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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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JAG Sitrep March 20, 2003 --------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today (20 March 2003) on Delport Farm in Ruwa +- 20 military arrived in 3
army lorries between 8.00am and proceeded to beat the farm manager and his
wife, Norman and Isobel Gardner and farm workers including men, women,
children until approximately 12.30pm.  Roy Bennett leases the farm.
Between 60-70 farm workers are being treated at Avenues Clinic - one has
serious internal injuries.  The reason for the beating was that they work
for an MDC MP.



JAG Sitrep March 21, 2003
ASSAULT GBH on Farmer, farm workers, men, women and children.

On Tuesday 18th March 2003 Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) men went
out to MDC MP (Chimanimani) Roy Bennett's leased farm on the outskirts of
Harare, to ascertain his whereabouts. Bennett's 3 guards were unable to
assist them. The CIO men proceeded to break all the guards toes and
fingers and beat them severely. They then dumped them at the Epworth Police
Station. One of the victims died on arrival at the Police Station.  The
whereabouts of the deceased's body is yet to be established.

On Thursday 20th March 2003 three armoured vehicles with mounted machine
guns were driven into Bennett's farmyard. Approx 12 men in army uniform,
all fully kitted out in bandoliers carrying AK 47 assault rifles advanced
on the home of the farm Manager Norman Gardiner (61) and his wife Isobel
(60) yelling instructions for everyone in the house to come outside.  The
Gardiner's and their domestic staff were then told to lie down and keep
rolling over while the army details beat them with wire cable tied to
sticks, iron fencing standards, sjamboks (leather whips) and sticks.  The
assailants then marched them to their home and searched it, supposedly
looking for Bennett. When they found nothing they turned their vicious
attention to Bennett's farm workers who were in the lands and
systematically beat the men, women and children of all ages. This all took
place over a period of four hours.  All the victims were treated for their
injuries in Hospital and released.

At 9am Friday 21st March 2003 the Marondera home of farmer Iain and Kerry
Kay was raided by CIO. When they did not find the Kays they took away the
maid, Esnath, and slapped her around demanding to know where Iain Kay was,
telling her that they would be back in the evening with a weapon to kill
Kay "because he is an opposition member and has meetings".  They removed
papers from personal files.

Friday 21st March 2003 - Army, Police and Support Unit details visited the
farm next door to Roy Bennett MP this morning, sending in two men in
civilian clothing under the pretext of seeing the Manager (who was
unavailable) to purchase tyres.  The uniformed military then came in and
beat the workers.  As of 5 pm this date 28 women have been badly beaten
and are being treated at a Hospital.  The fate of the remainder of the
workers is unknown. Road blocks in and out of the area of the farm have
been mounted by the military.




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Troops attack farm, kills one
20/03/2003 19:42  - (SA)

Harare - A Zimbabwean farm worker died and scores of others were injured
allegedly at the hands of troops who attacked a farm leased by a opposition
lawmaker, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Thursday.

MDC spokesperson Paul Temba Nyathi told reporters that Steven Tonera, an
employee at a farm run by MDC parliamentarian Roy Bennett, "was murdered by
state agents".

The alleged attack came in the wake of a two-day national strike called by
the MDC to protest against the deepening socio-economic and political crises
in the country.

Nyathi said Tonera was abducted from the farm on Tuesday night and accused
of burning a bus during the two day anti-government mass action.

Bennett and Nyathi said three truckloads of troops descended on the farm and
assaulted workers and their families.

"They went on a rampage indiscrimately assaulting men, women and children
that they came across at the farm," said Nyathi.

"I estimate between 80 and 100 people were beaten," Bennett told AFP in a
separate interview.

"Thirty people have been seriously beaten and we are busy right now getting
them on to ambulances," Bennett said from his mobile phone earlier.


Five of the wounded were present at the news conference and showed their
fresh wounds.

The farm, situated in Ruwa farming district, east of the capital is located
about 15km from the poor township of Epworth where a bus carrying policemen
was petrol-bombed on Tuesday.

The farm labourers said the soldiers accused them being opposition members
behind the two day national strike against President Robert Mugabe's

The strike action called by the MDC shut down most of the country Tuesday
and Wednesday.

A military official said it was difficult for him to comment on the
allegations without specific identification to enable him to investigate.

Police said if no formal report had been made to them about the incident, it
would be difficult to comment onthe incident.

At least 200 people have been arrested, among them three opposition deputies
following the mass work stoppage on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are not suprised that the state is behaving in the way it is, this is
because of the successful two-day stayaway," said Nyathi. - Sapa-AFP

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ABC News

Farm Worker Killed, Others Injured in Zimbabwe

      March 20
      - By Stella Mapenzauswa

      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition said on Thursday state
agents killed a farm worker accused of torching a bus, and dozens of
soldiers beat other men, women and children on the farm.

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said agents killed the
security employee on a commercial farm leased by opposition legislator Roy

      "Not deterred by the death, this morning three army truckloads
carrying at least 60 members of the Zimbabwe National Army visited Mr
Bennet's farm again (and) went on a rampage indiscriminately assaulting men,
women and children," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told a news

      "At least 30 people are injured, all of them seriously. This was
because of the successful two days stayaway," Nyathi said referring to a
nation-wide strike called by the MDC.

      Police and army officials were not available for comment.

      The killed man was accused of training MDC soldiers and burning a bus
during an anti-government protest on Wednesday. Harare police arrested
scores of people when the demonstration turned violent on Wednesday.

      At the MDC news briefing, six men related how they fled the farm after
soldiers allegedly beat farm workers and their children with wire, axe
handles and batons.

      Tuesday and Wednesday's protest, which shut down most of Zimbabwe's
urban centers, bringing industry and commerce to a halt, was the biggest
mass action against President Robert Mugabe since the MDC narrowly lost
parliamentary polls in 2000.

      Critics at home and abroad accuse Mugabe's administration of human
rights abuses, rigging his re-election a year ago and causing mass hunger by
his seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

      On Tuesday MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai called the strike action "a
big victory against this tyranny and all its forces of oppression" and said
the MDC planned further protests soon.

      "By 31st March 2003, the regime should have addressed and resolved
the...urgent issues or face a popular mass action to regain the people's
liberties, freedoms and dignity," said MDC said in statement on Thursday.

      Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service

Daily News

      Soldiers run amok

      3/21/2003 6:54:41 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende, Chief Reporter

      A MAN was beaten to death in Harare, and several others, including the
Member of Parliament for Mutare North, were either beaten up or arrested as
State agents cracked down on people suspected to have taken part in the
recent two-day stayaway.

      The largely-heeded mass action was called by the opposition MDC.
      Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents in Harare allegedly
beat to death a former worker on Roy Bennet's farm in Ruwa after they
accused him of taking part in the burning of a bus belonging to the
State-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company on Tuesday.

      The bus was petrol-bombed along the Chiremba Road when the nationwide
mass action turned violent.

      Bennet, the MP for Chimanimani (MDC), identified the deceased as
Steven Tonera.
      "CIO operatives went to the farm in Ruwa and rounded up all the
workers and beat them up. Tonera was beaten to death. There is chaos on the
farm. More than 80 workers have been severely assaulted by the police and
soldiers. So many have been injured and ambulances were busy ferrying people
to various hospitals and clinics. The situation is terrible."

      Bennet said Tonera had stopped working for him, but lived on the farm.
He said women and children were not spared.

      A source said three members of the CIO picked up Tonera and his two
friends, Tagarira and Tonderai Murimba, at Muza shopping centre in Epworth
on Tuesday and took them away.
      "The three were seriously beaten up and Tonera died outside the police
station there," the source said.

      Asked why he came to the conclusion that the men were CIO agents, the
source said: "I spoke to Tonderai and Tagarira and they told me so. I have
no reason to doubt them, especially after what they had gone through.

      "Yesterday, soldiers beat up Tonderai and broke his toes. They
tortured him. It's just terrible."
      Isobel Gardiner, the wife of Bennet's farm manager, Norman, was
severely assaulted on the buttocks and back. She was admitted at the Avenues
Clinic in Harare.

      Meanwhile, soldiers, ruling Zanu PF party youths and the police in
Harare yesterday went on a retribution exercise assaulting innocent
civilians whom they suspected took part in the two-day mass action.

      About 20 severely beaten up people came to The Daily News offices
yesterday to relate their ordeal, while Brighton Matimba, the MDC's welfare
officer, said he had received at least 83 reports in Harare alone about
their members being assaulted at home or on the streets.

      Asani Matola, a CAPS United and former national soccer team player,
was not spared. The defender said he was assaulted in Kuwadzana by a group
of soldiers immediately after he disembarked from a bus.

      "A group of soldiers approached me and four other people and started
assaulting us without asking us any questions," Matola said. "We were
ordered to lie on the tarmac and accused of supporting the mass action.
There was nowhere to run. It was unbelievable. I have to skip the game
against Wankie on Saturday."

      Matola sustained a swollen lip and bruises on his legs and arms.
      Another victim, Itayi Tinarwo, said he was followed by a group of
youths wearing Zanu PF T-shirts after he had just parted from his brother in
Kuwadzana 5.

      "Riot police fired tear-gas canisters in the air and people scurried
in all directions for safety," he said. "I do not know why they did that
because the area was peaceful. The youths cornered me and beat me up badly."

      Tinarwo lost five teeth during the attack.
      Another victim from Budiriro 3, who refused to be named, said the
police dragged him from the bathroom and battered him.

      "After they assaulted me, they turned on my neighbour and beat her up
in front of her husband," he said. "The beating was so severe that her
underwear was torn to pieces."

      In most high-density suburbs, including Glen View, Epworth, Highfield
and Mufakose, the police, army and CIO agents went on the rampage assaulting
people indiscriminately. In Masvingo, about 10 people were injured on
Wednesday, some of them seriously, when heavily armed soldiers pounced on

      An unofficial curfew was imposed in the city. In Mutare, eight MDC
members, including Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for Mutare and shadow minister for
defence, were arrested. In Gweru, 18 MDC supporters were arrested on
Wednesday. They are expected to appear in court soon. In Bulawayo, four
people were reportedly arrested in Makokoba after they were found reading
pamphlets calling for the mass action.
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There are various limp mutterings about the possibility that CFU might be
taking a more robust view of tackling the injustices that its members are
suffering since a Matabele Vice President was appointed in November 2002.
A robust view dictates various actions and policy stands have to be taken:

1. Has the CFU put its name to any legal initiatives to give relief to its
members to defray costs currently being incurred by them?  (An estimated
$600 million in legal fees and $3 billion in SI6 payments has been paid out
by individuals which could have been pre-empted by timeous legal action
from the CFU - there is diminished import in funding an SI6 case 11 months
after this legislation was put in place!).  Farmers contend that the CFU
should timeously litigate and publicise issues to protect farmers and their
interests not the reverse.  A sign of good faith in this direction today
would be for CFU to undertake the rule of law case not merely in offering
to finance it but put their name to it in conjunction with JAG on behalf of
all commercial farmers country wide.

2. Has CFU put out any robust public statements against the injustices
being perpetrated against farmers and their workers or called for the
return to the rule of law and respect for property rights?

3. Is the CFU's policy to "continue to work with the (illegitimate)
government of the day (Zanu PF)" and will it continue to legitimise and
sanitise it through not only its continued dialogue policy but also its
letters to the likes of Mbeki?

4. Why has the CFU not taken any steps to join civil society and the Crisis
Coalition which together are working towards good governance, the rule of
law and poverty alleviation in conjunction with the citizens of Zimbabwe?

5. Does the CFU believe that what has happened is irreversible or are they
working towards a vision for the future of agriculture to drive the country
towards food security and economic growth?

6. Why does the CFU "leadership" not reply to letters from its members and
others wanting to see an alternative way forward?  (We doubt we shall get a
reply to this letter).

7. Does the CFU have a new policy and if so why won't they openly publicise
and stand up for it and tell us, the farmers, what it is?

8. Why does the CFU not publicly bring accountability to the various
individuals stealing and raping our farms by reporting in sitreps, press
statements and supporting a comprehensive loss claim document?

9. Why is the CFU not advocating and supporting the JAG loss claim
documents which incorporates the thousands of farm workers who have also
lost homes, incomes and livelihoods especially in the light of having no
strategy of their own?

10. Why did CFU not join in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in a
stayaway on the 18th and 19th March 2003?

Until all of these issues are addressed and we see some positive proactive
initiatives from the Union along the lines stated above, we at JAG remain
very reserved and dubious that any meaningful change of heart has taken
place since the new Vice President came into office.  We perceive the limp
mutterings as merely a membership gathering exercise whilst the stable door
is more often than not closed only after the horse has bolted often with a
slap on the rump from the CFU.  We sincerely hope to be proven wrong and
that our reservations and doubts are likewise unfounded.

In the meantime, maybe the CFU policy makers should consider these few
words: "The strength of the oppressor is in the compliance of the

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Business Counts Mass Action Losses

The Daily News (Harare)

March 20, 2003
Posted to the web March 20, 2003

Chris Mhike Business Reporter

THE financial losses incurred by business as a direct result of the
opposition MDC-led mass action, ballooned into billions of dollars yesterday
as more shops, banks and other commercial operations closed.

The action spread from Harare and Bulawayo as the boycott entered its second
day. Other urban centres, including Mutare and Gweru which opened for
business as usual on Tuesday, joined the mass action yesterday. The mass
action had been largely restricted to the two capitals on Tuesday.

Most companies which had opened for business on Tuesday, in major as well as
minor cities, closed yesterday. They closed, either to add their voices to
the nation's cry of agony against the government's hurtful policies, or to
guard against possible looting in the event of the mass action turning
violent. Although the exact extent of losses incurred by businesses in the
two days of closure could not be ascertained yesterday, a snap survey of the
capital city's central business district suggested that the figure could
well be in the billion-dollar range. Most of the major financial
institutions, including the Central African Building Society, Kingdom,
Stanbic, Beverly Building Society, Intermarket Building Society and the
Jewel Bank, were closed.

The few account holders who failed to protest against government's misrule
by going into town for business, relied on automated teller machines (ATMs)
for transactions. Even Harare's main post office was closed. Major
supermarkets, notably OK, Clicks and TM, shut their doors. Virtually all
clothing concerns were also also closed. The majority of Innscor fast food
outlets were also not operational. The First Street and Eastgate branches
were, however, open. Barclays Bank was the most conspicuous among the very
few institutions that ignored the stayaway call. The bank's Pearl House
branch in First Street was open for business on Tuesday and yesterday
morning. The volume of customers in the banking hall was, however,
significantly thinner than normal.

Authoritative economists Eric Bloch, John Robertson and Nyasha Chasakara
yesterday said quantifying the extent of the losses incurred in the last two
days would be difficult. They, however, said that most companies were
operating below capacity before the mass action. It would, therefore, be a
futile academic exercise to quantify losses caused by the mass action given
that scenario. Robertson said: "Most businesses have been operating at very
low levels because of uncertainties related to foreign currency
unavailability, price controls and raw material shortages. "Mass action is
certainly an expensive exercise. Business people, therefore, possibly asked
themselves what a few more days of non- or under-productivity would do. The
difference would be insignificant."

Chasakara could not give an estimate of the losses incurred. He, however,
said: "One cannot dismiss the impact of the action on the economy. It may be
difficult to quantify the extent of losses, but the figure should be quite
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Zimbabwe Slashes SADC Tourist Entry Fees By Half

Financial Gazette (Harare)

March 20, 2003
Posted to the web March 20, 2003


ZIMBABWE'S Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
has slashed entry fees for Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
tourists by half, in a move that the tourism industry hopes will boost
foreign tourist arrivals.

National Parks officials said the authority had last week issued a directive
to game parks and tourist areas under its control indicating that SADC
tourists able to produce their passports would qualify for the new fees.

The entry fees have been reduced from US$20 to US$10.

Tourists can however pay in their local currency equivalent of the new fees.

A National Parks official who declined to be named told the Financial
Gazette: "The directive arrived some time last week. The new fee was decided
on the first of January but it only came into effect last week because it
was sent to us a bit late."

Tourism industry executives said the reduction in entry fees was partly the
result of representations from the tourism and hospitality sectors, which
had indicated to the Department of National Parks that Zimbabwe's charges
were more than twice those of its closest neighbours.

They said other countries in the region were charging between US$7 and US$10
to foreign tourists.

Hotel Association of Zimbabwe president Shingi Munyeza welcomed the
reduction in the National Parks' entry fees, saying it might benefit the
country's struggling tourism industry.

The industry has been hard hit by a decline in foreign tourist arrivals,
partly the result of political violence and instability in the past three
years, and by Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

Foreign tourist arrivals have fallen by at least 50 percent in the past
three years, with a large number of tourists opting for countries such as
Botswana, South Africa and Zambia because of security concerns in Zimbabwe.

"It (fee reduction) sends the right message to our friends in the SADC
region, who understand our problems," said Munyeza. "This rationalisation is
a welcome development, although we are still to be informed about it."

He added: "Although we are still to be informed about this as an
association, this is a welcome development as this would give us a
competitive edge with other countries such as Botswana and South Africa."
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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: Opposition gives ultimatum for change

JOHANNESBURG, 20 March (IRIN) - The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has given the Zimbabwean government until 31 March to meet a list of demands or "face popular mass action to regain the people's liberties, freedoms and dignity".

Seemingly buoyed by the success of a two-day stay-away that it orchestrated this week, the MDC has now called on the government of President Robert Mugabe to release "all political prisoners, those arrested for exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate against violence, torture and general misrule".

"The events of the last two days are simply the beginning of the march towards freedom. In this regard, we demand that the Mugabe regime immediately embarks upon a programme to dismantle the basis of its tyranny," the MDC said in a statement on Thursday.

Some of the MDC demands were that the government stop "all state-sponsored violence against the people, including torture of suspects in police custody"; "depoliticise" food aid distribution; and halt the alleged persecution of NGOs and church leaders, restore civil liberties and respect human rights.

The opposition also called for the repeal of recent legislation restricting freedom of speech, movement and association.

The government should disband "all militia groups" and ensure war veterans played a "non-political role", the statement said.

"We give notice to the regime that the people's patience has run out and no amount of state sponsored violence can keep them in perpetual bondage," the MDC added.

Government spokesmen in the department of information were on Thursday unable to give IRIN comment on the MDC's ultimatum.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Kockott

To the Open letter forum : HENRY OLONGA

Some very pertinent points were made by Henry Olonga in a statement made by
him announcing his retirement from international cricket.

"I was never under the illusion that my stand would have no consequences
but I believe that one should have the courage of one's convictions in life
and do all one can to uphold them."

"I believe that if I were to continue to play for Zimbabawe in the midst of
the prevailing crisis I would only be neglecting the voice of my
conscience. I would be condoning the grotesque human rights violations that
have been perpetrated - and continue to be perpetrated - against my fellow

"To my fellow Zimbabweans: the Zimbabwe we dream of must merely remain in
our hearts. We must be strong, stand united and strive to give our children
the brighter day in which they belong."

Hopefully these words spoken by Henry Olonga will really sink in to
everyone of us, and show us the way forward. We hope the leadership of
organised agriculture (that have held the reins for many years),and
shamefully the majority of farmers, who willingly and without question,
have supported our leadership, (in the interests of so-called "unity"), are
now holding their heads in shame. More than ever before the time has come
for commitment to national interests and the well-being of the vast
majority of 13 million Zimbabweans.

Like Henry Olonga and so many other committed and principled Zimbabweans,
lets all play our part and make a stand. It is never too late, and now more
than ever before we need to go forward together, AND AS ONE.

Good luck!!
Andy and Sharon Kockott


Letter 2: J L Robinson

My dear Worswick,

I must commend you on the most interesting article about geese flying in
formation. I really think that the `old gaggle' of three to four thousand
should get together (call an Extraordinary Congress of the old gaggle?) I
have never been much of a flier myself as you know, and was always on the
extremity, struggling to keep up in more ways than one. We hit bad weather
about three years ago. After two years in the gaggle's formation I really
ran out of steam, and crashed badly. Once I had hit the ground, I set about
sorting out my composure and plumage; then I looked around and came to the
conclusion that we were all flying in the wrong direction anyway. Then I
met a couple of bible punching ganders and we all set off in the opposite
direction in a slow and steady but sure manner. These radical ganders were
different to say the least, in that they were more concerned about helping
others that had crashed (rather than honking and hobnobbing with the Cool
Fliers' Utopia at the front of the old gaggle.)

May I now assume that for once in my life I can relax, and enjoy the
radical ganders' company (and the view) in full knowledge that the Cool
Fliers' Utopia are still winging their way in the wrong direction, and that
they are still to crash, and only then consult their Gander Positioning
Systems, and that we actually have a ten month start on the Cool Fliers'
Utopia using a Quinnel Positioning System?

I do hope that you are fully aware of the subtle difference here - our
group is termed a Jaggle, not a Gaggle and it seems that this bad weather
is by no means something new:

"The fault is great in man or woman
Who steals a goose from off a common
But what can plead that man's excuse
Who steals a common from a goose."
(The Tickler Magazine 1st Feb.1821)

Yours faithfully,

J.L. Robinson.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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      Two-day national strike ends, more protests planned if Zimbabwe
government ignores opposition ultimatum

      By Angus Shaw
      3:40 a.m., March 20, 2003

      HARARE, Zimbabwe - Shops and factories reopened and transportation
services resumed Thursday after a two-day strike that shut down most of

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called the strike to
protest government repression and acute shortages of food and gasoline. It
is demanding the release of activists arrested for demonstrating against the
government of President Robert Mugabe.

      Strikes and demonstrations will resume after March 31 if the
authoritarian government does not "embark on a program to dismantle the
basis of its tyranny," said a statement from opposition spokesman Paul
Themba Nyathi.

      "We gave notice to the regime (that) people's patience has run out.
The events of the last two days are simply the beginning of the march toward
freedom," Themba Nyathi said.

      George Charamba, a spokesman in Mugabe's office, scoffed at the
opposition's demands and their March 31 ultimatum, the independent Daily
News reported.

      He said Themba Nyathi was "inspired" by President Bush's ultimatum to
Saddam Hussein "except that Bush is the president of a powerful country
while Themba Nyathi is a spokesman of a disintegrating political party."

      The state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. insisted the strike had failed.
It said sporadic violence during the strike was the work of "malcontents"
paid by opposition officials to stir unrest.

      Police said about 180 people were arrested, mainly in impoverished
townships across the country.

      The response to the call for protests was the largest since Mugabe,
brought to power at independence in 1980, was re-elected for another
six-year term last year.

      The election was denounced by the opposition after international
observers said it was marred by intimidation and vote-rigging.

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ZIMBABWE: Interview with UNDP Resident Representative and Humanitarian
Coordinator, J. Victor Angelo
      IRINnews Africa, Thu 20 Mar 2003

      ©  UNDP

      UNDP Resident Representative J. Victor Angelo

      HARARE, - Zimbabwe is threatened with another year of food shortages
as a consequence of drought, insufficient farm inputs, and the disruption to
production caused by fast-track land reform. IRIN spoke to UN Development
Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator J.
Victor Angelo on possible steps forward.

      QUESTION: At the beginning of this month you travelled to rural areas
in Masvingo province, in the south of the country, on an assessment mission.
What caught your attention during the visit and what were some of the
conclusions you came to?

      ANSWER: People are struggling. In some areas, rains have been totally
insufficient. In other areas, people have been able to plant and there have
been some rains. But because inputs have been insufficient - or unavailable,
altogether - no one can possibly expect yields to be adequate. Livestock has
become the lifeline for so many and yet it, too, is rapidly deteriorating.
So, overall, it seems that the country's southern region is in particular
need of attention in terms of support and assistance. UNDP, WFP [World Food
Programme] and the other UN agencies have major challenges ahead of them.

      Q: It seems also there were issues over the condition of farm workers
and also newly resettled farmers. It seems some of the resettled farmers
have fallen into vulnerability, was that a surprise to you?

      A: It comes as no surprise at all. We should have expected serious
vulnerability in the resettled areas. Some time back, the government asked
us to have a look at the situation of former farm workers and
newly-resettled farmers. The reason they asked was because it was already
obvious that a number of households were in urgent need of humanitarian
support and also because in most of the resettled areas, the basic social
and physical infrastructure was lacking.

      My visit only confirmed that we need to have a better understanding of
the vulnerability and the number of families in the former commercial
areas - and I don't just mean the families of farm workers, but also some of
the resettled people. Many of them face very difficult circumstances and
that is why we have been insisting on the launch of a vulnerability survey,
which we hope we will be able to start very, very soon. The survey is an
absolute necessity, if we are to plan appropriately for future assistance.
The survey will also be a test of our ability to access these areas. If we
cannot reach the very persons who are in need of our help, this will create
a major impasse.

      Q: Some of the former commercial farm workers seem to have been left
out of the land reform programme, they seem to be asking for greater
assistance in terms of food aid and recognition of their needs within land

      A: There certainly is a need to consider the impact of the changes in
land ownership, over the last three years, and to see how the transformation
has affected many of those working on commercial farms. Families have found
themselves in a new situation and there are unconfirmed reports that most of
them have not benefited from land reform. Some of them need urgent
attention, simply so they are able to cope and adjust to their new
circumstances and we have to find out how many fall into this category.

      Q: Masvingo, for example, is a ranching area and yet resettlements are
taking place in these sorts of areas that are very dry and not suitable for
cropping. What sort of assistance should be put in place to help the new
farmers, and is that something you would like to do in conjunction with the

      A: The challenge is not any particular province. The challenge is to
find out just what the situation is across the provinces. Whereas the
vulnerability assessment would reveal the best ways to assist people in the
immediate and short term, we have also suggested that an agricultural survey
be conducted to address Zimbabwe's needs in the long term. You see, we don't
want to create a situation where people survive only because they are being

      We want to support projects, which allow people to plan for
themselves, to understand their circumstances and to use that knowledge to
find ways to provide for their families and contribute to the wealth of
their country. So we must have a very, very good understanding of the
situation and this demands accuracy and objectivity. And on this, we would
be willing to work together with appropriate sectors and/or ministries [on
the land issue], as soon as we can agree on the way forward. Really, it is
only then that we can address the fundamental issues - food security and
agricultural growth - in a way that is genuine and socially just.

      Q: Does that mean a new land conference?

      A: Once a proper survey has been carried out, Zimbabwe will have a
better understanding of the situation and will be better equipped to
formulate a modern approach to agricultural production and rural life. The
findings of the agricultural survey would inform any stakeholder meeting
that might take place subsequently. While it is still too early to speak of
a land conference, one should not exclude that possibility.

      Q: What does that actually mean?

      A: There has been a real deficit in dialogue - dialogue that is based
on facts and not just guessing, estimates or hearsay - and yet, this is the
very thing that is needed. A conference would offer a number of
opportunities for consultations among different [role] players. It could
also be used as a forum for fence-mending.

      Q: The issue of land reform has been heavily politicised. We had the
last land conference in 1998 in which Western donors called for
transparency, which was followed by the fast-track programme. How would this
land conference address the problems differently from the last land

      A: We now have a new situation in the rural areas. Circumstances are
different than those that existed in 1998. Challenges are greater than ever
and the call from the rural areas is for better planning, more transparency,
more resources and full implementation of the law. The critical issues -
sustainable resettlement, food security, institutional strengthening,
renewed partnerships - have to be faced, head on.

      The problems extend beyond the rural areas, too. Agriculture had been
a pillar of the national economy and that has also suffered serious damage.
So this type of initiative would affect positive change throughout all of
Zimbabwe and the UNDP and the other specialized UN agencies would take any
meaningful dialogue very seriously.

      Q: Has there been a positive response from international stakeholders,
including western donors, to the idea of a land conference?

      A: First things first: I trust that donors would be very supportive of
a well-designed and properly implemented survey of the agricultural
situation, and before this has been achieved, we can't even talk about the
next step. First, you understand the present. Then, you prepare for the
future. But the question is not just about donors - above all, it is about
Zimbabweans taking the lead.

      The material contained in this article is from IRIN, a UN humanitarian
information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item
on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or
extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics
and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express
permission of the original owner.
      All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs 2003

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Zimbabwe Authorities Move to End General Strike
Peta Thornycroft
20 Mar 2003, 19:45 UTC

Military and civilian authorities in Zimbabwe moved into smaller towns in
force early Thursday at the end of a two-day general strike across the

Police and members of the army were reported to be in at least two small
towns Thursday in the wake of the strike. Several businessmen said Masvingo,
halfway between Harare and the South African border, was aswarm with armed
military officers. Army troops were also out in force in the eastern city of

A number of people were reportedly still in custody Thursday, including at
least one opposition member of parliament.

Some workers in and around Harare said they approved of the strike because
it was the only weapon they had to tell President Robert Mugabe he should
leave office. They said they would have been prepared to strike for longer
than the two days called for.

Following the strike, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
sent a message to the government saying that unless democratic governance
was returned to Zimbabwe, mass action would intensify. The MDC also said it
would decide Saturday when and how to proceed with mass action.

Well-placed sources said there were fears, particularly in two poor suburbs
outside Harare, that police and the army intended to round up activists. One
man said some of the most visible strike organizers had gone into hiding.

Opposition member of parliament Roy Bennett said scores of his workers were
beaten up by at least 60 members of the army Thursday, near Harare. Mr.
Bennett said the workers told him that the army came to his property and
claimed that he organized military training for the two-day strike.

Mr. Bennett said he did not know how many people living on his property had
been beaten up, but that among the injured were women and children.

Mr. Bennett said he was going to a mortuary in Harare to identify the body
of one of his workers who had died.

Mr. Bennett, who is white, has been arrested several times, and was
allegedly tortured the last time he was in detention. He is one of the most
popular politicians in Zimbabwe and attracts large crowds when he holds
political rallies.

Police had no immediate comment about the death.
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Zim Independent


Business leaders must speak out on Zim crisis

"A TOTAL failure" was the verdict of police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena upon
this week's mass action. A "flop" ZBC declared. Yet wherever you looked in
Harare or Bulawayo there was nothing happening. It was like a Sunday. No
business was taking place. No activity. Nothing.

The industrial sites were deserted. Banks, shops, supermarkets, post offices
and restaurants were all closed as workers stayed home. Government offices
were unable to function. Internet cafés, phone shops, and even street
vendors were not doing any business.

It would appear Bvudzijena was speaking from script without bothering to see
for himself. If he finds himself wrestling with a credibility problem in
future he'll know why. As for ZBC, we shouldn't expect anything remotely
resembling the truth to emerge from such partisan liars.

This week's mass action, directed against repression and hardship,
represented a significant blow to the government's claims that it is rolling
back support for the opposition. The MDC has shown that it can mobilise a
successful protest that, except for a handful of isolated incidents, passed
off peacefully. Words like "patchy" and "partial" cannot be applied this
time to the extent of public support. It was near-total. The MDC had done
its homework. And it paid off.

Nobody will be impressed by Bvudzijena's increasingly hysterical claims of
sabotage or charges that MDC youths are being paid $5 000 "to engage in
terrorist activities". With their reference to "gangsters" these are nothing
more than crude Zanu PF propaganda releases masquerading as police
statements. As with all such cases in the past, we can be sure the police
will have difficulty getting their "evidence" to stand up in court, although
this won't stop them conducting punitive arrests.

Meanwhile, the MDC has seized the moment to advance a set of demands to
which all Zimbabweans with the country's interests at heart can subscribe:
the immediate release of people arrested for exercising their constitutional
right to demonstrate against misrule; an end to state-sponsored violence;
the restoration of civil liberties including repeal of Posa and Aippa;
depoliticisation of food relief; disbandment of militias; and the
restoration of professionalism in the army and police.

These are elementary requirements for a democratic society and should be
passed on to all agencies, local and international, participating in the
current mediation process. They should become the baseline for all future
negotiations with the regime.

While Zimbabweans can con-gratulate themselves on a successful mass action,
several areas of weakness remain. Although most members of the business
community clearly supported the industrial action, their leadership appeared
confused and pathetically unable to identify the issues at stake.

The mass action was as much about economic mismanagement as it was about
repression. After all, ill-conceived and populist policies have stoked
inflation, business closures and unemployment. Yet the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe have been wringing their hands asking
what they should do when the stayaway was "political".

They are evidently unable to understand that the predicament in which their
businesses find themselves is political. There is nothing that is not
political in Zimbabwe today. If that is understood perfectly well by the
tens of thousands joining the mass action why is it not understood by
business leaders?

The CZI was purely "a business body", its president Anthony Mandiwanza told
the press as if he was born yesterday. ZNCC CEO Luckmore Zinyama said "a lot
of production time has been lost at a time when (our) members were working
towards improving their profit levels".

He didn't say anything about the production hours lost by his members
sitting in petrol queues. Nor about the forex shortage caused by government'
s sabotage of the agricultural sector.

Is the production time lost this week any worse than the impact of 220%
inflation because of tax-and-spend policies that damage business? Or price
controls that do nothing to rein-in costs and which are anyway ignored by
state companies?

Business "leaders" paralysed by their fear of government are next to
useless. They ill-serve the bodies they have been elected to head. What we
need are business chiefs who can explain the relationship between misrule
and national impoverishment; who can set out an agenda for business that
government needs to grasp.

For much too long the business community has been silent on the issues that
should most concern them. The people of Zimbabwe this week showed a courage
and determination that was entirely absent among the leadership of the
business community. That structural fault needs to be rectified. When the
rest of the country is standing up to bullying, repression and misrule which
make business impossible for all but the politically well-connected, what
are we to conclude about supine captains of commerce and industry who claim
to be apolitical?

At least they will have a better idea this week about what the rest of us
feel. It is time they woke up to the democratic imperatives that this week's
action have placed at the top of the national agenda.
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Zim Independent

Ecclesiastical mediation offers hope - analysts
Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's acceptance of a South African clerical initiative
to revive the search for a negotiated settlement to the current political
impasse has rekindled hopes for a peaceful resolution of the present crisis,
analysts say.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Njongonkulu Ndungane, visited
the country last week for the second time in two months for further "talks
about talks" over the deepening national predicament.

Ndungane met President Robert Mugabe and a wide cross-section of Zimbabwean
society - including the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - to
explain his mission.

The South African-based Institute for Justice and Reconciliation facilitated
his initiative.

Ndungane, who recently met the Archbishop of Canterbury to engage British
authorities in the quest for a settlement, said Mugabe was amenable to

Although Mugabe insisted Britain and the land were the major issues,
Ndungane and his colleagues said the Zimbabwe crisis went beyond land.

Political analysts say the ecclesiastical mediation should be given a chance
because the objective conditions on the ground have improved the prospects
of a negotiated solution.

They say Mugabe now has a new political diet - he is eating humble pie over
his disputed re-election and resultant legitimacy crisis. So he wants to

By the same token, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has no room to manoeuvre and
is also open to dialogue. This offers perfect conditions for talks even
though the devil lies in the detail.

University of Zimbabwe Institute for Development Studies analyst, Professor
Brian Raftopoulos, said the church rapprochement could work under these

"It has got off to a good start and it may work," he said. "The major hold
up could be Zanu PF's succession issue which has a major bearing on this

Raftopoulos was, however, quick to point out impediments to the process.
"Given Mugabe's record in such matters, there is no doubt the process is
going to be very difficult," he said. "It will be an uphill task."

Civic activist and law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku also expressed cautious
optimism about the Anglican Church intervention.

"There are reasonable prospects of success provided the major parties
concerned are prepared to compromise," he said.

"It is a give-and-take situation and as a result both Zanu PF and the MDC
should find middle ground and come to terms with each other."

Madhuku said Zanu PF and the MDC should strike a balance and make a deal on
fundamental issues.

"An early presidential election would break this deadlock," Madhuku said.

"For that to happen, Zanu PF must stop its insistence that another election
would only be held in 2008 and the MDC must drop its insistence that Mugabe
is illegitimate. They must give him limited legitimacy until the next
election, say for instance in 2005."

Madhuku said an election re-run should be preceded by a new constitution to
level the political playing field.

Churches have in the past successfully facilitated the resolution of
political conflicts. In Mozambique, where government fought a 16-year civil
war with the rebel movement Renamo, the Roman Catholic Church used mediators
from Italy to broker an armistice.

This resulted in the October 1992 truce between the Mozambican government of
Joachim Chissano and MNR leader Afonso Dhlakama.

Mugabe's involvement alongside former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi,
considered close to MNR, enabled the agreement to work. Mugabe was close to
the ruling Frelimo.

By the end of 1992, the process was sufficiently advanced for Dhlakama to
pay an official visit to Harare to discuss implementation of the cease-fire.

Although the Mozambican political situation and its dynamics were different
from those in Zimbabwe, "divine intervention" can work, analysts say.

But commentators warn negotiations are often fraught with dangers and
opportunities. In this case, they say Ndungane, although he has received
popular approval, should guard against Mugabe's pretence and bad faith as
well as imperious opposition demands.

While Mugabe wants to make it appear as if the "false fight" between London
and Harare is the issue and not his own misrule, the MDC, it would appear,
just wants to move into office.

In its latest report titled Zimbabwe: Danger and Opportunity, the
International Crisis Group says the reason negotiations over the local
situation fail is that they are usually started without clear and common
objectives, modus operandi, and timetable, as well as guarantees for the

There have been many efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis including last
year's collapsed talks between Zanu PF and the MDC brokered by South Africa
and Nigeria.

Distinguished political author, Gene Sharp, in his book From Dictatorship to
Democracy, examines case studies similar to the Zimbabwean situation.

"Negotiations are a very useful tool in resolving certain types of issues in
conflicts and should not be neglected or rejected when they are
appropriate," Sharp says.

"In some situations where no fundamental issues are at stake, and therefore
a compromise is acceptable, negotiations can be an important means to settle
a conflict."

But when the issues at stake are fundamental, Sharp writes, affecting
religious principles, issues of human freedom, or the whole future
development of the society, negotiations do not provide a mutually
satisfactory solution.

"On some basic issues there should be no compromise," he says. "Only a shift
in power relations in favour of the democrats can adequately safeguard the
basic issues at stake. Such a shift will occur through struggle, not

Having said this, Sharp says this is not to say negotiations ought never to
be used.

"The point here is that negotiations are not a realistic way to remove a
strong dictatorship in the absence of a powerful democratic opposition," he
says. "Negotiations, of course, may not be an option at all."

Sharp believes organised resistance is a sine qua non in resolving crises.
"Resistance, not negotiations, is essential for change in conflicts where
fundamental issues are at stake," he says.

"In nearly all cases, resistance must continue to drive dictators out of
power. Success is most often determined not by negotiating a settlement but
through the wise use of the most appropriate and powerful means of
resistance available."

Sharp says ideal conditions should exist before negotiations.

"Individuals and groups who oppose dictatorship and favour negotiations will
often have good motives," Sharp states.

"Negotiations are especially likely to become an issue among democrats where
the dictators have clear military superiority and the destruction and
casualties among one's own people are no longer bearable."

There would then be a strong temptation to explore any other route, Sharp
suggests, which might salvage some of the democrats' objectives while
bringing an end to the cycle of violence and counter-violence.

"The offer by a dictatorship of 'peace' through negotiations with the
democratic opposition is, of course, rather disingenuous," he says.

"Political violence could be ended immediately by the dictators themselves,
if only they would stop waging war on their own people."Sharp says dictators
could at their own initiative without any bargaining change if resistance is

"When the dictatorship is strong but an irritating resistance exists, the
dictators may wish to negotiate the opposition into surrender under the
guise of making 'peace'," he says. "The call to negotiate can sound
appealing, but grave dangers can be lurking within the negotiating room."

On the other hand, Sharp notes, when the opposition is strong and the
dictatorship threatened, the dictator may seek negotiation to salvage as
much of his control or wealth as possible.

"In neither case should the democrats help the dictators achieve their
goals," he writes. "Democrats should be wary of the traps which may be
deliberately built into a negotiation process by the dictators."The call for
negotiations when basic issues of political liberties are involved may be an
effort by the dictators to induce the democrats to surrender peacefully
while the violence of the dictatorship continues, he says.

Sharp argues in those types of conflicts, the only proper role of
negotiations may occur at the end of a decisive struggle in which the power
of the dictator has been effectively weakened and he seeks personal safe
passage to an international airport heading for exile.
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Zim Independent

Forex rate scuttles Libyan fuel deal
Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE'S officially pegged exchange rate regime is undermining its efforts
to revive the erratic US$360 million fuel deal with Libya, it has emerged.

Well-placed sources said Libya's Tamoil Trading Ltd was resisting government
attempts to railroad it into renewing the deal using the rigid exchange rate
system insulated against market forces.

The Zimbabwe Independent also learnt this week the currency swap deal
between the government and Anglo American Corporation had collapsed after
Noczim decided there were no advantages in the arrangement.

In January Anglo availed US$35 million to government at the parallel rate of
US$1 to $1 350. Noczim recently decided to terminate the arrangement arguing
the company could source forex at that rate from any local bank.

It is understood that the current negotiations with Tamoil started before
the recent devaluation - which government describes as "sectoral
devaluation" - and have hit a snag.

Zimbabwe officially has a dual exchange rate regime. The exchange rate for
any business transactions other than those of government is US$1 to $824.
Government continues to do business at the unrealistic rate of US$1 to $55.

Libyan ambassador to Harare Mahmoud Azzabi confirmed yesterday that the
exchange rate issue was now at the centre of ongoing negotiations.

"We are still in the negotiating process," Azzabi said. "The exchange rate
has changed and therefore this needs to be revisited."

Azzabi said his country's embassy was only playing "the role of facilitator"
between Noczim and Tamoil.

He said the details of the refreshed deal could only be obtained from the
parties directly involved in the negotiations.

Energy and Power Development minister Amos Midzi yesterday said he could not
comment on the issue.

Apart from the exchange rate issue, Noczim and Tamoil have failed to agree
on the actual value of the former's assets. At least three high-level
meetings have been held between the two companies to iron out differences.
In January, Noczim tasked banker and chief government negotiator Gideon Gono
to do an audit of the Noczim assets, which include storage and pumping
facilities. The Libyans want to acquire Noczim assets in lieu of debt and
shareholding in the local fuel procurement agency.

Before the Libyan fuel deal was put on ice due to non-payment, the agreed
exchange rate was US$1 to $300.

By December last year, the exchange rate for fuel procurement from Libya had
been adjusted to US$1 to $455,96.

At that rate, Zimbabwe currently owes Libya US$48,3 million.

Zimbabwe, which has been battling with a major fuel crisis since 1999 as a
result of foreign currency shortages, has been trying to source fuel from
Sudan, Angola, and Iran. But these countries have been unwilling to do
business with such a bad debtor.

An Iranian government official told the Independent last week that those who
want to import fuel from his country should have "adequate financial
resources and be creditworthy".

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Amnesty International


AI Index: AFR 46/009/2003 (Public)
News Service No: 064
21 March 2003

Zimbabwe: Mass arrests signal new and dangerous phase of repression


Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the increasing scale of
arbitrary detentions and for the safety of several hundred people including
officials and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) taken into custody in Zimbabwe since 18 March 2003. Although some of
those arrested have been released, many remain in detention, whilst the
whereabouts of others remain unknown. At least one person, Steven Tonera, a
farmworker in Manicaland province has been killed, allegedly as a result of
being beaten by state agents.

"What we are witnessing is much more than the government's usual tactic of
raising the level of violence in the run-up to elections. This is an
explosive situation where there seem to be no limits to how far the
government will go to suppress opposition and maintain its hold on power",
Amnesty International said.

This latest wave of violence seems a reaction to an MDC-organised stay-away
on 18-19 March and is an attempt by the government and its supporters to
intimidate supporters of the MDC and other government critics prior to two
by-elections due on 29-30 March.

In one incident, on 18 March, a group of soldiers and state agents beat and
tortured three workers on the farm of Roy Bennet, MDC MP for Chimanimani.
The three men were forced to lie on their stomachs on the ground and beaten
with batons, sjamboks (whips) and pieces of wire. Their fingers and toes
were also broken. As a result of the beatings and torture, one of the
workers Steve Tonera died. The three men were accused of being MDC
supporters and of burning a bus. On 20 March, a convoy of three trucks
carrying up to 60 soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army came back to the
farm and severely assaulted up to 70 people.

On 19 March up to 60 MDC activists were arrested in Harare including: Silas
Mangono, MDC MP for Masvingo Central, Giles Mutsekewa, MDC MP for Mutare
North and Austin Mupandawana, MDC MP for Kadoma Central. Silas Mangono was
released on 20 March but Giles Mutsekewa, Austin Mupandawana and other MDC
activists remain in police custody.

On 18 March, a photographer for the Daily News newspaper, Philimon Bulawayo
was arrested by police while covering a stay-away coordinated by the MDC in
Budiriro, Harare. Gugulethu Moyo a lawyer and Corporate Affairs Director for
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe was also arrested when she tried to secure
his release from Glen View police station. At the station, the two were
reportedly severely beaten by the wife of an army commander and a male
colleague, while the police stood by and watched. On 19 March, they were
moved to Harare Police Station. Although they had been severely beaten, they
were not allowed access to medical treatment and were released without
charge on 20 March.

"The alarming escalation in political violence is a clear indication that
the Zimbabwe authorities are determined to suppress dissent by whatever
means necessary, regardless of the terrible consequences. We look upon the
next ten days with fear: the expectation is of further violent reaction to
organised protests by the MDC and civil society" the organization said.

Amnesty International is calling on the Zimbabwe authorities to put an
immediate end to the human rights violations and politically motivated
violence occurring in the country, to bring to justice those involved in
these abuses and ensure that the police conduct their duties with complete


In the last month the government has suffered bad publicity over the hosting
of cricket world cup matches and then had its suspension from the
Commonwealth extended. By-elections are scheduled in Kuwadzana and
Highfield, suburbs of the capital Harare, for 29-30 March. Elections have
for the past three years been a focus of suppression of opposition, even
more so as the government seems determined to gain seats in the urban areas
which have been a stronghold of the MDC. On 18-19 March the MDC coordinated
a stay-away in the two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo which seems to
have been observed by the vast majority of workers and businesses. The MDC
has since given the government a deadline of 31 March to meet certain
demands or face 'an escalation of protests'.


Zimbabwe Police Criticized by Human Rights Forum
Peta Thornycroft
21 Mar 2003, 17:58 UTC

A new report by a human rights group in Zimbabwe says the country's police
are among the leading abusers of human rights in Zimbabwe.

According to the Human Rights Forum, at least 122 people were wrongfully
arrested in February. When the detainees were brought to court, the police
were unable to furnish any evidence to prosecute them.

But the Human Rights Forum cautions that its statistics are gathered only
from those who come forward to have their cases recorded. Political analysts
believe the actual figure of those wrongfully arrested is actually much
higher. They point out that it is very hard to find out what police are
doing beyond the urban areas of Zimbabwe.

The report by the Human Rights Forum says, in the month of February, at
least eight people were tortured while in police custody. It also provides
details of many opposition rallies that were held with official permission
but were broken up anyway by the police.

Compiled by human rights monitors and medical doctors, the report backs up
charges made by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change: that elements
within the Zimbabwe Republic Police are increasingly being used by the
government to harass the political opposition.

Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said there was no culture of
torture in the police. He said incidents of torture were the work of
individual policemen and were not common throughout the force.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe said Friday the security forces should
react promptly and with vigor against those who paralyzed Zimbabwe in a
two-day strike this week. He said the strikers were sponsored by foreign

Reports are coming in of arrests and violence in different parts of the
country. At least five people were detained by police Friday at an office on
the northern edge of Harare
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In light of the recent increase in problems experienced by farmers in the sugar cane belt of the Lowveld, CFU Commodities Vice President Doug Taylor-Freeme, Director Hendrik Olivier and Masvingo Province Chairman Alan Stockil, visited Chiredzi Tuesday and Wednesday to offer assistance and gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

They, along with several commercial cane farmers, met with the Chiredzi Police to discuss the situation. Doug Taylor-Freeme had previously met with the Deputy Commissioner of the ZRP, and obtained his assurances that criminal issues would be dealt with.

The CFU delegation impressed upon the Chiredzi Police that they must carry out their responsibilities in dealing with lawlessness on the ground. It was disturbing to see their reluctance to deal with what is, essentially, a criminal issue rather than a political one. However some assurances were made that they would respond. We await the outcome.

While in Chiredzi the CFU delegation was briefed on the overall situation in the sugar growing district. They found it worrying that commercial sugar producers who are about to start cutting their cane, are being interfered with by individuals claiming the cane as their own.

We will continue to work closely with the cane farmers, many of whom are CFU members, and make sure that we assist them wherever possible.

Unless specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.
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The Herald

President warns MDC

By Lovemore Mataire
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday warned the MDC against abusing freedom of
expression to promote violence and terrorism in the country.

He said those who play with fire would be burnt and then consumed by that

The President accused several Western nations of paying the MDC to engage in
violent demonstrations.

Appropriate measures would be taken against those fanning violence, he said.

Cde Mugabe was speaking at the burial of the late Cde Swithun Mombeshora at
the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Cde Mombeshora - who died at his Borrowdale home on Monday night - becomes
the 55th hero to be interred at the national shrine.

This was the President's first public comment on the violence-riddled and
illegal two-day job stayaway organised by the MDC on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The stayaway resulted in a trail of destruction as MDC thugs and hooligans
burnt and stoned buses, shops, private cars and harassed those who did not
want to join them in their illegal act.

"Our law enforcement agents must react promptly and with vigour as they
provide appropriate responses to dangerous mischief-makers.

"Let the MDC be warned that those who play with fire will not only be burnt
but consumed by that fire," said President Mugabe.

He said when freedom of expression was used to promote violence and
terrorism, it would have turned against the lives of others and should be
curbed, while those who promoted and unleashed the violence and terror must
be severely punished in accordance with the country's laws.

Cde Mugabe deplored the acts of violence perpetrated by the country's
enemies and traitors under the guise of democracy.

He dismissed the so-called ultimatum allegedly issued by the MDC to the
Government, saying he had no time to listen to sell-outs like the opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Ultimatum inobva kunaani? Chimbwasungata Tsvangirai. Let him measure his
size. Even in height I'm taller. He might have a bigger belly than mine,
that I concede, but by intellect, I don't know - I leave that for the people
to judge," the President said, drawing chuckles from the mourners at the
national shrine.

In its quest to ensure the success of the so-called mass action, Cde Mugabe
said, the MDC violently intimidated peace-loving Zimbabweans who wanted to
go about their daily chores.

He regretted the fact that the youths, who were supposed to be the
custodians of the future were paid money, which came from some Western
nations that wanted to see mayhem in Zimbabwe.

"The money used to organise the pretended stayaway, pay our youths to
self-destruct and turn them into career purveyors of violence, came from the
so-called democracies of the West.

"It came from Britain, America, Holland and Germany through ostensibly
humanitarian or civic foundations, and from some Nordic countries."

The President said it was ironic that the Western countries had ganged up to
fan violence on the pretext that they wanted to bring freedom and democracy
and deliver the country from food shortages and a declining economy.

The same nations that accused the Government of ruining the country were the
ones that were seeking to cripple it through the imposition of sanctions.

"Our country today is affected by stage-managed ructions, where for some, it
has now become an obsession to see no good, hear no good, indeed, wish no
good, for one's own country.

"Sadly, the majority of those so afflicted are our young people to whom we
would wish to entrust the future of this country.

"They have chosen to conveniently forget or ignore the long and tortuous
road that has been walked to freedom. Where we teach our own history, they
distance themselves from it and ascribe it only to an age gone by," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the late Cde Mombeshora was different in that he knew
clearly where he stood and was of that.

Even under difficult circumstances, Cde Mombeshora proudly defended and
rendered his service to his motherland, a virtue that every Zimbabwean
should emulate.

He said the MDC were good at engaging in violence yet they had nothing to
offer in terms of good policies for the country.

Cde Mugabe said the same Western nations whose Press was labelling him a
Black Hitler during the Lancaster House negotiations in 1979 were the same
countries that were today demonising him by the same name.

He, however, said that if Hitler fought for the freedom, justice and
sovereignty of his people and country then he could be Black Hitler

He said Zimbabwe would never subject itself to the will of either Britain or

Turning to the early life of Cde Mombeshora, President Mugabe said the late
national hero identified himself with the people's struggle and chose a
difficult path, which he was to follow faithfully until his death.

He said his student days were replete with the clear and constructive
choices he made with regard to the struggle for the freedom of the people
and the struggle for a new, democratic and independent Zimbabwe.

"He was one who in the cauldron of colonialism, racism and subjugation, was
able to stand firm in defence of the rights of his dispossessed and
disenfranchised people.

"Convinced, therefore, of the correctness of his beliefs and actions,
Swithun risked his life and blossoming career as a medical doctor by tending
injured comrades, supplying them with medicines and clothing for their
welfare," said President Mugabe.

His determination and inviolable beliefs were to characterise his life as a
parliamentarian, Cabinet minister and charity worker.

The quest for equity, social development and moral justice formed the
pillars of his service to the nation.

"Indeed, his commitment to his work is also manifested in his being a
founder member and trustee of the Community Trust of Zimbabwe, a
Non-Governmental Organisation seeking to promote the welfare of the
previously neglected and down trodden farm workers."

President Mugabe said Cde Mombeshora also appreciated gender balance in
national development as seen by his wish to establish a Women's University
in Africa.

Speaking at the same shrine, the uncle to the late national hero, Baba
Mombeshora, said the late minister was a man of the people whose love
extended beyond his immediate family members.

He thanked the Government for according him national hero status saying this
was an indication that the nation appreciated the services rendered by his
son to the development of the country.

Cde Mombeshora's son, Vimba Hainda Mombeshora (28), said his father "was
many things to different people".

He said beside his commitment to the country, he was also a family man who
cared for his family.

Chegutu MP and former Mashonaland West Zanu-PF provincial chairman, Cde
Webster Shamu, said he knew Cde Mombeshora way back in 1973 after he had
attended to one of the injured combatants.

"He came to the then broadcasting station of Rhodesia and told me that
together we had a responsibility.

"The responsibility involved mobilising young men and women to go and join
the struggle. At first I did not trust him but I later realised that he was
genuine," said Cde Shamu.

He said after the liberation struggle, he later worked with Cde Mombeshora
when he was the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and found him
to be very accommodative to ideas and susceptible to positive criticism.

"For sure we had our differences but we did not let those differences
destroy the unity of purpose that was the guiding force during the
liberation struggle," he said.

He said Cde Mombeshora upheld the political line, which always united the

"We have lost a pillar in the province and in the party at a very crucial
time when we need unity of purpose based on concrete understanding of the
revolution," he said.

Cde Mombeshora served in the Government after independence both as deputy
minister and later on as minister of several ministries.

Earlier on, the body was taken to Stodart Hall where Cde Mugabe joined
relatives and colleagues in viewing it.

From there it was taken to the National Heroes Acre on an army gun carriage
accompanied by the Presidential motorcade.

After the body was lowered in the grave, Cde Mugabe again joined Cde
Mombeshora's relatives, colleagues and friends in laying wreath at the

Cde Mombeshora died on Monday at his Borrowdale home in Harare.

He is survived by his wife, Lucy, and four children.

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Mugabe angered by strike
Riot police patrol in Harare
Police say the strike failed, but it was widely observed

President Robert Mugabe has accused Western nations of sponsoring violence and terrorism in Zimbabwe.

In his first public comments since this week's two-day strike called by the opposition Movement for Democractic Change, Mr Mugabe said he had instructed the security forces to react promptly and vigorously to any unrest.

His comments came as a Zimbabwean police officer said he had received reports of a bomb attack on a ruling party office in the town of Chinhoyi. he gave no futher details.

The strike on Tuesday and Wednesday was widely observed, but led to some violent incidents and many arrests.

The MDC organised the stay-away as a protest against what it described as Mr Mugabe's oppressive rule. They say some 200 opposition supporters, including MPs and journalists, have been arrested.

Abductions and death

"The money used to organise the pretended stayaway, to pay our youths to self-destruct, to turn them into career purveyors of violence, came from the so-called democracies of the West," Mr Mugabe said at a funeral of one of his ministers.

President Mugabe
President Mugabe says West is promoting the violence
"It came from Britain, from the United States of America, from Holland and Germany through their ostensibly humanitarian or civic organisations."

"All these nations were united in sponsoring violence here," he added.

The opposition are already complaining of reprisals since the strike, including beatings, abductions, night raids and the death of one of their supporters by government security agents.

A statement named the deceased as Steven Tonera, an employee of MDC MP Roy Bennett.

It said he was accused of training MDC soldiers and burning a bus during the two-day strike.

South Africa protest

Meanwhile, the French News Agency, AFP has reported that a group known as Zimbabweans in exile. linked to the MDC, on Friday organised a an anti-Mugabe protest in South Africa.

The agency said some 700 protesters in Sandton, a well-heeled Johannesburg suburb, wore black arm-bands and carried coffins to symbolise the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

The demonstrators were also out to protest at South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" toward Mr Mugabe.

"Africa, wake up", "Zimbabwe is dying" and "Mugabe, go now", were some of the slogans on the placards.

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, now has massive unemployment, long fuel and bread queues and inflation of more than 200%.

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Mugabe accuses West of funding violence

      March 21 2003 at 05:14PM

By Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe accused the United States,
Britain and other Western powers on Friday of sponsoring violent opposition
protests that rocked the troubled southern African country this week.

Speaking at the burial of a former cabinet minister, Mugabe said he had
ordered security forces to crack down on those using violence against his
government. He charged the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
with mob aggression under the guise of defending human rights.

"The West pays for the violence that was perpetrated amongst our people
here. They gave the money. It came from Britain, the United States of
America, from countries like Holland and Germany through their ostensibly
humanitarian or civic organisations or foundations," Mugabe said.

      'The government must learn to accept that the people of Zimbabwe have
The MDC said the accusations were obviously false, and that Zimbabweans did
not need foreign money to air their grievances with the government.

Commenting for the first time on a two-day national protest strike called by
the MDC, Mugabe also accused Western media of waging a racist hate campaign
against him.

On Tuesday and Wednesday striking workers stayed at home and halted
production at most factories in Harare. It was one of the largest protests
against Mugabe's 23-year rule.

The MDC hailed it as a success but the government said it had been a flop
and that only white-owned companies had shut.

Mugabe said the strike had confirmed the MDC's status as a "pathetic puppet"
of Western governments opposed to his ZANU-PF government.

He said the opposition party had paid mobs that had prevented people from
going to work, burned vehicles and had forced shops and factories to close

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyati said those accusations were false.

"The government must learn to accept that the people of Zimbabwe have
grievances over how the country is being run, and they don't need foreigners
to fund these feelings," he told Reuters.

Relations between the 79-year-old former guerrilla leader and his Western
critics have become increasingly bitter since his controversial re-election
last year, in a vote that the United States and Britain, among others, said
was unfair.

African heavyweights Nigeria and South Africa have offered Zimbabwe some
support, saying that Mugabe has done enough to warrant the lifting of a
suspension from the Commonwealth of mostly-former British colonies.

The ban was imposed last year in protest at alleged election-rigging and the
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, and was
extended on Sunday at least until December.

Western critics have said Mugabe's abuse of political and civic freedoms is
so bad that, if anything, tougher sanctions are justified.

Mugabe hit back at those adversaries on Friday, saying he had been labelled
"Hitler" simply for fighting for Zimbabwe's national sovereignty and the
rights of its native people to their natural resources, especially land.

"If I am Hitler, then this Hitler has only sought justice for his people,
the sovereignty of his people, recognition for his people and their right
over their resources," he said to a round of applause.
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            Over 500 Zimbabweans march in Johannesburg
            March 21, 2003, 21:00

            Over 500 Zimbabweans took to the streets in Johannesburg today
to demonstrate against President Robert Mugabe and human rights violations
perpetrated by his government.

            The group gathered in central Johannesburg's Joubert Park before
embarking on a 20km march to Sandton. Bearing placards, they chanted slogans
denouncing South Africa's policy of quite diplomacy towards its northern
neighbour along the way.

            The placards read "Zimbabwe is dying", "Quite diplomacy failed",
"Away with Mugabe" and "Bush give Mugabe 48 hours".

            Some of the marchers wore black arm-bands and carried coffins to
symbolise the death of democracy in that country.

            "More than 200 people have died at the hand of the police, army
and militia groups sponsored by ruling party Zanu-PF ever since Mugabe stole
the election early last year," said Jairos Tama, of the Concerned
Zimbabweans Abroad, the body which organised the protest.

            "Millions of Zimbabweans are starving and most of them have a
friend or family member who has been beaten up or tortured."

            Zimbabwe has been in the grip of political and economic turmoil
since the government lost a Constitutional referendum in early 2000.

            In reprisal it launched a controversial land reform programme
that has effectively seen the country's white farmers dispossessed and a
crack down on all political opposition.

            Today's march coincided with South Africa's commemoration of
Human Rights Day, on which it remembered the at least 69 people killed on
March 21, 1960, when police opened fire on a crowd who had gathered outside
the Sharpeville police station to protest pass laws imposed on blacks by the
apartheid government.

            "But does the present South African government believe that
human rights should only be enjoyed as far as the country's borders," Tama

            He also blamed the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
for letting Mugabe off the hook for human rights violations.

            "In fairness to President Thabo Mbeki, SADC countries have left
the Zimbabwe problem to South Africa and Nigeria," he said. "SADC must push
for free elections before thousands more people die of famine and state
sponsored violence." - Sapa
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