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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Invaders refuse to move from occupied farms in Masvingo

      5/22/02 9:54:26 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      THE government's ongoing nationwide eviction of illegal farm invaders
hit a snag in Masvingo after an estimated 7 000 families who settled on
Eaglemont and
      Nuanetsi ranches at the height of the farm invasions, refused to
vacate the properties.

      The illegal farm invaders have threatened to fight the police, a
rguing that they needed the land and that Zanu PF cheated them into voting
President Mugabe back into office on the understanding there would be no
more evictions.

      The two properties were delisted from compulsory acquisition. The
police were last week taken by surprise after they were confronted by the
villagers who were armed to the teeth and prepared to resist the eviction

      The settlers said they were prepared to die as they were tired of
being cheated by Zanu PF politicians. A spokesman for the settlers, Aaron
Nyoni, said the decision by the government to evict them was unfortunate
since they had the capacity to resist the order.

      Nyoni said: "During the run-up to the presidential election, we were
told that if Zanu PF wins there would be no more evictions.

      "We voted President Mugabe back into power thinking he would
appreciate our plight. We are going to fight against the evictions. "We are
prepared for anything and we are urging the President to urgently address
the problem before any confrontation. We have told the police eviction team
that we will not leave the properties."

      The decision by the villagers to resist eviction has shocked the Zanu
PF Masvingo provincial leadership and government officials who were
scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the issue.

      Masvingo provincial administrator, Alphonse Chikurira, said the
provincial land committee was only implementing instructions from the
national land task force to evict people illegally settled on delisted
farms, black-owned properties, and conservancies.

      Chikurira said: "These people had been given eviction notices and we
expected them to have left the farms. We are going to discuss the problem
with the settlers but they have indicated to us that they will not move

      John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, said people occupying farms
illegally would be evicted. In Masvingo, the eviction exercises began in
Masvingo East commercial farming area where among others, Vitalis
Zvinavashe, the defence forces commander, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the
Speaker of Parliament, own

      Meanwhile, black indigenous farmers have endorsed the evictions as a
welcome relief. commercial farmer, who only identified himself as Chakaona,
said: "What the government is doing is right. We now can engage in farming
activities without interference."

      The Commercial Farmers' Union, declined to comment on the issue,
stating that the matter was sensitive. The violent invasions have left more
than 10 farmers dead.
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      Moyo, Charamba must be charged with contempt of court: Madhuku

      5/22/02 9:49:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      JONATHAN Moyo and George Charamba do not know the law and should be
summoned to appear before the High Court to answer charges of contempt of
court for insulting judges exercising their judicial independence, a law
lecturer said yesterday.

      Lovemore Madhuku of the University of Zimbabwe was reacting to reports
in the government's Sunday Mail newspaper, in which the Minister of State
for Information and Publicity in the President's Office was quoted as having
expressed shock over a decision by High Court Justice Moses Chinhengo, to
summon Charamba to appear before him to show cause why an Order of Contempt
should not be made against him.

      Charamba, the permanent secretary in Moyo's department, had criticised
the judge in a story published by The Sunday Mail.

      Madhuku said the story was an obvious falsehood written by persons who
are ignorant of the law. "Of course Jonathan Moyo and George Charamba cannot
be expected to understand the intricacies of the operations of our legal

      But their ignorance should not be used as a licence for them abuse our
judges, who are doing an excellent job of protecting the rights of
individual citizens," said Madhuku.

      He said contempt of court was a crime under Zimbabwean law whose
purpose was to protect the dignity of the courts, thereby promoting the rule
of law. In a recent judgment, Chinhengo barred the police from forcing entry
into meetings of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

      The police had insisted that two of their officers be allowed to
attend the meeting, in terms of Section 24 of the draconian Public Order and
      Act (POSA).

      In granting the order, Justice Chinhengo said the meetings of the ZCTU
's general council "could not be classified within the meaning of that word
      defined in POSA nor can it be described as a public gathering to which
Section 24 of the Act applies".

      He said it was not necessary for him to deal with the ZCTU's
entitlement to enjoy the fundamental rights of freedom of expression,
assembly and association as sections 20 and 21 of the Constitution granted

      "Unless it is shown that an authority is acting on that basis, a law
which curtails that freedom as provided in the said section, then the
applicant's rights may not be interfered with," said Justice Chinhengo.

      Madhuku said what Charamba did was clearly criminal as it amounted to
an insult against Justice Chinhengo, accusing him of improper motives when
all the judge did was to interpret the law.

      He said the ZCTU was governed by the Labour Relations Act and not POSA
and the judge was right in establishing that legal factor.

      Madhuku said: "There is a world of difference between insulting judges
and criticising them. An objective criticism is not in contempt of court and
cannot be a crime. But an insult is a crime and is punishable.

      "What Moyo and Charamba have been doing is to pile up insults on
judges. What they have been doing cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be
described as criticism."

      Madhuku, a legal expert, said: "Chinhengo must summon both Charamba
and Moyo to answer charges of contempt of court."Justice Chinhengo ruled
against Moyo in a case in which the junior minister unsuccessfully sought an
urgent court interdict barring the Zimbabwe Independent from publishing
stories about his alleged fraudulent deals at the Ford Foundation in Kenya.

      Moyo is alleged to have defrauded the institute of millions of dollars
in shady deals.
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      600 000 die, 2 million afflicted with HIV/Aids

      5/22/02 9:03:16 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      AT least two million Zimbabweans are living with HIV/Aids, with more
than 600 000 killed by the disease over the past five years, says Dr
Everisto Marowa, the executive director of the National Aids Council (NAC).

      Dr Marowa said the figures showed a significant decrease from the
cumulative figures as of January last year although he was not in a position
to give the actual figures.

      He attributed the decline to the numerous awareness programmes, which
had resulted in behavioural changes among the sexually active age groups.

      Marowa could not give the exact number of Aids orphans being looked
after by the NAC, saying they were rising all the time.

      "HIV/Aids has become an integral part of our lives," he said. "It is a
reality that we have to face and address adequately. No community in this
country has been spared by this pandemic."
      Marowa told journalists at a three-day national workshop in Mazowe
last week that the NAC viewed the HIV/Aids problem as everyone's concern.

      He said a comprehensive, effective and co-ordinated community-driven
mitigation initiative was necessary to deal with the scourge.

      He said the pandemic had mostly ravaged the 15-49 age group, who are
sexually active and in their most productive years.

      He said his organisation had so far disbursed $1,3 billion for
district programmes aimed at helping people living with HIV/Aids, including
orphans and elderly people caring for orphans. Dr Marowa said a total of
$966 million has been committed to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
to buy drugs for opportunistic infections, while another $200 million was
being disbursed to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
for school fees under the Basic Education Assistance Module.

      On whether the NAC funds were not being abused, Dr Marowa said the
chances of abuse had been minimised by the decentralisation of the
administration of the funds disbursed to the various districts of the
country by the NAC.

      Marowa expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the media had
highlighted HIV/Aids issues.

      "The print media has, in particular, given considerable coverage to
Aids issues. Rarely a day passes by without an item on the pandemic and I
think we need to build on that commendable effort," he said.

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Mugabe Needs to Spell Out His Retirement Plan

The Daily News (Harare)
May 21, 2002
Posted to the web May 21, 2002
Zimbabweans can be uncomfortably diplomatic and, sometimes, openly evasive
when discussing matters that concern them directly.
When we say "yes" often we mean the opposite. Often, we smile in order to
wriggle out of tricky situations. When we use the words "no problem", there
is usually a major hurdle facing us. Just check the cutlery and fare we
display in our homes to see how we fool our visitors and foreigners. What a
way of deceiving ourselves with such beguiling masks!
That culture complicates conversations and distorts our comprehension. We
prefer to speak sideways and in tongues, a mannerism heavily steeped in
tradition. We even have a metaphor which, loosely translated, says
"disciplining a dog with an invisible stick".
Shona-speaking Zimbabweans try to overcome this weakness by insisting on a
hierarchical form of communication where participants in village meetings
follow an ethnic protocol to inform an older person, always in a loud voice,
about a meeting agenda before that person moves the debate to a plenary
It is a highly frustrating and cumbersome exercise. But it pays off in the
end as it avoids disputes about the subject under discussion.
After the hotly disputed result of the presidential election, we have
suffered from the noise about talks between Zanu PF and the MDC.
High-sounding words were used to express what the two major parties were
talking about. When the agenda included meaningless phrases like
confidence-building measures, sovereignty, multi-party politics and all that
jazz, it became clear that Zimbabweans were at it again: their normal and
accomplished art of evasiveness.
As long as President Mugabe remains tight-lipped about his retirement plans,
let us forget about any form of inter-party talks. Zimbabwe's fortunes will
change dramatically if Mugabe tells us a bit about his life as a voluntary
Despite his advanced age, the man has children still in a creche and in
primary schools. He needs a steady salaried job: attending to parents'
meetings, reading out nursery rhymes and inspecting doodled colour books.
If Mugabe publicly directs Zanu PF to search for a successor now, the
opposition could be in trouble. Their agenda could run aground. South Africa
and Nigeria may leave us alone.
The two parties can then sit down, with mediation from either a church
minister, an imam or a High Court judge. New talks can centre on life after
Mugabe (LAM). LAM is a topical subject everywhere. Surely, there is nothing
to say about Mugabe anymore. We know him; the villagers know him; the
workers understand him; Western diplomats fear him; his officials love him;
the opposition irritates him; students love to tease him; journalists
dislike him; gays, lesbians and white farmers hate him. Foreign investors
think he is a dull executive. It is that simple. But LAM is unclear and
After the election, many became so punched up that they found no joy in
taking part in a life-threatening Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
stayaway. They yielded to their misfortunes and felt so hopeless. They saw a
long, long journey to freedom.
There were stressed faces in all urban areas. Workers were uncertain about
their future, their companies and their families. They immediately forgot
about Mugabe, thinking of LAM.
Young people opted for exile, expecting to start a new life based on a
risky, jungle investment for the next six years. The majority merely want to
fathom Mugabe's solutions to the shredded jigsaw puzzle he created; make a
few noises here and there, and simply watch the Zanu PF land theatrics.
Meanwhile, LAM took advantage of vacuum and dominated debate.
Ordinary Zimbabweans care less about Zanu PF, the MDC, Shakespeare Maya,
Paul Siwela or Wilson Kumbula. They want a good, safe lifestyle.
They are agreed and worry, though, about the continued reign of Mugabe.
Mugabe, as a person, has become an issue, a national grievance. Mere
card-carrying members of Zanu PF see Mugabe as a separate political party,
different from the rag-tag, peasant-dominated former liberation movement
which claims the name, Zanu PF.
Mugabe, the party, is surrounded by rich and flamboyant military, police and
secret service generals. He works with a coterie of abrasive, no-nonsense
and unelected loyalists. This group worries, too, about LAM, as shown by its
high degree of intolerance, inflexibility and openly repressive streaks. At
the disposal of the rough inner circle is a vast legislative arsenal, ready
to push a ton of bricks on dissent, the media, free speech, debate,
dissidents or assumed troublemakers.
The circle runs Mugabe, the party, and controls the side bar, the rural Zanu
PF. It frustrates any presidential hopefuls in the rural outfit, villagises
them and makes sure that they do not develop any meaningful national
Nothing will come out of any inter-party talks without Mugabe, the person.
Political parties must put aside any dreams making Zimbabwe another place on
earth as long as Mugabe remains a key player in economics, politics and in
commuter omnibuses. This is a one-person country. Nothing moves without the
blessing of Mugabe.
Brian Donnelly, the British High Commissioner to Harare, probably realised
this fact quite late. Addressing a cocktail party in Bulawayo, he spoke
innocently, like a career diplomat.
Words like: Oh, my country wants good relations with you . . . we are happy
that the two political parties are talking to each other to resolve prickly
issues that retard development . . . we look forward to a healthy and
prosperous Zimbabwe . . . Pure diplomatic lingua. Dull and meaningless. A
common language at every diplomatic function. That language earned him a
heavy spank. You are interfering with the talks; meddling in our internal
affairs! Shut up! He became the first casualty of the growing LAM syndrome
and debate.
The other issue cited as an impediment to the talks is Tsvangirai's pending
court challenge. Again, in typical Zimbabwean style, Zanu PF is evading the
issue. White commercial farmers lodged numerous court cases in 2000. The
government ignored the courts. Commercial farmers continued to talk to the
government. Where was the sub judice rule then?
If the inter-party talks succeed, why can't Tsvangirai still pursue his
search for a legal redress? If Mugabe says he plans to retire in December or
after three years, even four, would Zimbabwe still allow Tsvangirai to stick
it out, just to prove a point? We must isolate the cloud without water and
ignore it. LAM is still at large.
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      South Africa Not to Turn Backs on Zimbabwe: Official


      Xinhuanet 2002-05-21 20:04:26

            JOHANNESBURG, May 21 (Xinhuanet) -- South Africa stated on
Tuesday that it was not giving up on its northern neighbor Zimbabwe despite
the international pressure.

     Presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo said "The question of cutting
diplomatic ties has not even arisen. It is not an issue being considered by
the president (Thabo Mbeki). We can not turn our backs on Zimbabwe."

     He made the statement with such background as the European Union
has reportedly called on Southern African Development Community governments
to refrain from normal diplomatic relations with the Mugabe regime.

     The European Parliament also recommended tougher sanctions against
Zimbabwe, while the Commonwealth's democracy watchdog, the Ministerial
Action Group, decided to put Zimbabwe on its priority list.

     This follows the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) pulling out of scheduled unitary talks with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change last week.

      Envoys from South Africa and Nigeria, acting as facilitators,
instead held separate talks with the two parties in a bid to bringthem

     ZANU-PF pulled out of the talks citing a pending court case
brought by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a bid to nullify the
results of the March presidential elections -- won by President Robert

     It asked that the dialogue be postponed indefinitely, saying itdid
not wish to engage in any parallel processes in the meantime.

     The MDC, however, contended that ZANU-PF's conduct amounted to a
unilateral withdrawal from the talks, and said the process should be
regarded as terminated, not adjourned, according to a statement from the
South African Department of Foreign Affairs.

     Should the facilitators and their principals -- Mbeki and Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo -- wish to reinstate the process, it would be
under a fresh mandate, the opposition argued.

      Khumalo said South Africa's envoy, African National Congress
General Secretary Kgalema Motlanthe, would continue to engage bothparties.

      "There is no alternative to negotiations in Zimbabwe. There is no
alternative to ZANU-PF and the MDC working together", he said.

     Khumalo said "We will not give up on Zimbabwe. We will keep on
talking and talking until we succeed, even if this takes very long." Enditem
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Daily News

      Thousands deported from SA, Botswana

      5/22/02 8:52:49 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

      SOUTH Africa last Friday deported more than 2 300 Zimbabweans who were
living illegally in that country while Botswana is reported to be deporting
about 300 hundred people every day.

      A total of 2 345 Zimbabweans were taken on Friday by train from
Johannesburg to Messina and then transported in trucks across the border
into Zimbabwe.
      According to the South African police, 11 181 Zimbabweans have been
deported since January, compared with 8 603 last year.
      About 3 000 illegal immigrants are deported from South Africa every
month, but last Friday's exercise was the largest number to be sent back
home on a single day.

      Dennis Chitsaka, the Zimbabwean principal immigration officer at the
Beitbridge border post, said there were now deportations every day, as
Zimbabweans continued to stream across the border into South Africa

      Chitsaka said: "It's particularly worse over the holiday periods when
Zimbabweans living in South Africa want to visit their relatives back home.
They actually surrender themselves to the SA police and tell them they are
border-jumpers, so that they can be given free transport back home."
      He said the South African immigration authorities were planning to
acquire equipment to enable them to fingerprint every deportee so that once
they are deported, they will be blacklisted and barred permanently from
re-entering the country.

      The South African army has set up a 24-hour check-point manned by at
least a dozen soldiers two kilometres from the Beitbridge border point, as
part of special security operations.

      Last year, South Africa threatened to deport about 15 000 Zimbabwean
immigrant farm workers who had been in that country for more than 10 years.
      But an agreement was struck after some of the farmers appealed against
the deportations and applied for work and residence permits for their
      The immigrants work as farm and domestic workers and factory hands.
Zimbabweans normally work at menial jobs generally spurned by South
      An official at the Plumtree border post said hundreds of Zimbabweans
were being deported from Botswana every day.

      He said most would have either overstayed or were border-jumpers
caught without identity papers or work permits.
      Although no figures were available, the officer said up to 300
deportees were deported every day.

      The deportations come amid reports of harassment of the deportees by
South African and Botswana immigration officials.
      "It's difficult to deal with a large number of people resisting
arrest, when tempers can flare easily. We have heard reports of harassment,
but we cannot confirm them," said Chitsaka.

      Last year, the Zimbabwean High Commission in South Africa made a
formal protest to Pretoria on the treatment of deported Zimbabweans.
      Every day hundreds of Zimbabweans leave the country in search of
political and economic asylum in Britain, Canada, Malawi, and Mozambique.

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Daily News

      MDC officials arrested, fined in Chipinge

      5/22/02 9:58:06 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      CHIPINGE police last week released five MDC officials they arrested
for exchanging harsh words with their colleagues after they each paid $400
fines for contravening a section of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

      The police also released one of the two vehicles they had impounded.
The other vehicle is still to be released. The officials were travelling to
Chibuwe for an MDC rally where party president Morgan Tsvangirai addressed
about 10 000 people.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC's spokesman in Manicaland, Elliot Anahu,
Hardmore Chimoko, Tonderai Brian Mutandakamwe and Garikai Matsapa, were
arrested at a roadblock at Mwacheta, about 8km from the rally's venue.

      After their release Muchauraya said: "This is ridiculous. The police
offended us and we retaliated by answering back. "They insulted Tsvangirai,
saying he would never rule this country and we told them that they could
continue hallucinating. They were offended and arrested us."

      Arnold Tsunga, a Mutare lawyer representing the five, said yesterday:
"This is just part of the ongoing acts of harassment and intimidation of
members of the MDC by the police."

      Christine Chikwasha, the MDC provincial chairperson for Manicaland,
was arrested and detained three days before the rally, only to be released
last Tuesday without charges being laid.

      At the rally Tsvangirai reiterated the need for a rerun of the
presidential election, saying the 9-11 March poll was "fraudulently" won by
President Mugabe.
      Meanwhile, the police in Bindura on Sunday barred an MDC rally at
Trojan Nickel Mine, despite an earlier approval.

      Thousands of MDC supporters waited in vain for Tsvangirai to address
them, only to be told of the cancellation.

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Daily News - Leader Page

      Farmers, settlers now impostors on land

      5/22/02 8:59:26 AM (GMT +2)

      PRETENDERS and impostors is how the Minister of Home Affairs, John
Nkomo, described the 12 000 people being removed from farms in the Masvingo
Province last week.

      Nkomo was not talking about commercial farmers and their employees; he
was talking about people who had apparently settled themselves on these
      The minister said that anyone who moved onto a farm after 31 March
2001 must now leave that property, go back to where they came from and apply
through the proper channels for land.

      If we take 31 March 2001 as a starting date, think about all things
that a man, his wife and, say, their three children might have done in the
13 months they have been living on someone else's farm.

      For 13 months, completely unhindered by either the legal owner of the
land or the police, the man will first have built himself some sort of
shelter. This may have been a few sticks leaning up against a frame and
covered with scraps of plastic, or it might have been a fairly substantial
circular hut.

      Poles were cut from the farmer's plantations, bark stripped and the
timbers embedded in holes painstakingly dug with crude tools. Thatching
grass was cut from the farmer's now fallow fields and carefully laid over
the roof frame and tied on with bark, raffia or wire.

      Trees were cut and firewood stacked, latrines were dug and shower
stalls erected. A crude fence either of "liberated" wire or of thorns was
erected around the new home and the man and his family began to make a life
for themselves.

      For weeks, the man patiently waited for government assistance with
ploughing of the land. When the DDF tractors came, the land was barely
scratched with the blades.

      The driver was in a hurry and the space was far, far less than the
settler had hoped for. The man and his wife queued for days for free seed
from the government and then for a couple of handfuls of fertiliser.

      At last they were ready and together the man, his wife and their three
children went out and planted the little square of maize. The wife knew this
would never be enough food to feed the family for the year, so she bent over
with her badza (hoe) and dug beds into the hard, dusty soil.

      She carefully planted beans and tomatoes, rape and cabbage and readied
a mound for sweet potatoes and pumpkins. The rain is never good in Masvingo
and this year was no different. And so every day the family walked miles to
the farmer's dam with cans and buckets which they filled with water.

      It was a long, hot walk and the family looked across to the fields
where the white farmer used to grow his crops. They were barren of life and
only weeds thrived. The family walked faster and worked harder to secure
their little square of food.

      A little rain came and the maize germinated and began to grow. The
vegetables began to produce enough for the family to have an almost decent
meal at night and they settled into their new way of life.

      They all missed their friends from home, from the village. The woman
missed sitting in the sun, doing her knitting and laughing with her
neighbours. The man missed his mates and their weekly strolls to the
beerhall at the growth point.

      The children missed their friends, missed going together to herd the
mombes (cattle) and catch the goats which had broken their tethers. But this
was their new home now. This was uncrowded land and the government had
promised them so much.

      Sometimes they managed to afford batteries for the radio and they
would listen to all the ministers promising schools, clinics, roads,
boreholes and irrigation pipes.
      They had great plans and dreams for the future. They knew many of the
wild animals had been snared and poached by other settlers who were not
farmers, but there must be some left and they would surely return.

      They knew many of the trees had been sacrificed to build their houses
and feed their fires, but surely they would plant more in the years ahead.
The maize was coming on well, but the man and his wife decided they would
have to sell half of the fertiliser the government had given them.

      They needed school fees and the children needed new T-shirts and
shoes. The rain stopped and the dry days became weeks and then months. God
help them, it was a drought. Still the white farmer's fields were empty,
most of his workers had gone and now most of his cattle had been sold.

      The vegetables withered in the roasting sun and for most of the day,
the couple toiled backwards and forwards for water to keep the last of their
vegetables alive.
      It was not often they could afford the batteries for their radio
anymore, but they sold a few sweet potatoes and sat together listening to
Minister Nkomo as he spoke on the radio.

      Could it be them Nkomo was referring to? "Pretenders and impostors who
arrived after the 31 March 2001"? Surely they were not the "non-deserving
applicants" he spoke about. But where would they go now, their place in the
communal land had long since been given to others.

      How could they now do as Minister Nkomo ordered and "move out to where
they came from"? But it was too late, the police trucks came and it was all
over. As they left with what was left of their ragged possessions they
looked for the last time across the white farmer's fields.

      He too had gone. He too was not wanted in this place. The settler and
the commercial farmer were now the same - impostors on the land.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Dialogue failure not a signal for violence

      5/22/02 8:56:12 AM (GMT +2)

      THE failure of the dialogue between Zanu PF and the MDC, which many
observers familiar with the political pulse of Zimbabwe had predicted, must
not lead to wholesale inter-party violence.

      This may be difficult, given the polarisation spawned by the
disastrous presidential election, marked by murder and mayhem on a
disturbing scale.
      But it is time for the political leaders to examine their consciences,
perhaps for once in their lives, and realise what ruin they are inflicting
on their own people through their political vanity.

      There are elements on both sides ready to exploit the dialogue failure
to foment violence for their own selfish ends. The party leaders must urge
restraint and not make boastful public declarations of being masters of

      It is time for the political leadership in both parties to forget
their own warped ambitions for power, to concentrate instead on their
country's political and economic

      Already, as a result of setting political goals which bear no
resemblance to the interests of the people of Zimbabwe, the politicians have
turned a once beautiful country into an economic backwater and a pariah
among the nations of the world.

      The very fact that the dialogue took place at all seemed to signal a
nascent political maturity which most people hoped would eventually seep to
the very core of both parties' membership, including their respective groups
of hotheads who believe brawn achieves more results than brains.

      The MDC has responded to the failure of the dialogue with warnings of
mass action. Zanu PF has countered this with its own warning against such
action, which it promises to crush.

      The major canker in the dialogue was the recognition of the Mugabe
presidential election victory by the MDC. The opposition rightly pointed out
that its rejection
      of the election result was a major factor in its decision to enter the
dialogue in the first place.

      If it accepted that President Mugabe had been freely and fairly
re-elected as president, and was the leader of a legitimate government, then
what would all the fuss be about?

      Zanu PF wanted the MDC to virtually lie down and die, as PF-Zapu did
after the unity accord it signed with Zanu PF in 1987. The MDC decided to go
to court to have its case against the election victory heard and let the
chips fall where they may. There are provisions in the Constitution for the
election victory to be challenged. So there was nothing illegal or even
illogical about the MDC case.

      There were elements on both sides which did not give the talks any
chance of success at all. They had convincing reasons for their scepticism.
After the chaotic presidential election and the rejection of its outcome by
most of the world, the MDC called for a rerun, supervised by international
monitors. Zanu PF would not hear of it: its candidate had been elected in a
free and election.

      So, 22 years after independence, Zimbabwe is once again at the
crossroads, as it was shortly after independence in 1980 and the guerrillas
of the two movements who had fought side by side as the Patriotic Front to
help free the country had drawn their guns against each other.

      Soon after that what was truly the slaughter of innocents ensued, with
thousands killed in a senseless orgy of internecine bloodletting whose scars
remain to this day.
      Independence is sweet, as the people of East Timor discovered this
week, after 400 years of occupation by the Portuguese and 25 years by
Indonesia. Thanks to their own fighting spirit, they triumphed over the
imperialistic designs of the Jakarta regime in 1999, with the loss of 25 000
of their people.

      Thanks to the United Nations, East Timor became this week the first
independent nation of the new millennium. Zimbabweans, remembering their
hopes and dreams as they became independent in 1980, must have a word of
advice for the East Timorese: don't let your leadership ever take you for
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Daily News

      ICFTU condemns Mugabe's tightening grip on trade unions

      5/22/02 10:00:17 AM (GMT +2)

      The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has
stated its continued concern about President Mugabe's tightening grip on the
free organisation of workers in Zimbabwe.

      The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) reports it still is
targeted through police intimidation, government threats and the arbitrary
use of the repressive Public Order and Security Act.

      The ZCTU came in a special focus of government harassment after its
former leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, became leader of Zimbabwe's main political

      Following bitterly a contested presidential election in a country
where 80 percent of the population now live in abject poverty, the Mugabe
regime has once again taken steps to drive Zimbabwe further into the
dictatorial grip, says ICFTU Press officer Louis Belanger.

      "Instead of aiding the struggling workers of his country, Mugabe has
incessantly continued to target the ICFTU-affiliated ZCTU," he adds. In
April, a High Court ruling expressively had allowed trade union meetings
without police interference, referring to national law.

      Belanger, however, points out that "the government-led harassment has
not abated", calling it a "flagrant disregard" of the court's ruling. The
crackdown on activities of the ZCTU had included threats from Home Affairs
Minister John Nkomo to outlaw the union, the propping up of a new union -
controlled by the ruling party Zanu PF - at the expense of the ZCTU, and
further police harassment of legal trade union meetings.

      Only recently, the police persistently had demanded to be present at a
ZCTU-run trade union seminar in Bulawayo. The ICFTU had once again been "led
to address a letter to the Zimbabwean President to express its outrage at
his disregard of basic trade union rights", Belanger says.

      In the letter, ICFTU General Secretary, Guy Ryder, urged Mugabe "to
take immediate action to put a stop to these threats and to all actions by
the authorities that interfere with the ZCTU's legitimate trade union
activities, and to ensure respect for and promotion of internationally
accepted labour standards and practices".
      The ZCTU has become Mugabe's scapegoat for an ever-deteriorating
socio-economic situation for which he is to blame, added Ryder.

      "The ZCTU is a legally constituted trade union federation striving to
promote workers' interests. The ICFTU is calling on international solidarity
to ensure maximum pressure on the Mugabe regime for the need to guarantee
accepted labour standards, not to trample over workers' rights," said Ryder.

      The government holds that ZCTU is controlled by the opposition party
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      It sees its views confirmed by the union's failed attempts to organise
a general strike after the rigged March presidential election, where ZCTU
supported the MDC's interpretation that the vote had "been stolen" by

      ZCTU has also organised large manifestations and strikes protesting
the country's economic collapse, which they hold is a result of Mugabe's
failed policies. - afrol News Mliswa refused to be interviewed

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Daily News

      Chinhoyi MDC officials released without charge

      5/22/02 9:51:50 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      SIX executive members of the MDC's Mashonaland West provincial
executive were on Monday released without charge by the Chinhoyi police
after they had spent a night in the cells for allegedly contravening the
draconian Public Order and Security Act.

      Silas Matamisa, the Mashonaland West MDC chairman, his deputy, Simon
Mudzingwa and four officials were picked up by the police on Sunday morning
from their respective homes for allegedly holding a secret meeting with
commercial farmers on the outskirts of the town last month.

      They were alleged to have hatched a plan to topple and assasinate
resident Mugabe during the meeting with the commercial farmers. Other
members arrested were Leonard Maphosa, Henry Muungani, Alexio Harinongwi and
Matamisa's son, Ronald.

      Tapiwa Muchineripi, the quartet's lawyer on Monday said: "My clients
were released without charge and the police will proceed by way of summons."
The MDC head office in Harare, meanwhile, condemned the arrest of the four.

      Learnmore Jongwe, the party's official spokesman said: "The MDC view
the arrests as another desperate effort by Mugabe's illegitimate regime to
harass and frustrate party officials in a bid to weaken the party.

      "No such meeting took place as alleged by the police and the arrest is
viewed as part of the ongoing onslaught on MDC officials by a desperate
illegitimate regime."

      The party's president Morgan Tsvangirai, the secretary-general
Welshman Ncube, and the shadow minister of agriculture and MP Renson Gasela
will appear in court next week to answer charges of plotting to assasinate
Mugabe. The trio, if convicted could be sentenced to life imprisonment or
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Comment from the Ottawa Citizen, 21 May

Africa's obligations

Mere promises to clean house won't end poverty and corruption

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is doing a fine job of ensuring that next month's G8 summit in Alberta will honour its pledge to make Africa a key topic for discussion. Of course, talking about Africa is easy; figuring out how best to help it escape poverty and corruption is much harder. Most of the countries that will be represented at Kananaskis have decades of experience providing African aid. Unfortunately, much of that experience has been bad: conditions in Africa have actually worsened in recent years. The average life expectancy for sub-Saharan Africans is 47 years and dropping, in large part due to the AIDS/HIV epidemic. One-fifth of Africa's population is affected by war. Nearly 500 million Africans live in extreme poverty, a number that, if left unchecked, will grow to 600 million by 2015. Africa is the only region in the world where the number of children out of school is rising. And so on.

Part of the blame for Africa's decline rests with donor countries and international agencies that tried to apply inappropriate forms of aid. Huge infrastructure projects that dominated aid programs in the 1960s and 1970s saddled Africa with roads, dams and railways it could not afford to operate or maintain and massive debts it could never repay. Trade barriers prevented Africa from selling goods to raise much-needed foreign exchange. Western-supplied arms fuelled many of the continent's bloody wars. But mostly, Africa has regressed because its own leaders have failed to govern effectively and stamp out corruption. Now those leaders want western countries to believe they are ready to take responsibility for their own development. They want the G8 and other donors to write off even more debts and pump as much as $64 billion a year into African nations to eliminate the income gap with developed countries. In return, the leaders promise, yet again, to put their houses in order.

These leaders promise to conduct "peer review" of how well African governments respect democracy, uphold the rule of law and crack down on corruption. Yet they have already failed their first opportunity to do so by staying silent about Robert Mugabe's repeated assaults on democracy and property rights in Zimbabwe. It's right that Africans take charge of their own development, and yes, they do need western aid for that. But G8 leaders should only provide new money when they're convinced Africa's pledges are more than just words. Africa's needs are huge, but aid spending must not exceed the continent's ability to administer it properly. Donor nations must find better ways to ensure full accountability for money already spent, a review of how well a given project is meeting its intended goal and proof that the government of the country receiving the cash is respecting the democratic rights of its citizens. Some may see this as paternalistic, but it's not. We have an obligation to ensure that African leaders use aid money for its intended purpose.

In order not to punish Africa's poor if these conditions are not met, G8 countries should continue to channel aid to small-scale projects focusing on health, sanitation and education, implemented by non-governmental organizations rather than state institutions. But more helpful to Africans than aid, the G8 members meeting in Kananaskis should take tangible steps to eliminate trade barriers that block African exports to developed countries. They should stop selling arms to governments that use them to attack their neighbours or their own citizens. And they should insist on strict conditions for increasing aid money to African countries led by people who want the world to believe they have changed their stripes - but who often act as if they haven't.

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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 22 May

Nepad should be driven by the people

Colm Allan and Zohra Dawood

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) is a unique opportunity to improve governance in Africa and lure investment to our suffering continent. But its conception of government accountability will have to be redefined. The inclusion of African civil society, particularly, in its proposed monitoring mechanisms would give the plan real weight on the continent. Nepad's proponents see it as an external partnership between African leaders and international donor governments. Its foundation stone is a commitment to uphold global standards of democracy and good governance. But if these are to become real, Nepad will have to be transformed into an internal relationship of accountability between African governments and their own citizens.

The acceptance of the outcome of the recent Zimbabwean presidential elections as "legitimate" by many African leaders, including Thabo Mbeki, has cast a shadow over Nepad's commitments. In this context, neither African civil society nor international donors are likely to be convinced by mere promises. Both will want to see credible evidence that reform is happening in corrupt and conflict-ridden African states before they increase their support. From the viewpoint of African civil society, good governance means the accountable management of public resources in the best interests of citizens. It is not a personality trait of individual leaders, rather a continuing relationship of obligation between leaders and African people.

To make any judgement about good governance, this internal relationship has to be continuously monitored. Such monitoring needs to go beyond the formal enactment of democratic policies to substantive parliamentary and civil society oversight of the state. World financial institutions, donor governments and African civil society have a common interest in accurate and reliable information, not just on policy reforms, but about the resources available to African governments and how these are managed. African leaders have proposed a peer review mechanism to monitor compliance with Nepad's commitments. Composed of African heads of state, this would review compliance with good governance obligations by member states every three years. This mechanism will fail in its task if reviews happen periodically and rigorous criteria - and the consequences for deviant governments - are not spelled out. It seems that African heads of state will be left to judge their own performance.

The proposed peer review shows that Nepad leaders do not yet recognise accountable governance as a relationship of obligation between governments and citizens, rather than between governments. Competent and independent members of African civil society would be better placed to judge whether African governments are accountable to the people and to monitor compliance with Nepad. What is really needed is the creation of specialised independent monitoring institutions in all signatory states. Such bodies would have a number of advantages - foremost among them their independence from governments and heads of state. They would be able to monitor policy implementation, institutional performance and financial management continuously and in detail. The information they generate would reinforce the ability of African civil society to hold its own governments accountable. It would lay the basis for transforming Nepad into an initiative driven by the African people, rather than African governments alone.

Independent monitoring institutions would be an important break with the ineffectual approach adopted by donor governments and world financial bodies in the past. Many donor governments have been justly criticised for handing out aid on the basis of geopolitical and other considerations, and of judging the way it is used on the strength of their own strategic and political objectives. Financial institutions have been similarly criticised for imposing external macro-economic adjustment programmes on developing states in order to open up their economies and make them more competitive - generally at the expense of social welfare and educational infrastructure. Independent monitors would use as their standards domestic policy undertakings and Nepad commitments. The information they gather, and their assessment of government performance, could then provide the basis for attaching conditions to donor aid. These, in turn, would act as an incentive to Nepad signatories to bring about democratic reforms.

Of course, it will only be possible to base penalties and incentives on their information if the monitoring methods are rigorous and reliable. Two areas would have to be covered. The first is a focus on the central features of democracy, including basic constitutional, legislative and policy frameworks, to establish whether these can support democratic governance structures. Specifically, the monitors would seek to measure the degree of parliamentary and civil society oversight of signatory states. Secondly, a detailed review of public sector performance would be needed. What human and financial resources do governments make available through the national budget? How is the budget organised and how is money transferred to sub-national levels? How effectively do the executive members who manage resources plan for their use? How well do they implement these plans? Finally, how much service delivery or investment in infrastructure actually results?

Finding answers to these questions will mean detailed access to information on government budgets, tax revenues and spending. This in turn implies constitutional and legal provisions guaranteeing transparency and access to information. If these legislative guarantees are not in place, monitoring will be a non-starter. Any judgement on the performance of African leaders, or the accountability of African governments, will amount to little more than speculation.

Colm Allan is director of the Public Service Accountability Monitor at Rhodes University. Zohra Dawood is executive director, Open Society Foundation, South Africa, and is writing in her personal capacity.

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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Wednesday 22 May 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.


- More Section 8's and Section 7's were handed out in the last week.

Burma Valley - There has been continuous wire theft and the settlers seem to be fencing off their plots.

- The owner of Avoca Farm reported the chain on his gate was broken and a lorry carrying fertiliser entered the barn complex and proceeded to offload the contents. Lagnaha 1 Farm has been issued a Section 8 Order.

Glendale - The owner of Kildrum Farm received a Section 8 Order. The settlers on the farm expressed a wish to grow wheat. They intimated they would like to use the owner’s irrigation equipment. The leading "war vet" for the area is still threatening many of the farmers.

Beatrice - A resumption of pressure by workers against a farmer to pay terminal benefits was brought under control by the police.  An elderly couple returning from leave found settlers on their verandah with their belongings.  When the police were contacted, they were told they received a Section 8 in January and therefore should be out of their house.  At this stage they remain in their house.  Eight farmers were visited by ZRP who took inventories of their movables and firearms, and questioned them on their farming intention for the coming year.  On 18.05.02 and 19.05.02, all farms were visited by ZRP with a questionnaire: the questions covered 1 – Owner; 2 - farm name on title deed; 3 - what designation the farm had received, and if so, was it for A1 or A2 settlement; 4 - how many settlers are resident on the farm; 5 - list of moveable assets; 6 - list of household furniture; 7 - list of firearms including serial numbers; 8 - how many workers employed; 9 - how many cattle; 10 - list of reports to police.

Harare South - the owner of one farm, who had arranged to meet with the DA, was approached by the resident settlers and verbally abused whilst waiting.  A labourer on a farm was assaulted.  The DA and settlers arrived on one farm wanting to see owner who was not present and said that they were coming to plant a crop on the farm.  Three farmers in the area were visited with the same questionnaire as Beatrice. 

Macheke/Virginia – two work stoppages, one new farm invasion and tyres stolen on Centre Pivot were reported.

Wedza - Six farmers received Section 8 orders over the weekend.  One farmer was told to vacate his property by the end of June, and had switchgear stolen from two transformers and the pump station.  61 head of cattle were also moved on to this farm.  The owner was asked to do land prep for wheat and that he could move his ungraded tobacco off the farm.

No report received.

Norton - On River Gardens Farm there was a "Herald" headline entitled "Maize allegedly poisoned".  The maize pictured was green maize, which was not poisoned, but is nearly ready to be shelled after harvesting.  The maize referred to is Diplodia infected maize, that is unfit for animal or human consumption.  It was infected during wet weather in the 2000/2001 season.  The farmer in question has not been allowed to return to his farm for the last three weeks, even though the farm had not been listed until last Friday and is a single owned farm of only 126 hectares.  Illegal occupiers still had an illegal roadblock up when Police last went to visit the property.  The situation along the Porta Road, where farmers have been illegally evicted from their farms, remains mostly unchanged, although one farmer appears to be allowed back on to his farm.

Selous - On Virginia Farm many of the workers’ houses have been dismantled by settlers.  On Mount Carmel Farm an in-calf Eland Cow was found snared. 

Chegutu - On Kalembo Farm a vehicle was stolen.

Chakari - On Deweras Farm President's Office officials continue to utilise DDF tractors and GMB inputs, thereby depriving the owner of the use of his land to earn an income.  The owner and his father are on a single-owned farm and have previously sold three farms to Government.  They have nowhere else to go.  On Tawstock Farm settlers are demanding the use of the owner’s pumps and pipes.  There is still no one allowed to plant Wheat in this Farmers' Association area. 

General - At a meeting on 20.05.02, the Governor has asked farmers in the area to plant Wheat, but that they must have dialogue with the settlers to see if they also want to plant Wheat.  It was pointed out that farmers would be committing an offence under the law if they did plant Wheat, as most of them have Section 8 Orders.  No unlisted farms have had anyone removed from them, and no settlers put on to farms after the 31st March 2001 have been removed. 


Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.

Chiredzi - On Thursday 16.05.02, the cane cutter labour from Triangle Limited downed their tools and claimed they were going on strike. They ran through the school, which had prior warning that they would be coming and had just managed to move children to safety stockrooms. The labour proceeded to shake doors and rattle windows. On 17.05.02, they stated they would stay at home. On 18.05.02, the same crowd moved through Chiredzi Town and Police had to use tear gas to disperse them.  A meeting was held at the Council Office on the afternoon of 17.05.02 which was addressed by the Governor and Junior Lands Officer and attended by A2 resettled people and a few farmers. The Governor told the A2 Settlers to move on to properties, as the owners would start vacating between 25 – 29.05.02. The A2 Settlers were also told the cane crop belonged to them (A2 settlers).  Rampant poaching and theft are ongoing through the Chiredzi area.  The Wasarasara Ranch owner reports 5 km of fencing has been stolen.  Samba Ranch reports on 17.05.02, 30 settlers arrived and said they wanted to begin pegging their plots. "War vet" Mashiri stated if anyone was to get land it would be the settlers first.

Save Conservancy - On going poaching, snaring occurring within the Conservancy.

Mwenezi – on Limburgia Ranch two cattle were snared and a goat was taken from a pen overnight. The police reaction was reluctant. The police sergeant, Mudzingwa, sent out to investigate, apparently has a "stand" on Limburgia, which would explain his reticence. He is the appointed ZRP representative on the local land committee. The Kayansee Ranch labour was told on the afternoon of 17.05.02, to vacate the property immediately. The owner has 1700 head of cattle. He reported to the Beit Bridge Police who said they could not react unless instructed by the Police, Gwanda.

Gutu / Chatsworth - Blyth Farm reports that last week settlers stole 35 x 10 feet corrugated iron sheets from the sheep kraal and pigsty. They then tried to steal building materials from the farm labour houses. They succeeded in stealing 21 x 2.3m and 15 x 6m treated gun poles, 4 steel windows and frames, 2 doorframes, steel chairs and equipment from the dip tank. This was reported to Chatsworth Police Station and Sergeant Maekeka attended the scene, telling the owner the DA and the District Lands Committee had told the Police that the farm had been allocated to the settlers and that everything on the farm now belonged to the settlers. A question was raised as to how the owner could now lay charges with the Police if the farm and its belongings now belonged to the people he was accusing of theft!  The farm has only received a Section 5 notice and no evaluation has been carried out. This was further reported to the PA who confirmed these actions were not correct. He was assured the matter would be looked into and the DA informed. As of compiling this report no stolen property has yet been returned.

No report received.

- DDF want to plough on certain farms to grow a wheat crop.  A Mr Mkwananzi revisited Porter Farm and demanded the keys for the camp, which he was denied.  After looking at the irrigation set up he then left.  Other than these incidents Nyamandlovu has been reasonably quiet.                                               Visit the CFU Website

Unless specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.

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Zimbabwe to set trial date for journalists

HARARE, May 22 - Zimbabwean prosecutors said on Wednesday a trial date would
be set next week for two journalists charged with publishing a false story
that President Robert Mugabe's supporters beheaded a woman in a rural

       Prosecutor Thabani Mpofu told Harare magistrates court the state
would set a trial date for Lloyd Mudiwa, a reporter with Zimbabwe's
privately owned Daily News, and Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for
Britain's Guardian newspaper, at their next remand hearing on May 30.
Meldrum is a U.S. national.
       The Daily News published an unverified story on April 23 citing a man
who claimed his wife had been beheaded by ruling ZANU-PF party militants
while his two children watched.
       Several international newspapers including the Guardian carried the
story. But the Daily News later said it had doubts about the alleged murder
after failing to locate the woman's grave. The paper apologised to Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party.
       Daily News editor-in-chief Geoffrey Nyarota was arrested and charged
over the same story on Monday under a tough media law widely seen as
targeting private media critical of Mugabe's rule.
       Eleven journalists have been arrested since Mugabe signed the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act into law soon after his
controversial re-election in March.
       On Tuesday police pressed fresh charges of publishing obscene
statements and pictures against former government spokesman Bornwell
Chakaodza, now editor of the private weekly Sunday Standard, and the paper's
entertainment editor Fungayi Kanyuchi.
       Their lawyer Linda Cook confirmed on Wednesday that the newsmen were
charged with contravening Zimbabwe's Censorship and Entertainment Control
       ''They were called by the police to sign statements yesterday. They
(police) haven't told us precisely what they are going to do,'' Cook told
       Chakaodza, Kanyuchi and Standard reporter Farai Mutsaka were
initially arrested last week for allegedly publishing two false stories,
including one accusing some policemen of demanding sex from prostitutes
caught soliciting on the streets.
       Under the media law, journalists can face fines of up to Z$100,000
($1,820) or up to two years in jail if they are found guilty of publishing
       Mugabe's government has been accused of cracking down on journalists
since March 9-11 presidential polls which were rejected as fraudulent by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and major Western countries.

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Crop Production Lowest in 12 Years

The Daily News (Harare)
May 22, 2002
Posted to the web May 22, 2002
Takaitei Bote

THE 2001/2002 farming season, whose crops were negatively affected by a
drought and land seizures, is one of the lowest production years in the
12-year period from the 1990/1991 season, the Central Statistic Office
(CSO), has said.
In its latest crop forecast for the year 2001/2002 farming season, the CSO
said the country is expected to produce a total maize crop which is 60
percent less than last year's production of about 1,4 million tonnes.
A total maize output of about 594 500 tonnes of yellow and white maize is
expected to be harvested this year, according to the CSO.
Zimbabwe, already facing severe food shortages, needs about two million
tonnes of maize for annual consumption.
The Grain Marketing Board, which has the monopoly to import maize, is
failing to procure enough food supplies for the starving millions in the
The CSO said the reduction in crop production was not only felt in the maize
sector but other crops, which contribute significant foreign currency
earnings to the country, were severely affected by drought this year.
Cotton production is expected to be 20 percent down on last year's
production of 282 143 tonnes. A total cotton crop of 226 742 tonnes is
Under normal circumstances, cotton is considered the country's second
largest foreign currency earner after tobacco.
The CSO estimates a total flue-cured tobacco crop of about 167 million kg,
which is about 12 percent down on last year's production of 200 million kg.
Zimbabwe earned about $35 billion from flue-cured tobacco exports last year.
Soyabean, the bulk of which is produced by large-scale commercial farmers,
the majority of whose farms are currently being acquired for the land reform
programme, is expected to be reduced in production by about 51 percent from
last year's production.
A total soyabean crop of about 85 100 tonnes, down on last year's 175 000
tonnes is anticipated, the CSO said.
Small-grain crops such as groundnuts, sorghum, mhunga and rapoko were spared
by the drought this year and crop output is expected to be reduced by 67,
55, 80 and 70 percent, respectively.
The paprika sector, considered to be one of the country's fastest growing
industries, is not developing either.
This year's paprika output is expected to be 65 percent down on last year's
output to 21 106 tonnes.

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Mugabe wants Congo deal with majority support

HARARE, May 22 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who has thousands of
troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said he would back a peace
deal that enjoyed the support of the Congolese majority, officials in Harare
said on Wednesday.
       They said Mugabe made the assurance when he held talks in Harare late
on Tuesday with Congolese rebel leader Adolphe Onusumba and veteran
opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.
       The two men are touring the region as members of a Congolese alliance
seeking all-inclusive talks to end the many-sided war, which has left more
than two million dead.
       The officials said Onusumba and Tshisekedi asked Mugabe for his
support in reconvening the so-called inter-Congolese dialogue to try to end
what has been dubbed Africa's World War One.
       The dialogue, grouping rebels, opposition, government and civic
society, collapsed last month.
       ''The president's attitude was that he will continue to support the
peace process in Congo, and that for it to last, that political process must
have the support of the majority of the Congolese people,'' one Zimbabwean
official told Reuters.
       The war erupted in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda invaded to support
rebel movements fighting then-President Laurent Kabila. Angola, Namibia,
Chad and Zimbabwe intervened to prop up the government.
       Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father as president, and Jean-Pierre
Bemba of the Ugandan-backed Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) rebel
group signed a partial deal to end the war at talks in South Africa's Sun
City in April.
       But the deal, under which Kabila becomes interim president and Bemba
prime minister, was rejected by Onusumba's Rwandan-backed Rally for
Congolese Democracy (RCD) and opposition political parties.
       The RCD and the parties led by Tshisekedi in turn formed their own
alliance to lobby regional heads of state to put pressure on Kabila and
Bemba to return to talks.
       That alliance named Tshisekedi as president and Onusumba as
       Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted sources at the Harare
meeting as saying Mugabe had told the team ''Zimbabwe would support an
agreement that commands the support of the majority of the Congolese
       ''According to the sources, Comrade Mugabe said it was imperative for
the Congo to avoid a resumption of fighting,'' the paper said.
       The Herald also quoted Onusumba as saying Mugabe could play a crucial
role in helping to restart the dialogue. The government in Kinshasa has so
far rejected calls for fresh talks saying it would go ahead and implement
its deal with Bemba.
       ''It (the Kabila-Bemba) is more likely to lead to the partition of
the Congo. It does not bring peace,'' Onusumba said.
       ''The way forward is to go and finish the talks,'' he told the
Herald, rejecting the Congo government's view that its agreement with Bemba
was backed by 80 percent of Congo's political forces.

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