo Ntini, a Cowdray Park resident, said the people were suffering
because of the policies of the Zanu PF government and its battered image on
the international community.

      "People have realised that the promises made by President Mugabe
during his election campaign were nothing but campaign gimmicks. Right now
he wants to evict people who invaded farms when he urged them to do so
before the presidential election," he said.

      Edward Simela, the chairman of the powerful Bulawayo United Residents'
Association, said the intentions of the MDC were not clear because most of
what they hear of the party is through the Press.

      "I don't know what is really going on because everything is just
coming from the papers," he said.

      Charles Mpofu said the people were waiting for the instruction to take
part in the mass action. He predicted that it would be successful because it
was being properly co-ordinated.

      "People are only waiting," he said. "This time there is serious

      However, Marko Sibanda, a resident, said: "They have not mobilised
well and I think they have misread the people's feelings. It will be another
one of their disappointing acts."

      He added that it would be folly for the opposition party to announce
dates for the proposed mass action at this stage when they were relying on
Tsvangirai's rallies where no proper feedback from the people was

      Sources said the MDC was meeting in Harare this week to decide whether
to go ahead with the mass action or wait for the outcome of its High Court
petition on the legitimacy of Mugabe's disputed poll victory.

      The intended mass action comes against the background of the collapse
of the inter-party dialogue between Zanu PF and the MDC which were brokered
by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian leader.

      Mugabe has already warned that he would crush the intended mass

      "They have also thought of violence and we as Zanu PF warn them that
Zanu PF, which is ruling today, comprises people who have gone to the school
of war and peace," Mugabe told a Zanu PF youth league assembly meeting three
weeks ago.

      In the past Bulawayo has been lethargic in responding to mass actions
and job stayaways.
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From ZWNEWS, 12 June

Double standards

By Michael Hartnack

After a three-year lull in executions of convicted murderers, Robert Mugabe's new hangman has been busy. But, reflecting the regime’s persistent double standards, the killers of opposition supporters and farmers are alive and free. On May 31 three men went to the gallows in Harare Central Prison - one for a murder committed back in July 1995. Edmore Masendeke and his accomplice, Hardlife Zano, strangled an elderly widow, Eileen Carlisle, in Masvingo, during a robbery. In return for giving evidence for the state, Zano escaped with a 15-year jail sentence and may be freed within two years, with remission for good conduct. Anthony Muuzhe was hanged for burning to death two children aged five and two in October 1995 in the Zhombe communal area near Kwekwe. He had wired shut the door before setting fire to their hut in an attempt to kill their mother. Noel Rukanda was hanged for raping and strangling 14-year-old Vimbayi Zingoni in September 1997. Because of the elapse of time since their trials, Masendeke and Muuzhe would have been entitled to commutation of their death sentences under a 1995 Supreme Court ruling, but Mugabe annulled this by a constitutional amendment. The Cabinet confirmed the death sentences in October yet it still took another seven months for their executions to take place.

Zimbabwe resumed hangings last October after a break due to the death (from natural causes) of the last public hangman, a white man. The identity of his successor is supposed to be a close-guarded secret. However, he is generally believed to be a white expatriate to whom I was introduced in a bar some years ago. He had gained a reputation as a pompous bully in his former occupation. Since he took over, six people have been hanged. In all, there have been 69 judicial executions since 1980 independence. Those hanged included two French former mercenaries in the Rhodesian army convicted of shooting a cafe owner. Mugabe ignored appeals from the pope to commute their sentences, but kept secret a further 13 hangings before a 1988 papal visit. A nationwide petition to abolish capital punishment attracted several thousand signatures, but there appeared to be general support for retaining the death penalty, particularly in cases of murder involving witchcraft.

The state media, with Mugabe's apparent blessing, have been calling gleefully for the hanging of a farmer currently on trial over a fatal traffic incident involving land claimants on his farm. However, none of the murderers of 11 farmers and 200 opposition supporters has been brought to justice since unrest was launched in February 2000 by state-funded "war veterans". In the 1980s, Mugabe gave amnesties to up to 2 000 security force members involved in the murder of suspected opposition supporters in Matabeleland and elsewhere. A Cabinet minister implicated in four witchcraft murders was never put on trial. Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the Commercial Farmers Union say many of the more recent killers can be identified. The murderers of farmer David Stephens abducted him from a police station with officers looking on. Martin Olds was besieged in his homestead while police maintained roadblocks to ensure no one came to his rescue. In many other cases, say human rights groups, the authorities colluded with the murderers.

Former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, forced to retire last year, told British jurists that Mugabe's government had, from its earliest years, simply ignored court orders when it chose. Recently, the regime aroused further international outrage by arresting the president and secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe on allegations of discussing, in cahoots with the British High Commission and the MDC, unspecified mass protests to force a re-run of the March presidential elections in which Mugabe claimed a disputed victory. The state-run Herald invented, with impunity, the lie that the arrests "caused a flurry of activity at the High Commission" - when it was closed for Queen Elizabeth's jubilee. By contrast, 16 independent journalists have been arrested under the new Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act for "publishing false reports" - i.e. items with which the authorities disagree. Mugabe’s double standards remain the biggest single objection to the employment of the death penalty in Zimbabwe: the regime itself is involved in acts that outrage basic norms of human decency and lawful conduct. Suspicions arise that behind use of the death penalty in these circumstances is a braggart wish to show "we hold power of life and death.’’ A second more generalised problem is the dubious efficiency of police work, and the wide discrepancies in the quality of legal representation accused persons can afford.

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Zimbabwe’s leaders are nothing but hypocrites

6/12/02 7:22:17 AM (GMT +2)

I am not a Zimbabwean, but as one of your concerned African brothers in the region, I would like to warn my fellow brothers and sisters who are so much into Zanu PF that politics is one of the ugliest games ever.

Never ever think that your leaders have your interests at heart. If they had, since they are so much against the West especially the British, why is it that up to now they: haven’t called back their children who are studying in Europe and America? Continue going overseas for shopping? Continue speaking in English (a big symbol of colonisation)? Continue having pride in being addressed with European titles such as “Dr” or “Professor”?

Continue driving luxurious cars (a Western invention – I stand to be corrected, but I don’t remember ever reading that your Sekuru Kaguvi or Mbuya Nehanda invented even a tricycle or at least a wheelbarrow)?

Why do they continue wearing expensive suits instead of the skins Kaguvi and Nehanda wore? Continue using forks and knives when eating?

Continue to send their wives to buy clothing in Europe? Continue using English names, eg Robert, Jonathan, Aeneas, etc?

And why is it that your President and many of his closest followers continue throwing insults at the whites and saying they hate everything about them, yet they continue using everything that the whites have brought to Zimbabwe?

Brothers and sisters, please open your eyes. These Zanu PF crooks are simply trying to corrupt your minds by filling you with hatred against the whites as they continue with their looting and cause suffering to many innocent souls.

The truth is that white people are simply human beings as any of us.

Colonialism is now history. Do you honestly think under Morgan Tsvangirai or any other sane and democratic President Zimbabwe will be re-colonised? I really don’t think so.

Because of the greed of Zanu PF leaders, there is now so much suffering among the ordinary people who continue listening to the numerous lies by your leaders. How many promises have they made to you? Just to mention a few, they promised education for all, health for all and housing for all by the year 2000. Has any of that been delivered? They promised land to the landless – is the land being distributed to the landless or only to the big fish and their relatives?

Oh, come on, you people of Zimbabwe, wake up and fight for you rights! That government of yours has long outlived its usefulness.

Concerned African

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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Tuesday 11 June 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.


·        Chiredzi - cutting down of trees and burning of fields has reached alarming proportions. Poaching is very severe and out of control. To illustrate the extent, a landowner dispatched his Toyota Land Cruiser to a base camp to uplift poached meat. The Land Cruiser was fully loaded with game meat on Dombedeema Ranch.

·        On Newbiggin Farm, Chakari, Agritex came around wanting to do an inventory of all movable assets.  The main Agritex officer for the area was allocated the 4 hectare drip irrigation scheme and wants the owner to teach him how to use it, but also demands the owner get out of his house. 

·        Kadoma - Government officials are canvassing the area to make inventories of all movable assets as they say they will be taken with the farm. 

·        Save Conservancy - poaching and snaring continue daily. 40 army and police officials are said to be moving through the area trying to control the poaching.

·        On Eureka Ranch, Mwenezi, army and police officials were deployed to clamp down on the poaching activity. So far, 21 poachers have been arrested. The DA has told the settlers to be off the property by 07.06.02 or face being removed.

·        The Lot 21 A, Mwenezi, owner was charged with “poisoning the water” in the cattle drinking trough. The vet and local police were sent to investigate the matter. The owner wants to know why he would want to put poison in the water when his own cattle drink from the same trough!




Petty theft ongoing in the province otherwise all is quiet.


Mvurwi - The owner of Braijule Farm received a visit from the DA. 60 to 70 of the farm workers have been allocated plots on the farm. When the owner attempted to move his irrigation equipment he was stopped. On Eastwolds Farm, A2 settlers have started to arrive and have brought 40 head of cattle with them.


Macheke/Virginia - Labour evicted from their houses on one farm.  No RRB number given for this incident.  One Section 5 Order received.  One farmer was told to vacate his house the water supply was cut and they threatened to burn down the house if the owner did not vacate.

No report received.


Norton - On Serui Source settlers told the owner he is not allowed to continue grazing any of his cattle on the property.  On Idaho Farm there were 2 bulls, 3 cows and 2 calves stolen, and a pedigree Simmental bull was slaughtered.  The stolen cattle were retrieved and the thieves caught. 

Selous - On Norwood the settlers are using the owner’s implements at will, including his irrigation equipment.  This is a small single-owned farm and the owner has been deprived of any income over the last year.  On Exwick Farm settlers parked a tractor in front of the homestead gate to prevent the owner getting in and out.  They also commandeered all the irrigation equipment for a 40-hectare scheme.  The District Administrator has sanctioned this. 

Chakari - On Newbiggin Farm Agritex came around wanting to do an inventory of all movable assets.  The main Agritex officer for the area was allocated the 4 hectare drip irrigation scheme and wants the owner to teach him how to use it, but also demands the owner get out of his house.  On Tawstock the owner’s truck, carrying irrigation pipes, was stopped at a police roadblock.  Police say the Lands Committee has to sanction any movement of movable assets.  The pipes were impounded at Alabama Farm which is the main "war veteran" base in the area. 

Kadoma - Government officials are canvassing the area to make inventories of all movable assets as they say they will be taken with the farm. 

General - Section 8 orders continue to be issued throughout the region.


Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.

Chiredzi – the Wasara Ranch owner has done his own census on the property as follows:

Huts vacant                               24

Huts occupied                          77

Fields                                       400

Men                                          231

Women                                     245

Children                                    439

Communal Cattle                       255

Communal Donkeys                   55

Communal Dogs                        72

Communal Sheep and Goats      55

General Comments - cutting down of trees and burning of fields has reached alarming proportions. Poaching is very severe and out of control. To illustrate the extent, a landowner dispatched his Toyota Land Cruiser to a base camp to uplift poached meat. The Land Cruiser was fully loaded with game meat on Dombedeema Ranch.

Save Conservancy - poaching and snaring continue daily. 40 army and police officials are said to be moving through the area trying to control the poaching.

Mwenezi - More of the same: theft, snaring, poaching. At Rutenga Ranch settlers drove the owner’s cattle along the road into the kraal and instructed the labour to not release the cattle. Cattle were chased away from the water point and have been without any food or water for 48 hours. The owner has reported this to the Police. Apparently, the DA has told settlers on the property to be off the property by 07.06.02 or they will “face being removed”. As of 10.06.02 no one has moved off. A meeting was held where it has been disclosed the local MP went to see “a Minister” in Harare and the message is no one moves off the property, as it is to be cut up into plots and made available to settlers.  On Eureka Ranch army and police officials were deployed to clamp down on the poaching activity. So far, 21 poachers have been arrested. The DA has told the settlers to be off the property by 07.06.02 or face being removed.  More settlers moved on to Quagga Pan B apparently moved off Sossonye Ranch. The Alandia Ranch  owner had an A2 settler visit him and request an appointment with the DA, Mwenezi.  The Lot 21 A owner was charged with “poisoning the water” in the cattle drinking trough. The vet and local police were sent to investigate the matter. The owner wants to know why he would want to put poison in the water when his own cattle drink from the same trough!

Gutu / Chatsworth - Ongoing disruption to farming activities.

No report received.

No report received.                                               Visit the CFU Website

Unless specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.
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Zimbabwe loses second citizenship case

      June 12 2002 at 09:49AM

Harare - A Zimbabwean dancer of Mozambican parentage has won a second test
case against Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo and Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede after being refused a passport.

Ricarudo Manwere, 31, a founder member of the internationally acclaimed
troupe Tumbuka, was told by officials he had forfeited his citizenship
because, although born in Zimbabwe, he had not produced proof by the
Government's January 6 deadline of renouncing any claim to the citizenship
of Mozambique, where his father was born.

Before the January 6 deadline, the Mozambican High Commission in Harare was
overwhelmed with applications for documentary proof persons of Mozambican
descent were not eligible for Mozambican citizenship, and were unable to
supply it.

There are believed to be up to two million Zimbabweans of Malawian or
Mozambican descent in Zimbabwe affected by President Robert Mugabe's tough
new laws aimed at clamping down on those with a potential right to dual

The plight of the 30 000 of British descent has received the greatest
publicity because Mugabe accuses them of master-minding opposition to his 22
year rule and "fast track land reform programme".

Last month veteran human rights campaigner Judith Todd won what was believed
to have been a landmark judgment when Judge Sandra Mungwiro ruled Mudede had
no right to strip her of citizenship because her father, former prime
minister Sir Garfield Todd, was born in New Zealand.

Since then, Mudede has lodged an appeal on the grounds the judge ought not
to have heard the case, because her husband may have a claim by descent to
some foreign citizenship.

In an application heard in chambers at the Supreme Court, Mudede
successfully sought a temporary stay of Mungwiro's order to issue Todd with
a passport and restore full citizenship rights, including her vote.

Todd will therefore be left stateless until the full Supreme Court bench hea
rs the case after what may be a lengthy delay.

When Manwere went to renew his passport in order to take part in a tour next
month to South Africa and Spain as cultural ambassadors for Zimbabwe, he was
told to apply for citizenship, a process taking two years and costing R2000.

Judge Yunus Omerjee ruled Mudede had again exceeded his powers by ignoring
Mangwiro's ruling in the Todd case.

Neither Todd nor Manwere had taken any steps to claim a foreign second
citizenship, the courts heard.

Manwere told The Daily News he went back to the passport office this week
with a letter from his lawyer advising officials of Judge Omerjee's ruling,
but they refused to comply with it. He planned to return on Wednesday with a
full copy of the judgment.

Zimbabwe human rights lawyers backed Manwere's test case in the hope of
establishing a precedent. - Sapa-DPA
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Mugabe in the Limelight At World Food Conference

Business Day (Johannesburg)

June 12, 2002
Posted to the web June 12, 2002

Dumisani Muleya

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has become the centre of global attention
at the World Food Summit in Rome, but for all the wrong reasons.

Mugabe grabbed the limelight at the meeting on Monday as he became the
target of a torrent of blistering criticism by international leaders for his
objectionable governance and land policies.

United States Agency for International Development (USaid) head, Andrew
Natsios, opened the floodgates of biting censure against Mugabe by
complaining that he was appalled by the Zimbabwean ruler's presence at the

"I am uncomfortable when any head of state that is tyrannical and predatory
comes to a conference like this," he said.

Mugabe came under fire for his government's food distribution patterns in
which he is accused of feeding his supporters only, while starving those
perceived as members of the opposition.

Other critics joined in the attack against him, putting him at the centre of
the international diplomatic radar. Glenys Kinnock, a member of the European
parliament and a staunch critic of the Zimbabwean leader, told the European
Union that Mugabe should not be allowed to posture on international stages
while he starved his own people.

"Mugabe is using these United Nations meetings to parade himself in Europe
in defiance of our ban, while people in his country suffer because of his
policies," she said.

However, Mugabe said: "Zimbabwean land must rightly belong to Zimbabweans."
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The Times

            Thought for food
            Issues that should be on the table for the UN in Rome

            The world produces enough food to feed itself. Starvation and
hunger, killing 24,000 people every day, are almost always the result of bad
management, bad politics and bad men. But since these evils are
ineradicable, emergency operations will always be needed. Kofi Annan called
this shameful. He told the opening of the United Nations World Food Summit
in Rome yesterday that ending hunger was within grasp. He ignored Third
World corruption, the destruction of traditional agriculture, the
indifference of the rich, the dependency culture of the poor and subsidies
that have so distorted markets that many countries are barely able to rise
above subsistence.
            More than any other UN agency, the Food and Agriculture
Organisation typifies the bureaucracy, sloganeering and misconceived
policies thwarting good intentions. For too long this agency was an
egregious example of waste and intrigue by those preferring to advance their
careers rather than the policies that would increase food production. The
lavish menu alone for yesterday's sumptuous meeting sat ill with the focus
on famine in southern Africa and the aim of narrowing the gap between rich
and poor.

            The agency's failings have had two long-term consequences. The
first is that many recipient countries see the FAO more as a forum for
voicing strident attacks on the developed world than as a partner offering
expertise in agriculture. The second is that the richer countries have
largely ignored the agency altogether, pursuing policies in food production
that are as economically short-sighted as they are ruinous to the rest of
the world. It is symbollic of the disparity in expectations that whereas
many Third World leaders - including the shunned Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe - led their delegations in person, the heads of only two Western
countries, Italy and Spain, attended the opening. Britain was represented by
Alun Michael, Minister for Rural Affairs.

            Despite fine words by Western leaders on the need to reduce
poverty, especially in Africa, few were ready to take part in any
international strategy discussion. Partly this is because few have faith in
the nebulous target of reducing the number of hungry people from 800 million
to 400 million by 2015; partly it is because they are in no mood to be
lectured about the need to cut agricultural subsidies, now running at the
staggering figure of $300 billion a year - over $50 for every man, woman and
child on the planet.

            The Europeans have long been the worst offenders. The
absurdities of the common agricultural policy have produced the vast
subsidised surpluses that are exported to the detriment of producers and
consumers around the world. Reform has been agreed in principle; but it will
be a long time before the big producers such as France agree to eliminate
these market distortions. America, so quick to accuse the Europeans at every
world trade summit, is itself no less guilty, with Democrats and Republicans
fearful of antagonising the farm lobby.

            Everyone can see the distortions: the dumping of surpluses that
ruin local markets, the refusal to buy Third World food - often a country's
only export - and the sale of inappropriate food technology to peasant
economies. This meeting may exacerbate the divisions. Even the attempt to
outline the concept of a "right to food" has run into trouble: America, ever
wary of litigation, refuses to sign any declaration that might expose it to
future legal claims. The summit has plenty to discuss: food security,
genetically modified crops, sustainable development and strategies to
counter natural disasters. Instead, rich and poor look set to bicker
endlessly instead of agreeing a strategy to provide food enough for all.
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Swiss time 22:21, Wednesday 12.06.2002
Africans unhappy at West's absence from food talks

By William Maclean

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Africans are dismayed at the absence of world leaders
from a hunger summit but have voiced scepticism about the ability of
anyone -- haves or have nots -- to fill more stomachs while war ravages the

Many experts said hunger took second place to armed conflict as a long-term
problem in Africa, and food could not be easily grown or delivered without
peace and security.

"I'm cynical about this event. It has very good intentions but it's never
going to work," said David Nyameino of the Kenyan Cereal Growers

"The world's major policymakers are not there and the fate of 90 percent of
what we produce rests with them."

Most of the world's top leaders skipped the opening of a U.N. Food Summit in
Rome on Monday, undermining hopes that the meeting would revive efforts to
sharply reduce world hunger. In contrast, dozens of leaders from poor
countries attended.

Aid workers trying to alleviate hunger in Africa's conflict zones cautioned
that food deliveries were no cure-all.

In Liberia, tens of thousands of people have fled their homes since a
northern rebellion threatened the capital in February, and many are in
volatile areas beyond the reach of aid agencies, according to the World Food

Even those receiving help are not out of danger.

"Conditions are such that there is no amount of food assistance that can
give them peace of mind. They would rather there were peace so they can go
back home," said Samuel Brown of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation &
Resettlement Commission.


Adrian Spijkers of the Food and Agricultural Programme in the Democratic
Republic of Congo said the shattered country needed peace to develop its
undoubted ability to feed itself.

"We are at the heart of the continent and have a lot of resources in terms
of water, land and people, but we have to import rice from as far away as
Vietnam and Thailand," he said.

"We know this country could eventually produce food for export, but we need
peace and stability before anything like that can happen," Spijkers told
Reuters on Tuesday.

Some African experts complained that the summit could have been a good
opportunity to raise at senior level vexed issues such as subsidies for
farmers in rich countries.

"The absence of heads of state of Western countries is deplorable," said
Jean Noel Humbert, general secretary of the Mauritius Chamber of
Agriculture. "Agriculture is an important sector in the fight against

Economists say Western subsidies push Africa deeper into poverty by blocking
its produce from major markets, depressing world commodity prices and
indirectly deterring investment in the continent's overwhelmingly
agricultural economies.

"I am disappointed," said Professor Stephen Mbogo of Nairobi University's
Department of Agriculture. "It's time to reach an agreement on policies to
tackle hunger, but the summit will be incomplete if only the developing
world attends."


Some had low expectations of the summit from the outset.

"I am not surprised and I am not unhappy (at the West's absence) -- these
types of conferences are out of fashion," said Robert Kabushenga, a
columnist for Uganda's New Vision daily.

"Why should world leaders be interested? Technically speaking they do not
suffer food insecurity, which is basically an African problem. It's up to
African leaders (to tackle it)."

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation hopes the summit will encourage
rich nations to open their purse strings and work harder to cut the number
of hungry people to 400 million by 2015 from about 800 million at present.

But an African development worker in Ethiopia said: "A lot of people are
sceptical as to whether international conferences have any impact on the

"It is incumbent on the U.N. system and others who organise such conferences
to ensure that they are relevant."

Some said progress might yet be salvaged from the talks.

"One can only tell at the end of the summit whether Western nations have an
interest in getting Africa to deal with its food crisis," said Herman
Hanekom, senior regional analyst of the Pretoria-based Africa Institute.

"But whichever way you look at it, issues like Zimbabwe tend to work against
Africa. The fast-track land issue in Zimbabwe is working against the
continent and this could explain low-level attendance by western nations."

11.06.2002 18:16, Reuters
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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: War vets force feeding centre closure

JOHANNESBURG, 12 June (IRIN) - Forty thousand children in Zimbabwe's western Binga district will not receive their food aid after a food distribution programme run by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was closed by police on Wednesday.

Father Tom McQuillen told IRIN that as trucks were being loaded with food in the morning, war veterans arrived and put a chain and a padlock around the gate of the church grounds and wouldn't let them leave.

The police were called but, McQuillen said: "Their orders are that we are to stop feeding. We received nothing in writing. We were told we could discuss it with the district administrator at a meeting on Monday."

This was not the first time the project, funded by Britain's Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), has been targeted by war veterans. McQuillen said that three Saturdays ago the war veterans blocked all the gates to the church grounds and wouldn't let anyone enter or leave. They finally left when the police intervened but returned before Sunday mass and the police again intervened.

When they threatened to burn the project's vehicles, feeding was suspended.

"Kids were going to the locations looking for food and not understanding why there was none," he said.

McQuillen said that after receiving reports that children were fainting, they decided to start distributing food again.

However, before they could start again on Wednesday, the war veterans returned and prevented the resumption of the programme.

In April 2001 war veterans also tried to close the offices but police stopped them. In February this year one of the project's workers was harassed and threatened, he said.

McQuillen said the project feeds 8,497 pre-school children, 13,795 primary school children and 18,969 families who only have food stocks to last one week. They had planned to expand as the area had no harvests for a second year.

The people of Binga form part of the 6.1 million Zimbabweans that a joint World Food Programme(WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) assessment has identified as being in danger of having no food this year.

"People are not coping, it is very hard to get food even if there is money. The young children don't know why they're not getting food," he said.

The Save the Children Fund, which works alongside McQuillen's organisation in the region, had to suspend its operations for two days earlier this year.

Michael O'Donnell, emergency food security advisor, said that their programme which gives 55,000 people one-month rations per household, had to close temporarily.

"The authorities looked into the question of whether the Save the Children operation was operating along political lines in favour of the opposition [Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)].

"We suspended operations voluntarily while the district and provincial authorities investigated but we were cleared and we have no more problems," he said.

A spokesman for the war veterans was not immediately available to comment.

Meanwhile in Manicaland the MDC said its offices in Chimanimani had been closed.

MDC spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said a driver at the farm of Roy Bennet, a local MDC member, was stopped at a roadblock and his car was impounded by police and security forces. Muchauraya said the driver was allegedly assaulted and later taken to the MDC offices where a security guard was also allegedly beaten.

Muchauraya said police told people in the MDC office that the party was banned from the area.

He said a planned rally in Mutare south had to be cancelled because at least 2,000 ZANU-PF members had arrived to disrupt the rally.

Another MDC spokesman, Dryden Kunaka, said: "They are targeting areas where the MDC is very strong."

In March President Robert Mugabe was re-elected over MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in a poll which the Commonwealth and European Union believe was not free and fair. The MDC has launched court action for a fresh election.

In Harare the media came under the spotlight as the trial of American journalist Andrew Meldrum began. Meldrum faces charges of publishing false information under the country's new access to information laws.

Meldrum was arrested after his newspaper, the British Guardian, published a story on the alleged beheading of the wife of an MDC supporter by ZANU-PF members. The original publisher of the story, The Daily News, has since said it doubts the story as the woman's grave cannot be found and the paper suspects the man who told the story fabricated it for money.

Meldrum pleaded innocent and Daily News reporter, Lloyd Mudiwa, will appear on the same charges next week.
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June 13, 2002

Mugabe spurns plea to avert famine with food imports
From James Bone in New York and Richard Owen in Rome
PRESIDENT MUGABE, who is spending the week blaming white “imperialists” for Zimbabwe’s desperate food shortages, has been taken to task by the world’s most senior black African official for blocking grain imports.

In the margins of the United Nations’ World Food Summit in Rome, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, has twice demanded that Mr Mugabe permit a free market in grain to try to avert a famine. UN sources said that the Zimbabwean President had refused on both occasions.

Instead Mr Mugabe told Afrikone, an African television station, yesterday that the West “enjoys seeing Africans suffer ... The more we suffer the happier they are”. He added: “The only good imperialist is a dead imperialist.”

On Monday Mr Annan privately urged Mr Mugabe to lift the state monopoly on all imports and sale of grain into the drought-stricken country, where commercial farming has almost collapsed because of the Government’s land seizures. He repeated the demand later in the week, but was disappointed again.

Mr Mugabe’s defiance threatens Zimbabwe with mass starvation. Six million people face malnutrition unless large amounts of cereals, especially maize, are brought into the country. The Government controls all grain imports and distribution and is expected to import about 300,000 tonnes of grain this year, with a further 60,000 tonnes already promised in food aid.

But the UN estimates that Zimbabwe needs 1.497 million tonnes of food, including 1.345 million tonnes of maize. It believes that the private sector could take care of two thirds of the 1.137 million-tonne shortfall, if the Government agreed.

“If there is no free market and no food on the market, we are going to have a hell of a time,” Judith Lewis, the regional director of the World Food Programme, said.

A senior Western diplomat said: “One does not have leverage over Mr Mugabe because he is just prepared to trade people’s lives to keep his power.”

The summit, which is designed to combat world hunger, is drawing to a close with Third World leaders rounding on their Western counterparts for not attending.

President Mbeki of South Africa said that their absence showed that they “do not care about human life”. He said that the world’s leaders, including President Bush and Tony Blair, had come to Rome only two weeks ago for a Nato Russia meeting. The fact that they had not returned to discuss how to tackle worldwide starvation suggested that “they obviously don’t think the problem of 800 million starving people is important”.

Only two Western nations had sent their Prime Ministers: Italy, which is hosting the summit, and Spain, which holds the presidency of the European Union Council of Ministers. Mr Mbeki said this showed that the priorities of the developed world were “fundamentally wrong”.

Alun Michael, the Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, finally arrived in Rome yesterday. But he did not speak publicly and left after five hours, making Britain the only EU nation not to have made a statement at the summit. Clare Short, the International Development Secretary, had said earlier that her department was not sending a minister because the four-day conference was “a waste of time”.

British officials insisted that, although Mr Michael had missed the first two days of the summit and would also miss its conclusion today, this did not amount to a boycott. Third World delegates said that Britain should either have boycotted the meeting or attended it “properly”.

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