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

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Council may lure Zimbabwean farmers to fill vacant jobs
MELBOURNE, May 15 AAP|Published: Wednesday May 15, 5:45 PM

A council in northern Victoria wants to recruit fleeing Zimbabwean farmers to help fill skilled jobs in local agriculture and horticulture.

Swan Hill Rural City Council is to host a visit by a migration agent specialising in Zimbabwean farmers, in the hope of matching some of her clients with vacant positions.

Garry (Garry) Tepper, the council's economic development manager, said the area's agriculture and horticulture industries were growing by 10 per cent a year, but faced a shortage of management staff.

"These guys have got skills in managing large farms and have been heavily involved in exporting," he told AAP.

Mr Tepper said he had no concerns about their ability to adapt to Australia.

"These guys have been very well equipped to manage large amounts of staff," he said.

"From what I understand they are very motivated to get out of Zimbabwe and they want to start their lives again and they and probably starting with nothing more than what they bring to this country.

"I think they would be very keen to fit into local ways."

Mr Tepper said the council had brought the region's labour problems to the attention of the Victorian government's skilled migration unit.

The unit had put it in touch with the migration agent.

To obtain a visa a farmer would have to be sponsored by an employer for at least two years.

Ten white farmers have died in Zimbabwe since February 2000 in militant invasions of hundreds of farms in support of a state drive to forcibly acquire white-owned land for redistribution to landless


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says it is immoral for 4,500 white farmers to occupy 70 per cent of the country's best farmland.

He vowed in March to press ahead with his land reform program after he was re-elected in a vote rejected by many observer missions as fraudulent.

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Zimbabwe 'evicts squatters'
War veterans confront police
Previous evictions have quickly been reversed
The government of Zimbabwe says it has started evicting thousands of families who have invaded farms which not earmarked for acquisition under the land reform programme.

Correspondents say this is the strongest move by the authorities against illegal occupation of farmland since it started in February 2000.

Last week, the law was amended to give the government of President Robert Mugabe immediate control of the farms targeted for seizure.

Zimbabweans in search of food
Food queues have become common in Zimbabwe
More than 5,000 of the 8,000 white-owned farms in Zimbabwe have been listed for state take-over.

The reported evictions are taking place on the remaining 3,000 farms, as well as wildlife conservancies, plantations and black- or church-owned properties.

The Commercial Farmers Union, which represents the interests of white farmers, told BBC News Online that it could not confirm illegal occupants of properties had been evicted, and that it believed the government had only talked of doing so.

The eviction process is expected to last a month in one of Zimbabwe¿s 10 provinces alone, Masvingo, where it has already begun, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.

Violent take-overs

Among those to be evicted in the Masvingo area are peasants who had settled on a farm belonging to Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a top official in the ruling Zanu-PF party, and a close aide of President Mugabe.

Many of the illegal occupants in Zimbabwe are pro-government militants led by veterans of the war of liberation from British colonialism in the 1970s.

Several white farmers and their black workers have been killed during these violent take-overs.

Zimbabwe is facing a food crisis following the invasions and drought which has hit the region.
White farming family
White farmers have felt under seige for two years

Its once prosperous economy is in tatters and people have begun to die from starvation.

The 4,5000 white farmers, who make up less than 1% of the population, own 30% of prime farm land.

Mr Mugabe wants to redistribute most of this land to poor black families.

The farmers say they are not opposed to the land redistribution programme, but that they object to the way it has been implemented.

President Robert Mugabe says the land reform programme should be completed by August.

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Business Report

Zimbabwe's tobacco woes a sign of worsening crisis
May 15 2002 at 06:44PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's key foreign-exchange earning tobacco auctions were
halted for a second day on Thursday as growers protested against low prices
and an overvalued local dollar amid a worsening economic crisis.

The boycott in the country's single largest foreign currency earner could
worsen the plight of a country undergoing its fourth year of recession,
which has partly manifested itself in acute foreign currency shortages since

Tobacco is sold to merchants in US dollars but exchange control regulations
stipulate that growers are paid in local currency at the official exchange
rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars per greenback.

The acute foreign currency squeeze has however forced the US dollar rate up
to as high as 350 on a thriving parallel informal market, and tobacco
growers say most of their imported inputs are procured at this rate.

The country's two main auctions floors opened briefly at the start of the
annual selling season on Tuesday before farmers withdrew their crop in
protest at the opening price of US$2.45 per kg which they said amounted to
nothing in Zimbabwe dollar terms.

"There is no way we are going to sell our crop at these levels," an angry
small scale farmer at one auctioon floor told reporters.

"With a price
like that, it's either they devalue the Zimbabwe dollar or allow us to be
paid in US dollars which we can change at a more attractive rate," he said.

President Robert Mugabe's government, which denies responsibility for the
country's economic woes through what many see as 22 years of mismanagement,
has repeatedly rejected calls to devalue the local unit to boost the ailing
export sector.

Finance Minister Simba Makoni has acknowledged the Zimbabwe dollar is
overvalued, but says they has been no consensus for a devaluation.

"These guys are buying inputs at parallel market rates and they can't be
expected to sell at below costs. We need a devaluation to at least match the
parallel market rates if they are to remain viable," Witness Chinyamaha, an
economist at a leading financial institution, told Reuters.

Tobacco earns about 30 percent of the southern African country's foreign
currency and accounts for five percent of gross domestic product.

The central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says tobacco exports have averaged
U.S.$568 million per annum over the last five years after peaking at $702
million in 1996.

Official figures show that Zimbabwe's total exports declined by 4.3 percent
in 2001 to $1.7 billion while total imports rose by about 1.6 percent to
$1.54 billion.

In its latest weekly economic commentary, banking group NMB Limited singled
out shortage of foreign currency as a major constraint to economic growth in

"There is urgent need to adjust the exchange rate in line with key
fundamentals, if the economy is to recover and grow," NMB said.

"The exchange rate should be adjusted at least to maintain export
competitiveness so that exporting sectors remain in business and generate
foreign exchange needed by the country."

Foreign currency woes aside, the tobacco industry is in for a bumpy ride.
Most of the country's tobacco has traditionally been produced by white
farmers whose properties have been targeted for seizure under Mugabe's
controversial land reforms.

Industry officials say about 168 million kg of tobacco are on auction this
year, compared to last year's crop of 195 million kg, mainly due to
disruptions to agriculture caused by militants who have invaded white-owned
farms since February 2000 in support of the land reforms.

In 2001 the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association said up to 40 percent of the total
tobacco plantings were on land targeted under the government's land

The economy is expected to shrink by 9.1 percent in 2002 after a 7.3 percent
contraction the previous year.

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      COMESA Nods Zambia's Measures Against Zimbabwean Products

      Xinhuanet 2002-05-15 17:10:07
         LUSAKA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The Common Market for Eastern and
      Southern Africa (COMESA) said here Wednesday there is nothing
      wrong for Zambia to impose protective measures against Zimbabwe to
      defend its local industries as long as this was done within COMESA
         Sindiso Ngwenya, the regional trade bloc's assistant secretary
      general, said in a press briefing that COMESA countries under the
      Free Trade Area (FTA) have powers to put in safeguard and remedial
      measures, which they can evoke to abate adverse effects arising
      from the FTA.
         Ngwenya made the observation in response to a recent warning by
      the Zambian government that it would issue a statutory instrument
      to ban cheap imports from neighboring Zimbabwe.
         Zambia and Zimbabwe, who are both members of the FTA launched
      by COMESA in October 2000, have differed following cheap imports
      from Zimbabwe that are affecting local manufacturers.
         The Zambian government said it would ban such imports in order
      to protect the interests of local manufacturers.
         Analysts here said the two-fold exchange rate of the Zimbabwean
      dollar with the U.S. dollar is a major cause of cheaper products
      coming in from Zimbabwe.
         The official exchange rate is 55 Zimbabwean dollar to one U.S.
      dollar while the black market pegs one U.S. dollar to 300
      Zimbabwean dollars.
         However, Ngwenya said that despite the trade dispute between
      the two countries, latest figures indicate that Zambia had a trade
      surplus with Zimbabwe for the first quarter of this year.
      He urged member countries to be cautious in their approach to
      trade disputes, warning that if the issue is not handled properly
      certain countries may restrict trade.
         Meanwhile, the forthcoming COMESA summit in the Ethiopian
      capital Addis Ababa will review the state of the remaining 11
      countries which are not yet members of the FTA, Ngwenya revealed.
      Ngwenya said the 11 are expected to indicate when they will be
      able to join the FTA, which is aimed at exempting taxes levied on
      goods exchanged between the 20 COMESA member countries.
         According to Ngwenya, Rwanda and Burundi have given their
      commitment to join the FTA before the launch of the customs union
      in 2004.
         As for Namibia and Swaziland, Ngwenya said all technical
      studies have been completed, adding that the two countries will
      take up the matter with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
      which they also belong to, before indicating their position vis-a-
      vis COMESA.
         COMESA was set up in 1994, with a combined population of 380
      million, total land mass of about 13 million square kilometers and
      gross domestic products (GDP) of about 170 billion dollars.
      It hopes to achieve a customs union by 2004 and a monetary
      union by 2025. Enditem


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An on-sight visit to Mberengwa East has led to the following information being forwarded in relation to general discrimination, including in donor feeding programmes. Some of the news was encouraging, other news was less so. In all cases, information is recorded here in good faith and as given to us on 6 May 2002.


Comment on political violence


There was allegedly a major fight in Mataga on 4th May involving MDC youth and militia, which resulted in serious injuries to at least 3 MDC youths. As some of the injured were immediately arrested, no detailed comment is yet available on this incident. Other incidents of violence within the last two weeks were also reported and some injuries documented. In some wards, violence seems to have reduced. However, there are two wards which are still regarded as total “no-go” areas and it is not possible to comment on events in these wards, except that they are still under siege for MDC supporters.


Many children who have been out of school for political reasons since last year are currently back in school since term began a week ago, so far without problems. However, it is clear that large numbers of children are now out of school for socio-economic reasons, including being too hungry to walk to school, and/or too poor to afford fees. Some remain out of school because their families are dispersed and displaced as a result of the political violence. Detailed case examples supporting these assertions follow. 





1. Chamakudo Primary school: Care International


The feeding scheme at this school was brought to Care’s attention as a problem area during March 2002.  A representative of this community reported in person on 6 May that this scheme is currently running very well since the feeding was resumed. He reports that Care International has made it very clear that it is food for all or food for nobody, and so far the old trouble makers in this area are reluctantly complying.  People from this vicinity are visibly delighted at this turn around, and the fact that “MDC children” are now on the  feeding lists. However, he also reports that the ZANU-PF structures are extremely angry about the fact that MDC families are now accessing food, and are conducting something of a witch hunt to try to find where to lay the blame, and establish who blew the whistle on them. The situation will need to continue to be monitored, to ensure that there are no reprisals against individuals and to ensure that the current fair feeding processes continue.


Without close monitoring, it seems likely that discrimination will return – but for now, it has been a very positive experience for those who were being discriminated against, to see for themselves that their voices are sometimes heard.


2. Mataruse area


An informant reported that Care International had held a meeting here recently and had threatened to pull out feeding altogether if it continued to be discriminatory and to exclude MDC families. This informant was unable to comment on whether this had made a difference to the feeding, as he is not eligible anyway, but he did report that since this meeting, the local clinic has informally announced that it will now treat MDC sympathisers – a very recent break through, as the clinic has been turning away MDC members for many months. This new policy of non discriminatory access to the clinic has been in effect for a week now! Unfortunately, the problem is that the clinic has no drugs and little to offer in any case, but this is at least now a non discriminatory problem.





1. Machingwe School, Dunda Ward: Care International


Since January, feeding has allegedly been discriminatory in this scheme. Part of the problem is that all the “MDC” kraal heads were illegally deposed around the elections. The names of the targeted kraal heads are: Nyembesi Chikore, Mareza Ncube, Samson Makumbira Dube. They have been “dismissed” from community leadership positions by the ZANU-PF group of kraal heads and therefore are not consulted in terms of feeding.


The ZANU-PF people running the area include Paul Maphosa who is a teacher at Makuva Primary School, and who is also the ZANU-PF district chairperson. The most vociferous local war vets include: Thambanavo Maphosa, Thembinkosi Senda and Sibangane Hove, whose nickname is “Geregeda”. The latter has been implicated in several incidents of harassment including beatings. Another problem person in the area is Jephias Gumbo, who is a businessman at Machingwe Business Centre.


The ZANU-PF youth leaders in this area are Ephert Moyo, Sarai Moyo, Leonard Siziba, Tariro Dube, Jackson Murewa Ncube.


Militia camp: kangaroo courts

All of the above ZANU people are implicated in threatening MDC members. It is routine for MDC members to be taken by these individuals to the local militia camp where they are “tried” in kangaroo courts and accused of being outside the law because they belong to MDC. This is still happening: the most recent case reported to us took place on 5 May 2002. The militia camp concerned is at Gwarava School.


Clinic discrimination

There is a male nurse at Gwarava clinic, called “Dombo”. He openly threatens MDC members and refuses treatment to people known by him to be MDC sympathisers.


Problems with feeding

Care International have not been told of the problem of discriminatory feeding at Machingwe School; people here live with routine discrimination across the board and did not feel complaining could change anything. The headmaster of Machingwe school is Mr Rupee Ncube, and he is a staunch ZANU-PF supporter – in fact he is a committee member of the local ZANU-PF structure, being Treasurer.  At the school itself, the feeding is referred to as not discriminatory, but it appears the headmaster is in charge of dispensing food to headmen involved in feeding and is aware that the under five feeding is discriminatory. The informants were able to provide a long list of families who are destitute and excluded from the under five scheme because of their MDC sympathies. (see section following).


The informants also complained that two women had abused food from Care International and used it for their own use. The two women are named as: TZ and PM.

They were each given 12 by 25 kg bags of food by the headmaster, which was supposed to be used for under fives, but the women used it themselves. When local families complained to the local structures (ZANU-PF council), they were told not to complain and nothing was done about it, and Care was not informed.


The ZANU-PF vice chairman for the ward is Jephias Gumbo, the local businessman. The feeding of under fives is done partly at his uncle’s home, Tinago Nkomo; he is discriminatory and makes sure that no MDC children are on the feeding lists.


Discriminatory selling of food

The ZANU councillor for this area is Foddle Dziba, and he denies MDC members access to food at every point – donor feeding and also buying from GMB.


One informant reported that on 30 April an MDC member bought 50kg of maize at Madzingwe Business Centre. As she left the business centre a group of ZANU supporters, including the businessman Jephias Gumbo and Geregeda the war veteran, noticed that she had maize. They surrounded her and tried to take her maize away, which she had paid for. They told her that MDC people were not supposed to have food and were supposed to starve because they voted for Morgan. They said the MDC people were supposed to starve for the next five years in punishment. She shouted for help, and others came to her assistance, and she was able to keep her maize after an argument.  However, on other occasions, people have had their maize stolen here.








Child's Name

Father's Name


Names removed

Names removed







Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove



Nyembezi Chikove




































































































Notes Feeding Points: 



Amon Chinguo's home

Florence Chikove


Sarai Moyo's home

Kraalhead:  Nyembezi


Christine Nkomo's home



Aleck Hove's home





2.  Buchwa, Makandara Business Centre: Care International and GMB


An individual example


A young woman, BM aged 24, reported her personal experience of discrimination in trying to get her 21 month old baby girl food by any means. She went to a meeting to discuss food registration in this area, which took place on Wednesday 1 May. There have been several meetings about food, and she is not clear who called this particular meeting. Some meetings have been to decide on a list of who should be allowed to buy food from the GMB, and other meetings have been held by Care International to set up an under five feeding scheme. In any case, it is immaterial in that the same families are excluded from everything in this area, including “food for work”, buying maize, and Care International food. She has tried to register for “food for work” and been chased away as an MDC supporter.


Care International

The lists have been drawn up for this scheme which appears about to start, but it is discriminatory. It was made very clear by the local leadership ahead of the Care registration that only those families that qualify for “food for work” should even bother to try and register for Care schemes – in other words, only ZANU members would benefit. This statement was made by Shakespeare Mlilo, who is the local VIDCO chairperson, as well as by others. On Wednesday 1 May the MDC supporters were again told categorically by him that they would not be on the Care International lists and would not benefit from any food schemes, whether government or donor, in his area.


The final Care International lists were supposed to be sent to the region for families to acknowledge and sign on Sunday 5th May, but Ms M did not even bother to go and check for her baby’s name as she knows it will not be there.


The mother is not clear of the Care International criteria for feeding as it has not been explained to them, but the family seems destitute – there is no breadwinner, no husband, no assets and no food harvested this year. The baby is losing weight according to its clinic cards. The mother depends on good will from other equally poor family members.


GMB – discriminatory selling

There was a general announcement that everyone should come to a community meeting on 1 May to register for food, bringing their particulars, and so MDC supporters including Ms M, went as well.  However, once there, some ZANU-PF people including the war veterans called “Herbert” and “Black”, chased away the MDC sympathisers. They were forced to stand up by name and were told to leave the meeting. This involved a large number of people, but as people just left the meeting and went to their own homes on being told to leave, it is hard to give a number of affected families. Apparently lists saying who can buy GMB food are going to be compiled based on this 1 May meeting, and Ms M knows that this means she will be unable to buy food for the baby through GMB.


3.      Mururezi School: World Food Programme


The process of drawing up lists of people to benefit from Care International/World Food Programme donor feeding is more or less complete in this area. However, the lists are alleged to be discriminatory. The names of 13 destitute families who have been deliberately excluded from this feeding programme was passed on, with a total number of dependents numbering 57. In addition, the ward was visited and three families received house calls to establish the situation on the ground.


A militia camp

It was pointed out that Mururezi school is immediately adjacent to a militia camp, and that this is highly inappropriate. MDC supporters are regularly dragged into that camp for intimidation and it is not a politically neutral venue for feeding in this area.


Access to borehole:  discrimination, Mururezi Ward

It is reported that war veterans and militia guard the borehole near this school during the day, preventing MDC families from gaining any water from the borehole. MDC families have to sneak to the borehole at night to draw their water.


Excluded from social welfare: S aged 56:

S is 100% blind and is a widower responsible for 5 children, 4 of whom are under the  age of 15, although none are currently in school. He joined MDC before the 2000 elections, and has been outspoken at MDC rallies since then. Before the last elections, his MDC membership was not a problem, but this year he has been affected by his affiliation. In February this year, he went to see if he could qualify for social assistance programmes that were coming into place then, as an elderly disabled person. However, he was told that he had been “blacklisted”.

He was told by government officials in the social welfare department to go and get money from “his boss Tsvangirai”.

His daughter in her twenties has been refused the right to “food for work” programmes because of her father’s political affiliations.

The family has been refused the right to buy food at GMB, because they are MDC.

The family has no source of income apart from a few hundred dollars a month earned by S making door mats out of mealie leaves, which he sells at the local mission. Yet with the little they have, they have to bribe their neighbours to buy food for them at GMB, as they cannot buy it directly.


The S family is clearly destitute and has harvested nothing since S’s wife died in 1998. The children are all out of school as there is no money for fees and the children in any case do not appear strong enough to walk to school. They are lucky to eat anything most days.


Care International and Family S

Care International recently came to this area and registered families for under 5 feeding. There are two children at the S household who are under 5 and should qualify. Both are visibly under-nourished and lethargic, and in general poor health. The family was left off the first list drawn up by Care for political reasons; only ZANU-PF families were invited to the meetings to decide on who should be on the lists. However, when the lists came back with no MDC families on them, on Monday 29th  April,  the MDC ward chairperson went to both the chief and to a Care International employee called K. He insisted that S’s name be added to the list. He also insisted that two old women called R and N should be added to the list. There were other families as well whom he felt were deserving, but felt these three were really at risk.


On Friday 3rd May the lists were brought back to the region – and although S’s name and the others had in theory been added on the Monday, they were missing from the list again by Friday. The ward chairperson again made a fuss and their names were added once more. The list has not yet been returned to the community for final vetting before feeding starts, but there is deep concern among the MDC families that they will have been somehow struck off the list again. (see end of section for list of some families who fear exclusion).


The X family

On 28th February 2002 Mr X had his hut burnt down by his ZANU neighbour - who is also a cousin. He lost all his kitchen utensils – this hut was recently built and all his savings were put into the building.
The hedge of branches was also deliberately burnt allowing cattle into the field and they destroyed the entire crop, which would probably have been about four bags of maize.

On 27th March 2002, this same X was captured by the militia and severely tortured in their camp nearby. He is now a refugee and living with his three destitute children elsewhere. His children are not in school as there is no money for fees.


Effect on X’s children: Mr X reports deep concern about the effects of the violence on his children, who are now finding life very tough. After MDC lost the election, the local ZANU officials made coffins with the names of MDC officials on them – one had his name on, and this has deeply upset his children.


The children of local ZANU officials have imitated their parents and threaten X’s children with death. The children are also now resentful of their parents for their MDC affiliation – saying that if it was not for that, they would not have been deprived of their home and safety. The parents are isolated for political reasons and it impacts directly on the children, who are isolated by association.


There is a second X family across the road, headed by X’s brother. This brother has been persecuted time and again because of his affiliation to MDC.  On visiting this second homestead, two small children were found without supervision. They are aged 7 and 8 years. Both should currently be in school, but were sitting unkempt and without energy on a rock. They have been out of school since January 2002. They were trying to break open marula pips with rocks, to get the tiny nuts inside, and this is how they spend their days. This, and other wild fruit is their major food source.


Their father has been on the run since January and does not dare to come home, and the mother spends her days away trying to raise money by buying and reselling sugar cane. The children were present at the homestead in August last year when their father was severely beaten by war veterans in front of them. They were apparently deeply traumatised by witnessing this. They also witnessed the burning of their uncle’s hut.


These children are not currently benefiting from any feeding scheme, although they should be eligible for the scheme starting at Mururezi School. However, they are not under 5 and not attending school either.




Murerezi Ward: People left out of the WFP ‘Care’ feeding because they are MDC


Name                                             No of Dependants                 


  1.  names removed                                  5                                             
  2.                                                             6         
  3.                                                             6
  4.                                                             5
  7.                                                             6
  8.                                                             7
  9.                                                             4
  10.                                                             8
  11.                                                             3
  12.                                                             5
  13.                                                             7


These families are also excluded from ‘food for work’ programmes. The list is not exhaustive – others are also excluded.


4.      Chingoma A


There is a feeding scheme in the vicinity of Makwava Primary School where families are also being denied access to Care International food on political grounds. Two children were named as being of particular concern, TD aged 12 and BD aged 4. Both these children are handicapped . T is deaf and dumb and cannot walk upright. B is deaf. Neither child is in school. The caretakers of the children were accused of being MDC supporters, and on these grounds the children are being denied access to supplementary feeding.


The persons responsible for keeping them out of the scheme are: Alford D Dzivana, a war veteran, Festivos Shoko who receives the food and is the kraal head’s assistant, and also the Chief Micklora Chingoma himself. The chief is alleged to have personally given a directive that only ZANU-PF supporters should benefit from food aid.


Two other highly deserving families were also named as being excluded from food aid, one with 5 children and one with 4. The latter family also has a deaf and dumb child (not one of those indicated above).


Borehole: discriminatory access

The borehole area near this school is also sealed off to MDC supporters; only ZANU-PF people can have access to the water.

Refer to "Family X in May 16 2002 batch 1"
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