ONE of the favourite words in the vocabulary
of many of those that govern Zimbabwe, and even moreso in the vocabularies of
the editors and reporters of the state-controlled media is "demonise".
Demonise is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as being to "represent
as (a) demon". That dictionary also defines "demon" as being a "cruel,
malignant, destructive ... person", and those in authority in Zimbabwe
repeatedly accuse Britain in general, and its premier in particular, as well
as many others of the international community, of demonising Zimbabwe, and of
unjustly also demonising President Mugabe.
These accusations are
predominantly emanating from Zimbabwe's Minister of Fiction, Fable and Myth,
and from the national dailies that are accountable to him. In doing so, they
have unhesitatingly resorted to perceived "tit-for-tat" strategies of
reciprocal demonisation. Endlessly they pursue the principle that attack is
the best defence, and therefore strive continually to depict Britain, its
government, its High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, most of the European Union,
and many others, as diabolical demons.
However, they did not, and do not
consider that that suffices. In a futile attempt to deflect the allegations
directed at them, they have enlarged their perceptions of who constitute the
world's demons to include whites and, more vigorously and frequently, white
farmers. Never ending, nauseating, vitriol pours forth from the minister,
many of his cabinet colleagues and his media. Central to their diatribes
against white commercial farmers are unsubstantiated and undoubtedly
unfounded accusations that they "stole the land", "afflicted their workers",
and more recently and repeatedly that alongside the drought conditions that
have impacted so negatively upon Zimbabwe, the white farmers are the culprits
who have imposed - for political and racialistic reasons - the food
crisis confronting Zimbabwe. Nothing could be further from the
It cannot be denied that drought has had a pronounced, negative
effect upon the growth of maize and many other foodstuffs. But those effects
could have been significantly minimised if white farmers in areas less
affected by drought conditions, and those with resources to produce irrigated
crops had not, so very extensively, been prevented from planting, tending
or harvesting their produce by war veterans and by thousands and thousands
of unauthorised settlers upon their farms, or discouraged from pursuing
farming operations by government's implementation of a harsh, unjust land
programme instead of one that was equitable and constructive and of real
benefit to Zimbabwe's landless.
The magnitude of the government's
disregard for the genuine wish of the white farmers to not only collaborate
in bringing meaningful agricultural empowerment to the previously deprived,
but also to ensure a sufficiency of viable farming operations as would assure
Zimbabwe of its food needs, was forcibly brought home at last week's annual
congress of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers' Association. A most damning
recounting of the willful default of government (and particularly of its
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement) was an eye-opener to
those unaware of the depths of government's complicity in bringing a food
crisis into being. In Zimbabwe's imminent, widespread starvation, government
is incontestably the prime villain. The substance of its role in causing the
massive scarcity of food confronting the nation include: In February 2001,
the Zimbabwe Grain Producers' Association wrote to the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB), enquiring as to the board's intentions to recompense maize growers for
their considerable losses when payments were not forthcoming during the
preceding season. There was no response, and an inevitable consequence was a
decline in producer confidence.
In April 2001, the association wrote to
the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, recommending a
producer price of $11 000 per tonne for the 2001/02 marketing year, fully
justifying the need for such price. The response was announcement of a price
of $7 500 per tonne, subsequently increased to $8 500, and very belatedly, to
a price of $15 000 per tonne. Clearly, the state's pricing mechanism is
devoid of logic.
As early as September 2001, the association urged
government to prepare for the importation of maize, and to commence doing so,
having regard to the then already apparent inadequacy of forthcoming national
production. By such early preparation and commencement, logistical
constraints would be minimised. But government saw fit to ignore the
recommendations. Concurrently, in the face of a then foreshadowed 200 000
tonnes deficit, the association recommended that government and the GMB
contract producers directly for guaranteed early deliveries during March to
may 2002. No response was forthcoming.
A month later, the association
wrote to the permanent secretary for agriculture, making recommendations to
increase maize production by all sectors. Copies of the proposals were sent
to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and to the GMB. No
response was forthcoming from the permanent secretary or from the GMB, whilst
the Ministry of Finance referred the association to the Ministry of
In October 2001, the GMB called, for the first time, for
tenders for the importation of 150 000 tonnes of maize. The unsustainable
conditions imposed caused the tender to fail.
In December 2001, the
GMB reported maize stocks of 96 000 tonnes (as compared to an estimated
monthly requirement of approximately 150 000 tonnes!). GMB reissued its
tender, which again failed in view of the grossly unrealistic conditions
prescribed. On December 28 last year, Statutory Instrument 387 was published,
compelling the delivery of all maize to the GMB. This unavoidably led to a
further decline in grower confidence. Moreover, the Grain Producers'
Association considered the provisions of the Statutory Instrument to be in
conflict with prevailing legislation. The GMB did not concur, claiming
absolute power and authority it considered to be "conducive to the country".
Thereafter, seizures of maize from commercial farmers commenced. It was
unsurprising, therefore, that such minimal confidence that remained with
commercial farmers was dissipated to an extent that many felt that they would
rather not produce maize than be subject to such humiliating and unjust
At this time, GMB stocks were reported to be 30 000 tonnes
(all of which must have been sourced by the seizures from commercial
growers), and no importation's of maize had yet materialised.
commenced in mid-February this year, and the Grain Producers' Association met
the GMB on March 14, the GMB reporting importations to date of 50 000
Although it was then only a fortnight prior to commencement of
the 2002/03 marketing year, government had not released an agricultural
marketing policy. Producers were forced to deliver maize to GMB at the prior
year price, notwithstanding immense escalation in production costs. Once
again, the pain and suffering had to be borne by the
Nevertheless, the producers' association sought to alleviate
the forthcoming famine, highlighting the potential of a winter maize crop,
with planting in June and September. Facilitation by government and the GMB
could, they suggested, yield a crop of 80 000 to 120 000 tonnes to supplement
the then available crop. However, to succeed, a commitment from government
assuring safe harvesting and delivery was necessary, but not
On March 20, the GMB issued a further import tender, being
for 200 000 tonnes, but specifying an unrealistic and unattainable five week
In April, the GMB reported total landed imports of 92
000 tonnes only, whilst by May government and the GMB had, in the aggregate,
contracted for 400 000 tonnes, of which about 150 000 tonnes had been
imported. The importations are totally inadequate to meet the requirements of
Zimbabwe's people. To quote the chairman of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers'
Association: "Unless something is urgently done, this country faces serious
Blame and culpability lie fairly and squarely in the hands
of government and the GMB.
The onus is upon government to create an
enabling environment to restore confidence in Zimbabwe's maize producers,
small and large-scale alike. The Grain Producers' Association states that
such an environment can be created by: Restructuring of the land reform
programme; Timely agricultural policy statements; Removal of restrictive
pricing legislation, enabling a free, transparent marketing system wherein
market forces dictate prices; Transparent and accountable management of the
GMB; Establishment and maintenance of a Strategic Grain
Reserve; Containment of maize theft; Adequate financial and technical
support to assist all farmers to achieve levels of production necessary for
WHAT ZBC telephone number did Jonathan Moyo use to interrupt Obriel
Mpofu on Monday last week as he was about to close his soporific Newshour
programme? Muckraker is very curious and would want to give our "views and
opinions" while Obriel is reading the news.
Just as Mpofu was
arranging his papers to leave the studio there were crackling noises like
from the walls. "Ya . eh. Obriel . on your lead story." We all waited to see
who was invading the studio during news. While Obriel fidgeted visibly after
recognising the voice on the phone, in budged the indomitable professor,
explaining that government was not going to kick out the war veterans from
White Cliff Farm at dawn the following day. No, instead "we are going to meet
with the war veterans tomorrow morning to decide the way forward according to
government policy", said Jonathan Moyo.
This was really interesting if
unfortunate. In an earlier telephone interview with Obriel Mpofu, the
Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo had presumed to state
"government policy" when he said the war veterans would have to move out of
White Cliff Farm in line with his order. He said people could not settle
themselves anywhere they wanted just because they wanted houses. There were
procedures to be followed, he said. The war veterans, on the other hand,
maintained they would stay put.
If anything, they said, it was Chombo who
would have to leave. Leave government that is. Moyo must have been watching
all this disconcerting drama. He must have quickly phoned The Best Comrade
for a less embarrassing way out of the stand-off. So Chombo was quickly
disposed of and the war veterans appeased. The war veterans' position
immediately became government policy as it were, and Chombo was left full of
egg in the face. Could this be a case of the proverbial right hand not
knowing what the left hand is doing? Or was it a crude warning to Chombo
Chombo was naïve in not weighing the political costs of evicting
war veterans from White Cliff Farm. And that is a serious flaw. Moyo,
ever astute when his sinecure is threatened, calculated the ramifications of
such a decision in a nation so fouled up politically and went for the area
of least resistance. This was not the time to alienate the war
veterans constituency. Poor Chombo must have learnt of the correct government
policy on the phone like the rest of us lesser mortals!
Agriculture Joseph Made last Friday made some comical remarks on our lead
story: "D-Day for farmers." He said white commercial farmers wanted to
sabotage the government's "very successful" land reform programme. They would
not succeed, warned Made, because the process was irreversible. We enjoyed
the "very successful" bit in Made's comments. The evidence is there for all
to see in the long queues for maize meal and the escalating prices of
everything from potatoes to cooking oil. That is if one can find them, even
on the so-called black market.
On Saturday the Herald carried a little
solidarity story about Zanu PF backing Armando Guebuza as Frelimo's
presidential candidate in Mozambique's election next year. Why Guebuza needed
Zanu PF's endorsement was not clear. But there were fatuous claims that he
"was a known liberation war veteran and a revolutionary" and also a friend of
Zimbabwe. What was not reported was that President Joachim Chissano was
voluntarily stepping down after only two terms while our own President Mugabe
wants to die in office.
It would also have been embarrassing to carry
remarks by Tanzania's Benjamin Mkapa at the same congress who lambasted
dictators who want to make themselves life presidents. "Good leaders are
those who serve for a moment and then pass on power to others," Mkapa told 1
000 delegates at the meeting. This was good for democracy, he said. How
refreshing. Can somebody please convey this to Zimbabwe House!
Sunday Mail carried a report this week on Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi calling on European countries to invest in Africa to staunch the
flood of illegal immigrants from the continent. The immigrants' countries of
origin could not be blamed "because they are not controlling this phenomenon
and do not have the means to do it", said Gaddafi.
creating projects and stimulating the employment market in Africa, and
particularly in North Africa, are the best ways of halting the march (of
immigrants) towards Europe," said the Libyan leader. We found
this extraordinarily self-contradictory to say the least.
Only a week
before, the Herald carried another Gaddafi communiqué condemning the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) as a "project of
former colonisers and racists". Nepad seeks to mobilise US$64 billion
annually from the West for investment in Africa. It has been agreed that this
African Marshall Plan was first broached by South African president Thabo
Mbeki and Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo and the West has accepted it in
principle on the understanding that African leaders take the responsibility
to monitor and censure their peers on issues of human rights and good
How does Gaddafi reconcile his plea for European investment
and his attack on Nepad which, on face value, seeks to achieve the same end?
Surely he does not expect Western leaders to use their taxpayers' money
without accountability. That is a speciality of African leaders and we don't
think they need competitors!
Could Gaddafi's confusion be explained by
rumours that he wants to sabotage Mbeki's brainchild because he was not
consulted when it was first mooted?
Otherwise it is difficult to put side
by side his acknowledgement of the need for investment in Africa and his
hostility to the theoretical conception of Nepad. Nepad is expected to be
adopted at the launch of the African Union next month as the continent's new
economic policy. Is Gaddafi going to be for or against?
needed any convincing, there was a little feature in Saturday's Herald about
Ivorians fleeing their country for France. Asked why most of the youths were
escaping to Europe, an official at the French consulate in Abidjan said:
"Unemployment, the cost of living, lack of hope in the future are driving
youngsters to leave." The same can be said of the rest of Africa, not just
North Africa as Gaddafi disingenuously claims.
It was interesting to read
a story in the Herald about one Dr David Nyekorach Matsanga of something
called African Strategy public relations who has engaged himself to
"demystify propaganda" on Zimbabwe from the Western media.
plans a meeting in London in August to show how Zimbabwe is getting "a raw
deal" from the West over its land reform. "The purpose of the conference,"
says Matsanga, "is to take the message to the heart of Europe and show the
British government how their double standards have ruined a good
Needless to say that we were not told what "double standards"
refers to. All we were told was that he is a Ugandan economic refugee in
Britain who fled the poverty in his country 15 years ago. Of course, unlike
his poor countrymen and the lot of the poor here in Zimbabwe, he can easily
raise expensive British pounds to fly around the world to discredit his
hosts while he sanctimoniously defends a rogue regime that has become
an international pariah.
We are also not surprised that one of the
most eminent speakers at Matsanga's London conference is Professor Mwesiga
Baregu of Sapes fame who has since returned to Tanzania because there were no
more Western donors to fill his feeding trough in Zimbabwe.
also says he plans to "conduct a peaceful march through the streets of
London" in support of Zimbabwe. Luck for him. Is he aware that back here in
Zimbabwe he would be arrested if he did such a thing? And why is his Africa
Strategy appealing for humanitarian aid "from the international community"
and not from his Pan-Africanists friends who cherish African values and
traditions? Surely nothing good can come out of imperialists! It's all
Tim Chigodo of the Herald was this Tuesday telling us
the European Union, America and the British wanted to use food shortage to
"cause mayhem" by turning people against the government. The truth, if
Chigodo still doesn't know, is that this is all scapegoating. People know
they didn't need to import food in the first place.
Very soon they
will separate the fiction about Britain, the MDC, the EU and America from the
reality of their hunger. That reality will cause the "mayhem" that Chigodo is
predicting. While government has been manipulating food distribution by
giving it to Zanu PF functionaries, people in various communities have been
sharing it among themselves, and that has kept both Zanu PF and MDC
supporters united in their anger. The cause of their plight is not lost on
them. And they know it is not Tony Blair. Soon there will be nowhere to
ZBC TV should stop its silly motto: "When it happens we will be
there." Where were they recently when the police riot squad brutalised
MDC supporters gathered to commemorate Soweto Day at Harare Gardens? Where
was big mouth Reuben Barwe? Young Tazzen Mandizvidza tried to make up for
this yawning deficit in his Media Watch programme when he condemned the
assault by the police of journalists doing their duty. But this was too
little, too late and without pictures of the would-be murderers. But when it
came to the police looting the MDC food, ZBC TV was immediately called in to
gloat over the booty, much as if it were the most natural thing to do. Did
the ZBC reporters share part of the loot and what happened to the rest?
Forfeited to the state, of course, but what department?
Zimbabwe government ordered 2 900 commercial farmers to stop work this week,
as Zimbabwe faces its worst food shortage for 60 years.
is the final step before the government seizes the farms, including the crops
in the fields, for redistribution to its black supporters.
today (24 June) a farmer could be arrested for trying to feed the nation,"
the Commercial Farmers Union spokeswoman Jenni Williams said.
have 22,567 hectares of wheat in the ground which will only be harvested in
September/October. Who is going to look after the crop if the farmers stop
working?" She said the union was considering asking the courts to stop the
Other union sources said discussions with the government
were still taking place.
Many farmers vowed to ignore the order.
One, asking not to be named for fear of retribution, said: "It is madness,
our farms are producing wheat and other food crops while so many in this
country are going hungry. Now we are being ordered to stop all farming work.
It is crazy.
I will not give in to this. I have crops in the ground
and animals to feed and I am determined to keep going. What will my workers
do if I shut down?"
Human rights groups said that the ruling
could make more than 100 000 farm workers homeless overnight.
"It is a human rights catastrophe," John Makumbe, chairman of the Zimbabwe
Crisis Committee, said. "These farm workers are real people and they are
vulnerable. The government is taking away their livelihoods and their homes,
but it is not doing anything to give them an alternative."
often violent land seizures are blamed, even by some of Mugabe's ministers,
for the food shortages. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that nearly
half the country's 12,5 million people will need food assistance this
The food crisis is due to a combination of dry weather during
the growing season and the disruptions on the commercial farms, which are
about five times more productive than small farms, the WFP said.
The new order shows that Mugabe is determined to dismantle the white farming
community whatever the social cost. Any of the farmers involved who continue
working after Monday's deadline may be jailed for up to two years.
Since June 2000 the government has named 5 872 mostly white-owned properties
for confiscation. On many already vacated livestock and irrigation and other
equipment have been seized without compensation.
reported on Tuesday that security checkpoints would be set up in farming
districts to prevent "sabotage" of the land reform programme: an apparent
effort to stop farmers removing goods and equipment from
The State media have accused some white farmers
of adopting a "scorched earth" policy after confiscation. The farmers' union
denies the accusation. The EU allocated 6m euros (Z$318m) famine aid to
Zimbabwe on Tuesday and again accused President Mugabe's policies of
aggravating the food crisis.
"The private sector has a leading
role to play in bringing in food on the market. The government must remove
the constraints which are preventing this from happening," the EU aid
commissioner, Poul Nielson, said. The order will make it difficult for the
South African president, Thabo Mbeki, to convince western leaders that he has
persuaded Mr Mugabe to moderate his more extreme policies.
may prompt the G8 summit in Canada this week to decline funds for Mbeki's New
Economic Partnership for African Development. Although told to stop work, the
farmers are allowed to stay on their land for 45 days. - The Guardian
Johannesburg - The heat was turned up a notch on
Zimbabwe on Tuesday as Amnesty International, which once campaigned for the
release from prison of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, presented a report
documenting what it called "structural impunity" in the
Added to a looming food crisis expected to affect
six million people and the introduction of a law banning 2 900 mainly white
commercial farmers from working on their land, the government now also had to
fend off fresh accusations that it allowed human rights violations to go
Amnesty International spokesman Samkelo Mokhine
said at the launch of the report in Johannesburg that there had been a
pattern of human rights violations in Zimbabwe since the 1970s and
But Zimbabweans had never seen the issue of impunity
addressed, they had only seen pardons, amnesties and
"The ordinary Zimbabwean hasn't had any sense of
justice - not just from the 70s, (under the previous Rhodesian government)
but up to 2002," he said. "With this report we are hoping to jog the
international community and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
into action. If we don't do anything, what hope are we giving to the ordinary
Zimbabwean? They are facing a food crisis, unattended human rights violations
and the undermining of their judiciary. People are assaulted and killed
with impunity - what message are we sending to them?"
report, Zimbabwe: The Toll of Impunity, examined politically-motivated
violations before, during, and after the March 2002 presidential election
which returned Mugabe to power.
It alleged that violations
were primarily committed by members of State-sponsored militia who operated
with the consent of the State, and also by State security
It said the authorities in Zimbabwe had
systematically failed to bring those responsible for serious violations to
"To do this the government used presidential
amnesties, clemencies and indemnities, prevented investigations into human
rights violations, and curbed the freedom of the media. It also
allegedly manipulated the police and eroded the independence of the
An example of the use of amnesties was a clemency
order proclaimed by Mugabe on 6 October 2000 after the June 2000
parliamentary elections. This gave indemnity to anyone who
committed a politically motivated crime from 1 January to 31 July of that
The indemnity excluded rape, murder and fraud
but included grievous bodily harm - the category of crime that torture falls
To facilitate impunity, the State denied involvement
with the militia, even though the militia had often been transported and
supported by the police, the report charged.
Public Order and Security Act criminalised a wide range of activities
associated with freedom of expression, association and assembly, and violated
Zimbabwe's obligations under international human rights law," Amnesty
The new Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act empowered the Information Minister to launch investigations into
the operations of media houses without the involvement of either the police
or the judiciary.
The Judiciary itself was being
undermined with the government openly defying Supreme Court rulings that
contradict its policy and harassing judges perceived to be critical. Since
2000, two Supreme Court judges, including the former Chief Justice, Antony
Gubbay and four High Court judges have resigned. Impunity was allegedly
reinforced by undermining the police.
Mokhine said that
this also affected policemen who were trying to carry out their duties
properly. "If a policeman investigated allegations of rape against certain
militia he would find himself transferred to a rural area or relegated to the
"Commissioners pool" where he will have no desk and no duties. NGOs have
stopped trying to report rapes because the policemen don't want to
investigate," he said.
Mokhine said Zimbabwe was in clear
violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which
says states have a duty to bring to justice those within their jurisdiction
who are responsible for human rights violations.
recommended that Zimbabwe ratify the United Nations Convention Against
Torture, allow a thorough impartial investigation into allegations of human
rights violations, make sure the police abide by international human rights
standards, and that an independent police monitoring mechanism be
Laws not conforming to international human rights
standards should be repealed or amended, and further international pressure
should be applied on the Zimbabwean authorities to allow the United Nations
Special Rapporteurs on torture and on the independence of judges and lawyers
to take action.
It also encouraged more visits by bodies
like the Commonwealth and the Southern African Development
The African Commission on Human and People's
Rights was currently in Zimbabwe on a fact finding
The delegation included Jainaba Johm of Gambia,
Fiona Adolu of Uganda and Barney Pityana of South Africa. Mokhine also urged
Sadc to become more involved. "The rights of ordinary Zimbabweans should take
precedence over politics," he said referring to regional "quiet diplomacy"
The report had been presented to the Zimbabwe
However, Mugabe remains adamant that there are no
human rights violations in Zimbabwe. He told the African Commission on Human
and People's Rights that the human rights that Zimbabweans were enjoying
today were as a result of the liberation war and not the work of
Western-funded non-governmental-organisations, which now flaunt about rights
He said: We are the custodians of these rights we
brought at a cost". Zimbabweans had fought against racial injustice and many
other forms of discrimination which often led to persecutions and deaths of
the freedom fighters. - Reuter
Rights probe deepens Dumisani Muleya PRESIDENT
Robert Mugabe's human rights record came under scrutiny this week as the
African Human Rights Commission deepened its probe into rights abuses in
Yesterday the investigating team met a group of civil society
organisations and heard reports of flagrant human rights violations by
government. The groups which met the commission include the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Forum, the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, ZimRights and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
chair Lovemore Madhuku said his organisation raised fundamental human rights
abuses. "We raised serious human rights abuses in Zimbabwe," he said. "One of
the issues we pointed out was government's refusal to engage
in constitutional reform which we think is a violation of the African
Madhuku, who has been in and out of detention for civil
protests, said the NCA reported persistent harassment of its members by the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesman Tawanda Hondora
said his group brought up the issue of violence, which has so far claimed
over 100 lives since 2000.
"We raised the issue of violence and
the fact that it looks government-instigated because it arose out of
electoral manipulation by the ruling party," he said. "The issue of militias
and war veterans activities also came up."
Support Network director Reginald Mat-chaba-Hove said his organisation raised
the issue of electoral fraud.
"We gave them our report which said the
election was not free and fair," he said. "We also raised other issues
concerning the need for a new electoral law and a presidential election
The African Human Rights Commission team came to Zimbabwe as
Amnesty International released its report detailing systematic
"Impunity has become the central problem in
Zimbabwe, where state security forces - police officers, army officers or
agents of the Central Intelligence Organisation - commit widespread human
rights violations without being brought to justice," the report
"The Zimbabwean government has also organised, coordinated or
otherwise encouraged 'militias' to carry out threats, assaults, abductions,
torture and killings against its perceived political enemies."
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said his party provided evidence of impunity
for perpetrators of violence. "We covered the catalogue of human rights
abuses and restriction of civil and political liberties," he said. "We then
gave them seven videotapes and presented five victims of terror to them."
Journalists fight information Act Dumisani
Muleya THE independent media is stepping up efforts to challenge the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act being used by
government to restrict freedom of the press and the free flow of
Organisations working together to fight the draconian Act
include the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz),
Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA), the newly-formed Zimbabwe
National Editors' Forum and the Media Institute of Southern Africa
Ijaz president Abel Mutsakani this week said his
organisation had already secured resources and its lawyers were expected to
mount a legal challenge next week.
"What's left is to finalise
arrangements with lawyers," Mutsakani said. "We expect the lawyers to be in
the courts next week. We would like to make it an urgent application so that
issues that directly threaten our livelihood are dealt with
The FCA recently filed an urgent application in the Supreme
Court seeking a repeal of Section 80 of the Act under which 12 journalists
have so far been charged since the Act was enacted in March. The Supreme
Court ruled that the application was not urgent.
argue the application is urgent because the section concerned constitutes a
direct threat to their security and profession.
"We will challenge
the provision which demands that journalists be licensed to practise because
it violates our constitutional rights," said Mutsakani.
registration of journalists was in February ruled unconstitutional by the
parliamentary legal committee composed of veteran lawyers Eddison Zvobgo and
Welshman Ncube as well as Zanu PF MP Kumbirai Kangai.
said Section 81 of the Act, which at the time was still a Bill, "purports to
confer rights on journalists" and declared that "such an attempt is
unconstitutional. Their existence does not require legislation as freedom of
expression enshrined in section 20 (1) and (2) of the Constitution is
The committee also dismissed attempts to force
journalists to register with Moyo's commission as
"Section 82 compels every journalist to be accredited by
the commission before he can work in Zimbabwe and furthermore, attempts to
restrict the profession of journalism to Zimbabwean citizens or those who are
permanent residents," the committee said. "We have already demonstrated that
all such attempts are unconstitutional since they violate Section 20 of
THE MDC on Wednesday accused the government of misleading
the African Human Rights Commission on the party's gross abuse of human
rights and civil liberties in Zimbabwe.
In a statement,
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC secretary for information and publicity, said Zanu
PF was responsible for organising political violence in several parts of the
country with impunity.
A delegation of the human rights commission
is in the country on a fact-finding mission on the human rights situation
Jongwe said: "Evidence at hand demonstrates beyond
doubt the culpability of Zanu PF in widespread and systematic incidences of
murder, torture, rape and abductions that have taken place with impunity over
the past 27 months.
"The partisan public media has not exposed
or condemned Zanu PF violence, but defended it."
He accused the
police of applying the laws of the country selectively.
force, on the other hand, has mastered the art of selective harassment,
arrest and prosecution of the opposition when ruling party criminals who are
guilty of heinous crimes are walking scot-free," he said.
said the crisis in the country had been worsened by the fact Zanu PF had
sought to legalise the harassment of political opponents through the
enactment of laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, crafted by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
blatantly disturbing and unacceptable about the behaviour of the Zanu PF
regime is that at a time when the nation has an avalanche of a political and
economic crises on its hands, for which the illegal regime is responsible,
its ministers like John Nkomo, Joseph Made and Jonathan Moyo are busy trying
to outdo each other in their daily television appearance competition," he
He said Mugabe's ministers had become so obsessed with trivia
at a time when they should be addressing issues pertaining to the
current economic meltdown.
"The people's patience is not
endless. Someday, in-the-not-so-distant future, the arrogance to which the
nation is being treated on a daily basis will become a thing of the past,"
Prison senior officials yesterday admitted they defied court orders for them
to release two MDC activists accused of murdering Cain Nkala, a war veteran
leader, because they were awaiting instructions from their
Joyce Mabida, in charge of prisons in
Matabeleland, and Michael Nyamukondiwa, the officer-in-charge at Khami
Prison, were charged with contempt of court after they continuously defied
High Court and Supreme Court orders for them to release the two.
The prison officials have been refusing to release on bail Khetani Sibanda
and Sazini Mpofu, two of the nine MDC activists who are accused of kidnapping
and murdering Nkala and Limukani Luphahla, a Zanu PF activist.
appeared before High Court judge, Justice George Chiweshe, yesterday to
explain why they were not complying with his orders and another one issued by
the Supreme Court.
As proceedings began, a Daily News reporter was
for reasons that are still to be explained, ejected from the court by a
A reporter from the government-controlled
Chronicle was, however, allowed to cover the case.
"Mr Gande, I
have been ordered to ask you to leave this court," said the official, without
disclosing the source of the instruction.
Nyamukondiwa and Mabida
both said they had not complied with the order because they were waiting for
instructions from their superiors and the Attorney General's
"As far as I'm concerned, even if my superiors were going
to take 20 years to make the decision to release the suspects, I was going to
keep them for that period regardless of the court orders," said a
The two officials confirmed they had
received the court orders and warrants of liberation.
proceedings will continue today in Bulawayo when the
assistant officer-in-charge at Khami Prison, J J Ndlovu, is expected to give
evidence as to why they have been disregarding the court orders.
The Khami Prison officials have for the past two weeks defied a High Court
order to release the two. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last Friday
upheld the High Court order, only to be defied by the
The other seven suspects are out on bail
granted by the Supreme Court after the State had appealed against the release
of the suspects on bail.
The Supreme Court has refused to keep
Sibanda and Mpofu in custody saying their case should not be treated
differently from that of the other co-accused who are out on
Ironically, as the saga involving the release of the two
accused continues, the Attorney General's office yesterday applied to
the magistrates courts in Bulawayo for the indictment of the two accused
to remain in prison until 11 November.
The application was
granted by magistrate Elizabeth Rudzate parallel to the appearance of the
prison officials on charges of contempt of court.
indictment process is done just before a trial begins against accused persons
who will be out of custody.
This means that the two will now be
kept in custody until their defence counsel makes a fresh bail
Mpofu was on Thursday taken by police from Khami
prison to Nkulumane police station.
He was yesterday sent back
to Khami following the application for indictment while Sibanda remained at
Sources yesterday said the State was now preparing to
indict all the nine suspects and keep them behind bars until November when
the trial is expected to begin.
Justice Chiweshe is expected to
pass judgment on the contempt charges today.
Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, on a fact-finding tour of Africa, found
himself under attack by travelling companion Bono for daring to question the
need for large increases in foreign aid to
"You need big money for development,"
declared the Irish rock star.
"If the secretary can't see that, we
are going to have to get him a new pair of glasses and a new set of
"There is a critical flaw in Mr O'Neill's corrective: They
Western nations, it's true, deserve some
of the blame for the Third World's economic troubles.
problem is not so much what the advanced democracies refuse to do for Africa
and other poor areas. It's more what we prevent them from doing for
O'Neill has not ruled out additional Western funding,
but he thinks the burden should be on recipient countries to prove a given
expenditure will actually do any good.
His scepticism is based
on the long record of development assistance, which can be summarised by a
look around Africa.
If foreign aid were the solution, Africa would
have few problems. The continent that Bono thinks is crying out for new help
is in that position only because most of its governments have failed to make
good use of past help.
Bono talks of all the valuable and
inspiring efforts being made in Africa.
Maybe if he were
personally supervising each disbursement, Western taxpayers could count on
getting positive results for their money.
In the real world,
however, dollars shipped overseas to finance good works often end up being
wasted or stolen.
The World Bank, which administers billions of
dollars in such assistance, acknowledges that particularly in Africa, such
efforts have often been "an unmitigated failure", facilitating "incompetence,
corruption and misguided policies".
Ian Vasquez, a scholar at
the Cato Institute, looked at 73 nations that got development assistance
between 1971 and 1995, and found that neither aid per capita nor aid as a
percentage of Gross Domestic Product was positively correlated with economic
"How much aid a country got had absolutely nothing to do
with its overall prosperity.
"Aid can help countries that do the
right things. Elsewhere, it's about as helpful as an umbrella in a
"If countries want to escape poverty, they need to
protect property rights, establish the rule of law and promote free markets,
as well as deliver public services in an honest, efficient
Unfortunately for the developing countries, they may find
their way blocked by the same countries that have furnished so much
International trade has the potential to
do wonders in Africa and other stagnant areas of the globe.
international humanitarian group, Oxfam, says that if the developing
countries increased their share of world exports by 5 percent, this would
generate US$350 billion (Z$19 250 billion) - seven times as much as they
receive in aid.
If sub-Saharan Africa had done nothing more than
maintain the share of world exports it possessed in 1980, the average
African's income would be double what it is today.
want Third World countries to do all they can to lift themselves
But when they try, they find Westerners scrambling to push
Affluent nations often make it impossible for
Third World exporters to participate in the world economy.
World producers trying to export to rich countries face tariffs averaging
nearly 13 percent, nearly fourfold the duties encountered by producers from
Poor countries that might sell agricultural
commodities in the West also face another hurdle - government subsidies to
farmers in rich countries, which amount to US$1 billion a day and serve to
Textiles and apparel, where poor countries
often excel, are still tightly restricted in the United States and other
We want developing nations to compete in the
world economy but without inconveniencing our own producers. All these
barriers cost poor countries about US$100 billion a year, which is twice as
much as they get in assistance.
"The biggest request we are
making of Western countries is to open their markets," Ugandan President
Yoweri Museveni said recently.
"Debt relief has saved us some
money, but the real money will come from trade. Give us the opportunities,
and we will compete."
Isn't that the kind of talk we've been
yearning to hear from Africa?
If we opened our markets, a lot of
poor nations would be able to build vibrant economies and stand on their own
We can then celebrate the obsolescence of foreign
Mail & Guardian
(Johannesburg) June 28, 2002 Posted to the web June 27, 2002 Louis
Babineaux in Harare
The Zimbabwean president's inner circle tops the list
of people benefiting from the land grab policy Senior Zimbabwean
officials, including the two vice-presidents and relatives of President
Robert Mugabe, have taken farms under the government's land reforms,
according to the country's Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU). The reforms were
initially promoted as a scheme to benefit landless farmers in overcrowded
communal areas. The list of 181 government officials, top Zanu-PF members,
war veterans, intelligence officers, journalists for state media and others
was extracted from the government's own lists of beneficiaries and combined
with information gleaned from farmers on the ground.
Joseph Msika has taken land near Nyamandhlovu belonging to the parastatal
Cold Storage Company, which he is allegedly leasing for grazing.
Vice-President Simon Muzenda has taken two farms in Gutu, according to the
CFU. Muzenda is apparently involved in cordial negotiations with the farmers,
who could receive about $272 000 for improvements to the farms.
beneficiaries include Mugabe's sister Sabina, his brother-in-law Reward
Marufu, army commander Constantine Chiwenga, Security Minister
Sydney Sekeremayi and MP Elliot Manyika. Rights groups have blamed Manyika
for training the youth militias implicated in much of the pre-election
violence earlier this year. The linking of farm seizures to Mugabe's inner
circle -- many of whom were responsible for organising the scheme -- came as
a new law effectively ordered about 2 900 commercial farmers to lay down
their tools by the end of Monday. The farmers are allowed to stay on their
land for 45 days. The move was a bad start to a week when the G8 met in
Canada and where leaders of the world's richest nations were due to consider
funding President Thabo Mbeki's New Partnership for Africa's
Development. The order will make it difficult for Mbeki to convince Western
leaders that he has persuaded Mugabe to moderate his more extreme
policies. Most Zimbabwean farmers have ignored the order. On Wednesday two
farmers launched a new legal battle against the land reforms -- not opposing
land resettlement but the arbitrary manner in which it has been carried out.
One, Andy Kockett who farms in Tengwe, asked a high court judge to invalidate
the government's orders, arguing that Mugabe's regime bypassed its own laws
in earmarking farms for resettlement. "What we were seeking was an order
saying that because the process is null and void, he can continue farming,"
his lawyer Raymond Barretto said. The court is still considering the
case. The price for defiance could be high. The law -- which was forced
through Parliament last month in a special session -- says farmers can be
imprisoned for up to two years if they do not stop working. The war
veteran-led militias that began invading farms two years ago are still spread
out around the country, prompting fears that the situation could explode at
any time. Not much farming is happening in Zimbabwe -- partly because it's
winter, partly because the instability and the ever-worsening economy make
it difficult to get any work done . The CFU estimates that about 27% of
farms have already stopped working entirely. If enforced, the new order will
shut down 60% of the farms that had been opeating when the land invasions
began two years ago. About 24 000ha of wheat is still in fields -- a crop
Zimbabwe desperately harvested to alleviate the devastating food
shortages. "A lot of people are carrying on with seedbeds to prepare that
first step for the next crop," said one farmer in Karoi. "Our big concern
is that a lot of people are finishing up their tobacco and then leaving the
country. Economics is causing as much of [the exodus] as politics." The
exchange rate on the parallel market has tanked during the past
month, falling from about Z$300 to US$1 in May, to more than Z$700 to US$1,
making imported supplies, such as fertilizers and machinery, enormously
expensive. If Mugabe's order is enforced on all the farms, as many as 232 000
farm workers -- working on the assumption that an average farm employs about
80 people -- could lose their jobs. If their families are taken into
account, more than 1,1-million people would lose their livelihoods just as
the food shortage is beginning to pinch. Even in urban shops basic items
-- such as salt, sugar, cooking oil and mealie meal -- are hard to come by.
In rural areas the problem is worse. Zimbabwe needs about 1,3-million tonnes
of maize to feed the nation until the 2003 harvest. The World Food
Programme (WFP) estimates that six million Zimbabweans -- almost half the
population -- will need emergency aid. The food crisis is owing to a
combination of dry weather during the growing season and the disruptions on
the commercial farms, which are about five times more productive than small
farms, the WFP said. According to the General Agriculture and Plantation
Workers' Union, about 70 000 farm workers have already lost their jobs
because of the land reforms. Including their families this means about 350
000 people have lost their livelihoods. Only about 10% of workers have
been assigned land on farms earmarked for resettlement, leaving the majority
with no income or health care and no way to buy or grow food. Workers'
advocates say no one is sure where they have all gone. A lucky few found NGOs
that have either set up camps or lined up other temporary housing and
provided food. "The degredation these people have suffered is horrific. But
now their problem is going to be starvation," said Reverend Tim Neil, who
works with a group that cares for displaced workers. "Kids [are] not going
to school. [They are] too hungry to attend [and] there's no school fees," he
said. "There's going to be a whole section of our community that are not
going to be literate." At a camp outside Harare, the 37 people forced off a
Marondera farm -- including two orphans cared for by the worker community --
saw little hope of ever returning to their homes and jobs. "The farm owner
is not there and our houses are now occupied," one said. The new order shows
Mugabe is determined to dismantle the white farming community whatever the
social cost and has opened his government to a fresh barrage of
criticism. "We think the government of Zimbabwe's land policy, including the
chaotic and the often violent seizure of privately owned farms has
greatly compounded the country's worsening social, economic and political
crisis," United States State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said on
Monday in Washington. "It has also greatly exacerbated the food crisis in
Zimbabwe, and Southern Africa more broadly." British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw gave his Parliament a similar assessment on Tuesday, saying the
food shortages were caused by "deliberate decisions of the Mugabe regime" and
that forcing workers off farms was a "man-made tragedy" when the country is
facing starvation. On Wednesday Amnesty International issued a new report on
rights abuses in Zimbabwe, blasting Mugabe's policy of impunity "where state
and non-state actors commit widespread human rights violations without being
brought to justice".
Africa bids for $64bn aid package March 26, 2002 Posted: 0845
ABUJA, Nigeria -- African leaders have gathered in Nigeria to
discuss the future of aid and development to the continent.
heads of state and observers meeting in Abuja make up the implementation
committee of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
estimates that Africa needs $64 billion of investment annually to
ensure sustainable growth.
The initiative has been compared to the
Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War Two.
Nkuhlu, chairman of Nepad's steering committee and special economic adviser
to South African President Thabo Mbeki, told Reuters: "It is important that
African leaders restore people's confidence in
"It is also important to win the confidence of
the international community."
He rejected a warning by the United States
that overwhelming African endorsement of Zimbabwe's controversial
presidential election could hurt Western support for Nepad.
exception to the kind of position that countries like the United States are
taking," Nkuhlu said.
"African countries are doing this because they
think it's the right thing to do. For Africans to be dictated to like this is
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is not expected to
attend the summit.
Nkuhlu said the lack of Western-style democracy in
some Asian countries did not stop U.S. investors.
Nepad is expected to
make a declaration of intent to encourage Western aid.
A draft document,
seen by Reuters, commits African governments to
a.. adhere to the
principles of democracy.
a.. the rule of law.
strict separation of powers.
a.. ensure a society that can hold
government accountable to the people.
It also commits African leaders to
ensure a free press, an independent judiciary and a dedicated and efficient
civil service, to eradicate corruption and respect human rights.
spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki said: "The meeting
will discuss a variety of things, but the main one is to find a concrete
way forward for Nepad."
He said the meeting would also prepare Nepad's
presentation to the next summit of the G8 industrialised nations in Canada in
During a tour of African states last month, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair pledged Britain and its G8 partners would help develop
Blair, who championed a "Plan For Africa" at the G8 summit in
Genoa last summer, said: "When an African child dies every three seconds, the
developed world has a clear duty to act -- no responsible leader can turn
their back on Africa."
He said: "Developed countries retain
significant barriers to trade, particularly in agriculture.
get to the next round of world trade talks we have got to make
sure countries...get access to markets."
Countries taking part in the
Nepad summit are Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique,
Cameroon, Congo Republic, Gabon, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Algeria, Egypt,
Tunisia and Zambia.
Tanzania, Uganda, Sao Tome and Principe and Ghana are
attending as observers.
Zimbabwe Opposition Supporters Remain Imprisoned Despite Supreme
Court Order Peta Thornycroft Harare, Zimbabwe 27 Jun 2002 16:52
Two supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, who were arrested last November, are still in prison despite a
Supreme Court order for their release one week ago. The two young men are
charged with kidnapping and murdering a veteran of Zimbabwe's independence
When the body of war veteran Cain Nkala was shown on state
television last year, the two suspects, Khatani Sibanda and Sazani Mpofu,
told viewers they played a part in his death. A few days later, the two men
told their lawyer, in papers now filed with the high court, that they had
been tortured into making the confession.
Their lawyers have worked
since November to secure the release of the two on bail. There have already
been four court orders for their release, the latest by Zimbabwe's chief
justice, Godfrey Chidyausuku.
But the prisons department ignored the
court orders, and has now been charged with contempt of court for failing to
release the two men. The two suspects were brought to court again Thursday. A
state-controlled newspaper reported new arrest warrants have been issued
against them in anticipation of their release on bail.
say the new warrants are contrary to normal legal practice in Zimbabwe. They
say that normally, a suspect released on bail remains free throughout the
trial. Lawyers acting for the two men say that, if they are arrested again,
they will have to begin the process all over again to petition courts for
The lawyers also say the government's case against Mr. Sibanda, Mr.
Mpofu, and at least 10 other MDC members in the murder of Cain Nkala
apparently rests entirely on the confessions that the two men now say were
made under duress.
Court yesterday reserved judgment in the application by Kevin Woods, 48, a
jailed South African saboteur, to be released from prison because he has
Woods, a former CIO officer, Michael Smith
and Philip Conjwayo, have been in jail for 13 years, serving life terms for
sabotage and the murder of a Zambian taxi-driver in the 1980s.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Justices Wilson Sandura, Vernanda Ziyambi,
Misheck Cheda and Luke Malaba, sitting as a constitutional court, made the
decision after hearing Woods' lawyer, Julia Wood.
of the Attorney-General's Office represented the State. Wood said Woods
required treatment in South Africa.
She said the State could not
let him die in prison because it could not afford his treatment.
She said he could be transferred to serve his sentence in South Africa or any
The constitution of Zimbabwe protects people
from cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
She said people
serving life sentences should be given the prospect of release from custody
should their circumstances change.
She said Woods had no one else
to turn to as Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, who should consider his application, had said he would
never release him.
She said: "Lack of public funds cannot justify
the denial of basic human rights. He is entitled to minimum adequate
She denied he was a security risk to Zimbabwe, saying
there were cases where people serving life sentences ceased to be a
"People change," she said in response to Chidyausiku who
asked why Woods should no longer be regarded as a security risk when he
killed for political reasons and could do so again if the need
The intended targets were ANC members based in Zimbabwe
during apartheid, Wood said.
She said there was no substance in
the State's opposition to Woods' application.
She said allowing
him to seek treatment in South Africa would not open the floodgates for
similar applications. Dhururu said Woods was still a security risk.
Zvishavane police yesterday accused the Chronicle of
falsifying a recent accident report in which three Highlanders fans died and
11 others injured when a hired commuter bus they were travelling in burst a
tyre and overturned along the Mbalabala-Zvishavane road.
Muzenda, the officer-in-charge of Zvishavane police station, said contrary to
a report carried by The Chronicle on 24 June, the bus driver, Mathumaeli
Ncube, survived the accident and was still at Zvishavane District hospital
where he was admitted.
The newspaper report alleged Ncube was among
The police said as a result of the publication of the
false report on Monday, the driver's panic-stricken relatives travelled to
Zvishavane in order to collect his body for burial.
sustained head injuries and deep cuts on his legs and hands. Hospital
officials yesterday described Ncube's condition as stable.
According to the police, the commuter omnibus was carrying
Highlanders supporters travelling to Zvishavane for the BP League match
against Shabanie football club on Sunday.
The bus allegedly
burst a front a tyre and rolled three times, killing three people on the
Harare launches campaign to clean up city
6/28/02 8:06:00 PM (GMT +2)
THE Harare City Council will launch the Clean-Up Harare
Campaign tomorrow whose aim is to restore the capital back to its Sunshine
The Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, said on
Wednesday the campaign was a holistic approach of cleaning and beautifying
Harare involving the removal of garbage, planting of trees and flowers,
cleaning of sanitary lanes, painting of buildings, educating all age groups
to change their attitude and behaviour, the removal of posters and addressing
the question of vendors and street children.
Mudzuri appealed to
all Harare residents to participate in the event.
"All residents are invited to the launch at Town House and they can bring
with them brooms, trucks and shovels to the Clean-Up Campaign
"It is important for every Harare resident to take up
ownership of the capital and help clean up our environment by placing litter
only where it belongs - the litter bin. People should police themselves and
educate each other that the haphazard disposal of litter is not good for the
aesthetic beauty and health of our city and our future."
said Harare residents had organised the Clean-Up programme to restore Harare
to its former reputation as one of the "Cleanest Cities in Africa" when it
was affectionately referred to as the Sunshine City.
Private media barred from meeting human rights
6/28/02 8:31:57 PM (GMT +2)
By Sandra Nyaira
THE government, in a bid to whitewash its
appalling human rights record, did not invite the independent media to speak
to the African Commission and People's Rights delegation, in the country this
week to probe allegations of human rights abuses.
Wednesday, government apologists William Chikoto of The Sunday Mail, Pikirayi
Deketeke of The Herald and Tafataona Mahoso from the Harare Polytechnic's
mass communications school, lined up to praise the government before the
commission at the Harare International Conference Centre.
from the independent media was invited by the government secretariat,
resulting in Andy Moyse of the Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
having to run around to ensure the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
and the MMPZ were given a hearing.
This effort was to ensure they
gave documentary evidence of government human rights abuses, media
persecution and intimidation through repressive laws such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy and the Public Order and Security
By last night it was not immediately clear whether the MMPZ
or MISA had met the commission.
The Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists' president, Matthew Takaona, who works for The Sunday Mail, was
by late Wednesday afternoon scheduled to appear before the commission as
The Independent Journalists' Association was not invited.
George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Information
and Publicity in the President's Office, said on Wednesday night his office
was not responsible for the invitations, which were being handled by
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
was David Mangota's baby, not ours, so he should be able to tell you who was
invited and who was not," said Charamba.
Mangota, the Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, was not available for comment on
The commission was by Wednesday night expected to
produce a damning report on the government's human rights record after the
production of massive documented evidence of abuses.
commission raised its concern with the government over violence during the
land invasions, vicious attacks against judges and lawyers, lawlessness,
electoral fraud and the harassment of journalists.
tried to air-brush the issues when he met the commission by dwelling on
colonial iniquities, the liberation struggle and land
The commission's visit follows two years of
political turmoil in the country as Zanu PF sought to consolidate its
stranglehold on power.
The commission, led by Jainaba Johm of
Gambia, includes prominent South African human rights official Barney
The United Nations Under-Secretary General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Kenzo Oshima, is in
Harare to discuss with the government the humanitarian situation in the
Zimbabwe faces an acute shortage of food because of the
drought and the controversial farm invasions.
Victor Angelo, the
United Nations resident coordinator in Zimbabwe, said Oshima, accompanied by
other stakeholders involved in the distribution of food, would meet diplomats
and the civic society.
"The objective of the mission is to discuss
with national authorities, stakeholders and partners, the possible
humanitarian responses relevant to each of the three countries - Zimbabwe,
Zambia and Malawi," said Angelo.
Other members in Oshima's
delegation are Julia Taft, director of United Nations Development Programme's
Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Judith Lewis, regional director
for Eastern and Southern Africa for the World Food Programme, Hansjoerg
Strohmeyer, chef de cabinet to Oshima, and Stephen O'Malley, humanitarian
The mission's aim is to assist in contingency
planning and support for the co-ordination of humanitarian assistance
THE Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and Zanu PF officials were this week said to be locked in meetings on how to
bring sanity to the foreign currency market which has seen rates go as high
as $800 to the US unit, driven allegedly in part by politicians said to
be holding onto millions in forex.
The Zanu PF politburo met on
Wednesday and had on its agenda the issue of run-away parallel market
"We made recommendations to the politburo which we hope
will be implemented," said one politburo source.
suggested that bureaux de change be forced to operate in line with laid down
procedures, with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe playing its supervisory role.
The central bank has no teeth at the moment and has allowed the situation to
get out of hand.
"We recommended that the monitoring be
extended to banks as well, as some are dealing in foreign currency and have
virtually become bureaux de change," the source said.
understood that cabinet on Tuesday also discussed the deteriorating foreign
currency situation and how it could be addressed.
sources said it was absurd for government to accuse banks of pushing up the
parallel market rate without looking inward to see where problems
"Politicians are in the majority of people who run
bureaux de change in the country, and any increase in rates is in their
favour," said one analyst.
"In fact, we have noticed an
increase in the amount of foreign currency in the hands of politicians whose
origin is not known. As banks, we cannot push up the rate. The rate is pushed
by the seller."
He said a possible solution that could come out
of the meetings was the pooling of foreign currency in one account at the
RBZ, which he however said would only give a reprieve.
was proposed last year but was turned down by politicians," the analyst
The rate to the US unit retreated on the parallel market
yesterday as panicky FCA holders made withdrawals or liquidated their foreign
currencies. There was speculation on the market that the government wanted to
raid all foreign currency accounts and bureaux de change and deposit the
money with the central bank.
Both the government and the
central bank seem unable to control the spiralling rates on the parallel
Market watchers warned that if government raided FCAs
this could have adverse effects on exporting companies and some listed
counters on the bourse.
Stockbrokers said they anticipated a
policy change on the operations of all FCAs.
"There is bound
to be some change on how FCAs operate. The problem is that we are not sure
what the changes will be or when they will be effected," said one
The emergence of a black market, as opposed to the
parallel market, has seen foreign currency rates shoot through the roof. A
source said the South African rand changed for $65 while the British pound
could be as high as $1 050 depending on demand.
market rate is one acknowledged by government, as is the case with the gold
mining sector, tobacco farmers and Noczim. The black market, however, is
illegal and difficult to control.
"The black market can only be
eliminated by improving the supply side, and that means us talking to
international donor organisations," said one economist with a discount
Market analysts said there was little the Ministry of
Finance or the RBZ could do to personal foreign currency accounts. It is the
right of every Zimbabwean (especially those working and living abroad) to
operate a foreign currency account if one is able. If government were to ban
these, it would result in forex remittances reducing to a
"Zimbabweans abroad operate a number of foreign
currency accounts and this has kept some banks going. If government were to
clamp down and close all FCAs this would result in money being banked outside
with no foreign currency coming in," said one economist.
any case, if government tried to dissolve corporate foreign currency
accounts, they would come out with very little. There is not much money in
corporate accounts, maybe as little as US$20 million as very little trade is
taking place," he said.
FBI Searches the Home of a
Former Fort Detrick Researcher (former Zimbabe resident)
25 - The FBI today searched the home of a researcher who may have had access
to anthrax while working at the Fort Detrick Army base in Maryland. Sources
told ABCNEWS that Steven Hatfill is one of several people FBI officials have
been investigating for months in the probe of anthrax letter attacks that
left five dead and at least 13 others ill last fall. Today's search, sources
said, was the first thorough search of the researcher's apartment. The
researcher has been considered to be "a person of interest" in
the investigation, but not a suspect, sources said. Hatfill denied to
ABCNEWS that he had anything at all to do with the anthrax attacks and
consented to the search in an effort to clear his name. He said he understood
his background and comments made him a logical subject of the
investigation. Agents said they found nothing immediately incriminating in
the search. Hatfill has worked closely with the military and CIA anthrax
experts and has frequently shocked his colleagues with his statements and
demonstrations of how easily terrorists could make biological
weapons. ABCNEWS Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross also reported
that investigators are intrigued by the the fact that Hatfill lived for
years near a Greendale Elementary School while attending medical school
in Zimbabwe. Greendale School was the phony return address used in the
anthrax letters. FBI officials have interviewed him a total of four
times. Warming Up a Cold Trail? Since the wave of attacks, the FBI has
been unable to find out who was behind the anthrax-laced letters. There have
been few leads and investigators admitted that the trail seemed to have grown
cold. Fort Detrick, which also is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research
Institute of Infectious Diseases, has anthrax samples, and the FBI is
conducting voluntary lie detector tests at the base. Lie detector tests and
interviews are also being conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where
researchers have been developing a powdered form of anthrax for testing
biological defense systems. Small quantities of anthrax have routinely
been produced at Dugway, and then shipped to the Army's biodefense center at
Fort Detrick, Army officials have said.
ABCNEWS' Brian Ross and
Beverley Lumpkin contributed to this report.
Zimbabwe warns it will act
against defiant farmers By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - The Zimbabwean government has
warned it will act against white farmers who try to retain their land against
a state seizure drive, saying nobody has the power to defy the
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told Zimbabwe
television that President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party had been
angered by reports that hundreds of white farmers were ignoring a government
order to stop farming operations on Monday, and had vowed to resist a black
resettlement programme on their land.
Moyo did not say
exactly what form the government action would take, but said: "We are aware
of some of these reports that claim that some thousands of white farmers are
defying the government, but we want to make it categorically clear that
no-one has the capacity to defy the government."
"The long arm
of the law is going to descend on anybody who defies the government," he
said, accusing the farmers' union of trying to stage a publicity stunt to
generate Western sympathy at a G8 summit in Canada
Moyo also said the government would crack down on
farmers allegedly vandalising water and irrigation equipment and burning farm
houses on their way out.
About 3,000 farmers were given
until midnight on Monday to stop working their farms and just over a month to
leave, after Zimbabwe amended its land acquisition law in
A 45-day countdown for the farmers to leave their farms
began on Tuesday, but many vowed to stay put rather than watch vital crops
rot in a nation short of food.
Moyo said ZANU-PF had discussed the farmers' stance at a meeting of its top
body on Wednesday, and had agreed to act against those breaking
"It has urged the relevant government arms to take
immediate and swift action...This talk of defying the government we will not
tolerate," he said.
Earlier on Wednesday Mugabe vowed to press
ahead with the seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
blacks, saying there would still be enough land left for
"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 telling a visiting rights group.
Mugabe said he was opposed to white farmers owning more than one farm and
emphasised that indigenous blacks were prepared to die for their
"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 land because many had more
than one farm each.
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.
Those who break the
law face a fine or a two-year jail term.
But Bvudzijena said
the police would be ready by the August deadline to evict those who had not
moved off their land.
Two white farmers filed a suit on Tuesday
seeking to stop a government order to abandon their farms in a test case
closely watched by thousands of others also facing eviction.
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
"The political leadership of this country
appears determined to drag Zimbabwe down that dark path," the newspaper
Zimbabwe is one of six southern African countries facing
a food crisis. Analysts blame this partly on disruptions caused by the
An estimated 250,000 farm workers stand to
lose their jobs if farming operations are shut down.