The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 14:38 GMT
Zimbabweans on the move
Brendan Evans' farm
Zimbabwean farmers are being encouraged to set up farms in Mozambique
People are leaving Zimbabwe by the 1000s after the recent upheaval surrounding the elections. Mark Ashurst hears some of their stories. He examines the impact these migrants are making on their adopted countries and gains a new perspective on Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe another white farmer was murdered in the continuing conflict over land - the tenth in recent months. Powerful images of the small dog that refused to leave his master's side were transmitted round the world.

Leaving Zimbabwe

Only a few days before, we had interviewed another white farmer, Brendan Evans. He has moved across the border to Mozambique with just his family, a small herd of dairy cows, a large satellite dish and three mischievous Jack Russell dogs - exactly like the little dog that refused to abandon the blanketed corpse of the farmer murdered last week.

The political crisis in Zimbabwe has been largely portrayed in stark headlines of violence and intimidation, of black verses white. It has also caused Zimbabwe's economy to sink like a stone dropped in a pond and sent ripples across southern Africa.

In recent months at least a million Zimbabweans - possibly two million - have left their crisis-ridden country seeking a fresh start - in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and in South Africa.

Returning to Mozambique

Mozambicans who fled their own bitter civil war for a better life in a more modern and peaceful country are also coming home.

The Mozambican Meticais is now worth more than the Zimbabwe dollar and Mozambicans are flocking back, reversing the flow of migration from west to east.

Tungai Sagwate
Tungai Sagwate has returned to Mozambique

Tungai Sagwate is one of many Mozambicans to decide that life is now better at home. He fled his own country's civil war 15 years ago as a child, grew up in Zimbabwe and had a good job there. When Tungai found himself press ganged by ZANU PF war veterans into attacking farms and supporters of the opposition MDC party, he decided it was time to leave.

"As foreigners we had no choice," he said. "If we had refused, we would also have been in trouble." Now he has found work on Brendan Evans' farm, getting up at 4am to milk the cows.

Mozambique is thriving

Mozambique's government, keen to see commercial agricultural industry flourish in the country, is encouraging Zimbabwean farmers like Brendan to move across the border.

Brendan Evans' farm
Fresh milk is being produced north of Maputo in Mozambique

Less than five percent of arable land - all state owned - is currently cultivated and the farmers are being offered parcels of leased land tax free. The hope is that this will create jobs and give new skills to local people.

So far, some 20 white Zimbabwean farmers have taken up the offer, but hundreds more have expressed interest since the elections two weeks ago.

Brendan has built a very simple dairy where un-pasteurised milk is poured into plastic bags. This is the first fresh milk to be produced north of Maputo for 30 years and Brendan's excited by the potential to develop his farm in Mozambique - prospects that now seem closed to him in Zimbabwe.

Even if the situation improves in Zimbabwe, he says he would like to stay in Mozambique because he thinks there is more potential there.

It is not all plain sailing though.

Problems to overcome

The farmers complain about the bureaucratic difficulties they are encountering and a level of corruption which they say they have not previously experienced in Zimbabwe.

Farmers meet
Farmers in Mozambique pooling their potential

They are also anxious about the gathering drought and shortages of maize and seed in the region, which will have no respect for borders of boundaries

The biggest question is how secure they will be in Mozambique and how they can ensure the same problems over land will not re-occur in Mozambique in 10 or 20 years' time.

The president of the local small farmer's union assured us that his members are keen to co-operate with and work alongside the large-scale Zimbabwean farmers, but we also heard rumblings of discontent against the foreigners amongst local people in the bars of Manica town.

Farmers meeting
There are problems that need to be addressed

Zimbabwe's crisis has prompted some very serious thinking about old problems throughout the southern African region. It has been very painful, bloody at times but there is also no doubt that the people we encountered seem surprisingly optimistic.

Their is a sense that Mozambique can avoid replicating the problems that have occurred over land in Zimbabwe, that some sort of accommodation can be reached between the commercial farmers and small scale subsistence farmers.

Their hope is that it will open a new chapter on race relations in Africa.

To South Africa

About two million Zimbabweans also live in neighbouring South Africa. Thousands more are turned back at the border every month, or detained in the vast detention centres for illegal immigrants. But it is not just the poor who are drawn here.

Joel Phiri's family
Joel Phiri's family are settling in to a new life in South Africa

South Africa is also a magnet for Zimbabwe's middle class - the best-educated - and as a proportion of its population, the largest middle class anywhere in Africa. As their own country becomes more isolated - there has been a "brain drain" of skills and talent.

Joel Phiri moved his film production company to Johannesburg a year ago, when he realised he could no longer operate properly in Harare due to the economic isolation there.

The Phiris are a product of modern Zimbabwe - just as much as the landless poor and the dispossessed farmers. They are educated and entrepreneurial -- the vanguard of Africa's new middle class. What they ask of politicians is some acknowledgement of the rules of the global economy - plus an effort to make it work in their favour.

African politics

It is a strikingly modern, worldly kind of aspiration - but is it realistic on a continent where half the population still live on less than a pound a day and whose primary demand is for a small plot of land on which they can grow a few crops of their own?

The era of Nationalist politics -- the struggle for Independence, and self-esteem - is not yet passed in Africa.

Zimbabwe, and its President are proof of that. A residual empathy for Robert Mugabe endures - and no matter how much violence and intimidation there may have been in the recent election, it is clear he commands loyalty even among people who are impatient for change.

Economic integration and accountability is crucial to resolving the current conflicts and giving firm roots to democracy

Professor Lovemore Mbigi

In the affluent suburbs of Sandton are the offices of Professor Lovemore Mbigi, an academic and consultant who specialises in change management.

He believes that democracy is an expensive luxury that few African countries can currently afford and that for now, what matters most is good governance and ensuring Africa's participation in an increasingly globalised world.

"Economic integration and accountability is crucial," he says, "to resolving the current conflicts and giving firm roots to democracy." Perhaps rather surprisingly, he views the current violence in Zimbabwe as a hopeful sign of progress towards democracy.

The politicians at the top may be posturing and have few real policies he says, but the fact that everything is hotly debated on the streets is a measure of real political change.


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Zimbabwe struck by new reign of terror

Chris McGreal in Nembudziya, Zimbabwe
Thursday March 28, 2002
The Guardian

As Joyce T was ordered to her knees, she imagined that the soldier snarling
at her side was about to put a bullet in her head. The young mother began to
wish she had not run back for her two-year-old daughter - surely they would
not have killed the children - and then she might have escaped into the
fields with the other villagers of Gwenzi.
"I was crying because I thought he was going to shoot me and I kept thinking
of my little girl and how I didn't want her to see her mama killed and how I
wanted to see her grow up," she said.

Joyce T was forced to perform oral sex on the soldier before he hit her in
the face with his gun and walked away. Other women were raped as the
Zimbabwean army and ruling party militia stormed through homes and villages
around Nembudziya last week, wrecking houses and beating and torturing at

Ostensibly, the troops and militia were out to wreak revenge on those who
campaigned against Robert Mugabe in the presidential election a fortnight
ago, and to remind villagers that, deep in the heart of rural Zimbabwe, they
are in no position to challenge his victory even if it is contested by his
critics in Harare and abroad.

But the latest wave of terror by Mr Mugabe's forces resembles the abuses of
a conquering army against a much hated foe. In parts of northern and central
Zimbabwe, soldiers of various stripes are sweeping through isolated
villages, taking whatever it is they want, including women.

Thousands - possibly tens of thousands - of people have fled their homes for
the relative safety of the towns and cities. Nembudziya is not safe, but it
is a little easier to seek anonymity there because it is a "growth point",
attracting people from the area seeking work.

In Gwenzi, the army and ruling party militia - known locally as the Border
Gezi Youth because their training camp is named after a late Zanu-PF
minister - went from door to door, dragging out the inhabitants and beating
some so badly they could not haul themselves off the ground. Word spread
through the village faster than the soldiers could raid each house, and
several hundred people fled.

"Most ran into the fields," said Joyce T, gripping her daughter's hand as if
afraid the child might slip away. "The soldiers and Border Gezi Youth didn't
want to run after them there. They stole the things from people's houses and
destroyed property, and some forced the women.

"After they left me, I went into the fields with my child and then came to
Nembudziya. I cannot go back. Perhaps next time they will kill me."

Six people have been murdered in political violence in Zimbabwe since the
election, but a reluctance to kill outright - perhaps because torture and
rape attract far less attention - is the only restraint shown by the troops
and militia.

Among the victims of the attacks in and around Nembudziya are a couple who
were forced to have sex in front of laughing and jeering soldiers.

Other villagers also watched horrified, believing their turn would come.
"There were seven of us," said one, Patrick K. "We thought they were going
to make us all do the same, but then they were bored and just beat us and
told us they would be back. We all left after that."

Dr Francis Lovemore, medical director of the Amani Trust human rights group
in Harare, says sexual assaults or forced sexual humiliation by the army and
militias are now central weapons of the terror.

"We've seen more and more of that. We've a number of victims who are forced
to rape other victims, quite a lot of fellatio as well. It's a form of
torture. It's grim, and it has implications for the spread of HIV," she

Among the sexual assaults documented by Dr Lovemore are incidents where men
were forced to commit sexual assaults on one another, to the amusement of
their tormentors.

Nembudziya was high on the government's hit list before the election because
Midlands province was essential to Mr Mugabe's victory, and the results of
the parliamentary elections two years ago suggested it was moving to the

Before the presidential ballot, Zanu-PF's youth militia in and around
Nembudziya set up what it calls a "base", and its victims call a "torture
camp", where real and perceived opponents are branded with hot iron rods and
beaten on the soles of their feet so badly they are unable to walk.

There is another "base" at a council office which, not coincidentally, was
also a polling station. Survivors of the torture report everything from
being ordered to haul heavy rocks to being tied upside down from trees or
beaten with chains.

The persecution had the desired result. In the presidential ballot, Mr
Mugabe picked up nearly twice as many votes in the region as his main
opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Whatever the reason for Mr Mugabe's victory in Nembudziya, it has done
nothing to ease the area's suffering.

Wallace Humana, a local activist for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, arrived in Gwenzi shortly after it was attacked and persuaded the
police to accompany him to the village. They soon changed their minds.

"When I arrived at this village there was no one there. People were hiding
in the fields. They said the soldiers were moving door to door beating
people up," he said.

"I went to the police to complain. They said they would come, but on the way
we met the army and the Border Gezi Youth... The militia approached us and
beat two of the policemen, so they refused to go any further. The soldiers
were armed. They could do anything to anyone. The soldiers are lawless now."

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Donors cut off $4b aid to protest rigged vote

By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
3/28/02 1:31:53 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE is expected to lose more than $4 billion in development aid this
year following steps by major donors and trading partners to sever ties with
Harare after the country’s deeply flawed presidential election, it was
established this week.

Canada, which has been one of Zimbabwe’s major supporters, announced two
weeks ago it was withdrawing all funding to the Zimbabwe government while
former colonial master Britain said it would stop all development aid and
concentrate on humanitarian assistance.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien set the tone on March 14 when he
announced that Zimbabwe would not be getting any more assistance from
Toronto because of the blatantly flawed outcome of the election, officially
won by President Robert Mugabe.

"We have withdrawn all funding to the Zimbabwean government," said Chretien,
who also announced a travel ban on Mugabe and other senior ruling party

One of the projects expected to suffer from the withdrawal of Canadian
support is the Victoria Falls environmental capacity enhancement and master
plan project to which Toronto had pledged five million Canadian dollars
(about $170 million).

A spokesperson for the Canadian High Commission in Harare this week said
Canada would not be releasing the remaining C$2 million (about Z$68
million), which was yet to be utilised in the project.

The project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and
which was due for completion in 2005, involved the preparation of a 10-year
master plan that would have acted as a reference point for the town’s future

Norway also announced this week that Zimbabwe had foregone more than $600
million annually in development assistance in the past two years since the
Scandinavian country cut economic ties with the southern African country in

Norwegian ambassador to Zimbabwe Arild Eik said the only assistance still
available to the country was that involving non-governmental organisations.

"The situation is that we cut back all development assistance between the
governments of Zimbabwe and Norway in August last year . . . and if you go
back two years ago when Norwegian assistance to Zimbabwe was roughly 100
million kroners ($600 million), this means Zimbabwe has lost and could
continue to lose at least that amount as things stand," he said.

The British government, once the largest provider of aid to Zimbabwe, this
week also announced it was shifting its focus from development aid to
humanitarian assistance.

According to Gill Wright, programme manager for Zimbabwe in the British
government’s Department for International Development (DFID), the focus will
now be on food aid and HIV/AIDS support programmes compared to the past when
the body was in the forefront of assisting the local private sector in
building and strengthening capacity.

The DFID is a British government department, which works to promote
sustainable development and eliminate world poverty.

The British government has on average assisted Zimbabwe to the tune of 12
million pounds sterling ($936 million) a year in the past five years and the
figure was expected to rise to 15 million pounds sterling (about $1.2
billion) in the year ending March 31 2002.

"In principle, our programmes would continue on the same level as in
previous years but instead of providing development aid we will now focus on
humanitarian assistance," Wright told the Financial Gazette.

Other countries that are also cutting off all assistance to Mugabe include
Denmark, Germany and Japan.

An official at the Danish embassy in Harare said the European country was
phasing out all development assistance to Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

Zimbabwe could lose more than $500 million due to the pullout by the Danes,
who have funded several projects in the country through the Danish
International Development Agency (DANIDA).

Latest available figures show that the Danes assisted Zimbabwe with 146
million Danish kroners (about $992 million) in 2000.

The official could not provide figures for 2001 although he said the amount
was lower than in the previous year.

"We are in the process of phasing out all assistance to Zimbabwe, including
all DANIDA projects," the official said.

The American government however said it remained committed to assist
Zimbabwe but that the help would only be humanitarian in nature.

"Sanctions under consideration will only affect those elites who are
ignoring the rule of law, who are responsible for Zimbabwe’s fundamentally
flawed presidential election and those who are profiting from Zimbabwe’s
tragic economic, political and social deterioration," a spokesman for the
American government said.

But under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed last year,
Washington pledged to avail US$26 million (Z$1.43 billion) to Harare in the
event that the authorities here restored the rule of law and ensured the
March presidential election was free and fair.

The money, which was going to be used for land reforms and debt relief, will
not be coming because the Bush administration has already rejected Mugabe’s
re-election, saying it did not reflect the will of Zimbabweans.
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Violence rises as witch-hunt for MDC supporters is intensified

By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
3/28/02 1:12:08 AM (GMT +2)

ZANU PF party activists have launched a campaign of retribution against
supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a crackdown
analysts say signals the government’s insecurity in the wake of the disputed
presidential election.

The crackdown is also aimed at destroying the labour-backed opposition ahead
of a possible re-run of the ballot, officially won by ZANU PF leader Robert
Mugabe but condemned as a blatant fraud by the rest of the world but a
handful of African states.

Non-governmental organisations and MDC officials this week said ZANU PF
supporters had embarked on a witch-hunt against members of the MDC, which
has rejected the result of the ballot, along with the international
community and local civic groups who cite disenfranchisement of MDC’s urban
voters and widespread pre-poll violence.

"Some of this (post-election) violence is due to the condemnation (of the
election by the international community," Andrew Nongogo, spokesman for
civil society group Crisis in Zimbabwe, told the Financial Gazette. "The
government realises that it is not legitimate.

"We are seeing acts of retribution and vengeance. That’s not the way you run
a democratically elected government and if the government insists on doing
that, it’s showing that it’s not sure about its own legitimacy.

"If the vast majority don’t see you as legitimate, then the only way to
retain control is through terror."

Political scientist Masipula Sithole said: "It’s a sign of insecurity if you
ask me. They know what they did, which was steal the election. It’s
vengeance, to try to maintain a grip on the people, but I don’t think it’s
going to work."

The analysts said the vengeful nature of post-election violence and the
determination to cripple the MDC was demonstrated by the way ZANU PF
activists were systematically going after known and suspected supporters of
the main opposition party.

The witch-hunt is targeting people who acted as MDC polling agents in the
election, activists who campaigned for it and those who are suspected of
having voted for the party, the analysts noted.

"They (MDC) had to publish the names of their polling agents in the Press
and they (ZANU PF supporters) are going after them," said Frances Lovemore,
medical director of Amani Trust, an organisation which assists victims of
political violence.

"They are going from house to house searching for them and 1 205 of these
people have had to leave their homes.

"In UMP (Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe), 3 000 people who voted for the MDC are
being looked for. There is also an active door-to-door campaign in Mutasa
where the MDC had 17 000 votes."

At least seven MDC supporters have been killed since March 11 while
thousands of others nationwide have been subjected to intimidation, assault,
torture and rape and their homes burnt and looted.

Looting has been widespread on commercial farms, where white farmers and
their workers have been harassed, beaten up and killed because they are
suspected of sympathising with the MDC.

Property worth over $150 million has been looted or destroyed on commercial

"This is retribution," Lovemore said. "They actually want to destroy the
MDC. People are told as they are being beaten that they (ZANU PF supporters)
want to break down MDC structures."

She said the post-election violence had displaced 423 people from their
homes in Midlands North, 121 in Masvingo and about 200 in Chimanimani.

MDC Member of Parliament for Mutasa, Evelyn Masaiti, who said she was also
in hiding from ZANU PF supporters, said the number of displaced people in
her constituency had risen from 700 before the election to 2 000 after March

Some analysts said ZANU PF’s terror campaign was likely to backfire, further
alienating the electorate from the ruling party instead of strengthening its

They compared it to the violence unleashed on the provinces of Matabeleland
and the Midlands in the 1980s by the government-sanctioned army crackdown
known as Gukurahundi, which turned the provinces’ residents against ZANU PF.

The Gukurahundi era is widely believed to have contributed to the anti-ZANU
PF sentiment that saw the majority of people in Matabeleland voting for the
MDC during the parliamentary poll in 2000 and during the March 9-11
presidential election.

Sithole said: "We have been experiencing a low-intensity Gukurahundi since
the referendum in February 2000 and this will most likely have the same
effect on the population as it did in Matabeleland.

"It hardened the people and their attitudes towards the ruling party and the
regime. Violence works for a short time, but it breeds contempt and

But the commentators said the continuation of violence would nevertheless
wreak havoc on thousands of Zimbabweans, many of whom are already suffering
because of drought and severe food shortages. The massive displacement of
people from their constituencies and the entrenchment of no-go areas that
bar MDC activists would also prejudice the main opposition in the case of a
re-election, which the international community is lobbying for.

Lovemore said: "There is a humanitarian crisis developing quickly. We are
negotiating with the international community (for assistance in combating
violence), but they are saying there has to be political motivation within
the country.

"The political parties have to negotiate a political settlement to stop the
violence. There is interest from the international community, but they can’t
do anything because the government is still recognised as a sovereign

But the commentators said there would be no solution because the government
and the police did not acknowledge the problem of the violence in the first

The police, accused by the MDC and international election observers of
perpetrating some of the pre-election, this week dismissed reports of
violence as "alarmist".

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the Financial Gazette: "Post-election
violence is very low. We have had some sporadic reports, but the situation
is generally calm. In my view, these reports are alarmists. They don’t have
any basis whatsoever in what is happening on the ground."

Information Ministry Permanent Secretary George Charamba added: "We are
looking at the propaganda side of the MDC and you can’t expect the
government to dignify that.

"They want to elicit pity from the international community by playing the
victim. There are no victims (of violence), there are stage-managed

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The most convincing argument on the perennial land question

Masipula Sithole
3/28/02 1:37:30 AM (GMT +2)

IT’S not that I have joined those boys and girls in jeans on a truck
singing: "It’s our land, our future, our destiny!"

Or the fellows on top of Domboshava rocks singing: "Uya uone kutapira kwoita
kurima! (Come and see how sweet it is to till the soil!)"

Or those villagers dancing to "Mombe mbiri namadhongi mashanhu" (Two cows
and five donkeys) — whatever that means.

Nor am I suddenly convinced by the lovely voice of Tsungai Sibanda as she
sings: "Umahlalela" (The lazy bugger who waits only to eat!).

I must admit though that this was the only aspect of the tragic presidential
election that I found exciting (if amusing).

Be that as it may, what is the most convincing argument on the land

As it happened, I overheard a discussion on the perennial land issue. Three
young men were drinking the afternoon away while having a social

Then suddenly one of them, apparently getting drunk, said: "Now that the
madness of the presidential election is over, let us discuss this issue of
land soberly."

"Now that the election is over, let’s talk about bread-and-butter issues,"
he continued sarcastically as if the presidential election did not raise any
"bread-and-butter" issues.

It is true though that there was no bread or butter, let alone maize meal
(Zimbabwe’s staple food), on the shelves of many supermarkets during the
presidential election.

"We should develop a land policy to the left of ZANU PF," said the second
guy, displaying a radical view — an anarchist view, if you ask me.

"That is the only way forward," he added, foreclosing other ways forward.

"Are you sure a position to the left of ZANU PF is the only alternative? Is
their position not radical enough?" asked the third fellow, who then
questioned the implied suggestion that the election was won on a popular
land policy.

"Do you really believe that, sha?" he asked.

At this moment I drew my stool closer to these guys because I smelt a
healthy debate simmering. It had the requisites of a debate: at least two
views — the anarchist’s view and the sceptical view — and a chairman who had
called for a sober discussion, notwithstanding the fact that he wasn’t
exactly sober himself.

These chaps went on and on, with the anarchist arguing that the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) should have come up with a more radical land policy
while the sceptic argued that ZANU PF had rigged the election and that the
ruling party’s victory was not due to its land policy.

"Vakabirira (They stole the election)," he said.

"Their land policy was more popular with the people," repeated the radical,
who saw the MDC in an ideological quandary on the land issue.

It was apparent that the two were not getting anywhere. Then the
not-so-sober chairman complained to his two colleagues that he had hoped for
a sober discussion of the land question.

"I didn’t have in mind explanations of why this party lost and why the other
party won," he complained, sounding disappointed.

"What I had in mind is a discussion of the land issue qua land issue," he
explained, apparently sounding sober.

"Maybe a sober discussion requires sober circumstances," he said with a
touch of wit.

Feeling challenged, the third guy (not the radical/anarchist) made his sober
contribution as follows:

"Indeed, Zimbabwe has a land problem. But I doubt very much whether land is
at the core of our problems as a country or nation. I arrive at this from an
African perspective."

At this point I drew my chair even closer, for I did not want to miss this
"African perspective" or version of it.

Briefly, this fellow took us to North Africa, to West Africa, across to the
Horn of Africa, down to East Africa, to central Africa and then finally
southern Africa. He recounted problems in each country or region as he
guided us along the safari of problems on the continent.

"We are hiding behind a finger on this land issue," he said.

He then demonstrated how the land was owned by Africans all over black
Africa, from Nigeria to Ethiopia; from Uganda to the Democratic Republic of
the Congo; from Zambia to Mozambique; from Swaziland to Angola, et cetera,
including countries in between.

"Yet these countries are all in crises. Only that in Zimbabwe the crisis is
the land question," he said, with the intended sarcasm.

"If land is at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe, what is at the core of
the crisis in every other country across the length and breadth of the
African continent? We are hiding behind a finger," he repeated himself.

"Frankly, I haven’t heard it put that way before," admitted the anarchist.
"But what could be at the core of the African crisis?" he asked.

"So you are saying, in fact, after all the land in Zimbabwe is owned by
blacks, we will still be experiencing the African crisis, whatever that is,"
said the now sober chairman who had been listening intently, wanting to
confirm that he had understood the point. "So what do you think is at the
core of the African crisis which Zimbabwe’s ‘fast-track’ land policy is
running away from, thinking it is going to run away?"

At this point, the chairman looked at me as if to say: "You thought it was a
free tutorial? It’s now your turn."

I simply said I found the argument on the land question, that we are simply
hiding behind a finger, well-documented and most convincing and left,
promising to meet them next weekend with my perspective on what is at the
core of the African crisis, including Zimbabwe.

Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion

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FinGaz - Comment

Tsvangi’s homework: Change the guard

3/28/02 1:34:26 AM (GMT +2)

MORGAN Tsvangirai must begin now to clear the decks at the headquarters of
his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) because, for all the celebration by
ZANU PF of a stolen presidential poll, a free and fair ballot beckons only
months away.

Tsvangirai’s next mission before an inevitable re-run of the March 9-11
ballot must be to purge malcontents and infiltrators from within the MDC
leadership so his party is ready to face down whoever emerges in ZANU PF as
its chief political foe.

Time is clearly not on the side of the MDC leader. He must thus move
speedily and resolutely to put his house in order, a house which often
threatened to come down to bury its occupants as the just-ended plebiscite

Tsvangirai’s assignment must begin with an inquest and action against those
MDC leaders who, in the middle of a bitter and uneven contest, still found
it necessary to have talks with wellknown hardline ZANU PF elements for
whatever reason.

What these futile talks were meant to achieve is hard to fathom except only
to make a mockery of those participating in them and to severely embarrass
their party.

That ZANU PF has never understood nor will it ever understand the meaning of
dialogue other than the surrender of its foes was clearly lost on the MDC’s
prodigal sons, whose actions must rank among the most treacherous in
Zimbabwe’s history.

Tsvangirai’s broom must not leave out those MDC leaders who, for one reason
or another, last year plunged the party into near chaos by enlisting their
followers to engage in running battles in Harare just to retain their
political turf.

If these elements are on the payroll of ZANU PF to destabilise the MDC — as
seems most likely — let them be exposed for what they are.

Let them be sent packing to openly join their sponsor so that MDC supporters
are clear where they are headed and with who.

For the record, Tsvangirai ordered a probe into the disturbances caused by
these leaders but we have yet to hear what action, if any, has been taken
against them.

Tsvangirai must, right from the start, eschew President Robert Mugabe’s
tendency of postponing problems in the hope that they will eventually vanish
on their own.

They never do but instead tend to widen and become harder to eradicate

If Tsvangirai kept the rebels within the MDC to try to give a semblance of
unity in his party before the presidential poll, now is the time to wield
the axe to ensure that come the re-run, probably in six months’ time, the
MDC is breathing easier again.

In fact it is better for the MDC to get rid of its doubting and double-faced
MPs now than to continue to keep them because, in time, they will
destabilise the party, most probably at the most crucial of times.

Then of course Tsvangirai himself and his inner circle need to engage in a
serious examination of the party’s modus operandi so as to change it in the
face of an embarrassing and criminal set-up by ZANU PF in Canada last year.

That a prospective head of state would be led or misled to meet a dubious
and shady character such as Ari Ben-Menashe without even checking the latter
’s credentials and employer clearly exposed serious security and operational
lapses, not to mention naivety, within the young and trusting MDC.

This must never again be allowed to happen.

Overall, Tsvangirai must clean up his act and gird himself and his party for
the tough re-run, which will certainly be staged by either the United
Nations or the Commonwealth or both, and be checked by independent
Zimbabwean and international monitors and not by ZANU PF security officials.

The staging of this ballot must be one of the key priorities of the proposed
transitional government of national unity, otherwise no one needs such an

In Tsvangirai’s favour meanwhile is the fact that nothing at all will move
in Zimbabwe, no matter what ZANU PF and its leaders say, unless the MDC
chief lends his weight behind any new political dispensation, which will
also unlock the blocked international economic aid and investment.

Mugabe’s government cannot defy the international community, which has
staunchly refused to accept his deeply flawed re-election, and somehow hope
to survive with the support of a handful of African countries.
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The defeated remain defiant

By Morgan Tsvangirai
3/28/02 1:20:00 AM (GMT +2)

BEFORE Zimbabwe’s presidential election earlier this month, I believed that
if the elections were not handled properly, there would be serious a fallout
in the country and throughout southern Africa. Despite the shadows of war
and terrorism, I called for a fair and free election.

Zimbabwe’s people did not get one. Instead, they got terrorism.

In the two years that led up to the presidential vote the people of Zimbabwe
were subjected to severe intimidation, harassment and fear, all of which was
carried out as part of a broader programme of state-sponsored terrorism by
Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF).

ZANU PF’s terrorism was conducted by rogue elements among the veterans of
Zimbabwe’s war of independence two decades ago as well as by government
militiamen and youths, all of whom were actively aided by the police.

This intimidation and violence meant that my party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), could not reach the electorate in large parts of
the countryside.

In addition, the government of President Mugabe effectively disenfranchised
hundreds of thousands of urban voters, particularly in the capital Harare
and in the city of Chitungwiza.

Because of an inadequate number of polling stations, I believe that in
Harare and Chitungwiza alone more than 360 000 people stood in a queue to
vote but never got the opportunity to cast their ballot.

My concerns about the legitimacy of the election results are further raised
by interference by Mugabe’s militia, whose members prevented the MDC from
posting polling agents in 52 percent of rural polling stations.

By the end of the voting, the MDC had no observers at six out of 10 rural
stations. This effectively meant that Mugabe’s supporters could have their
way at these stations.

We are compiling a comprehensive list of the polling stations where ZANU PF
supporters had solitary control. In our investigations so far, a pattern has
emerged even at this early stage — these polling stations recorded the
highest number of voters for Mugabe.

In light of all the evidence, I cannot accept the presidential election
results in which Mugabe, the sitting president, was declared a winner this
month with 56 percent of the three million votes tallied. The official
results do not reflect the true will of the people of Zimbabwe and are
illegitimate in the eyes of the people.

Zimbabwe’s people have been cheated of their right to freely and
democratically elect a president of their choice. The contest over the
election results is a political issue that must be resolved politically.

Food and fuel are in short supply, jobs are vanishing and inflation is
running at more than 100 percent. The people of Zimbabwe deserve a
celebration for their courage and determination. We may yet get one.

As I write, I am saddened because Mugabe’s regime remains intent on defying
the people’s will. Whatever may happen, I as the people’s loyal servant am
with them all the way. The government may want to arrest me. Indeed, I was
arrested for treason even before the election. At worst, they may even wish
to kill me. But the government will never destroy the spirit of the people
to reclaim their rights and power.

The power to achieve democratic change is in our hands. We may have moments
of fear in the days ahead, but we must never let despair overwhelm us. The
tide of political change is irreversible but we must be prepared to pay a
high price for our freedom.

Mugabe and his cronies are afraid of the people and we have heard they may
do anything to kill the messenger. If they do, I only ask that the people of
Zimbabwe remain strong and carry on the work that we began together.

Among ordinary Zimbabweans walk heroes — heroes who waited hours and hours
to vote, heroes who refused to be turned away. These are the heroes of the
new Zimbabwe whose voices must be heard around the world.

Together, we travelled a very harsh road to achieve democratic change in my
country. Rarely in the history of humankind have a people faced such
brutality while retaining such gracious exuberance.

I realise that the people of Zimbabwe are impatient. I understand why. But
they must wait peacefully for the political process to unfold. They will not
let this election stand but neither will they succumb to Mugabe’s
provocative traps and resort to violence.

The people of Zimbabwe want constitutional change, legal change, legitimate
change, and they are going to obtain it in spite of all the obstacles.

In this, we know we are not alone. We know that throughout Africa, the will
of the electorate has been thwarted.

It appears that in the majority of African states, whenever you have
elections, you have irregularities, fraud, cheating. There is always a
crisis of elections in Africa. There is, sad to say, a lack of sincerity on
the part of governments across this continent when the time comes to give
people the right to choose.

But those who wish otherwise can take hope. Zimbabwe’s struggle is not over.
We have time to tally the lessons of our experience for Africa, and the
world. My people are in their hour of greatest need. I pledge not to abandon

Morgan Tsvangirai is the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and was its 2002 presidential election candidate
Copyright: Project Syndicate, March 2002

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Ballot re-run Mugabe’s only option

By Abel Mutsakani News Editor
3/28/02 1:12:57 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, isolated by the international community in the wake
of a controversial ballot win, must start all over again to stage a fresh
presidential election in his country or he and his 22-year administration
are doomed, analysts said this week.

They said Mugabe’s tactic to hang in there, as he has been doing in the past
three weeks, hoping that the international community will ultimately budge
on its demand that he conducts a truly democratic presidential election,
will not take him anywhere.

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst Masipula Sithole said Mugabe’s
stand-off with the international community is one of the biggest challenges
in recent times to the world’s long-held values of human rights, good
governance and democracy.

"If the international community caved in to Mugabe, then it might as well
give up on the good governance and democracy project and that is just not
possible, " Sithole told the Financial Gazette.

Sithole said even South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two superpowers that
have been Mugabe’s staunchest allies, would also sacrifice Mugabe if push
came to shove rather than see their New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD) project go up in flames for the sake of protecting him.

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo
have already shown that they will rather swim with the rest of the world
than with Mugabe when they supported Zimbabwe’s suspension from the
Commonwealth after the group’s election observers found that the March 9-11
presidential poll was not free and fair.

NEPAD is an African-grown initiative for rapid economic growth on the world’
s poorest continent.

But donor support for the ambitious project could only be successfully
mobilised if African governments fully adhere to the principles of good
governance and democracy enshrined in Africa’s version of the Marshall Plan.

Weighing in on the need for Africa to uphold good governance if it is to get
critical international assistance, the influential International Crisis
Group (ICG) this week said Zimbabwe’s sham presidential poll and Mugabe’s
obduracy in the face of international pressure to re-run the presidential
poll could endanger the success of NEPAD.

The ICG, regarded as the political think-tank of the European Union (EU),
said in a report on Zimbabwe: "The implications of the election reverberate
beyond Zimbabwe.

"Good governance and African peer pressure, two key planks of the NEPAD upon
which the continent’s hopes for a better future rest, will be undermined if
Africa’s response to Zimbabwe’s stolen election is half-hearted."

African governments, including virtually the entire intelligentsia and civic
society across the continent, were all too committed to NEPAD to want it to
fail all in the name of African solidarity with Harare.

And with the 54-nation Commonwealth, the 15-nation European Union, Norway,
Japan, the United States of America and most former Eastern bloc nations
refusing to recognise Mugabe’s administration because they say it stole the
presidential ballot, Sithole said the Zimbabwe government was virtually a
lame duck that could never fly.

Unless of course the government bows to pressure to re-engage opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who many say
would have convincingly won the election had it been fair, in a provisional
government of national unity that could lead to a fresh and democratic
presidential poll.

Even if Mugabe and the hawks in his governing ZANU PF elected to stay put,
as they have already indicated by declaring that the next election will only
be in 2008, Zimbabwe’s damaged economy could never withstand anymore
pressure, let alone prolonged international sanctions, said UZ business
studies professor Tony Hawkins.

"The politicians may try to just hold on, but there is no light at the end
of the tunnel. The economy cannot sustain it," the respected Hawkins said.

Zimbabwe’s economy, once one of Africa’s strongest, has virtually crumbled
and could be reduced to a near-subsistence economy marked by high rates of
poverty and disease, just as has been the case with the strife and war-torn
economies of Angola or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hawkins said.

"There would be no meaningful investment or aid, no economic growth, no
development, no jobs. It is a pretty bleak future," he noted.

Several representatives of Zimbabwe’s major donors and trading partners,
among them Canada, Denmark, Norway and Britain, this week confirmed they
have frozen $4 billion worth of development aid that had been earmarked for
the government this year alone.

Zimbabweans are already grappling with their worst economic and social
crisis since independence from Britain 22 years ago.

Inflation is at an all-time high of 116.3 percent and could rise further to
200 percent this year. Unemployment is above 60 percent and is surging as
more companies close due to the economic crisis caused by the government’s
runaway spending.

Poverty afflicts 80 percent of the population and more than 2.5 million
Zimbabweans face starvation unless the international community quickly
responds with food aid.

A burgeoning HIV/AIDS pandemic is killing
2 000 Zimbabweans every week and there is no medication for most of the

Sithole warned: "That day is not far off when the politics of survival, the
politics of the belly, shall take possession of Zimbabweans. This of course
will mean civil unrest."

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Journalism students face intimidation

Staff Reporter
3/28/02 1:21:10 AM (GMT +2)

STUDENT journalists at South Africa’s Rhodes University are being protected
by security guards following harassment by suspected ZANU PF activists in
the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential election, it was learnt
this week.

Natasha Joseph, editor of the university’s student newspaper Activate, said
her staff members had been warned to be "careful" about the stories they
published on Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe retained power after a
deeply flawed March 9-11 ballot.

"The harassment hasn’t gone beyond phone calls and a few people being
followed," she told the Financial Gazette. "But we are now being protected
by guards from the university and local security companies."

She said Activate had carried out interviews to gauge people’s opinions on
the results of Zimbabwe’s presidential poll and this had sparked the threats
and intimidation even though the article, published yesterday, was not
overtly critical of the ruling ZANU PF.

"It’s an article on what people think about the election results and is not
criticising your government," she said. "So I’m infuriated by the threats
that we have been getting. We’ve had people calling and trying to find out
who the Zimbabwean members of staff are and warning us to be careful about
publishing anything on Zimbabwe."

Although Joseph was quick to point out that there was no proof that the
intimidation was coming from ZANU PF supporters, there are fears within the
campus that ruling party spies are monitoring Zimbabwean students,
especially black ones.

Zimbabwean students at Rhodes, located in the Eastern Cape town of
Grahamstown, are said to have been warned not to engage in any
"anti-government" activities or they would jeopardise their families’ safety
back home and their scholarships and grants.

A father of one of the students is reported to have been assaulted in Harare
last Friday by suspected ZANU PF supporters because of his daughter’s
involvement in the staging of a march held at the campus on Saturday to
protest against Zimbabwe’s situation.

The Financial Gazette was however unable to confirm the report.

Rhodes vice chancellor David Woods, who led Saturday’s march through
Grahamstown, said in a statement: "Despite intimidation and the promulgation
of laws aimed at silencing the Press, courageous journalists continue to
inform the world of what is happening in Zimbabwe.

"It is deplorable that this intimidation appears to have reached this campus
and apparently certain Zimbabwean students are guilty of acting as spies and
threatening other Zimbabwean students, particularly those who write for

"I wish to make it quite clear to these spineless creatures that their
bullying tactics will not prevent Activate and other newspapers from
exposing the truth about Zimbabwe and they will face disciplinary action if
found guilty of harassment."

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Zim Independent

Mugabe's 'stolen' victory a threat to Nepad
Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's hotly-disputed election victory has left deep
gashes in the Zimbabwean body politic and is threatening to undermine
Africa's economic recovery plan, analysts say.

Commentators say Mugabe's smash-and-grab approach to staying in power and
the resultant festering political wound will sabotage South African
President Thabo Mbeki's New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad),
widely touted as key to Africa's renaissance.

The plan - modelled along the lines of the Marshall Plan for Europe after
World War II - seeks to woo annual investments of US$64 billion to the
impoverished continent. Nepad's blueprint will be presented to the G8
meeting in Canada in June.

The programme proposes a contract between Africa and the industrialised
nations in which African leaders have to break with their past record of
dictatorship, misrule and economic mismanagement, in favour of a collective
commitment to democracy, good governance, rule of law and economic growth.

African leaders gathered in Nigeria on Monday for talks on Nepad and
reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, the rule of law, separation of
powers, including independence of the judiciary and press freedom.

"It is important that African leaders restore people's confidence in
Africa's leadership," said Wiseman Nkuhlu, chairman of Nepad's steering
committee and special economic advisor to South African President Thabo

"It is also important to win the confidence of the international community,"
Nkuhlu told Reuters in Abuja.

He reacted angrily to a warning by the United States that African
endorsement of Zimbabwe's controversial presidential election could hurt
Western support for Nepad.

"We take exception to that kind of position that countries like the United
States are taking," Nkuhlu said.

"African countries are doing this because they think it's the right thing to
do. For Africans to be dictated to like this is simply irritating."

However, analysts pointed out Mugabe's "stolen" victory and the ongoing
crisis in Zimbabwe was a threat to the whole project despite South African
attempts to delink them. Tony Hawkins, professor of Business Studies at the
University of Zimbabwe, said the local crisis was wrecking Nepad.

"I think the whole Zimbabwean situation as it stands now is severely
damaging to the Nepad idea," he said. "It's not going to be easy to
reconcile the international community and Africa's positions on the outcome
of the presidential election."

Mugabe, supported by the African Union, Sadc, and some African observers,
claimed victory in the profoundly-flawed poll, while opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, backed by the Sadc Parliamentary Forum, Commonwealth, EU,
and the US rejected it as "daylight robbery".

Critics said it was hard to believe that Africa and the international
community were observing the same election.

United States President George W Bush called it "flawed", British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw said it was "stolen", and other European countries
dismissed it as neither free nor fair.

On the other hand, African Union chair, President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia
who was elected in January in similar circumstances, and Sadc chair Bakili
Muluzi of Malawi said the poll was "free and fair". Namibia, Tanzania,
Kenya, Nigeria and others also said it was free and fair. South Africa said
it was "legitimate".

Mbeki - the principal architect of Nepad - said although the election was
not perfect he believed "Zimbabweans have spoken". Global financier and
philanthropist George Soros accused Mugabe of stealing the poll.

But South African Nobel peace prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said
his country had discredited itself by claiming the election was

"I am deeply, deeply, deeply distressed and deeply disappointed that our
country could be among those that said the election was legitimate or free
and fair when we are claiming to be adherents of democracy," he said. "When
democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sake, to say it is not

Analysts said despite impressively clear evidence of vote-ragging, African
leaders, true to form, closed ranks and their eyes to the gross fraud.
Instead of helping to restore democracy, they battled to patch growing
fissures in the once nearly seamless wall of African solidarity and defend
Mugabe's democratic subversion.

Critics said this sort of redundant African solidarity and the leaders'
proclivity to cir- cle the wagons would undermine Nepad.

"The major problem in Africa is African solidarity," said Hermann Hanekom of
South Africa's Africa Institute. "Africa's political leaders seem to have
tremendous fear of criticising each other."

UZ commentator Emmanuel Magade agreed. "I get the impression that Sadc
countries are more interested in solidarity than democracy," he said. "But
one would imagine the whole point of the liberation struggles was to advance
the frontiers of democracy."

US deputy assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, Charles Snyder,
last week told the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in
Washington the Zimbabwe situation was a litmus test for Nepad.

"We cannot afford to begin the 21st century in Africa with this kind of
political and economic disaster in one of the areas that had the most
promise on the continent," he said. "I think that's why we are choosing to
speak out so clearly on this."

Snyder - calling Zimbabwe an "emerging democratic tragedy" - warned that the
developed world would despair and give up on Africa if African dictators
insisted on defending Mugabe's buffeted stewardship.

"We have begun to bargain with Africa in general, a new day in Africa in
which we are looking for Nepad," he said. "The rules of the game call on the
Africans to provide good governance, peer review and, if you want,
neighbourhood watch. If Africa doesn't step up here it's going to cripple
our ability to provide the kind of economic development assistance we want
to provide - not the humanitarian aid, but serious economic assistance."

CSIS African Programme director Stephen Morrison said Mugabe's fraudulent
re-election was "a global test case on emergent democracies".

"It's clear these elections have resolved nothing. Zimbabwe's economy has
been wrecked by Mugabe's policies and we are half a step away from mass
refugee outputs into the region," he said. "The way Mugabe conducted the
election put Nepad at risk."

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the US, Simbi Mubako, who attended the CSIS
meeting, was off message. He claimed Mugabe won the poll because he was a
"liberation war hero". The former judge of appeal said "land reform",
anti-opposition vitriol, and "the real danger of neo-colonialism in
Zimbabwe", explain Mugabe's win.

Snyder however said the neo-colonialism charge was just "another canard that
has been thrown at us".

The retired military officer-turned diplomat said despite Harare's dishonest
propaganda, the fact remains that Zimbabwe was a "steeplechase race"
threatening Africa's reconstruction.

"We have got a huge crater in front of us called Zimbabwe and we got to
figure out how to get over this obstacle," he said. "There are going to be
ups and downs for friends of Africa who seek backing for Nepad and
development programmes."

Information minister Jonathan Moyo however appeared obdurate. "Europeans put
Europeans first. Americans put Americans first. A time has come for us not
to be surprised when Africans put Africans first," he was quoted as saying
in the Chicago Tribune.

The West insists African leaders' affinity for authoritarianism was

"If there is any sense in which African countries appear to be ambivalent
towards good governance, this is the one thing that will undermine the
confidence of the Western world in helping them," said British premier Tony

British MP Norman Lamb last week said Nepad needed credibility.

"We regard the Zimbabwe election as important because of its timing," he
said. "As Nepad struggles to take off, Mbeki and others simply must meet the
challenge to give the project credibility. This is the first big test."

Lamb said Mbeki should stop procrastinating on Zimbabwe.

"It is suggested that Mbeki is pursuing a policy of engagement and
softly-softly diplomacy because he fears a collapse in Zimbabwe that might
tumble over the borders of South Africa, bringing in tens of thousands of
refugees, and the impact of that on the South African economy," he said.
"However, it is plain for all to see that prevarication and lack of
leadership might themselves destroy the South African economy."
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Zim Independent

Mugabe thwarts efforts of SA cabinet taskforce on Zim crisis
Dumisani Muleya

THE South African special cabinet taskforce on the Zimbabwe crisis has being
thwarted in its rescue mission by President Robert Mugabe's political

South African official sources yesterday said it was impossible for
President Thabo Mbeki's inter-ministerial committee to move because Mugabe
was throwing up obstacles at every turn.

"The team that is battling with the Zimbabwean crisis has now practically
ground to a halt," a Pretoria source said. "It discovered much to its dismay
that it had embarked on a mission impossible."

Sources said Mbeki - who first mooted the team after the 2000 parliamentary
election - was becoming exasperated by the lack of progress although he
remained anxious to help reconstruct Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

Mbeki's taskforce comprises Finance minister Trevor Manu-el, Trade and
Industry minister Alec Erwin, Minerals and Energy minister Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza.

Erwin last week said Pretoria was still waiting in the wings with a recovery
plan linked to political stability. The comprehensive plan was drafted with
the assistance of Finance minister Simba Makoni and Agriculture minister
Joseph Made last year.

"The programme addresses the challenges of overcrowding in communal areas,
food security, employment creation and increasing the contribution of
agriculture to economic growth," Erwin said.

The committee was tasked to engage and work with corresponding Zimbabwean
ministries to dig Zimbabwe out of its quagmire. The state-owned Development
Bank of Southern Africa is expected to take a lead role.

Despite lack of progress, South African spokesman for the National Treasury
Moeti Kgamanyane yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent consultations were
continuing on "policy and trade issues".

"The committee has been talking to Zimbabwe as a trading partner," he said.

"Our team comprising economic and employment ministries has adopted an
integrated approach to the issues of governance because there are
cross-cutting issues."

Kgamanyane said there had been no talks with Zimbabwean ministers since last

Since the Pretoria meeting in March last year nothing tangible had emerged.

Mbeki had been unable to meet Mugabe to pursue the talks at the highest
level. On May 30 last year the South African leader announced in Cape Town
he was going to meet Mugabe to discuss issues identified by the
inter-ministerial committee but nothing materialised. At attempt to meet
Mugabe at the G-15 summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, also failed.

Mbeki finally met the Zimbabwean leader last week during the
government-of-national-unity talks at State House designed to end the
political crisis that has intensified since the flawed presidential poll.

South African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni has said the Zimbabwe
crisis was sabotaging his economy and fuelling the volatility of the rand.

The Times

March 27, 2002

Free press is racist, says Mugabe report
From Michael Hartnack in Harare

PRESIDENT MUGABE will renew his efforts to crack down on Zimbabwe’s
independent media with the publication tomorrow of a critical report and the
relaunch of the state news agency.
It is expected that the report, the result of a year-long inquiry into the
media, will claim that the press outside the Government’s control is racist
and lacks patriotic values. Tafataona Mahoso, chairman of the Commission of
Inquiry, promised yesterday to eradicate “a confusion in national values”
through enforcement of the newly passed Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Bill.

The Harare-based lecturer told state radio that the poor state of the
industry was due to racism, polarisation and ownership of private media by
whites and foreign interests.

The Government Information Department announced the impending relaunch of
the state news agency with a 24-hour wire and broadcast service which, Mr
Mahoso said, would “project Zimbabwe’s identity and national point of view”
through “state of the art technology”.

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Daily News - Feature

Economic rights, self-management key to developing rural communities

3/28/02 8:08:22 AM (GMT +2)

By Norman Reynolds

DURING the 1992-94 drought, South Africa (in transition) demonstrated a
powerful economic rights approach to community development. It was then
scotched politically and callously, but remains the best model for rural and
township community renewal and regional economic growth.

The then South African government provided about Z$75 billion to commercial
farmers for drought relief and to cancel debts to its own Land Bank. To
correct this racial bias, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) set aside
a fund for small-scale black farmers who had lost jobs. I was asked to
design a drought relief and development programme.

The major innovation was to give each community a budget. That is, to
provide the same basic economic right to know the available resources that
most households and all businesses enjoy that would lead to:
- a new level of capability and financial know-how; and
- the ability to define and manage its business boundary.

Some 940-odd communities received budgets ranging from Z$200 000 to Z$5 000
000. Each community illustrated, in different ways, the working of the
economic rights conferred upon them. Busiesvlei, which received a Z$200 000
budget, is a small farm-labour township set amongst farms in the Transvaal.

About 90 percent had lost their jobs on surrounding farms. We followed our
normal procedures:
Two of us, an engineer in charge of that region, and I visited Busiesvlei
and asked if we could meet residents. They were suspicious.

About 20 people arrived in a classroom.

We explained that we came from a Trust that wished to assist them survive
the drought. Would they tell us about themselves, how many families lived
and anything else we should know?

Some senior people arrived during the meeting and stated that the community
wanted a clinic. We accepted that, but countered that the Trust would
provide a budget that the community would use to employ each other on
projects, thereby seeking as best it could to solve income and other
problems. We would then help them work out how best to use the funds. This
did not satisfy some present: a clinic or nothing was their attitude. We
explained that the budget probably could not build a clinic. We left after
about two hours, leaving behind an unhappy group.

A legal letter awarding them Z$200 000 was hand-delivered three days later.

The engineer and I returned a couple of weeks later. We faced considerable
anger. How could Z$200 000 build a clinic? Why were we wasting their time?

Did we not hear what they had said? Slowly, over several hours, working
through the Committee, we turned the meeting around. Not once did we
prescribe what they should do -just questions and games about who they were,
what was their surrounding and internal economy. After six weeks, the
facilitator began to report interesting activities of the kind that the
programme predicted.

The Committee hired a taxi and travelled to see the Provincial Health
Department at its headquarters. This cost Z$3 200. The officials were
intrigued to meet a rural labour group that sought a clinic and also "put on
the table" as their negotiating piece some Z$195 000. It was agreed that a
follow-up meeting would take place with the Town Clerk and the Sister who
ran the clinic in the nearest "white" town - nine kilometres away. When they
returned there was a celebration; for the first time they were working with
the authorities.

Because of the uncertain timing of any official solution, the Committee then
spent Z$1 300 to travel in a taxi to a hospital to see a doctor who had a
good reputation. He was taken with their concern to obtain a health service
for the community and that they had a budget to use. He invited them to
treat his hospital as their clinic-cum-hospital for the next few months
until they achieved some more efficient solution.

- On its return, the Committee called a meeting to announce their success;
the community had a clinic-cum-hospital. The celebration was spoilt when
someone asked how anyone could afford to visit that distant hospital. The
Committee then phoned the doctor. "Don't worry," he told them, until a
particular date his ambulances would fetch them on a regular basis and
answer emergency calls. For Z$4 500 they had a complete health service, at
least for a short while.

A month later, the meeting took place in the nearby town. The Town Clerk was
adamant. His over-stretched clinic could not take people from another place
for which his town had no responsibility. The Sister suggested that she
could work extra hours on two days a week if the people from Busiesvlei
could organise to come at those times. The Town Clerk would have none of
that "infiltration". The Sister then enquired if there was a place at
Busiesvlei where a clinic could be run.

Two months later a manager in the IDT wrote a letter to the Committee noting
that little money had been spent and that, if the balance of Z$195 100 was
not spent soon, it would be cancelled, lost to Busiesvlei. Fortunately, I
had designed a formal letter that conferred funds on communities forever.

This in the belief that in the model money in a budget might work harder
than money being spent, as was the case! The Committee then organised the
building of a simple youth centre.

The Committee then invited the engineer and myself to a meeting to discuss
how best to spend the balance of Z$135 000. Members began to explore, with
rising excitement, the fact that the nearby commercial farmers, their
previous employers, could not plant the next crop of maize because they were
too indebted to raise loans. But Busiesvlei had funds. It did not take long
for the community to instruct the Committee to choose the three or four best
farmers to enter into negotiations about joint farming ventures. Busiesvlei,
with a Z$135 000 deposit could raise additional funds with which to finance

In return for finance, farmers would hire labour from Busiesvlei, pay wages
and interest and share the profit.

Busiesvlei was hiring the farmer as manager, renting his land and equipment
and sharing some of the risks inherent in raising their own crops and
employing themselves. Z$200 000 had bought an economic, organisational and
service revolution for about Z$1 200 a family.

All the 940-odd communities that received budgets under the programme had
successes. The most common was that, paying themselves, they paid very low
wages, around Z$35 a day.

Some communities completed projects without paying wages. The programme
became highly popular. Committees began to ask if they could take more
responsibility for the running of the programme. As they gained confidence
in their ability to invest well, so they were prepared to face a rising cost
of the funds provided, knowing that that opened up the far larger resources
of the financial institutions. The only unresolved problem was that in some
communities those who were selected to work tended to form a protective
monopoly over the right to work.

The answer agreed in communities was to distribute the labour budget equally
to all adults as work rights with a monetary face value set for a day's

The work right offers a dynamic mobilising way to invest in people.

This allows the state to partner communities, suitably organised, which
invest in themselves, publicly and privately.

In return for on-going state grant support, the communities accepted an
obligation to pay higher school and clinic fees from the extra cash
circulating locally.

The drought programme ended in what was a disgraceful and self-serving
decision. Just as the programme was reinventing itself, so the head of the
IDT was informed by the head of the South African National Civic
Organisations (SANCO) that, as the programme was so popular, it must either
pass the funds to SANCO or leave the field.

It is time that such a programme is re-launched. Work rights together with a
growing component of loans, mainly for private asset creation but also for
commonly owned and used infrastructure, is a higher order version of the
Basic Income Grant being promoted by civil society as the most efficient way
to tackle poverty.

Providing communities with investment funds can unlock considerable reform,
renewal and build local economies. The model goes well beyond the simple
public works (expenditure) programme that confers no on-going economic
rights and self-management.

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Daily News

Lawlessness continues to scare investors away

3/28/02 7:59:51 AM (GMT +2)

By Ngoni Chanakira

Zimbabwe’s general lawlessness has continued to alienate foreign investors
in addition to disrupting business activities and operations at Hippo Valley
Estates Limited (Hippo), says Len Bruce, the company’s chairman.

Bruce said the retrograde step of re-introducing price controls was a matter
of serious concern for his company’s operations. Bruce said: “Against this
background, it is difficult to make any meaningful financial predictions.

“Margins will be eroded further unless there is an improvement in the
business environment.” The Minister of Trade and International Development,
Dr Herbert Murerwa, last year introduced price controls in a bid to stop
alleged rampant profiteering by the business sector.

However, the price controls have been blasted by the business community
which says they are punitive and are affecting production levels. In his
notice to shareholders on Tuesday which accompanied the group’s results for
the year ended 31 December, 2001, Bruce said the general macro-economic
environment continued to be very unstable and no respite was expected in the
short term.

He said: “Uncertainty surrounds the direction of exchange rate policy and
the availability of foreign currency will continue to be a problem.”

National raw sugar production for the year amounted to 512 000 tonnes. “As a
result of legislated price controls which pegged prices at August 2001
levels, coupled with an unrealistic exchange rate policy, domestic sugar has
found its way into neighbouring countries where it is being sold at less
than half the price of sugar in those countries,” Bruce told shareholders.

“The legal and illegal exports of domestic sugar grew at an uncontrollable
rate, to the level where shortages were experienced in Zimbabwe.

“A continuation of this artificial situation will further threaten domestic
sugar availability, as traders and smugglers will continue to find more ways
of benefiting from the significant price differential.”
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EU sanctions team to visit region

Staff Reporter
3/28/02 1:23:59 AM (GMT +2)

A EUROPEAN Union (EU) delegation is due to visit southern Africa in three
weeks’ time to coax Zimbabwe’s neighbours to cooperate with the EU and the
rest of the international community in punishing President Robert Mugabe and
his administration over Mugabe’s controversial re-election, EU diplomats
said yesterday.

The high-level team will also explore ways of widening travel and financial
sanctions already imposed on Mugabe, his top 19 lieutenants and their
families, the diplomats told the Financial Gazette.

While the team is expected to visit Zimbabwe’s neighbours such as South
Africa, Botswana and others, the diplomatic sources said it was not yet
certain whether the delegation would also visit Harare.

"The team will be led by a high-ranking official of current EU president
Spain and it will investigate how more pressure could be brought to bear on
Mugabe and his inner circle," one diplomat said, speaking on condition of
not being named.

"The team will also strongly engage Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) countries on the issue of sanctions," the diplomat said.

The head of the European Commission delegation in Zimbabwe, Francesca Mosca,
confirmed the EU team would visit the SADC but denied it was coming to
investigate how sanctions could be widened or to cajole SADC to cooperate
with Brussels on Zimbabwe.

"Yes, the EU team is coming. I cannot give a specific date when it is coming
but it will not be before mid-April. But the issue of sanctions, if ever it
becomes a subject, is for the EU’s council of foreign ministers to handle
and decide on and not this team that is going to visit the southern Africa
region," Mosca said.

EU foreign affairs ministers are scheduled to meet in Luxembourg from April
15 to 16, where they are expected to toughen and widen personal sanctions
and other measures against the Zimbabwean leadership after Zimbabwe’s
controversial March 9-11 ballot.

At a meeting held in Spain two weeks ago, the EU leaders said they were
considering possible additional sanctions against Mugabe and his officials.

The Europeans also promised to dispatch a high-level team to southern Africa
to confer with Zimbabwe’s neighbours about the EU’s concerns on Zimbabwe
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Mbeki, Obasanjo envoys in fresh bid to save Mugabe

Staff Reporter
3/28/02 1:22:20 AM (GMT +2)

AFRICAN superpowers South Africa and Nigeria this week stepped up efforts to
broker a comprise between Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to ward off the crisis of illegitimacy
facing controversially elected President Robert Mugabe’s new administration.

Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, sensing outright isolation of
Mugabe and the refusal by many Zimbabweans and the West to recognise his
win, have dispatched African National Congress secretary-general Kgalema
Motlanthe and prominent West African diplomat Adebayo Adedeji to try to
hammer a compromise between ZANU PF and the MDC.

The MDC has also refused to recognise Mugabe’s re-election, saying the March
9-11 vote was massively rigged and thousands of its supporters denied the

The two envoys met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday and Saturday
last week and outlined their brief and how they intended to proceed in
trying to break the impasse.

They also met the top leadership of ZANU PF, which included national
chairman John Nkomo and administration secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, both
heavily tipped to become vice presidents and possible successors to Mugabe.

Mbeki and Obasanjo have given the duo three weeks to come up with a solution
that will help bridge the rift between the two political parties and arrest
the deteriorating political and economic crisis in the country.

According to sources, the two Zimbabwean political parties were asked to
draw up agendas for talks as the first step to finding a compromise to the
current crisis.

Diplomatic sources say African leaders are frantically making efforts to
bring the MDC on board through the formation of a coalition government in
order to facilitate recognition of the Zimbabwean government by the
international community and unlock much-needed foreign aid that has been

The MDC has said it wants fresh elections conducted under international
supervision by the United Nations within the shortest possible period.

ZANU PF however wants the MDC to accept the result of the presidential
election and join it in a coalition government whose composition is not yet

The sources said the formation of a coalition government being pushed by
Mbeki and Obasanjo was the most ideal way to stave off international
isolation of Zimbabwe but has been received with mixed feelings by the
governing party.

Others say ZANU PF only wants the MDC on board to facilitate international
recognition and the financing of its economic recovery programme and land

It is also believed that some hardliners in ZANU PF want the current treason
charges against Tsvangirai to be used as a bargaining chip to arm-twist the
MDC leader into a compromise with Mugabe.

The 54-nation Commonwealth, the 15-nation European Union and most of the
former Eastern Bloc states, the United States, the Scandinavian countries
and most Western states and Japan have refused to recognise Mugabe’s
re-election saying it was a blatant fraud and marred by state-sponsored

Mugabe has received support from regional leaders as well as Nigeria,
Russia, Iran and China.

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Africa pressured to dump Mugabe

By David Masunda Deputy Editor-in-Chief
3/28/02 1:18:05 AM (GMT +2)

THREATS by the West to dump an ambitious African recovery plan will
gradually force key African states to abandon embattled Zimbabwean leader
Robert Mugabe and pressure him to hold fresh presidential elections within
months, experts said this week.

Mugabe, who is accused by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and Western countries of stealing the ballot two weeks ago, has
rejected calls for a fresh poll and says African governments have largely
endorsed his re-election.

Analysts this week however said cracks were appearing within his main
African backers after the United States said the African response to the
Zimbabwean political and economic crisis might determine how the West
responded to the continent’s plea for help.

Twenty-one African leaders, minus Mugabe, met in the Nigerian capital Abuja
this week to fine-tune the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD),
an economic recovery plan they want to sell to rich countries in Canada in

The plan, authored along the post-Second World War Marshall Plan that
revived the German economy, has to be backed by the West to succeed and
needs annual investments into Africa of at least US$64 billion.

The West insists that NEPAD, sponsored by South African President Thabo
Mbeki and tacitly supported by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, must be
anchored on democracy and good governance.

Zimbabwe, says the US and Britain, has failed to practice both and should be
condemned by Africa for holding the sham March 9-11 poll officially won by

Last week’s remark by Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo that a fresh poll
would have to be held in Zimbabwe was a definite shift from the normal
position taken by African leaders to rally around Mugabe, a regional
diplomat said this week.

Obasanjo told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London that
although Mugabe had received the news of Zimbabwe’s suspension from club
meetings very badly, a fresh poll had to be conducted to bring back the
badly needed legitimacy to his administration to attract foreign investment.

Ross Herbert, an analyst with the South African Institute of International
Affairs, said it was clear that African governments would find it difficult
to sell NEPAD in June before seriously addressing issues of democracy and
good governance first.

Herbert said that might have been one of the reasons why Mugabe did not
attend the Abuja conference "because he would not have been very welcome".

Another South African analyst with close ties to that country’s ruling
African National Congress said the perception in the West was that South
Africa, and Africa in general, had failed to take the leadership role on

He said the West expected some form of symbolic sanctions from Pretoria such
as reducing the amount of electricity sold to Harare to protest Mugabe’s
intimidatory tactics against the MDC in the run-up to the election.

Brian Raftopoulos, a University of Zimbabwe analyst, said international
pressure was mounting on Mugabe to re-run the poll and adverse reports by
the Commonwealth and the SADC parliamentary delegations on the ballot had
shown that "Africans had finally broken ranks with Mugabe".

"Mugabe now knows he has to go and the question is when and under what
terms," Raftopoulos told the Financial Gazette.

"There is a lot of pressure for him to re-run the election and the pressure
is growing. This presidency has no legitimacy," he said.

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Swiss zero in on army chiefs

3/28/02 1:17:10 AM (GMT +2)

FIVE Zimbabwean army generals, including Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander
Vitalis Zvinavashe and Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri, are among
20 ZANU PF leaders under investigation by the Swiss government for possibly
stashing assets and foreign currency in the Alpine country, it was
established this week.

The list also includes President Robert Mugabe, Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, Cabinet Secretary Charles Utete and Secretary for Information
George Charamba, said Alan Kocher, the head of the information department of
Switzerland’s economic ministry.

Kocher yesterday said Swiss banks had not yet identified any assets or
foreign accounts in that country that belonged to the 20 but it was early
days and the probe was continuing.

"A week is too small to carry out investigations of this nature and we
cannot conclude that any of the 20 have or have no assets in this country
yet," said Kocher, speaking by telephone from Bern.

Swiss banks, notorious for their secrecy, were ordered by their government
last week to open up their books for inspection after the European Union
(EU) slapped Mugabe and his close advisers with punitive sanctions over the
alleged promotion of lawlessness.

The EU, the Commonwealth, the United States, Britain and most countries have
accused Mugabe of stealing the just-ended ballot through the use of
state-supported violence and intimidation against the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).

The American government has also widened smart sanctions against the
Zimbabwean ruling elite that include a travel ban in that country and a
freeze of possible assets.

Mugabe has however repeatedly said he does not own "a cent" outside Zimbabwe
and has challenged anyone with information to the contrary to confiscate the

Kocher said his government would investigate allegations that some
Zimbabwean leaders might own lavish villas and hotels in that country.

He said the Swiss government was also aware that some of the suspected
assets could be hidden in the names of other people such as relatives, but
concerted efforts were underway to expose such cases.

The Swiss government would invite that country’s attorney general to
investigate any suspicions that banks or officials could be working in
cahoots with the targeted Zimbabweans to hide some money or to export it out
of the country.

Among the Zimbabwean generals listed by the Swiss government in a list made
available by Kocher are army commander Constantine Chiwenga, Air Marshal
Perence Shiri, Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Elisha
Muzonzini and Prisons director Paradzai Zimonte as well as Foreign Ministry
Permanent Secretary Willard Chiwewe.

— Staff Reporter

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US bans bankers,business leaders

By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
3/28/02 1:14:44 AM (GMT +2)

TOP bankers, army generals, heads of parastatals, senior civil servants and
leading business and church leaders have been slotted into an expanded black
list of Zimbabweans who are now under targeted personal sanctions by the
United States government, it was established this week.
The list is in addition to the one which names President Robert Mugabe and
his inner circle, who have already been banned from travelling to the US
because of their alleged support for lawlessness and refusal to hold a free
and fair presidential ballot.

In coming up with the criteria and decision to slap travel restrictions on
the targeted leaders, the US notes that:

"These actions have forced the United States to impose targeted travel
restrictions on senior members of the government of Robert Mugabe, certain
persons with business dealings with Zimbabwe government officials, and
others who formulate, implement, or benefit from policies that undermine or
injure Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions or impede the functioning of a
multiparty democracy.

"The restrictions seek only to limit the ability of a few people from
inflicting further damage on Zimbabwe."

As well as the travel ban, Washington is in consultation with western Europe
and other countries to impose further measures against the targeted

Among those on the latest list are prominent bankers Enock Kamushinda and
Taka Mutunhu; ZESA chief executive and President Robert Mugabe’s
brother-in-law Sydney Gata; National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) boss
Webster Muriritirwa; Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Nicholas Kitikiti
and others linked to NOCZIM’s oil deals.

Businessmen Mutumwa Mawere, Philip Chiyangwa, Saviour Kasukuwere, David
Chapfika, Billy Rautenbach and John Bredenkamp are also on the list.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, air force head Perence
Shiri, army boss Constantine Chiwenga and police commisioner Augustine
Chihuri are also named.

Spouses of those targeted by the travel restrictions will also be affected.

Others on the list are Cabinet Chief Secretary Charles Utete; Mariyawanda
Nzuwa, the chairman of the Public Service Commission and head of the
Election Directorate; Misheck Sibanda, the head of administration in the
President’s Office; and Transport and Communications Ministry Permanent
Secreatry Christian Katsande.

The list includes Defence Permanent Secretary Trust Maposa; Public Service
Commissioner Job Whabira, Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Nicholas
Ncube and James Jonga, head of the District Development Fund.

Among the church leaders named is Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who
recently praised Robert Mugabe as being more Christian than himself.

Bruce Wharton, the US embassy spokesman in Harare, said his government was
in the process of sending individual letters to those affected by the travel
restrictions but refused to discuss the list.

"The United States government is in the process of notifying individuals who
face travel restrictions under the Zimbabwe Democracy Recovery Act," Wharton
said yesterday.

"Any person who has concern that they face restrictions on entering the US
should contact the American embassy or consular to determine their status,"
he added.

US administration sources in Washington said they were tightening
immigration rules to prevent the targeted individuals from entering America
on false travel documents or under assumed names.

The officials said photo identification of those targeted and their
particulars, among other tough measures, had already been issued to ensure
that the culprits did not breach the visa ban.

Washington’s expanded black list ¾ the 15-nation European Union (EU) and
Switzerland have already taken similar steps ¾ is meant to drive home the
world’s revulsion over a deeply flawed March 9-11 Zimbabwean presidential
election, officially won by Mugabe.

The EU is also set to expand its blacklist and sanctions to include the
expulsion from European colleges and universities of children of the
targeted leaders.

The group has already frozen the overseas assets of the Zimbabweans and
banned the importation of any material which the government can use for
internal repression.
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The Age

Zimbabwe off limits to tourists - but Victoria Falls "safe"
SYDNEY, March 28 AAP|Published: Thursday March 28, 3:31 PM

Zimbabwe is on the no-go list for Australian tourists as well as cricketers,
with the Department of Foreign Affairs officially warning against travel
there indefinitely.

It said this week that violence and the risk of violence had increased in
the country following elections widely perceived by the community to have
been "rigged".

Unidentified Australians had been mentioned as among "foreigners" who had
supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and now had been
targeted for retribution by the re-elected Mugabe Government.

"Australians considering travel to Zimbabwe should defer all holiday and
normal business travel to Zimbabwe until further notice," the department
said. "Australians in Zimbabwe should keep themselves informed of
developments that might affect their safety."

The number of Australian holidaymakers visiting Zimbabwe for its jungle
safaris and wildlife parks has slumped dramatically in recent years due to
violence following the Mugabe government's land reforms, tour operators said

But tours were still operating to the spectacular Victoria Falls, on the
Zambian border far from recent violence and nearly 900km from the capital,

Visitors to the tourist spot are now not passing through Harare but instead
were flying direct from Johannesburg in South Africa, flying to Livingston
in Zambia and crossing the border bridge, or driving 90 minutes from Chobe
in Botswana.

General Manager of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Jonathan Ellway, told tour
operators this week his Australian business was down by 60 per cent in
recent times but the situation there remained "calm and uneventful".

He said the Falls were both geographically and politically removed from
mainstream Zimbabwe, and remained "a safe destination".

Leading South African tour operator Bench International has until recent
days been sending reduced numbers of Australians to Zimbabwe, and these
visits had centred on Victoria Falls.

Managing director Charles Bench said Australians who had gone to Zimbabwe
before the new Foreign Affairs advice were largely spending a day visiting
the Falls then moving on to Chobe National Park to view the wildlife or to

Managing director of Abercrombie Kent, Sujata Raman, said the tour operator
had not been sending Australians on Zimbabwe tours for more than 18 months,
with the exception of Victoria Falls.

People booked for Victoria Falls now were advised of the Foreign Affairs
warning and promised a refund if they decided to cancel their plans.

The department's advisory said Zimbabwe's land reform, which had has seen
"unlawful occupation of farms, looting of crops, theft of cattle, poaching
of game and violent acts against farmers, their families and workers, is to
be accelerated".

On March 18, a commercial farmer was killed - and tourists travelling to
game parks usually had to travel through commercial farming areas.

"There have been disturbances and some violence in high-density areas of
major cities. Australians should avoid walking city streets at night,
particularly in or near parks and the city centre.

"Incidents of muggings, car-jackings and pickpocketing, particularly in
urban centres and tourist areas are increasing."

The advisory can be viewed at website www.dfat/

By James Shrimpton

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Chikomba, Zimbabwe. March 26, 2002

Zimbabwe: ‘My land is not life-giving’
Drought-stricken Zimbabwe will have to endure "a very long year" until the
harvest of April 2003


So laments Kumbirai Chikwenengwe, standing in a field of withered maize.
Throughout the drought-parched country, this year's crop will hardly be
worth the effort to reap.
Chikwenengwe's 35 hectares in Zimbabwe's central Midlands Province have not
soaked up a drop of rain since the official start of the rainy season last
Chikwenengwe, originally from northwestern Mashonaland West Province, was
awarded his plot here under the government's controversial land reforms
launched in early 2000.
In October, he borrowed money so he could buy some seed and hire a tractor
to plough his fields.
But as the rains failed to come, Chikwenengwe, who is married with five
children, said: "My land is not life-giving. It has brought me despair and
The highest plants are no taller than four-year-old Lennon, his youngest.
Lennon's malnourishment shows in his bloated stomach and his frequent
vomiting of plain water.
His mother Felicias says he has had nothing but water the last two days.
In Shona, the language of Zimbabwe's ethnic majority, "nzara" means both
drought and famine, because "we know that one is provoking the other,"
Felicias said.
Hunger has forced some of the Chikwenengwe's neighbours to leave their
"We have nothing left," Chikwenengwe said. "We are waiting for help from God
or the government."
The UN World Food Program (WFP) says 558 000 people are at risk of
starvation in Zimbabwe, normally a regional breadbasket.
Farmers say this April's maize harvest will be minimal, after a sharp
reduction last year resulting from disruptions to commercial farming under
the land reforms.
From 2,4-million tons in 2000, when ruling party supporters began invading
white-owned farms, output fell to 800 000 tons last year.
Zimbabwe's 12-million people consume between 1,8-million and two million
tonnes of maize per year, and the country normally exports surplus grain.
Further south on inferior farmland long tilled by Zimbabwe's majority
blacks, between the dried-up Charandura and Gweru rivers, the lifeless rocky
plains stretch out as far as the eye can see.
The traditional earthen grain stores are empty, and maize meal -- the staple
food in the region -- is nowhere to be found.
At 57, Miriam Mushindibaba, a widow living in a round mud hut in a village
near Chemheke, is old beyond her years.
Weeping at the side of her failed maize crop, she said: "I have never seen
this before. Even during the 1992 drought, my maize gave a few grains."
Her 32-year-old son Gabriel supports the family through the traditional
sculptures he carves.
"I won't be able to carry on like this for long," he said. "I have a wife
and children to feed. I won't be able to feed everyone over the (coming)
He said he was considering moving to neighbouring South Africa where he
could work as a labourer.
For most poor peasants here, the land is their only source of livelihood,
and with the coming harvest a clear bust, they will have to scratch out a
living with nothing in their larders until the next harvest comes around.
Villagers in nearby Chamakanda pooled enough funds together to buy a sack of
maize meal, the basis of the national dish, sadza.
A large platter was served up, and about 15 children descended on it,
polishing it off in no time.
They had eaten nothing but green peanuts for the past week.
"What will become of us if we cannot feed our children anymore?" one mother
asked. - AFP

-- The Mail&Guardian, March 26, 2002.
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