Bulawayo vets split over VPs Loughty Dube SHARP
differences have emerged within war veterans' ranks and Zanu PF's Bulawayo
provincial leadership over who should become vice-president at the end of the
Sources within the party told this paper that two feuding groups
had emerged, each backing different candidates. One group is led by
Jabulani Sibanda the Zanu PF provincial chairman who is backing the candidacy
of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party's secretary for
The other group comprises the majority of the
provincial executive members and is said to be rooting for the party's
national chairman, John Nkomo.
The two senior party leaders are
understood to be gunning for the party's vice-president's post in December
when the two aging incumbents, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, are expected
to retire at the party's national conference. Party sources said only one
vice-president would be elected as the party is expected to dump the co-vice
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
divisions in the provincial leadership had widened to the extent that
executive members were accusing each other of sending party youths to attack
opponents amidst counter-accusations from the rival group.
fortnight ago, youths manhandled Sibanda over failure by the party to
pay them for campaigning for President Mugabe in the March presidential
Sibanda's assault was quickly blamed on senior provincial party
leaders who include Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, the party's provincial secretary for
publicity and information, and Tryphine Nhliziyo, the Women's League
treasurer, said a source.
But Ndiweni vehemently denied the
accusations when contacted and said the allegations were mischievous. On the
allegations of divisions in the party, Ndiweni said there were no serious
divisions but added there could be differences among members.
whole province is angry with Sibanda as chairman for attempting to
back someone outside the former Zapu camp," said the source. "News that he
is allegedly backing Mnangagwa is set to intensify instability in the Zanu
PF camp in the coming months."
Zanu PF deputy national commissar
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu refused to comment on the alleged divisions. "Right now I
am addressing important matters and I cannot comment on that issue,
especially when it involves retiring vice-presidents. Just say I have no
comment," he said.
EU seeks to tighten sanctions noose on Mugabe
regime Dumisani Muleya THE European Union's general affairs council is
expected to broaden and strengthen targeted sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and other members of Zimbabwe's ruling elite when it meets in
Seville, Spain, on Sunday.
European leaders and members of the
European parliament have been pressing for more effective measures against
the ruling aristocracy, saying Mugabe and his associates continued travelling
in Europe despite smart sanctions.
Although since the travel
restrictions and asset freeze were imposed on February 18 Mugabe has only
been to the United States and Italy to attend United Nations summits, his
followers have been boasting of being successful sanctions
Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden - who has so far
initiated all four EU parliamentary resolutions on Zimbabwe - this week
expressed outrage during the opening of the parliament's plenary session in
Strasbourg, France, that Mugabe and his officials persistently travel abroad
despite the embargo.
"The fact that he (Mugabe) was able to travel to
Rome at all is a mockery of international law and of the EU's travel ban," he
said. "The international community must find more effective ways of
controlling the actions of Mugabe and his courtiers."
Van Orden on
Wednesday urged the EU to be firmer.
The EU has in the past few weeks
been ratcheting up pressure on Harare. A troika led by Spanish Secretary of
State for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Nadal, last month visited South Africa,
Mozambique, and Malawi in a bid to tighten the screws.
this, the EU parliament on May 16 had passed its fourth resolution on
Zimbabwe calling for extensive and tougher sanctions.
resolution, the MEPs complained that "Zimbabwean government ministers and
officials are continuing to travel freely to EU countries". They resolved
that "EU member states and the council, whilst ensuring that current measures
are strictly applied, maintain and intensify their resolve and actions to
bring about an early improvement to the situation
The MEPs also resolved to "put in place further
measures that will put pressure on the Mugabe regime" and extend the travel
ban to cover all prominent figures such as vice-presidents, all ministers,
senior military, intelligence and police officers and businessmen connected
to the ruling class's patronage system.
In Britain, the Tories
this week urged Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to act against Zimbabwean
Conservative foreign affairs spokesman Michael Ancram said
Mugabe's attendance at the World Food Summit in Rome meant sanctions were
"empty words" unless sterner measures were adopted.
Under-Secretary of State Baroness Valerie Amos said in May that Sunday's EU
general affairs council will consider extending sanctions to cover restricted
leaders' spouses and children.
Baroness Amos said this during a
debate in the House of Lords where Conservati-ve peers condemned Mugabe's
recent trip to the children's summit in the US. Meanwhile, Minister of State
in Vice-President Joseph Msika's office, Dr Olivia Muchena is believed to be
"Dr Muchena is out of the country and she will be
back on Monday," her secretary told the Independent.
politburo member and Zanu PF MP Kumbirai Kangai confirmed that he was in
"I am in London at the moment where I have taken my
mother-in-law who is not feeling well. I will be back on Sunday," said
No European Union restrictions currently apply to either
Muchena or Kangai.
Bread shortage looms Staff Writers WHEAT stocks
have dwindled to record lows while maize imports have slowed due to choking
congestion at the port of Beira through which vital food supplies are being
The threat of worsening food shortages comes amid reports
from Rome that United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan twice this week
demanded that President Mugabe permit free market imports of grain to avert
mass starvation in the country.
The reports, quoting UN sources,
said Mugabe had refused to comply on both occasions. Mugabe was this week
attending an FAO World Food Summit in Rome.
The Times of London
reported that Annan on Monday privately urged Mugabe to lift the state
monopoly on all imports and sale of grain in Zimbabwe where commercial
farming has virtually collapsed because of government
"He repeated the demand later in the week but was
disappointed again," the Times said.
A statutory instrument last
year gave the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) a monopoly to trade in maize and
wheat and to import the commodities. This has seen delays and bottlenecks in
the importation process resulting in severe food shortages.
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that the GMB had told millers it would
ration wheat allocations, which will result in bread shortages. Industry
sources said there were no plans to import wheat which is expected to run out
before the end of next month, even with rationing.
Ian Kind, the
managing director of the country's largest milling firm, National Foods, on
Wednesday said the GMB had told millers that wheat would now be rationed.
Kind said there had been a marked rise in the demand for bread which has
become a substitute for maize meal in most urban households. He said
rationing would worsen the bread shortage.
"We have been severely
rationed," Kind said. "This means all bakeries are going to get less flour
and there will be less bread baked," he said.
Industry sources said
the chaos at Beira would undermine attempts to import food fast as the port
facilities were unable to cope with increased shipping and rail traffic.
Apart from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia are also using the Beira facilities to
The sources said the government had taken the decision
to import too late.
"The negotiations, payment for the maize and
logistics to bring the food into the country are a dog's breakfast," an
industry source said.
"The results of all this bureaucracy and poor
planning are empty shelves and ad hoc policies in grain importation," he
To date the government has brought into the country just over
230 000 tonnes of maize. Sources said an equal amount has been paid for but
was yet to be delivered.
Commercial Grain Producers Association
chairman Andrew Meikle forecast the country would harvest a paltry 498 000
tonnes of maize this year compared to 1,47 million tonnes last year and 2,1
million in 2000.
A severe wheat shortage is also forecast as only 30
000 hectares have been planted and a yield of about 150 000 tonnes is
Vernon Nicole of the Nicole family, a major player in the
wheat industry, said government had refused to commit itself on whether
farmers who had received Section 8 orders would be allowed to
"We had a meeting with Mash-onaland West governor, Peter
Chanetsa, and he told us to go ahead and plant wheat even though we had been
served with a Section 8 notice," Nicole said.
"When we asked him
to put his assurance in writing, he refused saying his word was good enough
and this turned most farmers away."
MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT ZIMBABWE Weekly Media Update No. 19 June 3rd -
June 9th 2002
The week witnessed an intensification of
government's crackdown on voices of dissent in Zimbabwean society,
particularly against lawyers and the privately owned Press. The
government-controlled media reported these events as natural
government responses to subversive conspiracies by the opposition MDC and
its sympathizers aimed at overthrowing a legitimately elected
government. The privately owned Press on the other hand, viewed the arrest of
two Law Society of Zimbabwe officials with the suspicion it deserved on the
evidence presented. And while The Daily News embroiled itself in another
direct conflict with the Minister of Information, this time over its
legitimate coverage of evidence presented in open court, it also joined the
privately owned weekly Press in their coverage of the increasing problems
created by food shortages and their economic impact, and alarming new
dimensions to the lawlessness now taking place on commercial
MMPZ notes with concern the total lack of transparency that
continues to surround sections of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) dealing with the registration of mass media institutions.
The Act requires all news organizations be registered with the Media and
Information Commission, recently appointed by the Minister of Information, by
June 15th. To date however, none of the regulations governing the conduct of
this exercise and the accreditation of journalists, among other procedures,
has been identified or gazetted. The minister has the sole authority to
set these regulations and without them these sections of the Act cannot be
of any effect. While MMPZ believes the qualifying nature of registration
and accreditation in themselves constitute a serious erosion of Zimbabweans'
rights to information and freedom of expression, government's delay in
announcing regulations governing them contributes to the creation of a
climate of fear and uncertainty among the media community, especially in view
of its persecution of the privately owned Press under other sections of the
same repressive law. MMPZ deplores such an intolerable situation and calls
on government to end its intolerance of legitimate alternative news sources
and opinion and recognize the essential role that the free flow of
information plays in promoting all forms of national development by repealing
this selective, anti-democratic piece of legislation.
ZBC (ZTV, 3/06, 8pm) broke the news of the arrest of senior
Law Society officials, Sternford Moyo and Wilbert Mapombere. Both were
arrested following allegations that they had urged the MDC to pull out of
the inter-party talks and embark on what ZBC described as "mass action
and disturbances" to oust the government. The report cited excerpts from
letters allegedly written by the two men to the British High Commission and
the MDC. The government-controlled Press (The Herald and The Chronicle), The
Daily News, Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM (6am) all reported the story the following
morning (4/06). Reporting that the two lawyers were likely to be charged
under the Public Order and Security Act, all the state media institutions
relied heavily on the two letters, but made no effort to establish their
authenticity or explain how the media had obtained them. ZTV abused its
viewers by re-screening archival footage of an NCA demonstration that had
been crushed by the police, to reinforce the impression that the two were
attempting to incite violent mass action. Follow-up reports on all ZBC
stations (4/06, 8pm, 6/06, 8pm and radio 7/06, 7am) were mere court reports,
initially of their efforts to be released from custody and of their
appearance in court facing charges of breaching POSA. Notably, the
state-owned media ignored comments on the arrests from
lawyers' organizations, such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the
Legal Resources Foundation and other civic groups. This job was left to
the privately owned media, once again demonstrating the importance of the
diversity of news sources in providing the public with full information on
this alarming development. SW Radio Africa (4/06) quoted the Law Society's
former president, Mordecai Mhlanga denying the two could have written such
letters because they went beyond the LSZ's mandate. He also noted that LSZ
councilors had not received copies of the letters and that there was no
record of them on file. Mhlanga questioned their authenticity and described
the language used in writing them as highly unprofessional. As if
responding to these doubts, The Herald (5/6) published a copy of the letter
allegedly written and signed by Mapombere to The British High Commission on
its front page the next morning, accompanying a grossly speculative and
apparently inaccurate lead story quoting totally unidentified "sources"
saying "investigators are looking at a huge paper trail pointing to heavy
involvement by the British High Commission". But the paper provided no other
evidence to support this claim, an allegation that has been sustained by the
state media ever since government revived the land issue in the campaign
leading up to the referendum on the draft constitution in February
2000. The paper, which also accused the British government of posting its
former High Commissioner in Belgrade to Harare "to do a Milosovic on Mugabe",
also quoted its "sources" claiming there had been ".a flurry of activity at
the British High Commission yesterday (Tuesday) with meetings between
MDC lawyers and senior members, and high commission officials". This
allegation was exposed as being a fabrication by The Herald's sources, first
by The Financial Gazette (6/6) and by The Daily News the next day. Both
papers reported a statement by a British High Commission
spokesperson pointing out that the Commission had been closed on the day in
question in honour of the Queen's Jubilee. The spokesperson also denied that
Britain was involved in any plot with the Law Society to overthrow the Mugabe
government and stated that the High Commission had never received the letter
allegedly written by Mapombere, which was, incidentally, comically addressed
to "The British High Commission". The Herald published the BHC's denial in
their letters to the editor column and merely referred to Britain's denial of
complicity in a story (7/6) quoting Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo,
responding to the US State Department's criticism of Zimbabwe's "harassment
of the free Press and now lawyers through repressive legislation".
Radio Africa (6/6) quoted the Legal Resources Foundation and
the International Bar Association (IBA) condemning the arrests, as did
The Zimbabwe Independent the next day, which, reported the organizations
as saying the arrests followed the Law Society's criticism of
government's failure to curb lawlessness and its harassment of the judiciary
contained in its annual report for the year 2000.
Sandura, the only judge remaining from the old bench led by Justice Anthony
Gubbay, also became a victim of government's growing xenophobia when he was
denied permission to attend an International Bar Association (IBA) meeting in
Malawi. SW Radio Africa (06/06) followed up The Herald's report of the ban
earlier that day by quoting IBA director Mark Ellis criticizing the
government's decision. Ellis stated that the government's position was an
indication that it was against any organisation or individual campaigning for
the rule of law and freedom of expression. ZBC ignored the story in its main
news bulletins. The Herald reported Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
denying Sandura permission to attend the mission on the grounds that the IBA
once produced a critical report of the state of Zimbabwe's judiciary. He also
accused the IBA of influencing travel bans on government officials and
exposed government intolerance of judicial independence when he stated that
by accepting the invitation, the judge had not ".taken into account the
harm that might ensue to Zimbabwe/Malawi relations in the event that the
ensuing report on the situation in Malawi is negative." No importance was
given to the truth of the situation in Malawi where President Muluzi has
declared himself "a good dictator" and is seeking to amend the constitution
to allow a third consecutive term of office for the presidency.
week also witnessed dramatic developments in the ongoing trial of MDC MP Job
Sikhala who is accused of violating the Posts & Telecommunications Act by
threatening Information Minister Moyo over the phone. The Daily News (4/6)
reported that, in his defence, Sikhala had alleged that Moyo had threatened
to "fix" him after he had asked the minister whether he had heard a rumour
that suggested the minister had had "an intimate relationship" with former
ZBC director Alum Mpofu while they were in South Africa. The Herald however,
censored its version of its court report, stating that in his evidence
Sikhala had launched "a vitriolic attack saying unprintable things about the
minister". That same evening, instead of reporting Sikhala's defence, ZBC
(ZTV, 3FM, 4/06, 8pm & Radio Zimbabwe, 5/06, 6am) was enlisted to defend
the minister by airing a letter from Moyo's lawyers, Hussein, Ranchod and
Company demanding The Daily News retract its story and apologize or face
legal action. In the letter the lawyers argued that the paper had defamed
the minister and that no such rumour existed. ZBC reported Moyo's
response without highlighting the fact that The Daily News report was based
on evidence given in open court, which is protected by qualified
privilege. The next day (5/6) The Herald carried the same letter from Moyo's
lawyers calling on ".the Strive Masiyiwa owned Daily News to dissociate
itself from comments by.Sikhala alleging that he (the minister) had a gay
affair with.Alum Mpofu or face legal action." Apart from the
unsubstantiated reference to Masiyiwa, the report repeatedly misquoted
Sikhala's evidence insofar as it stated that Sikhala himself had alleged that
the minister had had a gay affair with Mpofu, an allegation that he did not
make, according to the original newspaper reports. The story also carried the
claim by Moyo's lawyers that The Daily News could not rely on the defence of
privilege where the utterances were wholly irrelevant to the court
proceedings and the witness (Sikhala) was acting with an improper motive,
assertions which themselves were not proven. The next morning (6/6) The Daily
News declared there would be "no apology" and reported its editor, Geoff
Nyarota saying that his paper's responsibility ".was to report details of
Sikhala's evidence, not to sit in judgment of his credibility as a witness."
The story went on to provide a trenchant defence of its original report
quoting a number of lawyers expressing skepticism over Moyo's intention to
sue the paper.
SW Radio Africa (7/06) provided its listeners with the
information that the state media had omitted. The station quoted Nyarota
explaining why his paper would not retract its story and questioned why Moyo
had remained silent when The Daily News had earlier reported Moyo's own
evidence in court against Sikhala. Nyarota also exposed the level to which
Moyo has abused The Herald and turned it into his personal messenger when he
stated that he only learnt of Moyo's demand that his paper retract its story
through the government-controlled daily and that he received the summons
after the same daily had already reported about the lawsuit. In an attempt
to present Moyo as the victim of an MDC and Daily News smear campaign, ZBC
(all stations, 9/06, 8pm) carried an unsubstantiated Sunday Mirror report in
which the paper alleged that the MDC had plotted to discredit the minister by
using the former child president, Linda Museka, as bait. However, ZBC radio
stations merely carried the newspaper report throughout the day without
attempting to provide its own corroboration of the allegations contained in
the original story. To buttress the impression that some MDC legislators were
bent on discrediting Moyo, 3FM immediately followed the Mirror report with an
announcement that MDC MP "Tafadzwa Musekiwa was to appear in court on
allegations of making threatening calls to Prof Moyo."
Mirror's lead story (9/6) claimed the MDC, in cahoots with Daily News
journalists, had offered Linda Museka money to lure Moyo into a love affair
in order to damage him politically. Besides repeating The Herald's mistake in
reporting Sikhala's evidence in his trial, the report depended on an
anonymous source "close to the minister" who failed to substantiate the link
the paper sought to establish between The Daily News and the MDC, or that
they were plotting to compromise the minister. Whilst the paper quoted
Museka as saying "the story of the alleged affair was the work of some
elements in MDC who were riled by (her) break-up with (Tafadzwa) Musekiwa",
without seeking to establish this claim, the report successfully discredited
her as a reliable source by reporting her as denying ever making advances
towards the minister, contrary to the claim of the paper's primary source,
who stated that she had persistently attempted to contact the minister in
recent weeks. No comment was obtained from The Daily News and the thrust of
the story headlined, 'Plot to frame Moyo exposed' presented the minister as
the victim of a conspiracy without providing any convincing evidence for this
The Standard (9/6) meanwhile, carried an irrelevant report
which sought - without success - to probe Moyo's sexual inclinations through
the local gay association and a street survey.
Robert Mugabe once again proved the limited effect of the
international travel sanctions imposed on him and members of his government
when he traveled to a second United Nations event inside a month- this time
to Rome to attend the UN's World Food Summit. The public press feasted on the
news emphasizing that Mugabe was received like any other head of state.
The Zimbabwe Independent however, took a different angle, quoting a number
of voices questioning the morality of allowing Mugabe to attend the
summit, accusing him of being the primary cause of the food crisis in
Zimbabwe through his controversial land reform. MDC's Welshman Ncube was
quoted saying, "It's shocking that a leader who is denying people food on the
basis of their political affiliation and is determined to starve those who
don't want to support him - including children- could be allowed to attend
such an important summit". By contrast, ZBC (ZTV, 08/06, and 09/06, 8pm)
portrayed the government as making strenuous efforts to improve food
production. In one of its reports (8/06, 8pm) Judith Makwanya stated:
"According to government and in line with the need to produce food, the
country needs to invest in water in order to increase land under
irrigation." Using the current land reform programme as an example of
government's commitment, she added: "Government also seeks to increase
production through resettlement of communal people who will produce not only
for consumption but for commercial purposes". The following day ZTV
continued to make a veiled justification for government's land reform
programme: "The lack of access to land as a means of production by the poor
in sub-Saharan Africa, including Zimbabwe, is a major contributing factor to
the decline of food security," the news reader stated (9/06,
The Media Update was produced and circulated by the Media
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CHINA will this year import over 25 000 tonnes of tobacco valued
at about US$150 million (Z$15 billion), the country's ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Cde Hou Quingru has said.
The figure represents almost half of the
country's tobacco earnings, which are estimated at Z$34 billion this
Last year, Zimbabwe earned close to $34 billion (over US$570
million) in tobacco exports alone.
Of the total amount, China imported
20 000 tonnes of tobacco worth at least Z$10 billion (US$100 million) which
helped Zimbabwe resolve its foreign currency shortages.
interview before the departure of the leader of the Communist Party of China,
Cde Wei Jianxing and his delegation in Harare yesterday, Cde Quingru said his
country had also made plans to increase the imports of tobacco from Zimbabwe
in the coming years.
China also provided Zimbabwe with aid, interest free
loans for local businesses, tractors and agricultural implements for
Cde Quingru said his country was looking at
ways of strengthening trade links between Zimbabwe and China.
continue to explore ways of improving trade links between our two countries.
China will also continue to provide technical assistance to Zimba-bwe. We are
also ready to assist more newly-resettled farmers with farming equipment such
as tractors," he said.
On how the diplomatic community in Zimbabwe viewed
the land issue, Cde Quingru said there was unanimity that the land reform
programme should be undertaken.
"There is unanimous consent in
diplomatic circles of the need for land redistribution in
"The difference lies in the manner in which the programme is
being initiated. However, China fully supports the Government of Zimbabwe's
land redistribution programme," he said.
Cde Quingru described talks
between the Communist Party of China and Zanu-PF as having been
"The two parties held very fruitful discussions and have
resolved to further strengthen and cement their relations. Of course there is
room for improvement and this will be achieved through reciprocal visits in
future between officials of the two parties."
Cde Jianxing and his
delegation, who were scheduled to leave tomorrow had to cut short their visit
owing to pressing party and Government matters at home.
left for China yesterday afternoon.
He was seen off at the Harare
International Airport by the Zanu-PF national chairman, Cde John Nkomo who is
also the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Zanu-PF secretary for external
affairs, Cde Didymus Mutasa among others.
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)
West African countries sign FAO treaty
ABIDJAN, 14 June (IRIN) - Several
West African countries were among the 35 developing countries that signed the
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture at the
conclusion of the World Food Summit in Rome, Italy, on Thursday.
of 56 countries ratified the convention, the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) reported. Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger,
Nigeria, and Senegal were among the signatories.
The Treaty, adopted at
the FAO Conference in November 2001, aims to conserve plant genetic resources,
their sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising
from their use, including monetary benefits resulting from commercialisation.
"This binding International Treaty provides for farmers rights, and
establishes a multilateral system to exchange the genetic resources of some 64
major crops and forages important for global food security," FAO reported.
At the summit, leaders of developing countries appealed to the European
Union and the United States to remove farm subsidies and open their markets, the
The FAO meeting was a follow-up of a summit five years ago,
which pledged to reduce to half the number of people threatened by starvation in
the world by 2015.
HARARE, June 14 - The trial of an American journalist
shifted to a Harare Internet cafe on Friday as prosecutors sought to show he
had broken Zimbabwe's strict media laws by publishing an untrue story in a
The trial of Andrew Meldrum, correspondent
for London's Guardian, began on Wednesday and is the first major test case of
new rules introduced by President Robert Mugabe's government. It
became bogged down on Friday over arguments on the use of a Web site document
by the state to support its prosecution. Though the Guardian is not
distributed in Zimbabwe, state prosecutor Thabani Mpofu said the posting of a
story on the paper's Web site constituted publication under Zimbabwe
law. Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the state had to establish
a ''clear link'' between Meldrum and the document. Meldrum -- who
has pleaded not guilty -- has been charged with breaking a law that prohibits
publication of false information. He faces a heavy fine or up to two years in
jail. Observing the trial, senior British laywer Geoffrey Robertson,
a veteran defence counsel in civil liberties cases, said the
Zimbabwean authorities' view of the Internet publication of the story could
have global implications. ''The consequences are that Zimbabwe's
press laws, which are repugnant to Britain, the European Union and the United
States, can be applied against citizens who write articles in those countries
when they come to Zimbabwe on holiday or are in a country like South Africa
which has an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe,'' Robertson told
Reuters. ''This will be regarded as very serious by other countries
because it is an attempt to export and impose Zimbabwe's press laws so that
they incriminate writers and publishers on Web sites outside Zimbabwe,''
COURT IN INTERNET CAFE The magistrates court moved
its proceedings to the Internet cafe of a city hotel on Friday afternoon
where a police officer demonstrated how he had retrieved a story from the
Guardian Web site, in which Meldrum reported that supporters of Mugabe had
beheaded a woman in northwestern Zimbabwe. The beheading story was not
on the site on Friday, and the police officer said it had been removed from
the archives. Journalists who had followed the court to the cafe
chuckled as the officer searched the Web site, scrolling through some of
Meldrum's other recent stories such as ''My Night in Mugabe's Stinking Jail''
and ''Mugabe Threatens Media Critics With Jail.'' Magistrate
Godfrey Macheyo will hear arguments over the use of a Web site document when
the trial resumes on Monday. A 50-year-old native of Hudson, Ohio,
Meldrum has lived and worked in Zimbabwe for the last 21 years and now holds
a permanent residency permit. He is charged with two other journalists over
the beheading story, which was first published by Zimbabwe's privately owned
Daily News. That paper later said the story was false and
apologised. But the government says the false story was part of a
Western-backed campaign to damage Mugabe's image since his re-election in
March and to advance the interests of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he
was robbed of victory by Mugabe in the March 9-11 presidential elections that
were condemned as seriously flawed by many Western nations, including the
former colonial power Britain. Local and foreign media rights
lobbyists have demanded the charges against Meldrum be dropped, accusing the
government of seeking to muzzle criticism of the president.
Bulawayo Bureau POLICE in Matabeleland South have arrested two white
commercial farmers for allegedly vandalising irrigation equipment at their
three farms which were designated for resettlement.
Inspector Alfred Zvenyika said Mr Endersby Drammond who owned Lyndmill and
Malungwane farms in Esigodini and Mr James Rawstone of Mpopoti section of
Debshan Ranch near Filabusi would face charges under the recently-enacted
Land Acquisition Amendment Act.
Mr Drammond allegedly removed irrigation
equipment from his two farms while Mr Rawstone is said to have vandalised
engine rooms at Mpopoti section of Debshan Ranch.
The two are expected
to appear in court once police investigations have
Inspector Zvenyika said by tempering with irrigation
equipment, the farmers had violated provisions of the Land Acquisition
The Act prohibits a farmer from removing or tempering with
any irrigation equipment once his farm has been designated.
also makes it an offence for an owner or occupier of the land to interfere
with the process arising from effective occupation.
Those found guilty of
violating provisions of the Act are liable to a fine of $20 000 or a jail
term of two years or both. Mr Drammond is alleged to have removed six water
pump filters from irrigation infrastructure at Lyndmill farm sometime in
Newly-resettled farmers at the farm reportedly called for a meeting
at which they asked him to replace the filters. He allegedly complied a few
Mr Drammond is alleged to have also removed six doors and
a geyser from the homestead at Malungwane farm, one of his farms that has
also been acquired for resettlement.
Mr Rawstone allegedly instructed
his employees to remove roofing sheets from three pump engine rooms, at the
Mpopoti section of the Debshan farm where 25 families have since been
The workers reportedly destroyed the fourth engine room which
the community was planning to use as a tuckshop at the farm.
is part of the 84 000-hectare Debshan ranch, which belongs to the Oppenheimer
"These two farmers are the first to be arrested in the province
for violating the new law,'' said inspector Zvenyika.
There have been
numerous cases of commercial farmers vandalising infrastructure at farms in
protest against the designation of their farms.
commercial farmers who are after frustrating the Government' s agrarian
reform programme, have gone to the extent of poisoning water sources and even
torched pastures and killed game.
The Government has warned that the law
would descend heavily on farmers who are after sabotaging the land reform
Washington - The American congress has accused Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe of using famine as a "deadly weapon" against his own
During a sub-committee briefing dealing with famine southern
Africa, members of congress warned aid organisations that Zimbabwe should be
categorised separately when United States food aid was
United Nations representatives, non-governmental
organisations and USAid - the US government's aid organisation - testified
about the scope of the disaster facing countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi,
Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.
The World Vision
organisation estimates at least 10 million people will need food aid in the
next six moths. Concerns are also mounting that the El Niņo meteorological
phenomenon is likely to make the situation worse, with droughts predicted for
the forthcoming harvesting season.
Direct to the people
message conveyed by congress was that the United States would do its part in
famine relief, but that policy-makers should have a better understanding of
where failed government policies and corruption had caused most of the
The situation in Zimbabwe was describes as "Mugabe's
Congressional African sub-committee chairperson Ed Royce said:
"My fear is that images of dying Zimbabweans are likely to be flashed on
television screens shortly and it is important for Americans and the rest of
the world to understand the cause of the problem.
"It is not mainly a
problem of drought as Mugabe wants the world to believe. Here, we are dealing
with a government, similar to that of North Korea, which is prepared to
subject its opponents to famine," he said.
It appeared the committee
supported proposals to try and circumvent the government and distribute food
aid directly to starving Zimbabweans.