Sweden a consistent champion of democracy
2/28/02 8:32:22 AM (GMT +2)
By Simba Chabarika Deputy Features Editor
THERE is only one day in the political life of Man when he is equal in
importance to the president of the country - election day.
On this day, the peasant is able to tell the president and other hopefuls
what he thinks of them.
For Zimbabweans, the time is at hand, and on 9 and 10 March 2002, the power
of the people will be reflected in the ballot.
Elections come with a lot of hype and associated events -some hilarious,
others sad. A mixed grill.
Candidates bash each other with virulent verbal blows, meaningless rhetoric
and hours of long tirades.
Unfortunately, political tolerance is anathema to Zimbabwean politics.
Close to 100 people have lost their lives. Others remain permanently scarred and
maimed for life, as if campaigning was akin to fighting the liberation
While all this drama unfolds, the leaders wine and dine, out of harm's way,
only to express condolences to the bereaved to whom the effects and memories of
the loss will last forever - long after the election is gone.
The long friendship between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) has been
one of the major casualties of the sad drama.
Although the EU has co-operated with Zimbabwe both politically and
financially since the country's independence in 1980, there is now bad blood
between the two.
Recently, the EU came under fire for allegedly announcing a Zambian
opposition leader as having won the presidential election before all the results
The EU denied the charge and instead slammed the poll results as not
reflective of the voters' wishes.
The Zambian government has rejected the EU report, rubbishing it as
blatantly partisan, preconceived and mere hearsay.
The June 2000 parliamentary election in Zimbabwe saw a 190-strong EU
election observer team led by Pierre Schori, the Swedish ambassador to the
United Nations, come into the country.
Schori was back again for the presidential election, as head of the EU
observer team but was denied accreditation as he was an uninvited guest from a
"wrong" country - Sweden.
Eventually, he was expelled from the country and the EU consequently
withdrew all its observers and imposed smart sanctions against Mugabe and his
"Schori's departure was a harbinger for Mugabe's exit too because Mugabe is
next in line. He is definitely going," said one Harare man.
Schori was the
man of the moment, despite Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
to call him a tourist. "We don't chase away tourists," he said with barely
disguised sarcasm when Schori arrived.
While in Zimbabwe for the parliamentary election and after he left, Schori
"The aim of the mission was two-fold: to contribute to a more favourable
climate for the elections and to come up with a clear judgment on the electoral
"I saw the EU mission as an act of commitment to the people of Zimbabwe and
to democracy worldwide: a natural consequence of our support to the struggle for
independence and our wish to build a strong partnership with a peaceful and
democratic Zimbabwe," he said.
He reported the high levels of violence, intimidation and coercion that
marred the election campaign period.
"Zanu PF leaders seemed to sanction the use of violence and intimidation
against political opponents and contributed significantly to the climate of fear
so evident during the election campaign. Overall, the conduct of the government
failed to uphold the rule of law and compromised law enforcement agencies,"
Schori said in his statement on 26 June, 2000.
"MDC supporters were also engaged in violence and intimidation, but the
degree of their responsibility for such activities was far less.
MDC leaders were clearer in their condemnation of violence."
In his final report on 4 July, 2000, to the European Parliament
Strasbourg, Schori said he refused to use the term "free and fair
elections" because it was not applicable in such a complex process as witnessed
by the team in Zimbabwe.
EU observers reported that the pre-election period was one of the worst
they had been in, while the actual election days were among the best they had
Schori recommended that it was imperative for the government to move
swiftly to re-establish the rule of law and allow the police and prosecution
services to take action against those who were involved in violence and human
He called for the establishment of a new, independent election organisation
above partisan interests and for the EU to ensure that international observers
were deployed in good time for the 2002 presidential election.
"The European Union should make a particular effort during the coming
months to monitor events in Zimbabwe closely, and provide assistance and support
where appropriate," he said.
After all, observing or monitoring elections can never really change the
outcome, but transparency is needed in democratic institutions.
During the 2000 election, the EU observers visited 1 729 polling stations
-about 40 percent of the total number of polling stations dotted around Zimbabwe
in the two days of voting.
"The general climate in the polling stations was positive. Polling staff
were competent; police officers present also performed well. EU teams rated the
polling process as good or very good in 84 percent of their reports, an
impressive performance by international standards."
Schori says the EU 2000 election team was efficient in conflict prevention
-quick on the spot, in great numbers, with good national coverage, spreading
calm and peace and with a sustainable strategy also for the post-conflict
The team helped build confidence within the electorate in voting procedures
and in the secrecy of the ballot.
"Generally speaking, I think we should increase our readiness to send
observer missions that look at the whole election period including the pre-and
post-election phases and which work closely with civil society keeping a
long-term development perspective."
The partnership between the EU and Zimbabwe revolves around upholding
democracy, strengthening the rule of law, promoting social and economic
development and encouraging good governance and respect for human rights and
True, Zimbabwe is a sovereign state but is a signatory to the Cotonou
agreement which allows the EU to point out continuous violation of human rights,
curtailment of Press freedom and blatant disregard of the rule of law.
Zimbabwe has barred EU members Britain, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Sweden
and the Netherlands from observing the poll while it has invited nine individual
EU members to be part of a joint observer mission with the African, Caribbean
and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Ironically, Sweden is one of the largest donors to Zimbabwe and the Schori
snub, ipso facto, means they can go to hell with their aid.
The ill-will has led the government to reduce the EU to an appendage of the
But Schori is no stranger to Zimbabwean politics as he was once Mugabe's
"Looking back at my long-standing relationship with Zimbabwe, I can think
of no better illustration of it than two quotes. The first comes from former
Swedish prime minister Olof Palme's words at the United Nations Conference in
support of the people of Zimbabwe and Namibia in Maputo on 20 May 1977:
"Mr Ian Smith has said that Rhodesia and South Africa are agreed that they
are both fighting to preserve the Western democracy that the white man brought
to Africa. For us in Europe, with our colonial past, it is necessary to be
crystal-clear. We will never accept Smith's and Vorster's perversion of Western
"Their oppression and racism will never be included in a world of freedom.
I cannot find words harsh enough to condemn their misuse of the words of
democracy and freedom.
"They are denying the people of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa the most
fundamental human and political rights.'"
Schori says Palme's view guided Sweden's position during the liberation of
"I was personally deeply involved in providing support and assistance to
political prisoners and exiles. Twenty years after independence, I was asked to
lead the EU Observation Mission to the parliamentary elections," said the man
who was to be deported by the very same people he worked so hard to
Today, Schori, like many Zimbabweans and the rest of the world, is
anxiously awaiting the outcome of the election on those two days next week.
Daily News - Leader Page
The tragedy of our war veterans’ rule
2/28/02 8:10:50 AM (GMT +2)
WHEN, in 2000, President Mugabe personally sanctioned violent farm
invasions by so-called war veterans, dishonestly labelling them “peaceful
demonstrations against the government for its slow pace in land acquisition and
redistribution”, it was the beginning of the anarchy which has now become a
national curse: the tragedy of government by war veterans.
At that time, we were told that henceforth, with land now in the hands of
the black majority, there would be a surplus of maize as the new landowners,
mostly former freedom fighters, would concentrate more on food production as
opposed to commercial farmers who used most of it to grow tobacco.
Two years down the line, the country’s granaries have literally been
emptied to their bare concrete floors and the country is facing the spectre of
We are now having to depend on trickles of imported maize far too little to
Ironically, as our Bulawayo correspondent reported on Monday, it is the war
veterans, the very people who hounded white commercial farmers off their land,
assuring us they would grow enough to feed the nation and more, who have taken
over the distribution of the little imported maize whenever it becomes available
at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots.
Suddenly they have turned their backs on maize production to assume the
role of maize distributors.
Most of the land they seized is now lying fallow.
Apologists for the Establishment will be quick to blame the maize shortage
on the current agricultural season’s poor rainfall. But that excuse is too much
of a transparent lie.
The maize which we should be feeding on now is supposed to be stocks from
last season’s harvest as whatever limited harvest will be realised this season
will only start flowing into the GMB’s silos in May.
The truth, therefore, is that it is the new landowners who are solely to
blame for the catastrophic food shortages we are now experiencing because they
slept on the job last season when climatic conditions for successful farming
were at their optimum.
Together with Lands and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who constantly
misled both the President and the nation at large into believing there was no
need to worry as the country had enough maize reserves, they must be charged
with high treason for attempting to starve the entire nation to death.
More seriously, though, one inevitable question visitors to this country,
and that obviously includes the election observers, must be asking is: In what
capacity are those war veterans, if they, indeed, are what they claim to be,
controlling the distribution of maize since they are neither elected
representatives of the people nor an official government agency?
The plain and honest answer to it is that, from the day Mugabe unleashed
them, first on white farmers and, later, on the rest of the population, to
punish the people for humiliating him by rejecting government’s treacherous
draft constitution in February 2000, war veterans were not only placed above the
law, but they became a law unto themselves.
And then when, following court rulings ordering their eviction from the
farms they had illegally and forcibly occupied, Mugabe not only ordered the
police to ignore those court orders, but also to lay their hands off the war
veterans from then onwards, they effectively became both the law of the land and
the country’s de facto rulers.
It was at that point that the rule of law was set aside -and has remained
suspended right up to the present - to be substituted by a government of Zanu
PF, for Zanu PF supporters by the war veterans.
The grim reality our visitors must take note of is that we haven’t got a
normal government in Zimbabwe.
Whatever the so-called war veterans say is what goes.
They can sack teachers, nurses, and district council officials, order the
transfer of magistrates, district administrators and senior police officers,
close down schools, clinics and rural district council offices.
They can disrupt any court proceedings.
And, with absolute impunity, they can harass, torture or order anybody’s
Hundreds missing from voters’ roll
MacDonald Dzirutwe Staff Reporter
2/28/02 2:08:26 AM (GMT +2)
names of hundreds of urban voters, including those of prominent
party officials, are reported to be missing from the voters’
fears that they could have been systematically struck off to
voters ahead of next weekend’s crucial presidential election,
it emerged this
Paul Themba Nyathi, the director of elections for the main
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said among those missing
voters’ roll were MDC legislators Evelyn Masaiti and
Misihairambwi, whose name was only reinstated at the end of last
The leader of the MDC, Morgan
Tsvangirai, is President Robert Mugabe’s
deadliest rival in the ballot and
has overwhelming support in the country’s
many urban voters were likely to be disenfranchised because they
inspected the voters’ roll once, adding that the MDC had received
complaints from those who had re-checked and found their
The MDC official said Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede,
who registers voters
and is in charge of the poll, had attributed the
omission of the
complainants’ names to "human error".
"It is a very
shambolic exercise which has even affected some of our senior
he (Mudede) has attributed these things to human error,"
"It’s not an excuse for shoddy work. I can actually confidently say
sizeable chunk of voters between the age of 18 and 25 will not be able
The chairman of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association,
said 30 registered voters who were present on the voters’
roll supplied by
Mudede’s office on January 4 this year had had their names
struck off in an
updated roll last week.
"When I asked Mudede why the
names were not appearing on the voters’ roll,
he said the voters’ roll was
interim and was still being updated," Samudzimu
told the Financial
"In an atmosphere where rigging is said to be taking place,
there is a need
to examine these anomalies carefully in case a number of
people will be
embarrassed come March 9 and 10."
Mudede was not
available for comment yesterday and did not respond to
messages left with his
secretary by the Financial Gazette.
Agency warns on genocide
2/28/02 2:11:00 AM (GMT +2)
THE US-based Genocide Watch group
has warned that Zimbabwe could slide into
genocide and called on Washington
and the European Union (EU) to warn
President Robert Mugabe they will back
military intervention should
pro-government militias and elements in
Zimbabwe’s army launch mass killings
of the government’s foes.
early warning signs for politicide (mass political killings) and
even genocide in Zimbabwe have now reached Stage Six," the
group said in its latest alert on Zimbabwe.
According to Genocide Watch’s
rating system, Stage Six is the final
preparatory phase before mass murder is
actually carried out.
Moves by Mugabe to shut Zimbabwe from being
monitored by human rights
groups, election monitors and the Press and a new
public order law
criminalising anyone who criticizses him were signs that in
election rigging he was possibly planning mass political or
which he wanted to hide from outside scrutiny, it
Genocide Watch is part of the International Campaign to End
which is a coalition of international organisations working
preventing, stopping and punishing genocide and other forms of
Among the groups in the ICEG coalition is the
Jerusalem-based Institute on
the Holocaust and Genocide, the Aegis Trust
–Genocide Prevention Initiative
based in Britain, the Belgian Prevention
Genocides and Germany’s Committee
for an Effective International Criminal
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment
warns on violence yesterday on the allegations raised by Genocide
office said he was out attending meetings.
which visited Zimbabwe in October 2001 to investigate the
situation in the
southern African nation, said:
"Mugabe must be put on notice that if
political or genocidal massacres are
committed by these militias or by
elements of the Zimbabwe armed forces, he
will be held personally
"Zimbabwe’s leaders should be notified that if such
massacres occur, the
United States and EU will support armed intervention by
Nations-authorised regional force, and President Mugabe and those
perpetrate the crimes would be subject to
Political violence has gripped Zimbabwe since February
self-styled veterans of the country’s 1970s independence war
white-owned farms ostensibly to pressure Mugabe to quicken the
of landless blacks on white farms.
But instead the
veterans turned the supposed land quest into a campaign
against white farmers
and their workers who they accuse of supporting the
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
At least 35 people, most of them MDC members,
were killed in the run-up to
parliamentary elections held in June
The violence has since intensified as a critical presidential
weekend pitting MDC leader Tsvangirai and President Robert
nearer. Up to 25 people - mostly opposition supporters - have
since January this year.
'CIO hatched Mugabe assassination plot
By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
2/28/02 2:12:00 AM
ZIMBABWE’S dreaded spy agency is directing President Robert
election campaign and is the brains behind the so-called plot
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Mugabe’s alleged
was established this week.
sources disclosed that Mugabe’s election command
team, the think-tank of his
re-election bid in next weekend’s ballot, was
using a campaign strategy based
on daily instructions and briefings from the
"Members of the intelligence team are giving daily
directions and focus to
the whole election process," one senior intelligence
source told the
"The job of (ruling ZANU PF) party
members is to implement the strategy.
That is how the process is working,"
the source, who is privy to the
campaign strategy, said.
command centre is headed by Elliot Manyika, ZANU PF’s political
himself a former CIO agent.
The sources said the CIO had taken a leading
role in directing the campaign
in order to prevent the eruption into the open
of simmering divisions within
ZANU PF on how Mugabe’s election campaign
should be conducted.
Consequently, this strategy had forced most ruling
party stalwarts to take a
back seat while others had been deliberately
The contribution of those who are still active is in the
Mugabe is thrust to the fore.
The election campaign
team works with ZANU PF’s provincial chairmen.
Senior ZANU PF officials
such as Nathan Shamuyarira, Eddison Zvobgo, Didymus
Mutasa, Joseph Msika and
Simon Muzenda and Thenjiwe Lesabe had been
relegated to the sidelines, the
Most members of ZANU PF’s election command team, including
Minister Jonathan Moyo, have been directed to work in the
Key members of the command centre are Manyika himself, State
Minister Nicholas Goche and ZANU PF’s administration boss
Mnangangwa, seen as Mugabe’s eventual successor.
said the CIO’s counter-intelligence unit was actively involved
in the plot in
which Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for
(MDC), was filmed last December allegedly plotting to
They said the plan was part of a grand strategy of assassinating
s character days before the election, which opinion surveys and
analysts indicate will be won by the opposition leader if it is free
Tsvangirai, who was earlier this week charged with high
treason over the
case, denies what he says are trumped up charges.
sources said Ari Ben-Menashe, whose Canadian firm Dickens and Madson
filmed Tsvangirai during a meeting in Montreal, had for some time
holding high level meetings with the CIO’s directors of
and Goche over the rigged plot.
The plan culminated in the release three
weeks ago of the video footage by
an Australian television
Ben-Menashe is a former Israeli intelligence agent who has
by fronting for several corrupt African administrations and
staging a series
of dirty tricks on behalf of his paymasters.
time the video was made, he was already on Mugabe’s
S African editors petition Pretoria over Zim
2/28/02 2:13:16 AM (GMT
SOUTH African editors yesterday sought assistance from their
Foreign Affairs over the Zimbabwe government’s refusal to
international journalists who wish to cover Zimbabwe’s landmark
election next weekend.
Henry Jeffreys, the convenor of the
Media Freedom Committee of the South
African National Editors’ Forum, said
editors had dispatched a letter to
their government yesterday seeking
assistance in allowing all South African
media to cover the
He said despite Zimbabwe’s promises to Pretoria last week that
from South African journalists wishing to cover the poll would
"favourably considered", the applications of several publications had
"We wrote to the government today and we are also in
contact with the South
African observer mission asking them to lean on the
Jeffreys told the Financial Gazette by telephone from
"I know that Media24, SABC (South African Broadcasting
Corporation) and e.tv
have been accredited, but the Independent newspapers,
the Sunday Times, the
Mail and Guardian and Radio 702 have been turned
"We are now interacting with the South African government and
asking them to
engage their Zimbabwean counterparts."
was also concerned by the fact that international
broadcasters accredited to
cover the election had to beam their reports
government-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which
programmes open to manipulation.
The Harare government has refused
accreditation to at least 59 journalists
from Australia, Canada, Denmark,
South Africa, the United States of America
and the United
Canada’s Foreign Minister Bill Graham on Tuesday said he would
Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to Canada about reports that Harare
blocking all journalists from his country from covering the
Jeffreys added: "President (Robert) Mugabe made specific
reference to free
access for journalists at the SADC (Southern Africa
leaders’ meeting in Blantyre earlier this year. We
think that he is going
back on his word to SADC.
"We feel strongly
that all South African media wishing to cover the election
should be allowed
to do so."
Social Welfare faces collapse as officers flee to
2/28/02 2:13:56 AM (GMT
ZIMBABWE’S social welfare system might soon be crippled following
that many government social workers have passed interviews this month
join the British government, it has been established.
Sources in London
this week said 21 Zimbabwean social workers were
interviewed in the British
capital recently and immediately offered jobs by
Many of them have since returned home to terminate their
contracts with the
Zimbabwean government and make preparations to take their
families to the
British Isles, a source told the Financial Gazette by
telephone from London
Thousands of Zimbabwean doctors,
nurses, pharmacists, teachers and other
professionals have fled the
strife-torn southern African country to secure
jobs in Britain’s public and
private sectors as well as in neighbouring
Many of those
fleeing are highly qualified professionals whose lives have
been wrecked by
the skewed policies of President Robert Mugabe, whose
continued tenure in
office comes under the spotlight in a crunch
presidential ballot next
In fact, such is the exodus of professionals from Zimbabwe that
one plane is
reported to have left Harare last month with more than 80
Hundreds of other desperate Zimbabweans are
however being turned back at
London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports every
week after failing to satisfy
British authorities that they are genuine
asylum seekers or that they would
be able to fend for themselves in
A senior official in the Zimbabwe department of social welfare,
identified himself as Mukaro, said only the permanent secretary in
ministry could comment on the issue of the social workers who had
recruited by Britain.
Mukaro however said his boss would only
respond to questions that are faxed
to him, which was not possible before
going to print.
Hunger stalks Zimbabwe ahead of key
From Grace Mutandwa Arts Editor
2/28/02 2:17:18 AM
ASPINDALE — Lines of worry written on their faces, they either
sit or stand
patiently in a long winding queue.
Others looking hopeless
and dejected mill around as riot police try to
maintain order and also keep
both the human and vehicle traffic moving in an
the past few weeks, this had become the picture in the capital’s
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot, close to Harare’s high-density
Kambuzuma, as well as in other GMB depots throughout the
Zimbabweans are facing yet another drought and dwindling maize
throng the depots hoping that they can buy just a bag or two of
Although it was clear by early last year that the
country would face a
severe shortage of the staple maize, the government
waited until stocks ran
out before making frantic efforts to import
Zimbabwe needs at least 150 000 tonnes of maize every month
5 000 tonnes of maize per day but the GMB’s current imports of
less than 4
000 tonnes a day cannot meet demand.
recently announced that it had imported 200 000 tonnes of
maize but this has
not been matched by the situation on the ground. If
anything, the search for
maize-meal by Zimbabweans has become more desperate
"My family hasn’t had sadza (the maize porridge) for more than a
have been camped out here at the GMB for three days now, spending the
in the open all because I wanted to secure a bag or two of maize
maize-meal," Harare’s Nathaniel Ruredzo says, as he gestures at his
He says he had heard rumours that this would be the
last day the GMB would
be selling maize to the public and he was just hoping
that he would be
rewarded for his vigil.
The GMB announced that last
Friday would be the last day of selling directly
to the public without
explaining the reasons behind the decision.
"I have a wife and five
children. How can I go back home and face them
empty-handed?" Ruredzo asked,
speaking last week before the GMB’s decision
to stop selling maize directly
to members of the public.
"The government can’t tell us that there is
maize coming in every day when
the reality is that there is a major shortage.
We are used to eating sadza
and, in any case, that’s the only food we can
afford now because everything
else is beyond our means."
A few metres
away from Aspindale, the husband and wife team of Shylet and
Never Moyo can
bear to smile a little.
After two days of sleeping out in the open at the
depot, they finally
managed to buy three bags of maize.
"We have an
extended family that depends on us heavily so we had no choice
but to do all
we could to get maize," Shylet said.
"We bought each bag at $875 and we
will re-sell one bag at between $2 000 an
$3 000 so that we can raise money
for relish and to have the other two bags
As the more than 2
000 people stand or sit in the scorching sun, others in
lorries or smaller
vehicles form their own queue which seems to take forever
At the gates leading into the Aspindale depot, one could see a
number of vehicles and a crowd of people already inside.
heavily built man sporting dark glasses and driving a beaten-up blue
2200 drives out slowly and scores of people lean forward to gaze
at the several 20-kg bags of maize-meal stashed neatly at the back
The man, who refuses to be named, says: "I
came here just before 6 am and
this is now well after 4 pm. I have also had
to wait quite a while to get
"I have a huge family and
relatives to feed so the 160-kgs I have are not
even enough, although it’s
better than nothing because my family had gone
for almost two weeks without
Several consumers complained that GMB officials were only selling
friends and relatives, some of whom would later re-sell the
maize-meal at a
But maize-meal is not the only commodity
in short supply in Zimbabwe as the
country prepares to vote next weekend in
its most important presidential
election since independence from Britain 22
Millions of Zimbabweans have had to go for weeks, if not
sugar and cooking oil. Beef and chicken, apart from also
being short, are
beyond the means of most consumers when
Consumers also complain that the quality of some of the
products has gone
Following the introduction of price controls
by the government last October
to try to buy votes ahead of the presidential
election, several goods have
disappeared from the supermarket
Most manufacturers have cut down on production because price
it impossible for them to remain in business, more so in a
country with high
production costs fuelled by runaway inflation of 117
Almost every day shop shelves spot gaping spaces as more and
disappear and remain unreplaced.
Some scarce commodities
such as maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil and popular
soaps are now being
delivered just before shops close and are sold the
There are also fears that flour could soon be out of stock. Some
fruit juices have been discontinued after the farm that produced
was taken over by militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s
ZANU PF party.
An Avonlea low-density suburb domestic worker,
Emilia Chiroodza, in a queue
at a Harare supermarket with more than 500 other
consumers last week, said
she and many other residents now sent their
children to play at the shops
just to monitor what had been delivered on any
"My nine-year-old son told me that sugar and maize-meal were
yesterday evening, which is why I’m here today. Last week I was
lucky to get
a 10-kg bag of maize-meal and two packets of sugar. I hope today
I will get
more maize-meal because I have six children and a husband to
The drought and the government’s often violent
seizure of commercial farms
have triggered the food shortages, the worst in
Farmers recover stolen cattle worth
2/28/02 2:20:07 AM (GMT +2)
worth $10 million belonging to white commercial farmers were on
week recovered in the Beatrice area of Mashonaland East
Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) said.
CFU president Colin Cloete said
farmers had however failed to recover about
100 breeding cattle valued at $2
million because the rustlers had already
would not be drawn to say who was responsible for the cattle rustling
said officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had
four people in connection with the thefts.
"We managed to recover a lot
of stolen cattle in Beatrice with the help of
the CID officers," Cloete told
the Financial Gazette.
"Five hundred cattle were recovered but
around 100 had already been
slaughtered. The average price of one cattle is
$20 000 so you can make the
total value out of that."
Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the thefts but said he still
needed time to check
on the identity of those behind the rustling.
Since February 2000, when
violent government supporters began invading
private farms, farmers have lost
cattle and property worth billions of
dollars through theft and vandalism.
But no one has yet been jailed over the
The CFU said
war veterans and ruling ZANU PF militants, who have invaded
farms in Beatrice
and elsewhere across the country, were moving around the
demanding cattle from white farmers, which they said they
wanted to feed
other farm occupiers carrying out campaigns for President
Cloete also said there were increasing reports of farmers and
farm hands in
the Beatrice area being forced off their properties ahead of
"War veterans are chasing the
labour and farmers from the farms and are
demanding gratuities for the
workers," said Cloete. "The motive is to remove
them from the farms before
The war veterans had also appointed themselves labour
farm workers and were demanding higher gratuities from
farmers on behalf of
It could not be established whether the
farm hands end up benefiting from
the huge sums extorted from farmers in
White farmers and their workers have long been accused by
Mugabe and ZANU PF
party of siding with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and have
been on the receiving end of politically motivated
attacks by government
Amnesty slams Zim police
2/28/02 2:20:47 AM (GMT +2)
INTERNATIONAL human rights
watchdog Amnesty International has warned that
the withdrawal of European
Union (EU) election observers from Zimbabwe could
human rights abuses and criticised the strong-arm
tactics used by the police
and the ruling ZANU PF aimed at cowing the
opposition ahead of the March
The London-based agency said human rights violations by ZANU PF are
to escalate in the coming week due to the absence of impartial
The EU, which had one of the largest
contingencies of international election
observers, abruptly pulled out its
30-strong team last week following the
expulsion of its Swedish head of the
delegation Pierre Schori.
Amnesty warned that the lack of impartial
international observers would
facilitate further suppression of individuals’
rights to freedom of
"The decision to withdraw EU
observers will give the green light for further
serious human rights
violations in Zimbabwe," the organisation said.
Citing a breakdown of the
rule of law and partiality in the conduct by
police, Amnesty charged that
professional policing had been undermined by
It cited the case where ZANU PF supporters were escorted by
the police into
Harare’s central business district a week ago before storming
offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Riot police did not intervene during the incident that lasted for
"This attack was apparently facilitated by the
police misusing authority
granted to them by the newly promulgated Public
Order and Security Act
(POSA)," Amnesty said.
POSA, passed by
Parliament in January, gives sweeping powers to the police
to crack down on
gatherings and other actions perceived to be threats to
public order and
Amnesty said it had been applied selectively by the Zimbabwean
to suppress the opposition.
It said it had documented
other violations of the right to public assembly
in the past month, which it
believes were caused by the absence of
included the arrest on February 16 of 11 church leaders in Bulawayo
organizing an "illegal" inter-denominational meeting and the
police of a campaign rally on February 10 that was to be
addressed by MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Gokwe.
Organisers of both events were told by
the police their meetings would not
go ahead because these would endanger
public order and security.
The report by Amnesty coincided with other
reports of intimidation of
opposition supporters by ZANU PF.
this week accused ZANU PF of running 144 terror camps across the
part of its campaign to cow the opposition ahead of the March
presidential poll in which Tsvangirai poses the toughest challenge
President Robert Mugabe’s 22-year reign in the former
According to the MDC, Mashonaland Central — one of the few
ZANU PF still has a grip — had the largest number of 40
torture camps and
was followed by the Matabeleland region with
"These bases signify the ruthless continuation of organised
abductions, tortures and, in some cases, outright elimination of
supporters by ZANU PF," MDC information secretary Learnmore Jongwe
said in a
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena however
dismissed the MDC claims and
blamed both ZANU PF and the MDC for fuelling
"If there are any torture camps out there, it would
help if they could
provide us with such information to enable us to carry out
Bvudzijena told this newspaper.
He said about 520
cases of political violence were reported between February
1 and 25 this
year, which resulted in the arrest of 410 ZANU PF and 250
In Marondera, our correspondent reports that ZANU PF
has literally turned
the Mashonaland East provincial capital into a
"one-party town", with any
dissenting voices facing the wrath of ruling party
"The situation here is very bad for us. ZANU PF intends to stop
campaigning here," MDC provincial spokesman Didymus Munhenzva told
Transport operators in the town are being
forced to display ZANU PF campaign
material, witnesses said. The practice has
already spread to other cities
such as Harare.
FinGaz - Comment
Signs of the
2/28/02 2:30:28 AM (GMT +2)
A FEW months before
Ethiopia’s military strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam was
toppled by rebels in
1991, he suddenly cut short a European tour to return
home, where he ordered
a purge of his real and imagined foes.
Scores of top army officers and an
unknown number of civilians, all accused
of plotting against him and of
attempting to shoot down his plane as it took
off from Addis Ababa, were
ordered executed by the firing squad.
The pogrom was only the latest in
Mengistu’s blood-soaked reign of 17 years
in which he murdered virtually all
of the army officers with whom he took
power in a 1974 coup which ousted
Emperor Haile Selassie.
Many will especially recall the 1977-78 Red
Terror in which thousands of
Mengistu’s foes were brutally murdered in one of
modern history’s most
Towards the end of his rule,
Mengistu was so paranoid about his impending
ouster that his vast network of
spies had infiltrated the entire fabric of
Ethiopian society, often checking
on inane details such as who sleeps with
whom and for how long.
movements of any visitor in Ethiopia, but particularly those of
were so closely monitored by the state security apparatus so
much so that the
spies even knew the meal the visitor had had at any
Despite all these "gallant" efforts and the veneer of
Mengistu was to run like mad for dear life when the moment of
when the rebels swarmed all over Addis Ababa — finally arrived.
The rest is
As Zimbabwe faces its most testing moment,
anxiously waiting to vote for a
new leader, there are striking similarities
with Ethiopia at the end of
Mengistu’s odious dictatorship.
key institutions of the land, the latest being the agency in charge
elections, have been heavily militarised so that President Robert Mugabe
kept well abreast of any goings-on there and beyond.
The men and women in
the President’s Office have never had to work so hard
so that nothing escapes
their eyes and ears as paranoia descends on the
rightly or wrongly perceived to be enemies of Mugabe — they are
branded enemies of Zimbabwe — have almost always a tragic story
More so if they are hapless Zimbabweans in remote rural areas
and on farms,
where "re-education" centres have been set up to purge the
and hearts of all vestiges of Western cultural
Mobs of self-styled war veterans, many of them too young to
have fought in
Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war, roam the land with impunity
string of dastardly crimes, many of which have inevitably gone
In the past few months, these forces have been beefed up by
extra-legal militia as they launch the final solution, or
With so much mud and dirt thrown at
the opposition refusing to stick, we now
have charges of high treason being
levelled against Morgan Tsvangirai,
Mugabe’s chief foe in the landmark ballot
And yet the facts are there for all, even the blind. First,
firm which purports to have unearthed the plot has always been
the government, which clearly makes the point that this whole
episode was a
Second, the company’s disgraced owner
Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli
intelligence spy, clearly presented
Tsvangirai with so-called options,
crucially the "elimination" of the
President, which anyone can discern even
from the doctored
Tsvangirai merely asks the question in response: So what happens
elimination of Mugabe?
Thirdly, the fact that Mugabe himself
admits he knew of the alleged plot in
early December last year — after being
told so by Ben-Menashe — raises
serious questions why Tsvangirai was not
arrested and quizzed, as he should,
at the time.
Predictably, this had
to be left until the very last moment of the election
campaign so as to milk
the alleged plot for all it is worth against the
opposition leader. The plan
is to discredit him.
Zimbabweans must not despair. They must simply
refuse to be intimidated by
any of these desperate acts, which clearly mark
the end of the darkest
chapter in their history.
The nation’s future
and their own destiny are entirely in their own hands
and no one else’s. They
must use their secret vote to free themselves from
tyranny and madness, and
their just reward will be palpable peace and
prosperity in the
Email received from Zim...........
Yesterday I went
in to Harare and saw xxxxx. I was
shocked , when they told me that the
reason their six-year old son was not
school, was because the militia
are now going into the Harare schools and
beating up the children of
activists. This is a child who has already
an attack on his home
because his mother believes in justice and liberty for
is absolutely despicable that these bullys are responsible for
life -long terror into a child. He of course is not the only
to be associated with nightmares such as this. Thousands
of children in
live in fear every day, as they and their parents
are terrorised and
What has happened to the concience of the
There is a ZANU PF rally here today, at the school just opposite
complex in which I live. I had intended leaving Harare this
decided the more responsible thing to do was to cut short my
trip and return
this morning. On my return journey, I passed six lorry-loads
shouting thugs--a frightening experience, but nothing
compared with the
of a six-year old , who can't go to school lest
he be thrashed with barbed
PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY PLEASE
(All names have been changed...)
This is very absolutely disgusting,
all concerned please be very careful and
alert at all times.
FOR THIS FAMILY IN ZIMBABWE, THIS HAPPENED IN GREENDALE ON
THIS E-MAIL CAME FROM MY SISTER WHO STILL LIVES THERE.
for the bad news, our friends Johnny & Kitty were out on Friday
went home at 11pm and found 3 armed "people" inside their home,
beating up Johnny & Kitty , Johnny & the kids, Peter &
Sallie were tied up
in one room, with the telephone wires. Kitty was raped by
one of them, he
beat her, & told her if she didn`t stop fighting he would
kill her, & still
do IT ! Then forced her to drive them to Epworth, with
all the stolen TV`s,
Video, Cd`s & most of Johnny`s cloths etc....droped
the rapist there with
the goods. Then made to drive the other 2 to Gov. hse
& dropped them off,
when she drove away she realized they had left a
pistol on the
seat............she was then stopped at a police roadblock,
they were fantastic - the cops went back & arrested the 2,
she had just
dropped off. One cop went home with her - she wasn`t sure if
there had been
a 4th person, but Johnny & the kids were OK, she phoned us
4am on Sat morning, they brought the kids to us, followed by a truck full
cops. She then had to drive to show them where in Epworth she had
the 1st BASTARD..... then on to the trauma centre, who didn`t have a
kit, then on to Avenues, who also didn`t have one....... eventually,
she 1st prayed for him, the Dr. woke up & started helping them.....
went up to the hospital to be with them at 6 am.....they all only got
11am. They will be staying with us for a while..... Kitty has so
medication to take anti - HIV etc.etc. We have printed out a schedule,
10pm then at 3.30 am.....etc.etc.Peter & Sallie are OK, it
is so amazing how
God has worked in this, Sallie kept talking to Johnny while
they were tied
up - he didn`t know where Kitty had gone to/ just heard the
off..........he is OK, stiff & stressed out, but they have all
all Sat afternoon & night. Kitty was so brave, she is pretty
goofed most of
the time, but is dealing with it.....knows she had no option,
in order to
save her kids & husband - she keeps saying God can use this,
and He is in
control - her faith is amazing, & I know they will all be
OK. I spoke to
their GP to-day,she says these drugs are a 99.9% cure/
God ! They will only know if the bastard had HIV if they
catch him & test
him, it is better just to take all the preventive drugs
- ( at $81 000-00 )
she is coming around here to-morrow, and is arranging a
Counceller, to come
here aswell, & councillors from Highland Presby, are
coming around to-morrow
afternoon. Alice & Jack have been fantastic,
brought us stew for dinner last
night, & keep popping in so the kids can
play, the 4 of them get on so
well....it has distracted the kids, they are a
bit scared to look at Kitty,
she has 2 black eyes, and it is very swollen,
this morning she couldn`t open
her eyes, but they are much better to-night.
The kids are sleeping in our
room, Peter had his toncils out
3 weeks ago,
and he has a bit of a cough..... hope it doesn`t get worse. THE
GOOD NEWS -
they are alive, will mend - & we are all here to-gether. Mom has
such a star, helping with meals & the kids - & Just being here for
Will write again - please keep us in all your prayers - only 3 weeks to
elections, then we can all get back to living again, at least our
force are reacting now - T & P are so full of praise for
S.Africa slams EU on Zimbabwe
CAPE TOWN, Feb. 28 — South Africa slammed the
European Union's handling of
an observer crisis ahead of Zimbabwe's election
next week and declared EU
and U.S. sanctions against President Robert Mugabe
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, the government's main spokesman
Zimbabwe, told parliament the European Union had been wrong to send
observer mission headed by a Swede after Mugabe had named Sweden amongst
countries barred from observer status because of alleged
''That was a wrong tactical
decision,'' he said in a closing response
to a parliamentary debate on the
The EU banned Mugabe
and his close aides from member countries and
the United States froze
Mugabe's assets abroad in targeted sanctions
following the expulsion of the
Swedish mission leader Pierre Schori and the
withdrawal of the EU
''To impose sanctions on the eve
of the elections, knowing that they
are meaningless, means that somewhere a
tactically wrong decision was taken
to influence the elections,'' Pahad
''That is gross interference in
the affairs of another country,''
South Africa has been
criticised at home and abroad for doing too
little to ensure a free and fair
election in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe is
seeking to extend his 22-year rule in
an election marred by violence
But Pahad said that
both sides were to blame for the chaos.
Criticising media coverage of the campaign, he said: ''We must not
if violence and intimidation are the monopoly of just one party --
happening across the board.''
the debate, the leader of South Africa's New National
Party, Marthinus van
Schalkwyk, urged the government to plan for the
consequences of a failed
''South Africa needs
contingency plans to deal with an unstable
situation where one of the parties
to the election may decide not to accept
the outcome,'' he
Zimbabwe court opens door to foreign
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) -
Zimbabwe's government says it will abide by a court
ruling striking down an
electoral law that critics say is aimed at ensuring
President Robert Mugabe's
re-election next week.
Mugabe, whom Western leaders accuse of
intimidating rivals before the March
9-10 presidential election, also told
visiting officials from anxious
neighbour South Africa on Thursday that
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
had not been charged with treason,
contrary to what the challenger and
Zimbabwe police have
Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling effectively gave back the
right to vote to
millions of Zimbabweans living abroad, an independent body
Tsvangirai's party said Mugabe could still force the law through
And, with voting just days away,
the ruling may be too late.
The opposition accuses the president, who
has led Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain 22 years ago, of
orchestrating a campaign of
intimidation and employing new security and
electoral laws to fend off the
stiffest challenge to his
Citizens living abroad, many believed to favour Tsvangirai's
Democratic Change (MDC), had been barred from voting under the
passed by parliament in January.
"On paper they now
have the right to vote but it depends on the government
machinery to do that," said Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman
of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, a non-partisan body promoting
The government said on Thursday that it disagreed
with the judges' ruling
but would abide by it.
"We will respect
the court's ruling and we will attend to the necessary
required," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in
remarks broadcast by
But he added: "The well-established rule is that the
courts cannot question
or scrutinise any proceedings of
MDC lawyer Bryant Elliot said the ruling would make
because voter registration had already closed. Mugabe could
reintroduce the amendments on his own.
The deteriorating situation Zimbabwe has drawn condemnation
from London and
is expected to dominate a summit in Australia this weekend of
British colonies in the Commonwealth.
southern Africa's strongest power, South Africa, is under
pressure to deal
more firmly with its neighbour, where a collapsing economy
and severe food
shortages threaten to destabilise the entire region.
Jacob Zuma, leading the highest ranking In the
highest-level South African
delegation to Harare since September, discussed
the troubled election with
Mugabe and senior officials at meetings in the
capital on Wednesday
Sowing some confusion about the status of accusations against
Zuma said on Thursday that he had been assured that campaigning
proceeding "normally" and that the opposition leader had not in fact
charged with treason.
"The Zimbabweans assured the South
Africans that leader of the opposition
Morgan Tsvangirai had not been charged
with treason as reported in the media
and said police had only questioned
him," Zuma said in a statement.
Yet Tsvangirai himself had told
reporters after a summons to a police
station on Monday that he had been
charged with treason following the
broadcast of a video purporting to show
him discussing Mugabe's
And chief police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena, who had said on Monday that
Tsvangirai had been summoned to
face a treason charge, said on Thursday that
charges had indeed been
"As far as I am aware, he has been charged," he
Two other MDC officials were charged this week with treason,
the death penalty on conviction.
a defamation suit on Thursday against an Australian
television station which
aired the grainy video tape.
The European Union and United States
have slapped sanctions on Mugabe and
his inner circle but the Commonwealth,
which meets near Brisbane from
Saturday, is split on the issue and diplomats
doubt concrete measures will
emerge until after the
Mugabe, 78, is not expected to attend the summit. ZANU-PF
weekend rallies in Harare and in the
Arrests plague Zimbabwe opposition
of trying to repress rival party
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 28 — Zimbabwe
police arrested 31 members of the
opposition party Thursday while they were
training to be polling agents in
March elections, the party
“FOUR TRUCKLOADS with
an unspecified number of police officers
descended on the premises and
started beating up people at random, while
others surrounded the building
where about 500 MDC supporters were
undergoing polling agent training,” the
Movement for Democratic Change said
The party said 31 officials
were arrested in the police raid. Police
were not immediately available to
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
who poses a serious challenge to
President Robert Mugabe in presidential
elections set for March 9-10, has
accused the government of intimidating his
Mugabe’s actions have drawn
the ire of the United States, South
Africa and the European Union, all of
which have threatened sanctions over
the long-serving leader’s unwillingness
to allow elections to be monitored,
his actions against his political
opponents and his long-standing policy of
seizing the land of white farmers
without providing compensation.
has been defiant in the face of criticism. In an appearance
Mashonaland Central province, a traditional stronghold of his
he said that Britain, the former colonial power, and other
were biased for saying the elections could not be free
“Shut your dirty mouths.
You are not our judges, you are not our
keepers,” Mugabe said, according to
state radio. He continued campaigning
Thursday, heading to northern
strongholds by helicopter.
Tsvangirai’s candidacy poses
the strongest challenge to Mugabe’s rule
since he came to power with
Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Political
analysts and human rights
activists have accused Mugabe of using violence,
intimidation and a raft of
oppressive new laws to try to ensure
Court struck down some of those rules Wednesday,
finding that amendments to
the election act were illegal, said Adrian de
Bourbon, the lawyer for the
MDC, which challenged the laws.
amendments gave state election officers sweeping powers and
monitoring, identity requirements for voters, campaigning
SETBACK FOR MUGABE
Wednesday, a judge in the High Court, the country’s second-highest
delayed the implementation of new citizenship rules that had
tens of thousands of voters.
stripped the citizenship of longtime laborers from
neighboring countries and
any of the country’s minority whites who hold dual
citizenship with Great
Britain. Opposition activists had complained the law
disenfranchised some of
popularity has plunged in recent years as Zimbabwe’s economy
The country, once a food exporter, has been forced to import
food to make up
for shortfalls caused partially by government’s haphazard
white-owned commercial farms.
government has bought 200,000 tons of corn from South Africa, but
from the election only a fraction has been delivered. “No one will
hunger,” Mugabe told supporters Wednesday.
Zimbabwe police raid opposition office, nine
HARARE, Feb. 28 — At least nine members of
Zimbabwe's main opposition party
were injured on Thursday during a police
raid in which 38 people were
arrested after a clash with supporters of
President Robert Mugabe.
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said police had followed a group of
supporters to a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) office in
they had clashed with Mugabe supporters, leaving one
supporters were trailed by police to their offices and
The MDC said it was
conducting election training for 500 members at
its Harare provincial office
when the police raided the building, arresting
''Members of the MDC provincial
leadership immediately locked
everyone inside the building to protect them,
but the police forcibly opened
the doors and made the arrests,'' the MDC said
in a statement.
The MDC said police beat
its supporters at random and nine
A wave of
political violence has gripped Zimbabwe in the countdown to
elections on March 9-10.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who poses the first serious challenge
to President Robert
Mugabe in 22 years of power, has accused the government
of waging a campaign
of intimidation to win the elections.
Mugabe's government has denied the opposition charges and accused the
Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 17:10 GMT
Mugabe rival sues over video
Morgan Tsvangirai denies plotting to kill the
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has started
legal action against an Australian television station after it broadcast
allegations that he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe.
Mr Tsvangirai strongly denies the allegations.
It comes as police detain 30 of his supporters in a raid in the capital,
A spokesman said nine people were hurt in the raid, which broke up a meeting
of hundreds of the party's election agents preparing for presidential elections
in just over a week's time.
Mr Tsvangirai is being investigated over allegations of treason arising from
But a South African government delegation, visiting Zimbabwe, said it has
been told that Mr Tsvangirai has not yet been charged with any offence.
The state-owned media in Zimbabwe seized on the footage
and broadcast it repeatedly.
We are a lawful and loyal opposition in Zimbabwe
Mr Tsvangirai poses the greatest challenge to Mr Mugabe's 22-year rule.
here for latest regional reports
A spokesman for Mr Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, said the allegations in the film
were false, and that the SBS television station had been "duped" by Mr Mugabe's
He said the Movement for Democratic Change was pursuing
legal action "to vindicate our name and to vindicate the truth".
An ex-Israeli intelligence agent was involved in
"We are a lawful and loyal opposition in Zimbabwe, and there is absolutely no
way that ourselves as a party or our leadership would ever contemplate... these
sort of heinous allegations that have been made in those tapes," the spokesman
Two weeks ago, SBS broadcast video footage of a secretly filmed meeting which
allegedly shows Mr Tsvangirai discussing "eliminating" Mr Mugabe.
It said it would stand by its story and defend the defamation action filed in
the New South Wales state Supreme Court on Thursday.
Intimidation and violence
The allegations and subsequent police action were condemned by the United
States, Britain and human rights groups as a ploy to influence 9-10 March
election and cement Mr Mugabe's rule.
Robert Mugabe, who is 78, has been in power
Mr Tsvangirai was reported to have been charged with treason, which carries
the death penalty, on Monday. However he was released from police custody.
He was also reportedly detained briefly in Harare on Wednesday after a
meeting with party officials.
The same day Zimbabwe's Supreme Court declared illegal a controversial law
which disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living abroad.
Mr Mugabe has been accused of using intimidation and violence to secure his
However, speaking ahead of this weekend's Commonwealth meeting Nigerian
President Olusegun Obansanjo said the organisation should only impose sanctions
on Zimbabwe if it is proved that President Mugabe has broken its rules.
Blair a lonely voice in Commonwealth on
LONDON, Feb. 28 — British Prime Minister Tony
Blair headed for Australia on
Thursday for a Commonwealth summit, a lonely
voice in the 54-nation
organisation calling for immediate sanctions on
Blair has accused
President Robert Mugabe of behaving like a
dictator in intimidating opponents
and the media ahead of next month's
presidential elections where he faces his
toughest challenge since coming to
power 22 years
Blair told parliament this week
that Britain would push for
Commonwealth action against Zimbabwe, despite
failing to win support for its
former colony's suspension from the
organisation four weeks ago.
suspension would be a largely symbolic step by the Commonwealth,
few serious levers of influence on its members other than
Blair repeated his call in an
interview with Australian television on
the eve of his departure, though he
conceded there was little appetite among
Commonwealth members for immediate
steps against Mugabe just before the
Commonwealth members --
mainly former British colonies -- range from
wealthy nations such as Britain,
Australia, New Zealand and Canada, to
populous India, as well as tiny Pacific
republics like Nauru and Tuvalu. 50
of the 54 member countries are developing
''Some Commonwealth members
feel -- it is not my view -- but some of
them feel this isn't the right
moment for sanctions,'' Blair told the
''...There doesn't appear
to be agreement for that, but it is at
least important that the Commonwealth
delivers a very strong statement of
its support for the democratic
Blair's spokesman said
Britain hoped the heads of government meeting
in Australia would ''at least
send a strong signal'' that the Commonwealth
would be watching the elections
The organisation has sent more
than 40 observers to the southern
African state. The European Union pulled
out its observers after Zimbabwe
refused to accredit its team head. It
imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe
and his inner
Blair insisted that although the
Commonwealth was divided in its
approach to tackling Mugabe, it was still
determined to see democracy
prevail at next month's
''I wouldn't underestimate the
strength of feeling amongst all
Commonwealth countries that the elections in
Zimbabwe do indeed have to be
free and fair, or their determination -- should
for example the opposition
win the election in Zimbabwe -- to ensure that the
democratic will is
who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980,
faces a stiff
challenge from opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was charged with
treason on Monday over an alleged plot to
assassinate Mugabe -- a charge
Britain said was further evidence that Mugabe
was trying to rig the
However, South African Deputy
President Jacob Zuma said in a
statement on Thursday, after an overnight
visit to Zimbabwe, that he had
been assured that Tsvangirai had not been
charged with treason.
contradicted Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean police who said
he was charged with
the capital offence following the broadcast of a video
purporting to show him
discussing Mugabe's assassination.
said that, if Tsvangirai were arrested and prevented from
the election, the Commonwealth would
''I have no doubt at all that
whatever disagreement there may be in
the Commonwealth about sanctions now in
respect of Zimbabwe, if anything as
outrageous as that happened then the
Commonwealth will pull together,''
The Commonwealth leaders'
biennial meeting is to take place from
March 2-5 at Coolum, 100 km (60 miles)
north of Brisbane.
Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 13:06 GMT
Nigeria urges caution on Zimbabwe
President Obasanjo is a key player in the Zimbabwe
The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the Commonwealth should
impose sanctions on Zimbabwe only if it is proved that President Robert Mugabe
has broken the rules of the club.
President Obasanjo said that the Commonwealth was a
family that had laid down certain rules and, if anyone broke the rules, he would
be sanctioned. But he said the matter had to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Britain failed to persuade the Commonwealth to
suspend Zimbabwe in
He was speaking in the Australian capital, Canberra, after talks with the
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, ahead of a meeting of Commonwealth
Mr Mugabe is accused of using intimidation and violence to secure his
re-election as president in polls to be held in just over a week.
The question of what the Commonwealth should do about Zimbabwe will be the
main focus of attention at the summit but agreement on its immediate suspension
from the organisation is unlikely.
President Obasanjo is a key figure in the argument.
The clear implication is that the Commonwealth should wait until after the
Zimbabwean presidential election and act on the basis of the report of its own
The mission is led, as it happens, by a Nigerian.
There is a disagreement on tactics between the Africans, among others, and
some of the old, predominantly white Commonwealth countries, especially Britain
The host of the meeting, John Howard, now says the issue should be left to
the summit but his government has talked of imposing sanctions anyway if the
Zimbabwe opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is prevented from contesting the
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, described the bringing of treason
charges against Mr Tsvangirai as an outrage and said Mr Mugabe was acting in an
undemocratic and dictatorial way.
But Britain failed in January to persuade a Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group to suspend Zimbabwe and the outcome looks like being the same when the
group discusses the issue again later today.
The summit is likely to give the ministers the power to act quickly if
necessary after the election
Zuma, Mugabe in 11th-Hour Talks
February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28,
DEPUTY President Jacob Zuma was
scheduled to leave for Zimbabwe last night
for last minute talks with
president Robert Mugabe and vicepresident Simon
Zuma's office declined to divulge any information on the
except to say it would be "a continuation of ongoing
the two governments.
For an excerpt from the Africa 2002 guidebook, click
To buy the book, click
Zuma was to be accompanied by Labour Minister Membathisi
Mdladlana and his
Agriculture and Land Affairs counterpart Thoko
Meanwhile, United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa
expected to leave for Zimbabwe last night on a "fact-finding but
observer" mission. He said he would meet with "high-profile officials"
the ruling Zanu-PF, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
leaders of civil society organisations.
He was to be accompanied
by UDM national chairman Kingsley Masemola,
secretary-general Malizole Diko
and party foreign affairs spokesman Welsh
"The UDM is
committed to the promotion of a peaceful and prosperous
"Zimbabwe has been the basket of Africa with a thriving economy
and the UDM
would like to see her economy restored to its full productive
This item is from the ZanuPF mouthpiece
Leave Harare Alone,
The Herald (Harare)
February 28, 2002
to the web February 28, 2002
Innocent Gore and Itayi
WESTERN powers, particularly Britain and the European
Union, should "shut
their dirty mouths" and let Zimbabweans choose a leader
of their choice next
week, President Mugabe said yesterday.
criticised the West for pre-judging the poll and declaring that it would
be free and fair. Those countries and their puppets in the MDC had
that the opposition would not win the election, he said.
For an excerpt
from the Africa 2002 guidebook, click here.
To buy the book, click here.
dirty mouths. We do not want to hear that (that elections would
not be free
and fair) from you. You are not our judges. You are not our
keepers. Leave us
"It is only our people who will vote and choose a leader of their
March 9 and 10. And we know they want Zanu-PF and will vote for
Mugabe said to applause from the more than 20 000 people who
Bopoma Secondary School in Rushinga in the Zanu-PF stronghold of
He said Zanu-PF had never been afraid of squaring
up with the MDC in the
elections, having thrashed the opposition party's
white masters during the
liberation war and in 1980 elections.
defeated their white masters in the 1980 elections despite the fact
bombs were thrown at us from all angles. And people still came in
thousands to vote and we won."
The President said he was aware
that the grudge between him and the West
stemmed from his desire to see an
equitable redistribution of the land.
"Torai vana venyu munovayamwisa
kunyika dzenyu. Ino inyika yedu. Tine vana
vedu vatinodawo kuyamwisa. (Take
your kith and kin and look after them in
your country. This is our country
and we have got our own children to look
"Zimbabwe is for
Zimbabweans and England for the English. We will never go
to Britain to take
He laughed off the imposition of the smart sanctions on him
and members of
"I have never set a day to say I want to
visit Britain. It's either I was
invited to attend meetings or I was just
passing through. Zimbabwe is such a
beautiful country, more beautiful than
the dreadful and ugly Britain," he
Zimbabwe was blessed with
natural wonders such as the Victoria Falls and the
Matopo Hills. Even British
imperialist Cecil Rhodes had chosen to be buried
in Zimbabwe instead of his
"If it was during our time, we would not have allowed that
Sometimes I think of exhuming his bones and send them to (British
Minister) Mr Blair. But we have not reached that stage yet," Cde
Cde Mugabe once again urged Zanu-PF supporters to be
peaceful in their
campaign and refrain from violence. But he said they should
be on the
lookout for MDC trouble-causers.
Having realised that their
party would not win the election, he said, MDC
youths were going about
provoking Zanu-PF supporters and would do anything
to ensure that ruling
party supporters would not cast their votes.
Cde Mugabe said Mashonaland
Central was 100 percent Zanu-PF and that the
liberation war had first broken
out in Rushinga in the 1970s before
spreading to other areas.
all the gains of independence, such as peace, the building of
clinics, roads and other infrastructure, brought about by
Government, people should not be misled into voting for the MDC, he
He noted that the Rushinga area still needed Advanced Level
roads and dams for irrigation.
He has addressed
thousands of people in the other seven provinces throughout
the country, plus
two urban areas - Epworth and Dzivaresekwa - and had seen
that people now
realised that they had been cheated into voting for the MDC.
reiterated that no-one would die of hunger as every effort was
being made to
bring in more maize from South Africa.
He said the Government would
continue to improve the status of chiefs and
headmen and would provide them
with modern facilities for their homes and
Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe donated $250 000 to Nyabawa Primary School
sewing machines for women's projects, while the chiefs donated a ram
goat to President Mugabe.
Addressing another rally at Kamutsenzere in
Mavuradona Cde Mugabe said the
MDC had embarked on a terror to discredit the
election because it had no
chance of winning.
"The MDC is a murderous
party. They are murderers right from Tsvangirai to
the lowest member in the
party," Cde Mugabe said.
He cited the Chivhu incident in which a
bussinessman who is a Zanu-PF
supporter was killed after suspected MDC
members attacked a Zanu-PF base.
The president said the MDC had fooled
itself by believing that it had the
support of all urban people. He said the
two rallies he addressed in
Dzivarasekwa and Epworth had proved that Zanu-PF
still had huge support in
the urban areas.
"We launched our urban
campaign yesterday (Tuesday). They had been saying we
are afraid of
campaigning in the urban areas but the good attendence at the
that we still have support in the urban areas," Cde Mugabe
urged the people in the Mavuradona area to vote for Zanu-PF in
thousands and bury the MDC.
People, he said, should keep in mind
the fact that the liberation war
started in Mashonaland Central and should
therefore defend the gains of
Cde Mugabe reiterated that
the Government would continue acquiring the land
and give it to the people.
He also said the Government would consolidate the
progress in education by
establishing more universities and vocational
Mugabe warned people against the dangers posed by AIDS saying the
was killing a lot of people.
The first lady Cde Grace Mugabe, gave $500
000 to Muzarabani Rural District
Council for the construction of housing on
high ground since the area
normally experiences floods which destroy
Last year she also gave the council $500 000 for the same
purpose. The first
lady gave another $250 000 to Magurenje School to buy
She also gave women in the area six sewing machines
while Cde Mugabe gave
$200 000 to Mt Darwin Dairy
Mugabe Took Our Stadiums, Says MDC
February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28,
Opposition leader Tsvangirai
claims Zimbabwean president is engaged in dirty
tricks in last week of
AS PRESIDENTIAL election tension rises in Zimbabwe,
President Robert Mugabe
and opponent Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are locked in a fierce dispute about
venues for this coming
weekend's "star" rallies.
yesterday told international election observers and journalists
serious fight had broken out between Mugabe and himself on the use of
City stadium in Bulawayo and the Show Grounds in Harare.
The MDC Bulawayo
rally was supposed to be on Saturday and the Harare one
Tsvangirai's close lieutenants, party secretary-general
Welshman Ncube and
agriculture secretary Renson Gasela were charged yesterday
with treason for
an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe. They were all
was charged on Monday with a similar crime under a
section of public order
and security legislation.
Tsvangirai said the police wrote to the MDC, informing them about
cancellation of his rallies because Mugabe had seized the venues.
taken over the venues that we had booked for our weekend
rallies. This is a
deliberate attempt to disrupt our programme because this
coming weekend is
the last before the election," Tsvangirai said.
"We were shocked about
the letter from the police because they had earlier
cleared us to hold those
rallies. It's clear that police are acting on
police clearance and an advance notice is required before rallies are held
terms of the recently passed Public Order and Security Act, which is
used to harass and arrest dissenters on a large scale.
Tsvangirai said his party's lawyers were filing an urgent
application in the
courts, challenging Mugabe's arbitrary directive.
The MDC recently won a
court interdict to use White City stadium after the
ruling Zanu (PF)
prevented them from holding a rally at the venue. Zanu (PF)
slept at the stadium to ensure that the opposition had no
access to the
venue. There violent clashes the following morning.
The MDC whose rallies
have been disrupted on numerous occasions yesterday
released a long list of
"militia bases" scattered all over the country.
The militias are said to
have established structures of violence and are now
unleashing a wave of
terror on the voters perceived as opposition supporters
as well as disrupting
Meanwhile, the chief election observer from Namibia, a strong
Mugabe, said on Tuesday that political violence ahead of Zimbabwe's
contested presidential election was "exaggerated".
"It is our
considered view that the prevalence of violence is exaggerated,"
Mbuende told a news conference, adding that nonetheless "there is
associated with the electioneering process coming from both sides
Rights groups and the opposition the MDC have reported
a surge in political
violence that has left at least 26 people dead so far
The MDC says more than 90 of its supporters have been killed
motivated attacks since the party shot to prominence two years
But Mbuende said voter education had made "the majority of people
Zimbabwe beyond intimidation". He also deplored sanctions imposed by
European Union and the US against Mugabe and his inner circle. With
11 Ghost' NGOs in Elections Observer Team
February 28, 2002
Posted to the web February 28,
THE Royal Norwegian Embassy in
Lilongwe, which is supposed to fund a
35-member team to monitor elections in
Zimbabwe, has asked the head of the
delegation to review the composition of
the group before it releases funds.
Diplomatic sources said yesterday
this follows the discovery by the embassy
that 11 NGOs listed on the
delegation do not exist and the Norwegians found
it difficult to sponsor such
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'Our findings corraborated what other concerned NGOs, like
the Human Rights
Network, discovered and presented to us,' said the
The Human Rights Network, a 30-member network of NGOs in the
yesterday confirmed in a statement the registrar's office failed to
11 of the NGOs on its registers.
'We have checked with the
Registrar General's office and discovered that
about 11 NGOs do not exist,'
Rogers Newa, chairman for the network, said a
the Human Rights Network, Movement for Political and Civil
Rights Democratisation Advocacy, Association for Social
Reform, Africa Media
Malawi Chapter, Association Against Domestic Violence,
Centre for Land and
Environment, Promotion for Human Rights Organisation,
Women Interest Groups
and Council for Socio-Economic Development of Women
and Youth, as ghost
But leader of delegation designate Mary Nyadovi-Kerr maintained the
exist and dismissed comments from civil society that she created the
NGOs. She insisted the trip is on this week.
Kerr, who is also
Special Assistant to the President for NGOs, told MBC that
she has invited
credible NGOs like PAC, Christain Service Committee and the
Centre for Land
The delegation, which was scheduled to leave last week
for Harare, is still
stranded following the Norwegian decision and has since
delegation to 20 awaiting government funds.
A member on
the delegation who asked for anonymity said they have been told
will leave Thursday (today) by road after Ministry of Foreign
releases the funds.
Newa disassociated the network from the delegation
saying that Malawi needed
to send a strong group because it regards the
Zimbabwe elections as very
crucial for the region.
Misa Malawi Chapter
chair Lance Ngulube, whose organisation was listed on
the delegation but
presented by people it is not ware of, said that using
'As a reputable media freedom advocacy body in the region that
disgust at latest developments in Zimbabwe regarding state of
the media, we
find it unpalatable that our name is mentioned as one of the
members to observe elections and yet we were not consulted,'
Blair urges support for MDC
The international community must be ready to support Zimbabwe's
it wins next month's presidential election, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair
urged on Wednesday.
He told parliament that what was happening in
Zimbabwe - repressive state
laws, violence, a crackdown on the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and the harassment of its leaders - was
"The actions of (President) Robert Mugabe are completely
wrong and dictatorial."
Zimbabwe goes to the polls on
March 9-10, with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
posing the most serious threat
yet to Mugabe's 22-year grip on power.
"What we should concentrate on now
... is to make sure that if the result
does go against Mr Mugabe - and we
cannot be sure because of some of the
appalling things that have been
happening - we must be in a position to make
sure the proper democratically
elected government of Zimbabwe is supported,"
talks to that effect were already going on within the European Union
Earlier this month the European Union imposed sanctions
against Mugabe and
his senior colleagues and the United States followed
Britain has stepped up its criticism of Zimbabwe in recent months,
confirmed he would be pushing for its suspension from the
the 54-nation body's summit in Australia starting Saturday. -