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Weekly Update No. 9
Monday 26 February to Friday 4 March 2001


The standoff between the executive and the judiciary continued to
dominate coverage. The state media dutifully toed the official line,
which alleged Justice Gubbay had reneged on an earlier agreement
to retire, at the expense of the constitutionality of the executive's
attempt to fire the Chief Justice.
Despite giving detailed coverage of the issue, Zimpapers
extensively sourced comment from Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa and Information minister Jonathan Moyo justifying the
government's actions. Reference was made though to a letter
written by Justice Gubbay denying that he had offered to step down
on March 1st and a statement from the Law Society of Zimbabwe
criticizing government's clampdown on the judiciary.
ZIMPAPERS dailies extensively reported the developments (27/02)
and referred to a letter written to Justice minister Chinamasa by
Justice Gubbay. The article gave the impression that Gubbay had
reneged on an earlier agreement with government to take four
months' leave from March 1, during which time he would not
perform judicial functions pending his retirement on June 30".
Although quoting Justice Gubbay's letter which stated that: The
Chief Justice is to proceed on leave on 1 March pending his
retirement on 30 June 2001. Accordingly, in terms of section
85 (1) of the Constitution, the office of the Chief Justice will
neither be vacant nor will the present incumbent be unable,
for any reason, to perform the functions of his office".
Minister Chinamasa was quoted as saying that "government" had
to terminate Justice Gubbay's term as Chief Justice tomorrow.
ZBC news merely regurgitated statements from the executive
alleging that Justice Gubbay would stop work at midnight on the
28th of February and that the government agreed that this position
was "fair, constitutional and in the national interest" and that
the President would proceed to fill the vacancy (ZBCTV, 27/2,
8pm). Other reports stated that the Chief Justice would resign the
following day and be paid his four months salary. It was also
reported that an acting chief justice would be appointed under the
Presidential powers (ZBC Radio 2/4, 27/02) and also that
"government" had told Justice Gubbay to stop work and cease to
be chief justice the same (ZBC Radio, 28/2), despite his refusal.
This was also reported in the Herald (28/02) under the headline, "I
am not going', says defiant Gubbay". The story quoted
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo insisting that the government's
decision was "constitutional, civilized and humane".
The Herald (01/03) reported that Gubbay rescinded his decision to
take early retirement but that the government . maintained he no
longer held his post "from today".
The state media's portrayal of the dismissal failed to take into
account the complex constitutional procedures required to dismiss
a judge.  
The private media's assessment of the standoff favoured the
judiciary. The Daily News (02/28) highlighted that Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay was adamant on that he was not going to leave
office by bowing down to pressure from the executive. Speaking
through his lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, Gubbay was said to be
resolute about "challenging his forced dismissal, remaining in
office, and facing the consequences."
The Zimbabwe Independent (02/03) carried the most informative
and widely sourced report which exposed the unconstitutionality of
the executive's efforts to oust Gubbay, and pointed to the
impending constitutional crisis such a move would create. MDC
MP and lawyer, Welshman Ncube, echoed views of the legal
fraternity when he said that "it was unlawful to appoint an acting
Chief Justice without following procedures. The president can
only make an appointment after consulting the Judicial
Service Commission (JSC). If the JSC disagrees with his
appointment, he will have cause, to have parliament
Furthermore, the paper clarified that government could not oust
Justice Gubbay without the appointment of a tribunal. The
Zimbabwe Independent's (02/03) said that the executive's
insistence that Justice Gubbay was no longer the Chief Justice
was mere "bluff" and "fiction".
The news that the Chief Justice and the Executive had reached a
consensus received contrasting treatment in state media and the
Daily News. The state media portrayed the decision as a
gentleman's agreement and quoted Minister Moyo who said that
government had reached an amicable, civilized, constitutional and
dignified agreement where misunderstandings had been cleared
(ZBC; 2/03). Part of The Herald article read:
"the Chief Justice said he would raise no objection to the
appointment of an acting Chief Justice during the period of his
leave which is contrary to his earlier position that he had not
agreed to this"
The Daily News (03/03) article "Gubbay Triumphs" implied the
Executive had made an embarrassing about turn in attempting to
illegally oust Gubbay. The Standard (04/03), quoted War Veterans
leader and Zanu PF MP Chenjerai Hunzvi saying:
    We will continue fighting them. If they want us to
    use violence, then we are going to do that. We
    have no confidence in the judges and we still stand
    by that. We will not rest until they leave the bench
    and go back to Britain.

South Africa's stance on political developments in Zimbabwe came
under the spotlight in the week. Only the state-controlled media
covered South Africa's Democratic Alliance Tony Leon's visit to
Zimbabwe in reports which were of little news value other than
providing the ruling party an opportunity to launch a tirade against
the opposition and racial attack on whites.
On the 26th of February ZBCTV (8pm) and Radio (27/2), Minister
Moyo was quoted saying that Leon's visit is a bad omen for the
country and that it was Leon's visit to Zimbabwe during the
Constitutional Referendum that had led to violence on the farms.
Moyo added that Leon was trying to bring racism back into the
country. The report said that Tsvangirayi visited South Africa at the
invitation of the Democratic Alliance.
ZIMPAPERS (27/02) reported that South Africa's Democratic
Alliance Tony Leon was in the country to meet commercial farmers
while some MDC leaders are in South Africa to drum up support for
a motion against Zimbabwe.
    The Democratic Alliance, a predominantly white
    alliance, which has been slammed for attempting to
    undermine the spirit of reconciliation in South Africa,
    is sponsoring a motion on the situation in Zimbabwe.
The article also reported that Mr Tsvangirai met African National
Congress officials, signalling a change of heart by the South
African Government. Only ZBC's  radio 1& 3 reported the ANC-
Morgan Tsvangirai meeting.
ZBCTV (27/2, 8pm) reported that the "pro-MDC" Democratic
Alliance had called on South Africa to impose sanctions for alleged
human rights violations.
All state-controlled media emphasised that ANC was
supportive of the Zimbabwean government, while the private
press emphasized the changing stance of the South African
The Daily News (27/02) reported that Thabo Mbeki had arranged for
a meeting with President Mugabe so that the two could discuss
issues of "serious concern." The report that was sourced from the
Business Day (26/02), quoted Mbeki as saying:
"We continue to be concerned about the situation in
Zimbabwe. Some of the things that have been happening
recently are to all of us as South Africans matters of serious
concern-things that have been affecting the judges, the press.

The same story also appeared in The Zimbabwe Mirror (02/03),
with more analysis and depth and stated that South Africa was
now shifting from its "quiet diplomacy" approach and was assuming
an aggressive stance on Zimbabwe.  In a well sourced article the
Financial Gazette (1/03) echoed the same view that Mbeki had
issued a veiled attack on the actions of the Zimbabwean
government such as the expulsion of two foreign journalists and the
persecution of judges.
Only ZIMPAPERS dailies (28/02) gave a fair and balanced
report of the South African Parliament split over the motion
on Zimbabwe.

All media added confusion to the exact details of the immunity-
from-prosecution given to President Mugabe by the Bush
Administration. The controversy was over whether immunity had
been automatically granted or whether the government had applied
for it.
ZBC Radio 2&4 (1pm) and ZBC reported that the US government
had taken steps to protect the President from charges against him
by MDC supporters for promoting the harassment of the opposition
during the June elections. Subsequent reports quoted Minister
Moyo who said that the Bush administration's decision to protect
Mugabe was welcomed by the Zimbabwe government. Moyo added
that reports in the private press were disturbing.
The Daily News  (1/02) referred to the US Attorney representative
as having "stated that Mugabe and Zanu PF had officially
requested that the US State Department submit a letter to the
court suggesting immunity on their behalf."
The Herald (28/02) gave a completely different and contradictory
view claiming, through a quote from Jonathan Moyo, that "claims
that Mugabe had applied for immunity were false as the
president was entitled to immunity as the head of state."

The week witnessed continued infringements on the public's right
to access information when war veterans in Shamva allegedly burnt
copies of the Daily News and assaulted the paper's vendors. This is
a follow-up to previous attacks on the Daily News by Shamva war
veterans who have "banned" the Daily News from the area. Vendors
said they had been beaten and threatened with death if they
continued selling copies of the newspaper.
Chirima Chirima and Moffat Kichini claimed that they continue to
be harassed by one of the war veterans even after reporting the
incident to the police.
"Muduki has not been arrested yet. After every five hours he leads
a group of his followers to look for us at our homes." Shamva police
could not comment on the incident. MMPZ condemns such
infringements on fundamental rights of the public and the media to
receive and impart information.

This report was produced and distributed by the Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 734207,
733486, E-mail:
Please send comments to the Project Coordinator. Please feel free
to circulate this message.

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Press Reports - Denis Streak
Once more rumours inflame the situation and, most recently, reports that Denis and Heath had been abducted. Overseas calls have reached us asking if Denis had even been killed !
South African newspapers made a real hash of things and used journalistic licence to completely distort the truth of the story. Their geography was apalling not to mention their spelling!
A group of people (Anti MDC activists) did "slap around" the wife of Timothy Ndlovu (who lives on the Streak's farm) whilst searching for him. They took away some of his MDC information.  They then called at the Streak's house, at Robin's Farm, and spoke to Denis where a civilised discussion took place as to the whereabouts of Mr Ndlovu. Heath then arrived and the group was overjoyed to see him, probably because of his status as national cricket captain.
Denis then travelled with some of the group, in his own vehicle, to another farm where further discussions took place.
This is the basis of a brief description, from Denis himself.

Zimbabwe cricket captain Heath Streak has had his fame to thank for escaping harm at the hands of a terror gang.

An armed group of 16 'war veterans' burst through security gates at his family's farm near Bulawayo and threatened to kill his father.

But when the cricketer arrived wearing his green international top the atmosphere changed and the supporters of President Robert Mugabe asked him for autographs.

Neighbours radioed police for help, but the veterans turned on officers when they arrived - forcing an inspector to remove his trousers and dance in his underpants at gunpoint.

Streak's father, Denis, was at home with his wife and 71-year-old mother.

Farmers are on edge following the murder this week of Gloria Olds, a friend of the Streak family.

While Denis Streak, 51, went to speak to the veterans, his son who played a season for Hampshire in 1995, was called to come from his nearby home.

His grandmother, Winnona, said: "Heath came running through the bush to join his father. He was wearing our green Zimbabwe cricket shirt and when the veterans saw him their mood changed.

"One minute they are telling us they are going to take our farm and kill us and the next minute they are wanting to shake Heath's hand.

"They knew who we were, and how we are all big supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Party but I think they were surprised to find Heath standing there."

Streak has told the Zimbabwean Times he will not be forced to leave his country or his farm by President Robert Mugabe's henchmen.

"I love it here and no one is going to run me off. I am the fourth generation on this land and when I'm not playing cricket this is where I want to be," he said.
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Zimbabwe's farmers leaders have warned that ruling party militants has begun a new phase of political violence against white landowners.

The Commercial Farmers Union has urged its members to remain vigilant, especially in the western Matabeleland province.

A 68-year-old woman farmer was killed in the region and a prominent ranching family was threatened.

Gloria Olds is to be buried on Friday after a memorial service in the western city of Bulawayo.

The ranch of a longtime neighbour of Mrs Olds was invaded on Tuesday by a group of about 40 ruling party militants searching for a black manager they accused of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Owner Denis Streak, father of Heath Streak, the captain of Zimbabwe's international Test cricket team, was forced by armed militants to lead them to the home of the manager, where they assaulted the manager's wife.

Denis Streak, also a former international cricketer, was held captive for several hours before being freed, the union said. Heath Streak, a fluent speaker of the local Ndebele language who runs a nearby ranch, helped secure his father's release.

The farmers' union said the militants were "very active and aggressive" in that district.

Elsewhere across the country there was a recent upsurge in threats and intimidation against farmers and their workers, the union reported.

Seasonal land preparations for next year's harvests were being disrupted, with owners being told: "Don't bother, you won't be here by next year," a union statement said.
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From The Financial Gazette, 8 March

Slain widow had bitter row with war vet's wife

Nyamandlovu - As farmers and relatives of slain widow Gloria Olds prepared to bury her, details emerged this week that she had been embroiled in a bitter tussle with the wife of a war veteran renting her general dealer store. Farmers said Olds, who was living alone at her Silver Stream farm, 70 kms northwest of Bulawayo, was having difficulties in collecting her monthly rentals from the war veteran's wife renting Majidani store in this prime farming area. "People renting her general dealer business were in arrears and were refusing to pay and had gone as far as eliciting the support of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) to frustrate her from demanding her dues," one farmer told the Financial Gazette.

The farmer, like most others here, spoke on condition they are not named for fear of reprisals from the veterans who have resumed a campaign of intimidation they used against villagers and farmers during the run-up to last June's general election. The farmers named the husband of the woman renting the general dealer store. He is a war veteran who served as a personal bodyguard of the late vice president Joshua Nkomo at the height of the 1970s independence war and soon after independence. The veteran, who is also a member of the AAG, and his family could not be reached for comment this week.

Mac Crawford, leader of commercial farmers in Matabeleland, also said it had been brought to the farmers' attention here that Olds, 72, had clashed with the war veteran and his wife over the outstanding rentals. Crawford, however, could not immediately disclose the amount of the outstanding money but said police had been informed. "A wife of a war veteran has been renting a store from her and the rent has not been paid for some months. There was a dispute and Mrs Olds closed the shop due to non-payment of rent," he said in an interview.

"At the time of her death, Gloria Olds was in the process of obtaining an eviction order from the courts to remove the wife of the war veteran from the shop. We have told the police about this." Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that the police had been made aware of this. "The rent dispute is one of several theories that have been brought to our attention," he said. "We are pursing that theory and others as we make concerted efforts to establish the motive behind the killing of Mrs Olds. Investigations are continuing."

The farmers here, shaken by Olds' cold-blooded murder only a year after the killing in a similar fashion of her son Martin, who was also a farmer here, recounted to this reporter events leading to the widow's death. They said two weeks ago a group of war veterans and their allies in the ruling ZANU PF party, plus members of the AAG, demonstrated outside the store, protesting the closure of the shop. Crawford said: "We hope the issue of the rent dispute and the recovery of the car might help in solving the mystery surrounding the latest murder in Nyamandlovu."

Olds was shot at least 15 times by automatic fire from two gunmen who raided her farm on Sunday morning. The gunmen fled in her white Toyota Hilux truck which police later recovered abandoned on the outskirts of Bulawayo. Farm workers interviewed at the farm said they never heard any gunshots, raising speculation that the assailants could have fitted silencers on their rifles. Spent bullet cartridges were strewn all over the homestead when journalists visited the farm amid a heavy police presence. She was murdered a few kilometres from Compensation Farm where her son Martin was gunned down by suspected war veterans in April last year and will be buried tomorrow. Martin Olds' widow and daughter have been granted political asylum in Britain. Gloria Olds' murder follows an upsurge in violence here and in other parts of Matabeleland North by the veterans in recent weeks. Farmers, their workers, villagers and civil servants have been openly harassed and assaulted by the mobs who accuse them of being opposition followers.

From The Times (UK), 8 March

Cricket star defies Mugabe's gunmen

Harare - Heath Streak, Zimbabwe's popular cricket captain, confronted a gang of so-called war veterans who invaded his farm at Turk Mine, 40 miles north of Bulawayo, the country's second city. The farm has been in the family's hands for more than a century. A gang of 16 veterans, some armed with guns, burst through the security gates in their lorry on Tuesday and demanded to see Mr Streak's father. Denis Streak was at home with his wife and 71-year-old mother after neighbours alerted them that the gang was heading their way. Everyone north of Bulawayo is on edge after the murder of Gloria Olds earlier this week. She was a friend of the Streak family. Many predicted that the veterans would strike at another target in the same area to intensify their terror campaign.

While Denis Streak, 51, went to speak to the veterans, Heath, who played a season for Hampshire in 1995, was called to come from his nearby home where he runs the family's safari camp and game conservancy. His grandmother, Winnona, said yesterday: "Heath came running through the bush to join his father. He was wearing our green Zimbabwe cricket shirt and when the veterans saw him their mood changed. One minute they are telling us they are going to take our farm and kill us and the next minute they are wanting to shake Heath's hand. They knew who we were, and how we are all big supporters of the opposition MDC party but I think they were surprised to find Heath standing there."

Neighbours had by now radioed the police for help, but on their arrival the veterans turned on the police, and at gunpoint made an inspector remove his trousers and dance in his underpants. Heath Streak, 26, described how he and his father dealt with the invaders, who were all about his own age. "At first I was worried about our safety after what happened to Gloria Olds. We just can't take any chances right now and everyone is very jumpy." He said that when his father realised the veterans were intending to invade the property of an old man nearby, Denis Streak agreed to go with them to try to pacify them. He also wanted to find out what had happened to his farm foreman who was attacked in his home and his wife beaten. She was last night in hiding in Bulawayo.

Word of the invasion at Robins Farm in Turk Mine spread swiftly through neighbouring farms, already paralysed by fear, and when reports reached the local MP for the opposition MDC, David Coltart, in parliament that Denis Streak may have been abducted he confronted Zanu (PF) leaders. One minister, Joyce Mujuru, rushed off to make telephone calls and soon after the veterans left the Streaks' property. David Coltart - who was warned he is on a hit list to be assassinated by the end of this month - berated ministers about how Zimbabwe treats its heroes and told Zanu (PF) leaders that the country's image abroad will be further tarnished after this episode.

Last night Heath Streak insisted he will not be leaving Zimbabwe, nor the farm where he was born and raised. "I love it here and no one is going to run me off. I am the fourth generation on this land and when I'm not playing cricket this is where I want to be." He said the experience had not put him off leading his country on to the cricket field in their forthcoming Test series against Bangladesh. "It's a great honour for me to lead my country. We've just won our first Test abroad and this is a terrific team so I'm passionate about being part of it, for as long as they let me." The fast bowler is feted in Zimbabwe as the man who has done more than anyone else to integrate black cricketers into what was regarded as a white man's game. His partner opening the bowling is Henry Olonga, a dreadlocked figure who gave up a career as an opera singer.

In the past fortnight the war veterans have been rampaging across this part of Matabeleland after scores of them were taken by bus into the area from Harare by Border Gezi, the Employment Minister. Since then they have stepped up their land seizures and taken over local government offices, expelling hundreds of workers for being MDC supporters. Two men shot dead Gloria Olds, 72. She will be buried tomorrow next to her son, Martin Olds, murdered a year ago. Police say they have drawn a blank in tracing her killers. Farmers point out that nobody was questioned over Martin Olds's murder when 70 men invaded his farm.

Gloria Olds is understood to have left her farm to her grandchildren from both sons. It means that Martin's widow, Cathy Olds, who sought political asylum in Britain, will face the agonising decision of whether to risk returning to Zimbabwe. The Rev Paul Andrianatos will preside at the funeral just as he did at Martin Olds' burial where his attack on Zanu (PF) thuggery meant his work permit was revoked. Gloria Olds's funeral will be his last function before he moves to a parish in Essex.

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 8 March

Activist 'lucky not to be shot like dog'

Zimbabwe's official daily newspaper says British gay activist Peter Tatchell, who was beaten by security guards while trying to "arrest" President Robert Mugabe in Belgium, was lucky not to have been "shot like a dog". The Herald said Tatchell, of the British gay rights group Outrage, who was knocked to the ground by the president's bodyguards in Belgium on Monday as he tried to make a citizen's arrest over Mugabe's human rights record, was a "gay gangster" whose behaviour represented the Western world's extreme contempt for African leaders.

Tatchell, who previously tried to "arrest" Mugabe in October 1999 during a private visit to London, yelled "Arrest Mugabe, arrest the torturer" as the veteran African leader left the Hilton Hotel in Brussels. The 77-year-old Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980, has denounced homosexuals as "worse than dogs and pigs". The Herald applauded Mugabe's bodyguards for assaulting Tatchell, but said his Belgian hosts should have ensured that no one threatening the president was allowed near him. "Tatchell was so naive that he did not think that such action could cost him his life and should be thankful that the president's security men did not shoot him down like a dog," it said in commentary. "The severe beating meted out on Tatchell is a good signal that restores national pride and sends a clear message to the world that never again shall we stand by while our president is treated like dirt and reviled like a criminal or military leader," the newspaper said.

Mugabe's opponents and critics have condemned France and Belgium for hosting the Zimbabwean president this week, saying they were undermining international attempts led by Britain to isolate the veteran leader. They said the world must take a tough line with Mugabe over escalating repression of Zimbabwe's press and judiciary.

From The Financial Gazette, 8 March

ZESA to pay upfront for future purchases: Eskom

Johannesburg - South African power utility Eskom said yesterday the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was close to clearing its debt and that future power purchases would be paid upfront. Eskom spokesman Clarence Kwinana told reporters that ZESA had already settled its December 2000 bill. He declined to give fresh figures. "The bill which was payable by February 15 2001 was already fully paid by January 26 2001. As a result, the debt has been drastically reduced and is well on its way to being cleared," said Kwinana. "However, all future purchases in excess of 150 megawatts will be subject to upfront payment."

ZESA, which imports 13 percent of Zimbabwe's power needs from Eskom - the world's fifth largest power utility in terms of capacity - slipped into arrears during 1999, running into an outstanding balance of 163 million rand (US$20,74 million) by June 2000. Zimbabwe is experiencing an acute foreign currency crisis following the government-backed invasion of white-owned farms which has knocked investor confidence and prompted donors to withhold crucial aid. Harare's forex shortage has also been blamed on the country's costly involvement in the war in the DRC.

Eskom has been supplying electricity to ZESA on a 45-day supplier credit basis. "The arrears were first converted into a debt repayment agreement that was in place during November 1999," said Kwinana. Zimbabwe however defaulted, resulting in South Africa cutting its imports to 150 megawatts from 450 megawatts. Kwinana said because of the stipulation of the regional Southern African Power Pool contracts, and the fact that Eskom was also importing power from Zambia and the DRC through Zimbabwe, power supplies to Harare could not be terminated. A fresh repayment agreement was signed last October, which enabled ZESA to make payments into an Eskom bank account based in Zimbabwe. In terms of this agreement, ZESA had to pay 35,7 million rand into Eskom's Harare account before November 8 2000, with the balance to be settled before December 29 2000. South Africa has in the past indicated that it might take up a stake in ZESA to recover the money owed to Eskom.

From The Daily News, 7 March

Committee throws out broadcasting regulations

The broadcasting regulations gazetted last year using Presidential Powers have been thrown out as illegal and as violating the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Kenneth Manyonda, the acting Speaker elected by the 150-member House yesterday, announced he had received an adverse report from the three-member parliamentary legal committee, but he was not specific on the sections the committee found unconstitutional. Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State responsible for Information and Publicity, quickly responded and attacked the decision of the committee which comprised two Zanu PF MPs - Eddison Zvobgo and Kumbirai Kangai - and Professor Welshman Ncube of the opposition MDC.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Leader of the House, last year asked the Speaker of Parliament to rule whether or not he should hold a local weekly, The Financial Gazette, in contempt of Parliament for publishing a story saying the regulations were illegal. The paper, quoting sources in the committee, said the regulations violated the Constitution and Chinamasa said that the article was "patently and blatantly false and holds Parliament in contempt". Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa had ruled the article contemptuous of Parliament. The report is expected to be debated in the House today.

Moyo, reacting to the announcement, said: "It smacks of an ambush because I was not consulted. No one said anything to me. I only heard the thing being read in Parliament, but we need to discuss the regulations and vote on them in the democratic style that Parliament enjoys. Parliament is not three people. This is intended to add some spice and I hope it will provide that spice, but the regulations are imposed. They are the law of the land and the Bill is coming to bring finality to this issue." He said the Broadcasting Services Bill would be brought to Parliament with the Statutory Instrument "not going to live for one month". Moyo said some people were "naively" complaining about the issue of 75 percent local content required for all broadcasting stations under the regulations. He said the regulations would affect even the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation because the government is determined to "revolutionise the broadcasting industry".

Kangai said the regulations would be taken back to the drafters so that they can be in tandem with the Constitution. That the government had to issue broadcasting licences was not an issue, but that some of the regulations violated the Constitution.

From The Star (SA), 8 March

Eleven Lebanese executed in DRC

Kinshasa - Congolese government ministers confirmed on Wednesday that 11 Lebanese nationals were executed in the DRC after the assassination of President Laurent Kabila, a Lebanese community source said. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo and Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu had informed Lebanon's ambassador in Kinshasa, Chehade el-Moulan, of the executions. "The ministers of justice and the minister of foreign affairs told the Lebanese ambassador today that the 11 had been executed but that they did not know the precise details of the execution or who ordered it," the source reported. The source said the ministers indicated that an inquiry would be held into the circumstances of their deaths.

The Congolese government has refused comment on the matter, saying it fell within the remit of a continuing investigation into the assassination. Military sources had said earlier that some of a group of 11 Lebanese who were arrested shortly after the January 16 assassination had been executed. The military sources said the 11 had been arrested by General Nawj Yav, commander of the Kinshasa military region, the day after the assassination. The name of one of those arrested, Youseef Bakri, was found in the address book of the alleged assassins, one of Kabila's bodyguards, they added. Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father as president, set up a commission of inquiry into the assassination. The inquiry was due to conclude on Wednesday, although it is unclear whether its findings will be published. A number of military and civilian officials are reported to have been arrested since the inquiry began, including Laurent Kabila's close aide, Edy Kapend, who military sources say is being held at a military camp in Kinshasa

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BBC: Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 16:20 GMT

Zimbabwean farms still face violence

By Lewis Machipisa in Harare

Violence continues to be a daily feature of life on white-owned commercial farms on which seven farmers have died from clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war.

Armed gunmen on Sunday shot and killed the mother of a white farmer who was himself murdered in a politically motivated attack last April.

Gloria Olds was the seventh farmer killed in clashes with so-called war veterans since February last year, when they started invading commercial farms.

In all the murders, no one has yet been arrested and it is still not clear who killed Mrs Olds.

Nothing was stolen at the farm, fuelling speculation that it was not a case of pure robbery.

'Intimidation continues'

''Given the facts on the ground that nothing was stolen save for a truck which was used as a getaway truck, there is an opinion that there is a political element to her death,'' says Malcom Vowles, Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) deputy director of projects.

''Intimidation and violence continues on farms countrywide. The intimidation is, however, no longer on a blanket scale but on individual farmers who are either perceived to be politically active or those who are rightly or wrongly accused of having a 'bad attitude','' says Mr Vowles.

Mrs Olds's slain son, Martin, was an active member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which represents the most serious political challenge the government has faced since independence in 1980.

To date, 1,600 farms have been invaded by government followers.

Of these 900 are currently illegally occupied by some 25,000 squatters, some of whom have engaged in haphazard ploughing and planting.

However, given the generally low use of costly fertilisers, widespread use of uncertified maize seed and generally poor weed control, it is unlikely that the yield from these farms will have a significant impact on food security.


The government has legally purchased about 50 farms on which it has resettled landless peasants, and has compulsorily acquired 535 farms - most of the acquisition orders still being contested in the courts.

Given the disruption to farming and the lack of resources of the small-scale farmers under the government's fast-track resettlement scheme, CFU projections are that the maize harvest for the coming season could be down by more than 30%.

Large-scale commercial farmers, currently numbering around 4,500, contribute some 30% of maize production.

This season, the large scale commercial maize growers sector suffered a 50% reduction in hectarage due to the land crisis and the failure by banks to lend money to farms listed for acquisition.

While the impact of the disturbances on the food supply situation may be significant this year, it may be felt more severely next year.

''Most of these occupiers have no resources or capacity to carry on farming. In general resources are not there,'' says Mr Vowles.

''We may be in for a serious wake up call when harvest time comes. There is sufficient maize to limp along to May.''

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You may recall that about a year ago a young Zimbabwe farmer, Martin Olds was murdered in Zimbabwe by the so call war veterans during the pre election campaign and the take over of white farms. (It was world news on CNN and Sky).  Martin was my late cousins boy. Last week end Martin's mother was murdered when she arrived home at the farm.  She was shot to death with an AK47, her hand bag and vehicle stolen. Although the farm house was open nothing else was taken.
This is not an isolated family loss and tragedy. In the past two and a half years my immediate family both paternal and maternal have experienced the following criminal violence.
Murder of young farmers.  Two
Car Hijacking which led to death  Two
House break-in and robbery with extreme violence using firearms and knives  Three
      My elderly sister and her husband both in their 80's
      My cousin in his 80's
      Pat's cousin and her husband in her 70's
Car Highjacking with life threatening situations. Two
House break-ins  Three
Attempted car thefts which resulted in severe damage to the alarm protected cars. Two
I am not seeking sympathy but feel that people outside SA and Zimbabwe should know what is going on here.. I am angry and upset.

We are going thru a bit of a bad time here. Pat's cousin was murdered on his farm a few weeks back (here in SA) and my cousin, Martin Olds, was murdered on his farm in Zim this week. You may have seen the news on the TV as it was given wide coverage on the International media. My son Martin's wife's uncle, a prominent lawyer and President of the Natal Legal fraternity was hijacked and then murdered late last year. My cousin, an 82 year old, was beaten on the head with a tyre lever and tied up with wire coat hangers at his home in Pretoria last year by three blacks. While they were breaking open the cupboard, where he told them there was some money, he managed to reach his gun under his pillow and then shot and killed two and severely wounded the third. My niece's new BMW was hi jacked at gunpoint a few months back and Martins home has been burgled three times in the last year.  An attempt was made to steal Pat's BMW in the centre of town last year and was only frustrated by the immobilizer, ( over a 1000 Rand damage). Another cousin of Pat's, together with her husband were robbed at knife point in their home at 6pm and then locked in the toilet for hours.   Not a good trend in race relationships and harmony for the future. 
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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 8th March 2001
Every attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing activities in relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported due to communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness on the part of farmers.  Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisal.
The owner of Harmony Farm (Glendale) has still not been allowed back into his house despite the intervention of the police.
Farm labourers have been evicted from their homes on Nyamwanga (Shamva).  As a result of police intervention some have been allowed to return, but not those who are witness in a offending court case against the invaders.  Police have overlooked this deliberate harassment of witness by associates of the accused.  
In the Beatrice area, the DA and Member in Charge of the police have indicated they will resolve the squatter problem on several farms which have been invaded despite not being listed.
In the Macheke / Virginia area, more disruptions to land preparation and tobacco curing have occurred; more pegging and the serving of Section 8 Orders continuing.
In the Nyamandhlovu area, a poacher, in a dispute over a warthog carcass he had hidden, was mauled by a leopard which had claimed the trophy. 
 In Inyati area, war vets are issuing orders to farmers to vacate their land or face the consequences - "heads in a box to be sent to England" etc.
The reported abduction of Dennis Streak is totally misleading.  He intervened to diffuse an assault on his foreman's wife and only went with the war vets to find the foreman by mutual consent.
A new phase of intense harassment and total disregard for the law and civil administration has commenced throughout Matabeleland.  Police commanders and local government authorities have been publicly humiliated in a highly arrogant and defiant manner.
Mashonaland Central
Glendale - Work continues to be prevented at Harmony and the owner has still not been allowed to enter his house.  Police have responded to the situation to no avail.  Invaders requested a slasher to cut regrowth maize on Thrums so that they can plant sugar beans, but were refused.  The owner of Thrums reports that tree cutting is on the increase and that the invaders' haphazardly planted crops are not in good condition (excluding the 15 ha of cotton planted by himself). 
Shamva - Invaders evicted farm labourers from their homes at Nyamwanga Farm last week.  When the police eventually responded, they were allowed to return to their homes with the exception of those who are witnesses in a case against the invaders.
Mashonaland West North   
General - All other areas quiet.
Banket - Yesterday afternoon ZANU PF officials and war vets arrived on Mimosa Farm.  They spoke to resident settlers and told the farmer not to aggravate them and when land becomes available they will be moved. 
On Riversdale Farm, Lomagundi area, 10 people headed by a Mr Raphael Nyathi from the War Vets Association,  Mr Asher Moyo from the President's Office and a Mr Makumbe representing the member of Parliment as well as the local war vet leader namely Josiah Kore arrived in a green Toyoto pickup (registration 640-518P) advising  the owner of their intention to settle 25 people for resettlement and the local D.A. was coming to demarkate plots for the above.  They were also going to make provision for  the owners labour residing on the farm.   6 people are residing on the farm who have commandered  +/- 40 hectares of arable land and have crops planted which are at a mature stage.   The adjoining property, The Glen, has had a Section 8 Notice and a subsequent intention to occupy.   3 of the occupants live on The Glen, but they all crop land occupying Riversdale.  Riversdale has had a Section 5 but nothing more.
Mashonaland West South
General - The region remains reasonably calm due to the fact that a lot of it has been inaccessible due to the heavy rain.
Mashonaland East 
Beatrice - The Land Committee under DA Seke and the MIC from Beatrice are supposed to be visiting Elladale, Colandra, Nebo and Endslensdeale to resolve the problem of squatters on these farms as they are not listed.
Bromley/Ruwa - It is believed that there was a dispute between war vets and owners of tractors carting sand to sell in Harare from Epworth. One of the war vets pulled out a weapon and shot one of the drivers in the leg.
Macheke/Virginia - About 30 warvets threatened a farmers and his tractor driver with their lives if they continued to plough in a field in preparation for a tobacco crop next season.  The police and war vet Matsasti were called in to resolve the problem.   Labour on Bimi Farm were threatened by invaders who made them return wood cut for tobacco curing to the lands.  The invaders then stole a wheel off a trailer that was in the yard.  The police and war vet Matsasti resolved the problem.   DDF vehicles sent from Marondera by the DA Murehwa were pegging Koodoo, Exeter and Bogota for fast track resettlement.  Another five vehicles were back the following day.  Section 8 notices were served on Athlone, Whispering Hope, Richmond, Lamjung / Kournine   and Highover farms yesterday.
Masvingo  - Nothing to Report.
Manicaland  - Nothing to Report.   
Gweru East/Lalapanzi - Workers on a farm in the area tracked thieves of green maize to occupiers’ premises on a neighbouring farm. They did not find any maize but were threatened by the occupiers who said they would be coming in large numbers, by daylight to take as many green maize as they liked. The moving force behind this seems to be a war vet from the Shurugwi area and the incident seems to point to an escalation of provocation in the area.
Nyamandhlovu - On Silver Streams, on Sunday, 4 March 2001, Mrs Gloria Olds, at approximately 6.30 am, went to unlock the security gates tot he farm homestead.  She had putt he kettle on the gas stove to boil whilst she went to open the gate.  She was unarmed and accompanied by her dogs and was alone on the farm as her son David was in Bulawayo with his family.  As she got to the gate two men came out of hiding and shot her at close range before she unlocked the gate.  Evidence at the gate shows she fled some thirty meters towards a farm vehicle in the direction of the homestead, where she tried to take cover before collapsing.  It appears that the three dogs were trying to protect her and were shot next and were found lying around the gate near Mrs Olds.  The lock was shot off the gate with the gunmen entering the premises, where they proceeded to fire several more shots into her.  The only items missing appear to be some clothing and a handbag with personal items, credit cards etc.  Cash was left on the office desk and the safe was not disturbed.  The farm vehicle, a Toyota twin cab, was then taken for the get away and was recovered from a bushy area in Pumula South high density suburb of Bulawayo on Monday.  Impanya, poachers last week killed a warthog and hid it in a tree.  On returning late afternoon to collect their bait they found a leopard feasting on it.  In the ensuing altercation over ownership, one poacher was badly bitten before the leopard was killed.  Had the leopard not had an injured from claw, the odds may have been a bit more even.  The poacher refused medical treatment as he was unable to legally explain his injuries thus testing the local Nyanga's prowess to the limit.  The local war vets then arrived on the scene and confiscated the leopard skin to hand over the the police as evidence, to prevent them from being blamed for the demise of the leopard.  Police from Nyamandhlovu have still not collected the evidence as they have crashed the land rover and have no transport.  Mimosa Park, on Tuesday, 27th February, the Manager and his assistant were given death threats by resident war vet Nthangondhela Sibanda.  The threat was reported to the local police and war vets leadership who reacted.  Sibanda repeated the threats in the presence of the police and their leadership.  He was cautioned by the police and left.  Later in the week he was caught having stolen a battery out of a vehicle belonging to their leadership, resulting in him being severely beaten by war vets.  He was collected by the police and is believed to have died in police custody shortly afterwards. 
Inyati - On Braemar, war vets have ordered the owner to vacate the farm giving him twenty-four hours to comply.  On Gaulays, a contingent of three war vets have been stirring up the occupants on a section of the ranch where the Governor, Provincial Administrator and war vet leadership have agreed with the owner that they could remain until the land issue is resolved.  Yesterday evening, two vehicles chased the farm owner who was returning from town, into his yard and proceeded to drag him out of his car.  When he retaliated, they backed off but five of them followed him into the homestead.  Seven remained outside.  A protracted argument ended peacefully.  There were no weapons evident.  Vets want the owner charged for poaching on their land.  Robins Farm war vets arrived in the farm village and assaulted the foreman's wife.  The farm owner intervened and the situation was diffused.  The owner was never abducted or put under threat of his life as widely reported.  Crescens Bubi, the farm village has been invaded with ten houses occupied, with farm workers forcibly evicted.  They are demanding an audience with the owner to serve him with a twenty-four hour vacation notice.  The effect of this would be to the distress of the local and neighbouring communal people who depend on his facilities.
West Nicholson - Atherstone, the owner has, in the past three days been subjected to extreme harassment and continual badgering and threats of death and demands to vacate the property.  Police at West Nicholson have reacted well and have been very supportive.  This approach of war vets typifies a new phase being entered into where all politicians, civil administration and law are being spurned with arrogance and defiance.
Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects) 04 309800-18
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War vet quizzed over Olds' murder

The Daily News, 8 March 2001

Police yesterday interviewed Wolfenden Stans, a war veteran and member of
the black empowerment body, the Affirmative Action Group, who was locked in
a dispute with the slain Nyamandlovu farmer, Gloria Olds. Stans rented a
butchery owned by Olds at Nyamandlovu business centre. According to
Indonsakusa/Ilanga, a publication covering Matabeleland, Stans had not paid
rent to Olds for 10 months and efforts to recover the money were spurned by
some war veterans in the area.

On two occasions, the veterans forced their way into the butchery after Olds
locked up the place. Olds, who was killed by unknown gunmen on Sunday, will
be buried in Bulawayo tomorrow. Police said they were happy with the
progress of their investigations into the murder, which has shocked the
small farming community of Nyamandlovu. Gloria's son, Martin, was murdered
on 18 April last year. No one has been arrested in connection with his
murder. Olds, 72, was shot 15 times, before the murders turned their guns on
her three dogs.

Police Assistant Commissioner Langton Tagwira said: "We are happy with our
investigations so far. We have got some interesting leads, but we cannot
divulge them now. It will be like putting the cart before the horse." Police
said they found some identification particulars in the Toyota Hilux vehicle,
belonging to Olds, which was used by the killers as a getaway car. The car's
discovery in Pumula South, with its radio and other removable gadgets
intact, put paid to suggestions that the killers were ordinary car-jackers.
Tagwira said: "We are pursuing a number of angles and some of the details
you are mentioning have been followed and we are happy with our progress."

Mac Crawford, the chairman of the Matabeleland branch of the Commercial
Farmers' Union, said there would be a church service for the late Olds at
the Hillside Presbyterian Church tomorrow morning. He said this would be
followed by a private burial at the request of the family.

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