he economic and political cancer of President Robert G. Mugabe's
regime in Zimbabwe now promises to spread to South Africa — and so endanger the
continent. Zimbabwe's man-made tragedy desperately threatens all its neighbors,
and deeply compromises American attempts to help Africa help itself. President
Mugabe's paramilitary troops have brutalized and killed opponents; assaulted
lawyers, human rights activists and democratic reformers; and invaded factories
and universities as well as farms. Washington, London and Pretoria must act
together to end this lawlessness before it undermines the entire region.
Mr. Mugabe turned recklessly violent when the Movement for Democratic Change
challenged his 20-year omnipotence. The months before last June's parliamentary
elections were rife with intimidation; Mr. Mugabe's paramilitaries killed many
opposition activists. The Movement for Democratic Change still won 57 seats in
the 150-seat parliament. Before the election, Mr. Mugabe had controlled all but
In reaction, Mr. Mugabe and his associates have ignored rulings by the
Supreme Court and forced the chief justice to resign, illegally occupied
hundreds of (white-run) farms, killed prominent farmers and their supporters,
closed radio stations, bombed the only independent daily newspaper, arrested
leading opposition figures, legislated to prevent the Movement for Democratic
Change from receiving funds from abroad, and rebuffed Secretary General Kofi
Annan of the United Nations, the president of Nigeria, and the British and
As a result of these and other developments to its north, South Africa has
seen its own currency depreciated, its economic growth compromised and its race
relations, especially in the white farming sector, endangered. Mr. Mugabe has
repeatedly snubbed President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Nearly a million immigrants have walked into South Africa from Zimbabwe — an
exodus that endangers South Africa's economic future. President Mbeki fears the
spread of Zimbabwe's violence to his own country.
Mr. Mugabe hopes to destroy the opposition in advance of next year's
presidential election. Only Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic
Change is a credible challenger. "I am firmly asserting to you," Mr. Mugabe told
a rally in April, "that there will never come a day when the M.D.C. will rule
this country — never, ever."
The intimidation has escalated in part because serious shortages of wheat and
maize — Zimbabwean dietary staples — are expected later this year. Zimbabwe has
had virtually no foreign exchange since September, and production of its biggest
exports, tobacco and gold, has shrunk considerably. A trickle of petroleum and
electric power continues to arrive from South Africa. Zimbabweans now experience
long lines for gasoline and frequent brownouts. Inflation has soared, the
currency has lost much of its value against other currencies, gross domestic
product has fallen 10 percent, unemployment has reached 60 percent, tourism has
declined by more than half, and hospitals and schools barely function.
Twenty-five percent of all adults are infected with H.I.V.
Life in Zimbabwe is increasingly brutish and short, and most of the
responsibility lies with Mr. Mugabe. Washington and Pretoria cannot wait until
after next year's election to act, hoping that Zimbabwe will save itself. Mr.
Mugabe will not let a free election occur.
Constructive engagement can no longer curb Mr. Mugabe's assaults on
Zimbabweans or his flouting of international norms. Pretoria has shown new signs
of alarm since South African-owned businesses were attacked last month. South
Africa should now stop supplying fuel.
Most Western donors, including the International Monetary Fund, have already
frozen aid, and many charitable organizations have abandoned their operations —
not least because of attacks by paramilitaries. Washington should refuse visas
to Zimbabwean officials and their relatives and work further to isolate Zimbabwe
until Mr. Mugabe stops oppressing his people and restores the rule of law.
Robert I. Rotberg is director of the Program on Intrastate Conflict at
Harvard's Kennedy School and president of the World Peace Foundation.
debt ballooning at the rate of $10m a day
Daily News: 5/24/01 8:17:46 AM (GMT
+2) Mduduzi Mathuthu, Bulawayo
THE country’s combined
foreign and domestic debt has shot up to $636 billion and is accumulating at a
rate of $10 million a day, just under a week after the government stopped
servicing all its debts and loans because the Treasury is empty.
Economic commentators said
the ballooning debt was a result of the constant devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar and government overspending. They said if urgent corrective measures
are not taken, the country could be blacklisted and all loans frozen.
“Devaluation is partly to blame for the crisis,” said Eric Bloch, an
economic analyst, in an interview in Bulawayo. “As soon as we devalue our
currency, our foreign debt goes up because we borrow in hard currency.” The
MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, told thousands of party supporters in
Bulawayo last Saturday the country was teetering on the brink of insolvency.
Said Ncube: “Zimbabwe is in a total mess. Almost 64 percent of the tax that
workers pay is being channelled to pay interests accrued on the country’s debt.
Zanu PF has embraced some disastrous policies which will leave the country
in a shambles. You really wonder what can save Zimbabwe at this stage.”
Peter Robinson, a political commentator, said in an interview, the
parastatal debt estimated at $90 billion was adding to the country's
economic woes. He blamed what he termed “old-fashioned Zanu PF policies” for
the rising debt. “The cost of the government’s lack of positive policies in
the face of the current situation is being borne by the workers who
subscribe to pension funds. What it means is that people’s savings are being
eroded with the upward spiralling of the debt.” The government last week said it would stop servicing all its
debts because the Treasury had run out of money.
The MDC has often
emphasised that should it come into power, the people should not expect a
“quick-fix” solution to the economic problems. On the suspension of all debt
repayments by the government, Bloch said Zimbabwe ran the risk of being
penalised and all loans being stopped by financial institutions abroad. He said:
“It is only through the restoration of law and the dropping of some obsolete
policies by this government that can help the country come out of this crisis.
We need to pull out of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a matter of urgency
and have strict controls over our spending.” Robinson blamed the
government's “irresponsible policies”. “Zimbabwe is going to burst soon
because the current debts are sure to increase and that means coming generations
will still inherit these huge debts,” he said
Amnesty International Blasts
Government Over Human Rights
Johannesburg, May 24, 2001 (UN Integrated
Regional Information Network/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX)-- An Amnesty
International (AI) research team has found widespread evidence of
politically-motivated murder, torture, rape and violence. Tor-Hugne Olsen, head
of the team, told IRIN on Wednesday that after spending a week in the country,
they had established that such acts were "commonplace" and that the government
was doing nothing to stop them. "Extra-judicial executions and torture are
occurring throughout Zimbabwe, but particularly in legally-disputed
constituencies," Olsen said.
"We saw a clear pattern, where the
constituency is the subject of a legal case, witnesses who could confirm
allegations of violence are now being targeted," he added. The team noted with
concern that some witnesses had been badly assaulted by self-styled war veterans
and ZANU-PF supporters and some had disappeared. The amnesty team said it had
received the names of at least eight missing people, all opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) activists.
The MDC is contesting results in 38 of 120
parliamentary districts. In April, a judge overturned election victories by two
ruling party lawmakers, declaring that they illegally used violence and
intimidation to defeat the opposition party leader and another candidate for
parliament in elections last June. More cases are pending.
Olsen said the team found the assault of two
elected opposition MPs, Justin Mutendadzamera and Job Sikhala particular
worrying. "When MPs are attacked it sends a very strong message to the rest of
the people in society that there is no atmosphere conducive to freedom of
expression," he said.
During their stay in Zimbabwe, the AI team
looked at the recent killing of a student at the University of Zimbabwe. "Police
say he was trampled in a riot on campus, we've interviewed many people who
witnessed police brutally assaulting him," said Olsen. "The international
community should be alerted particularly when these acts of violence are
happening with the apparent acquiescence of the government," Olsen added.
As well as opposition supporters, student
and civic organisations, the team met police and government representatives
during its week-long fact finding trip. "Police denied use of excessive force
and government blamed the violence on opposition supporters and those they say
are against legitimate land reform, this is totally unacceptable," Olsen
emphasised to IRIN.
Amnesty International plans to draw up a report on its findings and to use it
to pressure governments. "We're calling for the UN's Special Rapporteur on
Extra-Judicial Executions and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to go to
Zimbabwe now and see what is going on there," Olsen said.
ZIMBABWE International community must take action
AI INDEX: AFR
remains very concerned about the grave human rights situation in Zimbabwe, where
there are constant attacks on the independent press and on perceived and real
opponents of the government. Of particular concern is the ongoing violations by
the group calling themselves war veterans, who act with impunity and with the
acquiescence of the government. Some are veterans from the war for independence,
others are youths apparently paid for their actions.
In this situation, Amnesty International welcomes the
resolution on 15 March by the European Parliament condemning the human rights
violations in Zimbabwe and the decision on 20 March by the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group to send a mission to Zimbabwe.
Political killings, beatings, acts of intimidation and
other assaults amounting to torture or ill-treatment, have been inflicted on the
population in Zimbabwe by members of the army, as well as war veterans,
particularly in some of the areas that supported the opposition in the last
elections. Zimbabwe is a party to the Organisation for African Unity (OAU)'s
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and to the United Nations (UN)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 5 of the
African Charter and Article 7 of the ICCPR prohibit torture. Furthermore under
Articles 9, 10 and 11 in the African Charter and Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the
ICCPR, Zimbabwe is obliged to respect its population's right to freedom of
expression, peaceful assembly and association. Zimbabwe is violating these
rights on a daily basis. Every individual should be guaranteed equal protection
of the law in accordance with Article 3 of the African Charter and Articles 16
and 17 of the ICCPR. In Zimbabwe, respect for the independence of the judiciary
and the rule of law is steadily being eroded.
In the light of these clear violations of Zimbabwe's
treaty obligations, Amnesty International urges that individual governments and
other intergovernmental organisations, in particular the OAU and the UN, should
pay increased attention to the human rights situation in
Amnesty International fears
that torture, political killings, ''disappearances'' and other human rights
violations will continue and may escalate in the run-up to presidential
elections that are due to take place in the first quarter of 2002. The
international community must act now to prevent further incidents of these human
attacks on the press
independent press in Zimbabwe is under siege from the government and its
supporters. Journalists doing critical and independent reporting are subject to
harassment, including violence and death threats.
On 10 March 2001 Njabulo Ncube, Bureau Chief in Bulawayo
for the weekly Financial
Gazette, was threatened by a war veteran
leader who entered the Bulawayo Press Club, where the South African High
Commissioner to Zimbabwe was addressing journalists. These threats included that
Ncube would be dead by the time of the presidential elections in 2002 because of
his alleged links with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "You
are a fool, you will be killed for nothing. You will not last up to 2002", the
war veteran leader allegedly shouted in front of the High Commissioner and other
On 28 January 2001, the
printing press of the Daily
News was bombed. The Daily News is
the only non government controlled daily newspaper in Zimbabwe and its editor
and staff appear particularly targeted by the government and its supporters.
Only hours before the bombing, the Minister of Information and Publicity in the
President's Office, Professor Jonathan Moyo, told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) that the state would silence the Daily News, as
he alleged that it posed a security risk to the nation. The bombing was the
second in less than a year, following the bombing of the editorial offices in
April 2000. No conclusive investigations into the bombings were ever made by the
police. The editor of the newspaper, Mr Geoff Nyarota, has also reported
receiving death threats and on one occasion a man told him in person that he had
been paid to assassinate the editor.
Five days prior to the January 2001 bombing, the offices
of the Daily News were subject to a violent demonstration by war
On 3 February 2001, a
demonstration by journalists to protest against the harassment of media workers
and the bombing of the Daily
News printing press was called off at
the last minute, because the police refused them permits to demonstrate. The
police said that they feared war veterans would simultaneously hold a
demonstration, and that this could lead to clashes.
On 26 January 2001, police officers summoned in for
questioning Davison Maruziva, deputy editor of the Daily News, and
reporters Conrad Nyamutata and Luke Tamborinyoka. They were, together with their
editor, Geoff Nyarota, questioned for four hours over a story on a civil lawsuit
filed in USA against President Mugabe. Their statements were recorded in the
presence of their lawyer. The police later summoned and questioned Mark
Chavunduka, editor of The
Standard, a weekly newspaper, over
reports on the same lawsuit. The journalists are allegedly being accused of
criminal defamation arising from the articles on the lawsuit.
In a statement issued in connection
with reporting on the ongoing lawsuit against President Mugabe in the USA, the
Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President stated:
"Government is reviewing media laws with a view to bringing to Parliament,
before the end of the year, appropriate legislation to bring to a stop once and
for all the kind of journalism typified by the Daily News and
The Standard.'' It also noted that, "the reports [on the ongoing
lawsuit] were not only false but criminally defamatory. Even worse, they have
used the frivolous case to wilfully, maliciously and criminally defame both the
office of and person of the President.''
In addition to these direct forms of harassment of the
independent press, the Minister of Information in the President's Office,
Jonathan Moyo, has stated that the government is preparing new accreditation
regulations for journalists, according to reports of 9 March in the
state-controlled daily The
Herald. Under the new accreditation
rules journalists will be required to hold certain professional qualifications
before they can be issued with press cards. Members of the press fear that the
regulations will be abused by the government to silence critical
Constant attacks on
The elections in
June 2000 resulted in the opposition parties Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) gaining 57 and ZANU (Ndonga) 1 out of 120 elected seats in parliament,
despite the election campaign being marred by violence, particularly against
perceived or real opposition supporters with the aim of intimidating
In the aftermath of the
elections, the attempts to silence the opposition have been ongoing. Officials
and supporters of the MDC, and even the population at large in some of the areas
where the MDC won seats in the elections, have faced and still face severe
harassment. Some of the incidents have included:
C death threats made against David Coltart, MDC MP for
Bulawayo South and shadow minister for legal affairs, who was forced to go into
hiding in the beginning of March for a week. The gravity of these threats were
underscored by the previous abduction and ''disappearance'' of one of his main
election campaigners. Patrick Nabanyama was abducted by government supporters in
broad daylight on 19 June 2000 and remains unaccounted for to this
indiscriminate assaults against civilians in
Chitungwiza constituency, where the MDC candidate Fidelis Mhashu won with close
to 70% of the votes. The residents are living in a state of fear of members of
the army who from dusk assault people indiscriminately in the streets, in bars
and in some cases in peoples' own homes, while accusing them of being MDC
supporters. The soldiers have allegedly forced them to denounce MDC and chant
slogans for the ruling party, while beating them up or intimidating them in
Threats to the rule of
law and ongoing impunity for human rights violations
On several occasions over the past year, including when
the Supreme Court has delivered judgements on the land issue, the President and
government ministers have announced that they will not comply with court
decisions. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has taken early retirement,
reportedly as a result of threats and intense pressure. On at least one occasion
a group of war veterans invaded the High Court in Harare and threatened court
These symptoms of blatant
disregard for the rule of law are occurring in a context where human rights
violations are sustained by a culture of impunity that has prevailed prior to
and since independence. Serious violations of human rights have neither been
investigated nor the perpetrators identified and punished.
In 1980, the independence settlement included an amnesty
for all perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses committed during the
war for independence (1972-80). Those who served in Rhodesia's military and
security forces who had been involved in extrajudicial executions and torture
were thus incorporated without sanction into the new Zimbabwe government's
military and security forces. Inevitably this sent a clear signal that the
commission of human rights violations was acceptable and would go unpunished.
Methods of carrying out human rights violations were also passed from the
Rhodesian to the newly integrated Zimbabwean forces, often practised by the very
As a result, the
pattern of violations during the Matabeleland crisis of 1983-1988 was similar to
that during the period of the war of independence. Once more, political
expediency resulted in an amnesty for all those responsible for human rights
violations, so that no-one was brought to justice for the extrajudicial
executions, political killings and torture, including rape.
During the election campaign leading up to the
parliamentary elections in June 2000 a pattern of violations that included
extrajudicial execution and torture emerged. In October 2000 the President
announced a Clemency Order that gave unconditional amnesty for all violations
during the first seven months of the year, with the exception of acts of murder,
rape and theft. This order resulted in investigations of torture and
ill-treatment being halted, suspects remanded in custody pending trial released,
and charges dropped.
International is concerned that this longstanding culture of impunity will
facilitate the repetition of massive human rights violations in the run-up to
presidential elections in 2002.
C governments in
Southern Africa and around the world should condemn the ongoing violation of
human rights in Zimbabwe;
C the international
community, in particular countries in Southern Africa and other countries with
trade, aid, cultural or other links to Zimbabwe, must press the President and
the government of Zimbabwe to end human rights violations and ensure effective
investigation of incidents that have already taken place;
• in order to end the
culture of impunity an independent, international and impartial commission of
inquiry should be constituted and invited to Zimbabwe to investigate reports of
extrajudicial executions, torture and ill-treatment, in accordance with
international standards for such inquiries and with adequate resources.
Standards for such inquiries include the Manual on the Effective Investigation
and Documentation of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment (the ''Istanbul Protocol'') and the Manual on the Effective
Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary
C The African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights should request Zimbabwe to submit a
special report, as well as submitting the report overdue since
the international community should put
pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to invite the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on freedom of expression, the Special Rapporteur on independence of
the judiciary and the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country and
C the international
community should call upon Zimbabwe to permit international observers to monitor
the human rights situation in Zimbabwe now, as a preventive measure in the
run-up to presidential elections; such monitors should report publicly on any
abuses that may occur. The presence of observers only at the time of elections
will be too late to prevent a further erosion of fundamental
Morgan Tsvangirai, the firebrand Zimbabwe opposition leader who is facing
charges of terrorism, scored a major victory yesterday after winning a bid to
have his case referred to Zimbabwe's highest court, the Supreme Court, where it
will become a test case for freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai appeared at the High Court yesterday on terrorism and sabotage
charges. His lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, suggested that the ultimate aim of
President Robert Mugabe in pressing the charges was to disqualify Mr Tsvangirai
from standing in next year's presidential elections and secure a "default
victory" for his beleaguered ruling Zanu-PF party.
Zimbabwe's five-member Supreme Court will determine in a month's time whether
the charges raised against the opposition leader denied him his rights to
freedom of expression enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.
Mr Tsvangirai is being charged under Sections 51 and 58 of the colonial era
Law and Order Maintenance Act for allegedly "inciting Zimbabweans to violently
overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government" at a rally of his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party last year.
Lawyers for the opposition leader argued at yesterday's hearing that the
provisions of the two sections were too vague and they impinged on
constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression. State lawyers said the trial
should proceed, insisting that it was not a constitutional matter. If at all,
the provisions of the Law and Order Act were about entrenching the rights
protected by the constitution itself, the state lawyers argued.
The judge, Justice Moses Chinhengo, agreed that the provisions of the Law and
Order Act were too wide and vague, and a threat to constitutional freedoms. "If
a statutory provision is vague, it cannot be allowed to stand, if it threatens
freedom of expression ... The Supreme Court must therefore determine the
matter," he said.
The judge also emphasised that the Law and Order Act was formulated during
the colonial era before a constitution with a justiciable Bill of Rights was
enacted at independence from Britain in 1980. As such, the Act would always be
challenged on constitutional grounds whenever the state sought to rely on it.
The Supreme Court has already declared other provisions of the Law and Order
Act to be unconstitutional in a case brought by two Zimbabwean journalists last
year after they were illegally detained and tortured by the Zimbabwe National
Army over a report alleging a coup attempt on Mr Mugabe.
If Mr Tsvangirai wins the constitutional case in the Supreme Court, all the
charges against him will immediately fall away.
The Zimbabwe government alleged that Mr Tsvangirai had been recruited by the
British government in a wider plot to overthrow Mr Mugabe whose confiscations of
white-owned land, without compensation, for redistribution to black peasants had
angered the West. If convicted on the terrorism and sabotage charges, Mr
Tsvangirai faces a possible life imprisonment or death sentence. A prison term
of more than six months would disqualify him from challenging Mr Mugabe in
presidential elections which the opposition leader is tipped to win in April
The legal fraternity in Zimbabwe has also expressed fears that yesterday's
victory by the opposition leader might result in Mr Mugabe stepping up efforts
to muzzle the judiciary.
Mr Mugabe has already fired Zimbabwe's Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, and
replaced him with his ally, Godfrey Chidyausiku.
Lawyers interviewed yesterday did not rule out the possibility of Mr Mugabe
appointing more "loyalist" judges to the Supreme Court to secure the majority
required to rig Mr Tsvangirai's case and have the opposition leader convicted.
May 24, 2001 (UN Integrated Regional Information Network/All Africa Global
Media via COMTEX)-- Zimbabwe has rejected an offer of land for settlement from
the Oppenheimer family, saying it wanted twice as much from the mining magnates,
'Business Day' said on Wednesday. The report said an offer of 34,000 hectares
was offered as a "gift" to Zimbabwe by Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of diamond
group De Beers. The land was part of the family's 137,000 hectares Debshan ranch
in the arid southwest of the country where 21,000 head of cattle are bred for
export to Europe.
Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was quoted in Zimbabwean news
reports as saying the government was not satisfied with the offer. "The
government will be satisfied with at least 65,000 hectares. The size of the land
they offered is obviously unacceptable, considering this ranch is the size of
Belgium," he said. "The clamour for land by peasants in surrounding areas cannot
be underplayed. This place dramatises the historical imbalances that we are
trying to correct."
It was the first public response by the government since Oppenheimer
personally made the offer to President Robert Mugabe in September last year.
Oppenheimer also offered to set up a trust fund to help settlers begin farming.
Oppenheimer went to Zimbabwe last year after all 240,000 hectares of the
family's ranches in the southwest were formally listed for compulsory
May 24, 2001 (UN Integrated Regional Information Network/All Africa Global
Media via COMTEX)-- The South African government has condemned the general
political violence in parts of Zimbabwe and the latest attacks on businesses,
the news Website IOL said on Wednesday. "South Africa does not, and will never
condone the violence seen in the country, excuse the occupation of farms and
serious harassment of people in rural and urban areas, and strongly condemns the
latest spate of business invasions in Zimbabwe," South Africa's high
commissioner to Harare was quoted as saying.
High Commissioner Jeremiah Ndou restated President Thabo Mbeki's remarks on
the situation in Zimbabwe, saying events there remained of great concern to his
government. "It is clear that we must deal with the issue of Zimbabwe in order
to deal with a negative perception related to what I am told is the 'fear of
contagion'," a statement issued by the high commission was quoted as saying.
The report said Ndou expressed South Africa's concern over the invasions of
mainly white-owned businesses in Zimbabwe in recent weeks by war veterans,
during which at least 16 South African firms came under attack. "The South
African government is very concerned with events in the past few weeks where the
business community has been threatened and harassed," he said. South Africa's
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was quoted as saying recently that her
country had a responsibility to avoid a "complete collapse" of Zimbabwe.
May 24, 2001 (UN Integrated Regional Information Network/All Africa Global
Media via COMTEX)-- The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) would call a
national strike if parliament passed a proposed labour law which bars the unions
from work stoppages, a union leader was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo said that if the government refused workers
the right to strike, "its confrontational, they will have chosen the
antagonistic approach". "If the bill passes in its current form, workers will
not accept such a repressive piece of legislation and may be forced to exercise
their democratic right to withdraw labour," he told a news conference.
"Once a worker is refused the right to strike he is docile," he said. He
added that the proposed law was intended "to stifle and weaken the labour
movement", which is closely linked to the opposition Movement for Democratic
Every attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing
activities in relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported due
to communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness on the
part of farmers. Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are omitted to
minimise the risk of reprisal.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF: 30 head of
cattle and thousands of guinea fowl were poisoned on a farm in Kadoma, after
illegal occupiers had soaked maize in cyanide acquired from gold mines.
About 10 ostriches were killed on Stonehaven, in Marondera North, by illegal
occupiers and their dogs. The owner of Central Farm in Beatrice, has been
told to stay off his farm by the Lands Committee after illegal occupiers stated
they were taking over the farm. The owner of Blighty Farm, in Mvurwi had to
pay $20,000 for alleged damage done by his cattle to illegal occupiers maize
There were no reports received from Mashonaland
West (South), Manicaland and Matabeleland Regions.
Central Mvurwi - The owner of Blighty Farm, had to pay $20,000 for alleged
damage done by his cattle to illegal occupiers maize on his farm, after the
fence had been cut. The dispute between illegal occupiers and the owner has
been resolved for the time being. Mutepatepa - The owner of Dunaverty Farm
has been allowed to continue with wheat planting but has been advised that there
will be no summer cropping. Work continues to be prevented at Amanda, and
seedbed planting has been stopped at Katanya.
North Chinhoyi - Illegal occupiers have caused two wheat work stoppages on
Braeside Farm and threatened to burn the owners tractors. More illegal
occupiers have moved onto Msengi Farm. 40 families from Shackleton Mine have
moved onto The Range Farm. The DA has instructed that pegging commence on
Bandira Farm even though the owner had already sold 22 000 ha to
government. Trelawney - More illegal occupiers have moved onto Shirleigh
Farm. Banket - There are 72 illegal occupiers remaining on Mimosa, arguing
amongst themselves as to whether they should stay on the farm or not. The
remaining illegal occupiers have returned to the Chrome Mines. Karoi - A
work stoppage occurred on Ardingley Farm preventing the owner from planting seed
beds. Doma - There has been much movement of illegal occupiers onto Chipiri
and Chitatu Farms. Umboe - 6 more head of cattle are missing on Chifundi
Mashonaland West South Kadoma - 30 head of cattle and
thousands of guinea fowl were poisoned, after illegal occupiers had soaked maize
in cyanide acquired from gold mines.
Mashonaland East Beatrice -
The labour from Welcome Home farm were instructed by illegal occupiers to meet
at Joyce Mine. The meeting was a form of orientation where the labour had to
stay there for 3 hours and the youths for 4 hours. When labour were called to
attend the meeting the following day, a dispute between a labourer and an
illegal occupier took place, resulting in one of the labourers being beaten up.
Illegal occupiers demonstrated outside the homestead of Nebo Farm as they did
not want the lessee of the farm to prepare land for next years crops. The owner
of Central Farm has been told to stay off his farm by the Lands Committee after
illegal occupiers stated they were taking over the farm. The owner has been told
that he can finish grading his soyabeans, only if he has the permission of the
police to go to the farm, but he must remain in the grading sheds and not visit
the lands. Agritex are pegging on Muriwai, Carnethy and Logan
Lee. Bromley/Ruwa/ Enterprise - DDF have pegged through lands being prepared
for next seasons crops on Dunstan. Harare South - About 80 illegal occupiers
arrived on Edinburgh farm, pegged in three lands prepared for tobacco and
erected a hut in one of the prepared lands. Marondera - Ngezi farm has been
reinvaded. Agritex are pegging on Chipesa. Marondera North - There have been
work stoppages on Cambridge and Ulva. About 10 ostriches were killed on
Stonehaven by illegal occupiers and their dogs. Macheke/Virginia - The owner
of Warren Farm was told by the main illegal occupier, Manera, that the labour
were to leave their houses as the illegal occupiers wanted to occupy them. The
owner refused and reported the incident to the police. Manera then proceeded to
plant a vegetable garden in the tobacco seed bed site, and barricaded the farmer
in his house. This was later resolved. Later that night, the illegal occupier
barricaded the owner’s wife in the house, the police refused to react and a
neighbour went in and collected her. There have been a number of " fast -
track" letters served in the district. Illegal occupiers on Malda farm stopped
the owner from cutting grass for his seed beds. A councillor from Murehwa
instructed the owner of River Valley farm to move his labour off the farm as he
had been fast - tracked. About 20 abusive illegal occupiers arrived on Marylands
and stopped all work. The Assistant DA resolved the problem and after being told
that there were to be no work stoppages, the invaders left. Wedza - There
was a work stoppage on Idube. Two calves have been slaughtered on Collace. A
work stoppage has occurred on Fells.
Masvingo Masvingo East &
Central – There has been an increase of illegal occupiers on Bon Domi, with huts
being erected. Chiredzi - Continued tree chopping, building of shacks and
poaching continues. Mwenezi – A veld fire on Rutenga Ranch resulted in a
substantial area of grazing being burnt. 200 illegal occupiers are living in
one paddock and about 67 in another. Firewood was stolen on Rienette Ranch. 18
snares were found on La Pache Ranch. There has been an increase in illegal
occupiers on Sheba and Valley Ranches. The owner of Alternburg Farm has offered
two thirds of his farm to Government and the remaining one third he has
requested for himself. This has been occupied. Work stoppages continue on
Umbono Holdings. Gutu / Chatsworth – Deforestation and building of shacks
continues. Save Conservancy – The situation remains unchanged. On Mukwasi
Ranch there has been an increase of illegal occupiers. Negotiations between
Government and Save Conservancy appear to be moving ahead to resolving the fence
Midlands Mvuma - Illegal occupiers are waiting quietly to be
allocated stands on two new farms in the area. Somabhula - A farmer was
prevented by Illegal occupiers from cutting and baling hay, the reason being
that the hay belonged to illegal occupiers after being resident for two days.
SOUTH Africa yesterday
for the first time publicly criticised the illegal occupation of white-owned
farms by self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war and their
attacks on private companies and foreign aid organisations ostensibly on behalf
of discontented workers.
In the clearest sign yet of
a shift by Pretoria from its policy of quiet diplomacy on Harare, Jeremiah Ndou,
South Africa's High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, said in a statement that his
country strongly condemned the current wave of company invasions.
"South Africa does not, and will never condone the violence seen in
the country, excuse the occupation of farms and serious harassment of people in
the rural and urban areas, and strongly condemns the latest spate of business
invasions in Zimbabwe," said Ndou. Gangs led by the self-styled war
veterans have unleashed a reign of terror since last June's parliamentary
election that left 31 opposition party members dead and have now widened their
attacks to include companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Businessmen and officials of NGOs suspected of supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been abducted and assaulted by
supporters of the ruling party while others have had to pay hefty sums at ZANU
PF offices as compensation for firing or retrenching workers. The government
has however begun moves to rein in its rogue element and several so-called war
veterans have since appeared in court charged with extortion and kidnapping.
"The rule of law is the fundamentals of any civil society and
lawlessness is strongly condemned by the South African government,"
Ndou said in the statement made available to the Financial Gazette yesterday.
"Acts of violence aimed at an individual will never be condoned by
the South African government and people," he added. Ndou issued the
statement in response to recent articles in Zimbabwean newspapers that said
Pretoria would not bow to international pressure to condemn lawlessness in its
southern African neighbour. South African President Thabo Mbeki has been
heavily criticised at home and abroad for his softly approach to the problems in
Zimbabwe largely caused by the excesses of the governing ZANU PF party.
Several other Western countries including the United States and Britain,
Zimbabwe's former colonial master, have condemned the lawlessness that was
triggered by illegal farm occupations just before the June plebiscite won by
ZANU PF with a reduced majority. According to Ndou, South Africa was also
engaging Harare on how to resolve its strained relations with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and how to end the biting fuel crisis
that has almost brought business on its knees.
South Africa and Britain
are Zimbabwe's most important trading partners and thousands of Zimbabweans have
flocked into the two countries as the economic and political climate in the
southern African country deteriorates.
Oppenheimers clash with Mugabe over ranch
By Njabulo Ncube, Bureau Chief
5/24/01 6:42:58 PM (GMT
BULAWAYO - The South
African-based Oppenheimer family that owns huge properties in Zimbabwe has
clashed with the government for allegedly downsizing its Debshan Estates ranch
in southern Zimbabwe that cuts through four provinces, the Financial Gazette has
It emerged yesterday that the wealthy family, which also controls the
multinational Anglo American Corporation and De Beers Diamond Company, had
informed the government that Debshan - which spans the Midlands, Masvingo,
Matabeleland North and South provinces - measured about 137 000 acres instead of
137 000 hectares as ascertained by government assessors. The government last
year served notice on Anglo that it intended to acquire part of Debshan for the
resettlement of landless peasants. The ranch was later de-listed from
designation after Nicholas Oppenheimer, the chairman of Anglo American, offered
the state 40 000 hectares of the 960 000 hectares of land the family and Anglo
own in Zimbabwe at a meeting with President Robert Mugabe. Vice President
Joseph Msika, allegedly on the orders of Mugabe who is understood to be
personally negotiating the take-over of part of the farm with Oppenheimer, on
Monday stormed Debshan's headquarters in the Insiza district of Matabeleland
South, about 165 kms from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city. Msika's
visit, according to officials, was to ascertain the actual size of the farm that
is being disputed between the Oppenheimer family and the government. Msika
was accompanied by a high-powered government delegation that included Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and
senior ZANU PF officials Kembo Mohadi, Thenjiwe Lesabe and some war veterans.
The visibly angry Msika berated the white managers at the estate in the
presence of the Financial Gazette, accusing them of wanting to maintain the
"present statusquo" in which, he said, they wanted "to remain king over blacks".
He warned them that the government would not tolerate whites who labelled
his administration "land-grabbers" when its intention was only to correct an
imbalance brought about by colonialism. "I want to tell you (whites) that
your time is over. It is now the time for Mugabe to do what he wants," said an
angry Msika, foaming at the mouth. "I want you to tell me now the exact size
of this huge property and why you classify it as an agro-industry? There is no
way this place can be called an agro-industry. There are no factories here," he
thundered at the visibly shaken white managers. "Somebody deliberately lied
to us but we will not be fooled. We won't remove the people that have settled on
this farm since last year," he added, much to the delight of the over 10 000
people that thronged the property on Monday. He added: "But I also want to
tell our people that we will not allow new invaders on this and other properties
from now on." The estate, which has about 21 000 cattle and earns in excess
of $80 million a year through the sale of about 4 000 cattle to the state-owned
Cold Storage Company, was last March forcibly occupied by some veterans of
Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence and other land-hungry ruling party
supporters. This week about 10 000 of them were still at the property
waiting to be allocated pieces of land by the government under its so-called
fast-track land reform programme. Clive Swanapoel, the general manager of
Debshan, apologised at length to Msika and his delegation over what Swanepoel
said was an error by the company on the size of the property. He said the
company proposed to offer the government about 34 000 hectares of the property
to resettle some of the landless villagers from the four provinces that border
the estate. "I apologise on behalf of the company. It was not our intention
to annoy the government. But I have to also mention that the estate is fully
utilized. There is no inch of this property that is not put to full use,"
Swanepoel said. He explained how every inch of the estate was utilised but
government officials present were adamant that there was no way all the land
could fully be utilised. The government delegation also vehemently disputed that
the estate was an agro-industrial property. Over 200 locals are employed at
the estate that is crisis-crossed by two large rivers - the Shangani and the
Ngezi - as well as several other smaller ones. Msika told Swanepoel that the
government wanted 65 000 hectares of the 137 000 hectares of the estate to
resettle people. "This ranch is just too much for one family. We can have up
to five big farms to resettle our people. We need at least 65 000 hectares and I
will personally tell your boss Oppenheimer that Robert Mugabe wants almost half
of the estate," said Msika. Of the 40 000 hectares the Oppenheimers offered
the government, 34 000 hectares was to come from Debshan, which is estimated to
be the same size as Belgium.
ZANU PF bid to steal urban vote flops
By Sydney Masamvu, Political Editor 5/24/01 6:49:26 PM (GMT
THE governing ZANU PF
party's plan to hijack the elusive urban vote in next year's crucial
presidential poll by intervening in labour disputes on behalf of workers has
failed dismally, analysts said this week.
The experts said the governing party was last week forced to abandon its
ill-conceived plan after it emerged that Zimbabwe faced the real possibility of
international sanctions because of the government's failure to stop the wave of
violent illegal company invasions. Hundreds of companies and
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been invaded by war veterans of the
Chenjerai Hunzvi-faction and supporters of the ruling party since March. The
company invasions, triggered by the formation of a labour committee led by
Harare war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, have resulted in the arrest of
more than 20 party supporters for kidnapping and the extortion of about $8
million and the dissolution of the committee. "The plan was a complete
disaster for ZANU PF and the government all round and they had to abandon it
midstream because they had no choice since sanctions were beckoning," said
Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies researcher, Brian Raftopoulos.
"The pressure which was coming from the international community including
possible sanctions and the impact on the economy on companies closing down made
ZANU PF realise, though late, that it was stretching its luck too far,"
Raftopoulos told the Financial Gazette. Raftopoulos said the plan had also
been aimed at wreaking havoc in towns that are seen by ZANU PF as the power base
of the MDC but had failed to hoodwink the urban poor, who can barely afford a
daily meal and whose fortunes are worsening by the day because of rising
poverty, joblessness and the high cost of living. President Robert Mugabe
faces the strongest challenge to his 21-year-old reign from the MDC's Morgan
Tsvangirai in next year's presidential poll. Masipula Sithole, a respected
political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), said the ZANU PF plan to
woo the vote of urban workers and their families by raiding companies ostensibly
to address labour disputes, had collapsed and the party had run out of ideas on
how to penetrate urban centres. "The whole approach by ZANU PF to promote
lawlessness in towns by raiding companies as means in order to win votes in the
presidential elections was unsustainable and fittingly, it crumbled in their
face," said Sithole. He said the real possibility of sanctions against
Zimbabwe and failure by the ruling party to win widespread support of its
invasions of companies had forced party leaders to execute a hastily arranged
exit plan that culminated in last week's arrest of some war veterans and the
dissolution of the party's labour committee. Sithole said the failure of the
violent campaign in the urban areas was now going to instil some form of
resilience on villagers who were successfully intimidated into voting for ZANU
PF during last year's June parliamentary election. The ZANU PF plan to
browbeat the urban vote into submission hinged on the ability of its so-called
war veterans to subdue mainly white-owned businesses and make them pay huge
amounts to workers as compensation for lost jobs. Scores of company and NGO
executives were kidnapped and force-marched to ZANU PF party offices during the
last two months where they were forced to either re-employ some sacked workers
or ordered to pay them exorbitant amounts as compensation. Chinotimba and
another senior ZANU PF Harare province official, Chris Pasipamire, presided over
the "negotiations" held at party premises that usually always ended with huge
amounts of money being paid to the workers. The plan backfired on the
governing party when rogue elements hijacked it and used it to milk businesses
and NGOs of millions of dollars. Several top war veterans, including Pasipamire,
are being accused of extorting a total of $8 million from the affected
The analysts said the blitz last week on the war veterans was
a result of international pressure that included protests from Britain, Germany,
South Africa and Denmark and sanctions recently imposed on Zimbabwe by Canada
because of the lawlessness.
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe Media Update #
2001/20 Monday 14 May to Sunday 20 May 2001
Masvingo's Mayoral elections again exposed the state media's bias in
favour of the ruling party. In previous weeks these media had given
ample platform to the ruling party to campaign. In the week even after
the defeat of the ruling party, the state-media solicited opinions from
an array of Zanu PF sources. On the day the results were announced
ZBCTV gave little airtime to the victor. On the other hand, The
Daily News' had a subjective interpretation of the results, both in its
headline and in the text.
Ř Government's U-turn in dealing with
company invasions exposed the fickleness of the state media which
hitherto had glorified the labour arbitrations and ignored the
abductions, threats and extortion in the arbitrations.
concern, has been the ongoing battle between the various media outlets,
mainly the private press and state media. Both sides have sought to
prove the other side wrong by denying reports in other media outlets at
the expense of providing fair and accurate information to the
public. Obviously, in the final analysis, the reader is the victim, as
s/he remains unsure of which report to believe.
Ř The week saw a new
live current affairs programme, "Talk To The Nation", on ZBC-TV which is
sponsored by National Development Association (NDA). There were
about 12 callers, representing views that evenly reflected those
critical and in favour of government policies. However, the programme
requires the services of an independent and qualified moderator to give
it greater credibility.
Expectations were high that after a campaign blitz on behalf of
the ruling party, the state-owned media would at least give airtime to
the winning candidate after the elections. MMPZ statistics however show
that on television, for example, of the 20 minutes spent on the elections in
the week, Zanu PF was accorded 16 minutes (80%) while both the Registrar's
office and the MDC 90 seconds each (7.5%) and 60 seconds was the reporter's
opinion. On radio 2/4; 55% of the voices quoted were Zanu PF, 18% MDC. Radio
3 relegated MDC's victory to the third item (14/5 8pm). The station
carried two MDC voices against six of Zanu PF. Similarly, the Herald
solicited three Zanu PF voices versus three from MDC (sandwiching the MDC
victory between extensive stories of Zanu PF victories elsewhere), while the
Chronicle gave two voices each to the parties. However the bias was evident
in the Herald's editorial which read thus: "in this weekend's election
Zanu-PF pushed its share of the vote to 29.3 percent while the MDC share
dropped to 62.9 percent.that substantial increase in the Zanu-PF share in
just under a year shows that the ruling party is probably on the right track
in its efforts to rebuild its urban support. The editorial went further to
claim that because of this percentage rise ZANU-PF was going to get a
"comfortable" majority in the Presidential elections.
press however, viewed the victory as people's brave stand against state
violence and intimidation. The Daily News 16/5, The Financial Gazette 17/5
and The Zimbabwe Independent 18/5 ran editorials reinforcing the futility of
state violence to influence votes in urban areas. The Daily News quoted
four MDC voices against one of Zanu PF. It's initial article on the MDC
victory was opinionated and subjective in tone as reflected in the headline
"Masvingo says no to violence" and in the sentence "retired engineer Alois
Chaimiti became the first MDC executive mayor when he embarrassed Zanu
PF's Jacob Chademana".
The Independent 19/5 quoted the ordinary voices,
while The Financial Gazette 18/5 quoted two Zanu PF voices (Eddison
Zvobgo and Mavhaire, who cannot be said to represent Zanu PF's
mainstream opinion but are in fact considered a rebel faction in the
party). The two blamed the party's loss on violence, economic crisis,
unnamed opportunists and the party's restructuring exercise. Both the
private and state owned press also concentrated on the political showdown
surrounding the polls without trying to compare the candidates on the
strength of their mayoral manifestos or programmes they had to offer once in
office. ZBC audiences were swamped with Zanu PF's differing reasons for
the loss. These included Samuel Mbengegwi (ZBC; 14/5 8pm & 17/5) who
attributed the loss to violence and intimidation, inefficiency of the
registrar general's office. The views of other Zanu PF officials were from
secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa (three minutes thirty
seconds-15/5), John Nkomo (16/5 8 pm) who blamed it on factionalism and
Jonathan Moyo (ZBCTV, 20/5; 8pm).
On the other hand, MDC's winning
candidate was given a sound bite once (1 minute on ZBCTV - on the 15th;
8pm), a day after the results were announced. On Radio, MDC's spokesman,
Learnmore Jongwe, was quoted commenting about the victory on the 16th,
two days after the announcement of the results.
Notably, ZBCTV also
appeared to attempt to counter-balance the MDC victory with stories
highlighting internal ZANU PF developments, which amounted to little more
than public relations items on ZBC TV. For instance on the 14th Nhau/Indaba
carried news of the MDC victory in Masvingo after an item on Philip
Chiyangwa's victory in the Zanu PF provincial elections in Mashonaland
West. This item received two minutes and thirty seconds during the main news
bulletin (8pm) while the lead story received one minute and forty-five
seconds of white copy.
Government's U-turn on firm
For the first time in the state-owned media, in a demonstration
of these state institutions political patronage, acknowledged that there
was thuggery and evidence of rampant extortion, abductions and violence (The
Herald 17/5) in the labour arbitrations. It attributed these to "rogue" war
veterans and MDC impostors. Previous weeks reports had glorified the war
veterans as efficient arbitrators. Similarly the ZBC in an about turn was
quick to condemn the activities and uncritically reported Nkomo's assertion
that those who were involved in these invasions and extorting money were
rogues/criminals (16/5). ZBC failed to report that war veterans had been
arrested and when it did the following day on 17/5 the report was buried in
the business section of the television bulletin. It was left to a caller in
a new current affairs prgramme to question and attempt to reconcile the fact
that one of the arrested people was Mike Moyo an executive member of the war
veterans and Chris Pasimarire a war veterans executive member in Zanu PF's
Harare province. Although radio broke the story in time, 17/5 1pm, on
television the story broke on 18/5 Nhau/Indaba in the bulletins
monitored. The private press was dismissive of government's efforts,
interpreting the about turn as being a result of a strategy that had
gone wrong and brought more losses than gains.
All state media (20/5)
reported the appointment of four labour tribunal judges. No attempt was made
to reconcile this with previous reports which had blamed the inefficiency in
the resolution of labour disputes on the ZCTU. Apparently, the blame could
squarely be levelled on the government because of its failure to appoint
Mazowe Citrus and Care International
between the private media and the state-media continued this week. This time
the state media (ZBC 17/5 and The Herald 18/5) rubbished a Daily News report
(17/5) which had alleged that Mazowe Citrus had been forced to close down by
war veterans. In another report, The Herald (16/5) quoted an unnamed
visiting Canadian envoy who allegedly described the Daily News (7/5) and
The Standard (13/5) reports about the assault of Care director and
Canadian diplomat at the hands of war veterans as grossly exaggerated
"press nonsense". The Zimbabwe Independent and the Daily News followed up
the denial alleging that the Herald had manufactured a story in order to
discredit The Daily News and that the "O"Brien had never given an
interview with the Herald. The Herald followed up with a story standing
by its story and saying had "impeccable sources". A similar incident
occurred with the Mazowe Citrus Estate report, where The Herald and the ZBC
in indirect speech, quoted the Estate's chief executive who said that
operations and stopped but only for the morning. The Daily News (18/5) on
the other hand followed this up quoting unnamed workers who expressed shock
at their chief executives denial. These reports highlight the struggle
for credibility between media outlets, and certainly the reader is the
victim. The question of truth invariably arises.
Another contestation between the Daily News and the state-owned
press came to an end in the week. Against conventional journalistic
ethics and conduct, The Daily News, which had previously alleged that a US
lawsuit against the President had resulted in a default judgement of
$20billion, published a retraction in its editorial. The statement
read: ".we stated that a default judgment had been passed against Mugabe,
where the court had only noted Mugabe's default. This was an error on our
part and we wish to publicly apologise to Mugabe for the embarrassment and
inconvenience it may have caused him."
Herald (14/5) carried an article alleging British undercover operations in
Zimbabwe. The story quoted unnamed intelligence, diplomatic and military
analysts, consequently depriving the article of credibility. In a separate
article of the same issue Minister of Information and Publicity Professor
Jonathan Moyo reiterated the existence of unnamed espionage missions against
Zimbabwe. Without proper sourcing and verification the report read as mere
government propaganda. The former editor of The Herald Bornwell
Chakaodza, confirmed the existence of such propaganda. The Standard (20/5)
reported that the former editor revealed that he was once forced, against
his better judgment, by a government minister to publish a totally false
story alleging an MDC plot to sabotage the country. MMPZ is greatly
concerned by such lack of professional ethics and the use of the public
press as a medium for state propaganda.
The MEDIA UPDATE is
produced and distributed by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 221 Fife
Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 734207, 733486, E-mail: email@example.com, Web: http://www.icon.co.zw/mmpz Feel free to
respond to MMPZ. We may not be able to respond to everything but we will
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Daily News: 5/23/01 8:09:19 AM (GMT
+2) Mduduzi Mathuthu, Bulawayo
POLICE dogs were
unleashed on about 2 000 students from the Bulawayo Polytechnic as they
protested in the city centre yesterday.
The students were
demonstrating against the privatisation of the college’s catering services.
Several of them were injured when riot police released the dogs on them and
used force to break up the demonstration. At least seven students were
arrested. The police were yesterday reported to be keen to interview the
Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) president, Nkululeko Sibanda.
Sibanda told The Daily News student leaders had held an urgent meeting with
student leaders from the United College of Education, Hillside Teachers’ College
and Gwanda Zintec College to look at ways of widening the strike. “We are
determined to smash this monster that is privatisation of catering services. We
are not intimidated by the police violence against students and our message is
that this is just the start of a wave of student protests. The zeal to see
it through is there,” said the Zinasu president. The police first blocked
the students at the intersection of Parirenyatwa Road and Seventh Avenue, but
the students overpowered them with a hail of stones, before reinforcements were
called. Meanwhile, another group of students left the Polytechnic, using a
different route into the city. The two groups converged outside the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe along Jason Moyo Street. Eight police vehicles disgorged squads
of policemen who set upon the students. They unleashed the dogs and struck with
batons to disrupt the demonstration. A number of unsuspecting members of the
public were caught in crossfire. Police yesterday said they were still
compiling information on the protest. Said Sibanda: “We are surprised that
the police attacked peaceful demonstrators. If there was any damage to property,
then it must be to the trees from which we took a few branches.” By late
yesterday afternoon, heavily armed policemen stood guard at the college. Efforts
to get comment from the college principal, Abraham Mwadiwa were in vain. At
the beginning of the year the government privatised all catering services at
institutions of higher learning, prompting a steep rise in the cost of food for
Court told of massive torture during
Marondera East polls
Daily News: 5/23/01 8:08:11 AM (GMT
+2) Court Reporter
INGE Genefke, the
secretary-general of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture,
yesterday told High Court judge, Justice Vernanda Ziyambi, there was massive
torture in Marondera East at the height of last year’s parliamentary election.
Genefke, a medical doctor
specialising in victims of torture, testified in a petition hearing in which
Didimas Munhenzva of the MDC is seeking the nullification of the election result
in Marondera East, won by Sydney Sekeramayi of Zanu PF. At the hearing which
started yesterday, Genefke, a Dane, said: “I first came to Zimbabwe last year in
May at the invitation of Amani Trust to investigate allegations of torture in
the country. I examined about 10 people and it was my conclusion they were
tortured. On my second visit this year I examined two torture victims, Gwinyai
Kanyongo and Crybert Basimon, both of whom have typical symptoms of torture.”
Amani Trust is a human rights organisation. Sekeramayi, then Minister of
State Security responsible for the CIO and now Minister of Mines and Energy,
polled 10 701 votes, Munhenzva 10 629, United Parties’ Sekai Charingani won 248,
while 205 voters opted for Pascal Dangwa, an independent. Advocate Edith
Mushore, for Sekeramayi, argued the evidence by Genefke was not from an
eyewitness point of view, but she chose to believe the men without
investigating. Said Mushore: “You did not investigate what you were told by
these two people you interviewed, but instead chose to believe them.”
Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, representing Munhenzva, said the election in
Marondera East was marred by massive irregularities at polling stations,
intimidation, torture and violence. De Bourbon said: “This influenced the
voting pattern in the constituency. There were two recounts in Marondera
East, resulting in enormous disparities in the results. I’ll come to that in due
course. “There are over 6 000 unaccounted-for votes and the
Registrar-General has to tell the court why. Ballot boxes were brought in from
the Chikomba constituency, where Dr Chenjerai Hunzvi is an MP, into Marondera
East. Why? The Registrar-General has to explain.” De Bourbon said out of
500 voters’ registration books, 324 were not used. “The Registrar-General
must explain what happened,” said De Bourbon. The hearing continues tomorrow
when either Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, or a representative of his
office, is expected to answer De Bourbon’s questions.
Mugabe approved GMB deal:
News: 5/23/01 7:32:24 AM (GMT +2) Pedzisai Ruhanya
KUMBIRAI Kangai, the
former Minister of Lands and Agriculture, facing a $228 million fraud charge,
yesterday told the High Court that his actions had the approval of President
The allegations of
corruption levelled against him were merely aimed at embarrassing him, Kangai
said. His lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said: “Kangai had discussed the matter
with President Mugabe who gave his approval. Later, the matter was referred to
Cabinet for discussion. After discussion, Cabinet approved the exportation of
maize to Malawi and later communicated this approval to the GMB through his
officials.” Kangai is jointly charged with his former permanent secretary,
Tobias Takavarasha, and Martin Muchero, the suspended chief executive of the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The three pleaded not guilty to three counts of
corruption when they appeared before High Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe.
Samkange said Kangai discussed the exportation of maize with Mugabe who
approved the move. He said the actual exportation of maize to Malawi was a
matter of administration which Kangai would not be concerned with and which he
did not concern himself with. “Kangai was only concerned with the policy
aspect of the export of maize,” Samkange said. “As regards the mechanics of how
to effect the exports to Malawi, these are matters to be dealt with by the GMB
management.” Kangai denies that he connived with Takavarasha and Muchero to
commit any crime. “Kangai will say he has been included in the charge in
order to simply embarrass him because he was a minister,” said Samkange.
“This charge clearly demonstrates the desire by the State to embarrass
Kangai as there is no basis for the State to have included him in the charge.
“Instead, they are fully aware the former minister was not responsible for
administrative matters. It is Kangaiąs view that the charge was simply brought
in order to embarrass and harass him as there is no evidence that he
specifically instructed anyone to issue licences as alleged.” He said the
GMB was not required to go through the Government Tender Board under its
commercial mandate and, in particular, for its trading business. Samkange
told the court that for its commodity trading business, the GMB had never in the
past 10 years gone through the tender board, even during the droughts in the
early 1990s. “Maize was imported by the GMB and it did not go through the
tender board,” he said. “The same process was used in the 1998/99 maize
importation programme.” The State alleges that following a poor farming
season in 1997/8, the GMB was assigned to import 460 000 metric tonnes of maize
for domestic consumption and to replenish strategic grain reserves. It
alleges that Kangai, Muchero and Takavarasha did not follow laid-down procedures
in the process of importing the required maize. Kangai, 63, is on $250 000
bail, while Takavarasha is on $50 000 bail for allegedly misappropriating $160
million through fraudulent deals at the GMB. Muchero, also on $50 000 bail,
faces charges of fraud and corruption involving $176 million.
Patrick Kombayi, a
prominent Gweru businessman and politician, was arrested and detained on Monday
night at the Gweru Central police station following a raid at his Midlands Hotel
by 15 armed policemen.
Kombayi was still in
custody yesterday evening. His lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika of Chipere,
Chidawanyika and Partners, told The Daily News Kombayi was still in police
custody but he did not know when his client would appear in court. The Gweru
Central police station declined to comment. Workers at the hotel said six
armed uniformed policemen raided the hotel at around 7:30pm on Monday night, but
later withdrew after Kombayi telephoned the Police General Headquarters in
Harare. “The policemen were armed with AK47 rifles,” said a hotel employee.
“They left, only to return at around midnight after which they arrested the old
man and took him to the police station.” Three weeks ago, Assistant
Inspector Elphas George of the CID Gweru Central police station allegedly
attacked Kombayi at the Midlands Hotel, accusing him of denigrating the
government and President Mugabe in his Press advertisements. Kombayi disarmed
the police officer and handed over the pistol to the police after two days.
George is yet to be formally charged with attempted murder or alternatively
pointing a firearm at Kombayi. The former mayor continues to run advertisements
in the Press calling on Mugabe to resign. Since the incident at the hotel,
the police have indicated they were eager to charge Kombayi for obstructing the
course of justice, alleging he prevented George from carrying out his duties at
the hotel. Chidawanyika said Kombayi faces a charge of common assault for
allegedly assaulting George. Kombayi is also being charged of allegedly
resisting arrest and pointing a firearm at the policemen who tried to arrest him
at his hotel on Monday night, said Chidawanyika.
Background and introduction – ZJRI Co-ordinator: Malcolm Vowles
This press release represents a further milestone in the journey
towards resolving the land issue in Zimbabwe.
I take you back to a Special CFU Congress on the 21st March 2001, just
eight weeks ago. Through this Congress, commercial farmers demonstrated a
sincere commitment to change and strengthened their commitment to sustainable
agrarian reform. Further, the farmers committed to becoming a more integral part
of society and to taking a broader, more national perspective in their outlook.
At this same Congress, a Farmers’ Team was mandated to urgently seek
dialogue with Government in order to pursue a lasting solution to the
long-standing land dispute. This team has been working diligently towards
drawing stakeholders in the land issue towards a common position. Through this
process, the seeds were sown for the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative,
with the objective of tangibly supporting a sustainable resettlement programme.
Partners in this initiative were drawn together through a common
commitment to the development of Zimbabwe and a vision of a racially integrated
agricultural sector that meets national requirements in terms of employment,
food security, value added processing and exports. It is our ultimate intention
to broaden the partnership of this initiative to bring all stakeholders in the
land issue together, driven by a common purpose.
Yesterday, a proposal, which outlines a comprehensive resettlement
support package, was submitted to the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on
Resettlement and Rural Development, Vice-President Joseph Msika. This press
release is a public demonstration of our commitment.
We look forward to a positive response from Government in order to move
into a progressive phase of co-operation so that this initiative can be speedily
The following is the full text of a submission made on the 23rd May 2001 to
the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Resettlement and Rural Development,
Vice-President Joseph Msika. This is a joint submission by the Farmers’ Team
(represented by Mr Colin Cloete and Mr William Hughes); the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association (represented by Mr Kobus Joubert, ZTA President) and the Private
Sector Initiative (represented by Mr Greg Brackenridge, Chief Executive of
"As citizens of this beautiful country we are fully aware of the
significance of land to the peoples of Zimbabwe. We are also aware of the manner
in which the land issue in Zimbabwe has been politicised on racial grounds. We
feel that the organised farming community has contributed to the impasse with
This situation is most unfortunate because it has been sensationalised and
misrepresented within the international community. However we remain acutely
aware of the need to speedily settle thousands of families crowded in
unproductive rural areas. Hence, we pledge our commitment to work with
Government to ensure the success of the land resettlement program.
The intention of the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI) is
to consolidate existing private sector resettlement initiatives into a
partnership, fully committed to co-operating with Government in a sustainable
agrarian reform programme underpinned by continuity of national
To demonstrate sincerity of purpose, the following program is proposed:
Motivating commercial farmers to deliver an initial tranche of one million
hectares of suitable land, for acquisition by Government, on an uncontested
basis, to enable the settlement of at least 20,000 families. Implement a
tillage scheme through commercial farmers, to offer one hectare of free tillage
to each of these new families. Assist the resettled farmers with inputs
worth Z$ 60 million (sixty million dollars) to be disbursed through existing
channels, such as Cottco, Agribank, Farmers’ Development Trust and other farming
organisations, ensuring a direct beneficial effect to the newly settled
families. Implement a Z$ 1.375 billion (one billion three hundred and
seventy five million dollars) soft-loan revolving fund through the Agricultural
Credit Guarantee Bank to support Government’s Commercial Farmer Settlement
Scheme. Offer consultants (at least 3 per Province) to assist resettled
farmers with technical advice. Mount an international promotion campaign to
publicise Zimbabwe`s ability to settle its internal problems, thereby enabling
Zimbabwe to secure financial support from the donor community to sustain our
land reform program. Our hope is to exercise the preferred option of
settling disputes through negotiation in good faith and by agreement, rather
than settlement through the courts. For this reason, the Commercial Farmers’
Union will not need to pursue further litigation against Government, nor does it
have any pending litigation against Government. Successful implementation of
this initiative will start a positive cycle of confidence for all stakeholders
and reverse the current negative image of Zimbabwe in the eyes of the
Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
been forced to take much of its political activity "underground" to avoid the
violence of a government widening its net of repression and terror to attack
diplomats and aid workers.
There have been assaults on the press and the judiciary by a government
desperate to cling to power at any price. Now its tyranny has extended to
diplomats, aid workers and private companies.
The MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, told The Independent the party
had scaled down public shows of strength such as political rallies, because of
the risk of sparking violence between its supporters and those of President
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
"We have gone quiet to organise ourselves on the ground," Mr Tsvangirai said.
The party has initiated a "whispering campaign" of one-to-one political
education a strategy reminiscent of underground movements in totalitarian
regimes holding rallies only when there seems no danger to supporters
A jittery diplomatic corps met the government last week to express concern
for the safety of staff after veterans threatened to raid foreign missions and
agencies that they believe support the MDC.
Several non-governmental organisations including the British Council in
Harare closed their doors, some after visits from the self-styled veterans of
Zimbabwe's liberation war, who support Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Canadian diplomats were assaulted while defending staff at the Care
International charity when it was invaded. The incident, in which the Canadian
high commissioner was involved in a scuffle, prompted Canada to suspend new
development aid to Zimbabwe.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, John Manley, said all new funds would be
blocked immediately because there was no response to a formal diplomatic
protest. "We regret that the lack of rule of law, which has long affected the
people of Zimbabwe, is now having a direct impact on Canadian citizens," Mr
Manley said. "This means we must re-examine our aid relations with
Nine staff of the German charity Help were imprisoned for several days after
trying to stop a mob of about 1,000 people, led by war veterans, from plundering
its warehouse. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, based in Germany, has closed its
regional office and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies have sent home the families of expatriate staff.
Invasions of companies have struck fear into the hearts of business leaders
and destabilised a sector already struggling to keep afloat. Tony Hawkins, a
University of Zimbabwe business expert, described the actions as "another nail
in the coffin of investment".
On Thursday a government bill aimed at preventing the eviction of illegal
squatters on farms was given its first reading in parliament. The Rural Land
Occupiers (Protection) Bill is aimed at nullifying scores of court rulings in
the past year ordering the eviction of squatters.
Zanu-PF militias reportedly stopped all new production in a block of 27 farms
in Macheke, 75 miles east of Harare, last week. Unions said that all new crop
preparation had ceased, putting tobacco production worth nearly Ł3.5m at
On Friday the government listed 121 more farms for seizure, including an
estate owned by the multinational Lonmin company. This is on top of 2,500 farms
already invaded by about 25,000 squatters. The squatters, led by war veterans,
have killed scores of farmers and farm workers, assaulted thousands more and
damaged crops, livestock and equipment.
The government appears to have begun settling peasants in the Gonarezhou
National Park in the south-east of the country an area it recently promised in
an international agreement would become part of a cross-border park with South
Africa and Mozambique. Some 760 people and 1,000 cattle are being moved on to
11,000 hectares, according to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.
Mr Tsvangirai, who has been threatened with arrest and death and whose party
offices have been bombed, said the MDC's decision to go underground was a
survival tactic. "Our people feel more confident if we take such action, rather
than being open and holding rallies then in the middle of the night they get
beaten," he said. "Violence does not benefit the MDC or its supporters, so we
are being very cautious."
The MDC was founded 18 months ago out of frustration with government
mismanagement and corruption, and spiralling economic decline.
The party rose rapidly on a crest of growing discontent, defeating Mr Mugabe
in a constitutional referendum in February last year and securing nearly half of
the vote in general elections in June. But its success carried a high price.
Mr Mugabe panicked and in the run-up to the election orchestrated mass
invasions of thousands of white-owned farms. A campaign of violence ensued, in
which some 30 people died and thousands were beaten, raped and intimidated.
Despite forex troubles, backlog mounts in Zimbabwe
Harare - Despite Zimbabwe's crippling
foreign currency shortage, government mismanagement has created an enormous
backlog in sales of tobacco, a key revenue earner, a top tobacco official said
Tuesday. The backlog in sales is costing Zimbabwe about 850,000 dollars every
business day in lost foreign currency earnings that could be made if the sales
floors were operating at capacity, Tobacco Sales Floor director Pat Devenish
told reporters. The problem stems from a government decision to split its
selling teams equally among Zimbabwe's three trading floors - although demand is
not equally great at all three, Devenish said. The decision by the government's
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board divides its seven selling teams among the
three floors, giving each floor two teams and leaving one idle, Devenish said.
The move is meant to force growers to sell their crop at two newer floors,
despite a board regulation that allows farmers to sell their crops wherever they
wish. As the oldest and most popular auction house, the Tobacco Sales Floor has
a backlog of 175,000 bales, while the other two floors have backlogs of only
10,000 and 2,000 bales, Devenish said. The government policy means the Tobacco
Sales Floor can only have two auctions a day, while it has enough demand to run
five, Devenish said.
The backlog comes despite widespread
concerns that farmers would hold back their tobacco to wait to see if the
government would devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, currently pegged at 55 to one US
dollar. Although tobacco is traded in US dollars, farmers are forced to receive
their earnings in Zimbabwe dollars, converted at the official rate. But a
long-running shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe's banking system means
that farmers are forced to import their fertilizers, equipment and other
supplies through the parallel market, where the rate runs is anywhere from 110
to 140 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar, Devenish said. Good prices for
tobacco, plus immediate cash flow problems faced by some farmers, have sent many
farmers lining up to sell their crop despite the weak official rate. "In the
early part of the season, they've accepted that they will have to sell part of
their crop at a rate that may not be viable," Devenish said. Zimbabwe is
suffering its worst-ever economic crisis, with inflation and unemployment
running at about 60 percent. For the last 18 months, the chronic shortage of
foreign currency has left the government unable to import enough fuel and
electricity to meet the country's needs.
Today was a very bad day for my family and I.
Basically I was given a death threat, and because I was given that threat, I
have evacuated my house. I will be living in Masvingo with my brother and
father in law. I have packed up all my stuff, and this will be the last night
that I spend in my house in Zimbabwe until I leave. It is a very sad
situation, and I am very emotional about it, but have resigned my self to the
fact that it is just the way things happen in Africa. I wish all those people
that are prepared to stay here in Africa, all the best ! because if you saw
what I saw today, and have any sense of reality, you would know that the time to
leave Africa is probably already too late, but there is a chance still to get
All the best of African luck to all those staying
here, because I think you are going to need it, I am out of the god forsaken
Hungwe LEADING war veterans Chenjerai Hunzvi and
Joseph Chinotimba benefited from the rampant extortion perpetrated during
illegal company invasions and should be arrested, militant ex-combatant Mike
Moyo said yesterday.
Hunzvi, the chairman of the War Veterans
Association, and Chinotimba, the national treasurer, are said to have become
instant millionaires in the process.
War veterans have started trading
accusations as the extortion allegations swirl around leaders of the liberation
Moyo, Zanu PF Harare province secretary for security,
yesterday accu- sed Home Affairs minister John Nkomo of targeting the small fish
while protecting the big ones who are office bearers in the ruling party.
Moyo told the Zimbabwe Independent he was prepared to spill the beans in
a court of law. He said he would testify that Hunzvi and Chinotimba had received
money from companies they raided.
Moyo accused the police of double
standards in their investigations of the extortion allegations. He said the
police were going for less prominent figures instead of their commanders.
“Nkomo sanctioned these company occupations. The war veterans did not do
this alone. I want to sue the minister (Nkomo) for the harassment that I went
through in police cells,” Moyo said.
He called on the high command of
Zanla and Zipra to move in to restore order within the war veterans’
Moyo spent last weekend in police cells after he was
arrested on allegations of extortion, kidnapping and theft. He later walked out
of court a free man after the state failed to make the allegations stick.
Nkomo denied to the Independent that he was protecting Hunzvi or Chinotimba.
“If these people have evidence that the two extorted money, they should
report to the police,” Nkomo said.
“I am not protecting anyone. The
police will always investigate if they get information. If someone was involved
he should be prosecuted. Extortion is an offence. It does not depend on who you
are,” he said. Hunzvi appeared on state television last week declaring that
he had advised the police to arrest imposters masquerading as war veterans and
extorting money from companies.
Nkomo last week said that the government
was going to move in to arrest the “rogue elements” amongst the war veterans who
took advantage of the situation to extort money.
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and Cresta in Harare and other companies in
Masvingo and Victoria Falls,” Moyo said. “He received money from some of these
companies but no one bothers to investigate or arrest him.
went to Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and Gweru and Bulawayo companies.
Money changed hands, we know that,” he said.
Moyo accused the police of
not being professional in their investigations. “Why are they leaving behind
Hunzvi and Chinotimba? What is so special about them? They got money from
commercial farmers during the farm invasions. That has never been investigated,”
Chinotimba said Moyo should not tell the police what they
should or should not do.
“The police have brains. If I have a case to
answer, they will arrest me. Why is Moyo worried?” Chinotimba asked. “Let
him go and give evidence to the police. You never know, I might be arrested. But
you can never be arrested for nothing.
“(Morgan) Tsvangirai called for a
mass stayaway and people behaved badly and got arrested. I called for company
invasions and people ended up extorting and why should I be arrested?”
Chinotimba, who called himself commander-in-chief of
farm invasions, denied ever extorting money from commercial farmers. He said
he communicated well with farmers during invasions and never demanded money.
“Moyo is creating many problems for himself. He should just keep quiet,”
Hunzvi’s cellphone was not reachable yesterday. He was
reportedly recuperating in hospital after collapsing in Bulawayo on Monday.
Moyo said Hunzvi had a lot of pending cases but had survived through
“Hunzvi has a lot of pending cases. The issue of
$13 million meant for the war veterans’ housing has not been resolved. The
ZexCom funds disappeared and nothing happened,” Moyo said.
term of office as chairman has long expired. He is not a true revolutionary. If
you go into history you will see that he was picking mangoes and interacting
with whites in Poland when we were in the struggle,” Moyo said.
Meanwhile, the Legal Resources Foundation has said it is gratified that
“steps are at last being taken by the government to end the criminal activities
of groups of persons who call themselves war veterans and who have been
harassing and intimidating employers, diplo- mats and others.
this action against these persons is to be welcomed,” the LRF says, “it should
not be regarded as the end, but only the beginning of the restoration of the
rule of law in Zimbabwe. If the rule of law is to be restored fully, action must
also be taken against the persons who have incited these criminal activities.”
Action by the police should not be restricted to the urban areas, the
LRF says. “It was in the rural areas that the rule of law was first undermined,
and it should be restored there too. Only then can Zimbabwe truly claim to be a
country which respects the rule of law.”