Top U.S. Travel Executives Arrive in Zimbabwe
HARARE, May 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A ranking U.S.
travel delegation has
arrived here to explore opportunities in tourism in the
African country, local media reported Thursday.
The visit by
top executives from the American Travel Bureau,
one of the largest travel
agencies in the world, came Wednesday
after the U.S. government lifted a
warning against Americans'
traveling to Zimbabwe.
The U.S. government
on Monday advised its citizens to "exercise
caution and travel with a tour
operator" while visiting Zimbabwe.
The 11 officials are reportedly keen on sampling the country's
premier tourist sites, leading game sanctuaries and other areas
Their visit followed a recent appointment of three
ambassadors to the U.S. by the Zimbabwean government aimed at
boosting the tourism sector, a major foreign currency earner for
In March the government appointed a US-based Zimbabwean, James
Kamusikiri, senior American lecturer at a State University in
Professor Van Garner and Mok Singh, Air Zimbabwe's area
manager for the
Americas and Canada as tourism ambassadors.
They are tasked with helping
the country regain its glitter as
one of the most competitive tourist
destinations in Africa, and
the move would complement efforts by other
Tourism has over the past few
years been weighed down by the
negative publicity the country has been
receiving in the
"You had a lot of choices
before you but you chose to come to
Zimbabwe. We welcome you. I am humbled
by your visit and will not
disappoint you. You will realize that Zimbabwe is
such a friendly
country," Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema
The minister gave an assurance that Zimbabwe was
still a safe
country to visit and allayed fears of political turmoil.
The delegation will be visiting different tourist attractions
until the end
of this month.
Zimbabwe: new package
for tobacco farmers to be announced<
Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette has reported that Zimbabwe’s
financial minister is expected to announce a new package for tobacco farmers.
This comes after the first tobacco auction of the season was disrupted by
small-scale farmers protesting their pay package. The farmers held a meeting
with the minister who promised that he would announce a new exchange rate
package for the industry. The minister is reported to also have considered a
meeting with Reserve Bank officials to consider proposals by the farmers. The
main cause for concern is the current exchange rate in the country which is
having a significantly negative effect on the quality of life of these farmers.
Zimbabwe's Provincial Land Committees Ordered to Evict Illegal
HARARE, May 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A senior Zimbabwean police
has ordered provincial land committees to remove all illegal farm
occupiers to allow farmers to do their activities without
official Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
Godwin Matanga, deputy
police commissioner and also chairman of
the National Wheat Task Force, made
the remarks on Wednesday at a
meeting in Bulawayo, the second largest city
in the country.
Matanga stressed the government does not tolerate new
"This will soon be stopped. Everything has been
the government and there is no reason to continue having this
invasions," he told provincial officials of the National Wheat
Force attending the meeting.
However, the deputy commissioner said law
would give politicians a chance to remove people
resorting to forcible means.
"In the past we have
been resorting to appealing to the
political leadership to deal with such
cases but if we get to a
point where people refuse, machinery to deal with
such cases is
available. Where it is necessary, we will bring in that
to remove them," he said.
"We can not allow a situation
where the government continues to
be demonized because of the actions of a
few individuals, " he
The Masvingo provincial land committee
started last Friday to
evict 12,000 illegal occupants on unlisted farms.
Those who are
going to be removed occupied black-owned properties, de-listed
farms, conservancies, those protected under country to country
agreements and those owned by churches and essential institutions.
Land occupiers, who occupied commercial farms before March 1,
protected by the Rural Land Occupiers Act and can not be
unilaterally evicted outside their proper and
dignified relocation by the
resettlement teams. Those who occupied
the farms after March 1, 2001 are
going to be evicted.
Nigeria, S.Africa urge Mugabe to revive Zimbabwe
HARARE, May 15 - South African and Nigerian mediators have
President Robert Mugabe in a bid to revive stalled talks with
on easing post-election tensions, state media reported on
Nigeria's Adebayo Adedeji and Kgalema Motlanthe of
South Africa met
on Tuesday with Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who is
leading the ruling ZANU-PF delegation at the
Negotiations had been due to resume on Monday, but Mugabe's
postponed the talks pending a decision on the opposition Movement
Democratic Change's (MDC) legal challenge to Mugabe's controversial
The MDC has called the move ''a clear and
complete ZANU-PF pull
The Herald said Adedeji told reporters
after the meetings that he was
optimistic the negotiations could be
''It (the MDC court challenge) has added a new dimension to
dialogue and we have to address it. The facilitation continues...there
nothing which is impossible,'' Adedeji was quoted as saying.
However, Chinamasa told the Herald that talks could only resume after
court ruled on the MDC petition.
The two parties had agreed on an
agenda last month which included
issues of political violence and the
disputed March 9-11 election.
Mugabe's party insists the veteran
leader, who has ruled since
independence from Britain in 1980, won fairly and
has rejected opposition
calls for a re-run.
Western governments and
southern African parliamentarians, and dozens
of Zimbabwean groups, have
condemned the poll outcome. But the Organisation
of African Unity, several
African states and South African observers all
endorsed Mugabe's victory with
varying degrees of approval.
Commonwealth ministers will meet in
Botswana this week with the
political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe high on
their agenda, officials
said on Tuesday.
The Commonwealth suspended
Zimbabwe for one year on March 19 after
the group's observers said Mugabe's
re-election in a presidential ballot was
neither free nor fair.
12,000 evicted from land seized by Mugabe
Chris McGreal, Africa
Thursday May 16, 2002
government has begun evicting 12,000 poor black families from
settled white-owned farms and other land, including property
owned by a
cabinet minister and the church.
The state-owned Herald newspaper said the
families must vacate the small
proportion of white-owned farms in Masvingo
province not designated for
seizure under Robert Mugabe's land
Squatters must also leave designated wildlife conservation
properties and black-owned farms, including one owned by the
speaker of the
Zimbabwean parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close ally of Mr
Evictions in other provinces are expected in coming
An agriculture ministry official told Reuters: "That has always
policy, that the government is not going to allow illegal
is going on now is simply that the land committees have
been asked to move
against those who have settled themselves
About 95% of white-owned farmland has been designated for
Last week, Mr Mugabe tightened laws governing the transfer by
administration immediate control of those farms targeted for
farmer attempting to hinder the redistribution faces up to two
prison under the revised law.
Mr Mugabe says he wants to
complete the land redistribution programme by
August. His critics say it has
been a major contributor to a widespread
severe food shortage.
was a further blow to the agricultural economy on Tuesday when angry
tobacco farmers halted the first day of the annual auction of
biggest hard currency earner because of objections to exchange
in tobacco sales.
ZIMBABWE: ''Illegal settlers'' evicted
JOHANNESBURG, 16 May (IRIN) -
Twelve thousand black families face an uncertain future as the Zimbabwean
government on Thursday pushed ahead with the eviction of "illegal settlers" from
The move was seen as the government's first
significant move against illegal settlers since a wave of state-sanctioned farm
invasions began two-years ago.
The state-run newspaper, The Herald,
reported that the eviction process was expected to last a month. The operation
started last week following the issuing of eviction notices issued against
The government's apparent turn around was received
with mixed reactions.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which
represents the interests of white farmers told IRIN: "We are pleased at the
news, however there hasn't been any activity. If followed through, it will sort
out this mess. Until we see some action, it is just all talk."
spokeswoman, Jenni Williams added that the organisation hoped the government had
made "concrete plans for resettlement".
"It will not resolve the
situation if the illegal occupants are simply shifted from one place to another.
It will only create more problems. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the
government's policy," she said.
But the timing of the eviction has raised
eyebrows among some political analysts who suggested that the apparent
"softening" could be a political strategy to appease foreign ministers of the
Commonwealth Action Group meeting in Botswana on Thursday. Zimbabwe, suspended
from the Commonwealth in the wake of controversial elections, was expected to be
on the agenda.
Senior political analyst from the Johannesburg-based
Africa Institute, Siphamandla Zonde, told IRIN: "The Zimbabwean government has
never been shy about exploiting opportunities to renegotiate their position. In
January, when the Commonwealth was assessing the situation in the country, there
was a dramatic change in attitude of the government toward white farmers. Land
invasions were scaled down and a more conciliatory approach was
Zonde added that the government's decision to evict illegal
settlers had nothing to do with a change in its land policy.
decision appears to be bigger than it really is. In fact, it is a slight
concession that really allays fears of a small but influential group of black
farmers and black landlords," he added
Among those already evicted last
week were subsistence farmers who had settled on a farm owned by Zimbabwe's
Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close aide of President Robert
Mugabe, Sapa reported.
The Zimabwean government has scoffed at
suggestions that the evictions were undertaken to appease the Commonwealth
Regis Chikowore, a senior presidential press secretary told IRIN:
"What is going on now is not new. We have always maintained that we will not
tolerate illegal resettlement. People will simply be moved to land that is
government owned. The evictions are not in response to the Commonwealth meeting
or in response to anything."
More than 5,000 farms out of an estimated
8,000 properties owned by Zimbabwe's 4,500 white farmers have been targeted for
seizure under Mugabe's "fast track" land resettlement plan.
white-owned farms have been taken over by ZANU-PF officials and government
Last week, ZANU-PF used its comfortable majority in
parliament to tighten a law governing the seizure of white-owned farms for
blacks, passing an amendment giving the government almost immediate control of
the farms targeted for acquisition.
Tel: +27 11
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
Moi accused of copying Mugabe with tough new press curbs
Adrian Blomfield in Nairobi
arap Moi of Kenya was accused yesterday of copying Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe
after agreeing to a bill that will curb media criticism
of his government in
a crucial election year.
As an unprecedented opinion poll showed that
only 23.5 per cent of voters
approved of his government, there were further
signs of a crackdown on
opposition after police beat up a leading rebel in
the ruling party who
criticised the president at a rally.
international condemnation, Mr Moi said he would sign the media bill
after it was rushed through parliament last week. The legislation
effectively force various independent news publications, most of
critical of Mr Moi, out of business by requiring them to pay a
security licence that is well beyond their means.
Two copies of
every newspaper must be lodged daily with a government
MPs and media analysts say Mr Moi will be able to
excise any article that
offends the government. The penalty is a five-year
difference between here and Zimbabwe is merely one of style," said
Muite, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Safina Party. "In
they were more open about what they were doing. Here there is
sophistication and more hypocrisy. Should it be necessary for Moi to
worse than Mugabe, he will be."
The International Federation of
Journalists and the Human Rights Watch
pressure group said the law was
"repressive" and "potentially seriously
damaging to press
Aidan White, the federation's general secretary, said:
by the Kenyan government against freedom of expression
sketch a grim picture
of the country."
Bookshops have removed foreign
newspapers and books containing criticism of
the government after several
were visited by plain-clothes police. The fate
of foreign newspapers under
the bill is ambiguous.
Unless there is a change in the constitution,
presidential elections must be
called by December. Mr Moi has been in power
for 24 years, 14 of them as
leader of a one-party dictatorship, and does not
intend to go quietly.
a.. Zimbabwe has begun evicting about 12,000
black families occupying white
farms and other land not listed for seizure
under President Mugabe's land
reforms. White farmers welcomed the move, the
first since the state
sanctioned invasions two years ago
Tobacco sales suspended in
Harare - Sales at two of Zimbabwe's three
tobacco auction floors were suspended amid near-chaos when small-scale tobacco
growers protested angrily at the prices offered by buyers. The small-scale
growers were infuriated by what they saw as unrealistically low prices, though
in US dollar terms the prices were little different from those on the opening
day of the sales in the two previous years. At the largest of the three floors,
where the volume of leaf sold was tiny, the price averaged 167 US cents a
kilogramme, down 3.5 per cent from 173 cents last year. Sales were halted after
small-scale growers protested at the prices paid and large-scale farmers tore up
their tickets, designating rejection of the sale.
The problem is not the prices but the
exchange rate. In 2001, the tobacco market was distorted by the yawning gap
between the official exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar and the parallel
market rate, which rose above Z$325 to the US unit during the tobacco sales
season. This meant that buyers could source foreign exchange at the official
rate and buy tobacco on the floors at prices well above those ruling in world
tobacco markets. As a result the average floor price almost doubled last year
from 169 US cents a kg in 2000 to 318 cents. But the actual export price
averaged only 175 cents, so the apparent surge in prices was the result not of
better tobacco or increased demand but currency manipulation. In a move to stamp
out this practice, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has imposed new strict rules, so
that all purchases are made in foreign currency.
Growers warned the government that even
assuming prices rose to an average 200 cents in 2002, at the official exchange
rate, the local currency price of Z$110 would be about half the cost of
production. This grim reality on Tuesday dawned on the small-scale growers, who
initially blamed foreign buyers and their agents but turned on the government
after auction officials had explained the economics of the crisis. Some demanded
the cancellation of the sales until Simba Makoni, finance minister, agreed to
devalue the official exchange rate. Government spokesmen have repeatedly ruled
this out, leaving Makoni to choose between a special, "devalued" exchange rate
for tobacco (as is the practice for gold exports), or widening the country's
exchange controls to stamp out the parallel market altogether. This latter
strategy, while popular with government hardliners, would be self-defeating
since it would undermine other export sectors that are still able to exploit the
The stand-off between growers and the
government is likely to be resolved by a devalued rate for tobacco exports.
This, however, is unlikely to revive an industry that looks to be heading for a
precipitous decline in 2003. Most commercial tobacco farmers have had their
properties listed for compulsory acquisition by the state. By the end of last
month, 85 per cent of Zimbabwe's 6000 commercial farms were listed, covering
some 10.2m hectares (93 per cent) out of a total of just over 11m hectares. This
suggests that if the government takes the vast majority of commercial farms,
there will be a very small tobacco crop in 2003. This season's crop is estimated
at 168m kg, 17 per cent down on last year and almost 30 per cent smaller than in
2000. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest export, earning an estimated US$500m last
year out of total exports of US$1.7bn. It is small wonder then that in Harare
yesterday both growers and buyers were warning that the sale of 2002 could mark
the end of the Zimbabwe tobacco industry "as we know it".
From The Scotsman (UK), 15
Riot gear sale to Mugabe was backed
Jerusalem - The Israeli government has endorsed the sale of
heavy riot control vehicles to Zimbabwe, the state-run radio station, Kol
Yisrael reported yesterday. The report, on the station’s respected international
affairs programme, quoted foreign ministry sources as saying that Shimon Peres,
the foreign minister, had authorised the transaction between the Beit Alfa
Trailer company and the Mugabe regime, but had specified that it be delayed
until after Zimbabwe’s March elections. Use of the equipment during the polling
would have embarrassed Israel. The report quoted Mr Peres as saying the deal
would boost the economy in the north of Israel, where Beit Alfa, a kibbutz
turned weapons producer, is located. In Harare, opposition elements are worried
that the new weaponry, which has reportedly already arrived, will be used to
intensify the regime’s current crackdown. "The equipment is heavy and can crush
any demonstration," a Zimbabwe police official was quoted on Sunday as telling
the Zimbabwe Gazette. The paper said police were being trained by an Israeli in
how to use the equipment.
After the deal was struck last year, Reuven Canfi, chief
executive of Beit Alfa, declined to specify the number of vehicles or their
price. The Gazette reported that the Israeli equipment included "customised
anti-riot tankers, gas masks and microscopic laser guns". Beit Alpha’s web site,
www.bat.co.il, shows the tanker as a vehicle that can have a machine gun mounted
on top and features a ram. According to the website, Beit Alpha supplies
chemical additives for the water cannons that can be used to restrain "dangerous
inmate situations". These additives "demobilise" the inmate, it explains. Key
details of the deliberations in Israel leading up to the sale remain unclear
after a court ruled that it be kept classified. From documents that were
released, it is clear that the defence ministry approved it. The deal proceeded
after elections that were characterised by widespread abuse and prompted the
Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe.
Since then, things have got worse, with eight local and foreign
journalists charged under a new press law initiated by the president, Robert
Mugabe. "The agreement has to be respected," Mr Peres was quoted as saying of
the deal. A foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the matter. It is
not the first time Israel has supplied weaponry to a state increasingly
considered an international pariah. For years it shared an intimate strategic
relationship with the apartheid regime in South Africa.
From The Financial Gazette, 16
Alleged Nabanyama murderers set
Bulawayo - The state has dropped charges against four war
veterans implicated in the abduction and murder of Patrick Nabanyama, an
opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) election agent who disappeared without
trace days before Zimbabwe’s June 2000 parliamentary elections. The four war
veterans - Frackson Ndlovu, Ngoni Dube, Medicine Ndebele and Thomas Munyuki -
were set free on Tuesday after appearing briefly before the Bulawayo
Magistrates’ Court. State counsel Allan Mabande told the court that charges
against the four were being dropped because of lack of evidence linking them to
Nabanyama’s murder. The four were part of 10 war veterans accused of kidnapping
and murdering Nabanyama, an election agent for MDC legislator David Coltart.
Nabanyama was abducted from his Nketa home in Bulawayo five days before
Zimbabwe’s landmark general polls in which the opposition nearly upset the
ruling ZANU PF’s stranglehold on power. According to the state’s counsel, the
four war veterans will now appear as state witnesses in the trial of Ephraim
Moyo, Simon Rwodzi, Aleck Moyo, Howard Ncube, Julius Sibanda and Stanley Ncube,
who are facing charges of murder and have been indicted for trial at the
Bulawayo High Court on May 28. Ncube is the acting chairman of the Bulawayo
chapter of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, a position previously
held by Cain Nkala, also implicated in the Nabanyama abduction. In an incident
similar to the Nabanyama case, Nkala was abducted from his Magwegwe West home
here last November and his body was later found in a shallow grave outside the
From The Financial Gazette, 16
EU team jets in to act on
A high-powered European Union (EU) delegation to pressure
southern Africa to act on lawlessness and bad governance in Zimbabwe is expected
to meet Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and other regional leaders early
next week. The delegation, comprising EU representatives from Spain, Denmark and
its secretariat, arrives in Maputo on Monday and is also expected to meet
influential regional leaders such as Malawi’s President Bakili Muluzi, the
current chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community, and South African
President Thabo Mbeki. The 15-nation EU has imposed smart sanctions on President
Robert Mugabe and his close advisers after accusing the veteran Zimbabwean
leader of stealing the highly contested March presidential ballot. Mugabe
rejects the accusation. The 54-nation Commonwealth, which is led by EU member
Britain, has also slapped Zimbabwe with a 12-month suspension after the group’s
team to the poll reported that the election was neither free nor fair.
A spokesman for the EU in Harare this week said he was yet to
be briefed fully on the delegation’s mandate and who else it would meet. It was
not clear yesterday whether the team would visit Zimbabwe or meet Mugabe. The
EU, the world’s largest trading bloc and a major aid donor to Zimbabwe, has
withdrawn aid to the troubled southern African country citing corruption, skewed
economic policies and a haphazard and violent land reform plan. Analysts this
week pointed out that Brussels might be forced to widen its measures against
Zimbabwean authorities, which are currently limited to travel bans against
Mugabe and 20 other officials, to include full sanctions against the country.
The experts pointed out that the EU hoped that it could pressure key Mugabe
supporters such as Mbeki, Muluzi and Chissano to persuade him to restore law and
order, start transparent and legal land reforms and at least agree to
wideranging electoral law changes before it is forced to widen sanctions against
Zimbabwe. The delegation is expected to read the riot act by making clear to
southern Africa that the entire region risks losing crucial development aid and
new Western investments if its leaders fail to influence Mugabe to change his
EU parliament calls for tougher Zimbabwe
STRASBOURG, May 16 (AFP) - The European Parliament called Thursday
tougher EU sanctions in order to bring about "an early improvement
situation in Zimbabwe."
In a resolution that is not binding on the
15 EU member states, the European
Union's parliament complained that EU
sanctions against President Robert
Mugabe's regime were weaker than those
imposed by the United States.
It called for a travel ban on Mugabe and 19
close associates to be extended
to include all of Mugabe's cabinet ministers,
senior military and police
officials and "leading businessmen who have helped
bankroll" the governing
It also urged the publication
of details of frozen assets held by Mugabe and
his associates in Europe, and
a review of Zimbabwe's foreign debt situation
and international drawing
In addition, the resolution called upon South Africa's President
"to show wholehearted and consistent support for the principles
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and accordingly to
the quality of leadership that befits the powerful and crucial
position of South Africa."
The European Union, at Britain's
urging, imposed personal sanctions against
Mugabe and 19 close associates,
including an asset freeze and a travel ban,
prior to Zimbabwe's general
elections last March 9-10.
It also yanked its election observers out of
the country, after determining
that Mugabe's administration would not allow
them to fan out across the
country and go about their work
Last month, EU foreign ministers -- reiterating their view
re-election was rigged -- beefed up the sanctions to include a
bilateral ministerial contacts "until further notice."
travel ban did not, however, prevent Mugabe and his entourage from
stopover in Paris on his way to the UN children's summit in New
The European Parliament adopted its resolution ahead of a
trip to southern
Africa next week by an EU delegation, which it said should
neighbors "to take stronger action to bring about a return to
rule of law and economic
EU team jets in to act on Mugabe
9:29:14 PM (GMT +2)
A HIGH-POWERED European Union (EU) delegation
to pressure southern
Africa to act on lawlessness and bad governance in
Zimbabwe is expected to
meet Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and other
regional leaders early
The delegation, comprising EU
representatives from Spain, Denmark and
its secretariat, arrives in Maputo on
Monday and is also expected to meet
influential regional leaders such as
Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the
current chairman of the Southern Africa
Development Community, and South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
The 15-nation EU has imposed smart sanctions on President Robert
his close advisers after accusing the veteran Zimbabwean leader
the highly contested March presidential ballot.
Mugabe rejects the
The 54-nation Commonwealth, which is led by EU member
also slapped Zimbabwe with a 12-month suspension after the
group's team to
the poll reported that the election was neither free nor
A spokesman for the EU in Harare this week said he was yet to
briefed fully on the delegation's mandate and who else it would meet. It
not clear yesterday whether the team would visit Zimbabwe or meet
The EU, the world's largest trading bloc and a major aid
Zimbabwe, has withdrawn aid to the troubled southern African country
corruption, skewed economic policies and a haphazard and violent land
Analysts this week pointed out that Brussels might be
forced to widen
its measures against Zimbabwean authorities, which are
currently limited to
travel bans against Mugabe and 20 other officials, to
include full sanctions
against the country.
The experts pointed
out that the EU hoped that it could pressure key
Mugabe supporters such as
Mbeki, Muluzi and Chissano to persuade him to
restore law and order, start
transparent and legal land reforms and at least
agree to wideranging
electoral law changes before it is forced to widen
The delegation is expected to read the riot act by making
southern Africa that the entire region risks losing crucial
and new Western investments if its leaders fail to influence
change his management style.
Zimbabwean journalists arrested
May 16, 2002 Posted: 1:16 PM EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Three more independent
journalists were arrested
and charged Thursday over reports in the latest
issue of The Sunday Standard
that criticized the police, the newspaper
Editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporters Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi
were questioned at the main Harare police station before being
strict new media laws, said assistant editor Brian
The charges related to two articles carried Sunday on the
police of sophisticated Israeli-built riot control vehicles
and on alleged
police corruption, he said.
The three are accused of
"abuse of journalist privilege by publishing
falsehoods," an offense
punishable by up to two years in jail. Chakaodza,
the editor, faced two
charges for allowing the reports to be published.
Police had no immediate
The newspaper said police had bought the anti-riot tankers,
state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and laser facilities,
water cannon and
chemical additives, in anticipation of civil unrest related
to the crumbling
Israel's state-run radio Kol Yisrael on
Wednesday confirmed the Beit Alfa
Trailer Co. had sold the riot equipment to
Eight other journalists have been arrested under media laws
March on charges of publishing false
Andrew Meldrum, 50, an American citizen who is the Zimbabwe
the British newspaper The Guardian, and Lloyd Mudiwa, a
Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper are scheduled to
appear in court
They were charged over a report in the Daily
News about the killing last
month -- allegedly by ruling party supporters --
of a woman near the town of
Karoi, 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of
Police said the killing never happened, and the Daily News
Other journalists who have been charged since
March, including a
correspondent of the British Daily Telegraph newspaper,
are expected to be
summoned to court later.
New media and security
laws were passed by the ruling party in the Harare
parliament before the
re-election of longtime President Robert Mugabe in
polls March 9-11.
Human rights groups and opposition activists say the
laws are intended to
muzzle the media and suppress dissent in
Chakaodza, a former government spokesman and editor of the
joined The Standard as chief editor on May 1. He was fired from
media in 1999 for criticizing the government.
Minister Jonathan Moyo castigated Chakaodza on Monday for
incompetence when he edited The Herald and declared "editorial
matters at The
Standard have fallen into the hands of fools."
African mediators fail to salvage talks on Zimbabwe's disputed
HARARE, Zimbabwe, May 16 - Nigerian and
South African mediators headed home
Thursday after failing to salvage
collapsed talks between the ruling party
and the opposition over Zimbabwe's
disputed presidential election, officials
three journalists were arrested Thursday and charged with
falsehoods'' over reports in The Sunday Standard that
criticized the police,
the newspaper said. Eight other journalists have been
arrested and similarly
charged under tough new media laws enforced in
Zimbabwe's opposition is demanding a new vote be held
international supervision, claiming the March 9-11 elections were
ensure President Robert Mugabe's victory. It also wants reprisals
its activists to end. Mugabe's party has refused to consider fresh
and wants the opposition to stop holding inflammatory political
Talks were convened last month at the request of Nigerian
Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President Thabo
On Thursday, officials said Kgalema Motlanthe,
South Africa's ruling African National Congress, and
diplomat Adebayo Adedeji were to report back that no
progress was made in
getting the two sides together.
ruling party canceled the dialogue last week, saying there
was nothing to
discuss as long as the opposition was challenging the
presidential vote in
court. The mediators from Africa's two most powerful
countries arrived Monday
anyway in a bid to renew negotiations.
The mediators met Tuesday with
Mugabe and leaders of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe
insisted that talks could not proceed
as long as court action was
The opposition on Thursday accused the ruling party ZANU PF
walking out on the talks.
''For now, it's over. You can
write a death certificate for the
talks,'' opposition delegation leader
Welshman Ncube said.
No official comment was available from the ruling
Mugabe, 78, led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 and has vowed
crush any protests against his victory. He ruled virtually
until the economy collapsed and political violence erupted two
Also Thursday, The Sunday Standard editor Bornwell
reporters Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi Kanyuchi were questioned at
Harare police station before being charged for two articles the
carried in its last edition Sunday, said assistant editor Brian
The articles dealt with the importation by police of
Israeli-built riot control vehicles and alleged police
corruption, he said.
The newspaper said police had bought the vehicles in
anticipation of civil
unrest in the crumbling economy.
no immediate comment.
Mbeki in last bid to save party talks
By Sydney Masamvu
5/16/02 9:27:04 PM (GMT +2)
of talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF and the
opposition MDC are now
consulting South African President Thabo Mbeki and
his Nigerian counterpart
Olusegun Obasanjo in a desperate bid to try to save
the negotiations from
collapse, it was established yesterday.
The facilitators' move
comes a day after they failed in a last-ditch
effort to make President Robert
Mugabe use his influence to revive the
talks, which aim to find a way out of
a stalemate caused by Zimbabwe's
disputed presidential election in
The talks, begun last month, are spearheaded by Mbeki and
Although they were due to resume on Monday, the talks
ZANU PF accused the MDC of negotiating in bad faith by taking
poll, one of the issues under discussion, to the
Authoritative sources said yesterday that Mbeki's emissary,
Motlanthe, and Nigerian diplomat Adebayo Adedeji were now going to
their respective presidents after failing to break the standoff
flurry of diplomatic consultations throughout the
Mugabe told the facilitators during a closed-door meeting on
that ZANU PF was not in a position to resume dialogue with the
Democratic Change against a backdrop of a pending court case
Sources say Mugabe
told the facilitators that the "rule of sub judice"
in Zimbabwe did not allow
a case before the courts to be discussed outside
He said he would put in writing the reasons outlining
why his party
could not resume the talks, which the facilitators could
their respective leaders.
The facilitators had
been due to receive Mugabe's reasons by yesterday
Ncube, leader of the MDC team at the talks who also met the
said it was not true that the law of sub judice in Zimbabwe
issues from being discussed.
Ncube, a constitutional lawyer, said
as far as he was concerned the
talks were "dead and buried" and his party's
executive would meet soon to
discuss what steps to take.
the MDC would not withdraw its case from the courts and would
not also resume
the talks at ZANU PF's convenience.
"Our mandate which we were given by
our party as the negotiating team
has expired and we are going to meet soon
to discuss the way forward. But it
should be made clear that we are not going
to resume these talks at the
convenience of ZANU PF," he said.
He said according to the rules of procedure of the talks agreed by all
parties, the shelving of the talks being sought by ZANU PF should have
discussed at a formal meeting and a ruling made by the facilitators if
two parties failed to agree.
ZANU PF says it is only prepared to
resume the talks after the
finalisation of the MDC's court case or if the
case is withdrawn. It has
also accused the MDC of making false reports on
alleged ZANU PF-instigated
The sources said
Mugabe, incensed by the court challenge of his poll
win, had endorsed the
decision to suspend the talks.
They said Mugabe was angered by the
lawsuit and had personally
concurred with the decision made by ZANU PF's
supreme Politburo to shelve
the talks just before he left to attend a United
Nations' Children summit in
New York more than a week ago.
date has been set for the hearing of the MDC case, which legal
could see Mugabe being dragged to court to answer charges.
In a 54-page
affidavit filed in the High Court, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai cites Mugabe
as the first respondent and calls for the
nullification of the presidential
vote because of charges of cheating. He
wants a re-run, but ZANU PF has
The failure of the talks could further strain Zimbabwe's
crumbling economy, which is weighed down by a three-year economic
Western nations, including the United States and the
European Union, have also imposed smart sanctions on Mugabe and his
officials because of their alleged promotion of lawlessness in
South Africa and Nigeria had hoped that the inter-party
help unblock international financial support, cut off by the
Monetary Fund and other key Western donors in 1999 over
The talks' collapse could also scuttle
attempts by Mbeki and Obasanjo
to launch an ambitious economic development
plan for Africa that is funded
by the West.
The plan is predicated
on African governments embracing democracy and
good governance, which the
West says have collapsed in Zimbabwe.
Starving Villagers Claim Ownership to Wild Fruits
The Daily News
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Have you ever thought of owning a baobab tree, which grows wild
in the bush?
The drought and starvation in the country has made such
among desperate villagers of St Mary's in Hwange
Many of them now own a variety of wild fruit trees, the most
the famous baobab.
A dry baobab fruit, known as muuyu in
Shona, contains an off-white powder
used to make sour porridge for human
The powder can be consumed as a snack without cooking. The
baobab fruit is
also a delicacy for elephants and is found predominantly in
Villagers in St Mary's said they often go for weeks
without eating sadza as
their crops failed last season due to the
To conserve the little maize-meal they might have, the villagers mix
powdered baobab fruit for sadza or sour porridge.
Methuseli Sibanda, said: "We only harvested about five bags of
maize from our
plot and we were forced to sell three of them to get some
is nothing at all left in our granaries. So we have learnt to
survive on the
baobab fruit." The villagers said most of the wild fruit
trees, including the
munyii which produces a small brown edible seed, are
now owned individually
as families scramble to get the most out of them.
The area around the tree is
swept clean by the owner to indicate the tree
belongs to someone. "It is now
an offence for one to pick up wild fruit from
any tree, as the picker can be
hauled before the chief or even be attacked
if caught red-handed," said
another villager, Martin Tshuma.
He said gone were the days when a traveller
could stop and freely pick wild
fruits from the bush. An elderly villager,
Siphiwo Gadlula, said the hunger
in the area had pushed people to the
extremes as they had to survive by all
"When I was young, wild
fruit belonged to God and the ancestors but today
you find people owning wild
trees. This means that the food situation is
very desperate," he said.
said the baobab sour porridge was very popular with children who ate it
before the maize shortage, helping to avert malnourishment.
"It is healthy,
fresh and non-refined," said Gadlula. To earn money to buy
maize - when it is
available - the villagers sell the fruits in Hwange and
too sell the baobab fruit along the Victoria Falls road
In traditional African culture, families can own kopjes and hills,
trees as is happening today. Norbert Dube, the director of Orap,
organisation involved in the World Food Programme, said food
exercises have been running in Insiza, Umzingwane and Tsholotsho
past four months.
But there has not been enough maize to feed the
entire starving population
in rural Matabeleland North, where thousands of
people face starvation.
According to a United Nations Development Programme
report, Zimbabwe needs
about $83 million to prevent starvation. Three
hunger-related deaths have
already been reported in Matabeleland
Farmers Not Paid As Tobacco Sales Resume
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
TOBACCO sales resumed yesterday but farmers were not paid as all
floors were waiting for the outcome of an emergency meeting
Government and the industry to discuss an impasse over
Although there were no demonstrations yesterday, farmers maintained a
mentality at all auction floors waiting for the outcome of
The meetings involving the Ministry of Finance and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Tobacco Industry and
Marketing Board continued
late into the night at the Reserve Bank of
No comment could be obtained from the parties
The tobacco marketing season got off to a poor start
on Tuesday with two
auction floors closing as growers protested against low
Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union president Mr Thomas Nherera said
lasting solution would be to increase the US dollar price.
increase the 20 percent retention benefiting farmers. The move
influence the cost of producing and viability of the crop is
Yesterday some auction floors told The Herald that although
they had been
asked to continue with sales, they were waiting for a signal
marketing and regulatory board to give direction.
Marketing Zimbabwe managing director Mr Bruce Searles said
his floor had
resolved to pay the farmers at the current rate, which would
according to the outcome of the meetings.
"The growers want money to go back
home. We have paid them and this would be
adjusted if there is a change
following the consultations."
Those that were paid at BMZ had only sold at
least a bale each to get money
for transport and other basic needs but there
was a 49 percent rejection
rate at the auction floor.
The TIMB chairman Mr
Njodzi Machirori and general manager Mr Stanley Mutepfa
were said to be
attending the meetings yesterday.
Mr Machirori on Tuesday however confirmed
that the board had agreed with the
auction floors to close pending
discussions to break the deadlock.
It emerged yesterday that the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development,
Dr Simba Makoni, had addressed the growers
on Tuesday night.
A spokesman for the growers at the meeting, Mr Gift
Madzorera of Hurungwe,
said Dr Makoni had assured them that the Government
was looking into the
Mr Madzorera said that although the minister
did not give a solution to the
impasse, he indicated that the Government
understood their plight and that
it wanted the farmers to benefit from their
One of the leading auction floors, Tobacco Sales Floor, had an almost
percent rejection rate as farmers anticipated a new policy on
Of the 3 451 bales laid for sale, only 47 were sold on
an average price of
US$145,36 per kg before business closed.
operations manager Mr Mark Impey said they would wait for direction
TIMB, adding that no payment could be made.
At the indigenous-run
Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) sales
However, managing director Mr Artwell Seremani said they could not
the payments before the outcome of the meeting.
poor prices remained unchanged for the greater part of yesterday at
auctions floors. Farmers, who called for better prices, cancelled the
and withdrew their tobacco crop.
The growers, mostly smallholder and
resettled tobacco growers, demanded a
stop on tobacco marketing at TSF after
realising that they would not benefit
from the poor prices.
Tobacco Association vice president Mr David Sandeman said it was
reward the farmers according to their efforts.
"We want good prices. We do
not want the parallel market but we want to be
cushioned by adjusting the
foreign currency rate".
Farm Workers to Benefit From $3m Rehabilitation Programme
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
FARM workers in Zimbabwe will benefit from a $3 million
by the International Catholic Migration Commission
The money was set aside for the rehabilitation of about 20 000
displaced people, particularly farm workers.
ICMC is the
implementing arm of the United Nations High Commission for
Dr Ernest Maigurira, ICMC programme director in Harare, said they
mainly farm workers who have been affected by the land
Maigurira said the displaced needed food,
clothing, medical facilities,
drugs, prevention of malaria exercises and
shelter outside refugee camps.
"We are rehabilitating them to start a new
life in collaboration with other
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under
Partners in Action, a union of
organisations in development.
extremely vulnerable individuals in desperate need of attention,"
Such people included orphaned children, aged farm workers and others
desperately needed help.
Most of the internally displaced people came
from Mashonaland East,
Mashonaland Central and Manicaland, where several
farms were compulsorily
acquired for resettlement by the government.
ICMC also assisted youths who were out of school to continue with
education. NGOs and churches in their respective areas helped the ICMC
identify people in need of assistance, according to Maigurira.
on the farms were exposed to illicit cohabitation and rampant
Government to Guarantee $2 Billion Loan for Farming Sector
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
THE government will guarantee a $2.1 billion loan by the central
bank to the
Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) to finance lending to
sector, it was learnt this week.
Officials in the Ministry of
Finance said the government guarantee would
enable the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to make the funds available to Agribank
for one year.
will be used to provide loans mostly to farmers resettled under
government's controversial fast-track land reform programme and to
farmers who cannot secure loans from financial institutions.
has issued a guarantee amounting to $2.1 billion to the
Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to finance Agribank's on-lending programme to
sub-borrowers in the
agriculture sector," a ministry official said.
"This money is being provided
in terms of the State Loans and Guarantees
Act, which enables government to
guarantee such loans. The guarantee will be
valid for one year from the time
The official said the government was guaranteeing the loan to
Agribank's loan book because it realised that not all beneficiaries
bank's funds would be able to repay on time.
government-guaranteed loan, newly resettled farmers will receive
amounts of money and successful applicants will repay 20 percent of
within one year.
There was no immediate response to questions about the loan
sent to Agribank
Agribank, which was established in 1999 but
opened its doors to the public
in 2000, is 100 percent controlled by the
government. It is the successor to
the now defunct Agriculture Finance
Corporation, also a loan provider to
Ministry of Finance
officials this week said the government was in no hurry
to commit itself to
the privatisation of the bank, which it considers to be
importance to its agricultural land reform programme.
"The government will
continue with its hold on the bank for now because it
(Agribank) is central
to the land reform programme," an official said. "That
is why the government
is moving to support the bank."
Foreign Firms Top Bribe Payers
Financial Gazette (Harare)
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
companies are heavily involved in bribing public officials in
countries such as Zimbabwe in order to get preferential
to Transparency International's Bribe Payers Index
released this week and based on a poll undertaken by Gallup
Association for Transparency, found that most bribe payers in
countries were from Asian and Western countries, some of which
making corrupt payments to foreign officials a crime.
It found that companies
from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Russia, which
are increasingly exporting
to emerging markets such as Zimbabwe, were using
bribes on "an exceptional
and intolerable scale".
The poll, undertaken between December 2001 and March
2002, singled out the
construction industry and the arms trade as the sectors
with the highest
levels of bribery and corruption.
"The BPI shows that the
most flagrant corruption is seen in the public
works/construction and arms
and defence sectors, which are plagued by
endemic bribery by foreign firms,"
Transparency International said.
The Zimbabwean market has recently been
flooded with products from China,
Taiwan and South Korea, while companies
from these countries, especially
China, have been controversially awarded
lucrative contracts in the
construction industry at the expense of local
According to the BPI, companies from Taiwan, South Korea, China and
were involved in bribery activities because their countries were still
ratify the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials
International Business Transactions.
The convention, which was signed
two years ago, outlaws bribery of foreign
EU Sanctions On Mugabe Start to Bite
May 16, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
EUROPEAN Union-led international sanctions meant
to hasten the departure of
President Robert Mugabe after the disputed March
presidential election are
beginning to bite despite attempts by Harare to put
on a brave face, experts
said this week.
While some pundits had predicted
that Mugabe's beleaguered administration -
reeling from the combined effects
of a devastating drought and an imploding
economy - would crumble within
months after the imposition of the
international sanctions, Zimbabwean
authorities this week continued to
pretend all was well.
posturing is a strategy to create the impression that the
sanctions are not
working and that all is well and yet all is not well,"
said University of
Zimbabwe political analyst and newspaper columnist
PF strategists led by Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge this week hailed
foray last week into the United States, his first visit there
Washington imposed smart sanctions on him and his close aides in March,
sign that the measures were ineffective.
Mugabe and his wife Grace
visited New York to attend a United Nations summit
on children after American
President George W Bush signed the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery
The Act is meant to coax Zimbabwean authorities to respect human
restore the rule of law and deal with rampant corruption in return
American aid for the economy and the current land reforms.
the Mugabes escaped US censure during the visit to the UN because of
immunity they enjoy under the Geneva Convention that established
international body, their tour was hailed in Harare by the government
as a triumph against the US smart sanctions.
however said ZANU PF and foreign ministry officials
were trying to put on a
brave face because it was clear that the Mugabes had
been limited to the UN
grounds while in New York and to the airport in
"The fact that
Mugabe was only on UN grounds in New York and at the (Charles
International) Airport in Paris means that the smart sanctions are
Another analyst who declined to be named said it was obvious
that ZANU PF
would paint a picture of the sanctions failing to work as a
strategy to get
the West to hold talks with the party.
Besides the US and
the 15-nation EU, Switzerland - the world's favourite
concealed profits - has also frozen any assets Mugabe, his
family and close
associates might have in the Alpine country while others
such as New Zealand
have banned them from travelling to their countries.
The West, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and independent
Zimbabwean election observers
accuse the embattled ZANU PF leader of
stealing the hotly disputed March
ballot, a charge he rejects.
As Mugabe and his entourage returned from their
low-key visit to the US, one
of his closest advisers, Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri, appeared to
have defied the EU ban and travelled to EU
member France last week.
Chihuri, Mugabe and 20 others - including almost all
of Zimbabwe's defence
forces chiefs - are on the EU sanctions list that bans
them from travelling
to EU states.
Didier Ferrand, the French ambassador
in Harare, however said the EU had
permitted Chihuri's visit because the
police commissioner was to attend a
meeting of the international police
organisation Interpol that is based in
He said the EU
sanctions on Zimbabwe specified that exemptions could be made
on some of the
affected Zimbabwean officials if their visits to an EU
country were intended
for humanitarian purposes, an international meeting or
"On behalf of France, I can say we are abiding by the European
decision on the sanctions on Zimbabwe," Ferrand told the Financial
Zim Spends $84 Billion Importing Essential Products
The Daily News
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 16, 2002
Zimbabwe, facing severe foreign currency problems, last year spent
$84 billion (US$1,545 billion) importing various essentials
The estimate figures are for the period ending 31
December, 2001 and were
supplied by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in
collaboration with the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
figures, quoted in United States dollars, are an increase from the
million utilised during the year 2000.
Top of the list of the country's
imports was machinery which took up
US$391,9 million, followed by fuel which
stood at US$317,6 million.
Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development, however,
said more could have been utilised for imports
had the foreign currency
situation been normal.
Makoni said: "Exports are
estimated to have declined by 4,3 percent in 2001.
Rising production costs
and high inflation, against a fixed exchange rate,
competitiveness and worsened performance of exports.
"Imports, on the other
hand, are estimated to have grown by only 1,6 percent
in 2001, due to
shortages of foreign currency."
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, earned close to
US$1,714 million from the
exports of agriculture, mining, and
The country spent US$232,5 million importing manufactured
decrease from the US$256,8 million used during the previous
The government also imported chemicals at a cost of US$221,1
electricity (US$74,4 million), and food (US$127,6
Bankers say the country needs at least US$300 million this year
alone, to be
able to deal with the food situation.