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Chefs’ farms seized

By Njabulo Ncube Bureau Chief
5/3/02 2:28:58 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO — Hundreds of war veterans in Matabeleland South have seized dozens
of government farms parcelled out to leading black Zimbabweans three years
ago under a scheme to create black commercial farmers, one of the farmers
said yesterday.

Jonathan Maphe-nduka, a former journalist at the state-run Chronicle
newspaper and one of the farmers in an area known as Marula Block, accused
provincial governor Stephen Nkomo and unnamed government officials of being
behind the invasions.

The invasions started mid-last month and have spread in the past week to
most of the block’s 44 large ranches, including the one being leased by the
government to Supreme Court judge Justice Misheck Cheda, Maphenduka said.

He claimed that Nkomo and the officials wanted to take the farms themselves.

Nkomo was not available for comment. His office in Gwanda said he was out of
the town and unreachable by phone.

"My farm, which is part of Marula Block, has been invaded. The war veterans
on the farm claim they were told to do so by the governor," said Maphenduka,
a former assistant editor at the Chronicle, who is also the spokesman for
the Marula Block farmers.

"They have moved their cattle into the farm and told my workers not touch
them because they are acting on the instructions of the governor," he said.
"Most of the other farms have been invaded as well."

The 44 ranches, which include seven where there are irrigated crops, were
leased to leading Zimbabweans by the government for 99 years starting in
1999 as part of the state’s accelerated land reforms aimed at empowering

The 44 were specifically aimed at kick-starting commercial farming by
previously disadvantaged groups.

The reported invasions are the first on government-owned farms on such a
large scale after ruling ZANU PF supporters swooped on largely white-owned
farms in the name of land hunger two years ago, forcing the government to
launch its fast-track land reforms.

The reforms, under which the government has targeted to seize 90 percent of
farms owned by whites, plus a withering drought have been blamed for causing
severe food shortages now experienced in Zimbabwe, where nearly three
million people — or a quarter of the population — need imported food aid.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union this week said 250 of its members had been
expelled from the farms by the war veterans since Zimbabwe’s presidential
election in March.

Maphenduka, who retired from the Chronicle nearly four years ago and is now
a full-time cattle rancher leasing Talawunda Ranching, a property measuring
2 600 hectares, said it was disheartening to see the war veterans seizing
the property meant to open up commercial farming to blacks.

He said of Nkomo: "My lawyers wrote to him on the 17th of April 2002 as the
governor to remove the invaders on the farm which I lease from the
government. I acquired the property on merit and in a transparent manner. I
was a caretaker of the farm for a period of five years before getting a
99-year lease on the property."

Maphenduka said lawyers representing the black commercial farmers were on
the verge of filing applications to the High Court to have the invaders
removed from the unlisted properties.

He claimed the governor and other public figures had made public their
interest on some farms in the Marula Block largely because of the area’s
superb grazing.

"The Marula Commercial Farming Scheme might collapse if nothing is done to
remove the invaders," Maphenduka said.

"The invaders are disrupting operations on the properties. They have brought
their cattle on a section of my farm and onto others as well. They are also
busy building dagga-and-pole huts."

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News Release
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers’ Union)

TWO hundred and fifty commercial farmers have been evicted off their farms
since the presidential elections on the 9 – 10 March 2002.  The evictions
are ongoing country wide with Mashonaland East the worst hit, with 90
evictions reported.

Commercial Farmers Union President, Colin Cloete said the Union noted with
alarm that the evictions were continuing unabated and that law enforcement
agencies have not managed to contain the situation.

“The current spate of evictions of farmers from their homesteads and farms,
by war veterans and settlers, many leaving with little more that the clothes
they are wearing, is clearly unlawful and is destabilising the entire
industry. According to the recently amended Land Acquisition Act, landowners
can only be evicted from their homes after Government, as the acquiring
authority, has obtained an eviction order from a competent court directing
the landowner’s eviction. No such order has been sought or issued by any
court to date. Again I appeal to the authorities to put a stop to this for
it cannot be in the Nations interest to destroy a major aspect of the
productive sector when food is already scarce and the prospects of
widespread and devastating famine now loom ever closer, “ said Cloete.

Coupled with the illegal evictions, is the wholesale seizing of farm
equipment. On this Cloete said, “The Land Acquisition Act is quite clear on
what may and may not be removed from farms following the serving of
acquisition orders. The movable assets remain the property of the current
landowner and not the acquiring authority. Farmers have had their trucks
with equipment seized at Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) roadblocks and these
actions are clearly unlawful.”

Cloete applauded the statement by acting chairman of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Cde Patrick Nyaruwata, who
called on commercial farmers to ignore the Andrew Ndlovu led initiative to
evict commercial farmers.

This interview was published in the Herald on Friday 26 April 2002. The
article quoted Nyaruwata as saying…  "We do not want anarchy to prevail in
this country. The actions of Cde Ndlovu are meant to disturb farming
activities on farms, which have not been designated by the Government. He
should desist from embarking on a haphazard way of distributing land."

Cde Andrew Ndlovu, ZNLWVA Secretary for Projects, visited many farms
countrywide. In some instances, local war veterans evicted farmers using a
letter penned by Ndlovu to intimidate farmers and issue them with an
eviction ultimatum. The wording of the letter alleges that commercial
farmers supported the alleged plot by the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) to assassinate President Mugabe and calls for sanctions against

Cde Nyaruwata is also reported to have said, “The issue of redistribution of
land lies with a relevant government ministries such as the Ministry of
Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement. War veterans had no role to play
now that the Government was redistributing land to the majority of
Zimbabweans. Cde Nyaruwata said war veterans would also wait to be allocated
land by the government just like everyone else.”

Cloete commented, “I wish to state in the strongest terms possible that the
Commercial Farmers Union does not and will not support sanctions against our
country. Sanctions only lead to further misery and ordinary Zimbabweans are
already suffering under the harsh economic climate while scarcity of basic
foodstuffs is now becoming a reality and hunger is adding further hardship.
As farmers we are committed to doing our best to feed the Nation and, as I
stated last week, time is running out for the winter season and prospects
for a reasonable wheat crop fade with each passing day. “

Farmers, who have been served with a compulsory notice of acquisition
(Section 8 order) can no longer, by law, plant a crop on their properties.
Many others who may not have received Section 8 orders have been shut down
by war veterans and farm invaders and are physically unable to continue
their operations.

The Union has as at 9th April 2002, 3101 paid up members. Membership across
the regions is as follows Manicaland – 316; Matabeleland – 354; Midlands –
200; Mash West (North) – 665; Mash East – 623; Mash Central – 517;
Masvingo – 207 and Mash West (South) has 219.

Mashonaland East is the worst hit with 142 farmers evicted since February
2000, 90 of these are since the election period. 222 farms have been looted.
35 percent of the mainly tobacco farms are shut down.

The Eviction tally in other areas is: Matabeleland 8, Manicaland 6,
Mashonaland Central 31, Midlands 1, Masvingo 5, Mashonaland West North 37,
with none reported in Mashonaland West South.

Cloete welcomed overtures on the part of the presidency to resolve
differences and ignite a unity of purpose, he said, “As Zimbabwean farmers
we welcome His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe’s statement, in his
address to the Nation on Independence Day and in particular his call for
unity of purpose in working together to bring Zimbabwe out of her present
crisis. The need to put our differences aside and pull together in Zimbabwe
has never been more paramount and, as said so many times before, farmers
stand ready to play their part. “

2nd May 2002
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile +263 91 300 456 or +263 11 213 885
Email: or

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State of disaster is called in Zimbabwe as food shortages threaten thousands - 14 days to go

14 days to go - Farmers for Food !

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday declared a "state of disaster"
as worsening food shortages threatened starvation in many parts of the

"As a result of the prevalent drought, a state of disaster exists in all
communal lands, resettlement and urban areas in Zimbabwe," Mr Mugabe said.

On Sunday, I interviewed villages in Nyamandlovu who had been arrested for
stealing sweet potatoes from Umguzaan Farm, their motive HUNGER. See

As I read this news a statement issued by Colin Cloete on 17 April came to
mind ....
Here once again are the salient points.....

"The winter wheat growing season is almost upon us now and farmers have been
anxiously awaiting policy and guidance from Government as to what is
required from the large-scale irrigation sector. Traditionally this sector
grows 95 per cent of the wheat crop and last season, grew 330 000 tonnes.
Farmers remain willing and able to plant cereals for the coming season. For
optimum yields and harvest conditions, this requires planting to be
completed by 15th May.

There is wide agreement in that a wheat crop is required and that it can be
grown much cheaper than importing the product. It is also more efficient to
use local resources of land, capital and labour than to import food
requiring scarce foreign currency. Furthermore, large-scale farmers have the
capacity, technical ability and the resources to grow the crop........

To import wheat, as well as the 1,5 million tonnes of maize required, is
wasteful and unnecessary. It is also impractical in view of the serious
constraints already placed on the infrastructure by the massive maize import
programme. The current wheat stocks will be depleted by July and imports are
already required prior to the harvest in October/November before the local
crop is harvested. If a full crop is not grown the wheat import programme
required is 2003 is likely to exceed 500 000 tonnes.

However, there are major constraints facing farmers and these have to be
addressed if a sizeable crop is to be established this winter.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made
released a press statement on Friday, 12th April. In the statement, he
regrettably does not address issues vital for production thus comprising
food security.

In conclusion, if no encouragement is to be given by Government in
alleviating the constraints imposed of mass Section 8 orders, production of
a wheat crop this winter is unlikely to be more than 20 000 hectares of the
60 000 hectares traditionally planted by the large scale sector. Massive
food shortages will be therefore be inevitable.

As part of the Nation our farmers remain committed to this country and its
food requirements and ask nothing more than to continue to play their very
important and meaning full role of ensuring food security.

I also appeal to the relevant authorities to clamp down on opportunistic
criminal elements and local warlords that only serve to impede much needed
production of food crops and hinder the land reform programme through
antagonism and confrontation.
17th April 2002 C. B. Cloete, President

Today is the first of May, we have 14 days left in which to prepare to plant
wheat. We await response from the Minister and other powers that be.....

For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (263) 11 213 885 or (263) 91 300 456
Email: or

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Guardian reporter arrested in Harare

Owen Bowcott
Thursday May 2, 2002
The Guardian

The Guardian's correspondent in Zimbabwe, Andrew Meldrum, was arrested at
his home in Harare yesterday for writing a story which allegedly breached
the government's punitive media laws. He has been charged with publishing
false information and is being held at the capital's central police station.
Mr Meldrum, 50, a US citizen who has worked in the country since 1980, was
detained for his account of a supporter of Zimbabwe's opposition party who
had, reportedly, been beheaded in front of her children by followers of
President Robert Mugabe.

Two journalists from the independent Daily News, Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin
Chiwanza, were detained on Tuesday for publishing the same story and were
subsequently charged with publishing a falsehood. They are still being held
by the police; if convicted, they could face up to two years in jail.

Since being suspended from the Commonwealth this year Mr Mugabe's regime has
launched a string of prosecutions against journalists. Meldrum has
repeatedly been criticised for his coverage of Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis. Last December Mr Mugabe described him and five other
reporters as "terrorists".

Even before the presidential election in March, virtually all foreign
reporters were banned under the government's new Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act. That month the Daily Telegraph's correspondent,
Peta Thornycroft, was detained for five days; she is awaiting trial for
allegedly "practising illegally as a journalist and inciting public
violence". Last month the editor of the Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, was

The story that led to Meldrum's arrest was published last week. It reported
claims in the Daily News that Brandina Tadyanemhandu, 53, a mother of eight,
had been decapitated by supporters of the ruling party near Karoi, 120 miles
north-west of Harare. The Times and the Independent carried the same story.

The account was partially based on the husband's report of the incident.
Doubts have since been raised about his credibility. The opposition Movement
for Democratic Change said it might have been tricked into paying him
compensation to cover burial expenses. Other government critics say the
story might have been concocted to embarrass the press. The MDC and the
Daily News are investigating.

Meldrum's wife, Dolores Cortes Meldrum, was allowed to see him yesterday.
"He was in very good spirits," she said. "His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, was
allowed to take in the food I had bought. I had to speak to him through bars
in the station.

"The police came to our front gate in their Land Rover at 7am in the
morning. I don't think he was surprised. Among journalists here, everyone
wonders who will be next."

Meldrum was being held in the same cell as the two Daily News journalists.
Despite the fact that yesterday was a public holiday, a high court judge
insisted on hearing the case. No police or prosecutors attended the first
hearing; a second was scheduled for later in the evening.

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, said: "Andrew Meldrum is a
highly experienced and well-established journalist who has made his home in
Zimbabwe for the last 22 years and knows and loves the country. We believe
that he has been arrested under Section 80 1b, the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, which could mean he faces up to two years in

"It is outrageous that he should be the subject of criminal charges for
doing the job of a reporter and we call on the Zimbabwean government to
release him immediately and to drop charges against him and his colleagues
on the Daily News."

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Politicians push govt to re-list de-listed farms

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 1:30:48 AM (GMT +2)

THE government is seizing back 76 percent of farms it previously removed
from the list of properties it is acquiring under its controversial
fast-track land reform programme because of pressure from powerful ruling
ZANU PF stalwarts and government officials, it was learnt this week.

Farming sources told the Financial Gazette that some ruling party and
government officials as well as influential war veterans had pressured
junior officials at the Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Ministry to
re-list several de-listed farms because they wanted them to be allocated to

"We have many cases in which politicians and government officials have
forced ministry officials to re-list some farms just because they want that
farm," said a source, who spoke on condition that he was not named.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made refused to take questions from this
newspaper on the matter, saying: "I am not taking questions on that. I have
nothing to clarify."

However, figures released by the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) this week
showed that Made’s ministry had between March 1 and April 17 2002 re-listed
for acquisition 342 farms (770 484 hectares) out of 449 properties (854 505
hectares) that it had previously removed from the list of targeted farms.

There were however no figures of total farms the government has de-listed or
re-listed since 2000 when it began grabbing land from white farmers.

The CFU would not be drawn to comment on reports that farms had been
returned to the acquisition list because some politicians were eyeing them
for their own use.

Several senior government officials have in the past few months grabbed some
of the best farms in Zimbabwe together with farming equipment in some cases,
arguing that they have the right to do so under the government’s land
reforms, which are aimed at giving land to blacks in the country.

The officials include Vice- President Simon Muzenda, who reportedly led a
group that two weeks ago allegedly ordered a white farmer near Muzenda’s
Gutu rural home to vacate his property and to leave all his irrigation
equipment. The equipment would allegedly be used by Muzenda for the winter
crop he wanted to plant on the farm.

According a Reuters report last week, which Muzenda has not challenged, the
vice-president offered to pay for the equipment.

War veterans’ leader Andrew Ndlovu has also given ultimatums to several
white farmers around the country to vacate their properties regardless of
whether or not they are listed for acquisition.

The government, which had initially promised it would not take land from
farmers with only one property, has on several occasions threatened to
expropriate all white-owned farmland.

It has so far listed for acquisition about 6 000 farms, representing about
90 percent of all land owned by the country’s white farmers.

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Govt spurns farms offer

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 2:35:23 AM (GMT +2)

THE government has failed to take up more than 700 farms it has been
voluntarily offered by white farmers because it does not have the money to
pay for the properties, the white-dominated Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU)
said yesterday.

Jerry Grant, the CFU’s deputy director for commodities, said the government
had failed to respond to the farmers’ offer because it had no money.

"There are more than 700 properties still on offer to the government which
they (the government) can’t pay for because they don’t have money," he told
the Financial Gazette.

"There has been no single response to the offers. They don’t have the
capability to pay. How can they pay for more than five thousand farms?"

The government, grappling with Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis blamed on
the state’s high spending, has so far seized more than 5 000 commercial
farms which it has earmarked for the resettlement of blacks.

Grant said more than 1 500 farmers had been taken to the Administrative
Court by the government to have them evicted from their farms but so far the
government had not managed to legally acquire a single farm.

According to Grant, some farmers with more than one farm had offered some of
their farms to the government to avoid the long process of going to the

Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, is on
record as saying the courts were taking too long to deal with the farmers’
cases. He was not available for comment yesterday.

The government needs about US$3 billion for its accelerated land reforms,
which includes money to purchase farms and inputs, which were launched two
years ago.

Grant said in some cases where the government took farmers to the courts, it
was being advised by judges in preliminary hearings to accept some of the
offers made by the farmers but it still refused.

Farmers who receive Section 7 Orders of the Land Acquisition Act are
supposed to appear in the Administrative Court to lodge objections to the
government’s compulsory acquisition, citing reasons for the objections
before they appear again for the full hearing.

"Some of the judges are saying to the government: ‘why can’t you accept the
proposals from farmers?’ but they seem not to want to take up the
proposals," Grant said.

Meanwhile CFU president Colin Cloete yesterday said 250 farmers had now been
chased off their land after the March presidential election in a spate of
violence led by ruling ZANU PF supporters. Farm machinery and implements had
also been seized.

"The current spate of evictions of farmers from their homesteads and farms
by war veterans and settlers, with many farmers leaving with little more
that the clothes they are wearing, is clearly unlawful and is destabilising
the entire industry," he said.

"The Land Acquisition Act is quite clear on what may and may not be removed
from farms following the serving of acquisition orders. The movable assets
remain the property of the current land owner and not the acquiring

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African leaders toughen laws to muzzle media

5/3/02 2:33:37 AM (GMT +2)

NAIROBI — Africa’s "Big Men" are using new media laws to introduce a subtler
form of censorship than the brutal tactics often favoured in the past.

As World Press Freedom Day dawns today, image-conscious presidents are
sponsoring bills that watchdogs say aim to add a veneer of legality to their
efforts to muzzle critics.

"Instead of the heavy-handed ways they used in the past, dictators are using
the laws of the country," said Yves Sorokobi, Africa Programme Coordinator
with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"They have a lot to hide, they have skeletons in the closet, but they can’t
get away with murder."

Many African governments have come under increasing pressure in the past
decade from donors to stop using beatings and bullets to silence
journalists, rights groups say.

Instead, editors say countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Gambia and
Swaziland have passed or are planning laws to restrict press freedoms.

There are some bright spots. The CPJ says life has recently become a little
less miserable for journalists in Ethiopia and the vast Democratic Republic
of the Congo, although they remain among Africa’s worst abusers of press

But overall, the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF)
says 2001 was the worst year for African journalists since the early 1990s,
with 180 reporters arrested compared to 150 in 2000. Most spent less than 48
hours in jail.

Tamrat Zuma, a reporter with Ethiopia’s now defunct Atkurot newspaper, spoke
for many when he described his 10-month prison stay for reporting complaints
at a state-run leather factory.

"More than three people died next to me because of a lack of treatment. If a
sick prisoner bangs on the door to seek help, the police beat him up," he
told Reuters Television. "Freedom is not something cheap."

The laws range from measures to introduce state-run media councils to
oversee the press to outright bans on criticism.

Watchdogs say one of the most glaring deteriorations in press freedom is in
Zimbabwe, where the government passed a tough new media law ahead of March
elections that forced journalists to seek licences from a state-appointed

On Wednesday, police arrested a journalist working for a British newspaper
and charged him over a story alleging that a woman had been beheaded by
supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

"It is not work for the weak-kneed or faint-hearted, bearing in mind that
one of the fringe benefits is a free weekend at Harare Central Police
stations once in a while," Zimbabwe’s Standard newspaper said in an
editorial on Sunday.

Perhaps the most dramatic crackdown has come in the Red Sea state of
Eritrea, where President Isayas Afewerki belongs to the old school of
dealing with criticism. He simply closed all the independent media in
September and arrested staff, quashing calls for democratic reforms despite
howls from donors.

But outside pressure can work. In Swaziland, a tiny country between South
Africa and Mozambique, King Mswati III issued a decree forbidding criticism
of the royal family, the CPJ says. He was forced to retreat under threat of
Western sanctions.

More wily rulers may find money a more subtle censor.

In Kenya, CPJ says the government has proposed raising the bond that
publishers must pay to insure against libel suits to one million shillings
(US$12 770) from 10 000 shillings.

The government says it is targeting a "gutter press" that reveals sordid sex
stories about famous Kenyans, but editors sense moves to intimidate them
ahead of elections this year.

"They still want to clamp down on the press, but the international community
looks unfavourably on what they are doing," said Mugo Theuri, managing
editor of The People daily who was jailed for sedition in the late 1980s.

Governments in Namibia and Botswana withdrew state-funded adverts from
newspapers regarded as too critical, RSF says.

While life has been tough for journalists across much of Africa in the past
year, there are glimmers of light.

Hopes are growing that a peace deal to end 27 years of civil war in Angola
may lead to more press freedom.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has tried to improve his relations with
the country’s vocal media — but moves to establish a presidential press
corps caused controversy when security officials asked reporters about their
sex lives.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the former Zaire, editors say
President Joseph Kabila has opened up the media to some extent since he took
over in January last year.

"In newspapers we can write whatever we want — with a sense of
responsibility," said Modeste Mutinga, the editor of Le Potentiel, an
independent daily in the capital Kinshasa.

RSF says the government arrested 27 journalists in Congo last year, the
highest number of any African country. As in much of the continent,
Congolese readers must study their papers carefully.

"Self-censorship works here and people have learned to read and write
between the lines," Mutinga said. — Reuter

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UN agency says 1 million face starvation in Zim

5/3/02 2:30:53 AM (GMT +2)

ROME — A food crisis looms over Zimbabwe, threatening more than one million
people with hunger, the United Nations’ food body said yesterday.

"The situation is precarious in Zimbabwe and continues to deteriorate," said
Judith Lewis, the head of southern and east African operations for the World
Food Programme (WFP).

This week President Robert Mugabe declared a state of disaster over the food
shortages, blaming a severe drought for the emergency.

"Half a million people are at immediate risk but that number could triple in
the next 60 days," Lewis said, speaking by telephone from Nairobi, adding:
"In a few weeks we are going to have a serious situation."

Lewis said the lean season had come early and some 80 000 tonnes of food aid
were needed to avert the immediate crisis.

She said the Rome-based WFP estimated that Zimbabwe’s net maize deficit will
be 1.4 million tonnes in the 2000-2003 period, while the surplus for the
entire southern Africa region would be 30 000 tonnes.

Separately, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies in Geneva warned yesterday of a looming food crisis in southern
Africa because of erratic weather.

Lewis agreed that bad weather had played a part in the crisis, but said
other factors, such as the Harare government’s seizure of white-owned farms,
had exacerbated the situation.

"The drought has had a significant impact, but also the disruption caused by
the seizure of commercial farms, the economic downturn and a lack of hard
currency," she said.

The global response to earlier aid appeals has been slow due to Zimbabwe’s
international isolation over its human rights record and Mugabe’s disputed
victory in March presidential elections, Lewis added.

Last week Zimbabwe’s state media reported the country had imported 28 000
tonnes of yellow maize, a grain used for both human and animal consumption,
as part of the state Grain Marketing Board’s programme to import 200 000
tonnes to cover the food deficit.

Maize rationing has been instituted in communal areas, with some households
being limited to sharing a monthly 50 kg bag of maize meal — enough to feed
a family of five for one month, according to the WFP.

— Reuter

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Business to meet Mugabe, seek 60 pct devaluation

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 2:29:43 AM (GMT +2)

LEADERS of Zimbabwe’s private sector are due to meet President Robert Mugabe
in two weeks’ time during which they will tell him to devalue the local
dollar by more than 60 percent as part of measures to improve export
performance and get the tottering economy back on track, it was established
this week.

Industry sources said an immediate adjustment of the value of the Zimbabwe
dollar from the present 55 against one American greenback to about 140 is
one of the key proposals which the business leaders will recommed to Mugabe.

The meeting has been scheduled for the next two weeks, although no specific
date has been set, industrialists said.

The Zimbabwe dollar has been pegged at 55 against the United States dollar
since October 2000 when Finance Minister Simba Makoni last devalued the

Mugabe has however rejected previous pleas from the private sector and
economists to allow the Zimbabwe dollar to slide due to fears that the move
would trigger higher inflation.

Zimbabwe’s annualised inflation was at a high of 113.3 percent in March, the
latest available figures.

A slide in the value of the dollar would trigger increases in the prices of
energy, power and most basic commodities at a time Zimbabwe desperately
needs imported food aid to stave off hunger caused by drought and
disturbances on commercial farms.

A top business executive said this week: "There is a strong belief in the
business community that allowing the Zimbabwe dollar to slide to about 140
against the US unit, together with implementation of a host of other
stabilisation measures, could enhance the performance of the export sector
and go some way in solving the country’s foreign currency problems."

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has already proposed the
reintroduction of a dual exchange rate system under which there would be
separate rates for official transactions and commercial activities.

Zimbabwe last operated a two-tier exchange rate regime in 1994 when the
government unified the two rates at the height of the country’s
Western-backed economic reforms.

Analysts however say devaluing the local dollar to 140 is not enough to plug
leakages of foreign currency from the official system but needs to be
complemented by other measures to boost confidence.

"The exchange rate actually needs to be 200 against the US dollar at present
if we are to keep up with the rate of inflation," consultant economist John
Robertson said.

Makoni is expected to announce a new economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe in
the coming month and the local private sector, led by the business leaders’
forum, has arranged a meeting with Mugabe at which they intend to table
various proposals on ways of reviving the economy.

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Kombi owners flee Zim

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 2:30:15 AM (GMT +2)

COMMUTER transport problems in Harare could worsen after reports yesterday
suggested that the Asian community, key players in the capital city’s
commuter business, is moving its businesses to neighbouring countries.

Sources in the industry this week said the Asians, some of whom operate
fleets of more than 200 minibuses, were feeling increasingly insecure amid
threats from the government and rogue elements of war veterans and were
therefore moving their businesses to Zimbabwe’s neigh-bours, mainly to

"Some of them have already started doing so quietly and many more might
start doing so soon especially if the government insists that they should
charge fares they feel are not viable," one of the operators said this week.

Several commuter transport operators withdrew their buses from Harare’s
roads this week in protest against the government’s directive declaring
illegal a 30 percent fare hike the operators introduced on Monday.

The operators cited rising spare parts costs and those of labour as the
reason for the fare increase.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, whose ministry controls urban
commuter transport operations, has accused the operators of profiteering and
threatened to fine and de-register those defying his directive.

In a move analysts described as populist, the government last October
imposed blanket price controls on most consumer products and services,
triggering crippling shortages.

Last year it also introduced uneconomic "Freedom Trains" in Harare and
Bulawayo to ferry workers to work ahead of a crucial presidential election
controversially won by President Robert Mugabe.

"These Asian transport operators are increasingly feeling that their
businesses are no longer safe here, especially because the war veterans are
regularly intervening in their labour disputes," another operator said.

"They are moving to other markets where they can do business freely compared
 to the environment here."

In the part few months, commuters in Harare have had to queue for long hours
due to increasing shortage of mini-buses in the city.

Since last year, the veterans have been dragging the Asian transport
operators before kangaroo labour courts to try to resolve industrial
problems between them and their workers.

Two weeks ago war veterans’ leader Andrew Ndlovu threatened the Asian
community with tough action after he accused it of underpaying workers,
charging exorbitant rentals and owning what he said was too much land.

By yesterday evening—the third day in a row — most of mini-buses belonging
to the Asian community had not resumed operations in Harare.

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Coffin Manufacturers Doing Brisk Business
The Daily News (Harare)

May 2, 2002
Posted to the web May 2, 2002

Foster Dongozi, Features Writer

DEATH has proved to be increasingly ironic in the harsh economic climate
Zimbabwe and most of its population are enmeshed in.

At a time when almost all sectors of the Zimbabwean economy are recording a
decline in business, coffin-makers and undertakers appear to be in a league
of their own. Most of the entrepreneurs are smiling all the way to the bank.

Zimbabwe's economic woes became more pronounced in 2000 when investors lost
confidence in the country as an investment destination due to State and Zanu
PF-sanctioned lawlessness.

Even tourism, one of the country's major foreign earners, was killed off, as
Zimbabwe joined the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan,
Liberia and Israel on the list of unstable countries.

With HIV/Aids wreaking havoc on the Zimbabwean population, a corresponding
collapse in the health delivery system, an upsurge in the number of deaths
due to election violence, and imminent starvation, the country offers ideal
conditions for businesses dealing in death to record phenomenal profits and

The HIV/Aids scourge has provided coffin-makers with the largest catchment
area for business, as about 3 000 people are reported to be dying every week
as a result of the pandemic.

An estimated two million Zimbabweans in a population of about 12 million are
believed to be HIV positive. Medical experts estimate that one in every four
people in the 15 to 49 age group are believed to be HIV positive.

Thus, Zimbabwe has the dubious distinction of being among the countries with
the highest rates of HIV infection in the world.

Even more frightening for Zimbabwe, are revelations that the HIV related
illnesses and deaths being experienced are only 10 percent of how the
scourge will affect the population in a few years after those who are HIV
positive develop full-blown Aids.

The devastation is expected to spin out of control, especially given reports
that militant Zanu PF youths were keeping girls as sex slaves at their bases
around the country during the run-up to the 9-11 March presidential
election, while in Bulawayo male and female members of the militia are
living together.

A number of women are reported to have fallen pregnant, after being
repeatedly ravished by their colleagues.

In the past, when the death rate was very low, few people bothered to know
where coffins were manufactured, as death was regarded solemnly.

But, as coffin manufacturers try to keep up with the soaring death rate,
they have abandoned the practice of making them in secrecy.

Coffin manufacturers have become daring and brazen by defying what, until a
few years ago, was regarded as taboo.

Coffins are now being made in the open around the country.

The manufacturers have increased in number as the trade has become
increasingly lucrative.

A stone's throw away from Harare Central Hospital in the Southerton area, is
a company supplying uncut timber and other timber products.

Facing the hospital, for all bereaved families to see, is an imposing
billboard with the word "coffins" written prominently on it.

Before the farm invasions, according to branch manager, Ron Strang, they
received a lot of orders from commercial farmers who ordered timber boxes
for packing tobacco.

"Since the invasions, orders from commercial farmers dropped drastically and
we had to urgently diversify our activities."

It was therefore not surprising that they went into coffin-making. "Over the
past few years, there has been debate about whether the company should
manufacture coffins but as you know, no one likes making coffins."

He said although they had recently set up shop in Southerton, business was
already picking up.

Strang dismissed suggestions that they were located near the hospital for
the strategic purpose of getting as many clients as possible.

"It is purely coincidental that we are located near the hospital. These are
rented premises."

Strang said their coffins are manufactured in Mount Hampden, just outside
Harare before being sold at their Southerton outlet.

Not to be outdone, is another outlet which sells coffins outside the central

In his haste to cash in on the high death rate, the proprietor must have
forgotten to find a name for his enterprise.

A sign which reads "Coffins For Sale" suffices.

The coffin retail shop, teeming with bereaved bargain-hunters, procures its
products from carpenters in Harare's high-density suburbs.

Such an area is Matapi in Mbare.

John Nyamudzanga started his carpentry business by manufacturing kitchen
units and coffee tables in 1991.

"With the rising death rate, we realised that more and more people needed
coffins to bury their loved ones and we diversified into coffin
manufacturing in 1996."

Nyamudzanga said the realisation came after many of his friends and
relatives died.

He is now a regular supplier of coffins to some funeral parlours, while a
large number of his customers buy directly from him.

Nyamudzanga who employs two people, confirmed that business was good. "I
cannot complain," he said smugly.

He is one of many enterprising locals who are realising considerable profit
through manufacturing coffins.

"With the prices of commodities going beyond the reach of many people,
bereaved families now opt to buy our relatively cheap coffins which cost as
little as $3 500," he said.

Even established undertakers are cashing in on the high death rate. Some of
their employees have even acquired expensive vehicles as a result of their
improved earnings

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Parallel market to flourish as govt dithers

Joseph Ngwawi
5/3/02 1:08:46 AM (GMT +2)

THE parallel market for foreign currency and other products is expected to
flourish in the coming weeks as speculators feed on deteriorating shortages
caused by the absence of a credible economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe,
analysts said this week.

The analysts said rates on the parallel foreign exchange market, which has
deprived the official inter-bank system of millions of hard cash in the past
three years, could go down markedly in the coming weeks unless the
government announces a credible economic recovery programme and introduces
measures to boost inflows of foreign currency.

Zimbabwe has not had a credible economic recovery programme since 1999 when
the government fell out with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over
governance issues.

Finance Minister Simba Makoni is still to present the revised Zimbabwe
Millennium Economic Recovery Programme (MERP), almost a month after asking
for input from business leaders and other stakeholders.

"We see the gap between the official exchange rate and what is offered on
the parallel market widening by June as long as there is uncertainty about
the devaluation of the local unit," a currency dealer at a Harare commercial
bank told the Financial Gazette.

The exchange rate for the trade-weighted US greenback has declined from
about 320 Zimbabwe dollars at the end of March to between 340 and 345 local
units at present.

The analysts warned that the US dollar exchange rate could drop to between
380 and 400 by July if Makoni does not come up with tangible measures to
plug leakages of hard cash from the economy.

Increased import demand in the next few weeks is expected to exert pressure
on the exchange rate and push the value of the dollar further down.

Conflicting signals about the devaluation of the dollar have emerged from
the government, with one group saying the value of the local unit will not
be adjusted while another group wants a depreciation of the currency.

Makoni has openly said he does not support the present exchange rate policy,
arguing in several fora that Zimbabwe needs a credible and sustainable
exchange rate system.

"The uncertainty is made worse by the fact that Makoni himself has never
denied all the reports about the devaluation of the dollar and the people
who have been making most of the noise have nothing to do with economic
ministries," the dealer said.

Consultant economist John Robertson said the inertia on approving key
economic matters would benefit speculators for both currency and other
products in short supply such as the staple maize meal.

"This will perpetuate the parallel market for all products and there will be
extraordinary profit for those people who happen to be in the right place at
the right time," he said.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) is expected to temporarily
recover in the coming few weeks on the back of corporate activity,
forthcoming company results and news of mergers and acquisitions.

Volume and value traded on the ZSE jumped 50 and 100 percent last week on
news of the possible merger between NMBZ Holdings and Merchant Bank of
Central Africa and the acquisition by the Zimbabwe Reinsurance Company of
UKI Securities.

Several listed companies are also expected to release financial results for
the period to December 31 2001.

Regional conglomerate Trans Zambezi Industries is also expected to issue a
dividend in specie to shareholders wishing to invest in its subsidiary Art

"This will obviously boost activity in Art and the overall stock market,"
said Simiso Nzima, an analyst with Sagit Stockbrokers.

Excess liquidity this week continued to drive the money market, although
dealers were predicting the market could slide into shortages by next week
due to the absence of significant treasury bill (TB) maturities in May.

"It looks like the market could tighten by Friday since there are no TB
maturities for most of next month," one dealer noted.

Short-term rates have been stagnant at around 30 percent, although there
have been wild swings in the call rate, which has fluctuated between 10 and
35 percent.

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Zim’s economic prospects bleak: UN agency

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 2:34:08 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE is one of four top developing economies — and the only one in
Africa — expected to contract this year, according to a report by the United
Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In its Trade and Development Report 2002 just released, UNCTAD says Zimbabwe
’s economy is forecast to decline by five percent this year, marginally
better than Argentina whose economy is expected to shrink by 8.4 percent.

Other economies expected to contract in 2002 out of a sample of 48
developing countries surveyed by UNCTAD are Uruguay and Venezuela.

The UNCTAD report noted that the slowdown in the United States economy after
last year’s terrorist attacks had affected the growth performance of many
developing countries through a sharp reduction in their export earnings.

The average gross domestic product (GDP) growth in developing countries,
excluding China, fell from about five percent in 2000 to slightly above one
percent last year, largely due to a sharp deceleration in the economies of
most Latin American and Asian nations.

"Growth performance in Africa remained unchanged in 2001, but was again
insufficient to achieve per capita income growth for the region as a whole,"
UNCTAD said.

But a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released two weeks ago
notes that GDP growth for most of Africa this year will slow down to around
3.4 percent compared to 3.7 percent last year.

The UNCTAD forecast for Zimbabwe’s growth, which is based on projections by
the London-based Economist Intelligent Unit, is slightly lower than the
Zimbabwe government’s own estimate of minus 5.3 percent of GDP growth for

Independent analysts see Zimbabwe’s economy contracting by about 10 percent
this year versus a decline of more than seven percent last year.

GDP is the sum of goods and services produced by a country over a specified
period of time, usually a year.

Analysts this week said Zimbabwe’s economy this year would dip far worse
than last year because of a deepening political and economic crisis,
dramatised by acute shortages of foreign currency and basic commodities as
well as unresolved governance issues.

"The fact that the countries mentioned in the report are not expected to do
well this year is an indication that there is something wrong about the
economic policies pursued by these countries," economist Witness Chinyama

Zimbabwe has been without a credible economic recovery plan for the past
three years when the IMF pulled the plug on the country in protest against
the government’s management of the economy.

The strained ties between the IMF and Zimbabwe have cost Harare billions of
dollars in economic aid, worsening the country’s balance-of-payments woes.

Like Zimbabwe, Argentina has faced an economic crisis since last year,
blamed on poor policies.

Before the current crisis, the Latin American country had maintained a fixed
exchange rate regime since 1991, which meant that its peso currency became
overvalued against the currencies of its major trading partners.

Argentina also has run a huge budget deficit over the years, leading to the
present crisis.

Zimbabwe’s budget deficit is forecast to grow from 12 percent of GDP in 2001
to at least 14.9 percent this year.

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Cyber crime crisis looms in Zimbabwe

By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
5/3/02 2:38:57 AM (GMT +2)

IMAGINE your bank statement being transmitted spontaneously via electronic
mail to millions of individuals and companies across the world because a
virus has attacked the bank’s computer system.

Chris Wilson — this is not his real name — says he once received e-mail
messages containing information on financial statements of customers of a
local commercial bank.

The above example is just the tip of the iceberg on how susceptible the
computer system could be to hackers and how incidents such as these aid the
new global fad of cyber crime.

Computer experts say at least one computer network in Zimbabwe is attacked
by hackers every 30 minutes and that the local private sector is sitting on
a time bomb amid fears cyber security is not accorded the top priority that
it deserves.

Although actual figures on the financial losses incurred by local firms and
organisations due to cyber crime are not documented, Zimbabwe has not been
spared some of the dangers of the new information age.

In the United States, the financial losses due to cyber crime are estimated
at more than US$450 million a year.

According to computer experts, the Internet connection is the most frequent
point of attack. The laxity of information security policies in the country
just makes this worse.

Computer experts say almost all computer systems in the country have been
violated in one way or another in the past year, resulting in billions of
dollars worth of financial losses.

In just two of these cases, separate Harare-based companies lost millions of
dollars due to the sophisticated manipulation of the accounting systems by
their workers who colluded with some outsiders.

Other losses have occurred through theft of proprietary information, which
is later used by a company’s competitors.

But David Behr, head of one of the country’s leading Internet service
providers, Zimbabwe Online, says no cases of industrial espionage have been
recorded yet in Zimbabwe, adding that the main culprits are usually the
so-called "script kiddies" who spend most of their time surfing at Internet

"The main culprits are not the government or the corporates but these are
usually fairly young people, probably male with a lot of time on their
hands," Behr said.

The script kiddies are usually able to break into an organisation’s personal
files and use or alter the information.

Harare-based computer expert John Sheppard said the situation was compounded
by the absence of sound information security systems at most Zimbabwean
firms, which increased the chances of them falling prey to cyber criminals.

He noted that the bulk of Zimbabwe’s computer networks were not properly
protected against viruses, one of the means by which hackers and other
people could sabotage an organisation’s database.

He said it was possible for sensitive information to be transmitted to other
people whenever a company’s or bank’s computer system is attacked by a

"Many outbreaks such as the outbreak of a variant of the Klez virus that hit
the country recently are totally controllable by a combination of virus
education, intelligent virus and general security protection and by ensuring
that programmes such as Outlook Express and Internet are patched and updated
to current patch levels," Sheppard said.

The Klez virus hit Zimbabwe’s Internet industry two weeks ago, completely
shutting out more than 75 percent of the country’s companies and individuals
from the rest of the world.

The virus affected access to the Internet by most companies and deleted
their files or documents, sending a warning signal that Zimbabwe, as part of
the global information village, must get its act together or suffer major
losses soon.

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Strike threat could prompt ZCTU ban

Staff Reporter
5/3/02 2:33:01 AM (GMT +2)

THE government is preparing to outlaw the militant Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) in the wake of its threat to stage a long-running
general strike, official sources said yesterday.

They spoke as police said they were studying the legality of speeches made
on Workers’ Day on Wednesday by the leadership of the ZCTU, which denounced
the government for Zimbabwe’s economic crisis which threatens industry and
commerce with collapse and has made tens of thousands of workers jobless in
the past few years.

The sources said the government was likely to de-register the ZCTU if it
goes ahead with the strike, ordered by ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo
during a speech at a Workers’ Day rally in Harare.

Matombo urged workers to prepare for the strike which he said was aimed at
forcing the government to improve their lot. Job stayaways, he noted, had
become ineffective.

He said workers should work in solidarity with civic organisations if the
planned strike, whose timing and format he did not announce, was to succeed.

He announced that the ZCTU would shortly start addressing rallies to
communicate its strategies to members, vowing: "It is time to take the bull
by the horns."

Matombo said the ZCTU would not be deterred by the tough Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), which the union wants scrapped and says it infringes on
workers’ rights to assemble and strike.

Police have used POSA in the past two months to ban protests by the
opposition MDC and civic-led organisations.

Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU’s secretary-general, said it was folly for
the labour movement not to be involved in politics because, he said,
Zimbabwe’s economic and social problems faced by workers were political.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the law enforcement agency had the
obligation to study the speeches to check whether they did not contravene
any law.

"Some of the leaders of these unions have been making inflammatory
statements with increasing regularity. If they dare the law, we will arrest
them," he said.

Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo has already threatened to deal ruthlessly
with the ZCTU, which he accuses of working with the MDC. The MDC has
rejected President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in March, branding it

Official sources said the government intended to crack down on the ZCTU and
prop up the rival Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, which is aligned to
the ruling ZANU PF.

They noted that government investigations were already underway to check on
the funding of the ZCTU, a ploy used in the past to harass the union.

Labour officials noted that several unions allied to the ZCTU are already
being forced by ZANU PF to break away to join the federation and to stop
paying subscriptions as one way to undermine the activities of the main
labour group.

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Daily News

MDC dismisses state media reports

5/2/02 2:57:39 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE MDC has dismissed articles carried in two government-owned dailies, The
Herald and The Chronicle, alleging that the party was mobilising its
supporters to take up arms to overthrow the government.

The MDC said the stories should be dismissed “with the contempt they deserve
as they grossly misrepresented the actual facts”.

The first story appeared in The Chronicle of 29 April, and was carried in
The Herald of 30 April.

“It incorrectly quotes two MDC officials as having encouraged party cadres
to take up arms and violently seize power from the current government,” said
a statement from the MDC.

Lucia Matibenga, the MDC’s national women’s assembly chairperson, and Nelson
Chamisa, the national youth chairman, are alleged to have told a rally in
Mkoba Stadium last weekend that the government should be overthrown.

“The MDC would like to put it on record that at no time during the rally did
any MDC official instigate members of the party to take up arms to fight the

“The MDC is perturbed by the continued misrepresentation of facts by the
state media, as The Chronicle carried a story last week saying the party was
planning to march to State House and bomb several buildings in Harare and

The MDC information department said the party was tired of the negative
reports and would ensure the editors of the respective papers would account
for their waywardness in court.

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Daily News

Commuter bus operators withdraw services in protest

5/2/02 2:56:21 PM (GMT +2)

By Fanuel Jongwe

HUNDREDS of commuters in Harare endured long hours queueing for transport
yesterday after some commuter bus operators withdrew their services in
protest against a police operation to force them to revert to the government
stipulated fares.

Commuter bus operators in Harare and Chitungwiza increased fares arbitrarily
by up to 30 percent with effect from Monday this week.

They condemned as “unreasonable” a directive by Ignatius Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on Tuesday
that the operators immediately revert to the old rates or risk losing their

They have threatened to continue the boycott today.

“The government must address the real issues before deploying the police to
deal with those who were charging passengers the new fares,” said Musa
Mukura, an operator who plies the City-Chikurubi route.

“We cannot sustain our businesses if we continue charging the old fares. The
cost of spares, oil and maintenance is always rising. If the situation
continues, we will park our buses until the government reverses its order.

“The government has approved prices increases for basic commodities. Why can
’t they extend this to bus fares?”

The police mounted roadblocks on major routes and issued tickets to
operators who defied the government directive. Offenders were ordered to pay
a $500
admission of guilt fine. An angry Rangarirai Pasipanodya, who operates on
the same route, said: “The minister’s directive is unreasonable. Perhaps we
forgive him because he does not own a bus and does not know how expensive it
is to operate one.”

He said the cost of spares and maintenance had risen significantly in recent

Wilson Tembo of Hatcliffe said he had waited for more than three hours at
the Rezende Street terminus for transport to return home. “The people have
accepted the new fares,” Tembo said. “The police must leave the bus
operators alone because this is inconveniencing us.”

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Daily News

MP fell victim to conman

5/2/02 2:55:18 PM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

INVESTIGATIONS by The Daily News yesterday revealed that Ben Tumbare-Mutasa,
the MP for Seke, was conned by Enos Tadyanemhandu, the man who gave the
paper a story claiming that his wife, Brandina, was beheaded by suspected
Zanu PF youths twelve days ago.

It also emerged that Tadyanemhandu has been using at least three different
names in what is now suspected to be a well-organised con racket.

When Tadyanemhandu conned Tumbare-Mutasa, a member of the opposition MDC on
17 March, he used the name George Mazhindu.

Tadyanemhandu’s misleading story has led to the arrest of two Daily News
reporters, Collin Chiwanza and Lloyd Mudiwa, who have been detained at
Harare Central Police Station since Tuesday. Andrew Meldrum, a foreign
correspondent, was arrested yesterday.

Tumbare-Mutasa yesterday said he recognised that Tadyanemhandu was the man
who conned him when his picture appeared on the front page of The Daily News
on Saturday and Tuesday.

He said on 16 March Tadyanemhandu came to his house in Chitungwiza aboard
the MP’s truck, which was delivering bread to Zhakata shopping centre in

He claimed that his wife and children had been captured by 500 Zanu PF
supporters who were operating a torture base at the centre.

“He also claimed that he was assaulted by the Zanu PF youths before they
slashed six of his cattle using axes. He said this was done because one of
his daughters was found in possession of the MDC’s red card symbol,”
Tumbare-Mutasa said.

The MP said he entertained Tadyanemhandu because he had told him that he was
related to one Mazhindu, the late MDC chairman for Seke, a claim that was
later proved false.

Tumbare-Mutasa said because it was late in the day, he allowed Tadyanemhandu
to put up at his house.

“On 17 March, the man knocked on my bedroom door early in the morning and
said he wanted $20 000 to move his family to Chitomborwizi, buy clothes and
food because all his property had been burnt by the Zanu PF youths,” he

He said that Tadyanemhandu claimed that he would pay back the money by
auctioning the six cattle and selling the other remaining six to the MP,
after his family had left the area because they were in danger.

“I was saddened by his story and I told him that we should first report the
matter at Dema Police Station so that the police could arrest the culprits.

“ But Tadyanemhandu said he first wanted to check whether his family was
well at the Zhakata base,” he said.

The MP said while at Chikwanha shopping centre in Chitungwiza, he gave $5
000 to Tadyanemhandu but he later demanded $4 000 back and left him $1 000
to buy food for his family. The MP was planning to inform journalists of the
events in the area.

Tumbare-Mutasa said he then followed Tadyanemhandu to Zhakata shopping
centre and decided to report the matter at Dema Police Station. The
officer-in-charge, identified as Matsikasimbe, directed a policeman called
Nyamusa to accompany the MP to Mazhindu’s place.

“When we got there, Mazhindu could not be located. There were no Zanu PF
youths at Zhakata and people there did not know about that man. What he told
me could not be verified. We went back and told Matsikasimbe what had

“I was conned by that man and I feel sorry for the arrested journalists
because they were genuinely misled. I am going to report this case again so
that he can be arrested for conning me,” Tumbare-Mutasa said.

Police in Dema yesterday confirmed that they remembered Matsikidze assigning
Nyamusa to accompany the MP to Tadyanemhandu’s non-existent home.

Matsikidze, who is understood to have been recently promoted and transferred
to Police General Headquarters, could not be reached for comment. His
cellphone was not reachable.

While the government and the State-run media are busy misleading the public
that The Daily News deliberately published the story given by Tadyanemhanda,
it has been established that the man has so far been using three different
names ­ Enos Tadyanemhandu, George Mazhindu and George Nyadzayo, which the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday night said was his real name.

The use of these three names, particularly in dubious circumstances, could
indicate that the man is a conman who deliberately gave the paper a false
story to justify the money he was given by the MDC as funeral expenses for
the burial of his allegedly dead wife.

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Daily News

Poor attendance marks May Day celebrations

5/2/02 2:30:25 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporters

POOR turnout at just about every venue marked Workers' Day celebrations
throughout the country yesterday. In particular, workers shunned events
organised by the government-sponsored Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions
(ZFTU), which tried to hijack the occasion traditionally under the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

At Sakubva Stadium in Mutare, Oppah Muchinguri, the Manicaland provincial
governor, failed to attend the ZFTU's event.

Lawrence Mudehwe, the Executive Mayor of Mutare, did not turn up either.
Both Mudehwe and Muchinguri had been invited to the ZFTU-organised
activities for the day.

Rahab Mayeresera, the deputy mayor, was booed when he tried to address the
gathering of about 800 people. He was told to go and repair the potholed
roads in the city first.

Charles Samuriwo, the regional president of the Youth Economic Empowerment
Group, was given a similar reception as he stood to address the workers.
Esau Mupfumi, the regional president of the Affirmative Action Group, who
was billed to speak, opted out following the hostile response to the
previous ones.

The ZCTU had a relatively high turnout of about 1 500 people at the Queens
Hall in Mutare. The ZCTU's provincial vice-chairman urged the workers to
remain united. In Gweru at Mkoba Stadium, about 600 people attended the ZCTU
celebration. Members of the ZFTU who had tried to barge into the stadium

At Rufaro Stadium in Harare, there was initially a poor turnout at the ZFTU
celebrations until about 1pm.

More people started arriving at the stadium about two hours before the
soccer match between Dynamos and the national team, scheduled for 3pm.

Singer Simon Chimbetu featured on the bill. Tambaoga, whose real name is
Last Chiangwa, the singer of the song Agirimendi, which insults Tony Blair,
the British prime minister, was continuously booed.

However, about 20 000 turned out at Gwanzura Stadium in the capital's
Highfield high-density suburb, where the ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo,
called on the workers to brace for a general strike to improve the living
conditions of the workers.

Matombo said the workers should work in solidarity with other civic
organisations for the planned general strike, whose dates and format he did
not announce.

"We have now decided to deal with the beast and take the bull by its horns,"
Matombo said, to enthusiastic applause.

"We have abandoned the method of stayaways because they do not work. We want
all the workers and civic organisations such as the National Constitutional
Assembly, the students' movement and others to come together in this general
strike. Once we make an announcement, we want everyone to co-operate,"
Matombo said.

The controversial Highfield MP, Munyaradzi Gwisai, also attended the
celebrations where he said he agreed with the ZCTU that it was now time for
mass action against the government.

Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, Tinashe Chimedza, the secretary-general
of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union and Raymond Majongwe, the
secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers' Union, said it was now time
for tough action against the government.

In Masvingo, both the ZCTU's and the ZFTU's events flopped. The ZCTU held
its activities at Mucheke Stadium while the ZFTU event was staged at
Masvingo Showground.

Only a few organisers, mostly war veterans, turned up at the ZFTU event. A
ZFTU spokesman blamed poor publicity and the long distance from the
residential areas to the showground for the poor attendance.

In Mucheke Stadium less than 100 people turned up for the ZCTU's event. A
worker, Daniel Gora, said: "These unions have been politicised and that is
why workers did not turn up in large numbers."

In Bulawayo the ZFTU hired several Zupco buses to ferry about 1 000 people
who were enticed with free beer to attend the event at Stanley Square in

The ZCTU's event at White City Stadium attracted about 3 000 workers.
Lucia Matibenga, the ZCTU's first vice-president, said the organisation was

Joseph Chinotimba, the ZFTU vice-president, threatened to deal with
"hot-headed" employers in Bulawayo, whom he accused of exploiting the

The crowd which attended the Zanu PF-sponsored ZFTU's event comprised mainly
ruling party youths and elderly people. Chinotimba said: "We are aware that
some employers did not pay workers full wages after they forced them to
participate in a useless stayaway. We have come here for that issue. We want
to know the companies that did that and we will make them pay you double
your wages."

Chinotimba said: "We are also calling for the increase of the minimum wage
to $30 000 a month."

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Detained Zimbabwe journalists released

HARARE, May 2 — Three journalists detained under Zimbabwe's tough new media
laws were temporarily released on Thursday pending their court bid to have
charges of publishing false information thrown out.
       Andrew Meldrum, an American correspondent for Britain's Guardian
newspaper, and local reporters Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza were
arrested this week over a story alleging that a woman had been beheaded by
President Robert Mugabe's supporters.
       ''We were all together. We were very lucky that way,'' Meldrum told
reporters outside the court after they were released from police custody.
       The three men are the latest journalists to be charged under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act signed into law after
Mugabe's controversial re-election in March.
       Meldrum and the two reporters from the independent Daily News, which
first carried the beheading story on April 23, face fines of up to Z$100,000
($1,818) or up to two years in jail if found guilty of publishing
       ''There is no reasonable suspicion that any offence has been
committed,'' Meldrum's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the court, adding the
state was applying the media law selectively.
       ''We will submit before you that this indeed being
abused by targeting journalists who are from the independent media,'' Mtetwa

       Mtetwa questioned how the state obtained a printout of an e-mail,
presented as evidence in court, which carried a story on the alleged murder
and was sent by Meldrum to the Guardian.
       ''What you have is an illegally accessed internet communication. How
does private correspondence end up in the hands of the state legally?'' she
       State prosecutor Thabani Mpofu said Mtetwa had no proof the document
was acquired illegally, but he did not say how it came into the state's
       Magistrates' Court Judge Lillian Kudya said she would rule on Friday
on Mtetwa's request to drop the charges against Meldrum. A lawyer for the
two Daily News reporters said he would seek a similar court ruling on
       All three newsmen were released without bail on Thursday pending
Kudya's ruling on both cases the next day.
       Mpofu said on Thursday the government had sufficient grounds to
suspect Meldrum had committed a crime.
       ''The issue is he is accused of the publishing of a falsehood. It is
not being suggested that the accused person falsified any information. The
issue is the story that he wrote is false and that is now an offence,''
Mpofu said.
       The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said last week
Brandina Tadyanemhandu was killed at her home in Magunje in front of her two
daughters, citing the woman's husband. The MDC blamed supporters of Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF.
       Several international newspapers carried the story. But on Saturday
the Daily News said it had doubts about the alleged murder after failing to
locate a grave.
       Mugabe's government has been accused of cracking down on journalists
since the March election, which was rejected by the MDC and some Western
nations as fraudulent.
       Peta Thornycroft, correspondent of Britain's Daily Telegraph, was
detained for several days in March after police accused her of publishing
false information.
       Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota was charged on April 15 with
publishing false information in a story alleging Mugabe fraudulently won
last month's poll.
       That same week, Zimbabwe Independent editor Iden Wetherell was
charged over a story alleging Mugabe's wife had been drawn into a labour
dispute involving a white-owned company.

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