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Zim Independent

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 year.

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 administration.

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 presidency.

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.

A fortnight ago, youths manhandled Sibanda over failure by the party to pay
them for campaigning for President Mugabe in the March presidential poll.

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

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.

"The 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.
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Zim Independent

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

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 busters.

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.

Prior to this, the EU parliament on May 16 had passed its fourth resolution
on Zimbabwe calling for extensive and tougher sanctions.

In the 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 in

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 leaders.

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.

British 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 visiting Britain.

"Dr Muchena is out of the country and she will be back on Monday," her
secretary told the Independent.

Another politburo member and Zanu PF MP Kumbirai Kangai confirmed that he
was in Britain.

"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 Kangai.

No European Union restrictions currently apply to either Muchena or Kangai.
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Zim Independent

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 transported.

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 land

"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.

The 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 import maize.

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 said.

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

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 expected.

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 plant.

"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."

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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
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 farms.

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".

SW 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.

Justice Wilson 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
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

The 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
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."

The Sunday 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 assertion.

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, 8pm).

The Media Update was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
Feel free to respond to MMPZ. We may not be able to respond to everything,
but we will look at each message.
Previous reports can be accessed at
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China To Import 25,000 Tons Of Tobacco

The Herald (Harare)

June 14, 2002
Posted to the web June 14, 2002

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 year.

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.

In an 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 newly-resettled

Cde Quingru said his country was looking at ways of strengthening trade
links between Zimbabwe and China.

"We will 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

"There is unanimous consent in diplomatic circles of the need for land
redistribution in Zimbabwe.

"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 fruitful.

"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

Cde Jianxing 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.

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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

AFRICA: 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.

A total of 56 countries ratified the convention, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported. Burkina Faso, Chad, Cte 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 BBC reported.

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.

Details of the summit deliberations and the treaty can be found at:
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Zimbabwe trial of journalist focuses on Web site

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 British

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
''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,'' he

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 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.

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The Herald

White farmers arrested for alleged vandalism

From 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.

Police spokesman, 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 been

Inspector Zvenyika said by tempering with irrigation equipment, the farmers
had violated provisions of the Land Acquisition Amendment Act.

The Act prohibits a farmer from removing or tempering with any irrigation
equipment once his farm has been designated.

The law 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 May.

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 days

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 resettled.

The workers reportedly destroyed the fourth engine room which the community
was planning to use as a tuckshop at the farm.

The farm is part of the 84 000-hectare Debshan ranch, which belongs to the
Oppenheimer family.

"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.

The disgruntled 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 programme.
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US wary of 'Mugabe's Famine'

Pierre Steyn

Washington - The American congress has accused Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe of using famine as a "deadly weapon" against his own people.

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 distributed.

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 Nio
meteorological phenomenon is likely to make the situation worse, with
droughts predicted for the forthcoming harvesting season.

Direct to the people

The 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 misery.

The situation in Zimbabwe was describes as "Mugabe's famine".

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.
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