|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF
· Chimanimani – at Charleswood Estate 3,5 hectares was prepared for planting, which was commandeered by the settlers who are now planting wheat and vegetables.
· Bindura - Two cattle were slashed and badly wounded on 10.05.02 at Chumire Farm.
· Macheke Virginia - There were new invasions occurring on various farms and various works stoppages. Seven Section 8 Orders were received.
· Chinhoyi - The manager of Sleigo Farm is not allowed home, and cannot retrieve his furniture.
· Mwenezi - Fires, fires and more fires - on 06.05.02, nine properties in the centre of the FA area alone were affected, with many properties suffering multiple fires simultaneously. Gross irresponsibility may account for one or two properties, but on this scale arson has to be suspected.
· Chiredzi in general –Over the weekend the mounted section and the support unit began operating on the following ranches: Mungwezi Ranch, Oscro Ranch, Rakatchya Ranch, Sebenanai Ranch, Wasarasara Ranch, Ruware Ranch, Crown Ranch and Dombedema Ranch to clear up the poachers. So far thirty poachers have been arrested. It is said that there will be a “patrolling presence” in the Chiredzi Conservancy and the Save Conservancy over the next few weeks. Poaching has been rampant with bows and arrows, nets for fishing, hunting with dogs etc.
Chimanimani – at Charleswood Estate 3,5 hectares was prepared for planting, which was commandeered by the settlers who are now planting wheat and vegetables. The settlers also blocked off the canal from Charleswood and are using this for their own irrigation. A young calf was killed and skinned. The skin was found in the river.
Bindura - Two cattle were slashed and badly wounded on 10.05.02 at Chumire Farm.
Horseshoe - The stand off on Woma Farm was resolved when the Senior Police Officers from Bindura came to the farm. It was resolved the citrus on Camsasa belonged to the owner, but the "war vet" who sold about ZW$ 5 million worth already, stopped the labour picking and trashed the managers' house. Mvurwi - the settlers on Ealing Farm arrived at the farmhouse to evict the owner only to find he was not there. They moved on to the farm village and assaulted the labourers. The owner of Wendiri Farm, who has left the farm and is living in the village, reported that on 10.05.02 his foreman and lorry driver were evicted from the farm. Since then there have been more evictions and continuous harassment. On 11.05.02, the settlers on Rocky Lodge attempted to evict the owner The Police were called, who reacted and told the settlers there were to be no more evictions. Extortionate demands for gratuities etc are continuing throughout the district. Many farmers have been approached by settlers for assistance planting a wheat crop but unless finance and inputs are supplied, no help will be offered.
Harare South - The farmer who had a work stoppage has had the issue temporarily resolved, and is now back at work. A manager had to vacate his house. A farmer had a visit from A2 settlers who wanted all the homesteads vacated but wanted the owner to help him prepare seedbeds. The same farmer had two dogs poisoned, which died and the house was broken into.
Macheke Virginia - There were new invasions occurring on various farms and various works stoppages. Seven Section 8 Orders were received.
Marondera North - A farmer had three cattle die and Government vet and police are to be notified. A farmer had a Government official querying irrigation equipment and lands. One Section 8 Order and one Section 5 notice received.
Marondera South - As a result of increased Police presence the area is reasonably quiet. Out of 34 households living in the area only 11 have been allowed to return. Many arrests have been made but no feedback on who has actually been charged and with what. The DA has requested that those who can should grow wheat.
Wedza - Two Section 8 Orders were received over the weekend. One farmer had a work stoppage on the morning of 13.05.02, as the settlers want the farmer to plough for them.
MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
The Mcherengi Farm manager’s house was vandalized, with three beds and two stoves stolen. Police went to the Chiredsa Farm house and arrested two people thought to have speared three cattle on the farm.
Chinhoyi - The manager of Sleigo Farm is not allowed home, and cannot retrieve his furniture.
Doma - Large movement of A2 settlers making unreasonable demands.
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH)
No report received.
Masvingo East and Central - No reports have come in from this area.
Chiredzi – the Samba Ranch owner reports two sergeants from National Parks and two members from the ZRP came on the weekend and made enquiries about poaching and the relevant statistics. They were supposed to visit all the other surrounding ranches, but never arrived. The Bangala Ranch owner reports roofing from the old homestead was stolen. Attempts were made to steal a Lister Engine, but it was too heavy to carry. At Palm River Ranch on 07.05.02, the owner had settlers making extortionate demands for compensation. Affidavits were given to the Police all claiming the same thing. On 09.05.02 pegging yet again commenced on the plot allocated to the owner.
In general in this area – "war vet" Mapanzuru informed the owners of Bangala Ranch, Faversham Ranch and Palm River Ranch that rallies are to take place in the next two weeks. It is not known what they will be about. Over the weekend the mounted section and the support unit began operating on the following ranches: Mungwezi Ranch, Oscro Ranch, Rakatchya Ranch, Sebenanai Ranch, Wasarasara Ranch, Ruware Ranch, Crown Ranch and Dombedema Ranch to clear up the poachers. So far thirty poachers have been arrested. It is said that there will be a “patrolling presence” in the Chiredzi Conservancy and the Save Conservancy over the next few weeks. Poaching has been rampant with bows and arrows, nets for fishing, hunting with dogs etc.
Mwenezi - Fires, fires and more fires - on Tuesday 06.05.02, nine properties in the centre of the FA area alone were affected, with many properties suffering multiple fires simultaneously. Gross irresponsibility may account for one or two properties, but on this scale arson has to be suspected. At Bea Ranch the 13 A1 "settlers" and 4 or 5 workers all allocated land by the Asst. DA Beitbridge in the past were told to vacate this property. Apparently the Beitbridge MP (Deputy Minister of Local Govt.), Kembo Mohadi, his wife, the Beitbridge DA, and the chief "war vet", Philimon Mbedzi, have claimed the property as their own. On Kayalami Ranch a member of ZRP PISI, a Mr. Ngulube, from the Pande mine area of Beitbridge district, and stationed in Beitbridge, told the owner he wants 4 000 acres of this unlisted property. He says if his demand is not met he will ensure the property is listed. He has cattle on Swanscoe at present where he has been the instigator of much trouble. A Section 8 was served on 5/5/02 at Duvi Ranch All three properties are suffering serious poaching - the nyala population has been devastated. Cattle have also been slaughtered. At Limburgia Ranch cattle continue to be driven on to the tar road and railway line where they are killed by traffic. Slaughter and outright theft also rife. On 09.05.02 alone the remains of eight cattle were found in snares, dead with all the meat removed. It is impossible to get an accurate count of remaining cattle due to the disruptions on the ground (fences cut and stolen, gates left open, cattle and squatters wandering everywhere, staff being terrorised, etc.), but the owner is presently unable to account for about 300 head. A number of properties have received Section 8s over the past few days. At Valley Ranch on 01.05.02, an individual identifying himself as Ananias Chauke Ngwani 67-065217 Z-02 was found herding five cattle from Tshituripasi to Gezani (Chiredzi district) through the Mateke Hills commercial farming area (Mwenezi district). He was doing this by "authority" of a letter issued by the ZRP in Tshituripasi.
In general in this area - grazing becomes scarcer by the day. Food for workers is virtually unobtainable as supplies are controlled by Zanu (PF) and anyone perceived to be unsupportive is denied access. Ongoing movement of people, poaching, snaring, theft of firewood etc.
Save Conservancy - Poaching and movement of people continue.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Lauder Farm reports at 00.20 hrs on the night of 13.05.02. A lorry loaded with 12 heifers arrived and began offloading the cattle into a kraal. The owner reports some of the cattle are LIT tagged and has managed to obtain three numbers (5044; 5074; 50800). Mrs. Mahofa informed the owner she would be taking up residence in the old homestead on Wragley farm, stating she has written permission from the DA Gutu to move into the house. To date, the owner has not seen the letter. Mrs. Mahofa is said to be driving around the area in a vehicle that has no registration number plates.
No report received.
No report received.
|A Beit Alfa Riot Control Vehicle.|
(Photo: Beit Alfa)
The Zimbabwean government recently purchased
state-of-the-art military equipment and anti-riot gear from Kibbutz Beit Alfa,
as part of its attempts to crush anti-government demonstrations.
The purchase came to light as result of an investigation by Zimbabwean weekly, The Standard, which pointed out that the ruling Zanu PF has traditionally seen Israel as a "repressive Zionist regime and puppet of the United States."
According to The Standard, "the equipment has already arrived in Zimbabwe and includes customized anti-riot tankers, gas masks and microscopic 'laser guns', similar to those used by Israeli forces against the Palestinian protesters."
The paper reported that the tankers, called Riot Control Vehicle model RCU 4500 I, were supplied by the Beit Alfa Trailer Company and have been undergoing tests at the Police Support Unit Headquarters in the capital. "The anti-riot vehicles include the latest in water cannon technology based on an advanced computer-controlled jet pulse system. Highly accurate pulse firing can be done in three different modes-short pulse, long pulse and continuous stream. The water is shot up to 500 meters," wrote the paper.
"When The Standard visited Harare's Support Unit base last week, police officers were being trained in the use of the lethal cannons, under the watchful eye of an Israeli expert. Police sources said two of the tankers would be stationed in Bulawayo and the other three in Harare."
The Standard reported that the deal to buy the equipment was first mooted last year, when Harare police sought authority to make a $105 million down payment to Israel's Beit Alfa Trailer Company (BAT) for the purchase of the arms to the tune of $1 billion. BAT is one of the world's leading manufacturers of riot control vehicles.
|Violation of trade union rights in Zimbabwe|
Hundreds of small-scale tobacco growers occupied the auction floor to protest over the government's pricing policies.
Zimbabwe is the world's second biggest tobacco grower.
Farmers object to the system under which tobacco is sold in US dollars, but they get paid in local currency at the official exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwean dollars to one.
Industry in jeopardy
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) has warned the tobacco industry could collapse if the government does not offer farmers a better exchange rate.
"There's just no viability in the industry," Chris Mowlem, chief executive of the ZTA said.
Early bids by international buyers averaged around $2 a kilogram, or Z$11, while industry estimates put the cost of growing a kilogram of tobacco at Z$300.
The farmers who import equipment and other goods must pay for them at the black market rate of about $1 to Z$340.
"Costs for chemicals, fertilizer are too high, but now prices (for tobacco) are too low," said Christopher Chaterera, a small-scale farmer who has grown tobacco for the last six years.
"If it goes on like this, by next year, some of the farmers will not grow anything," he said.
Many growers at the auction refused to allow their bales to be sold.
Some white tobacco farmers, who have borne the brunt of land confiscations by the government, also withheld their crops.
Farm disruptions caused by the land seizures have reduced this year's tobacco crop from about 205,000 tons last year to 168,000 tons, according to the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board.
Under the government's two-year-old land reforms, which have targeted about 80% of white-owned farms for resettlement by blacks, the number of small-scale tobacco farmers has tripled from 7,000 to about 22,000.
They will grow less than 6% of the 165 million kilos of tobacco crop expected this year.
The government has refused to devalue the local currency out of fears of spurring inflation, currently at a record 113%.
Last year's auction season raised about $400m of foreign currency.
However, falling foreign currency reserves have led to acute shortages of gasoline, power, medicines and other essential imports.
Tobacco accounted for more than 30% of Zimbabwe's hard currency earnings last year, ahead of mining and tourism.
Tourism revenues have declined by up to 80% since March 2000, when occupations of white-owned farms began.