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
"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
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.
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
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
But the government and its supporters disagree.
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
"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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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Farm Invasions And Security
This report does not
purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial
farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers
from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names,
are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN
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
- On Vigila Farm two cattle have been axed but they are still
- On Galloway the homestead was looted whilst the owner was
Middle Save - All is very
quiet, but farms are busy with production even though 15 farms were listed on
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
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.
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.
received owing to lack of a computer in that office.
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.
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the CFU Website www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
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
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!
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
Daily News - Leader Page
Commercial farmers first on list of many
6/26/02 8:53:30 AM (GMT +2)
is a great temptation, especially by those in government, to
contribution of the commercial farmers to both the
development and economy of
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
To believe, therefore, that the newly resettled farmers
government's fast-track land resettlement programme can render
contribution of the commercial farming sector irrelevant overnight is
demonstrate unparalleled lack of understanding of the realities
agricultural production anywhere in the world.The levels of productivity
government is banking on,after dismissing the contribution of the
farming sector, cannot be achieved overnight and the question
answer must be: Why is the government in such a hurry to throw
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
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
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.
effect of both will translate into food scarcities.If the
anxious to raise the status of indigenous players in the
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
continue operations until the crop is harvested would be to
show up the
government as being deceitful. Zimbabwe's agriculture stands on a
but the truth is that the issue here is not about farmers.The
farmers are merely the first in the list of many casualties. The
Chile and Germany provide chilling precedents.
Clock stops for Zimbabwe’s farmers
The Scotsman: 25 June
FRED BRIDGLAND IN JOHANNESBURG
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.
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
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.
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."
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
"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
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.
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."
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.
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
1830s - The Ndebele people flee Zulu violence and
Boer migration in southern Africa and settle in what became known as
1830-1890s - Cecil Rhodes and other Europeans
explore the region from the south.
1890 - White settlers arrive
from the south at the site of the future capital, Harare.
Ndebele uprising against BSA rule crushed.
1896 - In Mashonaland,
settlers hang Ndebele and Shona leaders when they rebel over a 10 shillings "hut
1922 - The British South Africa administration ends; the
white minority sets up a government.
1930 - 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).
1953 - Britain creates the Central African Federation, made up of
Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).
1963 - The federation breaks up as Zambia and Malawi become
1964 - Ian Smith becomes prime minister of Rhodesia.
1965 - 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.
1978 - 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.
1982 - 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.
1987 - Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkomo merge parties to form the ZANU-PF,
ending the violence in the south. Mr Mugabe becomes executive president.
1991 - The Commonwealth adopts the Harare Declaration at a summit
in Zimbabwe, reaffirming the aims of democracy, freedom of individual and equal
rights for all.
1998 - Riots and strikes break out over the
1999 - 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.
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
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
Warrant Issued for
June 26, 2002
to the web June 26, 2002
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
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.
against Zimbabwe minister for contempt of court
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
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
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
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.
Police respite for
BBC: Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
The police are preparing for evictions in
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
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.
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
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
But Mr Mugabe says that giving land to poor black families will increase
their living standards and enhance food security.
Riches to Rags
The Times: June 26,
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
“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
Farmers Take Harare government to Court
June 26, 2002
Posted to the web June 26,
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
The challenge is against section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act
the orders were served, and response was expected in the next few
"They filed their application on their own behalf, but obviously it
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
However, the farmers have vowed to defy the official orders for
leave, saying they have no where to go and have not been compensated
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
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
Serious shortage of salt hits Zimbabwe
6/26/02 8:56:18 AM (GMT +2)
By Sandra Nyaira, Political
THERE is a serious shortage of salt in
Visits to six major Harare supermarkets in search of the
Monday yielded nothing. The shelves had no salt and frustrated
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
"Since it is imported, salt has to be paid for in scarce
currency, which leads to a shortage of the commodity. The next
salt will definitely make it more expensive than it is now,"
Salt is currently pegged at US$65 (Z$3 575) a tonne,
making it one of
the cheapest commodities on the international
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
frustrated shopper at the Fife Avenue Shopping Centre said:
terrible. I cannot believe that Zimbabwe has sunk this
"The absence of salt from the shelves will soon be felt since
salt prevents goitre. We cannot do without salt."
Zizhou, of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the
was as a direct result of the foreign currency crisis.
get a comment from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
implications of the salt shortage were fruitless since the acting
Dr David Parirenyatwa was said to be out of his office.
Daily News - Feature
Street children, touts now a law unto
6/26/02 9:12:28 AM (GMT +2)
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
group of women to reluctantly buy plastic carriers they do not
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.
one of South America's sprawling barrios (slums) the only way a
find directions from residents of the unnumbered tin shacks is
by paying a
fee to unemployed youths to induce them to divulge
Zimbabwe's unemployed poor have gone a step
Desperate and intolerant youths are a threat and a law
themselves, forcing customers to pay for items and services they do
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
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?"
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
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
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.
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
alarm systems at great expense and having to buy prepaid
from the city council for parking their vehicles along the
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
These marginalised people have taken over whole
traffic and controlling parking areas in the city. And
nonchalantly as the practice spreads like a
At a service station along the busy Selbourne Avenue,
perfected the art of coercing the motorists and long-distance
If motorists do not pay them for
commandeering would-be travellers,
the outs slash a vehicle's
"They prey mainly on company vehicle drivers especially
logos. If a driver tries to pick up passengers without paying,
the tyres with pangas," Tulani Moyo, a regular traveller to
route to South Africa, says.
"Something has to be
done to stop the practice before it is too late."
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
Although the car guards are unwilling to disclose how
much they make
from their extortionate practice, some are said to "earn" more
hands. And their ill-gotten gains go untaxed.
6/26/02 8:47:57 AM (GMT
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
Addressing delegates to this year's Zimbabwe Grain
Association annual congress last week, Eric Bloch, a
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
Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister
of Finance and Economic Development, was
not immediately available for
Bloch said the parallel market was now, however, going to
"temporarily stable" for sometime now that the government has pulled out
"But I can see our currency trading around $1 000 against
dollar before the year end," he said. "There seem to be no solutions
issue of foreign currency shortages. We are not generating it. In
remaining rigid we are driving away the little foreign currency
have. There is need to devalue. The real value of the currency is
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
Consequently, there has been an acute shortage of
resulting in the failure by the government to import some
vital services and
materials such as medical drugs, electricity and fuel.
Daily News - Leader Page
Zimbabwe going through accountability
6/26/02 8:49:10 AM (GMT +2)
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
That brings to the fore questions about our idea of what
whole concept of accountability to the constituencies that fall
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.
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
But then that is what would obtain in any multi-party
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
These traits have manifested themselves in Zimbabwe. There
is no worse
fate that can befall anybody than one's sense of self-worth
In rural communities where that markedly African esprit de
be expected to thrive. it has been put to the test by the acute
shortages. Again it brings us back to the issue of accountability. If
government was so sure it represented the interests of all
would such indignities the people here are being forced to go
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
neglect to recall that in a democracy people are elected into
public service and the portfolios they hold are through the
collected in a democratic election.But can one talk about the
democracy when he himself was not elected by popular vote to the
occupies? Is that in itself not a contradiction?
Zimbabwean politics is currently going through an accountability
never mind credibility - and while the popular rhetoric is that it
West that is busy trying to dictate to the government how it ought to
business, is it not more important still to listen to what the people
saying about the manner you are behaving? Perhaps for us here
unfortunate part is that the worries and the strictures we have directed
the ruling party have coincided with those of the West! So as logic
have it, as the Western admonishments are dismissed as a major bout of
imperial hangover, our own grumblings are dismissed because we are
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
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.
also explains why the ruling party has been fervent in its
bodies such as the National Constitutional Assembly, which is
pushing for the
adoption of a new constitution. The government is not at all
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.
Farmers form body to fight evictions
6/26/02 9:06:38 AM (GMT +2)
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
A worker on the farm who declined to be identified said it
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
The notice under the amendment which came into effect on 10
constitutes a notice to stop farming after 45 days and to vacate
homestead within 90 days.
The 45-day notice expired on
Monday for farmers served with Section 8
families and at least 15 154 farm-worker families have been
their homes since February 2000 and have been unable to return.
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
The Commercial Farmers' Union said that 857 single-owned
been seized despite the government's policy of one farm for one
Zimbabwean farmers fight new land
- Some white farmers in Zimbabwe have begun to challenge land reform
that required them to stop farming by midnight next Monday before
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
"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
Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union,
trying to move their movable equipment, in compliance with the
order to stop
farming were intimidated and barred by settlers and
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
Zimbabwe faces a food shortage affecting up to 7,8-million
people, or more
than half of its 12 million population.
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
Wednesday June 26, 2002
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.
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
Many analysts have blamed the "fast-track" programme for
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
should be growing food." Reuters
Violence tearing Buhera apart
9:02:15 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
ZANU PF youth brigade and war veterans deployed in the
volatile Buhera South constituency on Saturday allegedly severely
about 30 MDC supporters in an attempt to force them to join their
Buhera South has been rocked by post-election political
at least 60 families have been rendered homeless after their
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.
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
"Members of the Zanu PF youth brigade and war veterans
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.
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
owned by Roy Bennet, the MP for the area. They are allegedly beating
Manicaland police have now banned all MDC
activities in the province.
Mugabe meets delegation
6/26/02 9:00:35 AM
By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mugabe personally gave evidence to the African Commission
People's Rights delegation visiting the country in Harare yesterday.
were no details last night of what he told the commission.
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
Representatives of different human rights
documentary evidence before the commission, alleging
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
locked up in meetings with representatives of the
organisation (NGO) sector, the opposition MDC, Zanu PF and
Most of the organisations attacked the government
for alleged human
rights abuses. They chronicled events going back to the
referendum in February 2000 during which a majority rejected
government-sponsored draft document.
The MDC's Welshman
Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi produced before the
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
five gave their own accounts and told the commission how they had
displaced by Zanu PF and cannot return to their homes to this day.
Ncube said: "Basically we made a presentation of the human rights
beginning with the referendum period because this marked the
turning point in
the move by the government to extinguish the freedoms of
Both the the MDC and the NGOs referred to the draconian
Information and Protection of Privacy and the Public Order and
which they said curtailed the freedoms of the people. Ncube
said the MDC
gave the commission video recordings of Mugabe threatening to
with his opponents. "We also chronicled the endless arrests of
and the media practitioners under the laws," he said. "We also
the electoral amendments and related issues."
commission will not talk to the media until after completing
investigations. It falls under the African Charter on Human Rights
People's Rights, a treaty that came into being after being signed by
heads of state.Jerry Grant of the Commercial Farmers' Union said
organisation would highlight the plight of the over two million farm
displaced by the government's chaotic land reform programme, problems
farming community and offer its pledge to producing for Zimbabwe
working with the government on land reform.
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
26 2002 at 01:28PM
By Cris Chinaka
Robert Mugabe vowed on Wednesday to press ahead with
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,
Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as
said he was opposed to white farmers owning more than one farm and
that indigenous blacks were prepared to die for their
They were his first public comments since the expiry
this week of a
government order to nearly 3 000 farmers to stop
"Comrade Mugabe said the government would press ahead with land
despite resistance by some white commercial farmers," the paper quoted
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
Mugabe told the rights group whites were misrepresenting facts to
by claiming land reforms would leave them without any land because
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.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) swiftly condemned
Mugabe's latest drive,
saying it would further hurt the economy and
Zimbabwe's already damaged image
"This tired regime, which is now fighting for both
self-aggrandisement, no longer has the future of this
nation at heart and is
determined to leave the country in ruins," the MDC
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the Herald the police had
capacity to monitor whether all farmers who had been ordered to
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
"We are gearing ourselves for the eviction process. When the
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
BY CRIS CHINAKA
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
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
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
"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
Mushagashe vocational centre now training Zanu PF
6/26/02 8:59:56 AM (GMT +2)
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
is now headed by Francis Zimuto aka Black Jesus, a retired
Lecturers, the principal and students, have been
redeployed to other
vocational skills training centres.
college is recruiting about 1 000 youths drawn from the provinces
Officials from the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender
Employment Creation in Masvingo, said the college had now been turned
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
When The Daily News visited the college
last week, Zanu PF youths were
used to offer carpentry, welding, boiler-making and
Yesterday, Zimuto confirmed he was in charge of the
He said the Zanu PF youths were undergoing a
Zimuto said: "At the moment we have
1 000 youths. Selection is done at
The turning of
the institution into a militia camp has riled some
people in the Mushagashe
Kurava Manjegwa, 60, a local, said: "We want our
children to get the
necessary skills to earn a living. Do we eat national
Police officer admits arrested MDC
8:55:58 AM (GMT +2)
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
Urginia Mauluka and Shadreck Mukwecheni, independent film-maker
and 38 commuters dragged out of buses at a roadblock, were
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
But Harare magistrate Dominic Muzawazi absolved
the Daily News
staffers and Spicer on Thursday last week after prosecutor
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'
for refusal of remand, Dzimba said he drove to the MDC offices
Nehanda Street after a fellow police officer called him on his
radio saying there was an illegal gathering at the offices.
time of my arrival, the people were just milling around the
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
Defiant farmers continue operations
9:09:24 AM (GMT +2)
commercial farmers in the country yesterday defied a government
cease operations from midnight on Monday and confine themselves to
farmhouses until August, when they are required to leave the
altogether.Amendments to the Land Acquisition Act gazetted on 10
stipulate that once a farmer has received a Section 8 acquisition
have 45 days to halt operations and another 45 days to leave
The farmers are expected to spend the next 45
days from 24 June
confined on their farmhouses, as they prepare to leave the
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) spokesperson, Jennie Williams,
yesterday: "Everyone is shocked and farmers are looking for directions.
farmers continue farming. You know the grading of tobacco has to go
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
to farmers to wind up operations by 24 June and to vacate the
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
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
yesterday told the government-controlled Chronicle newspaper that the
had been given a list of the defiant farmers served with notices
November. Gwate accused the farmers of overgrazing their cattle
designated land on their properties to deliberately disadvantage
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
The CFU regional executive in Matabeleland said they had not
any reports of government action against any farmers, with most
continuing with their normal daily activities. Outside Harare,
commercial farmers continued with their farming operations yesterday
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
Zimbabwe, whose economy is underpinned by tobacco
exports, has so far
only earned about $1,7 billion from the golden leaf
The bulk of the flue-cured tobacco crop is produced by
farmers, most of whom have been issued with eviction
farmers, mostly black, this year produced only about 30
million kg of
flue-cured tobacco. The government, realising there would be
asked commercial farmers to plant winter wheat despite having
with eviction orders. Wheat producers could lose billions of
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.
Zimbabwe worries SA
South African government's stance on the treatment of white farmers
Zimbabwe was a bad omen for their counterparts in this country,
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.
should be seen in the context of the murders of hundreds of whites on
African farms since 1994, "attacks" on property rights in terms of
redistribution laws, firearms legislation aimed at "disarming" white
as well as hate statements against white farmers, the TAU said.
situation could result not only in a food crisis as in Zimbabwe, but
danger of a possible consequent blood bath should not be left out
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
properties for confiscation.
fights to sell his vision to wary African leaders
Chris McGreal in
Wednesday June 26, 2002
Thabo Mbeki has
made hard compromises to keep his ambitious recovery plan
for Africa on the
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
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
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
Earlier this month, Mr Mbeki bluntly stated that Africa is primarily
for money from the west. "The fact of the matter is that these
have large volumes of capital that we need for the renaissance of
continent," he said. Africa is also pressing for debt reduction and
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
Earlier this month, South Africa's finance minister, Trevor
acknowledged that Pretoria is having difficulty selling the mechanism
those African leaders who show little respect for decent government and
elections, and to those who view Nepad as hardly more than an extension
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
The most outspoken critic has been South Africa's main rival
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
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."
Congress of South African Trade Unions has also questioned Nepad, saying
Mr Mbeki has gone to great lengths to win the support of big business
failed to consult many other interested parties. Its general
Zwelinzima Vavi, called the strategies "vague" and said Nepad
protect demo cracy. "People have to adhere to what has been agreed
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
G8 Summit Must Tackle Crisis in Zimbabwe
Lawyers Committee for
Human Rights (New York)
June 24, 2002
Posted to the
web June 25, 2002
Danger Zimbabwe will be left off agenda
at Summit and in New African
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
development. But the humanitarian and human rights crisis in
brought on by the repressive policies of President Robert Mugabe,
is thus far
slated to receive insufficient attention at the Summit.
deeply flawed election in March, President Mugabe has increased
his grip on
power in Zimbabwe, and repeatedly taken measures to suppress
However, even as the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates, African
discussing the implementation of the New Partnership for
(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
The implementation of NEPAD and the G8's "Action Plan for Africa"
impaired if the world turns a blind eye to Zimbabwe's
violence and destruction of democracy. G8 and African leaders
that democracy and the rule of law are restored to Zimbabwe.
action by powerful regional players, such as South Africa and
efforts to revitalize and develop the region will be critically
BACKGROUND ON CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE
* Since the
presidential election in March, the human rights situation in
seriously deteriorated. Under the electoral law, the Movement
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 www.lchr.org
* Repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act is
used on a daily basis to target government critics, including
journalists, lawyers, and other human rights defenders.
A famine will hit Zimbabwe with full force in August (even if
international community starts providing food aid now). This famine is
caused primarily by drought. The reservoirs in Zimbabwe are full, and
the irrigated crop been planted, Zimbabwe would have food
Government policies have resulted in the displacement of thousands
workers and the disruption of farming.
* With food in short
supply, President Mugabe is using access to food as a
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
Mugabe is likely counting on the "CNN factor" to take effect in August -
images of starving children on television, food aid will be poured
Zimbabwe, through government institutions. Donors must insist that
society groups be involved in co-ordinating food distribution. This is
only way to ensure that all of the people are actually fed and that there
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
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.
release said the 50-minute flight provides an excellent shuttle
outstanding tourism destinations of the Okavango Delta and