ZIMBABWE: Uncertainty as deadline looms for farm acquisitions
JOHANNESBURG, 20 Jun 2002 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's farm owners and
farmworkers are in the grip of uncertainty as the government's deadline
approaches for the country's mainly white commercial farmers to down tools and
leave their land.
From 25 June the first wave of farmers whose land has
been earmarked for acquisition will, by law, have to stop farming. They will
then have 45 days to wind up their affairs and leave the property.
hours tick closer, farmers and farmworkers face an uncertain future in a country
where up to six million people already face the spectre of not having enough
food to last until the next harvest.
Clemence Fungai, of Zimbabwe's
General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union, said: "We are in a quandary -
we don't know what is going to happen, how we are going to be affected. We have
to wait and see. If [farmowners] can't farm, farmworkers' employment will be
terminated there and then."
Fungai said that though the law was clear on
when farmers had to stop working, and made provision for a fine or a jail term
for those who flouted the law, it was not clear if farmworkers would be allowed
to continue working without censure.
He said that in addition to the
uncertainty over work, farm schools would close.
For many children, a
farm school is their only source of education. If their parents are unemployed
they won't have money to attend other schools.
Fungai spoke to IRIN
during a break at a meeting with the Agricultural Labour Bureau (ALB) where
compensation for farmers and farmworkers was being discussed.
spokesman Ewen Rodger said not many farmers had received compensation from the
government yet, and so were unable to pay their workers anything when they were
forced to stop farming.
"The compensation package [determined by
government] is costly for farmers so most can't pay it from their own
resources," he said.
Estimates of the number of people who will be
affected by the acquisiton notices vary. Rodger estimated that about 150,000
farmworkers, each with a family of five, could be affected by the first wave. As
this was the traditional "off season", the figure was slightly lower than
Tim Neill, director of the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust
(ZCDT), said a study was currently underway to determine how many farmers had
been served the Section 8 notice and how many farmworkers would be
"We are running advertisements in newspapers asking for Section
8 farmers to contact us to find out what is happening. We don't yet know how
many people will be affected but there is an upper limit of two million people.
After June 25 we will know."
Most farmers were still deciding whether to
disobey the order to stop farming - and risk a fine and possible jail sentence -
or to just leave, agriculture sources said.
At a workshop in May, AFP
reported Lands Minister Joseph Made as saying the government had so far taken
7.4 million hectares of land and divided it among 210,520 black families for
Another 54,000 people had applied for land under a
scheme aimed at taking entire commercial farms and giving them to black owners,
but only 13,000 had so far been allocated farms, Made was quoted as
21 June 2002 11:59
Legislation shuts down
(On behalf of Commercial Farmers' Union)
Legislation shuts down farms
COMMERCIAL Farmers Union has conducted a post-election assessment 30 April 2002
of the impact of land invasions on the large-scale agricultural sector. The
survey received an 84% response (2706 returns) from the current
members polled, an unprecedented level of response.
The survey requested information
regarding the legal status of all farms; the current level of farming
operations; evictions; asset losses; livestock and wildlife losses; and the
cropping intentions of wheat, tobacco and maize producers.
For purposes of being precise, the
survey was conducted in terms of title deeds rather than number of farms. The
results of the section dealing with the compulsory acquisition process have been
presented as the actual data returned and in the form of an extrapolation up to
100% of the membership of the Union.
The extrapolation suggests that
members held 4 813 title deeds before the resettlement programme began in June
2002, of which 74% (3 549) have been served Section 5 Preliminary Notices.
Previous estimates based on the
number of hectares specified in preliminary notices, indicated that 95% of land
held by CFU members had been listed. This variation indicates that many
landowners may be unaware that they are subject to preliminary notices of
acquisition due to confusion created by mass listing and delisting, over a
prolonged period, of properties, which are not necessarily owned by members of
An analysis of preliminary notices
of compulsory acquisition as at 7 June
2002 shows that:
Gross listed: 5 980 farms, covering
10 505 568 hectares;
Delisted: 450 farms, 855 382
Relisted: 342 farms, 771 547
Nett listed to date: 5 872 farms,
totaling 10 481 733 hectares.
It is believed that the entire
commercial farming sector consists of 11.2 million hectares: thus 93.6 % has
since been identified for resettlement.
The number of title deeds with
Section 8 Orders is, by extrapolation, 2 443 (51%). With the ongoing service of
Section 8 Orders, it is not unreasonable to assume that 60% of CFU member's
farms (about 2 900 title deeds) are now subject to a Section 8 Order.
The implications of these Orders
were radically changed by a special session of parliament that was convened on
10th May at which amendments to the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) were promulgated
(Act 6 of 2002). The Orders, including all those served before 10 May, transfer
ownership of the land to the State immediately, and constitute a notice to stop
farming after 45 days, and to vacate the homestead within 90 days. To exceed
either of these time limits was made a criminal offence. Those Orders// that had
been served before 10 May were revised to take effect from that date; those
served thereafter have effect from the date of delivery.
How this edict is to be
administered in practice is not known, and the implementation may vary from
region to region.
The original reference to "eviction
by a competent court" has been removed by the recent amendment. Eviction is now
effected by the court, which has convicted a person of the offence of exceeding
either of the notice periods. The prescribed penalty for doing so is a fine of $
20 000 or 2-years imprisonment, or both. There is still debate about the denial
of the constitutional right of farmers to contest the acquisition of their farms
before they are dispossessed and evicted.
The survey revealed that an
estimated 873 farms are subject to a Section 7 Notices, which is an invitation
to contest the acquisition of a property by filing of an opposing affidavit, and
subsequently appearing before the Administrative Court.
Under the previous legislation, an
eviction could only take place once this hearing was complete, but under the new
amendment the hearing does not have to take place within the 90-day notice
period, which precedes an arrest and then eviction. Indications from the court
roll suggest that over 1 500 applications for confirmation of the States
take-over of farms have been filed recently in the Administrative Court. The
difference between the two figures is explained by the fact that there are
considerable delays in serving the Section 7 Notices on landowners. This is a
function of the court itself, not the Acquiring Authority. To date, 302 cases
have been heard in the Administrative Court.
Specifically the LAA is amended by
the addition of a sub-section 8 (a) (iii) which says that if an offer of a
sub-division of land, or an offer of alternative land is made by an owner, it
will not be necessary to issue a Section 8 Order on that land. This is regarded
as being in support of the thrust to acquire uncontested land, and to afford
owners an opportunity to retain properties in compliance with the Maximum Farm
Size Regulations, which are an adjunct to the Rural Land Act.
The survey revealed that moveable
assets, valued at Z$ 7.9 billion have been seized, impounded or looted from 632
farms so affected.
The amendment to the LAA on 10 May
addressed the matter of movable assets on farms to be acquired. Part 1 of the
Schedule to the Act, which deals with the improvements that can be compensated
for, was amended by a new Section
9. This adds movable assets to the fixed
improvements which were listed before, BUT, only with the agreement of the
owner, may movable items such as irrigation equipment not embedded in the
ground, tractors, ploughs, disc harrows, trailers, combine harvesters, pumps not
permanently attached, sprinklers, risers and movable storage facilities, be
added to the list of property to be acquired with compensation.
Partial compensation was reported
to have been paid for 60 title deeds (extrapolated to 72).
The analysis of the survey results
indicated that contrary to the Government policy of "one-farmer one-farm", 857
single-owned farms have been compulsorily acquired by service of Section 8
Orders (extrapolated to 1
The April end analysis of the data
on the impact of the invasions on farming operations indicated that an alarming
27% of title deeds are not producing anything due to enforced shut-downs. This
is, no doubt, contributory to the fact that famine prevails in the Country.
Conversely, operations are either
wholly or partially continuing on 73% of title deeds demonstrating the
resilience of Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers. The highest shut down rate of 39%
is in Mashonaland Central and the lowest shut down rate of 12% is in Manicaland.
This high proportion of farms
either wholly or partially operating disguises the fact that many of the farming
business that are still operating are in the process of being wound down prior
to the maturation of Section 8 Orders or due to a lack of confidence and
viability problems arising from controlled commodity prices.
As to the eviction of farmers, the
results indicate that at least 653 owner/manager families and at least 15 154
farm worker families have been evicted from their homes since February 2000 and
have been unable to return. This figure translate to 76 000 persons displaced.
There was a flurry of evictions in the six weeks immediately following the
presidential election to 31% of owner/manager evictions and 46% of farm worker
Livestock and Wildlife operators in
the large-scale sector reported 387 237 head of cattle have been forcibly
de-stocked and wildlife/tourism direct losses run to over Z$ 6.3 billion. It is
believed that these figures are conservative and total losses could be much
As the survey returns deadline was
30th April, 10 days before the promulgation of the amendments to the LAA, the
implications of the amendments were not reflected in the results. Therefore the
stated cropping intentions would not have taken cognisance of this development.
The returns from the major cropping areas was representative of the willingness
and resources available to farmers still able to operate. Declared intentions
were as follow:
Wheat (2002 season): 24 692 hectares;
Tobacco (2002/2003): 28 781
Maize (2002/2003): 41 067 hectares.
However it is impossible at this
time to confirm that these estimates will translate into yields as some of the
farmers who expressed intentions may yet come under Section 8 notification and
may have to leave before the crops can be planted/harvested.
19th June 2002
For more information, please contact Jenni
Mobile +263 91 300 456 or 11 213 885
A member of the
International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
Food donors threaten pull-out
MAJOR food donors have threatened to suspend aid to Zimbabwe
government removes constraints preventing the private sector from
grain to feed over six million Zimbabweans facing starvation, it
Diplomats said donors have started to question
government's commitment to
stave off hunger when it was deliberately stifling
participation in food imports. They said suspension of
supplies was now a
Government last year gave the
Grain Marketing Board a monopoly to import
The country is on
the brink of starvation as government has failed to import
adequate stocks of
food while relief agencies which have moved in to assist
have not been
allowed unfettered access to targeted population groups.
Programme (WFP) spokesperson Makena Walker this week said the
body had so far brought 57 000 tonnes of food into the
country but had only
managed to distribute 13 000 tonnes.
The United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), the major player in aid
co-ordination in the country, said
faced with outstanding import
requirements of 1,5 million tonnes of maize and
limited foreign currency to
finance government-led commercial food imports,
Zimbabwe needed to engage
private-sector participation in grain importation
and to maximise erratic
food-aid supplies from donors.
country representative Victor Angelo said all means to address the
crisis should be pursued and the private sector should not be left
"We have called for meetings with senior government officials
seeking the engagement of private-sector participation in food
European Union (EU) Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid, Poul
Neilson, said government must remove
constrains which bar the private sector
from trading in grain products to
facilitate the importation of food.
achievements have limits," Nielson said.
"But the private sector
should be given a leading role to play in bringing
food onto the market. The
government must remove the constraints which are
preventing this from
Nielson said the EU was "gravely concerned" over the
magnitude of the food
crisis facing Zimbabwe.
embassy spokesperson in Harare Bruce Wharton said government
consider the role of the private sector to alleviate the
"Involvement of private traders will certainly improve food
because the tremendous difference between the parallel market and
official rate is increasing, making it difficult for government to
food," Wharton said.
Current government policies pose
formidable constraints on both counts.
Government, through the GMB,
has as of June 2 imported a paltry 213 000
tonnes. The consignment included
Brazilian and Chinese yellow maize and
Kenyan white maize, all of which have
already been distributed through GMB
Bid to prosecute Mugabe
10 days before the permanent International Criminal Court comes
Zimbabwean exiles in the United Kingdom have formed an
association to support
relatives of the victims of President Robert Mugabe's
rule and push for his
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent from London, a
activist, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the
Association of the
Zimbabwean Relatives of Disappeared or Executed Political
formed in the British capital last weekend.
confirm that such an organisation has been formed but I can't
everything about it because we are yet to register," he said.
association is seeking to register as a charitable organisation in the
where it will seek funding to assist its members to campaign for Mugabe
his inner circle's prosecution. Members include the victims of
crackdown on civilians during the two periods between 1982-1987
The new association, soon to extend to Zimbabwe, is
modelled on the Chilean
Association of Relatives of Disappeared Political
Prisoners and the
Association of Relatives of Executed Political Prisoners,
that have championed the human rights cause for 26 years in
"Going to the Hague is obviously an unfortunate option
for us but we are
forced to if the situation continues like this in Zimbabwe.
formation of the ICC we will be able to deal with lawlessness," the
"Even if President Mugabe is not prosecuted, our
main concern is that he
stops what he is doing and the families of the
affected get help."
However, the court's jurisdiction will not be
retroactive. Human rights
lawyer Brian Kagoro of the Crisis in Zimbabwe group
said there were still
grounds for Mugabe's prosecution because official crime
"When you have known criminals remaining on the loose,"
"killing of innocent farmers continuing, seizing of properties
with little or no action taking place, then you should know
international intervention is justifiable."
D-Day for farmers
AT least 2 500
commercial farmers slapped with Section 8 Orders will have to
close shop on
Monday when their 45-day notice period expires.
An amendment to the Land
Acquisition Act, which came into force on May 10,
gave farmers who prior to
that date had been issued with Section 8 Orders 45
days to cease
After Monday it becomes illegal for the farmers to
continue farming and
anybody defying the edict is liable to a two-year jail
term or a $20 000
fine, or both. Theoretically farmers can remain in their
August 10 but they are not allowed to plant crops or
undertake any other
The move will not only
affect commercial farmers but thou-sands of workers
who were yesterday placed
on forced leave. Marathon meetings were underway
in the farming areas
yesterday as farmers sought to find a way forward.
A survey by the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) made available yesterday
revealed that 2 443
farms, representing 51% of properties owned by white
commercial farmers prior
to the resettlement exercise, had been served with
Section 8 Orders as of
"With the on-going service of Section 8 Orders, it is not
assume that 60% of CFU members' farms (about 2 900) are now
subject to a
Section 8 Order," a CFU spokesperson said
There is an air of defiance among the affected farmers who
have vowed to
stay on the land. The farmers say they cannot leave before they
compensated for improvements and equipment still on the farms. Duke
Cudroy of Banket said farmers were in a dilemma as to how they were
proceed after Monday.
"Farmers are not sure about what to do
next," said De Cudroy.
"If they continue farming they risk being
arrested and if they stop what
will happen to
"What I can tell you for sure is that they cannot
go anywhere since the
government has not paid them a cent. What will happen
to their families?
This legislation is criminalising the farming profession,"
The Zimbabwe Independent learnt yesterday that some of the
who had applied to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and
to be allowed to continue farming this week received
certificates of service
from the ministry headed "Letter to continue
Farmers who spoke to the Independent yesterday said they were
not able to
gather much from the letters which lacked detail and were fraught
Vernon Nicole of Banket who received a letter this
week said it was not easy
to get a clear interpretation.
read it 101 ways," said Nicole. "I don't really know what it means
but I can
only say that it is proof that I have applied to the ministry for
to continue farming."
But like many others he is not closing
CFU chairman for Mashonaland West Ed Gundry yesterday said the
executive had advised farmers to stop work on Monday.
have advised farmers to stop work on Monday so that they don't
criminals in their own country," he said.
"We have also
advised them to put workers on forced leave pending
clarification from the
Clearly not 'sharing a joke' in
"A PICTURE tells a thousand words," it is said. And last Saturday's
the front page of the Herald told us all we need to know about
Mugabe's status in Rome last week where he was attending an FAO
While George Charamba claimed he was bodily aching from all the work
been doing to set up meetings with prominent Italians, Mugabe was
with Stan Mudenge on one side of the negotiating table gamely
the camera, while on the other Kofi Annan and the World Food
head Tim Morris looked distinctly unamused.
said it all: they knew perfectly well the damage their "guest"
was doing at
the party and they were not about to make it look as though he
They declined to offer even a diplomatic smile, depriving the
Herald of its
favourite caption: "Sharing a joke."!
The picture provided an eloquent
riposte to editorial attempts in the Herald
by the usual bootlickers to
suggest that it was perfectly fine for the
president to spend as much as he
liked in the way of public funds when he
was abroad. It was "balderdash",
"repugnant" and "revolting" for "crackpots
masquerading as journalists" to
suggest that Mugabe should not stay at
£500-a-night hotels, Phillip Magwaza
dutifully fumed. After all, Mugabe was
a head of state. Anyway, he pointed
out, other heads of state stayed at
hotels like the Ritz that charged
thousands of pounds a night. Mugabe was
"frugal" by comparison. The hotel
bill at the opulent Excelsior was "worth
every cent" because the president
signed protocols and agreements that
brought trade worth millions, Magwaza
Michael Jackson spent $20 900 on the Imperial suite at Meikles
stayed there in 1998, we were reminded.
The fact that Michael
Jackson is a hugely successful and wealthy musician
while Mugabe is the
president of a state he has bankrupted and whose
policies have exposed
millions to famine was lost on the writer. As for the
millions of dollars the
Italians will be bringing in, the last time we heard
from them they were
withdrawing from participation in the Gwaai-Shangani dam
already pulled out of the Tokwe-Mukorsi scheme and the
because of failed undertakings by government. It will be
interesting to see
exactly how much materialises from the latest trip.
visit to Rome was disrupted by a noisy protest outside
the Zimbabwe Embassy
in the early hours of last Thursday morning, according
to a news agency
report. Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and a group of
on a tipoff that Mugabe had checked out of the Excelsior
journalists discovered he was a guest there, staged a loud
the Zimbabwe Embassy on the Via Virgilio shortly after
"I wanted to disturb Mugabe's sleep and remind him that he
will get no rest
while he continues to abuse human rights" said
Tatchell made a racket outside the embassy until almost 1am. He
the embassy's doors, slammed its heavy metal knockers, rang the
night buzzer, and shouted up to the embassy's higher-level
floors where the ambassador lives and where Mugabe was believed
"You can run but you can't hide," Tatchell yelled. "The
world is watching.
One day you will be arrested and put on trial, just like
Tatchell held up a large placard, written in
Italian: "Arresto Mugabe per
tortura" (Arrest Mugabe for torture). He was
supported in his protest by
Grace Kwinjeh, EU representative for the
It is not entirely clear if Mugabe lost any sleep over this latest
by the head of OutRage!, but the rest of the neighbourhood certainly
'Security agents have placed the British High Commissioner, Mr
Donnelly, under 24-hour surveillance," Phillip Magwaza told us in the
"Authoritative sources told the Herald that Mr
Donnelly was under open
surveillance in the wake of revelations that he was
meddling in Zimbabwean
politics," Magwaza announced.
This could have
proved rather difficult. Donnelly was on leave in the UK at
the time. Magwaza
evidently wasn't given that important detail by his
"authoritative sources" -
probably because they didn't know.
What sort of "intelligence" service is
it that doesn't know the man it is
supposed to be watching is not actually
around, that he hasn't been around
for some time, and then goes and misleads
the Herald's gullible political
editor who clearly didn't think it might be a
good idea to establish
Donnelly's whereabouts before writing a story saying
he was under 24-hour
What sort of journalism is it that
repeats anything it is told by government
agents who have proved themselves
less than well-informed in the past?
Remember the diplomatic bag episode? And
what is "open surveillance"? What
do we make of an intelligence service that
advertises to its suspect that he
is being watched, thus giving him the
opportunity to react accordingly?
Last week we warned of the return of
the "African diplomat" who curiously
mouths Munhumutapa mantras when required
to do so in the Herald. Now the
Sunday Mail has discovered a "European
diplomat" who sounds suspiciously
like the same person. Judge for yourselves
as he is quoted by Munyaradzi
Huni undiplomatically rubbishing his
colleagues: "European diplomats led by
Brian Donnelly wanted to use the
threat of the mass action to create
insecurity and instability in the
country, while after the collapse of the
(inter-party) talks Tsvangirai,
Ncube and Gasela seem to have hijacked the
mass action idea to escape
Now doesn't that sound exactly like what Zanu PF is saying?
It doesn't sound
remotely like a European diplomat. In fact it doesn't even
make sense. Talks
with Zanu PF would have offered the MDC trio indemnity, not
which is a gamble! There's more.
"They think that the mass
action will trigger violence that will topple
Mugabe from power. They want a
Milosevic-style of removing Mugabe from power
by force. This has created an
ever-widening gap between the MDC and its
European backers," said the
"European diplomat" who unsurprisingly spoke on
Huni said NGOs were meeting last Sunday to unveil the planned
implementing mass action.
"It is understood that a Ms
Rose Depp would chair the meeting expected to be
held today at a local
hotel," he said.
Huni is the Sunday Mail's political editor. He appears
not to have heard of
Rose Marie Depp, director of USAid. She would have had
the meeting he darkly alludes to. She left the country
last week at the end
of her tour of duty here.
Prof Tafataona Mahoso
is an expert on anything that happened in the 1970s.
We know that because he
cites sources from that era ad nauseam every week in
his apparently unedited
Sunday Mail articles which are invariably "to be
because he has evidently never been asked for 800 words or a thousand
and, despite being a media trainer, would probably have
recognising such a requirement. Nor, it seems, would his editors
cut his stories down to a reasonable size so they are more
accessible to the
But the point here is not to take
issue with the internal arrangements at
the Sunday Mail which are none of our
business. We will only point out that
General Francisco Franco did not "fall"
from power in the wake of the
Portuguese revolution, as Mahoso suggested last
week. He died in office in
1975 and there was a smooth transfer of power to
his designated successor,
King Juan Carlos.
A fall of sorts, but not
quite the same thing. Could we have a little
correction next week
Tel*One is part of Zimbabwe's cutting-edge communications scene.
June 9 it took out an advertisement in the local media headed
little things in life that mean the world", inviting readers to
make a call
on the Tel*One system. A little girl was pictured calling
"This Mother's Day, a telephone call will make a world of
ad said. "Talk to Mother and make her feel special this
We're sure all the mothers who were called by their little
ones felt very
special - if a little confused. Why was everybody calling them
Give Tel*One a call and Tel them how to Tel the
difference between Mom and
Don't we recall the South African
Sunday Times coming under heavy
ministerial flak for reports it has carried
on Zimbabwe? And haven't there
been injunctions to foreign correspondents not
to take their stories from
On Tuesday the Herald quoted
extensively from the Sunday Times in a
front-page story on Nepad. What
explains this double standard? The story in
question contained heavy
criticism of Thabo Mbeki's pet project by Zanu PF's
ally Muammar Gaddafi. He
said it was a project for former colonisers and
to play down the remarks. But Zimbabwe's spin doctors were
going to miss an opportunity to exploit any differences
between Pretoria and
Tripoli. Expect more of the same in coming weeks.
Just to show there were
no hard feelings, Gaddafi gave Mbeki a stretch limo
during his recent visit
to Libya. Mbeki was said to be "truly embarrassed"
by the gift, a black
armour-plated Mercedes. It will be shipped home and
declared to Customs, "as
is the procedure with everything the president
receives", his spokesman
Now why didn't the Herald report that story?
You may be
interested in the remarks of MEP Glenys Kinnock, commenting on
president's trip to Rome last week.
"Mugabe shows no remorse, no concern
for the poverty and suffering in his
country which continues to slip towards
disaster and chaos," she said.
"Instead of staying at home where
inflation is 113%, unemployment at 60% and
where a quarter of the population
face starvation, Mugabe chooses to climb
into his custom-built,
state-of-the-art armoured Mercedes and board Air
Zimbabwe where no doubt he
will have commandeered the first class cabin if
not the whole
"I say to President Mugabe, the irony of attending an
summit while a quarter of your people face starvation is
lost only on you."
That's telling him Glenys!
A reader called in
last week in response to our comments on
Heritage-Zimbabwe. We suggested
pro-Zanu PF NGOs be called Bongos (bought
NGOs) or Congos (coopted
He said NGOs run by women overly keen to advertise their loyalty
Moyo or President Mugabe should be called Government-controlled
obvious reasons we will refrain from providing the acronym!
ARE you part
of the conspiracy? It seems everybody else is. The pages of the
press daily announce new plots against the government. But nobody
seems to be
taking any notice. Perhaps it is a case of having "cried wolf"
too often. Or
perhaps the public have other things on their minds.
Last Wednesday the
Herald published an article by somebody calling himself
Morgan Handidi who
wove a convoluted web of intrigue that tied in British
Brian Donnelly, the MDC, the Selous Scouts, the Law
Society, Amani Trust,
something called Mumvuri waDavid Coltart, a cartel of
black businessmen, the
CFU, and a number of hit squads.
Donnelly, we were told, would be
supervising the MDC's "Milosevic-option"
mass action programme, "commanding
operations from high-tech mobile
communications centres throughout the
country". But MDC activists intent on
attacking senior Zanu PF officials,
government property and strategic
installations would have to reckon with an
armed national guard, the writer
warned, which had been rehearsing for just
such an eventuality.
The strategy being put in place by British
covert operatives was designed to
leave casualties among MDC activists in
order to create a pretext for US and
British intervention, Handidi said,
perhaps preparing us for casualties of a
less external provenance. Citing
sources in the regional intelligence
community, the writer said that Zanu PF
mobilised and armed its militant
youths following Cain Nkala's murder. The
skirmishes that saw the burning
down of the Bulawayo and Kwekwe MDC offices
were "quickly contained by
security forces who are aware of the Zanu PF youth
grand plan to hunt down
MDC terrorists and their families".
officials were alleged to have colluded with "Rhodesian forces
in the Matabeleland region to organise and arm themselves in
Then we had the widely-discredited Uganda training story
thrown in for good
measure, followed by NGOs such as the Amani Trust which
was said to be
working with the British to protect "MDC thugs". Amani Trust
will be banned
at the first sign of disturbances, we were
Any credibility which this silly story had left was
effectively sabotaged by
the claim that "the peace which is prevailing today
was identified as a
direct result of the democratic principles which the
government has adhered
to since 1980, namely the holding of regular
parliamentary elections which
have allowed citizens to choose their own
If you believe that you might possibly have believed the
But the story does contain significant new dimensions. The
was said to be monitoring civic and militant groups aligned
to Zanu PF
"which have taken it upon themselves to eliminate the same
"A recent security brief prepared for a joint security
meeting revealed the
existence of two shadowy groups aligned to the MDC and
respectively," we were told.
Waiting to pounce is a group
of known MDC activists "currently on the run
who have some kind of military
training and have plans to target its own
leadership including Mr Tsvangirai,
as well as members of the diplomatic
community, and blame it on Zanu
There we Handidily have what could well be Zanu PF's game plan
as a plot by the MDC. Messrs Tsvangirai and Donnelly: You have
The security authorities, Handidi told us, are most
concerned by the Mumvuri
waColtart whose correspondence has been intercepted
by security agents. They
have armed themselves from caches on the Mozambique
border left over from
the liberation war, we are informed, and also weapons
from the DRC war front.
communications in the hands of the security agents expose a
to pick out and shoot MDC youths who are currently being
undertake the mass action."
The author of this clumsy threat explains
that "some members of this shadowy
group are suspected to be working closely
with some members of the security
forces who are sympathetic to the group's
That would of course explain any involvement by
Armed robbers and criminals are also
involved, just in case anybody had been
left out! These have been "tasked to
kidnap and murder Zanu PF district and
provincial leaders under coordination
from the British-supplied high-tech
mobile communication stations being
manned by white activists, mainly CFU
members and former members of the
Just to cap this bizarre and improbable plot, the
security service, we are
told, has found a "missing link" following the
arrest of the Law Society's
"Stanford" Moyo and Wilbert Mapombere who can
allegedly be linked to the
British High Commission.
If there is a
"Missing Link" it is surely the author of this hogwash. Why
Handidi suppose that if the public are not prepared to swallow
Uganda/Denmark/MDC training stories, Ari Ben-Menashe or the
they will swallow this hokum?
But there is more. Handidi identifies
individuals within the MDC who he
thinks are more "pragmatic" and with whom
Zanu PF can work. They include
Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, UZ Professor
Mukonoweshuru, Prof Gordon
Chavunduka, and Prof Masipula
In a revealing remark about his own credentials, the author
individuals would be prepared to steer the MDC towards a
future government. They may even obtain Zanu PF's "blessing"
to head the
This is all in a sense newsworthy.
Zanu PF appears ready to concede the
instruments of power to duly anointed
MDC personalities. It discloses the
existence of an "armed national guard"
and elements in Zanu PF prepared to
"hunt down" and "eliminate" the threat
posed by political opponents.
But it does more than that. It vividly
exposes the delusional thinking at
the top of Zanu PF. And it fails to grasp
the extent of national alienation
beyond President Mugabe's parched rural
fiefdom. If the named individuals in
the MDC got into bed with Morgan Handidi
and his crowd of failed politicians
it would be the political kiss of death
for them. And they know it.
If Handidi has evidence of hit squads and
plots to overthrow the regime, not
to mention unreliable elements in the
security forces, presumably he will
hand his information to the police.
Otherwise the public may conclude that
his exposé is nothing more than
Prices rocket as controls fail
ZIMBABWE'S price control system, designed to create
stability in the cost of
goods and services, has failed resulting in
shortages of controlled
commodities on shop shelves and a thriving parallel
market on the streets
bursting with supplies of the same goods.
A spate of
price increases in the last two months has fuelled the inflation
rate to an
unprecedented 122,5%. The Zanu PF government based its
campaign on the land issue and maintaining price
controls. The controls have
been in force since October.
The controls represented a shift from
market-oriented policies to a command
economy, introduced to protect the
interests of the ruling Zanu PF party
against growing isolation by donor
agencies like the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.
has experienced a surge of price increases for goods such as bread,
cooking oil, milk and transport fares shortly after the disputed
President Robert Mugabe in the March presidential poll.
More increases are on
Products under the controls regime have become scarce in most
but are in abundance on the black market.
controls to work, government has to put in place subsidies to
manufacturers against production and price disparities," said one
with a leading commercial bank.
"Salaries have not been rising in tandem
with price increases, pushing most
salaried workers against the
This has been evidenced by a 60% drop in the purchasing power of
ordinary consumer during the first quarter of 2002, a situation projected
worsen against a background of soaring inflation.
minimum wage has remained pegged at $8 600 a month, economists
have said the
poverty datum line for a family of six should be $30 000.
growing debt and poor credit rating have resulted in a massive
capital and the country's skewed land policies and refusal to
rights and the rule of law have earned it a pariah status.
failed to rein-in the budget deficit and is continuously
borrowing from the
domestic market to fund day-to-day operations. Domestic
debt has risen to
$300 billion and foreign debt now stands at US$800
Due to the
erosion of purchasing power and incomes, the country has also
mushrooming of money-lending institutions as people struggle
to make ends
"These institutions have devised a way of avoiding the controlled
rates," said the analyst.
Economic commentator Tony Hawkins
said the ultimate result of the price
controls would be more shortages and a
boom in black market activities
resulting in further price
"There is no way the price control system will create
stability in price
levels given the current economic hardships," Hawkins
He said the price control regime posed the threat of a shrinking
base as price ceilings did not match cost outlays.
warned the country risked losing investment opportunities as most
were wary of the controls that have cut into the bottom line.
controls have failed to serve the purpose they were intended for
the prevailing hyper-inflationary trends that have reduced the
power of ordinary consumers," he said.
"While technically the
introduction of price controls was noble, government
failed to do its
homework in time because they wanted to survive
politically - which they did
- but they have failed to curtail the black
market," said an analyst with a
Harare discount house.
"The sprouting of the black market is a clear
indication of government's
The Central Statistical Office (CSO),
which monitors inflation trends, has
said the escalating cost of living was
being driven by the wave of price
The CSO said that as of the
beginning of the year, prices of various goods
surged by almost 60% thereby
eroding the purchasing power of consumers by
about 40%. It said the ideal
salary for a family of six should be around $25
According to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the decline in spending patterns
had resulted in
the value of the local currency unit dropping by almost 600%
over the past
decade. The value of the $1 coin today is now about six cents
Hawkins said that such a drop showed price controls were not the
mechanisms to foster price stability as they created a
University of Zimbabwe economist
Dr Phineas Kadenge said price controls had
failed as evidenced by the current
shortages of goods.
"A number of companies have suspended or scaled down
production processes as
a result of low returns arising from the controls,"
He said the real solution lay in government subsidising
companies to ensure
they continued realising profit otherwise the impact of
the price controls
would always be in the form of price increases and
Kadenge said it was imperative for economic stakeholders to
come up with a
framework that promoted the reduction of costs of production
currently facing difficulties owing to the deteriorating
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has
said price increases have
brought with them the shrinkage in productive
sectors, escalating costs of
production and a decline in output levels for
various economic sectors.
Industrialists a fortnight ago petitioned the
Ministry of Industry and
International Trade for a review of prices in tandem
with the volatile
High on the agenda of the petition
was a proposal to adjust prices of food
commodities upwards as the controlled
prices were hampering production and
leading to shortages. There has not been
any response to date from Industry
and Trade minister Dr Herbert
Kadenge warned that the imminent review of prices was likely to deal
body blow to consumers hard-pressed with other economic hardships
the macro-economic policies of the embattled Mugabe
The concerns come against a backdrop of some 700 company
the year 2000 and 2002. One of the country's former
blue-chip sectors -
tourism - has seen at least 100 closures since
"It would have been prudent if government had consulted industry
implemented the price controls," said one
"As it is now, we cannot plan for the future because we do
not know what we
will be told on what to produce and how much to produce. For
some of us in
the food and beverages sector, we will be forced to retrench
and relocate to
more accommodating economies," he said.
economist Howard Sithole said the price controls were designed
to protect the
consumers, "but these have been hurt most because of the
scarcity of the
products, especially basic commodities".
"Consumers have actually been
hit twice, because they spend a lot of time in
queues waiting for goods which
are non-existent, and where available, are
beyond their reach. Consumers have
been affected most by the prices
Top government officials linked to forex scam
TWO senior government officials and a senior Zanu PF official were
as among the main culprits involved in the hoarding of foreign
currency at a
stormy meeting called by informal traders in Bulawayo last week
ways to address the problem.
The informal traders, most of
them cross-border operators, alleged senior
government officials were
involved in the hoarding of foreign currency
through bureaux de change they
owned and operated.
Chairman of the Flea Market Traders' Association
in Matabeleland, Clement
Malaba, confirmed members of his association had
made the allegations
against the officials but refused to be drawn
During the heated meeting, angry traders named three top
among the prominent people running bureaux de change that were
at exorbitant black market rates.
ruining our lives because they are the ones who monopolise
and hoard forex to
sell later at black market rates," said one informal
trader at the meeting.
"These three are ruining our cross-border businesses
Traders took turns to castigate the three politicians
accusing them of
working in cahoots with a city businessman of Indian origin
they said was
running an illegal bureau de change in the
Efforts to contact the three politicians proved fruitless as
they were said
to be out of their office or their mobile phones were switched
informal traders threatened to expose certain companies and bureaux
change they alleged were also buying forex on the black
"We are calling on government to close down all the bureaux
because they are all involved in this corruption," said another
adding that banks should be the only ones allowed to deal in
The informal traders also held a meeting with the Bulawayo
Ndabeni-Ncube who promised to look into their problems. The
alleged that all bureaux de change in the city were owned
and run by
politicians who employed women from the Apostolic Faith Church
middlepersons in forex deals.
The traders said they were buying
South African rands at $40 while the
official rate is eight and the Botswana
Pula at $60 when the official rate
is 10. The vice-chairman of the
association in Matabeleland, Clever Nyoni,
refused to be drawn on the
allegations raised saying it was too early to
Media Commission misses deadline
THE recently-appointed Media and Information Commission is still to
place the required documentation for the registration of media houses
journalists under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
The commission only started to prepare for registration by media
after a statutory deadline had expired last Friday with publication
regulations governing registration and specifying fees.
the new rules, mass media services are required to pay an application
$20 000 and a registration fee of $500 000.
Working journalists are
expected to pay $1 000 and $5 000 respectively for
accreditation while freelance journalists pay $500 and $2
journalists intending to work temporarily in Zimbabwe are
required to pay
US$50 and US$100 for application and registration. Foreign
media houses will
have to fork out US$2 000 and US$10 000 for application
The commission will be chaired by Dr Tafataona Mahoso,
who is principal
lecturer and head of the Division of Mass Communication at
Polytechnic. He is a vocal critic of the independent media and
ruling party's views in his newspaper columns.
confirmed on Tuesday that the commission was preparing the
"Forms would be available anytime this week for the
registration to start,"
Mahoso holds a PhD in History and
African Studies from Temple University,
Philadelphia in the United States,
obtained in 1986. His doctoral
dissertation was on The restraining influence
of white liberal thinking on
the leadership of the African liberation
movement in Zimbabwe 1920-1980. He
also holds a Masters degree in Literature
from Ohio University in the US.
Mahoso is a former chairman ofthe
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corpo-ration's board
of governors (1997-1998). He is
also a regular columnist in the government
weekly mouthpiece, the Sunday
Meanwhile, in London Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has called
for a total
Western media boycott of the Zimbabwe government's plan to
for reporting the country's affairs.
said: "We ought to have an agreed boycott by all the papers not
to pay at
all. All Western newspapers and broadcast media should simply
refuse to pay
this weird form of tax.
"I would hope we can go to the International
Press Institute and get an
agreed international position where we just refuse
to pay it."
MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT ZIMBABWE
Media Update No. 2002/20
– June 16th 2002
2. The Rome Food Summit
3. Police State
Bus crash brief
In a week in which the World Food Summit in Rome, regional famine and road
disasters dominated the domestic media, clear evidence continues to emerge in
the media that indicates Zimbabwe has become a fully-fledged police
During the week the private media reported a fresh wave of harassment
by state security agencies of those living in the home area of the political
opposition party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the MDC, and a more generalized
campaign of intimidation against the party’s officials, and a crackdown on its
activities in Manicaland.
All the media reported the fatal shooting of an
innocent taxi driver by the police at a roadblock in Harare. But while the
police described this needless killing as “regrettable”, it used the incident as
an opportunity to warn the public, via the unquestioning messenger of the state
media, that it was prepared to deal resolutely “in accordance with the law”,
with anybody engaging in disruptive activities, such as the MDC’s threatened
mass action. This threat was confirmed at the end of the week by the violent
police dispersal of an MDC meeting at its Harare offices leading to the arrest
and detention of more than 80 people, including media workers covering the
Another indication of the increasingly repressive civic environment
during the week was the opening of the trial of the first journalist charged
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which has been
widely condemned for its prohibitive effect on the constitutionally guaranteed
rights to freedom of expression, including access to information.
related event, the week also saw the gazetting of regulations concerning the
registration of media organizations and journalists.
accredited with the government before the media law was introduced have until
the end of the year before re-applying for accreditation, there is no similar
provision for the registration of media organizations. Under the Act, the
deadline for registration was given as June 16th, the day on which the
regulations were announced via a statement in the government Press (The Sunday
Mail), thus giving privately owned media no time to comply with the law. Nor has
there been any effort by government to explain the process. In addition, charges
are clearly excessive, especially for small media organizations that will find
it difficult to meet the Z$520,000 fee to apply and register.
Less clear is
the status of the government owned print media publishing under the Zimbabwe
Newspapers group. AIPPA states that any media organization established under an
Act of Parliament is exempt from registration. Since the Mass Media Trust, which
was established under an Act of Parliament, owns Zimpapers, the Community
Newspapers Group and ZIANA, it would suggest that all the group’s newspapers are
exempt from registration too.
This selective exemption process clearly
demonstrates that the restrictive conditions of the Act - policed by a Media
Commission, which can reject applications and withdraw registration- are aimed
at curbing the activities of the privately owned media.
MMPZ believes this
constitutes an intolerably biased and unconstitutional erosion of the nation’s
civil liberties and calls again on the authorities to replace this legislation
with a fair and equitable regulatory law that promotes media diversity under the
supervision of a representative, non-statutory media commission.
2. The Rome Food Summit
The state media used large tracts of its coverage of the UN’s World Food
Summit in Rome to promote President Mugabe’s claims that government’s fast-track
land reforms formed the basis for addressing food shortages in Zimbabwe. ZBC 10
& 11/6 8pm bulletins) and The Herald (11/6) reported Mugabe as telling the
FAO summit that “…where, previously only a handful of colonial settler farmers
were undertaking commercial farming…the country now had 260,000 farmers…sharing
12 million hectares of prime…land.” This, he said, had been government’s
response “to people’s cry for land to fight poverty and increase food
The same edition reported the FAO’s food security committee
identifying unfair land distribution as a major cause of hunger. The article
also reported the Ministry of Agriculture’s chief economist denying that
Zimbabwe’s land reforms had been criticized at the summit, and echoed comments
from the minister, Joseph Made, first reported on Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM the day
before (10/6 6am). The radio stations allowed him to fib about government
acquiring farms that had been “lying idle for a long time”. The bulletins also
quoted him saying that it was “improper and misdirected for some Western
countries to allege that the food shortage in Zimbabwe is a result of the land
But Mugabe, himself went further, accusing Britain and other outside
forces of using the “MDC to control the economy and the minds of the
In one of four stories about land and the summit that day, The
Herald (11/6) reported Mugabe telling Zimbabweans living in Rome that Britain
and its allies “…realized that if they lost control over land in Zimbabwe, the
same would happen in South Africa, Namibia and other countries in the region
where whites still owned vast tracks of land at the expense of the black
majority.” He also gave notice that this would also happen in the mining and
manufacturing sectors, which “…would be redistributed to the blacks.”
effort was made to question the President’s theory, although the next day The
Herald’s Morgan Handidi (12/6) claimed there was evidence the British High
Commissioner in Harare would be commanding the MDC’s mass protest plans using
“…high-tech mobile communication centres to be deployed throughout the
Masquerading as a news story on the opinion page, Handidi’s
propaganda item merely reported “regional intelligence” sources being concerned
by “the strategy being put in place by the British covert operatives as it is
designed to create as many casualties among the MDC activists in order to create
a pretext for foreign military intervention by the US and British
This Ian Fleming-style spy fantasy carried a number of other bizarre
and unsubstantiated theories, but presumably provided the background for the
paper to claim in its lead story at the end of the week (15/2) that security
agents had put High Commissioner Donnelly under 24-hour surveillance for what
“authoritative government sources” claimed was his involvement “in activities to
undermine the legitimate government of President Mugabe”.
The same edition of
The Herald (12/6) carried a front page story bearing the comments Mugabe made to
reporters at the Rome food summit that reflected what can only be described as
an abiding hate of Western nations. Castigating them for not taking seriously
the problems affecting Africa, Mugabe is quoted as saying: “These countries are
not for a solution. They would want to see us suffer more and more. And the more
we suffer the happier they because then we will go begging.
“This was a
summit to get solutions to probems…but…imperialists are for imperialists. They
are never for us and like (Ghana’s) Nkrumah used to say, only a dead imperialist
is a good imperialist.”
Ironically, another part of the same report itemized
the assistance Western institutions had pledged to Zimbabwe.
While Mugabe was
not alone in expressing his disappointment with the boycott of the summit by
major Western leaders, there was no report in the media that suggested other
leaders present appeared to wish them dead.
The Herald carried nine
summit-related stories in its six editions during the week, among them a denial
that Mugabe was being extravagant by staying at an expensive luxury hotel, as
reported in The Daily News (14/6) and The Zimbabwe Independent.
Minister, Jonathan Moyo also dismissed a story in South Africa’s Business Day
that Mugabe had come under attack from other leaders at the summit (The Herald
13/6), as reported by local journalist Dumisani Muleya, whose story on the same
topic appeared the next day in The Zimbabwe Independent (14/6). Quoting news
agency reports, the story, headlined ‘Mugabe under fire at food summit’, carried
comments from a senior USAID official previously carried by The Daily News
(11/6) and an EU MP in Brussels, both criticizing Mugabe’s presence in Rome. It
also reported the UN’s Human Rights Commissioner saying that some leaders were
“engineers of hunger and deprivation”. But nowhere did it say any of these
comments were actually made at the summit itself, thus providing Moyo with his
Earlier his permanent secretary, George Charamba was quoted as
saying from Rome, on ZTV (11/6, 8pm): “…The President actually got that rousing
welcome in terms of how the people reacted to his speech suggesting that the
question of land is not a Zimbabwean question. It was a question that resonates
throughout the world.”
The public broadcaster also denied private media
reports that Mugabe was being isolated in Rome and depended on Charamba to tell
its audiences “the President has kept us busy. Zimbabwe isolated? No, never at
Like the public print media, ZBC’s later bulletins outlined meetings
Mugabe held with Italian businessmen, leaders of friendly countries, top FAO
officials and UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and as proof, The Herald (15/6)
carried a front page photo that told a thousand words with beaming Zimbabweans
opposite a dour- faced Annan and an equally somber World Food Programme
The contents of that meeting was restricted to the WFP’s pledge of
food aid, but The Zimbabwe Independent, quoting The Times of London, reported
that Annan twice urged Mugabe to lift the state monopoly on imports and sale of
grain in Zimbabwe without success. The report was contained in the paper’s lead
story, headlined ‘Bread shortage looms’, which corroborated a story that
appeared earlier in the week in The Daily News reporting that the GMB had cut
wheat supplies to millers. Also on its front page, The Independent reported that
summit host, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, had snubbed a Zimbabwean request
for a meeting.
3. POLICE STATE
All sections of the media provided their audiences with evidence that
Zimbabwe is fast becoming a police state, although this was not pointed out in
the state media.
The private press and SW Radio Africa reported a number of
stories in which the police, together with members of the army and the CIO had
either beaten up MDC supporters or barred the opposition party’s activities. The
state media ignored most of these reports and only chose to report the shooting
of a taxi driver and the violent dispersal of the MDC’s commemoration of The Day
of the African Child at its offices in Harare (ZTV 16/6 8pm), which it reported
as saying the police believed could have been the seed of the threatened mass
ZBC (ZTV, 10/06, 8pm) reported the incident in which “a motorist was
shot dead by police when he failed to stop at a police controlled road block”
with the sensitivity of a brick and without attempting to find out why a human
life was trashed for such a trivial “crime”.
In the report, Reuben Barwe,
standing nonchalantly by the taxi with one hand in his trousers pocket and
without any apparent expression of sorrow stated (ZTV, 10/06, 8pm): “A
34-year-old man died in this vehicle early this morning when he was hit by the
police when they fired three warning shots and the fourth which hit him. He
tried to avoid the police roadblock at Coventry Road”. Instead of questioning
the police’s apparent disdain for human life, Barwe went on to quote police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena who appeared equally unmoved by the loss of life:
“Let me make it very clear that police roadblocks are security roadblocks
and anyone who tries to avoid them or tries to run through a police roadblock
stands to risk both life and property…” Bvudzijena warned.
stated that roadblocks were being mounted following the MDC’s calls for mass
action as if this non-event justified the shooting of the cabbie. Instead of
offering an investigation of the incident, Bvudzijena signaled the police’s
intention to deal ruthlessly with any sign from the MDC that it would exercise
its democratic right to peaceful protest: “We will be all out to deal with such
manifestations of any public disorder and they are best warned to stay out and
to let those peace loving people of Zimbabwe to go about…their various
The Herald the next morning (11/6) carried a similar story that
also made no effort to obtain any alternative version of the incident apart from
the aggressive response of the police.
The Daily News (11/6) however, quoted
the taxi’s passengers and the Rixi taxi company, as did SW Radio Africa later in
the day, stating that the police had not contacted either the family or Rixi by
the afternoon of that day.
None of the media however, have demanded from the
police statistics of the number of civilians its members have shot in the recent
past, or over the last two years to get some idea of the trend in this form of
The Herald’s report on the same day declaring that the MDC
had shelved its plans for a mass action protest was littered with
unsubstantiated allegations from sources who allegedly attended the party’s
weekend meeting, claiming that the opposition was planning violence.
oblique and piecemeal warnings of the security forces taking an uncompromising
attitude towards a restive public were given national form by The Financial
Gazette’s lead story (13/6), which told its readers that “security officials”
had said the government had put a crack army battalion and riot police units on
high alert in Harare under orders to crush any opposition mass action.
this would have come as no surprise to readers of The Daily News, which carried
a number of reports throughout the week of police and other security force
activities against the MDC, especially in Manicaland.
In its Wednesday issue
(12/6), the paper reported a particularly pernicious police circular distributed
in Mutare warning citizens against exercising their democratic duty to be
involved in civil politics: “Do not get involved in political protests over
matters of governance…” the paper quoted the circular as saying bluntly. The
acting police spokesman for Manicaland, who distributed the paper, was quoted
saying: “I’m just warning people that the action is illegal and may result in
Another story in the same edition reported that the
police and CIO had banned MDC activities in Chimanimani, assaulted party members
and closed down its offices. The Daily News (10/6) opened the week with news of
soldiers re-occupying the farm belonging to the MDC MP for Chimanimani. And in
its Saturday edition (15/6), The Daily News reported that nearly 170 MDC
supporters had been arrested in neighboring Chipinge North for attending a party
meeting in the area. The same story reported that police had also raided the
Buhera home of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the second time in a month, a
story that was followed up by The Standard (16/6). Most stories accessed the
information from MDC officials and attempts to obtain police comment were also
None of these stories appeared in the state media.
again demonstrated their zeal in breaking up MDC meetings at the end of the week
when they attacked MDC supporters who had gathered to commemorate the Day of the
African Child. ZBC (ZTV & 3FM 16/06, 8pm) reported that 80 MDC members
including Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, were arrested for holding an illegal
gathering. ZTV’s reporter Justin Manyau stated: “ Acting on a tip off…that the
MDC was preparing to hold a mass action under the guise of commemorating youth
international day, police went to the MDC Harare district at Mbuya Nehanda
Street and found the Highfield MP…addressing an illegal gathering…” A police
officer was quoted justifying why they arrested the MDC. The MDC was not quoted
or sought to give their side of the story. There was barely any mention of the
violence until the story appeared in The Daily News (17/6).
4. BUS CRASH BRIEF
All the media extensively covered the bus disaster outside Masvingo in
which 37 student teachers died, and the subsequent accident that claimed 11 more
lives. But The Daily News (11/6) quoted survivors of the first accident saying
the emergency services took hours to arrive at the scene, a claim they denied.
The state owned media ignored this possibility and ZBC feasted on the tragedies
carrying stories throughout the week. ZTV, incredibly allocated nearly 57
minutes (25%) to the accidents out of the four hours of monitored news items on
its 8pm bulletins in the week.
The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
RE the article : Give in to Mugabe, tobacco body tells farmers
"What are the ZTA people trying to achieve -- or what do they think they
can achieve in an economy contracting by 10%-15% a year with their own sector
particularly in distress? Do they expect that distributing tobacco farms to the
ZANU-PF or Army elite is the best way to secure a recovery in the production and
exports of the crop??
They sound to me like these German Jewish associations in the 1930s, who
encouraged their members to cooperate with the Nazi regime because after all,
that was the elected government of Germany...
Besides, the journalist from Sapa is happy to present the whole info under
a ZANU-sympathetic angle: "the reforms are an attempt to correct longstanding
inequities in land ownership"... "About 70 percent of the country's prime
farmland is in the hands of whites"... And the news is from Sapa-AFP -- how can
AFP be associated with such writers of nonsense?"JfM
France Donates Equipment to ZDF
The Herald (Harare) - government paper
Posted to the web June 20, 2002
THE Minister of Defence, Dr
Sydney Sekeramayi, yesterday hailed France for
remaining resolute and sincere
in its dealings with Zimbabwe despite
pressure from some European countries
which are hostile to the country.
He said this at a handover ceremony where
France donated audio-visual
equipment to the Zimbabwe Defence
"What makes this donation special is the fact that it comes at a
Zimbabwe's relationship with some quarters of the international
not very sound," he said.
Zimbabwe, he said, had a bad image
tag among some quarters of the
international community for embarking on the
land reform programme, which
seeks to redress past socio-economic
"I am satisfied, however, to note that despite this standoff,
Government (France) has remained resolute and sincere in its dealings
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in particular," Cde
The audio-visual equipment comprised three television
sets, three video
recorders, three satellite dishes and three
"It is only proper and befitting that we continue to build upon
friendship and co-operation that has been characteristic of
relationship," he said.
French ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Didier
Ferrand said his country remained
committed to see Zimbabwe develop in the
interest of its people and the
However, he acknowledged that
France, together with other European
countries, had raised concerns over the
political and economic situation in
He hoped, as the French
President had said in a letter to President Mugabe
on Independence Day, that
Zimbabwe with the support of the international
community, would find again
the path to appeasement and reconciliation
through political dialogue to
ensure peace and development in the country.
"This clear, but friendly
message, and the decisions taken by the European
Union does not prevent us
from wishing to maintain good bilateral relations
with Zimbabwe," Mr Ferrand
Zimbabwe has over the years benefited from financial assistance
1,65 million French francs ($20 billion) for the development of
private and public sector.
France has also supplied the country
with an assortment of military
vehicles, notably the ACMAT and the VVIP
The two countries signed bilateral agreements on
military, economic and
Real debate on Nepad yet to
NEPAD is flavour of the month. For much of this coming week, when
gather in Kananaskis, Alberta, to discuss the recovery plan's
merits with a
group of African presidents, and in the weeks following, we can
hear of little else. It will also be at the top of the African
agenda when it meets in Durban next month.
Obasanjo and Wade are the leading advocates of the plan ù
the New Partnership
for Africa's Development ù but because they crafted it
with a minimum of
consultation with their own civil societies it is meeting
That's because it appears to fit too comfortably with current
demands for good governance and the economic imperatives of
It is also too "top-down" in terms of policy-making, critics
In Zimbabwe, Crisis in Zimbabwe, an NGO umbrella group, has provided
for debate on the issues arising. The South African NGOs, mostly
Cosatu and the South African Council of Churches, are debating
Nepad advocates in Canada this week are therefore
likely to face criticism
from two very different quarters: Critics of Thabo
Mbeki will say he and his
African partners have not done enough to resolve
problems in their own
backyard ù the flawed Zambian and Zimbabwean elections
and civil strife in
Madagascar come to mind ù while civic groups linked to
anti-globalisation movement will argue that they have been left out of
The G8 have agreed among themselves to give the "three wise
men" a chance to
prove their resolve. Mbeki, Obasanjo and Wade will not be
given all the
US$64 billion on offer. It will be handed out piecemeal, thus
in a process rather than an event.
That is the reason
Canada gives, for instance, for not bothering too much
about Mbeki's manifest
failure to rein-in Harare's rogue regime. They will
get around to that, G8
leaders have convinced themselves.
On Wednesday Mbeki told parliament in
Cape Town, following the funeral of
ANC activist Peter Mokaba where the crowd
chanted Mokaba's revolutionary
slogan "Kill the farmer, kill the Boer", that
nobody had the right to
threaten the lives of others. His remarks came
against a background of farm
slayings in South Africa.
farmers are as much African as I am," Mbeki stated.
His remarks will
resonate across the Limpopo where lawlessness and killings
on farms have been
used as a strategy to demoralise and evict farmers with
an attendant food
It is that food crisis that is now concentrating minds in Canada
wherever else governments are being asked to relieve mass
Traditional donors are already leading relief efforts. But the
post-mortem will focus on why agriculturally productive states were
sabotage the means of their own survival. Zimbabwe stands out as a
egregious criminal folly in this regard.
Nepad faces another
danger. If the African Union or Libya are allowed to
hijack it from its
present custodians it will be the end of the scheme.
Remarks by OAU
secretary-general Salim Ahmed Salim suggest there will be an
redefine it in African terms. The terms will be those of despotic
with a record of abuse, not civil societies whose views are
crucial to its
We are seeing a familiar pattern here. At the World Economic
in Durban recently Simba Makoni committed Zimbabwe to the Nepad
there are already signs of hostility from those in President
circle. Like other policies the Finance minister has attempted
Nepad in Zimbabwe is likely to fall victim to ideological
thus isolate the country further.
Those who see next
week's meeting in Canada as Nepad's big hurdle should
look again. Kananaskis
will be a breeze compared to the challenges it has
yet to face.
Farm Invasions And Security
This report does not
purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial
farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers
from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names,
are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN
· Gutu/Chatsworth - Rustling of cattle is
occurring on an almost daily basis. Harassment of farm owners continues.
Snaring, poaching and hunting continue. Grazing issues are now becoming a
very serious issue.
· Nyamandlovu - Poaching on many
properties is almost out of control, with National Parks Anti-Poaching Unit
initially proving to be very successful, but are now being hindered and their
movements restricted by the Police in Nyamandlovu.
· Kwekwe - Pegging has started up again on
· Mwenezi - on Lot 21A, a Mr. John Mhlanga, said
to be in the employment of Farm Development Trust, tried to force the farm
labour to drink water from the water trough. This water is not fit for human
consumption and is only used for cattle. The labour refused to obey his threats.
Mhlanga then went to the owner’s house, who was absent at the time, and made
several attempts to break in, which failed. From there he went to the owner’s
slaughter area where an animal had just been skinned and stole
· Selous - The DA went to one farm and threatened
the owner with arrest should he be working from Monday 24.06.02 onwards, when
his 45 days are completed as per the Section 8 Order. The DA said, "we are now
· Suri-Suri - On Kasama Farm evidence of up to 20
slaughtered cows has been found.
General - there were a number
of Section 7 Notices handed out in Nyazura and Rusape area. Otherwise all is
No report received.
MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
Norton - On
Kilvington Farm, which is singly owned, settlers are stopping seedbeds from
Selous - The DA went to one
farm and threatened the owner with arrest should he be working from Monday
24.06.02 onwards, when his 45 days are completed as per the Section 8 Order.
The DA said, "we are now armed". On Exwick where "war vets" evicted the manager
and his belongings last week, they now threaten to evict the rest of the workers
as no action has been taken by the police against them. One of the "war vets",
Mr Ruinga, carries an AK7 and is from the C.I.O.
Suri-Suri - On Kasama Farm
evidence of up to 20 slaughtered cows has been found.
Chegutu - On Farnham, which is
unlisted and singly owned, settlers are building brick houses, and huts are
going up within 50 metres of the security fence.
Chakari - The status quo
remains, with no farmers allowed to plant any crops.
Kadoma - On Hellaby Farm where
the owners were evicted several months ago and had their house looted, the
workers are starting to get hungry. Although they have been paid off, the
owners snuck back to the farm and delivered food. The "war vets" found out
about this, and the labour were marched to the main "war vet" base on Alabama
Farm and told they were to never receive food from the owner, and the owner was
to never be allowed back on to his farm.
Battlefields - On Overlaw
Ranch the owner was in the process of taking a pump to be repaired. The pump is
necessary to supply the citrus orchards with water. Settlers commandeered the
pump, and refused have it leave the property. The situation was eventually
resolved after considerable liaison with the police, but no one was
Masvingo East and Central -
Bon Air Farm had one cow and two impala reported caught in snares in the past
Chiredzi – plenty of fires
reported. Settlers continue to be very active on most properties. The usual high
incidence of poaching and snaring all over.
Mwenezi - As reported in the
last Sitrep, on Lot 21A, a Mr. John Mhlanga, who is said to be in the employment
of Farm Development Trust, tried to force the farm labour to drink water from
the water trough. This water is not fit for human consumption and is only used
for cattle. Usually the owner transports clean water in for human consumption.
The labour refused to obey his threats. Mhlanga then went to the owner’s house,
who was absent at the time, and made several attempts to break in, which failed.
>From there he went to the owners slaughter area where an animal had just
been skinned and stole meat. He then departed and, accompanied by a fellow
companion from the Chiredzi Veterinary Department, proceeded to Asveldt Farm.
They both threatened the owner telling him to remove himself off the property as
the property was now under their control. The owner visited the Chiredzi DA on
19.06.02 who confirmed this was not right or even legal. Rutenga
Ranch reports cattle continue to be slaughtered. The borehole near the
homestead, where the owner waters his 96 head of cattle remaining on the
property, is currently supplying a large number of communal cattle from this and
surrounding properties with water – approximately as many as 2000 head. There is
no other water source in the vicinity.
The Quagga Pan A water pipeline continues to be vandalized almost daily.
The Limbergia Ranch owner has removed fencing on certain paddocks where the wire
is continuously being stolen, and has stored it on the property. The settlers
demanding the fencing be returned subsequently confronted the owner, and
threatened him if he did not return the fencing. The owner contacted the Police
to resolve the issue pointing out that the fencing is kept on the farm under
safekeeping. Police informed owner that their vehicle has a flat wheel and they
are unable to attend immediately.
Mateke Hills – the Valley
Ranch owner reports 10 cattle have disappeared. Stock theft has not been ruled
out and investigations continue. The Battlefields Ranch owner reports a District
Lands Committee official (name not yet disclosed) has been issuing the A2
settlers with certificates to take up their plots. The owner was told to choose
his 2000 ha plot. The owner also reports 14 cattle have disappeared. Stock theft
has not been ruled out and investigations continue.
General - Grazing gets scarcer
by the day. Cattle are not in good condition and mortality from poverty has
started and is bound to increase dramatically in the near future. Although
settlers are being removed from two properties, the exercise is not effective as
they are merely being pushed on to neighbouring properties. Also of note is they
are removed from areas where they have already destroyed the environment and
sent to areas hitherto relatively unaffected, so the destruction begins again.
The motive for the removal of these settlers is also suspect – it is understood
that a Zaka MP is to occupy one of the properties. All the usual criminal
activities continue unabated – poaching is rampant, slaughter of cattle, wire
theft, fence destruction, cutting, burning and building. National Parks personnel from Masvingo have
been in the area over the past week asking farmers to complete a short
questionnaire aimed at establishing the position of wildlife and environment. We
hope this precedes some action.
Gutu / Chatsworth – at Bath
Farm on Tuesday 18.06.02, approximately 100 settlers confronted the owner. After
returning from town the owner found his remaining dairy cattle and sheep
confined within the security fence of the homestead. He was told to not remove any livestock and
serious threats were made on his life and he was told in no uncertain terms he
should be off the property by the following day midday. This was reported by the owner to the
Chatsworth Police who said they had no transport, but would attend the following
day. They duly arrived the following day and spent approximately two hours
listening to the settlers’ demands and allegations towards the owner. Police
responded by requesting the settlers put everything in writing to the DA who
would then investigate and make a final decision. The situation has temporarily
been resolved. Some of the demands and allegations made were:
1. The owner is not allowed to remove the
remaining livestock from the security fence enclosure.
2. The owner’s dogs are not allowed to bark at the
school children. (School has been established 50 metres away from owner’s
3. Settlers are continuously wasting water from
the water source surrounding the homestead.
The owner requested they be more conservative and if need be a
restriction would be put in place. This was unacceptable for the
4. The owner has frequently been told to remove
himself from the farm and they complain he has not done
incident was also taken up with the PA, who indicated the owner had already
received a Section 8 Order and he should be off the property already as it had
been officially acquired. When it was pointed out to the PA that the amendment
to the Land Acquisition Act has brought all Section 8s in line with an effective
date of 10th May 2002 and 90 days expiring 8 – 10th August
2002 the PA commented that he was not aware of this and if so, why have the
Provincial and the District Land Committees etc not been notified. He undertook
to look into the matter and contact the DA to resolve the incident on this
General - Rustling of cattle
is occurring on an almost daily basis. Harassment of farm owners continues.
Snaring, poaching and hunting continue. Grazing issues are now becoming a
very serious issue.
Kwekwe - Pegging has started
up again on Machakwe Estates. The owners of Bonsted, Die Weivelde, Long Valley
and New Farm received Section 8 Orders and told to be out by 30.08.02. Poaching
continues on Beta Farm.
Nyamandlovu – at
Porter Farm on 17.06.02, Mr Mkwananzi, along with five others arrived and told
the owner he was "sub-human" and they were going to break into his Safari Camp
and take up residence. The occupant of a
Government vehicle registration GYD 25 also informed the owner that he had been
given a 900-hectare plot. Mr Mkwananzi
and his followers went to the Safari Camp, broke into the main building, took up
residence and are constructing a cattle kraal within 50 metres of the camp
buildings. This was reported to the OIC,
Z.R.P. Nyamandlovu, Insp. R.F. Ncube, who told the owner he would have to talk
to the D.A. before any charges could be laid.
The people resident in the camp also stole maize from a nearby land on
the same property. Although reported to
the Police, no reaction as yet.
General - Poaching on many
properties is almost out of control, with National Parks Anti-Poaching Unit
initially proving to be very successful, but are now being hindered and their
movements restricted by the Police in Nyamandlovu.
Unless specifically stated that this
message is a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or
forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions
contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on
behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does
not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by
the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network
users and/or to external addressees.
let everyone know:
Harrison would like to have telephone numbers circulated to those who face
possible eviction on June 24, 2002. She
would like to avoid being inundated with a deluge of calls all on the same day,
so those who feel they will need assistance with animals, please contact her
From the Jewish World Review
Robert W. Tracinski
Today, more than a million people in
Zimbabwe are starving, and up to three
million face the imminent prospect of
starvation. This has not yet excited
much attention in the West. Zimbabwe,
after all, is far away from the
centers of American interest; all of our top
reporters are in Kandahar and
But this case is important,
not because of any direct effect it may have on
the United States, but
because it is a pure, distilled example of the larger
trend that is
destroying the world: the West's loss of moral confidence.
of confidence is codified in the doctrines of the academic left.
folks who brought us "postmodernism" and "multiculturalism" brought
another variation on the same theme: "post-colonialism." In today's
code words, "post-" really means "anti-." "Post-colonialism" is the
that every evil in the world is caused by Western powers trying to
control over non-Western countries. More fundamentally, the
condemn any attempt by the West to assert the superiority
of our ideals --
narrow notions like individual rights and the rule of
law -- over the
primitive way of life of "indigenous peoples."
Everything that is
happening in Zimbabwe is being done in full accord with
the doctrines of
If every evil is caused by colonialism, then the
heart of the problem must
be the colonists themselves. In Zimbabwe, that
means thousands of white
British farmers who settled in Zimbabwe's sparsely
populated countryside and
built a prosperous agricultural economy. The
settler's use of Western
agricultural techniques, combined with the benefits
of British law and
order, made Zimbabwe into the breadbasket of southern
Africa, an exporter of
grain on which all of its neighbors relied. But in
accordance with leftist
philosophy, Zimbabwe's post-colonial ruler, Robert
Mugabe, denounced the
white farmers and hatched a scheme for "land
In the language of tin-pot dictatorships, "reform" means
"theft." For years,
Mugabe has allowed armed gangs to occupy white-owned
murdering the owners, as a precursor to a plan to seize the
for redistribution to poor blacks. (In reality, the farms
are going to
The result? People are starving in
Zimbabwe, not because there is a drought,
but because hundreds of thousands
of acres of crops have not been planted.
Some farms are fallow because they
are occupied by armed thugs. Others are
unused because of a law threatening
white farmers with two years in prison
if they plant without government
permission, which has not been given. Other
farms are unplanted simply
because no one in his right mind would go to the
trouble of planting crops
that will be seized before he can harvest them.
When you make war on
the farmers, what can you expect but famine?
for this disastrous policy is pure post-colonialism:
"Land, being the most
important natural resource of any country, must belong
to . . . the
indigenous people." This is also, you might have noticed, an
of racism: whites must have their farms seized because they
Now Mugabe is following the playbook of history's more
using famine to liquidate his political opposition. But
he is going one
better by getting the United Nations to help him starve his
is how Shari Eppel, the director of the African civil-rights
Trust, describes the process: "International food donors are
feeding centers aimed at destitute families, but once the donors
on, the bullies move in and decide who gets fed and who doesn't."
relatives and children of opposition supporters are condemned to
How can the United Nations allow this? The U.N. and its
Western donors are
just playing along with the post-colonialist ground rules.
The West is
supposed to regard Africa's poverty as the product of our evil
never mind the facts. So it's our duty to send buckets of money
and food --
but we are not supposed to enforce any rules on how the money is
how the food is distributed, because that kind of control would,
In the middle of the famine he created,
Mugabe had the effrontery this week
to attend a U.N.-sponsored World Food
Summit in Rome. There, representatives
from African nations dined lavishly
while they blamed their famines on the
West's failure to give more
Welcome to the "post-colonialist" world, where Third World
the West for their sins. The West caves in -- and lets the
dictators keep on
Beef Shortage Looms As Farmers Destock
June 21, 2002
Posted to the web June 21,
THE accelerated destocking exercise
under way on most commercial farms as a
result of continued land occupations
will negatively impact on the
availability of beef both for local consumption
Cattle Producers Association(CPA) chief executive Paul
d'Hotman said farmers
served with Section 8 notices had no alternative than
to destock. As some
95% of commercial farms have been listed for acquisition
and over 60% of
them having received Section 8 notices, uncertainty is
"Many farmers were forced to destock because of grazing
by settlers and as a result the commercial herd has been
He said although all recognised beef
exports were currently suspended as a
result of the 2001 foot-and-mouth
outbreak, the markets required higher
quality grades of beef supplied by the
"As the commercial beef herd in Zimbabwe shrinks, so
does the ability of the
country to meet export market commitments," he
"Apart from the quality factor, the actual supply of beef to the
diminish because the small-scale sector has a traditional
off-take of less
than 5% compared to 20% or more in the commercial
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Mashonaland West (South) regional
Ben Freeth said as of last week 387 250 beasts had been
countrywide since the start of the invasions.
is being done as a result of pressure from the new owners who do
the animals to graze," Freeth said.
"Some of the cattle on the farms are
being seized under the guise of paying
'termination benefits' for retrenched
"Disturbances in the commercial farming sector resulted in
beef herd recording a 45% decline in the breeding herd over
the past year,"
"Up to 30% of the commercial beef herd has
been slaughtered as farms were
burnt out and herds driven off farms. Of
concern is the breeding stock that
is being slaughtered but more importantly
the pedigree herds, which provide
the quality genetics on improving the
national herd, are being sent to the
butcher," he said.
supplied by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) indicate a
Females bulled in the 12 months to March 31 1999, 2000 and
2001 are 508 000,
436 000 and 378 000, respectively.
In the recent CSO survey, bulling for
the period up to March 2002 declined
to 282 000 head.
herd normally supplies up to 80% of exportable cattle, which
earns Zimbabwe foreign currency of up to US$60 million
Zimbabwe exports 9 100 tonnes of beef every year to fulfil
Union beef quota. The country also needs about 12 000 tonnes of
beef for Libya, South Africa and other markets such as
Please could you read this vital background info that will
position of Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association. It also sheds
light as to
why our country is in the food deficit situation that has lead to
famine in the once feted 'break basket' of Africa!
those of you who can open the attachment (only a one pager) - you will
that South Africa do NOT have a surplus of food so they will NOT come to
Please feel free to publish any of this info.
ZIMBABWE GRAIN PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN'S
ANNUAL REPORT SUMMARY
ANDREW MEIKLE CHAIRMAN 20th JUNE 2002
morning invited guest speaker, members of Grain South Africa,
Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association (ZGPA), Zimbabwe Cereal
Association (ZCPA) and Combined Oilseeds Producers Association
members, ladies and gentlemen welcome to the 34th Annual Congress of
Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association. (All three AGMs were
Tabled is my detailed Annual Report of the
activities of the Association
over the past year and I ask you to read
through it in your own time.
However, there are few points from the report,
which I would like to
highlight here this morning.
The 2 years that I
have been in office have proved to be possibly the most
frustrating for the maize producer and sadly as a result the
itself in a serious food deficit situation. Although our
comes after an extremely difficult rainy season it follows a
period of 6 good
rainy seasons in a row, which were very favorable for maize
However due to the lack of leadership, policy and direction the
fallen on hard times with absolutely no reserves to call on.
me, as I know this Association has consistently tried to be
trying to resolve a situation, which we have continually warned
potential disaster for the country's food security. In spite of this
members have been on the receiving end of much bad publicity about how
commercial farmer has tried to sabotage the grain industry.
would like to take this opportunity to inform you of the efforts
Association to communicate with Government in the past year and
proposals, which could have helped sustain producer confidence,
production levels and prevent the disastrous situation we find
today. Furthermore I would like to highlight facts on the
which is proving to be totally inadequate.
February 2001, we corresponded with the GMB Chairman, asking what
intentions of the Board were to recompense maize growers for
considerable losses when payments were not forthcoming during the
season. There was no response from the GMB on this matter and I
this was the beginning of the decline in producer
In April 2001 we addressed by correspondence the Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement recommending a producer price of
per tonne for the 2001/02 marketing year.
A price of Zd$7500
per tonne was announced initially, and was later raised
to $8500 per tonne,
and subsequently to Zd$15000 per tonne. There is no
logic in this pricing
As far as the producer is concerned this indicates the level
at which the
market is distorted and as a result adding to the decline in
A further factor attributing to the decline in confidence is
that of the
maize theft issue and that was also addressed to the
In August 2001 we corresponded once again to the Minister
and Rural Resettlement, expressing our deep concern
relating to the
re-control of the local maize market in terms of S.I. 235A of
16 July 2001,
and the negative effects on the production base, the market,
At the same time we advised Government of the urgent
need to make
preparations to begin importing maize as early as beginning
to overcome the increasing logistical
Furthermore in the same correspondence recommendations were
Government and GMB contract producers directly for guaranteed
deliveries during March, April and May 2002. This recommendation was
face of a deficit of 200,000 tonnes up to the 31st March 2002,
suggesting the saving of foreign currency by encouraging local
Sadly, no response was received.
In September 2001
further correspondence was sent to the Permanent Secretary
making the following recommendations to increase the
production of maize by
1. Contracting producers for early, guaranteed deliveries to
2. Allowing users of maize including the livestock industry, to
directly with producers for their maize requirements during the
3. Decontrolling Yellow Maize.
of this proposal were sent to the Ministry of Finance, and to the
No response from the Ministry of Agriculture nor the GMB and a
the Ministry of Finance in January 2002 referring us back to the
In October 2001 GMB put out the first tender
for the importation of 150,000
tonnes. The tender fails due to unsustainable
conditions laid out by GMB.
In December 2001 GMB reported to hold 96,000
tonnes in stock. And yet no
imports had landed. ZGPA forecast that GMB will
run out of maize before
31st December 2001.
GMB re-issue Tender for
the supply of 150,000 tonnes, again the tender
fails, with a deadlock in
discussions relating to conditions of delivery set
out by GMB.
time the GMB Chairman approached the Association to enquire about
stocks and mechanisms to attract surplus maize. ZGPA recommended
price review from $8500 to $15000 may attract surpluses but assured
not more than 20,000 - 30,000 tonnes believed to be held on-farm at
time. Some of these stocks would be destined to sustain livestock and
on farms, as producers were aware of the pending shortage.
December 2001 GMB reviewed the price from Zd$8500/tonne to
and on the 28th December introduced SI 387 compelling the
delivery of all
maize to GMB.
This has lead to further decline in confidence and will
have a long-term
negative effect on production if it is not lifted.
January 2002 ZGPA see SI 387 as a contradiction to the Act, which
producers to retain maize for their on-farm consumption. However,
advise that in terms of the Act, the Powers of the Board allows for
decision or action to be taken that is believed to be conducive to
This was the beginning of the maize seizures from
commercial farmers who
have now reached a stage where they would rather not
produce maize than be
subject to this humiliating legislation.
stocks reported to be 30,000 tonnes, and this comprises of the
36,000 tonnes of maize seized from commercial farmers. No imported
In mid-February 2002 Imported maize starts
landing in the country.
In March 2002 ZGPA meets with the GMB on 14th
March 2002. GMB reported
landed to date 50,000 tonnes of maize.
request the opportunity to meet with Government, together with
representatives of maize producers, to discuss the principles of the
season's producer price.
To-date no Agricultural Marketing Policy
has been released, although this
should be out prior to the new marketing
year on 1st April. Producers have
been forced to deliver maize to the GMB at
last years' price of $15000
awaiting the announcement of a new price. The
cost of this to the producers
' account once again.
It was at this
meeting with the GMB, that we highlighted the potential for a
crop, with 2 potential planting dates, namely June and
encouragement from Government and Grain Marketing Board, we
potential 80,000 - 120,000 tonnes could be produced to supplement
crop. However, producers will require commitment on the part of
to ensure the safe harvest and delivery of this crop. To-date
By 20th March 2002, GMB issues a further tender for the
supply of 200,000
tonnes; again delivery terms are unrealistic, with required
200,000 tonnes within 5 weeks.
In April 2002 GMB report
92,000 tonnes of maize landed to date. This would
indicate 45,000 tonnes per
month landing, or 11,000 tonnes per week.
In May 2002 GMB/Government have
contracted 400,000 tonnes of maize, of which
over 150,000 tonnes has landed
as of 21st May 2002.
Within the time frame this amount of imported maize
is totally inadequate to
meet the requirements of Zimbabwe's people and
unless something is urgently
done this country faces serious
So at the end of the day, can one honestly say that it is the
farmer that has sabotaged food security and is responsible for the
crisis we find ourselves in today?
Food security is a lot more
complex than Land Reform, and it is the
responsibility of the Government to
put in place an enabling environment to
return confidence to the maize
producer of Zimbabwe, both small scale and
large scale alike.
to achieve an enabling environment the following support measures
restored to the grain industry:
Ø The Land Reform programme must be
Ø The return of timely Agricultural Policy Statements;
removal of all legislation to enable a free and transparent marketing
where the price is dictated by supply and demand;
Ø The management of the
Grain Marketing Board should be transparent and
accountable, and at the same
time maintain the Strategic Grain Reserve to
safeguard the nation's food
security, but not to be used to interfere with
Ø The maize
theft issue is a serious deterrent to commercial maize
production, which has
supplied between 50% - 70% of the total maize to the
country's market, and it
is urgently required of the judicial system to
recognise this threat to
Zimbabwe's food security;
Ø Adequate financial and technical support must be
well placed to assist all
farmers to achieve levels of production to support
CHAIRMAN - ZIMBABWE GRAIN PRODUCERS
Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91
300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978
or (+2634) 703829 Office email : email@example.com
A member of the
International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR MAIZE, WHEAT, BARLEY AND OILSEEDS IN SOUTH
Total RSA consumption in
Additional imports needed