(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers' Union)
Nicholson farmer, Shannon Wheeler, owner of Twin River Ranch, a
cattle undertaking has been barricaded in his house since 16th
April, 20 days
ago. He has resisted efforts by 50 war veterans and youth to
evict him. One
Katazvo Magogoros Ndou leads the band.
He is on the farm with his wife, 2
teenage children and farm manager Sammy
Mhazvo. The two children are due to
return to boarding school on Tuesday
next week. Wheeler is a second
generation Zimbabwean, originally of
farmers in the Beit Bridge district report of problems related to
evictions. It is understood that the Member of Parliament, Comrade
Mohadi addressed a meeting on Wheeler's property on Independence Day.
reported that he encouraged the people present to take over all
properties in the area, and that they own the land, engines and
as well as the wildlife, but the furniture and contents of the
belonged to the farmer. He erroneously said that a compulsory
acquisition (section 8 notice) was an eviction notice. Eviction of
farmer can only be undertaken by the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture
obtaining a valid order through the administrative court.
last two weeks have been peppered with incidents, thefts of 11 cattle,
equipment, intimidation at the homestead fences, threats on the farm
and the denying of access to concerned neighbours. The invaders have
two illegal booms barring entry. It has also been a constant problem
obtain police response. These incidents are captured in a report sent to
Union by Wheeler.
The West Nicholson farm is only under a preliminary
notice of acquisition.
He bought the farm from a company in 1986 and worked
steadily to build up
the farm to its current 15 000 citrus trees, 4000 mango
trees and runs 600
head of cattle. He also exports fruit and beef. He has had
to relocate his
herd of cattle and lost 32 in the process due to interference
Before the events unfolded on 16th April, he employed 30
staff and employed
up to 150 people from Siyoka communal area for seasonal
picking. The farms
30 workers were ordered to request retrenchment packages.
When the owner
refused, a war veteran fired a pellet gun in the air
workforce not to report for duty.
The settlers are
reported to have raided the orchard and are stealing fruit.
The crop of 700
tonnes of oranges is already decimated by theft and has not
since the siege began.
A neighbour who tried to get through provisions
and was turned back by the
invaders and when the Manager, Sammy Mhazvo came
to the roadside to collect
the provisions, he was assaulted and had the farm
land rover and provisions
confiscated. This was reported to the police, RRB
Attention from Police officers was to come at noon on the
30th April but not
in the manner to restore a semblance of order. Two police
defenders arrived with a contingent of police officers, including
District (major) Chief Superintendent Maunga and District
Supt. Madzingo then accused the
Manager of being a white man's puppet and
pushed him around and told him to
greet his brothers (the invaders). On
refusing, he was told he had no respect
for the police and the government.
Wheeler then arrived and Supt.
Madzingo immediately informed him that the
Government had legally settled the
property and that the barricading of him
and his family for the last week was
their way of telling them to get off
the land immediately. He further said
the people could enter the yard and
throw everything out of the
Madzingo told Wheeler he was to draw up an inventory of his
the Government will compensate him in the courts.
Madzingo said that the Chief Supt Maunga came from Marondera and they
knew very well how to handle this situation and that Wheeler was very
to still be there.
He said that white farmers in Chikombe and Shamva were
brutally beaten and
chased away immediately before fatalities
He accused Wheeler of disturbing their development, as they
needed his home
for a school as the children wanted to start on Friday 3
Supt. Madzingo then demanded that Wheeler address the invaders and
he was leaving. Wheeler declined as he said he had nothing to say
The vehicle that had been stolen with the provisions then
arrived driven by
and invader with about 25 other people.
Madzingo said, "There is your land rover which was not stolen, but
confiscated because it was trespassing on the land."
Chief Supt Maunga
said he would speak to the District Administrator, Eddison
Mbedzi, to ask him
to address the invaders to persuade them to allow the
Wheelers a few more
days to vacate the land.
Wheeler asked whether they could be allowed to
pump water and use their
electrical generator to which the police said it was
not their problem. On
Sunday 5th May the guards were collecting water 50
meters away, the invaders
took their buckets away.
On 4th May a Datsun
102Y sedan arrived with 4 people and they went into the
citrus and helped
themselves to produce.
Several farms in Matabeleland specializing in
market gardening and citrus
have come under the attention of war veterans
with thousands of dollars
worth of fruit and vegetable having been looted and
the farmers under
pressure to leave their farms.
indicate that the Matabeleland Governor Stephen Nkomo and
Beit Bridge Member
of Parliament Kembo Mohadi and the District
Administrator, Mr Eddison
Nhkanyiso Mbedzi addressed Beit Bridge police
officers and it is said the
trio told them not to intervene in events that
were politically motivated,
including the eviction of farmers, whose "stay
is long overdue". Several
reports from other areas around the country also
indicate that police
reaction only occurs after authorization from District
government officials who report to the provincial
invasions in this district are said to be driven by the
Administrator, Mr Mbedzi, who told a third party that Wheeler had
too long and must leave." Mbedzi was previously administrator
Matabeleland North where a farmer Martin Olds was
Matabeleland is dry and for the large part non-arable. Most farms
livestock ranches or run irrigated crops such are citrus and
5th May 2002
For more information,
please contact: Jenni Williams
Mobile (263) 11 213 885 or (263) 91 300
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
From The Sunday Telegraph (SA), 5 May
'War vets' wipe out Zimbabwe's
Johannesburg - The black rhino, a highly-endangered species, is
out in Zimbabwe, one of its last strongholds in Africa, according
and conservationists. The animals are being killed for their
worth £45,000 - more than their weight in gold - on the Far East
where they are crushed into powder for traditional medicines. The
centres on the giant Bubiana conservancy, in the south of Zimbabwe,
104 of the country's last 400 black rhino live on 400,000 acres and
where at least two owners have been driven out by the chief whip
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF Party. "It is dire," said
Rodrigues, the director of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. "When
look at what is going on, you want to cry. They're slaughtering
Mr Rodrigues estimates that 30 to 40 of the Bubiana rhino are
Bubiana and other smaller private conservancies intervened when
country's black rhino population fell from 20,000 in the mid-1970s to 263
1995. The slaughter in Zimbabwe's national parks was a result of civil
poaching and corruption. By the mid-1990s, the Mugabe government
that the bankrupt national parks system could not save the animals
white farmers in marginal agricultural areas to form conservancies
to set up
breeding populations. By careful management, the conservancies
national herd to about 400. There are another 2,000 black
rhino, mainly in
South Africa, with tiny, threatened herds in Namibia and
The devastation is not restricted to the rhino. In the 18 months to
January, about 30,000 large animals had been killed at Bubiana,
one black rhino calf. One of the owners driven from the conservancy
"It's finished: Bubiana will be depleted of all game within a month.
remaining elephants have snares around their feet. The West and the
Wide Fund for Nature don't appear to give a damn." In 1993, the
owners removed internal fences and erected external barriers strong
to keep in large animals. They took in 36 black rhino that the
wanted them to use as a breeding population. Each farmer was
allowed to run
a few cattle, although game farming was the overriding aim.
When in March
the war veterans invaded, the cattle were slaughtered and the
threatened. Two have now abandoned their farms and one of them,
Abbott, has gone into hiding. "War vets killed Peter's cattle in front
him while police watched," said one of Mr Abbott's neighbours. "He had
internationally renowned fishing camp. It has been trashed by war vets
are netting the lake for bass and bream, drying them and selling them.
lake had a popular hippo, Henrietta. They've killed her."
The story is
repeated throughout the country. Wally Herbst, the national
chairman of the
Wildlife Producers' Association, the private game owners'
40 per cent of Zimbabwe's wildlife may have been killed
in the past 18
months. "It's a result of land invasions, resultant bad land
collapse of any rule of law, and game scouts being threatened and
away," he said. "There's a huge increase in people invading openly
vehicles and firearms. It can't hold much longer, the infrastructure
collapsing." Even the government admits that at least 50 of the
400 black rhino have been killed this year. Francis Nhema, the
minister, said that £30 million would be lost this year from the
the hunting industry. He said that wildlife worth £1.5 million
poached in the past four months. A report on Mr Rodrigues's desk
Lynwood Ranching, a southern Zimbabwe conservancy owned by seven
said that seven of its 36 black rhino had been snared recently. "One
rhino has been burnt to death," it said. "Meat can be seen drying in
every settler village. One patrol found seven kudu, zebra and eland in
single snareline. When we sent in helicopters to dart rhino injured
snares, the deputy director of national parks assured us of his
response. We have not heard another word from him."
From The Sunday Times (SA)
Four million face starvation
Africa and its neighbours are to hold an emergency meeting with
Nations agencies this month in a bid to get food aid to four
starving people. This comes as relief organisations warn that up to
million people face starvation as a result of food shortages in
Africa. About 19 million are said to be in need of food aid. The
between the governments of the Southern African Development
agencies such as the World Food Programme and the Food and
Organisation, will be held in South Africa. Already the South
government is making plans to deal with an influx of economic
is also working on speeding up maize exports to the affected
is better to do something within those countries than to wait
for people to
cross the borders," said Home Affairs spokesman Leslie
Mashokwe. At least
four million people have been directly affected by serious
maize - the region's staple diet - according to the Food and
Organisation. The World Food Programme says 19 million people in
Africa need food aid. The programme's regional director, Judith
"People have nothing to eat. They are eating green maize and
Zimbabwe, some schools have been closed and others have stopped
because children are weak. "We are suffering here, my son . . . It's as
God has abandoned us," Matabeleland resident Mandla Masuku told the BBC
week. The Southern African Development Community director of
Agriculture and Natural Resources, Reginald Mugwara, said the situation
getting worse as some countries could not afford to import maize.
hardest-hit countries are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique,
Lesotho and Swaziland, with the first three in the worst state. In
where farm seizures damaged the key agriculture sector, President
Mugabe declared a "state of disaster". That will allow aid donors and
agencies to set up emergency programmes for up to a million people in
of food. Zimbabwe's 12 million people consume 1.5 million tons of maize
year but this season's maize harvest will be only just over 300 000 tons.
far, the government has managed to procure only 200 000 tons of maize
South Africa. And less than half has been delivered to the needy because
a foreign currency shortage and logistical problems. On Wednesday, the
Cross launched an emergency appeal to the international community to
relief for nearly half a million people. The Red Cross's Dr Guy
said: "The nutritional status is already bad for many people,
young children orphaned because of HIV/Aids and the high number
infected with the virus." Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha
country is facing a deficit of 220 000 tons, has also
declared a state of
famine. "In no time we will begin to see queues of people
bare essentials such as maize," Lesotho economist Wale
Ogunkola said. In
Angola, the government has asked for help in feeding more
than two million
people in 42 declared disaster areas. In southern
Mozambique, emergency food
aid is being distributed to nearly 200 000
The crisis has also put the South African farming community in the
line, with complaints that it is exploiting the plight of the
neighbours. A Food and Agriculture Organisation report claims that
worst-hit countries are paying up to 200% more for maize now than in
last year. The organisation says that between last July and this
the price went up by 100%. In rural Zambia, the figure was 200%.
reasons for the steep increase are production costs, exchange rates
backlog of freight awaiting dispatch in South Africa. Agriculture and
Affairs Ministry spokesman Nana Zenani said little could be done
farmers were operating in an open market: "The market demand is
rand-dollar trading." Grain South Africa's general manager, Bully
defended the prices, arguing that the increase reflected rising demand
Libya pulls Zimbabwe's fuel plug
May 04 2002 at
By Brian Latham and Special Correspondent
Zimbabwe has been called a "colony of Libya", and now faces a
colonial bankruptcy after the oil company Tamoil, which supplies a
70 percent of Zimbabwe's total fuel imports, last month
supplies to the troubled country.
As in the mid-April interruption of
fuel imports, non-payment was the reason
for Tamoil's step.
move coincided with the unrelated closure of Zimbabwe's fuel
the port of Beira in neighbouring Mozambique. It was closed so
a new pump
could be installed, said industry insiders.
'It is like signing your own
Libya has imposed controversial conditions on its sale of
fuel to Zimbabwe,
including payment in cash, investment opportunities in
and property acquisitions.
So far Libya has
acquired a 25 percent stake in Zimbabwe's Jewel Bank and 15
percent in the
country's Rainbow Tourism Group.
Libyan demands that the Mugabe regime
hand over valuable farms as part of
the deal have yet to be met, prompting
fears from fuel-hungry consumers that
the north African country will soon
grow impatient with Zimbabwe.
It is understood that groups of Libyan
businessmen have been to Zimbabwe and
visited vast commercial farms around
the country. Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi also toured some big commercial
farms and identified some for his
country's expropriation last
However, the mechanics of delivering this land to the Libyans seem
been delayed, prompting cries of impatience from the
Intermittent fuel shortages
Zimbabwe is now so heavily
reliant on the Libyans that the country will
cease to function if Gaddafi
puts brakes on oil supplies. Mugabe has paid a
dozen visits to Libya in the
past year to maintain Gaddafi's patronage.
Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe has virtually become a
"colony of Libya". Libya's
cut supplies have only been resumed after
interventions at the highest
"This isn't safe because there's no guarantee the interventions
succeed. It is like signing your own death certificate," said an
While Libya supplies 70 percent of Zimbabwe's fuel,
the other 30 percent
comes from Kuwait's International Petroleum Group and
from Sasol in South
Africa. But they have been inconsistent with supplies,
also due to
The country has experienced intermittent fuel
shortages over the past two
years, with fuel queues often snaking through
city streets for more than a
kilometre as frustrated motorists wait for the
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has plunged
itself into further turmoil
over the issuing of broadcast
Applicants for licences are threatening to sue the beleaguered
claiming delays have cost them millions.
are also questioning the issue of a broadcast licence to
Transmedia, a wholly
owned state company set to become a satellite
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has refused to say who else
given licences. Thomas Mandigora, the chief executive, said the BAZ
processed all applications and made its recommendations to the
information, which has to decide whether to accept or reject
The department of information falls under Jonathan Moyo,
Mugabe's chief spin
From USA Today, 1 May
U.S. Prepares 'Big-Time' Response To
Impact of African crisis could be felt at White
Washington - U.S. officials are scrambling to cope with what could
the worst humanitarian crisis since President Bush took office:
potentially catastrophic famine in drought-stricken southern Africa
threatens 5 million people with starvation. ''What's unfolding in
Africa is very big,'' Roger Winter, the assistant administrator for
Agency for International Development's humanitarian assistance
in an interview Tuesday. ''Even though we don't have in hand all
information we need, we have in hand enough to know that we have to
big-time,'' Winter said. The looming disaster also could have
ramifications for Bush. For many foreign aid advocates, how
administration responds will provide the first practical
test of whether
Bush will keep his word to boost U.S. assistance for needy
commitment this year to spend as much as $10 billion more
developmental aid by 2005 - roughly double current spending -- was
by aid advocates. But activists want to see how the administration
a real crisis. ''People have been encouraged by a lot of the
rhetoric that Bush and people around him have used to talk about
hungry people,'' said Tom Freedman, an adviser to President Clinton
is a visiting fellow at Resources for the Future, a Washington think
''Now we have a concrete case. And there's a lot of folks who have
fingers crossed that the action will live up to the rhetoric,''
Judith Lewis, regional director of the United Nations World
said in a telephone interview from Kampala, Uganda, that she
returned from a tour of the afflicted region, where relief efforts
centering on food shortages caused by a severe drought in six
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The
ons feeds 2.6 million of the 54 million people in those
said she believes the aid will have to at least double
because of food
shortages already being felt. Lewis said the famine in the
''certainly the worst we've seen since 1992,'' when a drought left
million people without sufficient food. Lewis said she hopes the world
not lose sight of the crisis because of the war on terrorism. ''We just
to get people to turn back to Africa because there are a lot of
crises,'' she said.
Experts say conditions are particularly bad
in Malawi, with Zambia and
Zimbabwe close behind. Zimbabwe declared a state
of disaster Tuesday. U.S.
officials blame President Robert Mugabe as much as
the drought for food
shortages in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe recently won a
that has plunged the country into chaos. U.N. teams
are still conducting a
survey of the region, and Lewis said a plan of action
won't be proposed
until early June. But U.S. officials said they already are
in Zimbabwe, despite their unhappiness with Mugabe. Winter
Pentagon, State Department, CIA and other agencies met April 11, and
on the famine have gone to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Bush.
said Washington is providing food assistance - a shipment of 35,000
tons is on the way and 40,000 metric tons are ready for shipment.
enough to feed approximately 375,000 people for a year. ''President
said there will be no famines on his watch,'' Winter said. ''We take
Aid groups point out that the famine is a natural
disaster, which Bush's
pledge did not address. He promised new foreign aid
for long-term poverty
reductions in countries that show progress and spend
the money responsibly.
But aid advocates say more money is needed to avert
short-term crises, such
as famines, if some struggling countries are ever
able to achieve long-term
gains. ''The U.S emergency response frequently is
generous, and we hope it
will be here because there can't be long-term
development for people who are
in the middle of a famine,'' said Bill
O'Keefe, government relations
director for Catholic Relief Services. Bush's
actions on the famine also
will be seen as a pivotal factor in how high
Africa ranks on his foreign
policy agenda. Though last year's terrorist
attacks and the resulting war in
Afghanistan have diverted attention from
U.S. policy on Africa, activists
say they are generally pleased with Bush's
approach. Both Powell and
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill have visited the
continent. ''I give them
reasonable marks . . . on a scale of one to 10,
maybe a six or seven,'' said
Melvin Foote, president of the advocacy group
Constituency for Africa.''
Foote said Jendayi Frazier, the Africa specialist
on Bush's National
Security Council, recently told the group that Bush plans
to visit Africa
Many Resort to Buying Clubs As Hardships Bite
May 3, 2002
the web May 3, 2002
Grace Mutandwa, Arts Editor
FIVE Harare women move slowly from one shelf to the next,
carefully comparing prices of goods there. After a few consultations, they pick
up this or that box and add it to the growing number of boxes in their
One of the women adjusts her multi-coloured headscarf before
punching in more numbers into the calculator, informs her colleagues about the
total before they head for yet another shelf.
This goes on for about 45 minutes. Eventually the women pay
for their goods and each carries a couple of boxes of goods.
From here, the women head for yet another food-making
company in search of sugar and margarine, products in short supply in
I join them for their next shopping trip and, along the way,
they tell me that they have been shopping as a group for the past two years.
One of them, Belinda Maburutse, takes up the story. "We are
a group of eight school teachers who came together to try to beat the high cost
of living," she says.
"We formed a club which buys food and household detergents
in bulk. Every month the goods that we buy are shared out between two of our
members and the next month it will be the turn for others and so on."
This way, the club's members whose turn it is to get the
groceries can afford not to buy any more foodstuffs for at least two or three
Maburutse says the savings made on buying groceries is spent
on other important household needs and members can also afford to put aside a
little money for that rainy day.
What now sustains Maburutse and her colleagues started off
in 1999, when it became clear that Zimbabwe's struggling economy would not
recover, and many families were increasingly facing dire times in making ends
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) initiated the launch
of what are now known as buying clubs by consumers. The concept has apparently
won wide support as poverty, joblessness and food shortages take their toll on
Made up mostly of women, the smallest club has about five
members and the largest 20. Investigations show that there are about 2 000 such
clubs nationwide now.
On joining, each group pays the CCZ a fee of $500 and each
group member also pays the council $200, another joining fee. Membership is
A senior manager at the CCZ, Victor Chisi, this week said:
"We realised that the continuing price hikes were taking their toll on
households. We simply borrowed from a traditional form of saving, where women
contributed a certain amount of money each month and then took turns to buy each
When the project was launched, Zimbabwe's inflation was
about 70 percent. It is now more than 113 percent, meaning that the cost of
affording basic necessities has gone even higher while wages have lagged behind
the soaring prices.
The CCZ then struck a deal with several food manufacturers,
which allowed the newly formed clubs to buy goods at lower prices than those
offered to other consumer outlets.
"This way, consumers were able to cut out the wholesaler and
the general trader, which meant that they could make a substantial saving in
terms of what they had to pay," Chisi told the Financial Gazette.
"Because they buy goods in bulk, this also means that they
cover themselves from any food price increases that may come occur in the next
three or four months."
Maburutse said although her club is now a member of the CCZ
buying clubs, members of her group had started off on their own, using their
hawkers' licences to buy food items from wholesalers.
The group lives and works in Harare's high-density suburb of
Highfield and each member contributes $5 000 a month.
"Initially this worked very well because the goods were
available and affordable but over the past year there have been shortages and
the wholesalers have also started to charge outrageous prices so we decided to
join the CCZ," she said.
"Now armed with our membership card and a letter of
introduction from the CCZ, we visit designated manufacturers and buy our
groceries from there."
Edinah Moyondizvo, who heads a 20-strong group of mostly
civil servants based in Harare, said each member made a monthly contribution of
Out of the total money raised, $100 000 is used to buy
groceries that are shared in any month among four of the group's members.
The remaining $60 000 is also shared out among the four,
mostly helping them pay school fees or buying any other household goods.
"We have also gone beyond the CCZ's designated manufacturers
and now buy directly from even some smaller manufacturers whose goods are of a
high quality and affordable," she said.
"Although there are severe shortages of margarine, sugar,
high quality bar soap, maize meal and cooking oil, we have not really felt these
shortages because there are manufacturers who give us special discounts. We also
have been able to source maize meal that way."
During the lead-up to the March presidential election, the
government slapped price controls on cooking oil, maize meal, sugar, milk and
other basic goods but most of these products quickly disappeared from
supermarket shelves as manufacturers refused to produce goods for sale at
The government's fast-track land reforms and the drought
have worsened the food shortages.
But last week the government appeared to be re-tracing its
steps, increasing the prices of most of these goods.
Moyondizvo said her club, acting through the CCZ, was
preparing to launch advocacy programmes on galloping food prices and to lobby
legislators to introduce policies that are friendly to consumers.
"We are also going to engage business, especially the
manufacturing sector and wholesalers, stressing that they can do business while
not squeezing the consumer to death."
Hippo Valley Invests $911m
May 3, 2002
the web May 3, 2002
HIPPO Valley Estates Ltd invested $911 million in capital
projects during the just-ended financial year to boost production, chairman Len
Bruce said most of the spending by the group was on the
purchase of capital equipment to augment the existing machinery.
"A total of $911 million was spent on capital projects
during the year 2001. Expenditure in the mill amounted to $595 million and
transport fleet replacement cost amounted to $206 million," Bruce said in the
group's financial highlights.
He said a major milestone in the group's operations was the
commissioning of the 20 Megawatt turbo-alternator acquired at a total cost of
The alternator, he said, had operated above expectations and
significantly improved the factory energy balance and mill efficiencies.
The group is currently involved in negotiations with the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority which would result in the provision of
excess power to its operations.
Bruce said that there were no indications that the group's
cashflow would improve during the year 2002 because of the continued disruption
of the country's agro-based industry.
"The general lawlessness in the country has continued to
alienate foreign investors in addition to disrupting business activities and
operations," he said.
"The retrograde step of re-introducing price controls is a
matter of serious concern. Against the background, it is difficult to make any
meaningful financial predictions. Margins will be eroded further unless there is
an improvement in the business environment," he said.
Uncertainty surrounded the direction of exchange rate policy
and the availability of foreign currency would continue to be a major
Bruce said investment in the sugar milling sector was likely
to be negatively impacted if inflationary increases continued to affect efforts
to maintain viability.
Price controls which pegged prices at August 2001 levels and
coupled with an unrealistic exchange rate policy led to domestic sugar finding
its way into neighbouring countries where it was being sold at less than half
the price of the commodity in those countries.
The chairman said the group had managed to attain benefits
amounting to $652 million because of its performance-improvement scheme adopted
during the mid part of the year under review.