Barren fields belie Zimbabwe's announcement of bumper crop
contradict government claim that country is ready to export again and food
aid can cease
Rory Carroll in Lundi Monday May 17, 2004 The
If the Ndlovu family had a television, they would learn that
Zimbabwe has just harvested a maize crop so bountiful that there is no longer
any need for emergency food aid. For the last week, government officials
and economists have appeared nightly on the state broadcaster, ZBC, to marvel
that a country recently stricken with hunger is now a breadbasket.
Ndlovus are not celebrating. They get their information from the field beside
their mud-brick house, and there the news is not good. A pile of maize bound
with twine is the sum of their harvest.
"It's been pretty poor -might
last us till September," said Sichelesile Ndlovu, 30, sitting among five of
her six children at their home in Lundi, a village west of Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second city. And after September? "We'll see."
certainty is that the family will not see international food aid, because the
government has reported a harvest of 2.4m tonnes, one of the highest in
decades, which would allow Zimbabwe to feed itself and export a sizeable
The agriculture minister, Joseph Made, attributed the bumper
yield to the land reform that transferred white-owned farms to black peasants
and commercial farmers. There was no more need for the UN's World Food
Programme or relief agencies, he said.
But those in other villages
near Lundi said the same thing as the Ndlovus: despite decent rain, a
shortage of seeds and fertiliser during the planting season had produced a
poor to moderate harvest which would run out in months.
48, was one of the few farmers to have enough seed and money to rent a
tractor for his three hectares (eight acres), but even his family would run
out by December, he said. "If we share with neighbours it won't last that
Human rights groups fear the discrepancy between government
rhetoric and reality means President Robert Mugabe is preparing to use hunger
as a political weapon.
"If 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," said Amnesty
Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo and
a leading government critic, said the govern ment was preparing for general
elections due next year.
"They will use food politically," he
Independent estimates suggest Zimbabwe's harvest is less than 1m
tonnes. The Commercial Farmers' Union estimates 700,000 tonnes and the
Friedrich Ebert Foundation, an independent German thinktank, estimates
No one knows for sure, because two weeks ago the
government kicked out the UN's crop assessment team before it could survey
Outside the government, there is a consensus that Zimbabwe
cannot feed itself this year. "There is no doubt that certain segments of the
population will need food aid," said Robinah Mulenga, the head of the World
Food Programme's sub-office in Bulawayo.
There was no evidence that
the government intended to starve communities to death, as had been seen in
the recent history of Afghanistan and Ethiopia, relief groups said. The plan,
rather, was to use imports and an existing stockpile of 250,000 tonnes to
attempt to gain more votes.
Yesterday the Observer reported that the
government had struck a secret deal with a group of US firms to provide
thousands of tonnes of grain in exchange for tobacco and minerals. But
even if enough food was imported, the delays and uneven distribution could
put the lives of children, the elderly and the sick at risk, said one aid
worker. Poor nutrition speeds the onset of full-blown Aids for those with
Eddie Cross, a senior official with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, and who advised Mr Mugabe on agriculture in the 1980s,
said the authorities were adept at using hunger. "They can threaten people:
if you want food from the government, don't vote against the government.
The message is clear, it's simple," he said.
As an Ndebele area, Lundi
should be an opposition stronghold, but when Mrs Ndlovu was asked if she
would vote for a party which gave her family food, she nodded. That attitude
is likely to extend to cities, where shops are well stocked but with goods at
prices that the growing number of destitute people cannot afford.
Dube, the deputy headteacher of Bulawayo's Nkwalongwalo primary school, said
that before the WFP donated maize to make porridge, children used to faint in
their classrooms. "In truth, some of the staff are also starving."
Mugabe grooms traditional chiefs for political
By Ray Matikinye Last updated: 05/16/2004 23:56:35 THE
institution of chiefs has come under the spotlight in Zimbabwe
following government intention to bestow greater powers and authority on
its traditional leaders.
The age-old concept of traditional chiefs
remaining mere custodians of of cultural values and interceding with the
ancestors in rain-making ceremonies appears set to be turned on its head as
government seeks to enhance their status for political
Observers says government is all set to co-opt and groom them
for greater political roles. President Robert Mugabe emphasised the new
political role of traditional chiefs when he said chiefs should no longer
remain 'repositories of oral history."
"You should be guardians of our
national sovereignty and guard against those who delight in associating with
our detractors and those who work in cahoots with powers that seek to mislead
our people," Mugabe said on Thursday last week. Mugabe and his henchmen
strongly believe only staunch Zanu PF party supporters qualify to claim
having the sole right to be 'guardians of national
Mugabe assigned Zimbabwe's 276 chiefs assembled at the
Great Zimbabwe, one of the country's prime tourist monument and World
Heritage Site for their fourth annual conference the task to speak to the new
generation about the cultural and moral decadence associated with adopting
Western values. "These are the forces which seek to undermine our
sovereignty," Mugabe said.
But Professor Claude Mararike of the Faculty
of Social Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe says although there is need
to improve the role and operations of chiefs, greater caution should be taken
to prevent abuse of any authority granted. "Chiefs are unable to operate
effectively because of the dualism of using the Roman Dutch Law as the basis
of our legal system and the traditional system of government which has been
in place for a long time," he said.
But he warns of latent problems.
"There could be serious problems unless the traditional system of government
is clearly separated from the political party system whereby chiefs are
expected to act in a partisan way." Mararike says. "Chiefs operations will
be more comfortable if they are not used as tools by political parties and
politicians," he added.
Traditional chiefs in Zimbabwe have unwittingly
become hatchet men for the Robert Mugabe's tyrannical rule, acting as
coercing agents for his ruling Zanu PF party. Mugabe is keen to reward the
chiefs for their role in frog-marching poverty-stricken peasants in rural
areas to polling booths since the internationally condemned watershed general
elections in 2000 and subsequent parliamentary and local
So far, the Traditional Chiefs Act has reposed the
maintenance of law and order in traditional chiefs' hands in their areas of
jurisdiction. It is in the process of being amended to allow judgements
passed at the chiefs' traditional court to become incontestable in the
magistrates courts unlike in the past. The Rural District Council was amended
as well to restore powers to allocate land in resettlement areas which were
taken away from tradition chiefs in 1982 when rural district councils were
Few traditional leaders have legal training to dispense
modern forms of justice. Mararike said the institution of chiefs needs to
be reviewed to ensure that it moves ahead with the times.
educated and professional men should be appointed as chiefs otherwise the
current crop would need support staff to dispense justice without biases
among rural communities," Mararike said.
Mugabe is willing to sacrifice
Zimbabwe's economic well-being by pampering traditional chiefs with vehicles
estimated to cost the state Zim $19,3 billion for the 276 chiefs. Last month
chiefs untaxed allowances were doubled to Zim$1million way above the Zim$78
000 minimum wage or an ordinary and twice the salary of a qualified primary
To express the chiefs gratification for the pampering on
behalf of his colleagues, expose his fears that the undeserved largess could
be stopped by a more economically astute, sensible administration when Mugabe
goes, president of the Chiefs' Council, Chief Jonathan Magwende implored
the ageing tyrant to maintain his grip on power. "We made a splendid job
of campaigning for you during the presidential election and my colleagues
are disturbed by rumours that you want to retire. We want you to
Analysts say Mugabe has diminished the institution of chiefs by
transforming them into political tools for the ruling party just as he would
wish with all civil servants.
Mugabe wants an institution of learning
specialising in cultural development where students study ways of promoting
"our cultural values, dancing and music" to be included in the Border Gezi
millitia training centres' syllabus as recommended by a Parliamentary report
on youth training centres. Matikinye is the Features Editor of the banned
This week I was arrested and spent 24 hours in custody with Dudu and
8 other women. Dudu tells me she was born in 1980 the year Zimbabwe
became Independent. She could be referred to as a 'Born Free'. She is already
a mother of a 6 year old and is 6 months pregnant. We were together in
a demonstration calling for a new constitution. Women of Zimbabwe Arise,
WOZA partnered with the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and about
400 women, old and young answered that call braving arrest and a
possible beating by police. Many men also joined in and we marched through
the streets of Bulawayo during lunchtime on Wednesday. Eight of us were
arrested first off and Dudu, Juliet and a man arrived later. The police opted
to release the man and keep pregnant Dudu in custody despite our pleas for
WOZA is pressure group for women, the word WOZA is a Zulu
word meaning ' come forward' and women in Zimbabwe are coming forward to
speak out rather than suffer in silence in their homes. We ask women to come
out into the streets and join us in solidarity rather than weep in their
homes until the tears flow out of the front door into the
This was my twelfth arrest and Dudu's first for participating in
peaceful demonstrations and exercising basic freedoms allowed for by God and
the constitution. Riot police arrested us and crammed us in their
Defender vehicle, forcing us to squash in and then seating themselves around
us to hide us from public view. Were they also embarrassed at having to
arrest peaceful women? The same riot policemen were even more embarrassed
later when they were called in to identify whom they had personally arrested.
One of the younger officers insisted he had arrested Patience, so she
removed his hat in order to see his face clearly. The Investigating officer
tried to tell her she had committed an offence in removing his hat but she
replied that she had removed the hat of her 'child' as she normally does to
be able to see his face. No one argued back. Inspector Ncube with pips all
over his shoulders and a Zimbabwe Flag on his lapel puffed up his chest
saying he had arrested Patricia and myself identified as the ringleaders.
Next came the identifying of who had been carrying which piece of 'evidence'.
The evidence was 3 pieces of material, one a flag and 2 scarves printed with
the WOZA message: Enough is Enough - Zvakwana - Sokwanele. They also had
some pamphlets calling for a new constitution, taken off the man they set
free. All the evidence was recorded as having come from us. A lawyer from
the Lawyers for Human Rights arrived and was told to leave without seeing us
or being able to lobby for Dudu's release.
After further intimidation
we were then sent off to the cells. Those of us who had expected arrest had
dressed up for a cold jail cell but an unfeeling female officer watched us
undress and made sure we only had one article of clothing up and down. We
managed to share the spare warm clothing around and got Dudu a warm tracksuit
top. After this we were taken into cell number one where a cold cement floor
and the stench of an unflushed toilet awaited us. There were no blankets and
requests for one were ignored. We sang and danced to keep warm but had to
stop when a police officer came and told us they would hose us down with cold
water if we did not stop. We were tired and hungry but happy to see the face
of one of our friends risking arrest to bring us food. She had been in the
demonstration but had escaped arrest. We pondered on why none of the churches
had come to give us some food. We later found out that the church leader
felt that they should not get involved in 'politics' and gave the order not
to bring provisions to us. We said our evening prayers, huddled up and tried
to get some sleep.
The next morning we were taken for interrogation,
finger printed and photographed like common criminals. There was some
negotiation on charges and in the end, charges on the Public Order Security
Act (POSA) could not hold and the investigating officer opted to charge us
under the Miscellaneous Offences Act, the essence of the charge being
'blocking the pavement and conduct likely to breech the peace'. Our lawyer
said we had an option of paying a $ 5000 admission of guilt fine or going to
Court. We opted to go to Court as felt we had committed no wrong. It was
amazing that we would be taken to Court within 24 hours as under POSA we
could be held for 48 hours, we presumed that friends were telephoning the
police station and putting them under pressure to release us.
were in the Law and Order offices, a new officer we had not met before, now
the second in command of law and order came in and asked us why we were
demonstrating. I answered that we were exercising our God given right to call
for a new constitution. He then said we would never be able to demonstrate
again. Thinking he was referring to our being taken to Court, I said we would
see what happened in Court. He replied that he was not talking about a Court
solution but that he would stop us permanently. Seeing the evil intention in
his words, I felt I had to give him a second chance to retract the threat on
our lives. My own heart was beating loudly at the evil in his words. I calmly
told him that I would pray for the devil to leave his heart. Instead he
repeated his threat by telling me that I would not even have time to pray for
him. Strange though it seems, I still only felt love for him and said we
would still pray for him. His threat was delivered in the presence of one
female officer and directed at myself and the other WOZA women.
Sunday today and we have gone to church to pray for this officer, Inspector
Ndlovu. We were released that afternoon on one hundred thousand dollars bail,
an amount that shocked even the prison officers. Perhaps if we had not made
bail we would not have been alive to pray for Ndlovu today but God is in
control not Satan. We go back to court on 28th May on remand and will
continue to be alert to threat on our lives but we will not be deterred from
our struggle for women's rights. We will keep up the pressure for a better
form of governance to ease the suffering in our nation. The most important
objective of WOZA is to foment a spirit of hope. We work in the streets so
that Dudu, a Born Free Zimbabwean and her children will take back their
citizenship, enjoy sovereign power and be free to elect accountable leaders
who respect those who elected them.
Today we heard that over 20 of our
colleagues in the NCA were beaten by Gweru police and are languishing in
cells there being denied legal access. Dr Lovemore Madhuku is amongst them. A
message from an NCA friend reminded me that 'We are our own liberators', to
do this we must continue to make injustice visible and sacrifice some hours
in custody to have a more genuine freedom for the future.
Foreigners in their own land By Standard
Correspondent ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
King who owns a 320-hectare farm lives in fear.
He is oblivious of what
tomorrow holds for him, the nights, he says are even more
Ian, a third generation white farmer lives on a land he
inherited from his father. He cannot tell whether he will be the next victim
to be forced out of the land alive or dead.
"I live in fear, fearing
for my life, fearing that my lifetime investment could be gone in minutes. In
this district, out of 63 farmers, only three remained," he said.
got a Zimbabwean partner last June who has settled on part of his farm to do
His parents had lived in Mazowe District since 1952
developing the land into one of the most productive commercial farms in
Ian employees over 300 Zimbabwe natives who work on his flower
farms. He exports two to three million stems of rose flowers to the European
market and produces some 300 metric tones of maize per harvest. He also rears
over 50 cows.
Ian's story represents the plight of the remaining white
farmers living under the mercy of President Robert Mugabe since after the
forceful invasion of white-owned farms in 2000.
declaration last week that the land acquisition programme has moved a notch
higher-to what will soon be a major take-over of chunks of commercial farms
-classified as A2 land-and those owned by multi-nationals from white farmers
No doubt the land acquisition programme was vital but the
method used was haphazard.
The way it was done has hurt the economy in
a major way because the new farmers have no inputs and most of those
allocated the land were not farmers.
They are either politicians from
the city or militiamen. It is therefore difficult for the new farmers to
contain sustainability in these farms because farming needs skills a lot of
"White farmers, once a vital factor in Zimbabwe's growing
economy are moving away to Zambia and Nigeria where they are given land for
commercial use," says a bitter Ian. Others have moved to neighbouring
Mozambique and Namibia.
Ian believes that the invasion of the farms was
used as a political rhetoric to bring back Mugabe to power in the 2000
Ian says production has not been sustainable as a
result of the invasion.
He denies that those in the manufacturing
industry were sabotaging the economy.
"That is an excuse, there is no
money, commercial farmers cannot borrow from banks due to stagnating
production and most of the new farmers are growing sugar beans which is not
"At the same time, the new farmers have no equipment and for
those who were lucky to get them on the farms after chasing the white
farmers, they still cannot repair the equipment," he said.
new partner, Ian says they are trying to work saying it is hard to trust
somebody who wants a share of your 30-year investment.
"We are still
working on the modalities with him to see how we can be partners because
there is no two way about it, the government's decision is final," he
"I have nowhere to go, though even here, my security is not
guaranteed," he says.
Ian says after the invasion, milk production
dropped from 240 million litres per year to between 120-140 million
"Before, there were 55,000 cows in production but currently there
are only about 25,000 cows," he says.
The farmers have continued to
receive quit notices.
From about 4,500 white farmers who owned more than
half of land in Zimbabwe, only less than 400 of them remain
Forty-seven-year-old Zimbabwean farmer Mr Richard Bvukumbwe has
been re-settled on a 1,800-hectare piece of land formerly owned by a
He grows tobacco, sugar beans, commercial maize, and
seed maize and rears cattle too. Bvukumbwe was lucky to be settled on a farm
with a completely furnished farm house, a swimming pool and a beautiful
environment with security lights.
In the compound, some of the
equipment was grounded.
The swimming pool has dried up and some of the
security lights are not working.
Most of the granaries are worn out
probably due to lack proper maintenance.
Bvukumbwe has no regrets or
apologies to make about the invasions.
"Total liberation for Africa means
being in control of your country including land.
"We have no beaches,
we boast of our land without which we are not independent," he
Bvukumbwe believes that it is the British who sparked off the fight
because it had refused to compensate its brothers and sisters who were
occupying land. "We could not tamper with the constitution for 10 years and
when we got the opportunity, we tampered with it to fight for our right to
land and that we have done and won," he says.
Bvukumbwe says the
invasions and the right for Zimbabweans was not meant to impress anybody else
apart from the indigenous Zimbabwean.
HARARE - Voting
ended in a key two-day by-election pitting Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe's ruling party against the main opposition, state television said
Voting in the vast rural area around the town of Lupane, some 600
kilometres (400 miles) west of Harare, had been marred by allegations by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of vote-buying and
The MDC also said two of its members were abducted and
It said Saturday that Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union,
Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) was involved in vote buying through the sale of
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi on Sunday said village
heads were recording the names of people casting their votes in at least half
of the polling stations.
He said the village heads, who were often
involved in the identification of beneficiaries for relief food, were being
used by the Zanu-PF government "to threaten people into voting for
Two MDC activists, allegedly abducted and tortured by ruling
party supporters on Thursday and arrested when they made a report to police
on Friday, were meanwhile still in custody at Lupane police station
late Sunday, MDC information official Nkanyiso Maqeda told AFP.
lawmaker David Mpala won the seat in the 2000 general elections. He died in
February, allegedly of torture wounds.
Voters in the Lupane district were
part of the electoral force that won the fledgling MDC nearly half of all the
120 contested seats in parliamentary elections in 2000.
opposition has since lost ground, losing five of its original 57 seats to
Zanu-PF, which has increased its parliamentary majority to 66.
the two-day poll were expected later today.
If the ruling party wins the
Lupane seat it would only need another three seats to have a majority to
change the country's constitution in parliament.
Zimbabwe election marred by violence By Michael
Hartnack in Harare 17 May 2004
Two opposition activists were
reportedly detained by police yesterday after trying to lodge a complaint
that they had been abducted and tortured by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party militants in the north-western Lupane parliamentary
The constituency registrar, Willard Sayenda, said of the
12,173 voters who had cast their ballots in the by-election by the end of
Saturday,more than 1,000 were "assisted to vote" because they claimed
illiteracy or other disabilities.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, claims that "assisted voting"
gives the authorities the power to punish or reward voters, especially over
distribution of food relief.
An opposition spokesman, Nkanyiso Maqeda,
said the two menwere kidnapped and tortured last week by self-styled former
independence war guerrillas. When they were released on Friday and went to
report the matter, "police said the two were against Zanu-PF
Police spokesmen could not be reached for comment
Second Test in jeopardy By Malcolm Conn May 17,
ZIMBABWE and Australia have discussed the possibility of abandoning
the second Test in Bulawayo late this month and replacing it with two
In the wake of the continuing strike by 15 of
Zimbabwe's leading white cricketers, neither Zimbabwe Cricket Union chairman
Peter Chingoka nor Australian team manager Steve Bernard would rule out the
possibility of a change to just one Test and five limited-overs
While the itinerary remains two Tests and three
limited-overs internationals, with the first Test scheduled to begin in
Harare on Saturday, a failure to resolve the dispute by tomorrow could prompt
Chingoka did not sound hopeful of a resolution, saying the
ZCU would retain its right to appoint the captain and selection committee, a
right he claims is enjoyed by every other Test-playing nation.
stark reality of a continuing slaughter by Sri Lanka in the second Test in
Bulawayo yesterday combined with increasing behind-the-scenes pressure from
the International Cricket Council is likely to force some form
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed is flying to Harare today
in a bid to resolve the dispute.
Sri Lanka were 3-703 at tea on the
third day in reply to Zimbabwe's 228. Captain Marvan Atapattu made 249 and
Kumar Sangakkara 270.
A meeting of the rebels is planned for today in
Harare after the ZCU offered the 15 dissidents a further 21 days to return to
practice and make themselves available for selection before their contracts
would be withdrawn.
Rebel spokesman Grant Flower remained
"Obviously they want us to play against Australia to prop up
the system," Flower said.
"We want to get back and play but if this
dispute is not resolved properly our stand will be a waste of
Henry Blofeld: England may pay price for failing to make
a stand over Zimbabwe The sight of the ECB wringing its hands and not
knowing which way to turn has been sickening 17 May 2004
course the England and Wales Cricket Board is in an impossible situation over
Zimbabwe. But far from winning any medals for gallantry, it has made its own
situation worse at every turn since the imbroglio - more than a year ago in
the World Cup - over whether or not the England side should visit Zimbabwe.
It would have done well to remember through all of this that faint hearts
never won very much.
The Government has refused to let the ECB off the
hook by ordering the team not to go. Its approach has been just as
pusillanimous as the ECB's and one cannot avoid the hollow feeling that its
determination not to forbid the side to go may have been reinforced by the
fear of having to pay a substantial amount of compensation. Perish the
It has been up to the ECB to take a lead, therefore, but rather
than do that it has ducked and weaved in front of the punches thrown by the
International Cricket Council. This august body appears to have resorted to
what amounts to industrial blackmail. It is more concerned with embarrassing
England than the poisonous Robert Mugabe, whose policies have turned
current international cricket in Zimbabwe into a mockery.
do not go to Zimbabwe the ICC has threatened substantial fines, and then
suspension for a period from international cricket, which would naturally
cost considerably larger bucketfuls of money. A figure of £50m has been
bandied around, an absurd figure useful only for headlines.
muscles made those who run the ECB quake at the knees just as the ICC hoped
and expected. The dreaded Mugabe, whose principal dislike is England, must be
positively salivating at the way in which England's cricket is being made to
grovel. There will be no need for him to try and shake hands with the England
players if and when they start next winter's series: the damage will have
been done the moment the wheels of the aeroplane carrying the team touch down
in Harare. Mugabe will by then be howling with laughter.
The sight of
the ECB wringing its hands and not knowing which way to turn has been
sickening. How much better it would have been - by now it is surely too late
- if it had dug in its heels and said that, come hell or high water, it had
no intention of sending its cricketers to give comfort to Zimbabwe's
It would have been surprised how much respect this
would have won. Strength is a quality that is admired. This business of
likely suspension from international cricket would never happen. England
provides as much if not more money for the game than any country except
India. Would South Africa be happy if they were not allowed to entertain
England this coming winter? Would Australia give a skip and a jump if they
were told to forget about touring England next year? Not half they
Then there is the matter of the fine for not carrying out
apparent international obligations. Seven of the 10 Test-playing countries
would have to vote against England for this to happen. If England had dug in
their toes throughout the whole affair and taken this strong line, a number
of doubting countries would still have been on their side even after the
legacy of England's appalling performance over Zimbabwe in last year's World
Cup. After all, the situation in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe has now
openly politicised his country's cricket, has gone from bad to worse and can
only be ignored by supreme pacifists or ugly monsters.
It is hardly
surprising that the rest of the cricket world is now fed up, not to say
outraged, at the way England's administrators have shuffled around this
issue, frightened by every shadow they see. It has been as pathetic as it has
been humiliating for England's reputation - and not only on the cricket
field. The legacy is that it will be a long time before this issue has been
forgiven and forgotten. England's cricket has never needed strong leadership
more than it does now.
That the ICC has been as unsympathetic as it has
to England's cause is unsurprising. The chairman, Ehsan Mani, is the most
level-headed of men and it is his job to try and look after the game while
taking accounts of the interests of all the countries involved. It is no
secret that the manager of Indian cricket, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the Panjandrum
of Calcutta, has never wasted an opportunity to embarrass England. It
requires little imagination to see him doing his best to tie Mani's hands
behind his back over all this. Giving England a bloody nose seems more
important than taking a moral stand about Mugabe.
As far as the
rudderless ECB is concerned, it has reaped no more than it has sown. It is
now almost impossible to see how the matter can be resolved other than to
England's profound and embarrassing long-term disadvantage.
Tsvangirai's nod on land reforms, faults work
plan ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
African Standard correspondent Caroline Mango interviewed Zimbabwe opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Below are excerpts of the
Once a country with food surplus levels, we now
have to do with very low levels of food reserve because of bad agricultural
The new farmers were just dumped on the pieces of land and most
of them had no idea of what farming was all about. At the same time, the
government has not taken any initiative to empower the indigenous
Generally, although the land reform was inevitable, a workable
formulae to distribute the land would have minimized the problems we now
The invasions have plunged the country into an economic abyss that
will take a lot more time to get out of.
Q. Then how would one
rectify the mess?
A. The mess will have to be rectified through a
systematic assessment of who owns what.
There is need to form an
independent commission and come up with a clear policy that is legal and
Q. Is it your view therefore that the whole process
of re-settling Zimbabweans was biased and not transparent?
distribution and allocation of land was totally unfair and biased.
who benefited were only Zanu PF supporters. They received huge chunks of land
simply because they were allied to Mugabe in one-way or another.
this is that to date, the communal areas are not yet de-congested but the
government continues to lie that it is on that process of decongesting these
His strategy has turned a majority of Zimbabweans into peasant
farmers. We need an industrialization strategy and not a peasant
Q. If you were elected president today, what would be
your priorities in terms of land allocation and policy in general?
As much as one cannot go back to what happened in 2000, I would not condone
Compensation for the white farmers who were unfairly
ejected from the farms would be a must and a priority too.
mobilise international resources for compensation. That way, we will uphold
the rule of law in agriculture, which so far does not exist.
What do you think about President Mugabe; do you have respect for him?
Mugabe is simply an educated dictator. He dictates in an educated manner. My
respect for him is now measured. I respected him once during the first
10 years of independence, but now the respect I have for him is very little
if not none.
Mugabe has wiped out his own legacy, which is
contradictory. His is from a hero to zero. Have you ever heard of a man who
fought for his people and then turns against them?
Mugabe continues to
blame his leadership problems on the colonialists. Those talking about the
mistakes of colonialists and not their own are
Q. What do you think about the 57-hectare
Heroes Acre put aside to burry those who fought for the country's
A. The Heroes Acre has been set-aside for those who qualify
to be heroes according to Mugabe. Only those who fought for independence and
were loyal to Mugabe are laid there.
The criteria used to declare one
a national hero is partisan, selective, biased and that decision is only made
by Zanu PF top officials.
Q. What is your general view of the
economy of the country and the efforts put in place by the new governor, Mr
A. Measures to resuscitate the economy are very vital but
what Gono is doing is insufficient.
There is need for a more serious
fiscal policy and monetary police. One policy alone cannot work. Moreso, the
political confidence and stability of the country can make room for
investors. But currently, investors are running to South Africa due to
serious social and political problems facing the country.
interest rates to 100 per cent is also too expensive especially in such an
Q. What do you think about the anti-corruption
drive launched by the President?
A. At last, Mugabe has finally
admitted that his government is full of corrupt persons that?has plunged this
country into poverty and underdevelopment. However, my sincere view is that
the anti-corruption drive is too little too late.
It is also not
sincere because the drive should start at his doorstep where corruption is
rife. He should first start with the big fish and then move on to the small
Q. Mugabe has recruited most of the war veterans and
generally those who fought for the liberation struggle into his government.
What do you think about this idea?
A. There was nothing wrong in
recruiting the war veterans, however, the people he recruited have no skills,
and they were not trained to carry out government work. They were dumped in
various offices to ensure loyalty. To me that was social dumping which will
have a long lasting impact.
Q. How is the freedom of the Press in
A. The media in this country is under siege. The only one
TV station in the country is state-controlled, focuses daily on Zanu PF
propaganda. The opposition has totally been excluded. We are never covered
and we cannot even buy space. There is totally no ethics. What features in
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is state
International journalists are kicked out of the country
without any reason and media houses that criticise the government or act as
watchdogs are closed down. A good example is the Daily News newspaper that
had massive sales, which has been closed down.
On the other hand,
although we have a strong civil society, church organisations and student
organisations, the environment under which they operate are very harsh,
intimidating and generally undemocratic.
Zimbabwe is unlike Kenyan where
the voice of the civil society, the church and the students can speak freely
and act as watchdogs to the government.
Over 250 MDC supporters have been
killed in the past one-year as a result of rallies, apart from their houses
getting torched. That is what democracy is all about in
Q. Is it true that there is economic sabotage by the
white farmers, who control the manufacturing industry?
A. What do you
expect when you initiate unwarranted invasions on people's farms, we are
talking of an estimated 100 dairy farmers?
Mugabe's policy and programme
that is self-inflicting led to the collapse of over 100 dairy
Currently, about 70 per cent of manufactured products are imported
and the pressure of the high costs is being passed on to the consumer. The
question of sabotage therefore does not arise. It is misappropriation
Q. How is your party doing on the ground and
what is its future?
A. With 57 seats out of 120, you realise that we
control major cities in the country. We have representation even in the rural
areas.?Out of 12 provinces, we control 11 of them. We also have 300 full time
workers in out offices countrywide
If free and fair elections are
held, Zanu PF will be history.
Sun May 16, 2004 9:34 PM HARARE (Reuters) - Two
spectators were arrested and fined for displaying a banner at the second test
between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in Bulawayo on Saturday. The
travelling cricket fans, Australians Luke Gillian and Darren Moulds, were
charged with 'waving an inflammatory placard in a public place' and fined
Zim$25 000 each.
They had displayed a banner reading, 'Charles
Dempsey eat your heart out,' with reference to South Africa's successful bid
to stage soccer's 2010 World Cup.
South Africa's bid to host the
2006 World Cup failed because FIFA delegate Dempsey, from New Zealand,
abstained from voting.
Signs at Queens Sports Club where the test
is being played state that 'no banners of any type can be taken into or
displayed at the ground'.
The Australians and their banner appeared
on the live television broadcast of the match, and they were arrested by
police who took them to a police station.
"We were pretty scared
for a while but it all turned out okay," Moulds told reporters.
More than 30 spectators were arrested and fined during the 2003 World Cup
match between Zimbabwe and Australia in Bulawayo for displaying
banners declaring their opposition to president Robert Mugabe and his
HARARE - None of the 15 white rebel Zimbabwe players were
named in a 'A' side to play a two-day match against Australia starting today
in a sign that a resolution to the crisis is no closer.
rebels declared they were unavailable for selection last month in a dispute
with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) over the end of Heath Streak 's tenure
as captain, the composition of the selection panel and the alleged poor
conduct of ZCU officials.
The board fired the players today after
the players had accepted in principle to the board's offer of
On Friday, the ZCU issued a statement saying the players
had 21 days to return to work, raising hopes that an end to the impasse was
However, the Zimbabwe 'A' team named by the ZCU for a
two-day match against Australia in Harare from today did not include any of
In their absence, Zimbabwe have lost a One-day series
to Sri Lanka and were defeated in the first Test by an innings and 240 runs
within three days.
The 'A' team will be captained by Blessing
Mahwire, who was left out of the current second test against Sri Lanka in
Bulawayo after he was reported for a suspect bowling action following the
Harare, Zimbabwe - Two opposition activists were reportedly in
police detention Sunday after trying to lodge a complaint against abduction
and torture by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party militants in
the northwestern Lupane parliamentary constituency.
registrar Willard Sayenda said 12 173 of the 47 000 registered voters had
cast their ballots in the sprawling rural constituency by-election by the end
of Saturday. He said 1 189 would-be voters were turned away while over 1 000
were "assisted to vote" claiming illiteracy or other disabilities. Voting
ends late Sunday.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, claims that "assisted voting," permitted
under recent electoral law changes, gives the authorities power to punish or
reward voters, especially over distribution of food relief.
of the opposition-held seat would increase the number of Zanu-PF lawmakers to
98, only two short of the total needed to amend the constitution.
Tsvangirai's MDC currently holds 51 and another small opposition party
The Lupane seat was left vacant by the death of the previous
MDC lawmaker, allegedly as a result of ill-treatment received in
police detention. The area was the scene of widespread atrocities during
1982-88 post independence unrest and was considered an anti-government
stronghold but has recently suffered acute food shortages.
Friday Amnesty International appealed to Mugabe not to use relief as a
political weapon after announcing Zimbabwe needs no further foreign aid. His
government predicts a 2,4 million ton bumper harvest but many experts believe
only 700 000 tons will be reaped, leaving eight million Zimbabweans at risk
Opposition spokesperson Nkanyiso Maqeda said party
campaigners Demadema Ncube and Luke Sibanda were kidnapped by self-styled
former independence war guerillas. They were released Friday night after
having been tortured.
"When they went to police to report the
matter, police said the two were violent against Zanu-PF supporters. They are
still in police detention," said Maqeda. Police spokesmen could not be
reached for comment Sunday.
On Saturday, police arrested
constitutional reform campaigner Lovemore Madhuku and 60 other people
attending a meeting on strengthening civil society in the Midlands city of
Firing teargas and wielding batons, riot squad members
dispersed the gathering, claiming it lacked advanced official
On Thursday an opposition lawmaker Nelson Chamisa was
arrested attending a Harare meeting on HIV/Aids which police deemed illegal.
Both Madhuku and Chamisa are still being held in cells. - Sapa-AP
Justin Langer Australia Test batsman in Zimbabwe
There are two distinct differences between this Australian tour of Zimbabwe
and the one I was on four years ago.
Then, the atmosphere and mood
was one of optimism and hope.
The first Test match between the two
countries was seen as a major breakthrough for Zimbabwe in their quest to
earn respect and prove they were worthy of Test status.
was a true feeling of festivity and joy that we were in Zimbabwe playing
In doing so there was a real sense that we
were not only promoting this country but also the game of cricket on the
The tide has certainly changed.
there is controversy after controversy, pessimism, criticism
To me, this is a terrible shame.
fond memory of last time here is one of arriving in Zimbabwe to a greeting of
blossoming jacaranda trees, crisp clean air, beautiful
There were happy, energetic people wanting to
see Australia in action against the young but hopeful
As fate would have it, our arrival back then was like
the changing of the guard and the start of our incredible run of sixteen
straight Test match victories.
Ironically Geoff Marsh, the
current Zimbabwean coach, had stepped aside as our coach and was replaced by
Arriving this time my distinct and lasting memory
will be one of stepping off the plane into smoky night skies and quiet,
sleepy, lifeless streets.
As a cricketer my hope for this
tour is that we can provide some entertainment and hope for those people who
may be struggling in this country
From an outsiders point of view, the heavy air was almost symbolic of where
the county seems to be now compared to then.
The lifeless streets
and clear lack of enthusiasm for this tour represents the state of Zimbabwean
cricket which is facing an incredibly tough time.
There is no
doubt from our position that we will all be disappointed if we don't play
against the best team Zimbabwe have to offer.
Test cricket is about
exactly that. It is about being tested by the best your opposing country has
It is about testing your skills and your wits against the
best of the best.
From all accounts this won't happen in the
next two Tests we are here to play.
When we were in transit in
Johannesburg, Sean Irvine, the talented young all-rounder, was flying to
Perth to start a new life and new career, in effect retiring from
international cricket at the tender age of 21.
This act is sadly
indicative of what seems to be happening here in Zimbabwean
It would be ignorant of me to comment or become embroiled
in the political correctness of Australia touring this country.
There has been so much said over the last few months in Australia
All I will say is that as a cricketer my hope for
this tour is that we can provide some entertainment and hope for those people
who may be struggling in this country.
In doing so we may also
provide some inspiration for some young boys and girls here and around the
I would rather see children running around with a smile on
their faces playing with a bat and ball than playing with some of the other
toys that are being played with today.
Mbeki 'not party to agreement' 16/05/2004 12:30 -
ZB du Toit
Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki did not
attend a meeting between President Robert Mugabe and President Teodora Obiang
Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (EG) where it was allegedly decided to exchange
South African mercenaries for fuel.
Mbeki's spokesperson Bheki Khumalo
vehemently denied such a meeting: "Such a meeting never took place. It is an
Khumalo reacted on a report on Friday in the Zimbabwean
Independent that the three heads of state met in Pretoria on April 27 and
decided that the 70 South African men held in Harare would be exchanged for
oil. According to the newspaper the agreement was confirmed during talks
between Mbeki and Nguema in Bulawayo the next day.
one of the biggest oil exports in Africa, allegedly agreed to give Zimbabwe
about R8.4m worth of fuel in exchange for the South Africans, the newspaper
The South Africans were arrested on March 7 when their plane landed
in Harare to allegedly take arms on board. They were allegedly on their way
to join a group of 15 other South Africans in EG in a bid to overthrow
the government of that country.
Khumalo said South Africa is not
involved in the matter since the South Africans were arrested according to
Zimbabwean law. He reiterated foreign affairs deputy minister Aziz Pahad's
statement that South Africa would not interfere, unless the South Africans
were found guilty and sentenced to death. Only then the government would talk
to the government of EG.
Meanwhile, the SA Human Rights Commission has
asked the government to step in.
On Tuesday the commission stated that
the government had a duty towards South Africans being held in a foreign
Jan Henning, SC, deputy director of national prosecution, who
visited the men in EG, said investigations to determine whether the men were
in fact planning a coup, were nearly completed.
If the men are found
guilty of a crime, the government will have to decide whether to request
their extradition or not. Henning doubted whether they would get a trial
"according to South African standards" in EG.
Khumalo confirmed that the
South African security forces warned the Zimbabwean government the plane was
on its way to Harare. It was still unclear whether the South African
officials were in a position to arrest the men on South African soil before
If it was possible, they should have done so as it is
illegal to plan a crime to be executed in another country on South African
Legal experts say it is nevertheless South Africa's duty to support
its citizens in a foreign country.
Hwata THE Member of Parliament for Murehwa North Victor Chitongo has urged
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union to forget about the rebel cricketers and
concentrate on grooming new talent.
A group of white cricketers had
its contracts severed with the ZCU and is now suing the association after it
rebelled playing for Zimbabwe until some of its demands, including the
reinstatement of pace bowler Heath Streak as team captain, were
In a statement that will be presented to Parliament soon, Chitongo
said ZCU and the Sports Commission should quickly work on finding a lasting
solution to the problem.
"Mr Speaker, Peter Chingoka (ZCU president)
and his board should just forget about the racists and concentrate on
grooming the youthful team under Tatenda Taibu currently playing for the
country," said Chitongo.
Chitongo said people should not dwell much on
that the new-look Zimbabwe cricket team was losing heavily to Sri Lanka with
the next matches being against Australia under Taibu's captaincy because the
old side also lost even under Heath Streak and Andy Flower.
the argument of losing under Taibu is not new and
"Sports is about winning and losing with dignity.
These racists must be exposed and be done away with once and for all," said
The parliamentarian said sportspersons should be disciplined
and submit to the authority of their associations.
Stock thefts threat to land reform exercise:
Herald Reporter THE high incidents of stock theft in Zimbabwe
threaten to derail the successes of the land reform programme, a cabinet
minister said last week.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa said there were scores of people in the rural
areas whose only source of livelihood was livestock, but these were being
stolen by people who wanted to discredit the successes scored so far by the
land reform programme.
Cde Chinamasa was speaking in Parliament during
debate of the proposed Stock Theft Amendment Bill which received an adverse
report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
legislation seeks to make it mandatory to jail for an effective nine years
anybody convicted of stock theft without the option of a fine.
problem is now like corruption and has reached unsustainable levels. Unless
we are hard on it, we risk losing wealth for the country," said
He said by introducing the Bill, the Government seeks
to protect the population in the country's rural areas who relied on animals
like cattle for draught power.
"This law should come hard on people
who want to reap where they did not sow," said the minister.
where the courts find special circumstances in cases of stock theft, it might
not impose the mandatory nine years imprisonment.
Contributing to the
same debate, Harare South Member of Parliament, Mr Gabriel Chaibva (MDC) said
it would be a good idea if chiefs presided over such cases.
Mukota of Mashonaland East said the proposed nine-year jail term was welcome
because the problem of stock theft has become rampant in
He said cattle in particular were a target of thieves,
some who travelled from urban areas to the rural areas specifically to steal
beasts and sell them in order to make quick money.
Giving an example,
the chief said he once gave a lift to a man from his area to Harare, only to
be told a few days later that the man had been arrested of stock theft in the
"Jailing stock thieves for up to nine years is okay because
while the thieves are behind bars during that period, the cattle will have a
chance to breed and increase in numbers.
"Stock thieves deserve even
more than nine years in jail," said the chief.
extremely harsh and
offends against the requirement that punishment must be fair and more
importantly that it should not be grossly disproportionate to the offence,"
said Prof Ncube.
Cde Chinamasa said he would give a full response to the
MP's concerns next Tuesday.
Reporter THE Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Cde
Joseph Made, yesterday dismissed allegations by a British newspaper that
Zimbabwe has entered into a secret deal with a United States company to
import maize in exchange for tobacco.
He described the newspaper
report as false and mischievous.
Such assertions, the minister said, were
being circulated by people who did not know the correct situation on the
ground in Zimbabwe.
He reiterated Government's earlier position that the
country would have a bumper harvest this season and does not, therefore, need
to appeal for food aid from donors.
Cde Made's comments came in the
wake of a report in the British Observer newspaper alleging that the
Government had entered into a secret agreement with a US firm, Sentry
Financial International, to exchange tobacco for maize ahead of next year's
"The said company has been doing business in
Zimbabwe for donkey years and there is no secrecy about it. It is a figment
of one's imagination because the West is opposed to the country's agrarian
reform, which is now bearing fruit," said Cde Made.
He said Zimbabwe
would have a good harvest this year and the situation on the ground bore
testimony to that fact.
"These people who allege there are secret deals
entered into by the Government in exchange for food are the country's enemies
who have now realised that the land reform programme is irreversible and has
succeeded," Cde Made said.
The newspaper alleged that about 70 000
tonnes of grain would arrive in the country this month under an agreement
allegedly shrouded in secrecy because of its political
"The Government has been able to deliver its promises to the
nation and obviously we are going to win the elections. It is too late for
our detractors to make such stupid allegations," he said.
Government last week said it would not be asking for international food aid
because it predicts a harvest of 2,4 million tonnes of staple maize, much
higher than the minimum requirement of 1,8 million tonnes to feed the nation
It said some aid agencies would, however, continue to
provide food assistance in the country but only to vulnerable groups like
Aids orphans and elderly people.
Western aid agencies and the
opposition MDC have been predicting food shortages as part of their campaign
to taint the land reform programme.
The anticipated good harvest comes
after four consecutive years of drought and cyclone-induced flooding.
From George Maponga in
Masvingo The Great Zimbabwe University law degree saga deepened last week
after the university's tuition fees account with the Jewel Bank was
temporarily frozen after the students filed litigation at the Masvingo civil
Students at the university are up in arms with the university
authorities over the law degree which has not been recognised by the Council
for Legal Education.
Magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere granted a
provisional order in chambers barring the Great Zimbabwe University acting
principal Dr Hilda Matarira and the Jewel Bank branch manager in Masvingo
from withdrawing or allowing the withdrawal of money from the GZU tuition
The GZU, Dr Matarira and the Jewel Bank branch manager in
Masvingo were cited as first, second and third respondents in the affidavit
filed by the university's Student Representative Council vice president Mr
"It is ordered that pending the determination of the
petition, the first and second respondents or anybody claiming through them
be and hereby interdicted from withdrawing any money in the tuition fees
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police are empowered to arrest any
respondent in the event of failure to comply with the granted order," read
the provisional order.
The university and Dr Matarira were also
ordered to pay the cost of the legal suit by the students and were given up
to May 20 to show cause why the order should not be confirmed with
The affidavit by Mr Chabuka representing the GZU students stated
that the university had refused to address the plight of law students and map
the way forward and therefore were not entitled to use their tuition
"Since the release of the report declining to designate the law
degree for reasons stated therein, the second respondent has refused to
address the students in a bid to map the way forward," said Mr Chabuka in the
The freezing of the GZU tuition fees account could be a severe
blow to the church-run institution which uses the tuition fees for its day to
The university was early this month ruled ill-equipped to
offer a law degree by the Council for Legal Education.
are already said to be leaving the law department for other institutions
while some have vowed to fight to the bitter end citing the millions of
dollars they have paid and the time they spent at the institution.