Ministers Challenged over Zimbabwe
By Nick Mead,
Political Staff, PA News
Ministers were today challenged to "stop
walking by on the other side" over
Shadow foreign secretary
Michael Ancram called in the Commons for the
Government to freeze assets of
wealthy businessmen who fund the country's
leader Robert Mugabe, extend
European Union sanctions and ask the United
Nations to monitor food
Mr Ancram asked at question time: "When will you do more
than just wring
your hands about Zimbabwe?
"When will the Government
start freezing the assets of wealthy businessmen,
some of them in this
country, who bankroll Mugabe?
"When will you extend and tighten the EU
targeted sanctions to bring real
and effective pressure on Mugabe and his
"When will the Government formally ask the UN to deploy UN
staff to monitor
the distribution of food in Zimbabwe?"
"When will the
Government show some moral courage and stop walking by on the
Junior Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin accused Tories over
on Zimbabwe, saying some Conservative MPs had shaken hands with
Britain played "a leading part" in extending EU sanctions, he
He added that ministers took the Zimbabwe issue "very seriously
we have been extremely proactive".
For Immediate Release
"ZENGEZA BY-ELECTION NOT FREE AND FAIR," U. S.
The following Press Guidance was issued by the United
States Department of
State on March 29 at the end of the March 27 - 28
by-election that was controversially won by the ruling
ZANU PF party:
"We condemn the violence, intimidation, and irregularities
prior to and during the March 27 - 28 Zengeza parliamentary
The election's improprieties preclude it from being deemed free
The by-election should have been a routine and peaceful
expression of a
local constituency's political will. Instead, it became
another symbol of
the ruling party's pursuit of electoral victories at the
expense of the
peaceful expression of democratic rights in
According to credible reports, two youth supporters from the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were shot, one fatally, on
during an armed attack by ruling party supporters on the home of the
candidate. We call upon the Zimbabwean government to investigate the
and prosecute those responsible.
The violence and irregularities
of the Zengeza election are also troubling
because of what they portend for
another by-election in May and for
nationwide parliamentary elections in
For future elections to be free and fair, the Zimbabwean
government must act
now to regularize the political environment.
Specifically, it must ensure
freedom of the press and of association,
suppress and prosecute political
violence, allow unfettered political
campaigning, and establish an
independent electoral supervisory
March 30, 2004
From The Cape Times (SA), 30 March
Zanu PF edges closer to a
Harare: Zimbabwe's ruling party edged closer
yesterday to the two-thirds
majority it needs to push through constitutional
changes after winning a
parliamentary by-election marred by the death of an
Mugabe's Zanu PF party and the main opposition Movement
Change (MDC) fiercely contested the weekend poll in Zengeza,
of here. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Zanu PF
had secured the
parliamentary seat, previously held by the MDC which has lost
three seats to
Zanu PF in by-elections in the past four years. Zanu PF Harare
spokesman Winston Dzawo hailed the victory as a turning point of
fortunes in major towns. The MDC denounced the result as "daylight
The vote was marred by the shooting of MDC youth activist Francis
on Sunday. Two other opposition activists were wounded when
supporters fired shots near the house of the MDC candidate for
Zengeza seat was left vacant after the resignation of MDC deputy
Musekiwa, who fled to Britain last year citing political persecution
PF supporters. Zanu PF needs two more seats to get a parliamentary
which analysts say is only possible if there are more by-elections
next year's poll.
From Business Day (SA), 30 March
Zimbabwean minister reassures
Harare - Zimbabwe will
consult extensively before it introduces proposed new
mining legislation to
propel black entrepreneurs into the crisis-ridden
economy. Mines Minister
Amos Midzi said he would consult widely before he
took to parliament the
draft Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, which has
sparked panic in the
mining sector. "It's going through consultations at the
moment, and we are
discussing it with all stakeholders," Midzi is reported
to have said. "The
proposed draft is an improvement to the existing
legislation, but we are
still consulting," he said. There was panic
throughout the mining industry
last week after the draft law was leaked,
almost in the same manner as the
South African mining charter in 2002. The
bill in its current form says
mining houses should sell 49% of their stakes
to black Zimbabweans. It
stipulates that the 49% shareholding of private
firms must be sold to
"historically disadvantaged persons" within three
years. Listed mining firms
are required to make 25% available to qualifying
blacks. This proposal, which
was both unexpected and dramatic, shocked
miners who feared that it could be
a harbinger of worse things to come. They
consider it a precursor to
President Robert Mugabe's previously
Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines president Ian
Saunders said the reaction to the
bill was so negative that one mining
company abruptly stopped exploration
altogether. "We hope there will be very
significant changes made," he said.
Les Paton, executive director of Impala
Platinum Holdings (Implats), the
world's second-biggest platinum producer
with an 82% equity in Zimbabwe
Platinum Mines (Zimplats), was quoted as
saying the law was worrying. "This
draft was an internal paper prepared as a
basis for discussion with the
mining industry," he said last week. "We agree
with the principle of
indigenisation however, what is of concern to us is the
quantum, the 49%,
and the timing." A senior executive at a big foreign mining
yesterday the bill was problematic for several reasons, including
that government and most indigenous entrepreneurs "simply have no
fund this kind of an initiative". "Where will the money to fund this
initiative come from? We don't want to believe that we are about to
another fiasco similar to the land reform disaster," he said. "That
the final nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's economy. Let's hope
prevail." Another miner said: "That's a populist proposal. We
realistic and not initiatives designed for
Zimbabwe Tobacco Profits Dropping Sharply
30 Mar 2004, 16:07 UTC
tobacco auctions began Tuesday with the smallest crop on
offer in many years.
Tobacco was Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner,
but this year it will
bring in less than 25 percent of what it earned five
years ago before most
commercial farmers were evicted from their land.
Officials on the sales
floors around Harare report that prices were firm on
the first day of the
annual sales, and slightly higher than last year.
This year's estimates
are that a maximum of 65 million kilograms will be
available for sale. Since
2000, when President Robert Mugabe said white
farmers' land should be handed
over to black Zimbabweans, three quarters of
the growers have been forced,
often violently, to leave their farms. The
land reform program gave the farms
mainly to Mr. Mugabe's political
supporters, most of them without the skills
or financing to make the farms
Even the state-controlled Herald
newspaper on Tuesday lamented the fall in
production, and said new farmers,
now in possession of most formerly white
owned land, have not been able to
restore tobacco yields because of a
shortage of agricultural
Duncan Millar, the president of the once-powerful Zimbabwe
Association, confirmed that white tobacco farmers continue to be
says the crop size will continue to decline, in part because of
cost of production.
Mr. Millar says even good prices at this
year's auction sales would be below
cost, and that he could not predict how
many skilled tobacco farmers would
be growing a crop next season.
added that these tobacco auctions were brought forward by a month to
farmers suffering from high interest rates on money borrowed to grow
now going on sale.
The Tobacco Association has a quarter of the members
it had before 2000,
including a growing number of established black
Mr. Millar says at Zimbabwe's peak, growers could irrigate
of tobacco. Now, he says so much irrigation infrastructure
vandalized and stolen Zimbabwe is now only able to grow seven
hectares of irrigated tobacco, which provides the best
For decades, the start of the tobacco auctions was a day when the
celebrated, because it heralded the start of annual inflows of a
the annual foreign currency.
This year, it was a low-key
event at the auction floors, as the crop's
earnings will hardly be noticed in
Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis.
Zimbabwe crisis spills over border
BBC, Southern Africa
Out in the
flat, featureless bush, on the outskirts of Francis town,
near the Zimbabwean
border there is a bleak Botswanan prison.
It is a collection of brick
houses surrounded by high fences topped
with barbed wire.
is clean and, so far as I can tell, a humane place.
It only opened
in 2002, specifically to host illegal immigrants.
There are people
from all over Africa here - the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Somalia,
Rwanda. But, above all, there are Zimbabweans.
Very few of them are
political activists appealing for asylum.
They are simply ordinary
people - men and women - ruined by their
country's economic collapse, who
came to Botswana to try and find work, and
perhaps even send a bit of money
On the day I visited, there were 300 Zimbabweans in
"You should have been here in December", one official told
"We had a big round-up of illegal foreigners in Francis town,
brought in more than 4,000 of them."
On an average day, the Botswanan immigration authorities load
100 Zimbabweans onto trucks, and drive them back to the
Its an expensive, and probably futile exercise. Because all
Zimbabweans I spoke to said that they would try and come straight back
"In Zimbabwe there is just corruption. And there
are no jobs. So of
course I will come back; do you expect me to starve?"
Many of the Zimbabweans are just teenagers - their young
destroyed by events back home.
One 16-year-old said: "My
father was the foreman on a farm - but he
lost his job - and then he could
not afford to send me to school. So I came
to Botswana, because here the
currency is strong".
prison staff sympathise with the Zimbabweans.
"We have to do our
job and expel those without papers. But of course
we know why they come here.
Life over there is too hard," said one official.
And he pointed to
a thin teenage boy getting on board the truck which
is bound for the
"That one has been here three times already this
Zimbabwe's crisis is affecting all of southern Africa,
neighbouring Botswana is on the frontline.
Botswana has a
small population- less than 2 million - and it is a
Now it is feeling overwhelmed by the influx
"There are now more Zimbabweans in Botswana than
Botswanans", one government official told me.
wrong, of course, but the sentiment that Botswana is being
swamped is a
Locals now refer to one part of the
capital Gaborone as "little
Harare" because of the dozens of Zimbabwean men
and women who line the
roads, begging passers-by for odd jobs, or
"piece-work" as they call it.
In a village outside Gaborone I met
local chiefs who are not happy
with the arrival of so many
"They rape, they steal, they cut people with knives",
one old chief
told me, pointing to a group of Zimbabweans sitting under a
"We never used to have these problems" he said.
Driving back to Francis town, we were given permission
to visit the
fence which the Botswanan Government is building along its
By the time it is completed, probably
later this year, it will run for
300 miles. Eight-feet high, and with an
electric current on top, its costing
the Botswanan Government about
It is a delicate issue.
Commissioner in Gaborone has complained that the
Botswanans are trying to
build an African "Gaza Strip".
But the Botswanans insist the fence
is designed to stop animals, not
"It's all to do with
foot-and-mouth disease. We've had two outbreaks
in recent years, and we can't
afford another one," one agricultural official
exports its beef to the European Union and lucrative
contracts have been
disrupted by the outbreaks.
The Botswanans suspect that on both
occasions the disease came from
Zimbabwe, where commercial cattle ranching
has collapsed, and the movement
of animals is no longer carefully
So the fence ought to keep Zimbabwe's animals out of
But it will, no doubt, make it harder for many
Zimbabweans to escape
their country's tragic decline.
Police Raid Community Radio Station, Arrest And Question
Media Institute of Southern Africa
March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 30,
On 25 and 26 March 2004, police in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
raided the offices of Radio Dialogue, a community radio
arrested several staff members.
Sharon Sithole, the
station's human resources officer, told MISA-Zimbabwe
that five police
officers came to the station on the morning of 25 March and
asked to see the
station manager, Father Nigel Johnson, who was in South
Africa on business.
The officers then produced a search warrant stating that
they had reason to
believe that Johnson was in possession of "subversive
material". The officers
proceeded to search the station's eight offices and
two studios and seized
documents. They also recorded information about the
Sithole confirmed that the officers questioned her about ties
Dialogue and Bulawayo Agenda, a local initiative that organises
meetings where Bulawayo residents discuss issues of concern. In
afternoon, the officers visited Bulawayo Agenda's offices, where they
seized some documents and took the secretary-bookkeeper in for
That same evening, police contacted Sithole on her mobile
phone and told her
to report to the central police station for questioning.
They picked her up
at her home and took her to the police station, where she
was questioned for
nearly two hours before being released.
March, officers returned to Radio Dialogue's offices, where they
Marketing Officer Koliwe Nyoni. Nyoni spent the morning and part of
afternoon at the central police station. Nyoni was asked about a Public
and Security Act public awareness advertisement that MISA-Zimbabwe had
in newspapers in 2003. A copy of the advertisement was among the
seized on 25 March. Nyoni was also questioned about the activities
MISA-Zimbabwe and Bulawayo Agenda.
On 26 March, Bulawayo Agenda
Coordinator Gordon Moyo also spent the day at
the police station. After
questioning him, officers proceeded to search
In January, police arrested Father
Johnson while he was shooting footage for
a music video in Bulawayo's
Radio Dialogue is a community radio station that has
not been licensed by
MDC forecasts Zim chaos
30/03/2004 20:28 -
Harare - Next year's general elections in Zimbabwe are likely to
characterised by chaos, the country's main opposition, which lost
by-elections to President Robert Mugabe's party, said on
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF) won a
weekend parliamentary by-election that was marred by violence
in Zengeza, on
the outskirts of the capital.
"Zengeza gave the people
of Zimbabwe a foretaste of the chaos that awaits
the nation in 2005," said
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
One opposition supporter was killed and others were injured during
clashes between opposition members and the ruling party during
"An analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows that political
here remains a bloody affair 24-years after independence," said
in a statement.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its regular
five-yearly legislative elections in
March next year.
prepared to kill and satisfy its hunger for power and
The US government has also condemned the elections saying
they were not free
In a statement, the US State Department
said what should have been a
"routine and peaceful expression of the local
constituency's political will
... became another symbol of the ruling party's
pursuit of electoral
victories at the expense of democratic
"We condemn the violence, intimidation and irregularities that
prior to and during the ... by-election," said the US
The MDC has threatened to boycott next year's polls unless
conditions are met to level the playing field.
include the repeal of parts of the media law and aspects of the
that "curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign".
wants the establishment of "a genuinely independent electoral
responsible for the entire electoral process.
The government plans to
tighten electoral laws to give the state-appointed
commission the monopoly to conduct voter education.
PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI’S TUESDAY
MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
30 March 2004
The MDC entered the 2002 Presidential election
fully aware that the rules of the game were stark against democracy.
Since 2000, we participated in all the
by-elections because of our firm belief in taking over power through democratic
The image of opposition parties in Africa has been
severely dented by the apparent readiness to use arms to deal with post-colonial
dictatorships. The results have been often been chaotic and unpredictable. That
route has never been an option for the MDC.
But an analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows
that political competition here remains a bloody affair 24 years after
independence. Zanu PF is prepared to kill and satisfy its hunger for power and
Francis Chinozvinya, an MDC activist was shot dead
on Sunday in a Zanu PF raid at the home of the MDC candidate James Makore in
Zengeza. Another MDC youth, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot in the leg and taken to
hospital. Scores of other MDC supporters and activists were seriously injured
since the start of the campaign in Zengeza.
We condemn the continuous
descent into thuggery, lawlessness and mayhem in the general body politic in
Zimbabwe. Elections, which should reflect the exercise of our sovereignty in the
selection of our leaders should never become open seasons for murder, torture,
beatings and violence.
Earlier, more than 200 voters in a voting queue
were attacked and chased away by a riotous Zanu PF group. No arrests were made
despite the fact that the perpetrators committed the crime right in front of
members of the police.
One polling station was sealed off and the Zanu PF
militia threw stones and other objects at voters wishing to cast their ballots.
Zengeza gave the people of Zimbabwe a foretaste of the chaos that awaits the
nation in 2005. Conducting any election
in this manner affects the secrecy of the ballot and must be
The perversion of our electoral system started in
earnest during the Parliamentary election when it became clear to Robert Mugabe
that Zanu PF was in trouble with the people
Apart from express violence, open intimidation and
other clear physical infringements, the legal management and the secrecy of the
ballot itself became a direct casualty of Mugabe’s desperate ploy to influence
any election outcome.
Five years ago, the people expressed their utmost
displeasure with the office of the Registrar General. In all the provinces, the
people stated that the current manner in which elections are conducted was
unacceptable in a democracy. The people want an Independent Electoral
I argued in my election petition in the High Court
in November 2003 that the Electoral Supervisory Commission lacked the necessary
independence to conduct a free and fair election. In March 2002, the ESC
comprised of four members, instead of the five required by the Constitution. The
anomaly made the ESC legally unsuitable to exercise its full functions and this
resulted in fatally flawed Presidential election.
The Electoral Act clearly states that, if the ESC
requests, a minister may second civil servants to the staff of the Commission
for the purposes of assisting in the running of an election. This did not happen
Instead, Robert Mugabe issued a decree four days
before voting began directing Cabinet ministers to appoint staff, not
necessarily civil servants, to the ESC at a time when the Commission had not
requested for additional resources.
You will recall that in 2002 thousands of soldiers
were deployed countrywide to campaign for Mugabe. After their campaigns, they
were appointed to ESC to supervise that election. How does one expect a
villager’s secret vote when the previous night an armed soldier visited villager
at home, campaigning for Zanu PF, only to turn up the following morning, in
civilian clothing, at a polling station as an election agent or an ESC
Mugabe violated the Electoral Act and compromised
the independence of the ESC by ordering it to employ soldiers he selected to run
Despite our advice and protests, Mugabe remained
adamant that he was right. He is likely to continue behaving in that manner in
2005 knowing fully well that such an act affects an election outcome in his
favour. The practice compromises the
secrecy of the ballot.
At night the soldiers moved from one household to
another and the following morning the same individuals were seen in polling
booths supervising the actual voting. This frightened thousands of voters. The
practice makes a mockery of the secrecy of the ballot.
More recently in Gutu North, Zanu PF forced
chiefs, headmen and village heads to commandeer ordinary villagers to polling
stations and make sure they vote for that party. Out of fear, these community
leaders complied and banned our rallies in their areas. The practice compromises
the secrecy of the ballot.
Last week, the MDC stated that the latest
proposals to amend the Electoral Act were another step in the wrong direction by
the Zanu PF government.
We argued that substantive amendments are indeed
required to the existing Electoral Act in order to harmonise its provisions with
SADC Norms and Standards for elections, adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum
Plenary Assembly on 25 March 2001.
However, the amendments proposed in the Bill, are
the very anti-thesis of harmonisation; in fact they demonstrate the gulf of
difference between the Zimbabwe government and its SADC counterparts with
respect to the management and conduct of elections.
Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique
and Namibia will conduct elections in strict accordance with agreed SADC
standards. Why should Zimbabwe be allowed to swim against the tide of progress,
electoral probity and decency, transparency and basic reason?
The proposed amendments strengthen the status quo
in relation to the flawed administration and management of elections. This is
illustrated by an amendment that gives the state sole control of the voter
education process through a partisan ESC, whose staff includes members of
military appointed by Mugabe. The plan seeks to compromise the secrecy of the
participate in your national elections, voters in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia
and Mozambique please kindly spare a thought for your counterparts in Zimbabwe
who 24 years after independence, are still being denied their basic democratic
right of casting their ballots in a free and fair election.
You will recall that in 2002 all the results in
the Presidential election are despatched to an exclusive place called a command
centre where the opposition is barred. Here results were analysed by carefully
selected Zanu PF team before they were announced to the nation. Such actions
undermine people’s confidence in the secrecy of the ballot.
The Zimbabwe Constitution says the electoral law
governing Presidential and Parliamentary elections must be passed by Parliament.
But the current Electoral Act delegates Mugabe to change, make additions to, and
even to delete the same act. The proposed amendments ignore this crucial part
whose net effect is an attack on the secrecy of the ballot.
The Electoral Act as it is presently constituted
violates the Constitution in that it allows Robert Mugabe, a very rough player,
to define the rules of the game. Section 158 in particular violates the
principle of the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and
Mugabe loves Section 158 as it allows him to
unilaterally shift the goal posts at will and without Parliamentary scrutiny. He
will certainly apply it extensively in 2005. I say so because in 2002, Mugabe –
among other infringements -- used Section 158 to close the voters roll on 10
He quietly re-opened the registration of voters.
He announced later, through the publication of a similar decree, that the voters
roll was closed on 29 January 2002.
After realising that the numbers he wanted were insufficient, he
re-opened roll, again quietly. The nation was only told on 1 March 2002 that the
voters roll was to be closed on 3 March 2002.
In so doing, Mugabe repeatedly and secretly
extended the cut-off date for voter registration and allowed for the late
registration of voters in areas perceived to be sympathetic to himself and his
Zanu PF party.
Using Section 158, Mugabe made changes and
additions to conduct of the election on 17 January 2002, on 6 February, on 22
February (twice), on 1 March (twice), on 3 March, on 5 March (four times) and on
8 March (three times).
We challenged this strange behaviour in the Supreme Court
on 8 March. Surprisingly, the court reserved judgement when it knew that voting
was due to start the following morning, thus turning our challenge into a mere
Still fresh in our minds is the manner in which
Mugabe used Section 158 to limit the number of voting stations in urban areas,
precisely because he realised the MDC was the strongest political party in these
constituencies. This was a direct act of political discrimination against urban
A smart attempt to clean up the Electoral Act must
look at Section 158. I believe this section is unconstitutional as it
effectively grants unlimited powers to Mugabe. He used Section 158 to deny large
numbers of Zimbabweans their vote after he re-classified them as foreigners. He
used the section to ban all postal votes from ordinary Zimbabweans.
While the Electoral Act specifies that the staff
of the ESC must be members of the public service, Mugabe directed military
officers to take over the running of the ESC. Section 113 of the Constitution
excludes the Prison Service, the Police Force and the Defence Forces from its
definition of the public service. Mugabe was aware of that. Using Section 158,
he changed Section 11 of the Electoral Act with the following decree:
“Notwithstanding subsection (1) of Section
11 of the Act, the Minister or any other Minister may assign to the Commission
such persons in the employment of the state as may be necessary to perform
secretarial and administrative functions of the Commission.”
The Constitution forbids this form of
interference in the work of the Commission as it states clearly in Section 61
that the ESC shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or
Come to 2005, what safeguards do
we as Zimbabweans have to curb the kind of wayward behaviour we saw from Zanu PF
in the past five years? Are we ready as a nation go through the same agony we
endured in 2000 and in 2002? What kind of life did the Zimbabwean voter go
through in the various by-elections conducted in this country since 2000? Are
these ordeals necessary if the outcome is going to be pre-determined anyway?
Instead of the people focussing
on whether we, as the MDC, plan to participate in 2005 or not, debate must be
re-directed to the crucial issue at hand: the conditions on the ground.
We are not helping ourselves as
Zimbabweans if we continue debating the merits and disadvantages of end result,
while ignoring the process leading to elections. This is a life-and-death
subject. On Sunday Francis Chinozvinya died for democracy. He joins hundreds of
MDC supporters who lost their lives; thousands who were displaced, raped and
maimed while fighting for change.
Our supporters, various opinion-formers and policy
makers, the media and the international community must assist Zimbabwe in
directing debate on the centre of the dispute.
The electoral conditions in this country are a
ready recipe for confrontation and perpetual contest. Zimbabweans, SADC and the international
community are aware of the flaws in our electoral system.
If Zanu PF maintains its stubbornness and refuses
to yield to pressure, how should Zimbabweans behave? Do we still participate in
conditions similar to what we witnessed in Zengeza? I have a responsibility as
the leader of the largest political party in Zimbabwe. I have a contract with
the people. Do I still urge them to soldier on in the face of death, beatings,
ballot theft and a direct denial to exercise their sovereign will? The people
are arguing that they have tried to use the democratic route available to them.
They say they have given the MDC their support. They have come out and tried to
vote. But their voice has been repeated stolen.
If we go ahead and take part in the 2005
Parliamentary election under the same conditions and the outcome is tampered
with, what recourse is at our disposal? Do we resort to the courts for relief
and justice? We tried that route after 2000 and it took us nowhere. The media
could play a direct role in shaping public debate on the conditions for
elections in Zimbabwe.
As we have seen in Harare where democracy was
completely shut out by Zanu PF, the struggle for change remains an unfinished
business. The city council has been barred from fulfilling the MDC programme.
The party’s development agenda was totally disabled by the regime. The people,
through their elected representatives, are being denied the right to govern
We need to pressure Zanu PF to listen to the voice
of reason and create an enabling climate for the registration of a genuine will
of the people through free and fair elections. We are concerned about the
secrecy of the ballot and the process leading to the day of voting. Some
Zimbabweans are keen to blame the victim in times of crisis. Why? A change in
conditions leads to a win-win situation. Zanu PF, if it wins such an election,
will get the legitimacy Mugabe desperately needs today. If the MDC wins, the
country will rollback to its former self: a fountain of intellect and a
promising industrial hub of southern Africa.
Free elections are the cornerstone of any
democracy and progress. International human rights instruments recognise this
fact. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights thus
Everyone has the right to take part in the
government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives….
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this
will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by
universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent
free voting procedures.
Our consultations with our supporters and party
structures are continuing. We shall announce our intentions after we have
exhausted debate on the strategies we seek to deploy to compel Zanu PF to change
the conditions for the 2005 election.
In our conversations, at our homes, indeed at any
gathering we must talk about the road to 2005, in particular the conditions
under which we, as a nation, are expected to make a decision affecting the
future of our country.
We have to shape the future. We have to think
seriously about life after Zanu PF is gone. The crisis is deepening. We have a
chance to change the course of politics next year. But the conditions must be
right. With courage and hope, we shall overcome fear and effect fundamental
changes to our ailing political culture in Zimbabwe.
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE
We have a fundamental
right to freedom of expression!
Chiredzi district, once the centre of a thriving cane growing industry producing
close on 600,000 tons of sugar cane annually, is today a mere shadow of its
former glory. Prior to 2000 when the
devastating land invasions began, this district was home to approximately 56
cane growers who employed about 3,500 workers and generated an income in excess
of US$ 10 million per annum. The
families of the workers enjoyed the benefit of several well-run clinics and
schools, and the export earnings in sugar and tropical fruits brought in vast
sums of valuable foreign currency. This year only 345,000 tons has been
produced, or 58 per cent, of the normal harvest. Huge quantities of sugar cane have been left
to rot in the fields and scores of workers laid off, while the original farmers
and resettled A2 farmers continue a protracted legal battle over entitlement to
the proceeds of the crop that was harvested.
The dispute has already led to angry and sometimes violent confrontations
between the illegal A2 occupants and the commercial farmers they have, in large
the commercial farmers have the law on their side is clear. Last year the High Court overturned the
section 8 orders served on them which had previously forced them to leave their
properties. On 13th March
2003 the commercial farmers’ ownership of the land and the crops was reconfirmed
by the High Court. Copies of these
rulings were served on the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Chiredzi. Furthermore the commercial farmers held the
only valid cane purchase agreements and milling agreements with Hippo Valley
Estates sugar mills. And as if that was
not enough, through the Utete Commission the authorities had promised to uphold
SADCC protocol and safeguard Mauritian and South African nationals and their
property in terms of their country-to-country accords – a significant number of
the commercial farmers originating from these countries.
However, as is so often
the case in Zimbabwe today, having the law on one’s side counts for little when
it comes to contending with illegal settlers, negotiating with multinationals
that are anxious to retain the regime’s favour, or even obtaining the assistance
of the police to enforce one’s rights.
Valley Estates sugar mills are only permitted to enter into purchase and milling
agreements with persons having legal tenure of the land. As early as April 2003 legal practitioners
acting for the commercial farmers informed the Hippo Valley and Triangle Mills
in writing of the High Court rulings confirming their clients’ legal tenure.
This did not stop Hippo Valley Estates however from subsequently issuing cane
purchase agreements to the A2 settlers illegally in occupation of the land –
thus producing a bizarre situation in which two agreements were in existence for
the same crop. Hence the legal wrangle
ensuing over title to the crop delivered to the mills. Hippo Valley Estates had knowingly accepted
the crop illegally harvested by the A2 settlers and even assisted them with
their own haulage equipment in transporting the cane to their mill, thereby
raising false expectations that the settlers would be paid for the
police failed to act on the orders of the High Court to reinstate the commercial
farmers to their lands, to protect them from assault and intimidation and to
evict the A2 settlers who had illegally taken possession of their
properties. In April 2003 a letter was
sent to the police giving details of criminal and potentially life-threatening
situations occurring on some of the farms, to which the police had not
responded. The incidents included the assault of farm workers ordered off the
land by Border Gezi youth, breaking and entering homesteads still illegally
occupied by settlers, looting of properties and intimidation of the legal owners
and their families. This letter and
several others which followed failed to bring about any satisfactory response on
the part of the police. No arrests were
made even following an attempted abduction of one farmer and serious assault of
another by known assailants whose names were supplied to the police.
on 28th October 2003 the police did finally act, convening a meeting
of A2 settlers and commercial farmers,
dire threats of violence were made by the settlers against the farmers unless
the latter withdrew their legal claim to the crop delivered to the mills, thus
allowing the settlers to be paid for it.
Although these threats (criminal acts themselves) were made in the
presence of the police, the police failed to take any action on them. Immediately after this meeting one farmer
wrote to Chief Superintendent P. Ncube of the Chiredzi Police, complaining of
the ZRP’s failure to uphold the law and to protect citizens threatened with
violence. Fearing physical harm or even
death he asked for 24 hour armed protection for himself and his family.
far as the SADCC protocol is concerned in early February the regime issued a
statement to the effect that there is no binding agreement that protects South
African or other nationals from land designation.
Valley Estates themselves were notified in February that their vast holdings
must be divided into plots for settlement.
Their mill closed down on 25th January, leaving 500 hectares
of cane in the fields that should have been cut and milled last year - their
failure to do so being due largely to the diversion of their haulage equipment
to assist the A2 settlers transporting their (stolen) cane to the mill. Given that the average yield is 120 tons of
sugar cane per hectare Hippo Valley Estates’ loss on this account alone amounts
to 60,000 tons.
At the onset of the unlawful farm invasions
and until mid 2001 the commercial cane growers perhaps naively believed this
regime would protect the sugar cane industry because of its vital strategic
importance to the economy. They were
proved wrong in this assumption. Until a
very short time ago the two multinationals, Hippo Valley Milling Company (owned
by the Anglo American Corporation) and Triangle Mills (owned by Hewletts) may
have believed that they enjoyed immunity from illegal settlement.
Perhaps their bubble is also about to burst as
they make the painful discovery that nothing and no-one is sacrosanct to a
regime that will sacrifice anyone else’s interest to their own quest to stay in
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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 30TH MARCH 2004
FOR THE DAY
Our enemy sees us clearly. They will not start a war. They're
one thing: If
democracy develops here, if we succeed, we
1. Subject: Land
I recently travelled in South Africa
and was told that the farmers in the
Eastern Cape who have struggled with
droughts and viability for many years
are doing very well in game farming.
The big draw of the Cape area for
foreign hunters is the lack of
It would appear that most of Zimbabwe is suited to a similar
type of land
use. The toursit industry is the biggest in the world. I am
that most of the country has been devastated by the Third
Chimurenga - a
purely political programme that has no respect for human or
rights. Right now the Third Chimurenga is actaually destroying
Conservancies. They too will have to be rebuilt - on land with security
tenure. The African experience is unique - but the average tourist is
particularly interested in the Third Chimurenga African Experience -
natural beauty of flora and fauna are what are desirable. Not many
took holidays to Germany in the 1940's unless they were
holidays' with the Allies of course. Germany was then rebuilt and
people visit it again by choice.
My simple suggestion is for the
holders of Title in Zimbabwe to wait and
let this time of madness run its
course but hold their Title. It seems
likely that Title holders might well
regret handing their Title to an
organisation such as Agri Africa in an
attempt to get compensation. All
true civilisations are actually based on
human rights and property rights,
and to hand over Title is to undermine both
human and property rights in
2. Subject Policy
John Kinnaird's letter on the last
Forum is particularly appropriate and
thought provoking stuff for the Jag
team about the Law.
It is now nearly two years since Jag made a stand for
what they believed
was RIGHT. The basis of jag was and still is the Quinnel
Case, the Loss
Document and Information distribution.
As a Jag
supporter from outside the country I find Samantha Power's
more thought provoking and chilling:
"There is this crude legalism in
Zimbabwe, a pretence of 'legality' to
everything the Government does. It is a
Everybody is caught up in this whole fiction that the
rule of law still
It would appear that Mrs. Stevenson MP, has
made a simple public statement
regarding the maintenance of standards of
democracy now being portrayed as
Jag might do well to take a
leaf from her book.
Failure to publicise the Quinnel Case from day one to
the World Theatre, is
tantamount to being "caught up in this whole fiction
that the rule of law
exists, and a pretence of legality." Jag, along with the
has a responsibility to the country to ensure that the
recorded and published (verbatum) to the UN and the
Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, and the UK in particular
- and any
developed nation that might be called upon chip in for this round
The issues raised over human and property rights, and the
Quinnel Case have cost the entire country so much that the
be used to the maximum. (The modern day Goebbels is bound to
different version for the local press.)
The time might even be
close for the likes of the CFU to watch the stakes
closely and hedge their
bets accordingly - particularly if the "Third
Chimurenga vs. The Rule of Law"
has always been just a financial/ betting
decision rather than a moral
issue/responsibility. It will be interesting
to see where the CFU Council
puts its money in the near future - we have
all seen where they put it in the
past. I for one, will continue to put my
money on Jag.
million to one)
After a few set backs and dropped balls re: The First Set
Down Date in the
Supreme Court (17th March 2004) when neither Senior Counsel
Advocate Anderson were available, which necessitated an urgent
in The High Court requesting postponment; The Quinnell Case is
down to be heard in the Supreme Court on the 27th May 2004. Both
Trengrove and Advocate Anderson are available and briefed to appear
displaced farmers and all others being deprived of their properties
the auspices of "Fast Track Land Reform". See Legal
3. Subject: Reply to John Kinnaird, OLF 249 of 25th March 2004
Why don't you stop phantasizing about reality, do what is
forget about buggering altogether.
4. Subject: OPEN LETTER FORUM 17TH MARCH 2004 - OLF 247
I WATCHED THIS
PROGRAMME AND WAS ALSO HORRIFIED, WHAT
HAVE WE GOT ? A MONSTEROUS PROBLEM
THAT WILL NOT GO
AWAY IN A HURRY.... HOW DO WE COUNTERACT IT? HOW DO
RETRAIN THEIR YOUNG MINDS? WE COULD HAVE ANOTHER
MOGADISHU ON OUR
5. Subject: Open Letter Forum
With reference to my previous letter,
regarding the "Secrets of the Camps"
of the 17th March 2004.
appalled!! Has no one got anything to say? Is everyone's head
embedded in the terra firma, or have they all barricaded themselves in
compost room with the
6. Subject: THE FOOD TROUGH
> Agri Africa is
portraying itself as the saviour of the commercial farmer -
> long after
the Loss Document and Valuation Consortioum were set up. There
> is a
difference - there is a chance to get a head or five into the feeding
trough which Jag was never there for - and then came Agri Africa - a
mutation of the Valuation Consortium which had been set up by Jag - but
with an appetite!
> *A bit like some others who found that they
just could not live without a
> big chunk of shares in
> *What is the difference?
> * Who else wants a
lovely ride on the back of a few thousand farmers, and
> their 350 000
staff, that have just lost nearly eveything?
> I am not sure how
the CFU is portraying itself after telling farmers for
> long that
it was "working with government on the land reform programme"
could seem prudent for them to distance themselves from such a
> at some stage in the future. J. Tayler Esq. of Chiredzi
appears to be well
> briefed on the CFU policy and defends it with great
passion, bless him.
> Taking the CFU's holistic and historical
complicity in the whole land
> debacle I am now fascinated by Mrs. Kerry
Kay's thoughts: espousing that
> is wrong for Jag to be
confrontational with any institution that has been
> complicit with what
has happened to farms, farmers and staff, and their
> families. Jag is a
member of Crisis, and the Freedom Charter is available
> for any person to
see. * Should Jag now be expected to default on its
> committment to
Crisis and go on bended knee to the CFU and Agri Africa
some God like beings? - I think not. * Does Mrs. Kay know something
about the CFU that we do not - have they become born again members of
Crisis, re employed Mr. Freeth or done something heroic? - I know
> I openly ask Mr. Tayler and Mrs. Kay, and indeed the CFU
> to present these new credentials on the Jag OLF,
of this 'born again CFU'
> that they refer to, and simply ask if the
Freeth affair has been settled
> satisfactorily yet? What have we to
> Fascinated Ex-Farmer.
Comments Inserted: David
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
ANOTHER RAPE AT CHARLESWOOD ESTATE IN CHIMANIMANI
29 March 2004
Juliet Mavura (19) was allegedly raped by an armed police officer
Charleswood Estate on Saturday the 27th of March. Ms Mavura, who
employed by an unnamed farm teacher as a maid, has since made a report
at least one suspect called Tendai. T.I. has apparently been arrested
Juliet Mavura alleges that at 19:30hrs there
was a knock at her door. When
she went to investigate who it was, she met
four uniformed and armed police
officers at the door. They accused her of
being too proud and they started
to assault her whilst in
The police officers tore off her clothes during the beating
removed the handcuffs. Three police officers left the scene leaving
T. I. behind. Tendai is alleged to have raped the girl twice
disappearing in the dark.
When the security guards from the
Estates came Tendai had already gone.
They made a police report and Officer
in Charge Inspector Ruzvidzo made an
assurance that he would make sure the
police officer had been arrested.
On the 6th of February, Violet Ngwenya
was allegedly raped by a settler
named Chamunorwa Muusha and two young female
farm workers were allegedly
sexually molested at Charleswood Estate by
settlers lead by police sergent
Nasho. These attacks lead to a series of
confrontations, finally resulting
in the murder of Sheni Chimbarara, by a
member of the Zimbabwe National
Army on Saturday the 7th of February. For
comments please contact the Mr
James Mukwaya on 091 924 190 or 011761 075 or
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(091) 317 264
(011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE LEGAL COMMUNIQUÉ - March 30th 2004 Email:
After a few set backs and dropped balls (not by us) Re: the
first set down
date in the Supreme Court (17th March 2004) when neither
Trengrove nor Advocate Anderson were available, which
necessitated a urgent
application being filed requesting
The Quinnell case is firmly set down to be heard in the
Supreme Court on
27th May 2004. Both Senior Counsel Trengrove and Advocate
available and briefed to appear for Farmers, Farm Workers, and
Property Owners being deprived of their properties, homes and
under the auspices of "Fast-track Land Reform".
Call to Review Exchange Rate
The Herald (Harare)
Posted to the web March 30, 2004
THE 2004 tobacco
selling season started yesterday with farmers calling on
the Government to
review the exchange rate.
In what appears to be a repeat of what happened
last year, farmers said they
were not happy with the auction exchange rate,
which stood at $4 381,68 for
each United States dollar
While auction sales commenced yesterday, contract sales begin
today with the
contracting firms buying the crop from designated
"As farmers, we are supposed to buy all the inputs in time as we
afford to delay, but this cannot be with the current exchange
"We have already started preparing for the next season and all the
we are facing should be ironed out before the season progresses,"
Thomas Nherera, a farmer and deputy chairman of the Tobacco Growers'
Farmers are arguing that while the current prices are quite
remarkable in US
dollar terms, they would translate to very little when
Three-quarters of the earnings for the crop are changed using
auction system with the remainder calculated at the fixed rate of
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairman Mr Stanley Mutepfa
start of the 2004 selling season went on as expected with some
"It got off to a slow start as is the case at the
beginning of the season
and the ripe soft crop was fetching very good
"There is also a need to listen to what the farmers are saying to
grower viability," said Mr Mutepfa.
He said it was imperative
that grower viability is ensured so that there
would be a rebound on
Zimbabwe's total tobacco production has been on the decline
in the last
three seasons from 230 million kilogrammes in 2000 to an
million kg this year.
Dissatisfaction with the exchange
rate has threatened the viability of the
sector with some of the traditional
They have turned their efforts to other
Last year, tobacco growers spent the entire season lobbying for an
review of the exchange rate, which was pegged at
Activities at the auction floors showed that farmers were
deliver their crop at the three auction floors.
Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre, the general manager, Mr
Chiramba, said all had gone well on the first day of the season.
prices were firm and the quality of the crop was quite good," said
This season marks a break from the traditional auction
system, as part of
the crop would also be sold on the field.
comes at a time when the exchange rate is dependent upon what is
on the auction system unlike in the last two years when it was
90pc of Public Transport Defective: VID
March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 29,
AT LEAST 90 percent of the public transport in the
country is defective and
the situation has been worsened by the shortage of
spare parts, Vehicle
Inspection Depot director Mr Charles Sibanda has
Mr Sibanda last Friday said some public transporters were reluctant
repair their fleets as per VID recommendations.
defective vehicles for a certain period while checking on their
worthiness and then issue a fitness test certificate with instructions
areas that need to be maintained," he said.
"But in most cases when we do
our checks again we find that these vehicles
had not been maintained as per
The law, Mr Sibanda said, did not give permission to
VID to impound
defective vehicles for longer periods but to check for defects
issuing a certificate.
He said the belief was that the owner of
the impounded vehicle would then
maintain it upon release from the VID, but
in most instances this was not
Defective public transport
vehicles are a risk since the probability of
being involved in accident is
A defect on a vehicle may include non-functioning headlights
worn out tyres, smoking, defective handbrake, shaking ball
joints and a
The public transport system has been
hit hard by shortage of spare parts
because of the foreign currency crisis
and this has resulted in some
operators grounding their fleets. The transport
crisis that was experienced
in some parts of Harare and Chitungwiza a few
months ago has resurfaced
again and operators have attributed this to the
shortage of spare parts and
Last month, two major bus operators
plying the Harare-Chitungwiza route,
Chawa-sarira and Kukura Kurerwa bus
companies, withdrew their services
citing prohibitive cost of spare
Decline in Tobacco Production Worrisome
March 30, 2004
Posted to the web March 29,
The tobacco auction floors open today on the back of a
number of changes
that have taken place in the industry.
witnessed the introduction of dual marketing in an industry that had
become used to the auction system.
Under dual marketing, some farmers
will sell their crop at the auction
floors while those who were financed by
private companies will go the
The contract system was
designed largely to boost tobacco production by
ensuring contractors provide
farmers with the inputs. Indeed, it is a noble
idea which, if done properly,
will see the industry rebounding in the next
continues to boggle the mind are the declining levels of
both flue-cured and burley, at a time when the land has
been opened up to
Reports that only 60 million kg of flue-cured tobacco will
be sold on the
floors and through contract are very disturbing. This calls
for a closer
look into what should be done to boost production.
year, 125 million kg were sold at the auction floors and although
production fell well below record levels of 236 million kg achieved in
1999/2000 season, it went someway in retaining buyers' confidence
Zimbabwe's capability to produce respectable volumes.
always the danger that if production falls below 100 million kg
buyers lose confidence in the country's capability to maintain
high levels of
production and so look to countries that have maintained a
For Zimbabwe not all hope has been lost though. We have seen that
contributing factor to the decline in production is simply
financial support for inputs.
This is what has resulted in
a reduced area planted under the crop, with a
large hectarage being
late-planted, which in turn contributed to low yields
We believe there is need to make sure that all farms that were
tobacco continue to do so, instead of the trend we have seen in
where tobacco infrastructure just lies idle as farmers put tobacco
There is need to ensure that the tobacco
infrastructure - the curing
facilities - are fully used and farmers guard
jealously against any form of
In Brazil, smallholder
farmers produce the crop, with each farmer having
about 2,5 hectares on which
to produce. Yet Brazil ranks among the world's
top producers of flue-cured
What is, therefore, needed is financial support for the farmers
they are fully equipped to produce.
have shown they are inherently farmers and once
equipped with the necessary
support cannot fail.
We had hoped that as more people get land, we would
also see a corresponding
increase in production.
In fact, one would
expect the country to produce more tobacco now, as is the
case with Brazil,
as the majority of landless Zimbabweans are empowered
We remain optimistic, however, that the contract system would
empower tobacco farmers to be able to produce the crop and bring
production to over 200 million kg every year.
renowned worldwide for its high quality filler style tobacco,
which is used
in cigarette manufacturing.
We will not rejoice to see the country lose
its position as one of the
world's top producers of flue-cured and high
quality tobacco when the
infrastructure is there for all to see.
countries that have continued to record high volumes have done so
contract system and we hope to see our production improving as
get themselves involved in contract production.
Mampara of the Week: Chris Kuruneri
March 28, 2004
Posted to the web March 29,
Christopher Kuruneri has been finance minister
of that wonderfully managed
government ledger in Zimbabwe for a
His qualification? His extensive experience with foreign exchange
- how to
earn it abroad, how to hide it from your government and how to spend
another country on lavish luxuries you deny the people you rule
Last week the Sunday Times revealed how Kuruneri was blowing
a seaside mansion in a swish Cape Town
This week there are more revelations. Next week, well, who
Kuruneri said he had raised the money for
the mansion while living in Canada
and by working as a consultant.
just forgot to take it home with him.
Ten Die in Road Accident
The Herald (Harare)
Posted to the web March 29, 2004
TEN people were
killed yesterday morning while 10 others were injured when a
they were travelling in had a tyre burst resulting in a
with a lorry along the Harare-Bulawayo road.
The commuter omnibus had 20
passengers on board and was travelling from
Gweru to Harare when the accident
occurred at around 7 am.
The accident has been attributed to
Police said the commuter omnibus burst its rear left tyre,
resulting in a
head-on collision with a lorry.
The injured were taken
to Kwekwe Hospital for treatment where they are
reported to be in a stable
condition while the bodies of the deceased were
taken to the hospital's
Police identified four of the 10 victims as Davison Rusere,
Nyoni, Tarisai Tavengwa and Leonard Kudiwa all from
Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri said the names of the
still being withheld until their next of kin have been
"We would like also to once again warn motorists not to speed
but travel at
safe speeds," he said.
"It's the rainy season, the roads
are slippery and drivers should drive with
caution," he said.
motorists to also check the condition of their vehicles
Exiled ex-MP Musekiwa blames violence for poll
By Staff Reporter
TAFADZWA Musekiwa, the
former MDC MP for Zengeza who fled to the United
Kingdom resulting in a
by-election has defended his decision and rejected
accusations of being a
Speaking to New Zimbabwe.com soon after the ruling Zanu PF
party won the
weekend by-election by a majority of nearly 2000, Musekiwa
claimed his life
was in danger if he had remained in Zimbabwe.
don't think it would be a reasonable assertion to say I am to blame or
betrayed my colleagues and the people of Zengeza," Musekiwa said.
represented the MDC and was voted by the people of Zengeza....they have
decided to take that seat and give it to Zanu PF, that's the process
has just occurred."
The parliamentary by-election was won by Zanu PF's
Christopher Chigumbo with
8 447 votes to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change's James Makore
who got 6 706 votes.
observers said the two days of voting and the electioneering
up to it was far from free and fair.
Onlookers alleged that a government
minister fired the shots that killed one
opposition supporter and injured two
others south of Harare, the independent
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
In a second incident, opposition party candidate James Makore fired
warning shots into the air to disperse what he called a "rowdy
descending on him" near a polling station.
At least 50 people were
injured in clashes between rival groups, hospital
Musekiwa however, observed that violence had played a major part in
"Zanu PF used maximum violence and the people of Zengeza
did not get a
chance to choose their popular candidate through a free and
He said it would be a "miracle" if the MDC won the
elections set for early next year. Boycotting the
polls on the part of the
MDC should not be an option, he said.
way things have deteriorated...the violence, intimidation and
of civil servants makes it almost impossible to have a free
elections. The judiciary which we used to run to is now loaded with
who are more Zanu (PF) than the politicians, the police are more Zanu
than the youth brigades. It can only be a miracle if the MDC wins next