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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

May 27, 2002, 8:45 a.m.

"State of Disaster"
Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

By Michael Radu

With famine now threatening the country, Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe
has declared a state of disaster. Considering that Mugabe is the main reason
for the disaster, there is a tragic irony in his implicit admission of the
calamity he has brought to his country.
True enough, there is a drought in Southern Africa today, affecting all the
region's countries - Lesotho and Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Botswana,
and Namibia - the only exception being, not surprisingly, the most important
country: South Africa. Western humanitarian agencies and NGOs are now
rushing food aid to the region, and , as usual, avoiding "judgments" as to
the causes of the calamity.
Those causes range from simple bad luck and a backward infrastructure in
cases like Lesotho and Mozambique to incompetence and corruption in many
instances. Only in Zimbabwe is the famine a manmade (by Mugabe) crisis. In a
sub-Saharan version of Stalin's policies of the 1930s, the state created
famine to physically get rid of its opponents, a faster and cheaper way than
murdering them on a wholesale basis (although, like Stalin, it is not that
Mugabe has any compunction about doing this too). In Stalin's case, the
enemy was hard-working kulaks - peasants, mostly in Ukraine, who by becoming
prosperous became a "class enemy."
Marxist Mugabe went even further than the Soviet model. He added race to the
poisonous mix that is now killing the people of Zimbabwe when he began a new
"freedom fight" against the white minority in 1999. There is no lack of
implicitly racist or ethnically exclusivist regimes in the world today, from
Malaysia to Kosovo, but only Mugabe's is explicit and gets away with it. (As
Mr. Mugabe said of whites at a September 2000 Harlem event during his visit
to the U.S. for the U.N. millennium summit, "What we hate is not the color
of their skins but the evil that emanates from them.") This is all the more
horrifying because his destruction of Zimbabwe has an immediate impact on
the entire region. Until a few years ago, Zimbabwe was, with South Africa,
part of the "happy duo" of sub-Saharan countries that possessed a
quasi-permanent food surplus, the result of a modern, efficient,
large-scale - i.e. capitalist - agricultural sector. That meant that South
African and Zimbabwean surpluses of maize and wheat by and large filled the
gap in less efficient countries in the region. The agribusinesses of
Zimbawbe and South Africa also provided thousands of jobs both for locals
and for illegal migrants from other countries, primarily Mozambique. They
kept food prices relatively low and absorbed huge numbers of peasants who
would otherwise have headed to the already crowded cities.
The problems begin with the fact that in both countries, but particularly in
Zimbabwe, the owners and managers of the agribusiness sector are white
Africans, an ethnic minority. These businesses are also capitalist, giving
Mugabe, a professed Marxist, the needed excuse to expropriate the farms
under the auspices of "land reform."
Another and immediate issue is political unrest. After wielding absolute
power for 22 years, the aging Stalinist knows that "his people" have
discovered that Das Kapital does not feed them and Leninism has deprived
them of freedom and jobs (one half of Zimbabweans are unemployed).
Threatened by a newly coalesced and ably led opposition, Mugabe did what any
Stalinist has to do: impose terror, first on the spirit, by destroying any
remnants of press and university freedom, and then physically, by creating
poverty and famine.
The small white minority, owners of some 30 percent of the agricultural land
and the employers of tens of thousands of relatively well-off black
laborers, were demonized as "colonialists" despite having been born in the
country. Some, like former prime minister Ian Smith of then-Southern
Rhodesia, were even stripped of their citizenship, although native born.
(Mugabe, however, points to the fact that Smith is still alive as proof that
he is a kind, non-vengeful person.) Others, even less fortunate, were
murdered by thugs from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, often in front of their
families, sometimes in the most barbaric manner. White-owned farms were
either confiscated by Mugabe's clique of government thieves or ruined by his
corps of "war veterans" - i.e. self-proclaimed combatants of the pre-1980
civil war. The black employees of those farms lost everything: their jobs,
security, and more often than not their lives. Having decimated the white
population, Comrade Mugabe is now focusing his attention on the even smaller
Asian community, mostly small traders and professionals. They are the newest
"intruders" and "exploiters" the regime needs to inspire and legitimize its
After destroying his country's economy in the name of Marxism and overt
racism, Mugabe's gang still had to deal with a stubborn opposition. It took
another page from Uncle Joe's book. In the March elections it made sure that
it counted the votes. Unsurprisingly, Comrade Mugabe's gang "won" - but even
by their own count they got only 54 percent of the vote against the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change's Morgan Tsvangirai. In a meeting
with U.N. representatives, Mugabe dismissed U.S.-U.K. concerns about the
validity of the March 9-11 elections (the U.S. barred him from traveling to
the U.S. following the elections) by saying "To this day we still do not
know who actually won the presidential election between Bush and Gore." He
also told the mission that "We view the voice of the U.S. and Europe as the
voice of the whites against blacks." In all events, Mugabe's government is
proceeding with its prosecution of Tsvangirai for treason with highly
questionable evidence.
Meanwhile, most of Zimbabwe's military has been busy looting what passes as
the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) since war began in that
country in 1998.
How does Mugabe manage to survive, even when many of his fellow Zimbabweans
cannot? Exploitation of the Congo's diamonds, cobalt, and titanium is part
of the answer; Qaddafi's supplies of cheap oil are another. But the ultimate
answers lie in Pretoria, Brussels, and London, in that order.
Without South African trade, migrants, and access to oil supplies, Mugabe
would have lasted an even shorter time than Smith. But South African
president Thabo Mbeki has refused to apply any but the mildest political
pressure on Mugabe, who helped Mbeki's own African National Congress to
power in Pretoria. This has been a misguided policy, regardless of its
motivations. Sooner or later, the 78-year-old Mugabe is going to go away,
one way or another. Mass illegal Zimbabwean immigration across the Limpopo
River is already creating unrest among Northern Transvaal black South
Africans, who correctly perceive it as a threat to their own jobs and
security. The inevitable chaos of a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe cannot be good for
South Africa or the greater region, of which Pretoria is the natural leader.
As for the Zimbabwean market for South African products, it is gone - and
will remain so for a long time.
However, when Britain tried in January to have Zimbabwe expelled, or at
least suspended, from the 54-member Commonwealth, South Africa, together
with Nigeria and Botswana and with the support of leaders of the Southern
African Development Community states, blocked this. Why? Because of a
dubious notion of "solidarity" with a fellow third worlder. Mugabe's blatant
racism met the more discrete racism of his colleagues in the Commonwealth.
(In March, following the elections, Zimbabwe was finally suspended from the
Commonwealth for a year.)
And where is the African-American community on this? There has been little
to no comment from the Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Louis
Farrakhan. Rev. Jackson has distanced himself from the violence of his
erstwhile friend's party, but hopes that funding to Zimbabwe will not be
reduced. In a February 21 press release, he argued against sanctions, saying
that "the international community should not punish innocent Zimbabweans
because of policy differences with their government."
Tragically, there may be no other way to help Zimbabwe but to do just that.
The G8 meeting on African development to be held in Canada this June will
provide an opportunity to send a strong message. Western nations and NGOs
can make an exception of Zimbabwe and suspend aid as long as Mugabe and his
gang are in power, as countries such as Denmark and Norway have done. The
funds could instead be spent helping the MDC and the majority eliminate his
criminal regime, or reallocated to help countries like Mozambique, whose
government has had the sense to offer land to Zimbabwean farmers fortunate
enough to survive Mugabe's thugs.
- Michael Radu is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute,
where he directs its Center on Terrorism and Political Violence. This is
reprinted with the permission of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Farm Invasions And Security Report
Tuesday 28 May 2002

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


- Cynara Farm, received a warning from a reliable source, in the early hours of 27.05.02 that the settlers were planning something.  The family have left the house.
- The owner of Rufaro Farm and three of his labourers were forcefully evicted from the farm on 25.05.02. The perpetrators threatened to return on 27.05.02 to do an inventory of all the machinery and equipment on the farm.
Horseshoe - Nothing to report from Horseshoe as of the 26.05.02. All quiet. Good mass farewell party was held at the club.
Bindura - On 20.05.02, the owner of Brockley Farm tried to leave the farm but settlers stopped him, as they did not want him to take his property.  They locked the security gates and refused to let him leave. The DA was called but as yet no resolution has been found.
Mazowe/Concession - There is a total work stoppage on Watakai Farm, called by the settlers. The settlers on Maryvale Farm wanted to beat up the owner and would not allow him to return to his farm until such time as the labour had been paid their gratuities. Negotiations are still under way.

– eight bulls were stolen from one farmer, and were tracked to the communal land where the "new owner” said he “had bought them". Investigations are continuing as to who stole and sold the cattle.  One farmer had switchgear stolen.  One dairy cow was slaughtered.  On one farm 2 wildebeest, 2 Kudu, 3 Impala and 1 Tsessebe were snared.  The perpetrators were arrested when they were caught with the meat.  One farmer had a farm pickup commandeered, which was returned.  Irrigation pipes were also stolen and cut.  The thief was arrested.
Bromley/Ruwa/Enterprise - Several Section 8 Orders were received.  The manager of one farm was instructed to vacate his homestead within 24 hours.   ZRP and Land Committee representative explained Section 8 procedures to the settlers and normality returned.
Macheke/Virginia - Nothing to report.
Marondera North - One house break in was reported.  Various farmers continue to be harassed by settlers.  Maize theft and cutting of timber reported.
No report received.

- On Gowrie Sabina Mugabe continues with her operation.  She was quoted in the Sunday Independent from South Africa, after being asked when the owner would leave the property as saying "it's up to him actually, I cannot just send him away.  I can't kill him because he did not move".  The owner of Gowrie was murdered two and a half months ago.  We do not know which property was referred to, as the owner of Gowrie's son is not allowed on his property. Gowrie is a single-owned property. On Wilbered Farm the owner still cannot return after the property was trashed and looted in March 2002.  Police have advised him to not go back, but information received from his workers indicates some cattle were killed for a celebration recently, at which Sabina Mugabe was present.  Settlers were told they could take whatever equipment was left, as they would be moved to make way for a "chef".  This is a single-owned property. On Idaho Government valuators arrived.  A settler moving 450 cattle through the farm pulled a gun on one of the labourers when he was told to refrain from taking the Idaho cattle with him as well. 
Selous - Various A2 settlers continue to harass farmers as they wish to take over their houses, commandeer irrigation pipes etc.  On Mara Farm poachers chased a Kudu up against the owners homestead fence with dogs.  Poaching continues through this area with dogs coming in regularly on Mount Carmel and Carskey Farms. 
Kadoma - On Lanteglos the owner was again assured by Minister Chikowore he would be allowed to plant Wheat, but when he tried on 25.05.02 the settlers chased the tractors out of the lands. 
Chakari - On Chevy Chase Farm although Minister Chikowore has allowed planting in the land the owner prepared on this unlisted farm, the settlers will not allow him to plant unless he forms a new company in which they are shareholders, as they wish to have a percentage profit of the crop.  It is now too late to plant Wheat.  On Blackmorvale the owners cannot plant wheat unless they make a deal with the settlers, who want to take a proportion of the crop for free. The farm is under Section 8 and no letter is forthcoming to allow planting to take place. 
General - No letters are forthcoming allowing planting to take place either from the Governor, Vice President Msika, or Minister Made.  Without these letters farmers face prosecution and up to two years in prison if they do plant.  Despite assurances that people are being removed from properties as per the Abuja Agreement, this has not happened on a single farm that we know of in this region.  On the contrary, new settlers still appear on farms to take up plots, and the majority of farmers have received Section 8 notices, requiring them to stop production and leave their homes or face imprisonment.

The incessant and iniquitous poaching and harassment of workers and farm owners continues unabated.  Detailed reports will be available in later sitreps.

No report received.

No report received.                                  Visit the CFU Website

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

Daily News

      State misleading nation on food situation: Gasela

      5/29/02 8:48:30 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE former general manager of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Renson
Gasela, says the lack of foreign currency and general government
inefficiency are the major causes of the severe food shortage in the

      In a statement, Gasela, the MDC shadow minister for agriculture,
blamed the use by government of people without the technical expertise on
maize and the conflict of interest among government officials as other
reasons for the shortage.

      Gasela, the MP for Gweru Rural, warned the nation was being
deliberately misled by the government, through the State-run Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), on the food supply situation.

      Gasela disputed the ZBC report on 23 May that millers had large stocks
of maize-meal.
      He said in the same report, the GMB acting chief executive, Joanna
Mtukwa, said a total of 170 000 tonnes had been imported.

      "ZBC and Mtukwa used that figure to imply that in fact, there were 170
000 tonnes of maize in the country. This is completely false. As the maize
arrives, it is all sold. In fact, there are virtually no stocks in the
country," Gasela said.

      He said it was wrong for the government to accuse those who bought and
sold maize in bucketfuls of being exploiters.

      "In any shortage scenario, enterprising people will capitalise on the
situation. Society can moralise on the virtues and vices of such action but
the fact is that shortages create exploitable opportunities," Gasela said.

      He said since January, when the importation of maize-meal and maize
began, the total amount received is 170 000 tonnes, as confirmed by the GMB

      The daily consumption nationally is 5 000 tonnes.

      The total amount of imported grain which could have alleviated the
shortages would have been around 500 000 tonnes to date, said Gasela.

      "We need to look at whether it is logistically possible to have
imported 500 000 tonnes of maize since the programme started.

      "During the drought of 1992, the GMB imported 2,6 million tonnes of
food in 12 months. About 800 000 tonnes was imported in four months then,
compared with 170 000 tonnes in four months now," Gasela said.

      He said the government had ignored advice from experts in Parliament,
leading to the present desperate situation.

      Mtukwa could not be reached to comment on Gasela's claims.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Police raid Tsvangirai's rural home

      5/29/02 (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      THE Buhera rural home of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, was on
Sunday night raided by more than 20 heavily armed men in riot police gear,
aided by two notorious war veterans, who severely assaulted two of
Tsvangirai's employees.

      The police, armed with AK rifles, are believed to have been looking
for arms of war and MDC supporters who had allegedly committed arson in the
Marume area of the district last week. Washington Maposa and Eric Munhanga
said they were assaulted by the riot police who were accompanied by war
veterans Bernard Makuwe and a Mudzamiri, both mentioned by witnesses in the
High Court last year as having taken part in the petrol bomb murder in 2000
of two MDC activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya.

      In Harare yesterday, Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesperson,
refused to comment on the raid. Bvudzijena said: "Ruhanya, what makes you
think that I will speak to you today?" Tsvangirai yesterday condemned the
raid and the beatings as illegal acts by the police. He said: "These are
serious acts of lawlessness. The police should appreciate that Maposa and
Munhanga have every right to work. They also need to appreciate that as a
law-abiding citizen of this country, I possess the right to privacy.

      "If the police want to search my city or rural home they need to have
search warrants. This is the legal position. They should know that as a
law-abiding citizen I do not keep arms of war." Tsvangirai's lawyer,
Simbarashe Muzenda, said yesterday he had instructions to investigate the
incident before taking legal action against the police for violating
Tsvangirai's constitutional freedoms. Muzenda said: "I will approach the
officer-in-charge at Buhera Police Station to identify his officers and find
out if they had a search warrant to raid Tsvangirai's home."

      He said legal action would be taken against the police once the facts
of the matter were established. "I am yet to establish reasons for the
alleged arrest of MDC supporters with a view to representing them."

      Maposa, the caretaker at Tsvangirai's home, said the uniformed police
were driven in two trucks while others arrived on foot around 6p.m,
demanding entry into the yard. ''As I took them into the yard, one assaulted
me with the butt of an AK rifle, accusing me of hiding weapons in my
bedroom. They searched my room but found nothing. ''They later proceeded to
search Tsvangirai's main house, including the kitchen,'' Maposa said.

      ''They told me I should not work for Tsvangirai and I should leave the
place immediately. They accused me of keeping a gun. I denied this
allegation. I am not a bodyguard but a mere caretaker,'' said Maposa, adding
that he did not report the matter to the police because it was the police
who attacked him for no apparent reason.

      He said this was the second police invasion of the home since the
presidential election, controversially won by President Mugabe in March.
''At the end of March seven armed policemen raided and searched Tsvangirai's
home, accusing me of keeping people who had allegedly assaulted Zanu PF
supporters in the area. We are not safe here because violence is being
perpetrated by the police who are supposed to protect us,'' Maposa said.

      Munhanga, who stays with Tsvangirai's 70-year-old mother, Lydia, said
he was severely beaten for working for the MDC leader. He alleged he was
bundled into a police truck and driven to Jaggers business centre about five
kilometres from the Buhera district offices, where Makuwe operates a shop.
On the way, the police took turns to beat him, he alleged. Munhanga said the
police wanted to know where Lydia was, but when he told them she had gone to
Harare to visit her son, they accused him of lying and struck him with

      He sustained injuries on his back from the beatings. ''When we arrived
at the shopping centre, Makuwe bought beer for the men in police uniform in
one of the shops. I was later taken to Buhera police station, where I was
released without charge,'' said Munhanga. He said at the police station he
saw a number of MDC supporters arrested by the police on allegations of
political violence.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ABC News

Zimbabwe Arrests Newsmen Over Report

May 28
- HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police arrested two journalists on Tuesday and
charged them with publishing a false report alleging police intimidation,
state television reported.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Bornwell Chakaodza, editor of the
Sunday Standard, and his entertainment editor, Fungayi Kanyuchi, were
charged under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
"According to the police, the story headlined 'The private media's burden'
written...about issues involving the police force, is untrue," the
television said.
Police were not available for comment on Tuesday.
Eleven journalists have been arrested and charged under the Act since
President Robert Mugabe signed it into law soon after his controversial
re-election in March.
Some, including former government spokesman Chakaodza, have been arrested
and charged more than once under the same Act. Under the tough media law,
journalists can face fines of up to Z$100,000 ($1,818) or up to two years in
jail if they are found guilty of publishing "falsehoods."
Mugabe's government has been accused of cracking down on journalists since
March 9-11 presidential elections which were rejected as fraudulent by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as well as Western countries.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mbeki's Quiet Diplomacy' to Come Under Scrutiny

Business Day (Johannesburg)
May 28, 2002
Posted to the web May 28, 2002
Wyndham Hartley

Government's "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe and its President Robert
Mugabe will come under scrutiny again in the National Assembly tomorrow when
President Thabo Mbeki faces members of Parliament (MPs) in presidential
question time for the second time this year.
Recently Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said in a speech in Durban that the
policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe had not worked because it had
failed to change Mugabe's behaviour. Leader of the Opposition Tony Leon will
ask Mbeki whether he agrees with Lekota on this matter.

Leon will ask if Mbeki believes that quiet diplomacy towards Mugabe was a
mistake, and if so, "what policy changes on Zimbabwe he is contemplating?"
He will also ask Mbeki whether or not any new policy directions towards
Zimbabwe have been implemented and if so what they are?
If they have, then, has he communicated them to Mugabe?
Mbeki also faces a potentially controversial question from New National
Party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk who will ask him if, considering the
importance of human rights and good governance in the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad), SA had voted for China, Zimbabwe and Swaziland
to be represented on the UN Commission for Human Rights. The three countries
cited have poor records of respect for human rights.
African National Congress MP Pallo Jordan will also ask Mbeki about the
launch of the African Union (AU) in Durban in July. The union will replace
the Organisation of African Unity.
Jordan will ask Mbeki to explain the role of government and the people of SA
in making the union an effective body, and whether the creation of the AU
will have financial implications for the state.
Freedom Front MP Corne Mulder will ask the president whether he has been
holding consultation on the appointment of members of the soon-to-be created
Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural and
Religious and Linguistic Communities.
It is understood that Mbeki has been holding discussions with former state
president FW de Klerk on the formation of the commission.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

SA Will Help Bring Zim Back From Brink: Dlamini-Zuma

South African Press Association (Johannesburg)
May 28, 2002
Posted to the web May 29, 2002

South Africa should help bring Zimbabwe back from the brink rather than push
it over the precipice, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said
during her department's budget vote on Tuesday.
She was replying to critics of Pretoria's quiet diplomacy towards Harare.
On the stalled talks between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, Dlamini-Zuma said: "We can only hope that
the Zimbabweans will take the opportunity presented by talks... to extricate
their country from the political and economic quagmire."
South Africa should always work to reconcile adversaries, she told MPs.
"We should work towards bringing the Zimbabweans back from the brink. We
should not be the ones that push them to the precipice," she said.
It was reported at the weekend that President Thabo Mbeki would hold talks
with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe on the fringes of a Democratic
Republic of the Congo summit in Zambia on Thursday, in an attempt to get him
back to the negotiating table with the MDC.
In her reply to the debate where Zimbabwe and the Middle East dominated
opposition concerns, Dlamini-Zuma joked that she should receive two salaries
"since wherever I go I get asked about Zimbabwe as if I were the foreign
minister of Zimbabwe".
"I sometimes have to remind people that I'm actually the foreign minister of
South Africa, because sometimes they will ask South Africa, even when
Zimbabwe is there to answer for itself."
Dlamini-Zuma emphasised that what South Africa was asked to do in Zimbabwe
it should not lead to the collective punishment of Zimbabweans or place
Zimbabwe in a worse crisis.
"We must not punish the Zimbabwean people for choosing the president they
did. It's their prerogative. We might not like it, but the Zimbabweans chose
the way they did and we have to live with it, and they have to live with it
"It's not for us to choose people in other countries."
Dlamini-Zuma acknowledged that there were things that Zimbabwe was doing
that South Africa did not agree with "and we will continue to say so".
She did not elaborate.
Earlier, the IFP's Koos van der Merwe was among opposition party MPs who
criticised the government's policy on Zimbabwe and called for a clearer and
stronger stance against Mugabe.
"There are very few examples in the modern, intertwined world that so
clearly illustrates the extent of human rights abuses possible under a
dictatorial regime such as the one that still holds sway in Zimbabwe.
"South Africa professes to be a champion of human rights, yet we have
decided to follow the course of silent diplomacy, with no tangible result,
while the abuses of human rights continued, and continues, unabated," he
The DA's Colin Eglin said in his speech the credibility of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was at risk should leaders fail
abide by its core values.
These included strengthening political and administrative transparency,
accountability, integrity, respect for human rights and the promotion of the
rule of law.
Referring to Zimbabwe, he said government had to understand that when a
partnership was based on a collective commitment, as in the case of Nepad,
each time a country failed to uphold -- or wilfully violated --those values,
the partnership was diminished.
"More than this, should the leaders of Nepad fail in their collective
commitment to take steps to ensure that the core values are abided by, the
credibility of Nepad will be destroyed," Eglin said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

      Less violence welcome: Now for the bad news

      5/29/02 (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum's report that there has been a decline
in the incidence of political violence in Zimbabwe is most welcome.

      "Reported cases and instances of political violence have decreased in
comparison to the cases reported in the first four months of 2002.

      "There has been a decrease of 50 percent in the reported cases of
torture, compared to the month of April."

      But popping the champagne corks right now would be premature.

      The decline in violence has to be considered in the context of the
degree of the threat to Zanu PF's brutal hold on power.

      For the moment, this threat has receded. There is the MDC's legal
challenge to the discredited Zanu PF victory in the presidential election.
There is nothing frivolous about it, or Zanu PF would not have been so
nervous it suspended the dialogue with the MDC.

      The party must know that in a completely neutral court anywhere in the
world, the revelations of how they stole the election could be explosive
enough to blow their victory clean out of the water and into a rerun.

      That nervousness is going to be on display again when the party and
its nemesis square up for the campaign for the rural district council
elections in a few months' time.

      Last week, we reported violence in Zaka, where MDC candidates were
reportedly assaulted by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

      Zanu PF dominates the rural district councils, through its usual blend
of violence, intimidation and a threat to wreak revenge on voters who opt
for the opposition.

      It's only in the urban centres where this political modus operandi has
failed to cow the voters into surrendering their right of free choice.

      Even in the rural areas, the zombies Zanu PF relied on to do their
bidding in the past may be developing a remarkably human quality - being
able to distinguish sense from nonsense.

      The results of these elections might not be the foregone conclusion
that Zanu PF would have us believe.

      Since the referendum of 2000, voters have confirmed their sneaking
suspicion that Zanu PF is now a paper tiger because of policies which have
plunged the country into squalor.

      They now know that their dearest wish to get rid of this violent,
corrupt party could be realised if a free and fair election were held.

      Most believe they failed by a whisker to do this in the presidential
election this year because of Zanu PF's subterfuge.

      The rural district council election campaign could be violent. Zanu PF
's thirst for victory is unlikely to be slaked by anything other than a
total annihilation of the opposition in all the rural districts.

      The aim would be to compensate for the massive showing of the
opposition in the presidential election and Zanu PF's thorough drubbing in
the Harare mayoral-council and the Chitungwiza mayoral elections in March.

      All this negative performance of the ruling party has hardened its
attitude towards the opposition and in general against any section of the
population which evinces even the mildest dissent against its feeble
attempts to rescue the country from the economic and political damage of its
22 years in power.

      This campaign to silence dissent has its most poignant portrayal in
the field of the dissemination of information.

      The law against the privately-owned Press, the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act, is one of the worst examples of a government
running scared of the end of its hegemony.

      This law is intended to block the public's access to all information.
Coupled with the continued attempts to turn the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation into the government's loudest parrot, that law seems part of the
recipe for the continuation of violence as Zanu PF's stock-in-trade.

      The people are not as submissive as they were in the early 1980s.

      They want their share of the independence cake, even if bread is now
almost a luxury too.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Closure of Chivi council offices illegal, court hears

      5/29/02 8:49:08 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      The decision by war veterans to close Chivi council offices and chase
away the chief executive officer, before confiscating his vehicle last
month, was illegal and not sanctioned by the local authority, the Masvingo
magistrates' court heard yesterday.

      Chivi council lawyer Charles Ndlovu told the magistrate, Shotgame
Musaiona, the veterans embarked on an illegal move for which the council
could not be held responsible.

      Ndlovu was responding to an application by Douglas Mwonzora, for
Elisha Chagonda, the council chief executive officer, who wanted the council
forbidden from holding joint meetings with the war veterans to discuss
council matters.

      Ndlovu said the local authority had nothing to do with war veterans.

      He said council should not be interdicted from holding meetings to
discuss an audit report in which Chagonda was alleged to have mismanaged
council funds.

      Ndlovu said: "The war veterans' action were illegal and council cannot
shoulder the blame. They are not represented here and what they did was
unlawful. There is need to separate council and war veterans on this issue."

      Ndlovu said interdicting council from holding meetings would mean all
work would come to a standstill.

      He said the application was improper since the war veterans and the
council were being treated as a single entity.

      In his application, Mwonzora told Musaiona that war veterans should
know they are not above the law and council should be forbidden from holding
joint meetings with them to discuss Chagonda's fate.

      Mwonzora had cited the war veterans' association, Zanu PF and the
council as the respondents.

      The magistrate will deliver judgment tomorrow.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Ex-Zipras call for Gukurahundi probe

      5/29/02 8:47:50 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      FORMER Zipra combatants have called for a study of the atrocities
committed by the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade during the bloody
Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s, in order to avoid a repetition of such

      The former fighters said Zanu PF was demonstrating its tribal
tendencies by "persecuting former Zipra fighters such as Andrew Ndlovu", the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association secretary for

      Ndlovu is facing extortion and several other charges involving the
theft of money from Zexcom, a war veterans' holding company. He has denied
the theft which he says was committed by his deceased chairman, Chenjerai

      The former Zipra fighters said the ruling party had, in "typical Zanu
PF" fashion, made sure Ndlovu was arrested while other former fighters, such
as Joseph Chinotimba who belonged to Zanla and spearheaded the farm
invasions, were not being touched.

      Zanla was the military wing of Zanu PF, led by President Mugabe, while
Zipra was the military arm of PF Zapu, then led by the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo, during the liberation struggle.

      Max Mkandla, a spokesman for the former Zipra fighters, said the world
had been quiet over the lack of justice in Matabeleland and the Midlands,
where 20 000 people were killed by the 5 Brigade.

      "A case study is, therefore, called for," said Mkandla. "Such a study
would have to be rigorous and carried out by qualified persons who are
experts in the fields of forensics and the law, to avoid mistakes."

      He said this would help to ensure the atrocities are not repeated.

      "Zipra farms confiscated by Zanu PF should be returned together with
all associated property. Interest should be paid," he said.

      Mugabe, then prime minister, ordered an inquiry into the massacres. A
Harare lawyer, Simplicius Chihambakwe prepared a report which Mugabe would
not make public to this day.

      The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources
Foundation brought out their own report, Breaking the Silence: Building the
Peace. It was a scathing attack on the Mugabe government's involvement in
the massacre.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Church orphanage appeals for help as food crisis haunts

      5/29/02 (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      BONDA Mission in Mutasa is appealing for donations to avert a food
crisis at an orphanage run by the mission.

      Violet Deliwe Nkomo, the health director for the Anglican Diocese of
Manicaland, said the orphanage had run short of milk to feed 26 infants,
most of them under two years.

      Nkomo said the orphanage had inadequate food supplies.

      "We are now appealing to donors within and outside the country to come
to our rescue, otherwise these children will die of malnutrition," Nkomo

      Nkomo, 56, said this after touring all the health centres under the
Anglican Diocese of Manicaland.

      The diocese runs five hospitals and clinics involved in home-based and
orphan care programmes.

      She was engaged to run the health portfolio for the Diocese of
Manicaland with effect from 1 May, becoming its first substantive director
of health.

      "We're faced with the HIV/Aids crisis," said Nkomo. "We have to fight
hard to reduce the number of infections, especially in the rural areas where
health facilities are scarce."

      She said people needed to appreciate that HIV/Aids was a reality,
killing thousands of people every week.

      She said Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutasa, Makoni and Nyanga rural areas
had an average of 1 000 patients on the home-visit schedule.

      Nkomo said thousands of those infected were dying in their homes due
to poverty and lack of appropriate medication.

      More resources were needed to assist about 6 400 orphans who were the
major casualties of the Aids pandemic in Manicaland, she said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

      We have allowed Mugabe to get off the hook

      5/29/02 (GMT +2)

      IN 1965 Colonel Joseph Mobutu became president of what is now known as
the Democratic Republic of Congo. A few years after coming into power,
Mobutu established the Popular Movement of the Revolution, declaring it the
sole political party of Zaire.

      In 1972 the president changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku
Ngebendu wa za Banga which translated literally means, "the all powerful
warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go
from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake". Mobutu Sese Seko, as he
was popularly known, ruled his country for 32 years with an iron fist.

      In 1971 Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi, declared himself
"President for Life" over the people of Malawi. In the first month of rule
over the southern African nation, Banda declared:

      "One party, one leader, one government and no nonsense about it."

      He was able to rule Malawi for 30 years and was able to implement
repressive policies upon the people of Malawi.

      President Mugabe is one man. He is one man who has power. He has power
over my life, over your life, and over our future. How is this possible? How
is it possible that this one man whom I have never met and probably will
never meet, has the ability to affect my life, my choices, and my decisions?

      Mobutu Sese Seko ruled his people for 32 years and achieved sole
control of people's lives and people's decisions.

      Banda ruled Malawi for 30 years and exercised total control over the
people of this great African nation.

      Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years and had complete control over the
future, dreams and hopes of the Zambian people.

      How is it possible that these individual men were able to have so much
power, influence and control over entire nations for such long periods of

      I am beginning to wonder if these men breathed the same air as you and
me. Did red blood not run through their veins like you and I? In fact, I am
positive that these men had two legs, two arms, one head, two eyes, two
ears, a nose and a mouth, just like you and me. However, how were these men
able to achieve all this power?

      Having spent endless hours contemplating this issue, discussing this
issue, arguing this issue, analysing this issue, the answer finally dawned
on me.

      Adolf Hitler ruled the world because the world stood by and allowed
him to.

      Mobutu Sese Seko ruled the central African nation because his people
and other African states stood by and allowed him to.

      Banda ruled over Malawi for 30 years because his people and Africa
allowed him to.

      Kaunda ruled over the Zambian people because the people and other
African nations stood by and allowed him to.

      Now, Mugabe is ruling over you and me because the people and the
African world allow him to.

      The answer to how these leaders were able to achieve all this
political power is very simple.

      Mugabe, like Mobutu, Banda and Kaunda, has the power because the
people have given it to him.

      There is no denying the fact that all these leaders, including our
President, had all the state machinery behind them to ensure that supremacy
and authoritarian rule lay in their hands.

      But the fact of the matter is, we, the people, played a part, however,
passive, in letting all this happen.

      In 1987 after signing the Unity Accord with PF Zapu, the
Matabeleland-based political party, and after a constitutional reform,
Mugabe became President of Zimbabwe after seven years of being the first
Prime Minister our nation.

      Between 1982 and 1985, Mugabe took strong military action and brutally
crushed and massacred people from the Ndebele ethnic grouping. This massacre
came to be known as Gukurahundi.

      In 1997 a report called Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace: A
Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-1988, was
published which was a record of all the torture and killings that took place
in the post-independence period. The majority wanted the government to
acknowledge what it had done. It did so grudgingly.

      From the beginning of Mugabe's rule in 1980, it was clear that this
man had a very clear vision of the kind of Zimbabwe he wanted.

      The older generation knew this and so did our other southern African
neighbours. However, nothing was ever done to stop this man and his goal for

      Gukurahundi was a clear indication of this.

      My goal is not to attribute blame to anyone, but all I am merely
pointing out is that the reason that Mugabe is where he is right now, and
has all the power that he has right now, is because we have allowed it.

      Everyone stood by and watched Mugabe get away with Gukurahundi.

      Everyone stood by and let Mugabe get away with winning three elections
and establishing a one-party state.

      Everyone stood by and allowed Mugabe to let the war veterans occupy
commercial farms.

      Basically everyone stood by and let Mugabe do as he pleased with
little and ineffective opposition.

      By being passive, the people of Zimbabwe together with other African
leaders, allowed Mugabe to gain power and authority to the point where now
it is unheard of to question his authority, even through the ballot box, and
yet I am certain he is only one man.

      You and I are the future of Zimbabwe. The future lies in your hands
and mine. We do not have the luxury of being passive anymore. We do not have
the luxury of standing by and watching what happened to the Congo and Malawi
happen to Zimbabwe too. We know too much and have come too far.

      Without belief there will be no Zimbabwe. We might as well sit back
and continue to suffer from high prices and high inflation, job insecurity,
a bleak future, and a life of constant worry and misery.

      But without unity among the younger generation and belief in this
great country of ours, we will have failed as a people to make a brighter
future for our children and our children's children.

      It starts with us!
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From Business Day (SA), 29 May

Farmers' union says no action on invaders

Harare - Zimbabwe’s embattled white commercial farmers said yesterday official claims that government is evicting farm invaders are misleading. Commercial Farmers Union spokeswoman Jenni Williams said there was no visible movement of land occupiers from delisted farms and conservancies. She said announcements that land invaders were being removed were meant to deceive the international community. "There is not a single farmer who has reported the removal of settlers from delisted properties," she said. "It appears evictions are only taking place in farms owned by the chiefs." Williams said there had been no end to farm seizures. "Yesterday a deputy minister moved a herd of 300 cattle into a farm in Beitbridge," she said. "The official had initially occupied another farm, but when he tried to evict settlers on it they refused. So he had to move his cattle into another nearby farm."

The union recently released a list of senior government officials, top civil servants, army officers and war veterans who have grabbed farms. President Robert Mugabe's co-deputies Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika were among them. Despite union complaints, Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo has insisted government is evicting those who invaded farms after March 1 last year. Settlers who seized farms before that date are protected by the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act. The evictions were supposed to start in Masvingo province, where farm invasion began in 2000, with 12000 land occupiers being removed. However, the union's Masvingo chairman, Mike Clark, said there was no eviction of the invaders. "Information at hand is that there is no relocation of settlers from farms," he said. "Police and army officers have visited selected farms in the area owned by prominent persons. Some settlers on those farms have begun drifting into adjoining properties." Union president Colin Cloete said there was no evidence of the eviction of invaders.

The United Nations Standing Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and southern African leaders will hold an emergency meeting on hunger in Johannesburg on June 6 and 7. The meeting is important to Harare because Zimbabwe is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. Governments say more than seven million people in the region about 54 % of the population need food aid. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has declared the next six months an emergency period to combat HIV/AIDS. The emergency order, prompted by the rapid spread of HIV among Zimbabweans, will allow for the increased availability of drugs to treat the disease.

From The Star (SA), 28 May

Human rights under attack across the Limpopo

London - Human rights in Zimbabwe fell victim to political and state-sponsored violence ahead of President Robert Mugabe's successful bid for re-election, Amnesty International said in its annual report on Tuesday. The government used armed gangs to crush the opposition, subvert the rule of law, undermine the judiciary and harass the private press, it charged. Amnesty said it had documented cases of extra-judicial executions, torture, abduction and "disappearances" in the run-up to the March poll. In a January-April update to the annual report for 2001, the London-based group said militias carried out violent retribution against those suspected of having supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. By March, local human rights observers reported that some 17 000 opposition supporters had been internally displaced because of death threats, harassment and attacks. Mugabe retained his grip on power in the polls, although they were widely condemned by the international community as gravely flawed.

The human rights situation had been "steadily deteriorating" throughout last year, Amnesty said in its global survey. There were "forced evictions, arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture and political killings, amounting to a pattern of deliberate, state-sponsored repression of opposition to the government or its policies," it added. Most were carried out by so-called "war veterans" - groups armed and supported by the police and army – who were able to act with impunity, Amnesty said. There were growing reports that the police not only stood by and watched but also took part in a number of attacks alongside government supporters. Police officers were directly implicated in some beatings and torture and repeatedly used excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters, the report said. The independence of the judiciary and the press were also undermined by new government laws and actions, Amnesty reported. The government deported three foreign journalists, branded others as "terrorists", banned the British Broadcasting Corporation from entering the country and blocked CNN broadcasts," the report said. Its refusal to comply with Supreme Court judgements coupled with threats from war veterans prompted the retirement of four senior judges.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From SABC News, 28 May

Dlamini-Zuma urges SA to assist Zimbabwe

South Africa should help bring Zimbabwe back from the brink, rather than push it over the precipice. This was Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Foreign Affairs Minister's, reply to government's critics about the way it was handling the Zimbabwean crisis. On the stalled talks between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Dlamini-Zuma said: "We can only hope that the Zimbabweans will take the opportunity presented by talks... to extricate their country from the political and economic quagmire." South Africa should always work to reconcile adversaries, she told MPs. "We should work towards bringing the Zimbabweans back from the brink. We should not be the ones that push them to the precipice," she said. It was reported at the weekend that President Thabo Mbeki would hold talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe on the fringes of a Democratic Republic of the Congo summit in Zambia on Thursday, in an attempt to get him back to the negotiating table with the MDC. Dlamini-Zuma also expressed concern about the "fast-growing right-wing trend in the developed world" that was being manifested through xenophobia, Islamaphobia and racist policies. South Africa's hosting of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to stem the tide of this rabid racism was correct, she said. "It is our hope that the international community will implement without further delays the programme adopted at the... conference to push back the frontiers of racism," she said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 23 May

Letter from the Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa


Dear Mr. Barrel,

Your editorial entitled "The great betrayal" in last week's edition quoted me from a recent presentation I delivered on the G-8 and NEPAD at the Africa Institute of South Africa. I wish to clarify the point I made concerning NEPAD and Zimbabwe.

The emphases of NEPAD on good political and economic governance, including plans to develop a peer review mechanism, are among the features of the initiative that have attracted the interest of the international community. NEPAD's peer review mechanism had not yet been developed at the time of the March presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Nonetheless, many observers expressed concern that an unwillingness of Africa's leaders, especially those promoting NEPAD, to criticize publicly the violence and intimidation in the lead-up and following the elections had the potential to undermine the credibility of the commitment of the continent's leadership to implement a meaningful peer review mechanism. In this regard, I described Zimbabwe as a "first test" for NEPAD.

The decision of the Commonwealth troika, which included two members of the NEPAD Steering Committee (Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo), to suspend Zimbabwe from the councils of the Commonwealth for a year was widely seen as a demonstration of that commitment. It sent a signal that key African leaders were serious about good governance and taking action against regimes that grossly violated their people's human rights. In this context, I said that NEPAD had passed its first test - it was clear that international interest in supporting NEPAD remained strong after the Zimbabwe elections. I did not suggest in any way that the situation in Zimbabwe was satisfactory. Indeed, I predicted that Zimbabwe would continue to be a challenge for African leaders and a test of their commitment to NEPAD principles. Canada continues to be extremely concerned about the situation in that country including the ongoing violation of basic human rights.

Canada is committed to working with African partners to support the implementation of NEPAD which represents, I believe, the most promising continent-wide initiative in recent years to address issues of poverty, underdevelopment and marginalization of much of Africa. The success of NEPAD in maintaining the interest of partner countries and, most importantly, in attracting private sector investment, will ultimately depend on the commitment of African leaders to implement with determination the principles of good governance envisaged by NEPAD.



Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mbeki shrugs off Zimbabwe questioning


By Donwald Pressly
President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday insisted that constructive interaction
was the way to go with Zimbabwe, shrugging off opposition MPs' suggestions
that South Africa should consider a different approach.

During a rare appearance in Parliament, Mbeki said that taking
confrontational action against Zimbabwe might produce "complimentary
headlines" but would not solve the problems of South Africa's neighbour.

Facing a range of questions on the government's quiet diplomacy approach to
Zimbabwe, Mbeki replied the world was saying "quite correctly that ... we
are not going to be able to resolve the problems of Zimbabwe unless we

That was why the Southern African Development Community ministers' group and
the Commonwealth trio of leaders - including himself - were continuing to
engage with Zimbabwe.

It was Zimbabweans themselves that had to resolve the problems of Zimbabwe,
he said.

He repeated this when responding to suggestions by African Christian
Democratic Party MP Cheryllyn Dudley that another presidential election
should be held, saying it was not up to South Africa to prescribe the
outcome of talks - now stalled - between the Movement for Democratic Change
and the ruling Zanu-PF.

He said the Commonwealth chairpersons committee had recommended to the
Commoneatlh secretary general "to engage with the government of Zimbabwe"
pertaining to specific recommendations from the Commonwealth observer
group - which had been present in Zimbabwe during the disputed April

Among the recommendations were that the General Laws Amendment Act, the
Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Privacy Act
should be reviewed, said Mbeki. In addition consideration should be given to
electoral supervision, he said, including the possible creation of an
Independent Electoral Commission in that country.

Discussions had also been held with the United Nations about Zimbabwe's food
crisis but he said the Commonwealth "agrees with us that land is at the core
of the crisis in Zimbabwe".

Asked by Sakkie Blanche of the Federal Alliance whether South Africa should
not be acting in the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans rather than the
government, Mbeki, questioning what this would mean in effect, said this
question was asked "just because it sounds good".


S.Africa's Mbeki urges Zimbabwe parties to talk

CAPE TOWN, May 29 - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday urged
the two main parties in neighbouring Zimbabwe to renew negotiations to
restore calm after a controversial presidential election in March.

       Mbeki, who has resisted international pressure to become more heavily
involved in the Zimbabwe crisis, said in parliament he was working with
Commonwealth partners to help the country.
       He said the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe had
suspended national reconciliation talks until the country's courts rule on
an opposition challenge to the election result.
       ''We are discussing this matter with the leadership of Zimbabwe in
the conviction that there is an urgent need for the people of Zimbabwe to
achieve national reconciliation and to work together to face the many
problems facing that country,'' he said.
       Mugabe won the March election comfortably, but the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Western countries condemned the
poll as fraudulent.
       The MDC has launched an appeal against the outcome and is seeking to
have the election re-run under international supervision.
       Pre-election violence, the illegal occupation of white-owned
commercial farms and drought have plunged the country into deep recession
with unemployment, inflation and interest rates soaring while exports and
productivity plunge.
       Mbeki, widely criticised for not condemning Mugabe's tolerance of
political violence more strongly, said in response to questions in
parliament it was up to Zimbabweans and not the country's neighbours to
restore peace.

       In an apparent criticism of international support for the
opposition's refusal to accept the result, Mbeki said: ''It is incorrect for
anyone to encourage the notion that anyone in Zimbabwe can behave as they
wish because they have international support.
       ''We will support, we will assist, but it (reconciliation) has to be
done by the people of Zimbabwe,'' he said.
       Mbeki said the South African and Nigerian governments were in touch
with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan about a growing food crisis
in Zimbabwe and programmes to boost black land ownership.
       Most of the country's best farmland was owned by a tiny white
minority when the former Rhodesia won independence in 1980 with Mugabe as
the first black leader.
       That pattern remained largely unchanged until activists began to
occupy farms in 2000 with the government making no move to stop them.
       Mbeki said South Africa and Nigeria were working under a mandate from
the Commonwealth, comprised mainly of former British colonies, to help
restore peace and economic stability.
       ''The Commonwealth agrees with us that land is at the core of the
crisis in Zimbabwe and cannot be separated from other issues of concern,''
he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Activists applaud Zimbabwe action on AIDS drugs

GENEVA, May 29 - International relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres
applauded Zimbabwe on Wednesday for becoming the first state to declare a
national HIV/AIDS emergency, giving it the right to ignore drugs patents.

       The organisation said the move would slash the cost of anti-AIDS
drugs in Zimbabwe, where one person in five is infected with the
disease-causing HIV virus, and added it hoped other developing countries
would adopt similar policies.
       ''I hope it (Zimbabwe) will be just the first of many,'' said Ellen
't Hoen, coordinator of MSF's campaign for essential medicines.
       Zimbabwe, where some 2,500 people die every week from AIDS, declared
a six-month emergency on Monday during which all legal restrictions on
access to generic medecins, essentially cheaper versions of patented drugs,
would be lifted.
       The Justice Ministry said the move allowed the government of
President Robert Mugabe and ''other authorised people'' to import any
generic drug used in the treatment of AIDS or HIV/AIDS-related conditions.
       MSF said the move should slash the annual cost of a treatment with a
cocktail of anti-AIDS drugs to just over $400 from around the $1,168 which
international pharmaceuticals companies charge in Zimbabwe.
       ''Although prices are just one barrier to overcome, this measure will
allow available resources to treat more than twice as many patients,'' said
MSF pharmacist coordinator Carmen Perez Casas.
       Zimbabwe is the first country to take advantage of an agreement late
last year in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), world trade's watchdog,
that spelt out the right of states to act when they felt public health was
at risk.
       Until the so-called Doha agreement, named after the Qatar capital
where it was signed, WTO rules on when patents could be overruled were
unclear and third world counties were under heavy pressure from
international drugs companies and rich states to respect patent laws.
       ''The procedure Zimbabwe has chosen allows swift action. This is the
model other countries should follow,'' MSF said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Nigerian minister moves to revive Zimbabwe talks

HARARE, May 29 - Nigerian Foreign Minister Sule Lamido will hold talks with
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in a bid to revive stalled talks with the
opposition on easing post-election tensions, officials said on Wednesday.

       The officials gave no further details but said Lamido arrived in the
Zimbabwean capital Harare on Tuesday. Mugabe's officials were unavailable
for immediate comment on Wednesday.
       Nigeria and South Africa have been mediating in talks between
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).
       Mugabe's ZANU-PF postponed the talks pending a decision on the MDC's
legal challenge to Mugabe's controversial March election victory. The two
parties had agreed on an agenda last month which included issues of
political violence and the disputed March 9-11 election.
       Mugabe's party insists the veteran leader, who has ruled since
independence from Britain in 1980, won fairly and has rejected opposition
calls for a re-run. The mediators have said they believed the talks can be
       Mugabe accuses the MDC of being a puppet of Britain, which he says
has led an international campaign to isolate him in retaliation for his
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
       Western governments, southern African parliamentarians and dozens of
Zimbabwean groups have condemned the poll outcome. But the Organisation of
African Unity, several African states and South African observers all
endorsed Mugabe's victory with varying degrees of approval.
       The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe for one year on March 19 after
the group's observers said Mugabe's re-election in a presidential ballot was
neither free nor fair.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

(As amended by Congress 1999)

Some points of interest from the Constitution...


A union is hereby established which shall be known as the "Commercial
Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe" herein referred to as "the union", which shall
be a body corporate with perpetual succession having an existence apart from
its members and which shall be capable of suing and being sued, of holding
property apart from its members and of performing all such acts as bodies
corporate may by law perform.


The Object of the Union, which shall be fulfilled in any proper manner which
it considers desirable, necessary or expedient, shall be to protect and
advance the interests of those persons engaged ion farming activities in
Zimbabwe, to further the promotion and development of a sound, healthy and
economically viable agricultural industry and, without derogation from the
generality of the foregoing, more particularly:

(a) to promote understanding, sympathy and
goodwill between all persons directly or indirectly interested in
agriculture and its many facets and, for this purpose, to afford facilities
for discussion and the interchange of information and ideas;
(b) to negotiate, consider discuss and advise as
necessary on all questions and matters relating to wages, mining as it
affects agriculture, trade prices, buying arrangements for agricultural
inputs, agricultural producer prices the imposition of restrictive
conditions in the conduct of any trade or business, the terms and conditions
of the employment of labour, land tenure, local and national agricultural
planning and development, compensations for loss of any improvement and for
any disturbance arising from the acquisition of property and on matters of
insurance, standards and taxation;
(c) to collect, provide and disseminate among
its members and other persons, advise, information and statistic relating to
the farming industry through the Unions own or any other newspaper or in any
other manner;
(d) to sponsor, oppose or support, any
legislation the introduction of which is likely to affect beneficially or
otherwise as the case may be the interests of its members or the
agricultural industry generally;
(e) to take such action as may be necessary or
expedient to secure adequate and economic transport for farm produce and
inputs and all material relating thereto;
(f) to negotiate and secure facilities and
beneficial terms for its members for life and other forms of insurance, and,
for the benefit of members or non members, to act agents or principal
officers for any insurance company or companies;
(g) to arrange deputations and generally to
express the views of those engaged in the farming industry so as to make
better known to the Government, its various agencies and to the general
public conditions and difficulties affecting agriculture;
(h) to subscribe to assist, subsidise,
cooperate, affiliate or amalgamate with any association or institution whose
objects are in whole or in part similar to those of the Union and to
subscribe to any funds or objects, charitable or otherwise, which may be
deemed likely to promote the interest of agriculture or to benefit its
(i) to promote cooperation among its members;
(j) to advise the Government on the
investigation, extension, testing and developing of markets both for
manufactured and unmanufactured products, to encourage, assist and conduct
research on matters relating to agricultural production or otherwise;
(k) to encourage economic land utilisation on an
ecologically sustainable basis in Zimbabwe;
(l) to assist financial or otherwise, in any
movement or action which the Union may consider to be in the interest of the
farming community and, so far is consistent with the law of Zimbabwe, to
assist financially in the bringing or defending of any case or action at law
which the Union may consider should, in the interest of the farming
community be bought or defended;
(m) to advance or protect the interests of the

i. by establishing, promoting or
participating in the establishment or promotion of any association, company
or other body corporate or unincorporated; or
ii. by acquiring by purchase, exchange
or otherwise, any movable or immovable property, any shares, stocks,
debentures, debenture stocks, bonds, obligations or securities in any
association, company or other body corporate or unincorporated;

for any purpose whatsoever which may or seem to be directly
or indirectly beneficial to the Union, its members, constituent elements or
the industry generally;

(n) to act as agents for any person or legally
constituted authority;
(o) to investigate, negotiate, encourage or
induce a reduction in agricultural input or marketing costs;
(p) to promote the export or sales of any
agricultural product by any means, including advertising and market
research; and
(q) generally, to do all things as are
incidental or conducive to the attainment of the foregoing objects or any of
them, or as are calculated, directly or indirectly to further the overall
interest of the industry but, the Union shall not participate in nor concern
itself in party politics.
Some points on membership....


4.1 Eligibility
Membership of the Union shall be open to any person who:

i. normally derives his sole or principal means of
livelihood from agriculture carried on by him in Zimbabwe, what ever the
area of land on which he carries on agricultural operations.
ii. Is a farm manager, farm assistant or farm pupil and
who if he were to engage in farming on his own account, would fall within
the definition 4.1 (i).

Provided that the Council may decline to accord membership to any applicant
unless in the sole and unfettered opinion of the Council.

a) The applicant has produced and sold in each of the three
immediately preceding years, agricultural products to a gross value of not
less than $ 5000; or
b) The farm on which the applicant is currently the person who
is conducting the farming operations has produced agricultural produce to
such value over the same three period and the applicant intends to continue
that agricultural production at such or greater levels; and, in either event
c) The applicant first becomes a member of a Farmers'
Association affiliated to the Union where such an Association is reasonably
available to such person for membership; and
d) Has paid to the Union a sum equal to the Farmers' Licence
fee as fixed by the Union from time to time.


The office Bearers, standing Committees and affiliated Associations of the
Union shall comprise
a) A President;
b) Two Vice Presidents;
c) The Council;
d) The Regional Council;
e) A Regional Executive for each Region;
f) Such Farmers' Associations as may be constituted in
accordance with the provisions of Clause 10 and as the Council may recognise
in each Region.
g) A Council representing producers of crops and livestock; to
be called the Commodity Council as in clause 13 provided; and
h) Such Producers' Associations as may be constituted in
accordance with Clause 12 and as the Council may recognise for affiliation
to the Union.


Members: 3101 members renewed their membership as at 9/4/02
This is broken down as follows:
Manicaland - 316
Matabeleland - 354
Midlands - 200
Mash East - 623
Mash Central - 517
Masvingo - 207
Mash West (South) 219
Mash West (North) - 665

There are 8 regional chairmen, 10 Commodity Chairman, a Water, Environment
Research and Extension committee. There are also 71 Farmers' Associations
throughout the country, these fall within the 8 regions


Commercial farmers realised that the land issue would not be resolved
through confrontation with our Government, so the Commercial Farmers' Union
called a Special Congress on the 21st March 2001.

Through this congress, commercial farmers decided three important things:

1. That they wish to be part of a solution, not part of the problem.

2.    That the agricultural sector should be better integrated between black
and white farmers and that the sector should continue to produce for the

3.    That commercial farmers should be recognised as loyal Zimbabweans,
committed to playing a constructive role in the future of the Nation.


For more information, please contact  Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91
300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829
Please note a change in office email from to
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website

Back to the Top
Back to Index

--> ZIMBABWE: Urgent aid needed to avert catastrophe

JOHANNESBURG, 29 May (IRIN) - Land reform activities and a severe drought have been identified as major causes of a collapse of agricultural production in Zimbabwe, where six million people face hunger.

A report on the joint crop and food supply assessment mission by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), released on Wednesday, said Zimbabwe was facing a serious food crisis.

"Even at harvest time, and unless international food assistance is provided urgently, there will be a serious famine and loss of life in the coming months," the FAO/WFP report warned.

On 26 April President Robert Mugabe declared a state of disaster as a result of the drought.

Cereal crop production for the current marketing year (April 2002 to March 2003) was estimated at about 670,000 mt, "or 57 percent down from last year's poor harvest and 69 percent down from production in 1999/00".

The two organisations said: "The production of maize, the main staple, is estimated at 480,000 mt, down by 67 percent on last year and by 77 percent on 1999/00. The major cause of collapse of the 2002 main season ... has been a severe prolonged drought between January and March, which wiped out crops in most parts of the country. Land reform activities contributed to the steep fall in production."

President Mugabe's fast track land reform programme has been marred by illegal invasions of farms and illegal evictions by self-styled war veterans. The government has passed legislation allowing it to seize land for redistribution without having to pay compensation, should former colonial power Britain not provide funds for land redistribution.

Cereal import requirements for the 2002/03 season were estimated at "a staggering 1.8 million mt, of which maize accounts for 1.7 million mt or 91 percent".

The total uncovered cereal deficit for the year, taking into account commercial cereal imports of 312,000 mt and 60,000 mt in food aid pledges, was 1.4 million mt with the maize deficit amounting to 1.3 million mt.

"Approximately 6 million people are estimated to have insufficient production, income and other entitlements to be able to meet their minimum food requirements throughout the coming year. Emergency food assistance in the amount of 705,000 mt of cereals, in addition to other supplementary food items, is needed to support their minimum cereal consumption requirements," the FAO/WFP report said.

The situation has been worsened by Zimbabwe's continued economic decline. The economy contracted by 4.2 percent in 2000 and by a further 8.6 percent the following year.

This has led to "high and increasing unemployment combined with a high and increasing cost of living over the past few years". This has meant that "millions of people who have the resources to purchase their cereal staple food are increasingly unable to do so because grain is not widely available in markets, or is selling at very high prices".

The report said: "Even before this year's severe crop failure, 75 percent of the population were classified as poor, and 42 percent as very poor. The situation ... is certainly much worse following the collapse of food production."

Agriculture was one of the most important sectors of Zimbabwe's economy, providing over half of the country's total employment and contributing about 15 percent of gross domestic product. It was responsible for about 40 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings while providing the bulk of raw materials to the manufacturing sector.

The report said: "Current levels of food insecurity in Zimbabwe are the result of a continuing and substantial deterioration in the macro-economy of the country over the 1990s, recent climatic factors, a broad disruption in the patterns of national food production due to 'fast track' land reform activities, and more recent events of civil disturbances."

The worst affected by the food shortage were vulnerable rural populations in chronically food-deficit areas in the south, west and extreme north of the country, the urban poor and commercial farm workers.

Extraordinary measures would be required by the government of Zimbabwe and the international community to avert a catastrophe.

"At present it appears that the government of Zimbabwe, through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), will not be able to import a sufficient quantity of cereals ... due to its severely limited foreign exchange reserves. The mission recommends a combination of private sector commercial imports (852,000 mt) and humanitarian assistance (705,000 mt, of which 60,000 mt are already pledged) to meet this food gap," the report said.

Among the recommendations of the assessment mission was that "private sector commercial imports would require the removal of the GMB monopoly on the import of maize, maize meal and wheat; the removal of government price controls to allow these products to be sold at prices reflecting the import cost; and the removal of all restrictions on the movement of grain inside the country".

WFP is currently conducting an emergency operation (EMOP) covering 558,000 beneficiaries in communal areas in 19 districts which were affected by drought and floods in 2001 in the southern, western and extreme north of the country.

As of mid-May about US $29.6 million (50 percent of the total value of the EMOP) equivalent to 59,370 mt of food commodities had been pledged by donors. However, distribution was held up because the food was slow to arrive.

"As of 21 May, WFP ... had distributed some 9,000 mt of food in 15 districts to over 453,000 beneficiaries. It is expected that the distribution rate will increase in the near future," the report said.

For the full report go to: or

Preps for World Summit Begin

The Herald (Harare)
May 29, 2002
Posted to the web May 29, 2002
Herald Reporter

THE Government has begun preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development aimed at reviewing progress in poverty alleviation.
The summit will be held in South Africa and begins towards the end of August and runs until early September.

Like other developing countries, Zimbabwe recognises that poverty is a major impediment towards achieving sustainable development.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema, on Monday received computers and printers for use in the national preparatory process for the summit.
He said Zimbabwe was preparing a country profile on progress on the implementation of Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 is a programme of action for sustainable development for the 21st century and beyond, which came out of the Rio Summit in Brazil in 1992.
Cde Nhema said that as a blue-print for action each country was expected to translate Agenda 21 into a local agenda for action.
Zimbabwe, as a signatory to the Rio Declaration, has embarked on a number of activities in preparation for the summit.
These include organising a national awareness conference involving the Government, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, civil society and all major groups.
The environment ministry has prepared a special chapter on the role of business and industry in sustainable development, and is organising a national level poster and essay competition on sustainable development, Cde Nhema said.
United Nations Development Programme resident representative, Mr Victor Angelo, said the international community would meet to review progress made towards achieving sustainable development.
"We hope that the national assessment that will be carried out during the preparatory process will be based on wide consultation so that a truly national perspective to the issues is contained in the report to be presented to the WSSD.
"It is also our hope that the various committees set up under the WSSD preparatory process are permanent structures that will also ensure the implementation of follow up actions after the summit," Mr Angelo said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index