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ZIMBABWE: Focus on farm evictions

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 26 June (IRIN) - This is the first time since 1958 that farmer Graham Douse has not been able to produce enough food to feed the people who work on his land, or to sell at the market.

"Me and my family have been producing food for many, many years. But this year we have not been able to even feed our workers as I have been shut down," said Douse as he walked through a paprika crop, almost ripe for picking.

Douse has been served a Section 8 notice which means he must vacate his farm by 8 August. If he harvests his crop he could be jailed for up to two years, pay a US $363 fine, or both under a controversial land law passed by the government last month.

While Douse is making plans to leave the country, some six million people - half of Zimbabwe's population - will be in need of food aid by the end of the year as a result of drought, and the government's fast-track land reform programme.

Even for those with money, there is simply not enough food in the supermarkets. Salt is just the latest commodity to join the long and still growing list of scarce goods.

The government's reforms are ostensibly aimed at correcting the colonial legacy of skewed land ownership. It has given black settlers from overcrowded communal areas access to the vast fertile estates owned by roughly 4,500 white commercial farmers. Some 50 percent of those farmers have been served with Section 8 notices.

The fast-track programme has been condemned on several levels. On more practical grounds, analysts argue the inadequate preparation by the government for resettlement means that the new small-scale black farmers lack the experience and support to maintain previous standards of production.

But the government and its supporters disagree.

"There is ample capacity to continue farming in all commodities except where there is a need for high capital, like greenhouses. We acknowledge we will have problems in say flower production, but not in general commodities like tobacco, paprika, maize, groundnuts, sunflower, fish, livestock and dairy," said Lovegot Tendengu, executive director of the Farmers Development Trust which trains new small-scale farmers.

"We have the capacity, skill, knowledge and we have trebled our training to empower the new farmers. We are all geared up to enhance productivity both in terms of quality and quantity. We are working much harder because we have a point to prove that we can be as productive as anybody," Tendengu told IRIN. "Our main challenge though will be support from the banks."

A Cabinet Action Committee on Land met in Harare on Monday to discuss, among other issues, the role of the banks in ensuring the viability of the resettlement programme. "The support that white commercial farmers got from the banks should also be extended to the new farmers," Zimbabwe radio quoted Lands and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as saying after the meeting.

But according to Margaret Steel, whose family have been farming for the past 50 years but have now been forced to stop, "if this situation continues, I don't see how anyone will be able to feed their families ... It does not matter how high an income they have, there simply won't be any food in the shops."

There are already fears of a bread shortage. Production of winter wheat currently being planted is forecast to fall sharply as it is almost exclusively grown on the large-scale commercial farms.

According to figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), between now and June/August, 5.3 million Zimbabweans will require food assistance. That figure is set to rise to just over six million from the end of this year until the new main harvest in March 2003.

Even before this year's crop failure, 75 percent of the population were classified as poor, with 42 percent deemed very poor. Most of these worked in the agricultural sector, which provides more than half of the country's employment.

The Commercial Farmers Union has estimated that about 300,000 farm workers will lose their jobs as a result of the reforms, which would have knock-on effects for about 1.5 million family members and dependents.

Zimbabwe is the world's second largest tobacco producer and it is the only commodity that retains some sparkle in an otherwise depressed economy. Tobacco's contribution to Zimbabwe's gross domestic product (GDP) reportedly now exceeds 30 percent, bringing in about 54 percent of foreign currency earnings this year.

"Unfortunately the enfranchisement politics sweeping through agriculture have eventually and finally caught up with tobacco and everyone wants in," a senior tobacco industry official told IRIN.

"We are sitting on a very delicate situation wherein if we make the wrong decisions, we can lose a whole livelihood on the altar of empowerment, by letting slip a captive international market that is excited by the quality of our tobacco flavours," said the official who declined to be named. "This is simple business reality that has nothing to do with the politics of the story."

Eighty percent of tobacco farmers face eviction orders, and "the future is uncertain at the moment," said Kobus Joubert, president of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA). The impact of a decline in tobacco would also be felt by downstream industries.

"The danger is that if we have a sudden transition, it may all go wrong. I don't see these resettled farmers producing the flavoured tobacco in a year. It takes time. A long time," Joubert said.

He added: "The easiest way to lose money is to grow tobacco. If you lose it, you are gone. It's not a racial thing but you just need the experience. It's the only economic activity we have to save us or start to get us out of this economic mess. But there are too many agendas. Too many people running agendas which are detrimental to tobacco."

Small-scale producers say they can grow tobacco just as well as the established commercial farmers. But purchases of chemicals and seeds are reportedly two-thirds down on last year.

"This gives an indication of what we will produce next year. We can't afford to lose production by that much," warned Joubert. "What will next year hold? I don't know. What's happening on the farms makes it hard for forward planning."


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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Tuesday 25 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.





Middle Save - All is very quiet, but farms are busy with production even though 15 farms were listed on 21.06.02.

Chipinge - a farmer's cattle were grazing on a neighbouring farm when one heifer was caught in a snare and slaughtered.  Only the front legs were remaining when discovered.  At Groenvlei Farm cattle got into a reaped maize field and the settlers claimed 20 bags of maize for compensation.  The settlers told the owner to claim it from insurance.  In response to this incident, later on that day the Messenger of the Court arrived with a summons for the owner, who now awaits a court date.

Headlands - Cheryl Joan Jones, who was shot in the back during a robbery, is making a good recovery.  The Police arrested four men although one was subsequently released.  The perpetrators stole Ms. Jones’ handbag, cell phone and the labour payroll she had gone to collect that day.

All is quiet in other areas.



Bindura - Chumberi Farm has entered the fifth day of work stoppages and the settlers are demanding that all the workers be evicted by 30.06.02.

Mvurwi - On Vigila Farm two cattle have been axed but they are still alive.



No report received owing to lack of a computer in that office.



The area is quiet awaiting developments with the 24.06.02 deadline for production.  Feedback from meetings held with the PA at the DA’s office on 24.06.02 is awaited.  Although grading of tobacco is taking place, no producers are doing seedbeds at present.



Norton - Comrade Mwambo, who was involved in the looting of Wilbered Farm on 14.06.02 and subsequently arrested was released from prison last week.  He has moved back on to the late Terry Ford's Gowrie Farm, and helped himself to property from the second homestead belonging to Terry Ford's family, moving it to the main homestead on Gowrie Farm where he has taken up residence. Mwambo is reported to be hiring out to settlers some of the late Terry Fords implements, which have not been moved off the property. On Galloway the homestead was looted whilst the owner was away, with almost everything stolen with the exception of bigger furniture.  Police have reacted.


Continued harassment of cattle and the grazing situation has become very serious.  Poaching is out of control i.e. on Battle Fields Ranch, Mateke Hills, 3 Nyala, 4 kudu and 4 cattle were snared and killed in one week.

No report received.

No report received.                      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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Dear farmers
I am writing to you as a black Zimbabwean who is deeply concerned about the press coverage of the crisis currently effecting your members.  My concern is that the arguments I have heard in your defence broadcast by the BBC and in the UK press do not present a clear picture of your situation.  These may wrongly suggest that your members are only concerned with holding on to land and not concerned with productivity and the desire to help fend off the impending threat of famine.  I am also concerned that you are being portrayed as an intrinsically separate group of people who should not expect your basic rights because you part of a national minority.
We all acknowledge that there have been mistakes made in the past and that the attitude of some of your members may not have been the right one to have in Zimbabwe.  We do however see your desire now to participate in the restoration of our beautiful country as citizens with equal rights and opportunities.  Zimbabwe will, as demonstrated by the case of Roy Bennett, stand by anyone who stands by the people.  What Zimbabwe needs now is the positive contribution of all your members.  Those who seek to selfishly plunder farms for their own benefit can justify their actions if your members only argue on the grounds of not being able to wind up their affairs or having no where else to go - everybody already knows this.  It is a totally different defence if you argue on principle.  People are waiting with baited breath for you to argue as individuals and as Zimbabweans for your right to live and work in Zimbabwe, to be afforded the rights of Zimbabwean citizens and to be allowed to contr!
ibu te positively in this time of crisis for our people.
There have been calls from some for you to take a step back and not be involved in the day to day trials and sufferings of Zimbabwe and in this way maintain your position.  The opposite is in fact true.  No position can be maintained in Zimbabwe today by stepping back and if positions cannot be maintained then it is abundantly clear, as our recent history shows, that there is only one way to go and that is a downward spiral.
The responsibility of the ZIMBABWEAN farming community today is to feed the people in this time of crisis.  It has long been said the true measure of a man is where he stands in times of crisis.  I do not think for a minute that this will be easy for you but I know that it is necessary.
Our prayers are with you
Hilton Mendelsohn
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Commercial farmers first on list of many casualties

      6/26/02 8:53:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THERE is a great temptation, especially by those in government, to
trivialise the contribution of the commercial farmers to both the
development and economy of this country.

      This perception is founded on the belief that the government's brave
new farmers will rise to the challenge and return this nation to its former
status as a surplus food producer.To do so would be to live in a fool's
paradise.The significant achievements made by the smallholder farming sector
in the production of cotton, groundnuts and maize, for example, are a result
of a process spanning several years, accompanied by a series of supporting
mechanisms that are both financial and human resource based.

      To believe, therefore, that the newly resettled farmers under the
government's fast-track land resettlement programme can render the
contribution of the commercial farming sector irrelevant overnight is to
demonstrate unparalleled lack of understanding of the realities of
agricultural production anywhere in the world.The levels of productivity the
government is banking on,after dismissing the contribution of the commercial
farming sector, cannot be achieved overnight and the question begging an
answer must be: Why is the government in such a hurry to throw away such

      The consequences of the government's decision to force mass suspension
of agricultural activities on nearly all the commercial farms in the country
and, therefore, relocation of the commercial farmers, will have far-reaching
implications.It is possible Zimbabwe will face a food crisis for several
years before the productivity can peak at the pre-2000 levels.

      But that is the more optimistic projection. The situation could get
worse and Zimbabwe could be stuck in a food production deficit mode - all
because someone is pursuing a misguided agenda.The government's seizure of
all the grain from commercial farmers is in itself an admission of its
desperation to provide the food needed to meet the nation's consumption
requirements.The seizures demonstrate that the government is aware its brave
new settlers were unable to produce food in meaningful quantities. That is
why in its desperation it has to resort to raiding even grain and food
stocks intended for workers.
      This time next year, Zimbabwe could be in a chronic crisis, especially
as there are suggestions of an El Nino phenomenon, which could mean a
drought or floods.

      The effect of both will translate into food scarcities.If the
government is anxious to raise the status of indigenous players in the
agricultural sector, it could have easily done so without orchestrating the
mass eviction of farmers from their former properties. Placing greater
emphasis on the government's brave new farmers, while allowing the
commercial farmers space to continue their activities would have only helped
transform this country into a major agricultural powerhouse.
      The Section 8 orders served on commercial farmers, which came into
effect at midnight on Monday amount to an effectively less overt method of
expelling farmers, whichever way it is looked at. The one lesson that can be
drawn from history is the incapacity of nations to learn from it. Samora
Machel, the late Mozambican president, and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin made
such serious miscalculations, with the resultant effect that their countries
paid heavily. The political leadership in this country appears determined to
drag Zimbabwe down that dark path.Could this be a deliberate ploy to
impoverish this nation and impose hunger, so that except for the ruling
elite, the majority of the inhabitants will be preoccupied with issues of
survival and in the process ensure the safety of the ruling elite?

      The government encouraged commercial farmers to go ahead and plant
winter crops, but to turn round and demand that the same farmers cannot
continue operations until the crop is harvested would be to show up the
government as being deceitful. Zimbabwe's agriculture stands on a threshold,
but the truth is that the issue here is not about farmers.The commercial
farmers are merely the first in the list of many casualties. The history of
Chile and Germany provide chilling precedents.
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Clock stops for Zimbabwe’s farmers
The Scotsman: 25 June 2002

BRIAN Alford yesterday laid off all 42 of his farmworkers and six contractors on his farm near Chiredze in Zimbabwe’s sugar belt near the South African and Mozambique borders. "I don’t see any alternative," he said as new laws came into force forbidding thousands of white farmers from producing food in a country suffering the worst famine and starvation conditions in Africa.

Some 3,000 farmers had to surrender their land without compensation to politicians, senior judges, army and police officers and a handful of poor, landless Zimbabweans at midnight last night. The remaining 2,500 commercial farmers will also be thrown off their farms in the next few months.

Those immediately affected are allowed to live in their farmhouses until 8 August, by when they must have moved out under the terms of President Robert Mugabe’s Land Acquisition Act. Failure to stop harvesting, planting or tending animals will incur a jail sentence of two years and a fine of approximately £200 on top of the confiscation of the farmer’s land, agricultural machinery, house and domestic possessions.

Mr Alford, whose family bought the 164-hectare farm 15 years ago, said: "I spoke to the local police chief this morning and he said if I did any farming work of any description after midnight I’d be arrested.

"Nearly 100 hectares of my land is planted with ripe sugar cane, but I’ve only harvested 30 hectares. The rest will just go to waste now."

His experience mirrors those of other white farmers - until recently the country’s primary food producers and foreign exchange earners - across Zimbabwe.

Jenni Williams, media adviser to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), said she had spent some time with Graham Dowse, who farms at Ngambe, east of the capital, Harare. Since farm invaders moved in this year, he has feared for the lives of himself and his family for most of this year. He has a near-ripe paprika crop worth more than £600,000. "Now it will just rot in the fields," said Mr Dowse, who has sacked his entire staff.

Ms Williams said the same applied to some 22,000 hectares of near-ripe wheat in the country’s wheat belt, which will wither because at this stage it needs careful irrigation every day. She said there would be no crop of tobacco - Zimbabwe’s principal export earner - next year because farmers had not planted any amid the anarchy and violence in the country.

Ms Williams said a few farmers, mainly cattlemen, would defy the crackdown and take the consequences. "These are people who were forbidden to sell their beasts some weeks ago and now have more than 1,000 head on each of their properties that will either die of starvation or be slaughtered by the land invaders," she said.

"The scale of our coming humanitarian disaster is indescribable. For example, some 1.5 million [black] people lived on the commercial farms and they are all being expelled with no alternative work in an economy in more precipitous decline than any other on earth."

The UN World Food Programme forecasts that some six million of Zimbabwe’s 12 million people will need emergency food aid before the end of the year. Non-governmental relief agencies put the figure at more than seven million.

The effects of the expulsion of the farmers will be felt in many ways. It will, for example, lead to increased inflation - already 122 per cent, and forecast to rise sharply next month - and the closure of some banks, with farmers owing huge sums of money they can no longer repay. The Zimbabwean dollar now buys what a mere six cents bought in 1995.

"The situation is getting worse and worse," said Masipule Sithole, professor of politics at the University of Zimbabwe. "There is more repression, a more repressive atmosphere. And yet the government is behaving as if everything is normal and that is what is making the situation really bad."

Zimbabwe until recently was the region’s bread basket, exporting millions of tonnes of maize, wheat and other foodstuffs to neighbouring countries. Now, says Judith Lewis, regional director of the World Food Programme, disaster is inevitable. The WFP has managed to obtain international pledges for 30 per cent of the estimated need. Many of those pledges will not be fulfilled and most of those honoured will take months to arrive.

"It’s all pretty bleak," said Brian Alford. "There’s a chronic food situation. I don’t know what the people will do. Either they’ll sit in the shade of a tree and just die or something drastic will happen. My own plan A has always been to stay here; my plan B is also to stay here; plan C is to move [to South Africa] and find a job. "I don’t have the cash to buy a South African farm."

Cathy Buckle owns a farm east of Harare that was taken over completely by so-called "war veterans" six weeks ago. Returning from a visit to her property, Ms Buckle said 500 squatters had now been dumped there from other farms that had been promised to them by the government but which had now been designated for top Mugabe aides. This is happening across the country, revealing the depths of cynicism of Mr Mugabe’s original pledge to "the people" that they would inherit the confiscated properties.

"I am still struggling to come to terms with the reality of what I saw," said Ms Buckle. "People are living in the milking parlour, the tobacco barns, workshops and bulk feed rooms. Three pit latrines intended for a handful of families have been filled to overflowing by more than 500 people who have been used by Mugabe for political purposes for 27 months and have now been discarded like so much trash.

"You cannot walk among the squatters because the ground is a sea of human and animal faeces. There is no water either because the war vets burnt out the borehole machinery when they invaded. Our farm is just part of a humanitarian disaster of massive proportions unfolding across Zimbabwe."

While it is black Zimbabweans who are suffering most under what can only be described as Mr Mugabe’s madness, some of the white farmers holding out are made of remarkably stern stuff. Jean Simon, a 42-year-old tobacco and poultry farmer at Raffingore, 80 miles north-west of Harare, intends to cling on. This is despite the fact that she has been kidnapped by war veterans and made to run ten miles through the bush by Mugabe thugs. She has been beaten her up and in the latest incident she was imprisoned for a night.

"I hope my hens remember to stop laying tomorrow," she said by telephone from Raffingore. "I’m supposed to shut down at midnight, but I won’t: I’ve only graded 20 per cent of my tobacco crop so far.

"My family has been in Africa for more than two centuries, so I won’t be told to go back to Britain. I’m a Zimbabwean.

"The amazing thing about this country is that when the war vets forced me to run it was local black people who helped me. They ran beside me to protect me. They have risked their lives for me several times. They are wonderful people and I feel safe here among them, even though every one of my human rights has been abused."

After the inevitable eventual day of reckoning for Mr Mugabe, it is people like Jean Simon and her amazing black friends who will have to rebuild - together - the ravished country that not so long was perhaps the finest in Africa.

Milestones on a country’s road to ruin

ZIMBABWE’S history is filled with bitter confrontation and the path to recent events can be traced back to Victorian-era colonisation.

1830s - The Ndebele people flee Zulu violence and Boer migration in southern Africa and settle in what became known as Matabeleland.

- Cecil Rhodes and other Europeans explore the region from the south.

- White settlers arrive from the south at the site of the future capital, Harare.

- Ndebele uprising against BSA rule crushed.

- In Mashonaland, settlers hang Ndebele and Shona leaders when they rebel over a 10 shillings "hut tax".

- The British South Africa administration ends; the white minority sets up a government.

- The Land Apportionment Act restricts black access to land.

- Black opposition to colonial rule grows with the appearance of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

- Britain creates the Central African Federation, made up of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).

- The federation breaks up as Zambia and Malawi become independent.

- Ian Smith becomes prime minister of Rhodesia.

- International sanctions are imposed as Smith unilaterally declares independence under white minority rule. White commercial agriculture is heavily subsidised, making it harder for blacks to compete.

- A guerrilla war against white rule flares, with ZANU and ZAPU operating out of Zambia and Mozambique.

- Smith agrees to a negotiated settlement, but elections are boycotted by ZANU and ZAPU’s Patriotic Front. The new government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, is not recognised by the rest of world and the civil war continues.

- All-party talks at Lancaster House in London lead to a peace agreement and a new constitution guaranteeing minority rights. Under the Lancaster House deal, Zimbabwe could only buy white land from "willing sellers".

- Robert Mugabe and his ZANU win the independence elections. Mr Mugabe is named prime minister; the ZAPU leader, Joshua Nkomo, takes a place in the cabinet. Internationally recognised independence is declared on 18 April. Britain gives the new government £44 million for resettlement projects, but much of the land ends up in the hands of Mugabe associates.

- Mr Mugabe sacks Nkomo. The North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade crushes a rebellion by pro-Nkomo guerrillas in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of civilians over the following years.

- Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkomo merge parties to form the ZANU-PF, ending the violence in the south. Mr Mugabe becomes executive president.

- The Commonwealth adopts the Harare Declaration at a summit in Zimbabwe, reaffirming the aims of democracy, freedom of individual and equal rights for all.

- Riots and strikes break out over the economic crisis.

- Zimbabwe’s military involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo civil war becomes increasingly unpopular. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is formed.

2000- February
: Squatters seize hundreds of white-owned farms in a violent campaign to reclaim what they say was stolen by settlers. Britain says it will fund land reform, but only if it benefits the poor. Mr Mugabe suffers defeat in a referendum on a draft constitution. June: ZANU-PF narrowly defeats an opposition challenge in parliamentary polls, but loses its power to change the constitution.

2001 - May
: The defence minister, Moven Mahachi, is killed in car crash - the second minister to die in that way in a month. July: The finance minister, Simba Makoni, warns that the country faces serious food shortages. Most western donors, including World Bank and IMF, cut aid because of the land seizures.

2001 - October
: Commonwealth ministers visiting Harare say the government has not honoured its commitments to end the crisis over seizure of white-owned land.

2002 - February
: Parliament passes a law limiting media freedom. After an EU election observer team leader is expelled, the EU imposes sanctions and quits the country. March: Mr Mugabe, left, is re-elected in a polls condemned as seriously flawed. April: A state of disaster is declared as food shortages threaten famine. The government blames drought; the UN World Food Programme says the disruption to agriculture has not helped. June: Many of 2,900 white farmers in Zimbabwe affected by a ban on farming land are carrying on work as usual.
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Warrant Issued for Minister

Dumisani Muleya

The Zimbabwe High Court has issued a warrant of arrest against President Robert Mugabe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa for his failure to appear in court.

Chinamasa was supposed to appear before the court to answer to a charge that stemmed from his criticism of a sixmonth jail term imposed on three Americans convicted for illegal arms possession in 1999.

The minister is, however, reported to be out of the country.

Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, is to stand trial on July 15 for a similar offence after his criticism of a court ruling that ordered police to stop interfering in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union affairs.

Warrant against Zimbabwe minister for contempt of court
Times of India: AFP [ TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002  8:22:22 PM ]
HARARE: Zimbabwe's High Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the southern African country's justice minister after he failed to appear in court to answer charges of contempt of court, a state-owned daily said on Tuesday.

Patrick Chinamasa was supposed to answer charges arising from his criticism of a six-month jail sentence imposed on three US missionaries for possession of arms in 1999. Charges against Chinamasa, who is currently out of the country, arose from a statement he made after the three men -- Gary Blanchard, John Dixon and Joseph Pettijohn -- were convicted and sentenced to six months in jail.

Chinamasa, who was then Zimbabwe's chief prosecutor, complained that the sentences were too lenient, accusing the judges of trivialising the crimes which carried a maximum life term.
"The leniency of the sentences constitutes a betrayal of all civilised and acceptable notions of justice and of Zimbabwe's sovereign interests," Chinamasa was quoted as saying in 1999.

He said the six-month jail terms induced "a sense of shock and outrage in the minds of all right-thinking people." The High Court took exception to the statement and charged him with contempt.

The men had been found in possession of 39 firearms, some 70 knives, camouflage uniforms and night-vision sights while trying to leave Zimbabwe. "This is an amount of arms that cannot be described as something that missionaries would carry in their normal vocational exercise," he said.

The men said they were trying to ship the weapons home after keeping them for self-defence and hunting while working as missionaries for the US-based Harvestfield Ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Police respite for Zimbabwe's farmers
BBC: Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Police in Chinhoyi, 2000
The police are preparing for evictions in August

The police in Zimbabwe say they will not be enforcing a deadline for white farmers to stop working their land but will instead begin evictions in August.

Earlier this week, a 45-day deadline expired for between 300 and 3,000 farmers, whose land is on a list for seizure by the state.

But a police spokesman told the state-owned Herald newspaper that they did not have the capacity to monitor who was in the fields.

In President Robert Mugabe's first comments since the deadline expired, he repeated his position that white farmers would be allowed to keep one farm each.

"No farmer need go without land. The government is opposed to a 'one farmer, 20 farms' scenario," he told a human rights delegation in Harare.

However, an official with the white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union told BBC News Online that hundreds of farms have been listed, although their owners do not have any other properties.


The police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, said that the police were preparing to take action in August, when the farmers must vacate their land.

"We are gearing ourselves for the eviction process. When the timetable for the farmers to leave is reached, we will be there in full force," he said.

Under a new land law passed in May, farmers have 45 days from the date they receive official notification of the state's intent to take their land to stop working and another 45 days to leave the property.

Those caught still working this week in theory face a fine or a jail term of up to two years.

The precise number of farmers affected is unclear.

The white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) says that 2,900 will be affected.

But a CFU official says that the true figure is around 1,700.

While Agriculture Minister Joseph Made says that the first big batch of land seizures will only affect around 10% of white farmers - around 300.

Food crisis

Around 95% of all white-owned farms have so far been listed for acquisition but none has yet been taken without the owner's agreement.

Around 500 farmers have agreed to give up their land and some have received compensation.

Farmers, economists and foreign donors say that the land redistribution programme will worsen the country's food crisis.

Up to six million Zimbabweans may need food aid this year, according to aid agencies.

But Mr Mugabe says that giving land to poor black families will increase their living standards and enhance food security.

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Riches to Rags
The Times: June 26, 2002
Zimbabwe throws farmer's wealth of experience aside

OWEN CONNOR, a white Zimbabwean farmer, committed a crime yesterday. Helped by half a dozen of his workers he poured seed maize into a fumigator and then bagged it.

A power cut had prevented Mr Connor, 68, completing the job by Monday so he decided to risk two years in jail rather than lose the grain.

Yesterday marked one of the more bizarre twists of modern African history as President Mugabe’s Government banned most of the country’s white farmers from growing food amid Zimbabwe’s worst famine in a century. Within 45 days 2,900 designated farmers must leave their property altogether.

Mr Connor is in the top league of a small group of white farmers who are legendary for their expertise. He and one of his sons, Kevin, are the only farmers in Africa to have produced four tonnes of wheat an acre. He also holds the national record for producing 5.1 tonnes an acre of a high-yielding maize.

Of Irish descent but born in Zimbabwe, Mr Connor left school when he was 15 to start farming on Oribi for his just-widowed mother. Starting with an ox-drawn plough — like the squatters now surrounding him — he doubled the arable area and built the rambling homestead.

Oribi’s 865 acres of arable land would now yield 3,500 tonnes of wheat, maize and soya beans and 150 slaughter cattle, but the farm was invaded by squatters in August 2000. They steadily encroached. His last crop on Oribi was 800 tonnes of wheat on the 220 acres to which he was confined last winter. For all of the farm’s rich soils, fed and tended by Mr Connor for more than 50 years, the squatters have produced just 15 tonnes of grain and ten bags of soya beans in the past year.

At this time, the land around the homestead should stretch to the horizon in green new wheat. Now the homestead is surrounded by dense, shoulder-high elephant grass and pigweed.

The squatters have chopped down the 120 mature macadamia nut trees he planted. “I tried to explain if they left them they would have an annual crop of US$50 a tree,” Mr Connor said. “They chopped every tree out so they could plant maize.”

“It’s been hell,” he says. He and his wife, Dawn, have suffered threats, vandalism, theft and extortion almost every day since then, and he has stress-related shingles. Kevin is soon to leave for new work in a neighbouring country. Mr Connor’s other son, Sean, is looking at prospects in New Zealand. His daughter, Cherry, is farming with her husband in Zambia.

But Mr Connor is not leaving. He has kept a grass cutter and hay baler with which to try to earn some income, “but it’s not a secure living”. He is a man of few words. Asked how he felt, a four-letter expletive was all that he could manage.

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Farmers Take Harare government to Court

Business Day (Johannesburg)

June 26, 2002
Posted to the web June 26, 2002

Harare Correspondent

THE commercial farms crisis in Zimbabwe in which about 3000 farmers have
been officially ordered to stop operating took a dramatic twist yesterday as
two property owners took government to court.

Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) spokesman Ben Freeth said two wheat growers
filed an urgent application in the high court yesterday, seeking interim
relief against a 45day ultimatum that expired on Monday.

The challenge is against section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act under which
the orders were served, and response was expected in the next few days.
"They filed their application on their own behalf, but obviously it will a
test case for everybody," he said.

State radio ran reports yesterday boasting that government was now moving a
gear up to complete land expropriations from farmers allegedly blocking the
"redistribution process".

However, the farmers have vowed to defy the official orders for them to
leave, saying they have no where to go and have not been compensated for
developments on their seized properties.

"They would rather arrest us because we won't leave," one farmer said.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw criticised Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe for ordering farmers off their land, calling the
move "extraordinary and reprehensible".

Straw said in parliament that Mugabe was engineering a "man-made tragedy" by
driving workers off the farms at a time when the country was facing

Most of the blame for food shortages was not due to drought "but deliberate
decisions of the Mugabe regime", he said. With Sapa-AFP
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Daily News

      Serious shortage of salt hits Zimbabwe

      6/26/02 8:56:18 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sandra Nyaira, Political Editor

      THERE is a serious shortage of salt in Zimbabwe.

      Visits to six major Harare supermarkets in search of the commodity on
Monday yielded nothing. The shelves had no salt and frustrated shoppers were
walking out empty-handed.

      The country has for long been experiencing major shortages of basic
food commodities such as sugar, maize meal, wheat, cooking oil and even

      Some of the major shortages came as a direct result of the government'
s chaotic land reform programme and the drought.

      "Sugar supplies have been dwindling in the past two weeks because of a
plant breakdown," said Tapera Choto, a shop floor supervisor at OK.

      "Our customers have been coming into the shop in search of most basic
commodities, only to go back home empty- handed. The shelves are empty as
you can see."

      He said Zimbabwe does not produce salt locally, but relies on imports
from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

      "Since it is imported, salt has to be paid for in scarce foreign
currency, which leads to a shortage of the commodity. The next shipment of
salt will definitely make it more expensive than it is now," Choto said.

      Salt is currently pegged at US$65 (Z$3 575) a tonne, making it one of
the cheapest commodities on the international market.

      Helen Chinamasa of a newly-opened Spar supermarket said they had been
informed by their suppliers, Blue Ribbons and National Foods, that they no
longer had any salt in stock due to dwindling foreign currency shortages. A
frustrated shopper at the Fife Avenue Shopping Centre said: "This is
terrible. I cannot believe that Zimbabwe has sunk this low.

      "The absence of salt from the shelves will soon be felt since iodised
salt prevents goitre. We cannot do without salt."

      Farai Zizhou, of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the
salt shortage was as a direct result of the foreign currency crisis.

      Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
on the implications of the salt shortage were fruitless since the acting
minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa was said to be out of his office.
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Daily News - Feature

      Street children, touts now a law unto themselves

      6/26/02 9:12:28 AM (GMT +2)

      By Ray Matikinye Features Editor

      A GROUP of youths stampedes towards the exit to a sprawling produce
market, arms thrusting home-made recycled plastic bags forward and shouting
in menacing voices: "You cannot leave carrying your vegetables in your bare
hands. We will not allow that. You ought to buy carriers. If you don't, how
else do you think we'll survive?"

      The overt coercion, veiled as a plea is sometimes enough to force part
of the group of women to reluctantly buy plastic carriers they do not really

      Only quick thinking among some of the women enables them to pile their
vegetables onto a Good Samaritan's pushcart and leave without buying the
threadbare recycled plastic bags.

      In one of South America's sprawling barrios (slums) the only way a
visitor can find directions from residents of the unnumbered tin shacks is
by paying a fee to unemployed youths to induce them to divulge the

      Zimbabwe's unemployed poor have gone a step beyond that.

      Desperate and intolerant youths are a threat and a law unto
themselves, forcing customers to pay for items and services they do not
really need.

      A recent newspaper story on the misadventures of hitchhikers and posh
car owners at one of Harare's pick-up points has generated debate slating
the extortion by touts and car guards at terminuses and parking lots.

      A caller from Kwekwe who declined to be identified criticised the
behaviour of a group of touts at the Harare Exhibition Park, saying the
group comprised hoodlums out to extort motorists and harass the travelling
public, despite their pretensions of being a better natured lot than their
peers at main bus terminuses.

      "I had a nightmare with those boys while travelling with my wife. They
are a nuisance and renowned for uncouth and profane language which any
self-respecting person cannot stand," he complained.

      "All they have told your paper is packaged lies to fool the public
that they provide an essential service. Who does not know where they
      want to go?"

      Harare's main transit terminus in Mbare has over the years become
infamous, much like most other terminuses in urban centres, for its touts
who extract money from the public for "services". Many
      travellers now avoid Mbare Musika terminus for fear of losing their
luggage to touts who hustle would-be travellers for a fee from bus

      Two years ago in 1998, a woman was strangled by her handbag strap when
a group of touts fought over her for rival bus operators at Mbare Musika
despite police efforts to rid the terminus of layabouts accused by the
public of pick-pocketing.

      Some of the touts take advantage of the large numbers that crowd the
terminus to steal luggage, purses and other valuables.

      The police seem resigned to their failure to effectively deal with the

      Tapiwa Nago, 26, was left jobless when a company he worked for as a
general hand folded.

      Left with no other means to raise rent and money for food, he says he
turned to the central business district to claim a stake on one of the
streets and offer car guarding services.

      "Times are hard and one has to find ways to make ends meet. I provide
a service for a fee," he says.

      "It is a dangerous job because car-jackers these days are armed and
don't hesitate to shoot anyone who gets in their way. The risks are very

      Along the streets of Harare, young adults and middle-aged men alike
force motorists to pay them for guarding their cars or risk having their
vehicles vandalised. This is despite motorists acquiring hi-tech anti-theft
alarm systems at great expense and having to buy prepaid parking tickets
from the city council for parking their vehicles along the city's streets.

      An anti-theft car alarm system costs upwards of $30 000 to install.

      The costs of repairing a dented or scratched vehicle body is enormous.

      What started as moonlighting for a few desperate people who relied on
the motorist's benevolence and philanthropy for feeding expired parking
metres on their behalf, has gradually become a routine source of income for
hundreds of the unemployed who are emboldened by police inaction.

      These marginalised people have taken over whole streets, marshalling
traffic and controlling parking areas in the city. And police watch
nonchalantly as the practice spreads like a scourge.

      At a service station along the busy Selbourne Avenue, touts have
perfected the art of coercing the motorists and long-distance commuter
omnibus drivers.

      If motorists do not pay them for commandeering would-be travellers,
the outs slash a vehicle's tyres.

      "They prey mainly on company vehicle drivers especially those with
logos. If a driver tries to pick up passengers without paying, they slash
the tyres with pangas," Tulani Moyo, a regular traveller to Beitbridge en
route to South Africa, says.

      "Something has to be done to stop the practice before it is too late."

      Forced car guarding has driven some exasperated companies away from
the central business district to quieter suburban areas where customers are
spared these hassles. Commercial parks have developed in various suburbs of
the city, more out in a bid to escape the nightmare of being confronted by
touts on congested parking lots in the city centre than due to rentals
charged by landlords.

      Although the car guards are unwilling to disclose how much they make
from their extortionate practice, some are said to "earn" more than general
hands. And their ill-gotten gains go untaxed.
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Daily News

      Zimdollar slumps

      6/26/02 8:47:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      A LEADING economic commentator has attributed the recent drastic
depreciation of the local currency on the parallel market to the government'
s sourcing of the hard currency on that market to import maize.

      Zimbabwe is facing an acute maize shortage at a time when it does not
have foreign currency to import the commodity to avert starvation.

      The Zimbabwean dollar has nose-dived on the parallel market over the
last three weeks and is trading at about $950 against the British pound and
$850 against the United States dollar.

      Addressing delegates to this year's Zimbabwe Grain Producers'
Association annual congress last week, Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economic
commentator, said: "The recent decline of the Zimbabwean dollar and the
massive escalation of the black market has been necessitated by the
government which is sourcing forex on the black market. It has sourced over
US$55 million for the Grain Marketing Board to import maize over the last
three weeks."

      Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, was
not immediately available for comment.

      Bloch said the parallel market was now, however, going to be
"temporarily stable" for sometime now that the government has pulled out of

      "But I can see our currency trading around $1 000 against the US
dollar before the year end," he said. "There seem to be no solutions to the
issue of foreign currency shortages. We are not generating it. In fact, by
remaining rigid we are driving away the little foreign currency which we
have. There is need to devalue. The real value of the currency is reflected
on the black market."

      The Zimbabwean dollar is officially pegged at $55 to the US dollar. It
began to lose value drastically on "Black Friday" - 14 November, 1997 - when
the government gave vast some of unbudgeted money to war veterans.

      Since then, coupled with mismanagement of funds by the government and
the pulling-out of the international donor and financial community, the
currency has never stabilised.

      Consequently, there has been an acute shortage of foreign currency
resulting in the failure by the government to import some vital services and
materials such as medical drugs, electricity and fuel.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Zimbabwe going through accountability crisis

      6/26/02 8:49:10 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE has hogged the international limelight for more than two
years now, for the wrong reasons, with little desire by the ruling party to
free the nation from an economic, political and social quagmire.
      And what aggravates our position is that the ruling party firmly
believes it has never been more relevant than the present.

      For them, the present is a continuation of the 1970s after a
two-decade hiatus. This has inspired the creativity of some government
ministers who have taken to the studios to record "wartime" propaganda. The
uproar the ruling party has invited over the past two years from civic
groups, the ordinary citizens and the international community has failed to
prick the consciences of the men and women at the helm.

      That brings to the fore questions about our idea of what entails the
whole concept of accountability to the constituencies that fall under the
jurisdiction of the ruling party.

      That sounds obvious enough, but is mentioned here to highlight that it
would also deliberately exclude accountability to the outside world as the
argument has been that they (the European Union and the Americans) did not
cast the ballot, but locals, thereby making this a people's government.

      If that were believable, that concept or idealism would be expected to
run the whole gamut, that is the government would be obliged to meet at
least some, if not most, of the expectations of that electorate that put
that party in power.

      But then that is what would obtain in any multi-party democracy
without the winning candidates being reminded of these expectations. That is
all enshrined within the concept of accountability. If a government is not
accountable to anybody, it could easily be accused of being arrogant, of
feigning to be omniscient.

      In short, the ruling party would think it knows everything and has
answers to every riddle. But then it could be asked that with an attitude
like that, how would the party know what lacks in the people's lives that
the party has to deliver?

      These traits have manifested themselves in Zimbabwe. There is no worse
fate that can befall anybody than one's sense of self-worth lowered.
      In rural communities where that markedly African esprit de corps would
be expected to thrive. it has been put to the test by the acute food
shortages. Again it brings us back to the issue of accountability. If the
government was so sure it represented the interests of all Zimbabweans,
would such indignities the people here are being forced to go through have
been experienced?

      After all it is a recorded fact that the man entrusted with assuring
the nation that the country had no food security crisis decided more than
once that there was no honour in telling the truth about food reserves. But
then it is interesting to note much of the bungling today in Zimbabwe's
Cabinet is from folks who did not stand for election, but rather are
political or presidential appointees.That would explain why they have
unilaterally exempted themselves from the whole concept of accountability to
constituencies. After all, one who is not elected would not have to deal
directly with the people in the manner of an elected MP.If the people are
not at all impressed with service delivery, or lack thereof, they would call
for their legislator's head. That is what accountability would demand. But
Zimbabwe is a weird test case for many an experiment gone wrong. While the
government ministers would claim they are the epitome of democracy, they
neglect to recall that in a democracy people are elected into positions of
public service and the portfolios they hold are through the votes they
collected in a democratic election.But can one talk about the virtues of
democracy when he himself was not elected by popular vote to the office he
occupies? Is that in itself not a contradiction?

      Zimbabwean politics is currently going through an accountability
crisis - never mind credibility - and while the popular rhetoric is that it
is the West that is busy trying to dictate to the government how it ought to
do business, is it not more important still to listen to what the people are
saying about the manner you are behaving? Perhaps for us here the
unfortunate part is that the worries and the strictures we have directed at
the ruling party have coincided with those of the West! So as logic will
have it, as the Western admonishments are dismissed as a major bout of an
imperial hangover, our own grumblings are dismissed because we are parroting

      We inevitably become the child thrown away with the dirty bath water
because it would be extremely difficult to tolerate the dissent here which
contains the same concerns as those voiced by those mentioned countries.That
would be too tricky to juggle and would, in fact, be seen as giving in to
the demands of the rich countries up North, and that is a taboo the ruling
party is not ready to violate. In this way, accountability, be it making due
mea culpas in the face of obvious bungling that for this government has
become legendary, is compromised as it would by natural consequence extend
to accountability to the West.

      It also explains why the ruling party has been fervent in its
opposition to bodies such as the National Constitutional Assembly, which is
pushing for the adoption of a new constitution. The government is not at all
comfortable with the idea of having a constitution which would tie it to the
interests of the people, something which would make it accountable to the
citizens of this country in every sense of the word.
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Daily News

      Farmers form body to fight evictions

      6/26/02 9:06:38 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A group of farmers have formed the Justice for Agriculture, which
seeks to challenge the government legally on farm acquisitions.

      The leader of the group, David Connolly of Bulawayo said, "dialogue
has not yielded results and farmers face eviction without conviction. The
legal action we plan represents an alternative route to our case."

      In a related development the former chairman of the Commercial Farmers
' Union's Cereals Producers Association, Robert Macmanus was arrested on
Sunday at his Rutope farm about 60 km along the Harare/Shamva road.

      When The Daily News visited the farm on Monday, both the farmer's son
Christopher, and his mother were away.

      A worker on the farm who declined to be identified said it was not
clear why the farmer had been arrested.

      But a source said Macmanus could have been arrested because he is
accused of providing transport to a group of settlers on a farm that has
been earmarked for a senior government official.

      It was not clear on Monday whether Macmanus had been released or not.

      In another development, most farmers along the Shamva road were
working at full throttle on Monday and it remains to be seen whether or not
the farmers will abide by the amendment to the controversial Land
Acquisition Act, under which a farm automatically becomes State land once
the owner is served with a Section 8 notice.

      The notice under the amendment which came into effect on 10 May, now
constitutes a notice to stop farming after 45 days and to vacate the
homestead within 90 days.

      The 45-day notice expired on Monday for farmers served with Section 8

      About 653 families and at least 15 154 farm-worker families have been
evicted from their homes since February 2000 and have been unable to return.

      The figure translates to 76 000 people displaced since the beginning
of the farm invasions in February 2000.

      The invasions have seen assets valued at $7,9 billion being either
seized, impounded or looted from 632 farms.

      The Commercial Farmers' Union said that 857 single-owned farms have
been seized despite the government's policy of one farm for one owner.

Business Day

Zimbabwean farmers fight new land laws


HARARE - Some white farmers in Zimbabwe have begun to challenge land reform
laws that required them to stop farming by midnight next Monday before the
government allocates their land to black farmers.
"As of today I am supposed to stop farming, yet I have 20ha of coffee in the
middle of reaping, tobacco in the barns waiting to be graded and paprika,"
said Andy Kockott of Tengwe Estate.

"This is why I am challenging" He wanted at least to be allowed to reap his
crop. Kockott, who said his case was heard initially in the high court on
Monday and would continue yesterday, said many farmers wanted to challenge
the land laws.

Kockott said he bought his 586ha farm in 1995, and it was his only farm. But
he had received a notice to compulsorily take over his property, despite
government's promises it would not take away land from farmers who had only
one farm.

Meanwhile, Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union,
said farmers trying to move their movable equipment, in compliance with the
order to stop farming were intimidated and barred by settlers and war

About 2900 farmers were to stop farming under the new land law, which came
into effect on May 10, but many farmers defied the order, which came as the
country faces a serious shortage of food. "This move defies logic, that 13%
of GDP (gross domestic product) could be rendered illegal overnight in a
country facing starvation," said Williams.

Zimbabwe faces a food shortage affecting up to 7,8-million people, or more
than half of its 12 million population.

Government blames the shortage on a drought while aid agencies say it is
partly due to the land reforms.

New legal battle to keep Zimbabwe farming

Cris Chinaka in Harare
Wednesday June 26, 2002
The Guardian

Two white Zimbabwean farmers took the government to court yesterday in an
effort to block its order that they abandon their farms. It was a test case
closely watched by 3,000 others also facing eviction.
A 45-day countdown for the white farmers to leave their land began
yesterday, but many vowed to stay put rather than watch crops rot in a
country short of food.

Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union has not joined the action, but is
keenly awaiting the outcome, which is expected on Friday.

The order was the latest shot in the government's battle to redistribute
farms to landless black Zimbabweans.

Many analysts have blamed the "fast-track" programme for Zimbabwe's current
food shortage - part of the worst economic crisis in the 22 years since

The agricultural shutdown could put as many as 250,000 farm labourers out of

Jean Simon, who owns a farm 80 miles from Harare, said: "I have 340 workers
here who have over 1,000 dependents. We are being stopped from earning a

"This is not a money issue... when we are facing starvation, we are fighting
about who should be growing food." Reuters
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Daily News

      Violence tearing Buhera apart

      6/26/02 9:02:15 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      ZANU PF youth brigade and war veterans deployed in the politically
volatile Buhera South constituency on Saturday allegedly severely assaulted
about 30 MDC supporters in an attempt to force them to join their party.

      Buhera South has been rocked by post-election political violence and
at least 60 families have been rendered homeless after their homes were
burnt down by both Zanu PF and MDC activists.

      Ironically, the police and soldiers keeping a vigil in that area are
      alleged to be at the forefront of instigating violence.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC's spokesman in Manicaland, blamed war
veterans and Zanu PF youths for the violence.

      He said: "Instead of peacekeeping, the uniformed forces are part of
those beating up MDC supporters in Buhera North and South.

      "Members of the Zanu PF youth brigade and war veterans have assaulted
at least 30 of our members, urging them to defect to the ruling party. So
far only one has defected. The beatings are being conducted in full view of
the police and soldiers."

      Muchauraya said more than 60 MDC members had fled the area since Zanu
PF members allegedly embarked on a post-election campaign in the province.

      Contacted for comment Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman, said: "The
police are the best people to answer your questions because they are the
ones who are supposed to stop such activities, if they're happening."

      Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, refused to comment.

      Meanwhile, in Makoni East, families have been displaced after their
houses were set on fire by alleged Zanu PF members. In Rusape, travellers
were assaulted on buses and forced to chant Zanu PF slogans.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's rural home in Buhera South was
ransacked by police searching for arms of war.

      Soldiers in Chimanimani have allegedly occupied part of Charleswood
Farm owned by Roy Bennet, the MP for the area. They are allegedly beating up
Bennet's workers.

      Manicaland police have now banned all MDC activities in the province.
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Daily News

      Mugabe meets delegation

      6/26/02 9:00:35 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

      PRESIDENT Mugabe personally gave evidence to the African Commission
and People's Rights delegation visiting the country in Harare yesterday.
There were no details last night of what he told the commission.
      But Mugabe's opponents told the delegation the fact that they were in
Zimbabwe at all to probe allegations of human rights violations proved that
all was not well in the country.

      Representatives of different human rights organisations gave
documentary evidence before the commission, alleging well-orchestrated
government action against opposition supporters, the media and the general

      They said the fact that the commission was born out of a charter
signed by African heads of state and government weighed heavily against
Zimbabwe on the international scene.The commission, led by its
vice-chairperson, Jainaba Johm of Gambia, spent the whole day yesterday
locked up in meetings with representatives of the non-governmental
organisation (NGO) sector, the opposition MDC, Zanu PF and Mugabe himself.

      Most of the organisations attacked the government for alleged human
rights abuses. They chronicled events going back to the constitutional
referendum in February 2000 during which a majority rejected the
government-sponsored draft document.

      The MDC's Welshman Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi produced before the
delegation documentary evidence of human rights abuses by the
government.These included pictures, video recordings supported by five
victims of political violence, including Trymore Midzi's father. Midzi was
killed by alleged Zanu PF activists in Bindura in the run-up to the March
presidential election.

      The five gave their own accounts and told the commission how they had
been displaced by Zanu PF and cannot return to their homes to this day.

      Ncube said: "Basically we made a presentation of the human rights
situation, beginning with the referendum period because this marked the
turning point in the move by the government to extinguish the freedoms of
the people."

      Both the the MDC and the NGOs referred to the draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy and the Public Order and Security Acts
which they said curtailed the freedoms of the people. Ncube said the MDC
gave the commission video recordings of Mugabe threatening to deal viciously
with his opponents. "We also chronicled the endless arrests of our members
and the media practitioners under the laws," he said. "We also talked about
the electoral amendments and related issues."

      The commission will not talk to the media until after completing its
investigations. It falls under the African Charter on Human Rights and
People's Rights, a treaty that came into being after being signed by African
heads of state.Jerry Grant of the Commercial Farmers' Union said his
organisation would highlight the plight of the over two million farm workers
displaced by the government's chaotic land reform programme, problems in the
farming community and offer its pledge to producing for Zimbabwe while
working with the government on land reform.

      Thomas Nherera of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union said they
would bring to the fore the people's right to land, food and shelter and
related issues. Other groups that met the commission yesterday were the Law
Society of Zimbabwe, ZimRights and other representatives from the NGO
sector. Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa also testified.


White farmers won't be left landless - Mugabe

      June 26 2002 at 01:28PM

By Cris Chinaka

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Wednesday to press ahead with
controversial seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
blacks, saying there would still be enough land left for whites.

"No farmer need go without land. The government is opposed to a 'one-farmer,
20-farms scenario'," Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as

Mugabe said he was opposed to white farmers owning more than one farm and
emphasised that indigenous blacks were prepared to die for their native

They were his first public comments since the expiry this week of a
government order to nearly 3 000 farmers to stop farming.

"Comrade Mugabe said the government would press ahead with land reform
despite resistance by some white commercial farmers," the paper quoted him
telling a visiting rights group.

"The land is ours. We went to war for it. We are prepared to die for it," he
was reported as saying.

Mugabe told the rights group whites were misrepresenting facts to the world
by claiming land reforms would leave them without any land because many had
more than one farm each.

Unrepentant for his drive to redress historical injustices over the land
issue, he said blacks had gone to war for independence and to reclaim their
land from whites.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) swiftly condemned
Mugabe's latest drive, saying it would further hurt the economy and
Zimbabwe's already damaged image abroad.

"This tired regime, which is now fighting for both self-preservation and
self-aggrandisement, no longer has the future of this nation at heart and is
determined to leave the country in ruins," the MDC said.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the Herald the police had no
capacity to monitor whether all farmers who had been ordered to stop
operations had done so.

But Bvudzijena said the police would be ready by the August deadline to
evict those who would not have moved off the land.

"We are gearing ourselves for the eviction process. When the timetable for
the farmers to leave is reached, we will be there in full force," he said.

Posted on Wed, Jun. 26, 2002  
Mugabe vows land seizures to go ahead
HARARE - - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Wednesday to press ahead with controversial seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, saying there would still be enough land left for whites.
"No farmer need go without land. The government is opposed to a 'one-farmer, 20-farms scenario'," Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying.
Mugabe said he was opposed to white farmers owning more than one farm and emphasized that indigenous blacks were prepared to die for their native land.
They were his first public comments since the expiry this week of a government order to nearly 3,000 farmers to stop farming -- as saying indigenous blacks were determined to die for their native land.
"Comrade Mugabe said the government would press ahead with land reform despite resistance by some white commercial farmers," the paper quoted him telling a visiting rights group.
"The land is ours. We went to war for it. We are prepared to die for it," he was reported as saying.
Mugabe told the rights group whites were misrepresenting facts to the world by claiming land reforms would leave them without any land because many had more than one farm each.
Mugabe, who says he is unapologetic for his drive to redress historical injustices over the land issue, said blacks had gone to war for independence and to reclaim their land from whites.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the Herald the police had no capacity to monitor whether all farmers who had been ordered to stop operations had done so.
But Bvudzijena said the police would be ready by the August deadline to evict those who would not have moved off the land.
"We are gearing ourselves for the eviction process. When the timetable for the farmers to leave is reached, we will be there in full force," he said.
Two white farmers filed a suit on Tuesday seeking to stop a government order that they abandon their farms in a test case closely watched by thousands of others also facing eviction.
A 45-day countdown for the white farmers to leave their land began on Tuesday, but many vowed to stay put rather than watch vital crops rot in a nation short of food.
About 3,000 farmers were given until midnight on Monday to stop working their farms, and just over a month to leave totally after Zimbabwe amended its land acquisition law in May.
They could face two years in prison and a fine for farm-related work from Tuesday.
In an editorial, Zimbabwe's private Daily News said the land seizures would be disastrous because the white farmers were crucial to the economy, now in a deep recession.
"The political leadership of this country appears determined to drag Zimbabwe down that dark path," the newspaper said.
An estimated 250,000 farmworkers stand to lose their jobs if farming operations are shut down. Zimbabwe is one of six countries in the regoin facing a food crisis. Analysts blame this partly on disruptions caused by the land seizures.
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Daily News

      Mushagashe vocational centre now training Zanu PF militia

      6/26/02 8:59:56 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      All lectures at Mushagashe vocational training centre, 26km north of
Masvingo town, have been suspended indefinitely to pave the way for the
full-time training of Zanu PF youths from the Border Gezi Training Centre in
Mt Darwin.

      The college is now headed by Francis Zimuto aka Black Jesus, a retired
army captain.

      Lecturers, the principal and students, have been redeployed to other
vocational skills training centres.

      The college is recruiting about 1 000 youths drawn from the provinces
for each intake.

      Officials from the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation in Masvingo, said the college had now been turned into a
training camp for Zanu PF militia.

      An official who refused to be named said: "We no longer have a
principal. He has since been replaced by a commandant. All students were
transferred to similar institutions elsewhere."

      When The Daily News visited the college last week, Zanu PF youths were
undergoing training.

      The college used to offer carpentry, welding, boiler-making and
agriculture courses.

      Yesterday, Zimuto confirmed he was in charge of the institution.

      He said the Zanu PF youths were undergoing a three-month training

      Zimuto said: "At the moment we have 1 000 youths. Selection is done at
ward level."

      The turning of the institution into a militia camp has riled some
people in the Mushagashe community.

      Kurava Manjegwa, 60, a local, said: "We want our children to get the
necessary skills to earn a living. Do we eat national service?"
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Daily News

      Police officer admits arrested MDC

      6/26/02 8:55:58 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      SUPERINTENDENT William Dzimba, the police officer who ordered the
arrest of MDC supporters attending a Soweto Day commemoration on 16 June,
yesterday conceded they were milling in front of their Harare provincial
offices when the riot police descended on them to break up their proposed

      Eighty-eight people, including three Daily News staffers Guthrie
Munyuki, Urginia Mauluka and Shadreck Mukwecheni, independent film-maker
Newton Spicer and 38 commuters dragged out of buses at a roadblock, were
arrested and detained at Harare Central Police Station.

      They were charged with breaching Section 19 (1) (a) of the Public
Order and Security Act by allegedly disturbing the peace, security or order
of the public or any section thereof.

      But Harare magistrate Dominic Muzawazi absolved the Daily News
staffers and Spicer on Thursday last week after prosecutor Thabani Mpofu
said the four were at the gathering to do their work and that there was no
evidence linking them to the alleged offence.

      Giving evidence during the State's opposition to the suspects'
application for refusal of remand, Dzimba said he drove to the MDC offices
in Mbuya Nehanda Street after a fellow police officer called him on his
communication radio saying there was an illegal gathering at the offices.

      "At the time of my arrival, the people were just milling around the
offices," Dzimba said. The suspects' lawyer Ralph Maganga said his clients
were milling around the offices while taking turns to enter the offices
where they intended to hold a meeting. He challenged the State to link each
of the suspects to the alleged offence. Mpofu said the State was not obliged
to prove its case "beyond any reasonable doubt".

      The court will rule on the matter on Friday.
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Daily News

      Defiant farmers continue operations

      6/26/02 9:09:24 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      MOST commercial farmers in the country yesterday defied a government
order to cease operations from midnight on Monday and confine themselves to
their farmhouses until August, when they are required to leave the
properties altogether.Amendments to the Land Acquisition Act gazetted on 10
May 2002, stipulate that once a farmer has received a Section 8 acquisition
order, they have 45 days to halt operations and another 45 days to leave the

      The farmers are expected to spend the next 45 days from 24 June
confined on their farmhouses, as they prepare to leave the farms. The
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) spokesperson, Jennie Williams, said
yesterday: "Everyone is shocked and farmers are looking for directions. Some
farmers continue farming. You know the grading of tobacco has to go on.
Farmers have no choice but to continue.

      "There is confusion and no one knows exactly what to do."In
Matabeleland, farmers given notice to discontinue operations on their farms
have ignored the order.

      Sixty percent of the farms have been listed under Section 8 which gave
notice to farmers to wind up operations by 24 June and to vacate the
properties by the end of August.The 2 900 farmers affected represent about
60 percent of the total number of white farmers in Zimbabwe at the time of
the land seizures two years ago.

      In Matabeleland South more than 160 farmers were threatened with
arrest and forcible eviction on Monday for failing to comply with the
government order.The provincial chief lands officer, Ulibile Gwate,
yesterday told the government-controlled Chronicle newspaper that the police
had been given a list of the defiant farmers served with notices last
November. Gwate accused the farmers of overgrazing their cattle on
designated land on their properties to deliberately disadvantage resettled

      But the farmers insisted they could not wind up 50 years of farm work
in 45 days. The government has rejected their request to be allowed to stay
on longer.On Friday last week, the government, through its media, said those
affected by the eviction notices were a very small minority causing
unnecessary panic by announcing Monday as their D-Day.

      The CFU regional executive in Matabeleland said they had not received
any reports of government action against any farmers, with most farmers
continuing with their normal daily activities. Outside Harare, most
commercial farmers continued with their farming operations yesterday despite
the deadline.

      Meanwhile, a Karoi farmer has filed an urgent application in the High
Court challenging the constitutionality of the evictions.If a farmer served
with a Section 8 disobeys the order to stop farming, they face a fine of $20
000 or two years in prison, or both.Farmers stand to lose billions of
dollars if they are not able to sell their tobacco crop this year. Out of
the national flue-cured tobacco crop of 170 million kg, only about 17
million kg had been sold by Monday this week on the three auction floors.

      Zimbabwe, whose economy is underpinned by tobacco exports, has so far
only earned about $1,7 billion from the golden leaf sales.

      The bulk of the flue-cured tobacco crop is produced by commercial
farmers, most of whom have been issued with eviction orders.Small-scale
farmers, mostly black, this year produced only about 30 million kg of
flue-cured tobacco. The government, realising there would be food shortages,
asked commercial farmers to plant winter wheat despite having issued them
with eviction orders. Wheat producers could lose billions of dollars from
the wheat crop they planted this year if they are forced to vacate the farms
in the next 45 days.

      Most commercial farmers have to stop farming and vacate farms by next
August.About 22 000 hectares were planted under winter wheat by commercial
farmers this year. The wheat crop is harvested in September.The Minister of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Joseph Made, said on
Monday the government would not extend the June 24 deadline.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe worries SA farmers


The South African government's stance on the treatment of white farmers in
Zimbabwe was a bad omen for their counterparts in this country, the
Transvaal Agricultural Union said on Wednesday.

"It is clear that dispossession of land of South African white farmers will
also be attempted," it said in a statement in Pretoria.

The union expressed its outrage and concern about what it termed the
government's low-profile handling of the Zimbabwean government's "blatant
anti-white racist" action.

This should be seen in the context of the murders of hundreds of whites on
South African farms since 1994, "attacks" on property rights in terms of
land redistribution laws, firearms legislation aimed at "disarming" white
farmers, as well as hate statements against white farmers, the TAU said.

"This situation could result not only in a food crisis as in Zimbabwe, but
the danger of a possible consequent blood bath should not be left out of

The union urged the international community to take note and take timeous

Zimbabwean authorities this week ordered farmers to stop farming operations
in preparation for a government takeover of their land.

Since June 2000, the government has targeted 5,872 mostly white-owned
properties for confiscation.

G8 summit

Mbeki fights to sell his vision to wary African leaders

Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Wednesday June 26, 2002
The Guardian

Thabo Mbeki has made hard compromises to keep his ambitious recovery plan
for Africa on the international agenda.
Days after Robert Mugabe stole Zimbabwe's election, Tony Blair warned the
South African president that continued prevarication over Zimbabwe would
cost him crucial support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development

A few weeks later, a raucous press conference following a meeting with the
Canadian prime minister, Jean Chrétien, brought home to Mr Mbeki just how
much his strange views on Aids - questioning the link between HIV and Aids -
were tainting western perceptions of his vision of an African renaissance.

Mr Chrétien, in Pretoria to talk about this week's G8 summit, privately
warned Mr Mbeki that his Aids policies were undermining support for Nepad.
Canadian journalists reinforced the point as they shunned Mr Mbeki's
attempts to speak about the G8 meeting and flayed him with questions on his
HIV policies.

Mr Mbeki reluctantly made limited concessions on both Zimbabwe and Aids: he
was forced to agree to suspend Zimbabwe from the Common wealth, and he
lifted objections to his government pursuing a more orthodox approach to
Aids. He made the compromises knowing Nepad's fate is linked far more to his
own credibility than to the credibility of the other African leaders behind
the plan-Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo or Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.

However, South Africa's leader is struggling to sell Nepad not just to the
G8, but to the rest of his continent too.

Earlier this month, Mr Mbeki bluntly stated that Africa is primarily looking
for money from the west. "The fact of the matter is that these countries
have large volumes of capital that we need for the renaissance of our
continent," he said. Africa is also pressing for debt reduction and greater
access to western markets.

But there is a deal. Central to Nepad is a commitment by African countries
to hold each other to a higher standard of governance than the continent has
generally known over recent decades. The "peer review mechanism" was to have
been in place by mid-June but South Africa is still battling to get
consensus on "general principles".

Earlier this month, South Africa's finance minister, Trevor Manuel,
acknowledged that Pretoria is having difficulty selling the mechanism to
those African leaders who show little respect for decent government and fair
elections, and to those who view Nepad as hardly more than an extension of
International Monetary Fund dictates.

"It is a hard issue. It entails giving up bits of sovereignty. It is
particularly difficult for those countries that fought hard struggles
against colonial powers," he said. "The more of these hard issues that we
put on the table the easier it is for us to deal with them. But, there is no
doubt that it is going to be difficult."

The most outspoken critic has been South Africa's main rival for leadership
in Africa, Muammar Gadafy. Mr Mbeki may have the credibility in the west,
but Col Gadafy has the money - he has helped bankroll Mr Mugabe - and he's
not going to embarrass some of Africa's more authoritarian leaders by
bringing up the issue of democracy.

Mr Mbeki flew to Libya earlier this month to try to ensure that Col Gadafy
did not rock the boat ahead of the G8 meeting. The Libyan leader responded
by calling Nepad an attempt by the west to recolonise Africa. "It is quite
hard and quite difficult for an African man to believe that he will be
treated on an equal footing by the colonisers and racists. I don't believe
they have changed their racist mentality," he said.

"If there are common benefits, we are ready. But we will not be tricked
easily. Africa is a giant which has woken up and broken its shackles... The
time has passed for creating stooges."

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has also questioned Nepad, saying
that Mr Mbeki has gone to great lengths to win the support of big business
but has failed to consult many other interested parties. Its general
secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, called the strategies "vague" and said Nepad
does not protect demo cracy. "People have to adhere to what has been agreed
upon, but what happens if they do not?" he asked.

That is a central question, particularly in the light of South Africa's
prevarication over Zimbabwe. Pretoria has argued that sanctions against Mr
Mugabe's government would harm poor Zimbabweans. But that would apply to any
African nation, and it is still unclear what alternative mechanisms will be
used to punish those governments that do not adhere to their commitments
under Nepad.

G8 Summit Must Tackle Crisis in Zimbabwe

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (New York)

June 24, 2002
Posted to the web June 25, 2002

New York

Danger Zimbabwe will be left off agenda at Summit and in New African
Governance Partnership

There is a serious danger that the crisis in Zimbabwe will not be on the
agenda at the G8 Summit that begins this Wednesday in Alberta, Canada. A
major element of the Summit will be the launch of the G8's "Action Plan for
Africa," a new partnership between the G8 countries and African countries to
promote African development. But the humanitarian and human rights crisis in
Zimbabwe, brought on by the repressive policies of President Robert Mugabe,
is thus far slated to receive insufficient attention at the Summit.

Following a deeply flawed election in March, President Mugabe has increased
his grip on power in Zimbabwe, and repeatedly taken measures to suppress
dissent. However, even as the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates, African
nations are discussing the implementation of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD). NEPAD creates, among other mutual
responsibilities, a peer review mechanism obliging nations to monitor each
others' compliance with standards of good governance, democracy and human
rights. This billion-dollar initiative is an unprecedented effort by all
African nations to advance the region's development. NEPAD establishes joint
responsibility among African leaders in a variety of areas, including the
strengthening of mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, and the
promotion of democracy and human rights.

The implementation of NEPAD and the G8's "Action Plan for Africa" will be
impaired if the world turns a blind eye to Zimbabwe's state-sponsored
violence and destruction of democracy. G8 and African leaders must ensure
that democracy and the rule of law are restored to Zimbabwe. Without firm
action by powerful regional players, such as South Africa and Nigeria,
efforts to revitalize and develop the region will be critically compromised.


* Since the presidential election in March, the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe has seriously deteriorated. Under the electoral law, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC - the primary opposition party) was obliged to
disclose the names and addresses of its 15,000 polling agents. These people
and their families are now being systematically targeted for attack by
supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. As a new report by the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition (a coalition of over 500 Zimbabwean civil society groups)
documents, there have been numerous reports of beatings, abductions, sexual
assaults and other forms of mistreatment. (see )

* Repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act is being
used on a daily basis to target government critics, including independent
journalists, lawyers, and other human rights defenders.

* A famine will hit Zimbabwe with full force in August (even if the
international community starts providing food aid now). This famine is not
caused primarily by drought. The reservoirs in Zimbabwe are full, and had
the irrigated crop been planted, Zimbabwe would have food supplies.
Government policies have resulted in the displacement of thousands of farm
workers and the disruption of farming.

* With food in short supply, President Mugabe is using access to food as a
political weapon. Supporters of the political opposition (including the
15,000 polling agents and their families) are being denied access to food.
In schools, the names of children of MDC supporters have been removed from
feeding lists.

* Mugabe is likely counting on the "CNN factor" to take effect in August -
with images of starving children on television, food aid will be poured into
Zimbabwe, through government institutions. Donors must insist that civil
society groups be involved in co-ordinating food distribution. This is the
only way to ensure that all of the people are actually fed and that there is
no discrimination in favor of the ruling party.

For a briefing paper and other resources on the Zimbabwe Crisis, see

AB suspends Maun/Victoria Falls route
      26 June, 2002

      Air Botswana (AB) will suspend its flights between Maun and Victoria
Falls at the end of this month because of the low number of passengers using
it. In a news release, the airlines commercial manager Robert Mpabanga says
they regret the move but it was unavoidable.
      "The Air Botswana link between Maun and Victoria Falls is a very
convenient one, but passenger demand has fallen to the point where for
sometime the route has been uneconomical to operate," says the release.
However, Mpabanga says the service would be reintroduced when a tourism
upturn in Victoria Falls was justified.

      The release said the 50-minute flight provides an excellent shuttle
between the outstanding tourism destinations of the Okavango Delta and
Victoria Falls.
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