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

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Famine Stalks the Beloved Land

We all remember the BBC pictures in the early 1990’s of a child dying in its
mother arms from hunger in Ethiopia. The images flashed across the world and
money and aid poured into agencies that suddenly had to scramble to catch

I was a part owner of a ranch in Zimbabwe in that era and in 1992, the rains
here simply did not happen across vast swathes of the country. The sugar
cane crop died in the field as water dams dried up and the summer cropping
programme was almost a complete failure. I can vividly remember that year –
for 150 kilometers in every direction from our home in the Lowveld, you
could not have found a blade of grass alive. I think we had something like
two inches of rain in a period of 15 months. Yet not one person died of
hunger, we never ran out of food. It was a remarkable experience.

I can remember the community effort at the time – communities with
resources, helping out those who had nothing. Convoys of farmers with their
trucks loaded with grass and food, driving to areas where the hippo’s that
were still alive were being kept alive in farm reservoirs and swimming
pools. All they asked was a beer, a braai and a bed before they drove back
to their farms in the north.

I can remember the wild life – normally afraid of man, standing next to the
road we used to feed the cattle, waiting for the tractor so that they might
also live. I remember the liner trains snaking up from the Ports of East
London, Port Elizabeth and Durban, Maputo and Beira with desperately needed
food for the people. The orderly distribution systems use of both commercial
and government resources. The regional co-operation between the countries of
southern Africa, making possible the movement of massive quantities of
product, in time to avoid disaster.

Everyone played their part – we tried to do something in our own backyard
with a scheme to sell pulpwood to Sappi in South Africa and were able to put
about 2 000 people to work. Many of these had to be fed before they could be
employed as they were simply too weak to undertake any kind of labor. We
lost millions on the exercise, got no thanks but I think if we were faced
with the same situation today, we would probably do the same.

Behind the scenes there were many remarkable performances – the Chief
Executive of the Grain Marketing Board – Rensen Gasela, now the shadow
Minister of Agriculture for the MDC and his Chairman, Cephas Msipa, now the
Governor of the Midland Province, saw the problem coming. They persuaded
government to act early and started to import well before local stocks ran
out. The Chief Executive of the Railways set up a crisis group which
co-ordinated the arrival of ships in harbors and marshaled wagons and
locomotive power so that the product could be unloaded and moved inland. The
private sector took in these vast quantities of raw materials and converted
them into packaged food products for consumption. The donors picked up some
of the cost but the country carried the bulk of the burden of financing the
food situation.

Hey, this is Zimbabwe I am talking about – 10 years ago! What has happened,
how can things go so wrong? You might well ask and the story is a sad one
for all concerned.

Where do we start? Corruption in the GMB has meant that all experienced and
competent mangers have left or are on suspension. New management has not got
the background or the experience to deal with these massive problems. The
Board has collapsed. It’s the same for the Railways. Government has ignored
all the warnings and even the advice of that wise old sage Cephas Msipa was
ignored in favour of the views of a rather misguided Minister of Agriculture
who is completely out of his depth in any skills except those of praise

Zimbabwe has allowed itself to run out of food stocks completely. It’s left
the supply situation so long that it is no longer physically possible to get
enough food into the country to feed the people. The private sector, which
played such an important role in 1992, is very much weakened by price
controls, rampant inflation and demotivated management that it is not in any
position to help significantly.

The government itself has a national debt that now exceeds twice that of the
GDP, is struggling to cope with existing obligations and certainly does not
have the resources to pay for what is needed in any serious way. Foreign
exchange receipts have fallen by 40 per cent and there are no resources
available for imports on the scale required.

We have insulted our friends and supporters abroad so that even the
Scandinavians have given up on us and said we are beyond redemption. We have
violated every rule of good governance in the book and are a pariah state by
any measure on the word. In the past two years we have destroyed a
commercial farming system that was the pride of Africa 20 years ago and the
huge resources of these thousands of farms lie idle and destroyed.

Now suddenly the cold dawn of reality. This week supplies of the last
remaining foodstuff in free supply, wheat and bread, has been cut by 50 per
cent to try and eke out stocks which were about to run out despite repeated
assurances from our genius of a Minister that "stocks are enough". I fully
expect that this will be the trigger of massive, nation wide food shortages
on a scale we have never seen before. Before you blame the weather for this,
or accept Mugabe facile explanations in Rome, we have full dams, no water
shortages, plenty of grass in most areas, rivers are still running and if
our farms were working, the capacity to feed ourselves from irrigated land
alone, if this was required. In fact all the crops that were grown under
normal conditions – tobacco, soybeans and cotton are all yielding between 70
and 90 per cent of their potential. This is not a repeat of 1992 in any way
and attempts to draw parallels do not do justice to the situation.

What does bear thinking about is the future for Mr Mugabe. In the Ethiopian
drought it was Mengistu’s attempt to use the food situation to cow his
people that led to his overthrow and subsequent flight to Harare where he
has lived in exile and comfort ever since. In Rumania it was a collapse of
the domestic economy to the point where life simply became unbearable for
the majority that led to the Presidents overthrow and death at the hands of
his own people. Even in Madagascar, it appears that the last President who
had been in power for over two decades has now fled in a French jet to Paris
and I do not think we will see him back in the region for a while.

When our people wake up the full extent of the failure of the Mugabe regime
in the next few weeks, the sense of national anger and outrage will become
overwhelming. We see it in every MDC rally – the people are very angry and
are tired of being treated as some kind of Zanu PF supporters club. When
urban workers find their entire family from the rural areas at their
doorstep because "there is no food at home" all hell is going to break out.
Mugabe and his close colleagues and family will bear the brunt of that anger
and I am afraid there will be casualties. This situation has simply gone too
far to be stopped.

Us, we are trying to do what we can through our Church and our own network –
so are others, this time it will not be enough. Mengistu recognises the
signs, I hear he has done a runner; he does not want to be around when this
curtain comes down.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 14th June 2002.

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The stark reality of this hideous and unbelievable crisis is shocking.  More
so because it is 'man made'.  Literally.  A madman retains power by
'default', and the world makes a 'whimper' of objection but fails to take
cognisance of what this means to the ordinary Zimbabwean.  Thousands of men
and women, once housed, fed and gainfully employed by flourishing farming
activities, as well as the tourist industry, and other commercial
enterprises dependent on the Agricultural sector, now face a bleak future.

Homeless, jobless and struggling with disease, the very people who were once
cogs in the precious wheel of food production, face starvation with millions
more.  That Mbeki could have prevented the entire tragedy before it even
began, is indeed sobering.  And this is the man who is spouting 'good
governance' in Africa, while he also 'jaunts' expensively all round the

I am left incredulous while 'Smart Sanctions' do or don't work, and 'further
personal punishment' is 'discussed'.  WHAT will it take to make the West
wake up, and actively enforce another and properly monitored election?
Remove the cause and the rest falls into place.  Pathetic and unenforced
'Sanctions' shouldn't even be open for discussion!  That this deepening
crisis goes far further even than famine, and that there is NO other option,
is quite clear.

It appears 'lip service' is alive and well in international politics!

You can't change the wind, but  you can adjust the sails

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Mugabe versus the internet

Zimbabwe's trial of a Guardian reporter could undermine its own view of
national sovereignty

Geoffrey Robertson
Monday June 17, 2002
The Guardian

Andrew Meldrum, the Guardian's correspondent in Zimbabwe, is on trial in
Harare, accused of "publishing falsehoods" in this newspaper's online
service. His case is important, not only as the first test of the Mugabe
government's repressive media laws, but because it amounts to an attempt to
inflict these laws on the rest of the world.
The Guardian newspaper is unavailable in Zimbabwe, but the prosecution
insists that its criminal courts have jurisdiction over editors and
journalists abroad whenever their "falsehoods" are downloaded by
intelligence officers who spend their days surfing the net for criticisms of
their country.

The crime of "abusing journalistic privilege" by publishing falsehoods
carries up to two years' imprisonment. It is found in the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act - a disingenuously titled piece of
legislation which in reality provides for the licensing, controlling and
punishing of editors and journalists, 10 of whom have been charged so far.
The act was rushed through parliament in January, and these charges relate
to stories which discomfited the Zanu-PF government in the run-up to the

The prosecution contends that the crime is one of strict liability - ie that
the journalist is guilty if the allegation reported turns out to be false,
however credible or newsworthy it was at the time of publication. On this
basis it will become risky to report any allegation made against the
government, lest it turn out to be unfounded. Editors and reporters
convicted under the act may not only be jailed but may also lose the licence
to practise their profession that the act now requires them to obtain.

The magistrate in the Meldrum case must decide the crucial question of where
the website story is published: in London, where it was uploaded on to the
Guardian Unlimited webserver, or in Harare, where Sergeant Blessmore
Chishaka downloaded it last month at the Central Intelligence Organisation.

If the crime of false publication was committed in London, the Zimbabwe
court should have no jurisdiction. But if committed on downloading in
Zimbabwe, the court would have jurisdiction to punish not only Meldrum but
the editor of the Guardian and anyone else responsible for the uploading.
(Mr Rusbridger, like General Pinochet, would have his travels truncated: no
family holidays at Victoria Falls, or in countries like China and South
Africa which have easy extradition arrangements with Zimbabwe.)

Last week the prosecution, which likens the world wide web to television
broadcasting, sought to demonstrate how Guardian Unlimited is published in
Zimbabwe. The court moved to the business centre at the Sheraton Hotel where
Sergeant Blessmore quickly accessed Guardian Unlimited and called up every
article written by Andrew Meldrum - except the offending piece. "Possibly it
has been deleted," he concluded. In that case, of course, President Mugabe's
laws would have already caused the censorship of information which would
otherwise be available now in Britain, and throughout the world.

The case resumes today, with the prosecution relying on a copy of the
webpage downloaded last month. The defence proposes to produce expert
evidence to explain the difference between "push" technologies like
broadcasting which transmit or direct information to particular areas and
the "pull" technology of the world wide web, by which information reaches
Zimbabwe only as a result of an electronic message sent from that
jurisdiction which pulls the copy off the web server in London - the place
where, as a matter of common sense, it is made available to the public.

Courts throughout the world are grappling with the legal consequences of
publication on the ubiquitous and directionless web. For example,
Australia's high court is deciding whether it has jurisdiction in civil
defamation over a Wall Street Journal website in New Jersey. But the Meldrum
case is the first to assert local criminal jurisdiction over foreign web
postings. Countries with more barbaric laws against seditious writing (Iran
and Libya, for example) would doubtless welcome a precedent.

This prosecution may prove an "own goal" for Robert Mugabe. He claims that
his laws, however repugnant to other countries, are of concern only to
Zimbabwe: they provide no warrant for the international community to
interfere in his internal affairs. But by giving these laws extraterritorial
effect, asserting jurisdic tion over web publishers wherever they may be
located, his laws are attacking freedom of speech abroad as well as at home.
Even on his own outdated theory of national sovereignty, this would entitle
other countries to take action against Zimbabwe to protect the freedom of
speech of their own citizens.

These new media laws are blatant infringements of the country's
constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression: the acid test of the
country's judiciary will be whether, in subsequent proceedings, it has the
independence to say so.

· Geoffrey Robertson QC is co-author of Robertson & Nicol on Media Law,
published by Sweet & Maxwell. He attended the Meldrum trial at the request
of the Guardian.
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Daily News

      Police brutally assault Daily News staffers

      6/17/02 7:28:57 PM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      THREE Daily News staffers were brutally assaulted by the police - with
one of them sustaining a fractured arm - when the riot police attacked and
arrested a total of 85 people, mostly MDC members attending a rally in
central Harare yesterday.

      The rally, organised by the MDC to mark International Youth Day, ended
in total disarray when the riot policemen, armed with AK rifles, baton
sticks and teargas canisters, descended on two unsuspecting crowds in Africa
Unity Square and at Number 8 Mbuya Nehanda Street, the MDC provincial
offices. Daily News reporter Guthrie Munyuki sustained what a medical doctor
confirmed last night to be a fracture above the right wrist. The doctor
examined Munyuki at Harare Central Police Station.

      Also arrested and brutally assaulted by the police were Urginia
Mauluka, a photographer, whose elbow was swollen last night, and Shadreck
Mukwecheni, a driver. Speaking on his mobile phone from his cell at Harare
Central where he and what he estimated to be 44 other men and 40 women were
being held, Munyuki said also in the cells were Highfield MP Munyaradzi
Gwisai and Newton Spicer of
      Edwina Spicer Productions, a Harare media production house.

      Munyuki said also held was Stuart Mukoyi of Kuwadzana 3, who sustained
serious injuries when he was allegedly assaulted by the police. A doctor was
called in to examine Mukoyi who, according to Munyuki, was lying motionless
on the cold
      cement floor with no blanket last night. It is this doctor who also
examined Munyuki in the cells. "The doctor examined me 10 minutes ago and
has just left," Munyuki said at 8.45pm. "He said I sustained a fracture
above the right wrist. The whole arm is now swollen and very painful. I
cannot move my fingers.

      "After they arrested us the riot police ordered Urginia, Mukwecheni
and myself to lie face down. They assaulted us on the buttocks with rifle
butts and batons. I counted six officers who assaulted me. The same was
happening to Urginia and Mukwecheni. I tried to block one blow with my arm
and received a heavy blow above the wrist." Munyuki said Mukoyi had
sustained more serious injuries and had been lying motionless in the cell.

      "He is stretched on the cold floor and cannot talk, walk or even sit.
The doctor said he was concerned about him and has gone to see the police
officers about him." The doctor later spoke to The Daily News. He said he
preferred not to be mentioned by name for professional and security reasons.
He confirmed Munyuki had sustained a fracture and said Mukoyi was in a bad
condition and was starting to have convulsions. "I suspect Mukoyi sustained
serious abdominal injuries consistent with severe beating," said the doctor
late last night. "He is now having convulsions."

      Munyuki said he was sharing the same cell with Gwisai, Spicer,
Mukwecheni and one Alf Nyahunzwi, a legal consultant who lives somewhere in
the Avenues area of Harare. He said apart from Gwisai, Mukoyi and himself,
three other
      people had been injured, including another woman who allegedly
sustained a broken leg. He said the woman was released. Trouble started when
the riot
      police descended on the rally organised by the MDC in Africa Unity
Square and at the MDC offices in Mbuya Nehanda Street. A total of 60 people,
including the journalists, were arrested at the MDC offices, while 25 more
were rounded up in the square.

      Eyewitnesses said the police had driven a Puma vehicle, registration
number ZRP 316X, into a crowd of about 2 000 gathered outside the MDC
offices in Mbuya Nehanda Street, causing people to flee in all directions.
They said armed riot
      policemen arrived at the MDC offices 20 minutes after the rally
started and used brute force to break it up.

      Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC official spokesman, said the police had
fired shots into the air to disrupt the rally, before arresting people "most
of whom were just passers-by caught in the cross-fire". A security guard on
duty in the area said he counted five gunshots. Munyuki, Mauluka and
Mukwecheni, who arrived on the scene after the rally had been dispersed,were
arrested at 1.15 pm.

      "The police said they had known people from The Daily News would come
to cover the rally because 'your newspaper always acts in cahoots with the
MDC. You always lie about the police. After this you can write about real
police brutality.'" Mauluka's camera was seized and smashed on the tarmac.
Munyuki said the police had recorded the details of the arrested men and
women but had not formally charged them. "They merely herded us into the
cells," he said. "They did not even search us or ask us to remove our shoes,
as normally happens." As a result Munyuki had his cellphone on him last
night and was able communicate with his office from the third floor of
Harare Central.

      A police officer said last night that the detained people would be
charged under Section 31 (c) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
The section states that: "Any person who, at a public gathering behaves in a
threatening, abusive or insulting manner intending to prevent the
transaction of the business for which the gathering is called together,
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding a $50 000
or two years in jail, or both."

      Bvudzijena said the police stopped the rally because MDC activists had
gone around the city beating up people and trying to provoke trouble. "We
had told the organisers they could not hold their rally at the Harare
Gardens because that venue and the atmosphere in the city are not conducive
for political gatherings," he told Reuters news agency. "We based our
decision on POSA but we had agreed that they could hold their rally at their
offices. We intervened when their people went around trying to provoke a

      Meanwhile in Bulawayo, the police dispersed a crowd of about 2 000
people from Stanley Square in Makokoba Suburb near the city. They then
detained Thokozani Khupe , the MP for Makokoba, and Gertrude Mtombeni, a
member of the MDC national executive.
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Daily News

      Hunger outbreak could be last straw for Zimbabwe

      6/17/02 7:16:27 PM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - The recent warning that six million Zimbabweans face
hunger could be the final straw for the country, already reeling from high
inflation, daily food shortages and political instability. A regional food
assessment puts almost half of Zimbabwe's population at risk of having no
food mainly because of a drought and the country's land reform programme.

      Last week Finance Minister, Dr Simba Makoni, told the World Economic
Forum that Zimbabwe's economy had lost a third of its jobs since 2000 and
was set to contract by 10 percent this year. He also conceded that the land
reform policy had contributed to this year's poor harvests.

      Last week a survey revealed that the tourism industry, once a major
money spinner, was losing millions of dollars due to negative publicity.
Critics are rounding on the part President Mugabe's economic and political
policies have played in the country's food crisis. Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was quoted by AFP as saying:
"Robert Mugabe is deliberately misleading the world by claiming that
Zimbabwe has no food because of drought. The chaotic land reform, and
government failure to take urgent measures to avert the crisis are to

      Brian Kagoro, co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, an affiliation of
about 250 non-governmental organisations and church groups, said: "In the
populist sense it is nice to give land to the landless but realistically
they will have no resources, no agricultural input and no technical input.
The nation will wake up with insufficient wheat and grain and the people
will revolt." Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) vice-president Lucia
Matibenga said: "People have been living with other problems over the last
few years but starvation is the end of the road. People are only buying
basics now, no luxuries like bacon and eggs.

      "Workers are living from hand to mouth and this year's wage
negotiations are going to be very difficult. It will be like milking a dry
cow. Businesspeople are struggling in a collapsing economy and employees can
't survive with the current high prices." Parallel markets were created
during shortages, pushing prices up even more.

      Matibenga said urban Zimbabweans sometimes sent money to rural areas
for farming, later collecting some of what was farmed to supplement their
own food stocks. There had been instances lately where some of this food was
      Matibenga said: "Once the state takes away what belongs to you, a
person is bound to react." She also warned that in rural constituencies,
where opposition
      members are allegedly denied access to buy food, there could be civil
unrest as people tried to snatch grain from ruling party members.

      "It might implode to where people think 'at least I will get food in
jail'. We all know that a hungry person is an angry person," she said.
Matibenga said the ZCTU had no protests planned over the rising cost of
living, but would concentrate on wage negotiations. Economist John Robertson
said: "The crisis has had a gradual development and people adapt as they go
and they tend to forget what they used to enjoy. They get used to the
increasing stresses.

      "People do have jobs but the prices increase to double, sometimes
treble, and inflation is over 100 percent. People get used to lower
standards of living and get used to doing without." He said the inflation
rate - at 114 percent in April - made people spend more on basics and less
on luxuries. Robertson said the formal exchange rate had not changed since
October 2000 and was still at $55 to one US dollar. People had to use the
parallel market to raise currency to source raw materials and this rate
could be as high as $640. This pushed up the price of finished goods.

      Government introduced price controls, which served only to drive the
trade in such goods underground. "Now people don't buy a kilogramme of
sugar, they buy a cup full. Things like sugar run out very quickly.
Maize-meal and cooking oil is scarce. To get milk you have to be at the shop
first thing in the morning," he said. Robertson also referred to the
government fixing the bank interest rate below inflation to bring down the
interest payments on its own debts. "To blame the problems on drought is a
simplification," he said. "Some of the shortages were because of reduced
production. The war veterans on commercial farms didn't want farmers to grow
maize because they were afraid that this would strengthen the farmer's claim
to the land. Last year maize prices were rising so the government put price
controls on maize. When people were planning for planting, the prices were
less attractive so smaller crops were planted."

      Robertson said the government did subsidise communal farmers to help
them plant more crops, "but they led people to believe they would get a
large handout of fertiliser and seed but this came too late and crops were
planted late".
      The effects of the economic crisis cut through all aspects of life in
Zimbabwe, he said. School textbooks were almost "impossibly expensive" and
parents claimed they could not pay levies to keep their children in school.
He said up to 100 000 children were not going to school because schools on
commercial farms had been closed by the disruptions.

      Fuel consumption in Zimbabwe had dropped because prices had gone up
and many commercial farmers were not using their normal quotas of fuel. "The
country is slowing down quite badly. It's a sad picture because none of this
is necessary. It's going to impoverish people and take a great number of
years to repair," Robertson said. However, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce played down the problems, blaming them primarily on the drought and
pressures from the International Monetary Fund.

      A spokesman, who declined to name himself, said: "All the surrounding
countries have food shortages. We are trying to source maize from markets
that have got surpluses and the government has put in place measures to
mitigate the effect (of food shortages). "The government has subsidised the
cost of maize and put in place adjustable price controls which can be
reviewed to have a balance between the manufacturer and the consumer." He
said the government's commitment to agri-economy, linked to the land reform
programme, and an irrigation scheme should pull the country out of the mire.

      A senior researcher at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies,
      Cornwell, said Zimbabwe currently had "an economy in reverse". "They'
ve fixed the currency, closed off the economy to outside forces and run
interest rates below inflation. I can't see how the agrarian revolution will
take place. Plots are too small and there is no money for inputs, no skilled
farmers and bad weather," he said. Cornwell said the country was also
handling a huge domestic debt and could currently only pay salaries. "There
is also the collapse of the education and health sectors. Sooner or later
certain people in the palace guard will start asking questions," he said.
      - IRIN-SA

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Daily News

      Striking workers temporarily halt tobacco sales

      6/17/02 7:05:19 PM (GMT +2)

      Farming Reporter

      BUSINESS temporarily came to a halt at the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF)
auction floor last Friday as workers undertook industrial action demanding a
review of their cost of living adjustments.

      The industrial action inconvenienced farmers who had come to the
floors to sell their leaf tobacco. "Had we not booked already we could have
gone to other auction floors," said Ruth Museve, a Gweru farmer. Contacted
for comment, the management said workers were being incited by "a few
misguided elements". "It was not a major disruption, just a three-hour work
stoppage caused by some few misguided elements," said Pat Devenish, the TSF
managing director.

      "Otherwise, 99 percent of the workers are loyal and efficient. We have
never had problems with our labour over the years and our relationship has
been good."
      However, some of the workers said the TSF management was not treating
workers well. "We had asked for a cost of living adjustment and Devenish
said we would not get it and we could go on strike as long as we want," said
one. Temporary workers were being paid below the minimum wage., he added
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Police and emergency services in Masvingo failed the nation

      6/17/02 7:38:03 AM (GMT +2)

      THE police and the country's fire and ambulance services fully deserve
all the criticism and brickbats being directed at them following their tardy
reaction to the horrendous road accident near Chatsworth in Masvingo
province in which 37 lives were lost.

      The temptation to describe their apparent nonchalance as criminal is

      It is equally disturbing and deplorable that Joseph Msika, who was
acting President, the Minister of Higher Education, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi,
and the Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo, have so far not openly shown
their displeasure at that tardiness.

      Ideally, they should have been the first to voice concern and express
regret at the unacceptably shoddy and insouciant manner the emergency
services responded.

      Instead, true to the government's now well known penchant for blaming
everyone else except itself whenever things go wrong, they have seen fit not
to censure the police and the ambulance services for that particularly
shoddy performance.

      The only criticism we have heard from the government came from
Transport Minister Swithun Mombeshora, who has pronounced the drivers
guilty, safe in the knowledge that they cannot defend themselves.

      There can be no doubt that both the police and ambulance services were
caught flat-footed. In a dismaying development reminiscent of the country's
pathetic state of disaster-unpreparedness exposed by Cyclone Eline in early
2000, witnesses in the first report of the tragedy were emphatic the police
and members of the fire brigade took hours to arrive at the scene and that
some of the lives lost could have been saved had the response been swifter.

      It is a position that has since been endorsed by some of the surviving
students themselves: the police and the fire brigade arrived at the scene
four hours later.

      Taking into consideration the fact that the said police and fire
brigade crews were from far-away Gweru, which is more than 100 kilometres
away from where the accident occurred, the more fair-minded might say it was
a fairly reasonable reaction time. But that in no way takes the flak away
from the two organisations. The question lingering in everybody's mind and
which must be asked here is: Where were Masvingo emergency services?

      It is not even said whether they eventually did arrive at all to join
the gallant Gweru team. The only evidence we have that points to the
Masvingo police being involved at all in the disaster comes through
statements being issued by Inspector Learn Ncube on the identities of the
deceased and what plans the government is making about their burial.

      It is a serious indictment on the part of the police and the fire
brigade in Masvingo that, four hours after such a major road disaster, they
were nowhere to be seen.

      Their blameworthiness becomes even greater when two factors are taken
into account: First, that the accident happened on a highway, a fact that
ought to have made their drive to the scene that much faster; and, second,
that the scene of the disaster was only 50km away from their base.

      Someone somewhere must explain. Maybe only then will the anger of all
Zimbabweans - who have found the police's extremely poor response totally
unacceptable - be assuaged. But then, if the police's past record when it
comes to investigating themselves is anything to go by, the nation had
better not entertain any hopes of hearing anything further from them in that

      Which really is a sad commentary on a once deservedly proud police
force recognised as one of the finest in the world.

      Seeing those mock accident scenes co-staged by the police and the fire
brigade on TV every now and then, the people had gained the impression that
it was to keep them in the highest form of disaster preparedness for exactly
the kind of accident that happened in Masvingo last week.

      Apparently the nation was being led up the garden path.

      The police and the Fire Brigade had better get serious.
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Daily News

      Mugabe gets the wrong sort of attention at Rome food summit

      6/17/02 7:32:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe became the centre of global
attention at the World Food Summit in Rome, but for all the wrong reasons.
According to the South African newspaper, Business Day, Mugabe grabbed the
limelight at the
      meeting on Monday as he became the target of a torrent of blistering
criticism by international leaders for his objectionable governance and land
      United States Agency for International Development head, Andrew
Natsios, opened the floodgates of biting censure against Mugabe by
complaining that he was appalled by the Zimbabwean ruler's presence at the

      "I am uncomfortable when any head of state that is tyrannical and
predatory comes to a conference like this," he said. Mugabe came under fire
for his government's food distribution patterns in which he is accused of
feeding his supporters only, while starving those perceived to be members of
the opposition.
      Other critics joined in the attack against him, putting him at the
centre of the international diplomatic radar.

      Glenys Kinnock, a member of the European parliament and a staunch
critic of the Zimbabwean leader, told the European Union that Mugabe should
not be allowed to posture on international stages while he starved his own
people. "Mugabe is
      using these United Nations meetings to parade himself in Europe in
defiance of our ban, while people in his country suffer because of his
policies," she said.
      However, Mugabe insisted: "Zimbabwean land must rightly belong to
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Daily News

      Mugabe accused of using famine as a weapon

      6/17/02 7:24:59 PM (GMT +2)

      The United States Congress on Saturday accused President Mugabe of
using famine as a "deadly weapon" against his own people.
      Describing the situation in Zimbabwe as "Mugabe's famine",
Congressional Africa 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."
      During the North Korean famine in 1995, caused by floods, the
government of Kim Jong Il banned funerals of those under the age of 60.
Families of famine victims under age in Hamgyong and Yanggang provinces were
only allowed to bury bodies at night or at sea. At the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organisation summit in Rome last week, Mugabe praised his
government's chaotic land reform programme, saying it was meant to fight
hunger, although it has displaced an estimated 500 000 farm workers, who now
need food assistance.

      The Farm Community Trust is helping feed the displaced and trying to
provide education for their children. During a sub-committee briefing
dealing with famine in Southern Africa, members of the US Congress warned
aid organisations that Zimbabwe should be categorised separately when US
food aid was distributed.

      United Nations agencies estimate that 13 million people in southern
Africa need food aid between now and March next year. UN representatives,
non-governmental organisations and the United States Agency for
International Development testified on the scope of the disaster facing
countries such as Zimbabwe, Lesotho Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and
Zambia. The message by Congress was that the US would continue to support
famine relief efforts, but that policymakers should have a better
understanding of where failed government policies and corruption had caused
most of the misery.

      World Vision, non-governmental organisation, estimates at least 10
million people will need food aid in the next six months. Concerns are also
mounting that the El Nino meteorological phenomenon is likely to make the
situation worse, with droughts predicted for the forthcoming agricultural
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Daily News

      Independent journalists to examine new regulations

      6/17/02 7:18:59 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Independent Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe, (IJAZ), has
called an emergency meeting this evening to brief its members on its
response to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Abel
Mutsakani, IJAZ president, said the meeting, comes in the wake of the
deadline of the new law,
      which seeks to regulate and licence media houses and journalists. The
deadline was yesterday.

      He said: "We would like to appraise our membership on the court action
IJAZ proposes to take in view of the lapse of the deadline set by Professor
Jonathan Moyo. It is important that every journalist attends this meeting
since the issues to be discussed have a direct bearing on the work of
      The government, in an extraordinary gazette published on Friday, set
new regulations that require media houses to apply for new accreditation.
Under the new regulations, mass media services are required to pay an
application fee of $20 000 and a registration sum of $500 000.

      Working journalists are expected to pay $1 000 and $5 000,
respectively for application and accreditation, while freelance journalists
$500 and $2 500. Foreign journalists intending to work temporarily in
Zimbabwe, are required to pay US$50 (Z$2 750) and US$100 (Z$5 500) for
application and registration, respectively. Foreign media houses will have
to fork out US$ 2000 and US$ 10 000.
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Daily News
      Sunday Mail report ridiculous - Econet

      6/17/02 7:18:03 PM (GMT +2)

      By Staff Reporter

      ECONET Wireless yesterday dismissed as "ridiculous" and a blatant
attempt at total fabrication, allegations in the government-controlled
Sunday Mail that the company's directors had fled to South Africa to raise
funds for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      The government-controlled newspaper alleged that for every call made
on an Econet line, $10 would be donated to the MDC. But Sure Chimbga, Econet
's corporate communications executive, said in a statement yesterday it was
not true a meeting had been held in South Africa with Econet Wireless Group
chief executive officer, Strive Masiyiwa, because for nearly a month he has
been out of South Africa on Econet business in New Zealand and Nigeria.

      He said the allegation that the MDC would receive $10 for every call
made on an Econet line showed, "a worrying and pathetic lack of
understanding by the reporter and his sources of information of the
operations, as well as the legal
      and financial responsibilities of a publicly listed company". Chimbga
said: "Econet is a publicly listed company owned by thousands of ordinary
Zimbabweans, either directly or indirectly through pension funds and
      companies. Mr Masiyiwa just happens to be a significant shareholder
but does not own the company.

      "We publish interim and annual accounts every six and 12 months
respectively, and it would be impossible for us to make a decision to give
money to a political party which amounts to over 25 percent of our revenue,
without informing the shareholders. Why on earth would we do something so
dumb? herefore, for anyone to even suggest that our company has made such a
fundamental decision shows total ignorance of the operations of a listed

      Chimbga said Rugare Chidembo was recently promoted to chief operating
officer of Econet Wireless International, and had relocated to South Africa,
where the company is headquartered. "It is therefore not true that he has
fled Zimbabwe. The chief financial officer of the company is Craig
Fitzgerald and not Chidembo.
      "Any right-thinking person would ask themselves why the reporter and
his sources of information are so desperate and so obsessed with fabricating
articles about Mr Masiyiwa," Chimbga said.
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Zimbabwe demands fees from media

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Monday June 17, 2002
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean government announced yesterday that all media organisations and journalists must pay a fee to be registered and accredited under its new media law, which critics say is designed to curtail press freedom.

In addition to the hefty fee, all media organisations, including international news agencies and local newspapers, must divulge detailed financial information about their operations, and pay 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover of their local operations to a state-controlled media fund, the Sunday Mail reported.

It is expected that many international wire services and individual journalists will refuse to register, creating a showdown with President Robert Mugabe's government.

Under the new regulations, published in the government gazette at the weekend, the office of a foreign media organisation must pay US$2,000 (about £1,350) to apply and US$10,000 to register.

Zimbabwean organisations must pay Z$20,000 (US$360) to apply and Z$500,000 to register. In addition, Zimbabwean correspondents for foreign media are required to pay US$50 to apply and US$1,000 for accreditation.

The government's media commission can refuse to register any organisation or journalist, making it illegal for them to practise journalism in Zimbabwe.

Foreigners are barred from working in Zimbabwe as correspondents for their companies, but those allowed in "for specified periods" may do so for US$600, the paper said.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act became law on March 15 and since then 12 journalists have been arrested, and some of them jailed.

The Foreign Correspondents Association of Zimbabwe is contesting the constitutionality of some sections of the law, and other media groups are preparing legal challenges.

The act prescribes heavy fines and jail terms of up to two years for "abuse of journalistic privilege", such as publishing "falsehoods".

Andrew Meldrum, is the first journalist to be tried under the new law. His trial began last week and continues today. He could be jailed for two years

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Daily News

      Government finally acknowledges

      6/17/02 7:06:39 PM (GMT +2)

      Columbus Mavhunga

      THE government has finally agreed that there is rampant poaching and
snaring of wildlife mostly in the new resettlement areas. At a policy
directive meeting
      of the newly-formed Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA)
board last Friday, Francis Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism
said the authority had surmountable task of addressing the issue of rampant

      "There has been increase in the incidence of poaching, particularly in
the newly resettled areas," said Nhema. "We are unnecessarily losing
wildlife to poaching and it seems there is slow reaction to it. "You wait
for the Press to
      highlight these issues so that you can act. Uniformed staff should not
be based at the headquarters but deployed where things are happening." There
has been an unprecedented level of poaching activity in most conservancies
as people take advantage of the chaotic and controversial two-year old land

      But the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, which
has now been replaced by the PWMA says between 2000 and April this year only
27 rhinos and 92 elephants had died either as a result of poaching, natural
mortality, intraspecific fights or some unknown causes. Wildlife worth about
$100 million has been lost to poaching, illegal movement of wildlife,
over-hunting, subsistence and commercial poaching in ranches and other game

      Nhema also challenged the PWMA board to market itself so that it
becomes self-sufficient and to train its staff so that there are few deaths
during translocation of the wildlife. "There is a high mortality rate during
capture and translocation exercises," said the minister. "This has been
attributed to lack of proper training for the staff and lack of
communication between translocation units and receiving stations."
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From CNN, 16 June

Teargas fired at Zimbabwe rally

Harare - Riot police used teargas and fired shots in the air on Sunday to halt a Zimbabwe opposition rally held to mark South Africa's youth day, arresting more than 30 activists and a freelance television journalist. A freelance journalist at the scene said police armed with batons, guns and teargas attacked the rally of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 20 minutes after it had begun. MDC youth chairman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters police fired shots in the air and arrested more than 30 party activists, including MDC parliamentarian Munyaradzi Gwisai. Freelance television cameraman Newton Spicer was among those arrested, his wife, British-born journalist Edwina Spicer said. The rally was commemorating anti-apartheid protests in South Africa in 1976 when police killed hundreds of students.

Police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had stopped the rally because some MDC activists had gone around the city beating people up and trying to provoke trouble. "We had told the organisers they could not hold their rally at the Harare Gardens because that venue and the city atmosphere is not conducive for political gatherings," he told Reuters. "We based our decision on the Public Order and Security Order (POSA) but we had agreed that they could hold their rally at their offices. We intervened when their people went around trying to provoke a situation," he added. Bvudzijena said police had arrested 15 people.

Edwina Spicer said her husband had been asked to report to the police after filming at the MDC rally. "When he presented himself to the police, he was arrested and locked up but has not been told under what charge they are holding him," Spicer said. The Spicers' son is an MDC youth leader. Chamisa denied the MDC was out to cause trouble and accused the police of being heavy-handed. "The bottom line is that they are out to attack us whenever we try to carry out normal political activities," he said. The MDC says Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party has been trying to destroy its structures and has disrupted many of its public meetings since President Robert Mugabe won a controversial presidential election in March. The election was condemned as seriously flawed by Western powers and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is demanding a re-run. Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, says he won fairly and accuses the West of trying to impose Tsvangirai as leader of the southern African state.

From The Daily News, 15 June 2002

Police arrest 170 MDC supporters

Mutare - Nearly 170 MDC supporters, including 11 top officials in Birchenough Bridge, Chipinge North, were on Thursday beaten up and arrested by heavily armed police after attending their party’s gathering in the area. By late Thursday night, the supporters were being held at a police base in the constituency. Among those arrested are James Mkwaya, the provincial organising secretary, Prosper Mutseyekwa, the vice-chairman, Lloyd Mahute, chairman, and Christine Chishakwe, the provincial vice-chairman for the women’s league. Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC provincial spokesman said on Thursday the MDC members were arrested at Mapari holiday resort. "After the police denied us room to hold our rally in the area, we went to Mapari holiday resort centre where we held our meeting peacefully. In the middle of our meeting, armed police suddenly surrounded us in a cow-horn formation similar to that used by the Zulus under Chaka and beat us up indiscriminately for no reason," Muchauraya said. Brian Makomeke, the acting police spokesman in Manicaland, said he was not aware of the arrests but would investigate.

On Wednesday, the police raided the Buhera home of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, for the second time in a month. Tsvangirai said his caretaker was arrested in the latest raid and he was seeking legal recourse. A Mutare lawyer, Chris Ndlovu engaged by the MDC to represent the arrested, was thrown out by the police when he went to the police station on Thursday. "I was told to leave immediately. As policeman escorted me to my car, they advised that I should leave to avoid problems. They threatened to harm me and so I left," Ndlovu said. Muchauraya condemned the arrests saying they were a selective application of a section of the notorious Public Order and Security Act. "Two days ago, our rally in Mutare South was disrupted by Zanu PF supporters and so-called war veterans in the presence of the police," Muchauraya said. "They just watched as the armed Zanu PF supporters paced up and down at the venue of our rally."

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International Herald Tribune

      Don't let Zimbabwe implode
         Gareth Evans IHT  Tuesday, June 18, 2002

BRUSSELS Since the deeply flawed March 2002 presidential election, Zimbabwe
has dropped off the radar screen of the media and most policymakers, but its
crisis is deepening in three main ways.
The government and the governing ZANU-PF party are systematically using
violence to intimidate the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and civil society in order to compel them to accept the results. The economy
is further deteriorating as foreign investment and food both become scarce:
With regional drought compounding the land seizure crisis, United Nations
agencies are warning of possible famine. And as the opposition considers
mass protests, the prospect of serious internal conflict is becoming
imminent, with grave implications for the stability of the wider southern
African region.
The international response has been mixed and inadequate. South Africa and
Nigeria, who made possible the Commonwealth's suspension of Zimbabwe in the
immediate aftermath of the election, have attempted throughout the spring to
facilitate party-to-party talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC. But many
African governments have given barely qualified, albeit slightly
embarrassed, approval to President Robert Mugabe's re-election - while at
the same time talking down Zimbabwe's relevance to their efforts to
construct new economic relationships with the developed countries.
Most Western states have done little except repeat their rhetorical
condemnations. These appear, counterproductively, to have persuaded Mugabe
that their policies are "all bark, no bite" and to have increased sympathy
for him in much of Africa.
The European Union and the United States have expanded neither the target
list of affected individuals nor the scope for the sanctions - primarily
travel restrictions - they imposed on senior ZANU-PF figures before the
election. Key Group of Eight countries have signaled in advance of their
June 26-27 summit meeting that they may be prepared to relax the requirement
that African states apply serious peer pressure on Zimbabwe as a
precondition for advancing the New Program for Africa's Development
initiative, or NEPAD, on which the continent pins its hopes for integration
into the world economy.
The party-to-party talks initially made progress. An agenda was agreed, and
the facilitators had begun to explore ideas, built around a transitional
power-sharing arrangement, to pursue constitutional reform and restructure
the presidency to require new elections. But the talks collapsed in May when
ZANU-PF withdrew, demanding that the MDC drop its court challenge to the
election result.
The substantive gap is considerable, and ZANU-PF is carrying out repressive
actions around the country that heighten tension and damage the environment
for any negotiation. The MDC entered talks despite skepticism at its grass
roots that the governing party intends anything except to destroy or co-opt
Serious internal fissures and pressures now threaten to radicalize the MDC's
strategy. Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has begun to speak of switching to
mass public protests within weeks if there is no movement toward new
elections. Every indication is that this would produce a sharp ZANU-PF
response and set off a cycle of much more serious domestic conflict,
refugees across borders, and further economic decline.
In these circumstances, it is vital for the international community to focus
its efforts with renewed urgency on defusing the immediate crisis. The most
promising avenue is presented by the party-to-party talks. South Africa and
Nigeria need to be much more assertive in encouraging ZANU-PF to return to
the negotiating table and both sides to pursue genuine compromises.
Other African states should give full support and make clear that Mugabe
will be isolated if he does not negotiate in good faith.
South Africa and Nigeria have most of the real leverage that can influence
Mugabe. However, the EU, United States and other friends of Zimbabwe can
play important roles by focusing on helping the facilitators get the
party-to-party talks back on track within the next several weeks. They
should mute the rhetoric, but toughen and extend targeted sanctions; make
clear there will be no progress on NEPAD at the G-8 summit meeting unless
Africans put more pressure on ZANU-PF; and - especially Britain - pledge
anew to contribute significantly, in the context of an overall settlement,
to land reform in Zimbabwe.
The international community should also offer assistance that strengthens
civil society and helps provide unemployed young people with economic
alternatives to joining the governing party militias.
Zimbabwe is not a lost cause. Conflict prevention based on democracy, the
rule of law and a functioning economy can succeed, but only if the key
international actors, led by the Africans themselves, throw their full
weight behind a genuine negotiating process before the grievances are taken
into the streets.
The writer is president of the International Crisis Group, whose new report
"Zimbabwe: What Next?" can be found at He contributed
this comment to the International Herald Tribune.
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Christian Science Monitor
Rights group urges international action on Zimbabwe
Agence France Presse
HARARE, ZIMBABWE – The International Crisis Group warned Monday that Zimbabwe's political crisis is deepening and urged other leaders to step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe.  
"The international response has been mixed and inadequate" since Mr. Mugabe claimed victory in the March presidential election, ICG said in a report.
"The ruling ZANU-PF party and the government are systematically using violence to intimidate the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and civil society in order to punish and compel them to accept the results" of the vote, it said. "As the opposition considers mass protests, the prospect of serious internal conflict is becoming imminent, with grave implications for the stability of the wider southern African region."
The report called on Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria to take a more assertive stance in pressuring Mugabe to return to talks with MDC on finding a peaceful solution to the impasse.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected Mugabe's reelection, saying widespread political violence and fraud at the polls had compromised the returns.
Most independent observers shared that assessment, and the European Union, the United States, and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.
The ICG report urged EU and US officials to expand the sanctions to include directors and senior officials in businesses affiliated with the ZANU-PF. It also said the EU and US governments should investigate assets held by ZANU-PF officials and use aid money to strengthen links among independent unions, civil society, and the political opposition.
ICG said the Group of Eight (G8) – the world's seven most industrialized nations plus Russia – should link progress on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative to stronger efforts by African governments to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis. That initiative will be a major theme at next month's G8 summit in Canada. Under the scheme, participating African nations promise good governance in return for investment and development aid.

ZIMBABWE: IMF suspends technical assistance to Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG, 17 June (IRIN) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adopted a declaration of non-cooperation for Zimbabwe and suspended its technical assistance because it isn't dealing with its arrears payments adequately.

An IMF statement said the declaration of non-cooperation was one of the remedial measures used with members who fail to settle overdue financial obligations.

As of 12 June 2002, Zimbabwe owed about US $132 million - about US $74 million to the IMF's general department, and about US $58 million to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) trust, the statement said.

Zimbabwe first incurred arrears to the IMF in mid-February 2001. On 24 September 2001, the country was declared ineligible to use the general resources of the IMF and removed from the list of countries eligible to borrow resources under the PRGF.

Zimbabwe paid US $1.6 million in 2001 and US $3 million in the first half of 2002 but arrears have increased after that.

The fund's executive board had urged the Zimbabwean authorities to adopt an economic adjustment programme to help the country restore economic and financial stability. It also offered to help the authorities design the necessary policy measures.

The board will review Zimbabwe's arrears in three months and if Zimbabwe has not strengthened its cooperation with the Fund it would consider suspending its voting and related rights in the fund.

Zimbabwe is already dealing with a warning by the World Food Programme (WFP) that at least 6 million people could face food shortages this year through drought and the disruptions to commercial farming by the land acquisition programme.
Meanwhile, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai slammed what he called police brutality in the country.

He said 170 MDC activists had been arrested in Buhera south, in the east of the country, and 100 MDC youths in Harare during a rally over the weekend.

The Daily News reported that riot police used batons and teargas to break up the Harare rally.

Tsvangirai said: "These police actions, or rather the actions of ZANU-PF militia, disguised as police action, do not come anywhere near legitimate law enforcement of lawful maintenance of public order."

MDC spokesman Pishai Muchauraya also told IRIN the MDC provincial offices in Mutare had been closed by police on Monday and that 100 people had been arrested in Chipinge on the same day on suspicion of being involved in a mass action campaign against the government. Last week the MDC offices in Chimanimani were closed by police.

"Things are very dangerous and explosive in Zimbabwe at the moment. There is a crackdown on all our support."

In continuing pressure on the media, news agency AFP reported that the Zimbabwe government has set new fees that journalists must pay.

Local media organisations must pay Zim $520,000 (US $9,454 at the official rate) to operate, while individual Zimbabwean journalists working for news organisations must pay Zim $6,000 (US $109). The fee for foreign journalists is US $50 and US $100 for application and registration, respectively. Foreign media houses must pay US $2,000 and US $10,000 to operate, a government gazette said.

For the IMF press release:


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Crackdown in Zimbabwe
MDC activists in a police station in April
Anti-government demonstrations have been repressed
The main opposition party in Zimbabwe has warned President Robert Mugabe that it will organise more protests, after police cracked down on opposition militants in two cities at the weekend.

The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, said that the government should brace itself for more demonstrations.

Mass action is never impossible, this is only going to strengthen our resolve

MDC's Tendai Biti

He did not specify when they would take place, but said that it was a matter of time before action was taken.

A rally by MDC supporters was dispersed by police in the capital, Harare, on Sunday.

Police say at least 80 MDC youths and officials have been arrested and will be charged for violating the law on security and order.

They are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

Last week, state-run media reported that President Mugabe had put security forces on high alert to crush any mass demonstrations calling for a re-run of the March presidential elections.


Hundreds of ruling party militants clashed with MDC supporters in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, early on Monday.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe signed the media law in March

Zanu-PF militias deployed in the townships last week, and started harassing MDC supporters overnight, raiding their houses and beating them up.

No casualties have been reported in the clashes, in which hundreds of people were involved on both sides, according to residents.

Police and soldiers were deployed in the townships, but there were still a few pockets of resistance a few hours after the clashes started.

'Struggle for democracy'

The arrests in Harare took place at a demonstration held to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising.

Riot police used tear gas and clubs, and fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters.

An MDC member, Tendai Biti, vowed to keep up the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

"Mass action is never impossible, this is only going to strengthen our resolve," he told AP news agency.

Media restrictions Sunday's opposition rally also is reported to have led to the arrest of three journalists.

Geoff Nyarota, the editor of the independent Daily News, told the BBC that three of his journalists had been beaten up by the police as they tried to cover the march in Harare.

Andrew Meldrum
Meldrum's trial is expected to resume on Monday

Mr Nyarota said the reporters were then taken to Harare central police station. One of them is in severe pain from injuries to his arm.

At the weekend, the Zimbabwean government introduced more restrictions to the work of national and international reporters in what critics see as an attempt to limit foreign media in the country.

An amendment to the new media law says that foreign media companies will need to pay the equivalent of a total of $12,000 US to be registered.

American journalist Andrew Meldrum, who works for the British newspaper, The Guardian, is already facing trial for publishing falsehoods.

He could face a hefty fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

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Zimbabwe opposition vows to mount more protests

HARARE, June 17 - Zimbabwe's main opposition party vowed on Monday to mount
further protests against President Robert Mugabe, a day after riot police
fired tear gas to break up an opposition rally and arrested dozens of
       MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused the police of brutality when
they arrested more than 100 youths from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change at Sunday's rally.
       Police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had
stopped the rally because some MDC activists had attacked innocent
bystanders before the gathering. He said 80 youths were arrested and denied
the police had been heavy handed in detaining them.
       ''The MDC leader might be trying to score political points but he
knows very well that his statement is false and reckless political talk,''
he said.
       Police used teargas and fired shots into the air to break up the MDC
rally to commemorate youth day in Harare on Sunday, witnesses said.
       A freelance journalist at the scene said police armed with batons,
guns and teargas broke up the rally 20 minutes after it had begun and forced
dozens of people into trucks, including MDC parliamentarian Munyaradzi
       Freelance television cameraman Newton Spicer was among those
arrested. Zimbabwe's private Daily News reported on Monday that three of its
staffers were also arrested and assaulted.
       Tsvangirai said Mugabe was using the police to crack down on protests
against his disputed election victory in March, which the MDC and some
Western governments have rejected as fraudulent.
       He said a crisis-bound economy -- coupled with severe food shortages
partly blamed on the state seizure of white-owned farms for black
resettlement -- might force Zimbabweans onto the streets.
       ''Starvation in the rural areas and mass poverty in urban areas for
which the regime is responsible, will no doubt act as a catalyst for a firm
and comprehensive mass response of this country who have been short-changed
by the regime,'' he said.
       Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain in 1980,
says he won the March 9-11 election fairly and accuses the West of trying to
impose Tsvangirai as leader of the southern African state.
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25th June slithers closer like a python stalking its prey
Dear All,

The Government of Zimbabwe passed an amendment to the land acquisition act
on 10th May giving farmers under compulsory notice of acquisition (Section
8) 45 days to stop farming activities and then a further 45 days to leave
their homes.

The number of title deeds with Section 8 Orders is 2 443 (51%).  With the
ongoing service of Section 8 Orders, it is not unreasonable to assume that
60% of CFU members' farms (about 2 900 title deeds) are now subject to a
Section 8 Order.

I received this email from a female farmer I know - I would like to share
with you the dilemma these farmers live under from hour to hour and day to

Please read her message  and then put yourself in her position and tell me
what you would do in her position by answering the following three questions
and sending them to me.

1. Stay on her farm and continue to produce food even though doing this she
would be facing possible violent / arrest a fine of ZD$ 20 000 and/or 2
years in prison.  YES / NO

2. Flee the country abandoning her way of life and family, loyal staff? YES
/ NO

3. Hand herself over to police along with the other 2 900 farmers who would
also be violating the act on 26 June 2002 by walking their fields or tending
their crops which could feed the nation.  YES / NO

4. There is a fourth option to take legal action on the grounds that the act
is unconstitutional but we will leave this option to the legal brains.
Send this email to me at and I will send feed back to
Jean and the other farmers in the same predicament. I am counting on your

Jeans email reads ......
Dear Jenni
The days are ticking by a and the deadline that Dr Made has apparently set
for all white farmers to be off the land moves closer like a python stalking
its prey.

I received a Section 8 (compulsory notice of acquisition) from the
government on 22 March (dated 25 February) which effectively allowed me 45
days to wind up my farming operations and then 45 days to stay in my home
before I was supposed to leave my home.

If I had followed the 25 February date as the start of my 90 day notice
period I would be due to leave my farm on 26 May. If the notice starts when
I signed for the section 8 on 22 March then I would be due to leave my farm
on 20 June.

However the ratification of the amendment to the Land Acquisition Act by
Parliament on 9 May  to confirm the President's decree on 9 November 2001
apparently stretches all operational section 8's to start from 10 May 2002.
This means that all section 8 holders are due off their farms by 10 August.

I understand that government have set up a task force of army, police and
CIO to ensure that the notice period is adhered to and that farmers will be
arrested if they are not off their farms by that date.

I keep having to remind myself that I bought my farm, still own it and that
I did not offer it to Government. That I also have not seen any grounds for
the government to acquire it in the interests of the nation, and that even
if this was necessary, that the government will have paid me fair
compensation for the loss of my farm. I keep reminding myself that I am a
loyal Zimbabwean citizen who came home in 1980 to be part of this new nation
and who believed that we could build a nation blind to colour, racial,
gender, or religious prejudice. I keep having to remind myself that I was
able to buy and farm this piece of land despite the huge financial pressure
it placed on me to get the finance and to meet the repayments required by
the bank to clear the debt on the farm.

I always prided myself on the fact that my children were being brought up in
a wonderful country where there was equal opportunity for all, where we
could make our dreams come true, where there was very little violence and we
are a peace loving nation.

I then have to blink to stop myself from shuddering when I see that the
government have put legislation through parliament depriving me of my right
to own property, receive compensation, live safely, ask the police for suppo
rt and help if my basic human rights, as cemented into the United Nations
Charter' are violated. I have to breathe slowly every time I read the basic
human rights and consider how many of my Human Rights have been violated by
certain people and sectors of our country.

And then I look at how many of my staff's human rights have been violated by
those very people who purport to stand in parliament and government on
behalf of their constituents.

We face the most daunting hunger and food shortage that this country has
ever experienced. Our leaders have been so involved with remaining in power
that the magnitude of the disaster may not have struck them.

And then I pray that the need to deal with the national disaster facing all
of us in the form of hunger will bring this government to its senses so it
realises that we are farmers who want to grow food for the people of this
country, that we are Zimbabweans, just like the fellow black Zimbabweans
that we rub shoulders with. So that this madness of racialism and opposition
phobia that currently haunts the ruling party, will go away and we will be
able to live as ordinary Zimbabweans with our human rights inviolate.

Please help to make the world understand that we are Zimbaweans, with human
rights like all other human beings who want to stay in our country of birth
or naturalisation and lead normal lives with normal needs and wants.


Brief history of Jean to help you make a decision:
I was a university student at Wits during the late 1970's while the
Chimurenga war was taking place. I answered the call by our leaders and Mr
Mugabe in particular to return home and help rebuild our nation. I worked in
Harare during the 1980's and saved the money to buy my farm in 1992. I am a
white woman farmer on her own with two children. My family have lived in
Africa for over 200  years. I have lived in Zimbabwe for 44 years. Although
I was born in Louis Trichardt as there was no hospital in Beit Bridge, I
returned home as an infant. I renounced my right to South African
citizenship in terms of the latest legislation before 6 January 2002.

I was abducted and beaten by Zanu PF on 18 May 2000 and taken to meet (late)
Dr Hunzvi at Mvurachena Farm in Raffingora. My staff ran with me and
protected me from the youth and war vets who had abducted me. I was also
protected by the local black people who negotiated to ensure my safety. I
was pushed around by a pro-government supporter in September 2001 at my
gate. My staff intervened to stop him from hitting me.

In December 2001 I was barricaded into my home by a group of youth who were
led and controlled by the local War Vet, Lena, from Raffingora. My staff
were prevented from working for 6 days. This illegal strike lasted for 6
days. I had asked my staff please to take maize in lieu of their back pay
for October and November as I did not have the cash available to pay the
back pay. I have not received finance from a bank since I was abducted and
then designated in September 2000.

On 18 January 2002 a group of Zanu PF youth locked me into my yard and gave
me 3 hours to get off my farm. My staff, the local Zanu PF hierarchy and the
local farmers  intervened on my behalf and the matter was resolved.

Zanu PF held a rally at Raffingora at which Dr Chombo gave the instruction
that my farm, Erewhon, is to be taken away from me on Tuesday 26 February
2002. I am to be removed from the farm. I have been given this information
from a number of very reliable sources this evening.

I am perceived to be a member of MDC, but am actually an outspoken human
rights activist who is concerned at the lack of medicines at the hospitals,
poor nursing and medical facilities at the local medical centre, concerned
at the lack of teaching material at the local schools and the fact that
there are up to 75 children in each class. I have in the past been involved
with the local people trying to get the government to build more schools
with better facilities for our farm children as well as involved with the
local hospital and widows and orphans committees to try and get better
conditions in the local townships.
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829 email
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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Statement by the MDC President on the on going brutalisation of defenceless
citizens by the police and Zanu PF agents.

Over the past week, we have witnessed a sustained campaign of unprovoked
police brutality on innocent and defenceless citizens through out the

Reported acts of police brutality and state hooliganism include the siege of
rural homes in Buhera North, the arrest of 170 MDC activists in Buhera South
and the widespread barbaric disruptions of MDC meetings and more recently,
the arrest and torture of over 100 MDC youths and officials who had lawfully
gathered to commemorate youth day at our Harare provincial offices over the
weekend, in accordance with written police directives.

These police actions or rather the actions of Zanu PF militia, disguised as
police action do not come anywhere near legitimate law enforcement or lawful
maintenance of public order. They are a preemptive strike whose sole
objective is to instill fear in a cheated and restive population with the
false hope that such action will avert a people oriented response to the
regime's theft of elections

But let the point be made and made strongly that this illegitimate regime is
misleading itself if it assumes that its actions will give birth to a cowed
population. Starvation in the rural areas and mass poverty in urban areas
for which the regime is responsible, will no doubt act as a catalyst for a
firm and comprehensive mass response by the people of this country who have
been short changed by the regime. Just as the regime is determined to
repress lawful public opinion and public action, the people are resolved to
reclaim their power.

The MDC is determined to carry out its legitimate and lawful obligation of
defending the people. We are aware of the moves by this regime to declare
the MDC an unlawful organization and arrest its leadership as a way of
averting the natural consequences of election theft. Should that happen,
history will have repeated itself with startling accuracy and such an
unfortunate event will have long term repercussions for the nation.

Finally, the police and other state institutions being abused by this
illegitimate government must realize that a day does come to pass when all
who have abused their power and responsibilities will be asked by the people
to account for their actions.

It does not matter how long it will take, the people shall prevail and
victory is certain.

Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC President
Harare, 17 June 2002
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