War vets seize new farms
6/20/02 4:15:51 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - Fresh farm
occupations have surfaced on commercial farms in
Nyamandlovu, with armies of
suspected ruling ZANU PF supporters and their
war veterans disrupting game
hunts by foreign hunters, farming officials
farm occupiers have taken Porta Farm, Sailor Jack Farm and
Ladywell Farms -
three prime properties with an assortment of game in
Nyamandlovu, 60 km north
of here - disrupting tourism activities in safari
camps within the commercial
"Today a Mr Amos Mkhwananzi and his family came to claim
part of my
farm together with another gentleman I presume to be from the
Youth as he was driving a government vehicle plate number GYD
Farm owner Wally Herbst said yesterday.
doubles-up as the Matabeleland chairman of the Wildlife
Society of Zimbabwe,
said: "They (the invaders) have made themselves at home
in my safari camp
against my wishes and alas I have some clients coming from
America for a
He said police had been informed of the farm
"We hope for some reaction from the police. If these
people are not
moved out, Zimbabwe will lose millions in hard currency this
these people have vowed there will be no hunting on this farm
and that the
Ministry of Environment and Tourism has no right to issue
permits to persons
not Zimbabwean. My parents were both born here as was I,"
When this reporter phoned the farm in Nyamandlovu
Mkhwananzi, the self-styled commander of farm occupations
in the area, was
reportedly visiting farms in Tsholotsho district, about 60
kms away, and not
Herbst said if he was prevented
from hosting his clients booked at his
safari camp, he was likely to lose
about US$100 000.
"This will be a huge lose for just one farmer.
Police should move them
out, they have forced their way into my safari
According to the commercial farmer, about 20 invaders have
cattle kraal about 10 metres from one of the chalets in the safari
within the property.
"I am expecting four hunters on July
2, four hunters in August, one in
September and several tourists in October.
I am fully booked for November
and December. All these activities could
seriously be affected by this new
development," a worried Herbst
Brian Queri of Sailor Jack Farm said: "On June 14 2002,
clients were brought to the farm to hunt. After shooting one trophy,
eland bull, the war veterans informed my foreman that no one had the
to hunt and threatened to beat him and the game scouts if the hunting
Meanwhile, Environment and Tourism permanent
secretary Lucas Tavaya
this week told parliamentarians at a pre-budget
meeting in Harare that
poaching on Matabeleland farms had reached alarming
Tavaya, who has just concluded a tour of the province,
the farmers have been served with Section 8 orders, they move
off the farm
and the new owners are taking over both the land and the
"I can tell you there is Christmas going on in these
Tavaya said the poaching was no longer confined to locals
from as far away as Bulawayo were driving to other areas in the
kill game for resale in the city which, like most areas of
experiencing severe food shortages.
Tavaya said at
one police station he passed through during his tour,
he was shocked when
officers there offered him roast game meat.
More than 50 percent of
Zimbabwe's wildlife has been decimated by
poaching since the start of the
government-encouraged farm invasions in
February 2000. As a result, the
country's wildlife and tourism industry has
lost more over $6 billion in
revenue - or about two percent of Zimbabwe's
The fresh farm seizures coincide with belated efforts by
government to remove the invaders from land not targeted for acquisition
the government, which the invaders are resisting.
Police ordered to remove settlers
6/20/02 4:16:49 AM (GMT +2)
HIGH Court judge Rita
Makarau has ordered the police to immediately
remove illegal settlers from
permanent buildings on Rainham Estates in Mount
Hampden to allow owner John
Dawson to return to the property.
In a provisional ruling granted
last Friday and seen yesterday, the
judge said Dawson must be allowed to
resume farming on the property,
although the settlers will remain there. The
farm has lost $400 million
worth of equipment to the ocuppiers.
Justice Makarau said the police should ensure Dawson's personal safety
the return of management and workers evicted by the settlers in
"The applicants and all workers employed on Rainham Estate,
with members of their families, (must) be entitled forthwith to
Rainham Estate and continue, without hindrance or obstruction,
farming operations," part of the provisional ruling
She said the respondents in the case should not take any
against the farm because it has not been served with an eviction
under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act.
is only subject to a Section 5 preliminary notification
that the government
wishes to acquire it.
The respondents in the case include
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made,
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri,
Security Minister Nicholas Goche and
Mashonaland West provincial governor
In addition to the $400 million worth of equipment
seized by the
invaders, Rainham Estate is said to have lost an export tomato
at over $4 million which was harvested by the
A cottage industry manufacturing butter and cheese also
had to be
closed down, leading to the loss of six jobs.
affidavits filed with the High Court, farm manager Robert Dawson
contractor hired on April15 2002 to harvest 130 hectares of soyabeans
at $18 million was also prevented by invaders from entering the
He said officials from the Agricultural and Rural
Authority (ARDA) illegally harvested the 130 hectares of
soyabeans in May.
During harvesting, 21 tonnes of soyabeans were
bagged and stolen and
the farm's seven tonne truck, valued at $18 million,
was used to transport
the crop and never returned.
he was told by ARDA that the soyabean crop would be sold
and harvesting costs
would be deducted and the balance remitted to him.
There was no
comment this week from ARDA.
Defiant illegal settlers vow to stay put at
6/20/02 4:29:13 AM (GMT
ILLEGAL settlers camped outside Harare fortified their
yesterday and refused to budge from the farm they have occupied
in what is the first real test of President Robert Mugabe's
The settlers, some of whom spent the
entire day yesterday camped at
the ruling ZANU PF's national headquarters in
Harare, vowed to stay put at
White Cliff farm, which was among the first
white-owned commercial farms to
be occupied by Mugabe's supporters when the
current land grab started in
"No one told us to
move here in the first place and no one should
(now) come and tell us to move
from this farm," one of the squatters,
Cuthbert Muchaneta, declared
They accused government ministers of being used to
interests of whites and of acting without the approval of
In a show of defiance, the sellers vowed they would only
leave if told
to do by Mugabe and also on condition that they were moved to a
close to Harare.
"As war veterans, we are not happy
about these willy-nilly evictions
at Snake Park," said one of them who spoke
on condition of not being named.
The settlers, some of whom have
constructed houses on pieces of land
parcelled out by the war veterans, spoke
as the leadership of the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans
Association met Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo over the same issue
The meeting, which started in the afternoon, was still
going on last
"I will only be able to talk to you after
the meeting," Chombo told
the Financial Gazette.
had given the settlers up to Tuesday to move out of the farm as
part of the
government's effort to move squatters to farms taken by the
the resettlement of the landless.
Only those who occupied farms up
to March 31 2001 or are on farms
already earmarked for seizure by the
government are being spared.
But the government, which encouraged
the illegal occupations in the
run-up to parliamentary elections in 2000 and
the presidential ballot in
March this year, has faced stiff opposition from
In southern Masvingo province where the evictions
started a month ago,
most of the evicted settlers are reported to have either
seized new farms or
returned to the land where they had been evicted
The government, in a rare act of admission of failure, now
wants to resettle the occupiers in an orderly manner, admitting that
land reforms had indeed been chaotic.
At least nine white
farmers have been murdered during the farm
seizures and hundreds of black
workers assaulted or tortured by militant
FinGaz - Comment
Where to now?
6/20/02 2:59:33 AM
AN African visitor to Zimbabwe this week remarked how,
arriving at the eerily silent Harare Airport, he saw a
furiously cycling home, his 20-kilogramme bag of mealie-meal
tucked at the
back of his bicycle.
As the visitor entered the
city centre proper, he was greeted by a
police road block where jittery
officers, some armed, were quizzing
Further down the
road, the visitor's attention was caught by queues of
siege to several supermarkets either selling mealie-meal,
cooking oil or
The visitor, who last came to Harare more than a decade ago,
overheard asking someone: "What's gone wrong in Zimbabwe?"
The answer is: virtually anything which could go wrong has, and the
is at breaking point.
Annualised inflation is running at a record
high of 122 percent and is
edging up further, which means that only a few
people can afford most basic
goods and companies can hardly keep up with
rising output costs.
Joblessness is nearing 70 percent and still
more productive firms are
shutting their doors, throwing more workers onto
the streets in a classic
textbook example of stagflation.
Absolute poverty is now affecting 80 percent of the population, which
hardly have three meals a day, and more people look set to join these
sooner rather than later.
The food shortages, the foreign currency
crisis and a heightened
crackdown on dissent complete a grim picture of a
country that is
dangerously racing towards an implosion just when the rest of
Africa is on
the threshold of a promising economic future.
Harare Airport is a silent ghost of its former self because virtually
international airlines have pulled out of Zimbabwe in the same manner
rest of the world is shunning the country and its leadership.
Instead of tackling these deep-seated and worsening problems and
the government has chosen the iron fist to subdue an angry and
The heightened state of alert of the security forces, the
clamp on any
gatherings, the mass arrests of opposition followers and
attempts to black
out news by licensing and harassing journalists mark new
dictatorship in Zimbabwe.
The government, using
clearly unconstitutional laws bulldozed through
Parliament where it commands
the majority seats, has virtually declared a
state of emergency in the hope
that this will buy it more time.
It is apparent that hardliners
within the administration, fearful of
losing their jobs, have an upper hand
now. They are pushing for even tougher
measures against opponents - real or
imagined - and to damn the entire
But things cannot go on
as they are and they won't. Zimbabwe's whole
social, economic and political
fabric is collapsing. Sadly so is governance.
Brute force is not
the answer to the problems, however overwhelming.
Nor is it sustainable. If
anything, it will compound an already bad
situation and most likely trigger
social and political upheaval.
Zimbabwe needs a new beginning, a
fresh start firmly anchored in
durable peace and internationally accepted
standards and norms of good
political and economic governance, which the
present leadership regards as
Zimbabwe needs a new and
fired-up leadership, which has workable ideas
that will pull the country out
of its madness and growing social and
Unfortunately the longer the authorities dither on taking the
action, the greater will be the pain for all in the land and the
the government's own options.
Right now, many in the country are
asking aloud whether there is
anyone in charge of the nation's affairs. The
country is hurtling from one
crisis to another, literally living by the grace
of God and living for the
We do accept that at times brave
men and women do take things to the
wire just to try their luck, but
Zimbabwe's unfolding crisis is too close to
Where do we go
Mugabe faces moment of truth
By Nqobile Nyathi
6/20/02 4:26:53 AM (GMT +2)
government faces tough decisions amid renewed international
pressure and as
the introduction of flour rationing threatens to bring the
economic and humanitarian crisis to a head in the next few
Analysts this week said the ZANU PF-led government and Zimbabwe as a
faced mounting pressures that could finally prove to be the last straw
country already battling economic collapse and serious food shortages
threaten at least six million people, about half the population.
"We are headed for disaster unless there is a rethink, a tough
immediately," political commentator Masipula Sithole told the
The analysts said there was a resurgence of international
Zimbabwe, which has been slapped with a 12-month suspension from
International funders such as the
International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank have cut off aid.
Members of Zimbabwe's ruling elite have also been banned from
the European Union (EU), the United States of America, New
Switzerland in protest against government policies and the March
election which they say was not free and fair.
"There's been no
change in the situation since these measures were
implemented and the
thinking seems to be that more should be done," a
Already, the United States has indicated it is
measures against President Robert Mugabe's
Australian Prime Minister John Howard was last week
said to be
considering discussions with South Africa and Nigeria, part of the
that recommended Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, about
tougher action against Zimbabwe's leadership.
Affairs Council of the EU, some of whose parliamentarians
are pressing for an
extension of smart sanctions against Zimbabwean
officials, on Monday resolved
to liaise with southern African and
international leaders to identify further
action to resolve the Zimbabwean
But the analysts said
the greatest pressure on Mugabe's government was
likely to come from the home
front, especially looming urban starvation.
population is already facing unemployment of over 60
percent, inflation of
122.5 percent, soaring commodity and drug prices -
which rose 200 percent
last week - and shortages of basic commodities, drugs
The situation is bound to worsen following the decision
by millers at
the end of last week to ration flour after the state-run Grain
Board, which has accused milling companies of hoarding wheat,
supplies of the commodity by 50 percent.
"Some of the
millers have already advised bakeries in writing that
their supplies have
been cut by 40, 50 or 60 percent, whatever the case may
be," said an official
of the National Bakers' Association.
Baking industry officials said
the rationing of flour would force some
bakeries to cut back on production,
triggering bread shortages and forcing
more people out of work.
Bread shortages could be disastrous for urban families, many of which
substituted the staple mealie meal for bread because of severe
shortages caused by drought and the seizures of farm land by ruling
The analysts warned that bread shortages could
trigger the civil
unrest threatened by the main opposition Movement for
(MDC) and which the government is desperately trying to
Economic consultant John Robertson said: "I think that
could tip the
scale and bring about the unrest that government is trying to
"The population is running out of patience and we could
social uprising coming out of a feeling of resentment and not
"It won't be inspired by the MDC but simply by
the fact that people
resent watching their children getting thinner and
Sithole added: "Starving people are angry people and what
to injury is that all this is uncalled for.
change of mind in the government is all that's required to reverse
The analysts said the government might be
forced to make tough
decisions about interest rates that are being maintained
levels and about devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar, pegged at $55
against the US
dollar for the past 20 months despite soaring inflation and
But experts pointed out that
only a combination of economic and
political changes would trigger
international aid and halt the country's
descent into chaos.
Andrew Nongogo, a spokesman for civic society coalition Crisis in
said: "I think the government might be planning to make monumental
in August, when the land reform programme ends.
"There might be
some painful decisions about the Zimbabwe dollar, the
composition of the
government and whether to re-engage the MDC in talks.
is not just an economic one but a political solution as
Robertson added: "I imagine they must be trying to make decisions, but
don't see what options they have left.
"It seems to me they are
running out of road and where can you turn
when everything is
Political scientists said the best solution to Zimbabwe's
might be for ZANU PF to throw in the towel and call for a new
election that would be run by the United Nations to ensure that
are accepted by the main political parties, the public and the
This would unlock international
goodwill and foreign resources that
would assist the country to stave off
mass starvation and avert social
University of Zimbabwe
political science lecturer Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro said: "Zimbabwe has been
experiencing a crisis of governance,
a crisis of unparalleled proportions
resulting from the general perception
that the ZANU PF government is not
"A responsible government would put in place measures
to ensure that
the crisis is resolved quickly and to the good of the
"The effective international community is not likely to
conviction that the present government came to power through
means. Parading countries like China and Libya as the
community will not help us because they don't have the
resources to assist
"What is needed now are men and
women of courage within ZANU PF who
can accept that this is a crisis of
legitimacy and the only way to resolve
the crisis is to step down. This takes
patriots who can put the country
before self interest."
Use of arms training: state drops charges against
6/20/02 4:23:07 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - The
state has withdrawn charges of training opposition MDC
youths in the use of
arms of war levelled against the officer-in-charge of
West Nicholson police
station for lack of evidence.
Josphat Tshuma of law firm Web Low
and Barrow said yesterday the state
had declined to prosecute his client,
Chief Khumalo, and had thus withdrawn
the charges on Monday this week when
Khumalo briefly appeared before
Bulawayo magistrate Elizabeth
"The state declined to prosecute him because of lack of
incriminating my client," Tshuma said.
"He has been
removed from remand after all the torture and humiliation
he suffered since
his arrest and subsequent detention late last year. It
puts into question the
whole concept of arresting before instituting
Khumalo had been in remand since December last year after
arrested for allegedly training MDC youths in the use of arms of war
white-owned farms in West Nicholson between February 2000 and May
The state alleged that Khumalo, the officer-in-charge of
Nicholson at the time of his arrest, recruited an unspecified number of
youths from the surrounding farms and assigned two of his subordinates
train them in the use of military weapons to destabilise
Khumalo had denied the charges.
Govt policies derail forestry project
6/20/02 2:33:32 AM (GMT +2)
A REGIONAL forestry
initiative supposed to benefit poor rural
communities in southern Africa is
being hampered by government policies,
according to project representatives
from Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi and
The programme, which
is run under the Centre for International
Forestry Research (CIFOR), develops
management systems that enable rural
populations to utilise forest resources
for income-generation and
subsistence, as long as they regenerate these
For example, populations using grass or trees would have
that they replanted these to ensure that resources are not
But the team leader of the Zimbabwean side of the
Matose, said forest resources had become areas of conflict
government and local communities, with the latter claiming the
right to the
resources because of proximity or historical connections to the
In Zimbabwe, government policy on natural resource
focused mainly on privatisation or nationalisation of forests,
communal management option.
"Most of the policies
related to forests are directed towards limiting
commercial exploitation of
woodlands with little regard to sustainable
utilisation and management,"
"This has resulted in some people being moved from
state forests and
failing to access the forest resources which are either
controlled through licences and permits."
Cameroon, Ghana and Malawi have also faced similar problems, with some
their forests being turned into grazing areas or agricultural land.
Cameroon, where forestry last year accounted for about 3.5 percent of
domestic product and employed 104 000 people, has however introduced a
that allows local councils and communities to manage
Cameroon team leader George Akwah said:
"Although this policy is meant
to provide 100 percent forest logging revenues
to local managing communities
to alleviate poverty, the legalisation is
unafford-able to them."
Although other governments are increasingly
recognising that they have
insufficient funds to continue policing natural
resource utilisation and
management, existing legislation does not provide
participation in the management of forests.
Zimbabwe, the CIFOR project is being implemented at Mapfungautsi in
where the communal people are managing, harvesting and selling
The local representatives of the CIFOR programme
hope to use the
project to show how rural populations can benefit from
projects, in the hope that the Zimbabwean government will
be encouraged to
remove legislation standing in the way of similar
Blacklisting dims Zim's economic prospects
6/20/02 2:42:14 AM (GMT +2)
tottering economy is expected to plunge deeper into chaos
in the next few
months as the suspension of technical assistance by the
Monetary Fund (IMF) takes a heavy toll on the country's
fragile industry and
financial markets, analysts said this week.
The IMF, which was owed
about US$132 million ($7.3 billion) in arrears
as at June 12 2002 by the
Zimbabwean authorities, last week adopted a
declaration of non-cooperation
regarding Harare's overdue financial
obligations, a development which led to
the suspension of technical
assistance to the southern African
Zimbabwe has been in default on its commitments to the IMF
February last year despite continuous pledges by Finance Minister
Makoni to settle the arrears.
The declaration of
non-cooperation is one of the remedial measures
taken by the IMF to encourage
members who fail to settle overdue financial
obligations to undertake
economic policies that would enable them to
timeously meet their
Analysts this week said Zimbabwe's blacklisting by the
worsen the country's foreign currency crisis and delay the lifting
of a lid
on interest rates maintained by the government since January
Consultant economist John Robertson said the move by the IMF
dented Zimbabwe's already tattered image and would fuel a biting
hard cash which has gripped the country since 1999.
"It effectively shows that we have fallen off the world map, which is
have to work even harder to restore our credibility as a country,"
University of Zimbabwe business lecturer Anthony Hawkins
"Image-wise, this will send the wrong message to banks or other people
want to lend to Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe has been in the throes
of a crushing foreign currency crisis
since October 1999 when the IMF pulled
the plug on the country in protest
against the failure by President Robert
Mugabe to implement agreed economic
The suspension of
IMF technical assistance is expected to further
alienate Zimbabwe, which has
earned a pariah status since Mugabe sanctioned
the illegal occupation of
white-owned commercial farms by his supporters in
multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and
Development Bank, which were owed US$109.7 million and US$135
arrears at the end of April 2002, are expected to follow the IMF'
s cue and
also harden their own stance on Zimbabwe.
The analysts said the
latest development was also likely to force
Makoni to retain the expansionary
monetary policy he has pursued for the
past 17 months.
policy, criticised by some economists as feeding into
money supply and inflation, Makoni has deliberately kept
interest rates low
in an attempt to cushion the government from the high
"We now don't see the minister allowing rates to go up,
as they are failing to meet the cost of food imports planned for
said an economist with a Harare commercial bank.
Reports in the Zimbabwean media this week indicated that the
failed to raise from international donors more than US$200
million needed to
import grain to feed millions of starving villagers.
that the bulk of the funds for food imports will need to be
the domestic banking sector, and allowing interest rates to
significantly push up the government's expenditure for the
year ending December 31 2002.
The news of the IMF's suspension of
technical assistance to Zimbabwe
came in the wake of a dramatic collapse of
the Zimbabwe-United States dollar
exchange rate in the past few weeks on the
parallel foreign exchange market.
Currency dealers said the
American greenback was now trading at
between 750 and 800 Zimbabwe dollars on
the unofficial market compared to 55
Zimbabwe dollars on the official
"This represents a premium of over 1 000 percent over the
exchange rate," one dealer said.
Meanwhile, the money
market is expected to slide in shortages in the
next few weeks as companies
move to meet the June 30 deadline for corporate
"The corporate tax payments will wipe out liquidity from the market
to the end of the month but we don't expect much movement in
rates," a money
market dealer at a Harare commercial bank told the Financial
Men and women who brought Africa to its knees
6/20/02 2:43:52 AM (GMT +2)
since the coming of independence has been one huge
tale of travails as people
wallow in poverty, human rights abuses and a
whole litany of
Public discourse on these has reached a crescendo as the war
free press hots up here in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the
As all this happened, the media itself sought to freeze
the moment for
history and record these for posterity thus the newsmen and
women came to be
seen by the lords of the land as inimical to the
Behind these avowed pan-Africanists, who like some
of the world's
greatest inventors, also apparently patented their rule,
loyally stood not just spouses whose consciences seem to have
whether because smitten over their spouses, we don't know for
other men and women whose "dedication to the cause" seemed to
of the spouses of the presidents.
These are the
people who massaged the egos of their presidents and
helped "immensely" in
the suppression of their compatriots.
As the tyrants went against
every precept that guides human existence,
these men and women fuelled those
regimes from offices which they occupied
simply by virtue of very
volitionally aping the whims of the dictator, not
through being endorsed by
the electorate, and for gains which were straight
from their wildest
As we reflect on their contribution to the oppression of
countrymen, of the murder of opposition party officials, of the
opposition politics, of the brutalising of journalists, these
worse than the despots.
Why? Because they had it
within them to help steer the tyrant from
that course by virtue of them
having been confidants and confidantes.
They shared almost each
waking day with their president, obviously
lying to him that he was popular
in the streets, when the truth could have
seen them saying their farewells to
the good life that came courtesy of
their toadying to the caprices of their
And these men and women have "patriotically", the very
word they used
to describe their contributions, devoted their existence to
the ruin of their countries.
They have however a
knack of mysteriously disappearing from the
memories of the people as they
bay for the blood of the autocrat be it via
an election or the instance,
Samue Doe in Liberia and others in this our
Malawi had its official hostess, which nobody seemed to ask what that
entailed, Cecilia Kadzamira.
Some have said Ms Kadzamira was more
than Kamuzu Banda's "official
hostess" but that is neither here nor there in
this reflection. What is
important though is her place in the tyrannical rule
of her "boss" - if that
is all he ever was to her.
Where was she
when, as has been alleged, Banda fed his opponents to
When history comes to judge Banda, surely will "he go
down" alone? As
he stashed the little wealth Malawi had, obviously she also
fingers in the till. And this is shown in the dispute between her
family of the Ngwazi on his estate.
She claimed part of
it. As her confederate, John Tembo oversaw the
running of the affairs of
Malawi as Banda's foremost confidant.
And many good men lost their
lives to the rule of Hastings Kamuzu
Banda, a man trained as a medical
doctor, and we heard during the
presidential campaign here from some folks
that the erudite make for
history has recorded and they cannot claim to have had
lowered in this writing!
So it has to be asked then: what is their
place as we condemn
dictators and the nightmares they brought on their
These were the people who ruled Malawi and were just feared
Ngwazi. They were like Elliot Ness's Untouchables during
But these American untouchables were
on the side of the law, and on
the wrong side of it was Al
Almost all of Africa's ailing presidents who either ruled
dying day or died shortly after the coming of democracy had these
and women by their side.
Mobutu Sese Seko, that most
profligate of tyrants, and who seemed to
be competing to the death with the
cannibal Jean Bedel Bokassa in the
Central African Republic who crowned
himself emperor back in the 70s, had
men of letters as loyal
As the world laughed at the zany rule of Mobutu, which
all the same
was no laughing matter for the ordinary Zairean, these loyal men
laughed with Mobutu as he regaled them in his private city -
These are the men who called the shots, these are the
sanctioned who could talk to the president, which journalist could
him - on the rare occassion that this was granted - these are the
made his bed, these are the men who spelled out his very
One Professor Vundwawe Te Pemako, considered Mobutu's
advisor even as the rebels led by Laurent Kabila mounted pressure
on him to
quit, is said to have told an American reporter who sought an
Mobutu that he could answer any questions himself the
journalist had for
Mobutu for expediency's sake!
And like it or
not Mobutu himself was a trained journalist!
Then there was Idi
Amin who later fled to the land of Osama, Saudi
Arabia after the fall of what
to the West was his comical rule, but which
found no laughing audience among
Are there no close allies who could have told him he
Africans a bad name by his many ridiculous
But we are aware that for Africa's intricacies of
governance, it is not necessarily the fear of becoming food for
that has bred the silence but the sharing in on the spoils that
being on the bosom of the dictator.
Silence is for
them literally very golden! When Jean Bedel Bokassa
allegedly "ate" his
enemies, it is curious where his advisors were, what
they were doing, and it
can as well be asked, "from the same vessel did not
they eat? Cannibals
themselves were they not?" Or perhaps they in fact were
not ready to be part
of the Emperor's supper.
The tragedy for our politics is that one's
loyalty to a leader is
supposed to last a life time.
It is only
permissible if one was previously a staunch critic but then
mind-boggling volte face and crosses the floor.
It therefore is
plain frivolous that defections are unforgivable sins
and conversions to the
system celebrated with all the pomp that could put
Mobutu's gaudy existence
Thus the men and women who sat at the right hand of the
president became monolithic and saw the critics of their president,
enemies of the rulers but the enemies of the people, enemies of the
These are the people who massaged the egos of the dictator
when the tide rose against the tyrant, suddenly became
If the Hague can call Milosevic to the stand, so must
all his generals
who presided over the atrocities Milosevic is being charged
So also must be the rulers of this
Their "advisors" must also take the stand, if not here,
in the hereafter.
lMarko Phiri is a
journalism student at the Christian College of
It's time to free Africa from its manacles
6/20/02 2:40:56 AM (GMT +2)
THE cradle of
mankind is deeply enmeshed in an embroidery of problems,
most of which are
As Africa moves towards a new economic order through the
of the New African Partneship for Economic Development (NEPAD),
cry must be to extricate the continent from the tentacles of
save the continent from the menacing HIV/AIDS scourge which
millions of livesof lives; to resuscitate democracy and
governance on the continent which seem to be precariously heading
the precipice of extinction and to revamp the ailing economies of
the countries in Africa.
It is high time crises in
countries like Somalia and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo were assuaged
and a lasting solution found.
The African continent is host to a
vicious cycle of poverty and the
of people live in absolute
desperation. In Zimbabwe for instance,
about 70 percent of the population
lives below the poverty datum line and it
is even worse
like Somalia which have been ravaged by the war to such
an extent that basic
infrastructure has been demolished.
What this means for
the continent is that as Africa moves into a new economic era amidst
poverty for the majority, the preoccupation must be to provide a long
panacea to poverty.
The best way forward in this dilemma is to
ensure proper appropriation
of resources and avoid the acquiring of guns and
ammunition at the expense
of basic necessities. The word "priority" should be
the starting point for
Africa if its endeavours to stamp out poverty will
bear any fruits.
Corruption and looting of state coffers are also
at the forefront of
exacerbating poverty in most African countries as
experience has shown
whereby former dictators like Malawi's Kamuzu Hastings
Banda, Nigeria's Sani
Abacha and the former Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko, to
mention but a few,
converted millions if not billions of dollars in state
coffers to their own
The irony of it is that this would
occur while the general populace
was suffering and the economy
It is my submission that the starting point in rooting
is to avoid the concentration of too much power in the hands
individual or a few individuals.
Lord Acton elucidated
that power tends to corrupt and absolute power
Constitutions that allow the transformation of a
country into a
fiefdom must be replaced with new ones that
are favourable to
transparency and democracy. Constitutions that are a launch
authoritarian regimes must be disposed of and new ones put in place
corruption and looting of
state coffers is to be stamped out in
There is a desperate need for constitutions to be real
notes", as Martin Luther King Junior put it across, promissory
won't be dishonoured at the counter!
At the time that
African governments are trying to ameliorate colonial
imbalance being a case in point, it becomes necessary for
such governments to
take into cognisance the fact that an orderly and
transparent land reform
programme that does not result in further
impoverishment of the very people
it purports to empower economically, is
the quintessence of economic
This is no more time to use land reform as a façade
survival. Note should be taken of what Keith Richburg in Out of
pointed out that in Africa today blacks are still awaiting
empowerment three decades after the last Europeans packed their bags
Power only changed hands from a white dictatorship to
black one, as there is more repression, more
Financial mismanagement has taken centre stage in most
countries that have been, to use the Biblical parlance, "cut off from
rest of the world".
It is high time African countries mend
their images to avert the
inevitable consequence of being labelled pariahs in
the eyes of the
Off course I am not
advocating a culture of begging as this threatens
"sovereignty", but I am
cognisant of the fact that "as cold waters to a
thirsty soul so is good news
from a far country", as Proverbs 25 verse 25
aptly puts it
African countries must institute policies that are not
panaceas, but policies that ensure the upholding of human rights
prevalence of democracy in order to maintain good international
and avoid economic sanctions.
NEPAD might be a step in
the right direction for Africa provided that
what is on white paper is put
into practice. I do not want to sound
pessimistic by saying that Africa has a
bad record in that respect!
HIV/AIDS is claiming many lives in
Africa mainly due to poverty that
militates against the purchase of
anti-retroviral drugs as well as
nutritional diet. However, I greatly feel
that lack of conscientisation
about the disease is the major cause of concern
on this continent.
It is an axiom in psychology that forewarned is
forearmed and it
suffices to mention that African governments have a moral
conscientise their citizens about HIV/AIDS in order not only to
incidence of the disease but also to reverse the stigma prevalent
most African people.
As the prophet Hosea points out,
"my people suffer from lack of
knowledge" (Hosea 4 verse 6).
Free and fair elections are the quintessence of democracy and Africa
pressure to ensure that elections do not conform to Said Adejumobi'
s view of
"Elections in Africa: A Fading Shadow of Democracy"!
should mirror the will of the people and stolen elections
must end on this
continent if Africa is to be the light of the world and if
its image is to
change for the better.
As Keith Richburg reiterated, "before
elections are held,
constitutions need to be rewritten to reduce the role of
presidencies and level the playing field for opposition parties.
those basic steps, any election becomes a sham, a charade for
As Africans move towards the new economic order
promised by NEPAD,
there is a defeaning call to extricate the continent from
the quagmire it
has fallen into. There is need for a new Africa free from the
poverty, human rights abuses and quarantines!
Canisio Mudzimu is a freelance writer. He can be contacted on
Past haunts Zim as NEPAD beckons
Ngwawi Business News Editor
6/20/02 4:27:33 AM (GMT +2)
THE ghost of failed economic reforms and the government's ineptitude
returned to haunt Zimbabweans as the country readies itself for next
official launch of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
ambitious plan to put the continent's economy on a path of
The spectre of missed opportunities and the attendant
general living standards after the 1990s' experimentation
Western-backed economic reforms have left a sour taste in the mouth of
ordinary Zimbabweans who now view with suspicion any "external"
that purport to get the tottering economy back on
Representatives of non-governmental organi-sations, women's
workers, business, students and the academia met in Harare at the
consider Zimbabwe's position on NEPAD.
NEPAD is an
economic recovery plan being spearheaded by South Africa's
Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, whose main
objectives are to
eradicate poverty in Africa by putting the continent's
economies on a path of
sustainable growth and development.
Brian Kagoro, co-ordinator of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition which
organised last weekend's meeting, said
NEPAD ignores pertinent historical
factors in the design of Africa's economic
recovery plan by prescribing a
"one-size-fits-all" solution to the
continent's developmental needs.
Crisis in Zimbabwe is a grouping
of civil society groups whose main
objective is to promote human development,
good governance and the
establishment of democratic
"Like the structural adjustment programmes, NEPAD
fails to prioritise
human development and instead places undue emphasis on
indicators that do not reflect the human element of development,"
"In short, NEPAD is a market-based solution to the
needs of a
continent with severe human development deficits," he
John Manyanya, a researcher at the Zimbabwe Coalition on
the programme was bound to fail in Zimbabwe because its success
on the same conditions as the failed Economic Structural
Programme and its successor, Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and
Transformation in the 1990s.
The NEPAD document targets
average annual economic growth of seven
percent over 15 years and assumes
savings growth of at least 25 percent of
annual gross domestic product (GDP)
over the life of the programme.
Zimbabwe's savings are, however,
estimated to have declined from 20
percent of GDP in 1990 to 10 percent last
year while the economy has been on
a freefall in the past three years due to
unresolved governance issues.
"The question therefore is whether to
put so much faith in foreign
inflows when history tells us that this does not
help and has, in fact, been
one of the main causes of the current crisis we
find ourselves in," Manyanya
Under the programme, the
Group of Eight (G8) industrialised countries
has pledged to pour more than
US$64 billion into the world's poorest
continent through more open trade,
foreign direct investment, debt
forgiveness and aid.
said the G8 should instead consider cancelling Zimbabwe's
which is estimated at more than US$4.5 billion and is growing
daily due to
erratic repayments by the government.
A report circulated at the
meeting revealed that the country's real
per capita income had declined to
pre-1970 levels while employment was down
to where it was in 1990 largely due
to the failed experimentation with
It is also estimated that at least 75 percent of
are poorer than they were in 1991 when the country
embarked on ESAP, which
was backed by the International Monetary Fund and
other multilateral funding
Brian Raftopolous cautioned that pouring money
into Africa would worsen the
continent's economic crisis.
"Throwing money at Africa will not be
the answer to the continent's
problems and NEPAD will not meet its objectives
unless it finds some means
of dealing with rogue governments like Zimbabwe,"
said Raftopo-lous, who
also chairs the steering committee of the Crisis in
The organisations also argued that the proposed
peer review system,
under which an African panel would assess the conduct of
was not adequate to censure governments which violate
They, however, noted that besides
its inherent weaknesses, NEPAD
offered unique opportunities for Zimbabweans
to engage the government on
issues of political and economic
The plan is set to become the official economic policy
of the African
Union (AU), the successor to the Organisation of African
Unity, when the AU
is launched in South Africa next month.
Red Cross joins food aid appeal
4:23:31 AM (GMT +2)
THE International Federation of the Red Cross
and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) has appealed for more than US$4.2 million
international community to buy food aid for Zimbabwe and other
African countries facing mass starvation.
The appeal is
for the starving in Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zambia
and Zimbabwe, which
are experiencing severe food shortages.
Stephen Homolo, an official
with the IFRC, said this week: "We have
launched a global appeal for about
US$4.2 million from the European
Community Humanitarian Organisation and I
can say we are getting positive
He said the
federation, in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Red Cross
Society, had also
submitted an appeal to the British Department for
(DFID) for funding and food assistance.
He would not disclose the
amount of money the federation has asked for
IFRC's appeal for food aid comes as the United Nations' World Food
and the Food and Agriculture Organisation have revealed that more
million southern Africans need emergency food aid.
According to the
agencies, the majority of these are in Zimbabwe,
where about six million
people - nearly half the population - require food
Zimbabwe's agricultural sector has been devastated by drought, the
farms by ruling ZANU PF supporters and the government's
At least one person is reported to have died of
starvation in Zimbabwe
in the last few months, but foreign donors have been
slow in responding to
appeals for humanitarian aid to the country, shunned by
community because of bad governance.
said the IFRC, which provides technical assistance and channels
national Red Cross societies, was also lobbying donor countries not
withhold aid if their relations with a particular country were
"We recognise that because of political ill will donors
aid, but we are lobbying against this practice because the person
ultimately suffers is the person to whom the aid is intended, and
politicians," he said.
- Staff Reporter
Scribe goes to higher court
6/20/02 4:18:35 AM (GMT +2)
ANDREW Meldrum, the
Harare-based reporter for Britain's Guardian
newspaper who is being charged
under Zimbabwe's draconian media laws for
writing a false story, has
challenged the constitutionality of the Access to
Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and yesterday sought High
Court permission to have his
case referred to the constitutional court.
Meldrum, an American and
the first journalist to be tried under AIPPA,
wants his case moved from the
magistrates' court to the Supreme Court where
it will be heard as a
He also sought an order from High Court
judge Justice Lavender Makoni
to set aside the decision by Harare magistrate
Lillian Kudya to remand him
out of custody and not proceed with the
The journalist is being charged with publishing falsehoods
reproduced an article carried by the Daily News in April in which
newspaper wrote that a woman had been beheaded by ruling ZANU PF
for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic
Makoni, who yesterday reserved judgment on the matter, said
time to go through the documents filed by Meldrum before making a
More than 10 Zimbabwean journalists, all from the private
been arrested in the past few months since the introduction of
AIPPA and the
equally repressive Public Order and Security Act
Meanwhile, journalists from Zimbabwe's private media this
they would defy a requirement that they register under
government-appointed media commission.
The scribes, who met in
Harare under the banner of the Independent
Journalists Association of
Zimbabwe (IJAZ), resolved not to accede to
accredit with a Media and
Information Commission headed by ZANU PF supporter
Zimbabwe's journalists and media houses were given until
June 16 to
accredit or register with the Mahoso commission or risk being
violating AIPPA provisions.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo sweeping powers to
regulate the media and
analysts say the media law and POSA are some of the
means through which
President Robert Mugabe is muzzling democratic criticism
Swoop on banks, lawyers
By Sydney Masamvu
6/20/02 4:36:56 AM (GMT +2)
Robert Mugabe has sanctioned full-scale investigation into
the operations of
the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) in a fresh assault on
in the country, it was established this week.
The probe, spearheaded by
the police and the dreaded spy Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
follows the arrest two weeks ago of the law
society's leaders, who were
hauled before the courts and accused of seeking
to overthrow the
LSZ president Stern-ford Moyo and secretary Wilbert
both deny the charge, are out on bail.
letters they are said to have written to the opposition
Democratic Change (MDC) and Britain's High Commisioner in
Donnelly allegedly plotting Mugabe's overthrow are fake.
to official sources this week, the CIO is playing a leading
role in probing
the activities of the law society and legal practitioners
and firms which
have been handling business for the MDC.
Mugabe has sanctioned the
probe, which the counter-intelligence unit
of the CIO is
Police last Thursday filed an application in the
High Court seeking an
order against 11 financial institutions trading in
Zimbabwe to produce all
records and documents pertaining to their deposits,
release and investment
of various sums of money in respect of the
The police especially want deposit slips, withdrawal slips,
leaves, bank and cash transfer slips and full monthly statements for
period January 1 2002 to June 17 2002.
involved are Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited,
Standard Chartered Bank,
Stanbic, the Discount Company of Zimbabwe Limited,
Corporation, Fincor Finance, Kingdom Merchant Bank, Scotfin
Limited, Trust Bank Limited and the Zimbabwe Development Bank.
weeks ago, the police also seized all administrative records and
accounts of the LSZ, an independent association of lawyers who
self-regulation in the legal profession.
Besides the probe, the
government wants to amend the Legal
Practitioners Act and make it operate
under a council reporting to the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
The action would force the LSZ to be run along the same
lines as the
Media Commission, which was set up three weeks ago under the
harsh Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act to oversee and
operations of journalists in Zimbabwe.
crackdown on the lawyers follows a similar clamp on journalists,
activists and anyone perceived to be anti-government as
tensions, fuelled by an economic and political crisis, rise in
The government has been particularly jittery after the
its intention to stage mass action to force a rerun of the
presidential election, won controversially by Mugabe but condemned by
of the world.
The police and the army have been placed on
high alert as emotions
threaten to boil. A taxi driver who failed to stop at
a road block in Harare
more than a week ago was shot dead by
LSZ's Moyo, in an affidavit filed in the High Court in
the alleged plot to oust Mugabe, said the government
crackdown on the
association was aimed at destroying the independence of
profession and kill human rights.
occasions, ministers and ruling party legislators have
threatened to end our
collective freedom of expression as a profession," he
see the frivolous, wicked and vexatious proceedings against me as a
to the denial of the legal profession of the legal profession's
freedom of expression. It is most unfortunate that the legal
process and the
police are being abused in this manner," Moyo said.
in an affidavit, stated: "I also wish to state from
the outset that it is my
conviction that the basis of the alleged charges
against us is undoubtedly
the work of a psychopath who is using state
machinery to destroy the LSZ and
"The crude letters that form the basis of the
charges are patently and
accuses the MDC and Britain of funding the law society
to overthrow Mugabe, a
charge rejected by both.
The law society has had frequent verbal
battles with the government,
with Moyo earlier this year harshly attacking
what he said was Mugabe's
attempt to stuff the country's judiciary with
pro-ruling ZANU PF nominees.
Land reforms to displace two
ABOUT two million
Zimbabweans living on commercial farms will be
displaced countrywide at the
expiry of eviction orders being served on white
farmers by the government
this year, according to a survey by the Zimbabwe
Community Development Trust
More than 4 000 of Zimbabwe's white farmers have been
eviction notices under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act,
to cease farming and vacate their properties within three
The commercial farming industry employs about 350 000
workers, each of
whom on average has a family of five. Most of these workers
displaced, although the government says it will resettle
Most of the eviction notices expire at the end of August,
also supposed to be the end of the government's often violent land
under which more than 90 percent of white-owned farms have been
seizure to resettle landless black peasants.
Gumbeze, the ZCDT project manager, said his organisation's
conducted in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces and found that about two
would be displaced after the expiry of the Section 8 notices.
of the workers will be stranded as they have no communal homes
and some of
them are of foreign origin. Most of their children have been
going for months
without going to school," he told the Financial Gazette.
"Out of a total of two million people who are going to be affected by
displacement, our organisation can only afford to provide mental and
help for 90 000 people and the other people have to get help from
The farm workers and their families will join more than 50
Zimbabweans who have been displaced by political violence and the
farms by ruling ZANU PF supporters since February
Most of the internal refugees have fled to cities, especially
where non-governmental organisations are battling to assist them
providing food and shelter.
However, their plight is expected
to worsen in the next few months as
food shortages bite in Zimbabwe, where at
least six million people need
emergency food aid because of drought and the
havoc on agriculture caused by
the farm occupations.
said in its survey report: "Since farm worker displacement
has affected all
provinces, there is urgent need of food assistance to curb
poverty. Not only
should this assistance be of food but also of shelter,
especially for those
farm workers who have been physically displaced and
have nowhere to go
because of their ethnic background.
"However, in offering any form
of humanitarian assistance, there
should be a break point and a movement
towards a developmental approach.
"Therefore there is need to
assist these farm workers on short-term
basis with a long-term plan.
Somewhere along the line, there is need to
create a means for these people to
use their skills or least equip them with
new skills of self-reliance and
Erwin lashes out at Zim
Cape Town - South Africa warned
neighbouring Zimbabwe on Wednesday that its
controversial political and
economic policies would ruin the country.
"We have said it to them time
and again: You must come to your senses,"
Trade and Industry Minister Alec
Erwin said during parliamentary question
"As Zimbabwe, you'd
better correct your policies because the punishment that
is being exerted on
your economy is getting more and more serious as time
Erwin's comments are amongst the sharpest criticisms yet by South
Zimbabwe, where the seizure of white-owned commercial farms and the
of law and order are cited as key factors behind a looming
In response to a question, Erwin said the political and economic
Zimbabwe would not affect South Africa's trade relationship with
States or the success of the New Partnership for Africa's
Aid flows to Zimbabwe have been squeezed in
protest against President Robert
Mugabe's farm seizures and the use of
intimidation and violence in the run
up to March presidential elections which
the opposition said the veteran
Zimbabwe is suffering
from a deepening recession, with inflation soaring to
122% in the year to May
and unemployment rocketing.
President Thabo Mbeki has been criticised at
home, in Zimbabwe and abroad
for failing to publicly condemn Mugabe, but he
has insisted that
constructive engagement is the best way to influence the
Erwin said South Africa had repeatedly warned Mugabe
and the country's
business leaders of the cost of policies being implemented
or tolerated by
"We have pointed out to Zimbabwe
government and to business leaders time and
time again: 'You are making
fundamental errors and the cost of your errors
is going to be extreme'," he
In an apparent reference to Zimbabwe, Erwin said African countries
have a choice whether to sign onto the peer review process proposed
Nepad, the programme for African economic recovery.
initiated by Mbeki and fleshed out with support from Senegal,
Algeria, includes provision for an African-administered
Erwin said South Africa was optimistic that the peer
review system would be
adopted at the inaugural meeting of the African Union,
a successor to the
Organisation of African Unity, in Durban in
"We believe that many countries will make use of the peer review
during the course of this year.
"We have chosen in Nepad to
say... we will take responsibility for our own
actions," he said.
Police disrupt meeting, arrest 8 MDC
6/20/02 4:22:44 AM (GMT +2)
Eight officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) were
arrested in Bulawayo at the weekend during clashes between
armed riot police
and army troops who broke up an MDC meeting commemorating
the 1976 uprising
against apartheid education by South African children.
skirmishes started when police and army units turned back MDC
party supporters intending to venture into Stanley Square, the
venue of the
commemoration. The police said the meeting was an illegal
The MDC's supporters, backed by members of the public in
the dirt-poor Makokoba high-density suburb hosting Stanley Square,
to the police action, resulting in running battles between the
the army and the gathering crowd.
counted six army vehicles, two Puma trucks and four
police trucks, all full
of armed riot police and army troops, who patrolled
Makokoba after crushing
An MDC official said yesterday: "Eight of our
officials were arrested
on Sunday and about three are still being held by the
"Several others were arrested the previous day on Saturday
Amphitheatre but were later released without any charges being laid
them. This is sheer intimidation."
During the clashes,
the armed police and soldiers moved into the
bustling Renkini Country Bus
Terminus in pursuit of fleeing residents and
MDC youths. About five live
shots were fired into the air to disperse the
youths, who kept taunting the
Among those arrested was Thoko Khupe, the
opposition's legislator for
Makokoba, and Gertrude Mthombeni, an executive
member of the MDC.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC legislator for Nkayi in
was also arrested later on Sunday when he went to visit
Khupe at Bulawayo
Central Police Station.
Bhebhe was detained
overnight and released on Monday morning. He was
"The police don't know why they arrested me. Initially they said I
an illegal political meeting but I was never at such a meeting,"
"I tried to reason with the police but because they are
would not listen to me. They are just arresting anyone on
to fix people or settle scores."
Four of the
eight officials were on Tuesday charged with organising an
and asked to pay $1 000 bail each. The remaining four are
expected in court
later this week.
It is understood the police are hunting MDC youth
connection with organising Sunday's commemoration. Several of
leaders have apparently gone underground.
Bulawayo arrests follow similar action by the police at the
weekend in Harare
in which at least 80 MDC activists were arrested for
attending a rally to
mark International Youth Day.
EU pushes for tougher action on Mugabe
6/20/02 4:21:03 AM (GMT +2)
European Union (EU) will pursue dialogue with the
Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) to identify further action to
resolve the crisis in
Zimbabwe, it was learnt this week.
The resolution was made on
Monday at a meeting of the EU's General
Affairs Council, which expressed
concern at the increasing political and
social polarisation in
It follows a visit by an EU delegation to Malawi,
Mozambique and South
Africa last month to persuade SADC leaders to act on
The EU has already imposed a travel ban
and other smart sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe and his inner
circle in a bid to press them
to end political violence, implement
transparent and sustainable land
reforms and cease attacks on Press
"The European Union believes that the Southern Africa
Community has an important role to play and wishes to seek common
based on shared values in order to identify further action that could
taken to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe," according to the minutes of
"To this end, the EU will seek to build an enhanced
dialogue with the
SADC and other international relevant actors."
EU representative in Zimbabwe Francesca Mosca yesterday said no
so far been suggested between the EU and regional and
stakeholders over Zimbabwe.
She said the EU bloc, which on Monday
resolved to continue to monitor
the situation in Zimbabwe and take action
accordingly, still had to hold
internal discussions about the report tabled
on Monday by the delegation
that visited southern Africa in May.
Western diplomats said although the importance of SADC in resolving
crisis in Zimbabwe had been acknowledged, the past behaviour of
leaders did not augur well for their effectiveness in future
Neither Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa, which could
be hard hit
by Zimbabwe's descent into chaos, have taken a tough stance
even though he is widely believed to pose a threat to the
success of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
NEPAD, an initiative driven by Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa,
mobilise international trade, foreign direct investment, debt
relief and aid
to boost economic growth in the world's poorest continent.
Member of Parliament John Corrie told the Financial Gazette:
countries are extremely worried about the situation and the
and a lot of people feel there should be tougher action
"We have spoken to them but there is still a very close
between these countries because of history. During apartheid,
very helpful to South Africa and there are close ties that seem
any economic reasoning."
A Zimbabwean analyst said:
"SADC countries like South Africa, Botswana
and Mozambique, which have fairly
good economies, are vulnerable because
they don't want to lose their foreign
investment. That could be used to get
them to come on board."
Meanwhile the General Affairs Council also resolved to respond
United Nations' agency appeals for food aid for Zimbabwe,
which is facing
mass starvation because of drought and the destabilisation
agricultural sector by ruling ZANU PF supporters who have occupied
The European Commission this week said it had allocated
euros for food distribution to the poorest families in districts
affected by food shortages, to provide targeted nutritional support
children and assist farm workers affected by the government's
Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid Paul Nielson said:
"Humanitarian assistance and direct food
aid are now clearly needed on top
of our well established long-term action to
improve food security and
prevent widespread starvation.
(Zimbabwean) private sector has a leading role to play in
bringing food on to
the market. The government must remove the constraints
which are preventing
this from happening."
Zimbabwe's private sector is no longer
allowed to import grain, which
is now the sole responsibility of the
cash-strapped state-run Grain
Funds provided by
the European Commission will buy more than 8 000
tonnes of maize, in addition
to the 10 170 tonnes the commission funded in
April. The grain will be
distributed by the UN's World Food Programme.
10 MDC supporters re-arrested
4:19:10 AM (GMT +2)
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) yesterday said 10
of its Manicaland supporters released on bail late
last week were
re-arrested by police on Tuesday on suspicion that they were
topple President Robert Mugabe's government.
re-arrested were among a group of about 170 MDC supporters who
arrested at a meeting in Birchenough Bridge last Thursday,
which police said
was illegal and was being used to plot the downfall of
Police spokesman Andrew Phiri yesterday said he could
confirm the re-arrest of the 10. He was still checking the
MDC's claims at
the time of going to print.
But MDC spokesman
Learnmore Jongwe said systematic harassment of MDC
supporters was on the
increase in Manicaland.
"Violence is on the increase in Manicaland,
where the army, the police
and armed militia are assaulting MDC supporters,
even old women. The militia
is restricting those seriously injured in the
attacks to their homes so that
they cannot receive medial treatment," he
In the past week, heavily armed state security agents have
deployed throughout the country in anticipation of mass action planned
Zimbabwe's main opposition party.
About 80 MDC supporters,
including journalists and MDC legislators,
were arrested in Harare and
Bulawayo on Sunday when they gathered to
commemorate the Day of the African
Child. - Staff Reporter
6/20/02 11:06:44 AM (GMT +2)
Today, our reporter Lloyd Mudiwa appears in court, charged under the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It is The Daily News on trial –
the first of a long list of similar cases we expect to be brought up under a
section dealing with journalistic work.
The result, either way, will set a precedent with a potential to change the
manner in which we speak or speak out against anything in our beleaguered
The core of the charge sheet states that a journalist shall be deemed to
have abused his journalistic privilege and committed an offence if he falsifies
or fabricates information; publishes falsehoods; and except where he is a
freelance journalist, collects and disseminates information on behalf of a
person other than the mass media service that employs him without permission of
He faces a fine of $100 000 or up to two years in jail. The heart of the
matter is the definition of a falsehood. Two senior ministers of government,
Ignatius Chombo and John Nkomo, on Tuesday were quoted live on television,
declaring categorically that squatters at Whitecliff farm near Snake Park in
Harare would be forcibly removed by the morning of 19 June. Chombo is the
minister responsible for local government.
Nkomo supervises the police. If what the two say does not happen because
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo stops it, could the ZBC be charged with
publishing a falsehood?
Could the ZBC be accused of having failed to check the “truthfulness” of
the stance taken by Chombo and Nkomo, key officials who handle squatters
whenever they pitch up their makeshift structures?
Somebody recently told The Herald there had been a flurry of activity at
the British High Commission involving officials from the Law Society, the
opposition MDC and Western diplomats plotting to overthrow the government. On
that day, the High Commission was closed for the Queen’s jubilee.
In this case, who shoulders the blame for publishing a falsehood? The
source or the newspaper? If it is the newspaper, then why did the government not
If a Minister tells a Press conference that a new railway line, linking
Harare and Chitungwiza, will be built in the next two months and that does not
happen, could a newspaper which reports that be prosecuted for reporting a
This story was published just before the 2000 parliamentary election. In
fact, a company won the tender and a ground-breaking ceremony was held. There is
still no railway line there two years later.
The key to the definition of the word false, in the case of information
gathered from sources, lies in the determination of whether the journalist
wilfully and intentionally published a story knowing the information to be
false. In any case, it is abhorrent to criminalise journalism.
Truth-telling in journalism, and in society generally, is an ideal which we
all strive for. The truth, says the adage, has many facets. A major ethical
challenge to journalism is to investigate any material that we process in order
to get the total truth and nothing else.
Mistakes do occur in the process as some sources refuse to divulge
information. In the case of The Daily News, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena, has publicly vowed to deny us vital details on anything, for his own
personal reasons, despite the fact that, as a public official, he is compelled
to do so.
As we have stated before, the Act is being applied selectively to destroy
the privately-owned Press. The state media’s open lies have gone unquestioned
and are sometimes peddled with government blessing.
Today, media houses, all registered companies, are being asked to
re-register with a government-appointed Media Commission. The Act defines a
journalist as anybody who earns a living directly from a media service.
That includes editors, reporters, sub-editors, editorial secretaries and
messengers, photographers and darkroom assistants, origination clerks,
production assistants, cartoonists, librarians and vendors.
For them to work, they must have licences. Failure by any one of them to
obtain a licence results in the suspension of the company’s operations.
This is a tall order which must never be accepted in a democratic society.
The consequences of Mudiwa’s case, preceded by that of Andrew Meldrum, the
correspondent of the British Guardian newspaper, are set to resonate beyond our
borders. They threaten to change the face of our journalism.
6/20/02 10:19:37 AM (GMT +2)
Bernard Masara, 36, who in February last year extorted $15 000 from the
former chief executive of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), Muchadeyi
Masunda, on Tuesday had his appeal against conviction and sentence dismissed in
the High Court in Harare.
ANZ are the publishers of The Daily News. High Court judge, Justice Susan
Mavangira, said: “Both appeals against conviction and sentence are dismissed.”
Masara was convicted by Harare magistrate Remigious Jemwa in April last
year and sentenced to three years in jail.
Jemwa, however, suspended part of the sentence leaving an effective 20
months in jail.
Masara, who was allegedly hired by the Central Intelligence Organisation to
assassinate Daily News Editor-in-Chief, Geoffrey Nyarota, last year revealed
details of the plot.
The Daily News published the story after agreeing to find a safe sanctuary
for Masara outside the country.
After the story was published, Masara left Zimbabwe for a refugee camp in
Botswana, where he was to stay.
However, he returned to Zimbabwe and ANZ informed him their arrangement was
no longer in force because he had failed to adhere to the terms agreed.
Masara then demanded that the company continue to look after him. He wrote
a letter to Nyarota on 29 January 2001 warning the editor he would face death if
he did not bow to the demands.
On 5 February, Masara went to Nyarota to demand $15 000 to pay debts he
said he had incurred while in Botswana. He refused to leave the office until he
was paid $14 000.
Nyarota contacted the police when Masara returned to his office nine days
later demanding more money.
Masara, in his appeal, wanted the conviction set aside. If the court
declined to overturn the guilty verdict, he wanted it to impose a non-custodial
Arguing against his conviction, Masara said he had not meant to harm
Nyarota and Masunda.
He said: “They were just empty threats. I just wanted to frighten them into
paying for my subsistence. Since the threats were empty, I should not have been
Masara, who represented himself, said since he should not have been
convicted in the first place, Jemwa should not have sentenced him.
He said in the event Mavangira upheld the conviction, then she should
impose a non-custodial sentence since he did not actually harm anyone.
While supporting the conviction and a custodial sentence, Nickiel Mushangwe
of the Attorney-General’s Office said the sentence might have been severe.
Mushangwe said Masara had committed extortion by employing threats with the
objective of obtaining money.
"A custodial penalty is indeed warranted," he said. "Masara in the instant
case conducted himself in a most shameful manner.
Purely out of the benevolence and goodwill of the complainant, he was paid
considerable sums of money, on several occasions, over a long period of time.
"His actions are tantamount to one biting the hand that feeds oneself.
According to Masunda and Nyarota, Masara had literally become a thorn in the
flesh, making outrageous demands."
Mushangwe said extortion was a serious offence, and case precedent clearly
established that even in the case of a first offender the appropriate sentence
was frequently a prison term without the option of a fine.
But Masara was a repeat offender who was last in prison in 1992. Mushangwe,
however, urged Mavangira to reduce the effective jail term to 14 months, saying
Masara had since led an unblemished life since 1992 and apologised for the