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

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Mugabe attacks Blair, Bush and Tutu
Mon 24 May, 2004 04:35

LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched a
blistering tirade against Tony Blair and other world figures, accusing the
British premier of doing "mad things" and leading the world into turmoil.

In an interview to be screened by Sky News television on Monday, Mugabe said
Blair considered himself to be "superhuman" and looked down on other people.
He also criticised U.S. President George W Bush for "cheating the world"
over Iraq.

"They knew they were wrong by deciding to attack Iraq. They deceived the
world with lies, lies of mass deception, by telling them that there were
weapons of mass destruction," Mugabe said.

Mugabe said Blair still behaved as though Zimbabwe was a British colony and
was trying to control it.

"You can see some of the mad things he has done and the world is now in
turmoil," the Zimbabwean leader said.

"He has opposed us in my election, he has called upon nations to...regard
Zimbabwe as a lawless country, a country where democracy is not respected,
where there is no rule of law, where human rights do not exist, and all that
is a lie."

Mugabe also lashed out at South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who
recently likened the Zimbabwean president to an archetypal African dictator.

"He is an angry, evil and embittered little bishop," Mugabe said in

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, dismissed reports of organised
violence against supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) as "allegations".

He also denied using youth training camps to train young supporters of his
own ZANU-PF party to use violence on groups who oppose the government.

"It is a National Service, in a sense, this is a youth training scheme," he
said. "The youth must be developed and developed in respect of all skills.
They must think Zimbabwean, feel Zimbabwean and be nationally conscious."

Mugabe, 80, was re-elected in 2002 but the opposition MDC and several
Western countries say he rigged the elections.

He told Sky News he was unlikely to stand again when his term ends in 2008,
saying: "I also want to rest and do a bit of writing."

Mugabe denies charges his rule has caused an economic meltdown with soaring
inflation and unemployment, as well as persistent shortages of foreign

The veteran leader blames the ruin on sabotage by local and foreign
opponents of his policy of confiscating white-owned farms for redistribution
to landless blacks.

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Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:39 PM
Subject: re: Mugabe interview today on Sky News @ 11.30am, 3.30 & 10.30 pm

----- Original Message -----
To: SKY News
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 10:07 AM
Subject: Mugabe interview.

WHAT were the powers that be at SKY NEWS thinking?? Would they give hitler, idi amin, saddam hussein or ceausescu an hour long interview? So WHY give 6 mins airtime, let alone an hour, to this lying murderous dictator & members of his inner circle? ESPECIALLY after the appalling treatment the Sky News team has been subjected to! To say nothing of the way he constantly insults & trashes the British and their leaders.
Do your millions of viewers worldwide need(or even want) to be "convinced" of mugabe's twisted arguements? I THINK NOT!  After 24 years of systematically destroying a once fine country, the world knows the MONSTER mugabe is! Certainly, people can be gullible & stupid, but to deliberately feed them this absolute drivel is unacceptable! If more than 2% of viewers are taken in by this ghastly interview, it will be enough to make one lose faith in humanity! So what is it all about then ......a scoop? sensationalism? viewership percentages?
Innocent Chofamba Sithole of the Zim. Mirror newspaper, writing about the Sky News coverage, reports that the channel has come under immense pressure from British authorities NOT to air the interviews on account of their POSITIVE thrust (oh how sickening can Sky News get????)....which runs counter to the negative image of Zim, "conjured" in Brit. minds by "unrelenting anti-mugabe propaganda". !?!?!? And a zanu-pf spokesman has boasted that "the president has been interviewed for 50 mins, which is a long time , as there are few occasions when political leaders have been given such exposure in the international media, particularly in Europe!"   THANK YOU Sky News for playing right into the hands of that monster's propaganda machine!! They will milk it for everything they can get !
The Sky News piece recently on the militia camps & farm invasions was given a sympathetic slant...THAT was disappointing enough! But this "civilised" exposure of a powermad megalomaniac, who has ruined the country, brutally crushing the opposition, & who continues to systematically murder & starve his own people to remain topdog is just TOO MUCH!! Sky News should have put its finances, efforts, & considerable time into something infinately more worthwhile!
I hope that this entire sickening & disgusting interview backfires on you &  you will lose viwers as a result!  Sky News will cease to be my news channel of choice from hereon!
Colleen Henderson.(Zimbabwean in exile)
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Tutu ignores Mugabe's 'evil' comment

      May 24 2004 at 01:39PM

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will not be reacting to Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's charge that he is "evil", Tutu's office said on

Tutu, a past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has criticised Mugabe's
government for human rights and democratic abuses, and has described him as
a "caricature of an African dictator".

Mugabe's claim that Tutu is "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop" is
due to be broadcast in a SkyTV interview with the Zimbabwean ruler on

Tutu's secretary Lavinia Crawford-Browne said the archbishop was aware of
Mugabe's attack.

"He's not prepared to comment," she said.

Also targeted by Mugabe in the interview are British Prime Minister Tony
Blair and United States President George Bush. - Sapa

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Zimbabwe President Plans to Stay in Power

      Mon May 24,11:34 AM ET

By MICHAEL McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will stay in office as long as his
people want him to, but he does not plan to run for re-election in 2008, he
said in a television interview broadcast Monday.

Mugabe also lashed out at President Bush  and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair for the war in Iraq , telling Sky News TV "they deceived the world
with lies" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and now "the chickens
have come back to roost."

He also called South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a critic of Zimbabwe's
human rights record, "angry" and "evil."

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since it achieved freedom from Britain in
1980, appeared to dismiss the need for talks with his country's opposition
movement, which disputes his victory in the March 2002 election. Opposition
leaders and independent observers maintain Mugabe used intimidation and
vote-rigging to win the poll and continue his authoritarian rule.

"If there is business to negotiate about we will welcome negotiations,"
Mugabe told Sky News TV. "But if there is no business I don't see why we
should talk about negotiations."

Opposition lawmakers "are in parliament, they get their voices heard ... and
that's the normal way of running a democratic system."

When asked how long he intended to remain in office, Mugabe said, "For as
long as the people want me to stay, but not for eternity, of course."

He said he wanted to "rest and do a bit of writing."

Mugabe said he did not have a successor in mind.

The Zimbabwean leader criticized Bush and Blair for going to war in Iraq.

"They knew they were wrong by deciding to attack Iraq, they deceived the
world with lies, lies of mass deception, by telling them that there were
weapons of mass destruction, and they thought the world was going to be
cheated for all time," Mugabe said. "And there you are now, the chickens
have come back to roost."

He also said Blair, a strong critic of Zimbabwe's alleged human rights
abuses, has done "mad things ... and the world now is in turmoil."

Mugabe also singled out Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts against apartheid in South Africa.

Mugabe described Tutu as "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop, you
see, who thinks that his own views should hold.

"He was a frightened man during the apartheid era and the little he did was
perhaps just to criticize and criticize even in an innocent way, apartheid,"
Mugabe said.

Zimbabwe faces its worst political and economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980. The often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned
farms for redistribution to blacks, coupled with erratic rains, have
crippled the agriculture of a nation that was once a regional bread basket.

During the past three years, Zimbabwe's economy has been in spiraling
decline with 3.3 million people reliant for survival on international
donors' food relief.

In the interview, Mugabe stood by his government's forecast for a bountiful
harvest this year that will be more than enough to feed his people.

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Sky News


Sky News Africa Correspondent Stuart Ramsay explains the long battle that
Sky fought to secure the Robert Mugabe interview:

In recent weeks the Sky News Africa Bureau was allowed to film as an
accredited news organisation in Zimbabwe.

This was a rare event in recent years for any journalists, and was almost
unheard of for British reporters.

Securing this interview was a tortuous process that began over a year ago.

It involved meetings between Sky News Foreign Editor Adrian Wells and later
Africa Producer Ben dePear with senior Zanu PF figures.

It became apparent that other major news organisations were attempting to
contact the increasingly remote or cosseted President through

They were playing on their contacts with the inner circle of advisers to Mr

In the last few weeks we filmed and reported from Zimbabwe on all of the key
issues affecting the country.

There were no deals with the Zimbabwean government or the President's men on

But it was clear they wanted to see for themselves how we worked.

We were concerned throughout that any broadcast prior to the interview had
to be balanced and open to professional scrutiny.

Senior editorial staff at Sky News were clear that we were not in the
business of giving the Zimbabwean government favourable reports just to
secure the interview.

In fact the view was quite the opposite.

The first 15-minute report broadcast two weeks ago included government
ministers and supporters.

But they also featured, in equal measure, Mr Mugabe's opponents.

These included MDC leader Morgan Tsvangari and white farmers' spokesman John
Worsley, both of whom were highly critical of the government.

My commentary included allegations of rape and brutality at youth training

It also carried the criticism of the government's land redistribution
programme and subsequent economic decline.

Contacts reported that the President, while not exactly happy with the
report and certainly not agreeing with much of it, accepted that both sides
had been reported.

We knew then that we were in business.

It seems that the real movers behind this interview were from Zanu PF

For many months it had been intimated to us that Zanu PF had been concerned
about the image of both the country and the party to the outside world.

I did not meet any moderates when it came to following the government line.

But I did meet senior figures who believe the country can be turned around.

They also believe one of their best assets is the President himself - when
allowed to talk at length.

Certainly the Ministry of Information and the President's top adviser on the
media, Professor Jonathan Moyo, had taken a different line.

They prefer to keep foreign journalists out of the country and the President
under wraps.

But this time they failed.
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Sky News


For more than three years I was a banned person and Sky News was a banned
organisation, writes Sky News Africa Correspondent Stuart Ramsay.

But after a year of secretive discussions, an urbane, relaxed but distinctly
aging Robert Mugabe finally shook my hand.

He sat down for his first in-depth interview of this century.

The President of Zimbabwe answered questions on every issue and topic that
had led to his regime being characterised around the world as inept, racist
and corrupt.

In the interview he slammed Tony Blair as an arrogant colonialist "who
thinks himself superhuman - but isn't".

He dismissed Archbishop Desmond Tutu as "an angry, evil and embittered
little bishop".

And he accused Deputy Prime Minster John Prescott as being no better and no
different to a thug carrying out acts of political violence in Zimbabwe.

The 80-year-old President has to all intents and purposes run Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980.

After relatively good links with the international community he has in
recent years been stung by international condemnation.

His land reform programme has seen thousands of white farming families
kicked off their land.

It also contributed to his country's rapid and disastrous economic decline.

For the first time though, he conceded that there have been problems with
land distribution.

He accepted that as many as 60% of farms allocated to black farmers had not
been taken up as expected.

He denied, however, international estimates that the whole land programme
had been a disaster.

He also denied that the country was incapable of feeding itself - despite
all efforts to the contrary.

"The whites who were here were mere actor farmers. We brought in a system
which is much more enlightened than the system they had," he said.

"We are not hungry. Aid agency food should go to hungrier people, hungrier
countries than ourselves.

"They need the food and we urge it to go and do good work there."

President Mugabe at times seemed on the verge of losing his temper,
especially on the subjects of political violence and human rights abuses.

I asked him why Archbishop Desmond Tutu described him as an "archetypal
African dictator".

"He is an angry, evil embittered little bishop who thinks his own view
should hold.

"Should one little bishop become the proponent of our political system
here?" he countered.

"He was a frightened man during the apartheid era and the little he did was
perhaps just to criticise and criticise even in an innocent way.

"When called upon to do something, something that would distinguish him as a
supporter of the ANC, he didn't."

Mr Mugabe denied widespread political violence towards his political

Holding his balled fist in the air, he likened John Prescott's famous punch
to the violent actions of misguided youths.

"The Deputy Prime Minster beats a person, boxes a person, and that person
falls down.

"Is that more acceptable than the violence of a small group that might just
be mistaken in its own belief that violence will work?" he argued.
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From The Times, (UK), 24 May

Mugabe: we're no worse than Prescott

By Stuart Ramsay

A correspondent asks the leader of Zimbabwe about violence, poverty and

Zimbabwe government supporters who beat up dissenters are no worse than John
Prescott, President Mugabe has said. In his first interview with a British
news organisation for four years, Mr Mugabe told Sky News that Tony Blair
considers himself "superhuman" but is not, that the World Food Programme is
trying to foist food on Zimbabwe that it does not need, and that his
Government's drive to seize white farms and give them to black Zimbabweans
is "going to reinvigorate the economy". The interview took 15 months to
secure and was conducted in the elegant surroundings of State House. Looking
urbane, relaxed but showing the effects of age, the 80-year-old President
answered questions on the issues that have led to his regime being described
around the world as inept, racist and corrupt. His answers were charged with
hostility towards Mr Blair. "I don't know how Britain came by him. You can
see some of the mad things he has done and the world is now in turmoil," Mr
Mugabe said. He insisted that his Government wanted dialogue with Britain
but that Mr Blair "won't have it because he doesn't want to talk to us. We
are inferior. He is superhuman. No, and he won't be drawn into discussions
with us."

Mr Blair still considered Zimbabwe a colony, he said. The Prime Minister's
recent meeting with Colonel Gaddafi of Libya was "not just to get Libyan oil
but also to get Libya to desist from assisting us". The controversy over
England's autumn tour to Zimbabwe was Mr Blair using "the cricket bat as a
weapon against Mugabe". But Mr Mugabe gave no ground when asked about the
many charges levelled against his own regime. Questioned about the violent
suppression of political opponents by supporters of his ruling Zanu PF
party, he suggested that such incidents were no worse than the action of Mr
Prescott in hitting a protester during the 2001 general election campaign.
"The Deputy Prime Minister beats a person, boxes a person and that person
falls down," he said, holding his balled fist in the air. "(You mean) that
is more acceptable than the violence of a small group that might just be
mistaken in its own belief that violence will work?" He admitted only to
"hitches" in the 2002 general election, which international observers said
was stolen. "We say the election was fair. We say all the African groups
pronounced the election fair." He denied recent reports that Zanu PF had set
up training camps to teach young Zimbabweans brutal methods of suppression.
The camps were a programme of National Service, he said. The allegations
came from "people who do not want us to train the youth, who fear that
perhaps we are training the youth to be nationalistic, to respect their own
culture and the African personality".

He also denied that Zimbabwe faced mass starvation, despite mounting
evidence to the contrary and dire warnings from international aid agencies.
"We will have enough food for the country and with a surplus," he insisted.
He had expelled the World Food Programme this month because its assistance
"should go to hungrier people, hungrier countries than ourselves . . . Why
foist this food upon us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough."
Despite crippling debts, 600 per cent inflation, and a 40 per cent economic
contraction between 1999 and 2003, Mr Mugabe likewise insisted that the
economy was "now improving - it is getting out of that mess". He admitted
that there were corrupt individuals in his party, but when asked if he
himself was corrupt replied: "Oh come on, come on, come on." The mansion,
said to cost £14 million, being built for him on the edge of Harare, was a
present from Zanu PF, he said. Malaysia was donating the timber and China,
another friendly nation, the roofing materials. Mr Mugabe said that he would
stay in office "as long as the people want me to stay", and had no successor
in mind. However, he doubted that he would stand again. Mr Mugabe was
apparently persuaded to grant the interview by senior members of Zanu PF,
concerned about the image of their country and their party in the outside
world. They still believed that the country could be turned around, and that
one of their best assets was the President, when allowed to talk at length.

Stuart Ramsay is Africa Correspondent of Sky News
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From The Guardian (UK), 24 May

Mugabe says he will refuse food aid

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria

The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, angrily denies that his country
needs food aid and rejected charges that his government inflicts human
rights abuses in an interview with Sky News released today. In the
interview, the first Mr Mugabe has given to British media for several years,
the leader clung to his position that the Blair government is responsible
for whatever problems his country is facing. He also attacked Bishop Desmond
Tutu and Bulawayo's Archbishop Pius Ncube as "unholy men". Critics in
Zimbabwe say the interview exposes Mr Mugabe as a leader out of touch with
the reality of his country. Mr Mugabe said his government would not accept
international food aid in the coming year. "We are not hungry. It should go
to hungrier people, hungrier countries than ourselves," he said. "Why foist
this food upon us? We don't want to be choked, we have enough." He said
Zimbabwe would produce 2.3m tonnes of maize this year, though independent
and international food monitors have dismissed the figures as fantasy and
completely unrealistic. They warn of widespread famine if Mr Mugabe does not
permit international aid. Mr Mugabe rejected charges that torture, rape and
terror are being inflicted by his youth militia on the opposition and the
wider population. "These are the allegations being made by people who do not
want us to train the youth, who fear perhaps we are training the youth to be
nationalistic, to respect their own culture and respect the African
personality," he said.

He denied documented reports of systematic human rights abuse by police and
other groups, suggesting that any violence came from over-zealous supporters
of his Zanu PF party. "We have millions of supporters in the country but you
also get small groups naturally that act in order to demonstrate that they
are strong in particular areas especially when they are provoked and in the
majority of cases because of the provocation of MDC." Mr Mugabe's assertions
fly in the face of several reports by human rights groups which state that
police and groups allied to his party are responsible for more than 90% of
the political violence in the country. When confronted with the criticism of
the retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu that Mr Mugabe now resembles a
caricature of an African dictator, he dismissed the Nobel peace prizewinner
as "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop". Mr Mugabe said the
archbishop "was a frightened man during the apartheid era and the little he
did was perhaps just to criticise in an innocent way. When called upon to do
something that would distinguish him as supporter of the ANC, he didn't." He
also turned on the Catholic Archbishop of Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo,
who has claimed that 10,000 Zimbabweans in his Matabeleland region died of
hunger-related causes last year. "That's another Tutu, the bishop, an unholy
man, he thinks he is holy and telling lies all the day, every day," said Mr
Mugabe. "Oh come on, 10,000 people, where did they die? Even show me a
single person who died of hunger." Some Zimbabweans said the interview
demonstrated that Mr Mugabe has lost touch. "He is delusional about food
production, in denial about violence, and abusive about Desmond Tutu, Pius
Ncube and other critics," said Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe
Independent. "This is self-evidently a leader who has lost direction. All he
can do is shake his fists at a world he no longer understands." Mr Mugabe
repeated the assertion that he intends to serve out his current term, which
lasts until 2008, when he will be 86. He said he has no successor in mind.
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Business Report

      Deadline for white Namibian farmers to offer land to state
      May 24, 2004

      By Brigitte Wieldich

      Ongombo West, Namibia - Four generations of farming in Hilde Wiese's
family are about to come to an end following a Namibian government order to
sell their farm.

      Wiese is among 15 white farm owners who were told by lands minister
Hifikepunye Pohamba to "make an offer" within 14 days to sell their property
and enter into talks on the expropriation. The deadline expires today.

      Wiese owns Ongombo West, a farm located about 50km from Windhoek,
where she and her son Andreas raise cattle, grow vegetables and for the past
five years produce arum lilies for export to Germany and The Netherlands
            "We have to sell the farm to the government, what else can we

      But a dispute with six black labourers who were evicted from the farm
put Wiese in the spotlight of land ownership in Namibia.

      "We have to sell the farm to the government, what else can we do?"
Andreas said.

      President Sam Nujoma singled out the Wiese farm in a speech at a May
Day rally, saying "some of the whites are behaving as if they came from
Holland or Germany. We can drive them out of this land."

      The president's tirade was the last straw for the Wieses, who feel
they are scapegoats in a political campaign that is heating up ahead of
elections in November and Nujoma's upcoming retirement.

      "President Nujoma mentioned me by name and called me a 'criminal'. Our
case is being used to set a precedent," said Andreas.

      Namibia's mainly white Agricultural Union has asked the government to
extend the 14-day deadline, saying the criteria for choosing the 15 were

      The order to the white farmers to sell their property has raised fears
that Namibia may be on the same path as Zimbabwe, where land from white
farmers was seized, some forcibly.

      But the government maintains land reform will be carried out in the
context of the law and is necessary to address the fact that most of
Namibia's arable land is in white hands.

      Two years ago, members of Nujoma's governing Swapo Party marched on a
farm near the town of Gobabis, broke the locks on the gate and slashed the
tyres of tractors while shouting anti-white slogans after the farmer won a
court order to evict his labourers.

      The Wiese family had a similar eviction order in hand when six black
workers, their wives and 10 children were removed from their farm a few days
before Christmas last year.

      The Wieses wanted the six to leave after a dispute over a goose that
was accidentally killed by one of the workers turned nasty and Andreas was

      A labour court in February ordered the workers be reinstated and the
six are back at work but are refusing to move back into their humble houses
on the farm.

      "We don't know that we can go and live there again", says Amanda
Hoebes, who lives in a tent provided by the government.

      "We heard of the eviction and we hope we can settle once the owners
are gone," Hoebes said.

      She said the government has been providing them with fresh water once
a week and also food.

      At the Wiese family, work is winding down in anticipation of the sale.
A campsite on the farm is closed and no lilies have been planted in recent

      "Our future is too uncertain now," says Andreas, who declined to
discuss their offer to sell.

      "I am sad about our family graves here on the farm. What will happen
to them once we are gone?" Wiese worries.

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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!



Sokwanele reporter

24 May 2004

Violence and lawlessness continue unabated in Zimbabwe.  Over the weekend a serious assault took place on a ranch manager and some of his game scouts in the Save Valley Conservancy. Anthony Bodington is the manager of Masapas Ranch within the Conservancy.  On Friday 21st May he and six of his scouts were ambushed and attacked by an assorted group of war vets, poachers and illegal squatters. Their assailants were armed with knobkierries, assegais and machetes. They were abducted and held overnight in the bush where they were severely tortured. During the course of their ordeal they were subjected to gross verbal and physical abuse. The physical abuse included severe beatings with knobkerries which resulted in bruises, broken limbs and widespread lacerations. A game scout was stabbed and Bodington, for whom the assailants appear to have reserved the worst of their venom, was at one time held down and made to endure the motions as if they were going to cut off his arm.


The abductees were rescued from the gang of violent thugs early the following morning by a ZRP support unit.  All were in poor shape and they required immediate medical attention.  Bodington who was severely traumatized was admitted to hospital in Triangle.  Full medical details of the injuries have been recorded and graphic photos reveal how savage and prolonged was the attack.   


The police took down statements from those abused and have already made 33 arrests in connection with the incident. It is understood that one of those who led the attack, named Chirapa, was among those arrested.  He is already on a charge of assault with intent to cause gross bodily harm in connection with an assault incident which occurred in 2002.  On that occasion it is believed he and a brother of the same name led a group of more than 20 illegal squatters in a vicious attack on another senior member of the team managing Masapas Ranch.  That case has inexplicably been postponed time and again.


The intervention of the police and arrest of some of the violent thugs responsible is a welcome development, though time will tell if they are to be prosecuted with the full force of the law.  This aside, the continued presence of armed gangs of violent thugs who can, at will, abduct innocent citizens and carry out such murderous attacks upon them, dispels once and for all the notion that the level of violence and lawlessness is abating in Zimbabwe.


Photographes available on request




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Zimconsult   Independent economic & planning consultants
Implications of 2003/04 Cropping season

Prepared for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
April 2004




3.1 Demand
3.2 Production
3.3 Urban Maize

4.1 Maize Seed
4.2 Shortage of Fertilizers
4.3 Tillage
4.4 Rainfall
4.5 Combined Effects of the above Four Factors

5.1 Mashonaland West
5.2 Mashonaland East
5.3 Mashonaland Central
5.4 Manicaland
5.5 Midlands
5.6 Masvingo
5.7 Matabeleland North & South
5.8 Peri Urban Agriculture
5.9 Provincial Findings at a Glance



ARDA Agriculture & Rural Development Authority
CFU Commercial Farmers' Union
CSO Central Statistics Office
DDF District Development Fund
FAO Food & Agriculture Organisation
FEWSNET Famine Early Warning System Network
GMB Grain Marketing Board
ICFU Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union
MDC Movement for Democratic Change
NRZ National Railways of Zimbabwe
SADC Southern African Development Community
UNDP United Nations Development Program
VIDCO Village Development Committee
WFP World Food Program
ZFU Zimbabwe Framers' Union


Since the Zimbabwe Government embarked on its fast track land resettlement
programme, the food situation, particularly in respect of the staple maize,
has been getting worse every year. Initially people were talking of food
shortage, but "famine" would now seem a more appropriate term to apply to
the situation the country now faces. "Famine" has been used to describe
situations of extreme food scarcity and starvation in countries such as
Ethiopia and Eritrea. Nobody ever contemplated that Zimbabwe, formerly the
bread-basket of southern Africa, would come to be referred to in terms of

The fast track resettlement programme was officially completed in August
2002. Theoretically, it should therefore have been possible to properly plan
for the 2003/4 agriculture season, at least in respect of ensuring that
enough maize would be planted. As will become evident in this report, there
was no such planning. The certain consequences are going to be severe
shortages of food, although just how severe is unclear due to lack of
information. In the past, information about the food supply situation in the
country was given to anybody interested, but in the current situation of
policy-induced food scarcity and the militarization of the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), the public is deliberately denied access to information.
Independent observers who monitor food demand and supply trends are
concerned about the spectre of famine. The donors, who must be thanked for
saving the lives of well over 6 million people over the past three years,
are exasperated by the lack of information.

On its part, the government is content to manipulate food for political
gain, and appears quite unconcerned about the plight of the people. This
lack of care by the government is evident, for example, in the government's
unwillingness to approach UNDP for food assistance in a timely fashion. The
World Food Programme (WFP) cannot begin to approach donors until an official
request has been received. Last year, as the well documented concerns voiced
by the opposition party and the donor community became more insistent, the
government request was finally made in July 2003. This year, with an
election in prospect and control over food therefore more important than
ever to a self interested government, it is remains in doubt whether any
official request will be submitted at all. It is against this background
that it was considered important to carry out an independent study of the
food situation in the country.


The study is based on a physical survey of the crop in the ground in
parts of Mashonaland East, Central, West, Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo
provinces, together with information from other sources, including crop
forecasts by FEWSNET, the SADC Early Warning System and farmers'
organisations. The team undertook the field visits before analyzing
estimates by independent observers.

The field survey was spread over a 10 day period in early March 2004. The
team selected communal areas, resettlement areas, small-scale commercial
areas and new fast track resettlement areas in each province visited. The
selection took into account highly productive areas that would provide a
good and representative indicator of the amount of maize grown. The team was
interested to see the area under cultivation, the area fallow and quantity
and quality of maize stands. The team was able to talk to many farmers in
most of the areas visited.


3.1 Demand

The 1991-92 drought gave Zimbabwe a baseline figure for minimum consumption
requirements for both human beings and livestock. During that time, the
monthly sales of maize by GMB peaked a 150 000 tonnes, equivalent to annual
consumption of 1 800 000 tonnes of maize. In addition, GMB was importing
wheat and rice. Wheat sales amounted to 480 000 per year while rice was 24
000 tonnes per year. That brought the total cereals requirement to 2 304 000
tonnes per year. This was more than 10 years ago when the population was
estimated to be 10 million or so.   Considering maize and small grains only,
human consumption requirements are estimated to be 120 kgs per person per
year. Using a population of 11 million people the maize/small grains
requirements is 1 320 000 tonnes. The total requirements, taking into
account other consumption and strategic reserve needs, are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Maize / Small grain Consumption Requirements

Maize/Small Grains for humanconsumption 1 320 000 tonnes
Stockfeed    400 000 tonnes
Poultry      80 000 tonnes
Industrial ( brewers etc)    100 000 tonnes
Total Demand 1 900 000 tonnes
Strategic Reserves    500 000 tonnes
Grand Total 2 400 000 tonnes

3.2 Production

The bulk of this report deals in detail with the factors determining the
likely level of production in the current season, but it may be useful to
the reader to have a summary upfront of our production estimates. The
essential elements to be estimated are the area under production and the
average yield, these being determined in turn by the availability of seed,
fertiliser, tillage and rainfall.

On the basis of commercial seed availability, plus an estimate of the seed
planted from retentions from the previous year, the area being cropped is
thought to be between 1 280 000 ha and at most 1 600 000 ha. In view of the
deficient level of fertiliser available (30% of ideal requirements),
inadequate tillage and excessive rain at the end of the season (this
adversely affecting sorghum in particular), it is unlikely in our view that
the average yield will be higher than 0.5 tonnes per ha, and could well be
as low as 0.35 tonnes per ha. This compares with the previous national
average of 0.75 tonnes per ha, which was based on production by commercial
farmers of 5 tonnes per ha, while the rest of the farmers having a much
lower yield even when there were no constraints on the availability of

Taking into account the failure of the early planted maize and the late
season problems for small grains, our central estimate is production of 600
000 tonnes of maize plus 100 000 tonnes of sorghum. Excluding any strategic
stocks, this would imply a shortfall of 1 200 000 tonnes. Given the
uncertainty surrounding many of the parameters, it is possible that
production may be higher. Our upper estimate is 800 000 tonnes of maize and
200 000 tonnes of small grains would still result in a shortfall of 900 000
tonnes for the current crop year.

3.3 Urban Maize

The dire food situation in the country has led to unoccupied land in urban
areas being used for food production. Some people in the urban areas have
grown a good crop, though very small per individual. Collectively, it is
estimated that a total of 50 000 tonnes will be produced by the urban

There are permanent police roadblocks in all major roads into the cities,
with GMB employees being posted there to impound maize coming into the urban
areas. This is nothing short of a systematic starving of the urban people
who in many cases would have provided the productive inputs to their parents
and relatives in the communal areas. Through this mechanism, it is the urban
areas which this year will be chronically short of food.


The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water
Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement looked into the issue of
availability of agriculture inputs before the start of the current season
and presented its Report to Parliament on the 19th November 2003. This
Report covered seed, fertilizers and tillage. This report was compiled on
the basis of oral evidence from the seed houses, fertilizer companies,
farmers' organizations and officials from the Ministry of Lands Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement.

The Portfolio committee initiated this study because it was "concerned with
the non availability of agricultural inputs on the market, despite the fact
that we are already into the summer crop season". (Report of Portfolio
Committee on Lands Agriculture presented to Parliament on 19th November
2003). The Parliamentary report is factual and authoritative.

4.1 Maize Seed

While implementing the fast-track programme, government decreed that it was
essential to spare seed producers from acquisition and to this end they were
classified as agro-industries. However, in practice the Minister proceeded
to acquire all farms, including those producing seed. Although government
had policies on one-person-one-farm policy and on minimum farm sizes, these
were not adhered to, resulting in almost all seed growers being evicted.

Commercial seed farmers produced on average, 5 tonnes of seed maize per
hectare. The new seed farmers produced an average of 0.4 tonnes of seed
maize per ha. Whereas 12 000 ha traditionally produced sufficient seed (60
000 tones), 150 000 ha would now be now required to produce the same 60 000
tones of seed.

For the current year, with heightened requirements for food and the
re-building of strategic stocks, the Ministry and seed houses agreed that up
to 80 000 tonnes of seed would be required. Apart from lower yields, there
were many problems faced by the seed producers. The lawlessness in the
country resulted in unprecedented thefts of the seed crop, one company
reporting loss through thefts of between 15% and 20% of their seed crop last
year. The national shortage of fertilizers also had an adverse bearing on
the quantity of seed produced.

The seed available at the start of the season was only 32 000 tonnes or 40%
of the target. At 25 kg per ha, this quality of seed would be sufficient to
cultivate 1 280 000 ha. Using the previous national average yield of 0.75
tonnes per ha, the available seed was therefore sufficient to produce - at
optimal conditions and all other things being equal - only 960 000 tonnes of

The seed was not readily available in the market even at the time of
planting and the little that was available was too expensive for the
ordinary communal and A1 farmers. The prices were upward of $100 000 per
50kg bag, enough for 2 ha only. Consequently, many farmers bought sufficient
seed only to plant for their own subsistence.

Given the shortage of seed, government encouraged farmers to do their own
seed selection from maize they had harvested the previous season. This was a
disingenuous recommendation. Over the years, farmers in Zimbabwe have been
encouraged to buy hybrid seed which have made it possible to achieve higher
yields. As a result, open pollinated varieties have became all but extinct.
The germination and yield of seed selected from hybrid maize production is
highly suspect. Some farmers may have kept seed from the previous season,
but the quantities would be very small because seed would only have been
retained due to exceptional circumstance arising from a lack of rain, too
late to plant, lack of tillage or some other cause.

4.2 Shortage of Fertilizers

The major producers of fertilizers informed the Portfolio committee that
their operations had been severely curtailed by the shortage of foreign
currency to import raw materials used in the production of fertilizers as
well as spare parts for their machinery. As a result, the main producers,
Sable Chemicals and Zimphos, operated at well below their capacities. The
major raw materials they required were potash, sulphur and ammonia. They
only managed to secure 30% of their foreign currency requirements. To
operate at full capacity they require only US$ 2,45 million per month. This
is a very small amount of foreign currency considering its cascading
benefits. Like other companies, they joined the parallel market to source
for foreign currency, which increased prices of their products.

Also contributing to the fertiliser shortages was the failure by the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to deliver raw materials. In this regard
only 58% of raw materials consigned to NRZ would be delivered. These
companies then resorted to road haulage, which cost 15 times more than the
NRZ. These increased costs had to be passed on to the consumers. Power cuts
and load shading by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) further
compounded their production problems.

Despite all the above and numerated problems or challenges, the government
had strict price controls on fertilizers. These price controls had no
relationship with the constraints and costs encountered in production.

"The negative impact of the above mentioned factors on the industry need not
be over emphasized. An analysis of statistics will clearly illustrate the
situation. Operating under normal conditions, the fertilizer industry could
have produced 370 000 tonnes between January and August this year. However,
it only managed to produce 240 000 tonnes, giving a deficit of 130 000
tonnes. On average, the industry has a capacity to produce about 550 000
tonnes per annum. Compounding this situation, now is the unprecedented
demand in fertilizer due to Land Reform Programme, which saw more farmers
coming into the fold. Projections for domestic requirements of fertilizer
point to 1 million metric tonnes per agriculture season". (Report of the
Portfolio Committee On Lands presented to Parliament on 19th November 2003).

4.3 Tillage

The third factor influencing food production is tillage. Government policy
is that District Development Fund (DDF) tractors are mandated to provide
tillage for communal and A1 farmers, while Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) is mandated to provide tillage to the A2
farmers. For the 2003/04 season, the DDF charges were set at $32 000 per ha
while the ARDA charges at were at commercial rates of $106 000 per ha.

The Portfolio Committee was informed by the Zimbabwe Farmers Union that
although DDF had a fleet of 768 tractors, 50% of them were grounded due to
lack of spare parts. Ministry of Agriculture officials confirmed this
information. The tillage programme was further compounded by the acute
shortages of diesel. Farmers also complained that the cost of ploughing.
Disking was prohibited for communal farmers.

4.4 Rainfall

Zimbabwe received early rains, which pounded nearly the whole country for
over a week between 16 and 24 October 2003. The rains were accompanied by
cold, which left thousands of cattle dead. More than 1 500 head of cattle
died in Midlands alone. The early rains did bring some relief, however, as
pastures responded favourably.

Many farmers took advantage of the early rains to plant maize, but
thereafter there was no further rain until towards end of November. This
resulted in much of the early planted maize being a write-off. Fortunately,
after a short break in January, rains have continued beneficially until the
writing of this report, which is middle of March 2004. The crop that will be
worth talking about is the late crop - that is, the maize planted from end
of November onwards, despite the fact that any maize planted after
mid-November always has a lower yield potential.

4.5 Combined Effects of the above Four Factors

Using the commercial seed availability of 32 000 tonnes would imply no more
than 1 280 000 ha planted to maize, but the additional of retained seed and
seed taken from past production might raise the total to say 40 000 tonnes,
implying 1 600 000 ha being planted to maize. With about 30% fertilizer
availability and less than 50% draught power, together with failure of the
early planted maize implies production of between 650 000 and 850 000

The upper estimate is based on an estimated average yield of 0.5 tonnes per
ha. This is based both on consideration of the input factors, urban maize
production estimates and our field observations, which are described in
detail in the next section.


5.1 Mashonaland West

This province has traditionally been the biggest producer of maize in the
country. It has 20 GMB depots out of a total of 70 depots for the whole
country, with 7 of these depots being modern silos. Around a third of
national maize production was normally expected to originate from this
province. This year, given constraints on the availability of seed,
Mashonaland West would have been expected to have cultivated 416 000 ha,
which at the historical national average yield of 0.75 tonnes per ha would
result in 312 000 tonnes of maize. The yield in this province is normally
higher than the national average. However, in the current season, the
hectares being cultivated are low and the yields well below historical
levels, with overall production from the province unlikely to exceed 190 000

Mhondoro communal area became our first port of call and what confronted us
was a picture of desperation. Many farmers were forced to restrict
themselves to small acreages due to lack of inputs and the crop in some
areas shows moisture stress, tinged with yellow and visibly stunted. Only
pockets of areas within Mhondoro will be able to produce subsistence
harvests, which nonetheless may only be sufficient to last five months. This
leaves a large portion of Mhondoro in need of food relief. From interviews
we carried out, only those farmers who planted late are likely to harvest a
meaningful crop. Most farmers failed to access inputs, this being
illustrated in one village of 76 households where only 2 households managed
to get fertilizer packs distributed by government, one of the recipients
being the VIDCO Chairman.

Reports of rampant selective distribution patterns abound in Mhondoro and
NGO's have come to the rescue of some farmers by distributing the much
needed inputs and food relief. Catholic Relief Services is currently
involved in distributing food rations. There were complaints of interference
by the local councillor. Some of these villagers claimed to have been denied
food assistance by government. Many farmers relied on their draught power
for tillage.

Driving through the A2 area between Mhondoro and Chegutu South we were
surprised to observe considerable similarities, particularly as regards the
under-utilization of land. This became a pattern throughout the area
although some maize stands were in better shape than those we had witnessed
in Mhondoro communal area.

In relative terms, the areas planted are far below expectations. Failure by
resettled farmers to produce a meaningful crop can be laid on government's
inability to help in the provision of inputs and tillage.

Performance in the Musengezi Small Scale is mixed, but the overall presents
a sad scenario. One striking observation we made was over-reliance on
Government support, even by farmers in this area.

Zvimba Communal Area is a complete disaster with hardly any area of promise.
Yellow stunted stocks, already tussling at 2 feet tall, exemplify the maize
crop. No harvests of any nature will be achieved. This should rank as one of
the most needy areas of food relief at this juncture, any delay will result
in untold suffering of the people.

Chitomborwizi small scale farming area is a huge relief although the areas
planted do not inspire confidence. The late crop is above average. Farmers
in this area could have done better with adequate tillage and input supply.
The resettlement area between Chinhoyi and Chitomborwizi exhibits gross
under-utilization of land.

The A2 areas encompassing Umboe, Mhangura, Lions Den including Banket
signalled a discordant yield pattern with consequences throughout the
country. This is so because it is that particular area that earned
Mashonaland West the nickname of 'Mashonaland Best'. What we saw in that
area therefore casts a very dark shadow over the whole country. The areas
are regrettably symbolic of underutilization bordering on reckless abandon.
A sad scenario of absentee landlordship by the newly resettled farmers is
common throughout this area.

5.2 Mashonaland East

This province in the past has also been highly productive, but performance
this year will be well down. A yield of less than 0.5 tonnes per ha has to
be assumed from this province and with under 200 000 ha under cultivation
about 90 000 tonnes of maize may be produced.

The Enterprise farming area had fair to good stands of crops, mainly soya
beans. The small area under maize was just average. Murewa communal area,
which in good years would deliver over 100 000 tonnes to GMB, suffers from
the same factors affecting other areas. There are fields that are fallow,
there is apparent shortage of ammonium nitrate and the maize has also been
adversely affected by the continuous rains. The situation is the same from
Juru right through the Chitawa. The area South of Mrewa along Macheke road
is no better. Chitawa is slightly above average. Overall, Murehwa will have
a crop which is just below average.

The old resettlement area in Mutoko around Corner Store, especially North of
Corner Store, has an excellent maize crop. Although not all the land was put
to crops, what is in the ground are good maize stands with potential for
high yields. That resettlement area has good and production farmers. We
understand however that the Jani Area, South of Corner Store is not as good.

Virginia area of Murehwa South going all the way to Macheke is known for
high production of both maize and tobacco. It was sad to see nothing in that
whole area, except one black farmer after Nyahuni Mission who has produced
an excellent crop of maize. Also another farmer has a good crop of sorghum.
While it was not our brief to look at tobacco, Honourable Chitongo has quite
a large and good crop of tobacco. We talked to a few farmers who told us
that their problem was cost and availability of inputs. Once again, there
are tracks and tracks of fields which are fallow. Most of the fields are
fallow because those allocated the land did not take it up. Those who took
up the land, mainly A1 farmers, made some attempt to put something in the
ground, but the output will be below subsistence levels.

Generally, what people see while driving along a major road in the country
is no different from what is happening deep inside the countryside. One can
end up with a fair assessment without carrying out the survey in the manner
that we did.

Marondera/Wedza: we combine these two districts because the level of
violence and destruction was the same. It was also difficult in some cases
to tell whether the team was still in Marondera or was then in Wedza. The
team used the Ruzawi road, which enabled us to go right through commercial
farms. We were lost at some point and continued to dead end roads. That
helped us to see some of the farms where there was no cropping going on at
all. We came back through Igova and proceeded to Wedza. Only in the communal
area of Wedza can one talk of some crop maize 4 months after harvest.

The former commercial farms in that area are just full of grass and nothing
else. In fact, there is a lot of grass this year. The level and extent of
grass is an indication that if there were a crop, which naturally would be
attending to and cared for, the crop would be better than grass. In almost
all areas, we saw fields that were planted with maize or soya beans, but the
poor farmers were overcome by grass and weeds to the extend of a total
write-off of those crops. In a lot of these areas, particularly those with
red soils, it is not possible to go large-scale using hoes to weed. A high
level of mechanisation is required, together with the use of herbicides,
otherwise such farmers would require a very large labour force. Overall the
Marondera/Wedza area is equally bad.

5.3 Mashonaland Central

Historically, this province closely followed Mashonaland West in terms of
production. The size of the province contributes to its being the second
highest producer, otherwise rainfall, soil types and other factors are
basically the same. Its traditional production percentage was about 19.

This season it is the only province visited that has a good crop. Like other
provinces, it was affected by lack of inputs and uptake by A2 farmers,
leaving large areas fallow. While the land cultivated had a good crop, this
would be reduced by the quality of land fallow. At 0.7 tonnes per ha, 210
000 tonnes would be produced from 300 000 ha, but the actual area planted is
less than this. Despite having a yield higher than this year's national
average, production in this province will be reduced to below 200 000 tonnes
by input shortages and unutilised land.

Musana Communal area in Shamva District has an excellent maize crop. The
farmers there are assured of high yields from the maize. It does appear that
they timed their planting correctly, as there was no evidence of a damaged
crop as a result of early planting. The crops appear to have had sufficient
fertilizers. However, as one proceeds into the Pote Valley, which was famous
for cotton, maize, tobacco and soya beans, the pattern observed in other
provinces starts emerging.

The social status of the individuals determines the success of some A2
farmers. Farms belonging to business people and senior government officials
have an above average crop with some areas planted being large. The
preponderance of irrigation infrastructure, particularly in Shamva and
Bindura, explains why the crop in those areas is above average. However, the
large crop grown in that area is soya beans rather than maize.

Chiweshe communal generally suffered from lack of rainfall. Those farmers
who planted early have no crop while those who planted late have a young and
good crop. From interviews carried out, communal farmers in Chiweshe had no
problems accessing seed and fertilizers, with most of them acquiring their
inputs from GMB. The crop in the field sound and these farmers will be able
to sale some of their produce to the market, unlike other farmers in the
communal areas. Others will have subsistence stocks of between 2 to 5

The A2 area between Glendale and Gweshe exhibits mixed fortunes, with the
majority doing above average, while others have little to nothing with
fields lying fallow. It was not possible to find out why some of the land
was left fallow. The Mazoe Valley is characterized by vast area of soya
beans and citrus fruits, while the few farmers who planted maize will have
an above average crop.

5.4 Manicaland

This province historically is a marginal producer, as most production is
concentrated in only 3 of its districts. The districts we covered were
Makoni, Mutasa and Nyanga. We estimated a maximum production of 50 000

In Makoni, the team surveyed Chinyika old resettlement area. Again this was
chosen for its experienced farmers and generally it is a high production
area. The small crop was suffering from fertilizer deficiency coupled with
excessive moisture. The production will be just below average. There was
just one good maize stand of well above average, with a good hectare
cultivated by this farmer. Otherwise, as far as the new farmers were
concerned, the picture was the same as other provinces and districts already

The Mutasa area covered was that through Bonda Mission, joining Nyanga road
next to Monte Claire. This area sometimes gets too cold for the production
of good maize but nevertheless the plots around people's houses normally
would have good crop. This year, like many other farmers, they will need
early food assistance.

The rains in Nyanga came quite late this year. Because of the general
climate in the area, planting has to be completed much earlier than most
areas to avoid maize getting stunted by the cold whether. In this district
we went as far as Nyatate School, with the same situation of poor crops
being evident throughout.

5.5 Midlands

Midlands is a very large province geographically but production is limited
to Gokwe, Kwekwe, Chirumhanzu, and Gweru District. Other than Kwekwe
district, the crops thought the province is very poor. Our estimate is that
55 000 tonnes could be produced this year. The districts chosen for the
field visit in this province were Gokwe and Kwekwe.

The old resettlement area, between Empress Mine turn off and Munyati river,
has an above average crop. Talking to the farmers, their main constraint to
the production of maize was lack of inputs. In fact one farmer proudly
showed us his maize crop grown from his own selected seed. Although he was
happy, his crop was well below average. Whilst this cannot be conclusive, it
confirms that selected seed does not perform well. When it is available,
farmers always prefer to buy hybrid seed.

The Sidakeni communal area in Kwekwe district is very bad indeed. The
Chemagora small scale farming area, like many of its kind, suffers from the
deprivation of the original farmers who bought these properties many years
ago. Those who inherited these farms are not necessarily farmers. There is
empirical evidence that communal farmers are more productive than the small
scale commercial farmers. In any case Chemagara was created mainly for
ranching. Most of the small scale farms are thus much bigger than the
majority of the A2s. There was no maize to talk about in this area.

The main Zhombe Communal area between Zhombe Business Centre and the
Sesombe, the maize cop is fair to good. In the Sesombe area, where there are
farmers settled under the form tenet scheme, the maize is mostly fair.

The team went to Gokwe, past Gokwe centre and along the Sengwe Road for 20
km. The team was able to talk to many farmers in Gokwe. The crop in the
fields is poor. It has difficulties caused by lack of fertilizers. Those
farmers we spoke to said that they were not able to put al their land under
cultivation because of shortage of inputs. The stressed that they would need
food assistance before next year's harvest.

5.6 Masvingo

This is another marginal province. It is estimated maybe 10 000 tonnes could
come from this province.

In this province, the team visited Gutu district. The Chatsworth area had
attempts at cropping although the crops were poor. Gutu has a far below
average crop. Only some parts of Serima have an average crop.

5.7 Matabeleland North & South

These provinces combined could perhaps produce 5 000 tonnes of maize. They
do produce some small grains, but very little going into the market. Small
grains do form an important part of food security at the household level.
Many NGO's provide seed for small grain production in Matabeleland and

According to FAO, there is a good crop of sorghum in parts of Matabeleland.
Unfortunately, this crop was planted early and it is being damaged by rain
as it has matured. While we did not see meaningful small grains cropping in
our field visit, we would perhaps accept 100 000 tonnes as a likely
production estimate for the whole country, with an upper estimate of 200 000

5.8 Peri Urban Agriculture

It is ironic that the best crop in the country is to be found around Harare.
The yields in and around Harare will be much higher than in the farms, but
the area planted is very limited. Thus, although the maize crop in urban
areas of Harare looks good in terms of yield, its contribution to the
national food supply will be infinitesimal. It has been estimated that 50
000 tonnes of maize will be produced in the urban and peri-urban areas of
the country.

The reason why the crop in Harare is good can be attributed to the
availability of inputs on the black market. The financial outlays of those
families involved would not be that big, as the land cultivated per family
is small. The result is that the level of inputs tends to be much higher
than is the case in the rural areas where farmers plant much larger areas of

5.9 Provincial Findings at a Glance

Table 2 provides a summary of the results of the field survey in a

Table 2: Provincial Findings at a Glance

Province CommunalArea Small ScaleCommercial Old ResettlementArea Fast Track
Mash West Mhondoro B B B D
 Zvimba D
Mash Central A B A C
Mash East C B A C
Manicaland C C C D
Midlands C C B D
Masvingo C C C C

Key: A good crop
B average crop
C below average
D poor


At the time of preparing this report (mid March 2004), the SADC Early
Warning Unit was busy carrying out its own survey, while the FAO Unit will
only start its survey at the end of March or early in April. The government
Crop Forecasting Committee was still to meet. It is under considerable
political pressure to produce an optimistic forecast of production.

In the past, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Crop Forecasting Committee,
kept its information confidential until about March each year, when the
official crop forecasts were made public. During the sales or delivery
period the GMB kept the public informed of the quantities delivered. Since
the militarization of GMB, nothing is revealed to the public at all. The
nation does not know how much food was produced in the 2002/03 season, how
much the GMB bought and the current status of maize stocks in the country.

The team was able to hold discussions with and obtain the views of the
Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) The Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU):

· The ICFU believe that the total food in the country would be slightly
better than last season. It is generally agreed that last season not more
than 900 000 tonnes of maize were produced. The main factors contributing to
a low crop were shortages of inputs in all the newly resettled areas.

· The CFU estimate the crop in the current 2003/04 season at between 750 000
tonnes and 800 000 tonnes. They also pointed out that the crop in peri-
urban Harare was in better condition than the maize in any rural area around
the country.

· The ZFU mentioned that the early crop was a write-off. However, despite
also acknowledging input shortages and prohibitive costs, ZFU expect a large
crop of between 1 500 000 tonnes and 2 000 000 tonnes of maize. They believe
that the newly resettlement farmers may not have enough food for themselves.

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) provided the team with its
February 2004 report. Extrapolating from previous CSO crop forecasting
committee estimates of the land cropped and using a yield estimate of
between 0.75 and 0.8 tonnes per ha, FEWSNET arrives at a production estimate
of between 800 000 tonnes and 1 000 000 tonnes of maize . As for small
grains, they estimate a production of between 200 000 tonnes and 300 000
tonnes. In relation to an assumption of demand being 1 800 000 tonnes, these
estimates imply a shortfall of between 500 000 tonnes and 800 000 tonnes.

All the agencies canvassed agree that the shortage of inputs have had a
major effect on the production of maize this year. The views of ICFU, CFU
and FEWSNET are of the same order of magnitude as the team's estimates,
although on the more optimistic side. The ZFU estimates are far too
exaggerated and are not consistent with ZFU simultaneously highlighting that
there were serious shortages of inputs.


When the government embarked on its fast track land reform, it was obvious
to all that the programme was driven by political expediency. On paper and
for the purpose of mollifying countries in the southern African region, the
policy was presented as an overdue response to the national land question.
However, the land policy, which on paper was made to appear reasonable, was
belied by the reality on the ground of mayhem characterised by murder,
assaults, rape, theft, and wanton destruction of infrastructure. More than
250 000 farm workers lost their jobs and livelihoods and in turn a mere 134
400 families were resettled on more than 11m ha.

It is the complete lack of planning, accompanied by the destruction of
agricultural infrastructure, and the cynical award of farms to people unable
or unwilling to make use of them, that has put the country into a situation
of perennial food deficits or famine. The dismissive attitude of the
government to the food crisis which it has itself inflicted on the country
is amply demonstrated by the response of Minister Joseph Made to the 17th
December 2003 report of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and
Agriculture. The Committee made the following recommendations:

"Recommendations: 4.1 Short-term: For the short-term solutions to the
crisis, your Committee is recommending that:

(i) The Private Sector should be allowed to import seed maize and fertilizer
as a matter of urgency in order to bridge the shortfall.

(ii) Government should formally appeal to the NGO Sector and the donor
community to assist with resources to import the required inputs.

(iii) The distribution of inputs should be targeted at farmers who have been
properly vetted as opposed to the prevailing free-for-all scenarios.

(iv) Seed production should be classified under Agro-business and protect
the commercial farmers from eviction who have complied with maximum farm

Recommendations: 4.2 Medium to Long-term: For the medium to long term
solutions to the crisis, your Committee is recommending that:

(i) The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, in
conjunction with Seed Houses and Fertilizer Companies, should come up with a
comprehensive plan which will restore and guarantee seed and fertiliser
security in the country. The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement should submit this plan to the Portfolio Committee on Lands,
Agriculture, and Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement in
March 2004.

(ii) Inputs should be distributed to farmers by May of each year, so as to
avoid last minute logistical bottlenecks.

(iii) Land tenure should be urgently clarified and finalised so as to
restore security and confidence in the agriculture sector.

(iv) The recently established Land Bank should provide a specific facility
to assist seed growers with funding".

Hansard of 17th December 2003 columns 2140-2142

The Hon. Renson Gasela, MP of Gweru Rural and Shadow Minister for the MDC,
seconded the Portfolio Committee's motion and read the above recommendations
in Parliament. Minister Made, in his response stated:

"Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me now turn to the issues that were raised by
Hon. Gasela. First of all, I want to make it quite clear that the document
he was reading was his own draft. He was reading his draft; the Chairperson
is the one who made the report. I know the recommendations that are in that
report, so we want to be open with each other. When he reads an ultimatum to
me as a Minister, I know the procedure; I am answerable to Cabinet in terms
of any documents that relate to the plans and to the agreements that we
reach. If I have to bring a document to him directly, then it sill not be
consistent with the procedure and so on. So, the recommendations are
understood but I would like to put it that what he was reading, I do not
think it is in that report. I have made the necessary consultations with the
Chairperson who presented the report. I want to emphasise again that we
should respect the Committee and we always share the ideas. I am fully aware
of where I make the plans and submit for approval at Cabinet. So, I just
thought I should correct that particular aspect".

Hansard of 17th December 2003 Column 2159

What Hon. Gasela read in Parliament is exactly what is recorded as the
recommendations in the Committee's report. The Minister claimed to believe
that Hon. Gasela was reading from his own notes and thereby avoided
addressing the substantive issues raised. It is quite clear that the
government has no intention of addressing the food situation. Plans for the
2004/05 summer crop should by March 2004 have been at an advanced stage as
per the Committee's recommendations. It is common knowledge that nothing is
being done at the moment.

The issue is not just the government's failure to move to restoring food
security, but its use of food as a political weapon. The mechanisms used are
blatant. The government has forced all village heads (kraal heads) to be
chairpersons of ZANU PF. They have now been put on a monthly salary. During
the September 2002 Rural District Council Elections and also the Insiza
Parliamentary By-election, village heads drew up lists of their people and
told them openly that if they did not vote for ZANU PF candidates, they were
not going to access food. These village heads were seen camped outside the
statutory 100 meters from polling stations ticking names of those who had
come to vote. The same thing happened in Gutu North by election recently.
Such vote buying and rigging is now done openly and publicly by this regime.

The Zimbabwe Government has never disclosed how much maize was produced in
the 2002/03 season, nor how much GMB bought. However, investigations have
revealed that GMB bought 250 000 tonnes last year. It has also come to light
that all that maize is being kept in storage, mainly in Mashonaland West and
Central. This maize was not released into the market despite the fact that
there were severe shortages of mealie-meal in much of the country until
recently. Through GMB the government supplement these stocks by buying as
much as possible of this season's maize production. However, given the
limited size of the crop and the subsistence needs of the farming
communities, it is not expected that total stocks of maize will be more than
400 000 tonnes. The government will use padded figures of food production in
order to create an impression of self-sufficiency.

It is clear that the government, despite being fully aware of the impending
food shortage, has no intention of approaching UNDP for food aid. The 400
000 tonnes of maize will be used for general election campaign purposes.

The estimated food supply situation in the country for this year will be as


Opening Stocks 1/4/04    250 000 tonnes
New crop - maize    650 000 tonnes
New crop - small grains    100 000 tonnes
Total 1 000 000 tonnes
Demand 1 900 000 tonnes
Shortfall    900 000 tonnes


Opening Stocks 1/4/04    250 000 tonnes
New crop - maize    850 000 tonnes
New crop - small grains    200 000 tonnes
Total 1 300 000 tonnes
Demand 1 900 000 tonnes
Shortfall    600 000 tonnes

The above scenarios exclude any strategic reserves which should be 500 000
tonnes. Whichever way one looks at the situation, there will be a huge
shortage of food in the country, caused by a potent combination of chaotic
land reform and destructive macro-economic policies. According to the World
Food Programme report as at November 18 2003, the target for food aid was to
rise to 4 500 000 people by March 2004. It is common cause that WFP's appeal
to donors last year only resulted in 44 % of the necessary resources being
raised. Not all the Zimbabweans in need get food aid from the donors, for
various reasons including lack of resources. This year, the number of people
in need of food will be more than 8 000 000 or about three quarters of the
population during the course of the upcoming year. Of these people WFP
estimates that 2 500 000 people will be in the urban areas.

As regards future cropping seasons, the adverse legacy of the chaotic land
reform will continue to depress the average yield. This implies that the
area that would be needed for self-sufficiency in maize and small grains
would be much larger than in the past, and correspondingly higher levels of
inputs would be required. Even with a change of government and the
introduction of consistent, growth-oriented economic policies, it will not
be immediately possible to provide the finance, seeds, fertilisers, draught
power and tractors to meet these very large requirements. It needs also to
be noted that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has decimated the working population,
making it much more difficult for rural communities to meet production
targets, while also raising the importance of providing a proper diet to
those afflicted with the HIV virus.

Zimbabwe is thus likely to be in need of assistance in providing basic
foodstuffs for some years to come. Food self-sufficiency will only be
restored when the land question has properly and finally resolved and
coherent economic policies have been put in place.

In 2004/05, the suffering of the people will be increased by the fact that
the government, through Statutory Instrument 235A of 2001, has criminalized
the selling of maize among and between people. In terms of the Statutory
Instrument, all the maize that is available must by-pass starving people and
be sold to GMB. GMB then sells that maize to those carrying ZANU PF cards.

In urban areas, which are strongholds of the MDC, the sale of maize by GMB
has been stopped and maize is instead sold through ZANU-PF Councillors. A
further example of the political manipulation of maize in the urban areas is
provided by the case of Mutare. In March 2004, the MDC Mayor of Mutare tried
to use money collected by his Christmas Cheer Fund to buy maize from the GMB
for distribution to the destitute. GMB refused to sell maize to the Mayor,
an unacceptable position that was upheld on appeal by the Governor of

The plight of the Zimbabwean people will only be resolved when all the
governance issues have been addressed.
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      Blair must do more for Zimbabwe
      Deputy Conservative Leader Michael Ancram has called on the Blair
Government to crackdown harder on Robert Mugabe, after the tyrannical
President of Zimbabwe denied that millions of his people are starving.

      In an interview, the 80 year old President of Zimbabwe accused the
British of treating his country like a colony, charged Tony Blair with
arrogance and of refusing to take part in dialogue, insisted he was in his
post as a result of the "will of the people", and reckoned that the seizure
of white farms would reinvigorate his economy.

      But commenting, Mr Ancram said: "Either he is living in a different
world, or he is a pathological liar. Mugabe, like all tyrants, holds onto
power by oppressing those who oppose him."

      The Shadow Foreign Secretary said the Conservatives continued to call
for free and fair elections to be held in Zimbabwe, so the people of the
southern African state can have a proper their say over who rules them.

      "We also believe more should have been done by the British government,
to freeze the assets of those who assist Mugabe in his brutal and corrupt
regime," Mr Ancram added.

      He said later: "Everything Mugabe has said bears no relation to the
reality on the ground. He's living in a fantasy world, he knows we know his
election two years ago was a rigged election, and the only way he can clear
that is to hold new, free elections."

      Asked if negotiations were possible, Mr Ancram replied: "Negotiations
could still be available if free and fair elections take place. There is
every indication that if the people of Zimbabwe got to chose they would not
chose Robert Mugabe - a man who is deliberately using a lack of food to try
and put political pressure on the people of Zimbabwe."
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SA passed info to Zim on alleged mercenaries

      May 24 2004 at 01:06PM

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota on Monday confirmed "some intelligence"
information had passed between South Africa and Zimbabwe before the 70 South
African alleged mercenaries left South Africa.

The men were arrested after their plane landed in Zimbabwe about a month

They are suspected of being on their way to participate in a coup in
Equatorial Guinea, where eight other South Africans are being held as
suspected co-plotters.

Briefing the media at parliament, Lekota rejected suggestions they should
have been arrested in South Africa before being allowed to leave for
Zimbabwe, saying arrests could not be made on the basis of intelligence.

Arrests could only be made once there was evidence a crime had been

Lekota said a delegation from Equatorial Guinea led by its attorney-general
Jose Obono visited South Africa last week for consultations with various
government agencies, family, and legal representatives of the eight men held

Efforts were being made to bring the prisoners to court as soon as possible,
in the presence of international observers with a view to ensuring a fair
trial for them, he said.

All those detained had been visited several times by South African
diplomats, led by the ambassadors in Gabon and Zimbabwe, in conformity with
Geneva Convention requirements and South African law.

These consular visits would continue at regular intervals and South African
officials would assist the men and their families wherever possible.

Regarding efforts by family members to have the men extradited directly to
South Africa, Lekota said it should be appreciated that government had not
received any official notification of the intention by Zimbabwe to extradite
the 70 South Africans to Equatorial Guinea.

Nonetheless, South Africa would not shirk its responsibilities in ensuring
the prisoners were afforded their rights in terms of the Geneva Convention
and in line with the Constitution, and that the trial they faced would be
fair and within the norms of international law.

Lekota said government would not entertain speculation about the possible
outcomes of the trials, as this might help to pre-empt the judgements by the
respective courts.

Only when judgement had been delivered would government engage with the

He also dismissed "with the contempt it deserves" opposition party claims
that government was "an accessory" to the matter as ridiculous. - Sapa

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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe inflation not out of the doldrums

Monday May 24, 2004 11:27 - (SA)

By Shoks Mzolo

Overall annual inflation in Zimbabwe declined in April to 505% year-on-year
(y/y) from 583.7% y/y in March, with all sub-categories of the inflation
index registering a decrease, Standard Bank (SBK) noted in a research brief.

"Clearly, the administrative measures introduced over the past six months
have been instrumental in lowering inflation. However, viewed over a longer
term the inflation outlook is not positive," Standard Bank economist
and author of the brief Robert Bunyi says.

The productive sector lending facility is injecting considerable
inflationary pressure into the country's economy.

"We expect annual inflation rates will continue to decline but will later
revert to a rising trend," Bunyi said.

He noted the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in late April reduced the
overnight rate from 400% to 205%, indicating to the market where it would
like interest rates to be.

"Following this the bank stated that compound effective interest rates
should be in line with inflation levels. In response to these signals,
commercial banks progressively began revising lending rates downward.

Frequent changes to interest rate policy have increased the level of
uncertainty in the money markets," Bunyi says.

He reports that this is expected to result in rapid and large changes in
money market liquidity, while over the short-term interbank interest rates
are expected to remain highly volatile.

Following the RBZ's decision to allow the Zimbabwe dollar to depreciate on
the auction market the currency depreciated by 15.3% during April.

From its inception in January to early May, the auction market has allotted
a total of US$232 million from below $80 million received in the RBZ pool
during the comparable period in 2003.

"Black market activity has declined significantly due to tightened controls
by the authorities.

The Reserve Bank may have to incorporate a programme of periodic devaluation
of the Zimbabwe dollar as part of the process of injecting some stability
into the markets," Bunyi asserted

I-Net Bridge
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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe says China, Malaysia funded £5m palace

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 05/25/2004 05:04:16
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has rejected claims that his £5 million mansion
under construction in the plush Borrowdale suburb of Harare will be funded
by tax-payers.

"Come on, come on, come on, that can't be true," an agitated Mugabe said
when confronted on his luxury palace in an interview with Sky News screened

"I was given the house by the party way back in 1984/85 and it was burnt.
The party was to assist and we have been trying to build another one from
our resources since 1986," the 80-year-old tyrant said.

Mugabe became particularly uncomfortable when Sky News reporter Stuart
Rumsay asked him to respond to widespread suggestions that "you are corrupt
as well."

He told the reporter that the 25-bedroomed mansion was funded partly by the
Chinese and Malaysian governments.

"We agreed with the Yugoslav company Energo Project that we would provide
construction material little by little and they provide labour, and they
agreed," Mugabe said.

Mugabe said he had also received timber from Malaysia's former Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and roofing materials from the Chinese

Mugabe was unapologetic for the heavy cost of the mansioin in the face of
widespread poverty and unemployment in his country. "It is lavish because it
is attractive," said Mugabe. "Of course it is lavish, the Chinese are doing
the roofing. They are our good friends you see."

Mugabe's mansion was declared a "protected area" last month as he faced
calls to disclose the source of foreign currency for exclusive imported
materials being used at the mammoth project.

The designation of the area as "protected area" means access is now severely
restricted and anyone who strays or is caught taking photographs might land
in hot water.

The police can now legally shoot and kill anyone who strays into the area
without authority as has been done at Mugabe's official residence, Zimbabwe
House, where several motorists have been shot and killed over the years.

The private mansion in the suburb of Helensvale, near Borrowdale, has been
under construction for the past five years and is now expected to cost more
than £5 million on completion.

Apart from bricks, gravel and cement which have been sourced locally,
sources say everything else at the property, particularly all the interior
finishings and roofing materials have been imported from China and Europe.

The house is being built mainly by a Yugoslav company, Energo Project,
though some work is subcontracted to other companies.

The project also involves the construction of two sizeable dams around the
mansion and extensive landscaping work.

Mugabe has been facing calls to disclose where he has been getting the
foreign currency to purchase all the imported materials for his house
particularly after the arrest of his finance minister, Christopher Kuruneri.

Kuruneri is in jail after being arrested for illegally exporting foreign
currency to South Africa where he is reportedly building a R30-million
mansion in Cape Town.

Zimbabwe is mired in its worst foreign currency crisis after the collapse of
the tobacco farming sector in the wake of Mugabe's land seizures.

A spokesman for the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International
(Zimbabwe Chapter) said in view of that background, it becomes "absolutely
essential" for Mugabe to disclose where and how he has been getting foreign
currency to pay for all imports for his private mansion.

Scores of manufacturing companies have folded due to lack of foreign
currency to meet essential imports.

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UNI protests violation of workers' rights at ZIMBANK

Head of Human Resources Division
Rotten Row Complex
Box 3198
FAX: +263 4 735011

Nyon, 24 May 2004

Dear Mrs. Ncube,

Violation of workers' rights at ZIMBANK

On behalf of its 15 million members in over 140 countries in 900 unions in
more than 150 countries, among them the Zimbabwe Bank and Allied Workers
Union (ZIBAWU), Union Network International (UNI) protests in the strongest
possible terms the totally unjustified dismissal of more than 300 workers on
20 May 2004 and the threat to lay off many more.

We have been informed that the ZIMBANK employees and union members
participated in a meeting called by the ZIMBANK national workers committee
over the refusal of your management to address issues of high concern to
your employees, e.g. share participation, medical aid, wage adjustments etc.
We understand that the above issues have been discussed between yourselves
and the workers representatives since September 2003, without any sign of
willingness from your side to resolve the situation.

The above dismissals state a clear violation of workers' rights as
guaranteed by the Labor Relations Act of Zimbabwe and the ILO Declaration of
Fundamental Principles and Rights at work which your country has signed.

We therefore urge you to take immediate action to intervene and ensure the
immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the dismissed workers.

We furthermore demand you to respect the workers' right to participate in
actions as set out in the ILO conventions and the Labor Relations Act of

I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Jennings
General Secretary

Union Network International -
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