AI Index: AFR 46/014/2004
(Public) News Service No: 124 14 May 2004
Zimbabwe: Food must not
be used as a political tool Amnesty International today expressed grave
concern at the Zimbabwe government's moves to end international food aid
distribution, despite independent assessments which predict that millions of
Zimbabweans will need food aid in the coming 12 months.
independent assessments are correct, the risk is that food will be used for
political ends and food supplies will go first and only to supporters of the
ruling party", the organization warned.The government has told international
donors that it will not need food aid this year. On 7 May the government
stopped a UN Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission from evaluating the
current harvest. This was followed by statements in the state-controlled
Herald newspaper, attributed to the Minister for Agriculture, claiming that
Zimbabwe has produced more grain than it needs this year. However, earlier
predictions by food security monitors and the United Nations, and a crop
survey carried out in March by independent consultants for the German-based
Friedrich Ebert Foundation, all suggest that the 2004 harvest will fall far
short of national requirements.
Amnesty International visited Zimbabwe in
February 2004, at which time numerous sources within the agricultural sector
confirmed that food production would fall far short of needs in 2004/5. Both
rural and urban populations will be affected. With unemployment currently at
approximately 70% and inflation hovering around 600% it is increasingly
difficult for many Zimbabweans to access adequate food in the marketplace.
Amnesty International is gravely concerned that the present actions of
the government of Zimbabwe may be an attempt to control food supplies ahead
of parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2005. If the true
crop production figures for 2004 are as low as many reliable sources expect
then, in the absence of international food aid, a significant proportion
of Zimbabwe's population may, later in 2004 and into 2005, find itself
reliant on grain controlled by the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board
"Political manipulation of food, particularly state-controlled GMB
grain, by officials and supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has been widely reported over the
past two years. ZANU-PF has repeatedly used food as an electioneering tool.
Viewed against a history of political manipulation of food the government's
current actions are a cause for grave concern," Amnesty International said.
It is unclear how much grain the GMB has in reserve, as there is no
independent assessment of GMB stocks. However, it is unlikely to be
sufficient to meet the cereal gap of 500-800,000 metric tonnes which
independent observers predict for the coming year.Amnesty International
reminds the Zimbabwe government that, as a party to the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICSECR), it has an
obligation to uphold the right of all Zimbabweans to food. The UN committee
responsible for monitoring the Convention has stated that governments must
use all the resources at their disposal, including those available through
international assistance. Discrimination in access to food on any grounds,
including political affiliation, is a violation of the ICSECR. The committee
has also stated that food should not be used as an instrument of
political pressure.Amnesty International further reminds the government of
Zimbabwe that all human rights are indivisible and interrelated. Violations
of the right to food may impinge on many other rights, including the right to
life itself.Amnesty is calling on the Zimbabwe authorities to respect the
right of all Zimbabweans to food and to immediately allow the UN to conduct a
crop assessment mission, with a view to ensuring that any possible food aid
needs are adequately addressed. Amnesty International further calls on
the government of Zimbabwe to take immediate steps to make the operations of
the GMB transparent, and open to independent monitoring.
Sat May 15,
2004 1:40 AM HARARE (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has given
the players it fired this week 21 days to return to work. A ZCU media
release on Friday gave the 15 rebels "a further 21-day notice to rectify
their breaches of their agreements by unconditionally making themselves
available at all times to practice and play representative cricket for
Zimbabwe in any match for which they are selected".
said the 21-day period was effective from Friday, and that a letter to that
effect had been delivered to the players' lawyer.
In a long-running
saga, the ZCU terminated the players' contracts this week.
impasse was sparked on April 2 when Heath Streak's tenure as captain ended
after he questioned the composition of the selection panel.
Fourteen other experienced players allied themselves with Streak, and the
group demanded binding arbitration on Streak's removal from the captaincy,
the composition of the selection panel and alleged poor conduct of board
The board offered the players mediation, which is not
binding, to resolve their grievances.
The players initially
refused the offer, but had accepted it in principle when they were
The release said the ZCU "will not pursue the mediation
issue any further".
Zimbabwe have been fielding sub-strength
teams against visiting Sri Lanka and face an even tougher challenge from
Australia who arrived on Thursday for two tests and three one-dayers.
Mugabe launches offensive against
Blair Standard Reporter, in Harare,
Kenyan journalists visiting Zimbabwe had a peek at President
Mugabe's strongman style, reminiscent of Kenya in the days of single
Often used to the diplomatic poise of
current President Mwai Kibaki when dealing with foreigners, the journalists
attending a Mugabe function were taken aback when he launched a scathing
diatribe against British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
whose country has had a long standoff with Britain, tore straight into Blair
for imposing on Zimbabwe "unnecessary sanctions and getting alliances to seek
the subordination of black peoples".
The journalists from Kenya
were drawn from the East African Standard and KTN and were in Zimbabwe for a
12-day working trip.
The octogenarian President was furious at his
British adversaries, and expressed this in a tone that echoed former
President Moi when speaking out against donors shifting
Said President Mugabe: "Those British lies and tricks
have not made us lose part of our sovereignty, and they should know they have
failed in their evil mission to betray the pride of our
Mugabe, a veteran of the Zimbabwe liberation war and
fondly referred to as Comrade Mugabe, was chief guest at the opening of the
third Annual National Assembly of Chiefs at the Great Zimbabwe monument in
The journalists had attended as special
The event was graced by the return of the lower half of the
Zimbabwe bird - which is on the national emblem, which also appears in the
national flag - from the Germany.
The lower half was handed over
to the German government last year.
"Our gathering here is a return
to the source of our
civilisation, a return to the cradle of our
birth and a return to the sacred monument whose stone walls stand in defence
of our dignity and freedom," said Mugabe.
addressed the issue of the day as he kept returning to his war with Blair.
"Blair's plan to seek alliances with my detractors to reverse the gains of
our independence is wishful thinking, our sovereignty is sacred and
priceless, never to be traded for any piece of silver," he said.
The President said Zimbabwe's sovereignty had remained intact
despite sanctions by the British.
Mugabe told the British that
the land "shall never again go into the hands of the British".
Chaos of the land seizures By Caroline
Mango ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
Most Zimbabweans, even white ones, agree that the land acquisition programme
that targeted vast white-owned land for redistribution to landless blacks was
vital and long overdue.
But the manner in which the government of
President Robert Mugabe supervised the haphazard take-over was what threw
Zimbabwe into chaos.
All across the southern African country, the
impression we got was that it could have been done in a better
But Mugabe chose to turn a blind eye to the brewing crisis
and, riding high on the crest of populism, forcibly took back the vast
swathes of land.
On a tour of Zimbabwe this week, journalists from
both the East African Standard and KTN came face to face with the victims
and beneficiaries of the land take-overs that put Harare at loggerheads
with London and the Commonwealth.
The country is currently
undergoing a serious economic crisis as a result of the land invasions that
began in the year 2000 and are still going on.
The media crew saw
during its 12-day tour some of the "grabbed" farms now under black farmers in
communal areas. In others, white farmers had agreed to co-exist with the
The invasions were largely viewed, especially by the British,
to have been a political gimmick by Mugabe to win the 2002 General
Ironically, while Mugabe had said the distribution of land
freely to natives would spur economic growth, the country seems to have sunk
more into economic difficulties.
There are now frequent shortages of
basic commodities like bread, sugar, salt and milk.
But the government
has declared the shortages to be economic sabotage by manufacturers and
producers, majority of whom are white farmers.
The Zimbabwean dollar has
continued to lose value and now stands at 5,333 to the US dollar, leading to
Although there are no more long queues for food and
petrol, not all is well in Zimbabwe.
Several basic commodities,
including fuel, bread and sugar, frequently disappear from supermarkets and
shops and when they reappear, the prices shoot up.
A loaf of bread
that used to cost 1,500 Zimbabwean dollars now costs 3,500.
however, are still good though most are said to have been inherited from the
British colonial masters during independence in 1980.
A 24-hour working
street light system, state of the art buildings in the centre of Harare city
and its environs show a country which has come from better times.
the past 4 years, the Zimbabwean Government has supervised the acquisition of
11 million hectares of white-owned land.
Government officials said the
resettlement targets 500,000 families. So far, some 300,000 families have
Mugabe has remained firm on the land acquisition
programme which he terms as "a matter of life and death".
question, however, is whether the new black owners will be able to sustain
the same level of productivity as before the invasions, as this has a huge
bearing on the economy.
In the last two years, persistent drought has
struck a major blow to the country's agrarian revolution.
farmers argue that Mugabe's government has taken land through unorthodox
means and given it to politicians and the military, who have no managerial
skills and capacity to sustain productivity.
However, the Agriculture and
Rural Development minister, Mr J M Made, is optimistic that Zimbabweans have
the capacity to produce.
He says the impact of the acquisition on food
production has been tremendous this year.
According to Made, food
production went up from 2.8 million metric tonnes of maize, up from 800,000
tonnes last year.
He says once land is acquired, it reverts to the state
- which then redistributes it to Zimbabweans.
"The procedure is that
one acquires and states his ability and capacity to produce before the
government decides to allocate him an A1 farm (communal) or an A2 farm
"The condition is that the farmer must properly
utilise and develop his farm, including putting up a house for himself and
Failure to meet these requirements, the minister says, will
result in the land being taken away without notice.
"So far, we are in
possession of over 200,000 applications from professionals and technicians
who are capable of producing enough to cater for (the food needs of)
Zimbabweans and even for export," he says.
On claims that those who
benefited were mainly politicians allied to Mugabe, Made says.
have said, we have over 200,000 applications so far, and if all those are
allies of Mugabe, then that is a major achievement. "However, majority of
those in rural areas fought in the struggle and are coincidentally members of
the Zanu PF," he says.
He says that any anomalies that occurred while
giving out land will be rectified.
Made says communal farmers produce
80 per cent of the country's maize, 97 per cent of cotton and rear six
And he adds that about 70 per cent of the land acquired by
the state used to be idle.
He says the British Government is still
trying to stop the acquisition programme by using the Western media and the
opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, to oppose the ongoing
The minister says some British farmers had run away with title
deeds, but that legislation would be enacted to render such titles null and
"The land belongs to the state once acquired. In the UK, you cannot
go there and own land, why should we let them own land in our country?" he
The first phase of the land seizures since 2000 predominantly
targeted individual white-owned farms, which have been sub-divided to
Zimbaweans in the A1 category.
The A2 category, he says, will now
focus on the multi-nationals where the government will ensure that indigenous
people are either part of the production or are in partnership with the white
At the end of the programme, says Made, Zimbabweans will be
dominant on land both formerly owned by individuals and the
No title deeds are issued for the land, but the farmers
are empowered through provision skills, inputs and machinery.
Ministry of Agriculture is introducing farmers training colleges and
has recruited about 5,000 extension officers to back-up the initial 2,000
in empowering rural farmers.
All is not lost for the white farmers
however, if what Made says is true.
White commercial farmers who wish to
continue farming in the country can re-apply, and will be considered like any
Mugabe to step down By Caroline
Mango ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
strongman sensationally reveals to the East African Standard in Harare that
he will be standing down from his country's leadership - and discloses that
he is having difficulty identifying his successor
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is now ready to step down, he sensationally revealed to
the East African Standard in an exclusive interview in Harare.
all expectations, Mugabe debunked the belief widely held by friend and foe
alike that he wants to serve for life.
And this week, the man who has
become the Western world's figure of hate and a Commonwealth pariah following
his government's decision to evict white farmers and distribute their land to
poor Zimbabweans said that he won't seek re-election in 2008. He wants to
retire and write books.
Speaking exclusively to the East African Standard
and KTN at his Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
office in Harare on Wednesday, Mugabe said he was serving his last term and
had no intention of clinging on.
The octogenarian, viewed as one of
the very last of traditional African strongmen, said he had been in politics
for long enough and wanted to rest and do something
However, in the age-old style of African dictators, Mugabe
lamented that he is having trouble finding a successor.
He is now busy
shopping for the right person to take over from him when he retires, he
Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 and
was re-elected in 2002 in an election observers described as flawed and
marred by vote rigging.
The announcement will come as surprise to a
sceptical international community, which has learned to view the man as one
of the worst types of African Big Man.
Mugabe himself has done little
to disabuse his foes of this view.
During the election, for example, he
was widely reported as having used the state machinery to stay in power and
seemed to confirm that by barring the foreign media from covering the
The controversial election victory was widely viewed as a
desperate effort to consolidate power around himself as forces loyal to him
harassed the opposition and suppressed dissent.
The opposition in
Harare and the media have continued to suffer state-sponsored harassment,
including the complete banning of at least one national newspaper.
parliamentary elections, which come ahead of the presidential, will be held
in June next year and the presidential elections - for a seven-year term -
will follow in 2008.
Mugabe's search for a successor falls neatly into
the pattern adopted by some retiring African presidents who hand-pick
politicians to succeed them. They have not always been successful, though. In
neighbouring Zambia, Frederick Chiluba's successful efforts to have a
favoured crony succeed him backfired after Mr Levy Mwanawasa turned against
the retired president and had him charged with corruption.
Zimbabwe view Tourism and Information minister Prof Jonathan Moyo as the
favourite to succeed Mugabe.
Of the Cabinet ministers, he is the closest
to the President and the most powerful.
Moyo is a nominated MP and
comes from the Ndebele community while Mugabe is a Shona.
and the Shona have a history of political rivalry, which at one time
precipitated a civil war.
Mugabe, referred to locally as "Comrade"
sounded confident as he said: "I want to retire from politics. I have had
enough. I am also a writer and would like to concentrate in writing after
this term in office is over."
Looking strong for his 80 years and
eloquent with very good English, Mugabe said the problems he is having
finding a successor are causing power struggles in the top leadership of his
"They are fighting and some are even going to consult with
witchdoctors. It is very interesting to note that even educated people are
seeking the consultation of Ngangas (witchdoctors) expecting to be possible
candidates," said Mugabe matter-of-factly.
The man who has ruled
Zimbabwe for nearly 24 years spoke soon after a sycophantic endorsement by
200 chiefs in the country for him to run for the Presidency again in
They encouraged Mugabe to hang on to power and seek
"I know why the chiefs endorsed me. It is because they know
the consequences the country will face in terms of good and firm leadership
should I retire."
He, however, was upbeat that he would find a
"I don't think I will miss a successor. Out of 30 million
people, there must be a capable person to take over after me and he will be
the chosen one".
Mugabe was cheerful and charming during the interview in
which he was accompanied by three bodyguards and his press team.
have not even completed this term, I have four more years and I am not
so young, you know. I need to rest from politics and do something else
like writing," he said.
He downplayed the misunderstandings and
clashes in his party terming them as normal succession politics, which might
eventually make the party stronger.
However, Mugabe's promise to quit is
likely to be scant comfort to the opposition, embittered by years of
harassment by the ruling party.
Zimbabwe was this week named alongside
Eritrea and Cuba as among the worst abusers of media rights by the US-Based
Committee on Protection of Journalists (CPJ).
The government however
dismissed the watchdog as "just a mercenary being used by the UK like other
Ervine's departure highlights Zimbabwe's plight By
Malcolm Conn May 15, 2004 THE apprehension among Australian players about
the quality of the opposition they will face on this seemingly pointless
Zimbabwe tour grew overnight when they passed young Zimbabwean all-rounder
Sean Ervine heading for Australia.
The Australians were surprised to
see Irvine at Johannesburg airport as they stopped over on the way to Harare
during a door-to-door trip from Sydney of almost 24 hours.
perturbed to hear he was heading for Perth to spend time with his girlfriend,
the daughter of Zimbabwe and former Australian coach Geoff Marsh, with no
time frame for a return.
Matthew Hayden is uncertain just what Australia
will encounter in the two Tests and three one-day matches over the next month
as the stand-off between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and 15 sacked white
players, including former captain Heath Streak, continues.
what their side's going to be," Hayden said after arriving in Harare last
"It's never a good sign to see one of their players actually going
in the opposite direction."
Hayden fears that Ervine, just 21, has
retired after playing only five Tests.
An attorney representing the 70 alleged mercenaries held in
Harare on allegations of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea says his
clients are ready to spill the beans on Zimbabwe's past arms deals. Jonathan
Samkange said yesterday that the South African suspects were prepared to
expose the state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) by showing that it
had sold armaments to them before under similar circumstances. "We have
documents to show that ZDI has sold arms to the company that had hired
suspects to guard mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past, but
no charges were ever raised," he said. "It will be shown that there had been
previous deals done without the certificates they are now demanding. Why the
change now? "If what happened is a crime, then ZDI must also be charged." The
government organisation stands accused of gun running and selling arms to
shady groups. The company was believed to have been involved in murky deals,
including one with Sri Lanka in 1997, in which a large consignment of arms
vanished without trace amid claims that army generals had arranged
their disappearance for personal gain. ZDI has also been accused of selling
arms to Burundi's antigovernment Front for the Defence of Democracy and
to assassinated Democratic Republic Congo president Laurent
Kabila's Banyamulenge rebel movement to topple dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in
1997. In a related matter, Samkange said he would also appeal against a
magistrate's ruling that upheld charges against the men.
Zanu PF strategists believe that a new plan to lock out foreign
food aid and hold early elections will bring certain victory
government's order to a United Nations' crop assessment team to leave the
country last weekend is part of its strategy to maintain tight
political control over food supply and score a resounding win in the
coming parliamentary elections. The order effectively blocks UN and
European preparations to provide the food aid estimated to be needed by more
than 5 million people this year. President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front government didn't want the UN team to
produce figures that show that this year's harvest would fall far short
of Zimbabwe's food requirement. That would expose the failure of the
land reform programme and lead to hundreds of UN and aid agency officials
handing out food aid in the run-up to an election. So political insiders now
believe that Mugabe's ruling clique has decided to bring forward the
parliamentary elections to October, before the food runs out completely. Any
shortfall between now and then will be covered be a series of
maize-for-tobacco swaps to supply enough food for Zanu PF's loyal supporters
and for those supporters whom it believes it can win back from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Die-hard opposition supporting
areas are likely to see chronic shortages of food. The lesson to voters will
be clearer than ever. Political momentum is on Zanu PF's side. Yet the
government may not be able to brazen it out until next March. It is riven by
Parastatals' annual reports lack accountability, House
Herald Reporter A PARLIAMENTARY portfolio committee has
recommended the need for administrative mechanisms to be put in place to
ensure that all ministries effectively monitor the submission of annual
reports by parastatals.
This follows revelations that the majority of the
parastatals were operating in the dark as they had not been submitting their
annual reports for years to the Comptroller and Auditor
Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and Glen Norah MP
Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) told Parliament on Wednesday that
parastatals were failing to submit their annual reports and no punitive
measures were being taken.
Presenting a special report of the
committee on parastatals, Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said there was no
accountability on the submission of annual reports by the
"The scenario is extremely undesirable as it becomes
difficult to ascertain whether existing assets are being properly utilised or
used in a manner that gives value for money," she said.
said organisations such as the National Social Security Authority only tabled
their 1998 to 2001 annual reports in January this year and even these reports
were not up to date.
"In view of the failure by ministries and
parastatals to submit and table their reports as required by the law, your
committee has found it necessary to conduct intensive enquiries into the
audit of parastatals and keep the house informed of the progress," she
The committee, Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, recommended that
no parastatals should be privatised without their current financial
statements or accounts having been tabled and adopted in
She said a value for money audit carried out by the
Comptroller and Auditor General on the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
showed that the power utility was having problems in its service
"The audit that focused on the maintenance and distribution
network revealed that Zesa was not adequately monitoring the supply and
distribution of electricity which was evidenced by the increase in the number
of faults," Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
The committee, Ms
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, noted that it was not clear how the Comptroller
and Auditor General's office could relate to parastatals that were being
unbundled such as Zesa.
"These unbundled companies cannot be audited in
terms of the Audit and Exchequer Act and your committee also noted that some
parastatals were increasing tariffs soon after they were unbundled and one
wonders whether these increases are justified," she said.
the motion, Buhera South MP Cde Kumbirai Kangai (Zanu-PF) said it was quite
obvious that parastatals were not submitting their annual reports for
"We are concerned that these parastatals should submit their
statements of accounts," he said.
Reporter PRICES of goods and services have been on an upward surge over the
past few weeks, raising fears among many that their incomes will soon be
Bread, meat, toothpaste, eggs, chicken, soap, cooking oil,
electronic goods, transport fares, baby products, clothes and accommodation
are some of the commodities, goods and services whose costs have increased
over the past few weeks.
The price of bread has gone up from $2 200 to
$2 900, that of chicken from $11 000 to $14 350 per kg, beef is selling at
between $12 000 and $35 000 a kg up from between $9 000 and $11 000 recently.
A 100-ml tube of toothpaste tube now costs $8 960 up from $6 660 while a 375
gramme of dried kapenta fish costs $7 290 up from $5 350.
A crate of
eggs now costs between $16 000 and $17 000 up from $12 990, while some bath
soaps are now selling at $4 500 up from $2 900. A 500-ml packet of fresh milk
now costs $1 900, up from $1 680. A 750ml bottle of cooking oil now costs
between $7 800 and $8 200, up from around $6 000.
A 21-inch colour
television set now costs $4 million up from $3,5 million while a radio set
that used to cost $3 million a few weeks ago now costs
Urban fares have gone up from $1 000 to $1 500 while rural
and long distance bus fares have gone up from $110 to $150 a
Accommodation has continued to be elusive with a room in the
high-density suburbs costing around $60 000 a month while a two bedroom flat
now costs around $1,2 million.
This is despite the fact that consumer
rights activists and labour leaders recently said the prices of basic
commodities should fall following a reduction in production costs experienced
by many manufacturers.
They also cited the availability of cheap finance
under the Reserve Bank's low interest Productive Sector Facility and the
decline in inflation as some of the factors that should compel manufacturers
to review the prices of their products downwards.
like the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe said the bread price rise had been
necessitated by the rising costs of inputs such as flour and
The price of flour has gone up from $2,4 million a tonne to
$3,4 million while electricity tariffs have gone up by at least 1 300 percent
since last November.
Consumers who spoke to The Herald said the price
increases could signal the beginning of a trend, which would see prices of
all commodities going up.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said the
increase in prices would be hard on the consumers as they had become used to
the stability that has been experienced since October last
Prices had stabilised with most families being able to afford most
of the basic commodities.
Some traders have attributed the price
escalations to the increase in the exchange rate for the US$ dollar.
special rate of $5 200 for exporters was introduced by the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe as an incentive for them to increase exports. This also resulted
in the auction rate rising to more than $5 000 from $4 600.
employers awarded their workers increments of between 100 and 600 percent
since the beginning of the year but the poverty datum line pegged at $988 490
remains a mark for most people.
The Reserve Bank governor recently
criticised manufacturers for not passing on the benefits of the cheap funds
to the consumers by reducing the prices of their products as measures
introduced by the RBZ were meant to benefit both manufacturers and
'We'll fight to
death' ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
want to tell them that we shall fight to the death for our land. The land is
ours and here we shall live and die," President Mugabe says in this exclusive
interview with the East African Standard
QUESTION: Mr President,
you are on record as having said that land acquisitions in Zimbabwe are a
matter of life and death. Why such a hard-line stance?
The fight for land here is just like in Kenya. The liberation struggle is not
just about ruling; freedom from imperialist or colonial rule is incomplete if
it does not include economic independence.
As we negotiated
independence at Lancaster from October to December 1979, the vital issue that
arose was land and we demanded provision for our people to acquire land
through settlement programmes and this was initially agreed to by then
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The British government
initially agreed to compensate British settler farmers and the implementation
was to be undertaken by my government.
It was vital to implement the
process because land was initially seized from poor peasants but the
negotiations came to a near breakdown.
The US accepted to join hands with
the British to compensate the farmers and even funds were set aside for the
land reform programme by the US, the British and the European
On April 18, 1990, we started working on the programme and
started resettling Zimbabweans from Botswana, Mozambique and from
Agriculture immediately started and people started to cultivate
However, the British tricked us as we ventured into
the major resettlement programme and drafted into the constitution the
willing buyer, willing seller principle.
We had to accept the deal
initially but it became difficult and the formula could not work as more and
more farmers refused to sell their land.
After we settled some 57,000
families, the programme became even slower and extremely
The Americans gave us money to continue with the programme but
at this point, the British were reluctant to give funds.
to Thatcher, leading to the making of the constitution to set aside funds to
be used to compensate farmers.
Thatcher then released 44 million Sterling
Pounds and said that was the end of it.
We asked for more money but
Thatcher refused and before we could press for more, out she went and in came
We reviewed the issue with Major, who was a very good person.
He was very co-operative and sent a six-man team to Zimbabwe to assess the
situation between 1995 and 1996 and consequently got a report.
sent my ministers in June 1996 but before any deliberation could be made on a
workable land acquisition programme, Major was defeated and in came Tony
Blair, the Brute.
I raised the issue with him in 1997 in Scotland but he
started being dismissive. One of Blair's former ministers, Claire Short, said
she was Irish and we should not talk about colonial obligation as it did not
When my continued quest for negotiations failed due to his
dismissive approach, we decided to take over land by force.
them to keep their money and we keep our land. To date, all Blair wants is to
fight and not to talk.
Many white farmers are still farming in the
country in spite of all this. From about 400 of them during the start of the
programme, I think half are remaining and this half are the multi-nationals
whom we have not touched yet, though the process is
What is your opinion of Tony Blair?
Brute" and his government are our enemy number 1.
He is presenting a
totally false picture to countries with which we are economically related,
and like the liar he is claims there is no law in Zimbabwe, no order, no
democracy and no respect for human rights.(Pauses and beams with delight)
Talking of respect for human rights, now we know the human rights they
Blair has refused to understand and handle this issue as a
bilateral one. He has only opted to make it international and has gone ahead
to spearhead and ensure personal sanctions against me.
dissuading countries which have good economic relations with us and this
economic sabotage is what he has continued to spearhead fully,
thus undermining our economic relations with those countries.
could even at one time use his forces to intercept a ship carrying fuel [to
Zimbabwe] on the high seas and buy it at twice the price.
We are more
democratic than the US. And by the way, talking about democracy, who elected
President Bush and by what vote?
Maybe you should tell me because you
come from the world of information and are well informed. What I know is that
they could not reach conclusion in Florida as to who had most votes. Some
votes were never counted and the matter had to go to the Supreme
Now the court they went to has more Republican judges meaning that
his side had more judges in the Supreme Court than Democrats and having
called that judicial objectivity, he won as President. I hope that doesn't
happen again this time round.
How do you survive with all these
economic hardships and the poor relations with the West?
Oh, we are
survivors. And we are turning around the economy with or without help from
Fortunately, we don't depend only on agriculture but also
mining. We mine gold, iron, cranium, asbestos, platinum and diamonds and this
has helped our economy and the living standards of our people.
survivors, we will survive. We were born here and shall die here. I want to
tell them that we shall fight to the death for our land.
The land is ours
and here we and our children shall live and die. We even heard recently from
intelligence sources that Bush and his government were planning to invade
Zimbabwe after Iraq but I want to tell them that they are welcome. We are
guerrilla fighters who have fought before and are ready to fight another war
We are a revolutionary movement and we want to retain our gain
especially the sovereignty of our people, the rights of our people, the
ownership of their resources and the right to those resources.
how we have ruled this country and that is how we intend to run it in
What do you make of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). What I know is that MDC is a movement founded and funded by British
parties which are actually forces opposed to us, abhorent to us.
British Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberals came together
at the instigation of the Blair Government and agreed to raise money for an
They used the Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions,
sponsored by the Westminster foundation, to come up with MDC.
party was formed from the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, that could have
been well and good, but what we reject to the neck is an agency being used to
undermine the sovereignty of our own people by outsiders. That we will fight
to the end.
We, however, accept the opposition. MDC participated in the
2000 elections and the referendum and was defeated by 1,000 votes. This gave
enthusiasm to MDC which then participated in the June elections and won 56
seats out of 120 seats.
There are a total of 150 seats in parliament
where chiefs are represented and governors are automatically MPs.
MDC is, however, terming undemocratic powers conferred to the President of
Zimbabwe that allow me to appoint 12 more members.
When Bush and his
constitution picks men from the streets, that is democracy and yet when the
Zimbabwean President has powers to appoint 12 more members, that becomes
MDC has continued to be a factor in making of law and
governance through parliament and that we have accepted. But what we will
forever reject is for them to go to Britain to seek advice and ask for
sanctions to be placed against their own people and country.
abhorrent, we must have pride in our country and people.
relationship with the International Monetary Fund and the
We are still members of the international community. It's
only that during the bad days, we could not meet the
Although we remain members, I have no faith in them. We can
do our thing without the IMF and the rest.
They come in with their
balance of payment assistance, yes we need that at times. But their
prescriptions, they are awful, believe me.
I lost faith in them in 1980
when they told me that I could not educate everyone in my country at the same
time and that I had to do it in phases. Whose children was I supposed to
leave out of school? That IMF advice was unfair and
Do you feel that African countries support you
enough in your land reform policy?
Oh! We are very happy that we are
now better understood by African and developing countries.
understand what the problem in Zimbabwe is all about. They understand that
the differences between us and the British are on land and nothing
That is why Africa supports us, Kenya included. And of course Kenya
should be number one to fully support us because you fought the same war
against the colonialists.
We are happy that Kenya still giving us
support because they too realise the value of land.
Is it true
your government has muzzled the Press?
We are a free country. Democracy
is not just a matter of the rights of certain groups or
Journalists claim that they are in a special category and
must have special recognition of their rights.
Only if they recognised
the rights of other people too!
I have also poor Mugabe here, my own
rights, why do you want to defame me and call me this and that? If you do
that I can react in two ways.
One, a personal way, insult you tit-for-tat
but I won't do that. If I take you to court for defaming me, I am not wrong
or if at the end of the day I realise that the journalists are getting away
with it, defaming all people because they have the pen.
a law that Thou shall not tell lies as it is in the Commandments that thou
shall not lie.
And if you lie and lie again and you are a member of, say
an organisation, then we either arrest you for continuing to defame others or
we simply ban your organisation and say No.
We have also established a
commission to look at various institutions in our media world.
tell you some of the lies told in this country; that a police
officer decapitated a child in a certain area; that certain officers or
commanders of the Army were planning a coup that was foiled, and much
Objectivity, truth and honesty must arise when journalists are
undertaking investigative stories.