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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 12:33 GMT
A glimpse of Zimbabwe's desperation
Thousands of Zimbabweans dream of a better life
test hello test
By Hamilton Wende

With inflation running at well over 100% and unemployment soaring, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans are fleeing southwards to South Africa in the hope of finding a better life.

It is a dangerous journey. Many people drown in the Limpopo river or are killed by hippos and crocodiles.

The rainy season is drawing to a close in the Limpopo valley. The water in the river is falling as the hard months of the dry season begin.

The sky is blue and cloudless. The sun shimmers off the white rocks.

On the South African side of the river runs a long electrified fence. It stretches for hundreds of miles both east and west along the border.

It was erected by the apartheid regime, but the ANC government of Thabo Mbeki still maintains this grim frontier.


With Zimbabwe's economy in shreds, tens of thousands of refugees are coming south to look for jobs.

Hippos are among the world's most dangerous animals
On a stretch of the river is a grove of tall, green-barked fever trees. They cast a cool shade over the banks.

A concrete weir has been built across the river. It forms a deep pool where the South African farmers draw water for their fields.

There is a gate in the electric fence here. Johannes is the man who maintains the pumps that draw the precious water. He has a key for the gate and lets me into the pump station.

The concrete weir runs straight across to the Zimbabwean bank. It would take a few minutes to walk through the low cascade of water across the border.

In the shade of the fever trees, Johannes introduces me to his friend Olbert.

We squat on our haunches in the clean white sand on the river bank. In the gentle way of Africa, we begin by talking of the rains and of the long drive from Johannesburg.


Johannes is a South African citizen. He is in his mid-40s. He is proud of his job and the money it brings him. He is wearing a clean pressed shirt, a baseball cap and new sandals.

Zimbabwe is facing economic meltdown
Olbert has walked across the concrete weir from Zimbabwe. He is in his late twenties. A dirty T-shirt and ragged shorts are all he has to wear, while his feet are bare and calloused.

Olbert has no job. Every day he comes down to the river to fish in the deep pool.

He smiles broadly as he tells me about the fish. "They are as fat as this," he says, pointing to his forearm. "And their meat is very sweet."

Johannes has rolled a handmade cigarette. He takes a drag and hands it across. The two men share it between them as we talk.

It occurs to me that Olbert has no money even to buy cigarettes, and that is why Johannes shares his tobacco with him.

The talk of sweet, fat fish is so that Olbert can save face. The truth is that he walks across the border because Johannes is willing, and able, to give him something to eat.

Sharing tradition

It is the oldest custom in Africa - in times of hunger, people must share with others.

I have seen it in action amongst the poor all across the continent, from the war zones of Angola to the famine-parched savannas of Sudan.

There was a diamond mine there before. It is closed now, because of Mugabe

Olbert, unemployed Zimbabwean

Soon, the talk turns to politics.

Robert Mugabe may have won his election but even here, on the edge of one of the remotest parts of Zimbabwe, his message has failed to convince:

"They chase the whites from the farms," Olbert says. "They steal the maize and eat the cattle. Then they kill the kudu and the impala. What will they eat then?"

"People have nothing there," Johannes says, pointing across the river to Zimbabwe. "They have no food, no work. That is why they come here."

Olbert gestures angrily: "There was a diamond mine there before. The Australians owned it. It is closed now, because of Mugabe. And we have no jobs."

"Our president," he adds. "He doesn't want anyone except himself to have anything."

Dangerous isolation

Robert Mugabe has utterly ignored people like Olbert. They do not matter to him any more.

He talks obsessively of how he despises Tony Blair and of how he will never allow Zimbabwe to become a colony of Britain again.

It is the last card left for him to play. Defending the African way of life against the pernicious influence of the West.

But here, on the banks of the Limpopo, it appears to me that Robert Mugabe has fallen into the trap of so many corrupted rulers.

He has become dangerously isolated from his own people.

In a continent where sharing is the highest virtue, he has placed his own personal power and wealth above the welfare of his people.

Olbert narrows his eyes and shakes his head. "That Mugabe", he says softly, echoing an old African saying. "He eats alone".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 30 March

Telegraph woman charged

Peta Thornycroft, the Zimbabwe correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, was
charged yesterday with working illegally as a journalist and with driving
with incorrect number plates. She was still in cells in Mutare central
police station, 200 miles east of Harare, last night, her third in custody.
But police did not carry out their earlier threat to charge her under the
widely condemned Public Order and Security Act. Ms Thornycroft said: "I'm
fine, absolutely fine. This isn't a day in the life of Ivan Denisovich but
it's still bloody irritating." Hours after her arrest in Chimanimani on
Wednesday, she was told she would be charged with publishing false news, an
offence which, under this notorious law, carries a possible five-year
sentence. No evidence was ever produced to substantiate the charge and the
authorities have failed to take it further. Instead police have chosen to
charge her with working illegally under the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, which President Robert Mugabe signed into law a
fortnight ago.

Under this legislation, all journalists have to apply for accreditation from
the government to continue working. But they have three months in which to
do so and are permitted to work in the interim. Tapiwanashe Kujinga, Ms
Thornycroft's lawyer, described the charge as "obviously unfounded". As a
secondary line of attack, police have held the number plates on her car
against her. When she moved from South Africa to Zimbabwe last July, she
took her car with her. Ms Thornycroft began the process of registering her
vehicle with the Zimbabwean authorities but the new number plates had not
been fitted at the time of her arrest. Paperwork proving her legal ownership
of the car has been produced for the police. Officers have allowed Ms
Thornycroft, 57, unrestricted access to her lawyer. She is being held in a
tiny cell, with no bed and a bucket for a lavatory. Ms Thornycroft has the
cell to herself and friends have been allowed to deliver food and blankets.
At 7am every day, she has been allowed to leave the cell and spend the day
in the police station's offices.

Mr Kujinga is preparing an urgent court application for her release. He
hopes a hearing will take place today or tomorrow and that she will not be
kept in custody until the end of the Easter break on Tuesday. State radio in
Zimbabwe has been broadcasting false reports of Ms Thornycroft's release
since Thursday night. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation website accuses
her of being "in the forefront of destroying [her] own country using the
pen". It refers to Ms Thornycroft, whose late husband was jailed under
apartheid in South Africa, as "a former Rhodesian journalist who could not
accept black rule at independence". She has been singled out for abuse in
the official media. In November, she was accused of being a "terrorist".
Observers believe the arrests and vilification are part of Mr Mugabe's
campaign to silence independent reporters in Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily Mail & Guardian (SA), 29 March

MDC won’t sell its soul to the devil

The MDC is adamant that it will not form a government of national unity with
Zanu PF

In the afternoon of Robert Mugabe's inauguration on March 17 the presidents
of Mozambique and Malawi went on a simple errand to see how much power the
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai,
wanted. Not presidential power, but maybe a senior job within the Zanu PF
government that would give Tsvangirai and a few of his comrades physical
safety and perhaps amnesty for those awaiting trial on mostly spurious
charges. The Mozambican leader, Joachim Chissano, and Malawi President
Bakili Muluzi appeared astonished when Tsvangirai and his colleagues said
they had no interest in power, glory or job security. They would rather be
hounded, persecuted and prosecuted than get into bed with Zanu PF. They told
the African leaders that the MDC would not stand for any deal with Zanu PF
and whoever was hoping to solve the "Zimbabwe problem" with a government of
national unity was, to put it politely, wasting their time.

Chissano and Muluzi may have failed to mention their findings to South
African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo. The
African National Congress secretary general, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Nigerian
economist Professor Ade-bayo Adedji, dubbed "the facilitators", certainly
didn't appear to grasp the MDC’s position when they met party leaders last
Sunday. The facilitators are in Zimbabwe to fulfill a committment by
Obasanjo and Mbeki to the Commonwealth last week to pursue a solution to the
"Zimbabwe problem". The two have been shuffling between Zanu-PF and the MDC,
which says it will settle for nothing less than internationally supervised
and monitored presidential elections, managed by a transitional
administration that restricts all statutory and non-statutory forces to
barracks. At a meeting of the MDC's national council last week party members
said they wanted an agreement that anyone who wavered from this position
should be expelled.

For Mugabe it is more complex. The MDC, unlike the late Joshua Nkomo's
Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), is not a regional party; it is
national and therefore more of a threat. The MDC is not yet weakened
sufficiently by violence to drive it into submission to Zanu-PF. In 1987
Zapu signed a unity deal with Mugabe, after he sent in troops to kill
thousands of Zapu supporters. Nkomo succumbed to stop the killing, and Zapu
liberation heroes like Dumiso Dabengwa, fresh from five years as a detainee
after being acquitted of treason, were sucked in to the Zanu PF hegemony.
The legendary Dabengwa couldn't even win his parliamentary seat in
Matabeleland in 2000, losing to Gibson Sibanda, a former Zapu colleague who
resisted temptation and is now MDC vice-president and one of its leading

But the MDC is in grave danger. The Amani Trust, a human rights group,
reported a sharp increase in the already high level of violence since the
election. Dr Frances Lovemore of the trust said many victims in treatment
centres in all provinces, except Matabeleland where the MDC is dominant, say
their attackers said they would "annihilate" the MDC. She said up to 30 000
people have become internal refugees, among them 1 400 MDC polling agents,
in addition to about 100 000 farm workers and their families who have been
evicted from their homes by Zanu PF militia. The figure grows daily. The
Amani Trust says it needs assistance from the International Committee of the
Red Cross.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is doing his bit in the annihilation
process. Tuesday's headline in the state-aligned The Herald was "Tsvangirai
loses grip", with a strap: "MDC members call for congress to oust party
leader." The bulk of the report is from unnamed MDC legislators: "... Mr
Tsvangirai and Prof Ncube [MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube] should be
removed from the party ... as they have been making unilateral decisions
which have compromised the party..." Professor Masipule Sithole, head of
political science at the University of Zimbabwe said: "Mugabe knows it was
an illegitimate victory, and the violence is to strengthen his position. The
only real hope is that the people can withstand this terrible pressure as
they did in the liberation struggle against the Rhodesians." Perhaps someone
could tell Obasanjo and Mbeki that a government of national unity, South
Africa's quick-fix solution, won't fly for the "Zimbabwe problem". Not all
African politicians will settle for power at any cost.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Italian leader mum on Zimbabwean poll


CAPE TOWN Italian President Carlo Ciampi said yesterday it would be
premature to comment on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Ciampi was responding to a question on his arrival for a state visit to SA.

It would be inappropriate for the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) to be tarnished on account of the situation in one country, he said.

However, Italy had resolved not to extend debt cancellation to those poor
countries embroiled in conflict.

President Thabo Mbeki said Ciampi's visit was historic because it was the
first time that an Italian head of state had visited SA.

Mbeki said Ciampi was a friend of SA, and had supported Nepad at the last
meeting of the G-8 group of nations in Genoa. He said Italy was close to the
African continent and had a good understanding of it.

The visit was an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two

Ciampi said: "My trip is a visit by an Italian head of state to a SA that is
finally free and democratic. The success of the peaceful transition from
apartheid to a multiethnic, multicultural democracy is a beacon of
civilisation that illuminates the 20th century.

"SA is an important partner for Italy and Europe. The country has a wealth
of human capital, natural riches and the entrepreneurial, scientific and
cultural resources that are needed to build a prosperous future for its

Mar 14 2002 12:00:00:000AM Wyndham Hartley Business Day 1st Edition

30 March 2002
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Lawyer seeks court order

Harare - A lawyer was seeking a High Court order on Saturday to free Peta
Thornycroft, the jailed correspondent for Britain's Daily Telegraph and
South Africa's M&G, accused of violating Zimbabwe's new press law.

"We want her to be released because she hasn't committed an offence," said
Tendai Biti, a constitutional lawyer, who is also a lawmaker for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"The constitution says no one can be held unless they are believed to have
committed an offence," he said.

"It is clear that these are the machinations of a regime that has gone mad,"
he said.

"The problem is it's Easter weekend, the logistics are very difficult," Biti
said, saying he would have to find a court clerk and a judge during the
holiday, when most people in Harare return to their family homes in rural
parts of the country.

The case will challenge the constitutionality of a clause requiring
accreditation for journalists, and ask that Thornycroft be freed pending a
full hearing of the challenge, Biti said.

Thornycroft, 57, is being charged under a section of a press law enacted two
weeks ago which makes it a crime to practice journalism without
accreditation and valid qualifications, Biti said.

She was arrested on Wednesday in the eastern border town of Chimanimani and
told she had been charged with "publishing false statements likely to be
prejudicial to state security" and "incitement to public violence" under the
country's new security laws.

The charges carry a possible five-year jail term.

She also has been charged with possessing a car with an incorrect number
plate, which carries a small fine.

A colleague, David Blair, who was expelled from Zimbabwe in June while
working for the Telegraph, said he had spoken to Thornycroft and that "she
is in reasonably good spirits."

"She is being treated quite decently and humanely and is being allowed
unrestricted access to her lawyer," Blair said.

Thornycroft renounced her British nationality last year and is a Zimbabwean

The charge of working illegally as a journalist is punishable by two years
in jail, but Blair said "it's manifestly ridiculous, so any court would
throw it out."

"We're quite encouraged by this development because the charges have nothing
to do with the (new) Public Order Security Act (POSA). Her lawyer is
confident she will be free in a matter of days."

POSA, passed in January in the run-up to March's hotly disputed presidential
elections, has been condemned by rights groups and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change as repressive.

The act outlawed criticism of President Robert Mugabe, required police
permission for public gatherings and gave authorities sweeping powers to
detain people without trial. - AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Income loss hurts Zimbabweans

ZIMBABWE captain Stuart Carlisle said Australia's decision to abandon its
tour of the strife-torn country would result in a major loss of pay for his
players and severely disrupt his team's World Cup plans.

A top Australian cricketer can earn upwards of $200,000 from his contract
alone, with match fees and lucrative sponsorship deals on top of that.
Carlisle said his players were paid "nothing like that".

"From a financial point of view for us cricketers it's going to be tough
now," he said.

"We basically don't have any income coming in.

"We have our contracts, but we now miss out on match fees. Those match fees
are very important."

The Australian Cricket Board cancelled the tour this week over a fear for
player safety.

Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has reportedly intensified revenge
attacks on opposition supporters and white farmers after his controversial
re-election earlier this month.

The Australians were to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in

Carlisle's men had been looking forward to using the limited-overs games as
a major part of their preparation for next year's World Cup in South Africa.

The frustrated captain said his team had only seven limited-overs games
slated before the showpiece tournament.

"It's important we try to fit some more one-dayers before the World Cup,"
Carlisle said.

"We are sitting down this week with the chief executive and the board to
discuss this.

"At the moment we have just seven one-dayers before the World Cup.

"That's no good at all."

Zimbabwe was also to host six World Cup games, but South African cricket
officials now admit that plan is in doubt.

The Zimbabwe Cricket union also awaits news on whether New Zealand will head
over for a one-day series in October.

It now seems more than likely the Black Caps will instead head to Pakistan.

They were scheduled last October to tour Pakistan, but the trip was scrapped
in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Carlisle said some of the country's young and talented cricketers were
leaving the country because of the difficult political and social situation

He said, if international teams continued to avoid travelling to Zimbabwe,
the exodus of players would grow and the very fabric of the game in the
country could be irreparably harmed.

"We have lost a couple of young guys," Carlisle said.

"We probably lost three or four young, talented guys. They probably thought
it was better for them to leave.

"It's very hard for young guys to live here at the moment."

Carlisle said he could understand the ACB's decision to pull out of the

"At the end of the day if something happened it would be an embarrassing
situation for us as well," he said.

"We thought it would go ahead but, I suppose in saying that, I can
understand their concern."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Dear Family and Friends,
This week Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said that commercial farmers being evicted from their properties could not take their moveable assets, such as tractors and irrigation equipment, with them. He said that the Government were considering introducing a Statutory Instrument to stop farmers from removing their farm implements when they are evicted from their land. I quote: "These agricultural assets must be left on the acquired farms for use by new commercial farmers. We are stopping forthwith the exportation of agricultural machinery and equipment. .... No asset of an agricultural nature should be moved off the commercial farms." To summarize two years of pronouncements by Dr Made on behalf of the Zimbabwe government: We are taking your land; you may not grow food; any grain that is grown may only be sold to the State; we are taking your homes and now, we are taking your equipment as well. I am reading Schindlers Ark (List) and in places the similarities to the persecution of Jews is frightening. When the author talks of Jews being forced to move into ghetto's he says that people seemed almost relieved by the horrific outrage. "...there were strange elements of homecoming to it, as well as that sense of arriving at a limit beyond which, with any luck, you wouldn't be further uprooted or tyrannized..."   Farmers in Zimbabwe have reached their limit. They need a directive and a direction and sadly many are now being forced to make plans to leave as they have no way of earning a living. Farmers in Zimbabwe have begun to realise that there is no point at which our government will stop, there are no guarantees and many cannot go on. While Dr Made continues to make pronouncements stripping farmers of every single thing they have worked decades to build up, hunger has begun to take hold. Even the ZBC television this week finally saw fit to tell us what we already know. There is no food in the ground and hundreds of thousands of people have applied for food aid. The television cameras showed footage of dead, shrivelled maize in all areas of the country. The commentator explained how drought had devastated crops but said nothing about billions of dollars of irrigation equipment lying idle because farmers with knowledge, experience and equipment had been forcibly stopped from saving us from starvation. It is a diabolical situation and I believe unparalleled in world history. So many people have chosen to stay silent for two years as the outrages on farms have continued and now, with no sugar, oil, milk and roller meal, they are paying the price of their silence. As I predicted some months ago, the shortage of maize for stock feed has begun to be felt in the supermarkets. Egg supplies are dwindling, chicken is becoming harder and harder to find and undoubtedly bread will be next as Dr Made has said that 100 000 hectares of land will be used to grow maize through winter. There are only 160 000 hectares of irrigable land in Zimbabwe and 60% of that is supposed to be used for growing wheat in winter. Other government agricultural officials this week said they intended to cull 50% of sugar plantations and put that land to maize as well. Inflation is over 110%, unemployment over 60%, hundreds of thousands of people have no food and decades of development have been completely destroyed for political gain. People who have chosen to stay silent - farmers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, shop assistants - must stand up and be counted now or think of ways of telling their children why there is no supper tonight or breakfast tomorrow. Until next week, with love, cathy.     
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Washington adds bishop of Harare to sanctions list

Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Saturday March 30, 2002
The Guardian

Washington has added the Anglican bishop of Harare and Zimbabwe's richest
businessman, who is a UK resident, to its list of Robert Mugabe's close
associates subject to sanctions.
The Americans say the listing of politicians, generals and senior civil
servants as banned from the US, and the freezing of their assets there, is
designed to punish those who help keep Mr Mugabe in power or who profit from
his rule. The spouses and children of those named are also barred from the

Washington is consulting the European Union to coordinate measures against
the named individuals. The EU is expected to announce its own expanded
blacklist before long.

The latest subjected to personal sanctions include Bishop Nolbert Kunonga,
who has divided the Anglican church in Zimbabwe by his outspoken support for
land seizures and his derision of Mr Mugabe's black opponents as puppets of
the west.

The travel ban and freezing of assets may be particularly painful for those
who do business in America. These include John Bredenkamp, a former
Rhodesian national rugby captain, who lives part of the time in Ascot, where
he runs a sports agency which represents stars such as Ernie Els and
François Pienaar.

In Zimbabwe he is better known as a multi-million-dollar arms dealer who
breached sanctions for Ian Smith's white regime but is now one of the few
white men to have Mr Mugabe's ear.

Mr Bredenkamp was named in the Commons in November as one of Mr Mugabe's
"henchmen" and "the main arms supplier to Zimbabwe and its adventure in the

Other businessmen on the list include Billy Rautenbach, who oversaw Mr
Mugabe's mining interests in Congo. He is wanted for fraud in South Africa,
where he has been named as a primary suspect for the murder of the head of
the Daewoo car company there. At the time of the killing Mr Rautenbach had
the franchise for Hyundai.

Also included is Mutumwa Mawere, who lives mostly in Johannesburg but is
described as Zanu-PF's money launderer. He spends a lot of time in the US
and personally pleaded with American officials to be excluded from the list.

The latest people named are in addition to 20 politicians and top military
officers already barred from the US.

But the most unusual name on the list is Bishop Kunonga. He first caused
uproar in the Anglican church a month after he was installed as bishop of
Harare last April, with a speech supporting Mr Mugabe by deriding the
president's opponents and claiming that criticising human rights abuses was
a cover for opposing land redistribution.

In January he declared that Mr Mugabe was more Christian than himself. The
Anglican Church's own justice, peace and reconciliation committee has
accused Bishop Kunonga of longstanding links with the ruling party.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From Business Day (SA), 30 March

Mugabe victory stalls DRC peace

Rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said the re-election of
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was bad news for efforts to end the war
in their country, in which Mugabe's troops are fighting on the side of the
government. The secretary general of the Congolese Liberation Movement
(MLC), Olivier Kamitatu, said they believed Mugabe's victory had seen
Kinshasa harden its stance at peace talks in South Africa. The talks have
deadlocked over a dispute on the formation of a new army for the DRC which
would unite regular soldiers and rebels. "We suspect there is a link between
the arrogance of the government in the military commission and Mugabe's
victory," Kamitatu said. "If (Morgan) Tsvangirai had won the elections at
least we would have gotten some assurance that Zimbabwe will withdraw its
troops, but Mugabe will retain his interests in the Congo, by which we of
course mean his mineral interests," he added.

The Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) described the announcement that
Mugabe had taken 56.2% of the vote as "a tragedy." "It is a parody of
democracy and it is sad for all of Africa. Certainly with Mugabe we are not
moving rapidly towards a withdrawal of foreign troops, though this has to
happen for the sake of peace," RCD spokesman Kin-Kiey Mulumba said. Other
rebel representatives privately said they had hoped Mugabe would be defeated
as this would have put Kinshasa at a psychological disadvantage in the peace
talks. The war in the DRC broke out in August 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda
invaded the country to back the rebels' attempts to overthrow the Kinshasa
regime, which has had Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad and Namibia fighting on its
side. The foreign belligerents, who stand accused of plundering the DRC's
mineral resources, are obliged to withdraw from the country under a 1999
Lusaka peace accord, but only Chad and Namibia have so far done so.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Tougher sanctions loom for Zimbabwe

HARARE  - Zimbabwe's government is facing the prospect of stronger
international sanctions following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe
in a vote condemned by the international community and numerous observer
groups as being deeply flawed.
The United States and several European nations said Mugabe's victory in the
weekend elections was marred by violence and intimidation.

The United States and Britain threatened to beef up sanctions focusing on
Mugabe and his allies. The European Union, which imposed economic and
diplomatic sanctions last month after Mugabe refused to let its monitors
observe the elections, has threatened further punishment.

EU leaders are expected to discuss the situation in a summit in Spain this

"We do not recognise the outcome of the election because we think it's
flawed," US President George W. Bush said after Zimbabwean officials
declared that Mugabe had won another six-year term.

"We are dealing with our friends to figure out how to deal with this flawed
election," Bush told a news conference in Washington.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell alleged the Mugabe administration had
subverted democratic principles and processes for more than two years.

"Mugabe can claim victory but not democratic legitimacy," Powell said.

The United States imposed travel sanctions against Mugabe and his allies
last month.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was "anxious about the situation,"
appealing to Zimbabweans to stay calm and saying they "showed amazing
commitment and patience in the way they turned out and tried to vote."

Annan told a news conference he was getting conflicting reports from
election observers on whether the vote was free and fair.

"But there is clearly great controversy both within the country and abroad
about the way the elections were organised and conducted," he said.

The EU last month cut off E128-million in development aid for the 2002-2007
period, banned all travel to the EU for Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet
ministers and froze their assets in Europe.

Amid cries of foul play by the opposition, the government said Mugabe had
won the election with about 56.2% of the vote, while former labour leader
Morgan Tsvangirai had 42% of the 3.1 million votes cast. The remaining votes
went to other candidates or were spoiled.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Star (SA), 29 March

Police tear-gas rioters in Bulawayo

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - Police used tear gas to break up a riot on Friday in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, after pro-government militias staged attacks in a populous township and met resistance from residents. The riot began around 8am in Sizenda township, where residents had teamed up to stone the militia base at a community hall in retaliation for militia attacks during the night on homes in the neighborhood, witnesses said. "When they went there, there were two guys within the militia armed with AK-47 rifles, which they fired into the air," said one witness. "But they kept on stoning the hall, which is when the riot police came out and started firing tear gas." The militia had marched through Sizenda two weeks ago, demanding that the ruling Zanu PF pay them Z$18 000 dollars (about R3 700). Their raids during the night on Thursday were apparently in frustration at not receiving the money demanded and losing the food supplies that had been given to them during the period around Zimbabwe's hotly contested March 9-11 presidential election.

Residents and at least 200 riot police staged running battles for more than four hours. Residents blocked off the main roads in the township and stoned cars that refused to turn around and leave. Police fired tear gas at random in Sizenda and managed to break up the riot and dismantle the roadblocks by 12.30pm, an AFP correspondent reported. After the riot died down, the militia remained huddled inside the community hall. "It looks like they are now scared even to go outside and see what is going on," one witness said. Police officials in Bulawayo referred questions to the national police headquarters in Harare, where officials were not reachable for comment. Pro-government militants have staged regular attacks around Zimbabwe for more than two years, but widespread retaliation has been rare.

The MDC has accused the militias of engaging in violent attacks of retribution against its supporters for opposing President Robert Mugabe in the hotly contested presidential election. The party said Friday that the militia had destroyed the homes of at least six of its polling agents in the central district of Gokwe during and after the election. "MDC polling agents are living in fear following threats on their lives by ZANU-PF militia and war veterans," the MDC said in a statement Friday. "Many of the polling agents are no longer sleeping at their homes at night," the statement said. "Members of the Zanu PF militia and war veterans have reportedly vowed to continue persecuting members of the MDC until the party accepts the presidential election results," it said. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to recognise Mugabe's re-election, saying the poll was "massively rigged" and citing widespread pre-election violence targetting his supporters.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

 Print Media- the election aftermath
Update # 2002-08- Print March 18th - March 24th 2002
1.  General comment- election aftermath
2.  Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth
3.  Political violence
4.  The ZCTU stay away
5.  Media Issues
1.  COMMENT: ELECTION AFTERMATH The coverage of the presidential election results revealed the polarization of the Zimbabwean press.  The government owned press expressly endorsed the result whilst the private press rejected them as illegitimate.  The public press gave ample space to organizations and observers that declared the election legitimate.  In contrast, the private press highlighted the local and international voices that rejected the result and engaged its own investigations revealing electoral irregularities, which it used as evidence to reach its conclusion.  Notably, the public press deliberately ignored the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer report (which it discredited on the basis that the group was funded by the European Union) that declared the result illegitimate.  Instead, prominence was given to other SADC government voices endorsing the poll as legitimate.

2.  COMMONWEALTH Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth attracted significant press coverage.  Prior to the decision, the print media generally concurred that the Commonwealth risked a credibility status with regard to its stance on the Zimbabwean question.  What differed between the two sections of the press was the action to be taken.  The public press said suspending or imposing sanctions would compromise the group's credibility on a racial basis, citing favourable reports from observers who deemed the poll result legitimate.  Conversely, the private press cited those observer groups that believed the opposite to justify calls for drastic action against the government.
Predictably, the private press welcomed the decision to suspend Zimbabwe.  The Daily News (21/3) ran a comment saying the government deserved "expulsion" rather than suspension.  The private press particularly emphasised the fact that the decision was made by the two African leaders, apparently to dispel public media allegations of racism within the Commonwealth.
The public press simply parroted the government stance.  It dismissed the suspension on racial grounds and went further to question the benefit of Commonwealth membership for African countries (The Herald 20/3).  The pattern of coverage sought to play down the impact of the suspension, describing it as only "symbolic" and of little effect.  The Herald (20/3) quoted an unnamed analyst who said, "it (the decision) is certain to boomerang because Africans are going to ask themselves why anyone should belong to the Commonwealth because the benefits are nowhere to be seen." Government officials were given unchallenged space to reject the decision as flawed and inspired by hostile members of the "white Commonwealth."  Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge, likened it to "being savaged by a dead sheep", The Herald (21/3).  ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted by The Daily News (20/3)
saying, "The decision does not change anything for us at all.
Life goes on nothing has changed."
It was The Zimbabwe Independent (22/3) and The Daily News (22/3) that exposed that, contrary to official statements, the government was indeed ruffled.  The papers quoted the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, saying President Mugabe "erupted" and took the decision "badly".  None of this appeared in the state press.
The Financial Gazette (21/3) provided more helpful analysis of the expulsion.  Besides quoting local academics explaining the meaning of the suspension, it also ran Reuters news agency reports that gave an international perspective.  The thrust of the Reuters analysis was to determine how the two African leaders, known to be close to Mugabe, had reached their decision.  One Lagos report claimed that Obasanjo "reluctantly" backed the Commonwealth for his own credibility in light of pending elections in his country and a wish to host the Commonwealth summit next year.
Another reported that British Premier Tony Blair sent President Mbeki a warning to influence his position on Zimbabwe.  This was partly corroborated by The Sunday Mail (24/3) report "West accused of double standards", which said Western funding for Mbeki's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)
initiative, heavily influenced his decision.  This was reinforced by The Financial Gazette (22/3) and The Standard (24/3).
Press coverage of the possibility of a coalition government featured prominently in the press.  But while The Daily News and The Herald (20/3) reported that Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki had proposed MDC-Zanu PF reconciliation talks and a coalition government, the purpose of such an arrangement remained vague.  Both papers gave prominence to Tsvangirai's refusal because, according to The Daily News, "the conditions did not exist in the country for talks."
The Herald avoided reporting the fact that the leaders had requested "a joint committee" and that Tsvangirai had rejected the idea on the basis of "massive retribution" against his supporters, as reported by The Daily News.  Herald readers were only given a brief glimpse of what transpired.  The rest of the report was dominated by comments from Information Minister Jonathan Moyo saying his party was willing to talk with the MDC.
He was not challenged to explain his position on the issue of a government of national unity.  Neither was he made to explain his previous stance; that unity was achieved back in 1987 between ZANU PF and ZAPU, and was therefore unnecessary now.  The MDC was never directly quoted or afforded the opportunity to explain, leaving the impression that the MDC was indeed stalling unity.
The thrust of the report headlined, "MDC backtracks on reconciliation talks," clearly blamed the mendacious nature of the MDC.  It was left to The Financial Gazette to clarify the purpose of the coalition.  It published a Reuters report quoting Obasanjo saying a coalition government was for "unity, security, the issue of division, the issue of polarization and the essential issue of the economy." The Nigerian president also confirmed that the international community was considering the possibility of restaging the election.  He was quoted saying, "There will be an election.we are talking about the short to medium term."
However, he was not challenged to qualify how long this was in terms of time.
All the media failed to make the connection between the coalition advocated by Obasanjo and earlier efforts by the presidents of Mozambique and Malawi (The Daily News and The Herald 18/3).
The Herald effectively masked the fact that the two leaders had recommended a government of national unity, a fact pointedly made by The Daily News.  It simply stated that the two leaders met Tsvangirai "to impress on him the need to cooperate with the government for greater unity and prosperity."
The Daily News (22/3) broke the news that the African, Caribbean and Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly had turned the germ of an election re-run into hard fact when it quoted resolutions at the meeting calling on Zimbabwe to re-run the presidential poll and drop treason charges against the MDC leadership, among other things.  However, this was called into doubt the next day when The Herald responded with a story that effectively contradicted The Daily News report.  It claimed that ACP countries ".had refused to endorse a resolution tabled by the European Union.calling for fresh elections in Zimbabwe" and concentrated on alleged divisions between ACP and EU countries and the abuse of procedure by the session's chairperson, Glenys Kinnock.
The report, "EU vote on Zim rapped" told its readers that the ACP countries had delivered a "formal protest" to the assembly regretting ".the adoption, by the European Union side alone, of the resolution on Zimbabwe of which they have, however, taken note".  While The Herald carried some detail of the procedures and the decisions of Mrs Kinnock who ".  used her new position as co-president of the JPA to pursue her anti- Zimbabwe crusade," the paper mysteriously declined to name its diplomatic sources and failed to access comment from the two government officials who attended the assembly.
There was no way of resolving the conflict arising out of these two reports.  But as this update was being compiled a new and more ominous development began to appear in the two papers, with The Herald and The Daily News (27/3) reporting Minister Moyo threatening to prosecute Daily News editor, Geoff Nyarota under the new Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act over his paper's story of the ACP-EU meeting.

3.  POLITICAL VIOLENCE Despite incessant government press editorials calling for unity and cooperation, the private press provided comprehensive evidence of a systematic and sustained retribution campaign against people suspected to have voted for the MDC in the presidential election.
Targets ranged from suspected MDC supporters, workers, civil servants, farmers, to independent press vendors.  The violence was blamed on Zanu PF supporters.
The murder of a Norton farmer, Terry Ford, received wide press attention.  While the government press treated the murder as another crime report, the private press named Zanu PF supporters and war veterans as perpetrators.  The Zimbabwe Independent quoted the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) saying the extent of post-election violence on farms had "reached alarming proportions".
The private press recorded 32 violence-related stories containing 67 incidents of violence.  All the reports were blamed on ZANU PF supporters, war veterans or security forces.
The public press recorded five violence related stories containing the same number of incidents.  Two stories were about ZANU PF in- fighting in Masvingo following the death of a war veteran, Amos Masendeke.  ZANU PF supporters and war veterans were blamed one each.  The MDC was blamed three times.
MMPZ has recorded nine politically motivated murders during the week under review, all in the private press.  Two occurred on farms and the rest were named MDC activists.  The perpetrators were alleged to be ZANU PF supporters or war veterans.  The deaths were mostly linked to the ruling party's campaign of retribution.
The Financial Gazette reported that at least six people had been killed in political violence since March 11 2002, all of them MDC supporters.  In the same vein, The Zimbabwe Independent reported that 10 white farmers had been murdered in since 2000.  The same paper reported that the discovery of the charred remains of an Nkayi village headman had "raised fears of mass murders as dozens of people disappeared or went missing in the district before the poll and have not been accounted for."

4.  THE ZCTU STAYAWAY Both the private and public press agreed that the ZCTU's call for a national strike had failed.  The private press was more reticent in its reportage.  The public press measured the stay-away against President Mugabe's inauguration speech calling for national cooperation.  Large tracts of the public press's news pages were devoted to government officials, the police and business organizations accusing the ZCTU of sabotage.  The official position was that the demonstration was "politically motivated", designed to undermine President Mugabe's re-election.
The public press feasted on the failure of the stayaway and used it to question the credibility of the ZCTU and the MDC.  No distinction was made between the two organizations.  One report (21/3)
headlined "Tsvangirai irrelevant in new political dispensation"
sent a wrong message altogether by suggesting that Tsvangirai himself had organized the industrial action.  The report claimed that the Commonwealth suspension was meant to coincide with the stayaway, stating, "Unfortunately for Mr.  Tsvangirai, the stayaway was a monumental flop as workers ignored it and turned up for work, further dampening his chances of organizing a "popular revolt" against the presidential election result."
Yet according to the organizers the action was meant to draw attention to government threats to the labour movement and victimization of its members by government authorities and ZANU PF supporters.  Not the presidential poll results.  The Sunday Mail (24/3) further expanded this notion, alleging that the MDC had initiated the stay-away and had used the ZCTU as a whip boy.  The Herald (21/3) comment said the failure was significant in that it showed that "for most urban people, economic troubles are more important than political wishes.  The failure has removed the spectre of mass action in Zimbabwe politics following the presidential elections."
The private press blamed the failure on other factors like poor organization, police brutality, and repressive legislation and, according to The Daily News (21/3), an alleged threat from war veterans.  The Daily News reported that a socialist labour group, Left Wing, had its members assaulted by police for supporting the job action.

5.  MEDIA ISSUES President Mugabe signed the controversial Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill into law.  Predictably, coverage remained polarized in the press.  The public press endorsed the development and continued to parrot the voice of officialdom.  The private press remained vigilant and critically highlighted its repugnancy.  The Daily News and The Financial Gazette carried comments rejecting the Act.  The Financial Gazette observed that the signing of the legislation together with other abuses showed President Mugabe was not sincere with his nation-building pledge.
This report was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: Feel free to respond to MMPZ.  We may not be able to respond to everything, but we will look at each message.
Also please, feel free to circulate this message.
To unsubscribe, send a request to
Back to the Top
Back to Index

 Electronic Media- the election aftermath
Electronic report
 March 18- March 24 2002 Weekly report 2002-
1.  Election aftermath
2.  Post election violence
3.  The ZCTU stay away
1.  THE ELECTION AFTERMATH The week opened with Mr.  Mugabe's calls for unity being broadcast by ZBC throughout the week.  His muted appeal followed the controversial presidential election whose results were endorsed by regional leaders and rejected by the Commonwealth, the SADC Parliamentary Forum and western countries.
ZBC (18/03, 8pm) reported the meeting between Morgan Tsvangirai and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
Both Muluzi and Chissano were said to have told Mr.  Tsvangirai that "national interest should come first".
In an attempt to portray the MDC leader as standing against nation building, ZTV (18/03, 8pm) reporter Faith Zaba referred to previous reports in which the opposition leader's statements were deliberately distorted by the broadcaster.  The reporter stated: "Mr.
Tsvangirai's party has been lobbying for sanctions.  MDC was disappointed when the Commonwealth refused to impose immediate sanctions and suspend Zimbabwe from the grouping.  Mr.  Tsvangirai three months ago asked South Africa to cut off transport and fuel links to Zimbabwe".
Footage of Mr.  Mugabe calling for unity was screened.
In the same report, ZTV re-screened South African deputy president Jacob Zuma endorsing the election results.  Zaba went on to state that the "behaviour of opposition parties is not surprising" and cited Mozambique's Renamo, Unita in Angola, opposition in Zambia and the Democrats in the US as having rejected results in their countries, reinforcing the impression created by ZBC that Tsvangirai's rejection of the results had no basis The broadcaster (18/03, 8pm) also reported that Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo had called for unity among Zimbabwe's political leadership during their meetings with Mugabe and Tsvangirai on their way to London to decide what action the Commonwealth should take following the damning verdict of its election observer team.  Picking up a Herald (19/3) report that claimed the MDC had agreed to hold talks with ZANU PF after its meeting with Mbeki and Obasanjo, ZTV (19/03, 8pm) stated that following "the apparent U-turn on its rejection of the poll result, the MDC executive was expected to meet this afternoon to consider the agenda and format of the talks with ZANU PF."
No comment was sought from the MDC.  The report merely relied on the unsubstantiated Herald article.
Mr.  Tsvangirai was only accorded the opportunity to respond to regional leaders' calls for unity on SW Radio Africa (22/3).  He said the MDC would not engage with government in "any meaningful discussions until violence was put to an end".  He further stated that his party's main concern was the restoration of a legitimate government "through an election in the near future".
Reasons for the regional leaders' calls for unity only became clear towards the end of the week, days after Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, when the private press reported that unity was meant to facilitate an election re-run and quoted Obasanjo in this context saying there would be another election.  The state broadcaster ignored this development.
ZBC's coverage of the Commonwealth left no doubt that the broadcaster is unwilling to air negative news about Zimbabwe.
Before the meeting of the Commonwealth troika in London to decide Zimbabwe's fate, ZBC (18/03, 8pm) aired a preview of the meeting in an effort to discredit the Commonwealth observer team report.  ZBC's Judith Makwanya stated (ZTV, 18/03, 8pm): "General Abubakar, under pressure to appease the British, issued a negative interim report saying the election was not free and fair, a development strongly opposed by some black members of the observer team".  As proof that black members were against the report, footage of a Namibian member of the Commonwealth observer team, Margaret Mensah dissociating herself from the report was re-screened.
After the report, ZTV interviewed political commentator, Dr.  Norman Mlambo, who said "there will be victory for Zimbabwe" since Mbeki and Obasanjo would base their judgments on the reports issued by their respective countries' observer teams.  Mlambo was not challenged on his misleading statements since the troika was to base its decision on the Commonwealth observer group report.
When ZTV (19/03, 8pm) broke the news that Zimbabwe had been suspended from the Commonwealth, it relegated the story to the last item after the weather and sports news despite billing the story in its headlines.  The newscaster stated that the decision to suspend Zimbabwe "was meant to be a face-saver for Britain that has been in the forefront of de-campaigning Zimbabwe because of wide differences with Harare government over the land issue".
All ZBC radio stations carried the report in its morning bulletins (20/3, 6am & 7am).
Predictably, the suspension attracted severe government criticism.
Immediately after ZTV announced the suspension of Zimbabwe, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was accorded more than four minutes to comment.  In spite of the fact that Moyo initially stated that the Foreign Affairs Minister would make an "appropriate statement" on the suspension, he went on to attack the Commonwealth observer report:
".The report of the Commonwealth observer a heavily opinionated report, one sided document totally out of step.  It is a bad report that can only lead to bad decisions.the report lacks credibility and cannot stand any objective scrutiny." Moyo also stated that the report was written well before the observer team had arrived in the country.  He said: "
They could not have had time to write such a long report after the announcement of the results."
Moyo did not provide evidence to substantiate his claims.
When Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge responded to the suspension (ZTV, 20/3, 8pm & ZBC radio 21/3, 6am) he also attacked the Commonwealth report saying: ".The composition of the Commonwealth observer group was heavily influenced by the Secretary-General and those member countries who habour well known negative dispositions and hidden agendas against Zimbabwe."
In an attempt to portray the suspension as baseless, ZTV (20/3,
8pm) lumped together old footage of regional diplomats who appeared in support of Zimbabwe.  The footage included a clip on General Abubakar stating that the media was exaggerating incidents of political violence.  Abubakar later denied making such statements saying that ZBC had distorted what he said.
Interestingly, ZTV still found the clip useful to peddle its editorial slant.
In its follow-up, ZBC attempted to downplay the underlying implications of the suspension.  ZTV (20/3, 8pm) stated:
"Zimbabwe has more to benefit from regional bodies such as SADC and COMESA than from the annual and symbolic attachment of the Commonwealth and the former colonial power, Britain led by the Queen."  The report was also carried on
3FM (21/03, 6am).
Radio Zimbabwe (21/03, 6am) quoted Dr.  Mlambo saying the suspension would not have much impact on Zimbabwe as it excluded sanctions.
As a way of down-playing the economic impact of the suspension, ZTV (20/3, 8pm) in its business news slot, reported that: "Despite news of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, the equities market was firm today".
On the other hand, SW Radio Africa (20/3) quoted Prof.  Masipula Sithole explaining how the suspension would further isolate Zimbabwe.
Before the suspension ZBC had led its audiences to believe that Mbeki and Obasanjo and other African leaders supported Zimbabwe and would not agree to the suspension of the country from the club.  When it was announced that the troika had done the opposite, ZTV (20/3, 8pm) was at pains to convince its audience that Mbeki and Obasanjo were still behind Zimbabwe.  State television reported that: "Local analysts have commended efforts by the two heads of state, Mbeki and Obasanjo for preventing the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the Commonwealth".
But it provided no evidence to prove that the two African leaders had stalled the imposition of sanctions.
While ZBC was busy re-broadcasting Mugabe's inauguration speech in the context of his appeal for unity, the state formally charged Tsvangirai with treason and remanded him out of custody on $1.5m bail.  However, the state broadcaster misled the public into believing Tsvangirai had been arrested while trying to escape Zimbabwe.
ZTV and Radio Zimbabwe (20/03, 8pm) stated: "MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested today after he attempted to flee the country." This was false as Tsvangirai was at home when the state decided to press charges against him.
ZBC did not offer any explanation for the charges in the context of.
Mugabe's calls for unity.
SW Radio Africa (20/3), attempted to do this and quoted MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube saying the "action flies flat in the face of its (government's) call for reconciliation".  Ncube added that the unity appeal was aimed at "vanquishing the MDC like they did with ZAPU".

2.  POST ELECTION VIOLENCE Despite Mugabe's calls for unity during his inaugural speech, the private press and SW Radio Africa carried reports of post-election violence perpetrated by alleged ZANU PF supporters against MDC sympathizers.  ZBC ignored the reports.  On the murder of Norton farmer Terry Ford, ZBC (3FM, 18/03, 8pm & ZTV, 19/03 7am &
8pm) stated that the murder was not linked to political violence.
ZTV newscaster stated that: "Police have ruled out any political motive in the murder of a Norton commercial farmer yesterday saying the suspects arrested so far have been linked to other criminal activities in the area".
Assistant Inspector Andrew Phiri was quoted reinforcing this view when he said: ".we have further recovered another weapon which was reported stolen from another farm further strengthening the fact that these are purely criminal elements we are dealing with."
While ZBC reported the incident as non-political, SW Radio Africa (18/3, Newsreel) linked the murder to ZANU PF supporters.  The station quoted CFU spokesperson Jenni Williams who gave an account of what transpired.  The station also reported that one of the suspects still at large was a war veteran.
ZTV (19/03, 7am) also made it clear that it was not willing to expose ZANU PF's violent nature when it reported: "Police are also investigating the murder of a farm guard in Marondera, allegedly killed by people who settled on the farm".  The political affiliation of the settlers was deliberately ignored and the circumstances leading to the guard's death were not given.
Those who could access SW Radio Africa had an opportunity to hear of ZANU PF's retribution after the election.  Throughout the week the short wave station reported on the attack of MDC supporters in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.  Among those accused of perpetrating violence was ZANU Ndonga member Wilson Kumbula who lost the election in his stronghold of Chipinge South.  However, Kumbula denied (21/03) he was behind the violence that engulfed Chipinge South after the election.  He blamed ZANU PF. 
The main sources in all the station's reports were MDC supporters.
MMPZ repeats its observation that SW Radio Africa should inform its audiences of the cases where the authorities refuse to comment in order to avoid allegations of bias.

3.  THE ZCTU STAY STRIKE Right from the eve of the ZCTU stay-away through to its end; ZBC linked the labour movement's protest against the state violation of workers' rights to the MDC.  While reporting Tobaiwa Mudede's denial that the election was rigged, ZBC's Judith Makwanya stated (ZTV, 19/03, 8pm): "Political analysts said while the most logical thing to do for the MDC is seeking legal redress, the party is instead attempting to cause chaos in the country by supporting an industrial action by workers through the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions which gave birth to the MDC."
Excerpts of Mugabe's inauguration speech calling for unity were re- screened in the same report to give the impression that while ZANU PF was calling for unity the labour movement influenced by the MDC was taking a confrontational route.
In the same bulletin newscaster Obriel Mpofu stated: "The decision by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
to stage a stay-away has been described by members of the business community and the ZFTU, which now consists of the bulk of workers in the country, as a setback in revitalizing the economy."
Little known Business People's Forum leader and Alfred Mukwarimba the president of the ZFTU were quoted criticizing the ZCTU.  The report stated that the ZFTU has about 800 000 members.  There was no mention of how many members the ZCTU has to support claims that the ZFTU "consists of the bulk of workers".
All ZBC radio stations (19/03, 8pm) also quoted Joseph Chinotimba ZFTU vice-president criticizing the ZCTU.
Two ZCTU affiliates, Associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Leather Workers Union were quoted dissociating their unions from the planned stay-away (ZTV, 19/3, 8pm & radio, 20/03, am bulletins).
Contrary to ZBC reports that some affiliates had dissociated themselves from the stay-away, SW Radio Africa (19/03) reported:
"Other workers' unions have backed the ZCTU stay-away".
However, the station only quoted one workers' union, the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ) as proof.
ZBC (ZTV and all radio stations, 19/03, 8pm & 20/03, am bulletins)
as is now the norm, quoted carefully selected samples of members of the public around the country denouncing ZCTU plans.
No comment was sought from the ZCTU to explain its position.
Instead, Minister Moyo got himself into ZTV's bulletin ZTV (19/03,
8pm) linking the planned stay-away to the MDC and attacked the party for accepting the results of the Harare mayoral elections while rejecting the presidential elections.  Moyo said ZANU PF was the "only party with a track record of accepting an election result whichever way it goes".
He stated that ZANU PF had accepted the results of the June 2000 elections, and other mayoral elections and asked: "What is it about these people that makes them feel so special that an election is free and fair only if they win and that if they don't win we must keep having elections - re-election is what we hear Morgan Tsvangirai talking about - until they win?"
Moyo was allowed to mislead ZTV audiences into believing that his party had accepted all elections results when it had gone to court to contest the outcome of the Seke constituency 2000 election result and is challenging the Masvingo and Chegutu mayoral election results.
In its subsequent reports, ZBC gave updates on the situation on the ground across the country and continued to quote members of the public, government officials and some business people denigrating the ZCTU.  The labour body was not given any opportunity to respond to any of the allegations made against it.
SW Radio Africa also carried updates on the stay-away.
Both ZTV and ZBC's radio stations (21/03, 8pm) reported that following a "flopped" ZCTU stays-away, the union's executive decided to engage government and abandon the confrontational approach.  ZBC reporter Reuben Barwe stated on ZTV: ".ZCTU today made a policy u-turn to abandon its confrontational approach.  ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said today the labour body will be minimizing confrontation."
Instead of according the labour union space to air their views ZTV quoted Labour Minister July Moyo stating that the stay away was illegal.
ZCTU officials Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo were only given the opportunity to explain to the public why they called for a stay-away on SW Radio Africa (19/03).  The station also quoted members of civic society who believed the ZCTU mass action was justified.
While ZBC gave the impression that the stay-away had failed because Zimbabweans wanted to revive the economy, SW Radio Africa (20/3) quoted a human rights activist Brian Kagoro saying "the message went out rather late and there was confusion as to whether it was on or off".  Matombo was also quoted in the same bulletin saying the response to the strike was not good because it was "being carried out in an environment of intimidation and harassment," adding that businesses were forced to open.
Radio Zimbabwe (23/03, 7am) reported that seven youths were arrested in Harare, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi for forcing people to stay away from their jobs.  The youths were said to belong to the MDC.  No evidence was provided to substantiate the claim.
ZBC 's coverage of the strike was not short of its usual racist conspiracy plots that whites had closed their shops forcing workers to stay away (ZTV, 20/03, 8pm)
This report was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: Feel free to respond to MMPZ.  We may not be able to respond to everything, but we will look at each message. 
Also please, feel free to circulate this message.
To unsubscribe, send a request to
Back to the Top
Back to Index