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

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Zimbabwe parliament tightens land-seizure law

HARARE, May 8 — Zimbabwe's parliament passed changes to a controversial land law on Wednesday giving the state almost immediate control of white-owned farms targeted for seizure.

       President Robert Mugabe's government, which says it is seeking to correct imbalances in land ownership created by British colonialism, has listed thousands of white-owned farms for seizure.
       Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party used its comfortable parliamentary majority to suspend procedural rules and approve in a day's sitting changes he had made last November using presidential powers.
       Parliament was recalled for an emergency session to ratify the amendments which would have become invalid this month without parliamentary approval.
       Mugabe, who is accused by the opposition and many Western powers of cheating in presidential polls two months ago, says he wants to finish his ''fast-track'' land redistribution by August.
       Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the changes to the law were designed to help advance Zimbabwe's ''land revolution.''
       He said objections by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were meant to serve a white minority at the expense of the black majority.
       ''There must be no doubt about our commitment to the land redistribution programme, and there must be no doubt at all that the train is moving and those who do not get into the train will be left behind,'' Chinamasa said.
       The MDC, which is opposed to the redistribution scheme, slammed the changes. ''This a seriously bungled programme,'' said MDC MP David Coltart.
       The amendments to the Land Acquisition Act give the state full rights over land designated for seizure.
       Any farmer or anyone else found guilty of interfering with the resettlement exercise faces a fine or jail for up to two years.
       Parliament also passed a clause saying new settlers had no automatic right to white farmers' movable equipment, such as tractors and harvesters, but could buy it with the agreement of the owners.
       Mugabe used his sweeping powers to allow the government to authorise land occupation once the initial ''acquisition notice'' to farmers had been served.
       Affected farmers have three months to vacate their farm houses. The Act said those who refused would be evicted by court order.
       The southern African country has been in crisis since February 2000, when pro-government militants, led by veterans of the 1970s liberation war, began invading white-owned farms.
       Zimbabwe is facing a food crisis caused by the invasions and drought and its once prosperous economy is in tatters.
       More than 5,000 farms out of estimated 8,000 properties owned by 4,500 white farmers have been targeted for seizure under the programme.
       Farmers say they support land redistribution but are opposed to the methods employed by Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence in 1980.
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Mugabe mob denies dying wish of besieged white farmer
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 08/05/2002)

TOM BAYLEY, an 88-year-old British-born farmer, died in misery last week,
his final wish unfulfilled. The farmer's desire to be buried on the land in
Zimbabwe he had worked for 66 years was denied because a mob loyal to
President Mugabe has taken over his farm.

Yesterday family and friends, many of them dispossessed farmers, did the
next best thing and held his funeral at a cattle showground fringed by trees
he had planted.

Mr Bayley had been under siege by Mugabe supporters for 35 days when he fell
and broke a leg. His condition deteriorated and, according to his family, he
"died of a broken heart".

Hundreds of farmers and their wives heard yesterday how Mr Bayley and his
ailing wife "Bobs", 79, endured the siege.

John Barratt, a friend and farmer, told Zimbabwe's dwindling white farming
community: "Tom passed away in his sleep after two years of threats and
interference with his life's work.

"He and Bobs endured daily threats and war songs all night, every night. The
physical pain he suffered when he broke his leg was nothing compared to the
mental pain of being forced off his farm."

Last month, the old man spoke to Boris Johnson, editor of The Spectator, at
Danbury Park, his home 20 miles west of Harare.

He wept when he recalled how, as a 22-year-old, he was tempted by the
adventure of "Empire" and became a "boss boy" on a farm that he later

Sitting in his modest homestead, with the curtains drawn protectively, he
said: "I can't leave now, they will come in and take everything."

In the past few months two farm workers died at Danbury Park - one was
murdered and the other committed suicide - and they too were remembered

Mrs Bayley said after the funeral: "We will have Tom cremated. Maybe one day
we will be able to go back to Danbury Park and scatter his ashes."
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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Mugabe's days are 'numbered'
Ian Smith is the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia
The BBC's Tim Sebastian met the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia
The former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Ian Smith, believes that his successor, Robert Mugabe's days as leader are "numbered".

Mr Smith told BBC Television's HARDtalk programme: "His own people have turned against him."

"His country has really hit the bottom. The people are suffering, the poor people are getting poorer every day. We think his days are numbered."

He's brought a lot of discredit to the party

Ian Smith
Mr Smith was prime minister of the country for 15 years before it gained independence from Britain and the Commonwealth and became Zimbabwe.

He said that support for Mr Mugabe, who came to power with his pro-independence Zanu-PF party in 1980, was weakening from within his own ranks.

He explained: "The executive of the present political party have said they want the top man out.

"He's pulling them down, he's brought a lot of discredit to the party and they would like him to move out."

"If the pressures build up he might accept that the best thing he can do is get out."


In April 2002 Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for 12 months over alleged discrepancies during presidential elections.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change - MDC - and their leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected the result. They claimed that the vote which returned President Mugabe to power had been rigged.

Mr Smith believes that the MDC should be in power, adding: "The majority of the black people today are on the side of the MDC... I like them and support them."


Mr Smith, who was the prime minister of Rhodesia from 1964 until 1979, has often accused the British Government of betrayal for the way they handled the country's transition to full independence - which ultimately led to his own downfall.

The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has been President of Zimbabwe since 1980.
He regretted trusting the British Government when negotiating over the distribution of land rights.

"I certainly wouldn't do that again through experience. We were dealing with some British politicians who, I regret to have to say, who were absolutely devious."

But Mr Smith, who once vowed that whites would rule for 1,000 years, refuses to accept any blame for the problems that Zimbabwe faces today.

He said: "We built a fantastic country, one of the best countries in the world."

And he said he would be prepared to appear before any truth and reconciliation commission, similar to the one set up in South Africa.

He added: "Fortunately my conscience is clear - I've got nothing to hide and that applied to Rhodesia, and our whole history indicates what I'm saying is correct."

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From ZWNEWS, 8 May

Two more MDC supporters killed by suspected Zanu PF activists

Two MDC supporters, one of them a polling agent in the March 9 and 10 presidential election, have been killed by suspected Zanu PF militia. Jenus Ngamira, an MDC activist in Bindura, was allegedly murdered by Zanu PF militia led by Munyaradzi Timoti in Chipadze Township of Bindura in the early hours of last Sunday, while his brother Christopher Ngamira was seriously injured and is recovering in hospital following an attack by the same group. After the incident, Timoti rushed to his home to put on his Zanu PF militia uniform before surrendering himself to Bindura Police Station. Ngamira was buried in Bindura yesterday. In Gokwe, the remains of Tiperson Madhobha, an MDC polling agent in the March 9 and 10 presidential elections who was abducted by Zanu PF militia on 10 April, were found in a river last week. A police officer who identified himself as Sergeant Chikuni confirmed that the remains of Madhobha had been found and that arrangements for a postmortem were underway.

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From O’Dwyers’ PR Daily (US), 3 May

D&M collects $400K from Zimbabwe

Dickens & Madson Canada, the firm that spread news of an alleged assassination plot against Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, has a contract worth $225,000 from his government. The firm has received $400K from Zimbabwe due to heavy travel-related expenses, says its president Ari Ben Menashe. The parties have not as yet issued formal amendments to the contract. Menashe claimed that Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost to Mugabe in the presidential race earlier this year, was behind the plot. Menashe distributed a grainy video said to be of Tsvangirai discussing the plan to off Mugabe just prior to the election. Tsvangirai denied being part of any plot, and dismissed the video as part of a smear campaign. D&M's contract includes a provision that allows a $20,000 bonus, if by yearend: "Zimbabwe is generally perceived internationally as being a peace loving and progressive member of the international community. The pariah state label currently attached to Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Government should have disappeared and one measure of success would be that Zimbabwe would have become eligible and acceded to the United States African Growth and Opportunity Act by the end of the contract for the bonus to be payable." The BBC has called Menashe a controversial figure linked in the 1980s to the Iran-Contra arms scandal.

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Comment from ZWNEWS, 8 May

By Michael Hartnack

One law for state toadies, another for critics, and none for the hungry

It would show a failure of compassion more than of news judgment if I did not preface whatever I write from Zimbabwe about press freedom with a reminder that last night children in our rural areas cried themselves to sleep with hunger. Many of them were from families not even allowed to queue to buy mealie meal because the adult members were suspected of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Although the International Committee to Protect Journalists rates Zimbabwe among the 10 most dangerous countries in which to be one, whatever our troubles as we celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 3 pale compared with this raw fact of human suffering. We in the media are only deserving of our readers' concern as long as we are trying to get these facts across. When the day comes that these columns deliberately confine themselves to jolly chats about the Zimbabwe cricket team, or the westward spread of terrestrial bulbuls' habitat, something will have gone horribly wrong.

Worse than readers not being told what is happening would be not being told that they are not being told. Two years ago I had, with great regret, to resign as correspondent for a South African newspaper that I had served under its different names for 16 years. My initial 1999-2000 reports of farm invasions, of queues for petrol and diesel, and the crisis in the tourist industry, were dismissed as "scare stories" by recently-appointed middle-level staff who exercised nightly control over what was being published. They had developed an "in" with the Zimbabwean establishment through a South African-based businessman who is now on the USA's banned list for visas, because the State Department view him as a front man for President Robert Mugabe. Through him, staff developed the practice of telephoning the private numbers of Zimbabwean government figures, reading over what they had received from me and asking for advice. The persons they telephoned would never have taken calls from me formally requesting comment. Old friends on the newspaper sympathised with my repeated protests, but were frightened to intervene.

From the point of view of the reader, this form of censorship (for such it was) was far more pernicious than that we experienced at the Rhodesia Herald when I worked there for two years after Ian Smith's 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence. The newspaper was a subsidiary of South Africa's Argus Group until passing into state control after 1980 independence. Under Rhodesia's Emergency Powers, every article and photograph had to be passed by a censor. However, when an article or part of an article was banned, a blank space was left to show readers the censor had been at work. For example, on September 20, 1966, any news of a visit by the British Commonwealth Secretary Arthur Bottomley was banned. The following day, most of the front page was white space.

We handful of correspondents for foreign media here have been warned by our sources that the government "plans to pick us off, one by one" which explains the arrest last week of Andrew Meldrum, a United States citizen who is correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian. He and two reporters from the local Daily News were held overnight in police cells and advised they would be prosecuted under the newly-passed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act for "abuse of journalistic privilege by publishing a false report". The facts are that both the Movement for Democratic Change and the independently-owned Daily News reported the alleged beheading of a 53-year-old woman, Blandina Tadyanemhandu, by militia. Police had ample time to respond to requests for comment, but instead issued a statement solely to the state-run Herald that they had evidence no such murder took place.

The following day, curiously, state broadcasting announced it had "discovered" that the source of the allegations, a 63-year-old man calling himself Enos Tadyanemhandu, was an imposter with a lengthy criminal record. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, another government mouthpiece, was able to detail an amazing history of wrongdoing going back more than 20 years, and exact amounts the man had extracted from the MDC to assist his supposed funeral expenses for his wife. "Tadyanemhandu" is Shona for those who "eat with the enemy". There is thus prima facie evidence the MDC, and the journalists, were led into a well-prepared trap. New legislation provides a two-year jail term for publishing a false report, or five years for arousing hostility to the government. At the weekend, police told the Herald's sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail, they plan to discredit many of the reports of atrocities over the past two years which include the murder of more than 200 opposition supporters and 10 white farmers. Either they never took place, or were mere "drunken brawls over women", claimed a spokesman. The perniciousness of the current offensive against independent journalists here highlights the selective requirements for truth: the most monstrous lies are encouraged on one side, while on the other errors due to deliberate fraud and refusal of co-operation by the authorities can be made to constitute a criminal offence.

Any person opposing the government is immediately branded an ex-Selous Scout or a traitor, depending on their race, and they have no hope of legal redress. Moyo told Parliament I served in the Rhodesian Army "Psychological Action" unit, and have been covertly continuing its tactics in the guise of a foreign correspondent since 1980. I never served in the army, having the misfortune to be conscripted into the air force - as a reserve dog handler. A group of 100 lawyers on Sunday published a counter-attack on government attempts to vilify those defending free speech. "Those who assert this right are invariably threatened with the prospect of legislation, or worse," said the lawyers, recalling former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay's forced early retirement, in the face of death threats. Mendacious slurs against Gubbay and other white judges, and the president of the Law Society, Sternford Moyo, came as the new Supreme Court under former government minister Godfrey Chidyausiku showed "significant departure from the culture of upholding the Bill of Rights", the lawyers said.

In Zimbabwe there seems to be one law for the state and its toadies, another for its critics in the media, and none for the hungry child.

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ZIMBABWE: Political violence continues

JOHANNESBURG, 8 May (IRIN) - Despite President Robert Mugabe's election victory, political violence continues in Zimbabwe with four deaths recorded in April, according to local human rights groups.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Human Rights Forum) has claimed in its latest report that there appears to be no end to politically motivated violence and harassment.

The Human Rights Forum report comes after the African Commission on Human and People's Rights had requested to visit Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission. The government had "welcomed the request", the state-controlled newspaper The Herald reported.

The report claimed that from 1 January to 30 April this year there have been 55 deaths as a result of politically motivated violence.

The organisation said: "With no impending elections, no tangible explanation seems clear for the politically motivated violence that is still persisting in Zimbabwe. The post election period has witnessed a sustained attack on known or suspected supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by agents and supporters of the ruling party ZANU-PF."

The Human Rights Forum also claimed there had been 961 incidents of torture since 1 January.

Although most of the incidents of violence were allegedly perpetrated by ZANU-PF supporters and agents of the state, there was at least one incident recorded in the report in which MDC supporters were the aggressors. On 24 April they allegedly attacked the home of a Central Intelligence Organisation operative accused of involvement in a murder.

Press freedom, meanwhile, has once more come under scrutiny with the arrest of another journalist working for the independent newspaper The Daily News.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said columnist Pius Wakatama was arrested for an article he wrote that was published last month.

The MISA statement, released on Wednesday, said Wakatama was charged with contravening sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which makes it an offence for a journalist to publish falsehoods.

Journalists working for foreign media in Zimbabwe have, meanwhile, gone to the country's highest court to challenge sections of the law they contest is unconstitutional, Reuters reported. The Foreign Correspondents Association submitted papers to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

"Under the Act journalists are liable to pay a fine of ZW $100,000 (about US $1,818) or two years in jail or both, for the offence," MISA said. Eight journalists have so far been charged under the law.

Wakatama wrote a column about the alleged decapitation of a woman by ruling party supporters, which he said had left him "numb with shock".

Last week three Zimbabwean journalists were arrested following an article in The Daily News on 23 April, which falsely alleged that two young girls had witnessed the beheading of their mother by ZANU-PF supporters in the rural area of Magunje, MISA said.

The Daily News apologised to the ruling party and to the government in a front page article on 27 April after it was revealed that the husband of the alleged victim had misled the paper.

"Zimbabwe's Minister of Information and Publicity in the President's Office, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has since warned government parastatals against advertising in The Daily News, which he alleges has created a reputation of peddling lies," the organisation said.

Wakatama was released after being fingerprinted and recording a warned and cautioned statement on Monday.


Political violence rages on

Harare - Zimbabwean human rights groups said on Wednesday that political
violence has continued unabated since the March 9-11 presidential elections,
in what they called "a sustained attack" on opposition supporters.

The latest report from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum documented one
killing, 16 cases of torture and two kidnappings in the last two weeks of
April alone.

Since the beginning of the year, the rights groups have documented 55
killings, 29 disappearances, 961 cases of torture, and 216 kidnappings, plus
hundreds more instances of threats, property damage and other intimidation.

"With no impending elections, no tangible explanation seems clear for the
politically motivated violence that is still persisting in Zimbabwe," the
report said.

"The post-election period has witnessed a sustained attack on known or
suspected supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
by state agents and supporters of the ruling party, Zanu-PF," it added.

"To an even greater extent the attack on commercial farmers and their
workers has intensified with incidents of violence and evictions on the
increase countrywide," it said.

"The situation created for farm workers by these evictions is bleak. Most
have worked at their respective farms all their lives and have no
alternative rural homes to go to. They are essentially internal refugees
with no access to any essential resources, that is, food, water and
shelter," it said.

The Human Rights Forum includes nine non-governmental organisations,
including Amnesty International, the Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace and Transparency International.

Police were not available to comment on the figures, but have told state
media that only 16 people died in the run-up to presidential elections on
March 9-11.

But the MDC continues to report killings of its supporters, even though
police officials in Harare said they have no information on the attacks.

The party in a statement accused Zanu-PF militia of killing Jenus Ngamira,
an MDC activist in the northern town of Bindura, early Sunday.

Meanwhile, in the central town of Gokwe, the MDC said the remains of
Tiperson Madhobha were found in a river bed last week.

Madhobha, who was an MDC polling agent during the presidential election, was
abducted by Zanu-PF militia on April 10, the party said.

Talks between the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF are due to
resume on Monday, in hopes of finding a solution to the political crisis.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected Mugabe's win in the presidential
election, citing widespread violence and voter fraud - an assessment shared
by independent Zimbabwean observers and most western nations.

The election led the European Union and the United States to impose
sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle, while the Commonwealth suspended
Zimbabwe from its meetings.

For most Zimbabweans, the political crisis has been eclipsed by a severe
food shortage.

Mugabe last week declared a state of disaster in parts of the country where
an estimated 7.8 million people - most of them children - are in dire need
of food aid.

Zimbabwe's 12 million people consume between 1.8 and 2 million tons of maize
per year, but this year the country expects to harvest between 450 000 and
750 000 tons of maize, according to a regional food security agency, the
Southern African Development Community Regional Early Warning Unity

The UN's World Food Program (WFP) and other aid agencies have already begun
distributing food in the hardest-hit regions.

WFP has blamed Zimbabwe's food woes on "the impact of the land reform and
economic hardship, combined with failed rains in key production areas". -
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      EU grants EUR 6.5 million in food aid to people in Zimbabwe
      The European Commission has approved food aid worth ?6.5 million for
the population of Zimbabwe. This decision is designed to ensure that some of
those in need have access to minimum food supplies in the coming months.
This assistance will fund the purchase of 8,070 tons of maize, 1,500 tons of
pulses (beans) if possible at the regional level and 600 tons of vegetable
oil. This food will be distributed among the poorest families in 19
districts of the country severely affected by food shortages due to climatic
problems faced in 2001 as well as the worst economic crisis Zimbabwe has
ever faced. This initiative constitutes the contribution of the Commission
to the emergency programme launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) in
late 2001, as a consequence of the deterioration of the food security
situation in the country.

      With an estimated initial target population of 558,000 people for the
overall programme, this contribution will provide relief to those households
that have become even more exposed to the risk of food insecurity after the
recent drought of 2002 which has affected maize production in many southern
African countries. The distribution of food will be carried out by the WFP
in collaboration with local authorities and NGOs, while the monitoring of
the field operations will be ensured jointly by the WFP and the European
Commission. WFP will ensure the procurement, transport and delivery of the
foodstuffs. The food is scheduled to reach the Zimbabwean populations within
the next weeks.
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Media Guardian (UK)

Guardian reporter challenges Zimbabwe press law

Julia Day
Wednesday May 8, 2002

      Andrew Meldrum

The Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent is among a group of journalists going
to the country's highest court to challenge the restrictions on press
Andrew Meldrum, who has been charged with publishing false information, has
filed an affidavit asking the supreme court to declare the laws on the
registration of media groups and licensing of journalists unconstitutional.

The Daily Telegraph's Peta Thornycroft and Jan Raath, a correspondent for
the Times, the South African Press Association and the German news agency
DPA, have done the same.

Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer for the Foreign Correspondents Association of
Zimbabwe, submitted the affidavits to the court on Tuesday.

The three are contesting sections of President Robert Mugabe's new Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which imposes heavy fines and
jail terms of up to two years for "abuse of journalistic privilege" such as
publishing "falsehoods".

They are also challenging clauses of the Act that bar foreigners from
working in Zimbabwe as correspondents and require journalists to be
accredited by a government-appointed media commission.

Eight local and foreign journalists have been charged under the "abuse of
journalistic privilege" clause since President Mugabe enacted the media law
shortly after winning a controversial presidential election in mid-March.

Meldrum and Zimbabwean journalists Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza, both
from the Daily News, were arrested a week ago after their papers reported a
story about a woman allegedly beheaded by supporters of President Mugabe.

A Harare magistrate dismissed the charge against Chiwanza but gave the
government the go-ahead to prosecute Meldrum and Mudiwa.

Thornycroft was detained for five days in March by police and is awaiting
trial for allegedly "practising illegally as a journalist and inciting
public violence".
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Zimbabwe: IMF foresees economic crash

May 8, 2002 1:00pm

[MRB Feb 02] A leaked International Monetary Fund report on Zimbabwe has
warned that in the absence of "significant changes" in economic policy
combined with improved governance, especially in land reform, the country's
economic crisis will "gain momentum".
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The Article IV report, written last November and not yet cleared for
circulation by the Zimbabwe authorities, says economic deterioration has
"The weakening of law and order, related to the fast-track land reform
involving farm invasions and occupations, has damaged confidence,
discouraged investment, destroyed capital and eroded institutions important
for economic development." The Fund estimates that GDP fell 8.4 per cent
last year, taking the decline in real per capita incomes since 1997 to 23
per cent. Loose fiscal and expansionary monetary policies have led to
triple-digit inflation - 104 per cent in November - and "an asset price
bubble". Unsustainable fiscal policy has been at the centre of the
deteriorating economy. []

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