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

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6th March 2002
News Release
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers Union)

A Full account - Assault to Leslie de Jager (Jnr) and Wireless Antonio

LESLIE de Jager (36 yrs) and Assistant driver, Wireless Antonio (48) were
assaulted by a group of approximately 20 settlers on Manyamba farm in
Mashonaland West, 45 kilometers from Chinhoyi town.

Mr De Jager sustained an injury to his head requiring 12 stitches and also
sustained 4-inch wounds to both forearms. Antonio was whipped with the shaft
of a spear and was subsequently treated and discharged. De Jager is expected
to remain hospitalised for a few days.

Leslie is one of 24 Chinhoyi farmers facing public violence charges for
disturbances on Listonshields farm in August.  At the hearing for this case,
which was set down for 14 January, the state requested a postponement until
after the elections.

Mr de Jager was in shock yesterday and was unable to recount the
circumstances under which he was attacked.

But a neighbour interviewed eye witnesses and submitted this account:

"A Driver and assistant Wireless Antonio were assigned to mow the grass on
the airfield at Manyamba farm. They commenced this task at 0800hrs.

At 1000hrs +- 20 settlers armed with traditional weapons, which included
badzas (hoes), spears, knives, and axe handles arrived and asked the driver
why they were mowing the grass on "their farm".

The settlers became hot-tempered and told the driver and assistant to
proceed to the settler's village, 5 settlers escorted them. The driver and
assistant were told to mow within the farm village until the diesel in the
tractor ran out.

The owner Leslie de Jager, upon noticing what was going on and proceeded to
investigate. The driver informed de Jager that he had been forced to proceed
to the settler's village. De Jager instructed the driver (in the presence of
the 20 odd settlers) to go back to the farm workshop.

The settlers became violent when they heard what was being said.  One
settler namely "Dennis Kamusocha" assaulted Antonio with the shaft of a
spear on his neck and back. Just before striking the driver, Kamusocha had
speared one rear wheel and two front wheels of the tractor.

The driver and Antonio took flight back to the workshop. Simultaneously
another portion of the group also punctured all tyres of de Jager's Toyota

This group led by Phiri (alias Piri-Piri) then attacked de Jager. Piri Piri
struck him on the head with an axe handle, and the rest of the group joined
in beating him with various weapons until he was unconscious.  De Jager was
also stabbed on the forearms with unknown sharp objects.

The foreman, on seeing de Jager lying prone on the ground, attempted to
carry him to the pick-up but was threatened with violence, and withdrew to
report the incident.

About 5 minutes later de Jager regained consciousness and walked towards his
vehicle but fell, he then regained his footing and reached his vehicle.
Despite the punctured tyres he managed to drive to his residence.

Both injured persons were taken for medical attention. Antonio was treated
and discharged and de Jager had to be transferred to Harare, as he was

Police finally arrived on the farm. Six suspects were arrested but the
remainder of the group had already absconded."


6th March 2002

For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (263) 11 213 885 or 91 300 456
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Office landlines: (+2639) 72546 Fax 63978
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Christian Science Monitor

Once a Mugabe supporter, now his opponent

By Nicole Itano | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Here in Zimbabwe's capital city, the streets are
plastered with posters bearing the smiling, round face of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. Graffiti bearing the initials of his party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), is everywhere.
These alone are signs of changing times in Zimbabwe. For the first time in
the country's short history, voters going to the polls this weekend have a
real alternative to the 22-year rule of President Robert Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF Party.

In three short years, Mr. Tsvangirai has built this alternative. And despite
widespread political violence aimed at MDC supporters, several polls have
shown Tsvangirai with a substantial lead over the incumbent.

Mugabe dismisses the MDC as a "stooge party" and says Tsvangirai is a front
for white colonial interests. Newspaper advertisements for the ZANU-PF have
even called the opposition candidate British Prime Minister Tony Blair's
"tea boy."

But Tsvangirai began as a ZANU-PF Party man, and has record of political
activism that stretches back more than two decades.

The eldest son of a bricklayer, Tsvangirai's political schooling took place
in the back rooms of labor politics and in the depths of a Zimbabwean mine.
During his 10 years at the Trojan Nickel Mine in Bindura, 50 miles north of
Harare, Tsvangirai rose to branch chairman of the national mine workers
union, and by 1988 he was general secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) in charge of the country's labor unions.

Under his leadership, the ZCTU moved into a more antagonistic position with

In the early 1990s, Tsvangirai challenged Mugabe's economic restructuring
program, which the union believed would harm urban workers. He helped the
ZCTU wage a successful battle against several proposed tax increases,
including one that would have funded an increase in the pensions of war
veterans. Those same war veterans later led bands of landless squatters who
occupied much of the country's white-owned farmland.

"[Tsvangirai] led the ZCTU to its rightful place as a labor movement and a
part of civil society," says Wellington Chibebe, the current secretary
general of the ZCTU and a longtime member of the organization's governing

Tsvangirai's wife of 24 years, Susan, says this period was one of gradual
disillusionment. By 1997, when eight men tried to throw her husband from the
eighth floor of his office in retaliation for helping to organize a national
protest of the new taxes, he had lost all faith in the government. The
opposition candidate still bears a long scar on his forehead from that

"He used to be a good man, Mugabe," says Mrs. Tsvangirai. "We all supported
him. My husband was even active in the party. But when [Morgan] started
working in the trade union, he realized that the government wasn't
supporting the worker."

In September 1999, the MDC was launched by the ZCTU and a variety of
civil-society organizations representing women and students. Tsvangirai was
unanimously voted president of the new party.

Although it was less than a year old, the MDC won 57 seats in Zimbabwe's
June 2000 parliamentary elections, compared with 62 for the ruling party.
Tsvangirai, however, who chose to run in his rural home constituency of
Buhera instead of in his party's stronghold, Harare, lost in that election.

Central to the MDC's platform has been a return to law and order. Despite
widespread attacks on supporters by government-run youth militias and
repeated legislative changes intended to limit his party's ability to
campaign, Tsvangirai is committed to nonviolence and working within the
current legal framework. The party has largely obeyed the government's new
laws, including a a requirement that political gatherings gain the approval
of local police.

In recent days, while Mugabe has hinted at retribution against MDC
supporters after the election, Tsvangirai has called for national healing.
He wants to form a truth-and-reconciliation commission, modeled after that
of neighboring South Africa, to help Zimbabwe overcome the past several
years of violence.

The Zimbabwean people, he said, have "gone through nearly three years of
nonstop violence, intimidation, and political intolerance. They are now
crying for peace and reconciliation."

While the current government has failed to put forward any formal economic
plan, the MDC has presented a detailed program that has won praise from the
international community.

Tsvangirai says he still believes that the MDC will emerge victorious from
this weekend's elections. First on his agenda, he said, will be disbanding
the youth militias that have imposed a reign of terror on rural areas and
dealing with the severe food crisis gripping much of the country.

If the MDC is not elected to power, however, Tsvangirai has warned that the
result for Zimbabwe would be tragic.

"If we lose this election," he said, "God forbid, this country is doomed."

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ABC Australia

Mugabe accused of terror tactics to win votes

Zimbabwe's Opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the
Government of using state-sponsored terrorism to steal tomorrow's
presidential election.

Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), says the ruling party has used a systematic campaign of violence and
intimidation in the lead-up to the poll.

He says President Mugabe has used state agencies to terrorise the
population, but Mr Mugabe is confident he will retain power.

The President says he was shaken by the MDC during the 2000 general
election, but he says he will not fail this time.

Zimbabwean security forces have been placed on alert amid fears of further

But the Opposition says 22 of its polling agents have been abducted by Mr
Mugabe's supporters in the past week.


A team of Commonwealth observers is making final preparations ahead of this
weekend's election.

Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, part of the Commonwealth
Observers Group, says the election promises to be hotly contested.

He says observers will play an important role, trying to ensure the election
is conducted fairly.

"The sorts of things we'll be focusing on are the actual opening of polling
stations on time, sealing of ballot boxes, the use of indelible ink to mark
those people who have voted so they don't vote again and probably really
importantly the actual nature of the counting procedures which will occur on
Monday," he said.

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A member of Zimbabwe's progovernment Youth Brigade monitors the crowd at an election rally for President Robert Mugabe in the town of Chinoyi on Thursday
IMG: Zimbabwe
Unfree and Unfair?
Zimbabwe’s tough—and often violent—presidential race has little chance of reflecting the will of the people
By Karen MacGregor and Newton Kanhema
    March 7 —  Not surprisingly, the tension is palpable. With just two days to go before Zimbabwe goes to the polls for the hardest-fought presidential election in the country’s history, both black and white residents are stockpiling food and making plans for a rapid exit in case further violence erupts in their troubled nation.  

  IN THE CAPITAL OF HARARE, a white man opens his wallet to reveal a box of bullets. “I stocked up with these today,” he says. “And I feel safer for it.” In the nearby town of Ruwa, a black man driving his family north to Lake Kariba—on the border with Zambia—says he is going fishing. “If the worst comes to the worst, we can sail across to safety,” he says.
        One of the biggest fears among the southern African nation’s 5.6 million voters? That the army will rise in a coup if opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai overcomes the odds to beat incumbent President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe, however, is unlikely to lose. While polls put Mugabe behind his challenger—support for the president is 30 percent or less—the weekend vote is nonetheless expected to return him to power.

        Indeed, there is little chance that this election could ever turn out to be free and fair. Since January 2001, there have been 30,000 recorded cases of intimidation and political violence. Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has found it almost impossible to operate since its unexpectedly strong showing the parliamentary elections almost two years ago.
        The Mugabe government passed draconian security laws in January that have been used to forcefully break up antigovernment protests during the election campaign. More than 100 MDC rallies have been banned; MDC officials say at least 107 of its supporters have been killed by Mugabe’s thugs over the past year. Police roadblocks restrict free movement around the country. (One recent traveler encountered seven such checkpoints driving from the southwestern city of Bulawayo to Harare this week.) Bands of self-styled progovernment “war veterans”—now joined by thousands of National Youth Brigade militias—roam the countryside and towns, beating up and torturing people suspected of supporting the MDC. The wounded pack the offices of the civil-society support group, the Amani Trust, waiting to tell their stories. A young man with gaping head injuries lifts his trouser legs to reveal more ghastly gashes: “Youths attacked me with stones. They accused me of supporting the MDC,” says one. The MDC has taken to campaigning in the dead of night, and spreading their messages by word of mouth.
        The Mugabe government has taken other measures to influence the outcome, too. Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been disenfranchised for a variety of reasons, including holding dual citizenship—among them thousands of the country’s white minority who were recently struck off the voters’ roll and are now in court over the issue. The number of polling stations in MDC-supporting areas has been slashed by half; security personnel are allegedly forced to cast postal ballots in front of their government-supporting superiors, and rural residents are told to vote in line with their progovernment chiefs.
        Zimbabwe’s once-respected judiciary, meanwhile, has been reconstituted in an attempt to ensure court rulings favorable to the government, with Mugabe overriding decisions he does not like. Just this week, Mugabe overturned a Supreme Court ruling that tried to strike down some of the new laws stripping citizens of the right to vote.
        Another disadvantage for the MDC is Mugabe’s stranglehold on the media. With state-controlled radio and TV the only electronic media accessible to the poor and illiterate, government propaganda has reached fever pitch during recent weeks. Coverage is given only to Mugabe’s anti-MDC and antiwhite rallies; the “news” is a tiring stream of praise about government gifts to Zimbabweans—land for peasants, cash for the poor. In TV ads dubbed “Reflections,” Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party airs 1970s speeches by liberation war heroes about colonialism, evil whites, Zimbabwean nationalism and the land. Between programs, there is footage of happy people dancing amidst fields of lush maize. They look nothing like the shriveled crops aside the roads of a country suffering drought and a rapidly deepening food crisis.
        Mugabe has also used his control of the media to mount a dirty tricks campaign against top MDC figures. Tsvangirai faces potential treason charges after Montreal-based government consultants drew him into a videotaped discussion about assassinating Mugabe.
        Electoral organization is equally chaotic. With just a day to go, citizens do not yet know exactly where their 4,500 polling stations will be located. Nor are they likely to have much faith in the secrecy of their vote: only government-employed workers will be allowed to staff polling stations, and only a handful of the 12,000 would-be independent observers have been accredited to monitor the voting.
        European observers were thrown out last month, prompting the European Union and the United States to slap “smart sanctions” against Mugabe and more than 20 of his senior colleagues. They are being banned from traveling to the West, their assets secreted abroad are being identified and frozen, and restrictions imposed on military imports and training. Only African and Commonwealth observers have been allowed in, along with a few other small groups. This week, NEWSWEEK learned that South Africa’s strong observer mission “has already written 80 percent” of its election report for Pretoria, which appears desperate to recognize even the most-flawed voting in an effort to maintain regional stability.
        Against this backdrop, Mugabe today launched his biggest show of military force, deploying the army nationwide. “This is unprecedented,” says Michael Quintana, editor of the African Defence Journal. “They are being spread around like pieces on a chessboard.” Concerns about the possibility of a military takeover rose still further after Didymus Mutasa, a confidante of Mugabe, told South African television this week that victory for the opposition would cause mayhem. Mutasa was echoing warnings he made last year that Mugabe’s party would take up arms if it lost the ballot. For Zimbabwean voters, it was an ominous message at an anxious time.
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Human Rights Watch

Zimbabwe: Abuses Plague Land Reform

Land Issues at the Heart of Political Crisis

(New York, March 8, 2002) The “fast track” land reform program in Zimbabwe
has been accompanied by significant human rights abuses that harm the very
people it was designed to assist, Human Rights Watch charged in a report
released on the eve of Zimbabwe’s elections.

“Many of the people who were supposed to benefit from this reform have
actually been targets of the violence.”
Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa Division of Human
Rights Watch


Militia groups affiliated with the party of President Robert Mugabe have
carried out serious acts of violence against rural dwellers and landless
workers on commercial farms, the report said. Human Rights Watch also
received reports of discrimination in the distribution of land on political
“Many of the people who were supposed to benefit from this reform have
actually been targets of the violence,” said Peter Takirambudde, executive
director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

Colonial policies of expropriation gave white farmers huge, free tracts of
fertile land in what is now Zimbabwe, while rural black people were
restricted to crowded “tribal reserves” of little agricultural value. From
independence in 1980 until 2000, this unjust situation changed little.

In 2000, President Mugabe’s government passed new laws allowing
expropriation of land without compensation, and encouraging landless
peasants to occupy commercial farmland.

In the forty-page report, “Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe,” Human Rights
Watch provides testimonies from people who said that many of those who
wanted land under the “fast track” program had to show support for the
ruling party, ZANU-PF, and those who supported the opposition were denied
land. The landless laborers who live and work on the commercial farms have
been largely excluded from land redistribution. Among the most disadvantaged
Zimbabweans, they have also been particular targets of state-sponsored

The government also failed to ensure that women, particularly married women,
benefited from the land reform, despite its stated commitment to gender

While there has been some reduced violence on commercial farms in recent
months, and undoubtedly some land has been allocated, problems persist. Many
people are being allocated land without security of title and without
adequate start-up infrastructure or resources to become self-sufficient

Party militias led by veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation war have been in the
forefront of the violence, though farm workers and opposition supporters
have also retaliated on occasion. The Human Rights Watch report, researched
in 2001, documents how these militia assaulted farm owners, farm workers,
and residents of rural areas surrounding commercial farmland. The report
says that the police did almost nothing to stop the violence.

Human Rights Watch called for the post-election government in Zimbabwe to
bring to justice those responsible for abuses, and take steps to ensure that
the violence does not recur. Additionally, any government-sponsored land
reform must respect the rule of law.

A successful program of land reform is crucial for human rights in Zimbabwe,
and the international community should be committed to addressing the plight
of rural dwellers and farm workers. International logistic and financial
assistance is critical to improve the infrastructure necessary to for land

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Bloodshed feared as Mugabe's army leaves barracks
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: 08/03/2002)

LARGE elements of the Zimbabwean army moved out of barracks yesterday in an
ominous sign that the country may be plunged into large-scale bloodshed
after this weekend's presidential elections.

Three MiG-21 fighters flew low over farmland in Mashonaland West in an
apparent intimidatory display meant to underline the threat being spread by
ruling party thugs: "If President Mugabe loses the election, we will go to

President Mugabe: opposition leaders are accusing him of trying to 'steal'
the election
Michael Quintana, editor of the Africa Defence Journal, said he had toured
all military barracks in Harare yesterday and found that soldiers were
moving out in small convoys of three lorries at a time.

At Cranborne Barracks on the outskirts of the capital he saw soldiers towing
a BM-21 multiple-rocket launcher, a fearsome weapon that can can fire 40 122
mm rockets in six seconds.

"I was surprised to see the [rockets] coming out. They have never been used
before, not even in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo," he said.
He estimated that about two thirds of the soldiers in each of the barracks
had moved out. "They would not move in convoys as that would attract too
much attention," said Mr Quintana. "I do not know where the army was going."

He said the armed forces had about 16,000 servicemen in the country, with a
further 11,000 serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The government has admitted that some units have returned from Congo,
claiming the redeployment is not linked to the elections but is rather a
move to meet the terms of the peace accords to end the Congolese civil war.

Zimbabwean commanders have given warning that they would not accept Mr
Mugabe's defeat, but it is unclear whether more junior ranks would obey an
order to crush the opposition.

The opposition is accusing Mr Mugabe of trying to "steal" the election
through violence, intimidation and vote-rigging, but has not said how it
will respond to a victory by the president.

Seeking to win over the armed forces and waverers in the ruling Zanu-PF
party, Morgan Tsvangirai, the presidential candidate of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, renewed his pledge to seek national unity.
He even promised not to hound Mr Mugabe.

"We have far bigger problems than chasing Mugabe around the corner," he told
the South African eTV channel. "Let him retire in peace. We will do no harm
to him."

His words of reconciliation were in stark contrast to Mr Mugabe's ever more
strident threats of retribution. Mr Tsvangirai has been charged with treason
after being shown allegedly discussing the possibility of murdering the

Mr Mugabe told a rally in eastern Zimbabwe on Wednesday that he would settle
scores with Mr Tsvangirai. "No murderer will go unpunished. No one we know
to have planned such deeds will escape . . . We'll see this issue to its
conclusion once this [election] is out of the way," he said.

Evoking his familiar themes of the anti-colonial struggle against white-rule
Rhodesia, Mr Mugabe accused the opposition leader of being a British stooge.
"You suffered for this country while the Tsvangirais fled the war . . . now
he is licking the white man's boots," Mr Mugabe said.

Tony Blair has given warning that the stability of the whole of southern
Africa would be affected by the crisis in Zimbabwe. But Mr Mugabe instead
presented himself as the bulwark preventing recolonisation of the region by

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Zimbabwe on the brink

Mugabe holds its future in his hands

Friday March 8, 2002
The Guardian

Despite the imposition of EU sanctions, the threat of imminent suspension
from the Commonwealth, the withholding of US and multilateral financial
assistance, a string of determined protests and legal challenges from within
and intense international pressure from without, Robert Mugabe seems intent
on winning this weekend's presidential election in Zimbabwe by hook or by
crook, by fair means or foul, and - or so it would regrettably appear - at
almost any cost.
The impression that Mr Mugabe will stop at nothing to hold on to power has
been reinforced by a relentless stream of reports from Harare and other
parts of the country this week. It has long been clear that lawless elements
in or allied to his ruling Zanu-PF, particularly the party's youth militia
and the "war veterans", were conducting a widespread campaign of
intimidation against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

There is already little doubt that sustained efforts have been made to
discredit the MDC's popular but inexperienced presidential candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, for example by linking him to spurious assassination plots. Like
his supporters, Mr Tsvangirai has been the subject of constant harassment.
He has been accused of colluding with foreign powers, principally Britain,
to overthrow Zimbabwean independence, of being the credulous stooge of
colonialist conspirators.

On Wednesday, Mr Mugabe said his rival was "licking the white man's boots"
and warned that he faced a fearsome reckoning once the poll was over. To
such provocations and threats Mr Tsvangirai has usually responded with
admirable calm. For his part, he has pledged not to prosecute or otherwise
pursue Mr Mugabe, should he become president, and has offered to create a
national unity government.

In recent days, and despite the iniquitous restrictions placed on
independent domestic and foreign journalists, systematic government efforts
to gerrymander electoral rolls, disenfranchise opposition voters, limit the
number of polling stations, deny access and information to poll monitors and
further intimidate the electorate have come to light. If all that were not
enough (and it may not be), the army has been placed in overall control of
the conduct of the poll. Some troops have been reportedly withdrawn from
Congo and all leave has been cancelled.

Given that military chiefs have already warned that they will not recognise
an opposition victory, and given that Zimbabwe's highest court has been
filled with Mr Mugabe's placemen, there seems to be little hope of a free
and fair outcome. In truth, all the indicators point the other way: to a
massive, ruthless, scandalous but ultimately unstoppable fraud. Those who do
not care for democracy and human rights and honesty and justice may look the
other way. Those who do care may only cry for their beloved country.

Short of some kind of popular insurrection, there may be only one way out of
this deepening morass. Mr Mugabe is many things, but he is not stupid. For
all his silly rhetoric, he knows in his heart this election is not about
colonial plots or white revanchism. It is about maize, not guns; about jobs
and land, not ideology or race; about the nation's children, not its old men
and their old battles. He knows it is about the future of a country that he
once led with distinction but which no longer wants him.

If a free vote goes against him, as it surely will, Mr Mugabe must take the
dignified course and resign. He must let go. If he refuses, he will fully
deserve everything that may follow. Zimbabweans, however, will not.

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Commonwealth "observation" ill-considered

7TH March 2002

In the past few days MMPZ has noted that the leaders of two international
observer missions in Zimbabwe have commented on the incidence of politically
motivated violence in the country. They have said that journalists have
exaggerated this violence. However, they have not made it clear which
journalists and media organizations they were referring to. Furthermore,
they have made no effort to substantiate their observations in their public
statements. These comments include those made by the head of the
Commonwealth Observer mission to Zimbabwe, Abdulsalami Abubakar. In its 8pm
Newshour bulletin on March 2nd ZTV quoted him saying on the steps of State
House: ".I think there is all the violence and the high sounding news you
people deliver is not all that correct. We rarely observe violence; here and
there but not to the magnitude you people are reporting.When I say you
people I mean you news people and reporters" The Commonwealth observer group
has been charged with the responsibility of informing the Commonwealth on
the legitimacy of the forthcoming presidential election. Other groups have
similar responsibilities. But it is on the advice of the Commonwealth
observer delegation that the Commonwealth will decide what action to take
against Zimbabwe, according to the communiqué issued at the recent
Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Australia. It is therefore
important that Mr. Abubakar provides some evidence to substantiate his claim
that violence is not as bad as it appears to have been presented by

A similar comment was made by the head of the Namibian observer delegation,
Kaire Mbuende. He was quoted in The Herald (28/2) as saying incidences of
political violence in Zimbabwe were being exaggerated: "It is our considered
view that the prevalence of violence is exaggerated .There is violence
associated with the electioneering process coming from both sides of the
political divide."

But he also failed to provide any evidence to substantiate this claim. The
statistics are somewhat confusing, due in part to conflicting reports by the
police themselves, and figures provided by a human rights organization. The
Herald of March 6th 2002 reports that the police had recorded
14 deaths since the beginning of the year due to political violence; the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum reports a total of 31 deaths due to
political violence between January 1st and February
28th, 2002. This disparity requires urgent and thorough investigation. The
same issue of The Herald reports a senior police spokesman as saying that in
the first 25 days of February ".520 genuine cases of political violence had
been reported in the country." This would mean an average of 20.8 incidents
of politically motivated violence being reported every day. This cannot be
considered to be a healthy figure by any standard. These statistics
supercede earlier figures provided by the Commissioner of Police, Augustine
Chihuri, towards the end of February when he was reported on television (ZTV
8pm 26/2) as saying 250 cases of political violence had been recorded by the
police in the first 25 days of February. This would represent a figure of 10
incidents of political violence being reported every day; also a grim
statistic. MMPZ has been monitoring the incidence of politically motivated
violence reported in the mainstream Zimbabwean media and in the periods
given by the police, we can state the following:


Deaths reported between January 1st and March 6th 2002

ZTV reported six deaths as a result of political violence. Of these, five
were reported to be ZANU PF supporters and the political affiliation of one
was not confirmed. Radio 3FM aired four reports of politically motivated
killings. All victims were reported to be ZANU PF supporters. Radio Zimbabwe
carried five reports. Two of the victims were reported to be ZANU PF and the
political affiliation of the other three was not stated.

Incidents of violence reported (1st- 25th February 2002)

During this period ZTV reported only 25 incidents while 3FM reported 32 and
Radio Zimbabwe reported 15. By any standard, this would appear to be a gross
under-reporting of politically motivated violence by Zimbabwe's national
broadcasting corporation. Television report just half the official police
figure for those killed as a result of political violence, while ZBC's radio
stations reported even smaller percentages relating to political killings.
The figures for ZBC's coverage of incidents of political violence not
resulting in deaths are even more appalling. ZTV reported just 10% of the
lower police figure for the same period (or less than 5% if the higher
figure of 520 is used). Three FM recorded just 13% and Radio Zimbabwe, which
has by far the biggest national audience of all stations, recorded just 6%
of the police figures for political violence. Far from being an
exaggeration, these figures represent a clear suppression of the truth.


The findings of the Media Monitoring Project reveal that the private and
public print media reported the loss of 22 lives to politically motivated
violence between January 1st and March 3rd 2002. The public press recorded
seven deaths. Five were alleged to be ZANU PF supporters, while one was said
to be a member of the MDC, and the other was un-attributed. The private
press recorded 16 deaths. Fifteen were alleged MDC supporters and one was
said to be a ZANU PF supporter. Only one death- of an alleged ZANU PF
supporter in Budiriro- was reported in both Zimpapers and the private press.

A total of 156 incidents of political violence were recorded in the first 25
days of February 2002 in all sections of the print media. The public press
carried 51 incidents of political violence. MDC was blamed in 47 incidents
and four were not attributed. The private press carried 106 incidents in
which ZANU PF was blamed 91 times, 14 were blamed on war veterans, CIO, the
army and the National Youths Service, and one on MDC supporters. Both
sections of the print media reported one incident of political violence in
which MDC legislators were arrested. The private press reported that they
were arrested for trying to hold a campaign rally, while the public media
reported that the legislators were arrested for carrying weapons. Print
monitors were unable to establish whether any other incidents of violence
were duplicated in the public and private print media. This was due to the
fact that the public Press relied more heavily on police statements
providing insufficient evidence to be able to compare incidents in the
privately owned Press, whose reports tended to rely more on the evidence of
eye-witnesses and the victims themselves. While the police have been used as
sources in the privately owned Press, they have rarely been used as the
primary source, presumably because senior police officers have publicly
stated that they will not cooperate with the private Press. In any case,
duplication would bring the figure for the number of incidents of
politically motivated violence reported in all the local mainstream print
media even lower than the 156 cases reported. It can be demonstrated
therefore, that all sections of the Press seriously under-reported the
occurrence of politically motivated violence when compared with Police
Commissioner, Chihuri's official statement. While the privately owned Press
can be said to be providing a more accurate picture of the situation on the
ground (according to police statistics), they are still only managing to
cover 42% of the number of incidents reported to the police. However, in the
case of the public Press (chiefly The Herald and The Sunday Mail), which
enjoys unfettered access to police information, it must be said that they
have utterly failed in their duty to provide their readers with a remotely
accurate figure of the violence occurring in the country, reporting barely
one-fifth (20%) of the number of incidences reported to the police. MMPZ
deplores this abject failure by the state-owned media to fulfil their public
mandate by providing their audiences with a truthful and accurate reflection
of the real situation regarding the occurrence of political violence in
Zimbabwe. Considering that the state media have unrestricted access to
government authorities, including the police, this extreme distortion of the
truth suggests that the public media are deliberately suppressing the true
nature of the intensity and extent of the role political violence has played
in this presidential election campaign. In view of these facts, MMPZ
therefore, laments the publicly unsubstantiated "observations" of Mr.
Abubaka and Mr. Mbuende and considers them to be rash and ill considered.

This report was produced by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, MMPZ, P.
O. Box UA 156, Union Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:, Web: Please 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.

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The Times

Youth schooled in intimidation and terror
From Janine di Giovanni in Bulawayo

RAYMOND does not yet have the eyes of a killer. But he has the eyes of
someone who has done evil things.
The scrawny 18-year-old former Zanu (PF) youth militiaman wears an orange
and blue T-shirt and sits in a safe house talking about his life and
indoctrination into President Mugabe’s terror squad.

Raymond left school at 14 and, like many youths here, drifted aimlessly,
unsure of a future. In January, he claims he was abducted into the Zanu (PF)
youth militia, known as the Green Bombers by war veterans, and was promised
a job after the election. All the teenagers in the militia camps, believed
to be about 146 in total, are trained in terror and intimidation tactics
against opposition MDC voters.

The teenagers live in the camps and are “re-educated”, given political
“lessons” and taught to distinguish MDC from Zanu (PF) supporters.

They are trained with wooden guns and military drills and taught to torture.
Many were initially trained at the Border Gezi camp near Bindura, north of
Harare. But since November, when Mr Mugabe established and began encouraging
the youth militia, satellite camps throughout the country have been

Human rights groups have expressed concern over the youths, who have been
largely responsible for the wave of terror, beatings and intimidation of
anyone who does not openly support Zanu (PF).

“The militias are a new phenomenon. They didn’t exist before November and
only arrived here in mid-January,” Shari Eppel, from Amani Trust, a human
rights organisation, said.

Raymond, who defected from the militia this week, was brought by a relative
to Bulawayo where he would be safe. He tells a chilling tale of the
psychological training the teenagers are given.

Their daily routine consisted of military drills and lessons in brutality.
They lived in the bush and during the day stalked shopping centres for

By night, they were given individual tasks to terrorise civilians. Raymond’s
group commandeered a roadblock near a bridge. His speciality was nearly
drowning victims.

“We were taught how to hold their heads under water as long as possible,” he
said. He was also told to beat women who were not wearing long sleeves and
to inflict other manners of torture. One time his group beat a victim in
front of a police officer. “He was bleeding like hell and the police did

The militias operate in groups of ten. In Raymond’s unit, most were aged
between 14 and 15. They were told to stop all vehicles and chant a Zanu (PF)

If the driver did not respond with the code, he was yanked from the car and
tortured. Some victims were forced to drink a toxic brew of unfermented
home-made beer, which could poison them.

“We all had to take heed of this code. If we didn’t we were beaten with
whips and axes.”

The confiscation of victims’ Identity cards, crucial to vote in Zimbabwe,
was done by their commanders.

Raymond’s life with the militias was uncomfortable as well as terrifying.
Although the boys were fed and promised jobs if they performed well, they
slept without blankets and travelled on foot in packs. While they often
talked among themselves of escaping, they were afraid of repercussions. “We
were told if we wavered in beating MDC victims, then we were sympathisers
and would be punished.”

After more than a month as a Green Bomber, Raymond escaped. He is undergoing
trauma counselling and rebuilding his life, but like everyone here one day
before the election, he is extremely frightened.

The creation of the militias is of serious concern in Zimbabwe. It is widely
believed Mr Mugabe has opened a Pandora’s box of terror against the civilian
population by creating these youth brigades. “They are extremely dangerous
as a group, like a pack of dogs,” David Coltart, an Opposition MP who has
been targeted by the militias, said.

“The problem that Mugabe will face afterwards if he gets in is, now that he
has created them, how do you suddenly rehabilitate them?” he said. “You can’
t just turn people on and off like that.”

There are hundreds of victims of the militias each with gruesome stories.
Two men in their early twenties yesterday told their stories to The Times.
They had been abducted by a gang of Green Bombers and tortured and beaten
throughout the course of an entire day. They had been kicked and beaten
repeatedly in the groin, beaten with bull whips until their flesh was
punctured by deep criss-crosses and burnt with cigarettes. Shots were fired
over their heads and they were forced to roll between two lines of men with
whips and pickaxes who rained blows over them.

Miss Eppel said: “The torture is unimaginable. You just think ‘How can
people do this to each other?’”

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Daily Star News

When yesterday's liberator becomes today's liability

Wilson Johwa

A few weeks ago, a Belgian I had just met here in Dhaka forwarded me an
email whose subject was "Please help, Zimbabwe needs you." The source of the
letter was a media watchdog body, the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) that is based in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

"This is an invitation for you to visit our web pages on the situation in
Zimbabwe and do your bit for that embattled country," read the first part of
the letter that was prompted by the beleaguered Harare government's newest
attempts at curtailing freedom of the press.

Since I had been expecting something else when the Belgian announced that he
had sent me mail, I was very surprised that the situation at home was so bad
as to warrant an appeal to masses of faceless members of the international
community. Coupled with the surprise was the embarrassment that President
Mugabe and his coterie of self-serving sycophants, had reduced the country
into being the latest African trouble spot and object of global concerned

Not so long ago, many activists and other personalities around the world,
including myself, had gotten used to receiving letters appealing for one to
"spare a thought" for the people of Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda and such other
countries in distress. The appeal on Zimbabwe had caught me off-guard.
Despite the intensification of State-sponsored terror and its concomitant
devastation of the Zimbabwe economy, dubbed the world's fastest
deteriorating economy by the British-based Economist magazine last year, I
had thought the situation would resolve itself. But of course this was an
exercise in self-deception.

There are no rebels in Zimbabwe. Instead, Mugabe's once-popular government
has been playing a double role: on the one hand terrorising anyone suspected
on supporting the opposition and on the other pretending to be a
well-intentioned Africanist government. Hence the election this weekend will
be a watershed determining whether misrule continues for at least another
six years.

However, even before polling begins, we are waiting with bated breaths,
hoping that the presidential poll will usher in a new leader who will
immediately begin the onerous task of repairing the economy and regaining
the country's place in the sun. The desire in Zimbabwe is that after this
weekend the political upheavals will be halted and the last two years will
serve as a low point below which the country would strive not to sink. But
right now the question that begs for an answer is: Where did it go wrong
since Mugabe took over power with such promise 22 years ago?

This week a British newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, reported that over the
last three months Mugabe has sent more than £10 million through the Channel
Islands. The transfer of the money is seen as a hint that he may flee the
country if he loses the poll pitting him against his most formidable
challenger ever, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change

The Sunday Telegraph said most of the money was moved through financial
institutions without their knowledge and that it ended up in Malaysia, with
whom Mugabe has good relations.

Other reports are that the government has been slow in announcing election
details and that polling stations have been deliberately kept at a minimum
in the urban areas where support for the opposition is strongest. Indeed, as
all indications are that the present government is determined to steal the
election, a look at its once-revered leader's career is perhaps pertinent at
this stage.

Born on February 21, 1924 at Kutama Mission north-west of the capital
Harare, Robert Gabriel Mugabe had a Jesuit upbringing and as president
regularly lectures Zimbabweans on morality. However, this did not prevent
him from having two children by his young secretary, Grace, while his
popular Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer. He married Grace
in 1996. Immediately after, his political fortunes -- together with the coun
try's economic performance -- began clinging.

Mugabe qualified as a primary school teacher at the age of 17 but took his
first steps along the political path when he quit teaching to take up a
scholarship at South Africa's black university, Fort Hare. There, before
graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951, he came into contact with
many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders.

After completing his bachelor's degree, he returned to the then Southern
Rhodesia to teach, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and later
teaching in Ghana where he met and married his first wife.

In 1960 Mugabe returned home to enter politics. He first joined the
nationalist group the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), but in 1964,
after several arrests and a fall-out with its leadership, Mugabe went to
Tanzania and joined the newly-formed Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
ZANU inaugurated the war for independence that same year. Mugabe was
detained along with several other nationalist leaders in 1964 and spent the
next 10 years in prison camps and in jail.

He used those years to acquire six university degrees and to consolidate his
position in ZANU. Emerging from prison in November 1974 as leader, Mugabe
then left for neighbouring Mozambique, from where his banned party had begun
launching guerilla attacks into Rhodesia.

After four more years of war, Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, who led the rival
Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), entered negotiations with the
Rhodesians, concluding with Zimbabwe's independence in April 1980. In
elections just before independence, Mugabe and ZANU won by a landslide, and
he became prime minister.

Upon assuming power, he announced a policy of reconciliation with the
country's white minority, but now regularly blames them for many of
Zimbabwe's problems. As the country's fortunes have deteriorated, he has
tried to resurrect the nationalist agenda of the 1970s -- land and

He began a programme of free-market reforms in 1991, but the International
Monetary Fund has suspended aid because, it says, the reforms are not on
track. One sticking point in negotiations with the IMF has been Zimbabwe's
involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country's 10000-plus military deployment complements smaller contingents
from Angola and Namibia which have also been propping up the Congolese
government since the ouster of Mobutu Sese Seko three years ago. There is
hardly any discernible reason for Zimbabwe's involvement in the Congo. Apart
from being a costly enterprise for a small country of limited means, the
Congo campaign is seen as merely a lucrative adventure for the political and
military elite who are believed to be helping themselves to the Congo's
abundant resources.

Mugabe, who has survived three assassination attempts since 1980,
consolidated his power in 1987 when his party swallowed ZAPU in a unity
accord. The man nick-named the Christopher Columbus of Africa for his
numerous overseas trips, then assumed the position of executive president
and unsuccessfully tried to impose a one-party state. Still, for 20 years
his party had a free-rein in parliament since it had all but three seats in
the 150-member chamber.

However, with the emergence of a strong and well-organised opposition two
years ago, the ruling party lost 58 of those seats, triggering panic within
the higher echelons of the party. Their response was to launch a campaign of
terror and intimidation that seen the occupation of white-owned farms in the
vain hope that the nationalist rhetoric of the liberation war would appeal
to less sophisticated rural voters, who traditionally have been Mugabe's
strongest support base.

The irony is that since Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa --
thanks to Mugabe's policies -- the people have perhaps been better able to
analyse events. With inflation now at three-digit levels, unemployed at a
record 50 per cent and the country having to import food since farming and
industry are hamstrung, many Zimbabweans will this weekend vote with their

Wilson Johwa is a Zimbabwean journalist presently working for Drik Picture
Library and Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography, under the
auspices of the Norwegian Fredskporset programme.

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'Make or break' for whites as election nears
By a Special Correspondent in Mashonaland
(Filed: 06/03/2002)

WHITE Zimbabweans yesterday put the finishing touches to detailed plans for
this weekend's election.

Even for a community that survived guerrilla war and sanctions during the
Rhodesian era, nothing compares with the pressure felt now by the last
50,000 whites in Zimbabwe. The stakes have never been higher.

More than 300 whites gathered in a sweltering room in a Mashonaland country
club and heard a farmer open the meeting with the words: "This weekend our
destiny will be decided. This weekend is make or break for ourselves and for
our country."

If President Mugabe wins re-election, few whites doubt that their best
option will be a hasty exit.

Government-supported land invasions have already seen the occupation of
1,700 farms, the murder of eight landowners and relentless official attacks
on the white minority. Inflation of 120 per cent and a collapsing currency
have wiped out savings and pensions.

More of the same could spell the end for the white community, which includes
about 25,000 British nationals. But if Mr Mugabe loses, his supporters could
plunge Zimbabwe into turmoil and take revenge on any white face.

Fearing both possibilities, many whites will spend the next few days
gathering their children, packing precious possessions and heading for
remote lodges near the border.

There they will spend the crucial days when votes are cast in the knowledge
that escape across the frontier is only a short dash away.

Since the collapse of Zimbabwe's tourist industry, most game lodges have
been virtually empty. Many of those in the right location have suddenly
found themselves coping with a flood of bookings.

Private schools are taking an impromptu half-term break, beginning tomorrow
and continuing until the end of next week or longer if necessary. "Our
attitude is very much one of wait and see," said one parent.

Most businesses will close on Friday afternoon and have no plans to reopen
next week. Families are obtaining official permits allowing them to drive
across the border.

Last week, British diplomats visited hotels in the border town of Siavonga,
in neighbouring Zambia, and discovered how many Zimbabwean refugees could be
accommodated and fed.

The Zambian government has been asked to waive the £40 visa fee which is
currently demanded from all Britons at the frontier. But those determined to
remain in their homes while votes are cast have laid detailed plans.

At yesterday's meeting, the audience listened with rapt attention as a
farmer laid down the code names for an evacuation, each redolent with bitter

"Red evacuation is a Congo type, meaning you've got 10 minutes to get out of
your house," he said, summoning memories of the flight of the Belgian
settlers from the Congo in 1960.

"Orange evacuation is a Doma type, meaning women and kids out," he
continued, recalling the looting and destruction of 45 farms in the Doma
area of Zimbabwe last August. "Yellow evacuation is a tactical withdrawal."

Short of a full evacuation, plans for the election include rapid response
teams to rescue families from emergencies and a network of safe houses where
farmers' wives living in isolated places can gather.

Peta Thornycroft in Harare writes: A diplomatic source said that in the
event of widespread lawlessness "the British will advise their citizens to
make for the borders, in convoy, and they will be met by consular staff in
South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. That is all they can offer."
Sophie Honey, spokesman for the British High Commission, said: "The
Government has contingency plans in most countries, including Zimbabwe, to
assist British citizens in case of emergency."

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I have a very interesting article written about Mugabe's consorting with Sekuru Mushore, and the deeply intrinsic ancestral and animist spirituality which pervades the country and the political power-base;  however, I'm not at liberty to publish it as I cannot contact the writer for his permission.  In reality, the struggle truly is between good and evil, light and dark.  There is a Christian revival happening in Africa right now, and Zimbabwe is at the forefront, with some 60% of Zimbabweans claiming to be practical Christians, and more converting every day (compare that to New Zealand with around 3%).  The MDC are essentially and publicly a Christian party, whereas ZANU(PF) obviously work for the opposition.  Mugabe's public displays of church attendance are completely at odds with his behaviour, which is demonic, to say the least.
My real concern is that when Bugs loses the election, he still has three weeks before the handover, and he is going to unleash the maddest of his dogs.  And even if he was to try to call all the mongrels back that he has already let loose, they will just tell him to go the hell.  I don't believe he has anything other than titular presence now.  The demons have been freed and they're not going to go back in the bag.  I believe that if he tries to stop their ravaging now, one of his shamwaris will put a bullet through him.  And then all hell will break loose.
Bugame has sold his soul to the devil, no doubt about it.  He frequently swears oaths on the name of Ambuya Nehanda.  He's up to his armpits in blood.
Just re-reading 'Guns & Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe' by David Lan -- definitive text on the involvement/control of the witchdoctors during the war and their importance post-independence -- and some interesting and at the same time disturbing implications that can be drawn from it.  The book was published in 1985.  I've quoted at length, below.  Relate it to what is happening today, particularly considering Bugs' regular consultation with the mhondoro Sekuru Mushore at Saffron Walden farm (where the very first war veteran farm invasion in Mashonaland took place) and other prominent politicos' involvement in the devil's work; Hunzvi, for example was consulting one with whom he had a very public fallout over an unpaid bill; and the mayor of Chinoyi had a human head on the back seat in his car.
I quote [comments in square brackets are mine - Sender]:
"The symbolism of the mhondoro gains its extraordinary effectiveness as an expression of the struggle for Zimbabwe from its ability to combine the economic and political aspects of this struggle in a single unforgettable image: the chiefs of the past, independent and prosperous, benign and generous to their followers, in sole possession and control of their bountiful, fertile lands.  It is an image that has proved attractive to ministers of state and senior members of ZANU/PF.  The ancestors, the original and legitimate owners of the country, are nowadays charged with protecting the nation against its new potential 'conquerors', for example the South African state or the more abstract but no less real forces of neo-colonialism and so on." (p 219)
[Interesting quote from the Guardian, 10 October 1983]
"The Prime Minister, Mr Mugabe, swearing by the name of the legendary anti-British spirit medium Ambuya Nehanda, vowed that his government would confiscate white-owned land for peasant resettlement if Mrs Thatcher suspends promised British compensation ... "If they do that we will say 'Well and good, you British gave us back the land because you never paid for it in the first place.  The land belongs to us.  It is ours by inheritance from our forefathers'", the Prime Minister said." (p 219)
"We are more than familiar with Shona politicians claiming legitimacy for their rule over the land in the name of their ancestors, but over the last few years, an important change in the articulation of ancestral authority has taken place.
"In 1981 an Act of Parliament known as the Traditional Medical Practitioners Act passed into law.  The purpose of this Act was to establish a Traditional Medical Practitioners Council and to give legal standing to ZINATHA (the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association) which had been in existence for some years though in competition with a number of other traditional healers' associations which have since been disbanded.  The function of the Council according to the Act will be to 'supervise and control the practice of traditional medical practitioners and to foster research into, and develop the knowledge of such practice.'
"The Council is required to set up a register of all traditional medical practitioners.  Once they are registered, those whose healing techniques do not include possession may add the initials TMP (Traditional Medical Practitioner) after their names.  Those who are proficient at possession may use the letters SM (Spirit Medium).  The explicit function of this body is to organise and centralise the practice of TMPs and SMs so that they can provide a service to the community parallel to the Western-style medicine made available in clinics and hospitals throughout the country.
"But the Act goes further.  It allows for TMPs and SMs who do not measure up to the standards of the Council to be expelled.  The Council may 'order the suspension of the registered person for a specified period from practising as a traditional medical practitioner or performing any act specially pertaining to the practice of TMPs.'  In addition, if individuals make use of these titles when they have not been registered, they are liable to a fine of $1000 or imprisonment for two years.'  It is only necessary to point out that the Council consists of twelve members of whom five are appointed by the Minister of Health [Stamps!] and that six members constitute a quorum of this Council for it to be clear that, to all intents and purposes, the government has provided itself with an agency fully capable of declaring who is and who is not a legitimate and authentic spirit medium.
"Of course one, and perhaps the most predominant, effect of this legislation will be that mediums whose curing techniques are either ineffective or harmful will not be allowed to put the safety of the public at risk.  But curing has long been only one of the duties of the mhondoro mediums.  Another is the choosing and installing of the political leadership.
"At a public meeting in Dande in 1982 a senior mhondoro medium, speaking in a trance, described his dismay at the slow rate of progress achieved by the government in fulfilling their promise of economic aid to the Dande region.  He reminded his listeners of the contribution that he and other mediums had made to the struggle.  His warning was perfectly clear.  It was, he said, the mhondoro who had enabled the present government to come to power.  If they failed the people and therefore failed their ancestors, the mhondoro would transfer their authority elsewhere.
"The mhondoro mediums provided the resistance with the set of symbols with which its moral authority was expressed.  They lent it their skills, their knowledge, and the weight of their prestige.  it was inevitable that after the successful conclusion of the war they should feel that the power to control the destiny of the new nation was in their hands.
"A number of other Dande mediums have complained of the neglect they have suffered since Independence and of the failure of the government to reward them for the help which they gave.  One circumstance that has contributed to this feeling of neglect is the recent removal of authority from the party village committees which operate, in Dande at least, under the jurisdiction of the ancestors.  The committees have been subordinated to two new administrative bodies.  First, the authority to hear and resolve disputes has been transferred to the so-called Primary Level Courts.  Operated by a judge and two assessors who are elected from an area corresponding roughly to the old wards of the chiefs, these courts fall under the Ministry of Justice.  Secondly, most of the other powers which were inherited by the committee from the guerrillas have been inherited in turn by the District Councils established under the Ministry of Local Government.  These Councils, also based more or less on the old ward system, require only one individual to represent a constituency of some thousands of people, and deal with all the major issues such as education, transport, economic development and so on.
"The ZANU/PF committees have therefore been left with almost no functions at all except to inform the villagers of new party policies, to hear minor disputes and to look after village matters such as sanitation and the allocation of new sites for homes.  The overall effect has been to remove power from ZANU/PF with its direct experience of the liberation struggle in the countryside and from the hands of the villagers themselves and surrender it to the institutions of government which are based in the capital and staffed largely by career politicians and civil servants.
"At present, the likelihood that the mediums will actually transfer their allegiance, and that of the ancestors, away from ZANU/PF and the government is slight, though the possibility that if they did so the chiefs might be the beneficiaries is perhaps one of the reasons that the chiefs' old relationship of subservience and dependence on the state has been perpetuated from the previous government.  But the threat that they might is significant because it is a threat to that special sort of legitimacy which only the ancestors can provide and which, in addition to the legitimacy it has obtained by its overwhelmingly popular democratic election, the government elected in 1980 claims for itself.
"In effect the traditional Medical Practitioners Acts entrenches in law precisely that control over the mediums that political authorities of the past, whether chiefs or district commissioners, attempted to enforce in its own 'descent' from the ancestors thus minimising the importance of that other technique by which the mhondoro are represented on earth, possession (see fig 9.1).  To take a very long historical view indeed, the present state of play is reminiscent of Dos Santos' account of the 'king' Quiteve in 1609.  It was to Quiteve rather than to the mediums that his followers turned to for rain and though the 'king' periodically consulted his ancestors, the role of the medium was relatively undeveloped, the ancestor choosing a medium at random from amongst those attending the royal ceremonies.
"One final point about the relationship between the ancestors and the state.  It comes at the end not because I consider it insignificant but so that everything that has gone before can be reconsidered in its light.  It is the unique quality of the Shona spirit mediums that they are able to present a complex 'performance' of the past combined with a vision of the future in a way that enhances the peoples' belief in the value of their much maligned history and thereby strengthens their belief in their ability to create a better future.  Among the particular skills of the mediums that were called upon during the war was their ability to accumulate followings that crossed chiefly boundaries.  These they put at the disposal of the nationalist leaders.  And the most senior of the mhondoro mediums, those of Nehanda and, to a lesser extent, Mutota were able to command loyalties that stretched far beyond local priorities, that extend almost to the nation as a whole.
"If Zimbabwe is the spirit province of the great Shona ancestor Nehanda, then it follows that there are two distinct Zimbabwes.  There is the nation/spirit province, owned by the ancestors of the Shona people in which the Shona have the perpetual, inextinguishable right of autochthons to live and govern forever.  And there is the territory that was Rhodesia, the borders of which were drawn by politicians in Britain and Portugal with no regard for the peoples who lived within them, with a history less than a hundred years long.  Within this second Zimbabwe live the Shona but also the Ndebele, the Shangaan, the whites, and the other marginal ethnic groups as well [yeah, right - what about the true autochthons -- the Khoi and San bushmen, who were there before the lot of them?].
"From the point of view of Dande, the two Zimbabwes are one.  From many other parts of the country this is not so.  Will the Ndebele and other small populations accept that the Shona ancestors can provide them with their fertility or will they insist on maintaining their own integrity, insist, that is, that their own ancestors, their own political traditions should also form part of the symbolism of the new state?
"Since Independence, numbers of ex-guerrillas loyal to ZAPU have taken up arms against the new state.  By this action they declare their belief that the state does not adequately represent the interests of the Ndebele people [and look what happened to them -- gukurahundi].  Of the two Zimbabwes, one, the Zimbabwe of Nehanda and the other Shona mhondoro, Zimbabwe the spirit province, has survived numerous transformations in the past and will no doubt survive many more.  But it seems clear that the peaceful survival of the other Zimbabwe, the modern nation state, requires more than the benefits that any one set of ancestors can provide." (p 219-222)
(David Lan.  "Guns & Rain: Guerrillas & Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe".  Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1985, p 219-222)
There is occasional reference in the media to Ambuya Nehanda's bones and mhondoro mediums in her name.  This would fly in the face of the following, taken from the record of her execution along with Kagubi's (who, incidentally, converted to Christianity in the cell while listening to Nehanda screaming blue murder on the gallows above, before they pulled the pin on the trap and dropped her).  He went quietly.
'Everyone felt relieved after the execution,' confesses Father Richartz, 'as the very existence of the main actors in the horrors of the rebellion, though they were secured in prison, made one feel uncomfortable.'  With their deaths, it was universally felt, the rebellion was finished; 'their bodies were buried in a secret place, so that no natives could take away their bodies and claim that their spirits had descended to any other prophetess or witchdoctor'.
(Ranger, T. O.  "Revolt in Southern Rhodesia 1896-7".  London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1967, p 310. Quoting from: Richartz, 'The End of Kakubi', Zambesi Mission Record, Vol. 1, No. 2, Nov. 1898)
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USA Today

Zimbabwe election crucial to Africa's future

By Rena Singer, Special for USA TODAY

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Archibald Zvidzai didn't consider voting for the
opposition party when this country's economy began to sour two years ago and
his auto-body business took a beating. His loyalty to the ruling party
remained unquestioned even when staples like milk, cooking oil and sugar
became scarce a few months ago.

But this life-long supporter of the ruling party finally reconsidered last
month when his own party's militants knocked on his door in the middle of
the night and demanded that he prove he was one of them. He had
absent-mindedly left his party identity card in his country home.

The men didn't believe him when he said he backed President Robert Mugabe's
Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front. As his wife and three
children screamed for mercy, Zvidzai was beaten until he was covered with
blood. Three weeks later, he still can't see out of his right eye. "Before,
I didn't think about politics," said Zvidzai, 42. "Now I am thinking I want
a change."

Zvidzai is one of hundreds of Zimbabweans beaten, tortured or threatened as
elections loom. Mugabe, 78, president since 1987, is aiming for a fourth
term. He faces the first formidable challenge to his rule in two days of
voting Saturday and Sunday. Once acclaimed as a hero of the new black,
democratic Africa, Mugabe has responded to this threat by employing the
tactics of Africa's worst dictators, attacking perceived political opponents
and sowing chaos and fear.

Now, Zimbabwe, once a symbol of the promise of racial reconciliation and
Africa's potential economic might, is experiencing a spectacular economic
and political free-fall. Zimbabweans are poorer than they were at
independence. An estimated 60% of adults are unemployed and 75% of the
population lives at or below poverty.

As the region's second largest economy and second most populous country,
Zimbabwe casts a large shadow. "Zimbabwe is a fulcrum on which the future of
Southern Africa rests; if it tips the right way, the region could face a
more prosperous future. If not, regional prospects could deteriorate," Greg
Mills, director of the South African Institute of International Affairs said
in a recent report.

Already, deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe and images of bloodied white
farmers fleeing their land, have scared off the tourists who flock to
Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba.

Investors have taken Mugabe's threats of nationalizing all white-owned or
connected businesses as an opportunity to redline all of southern Africa.
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group reported this year that
southern Africa will lose $36 billion in investment thanks to Mugabe's
actions. Development aid for all of Africa is at risk. Ed Royce, chairman of
the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, warned last week that events in
Zimbabwe made more aid to Africa a hard sell. Last month, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the election a critical test for
democracy across Africa: "For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe, of its
neighbors and the entire continent of Africa, I appeal to the government to
let the people make their choice, and to live by it."

Zimbabwe's fall from political and economic stability began in February 2000
when Mugabe backed a referendum aimed at giving himself more power. Voters,
in this California-sized country of 13 million, rejected it.

In response, Mugabe launched a campaign of intimidation against opponents.
He announced that white-owned farms would be redistributed to poor landless
blacks, a plan guaranteed to win the backing of millions of landless blacks.

Few Zimbabweans disagree. A few thousand whites hold two-thirds of all
privately farmed land. Even the white-dominated Commercial Farmers Union
supports land redistribution. However, the government's methods have plunged
vast swaths of the country into lawlessness.

Gangs of unemployed youths led by veterans of the country's war of
independence against Britain arrived on farms without notice — some armed
with guns, hatchets and clubs. The gangs threatened white farm owners and
black employees. Dozens of people, most of them black, have died.

At his rallies, surrounded by banners that say "Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again," Mugabe maintains that his "fast-track land resettlement
program," will rid the country of the white colonialists. The president vows
to create a healthy, black-dominated agricultural industry.

For now, the opposite appears to be the case. The country's farms have been
left without clear owners. Fields remain uncultivated. Food shortages loom.
Last month the U.N. World Food Program began emergency food aid
distributions in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe's harsh regime also has touched urban areas. The independent
newspaper's printing press was blown up, schools were closed and opposition
party offices have been attacked. Ordinary Zimbabweans like Zvidzai have
been threatened or attacked.

Former union activist Morgan Tsvangirai, 49, Mugabe's opponent, has been
fired on by police and threatened with treason charges. "The conditions
under which these elections are being held do not resemble anything that
nears free and fair," Tsvangirai said Thursday. "The electoral process has
been blatantly and outrageously distorted in favor of the ruling party."

Despite this, Mugabe remains popular with many Zimbabweans who recall the
decade he spent in jail for demanding independence for colonial Rhodesia.
Mugabe, who has dominated politics here since Zimbabwe became independent 22
years ago, can take credit for much of the country's successes. Before
independence, only half of black children attended school. Today the
literacy rate is 97% among youth. Zimbabwe's health care system, road
network, and national parks were remarkable, until the current turmoil began
to erase much of the gains. "I admire the guy," says Munyaradzi, a
30-year-old opposition party supporter who gave only one name for fear of
retribution. "Look at what he has achieved. He is a good leader. He fought
for our independence. But he has overstayed."

If Mugabe wins re-election, experts say Zimbabwe will plunge further into
international isolation, destabilizing the region. If Tsvangirai wins,
Zimbabwe's armed forces have threatened a coup.

Ask any Zimbabwean how they plan to vote in this weekend's election and they
are likely to look over both shoulders, then whisper, "It is my secret."

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Zimbabwe court bars tens of thousands from voting

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has barred tens of thousands of people with dual citizenship from voting on the eve of the presidential elections.

The court, largely stacked with judges loyal to Mugabe, disqualified many whites and tens of thousands of black farm workers from neighbouring countries - almost all of whom the MDC said would have voted for their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC said the Supreme Court ruling to only allow citizens to vote in their home voting districts, effectively disenfranchised thousands of its supporters driven from their homes by political violence, as well as urban supporters now required to return to rural home districts to vote.

Mugabe, 78, toured his rural strongholds north of Harare today. His popularity has crashed amid economic chaos and political violence blamed mostly on his supporters.

Tsvangirai, 49, planned to spend the last day of campaigning in industrial districts of the capital - strongholds of the union-backed MDC.

MDC officials said there were widespread state-backed efforts to deter voting tomorrow and on Sunday.

They said more than 80% of the people who had died in the last two years remained on the register in some areas and in other places more than a third of the names of people who voted in the last election had been removed.

Also, ruling party militia bases were located next to polling places in some districts, increasing chances of violence against opposition supporters.

They said 31 of their party monitors were abducted this morning by ruling Zanu-PF youth militia and more than 200 MDC supporters had their ID cards stolen rendering them ineligible to vote.

In violation of electoral laws, they said, Zanu-PF supporters were still registering to vote despite the deadline for registration being 3 March.

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(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers’ Union)









Large Scale Commercial

11 020 000



Small Scale Commercial

1 380 000



Communal Area

16 350 000



Resettlement Area

3 540 000



Parks/Forest Land

6 339 000



ARDA (State Farming)

250 000



Urban Area

200 000




39 079 000







Commercial Farmers’ Union Members

8 595 000


Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union

700 000  (approx)


Non Members (either Union)

600 000 (approx)


Development Trust of Zimbabwe

(Government of Zimbabwe GoZ)

332 000


Indigenous/Tenant Schemes/Leases (GoZ)

470 000


Cold Storage Company (GoZ)

211 000


Forestry Commission (GoZ)

112 000


TOTAL (Large Scale Commercial)

11 020 000






27 604 000



11 275 000



     200 000



39 079 000



Statistics on compulsory acquisition as at 01 March 2002 are:


Gross listed:

5 648 farms 

10 231 950 ha


706 farms

1 475 378 ha


51 farms

90 698 ha


467 farms


Nett listed:

4 526 farms

8 847 270 ha



For more information, please contact Jenni Williams

Mobile 263 – 91 300 456 or 263 -11 213 885

Or email me at or

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From The Christian Science Monitor, 7 March

Zimbabwe battens down for uneasy election

Predictions of unrest and doubts about a widely acceptable result precede weekend poll

Harare - Fabulous Beauty Salon on the corner of Mugabe street in downtown Harare is cram-packed. Patricia is getting her nails done. Nancy is fiddling with her hair extensions. On Monday this shop will be closed. No one seems to be sure about Tuesday. Or Wednesday. The manager fits a new metal gate to his storefront window and closes his account books. "I don't know, I don't know," he responds to a future appointment inquiry. As Zimbabweans go to the polls this weekend - amid fears that the violence which has marked the election campaign will reach even greater levels - the country is grinding to a standstill. No matter who wins - whether Zanu PF incumbent President Robert Mugabe, or his challenger, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Morgan Tsvangirai - most predict there will be unrest. Foreigners are evacuating. Locals who can afford it are either locking up and flying out, or stocking up on food. And the majority of the population - dirt poor, hungry, increasingly frustrated, and without options - is just waiting. "It is not a question of whether or not there will be violence," one senior Western diplomat wrote in a cable to his capital last week. "It's a question of how much and for how long ... and how Zimbabwe is going to come out of it."

Due to the political climate, people are afraid to say whom they will be voting for. Nonetheless, several independent polls clearly indicate that Mr. Tsvangirai has more popular support than Mr. Mugabe, possibly much more. The country is experiencing an economic free fall. Unemployment is estimated at 60 percent, inflation is more than 100 percent. Half a million people are faced with starvation because of drought and the forced occupation of white commercial farms by squatters. Foreign investment has all but dried up, and tourists are staying away. Zimbabwe has become a pariah state internationally. It is likely that if Mugabe continues as president, the European Union (EU) will impose full sanctions here, and relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and other donors will collapse. The opposition party slogan is as simple as it is appealing. "Change! Change! Change!"

Some envision a scenario whereby Mugabe - an aging soldier who has run Zimbabwe since white rule ended in 1980 and who blames the current economic mess on former colonial power Britain - takes note of his loss and steps down. "Mugabe might say he does not intend to step down," says Masiphula Sithole, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe. "But when faced with the facts – especially if he loses by such a large margin that it is impossible to tamper with it - he will leave." Most pundits however, scoff at this idea and say that Mugabe - power hungry and fearful of possible retribution for his bloody crackdown in Matabeland in the 1980s - will refuse to release the reins of power. "There is no option of Mugabe winning fairly. And no option of his accepting a loss. It's all about stealing the elections," says Wilfred Mhanda, a war veteran who heads the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform, an alternative association of former fighters who oppose Mugabe. "And this has already been done - such theft does not just happen on election day."

Mugabe's detractors point at a very long list of irregularities - from mere voter confusion tactics to outright brutal intimidation - as evidence that the election heist began long ago. British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims that a free and fair election is now virtually impossible. Sixty-nine of Tsvangirai's rallies have been banned or disrupted by thugs. More than 400,000 serious human-rights abuses have been reported, and 107 MDC supporters and activists have been reported to have died in political violence over the past two years. While some, such Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, claim Mugabe has more support than most realize and can win legitimately, by and large neither the outside world nor ordinary Zimbabweans will trust any Mugabe victory.

If Mugabe does declare victory, it is generally expected that a good number of those who stayed in the country with a wait-and-see attitude will leave - joining the 25 percent of productive labor force that has already fled in the past four years. And that many others, especially in the urban areas, will take to the streets in protest. "People have pegged their hopes for change on this election, and frustration will be tremendous. Explosions come when there is no recourse," says Brian Kogoro, director of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a civic-society umbrella organization. "Mugabe can claim victory but not legitimacy, and with no food, no work, and no recourse, people will certainly revolt. They have nothing to lose." "The people have been wanting to rise up against the government for a long time, but the opposition held them down - saying they were going to win," adds Mhanda. He explains that the revolt will be organized, and he admits that preparations are already under way. "Aims are being debated. Discussions are focused on whether there should be call for a recount of votes or simply a power takeover," he says. "In any case, reaction will be immediate. We can't wait. We are chomping at the bit."

What results such a revolt will bring, however, depends on how the military responds. Those Army generals who have risen within Mugabe's system of patronage, and who have become rich off looting diamond mines in Congo, are none too keen to see the president lose power. In fact, the top brass have made it clear that they will respect only one outcome. The Defense force commander, Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe, has said that he will not serve a president who does not have a liberation war background. Tsvangirai, a former miner and union boss, has no such background. The real question seems to be what the lower-ranking military men will do if forced to choose between turning their guns on civilians or on their superiors. "These young military men are the key," says Sithole. "The Army is more than a handful of generals, and the rank and file don't ride in Mercedes or have exorbitant salaries." Sithole believes these men, who live meagre lives, would be unlikely to support Mugabe in such a scenario. "They will come together and tell Mugabe: 'Listen, you don't have a chance of resisting the will of the people. Call Morgan and concede the elections. They will dial the numbers.'" Mhanda is not so sure. "This is an academic debate. We will have to wait and see," he says.

"On Saturday and Sunday, I predict quiet," says one Western diplomat. "It's in Mugabe's interest to make elections look as free and fair as possible, and Tsvangirai wants to maintain quiet so that as many people as possible come out to vote." On Monday and Tuesday, there will also be quiet, continues the diplomat - who had just finished sending off to South Africa all the dependents in his embassy - because everyone will be waiting to hear the results, and there is no point in making noise before that. "The announcement will come on Wednesday or Thursday," he concludes. "And then hell will break loose." Perhaps not coincidentally, Thursday is also the day on which every accredited foreign journalist's visa to Zimbabwe runs out. Back at the Fabulous Beauty Salon, Nancy is still leafing through women's magazines, waiting for all her hair extensions to be braided. Her hairdo should stay in shape for at least a month. "I hope by then we will be over the worst, and this country will calm down so I can come get it reset and rebraided," she says. "But who knows?"

From The Washington Post, 8 March

Zimbabweans see trouble ahead

Harare - Wellington Chinyama sat down in a barber's chair today, unfolded his newspaper and without glancing up asked the young man trimming his hair the question that seems to be on virtually everyone's mind here: "So Joseph, have you prepared yourself for Zimbabwe's civil war?" Two days before Zimbabweans go to the polls to re-elect or oust Robert Mugabe, the only leader the country has ever known, the question of who will win the election seemed almost secondary to how the loser and his followers will respond. Surveys show the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, a trade union leader, ahead of Mugabe. But a surge in political violence and accusations that the governing party changed election laws to rig the vote have fanned widespread concerns among Zimbabweans, election monitors and foreign diplomats that neither political party nor their supporters are prepared to accept the final tally.

"It does not take a vivid imagination to envision a scenario on the ground where either rioters or the military takes to the streets in the days to come," an African diplomat said. Most disturbing are pronouncements by senior government officials and military leaders that they would not allow this former British colony to be led by Tsvangirai and his political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In a television interview broadcast this week, Didymus Mutasa, a spokesman for Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party, said he and other veterans of the country's independence war found the prospect of an MDC government intolerable. "People have said being ruled by the MDC is being ruled by Ian Smith," Mutasa said, referring to the prime minister of white-ruled Rhodesia, as the country was known before gaining independence in 1980. "Under these circumstances, if there were to be a coup, we would support it very definitely."

At least 34 people have died in political violence this year, almost all of them MDC supporters. State Department officials this week accused Mugabe's government of numerous human rights violations during the election campaign, an allegation vehemently denied by Zanu PF officials. A newspaper reported today that Mugabe had put the armed forces on "high alert" and recalled soldiers from neighboring Congo, where they have been deployed in that country's civil war. Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri denied the reports. Still, many Zimbabweans see this weekend's election as a contest between immovable forces: a 78-year-old autocrat desperate to remain in power and an opposition party dominated by restless young citizens weary of government corruption, food shortages and unemployment. "If Mugabe announces that he has won the election, I think that people will not believe it and will storm the castle," said Sibongile Mbuyiso, an MDC supporter. "But if the MDC wins, I believe Mugabe will announce martial law, throw Tsvangirai in jail for plotting to kill him and send the army into the streets."

Government officials last month charged Tsvangirai and two other MDC officials with high treason for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe. That charge is based largely on a heavily edited videotape in which Tsvangirai refers to the "elimination" of Mugabe. Tsvangirai was responding to a question posed by a Canadian publicist with whom he was meeting and who subsequently signed a contract with Zanu PF. Political analysts say the charges may have laid the groundwork for Mugabe to jail Tsvangirai as a last-ditch effort to stay in power should he lose the election. But that outcome is certainly not a foregone conclusion. MDC officials say that 22 of their polling agents have been abducted in the past week, and a surge in violent attacks in swing districts could persuade enough MDC supporters to vote for Zanu PF to ensure Mugabe's victory.

In addition, governing party officials have revised election laws and procedures in a manner that could change the outcome of the vote, according to independent election observers. Zanu PF officials have told election observers that they intend to increase the number of polling stations in rural areas believed to be their strongholds and reduce the number of stations in urban areas, where there is strong support for the opposition. Observers say that could produce long voting lines and discourage some MDC supporters from casting ballots. Zanu PF election officials also plan to use civil service employees to monitor the vote-counting and bar independent monitors from nonprofit organizations from assisting in such routine tasks as transporting ballot boxes to counting stations. A residency requirement introduced last month bans registered voters from casting ballots if they cannot provide leases or utility bills in their names. That, according to foreign diplomats and MDC supporters, could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of young opposition supporters who live with their parents.

"Clearly, Mugabe is doing everything he can to steal this election," said John Makumbe, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai said at a news conference tonight that if he wins the election, he would not prosecute Mugabe. That could ease pressure on Mugabe to remain in power to avoid prosecution for his government's attack in the 1980s in Matabeleland, the home of the Ndebele tribe, which at the time posed the most significant threat to his leadership. An estimate of the number of people killed in the operation ranges from 10,000 to 20,000.

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Zimbabwe Independent

Why do African leaders not speak out?
By Learnmore Ndlovu

I HAVE some questions for African leaders. Why are you not willing to
condemn Robert Mugabe's behaviour over the last two years? Why are you not
willing to condemn the suppression of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom
of association, freedom of movement, and political freedom in Zimbabwe by
Mugabe over the last two years?

Is it that all African leaders see nothing wrong in the introduction of laws
by the Zimbabwean government that are more repressive than those imposed by
Ian Smith under minority white rule which were aimed at the black majority?

If Mugabe was representing a white government you would not be so silent
about these acts. Why is it acceptable then in your eyes for a black
government to act repressively against its own people? Is it that the
African leaders do not support the concept of majority decision? Mugabe held
a constitutional referendum in February 2000 but ignored the results and
imposed his will on the people. That is minority rule, and is no more
acceptable than was minority rule by Ian Smith. Why do the African leaders
not speak out and condemn this? It is suppression of democracy.

Mugabe has subverted the police force and law and order. The police protect
and escort Mugabe's supporters while they rampage, loot and unleash violence
on the people. People who retaliate in self-defence are arrested. Is this
the way African leaders consider democracy should work?

These are facts that they wish to ignore, presumably so that they cannot be
labelled as being hypocrites in their own countries.

However justifiable land redistribution may be, there can be no
justification for the motives or the manner in which it has been carried
out. It could have been carried out in a manner which would have enhanced
productivity and food production, rather than reducing or totally stopping
food production. How can any responsible person condone the destruction of
the resources for the production of food? For that is what has happened in
Zimbabwe. For many years Zimbabwe was not only self- sufficient in the
production of food, but was able to export food.

There is now a food shortage. Food has to be imported if donors are willing
to supply it. Many people are hungry if not starving unnecessarily. And it
is clear the election over the weekend will not have been free and fair.
That is fact. The police have actively interfered and frustrated to the best
of their ability the holding of rallies by the opposition. Whereas people
are literally coerced into attending Mugabe's rallies, they have to make a
determined effort to attend an opposition rally under the threat of violence
from Mugae's supporters and the police who set up roadblocks to reduce
numbers. Why is this not condemned by the African leaders? One must presume
they consider it an acceptable way to win an election.

It is unlikely that there is a creditable group of observers to monitor the
election and report accurately without bias. The South African observers are
probably the best of the groups currently in Zimbabwe, but they are yet to
prove that they will report factually and accurately. When one finds them
staying in hotels being entertained by Mugabe's supporters and not observing
the violent activities going on around them, their impartiality becomes

The presidents of Namibia and Tanzania deliberately ignore the facts and
miss the point. No one in Zimbabwe considers that the election will be free
and fair because Morgan Tsvangirai wins and Mugabe loses, or vice versa. The
election is not free and fair because of the violence and intimidation
encouraged by Mugabe. Mugabe is doing his best to prevent people who may
vote against him from voting. Polling stations in areas perceived to be
opposition strongholds have been reduced, while they have been increased in
areas where his supporters are concentrated.

One has to ask the question why these two presidents chose not to be aware
of the facts, and prefer to drag in red herrings saying the result is being
pre-judged. Noone is pre-judging the outcome, we are dealing with the facts
that the election will not be free and fair.

When the police arrest 12 clergymen for holding a religious procession,
while at the same time blessing, protecting and escorting a group of young
thugs creating mayhem in support of Mugabe, it cannot be said the election
is free and fair, or that order exists. Maybe in Namibia and Tanzania this
is the acceptable face of democracy and law and order.

My last question to the African leaders who do not want to condemn Mugabe or
take any action against him, is will you be prepared to donate food and feed
the people of Zimbabwe as a result of your support for Mugabe's destructive
land resettlement programme?

I am sure that the answer is no, you do not have the ability to do this, let
alone the resources. The best that can be said is that you are not
hypocritical. If you do not condemn Mugabe's action, you must of necessity
support and approve of it.

Ndlovu is a Harare-based freelance writer.

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Zimbabwe Independent

Blair negotiates African minefield
By Richard Dowden

POST-IMPERIAL guilt? A photo opportunity with Nelson Mandela? An
international glory story? Easier to sort out than the health service or the
railways? Tony Blair's motive for picking Africa as a top priority for his
second term remains obscure. If he knew what he was letting himself in for,
he took a brave decision. Swathes of Africa have slid steadily into poverty
and war over the past 30 years, with occasional bouts of ghastly violence.

Third World countries in Asia and Latin America began to take off in the
1980s but Africa remained in a category of its own. Countries from that
continent now occupy all the bottom places in the world leagues for health,
wealth and well-being. Even richer countries such as South Africa and
Botswana are suffering catastrophic levels of HIV infection that may kill
off a quarter of young men and women in the next few years.

Like most people faced with this picture, Blair at first wanted to do
something. But he was persuaded by advisers not to rush in to save Africa -
as well-meaning missionaries and aid workers have done in the past, often
making things worse. Conventional wisdom now is that only Africa can sort
itself out. Outsiders must work with and through Africans. So Blair's desire
to play Mr Fixit for Africa was set aside.

Instead, Britain became the discreet midwife to an African initiative - the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Last year the rulers of
South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria produced a plan that commits African
administrations to better government, ending Africa's wars, reducing poverty
and promoting trade and development. The British Prime Minister eagerly
gathered it in his arms and carried it off to show other world leaders at
the G8 summit in Genoa last year. He has promised to speak for it and report
on its progress at subsequent meetings. He has persuaded other G8 leaders,
more or less, that if African countries put their own house in order, the
rich world will help with more aid, debt relief and fairer trade rules.

The beauty of the New Partnership is two-fold; Africans wrote it and there
is nothing new in it. Its commitments are the old conditions for aid that
the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have laid down for the
past few years. Protection of human rights, democracy and the extension of
free trade used to be Western conditions for aid. NEPAD makes them African

At the same time, Britain is trying to reverse the fall in aid to Africa
which stood at US$19 billion a decade ago, and is now $12 billion. By next
year, the British aid budget will have increased by about 60% since Labour
took over. Gordon Brown and Clare Short have taken a lead on debt relief and
Britain is urging a reduction of subsidies to agriculture in the rich
countries and better access for poor countries to their rich markets.
Important, if dull, stuff but, at the Department for International
Development Short has begun to push the borders that define development by
including issues such as conflict resolution and peacemaking. There is no
point trying to bring development in the middle of a war, the Secretary of
State points out.

In May 2000, Britain dispatched combat troops to Sierra Leone to save the
capital from barbaric rebels. Given the embarrassment of the Sandline affair
the previous year, that was a brave decision. Done under the subterfuge of
protecting British subjects, it became a full-scale defence of the Sierra
Leone government. And it worked. The government was saved and the worst of
the war in Sierra Leone is, we hope, over.

However, absence of fighting will not of itself mean peace and development.
Long before the civil war reached Freetown, government structures and
institutions had withered away. Sierra Leoneans no longer believed in them.
The ethos of the state is dead. So it is not a matter of sending aid to
rebuild wrecked ministries and providing computers and pens. The task is to
form a new nation state.

In this Sierra Leone is typical of many African countries where the nation
state bequeathed to Africa 40-odd years ago by departing imperial powers,
has collapsed or withered away, or been maintained as a façade hollowed out
by theft and corruption. NEPAD is about policy but many African governments
are incapable of delivering any sort of policy, good or bad. First Africa
needs real states with functioning institutions and administrations that
deliver. That is something only Africans can do. Most important they must
believe in their states and be ready to defend them against coups and
corruption. The role of outsiders is to wait, ready to help with expertise
or aid.

This is worth striving for but it is hardly a glorious role for Prime
Minister Blair and there are dangers. First, he must avoid getting too close
to or too at odds with individual African leaders. That was Bill Clinton's
mistake when he tried to fix Africa at the end of his second term. The 'new
leaders' he held up as models, men like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul
Kagame of Rwanda, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Issaias Aferwerki of Eritrea,
promptly went to war with each other.

Blair relies much on President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, a tough old
soldier who became Nigeria's first elected president in 17 years. He is also
one of the instigators of the New Partnership but he is certainly not
implementing it in Nigeria. Almost no one has heard of it there.

Obasanjo has a tough job. Apart from its football team, Nigeria has almost
no functioning national institutions. Democracy is fragile and the country
is wracked by religious and ethnic clashes that have killed as many as 3 000
people since Obasanjo became president, far more than died under recent
military regimes. His government's human rights record is far worse than
Robert Mugabe's in Zimbabwe. In the past two years the army has razed two
small towns with artillery and machine guns in old-fashioned punitive raids.
President Obasanjo praised his troops. No one has been reprimanded.

As for Zimbabwe, Mugabe may well win a murky election on 10 March without
having to steal it. Other African leaders, including Obasanjo and Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa, will, after a bit of huffing and puffing, accept him
back into the fold. African rulers' solidarity and pragmatism will, as
usual, overrule Western concerns for human rights and democracy. It will
make it hard for Blair to sustain his Africa agenda.

The second danger to Mr Blair is the guilt trap. Like many who are concerned
about Africa, he likes to justify his commitment in terms of imperial guilt.
But Britain can no more be held responsible for the state of Africa in 2002
than for the state of Afghanistan today because of the 19th-century Afghan
wars. Britain should be as free from its imperial past in Africa as it is in
Afghanistan, India or Pakistan. The difference is that Asia has grown out of
post-imperial dependency while African politicians still try to squeeze
guilt money out of Europe. That demeans Africa and Blair should not fall for

Dowden is a former Africa editor of the Economist. This article first
appeared in the Observer.

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--> Zimbabwe Independent

1 500 whites appeal to vote
Loughty Dube

THE Magistrates Court in Bulawayo yesterday referred to the High Court an
appeal for reinstatement onto the voters' roll by over 1 500 members of the
white community.

The ruling makes it difficult for the appellants and thousands more to lodge
an urgent application to the High Court ahead of the presidential poll due

On Tuesday President Mugabe issued a statutory instrument which effectively
disenfranchises people perceived as dual citizens unless they have
successfully applied to a court for reinstatement.

The appellants included elderly citizens who came into the country as
minors, those born in Zimbabwe but with parents of foreign origin, and those
who recently renounced their Zimbabwean citizenship.

The judgement means that the more than 3 000 applicants have only today to
apply to the High Court for an urgent hearing of their case before the
weekend polls.

Five attorneys, Tim Cherry, Melline Mark, Tony Denbury, Erroll Wolhuter and
Gavin Joliff represent the 3 000 applicants.

Tim Cherry, representing citizens born of foreign parents, argued that
removing his clients from the voters' roll was unconstitutional since the
provincial registrar who signed their letters of notification of withdrawal
of their voting rights was not their constituency registrar.

The provincial registrar, William Sayenda, confirmed to the court that he
was not the constituency registrar for Bulawayo South where the majority of
the applicants reside.

Cherry argued that most of his clients had been residents of the country
before 1986 and according to the country's laws were eligible to vote.

Reserving judgement, the provincial magistrate, Elizabeth Rutsate said she
was not clear on Section 25 of the constitution and referred the case to the
High Court for hearing.

Lawyers point out that whether applicants' names appear on the voters' roll
or not, they will not be able to vote if they appear on the RG's list of
prohibited voters derived from his own records.

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