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ZIMBABWE: Uncertainty as deadline looms for farm acquisitions

©  Commercial Farmers Union

Commercial farmers and farm workers face an uncertain future

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.

As the 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.

ALB 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 normal.

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 affected.

"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 small-scale farming.

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 saying.


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21 June 2002 11:59
Legislation shuts down farms

News release
(On behalf of Commercial Farmers' Union)

TITLE: Legislation shuts down farms

THE 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
3 232 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 the Union.
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 hectares;
Relisted: 342 farms, 771 547 hectares.
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 evictions.
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 higher.
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 hectares;
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 Williams
Mobile +263 91 300 456 or 11 213 885
Email: or
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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Zim Independent

Food donors threaten pull-out
Augustine Mukaro
MAJOR food donors have threatened to suspend aid to Zimbabwe unless
government removes constraints preventing the private sector from importing
grain to feed over six million Zimbabweans facing starvation, it emerged
this week.

Diplomats said donors have started to question government's commitment to
stave off hunger when it was deliberately stifling private-sector
participation in food imports. They said suspension of supplies was now a
real possibility.

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.

World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Makena Walker this week said the
United Nations 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.

UNDP country representative Victor Angelo said all means to address the food
crisis should be pursued and the private sector should not be left out.

"We have called for meetings with senior government officials next week
seeking the engagement of private-sector participation in food importation,"
Angelo said.

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.

"Humanitarian food-aid 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 happening."

Nielson said the EU was "gravely concerned" over the magnitude of the food
crisis facing Zimbabwe.

United States embassy spokesperson in Harare Bruce Wharton said government
should seriously consider the role of the private sector to alleviate the
food crisis.

"Involvement of private traders will certainly improve food availablity
because the tremendous difference between the parallel market and the
official rate is increasing, making it difficult for government to import
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
depots countrywide.
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Zim Independent

Bid to prosecute Mugabe
Mthulisi Mathuthu
WITH only 10 days before the permanent International Criminal Court comes
into force, 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 prosecution.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent from London, a former student
activist, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the Association of the
Zimbabwean Relatives of Disappeared or Executed Political Activists was
formed in the British capital last weekend.

"I can confirm that such an organisation has been formed but I can't
disclose everything about it because we are yet to register," he said.

The association is seeking to register as a charitable organisation in the
UK where it will seek funding to assist its members to campaign for Mugabe
and his inner circle's prosecution. Members include the victims of
government crackdown on civilians during the two periods between 1982-1987
and from February 2000.

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, two organisations
that have championed the human rights cause for 26 years in that country.

"Going to the Hague is obviously an unfortunate option for us but we are
forced to if the situation continues like this in Zimbabwe. With the
formation of the ICC we will be able to deal with lawlessness," the activist

"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 was ongoing.

"When you have known criminals remaining on the loose," said Kagoro,
"killing of innocent farmers continuing, seizing of properties escalating
with little or no action taking place, then you should know that
international intervention is justifiable."
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Zim Independent

D-Day for farmers
Vincent Kahiya
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 operations.

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 homesteads until
August 10 but they are not allowed to plant crops or undertake any other
agricultural activity.

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 June 7.

"With the on-going service of Section 8 Orders, it is not unreasonable to
assume that 60% of CFU members' farms (about 2 900) are now subject to a
Section 8 Order," a CFU spokesperson said yesterday.

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 have been
compensated for improvements and equipment still on the farms. Duke de
Cudroy of Banket said farmers were in a dilemma as to how they were to
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 their


"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," he said

The Zimbabwe Independent learnt yesterday that some of the affected farmers
who had applied to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
to be allowed to continue farming this week received certificates of service
from the ministry headed "Letter to continue farming".

Farmers who spoke to the Independent yesterday said they were not able to
gather much from the letters which lacked detail and were fraught with

Vernon Nicole of Banket who received a letter this week said it was not easy
to get a clear interpretation.

"You can 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
permission to continue farming."

But like many others he is not closing shop.

CFU chairman for Mashonaland West Ed Gundry yesterday said the regional
executive had advised farmers to stop work on Monday.

"We have advised farmers to stop work on Monday so that they don't become
criminals in their own country," he said.

"We have also advised them to put workers on forced leave pending
clarification from the government."
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Zim Independent


Clearly not 'sharing a joke' in Rome

"A PICTURE tells a thousand words," it is said. And last Saturday's photo on
the front page of the Herald told us all we need to know about President
Mugabe's status in Rome last week where he was attending an FAO summit.
While George Charamba claimed he was bodily aching from all the work he had
been doing to set up meetings with prominent Italians, Mugabe was pictured
with Stan Mudenge on one side of the negotiating table gamely smiling for
the camera, while on the other Kofi Annan and the World Food Programme's
head Tim Morris looked distinctly unamused.

Their faces 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
was welcome. 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 claimed.

Michael Jackson spent $20 900 on the Imperial suite at Meikles when he
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
project, having already pulled out of the Tokwe-Mukorsi scheme and the
solar-power project because of failed undertakings by government. It will be
interesting to see exactly how much materialises from the latest trip.

President Mugabe's 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
supporters, acting on a tipoff that Mugabe had checked out of the Excelsior
Hotel after journalists discovered he was a guest there, staged a loud
protest outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on the Via Virgilio shortly after
midnight on Wednesday.

"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.

Tatchell made a racket outside the embassy until almost 1am. He banged on
the embassy's doors, slammed its heavy metal knockers, rang the emergency
night buzzer, and shouted up to the embassy's higher-level residential
floors where the ambassador lives and where Mugabe was believed to be

"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 Slobodan

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 MDC.

It is not entirely clear if Mugabe lost any sleep over this latest incident
by the head of OutRage!, but the rest of the neighbourhood certainly did.

'Security agents have placed the British High Commissioner, Mr Brian
Donnelly, under 24-hour surveillance," Phillip Magwaza told us in the Herald
last Saturday.

"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 prosecution."

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 mass action
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
condition of anonymity.

Huni said NGOs were meeting last Sunday to unveil the planned methodology in
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 difficulty chairing
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

That's because he has evidently never been asked for 800 words or a thousand
words and, despite being a media trainer, would probably have difficulty
recognising such a requirement. Nor, it seems, would his editors presume to
cut his stories down to a reasonable size so they are more accessible to the
reading public.

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 please.

Tel*One is part of Zimbabwe's cutting-edge communications scene. On Sunday,
June 9 it took out an advertisement in the local media headed "It's the
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 Mom.

"This Mother's Day, a telephone call will make a world of difference," the
ad said. "Talk to Mother and make her feel special this Mother's Day."

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 on Father's

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
the Herald?

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

Mbeki tried to play down the remarks. But Zimbabwe's spin doctors were
obviously not 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 said.

Now why didn't the Herald report that story?

You may be interested in the remarks of MEP Glenys Kinnock, commenting on
the 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 plane.

"I say to President Mugabe, the irony of attending an international food
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 NGOs).

He said NGOs run by women overly keen to advertise their loyalty to Jonathan
Moyo or President Mugabe should be called Government-controlled NGOs. For
obvious reasons we will refrain from providing the acronym!
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Hogwash handidi

ARE you part of the conspiracy? It seems everybody else is. The pages of the
official 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
High Commissioner 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".

MDC officials were alleged to have colluded with "Rhodesian forces
concentrated in the Matabeleland region to organise and arm themselves in
preparation for doomsday".

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 warned.

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 leaders."

If you believe that you might possibly have believed the rest!

But the story does contain significant new dimensions. The security service
was said to be monitoring civic and militant groups aligned to Zanu PF
"which have taken it upon themselves to eliminate the same threats".

"A recent security brief prepared for a joint security meeting revealed the
existence of two shadowy groups aligned to the MDC and Zanu PF
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 PF".

There we Handidily have what could well be Zanu PF's game plan masquerading
as a plot by the MDC. Messrs Tsvangirai and Donnelly: You have been warned!

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 clandestinely obtained
from the DRC war front.

"Intercepted communications in the hands of the security agents expose a
nationwide plan to pick out and shoot MDC youths who are currently being
mobilised to 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 cause".

That would of course explain any involvement by security-force members.

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 Rhodesian forces".

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
does Morgan Handidi suppose that if the public are not prepared to swallow
Zanu PF's Uganda/Denmark/MDC training stories, Ari Ben-Menashe or the
anthrax plot, 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 Sithole.

In a revealing remark about his own credentials, the author claims these
individuals would be prepared to steer the MDC towards a Pan-Africanist
future government. They may even obtain Zanu PF's "blessing" to head the
next government!

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 partisan posturing!
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Zim Independent

Prices rocket as controls fail
Godfrey Marawanyika/Stanley James
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
presidential election 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.
Zimbabwe has experienced a surge of price increases for goods such as bread,
sugar, cooking oil, milk and transport fares shortly after the disputed
victory of President Robert Mugabe in the March presidential poll.
More increases are on the way.

Products under the controls regime have become scarce in most retail outlets
but are in abundance on the black market.

"For price controls to work, government has to put in place subsidies to
cushion manufacturers against production and price disparities," said one
analyst with a leading commercial bank.

"Salaries have not been rising in tandem with price increases, pushing most
salaried workers against the wall."

This has been evidenced by a 60% drop in the purchasing power of the
ordinary consumer during the first quarter of 2002, a situation projected to
worsen against a background of soaring inflation.

Although the 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.

Zimbabwe's growing debt and poor credit rating have resulted in a massive
flight of capital and the country's skewed land policies and refusal to
respect human rights and the rule of law have earned it a pariah status.

Government has 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
witnessed the mushrooming of money-lending institutions as people struggle
to make ends meet.

"These institutions have devised a way of avoiding the controlled interest
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 increases.

"There is no way the price control system will create stability in price
levels given the current economic hardships," Hawkins said.

He said the price control regime posed the threat of a shrinking industrial
base as price ceilings did not match cost outlays.

He warned the country risked losing investment opportunities as most
investors were wary of the controls that have cut into the bottom line.

"The controls have failed to serve the purpose they were intended for
because of the prevailing hyper-inflationary trends that have reduced the
purchasing 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
compared to 1996.

Hawkins said that such a drop showed price controls were not the real
mechanisms to foster price stability as they created a cost-push
inflationary environment.

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," Kadenge said.

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 shortages.

Kadenge said it was imperative for economic stakeholders to come up with a
framework that promoted the reduction of costs of production for companies
currently facing difficulties owing to the deteriorating economic

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
economic environment.
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 Murerwa.
Kadenge warned that the imminent review of prices was likely to deal another
body blow to consumers hard-pressed with other economic hardships owing to
the macro-economic policies of the embattled Mugabe government.

The concerns come against a backdrop of some 700 company closures between
the year 2000 and 2002. One of the country's former blue-chip sectors -
tourism - has seen at least 100 closures since January.

"It would have been prudent if government had consulted industry before they
implemented the price controls," said one industrialist.

"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.

Harare-based 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
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Zim Independent

Top government officials linked to forex scam
Loughty Dube
TWO senior government officials and a senior Zanu PF official were mentioned
as among the main culprits involved in the hoarding of foreign currency at a
stormy meeting called by informal traders in Bulawayo last week to explore
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 further.

During the heated meeting, angry traders named three top politicians as
among the prominent people running bureaux de change that were buying forex
at exorbitant black market rates.

"Politicians are 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
by hoarding forex."

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 city.

Efforts to contact the three politicians proved fruitless as they were said
to be out of their office or their mobile phones were switched off. The
informal traders threatened to expose certain companies and bureaux de
change they alleged were also buying forex on the black market.

"We are calling on government to close down all the bureaux de change
because they are all involved in this corruption," said another trader,
adding that banks should be the only ones allowed to deal in forex.

The informal traders also held a meeting with the Bulawayo mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube who promised to look into their problems. The informal traders
alleged that all bureaux de change in the city were owned and run by
politicians who employed women from the Apostolic Faith Church as
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
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Zim Independent

Media Commission misses deadline
Augustine Mukaro
THE recently-appointed Media and Information Commission is still to put in
place the required documentation for the registration of media houses and
journalists under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The commission only started to prepare for registration by media houses
after a statutory deadline had expired last Friday with publication of
regulations governing registration and specifying fees.

Under the new rules, mass media services are required to pay an application
fee of $20 000 and a registration fee of $500 000.

Working journalists are expected to pay $1 000 and $5 000 respectively for
application and accreditation while freelance journalists pay $500 and $2
500. Foreign 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
and registration.

The commission will be chaired by Dr Tafataona Mahoso, who is principal
lecturer and head of the Division of Mass Communication at Harare
Polytechnic. He is a vocal critic of the independent media and reflects the
ruling party's views in his newspaper columns.

Mahoso confirmed on Tuesday that the commission was preparing the
registration forms.

"Forms would be available anytime this week for the registration to start,"
Mahoso said.

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 Mail.

Meanwhile, in London Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has called for a total
Western media boycott of the Zimbabwe government's plan to introduce charges
for reporting the country's affairs.

Rusbridger 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."
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Media Update No. 2002/20
June 10th – June 16th 2002
1. Summary
2. The Rome Food Summit
3. Police State
4. 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 state.
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 event.
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.
In a related event, the week also saw the gazetting of regulations concerning the registration of media organizations and journalists.
While 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 security”
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 reform.”
But Mugabe, himself went further, accusing Britain and other outside forces of using the “MDC to control the economy and the minds of the people”.
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.”
No 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 country.”
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 forces.”
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.
Information 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 ammunition.
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 all.”
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 director.
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.

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 action.
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.
Barwe simply 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 activities”.
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 state violence.
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.
These 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.
But 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 unfortunate scenes.”
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 recorded.
None of these stories appeared in the state media.
The police 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).

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, E-mail:
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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?"
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France Donates Equipment to ZDF

The Herald (Harare) - government paper
June 20, 2002
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 Forces.

"What makes this donation special is the fact that it comes at a time when
Zimbabwe's relationship with some quarters of the international community is
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 imbalances.
"I am satisfied, however, to note that despite this standoff, your
Government (France) has remained resolute and sincere in its dealings with
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in particular," Cde Sekeramayi
The audio-visual equipment comprised three television sets, three video
recorders, three satellite dishes and three decoders.
"It is only proper and befitting that we continue to build upon this worthy
friendship and co-operation that has been characteristic of our
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 said.
Zimbabwe has over the years benefited from financial assistance amounting to
1,65 million French francs ($20 billion) for the development of both the
private and public sector.
France has also supplied the country with an assortment of military
vehicles, notably the ACMAT and the VVIP Cougar helicopters.
The two countries signed bilateral agreements on military, economic and
cultural co-operation.
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Zim Independent


Real debate on Nepad yet to begin

NEPAD is flavour of the month. For much of this coming week, when G8 leaders
gather in Kananaskis, Alberta, to discuss the recovery plan's merits with a
group of African presidents, and in the weeks following, we can expect to
hear of little else. It will also be at the top of the African Union's
agenda when it meets in Durban next month.

Presidents Mbeki, 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
considerable flak.

That's because it appears to fit too comfortably with current Western
demands for good governance and the economic imperatives of globalisation.
It is also too "top-down" in terms of policy-making, critics say.

In Zimbabwe, Crisis in Zimbabwe, an NGO umbrella group, has provided a forum
for debate on the issues arising. The South African NGOs, mostly aligned to
Cosatu and the South African Council of Churches, are debating their own

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 the
anti-globalisation movement will argue that they have been left out of the

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 engaging them
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.

"White, Boer, 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 crisis.

It is that food crisis that is now concentrating minds in Canada and
wherever else governments are being asked to relieve mass starvation.
Traditional donors are already leading relief efforts. But the political
post-mortem will focus on why agriculturally productive states were able to
sabotage the means of their own survival. Zimbabwe stands out as a case of
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
attempt to redefine it in African terms. The terms will be those of despotic
governments with a record of abuse, not civil societies whose views are
crucial to its success.

We are seeing a familiar pattern here. At the World Economic Forum meeting
in Durban recently Simba Makoni committed Zimbabwe to the Nepad process. But
there are already signs of hostility from those in President Mugabe's inner
circle. Like other policies the Finance minister has attempted to implement,
Nepad in Zimbabwe is likely to fall victim to ideological absolutists and
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.

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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 21 June 2002

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.


·        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 Machakwe Estates.

·        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 meat.

·        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". 

·        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 quiet.

No report received.

No report received.

No report received.


Norton - On Kilvington Farm, which is singly owned, settlers are stopping seedbeds from going in.

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 arrested.


Masvingo East and Central - Bon Air Farm had one cow and two impala reported caught in snares in the past week.

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 backdoor entrance.)

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 settlers.

4.      The owner has frequently been told to remove himself from the farm and they complain he has not done so.

This 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 farm.

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.

– 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.                                               Visit the CFU Website

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.
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Please let everyone know:

Meryl 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 ASAP.

The numbers:

011 630403

04 576356

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From the Jewish World Review

Robert W. Tracinski

The post-colonialist famine

 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.

That loss of confidence is codified in the doctrines of the academic left.
The same folks who brought us "postmodernism" and "multiculturalism" brought
us another variation on the same theme: "post-colonialism." In today's
academic code words, "post-" really means "anti-." "Post-colonialism" is the
theory that every evil in the world is caused by Western powers trying to
assert control over non-Western countries. More fundamentally, the
post-colonialists 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 post-colonialism.

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 reform."

In the language of tin-pot dictatorships, "reform" means "theft." For years,
Mugabe has allowed armed gangs to occupy white-owned farms, sometimes
murdering the owners, as a precursor to a plan to seize the farms, allegedly
for redistribution to poor blacks. (In reality, the farms are going to
Mugabe's cronies.)

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?

Mugabe's justification 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
explicit policy of racism: whites must have their farms seized because they
are not black.

Now Mugabe is following the playbook of history's more ruthless dictators:
using famine to liquidate his political opposition. But he is going one
better by getting the United Nations to help him starve his opponents. Here
is how Shari Eppel, the director of the African civil-rights group Amani
Trust, describes the process: "International food donors are setting up
feeding centers aimed at destitute families, but once the donors have moved
on, the bullies move in and decide who gets fed and who doesn't." Even the
relatives and children of opposition supporters are condemned to starvation.

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 interference,
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 spent or
how the food is distributed, because that kind of control would, after all,
be colonialism.

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 aid.

Welcome to the "post-colonialist" world, where Third World dictators blame
the West for their sins. The West caves in -- and lets the dictators keep on
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Beef Shortage Looms As Farmers Destock

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

June 21, 2002
Posted to the web June 21, 2002

Augustine Mukaro

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 and exports.

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 running high.

"Many farmers were forced to destock because of grazing restrictions imposed
by settlers and as a result the commercial herd has been severely reduced,"
D'Hotman said.

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 commercial sector.

"As the commercial beef herd in Zimbabwe shrinks, so does the ability of the
country to meet export market commitments," he said.

"Apart from the quality factor, the actual supply of beef to the market will
diminish because the small-scale sector has a traditional off-take of less
than 5% compared to 20% or more in the commercial sector."

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Mashonaland West (South) regional executive
Ben Freeth said as of last week 387 250 beasts had been slaughtered
countrywide since the start of the invasions.

"Destocking is being done as a result of pressure from the new owners who do
not allow 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 farm workers.

"Disturbances in the commercial farming sector resulted in the commercial
beef herd recording a 45% decline in the breeding herd over the past year,"
he said.

"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.

Figures supplied by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) indicate a
disturbing trend. 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.

The commercial herd normally supplies up to 80% of exportable cattle, which
potentially earns Zimbabwe foreign currency of up to US$60 million per

Zimbabwe exports 9 100 tonnes of beef every year to fulfil the European
Union beef quota. The country also needs about 12 000 tonnes of exportable
beef for Libya, South Africa and other markets such as Malaysia.
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Dear All,

Please could you read this vital background info that will clarify the
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 widespread
famine in the once feted 'break basket' of Africa!

For those of you who can open the attachment (only a one pager) - you will
see that South Africa do NOT have a surplus of food so they will NOT come to
our aid.

Please feel free to publish any of this info.

Jenni William
CFU Consultant


Good morning invited guest speaker, members of Grain South Africa,
delegates, Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association (ZGPA), Zimbabwe Cereal
Producers Association (ZCPA) and Combined Oilseeds Producers Association
(COPA) members, ladies and gentlemen welcome to the 34th Annual Congress of
the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association. (All three AGMs were held

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
difficult and frustrating for the maize producer and sadly as a result the
country finds itself in a serious food deficit situation.  Although our
current crisis 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
production.  However due to the lack of leadership, policy and direction the
country has fallen on hard times with absolutely no reserves to call on.

It saddens me, as I know this Association has consistently tried to be
proactive in trying to resolve a situation, which we have continually warned
as a potential disaster for the country's food security.  In spite of this
our members have been on the receiving end of much bad publicity about how
the commercial farmer has tried to sabotage the grain industry.

Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of the efforts
by the Association to communicate with Government in the past year and make
proposals, which could have helped sustain producer confidence, maintain
production levels and prevent the disastrous situation we find ourselves in
today.  Furthermore I would like to highlight facts on the import programme,
which is proving to be totally inadequate.

In February 2001, we corresponded with the GMB Chairman, asking what the
intentions of the Board were to recompense maize growers for their
considerable losses when payments were not forthcoming during the last
season.  There was no response from the GMB on this matter and I believe
this was the beginning of the decline in producer confidence.

In April 2001 we addressed by correspondence the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement recommending a producer price of Zd$11000
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 mechanism.

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 confidence.

A further factor attributing to the decline in confidence is that of the
maize theft issue and that was also addressed to the Minister.

In August 2001 we corresponded once again to the Minister Lands, Agriculture
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, and the

At the same time we advised Government of the urgent need to make
preparations to begin importing maize as early as beginning September 2001,
to overcome the increasing logistical constraints.

Furthermore in the same correspondence recommendations were made that
Government and GMB contract producers directly for guaranteed early
deliveries during March, April and May 2002.  This recommendation was in the
face of a deficit of 200,000 tonnes up to the 31st March 2002, and
suggesting the saving of foreign currency by encouraging local production.

Sadly, no response was received.

In September 2001 further correspondence was sent to the Permanent Secretary
of Agriculture, making the following recommendations to increase the
production of maize by all sectors:

1. Contracting producers for early, guaranteed deliveries to GMB.

2. Allowing users of maize including the livestock industry, to contract
directly with producers for their maize requirements during the 2002/03
marketing year.

3. Decontrolling Yellow Maize.

Copies of this proposal were sent to the Ministry of Finance, and to the
Chairman of the GMB.

No response from the Ministry of Agriculture nor the GMB and a reply from
the Ministry of Finance in January 2002 referring us back to the Ministry of

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.

At this time the GMB Chairman approached the Association to enquire about
surplus stocks and mechanisms to attract surplus maize.  ZGPA recommended
that a price review from $8500 to $15000 may attract surpluses but assured
GMB of not more than 20,000 - 30,000 tonnes believed to be held on-farm at
this time.  Some of these stocks would be destined to sustain livestock and
labour on farms, as producers were aware of the pending shortage.

On 20th December 2001 GMB reviewed the price from Zd$8500/tonne to
Zd$15000/tonne, 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.

In January 2002 ZGPA see SI 387 as a contradiction to the Act, which allows
producers to retain maize for their on-farm consumption.  However, GMB
advise that in terms of the Act, the Powers of the Board allows for any
decision or action to be taken that is believed to be conducive to the

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.

GMB stocks reported to be 30,000 tonnes, and this comprises of the reported
36,000 tonnes of maize seized from commercial farmers. No imported maize
landed to-date.

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.

ZGPA request the opportunity to meet with Government, together with other
representatives of maize producers, to discuss the principles of the new
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
winter maize crop, with 2 potential planting dates, namely June and
September.  With encouragement from Government and Grain Marketing Board, we
believed a potential 80,000 - 120,000 tonnes could be produced to supplement
the current crop.  However, producers will require commitment on the part of
Government to ensure the safe harvest and delivery of this crop. To-date no

By 20th March 2002, GMB issues a further tender for the supply of 200,000
tonnes; again delivery terms are unrealistic, with required delivery of
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 starvation.

So at the end of the day, can one honestly say that it is the commercial
farmer that has sabotaged food security and is responsible for the food
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.

In order to achieve an enabling environment the following support measures
should be restored to the grain industry:
Ø The Land Reform programme must be resolved;
Ø The return of timely Agricultural Policy Statements;
Ø The removal of all legislation to enable a free and transparent marketing
system 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
the market;
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 food security.
JUNE 2002

Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829 Office email :
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website



























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