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

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War vets extort 28 
6/13/02 9:25:15 AM (GMT +2)
From Chris Gande in Bulawayo
AS cases of extortion rise in Matabeleland South, war veterans are alleged to have forced a farmer in the province to “pay” them 28 heifers as an inducement for them to allow him to graze his cattle on one of his designated farms.
The farmer, who declined to be named, is a leading supplier of beef to government institutions, including all the major hospitals, and several other private institutions in Matabeleland.
But he would not discuss the issue for fear the publicity would aggravate his plight, which appeared to have subsided after he had “paid” the heifers to the alleged war veterans.
Sources within the extortionate group claiming to be war veterans yesterday said the farmer had been warned that by December this year he would have to part with more beasts if he wanted his cattle to continue grazing at the designated farm.
To add to the farmer’s woes, poaching of both wild animals and cattle on his property by the settlers who occupy part of the farm has also risen significantly.
On Monday, a cow was found caught in a snare at the farm and the police, who could not comment on the issue, are said to have dealt with the case.
Last week a group of war veterans from the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP) visited the farm in an attempt to persuade the invaders to co-exist with the beleaguered farmer.
Max Ndlovu, the ZLP spokesman, described the situation as absurd, saying it needed urgent attention.
ZLP, whose members are former Please, turn to freedom fighters from both Zipra (PF-Zapu) and Zanla (Zanu PF), opposes the chaotic land redistribution exercise favoured by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA).
Ndlovu said they were not against land reform but were against the lawlessness on most of the farms.
"We feel the government should protect farmers like this one because they are an asset to the country.
He should be protected so that he can carry on his business without fear," he said.
Ndlovu vowed his organisation would expose cases of extortion for the good of the country.
Ben Zietsman, a Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) official, yesterday said there was an increase in cases of extortion by farm invaders in Matabeleland.
The provinces, located in the arid agro region Five, are predominantly cattle country and most farmers in the region are ranchers.
Zietsman said: "Farmers are being forced to pay large sums of money to graze their cattle. This is now a common thing on the farms."
Last week the CFU reported that two top war veterans had received $6 million in extortion from a farmer who wanted to prevent the designation of his farm.
Freedom fighters from both Zipra and Zanla, opposes the chaotic land redistribution exercise favoured by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, from which ZLP broke away.
Ndlovu said they were not against land reform but were against the lawlessness on most of the farms.
“We feel the government should protect farmers because they are an asset to the country,” he said.
Ndlovu vowed ZLP would expose instances of extortion for the good of the country.
Ben Zietsman, a Commercial Farmers’ Union official, said there was an increase in cases of extortion by farm invaders in Matabeleland.
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A double tragedy for Masvingo families 
6/13/02 8:11:04 AM (GMT +2)
MISFORTUNES seldom come singly. For Zimbabwe, facing the potential loss of many lives through starvation, the death of 48 people in two accidents on one of its highways in one province, barely two days apart, has been one huge devastating blow.
But this highway has claimed the lives of hundreds of other people during the past 18 years.
That might be a reflection of the volume of the traffic that moves between this country and South Africa and that it is a more direct route to countries to the north.
But the volume between this country and Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia is quite substantial as well. Perhaps a factor could be the size of the road itself.
In times such as these, when a nation reflects on its grievous loss, the immediate reaction is to blame the human factor.
While this may be true, and could be cited in the two tragedies this week, because there was no traffic congestion on the two stretches of the Masvingo-Harare and Masvingo-Beitbridge road, the human element can only be one of the contributory factors.
Another has to be the size and condition of the road and how safe it can be for night driving.
It is time the government paid more attention to the size of the country’s road network than ever before.
An immediate solution, albeit a partial one, would be the introduction of dual carriageways on such long stretches as the Harare-Masvingo road.
Harare has dual carriageways into the city centre from Borrowdale, Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana and Mabvuku.
They keep traffic travelling in opposite directions apart and must contribute to the relative safety of the road users.
In the first bus accident, in which 37 students and a teacher from Masvingo Teachers’ College were killed, the tragedy would have been avoided.
In the second accident on Tuesday morning in which 11 more lives were lost, a combination of the presence of the highway patrol and the discipline of the minibus driver and the conductor and even the passengers themselves could have ensured the vehicle was not speeding, which apparently it was.
The one common element peculiar to minibuses is that they travel at extremely fast speeds.
They may get their passengers to their destination in time, but some never get there at all. This is what happened to the 11 killed in the Chivi accident.
The question of discipline applies to the first accident as well.
If the college, which hired the bus to the sporting function in Harare had someone disciplined enough to insist on adhering to their original programme, the tragedy might have not taken place, and they would have travelled during daylight instead of departing Harare for Masvingo at 6pm on Sunday.
Zimbabwean roads are at their most dangerous at night. While the government may provide funeral and food expenses, the truth is that the departed loved ones will never come back.
It is a reality many will begin to awaken to once the dust at the cemeteries has settled down.
The trauma of not having been able to positively identify sons and daughters lost in the accident and conduct family rites during burial is another factor likely to haunt the parents and relatives of those buried in a mass grave.
It might have been helpful, given more time, to resort to forensic dentistry tests to help identify those burnt beyond recognition. This is where a strong case could have been made for seeking the assistance of South Africa’s more advanced technology.
Many troubled souls would have been pacified immensely, as mass burials with their numbing anonymity would have been avoided.
While there is a genuine outpouring of grief and desire to assist the affected families, lessons from the past, especially the Regina Coeli bus disaster, suggest the need for a more watertight administration of public funds contributed to help the bereaved.
There will be sharks waiting to benefit illicitly from both tragedies.
This time they must not be allowed to prosper from the blood of the innocent.
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War vets allegedly abduct MDC official in Mutare 
6/13/02 9:24:25 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Mutare
THE MDC vice-chairman for Mutare South, Jonathan Mukwindidza was on Monday allegedly abducted from his office by two war veterans and a soldier who handed him to Zanu PF youths.
Mukwindidza, 36, sustained bruises on his arms, legs, hands and face after the youths assaulted him with sticks and chains. The cadres, based at the District Development Fund’s premises about 35km south of Mutare, suspected Mukwindidza of organising an MDC rally which was scheduled for Tuesday in the same area.
Mutare police spokesman, Brian Makomeke, said on Tuesday he was unaware of the case but would make investigations. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, was scheduled to address the meeting on the need for a re-run of the presidential election which he says was fraudulently won by President Mugabe.
Mukwindidza said the gang approached him at his office at PG Safety Glass in Mutare’s industrial area pretending they were investigating a case in which his cattle were stolen.
“Upon arrival at the reception, three men asked whether my cattle had been stolen and if I suspected anyone,” Mukwindidza said. “I was dumbfounded because no such report was ever made. Immediately, I became suspicious and the men asked me to step outside, saying they were from the CIO.” He identified his abductors as Gwarada and Gono.
“When I refused to go, they dragged me, questioning me about my involvement with the MDC,” he said. “I refused to answer their questions and there was a scuffle. They overpowered me and threw me into their vehicle.” Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF spokesman in Manicaland, said if Mukwindidza was indeed abducted and attacked, then he should report to the police.
He said: “The elections are over, so there is no need to fight. We have not sent anyone on a bashing spree. He should identify his assailants and let the police do their job.” Mukwindidza said after the beating, the youths ordered him to leave their base and go back to his constituency and call off the rally.
“A good samaritan offered me a ride back to Mutare after he saw me staggering by the roadside but the youths threatened him and he sped off.
“They said I should walk to the city centre. Fortunately, I later hitched a ride with another good samaritan back to Mutare. “I later reported the case to our lawyers, MDC officials and the police,” Mukwindidza said.
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Import Duty to Be Paid in Foreign Currency?

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 13, 2002
Posted to the web June 13, 2002

Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe government could soon introduce the payment of all import duty in foreign currency as part of measures to alleviate the country's severe foreign exchange shortages, it was learnt this week.

Importers, who pay duty in Zimbabwe dollars and at the official exchange rate of $55 against the US dollar, said the government was seriously considering the possibility of import duty being paid in hard cash.

"The government is mulling the idea of introducing payment of import duty in foreign currency," a source told the Financial Gazette. "It is not yet official and not yet clear whether this will be imposed on all goods, but they are working on it.

"The government feels that it has been losing a lot of money under the current system and there is a feeling that introducing payment of import duty in foreign currency will somehow improve the forex situation."

There was no immediate response to written questions sent to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade.

But consultant economist John Robertson said it would be illegal for the government to introduce such a policy because the legal tender in the country is the Zimbabwe dollar.

He however said the payment of import duties in forex could be in line with a new government policy that has resulted in tobacco purchases being made in foreign currency, even by local buyers.

"The government is obliged to use the legal tender for all legal transactions, but it might be setting a precedent here," Robertson told the Financial Gazette. "The government is assuming that importers are getting their foreign currency at the official exchange rate which is not so.

"Imagine what will happen to the prices of these goods. There is a certain degree of unfairness in the whole thing."

Most importers secure their foreign currency on the parallel market, where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at around $750 against the American greenback.

If importers are forced to pay tariffs in foreign currency, many household goods would be further out of reach for most Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe mainly imports cars and electrical appliances, whose prices have already shot up by more than 100 percent in the past two years.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief executive Malvern Rusike said by coming up with such a policy, the government was assuming that every importer was an exporter who would have easy access to foreign currency.

He said some importers might fail to import products because of lack of foreign currency, creating shortages.

"We have not yet heard anything from importers about that (proposal), but one needs to look at the legislative instruments to see whether it works,' said Rusike.

"But obviously, this will affect product availability and the pricing of the imported products."

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Trial Farce In Zimbabwe

The trial of the Guardian journalist accused of writing a false report under Zimbabwe's tough new press freedom laws descended into farce on Wednesday.

Andrew Meldrum's trial was delayed by two hours while the magistrate went home to breastfeed her baby. Once a second magistrate was found, the trial had to be adjourned yet again when it became clear that most of the state's witnesses, including the prosecution's key figure, had not shown up.

Meldrum, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge of 'breach of journalistic privilege' could face two years in prison if the court rules that he accepted false information on atrocities supposedly committed by ruling party militants.

The hearing was attended by Western diplomats and a group of human rights lawyers.

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Trust says 500 000 in urgent need of food countrywide 
6/13/02 9:47:08 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter
The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe says about 500 000 farm workers, displaced under the government’s land reform programme were in urgent need of food. Sophie Hamandishe, the Trust’s communications officer, said about 50 percent of farm workers in Manicaland and Mashonaland East, West and Central provinces had lost their jobs and were relying on charity to survive.
Hamandishe said: “The dilemma is that the most affected farm workers are inaccessible. It is not possible to feed such a large number of people.”
Previously, almost all farm workers’ cash income was derived from activities on the farm, she said.
Hamandishe said the workers’ homes were on the farms and they paid subsidised prices for food from the farm stores. The organisation had already started a feeding scheme for about 10 000 farm workers’ children. Hamandishe said although 80 percent of the affected farm workers remained on the designated farms, they lived under constant harassment from the new settlers.
In Mashonaland East, 2 594 workers had lost their jobs, affecting 120 000 people, while in Mashonaland West 3 087 farm workers were affected. Hamandishe said the farm workers’ livelihoods were directly linked to the fate of the farms on which they worked. The Commercial Farmers’ Union said in April 5 069 farms had been designated for compulsory acquisition by the government resulting in the stoppage of all operations as required by Section 8.
Hamandishe said most farm workers had nowhere to go. In three months, farms which have been served with Section 8 notices would close down, leaving the farm workers stranded with neither food nor income. In Mashonaland Central, nearly 80 percent of farm workers remained on the designated farms.
In Manicaland, 3 000 worker households have been left without any source of income, affecting about 18 000 families, mostly women and children. Most of the farm workers displaced, though Zimbabwean by nationality, were of foreign origin making it difficult for them to get land in the communal areas.
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MDC calls off Mutare rally after threats of violence 
6/13/02 9:41:41 AM (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
ABOUT 50 so-called war veterans and Zanu PF youths wielding axes, sticks, logs and bricks yesterday threatened to beat up MDC officials and prevented Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, from holding a post-election rally in Mutare South.
Tsvangirai returned to Harare without addressing his supporters after the youths vowed to beat up MDC top officials and their members if they dared set foot at the venue of the rally.
Speaking in Mutare, a disappointed Tsvangirai said: “I was invited by Sidney Mukwecheni, the MP for Mutare South, and the MDC’s provincial executive to address a rally there, but to my surprise, armed Zanu PF youths and war veterans camped there and prevented the rally, despite police clearance to hold the gathering.
I therefore could not proceed.” The opposition leader said it was the first time since he embarked on his post-election rallies that Zanu PF supporters had successfully prevented him from holding a rally.
“Zanu PF must take full responsibility for the violence and intimidation currently going on in the country.
This is the first time they have succeeded in stopping us from holding a post-election rally. The heat must be on for President Mugabe and that is why his party is acting in such a desperate manner.”
When The Daily News crew arrived at the scene, Zanu PF supporters armed with an assortment of weapons and heavily armed riot police were loitering around the area.
Zanu PF youths paced up and down the Chimanimani road about a kilometre away from the venue.
Earlier, Mukwecheni escaped unhurt when the Zanu PF youths spotted him at the venue in the morning. They allegedly threw stones at him, but he sped off.
“I went to set up the tent and chairs, but was stopped by a group of Zanu PF youths threatening to harm me if I pitched the tent,” Mukwecheni said.
“As I went to my car they started throwing stones at me but I immediately sped off.
I met a senior police officer who identified himself as Lupahla. He escorted me back to the venue, but the youths threatened to stone my car if I persisted with the programme.
We were therefore forced to call off the rally fearing violence.”
Brian Makomeke, the acting police spokesman in Manicaland, said he was unaware of the case but promised to investigate.
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Tsvangirai urges inclusion of all stakeholders in maize distribution 
6/13/02 9:56:55 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the government of creating the current food crisis by its chaotic land reform programme and failure to take
urgent measures to avert a shortage.
In a statement, he said his party was proposing a tripartite distribution arrangement of maize and maize-meal involving the Grain Marketing Board, local churches and participating non-governmental organisations. “This mechanism would be complemented by another arrangement involving the two major political parties, MDC and Zanu PF, to ensure that the distribution of maize and maize-meal in the country is fair,” he said.
The MDC has accused Zanu PF of favouring its own members in the distribution of maize. Tsvangirai said President Mugabe had deliberately misled the world at the World Food Summit in Rome by claiming that drought had caused Zimbabwe’s food crisis when it was his government to blame. “At the current rate of grain consumption, the national food grain reserve stocks will run out at the end of July,” Tsvangirai said.
He said that the country needed 130 000 tonnes of maize a month, for both human and livestock consumption. Turning to wheat, the MDC leader warned the country was expecting a yield of less than 40 percent of last year’s production.
“Contrary to what the Mugabe regime may want to make the world believe, at urrent consumption rates, wheat grain reserves are running out at the end of next month,” Tsvangirai said. He said his party was worried because starvation was becoming a certainty yet the government appeared not to have “the incerity, moral will nor the capacity to move on the issue with a view to genuinely resolving it”.
“Mugabe wants to use the food shortage as a tool for personal political expediency as he is denying access to food for any members and suspected supporters of the opposition.” Tsvangirai accused the government of using the political structures of Zanu PF in the distribution of grain in the rural areas where it commanded support.
“The political structures of Zanu PF have been vested with the responsibility
of ensuring that people without Zanu PF membership cards are prevented from buying maize and maize-meal from distribution centres. “Among the victims are opposition political party members, some church followers and any persons deemed by Zanu PF to be apolitical,” he said.
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Dismissed council chairman speaks out 
6/13/02 9:54:34 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
LEONARD Mhlanga, the former Umguza rural district council chairman “fired” by so-called war veterans last year has, for the first time, disclosed why he thinks he fell out with Zanu PF.
Mhlanga was accused by the war veterans of “frustrating the government’s land reform programme” after he clashed with the Governor for Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu.
He said as council chairman, people were asking him when infrastructure such as clinics, schools, roads and water facilities would be made available to the newly-resettled farmers. War veterans invaded the council offices in February last year and ejected Mhlanga and other councillors perceived to be sympathetic to the MDC.
The war veterans put their own man in place of Mhlanga who was elected. Mhlanga this week denied he was doing the MDC’s bidding but promoting the wishes of the majority. He said the comments which annoyed the war veterans were on the economic impact of the land reform programme on the people’s lives.
“I told the people that the fast track programme was so fast and there was not time for all these provisions to be in place,” he said. Zimbabwe is facing a serious maize shortage because of the combined effects of the drought and the chaotic land redistribution programme which has led to a more than 50 percent decline in agricultural output.
Mhlanga said he clashed with war veterans who had been sent to invade farms through which the proposed pipeline for the envisaged Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project would pass. He said today the same people who invaded farms were being chased away but when he pointed out that they should not invade the farms he was branded a traitor. Mhlanga, a war veteran who fought with the Zipra forces of Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu, said no one had fought for the country better than others. All the freedom fighters fought so that they could develop the country.
Now that the country was free, the land issue must be settled through the courts. The outspoken former councillor said the suspicion that he was liaising with the MDC during his term of office was not wrong because even now the government itself was talking with the opposition party.
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Mugabe lost the right to lead Zimbabwe in March 
6/13/02 8:14:31 AM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Mugabe’s term as Zimbabwe’s President expired at the end of March this year.
The people of Zimbabwe rejected him at the polls. He, however, went on to say he won the poll in the fullest of knowledge that the people of Zimbabwe had rejected him.
Believe you me, it could be three months after the poll, but it has not yet sunk in him that he has to relinquish power.
He cannot believe that the people of Zimbabwe have rejected him but it’s true.
The media and everybody else should stop addressing him as “President” because to do so would be insulting the people of Zimbabwe Yesterday he was in New York and today he is in Rome at the invitation of the United Nations.
The UN should be made aware that Mugabe’s presence at the UN summit is repugnant to the majority of Zimbabweans and does not represent the interests of Zimbabwe, but that of Mugabe and company’s personal interests.
He is not interested in the elimination of poverty as he starves his own people to death. When there is little food available (thanks to the United States and the European Union), he first feeds himself and his cronies and then those he believes are his supporters.
Those perceived to be opposition supporters are left to die, including children that he claimed to be supporting at the recent New York summit.
Let it be clear to the UN that neither Mugabe nor his so-called ministers are representing Zimbabwe at any level any longer.
All of his most trusted and vocal and bungling ministers are not elected legislators, but Mugabe’s appointed cronies. They are not accountable to anybody, but themselves.
Just as an illustration, look at the land distribution. To whom is the land being distributed? Ask the poor souls who desperately needed land and were “resettled”.
They will give you a good hiding for suggesting that Mugabe wanted to resettle them.
But you will get a pat on the back if you put the same question to Mugabe’s ministers.
Mugabe would want the whole world to believe that he is fighting the whites in Zimbabwe, Britain and America, but in fact he is fighting innocent desperate Zimbabweans of all races.
Just ask yourself how many black Zimbabweans his supporters have killed and how many black families they have displaced.
How many black workers in the farming industry have lost their jobs? And how many black reporters and editors has he arrested?
If you can answer these questions honestly, then you know whose blood Mugabe is after.
Why he is doing all this can be answered in just one word: power. The good news is that we Zimbabweans are aware of our situation and we won’t let this illegitimate government get away with it.
We won’t accept this situation to go on. We do not want the same nonsense to repeat itself in all future elections whoever the leader might be.
If Mugabe thinks that he can entice the MDC leadership by offering them some ministerial posts, then he better think again for the MDC is a people-driven party that is guided by democratic principles.
Another unelected minister in the shape of Jonathan Moyo has been trying to take your unbiased newspaper out of commission.
Stand firm and keep telling it like it is. If an illegitimate government is messing up our economy let’s tell them that they are imposing themselves on the citizens and they should go back and seek the people’s mandate.
Hatineti John Sega
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We are tired of the world’s duplicity and having to listen to the repeated press comment that "… 70% of the farmland belongs to 'whites' and ..... we accept the principle of land redistribution (from whom to whom?)....... there is a racial imbalance. ....30% of all land belongs to 'whites’..” etc.
 We are all Zimbabweans and this is pure racial discrimination on the grounds of skin colour. Remember these facts:
 1.  80% of all farms have been purchased since 1980 (Advent of Majority Rule)
2. Only 28 % of all land in Zimbabwe is owned by Commercial Farmers of all races.
3. Where in the world do farmers not own most of the land? Please tell me!
4. Are the majority of fish and chip shops in England owned by one racial group? Are the majority of fishermen in Spain one skin colour? Are most garage owners in Kenya Kikuyu?
4. The fact that farmers are described as having one skin colour or another contravenes one of the basic principles of the democratic constitutions of the world – discrimination on the grounds of race.
Help stop the Hypocrisy and get the facts straight.
Stop the nonsense and don’t be influenced by a gullible press that plays to the tune of the world’s biggest tyrant.
Simon Spooner
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The Times

Mugabe and friends fly in the face of travel  sanctions
By Richard Beeston, Michael Hartnack, Stephen Burgen and Daniel McGrory

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his cronies are blatantly flouting international
sanctions on Zimbabwe designed to prevent them from travelling and doing
business in Europe and America.
Only four months after the EU imposed "smart sanctions" as a punishment for
the Zimbabwe regime's violent and rigged re-election campaign, its leader,
his wife, senior ministers, his police chief and several key officials have
been regular visitors to London and other European capitals.
Under the sanctions, Mr Mugabe and 19 of his senior ministers and military
officers were banned from travelling to member countries or holding assets
in the EU. Similar sanctions were imposed by America. Mr Mugabe and others
on the list have, however, bypassed the system by attending international
meetings or sending their spouses, who are not yet covered by the ban.
The freezing of assets has so far netted two accounts in Britain worth
£76,000, but the millions thought to be deposited abroad remain untouched.
The most galling example of the failure of the sanctions occurred in Rome
this week when three men on the banned list - Mr Mugabe, Stan Mudenge, the
Foreign Minister, and Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister - attended the
United Nations meeting to discuss world hunger. Augustine Chihuri, the
Zimbabwean police commissioner, also bypassed his ban to attend an Interpol
conference in France last month. He remains the international police
organisation's vice-president for Africa. He hopes to return this month.
An EU spokesman said that member nations were powerless to act if those on
the sanctions list were invited to attend international conferences.
Zimbabwe has made clear that it regards this as a giant loophole,
particularly as international conferences are regularly hosted in all Europe
's main capitals.
"Mr Mugabe has 25 green lights to travel anywhere he wishes," said Mr
Mudenge, after he accompanied the Zimbabwean leader for another UN
conference in New York last month. "The so-called travel restrictions are
hollow and nothing can restrict a head of state and cabinet ministers from
executing their duties as they see fit."
Mr Mugabe led a delegation of more than a dozen ministers and officials to a
UN children's summit in New York last month despite the US travel ban, and
was welcomed on the diplomatic circuit.
Before addressing the General Assembly special session on children on May
10, he attended a banquet given by the UN Secretary-General and was invited
with his wife to a cocktail party hosted by the South Korean president of
the General Assembly.
Internal UN records show that Mr Mugabe travelled with a host of ministers,
including Elliot Manyika, the Minister of Youth; July Moyo, Minister of
Public Service; and Sydney Sekeramayi, the acting Minister of Health; as
well his personal representative, P. Sikosana. The Zimbabwean President's
wife, Grace Mugabe, whose legendary shopping expeditions have been curtailed
by the EU travel ban, has just been granted a tourist visa by the Spanish
A Foreign Ministry official confirmed yesterday that a visa had been issued
and that, as Mrs Mugabe was not included in the list of personae non grata,
there was no reason to deny the application. Mrs Mugabe gave no reason for
her visit and does not have to to obtain a tourist visa.
What is more of a shock to critics of the Mugabe regime is the steady flow
of members of the ruling Zanu-PF party on the regular flight into Gatwick
from Harare. This week Olivia Muchena, a cabinet member in the ruling
Zanu-PF party, slipped into London.
Her visit followed recent trips by three other Zimbabwean ministers and
Joscelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the army chief, Lieutenant-General
Constantine Chiwenga, who is on the banned list.
"I was shocked to see Muchena being waved through immigration at Gatwick,"
said a Zimbabwean passenger, who was travelling on the same flight. "She is
a notorious figure in Zimbabwe. She should not be allowed into Britain."
Mrs Muchena is part of Mr Mugabe's inner circle of advisers and has been
accused by opponents of using political violence to intimidate the
opposition and helping to orchestrate the seizure of white-owned farms.
While serving as deputy Minister of Agriculture, she was heavily involved in
Mr Mugabe's "fast track" redistribution of 5,000 white-owned farms to 300,
000 black Zimbabweans.
In 1998 she was embroiled in an altercation before television cameras with
an elderly widow, Sylvia Jackson, who claimed that she was being harrassed
and intimidated by militant squatters.
Mrs Jackson was murdered in her homestead shortly afterwards and although a
robbery motive was alleged, farming leaders blamed the Government for
creating the climate in which the crime had taken place.
Mr Mugabe's critics say that the so-called "smart sanctions" policy have
failed to isolate his regime because too few people are affected and the ban
is not being enforced strictly enough.
The Foreign Office said that the MPs were free to enter Britain without a
visa and that the ban only applied to the "principal architects" of Zimbabwe
's policy. British sources said that the EU might consider expanding the
sanctions list to include spouses of those already banned, but there was no
move to broaden the embargo to include Zanu-PF MPs and more junior party
officials.,,3-326316,00.html Click on the small
image to see the details of where various members of Mugabe's government
have travelled since the travel bans were imposed. 
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Note that this item is from the government mouthpiece....

'Government Will Never Allow Country to Be Held to Ransom'

The Herald (Harare)

June 13, 2002
Posted to the web June 13, 2002

THE Government will never allow a situation where the country is held to
ransom by a few thousand commercial farmers, Vice-President Joseph Msika
said yesterday.

Cde Msika criticised commercial farmers not taking heed of the Government's
directives on the land resettlement programme.

"We are disappointed by the attitude of some commercial farmers who have not
responded to the Government's call.

"They are giving several flimsy reasons since most of them are against the
on-going land reform programme. We know that their intention is to sabotage
the economy," said Cde Msika in an interview yesterday.

The Vice-President said the Government had set tomorrow as the deadline for
winter crop planting in a move aimed at guaranteeing sufficient food
supplies for the nation in the coming months.

Early planting of the winter crop, he said, would ensure that the country
had enough food stocks for the coming season.

"We have issued the directive once again this year to both newly resettled
and commercial farmers to stick to planting timetables to ensure that the
country maximises on the favourable weather patterns so as to ensure that
there is enough food for the coming season," he said.

He urged the newly resettled farmers who were not familiar with winter crop
farming to consult the relevant agricultural extension officers for advice.

The Government has already bought agricultural inputs worth $2,67 billion
for the winter crop programme this year.

Distribution of the inputs - seed, fertiliser and crop chemicals - is
already in progress across the country.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has already bought
inputs worth $5,85 billion for the programme and tillage provision is
underway in several parts of the country.

The winter crop is expected to produce food to take the nation through to
the next harvest.

Crops produced under the programme include maize, soya beans, tomatoes,
cabbages and peas.
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June 14, 2002

Airline used as private fleet of President
By Daniel McGrory

ROBERT MUGABE, the President of Zimbabwe, is struggling to find the money to keep his treasured national airline flying.

Air Zimbabwe was only able to take Mr Mugabe, 78, and his entourage to Rome after the airline found $5 million (£3.4 million) at the last minute to repay an American bank that would have seized the Boeing jet as it landed in Italy.

The airline owes more than $28 million to the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which is owned by the US Government. The bank guaranteed the purchase of two Boeing 767 aircraft in 1989.

Mr Mugabe has been accused of using the fleet as his own private airline to fly him, his wife, Grace, and their colleagues on overseas jaunts.

One of the reasons for the airline’s growing losses is that Zanu(PF) officials regularly commandeer first-class seats and refuse to pay for their travel. Scheduled flights are often cancelled at a moment’s notice, stranding passengers.

Long-suffering Air Zimbabwe passengers and the airline’s beleaguered staff are used to the presidential entourage descending on Harare airport without warning to demand the use of one of its small fleet of five planes.

Opponents have long derided Mr Mugabe for the amount of time he spends abroad with his wife. According to an investigation by the Zimbabwe Independent business weekly, Mr Mugabe spent £180 million during the 1990s on fuel and crews for commandeered planes for his use and his cronies’ use. He is reportedly Africa’s most-travelled leader.

One Western diplomat in Harare said: “He would hate to be marooned in Zimbabwe or to be like Yassir Arafat and have to ask his few allies to lend him a plane if he wants to go anywhere.”

In December last year, 40 passengers were thrown off a London-bound flight to make room for Mr Mugabe and his party, who then diverted the plane to Spain so that he could have treatment at an eye clinic. A week later, more than 100 passengers were left stranded at Gatwick when he ordered the pilots to come and collect him. The crew had to wait in Spain for a further 24 hours as Mr Mugabe changed his mind about leaving.

Later that week another 40 passengers were left in London when he demanded another Air Zimbabwe flight to divert and pick up more of his party, who had stayed on in Spain for a holiday. In March Mr Mugabe instructed the regular London-bound flight to stop in Geneva so that it could collect a package for him.

Mrs Mugabe has been known to have seats removed from Air Zimbabwe flights to accommodate her purchases.

The airline board urgently needs to find another $5 million by the end of this month as it has not paid the instalments on its leasing deal since December 2000 and owes $27,825,975.

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World News

June 14, 2002

Leader's 5-star luxury may have been at UN expense

TAXPAYERS in the West may have paid for President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his entourage to stay in one of Rome’s finest luxury hotels.

The Times has learnt that Mr Mugabe had the right to draw on a United Nations expenses account to pay for his accommodation during the international meeting to discuss world hunger in the Italian capital.

UN officials refused to confirm whether Mr Mugabe had drawn on the trust fund set up to pay for delegations from poorer countries to stay in good hotels. But they said that he would have been able to ask for money to pay for hotel rooms for himself, his wife Grace and his entourage.

Mr Mugabe, who arrived in Rome last weekend, has been staying at the five-star Excelsior Hotel on the Via Veneto. Prices for the hotel, which has 35 luxury suites, start at £500 a night for a double room.

Officials at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which organised the meeting, said that it had recently created the trust fund to help delegations from poorer countries with their accommodation. Almost all the African and Third World delegations chose five-star hotels in and around the smart Via Veneto, with the delegations of Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Mozambique staying at the Excelsior.

An FAO spokesman said that the richer nations had subsidised the summit accommodation trust fund. He declined to name the donor countries, but said that the Scandinavian nations among other Europeans had been generous. “The aim is to make sure that all the delegates are properly looked after,” the spokesman said.

Asked why the delegates had been lodged in luxury hotels, the spokesman said that the choice had been made by the Rome Hotel Association, which had helped to block-book rooms and suites.

Sources connected with the meeting said that most Third World delegations consisted of ten to 12 people, but that Mr Mugabe’s delegation had been larger because it included his wife and his Foreign Minister.

Yesterday members of the 180 delegations which have attended the meeting began packing their bags. Lucilla De Luca, a spokeswoman for the Excelsior, declined to say whether Mr and Mrs Mugabe were staying on an extra day to take advantage of Rome’s shops and restaurants.

Mr Mugabe is banned from the EU because of his human rights record and his mistreatment of political opponents, but was able to circumvent the restrictions because of a loophole allowing him to attend international meetings.

He stretched the provision by arriving last Saturday on an early-morning flight from London, giving him an extra two days before the meeting began on Monday.

The ornate seven-storey Excelsior, built at the end of the 19th century, boasts a palatial interior of Persian carpets, tapestries and brocade, marble floors, gilt mirrors and decorations and crystal chandeliers. It is described by one tour guide as “over-the-top Louis XV” in style.

“Our luxurious suites provide an unequalled level of comfort and elegance,” the hotel brochure says, illustrating the point with photographs of rooms with frescoed ceilings and indoor whirlpool baths. The hotel restaurant, La Cupola, offers fine dining in discreet alcoves and private rooms, while the bar menu includes champagne cocktails at €17 (£10.80) and after-dinner malt whisky at up to €28 a glass.

Staff said that Mr Mugabe had largely kept to his suite while at the hotel after his bodyguards had stepped in to manhandle a television cameraman who tried to film him.

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Daily News

      Mugabe blamed for food shortages

      6/13/02 9:10:51 AM (GMT +2)

      By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

      While President Mugabe continues his crusade in Italy telling the
world about Zimbabwe's serious and worsening food shortage, a Member of the
European Parliament (MEP), Geoffrey Van Orden, says the president is the
major cause of the crisis and, therefore, should have never been allowed
into Rome in the first place.

      Van Orden is the Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the
European Parliament.

      He is the Conservative MEP for the Eastern Counties of England and
Conservative spokesman on Defence and Security Policy on Human Rights.

      Van Orden has initiated all four of the resolutions on Zimbabwe passed
by the European Parliament since last September.

      Mugabe, his entire Cabinet as well as his close associates, are facing
targeted sanctions from the European Union (EU) and the United States of
America who accuse them of causing the crisis facing Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Stanislaus Mudenge,
have, however, scoffed at the "smart sanctions" saying they have been able
to travel despite their application.

      Last month, Mugabe and Mudenge flew to the United Nations Headquarters
in New York, USA, where they are also barred.

      The presidential party has been able to by-pass the sanctions using
the United Nations Free Territory Arrangement for all diplomats.

      In an address to 626-strong European Parliament in Strasbourg on
Tuesday, Van Orden said: "President Mugabe's visit to the World Food Summit
in Rome is an act of astounding hypocrisy.

      The mass food shortages and starvation in many parts of Zimbabwe can
be attributed in significant measure to his misgovernment and corrupt land

      He said the fact that Mugabe was able to travel to Rome at all was a
"mockery of international law and of the EU's travel ban".

      "The international community must find more effective ways of
controlling the actions of Mugabe and his counterparts," he said.

      Mugabe is accompanied by his wife, Grace, Mudenge, the Foreign
Minister and Dr Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister.

      Made is accused of having caused the food crisis because of his
failure to take timely action when advised by the local and international
communities about the maize shortage.

      Made accused the technocrats of trying to cause "alarm and
 despondency" because, he claimed, there was sufficient maize to last until
the next planting season.

      His counterpart, Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, had to bail him out last month, when he admitted that the food
situation had not been addressed timely and was only dealt with when he
(Makoni) made his address to Parliament about the sad state of Zimbabwe's
economic affairs in June, last year.

      Van Orden said: "We want provision of emergency humanitarian aid to
the estimated 7,8 million Zimbabweans suffering food shortages in a
situation exacerbated by the disastrous land seizure policies of the Mugabe

      But this aid must be kept out of the clutches of Mugabe's henchmen."

      Mugabe addressed the World Food Summit in Rome, where he once again
blasted the international community, accusing it of trying to sabotage his
government and supporting the opposition MDC.

      He said the Zimbabwe government had "responded to the people's cry for
land to fight poverty and increase food security" through the fast-track
land acquisition and resettlement programme.
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Daily News

      Maize-meal supplies improve

      6/13/02 9:28:43 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      THERE is a marked improvement of the distribution of yellow maize-meal
in Bulawayo with queues slowly becoming less frequent. A survey by The Daily
News this week showed that several shops stocked the commodity, which had
disappeared from most shelves in the city since last year.

      Martin Moyo, a shop-owner in the city centre said he had received a
delivery for the first time in eight months. He said although the commodity
was soon sold out, it was a big relief to most customers who snapped it up
within minutes. "Consumers are actually creating an artificial shortage
because they are panic-buying commodities in large quantities," he said,
adding that if people bought reasonable quantities without hoarding, serious
shortages of basic commodities like maize-meal and sugar could be brought
under control.

      Established supermarkets like TM Hyper also reported an improvement in
the distribution of maize-meal this week. However, the black market still
remained with large quantities of maize-meal being sold at more than twice
its government-controlled price. Families in the city have been going for
days without the staple sadza because of the shortage of maize-meal. Some
people have taken to sleeping outside shops in order to buy the commodity,
in the event that it was delivered.

      War veterans have taken over the distribution of maize at the Grain
Marketing Board depot. There are fears that the maize shortage will
continue, even after this year's harvest. The current projections for the
April and May crop show that there should be a maize harvest of about 595
000 tonnes. With the consumption rate usually at about 150 000 tonnes a
month, that would only last
      until the end of August.
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Daily News

      Mpilo mortuary to stop taking bodies

      6/13/02 9:26:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      THE announcement by Mpilo Central Hospital that they would stop
accepting bodies from the 17th of this month has been received with shock by
members of the public in Bulawayo.

      Members of the public interviewed by The Daily News in a survey said
the move would force people to keep bodies at home before burial due to
financial constraints. In a notice published in the government-controlled
daily, The Chronicle last week, the hospital said it would not be accepting
bodies until further notice, to allow refurbishment to take place.

      The hospital authorities advised members of the public to convey
bodies to other government mortuaries and private funeral parlours. Mpilo
Hospital's mortuary, which was built in 1954, has a capacity of 30 bodies
but has often been stretched to accommodate more than 250 corpses.

      Dr Juliet Dube-Ndebele, the Mpilo Hospital medical superintendent,
said the decision had been made to enable the hospital authorities to
refurbish the mortuary. She, however, said that there were no immediate
plans to expand the mortuary. The mortuary was experiencing constant
breakdowns of the refrigeration system due to a shortage of spare parts.
Some Bulawayo residents said the high fees charged by private parlours were
prohibitive and this would force them to keep bodies at home to avoid costs.

      A traditional African funeral lasts for about four days and relatives
incur a lot of costs in funeral expenses. Government hospital mortuaries
offer the service free of charge although it is primarily meant for
postmortems and people who would have died in hospital. A survey by The
Daily News revealed that private funeral parlours charge anything between $1
200 for the cheapest and $3 000 for the most expensive service.

      This includes taking care of everything from the time the body arrives
until burial. Themba Sibanda, of Cowdray Park, said there was not much of a
choice for residents since the only other government hospital, the United
Bulawayo Hospitals, is also overstretched. "We just have to prepare to pay
the private funeral parlours but I fear that the disadvantaged members of
the society might not be able to afford it," he said.

      Sibanda said government should make provisions to build more and
bigger mortuaries rather than waiting until buildings constructed a long
time ago to collapse before taking any action. Most government hospital and
mortuaries were built before the advent of independence for small urban
populations. Another resident, Nonceba Ndlovu of Killarney suburb, said
government did not have the welfare of the country's citizens at heart given
the fact they allowed mortuaries with a capacity of 30 bodies to carry more
than 250 corpses without any plans for expansion.

      "This is being insensitive to the plight of the people. "How many
people who are struggling to make a living can afford that $1 200 when they
need to buy the coffin and foot all the other funeral expenses?" she asked.
She added that there is a high risk that funerals would now be rushed as
relatives opted to keep bodies at home to cut costs.

      Hundreds of hard-pressed residents owe the government millions of
dollars in hospital fees and the temporary closure of the free mortuary
service will make it more difficult for them.
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