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

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Message 1:

Dear Colin & Dave,

I would like to thank you both for all the hard work that you and others
in the CFU have done on our behalf.  While I must agree to have the same
sentiments about taking the Government to court, I do understand that it
may not be possible.  I however do not agree to the manner in which you
were both abused by certain members of the farming community in
Matabeleland. This government has certainly won in its "divide & rule"
tactics, and we farmers are falling for it hook line and sinker.
Instead of all working together to find a solution, we are fighting the
very people who are in a position to do anything at all to help us.

With all his rhetoric, Mr Robinson was unable to give us a solution to
the problem!

We have been fortunate to have been left on our citrus farm for the
moment, but have been kicked off our cattle farms, but I did not like
the insinuation by members of the meeting, that only people who have
made deals are left on their farms.  We have taken the government to
court and had all our section "8's" overruled, but have still been
evicted, however we still hope to maintain the moral high ground by not
making any deals with these individuals!

Good luck, and thanks again.

Paul & Patty Bristow.

Message 2:

Dear sirs,

Thankyou, all of the following was very entertaining, would I be right
in thinking that generally what was said was

a) That in the past the adversary was cleverer than you and that
whatever has been done by you, would automatically fail because the
adversary was playing unfairly.

b) That the union is not working for the members but the executive is
working for themselves with the members money.

Over the past two years, farmers have still been buying fertilizer and
planting, which as a non-farmer seemed `insane' to me, when I could see
that farming may not continue, I am planting new flowers in my garden
perhaps I am under the same sense of `make-believe' and the same actions
of the adversary will happen to me.

The one comment that really stood out was the lawyer who after giving a
dialogue and was asked what it meant replied "nothing really".

Helen Clarke

Message 3:

Dear Jenni Williams

For the sake of JAG and the supporters of its cause, can't somebody 'put
a lid on' J.L.Robinson's literary 'works'.  His heart may be (probably
is considering his support of Ben Freeth) in the right place, but his
pen needs to be buried.  He cannot write for toffee and his written
acknowledgement of Churchill's values, although to be recommended, does
little for man's recognition of the great depth of Churchill's mind.  To
find the point in J.L.Robinson's letters one has to wade through so much
bumph one end's up with a splitting headache.

Keith Duguid (just a geologist, not a farmer)

Message 4:

Dear Sirs

I have been reading the letters from J L Robertson in your Open letter
forum with great sadness. UNITED WE STAND AND DIVIDED WE FALL. His
vitriolic stance against CFU and their leadership at a time when we
should be standing together is unforgivable. Constructive criticism is
acceptable but the manner he is going about trying to get change is
merely breaking down our strength to hold this together and is playing
right into the hands of government forces. They must be loving his
letters. I attended the CFU Congress, a democratically elected body of
people who got together to discus the matters of farming in August. We
had the opportunity there of changing our leadership if we were
concerned at their actions. We did ask them to adjust their stance on
legal matters by asking them to change their legal representation. We
have regional democratically elected councils who are able to take our
problems to the CFU hierarchy.

CFU has been in operation for over 75 years and does an enormous amount
of good work that many of us do not even see. They finance research work
through ART FARM, help finance Blackfordby Agricultural College, carry
out other research and development work throughout Zimbabwe, represent
us (rightly or wrongly) with the government and other organisations
within and outside Zimbabwe. We have generations of knowledge and skill
within the walls of our commercial farming institution.

I ask you all to please pay your subscriptions for this coming year to
keep our farmers associations and Union going in the face of huge

I ask you to quietly and diplomatically approach your CFU representatives
if you do not agree with the policies of our union. We have the ability
to change the policies of our union through democratic means. Please use
these. Get involved. Spend the time helping us to survive. Each one of
us can make a positive contribution.

I ask you all please to stand together during this time so that we can
once again feed the nation and stand together proudly and say WE ARE

Yours sincerely


Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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ZIMBABWE: No end to political violence

JOHANNESBURG, 11 October (IRIN) - Zimbabwean police allegedly tortured and "seriously injured" the leader of a teachers' trade union who called a strike this week, his lawyer said.

Raymond Majongwe gave himself up to police on Wednesday after hearing that the police were looking for him. His Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has been on strike since Tuesday, demanding a 100 percent pay rise, the French news agency AFP reported.

"He has been beaten and when I saw him yesterday [Wednesday] night he couldn't sit on his own. I think he has broken ribs and internal bleeding," lawyer Tererayi Gunje told AFP.

Police spokesman Andrew Phiri told the news agency that the allegations would be investigated. Majongwe was expected to be charged under the controversial Public Order and Security Act. The police have accused Majongwe and other union leaders of visiting schools and intimidating teachers into following the strike call. 

In a statement on Thursday, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) condemned "the politicised and militarised Zimbabwe Republic Police for the assault on the Secretary-General of the Progressive Teachers' Union". It said the government, "has continued to defy provisions of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several protocols to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, which clearly prohibit torture and other degrading treatment".

The statement added: "The MDC is also concerned by reports from several schools around the country that officers from the Criminal Investigations Department are being sent to schools where they are asking pupils which teachers had reported for lessons and listing the names of those that have not reported. It is the teachers' constitutional right to engage in a peaceful strike, and the regime should be, instead, making concerted efforts to address the grievances of the teachers, who are the most expensive resource in the education system."

Meanwhile, reported cases of political violence in Zimbabwe continued last month, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. In its latest survey covering the period 1 to 30 September, it said cases of political intimidation had declined to 20 from 35 compared with August, but the number of assaults rose from 23 to 38.

The report said one case of murder had been reported in the local press. This brought the number of deaths from politically motivated violence to 59 since 1 January 2002, the rights group noted.

"Nikoniari Chibvamudeve was allegedly hacked to death by [ruling party] ZANU-PF supporters in Hurungwe West ahead of the two day by-election," the NGO said. Chibvamudeve was reportedly murdered by youths suspected to have been deployed by ZANU-PF supporters to drum up support for their candidate.

In the run-up to country-wide local elections last month, the MDC complained of victimisation and "spurious bureaucracy" that prevented about 700 of their candidates from registering in around 1,400 wards.

On 27 September, the day before the polls were to start, an MDC petition to the High Court to nullify the election nomination process was dismissed. ZANU-PF went on to win almost 90 percent of all local council seats.


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Daily News

      Defeated Zanu PF threatens to starve MDC supporters

      10/11/02 8:56:25 AM (GMT +2)

      Our Correspondent

      ZANU PF militia and the so-called war-veterans have threatened to
unleash a reign of terror in Bulilimamangwe constituency's Ward 12,
following an MDC victory in the recent rural district council elections.

      The election was won by the MDC's Jonathan Meja Ncube who defeated
Zanu PF's Ephraim Ndlovu.

      The war veterans are alleged to have called a meeting at Mangubo
Primary School on Friday to tell people that Zanu PF would stop providing
them with food because they were bent on "selling the country to Britain".

      Shailet Ndlovu, a villager who attended the meeting, said it was true
that the meeting was called on Friday and that people were threatened with
starvation because of their allegiance to the MDC.

      "At the meeting the war veterans told us that we would no longer
receive any food from the government," she said.

      Despite demands by the NGOs in July that President Mugabe should not
politicise food aid, people, especially in rural areas, have been
misinformed that it was Zanu PF which supplies them with food.

      Some people, suspected to be MDC supporters, are allegedly being
denied the right to buy basic commodities which are in short supply.

      The losing MDC candidate for Ward 16, Mtshumayeli Ndlovu, confirmed
some Zanu PF youths were deployed in the Mwatsi area, saying it was a
desperate move by Zanu PF to frustrate and intimidate people.

      "I understand the militia was deployed on Friday at Mwatsi village,
and that is why I have come all the way from Bulawayo to monitor the
situation," said Ndlovu.

      He said the youths must have come either from Bulawayo or Plumtree.
"What puzzles me is: which food are they talking about?" asked Ndlovu.

      Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the MDC MP for Bulilimamangwe, said it was madness
on Zanu PF's part to make such threats because the food that people receive
was from the NGOs.
      "Threats to starve the people are not new. Even during the 1980s,
people in Matabeleland were always threatened with starvation and other
unspecified action by Zanu PF because they supported the opposition party,
Zapu," said Ndlovu.

      Mzila said people should not be intimidated because the food they are
getting was sourced and distributed by NGOs and not Zanu PF.

      He said he would be organising a meeting with the World Vision to ask
them to increase food supplies in the area to avert starvation.

      He expressed concern that the youths could attack the newly-elected
councillor and villagers.
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Daily News

      Mnangagwa linked to money- laundering

      10/11/02 9:35:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Geoff Nyarota Editor-in-Chief

      The name of Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament has been linked to
serious allegations of illegal transfer of money and the purchase of "blood
diamonds" in the former war zones of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

      An article published in el Pais, a Spanish national newspaper, a
fortnight ago, identifies Emmerson Mnangagwa and international financier
Thamer Said Ahmed al Shanfari, the playboy son of a former Omani oil
minister, as the chief protagonists in the alleged web of intrigue,
conspiracy and deceit.

      Shanfari is the president and chief executive officer of a company
called Oryx Natural Resources that owns a diamond concession in Mbuji-Mayi
in the DRC, jointly with the governments of Zimbabwe and the DRC.

      Yesterday Mnangagwa, who granted The Daily News a rare interview,
dismissed the string of allegations against him as a pack of lies.

      The el Pais story, which is reproduced on our centrespread, alleges
Harare International Airport was used as a conduit for money-laundering and
for smuggled diamonds.

      Mnangagwa is described as the man who, among other things, guaranteed
the safe passage of illegal cash and diamonds through Harare Airport, by
ensuring that couriers breezed through customs without too many questions
being asked by suspicious officials.

      It is alleged that Mnangagwa received a generous cut after every trip.
      In Harare, a long-term close associate of Mnangagwa read the el Pais
story this week. He said, save for a few minor errors, the story was true.
He said its only weakness was that it omitted certain crucial information
and names.

      A source closely linked to the transactions told el Pais: "What would
happen would be that Emmerson would come around to Thamer's house for a
barbecue or a dinner - he has a huge house outside Harare - and while they
were eating, one of Thamer's trusted people would put two or three of these
cardboard boxes stuffed with money into the boot of Emmerson's car."

      To illustrate the extent of Mnangagwa's influence and involvement in
Kinshasa, the source, whom the Spanish paper identified only as Ali for his
protection, said the Speaker had rescued an employee of Shanfari's who was
arrested and jailed in the DRC capital.

      "One day we got nailed at Kinshasa Airport," Ali said. "There was a
cock-up. Someone wasn't tipped off on time, and they caught us - Congolese
military security - with US$ 750 000 (Z$41,25 million) worth of Congolese
francs on our way back to Harare.

      "An employee of Shanfari's was jailed, as was Patel, the Kenya Airways
man. Shanfari's employee was released after Mnangagwa intervened directly on
his behalf with the Congolese justice minister."

      Yesterday Mnangagwa confirmed he had personally intervened by
approaching his then counterpart, the Congolese Minister of Justice, Mwenze
Kongolo, after the arrest of one Graham Pelham at Kinshasa Airport.

      "If they detain you in the DRC they forget about you," Mnangagwa said.
"When this man was arrested they telephoned to say an employee of Oryx had
been arrested. I telephoned my counterpart, the Minister of Justice, Mwenze
Kongolo. That is true. I telephoned the minister and asked him to

      Mnangagwa was Minister of Justice before he became Speaker of
Parliament after his defeat in Kwekwe in the 2000 parliamentary election.

      Yesterday he denied that boxes of money had been loaded into the boot
of his car at the Harare residence of Shanfari.

      "It is true that I had dinner at Shanfari's house," the Speaker said.
"In fact, I had dinner there twice.

      "But I deny that I ever attended a braai and I deny that any money was
loaded into the boot of my car. Could they have put money in my boot without
me seeing it? Mind you this was three years ago."

      Mnangagwa said, as far as he knew, the only money donated by Shanfari
had been handed over to Zanu PF to help the party with its parliamentary
election campaign in 2000.

      "He donated about $1 million to Zanu PF," Mnangagwa said. "That I can
confirm and the receipts are there."

      Asked to explain the nature of the relationship between Shanfari and
himself, Mnangagwa denied there was a personal relationship.

      "Shanfari has a relationship with the army, not even with the
government," he said. "There is no personal relationship between me and
Shanfari. I am not aware that any diamonds are being smuggled out of the
DRC. It is not possible, if you know the system in the DRC."

      Mnangagwa did not explain how he became a guest at Shanfari's dinner
table on two occasions if no personal relationship existed or why he was
called to the rescue and responded positively after Shanfari's employee was
      He said his only involvement in the DRC was between 1997 and 2000 when
he was chairman of a ministerial committee set up to promote trade relations
between Zimbabwe and the war-ravaged central African country.

      Mnangagwa said: "In 2000, after I lost my parliamentary seat in
Kwekwe, I ceased to be Minister of Justice and I ceased to be chairman of
the ministerial committee."
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Daily News

      Zanu PF bars food aid to starving Binga folk

      10/11/02 8:36:28 AM (GMT +2)

      Chris Gande

      FOOD as a political weapon continues to be used by Zanu PF against the

      In the MDC stronghold of Binga in Matabeleland North, a
non-governmental organisation, Save The Children, and the Catholic Church
have been ordered by the ruling party to stop distributing food to starving
Binga villagers.

      Zanu PF officials said they were punishing the villagers for voting
for the MDC in last month's rural district council elections.

      The order was issued to the two organisations last Friday.

      The order came at a time when the Grain Marketing Board depot in Binga
has no grain in its silos.

      A good number of school children have reportedly fainted at their
desks because of hunger. An unidentified elderly man reportedly died last
week after taking medicine on an empty stomach. He had just been discharged
from hospital.

      Joel Gabbuza, the Binga Member of Parliament, said yesterday he spoke
to the provincial governor, Obert Mpofu, about the food situation in the
province when they met in Harare.
      "The governor accused the NGOs of supporting the MDC. He told me that
he did not know what was happening in Binga, but we have the names of two
workers from his office who were among those who stopped the distribution of
food supplies in the area," he said.

      Mpofu could not be reached for comment yesterday. Zanu PF supporters
recently burnt down the huts of a councillor and a losing candidate in the
Binga area.

      Fifty-five goats owned by two MDC supporters were torched after the
MDC won elections in parts of Binga.

      Save The Children and the Catholic Church had stopped distributing
food in the area in the run-up to the 28 and 29 September elections.

      They resumed three days after the results were announced but a number
of Zanu PF officials accused them of celebrating the MDC victory by
distributing the food.
      Of the 21 wards contested, the MDC won 16, Zanu PF the remainder,
despite launching a massive pre-election terror campaign.

      The terror continued after the election with the burning down last
weekend of the home of Van Muleya, an MDC candidate for Mucheso ward.

      One of the villagers was accused of being an MDC supporter because an
MDC T-shirt was found at his home.

      At Tinde, Sophie Ngwenya lost property worth more than $1 million when
her home was burnt down by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

      Ngwenya, a losing candidate in the elections, lost $80 000 in cash,
and her brother's property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars which she
had in her keeping.
      Police refused to comment on the arson attacks.

      At nearby Kamativi, Matthew Ngwenya, an MDC winning candidate, is in
Bulawayo after fleeing from his home following threats on his life by Zanu
PF supporters. His family has sought refuge at the home of Jealous Sansole,
the local MDC MP.

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U.S. official warns of potential 'major famine' in Zimbabwe


HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct. 11 - A top U.S. food aid official on Friday warned
that Zimbabwe would face a ''major famine'' if the government did not clear
bureaucratic roadblocks and allow massive food imports by the end of the
       Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization, said after touring relief projects in Zimbabwe
that the next two months are critical.
       ''If by the end of December enough food hasn't arrived in this
country, there is going to be major famine and there is going to be major
death,'' he said.
       An estimated 6.7 million Zimbabweans, slightly more than half the
nation's population, are in danger of going hungry this year, according to
the World Food Program.
       The government allows some aid organizations to distribute free food
in the country but maintains a monopoly on selling grain. Aid workers have
complained that a major crisis will hit the nation unless businesses are
allowed to import and sell grain.
       Though the Zimbabwean government has repeatedly denied using food as
a political weapon, Hall said people told him the government had refused to
sell grain in some areas considered hotbeds of opposition support.
       Hall said Social Welfare Minister July Moyo acknowledged that private
grain shipments ''had been held up for political reasons.''
       However, U.S. grain donations had not been manipulated, Hall said.
       Zimbabwe is the hardest-hit of six southern African nations facing a
food crisis. Hall expected the United States to give more than half the food
needed to carry the region through to the harvest in March.
       Aid officials blamed Zimbabwe's problems on inclement weather as well
as the government's seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to landless blacks.
       ''Drought has not caused this problem, it has only compounded the
problem,'' Hall said.
       The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joe Sullivan, said Washington had
offered to support previous land reform plans, but would not assist the
current seizures ''carried out in a violent manner without reference to the
rule of law.''
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Daily News

      Disease outbreak feared

      10/11/02 9:00:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Zerubabel Mudzingwa

      AFTER three weeks without water, it is feared Kadoma could be hit by a
disease outbreak soon, following a major breakdown of the city's main pump
station at Claw Dam.

      In a statement last week, the acting Town Clerk, Gear Hanyane,
confirmed the development, but said normal supplies would resume once
repairs to the pump station were completed.

      "Water supply to all the areas will be interrupted to allow repair
work being carried out at our Claw Dam pump station to continue. Due to
unforeseen circumstances the work has taken longer than anticipated," said

      Kadoma gets most of its water from Claw Dam. Following the breakdown,
the council introduced water rationing in most parts of the city.

      There were reports of a diarrhoea outbreak in the city two weeks ago
after suspected contamination of water supplies by an unidentified
substance. The council confirmed the outbreak and said they were still
investigating the probable cause.

      The collection of refuse bins over the last two weeks has been erratic
because of a severe shortage of diesel.

      Although council officials on Wednesday claimed that normal water
supply had resumed in most parts of the city, residents in Rimuka, Ngezi and
Waverly suburbs said supplies remained erratic.

      "We are being forced to queue for water in public toilets," said Maina
Ngulube, a Rimuka resident.

      "To make matters worse, the water is dirty and the pressure is very
low." she said
      Sikhanyiso Mawere of Ngezi said: "We are sitting on a health time-bomb
because with the refuse bins lying uncollected for two weeks, there is
likely to be a major disease outbreak."

Cholera Breaks Out in Zim

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

October 11, 2002
Posted to the web October 10, 2002

Mail & Guardian Reporter

Medinfo, the medical information consultancy, has issued a warning to people
travelling to Zimbabwe after deaths due to cholera were confirmed by the
local government.

Cholera has claimed the lives of 24 people in Zimbabwe in the past month.

The disease first broke out in the Chiredzana area of Masvingo; spreading to
the Fuve area a week later. The Zimbabwean government and the local Red
Cross Society launched massive water and sanitation projects in an attempt
to prevent further outbreaks and, according to the Zimbabwe Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare, the most recent case of cholera in the region was
reported during the last week of September -- which would suggest that the
situation is under control.

Dr Andrew Jamieson, medical director of the SAA-Netcare Travel Clinics
network said 458 cases of the contagious disease had been reported in

Medinfo also warned travellers of a cholera outbreak in Ghana and a yellow
fever outbreak in Senegal.

The cholera outbreak in the Kwahu South district of Ghana's Eastern Region,
which began at the end of September, is the continuation of repeated
incidents of the disease since 2000, when the supply of pipe-borne water to
the afflicted region was cut off.

Urgent measures had been taken to curb the outbreak, including education
campaigns on personal hygiene. The local population had been advised to
drink only pipe-borne water; and to boil water from other sources prior to
using it for cooking or drinking.

"Both yellow fever and cholera are acute and highly infectious diseases ...
[but are] preventable through appropriate vaccination and hygiene measures,"
Jamieson said. \
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Head of TI Zimbabwe attacks business leaders

The Daily News 08 Oct 2002

John Makumbe, the head of Transparency International Zimbabwe and a
University of Zimbabwe lecturer, yesterday castigated the business
community for taking a back seat and not participating in civil matters.

"For a long time business persons in this country have shunned politics
insisting that theirs was to make money. Now there is no more money to
make," he said.

Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries annual congress in
Harare, Makumbe called upon President Robert Mugabe to let new blood
take over the leadership of the country as the old guard had nothing new
to offer the nation.

He said only a change of government could save Zimbabwe from further
economic deterioration.

"Let us be honest with each other and, as Zimbabweans, face the truth.
None but ourselves have the solution to our problems," Makumbe said.

The majority of people, he said, believed that the country was facing a
leadership crisis because Zanu PF and President Mugabe have been in
office for too long. Mugabe has enjoyed uninterrupted rule since the
country attained independence from Britain in 1980.

Makumbe said there were no new ideas Zanu PF or Mugabe could bring to
the country. He said the country was in a crisis because of Zanu PF's
obsession with power and its reluctance to liberalise the political
arena. "The only solution to the problems the country is facing is
nothing more than a change of government," Makumbe said. Industrialists
who attended the congress wanted the government to be clear on policy
issues governing the exchange rate, foreign currency and inflation.
While some business persons felt that the government should work hard
and bring back on board the international community, notably the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, others felt the country
should come up with home-grown solutions. However, there was consensus
that confidence-building aimed at wooing investors was paramount in the
resuscitation of the economy. Dr Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, said the government wanted a fixed
exchange rate. He, however, was quick to point out that consultations
were underway to try and work out a more sustainable foreign exchange
policy framework.

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Washington Times

Zimbabwe faces famine
     U.S. diplomat Tony Hall is worried that Zimbabwe's food crisis will
worsen over the winter unless the government begins cooperating with Western
aid workers.
     Zimbabwe is heading for famine unless the government "opens its doors
and does away with bureaucratic red tape to allow food in," said Mr. Hall,
Washington's envoy to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
     Two years of drought coupled with President Robert Mugabe's disastrous
redistribution of land from white farmers to black squatters has placed more
than 7 million lives in peril.
     The government also maintains a monopoly on the importation and
distribution of grain and has blocked private efforts to bring in food,
according to news reports.
     "Half of the people in this country will need food aid until the next
harvest in March next year, but the government is acting as if all is well,"
he told Agence France-Presse at the beginning of a three-day fact-finding
visit to the southern African nation.
     He warned that the "crisis will hit about December."
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Mugabe stumbling block for EU-Africa Summit

Controversial Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe has become a potential
stumbling block for the go-ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in Copenhagen in
four weeks, reports the Danish newspaper Politiken.

At the meeting between the EU and the countries of Southern Africa, issues
such as trade, development and the rapid spread of AIDS on the African
continent were meant to be discussed. However, the European Union's travel
ban on Zimbabwean politicians threatens the realisation of the summit. A
number of Southern African states have threatened to boycott the meeting if
Zimbabwe is excluded.

However, European Union members are split over how to handle the issue. The
United Kingdom and the Netherlands insists that Zimbabwe cannot be invited
to Europe and suggest that the meeting is moved to Mozambique. While other
countries - such as France - want to continue the dialogue with Zimbabwe and
believe that Zimbabwe ought to participate on equal terms with the 13
Southern African states.
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Business Day

Harare talks to test quiet diplomacy's credibility

The credibility of SA's "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare will face a test
today when SA Foreign Minister Nkosazana DlaminiZuma meets Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe.
Should there be no tangible progress from the Harare talks towards SA's
attempts at national reconciliation in the country, the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) and the New Partnership for Africa's
Development could face new pressures from Europe and the US.

The wide-ranging talks that began yesterday with DlaminiZuma and her
Zimbabwean counterpart, Stan Mudenge, give adequate scope for SA to deliver
a tough message about the growing cost to the region of Zimbabwe's policies.

Dampened investor interest and, in part, the worsening regional food crisis
because of disruption of agriculture in the country, are two of the foremost
costs of Zimbabwe's policies. But there was no hint from the foreign affairs
department yesterday that Pretoria was about to abandon "quiet diplomacy".

Zuma and a delegation of senior foreign affairs officials want the ruling
Zanu (PF) party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
resume talks. These broke off on May 11 after Zanu (PF) withdrew because the
MDC challenged the legality of the election in court.

The MDC said it would return to the talks if there was a more conducive
environment in which the presidential elections could be held. One solution
that SA had proposed was that of a government of national unity, but, with
the MDC having challenged the Zanu (PF) victory in court, the opposition
party says it could not agree to such an arrangement.

Should Dlamini-Zuma return to Pretoria empty-handed, without a date for the
resumption of talks, it would be increasingly hard for SA to hold onto its
position that its efforts were ensuring a return to the rule of law in the

According to the statement issued by the foreign affairs department
yesterday, the talks would cover a broad range of topics and easily give
scope for SA to point out the cost of SA's policies to itself and the

The department said the meeting was expected to focus on bilateral issues,
land reform, the regional food crisis, protection of investments, and
regional security. It was also expected to cover efforts aimed at
reconciliation and the resumption of talks between the government and MDC.

If SA fails in its aim, it will also be difficult for it to defend Zimbabwe
against the Australian argument that Zimbabwe should be suspended from the
Commonwealth. The "Troika" of SA President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard will meet in
March next year to review the position again. It was Howard who argued for
Zimbabwe's full suspension at the meeting in Abuja last month.

However, they all expressed "disappointment" that the Commonwealth had been
unable to hold talks with Mugabe.

Today's Harare talks could at least give a message that Harare is now
willing to talk. The foreign affairs department said the Harare talks had
been arranged at last week's summit meeting of SADC in Luanda.

At that meeting Zimbabwe's fellow SADC members prevented the possibility of
Mugabe hosting next year's SADC meeting, by making Tanzania the deputy chair
of the grouping. Zimbabwe denied it was a snub saying that it had to
concentrate on its land reform programme.

The US is refusing to hold an annual meeting with the SADC to review
development issues if Zimbabwe is included.

The European Union is also still considering its position on a summit with
regional leaders scheduled for November.

Business Day
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President Appoints 11 Envoys to Diplomatic Missions
The Herald (Harare)

October 9, 2002
Posted to the web October 11, 2002


PRESIDENT Mugabe has appointed 11 high commissioners and ambassadors to
represent Zimbabwe in different countries.

Retired Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini has been appointed high commissioner to

Until his new appointment, Brig Muzonzini was the Director-General of the
Central Intelligence Organisation.

Businessman and former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation deputy
director-general Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa is the new ambassador to China.

Diplomat Mr Kotsho Dube was appointed high commissioner to Nigeria while Mr
Isaac Nyathi is the new ambassador to Kuwait.

Mr Aaron Ncube becomes Zimbabwe's new ambassador to Egypt while Mr Mark
Marongwe, who has been high commissioner to Mozambique, has been reassigned
to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Mr
Boniface Chidyausiku has been transferred to serve in the same capacity at
the UN in New York.

He takes over from Dr Tichaona Jokonya who is retiring from the public

Mr Chitsaka Chipaziwa, who has been high commissioner to Malaysia, replaces
Mr Chidyausiku in Geneva.

The country's new ambassador to Belgium is Mr Gift Punungwe who has been
serving in the same capacity in Germany.

Mr Andrew Mtetwa, who has been ambassador to Kuwait and former secretary for
Foreign Affairs, moves to Ethiopia in the same capacity.

The country's former ambassador to the United States and secretary for
Foreign Affairs, Mr Stanislaus Chigwedere, becomes the new high commissioner
to Namibia.
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Daily News


      Exposing the hidden agenda of inflation

      10/11/02 9:31:17 AM (GMT +2)

      Ignatius Mutoti

      Keynes is often viewed as an economist who tolerated and supported
mild inflation as an unfortunate by-product of sustained, managed, economic
prosperity. Yet this excerpt from The Economic Consequences of the Peace,
written just at the end of World War I, makes clear how fully he understood
inflation's potential to destroy the fabric of society.

      It is also prophetic regarding the fate of all government attempts to
control the price of goods by force of law. Its later passages also
illuminate (by analogy) the negative effects of trade of any international
currency during crisis (such as the devaluation of Thailand's baht that
triggered the Asian economic contagion in 1997).
      The predicament of the responsible German trader facing rapid
fluctuation in international currency values has been reproduced innumerable
times across the world in the modern era of floating currency markets!.

      Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the
capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of
inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important
part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only
confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process
impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary
rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but also at confidence
in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.

      Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and
even beyond their expectations or desires, become "profiteers", who are the
object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has
impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds
and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month,
all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the
ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be
almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a
gamble and a lottery.
      Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of
overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The
process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of
destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able
to diagnose.
      In the latter stages of the war all the belligerent governments
practiced, from necessity or incompetence, what a Bolshevist might have done
from design. Even now, when the war is over, most of them continue out of
weakness the same malpractices. But further, the governments of Europe,
being many of them at this moment reckless in their methods as well as weak,
seek to direct on to a class known as "profiteers" the popular indignation
against the more obvious consequences of their vicious methods.

      These "profiteers" are, broadly speaking, the entrepreneur class of
capitalists, that is to say, the active and constructive element in the
whole capitalist society, who in a period of rapidly rising prices cannot
but get rich quick whether they wish it or desire it or not.
      If prices are continually rising, every trader who has purchased for
stock or owns property and plant inevitably makes profits. By directing
hatred against this class, therefore, the European governments are carrying
a step further the fatal process which the subtle mind of

      Lenin had consciously conceived. The profiteers are a consequence and
not a cause of rising prices. By combining a popular hatred of the class of
entrepreneurs with the blow already given to social security by the violent
and arbitrary disturbance of contract and of the established equilibrium of
wealth, which is the inevitable result of inflation, these governments are
fast rendering impossible a continuance of the social and economic order of
the 19th Century. But they have no plan for replacing it.

      The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to
extraordinary lengths. The various belligerent governments, unable or too
timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they
required, have printed notes for the balance. In Russia and Austria-Hungary
this process has reached a point where for the purposes of foreign trade the
currency is practically valueless. The Polish mark can be bought for about
three cents and the Austrian crown for less than two cents, but they cannot
be sold at all. The German mark is worth less than four cents on the

      But while these currencies enjoy a precarious value abroad, they have
never entirely lost, not even in Russia, their purchasing power at home. A
sentiment of trust in the legal money of the state is so deeply implanted in
the citizens of all countries that they cannot but believe that some day
this money must recover a part at least of its former value. They do not
comprehend that the real wealth which this money might have stood for has
been dissipated once and for all.

      This sentiment is supported by the various legal regulations with
which the governments endeavour to control internal prices, and so to
preserve some purchasing power for their
      legal tender.

      The preservation of a spurious value for the currency, by the force of
law expressed in the regulation of prices, contains in itself, however, the
seeds of final economic decay, and soon dries up the sources of ultimate

      If a man is compelled to exchange the fruits of his labour for paper
which, as experience soon teaches him, he cannot use to purchase what he
requires at a price comparable to that which he has received for his own
products, he will keep his produce for himself, dispose of it to his friends
and neighbours as a favour, or relax his efforts in producing it.

      A system of compelling the exchange of commodities at what is not
their real relative value not only relaxes production, but also leads
finally to the waste and inefficiency of barter. If, however, a government
refrains from regulation and allows matters to take their course, essential
commodities soon attain a level of price out of the reach of all but the
rich, the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent, and the fraud upon
the public can be concealed no longer.

      The effect on foreign trade of price-regulation and profiteer-hunting
as cures for inflation is even worse. Whatever may be the case at home, the
currency must soon reach its real level abroad, with the result that prices
inside and outside the country lose their normal adjustment.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Threats, force cannot subdue a just cause

      10/11/02 9:06:51 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is scared but it never learns, not even from its own
history as a liberation movement.

      No amount of threats or force will subdue a just cause.

      The handling of the teachers' strike illustrates the state of panic
the government is in.

      First, it threatened dire consequences against teachers joining the
strike called by the radical teachers' union, the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

      It also claimed the organisation was unregistered and therefore
illegal. It chose to ignore that for teachers to down tools they must be
genuine grievances, and that such concerns can only find a lasting solution
in dialogue and negotiation.

      Secondly, when the teachers downed tools, the government declared the
strike had been an unmitigated failure.

      Thirdly, they rounded up all the leaders of the PTUZ, clearly
demonstrating that it was irked by the rejection of its calls for teachers
to continue with their work.

      The reaction by the government to the strike by the teachers suggests
the action was far from the failure the government wanted the nation to
believe it was.

      Why would it arrest and beat up the leaders of the teachers, if the
strike had not succeeded?

      The truth is that the government was embarrassed that despite its
propaganda, and brute force at its disposal, the teachers had defied its
might. The government was hurting badly.

      The arrests and assaults of leaders of the striking teachers is an
admission that the strike has been effective.

      That the teachers are right is not disputable. It is evidenced by the
government's own concession that they will be given salary increments,
"never witnessed before".

      Teachers are the lowest paid of the civil service workers. But what
probably riles them most is the differences in approach by the government
when dealing with its workers.

      The government resolved the recent strike by junior doctors through a
written undertaking. However, in the case of the teachers, the government
made an oral undertaking, on the eve of the strike action, clearly
indicating the government was more concerned about averting a strike, than
addressing the causes and seeking a long-term solution.

      This is not the first time teachers have raised concerns over their
low pay. They have also asked the government to intervene and protect their
members from being harassed, threatened and beaten up by ruling party
supporters on suspicion that they support the opposition MDC. But the
government elected to do nothing about it. The result has been the flight of
teachers from most of schools in rural areas.

      The flight of teachers from the rural areas has the same effect as the
strike action - they both leave children without teachers.

      So, why should the government pretend it is concerned about the
situation now when it has stood by as teachers were being driven out of the
rural areas by its supporters and the education of children in those areas
affected since 2000?
      It is contemptuous of the government to behave as if it is only
worried about the education of children in urban areas.

      Must everything be reduced to how many votes it can garner by
appearing to act in the interests of parents and children in urban areas?

      If the urban areas had voted for the opposition, it is fair to
conclude that because of their distrust of the government, they will not
support its action to arrest and assault the teachers' union leaders.

      If the government was serious about resolving the teachers'
grievances, it would have engaged them in dialogue, as it did in the case of
the striking junior doctors, and negotiated an agreement.

      In the absence of a written undertaking, the Minister of Finance is
likely to announce a budget that does not take the teachers' plight into
consideration. That is one of the concerns the teachers have. The other is
just the extent to which this "war Cabinet" can be trusted to keep its word.

      The government did not have to wait for the teachers to strike to act.
It has been aware that it was underpaying the teachers all along.
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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Zimbabwe union leader released

The leader of a Zimbabwean teachers' union has been freed on bail after
reportedly being tortured while in police custody.
Raymond Majongwe appeared in court with a torn shirt, a bloodshot eye and a
limp arm, reports the French news agency, AFP.

His Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has been on strike since
Tuesday, demanding a 100% pay rise.

Official inflation is currently running at 135%, while up to half the
population - six million people - are facing the prospect of starvation,
according to aid agencies.

He was released on bail of 15,000 Zimbabwe dollars (US$273), after the
police had charged him under the controversial new Public Order and Security
Act (POSA).

This makes it an offence for "any person who, acting in concert with one or
more other persons, forcibly invades the rights of other people".

The police accuse Mr Majongwe and other union leaders of visiting schools
and intimidating teachers into following the strike call.

Lowest paid

On Thursday, his lawyer Tererayi Gunje said that Mr Majongwe had been
"seriously injured" according to AFP.

"He has been beaten up and when I saw him yesterday [Wednesday] night he
couldn't sit on his own. I think he has broken ribs and internal bleeding,"
he said.

Mr Majongwe was a senior official of the opposition Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats before forming the PTUZ.

Education, Sport and Culture Minister Aneas Chigwedere has called the strike
illegal, although he last week admitted that teachers in Zimbabwe are the
lowest paid in the Southern African region, reports AFP.

Correspondents say that the strike call has been patchily observed, with
many teachers reporting for work but not teaching.

The strike has been rejected by the larger Zimbabwe National Teachers'

Many opposition activists and two journalists have complained of being
tortured while in police custody as political tensions have risen in recent

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      11 Oct 2002 00:00
      S.Africa pleges Zimbabwe help, US warns of disaster
      By Stella Mapenzauswa

      HARARE (Reuters) - South Africa's Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma pledged her government's support for crisis-stricken Zimbabwe
on Friday as a U.S. aid official warned of a looming food disaster in the

      "The South African foreign affairs minister said her party is there to
assist its neighbour Zimbabwe," state radio reported after a meeting between
Dlamini-Zuma and President Robert Mugabe, which was barred to all
journalists except state media.

      Dlamini-Zuma is on a two-day visit to Zimbabwe to discuss the
country's controversial land reforms, which together with drought has caused
a severe food shortage that is affecting nearly seven million people, or
half the population.

      The food crisis in Zimbabwe and five other southern African countries
due to drought and mismanagement has led to increased exports of maize from
South Africa, helping to drive up the price of the staple in South Africa.

      There were no reports on state media on talks between Dlamini-Zuma and
Mugabe on his seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
blacks, which has disrupted agriculture in Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of
the region.

      But South African officials in Pretoria said Dlamini-Zuma was likely
to have raised the concerns of white South African farmers whose land has
been seized in the reform drive.

      On Friday, U.S. envoy to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation
Tony Hall warned a major food disaster was looming in Zimbabwe and that the
government should take full responsibility.

      "There is no famine here in Zimbabwe -- yet. But there is a major
disaster coming. The government of Zimbabwe bears the responsibility for
what has happened to this once productive country," Hall said in a statement
after a four-day visit.

      "All indicators point to a major catastrophe in the making here and I
am not sure it can be stopped," Hall added in comments carried by the South
African news agency SAPA.


      Mugabe denies his controversial re-election and the land seizures have
led to Zimbabwe's worst political and economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980.

      The Commonwealth union of mostly former British colonies partially
suspended Zimbabwe in March over the presidential poll that the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and several Western countries said
was flawed.

      But a Commonwealth panel of South Africa, Nigeria and Australia failed
last month to agree on tougher action against Zimbabwe.

      South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has been criticised for taking a
soft stance against his northern neighbour. He says he would prefer to
encourage Mugabe to talk to his opponents.

      On Friday, Zimbabwe state radio said Dlamini-Zuma had lashed out at
South African media for its negative portrayal of its northern neighbour.

      "Dr. Dlamini Zuma...told journalists that the South African media is
very negative and has failed to paint a balanced picture of events in
Zimbabwe and South Africa," it reported.

      "(She) also said the South African administration is not blind to
developments in the region and does not take a cue from the opposition

      The radio said the South African minister later left for the southern
province of Masvingo to visit the sugar-producing town of Chiredzi, the
Great Zimbabwe historical ruins and the northwestern resort town of Victoria
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AgriSA slams Mbeki

Cobus Grobler

Somerset West - South African farmers strongly criticised President Thabo
Mbeki and his government about, among other things, the silence on events in
Zimbabwe. There are fears that the appropriation of land may spill over to
South Africa.

Japie Grobler, president of AgriSA, said on the first day of the
organisation's 98th annual congress that he was disappointed Mbeki could not
personally explain the viewpoints on Zimbabwe or clarify these issues
because of other commitments. Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture and Land
Affairs, could also not attend.

It is the first time since AgriSA and government announced a joint strategic
plan for agriculture in South Africa less than a year ago, that organised
agriculture has expressed such strong criticism against government.

Grobler asked farmers to recommit to the plan and said "no dust would
gather" on it. However, he held no punches early in his address when he
argued the case for farmers.

"It is a disservice to South Africa when political and government issues are
not dealt with clearly and directly. Issues such as Zimbabwe must be handled
in a manner that people can understand."

Mbeki must take a stand on "illegal land claims" in Zimbabwe. "It is not
convincing when this assurance is not accompanied by clear public

He said afterwards that the international perception regarding Zimbabwe had
to be rectified. "When the South African government keeps quiet, it also
makes a statement that can be taken the wrong way."

He said the situation has also impacted on the value of the rand, "largely"
because of political uncertainty, not because of the economy or government
policy. He also accused government of other issues.

After more than a year, no progress has been made to reach an agreement on
land reform.

There is reluctance to reach agreement on the problematic legislation
concerning right of abode and labour tenants.

An urgent national law dealing with land invasion should be promulgated to
allay fears.

AgriSA are not being treated equally despite reforms.

Direct food aid should be provided for the poor rather than upsetting macro
economics through price controls.

Trust should not be weakened through thoughtless and hasty black

AgriSA is often involved or consulted in negotiations at too late a stage.

"As a partner, we expect closer and more in advanced cooperation."

Greater national consensus should be reached on how the country's social and
economic vision can be achieved.

South Africa should not sacrifice control over tariff determination, while
strangling or dubious subsidies (such as those by America) should be

Agreement must be reached on how agriculture must assist in poverty
eradication and economic advancement in the African Union and Nepad.
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Extract from a farmer's letter

"Have not had much time for
writing at the moment because I have a house full of refugees and constant
visits and telephone calls from displaced farmers.

Court case was in Beit Bridge and did not go as far as court. The prosecutor
was convinced by the lawyer that there was no case against Sam. He had
merely given orders to his staff over the radio and was not personally

What was he supposed to do? Let the calves whose mothers were forced to be
sent to the abattoir by politicians die a slow death of starvation, like
many other commercial cattle in the country?

The Cawoods have spent their last 37 years breeding their herd of quality
and excellance. Their herd is far superior to any other herd in the district
and it is an unforgivable crime to the industry that these and many other
quality commercial herds are having to be slaughtered out - all because of a
political land policy.


I am disturbed by the lack of news reporting on the dire situation in
Zimbabwe at the moment, and particularly that of the Lowveld. Over 100
established commercial farmers either have been or are about to be thrown
off their farms.

By far the majority are single farm owners who have no other home to go to.
From commercial farmers who invested all they have to produce food in
Zimbabwe, they are instant refugees!!

Particularly the fact that this present spate of evictions began after the
local Mwenezi administrators were summonds to a Land Task Force meeting on
Sunday in Masvingo, and accused of harbouring the whites. They were told
that there were ttt many white farmers in Mwenezi and they were instructed
to instantly remove them. Hence the 2-hour eviction process began.

Nothing in writing from Deputy Commissioner Matanga, or Air Vice-Marshal
Muchena of the Land Task Force. Their hands are clean, and the dastardly
deed is passed on to civil servants who obey their masters purely out of
fear. Also nothing in writing!

As in Sam and Brian Cawoods case, there is no law! The world sits back and
does absolutely nothing whilst Zimbabwe is destroyed by its own government.
The whole world will eventually have to pay for these crimes in the form of
humanitarian aid, for many years to come.

Is that what they want? To shell out millions of dollars to a country every
year to a country with a once vibrant economy which has been systematically
destroyed - by one desperate politician.This money should be used within
their own countries instead of supporting despotic regimes!

What is wrong with the people of Zimbabwe? What is wrong with the SADC
leaders who sit idly by whilst their economies are afected by the backlash?

Even SABC TV is also refusing to accept reports from affected farmers,
saying they are spreading propoganda! Does the truth hurt so much?"
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A fairly accurate & encouraging debate on the whole....if you discount Lord Hughes & one or 2 other irritants. Ends disappointingly with the final paragraph, where Baroness Amos says," Zanu PF must resume inter party dialogue etc....if not Zim faces irreversible economic decline & suffering on a huge scale."    Sigh..........!!!!!             CH.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 12:10 AM
Subject: Extract from Hansard - House of Lords Debate 8/10/02


7.34 p.m.

Baroness Park of Monmouth rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the recent developments in Zimbabwe.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the excellent House of Commons report on Zimbabwe (HC 813) was published just as the House rose for the recess. I hope that it will be fully debated in due course. Meanwhile, I want to review briefly what is happening to what was so recently a thriving economy and a country free of racial tension and, above all, one where the rule of law prevailed. No longer.

The land reform programme is not being implemented just to redistribute land from the rich white farmer to the landless black African, although many of those farmers bought their land legally from the state well after independence as derelict land and then created viable farms employing a number of Africans. It is an exercise in naked power. Two years on, that is the only objective that has been achieved. And at what cost.

On the land, the eviction of the white farmers has meant the eviction also of their African workers. Of 4,000 white-owned farms, a recent survey show, 2,900 have been served with eviction orders. Of those farmers, more than 1,000 owned only one farm. Incidentally, the white farmers owned not 76 per cent but 29 per cent of the arable land. The farms produced 90 per cent of the wheat crop, which this year will be less than half last year's crop, not least because farmers have been prevented from planting or—where they have planted—irrigating, so that thousands of tonnes of wheat will dry out prematurely.

Those 3,000 or so farms employed a total of 350,000 farm workers, each of whom will have been supporting on average five dependants. So this month, as the new settlers established themselves, more than 1.5 million

8 Oct 2002 : Column 208

Africans are being expelled after months of intimidation and violence. The resettlement packages that farmers are required to pay them will not last long because of inflation. All those human beings will be entirely without resources, having lost their homes and their own small plots. There will no longer be a farm school, a clinic—often dealing with HIV—a store and, on some farms, an orphanage for HIV orphans when even their extended family are dead. Whole communities are being destroyed. There is no work for them, since many farms are now wholly given over to settlers farming four or five hectares each or to "fat cat" Ministers who are not farming at all.

The Government promised to resettle farm workers; it has resettled about 1 per cent—those who can prove they supported ZANU-PF. Nothing but homelessness and starvation await the others. The plight of many of those originally resettled from the communal areas on the land seized from commercial farmers after a campaign of intimidation and violence by the so-called "Veterans" has not been much better. As in earlier years, little or nothing will be done to support the resettled farmers to prepare the land, and there is no money for agricultural implements or seed and very few tractors. Many have already been arbitrarily returned to the communal areas, having served their purpose with the war veterans in driving the white owners off their farms. That is because the farm has been given to a Minister or senior party figure. That is what Mugabe means by one man, one farm. In one case, 42 families, having built homes and planted fields, were cleared from a farm subsequently allocated to Air Marshal Shiri, notorious for the Matabeleland massacre in the 1980s. Party figures use the people to intimidate a farmer, get the farm de-listed and the settlers are then instantly returned to the communal land.

Land reform has slashed food production by more than 60 per cent and displaced nearly 2 million people, both former farm workers and new settlers, most of whom will now be landless, unemployed and starving. Education is coming to a grinding halt: the children, many of them on one meal every other day, are too weak to attend school. Their teachers are also starving. Thanks to the incidence of HIV, all too many families are now headed by a child and, with the closure of the farm clinics, the battle against HIV becomes even more difficult. A whole new graveyard has appeared on the road leading out of Harare since last year. The poverty is already such that, as an experienced social worker told me, for the first time she is offered nothing when she enters a house. Hitherto, the poorest of the poor, following their tradition of hospitality, would offer a mug of tea, now not even that.

This is only the beginning of the death of a nation. The tobacco crop, which will soon be negligible, used to bring in 40 per cent of the country's foreign exchange earnings. Another respectable sum came from the sale of beef from the commercial farms to Libya and the EU countries. Once the cattle ranches were invaded by the "Vets", the settlers briefly placed on land that was fit only for grazing and the farmers driven off, that profitable source of income ended.

8 Oct 2002 : Column 209

Before the invasion of the farms, the national herd numbered more than 12.5 million. It is now only 5 million as a result of massive de-stocking following eviction. The land is severely over-grazed now that the communal herd has been brought in, and those cattle suffer from foot and mouth. One farm is already a dustbowl. The damage done to wildlife and the environment is incalculable. The country already faces 60 per cent unemployment, and industry and commerce are losing good workers daily to HIV.

Inflation is at 136 per cent and rising. The country is in straits for foreign currency even to pay harbour dues in Mozambique to release oil and grain deliveries. Sadly, an offer by the UN to set up a hard-cash basket fund from which private companies could borrow to pay for food imports was rejected. It would threaten the government's absolute control over food supply.

According to UNCTAD, foreign direct investment fell from 444 million US dollars in 1998 to 5 million dollars in 2001. Now Mugabe's new target is industry. He has said:

"If companies are not in favour of a partnership with government the state will be compelled to take over the enterprises and transfer their ownership to the indigenous populace".

The confidence of investors must be at an all-time low. Moreover, in Mugabe's desperate negotiation with the Libyans for more oil, he is selling as much of Zimbabwe's industrial—especially mining—tourist and agricultural infrastructure as he can.

Meanwhile, the skilled workers, another important part of Zimbabwe's wealth, are leaving the country in droves. Three hundred social workers have left for the UK. Nurses are being extensively recruited by ourselves, the Australians and the New Zealanders. Who will be left to rebuild the country? I dare to say that there are many, both black and white, who will do so, however dire the circumstances, if the most potent evil of all—the deliberate destruction of the rule of law and human rights—can be reversed. That has done incalculable damage. The government have done their best to attack the judiciary, but so far have been able to do so only in the Supreme Court. The High Court remains both brave and principled and has not hesitated to rule many of the evictions, or cases of interference in elections, illegal.

But the government, although they cannot legally amend the constitution since they lack a two-thirds majority in parliament, are adept at passing new laws to justify illegal acts retrospectively, as in the recent Land Amendment Act. They have produced a new formula for legislation, too. That will give them the right of eviction from any property where the land can be shown to have been in agricultural use at any time in the past 50 years. It will allow them to seize houses with more than five acres of land. Those will of course go to the "Crony Club" and not to the small farmers.

One of the saddest aspects of life in Zimbabwe today is the way in which people have come to accept that the police are no longer there to enforce the law or to protect the innocent. They have been wholly politicised. A magistrate was violently removed from court by war veterans for granting bail to three MDC

8 Oct 2002 : Column 210

supporters accused of burning a tractor. The police took no action. People have given up trying to call the police to protect them or their workers from violence and intimidation. The police are now the "three wise monkeys".

Brave men and women who resist lawlessness and violence can expect no protection from the forces of law and order. "Vets" closed a security firm because they discovered that a security guard there was an MDC candidate in the local election. The firm was made to dismiss him.

Economically and financially, Zimbabwe is in a desperate situation—bankrupt and yet still energetically digging itself deeper into the hole it has created. The government are owed 100 billion US dollars by the Democratic Republic of Congo for military and logistical support. Air Zimbabwe is owed 4 million dollars. The taxpayer has lost all that money. The fat cats, the generals and the Ministers have profited hugely in terms of diamonds and mining concessions channelled through OSLEG—the company known as Operation Sovereign Legitimacy—and Oryx. I ask the Minister what is being done to close the Oryx account in London.

Zimbabwe has been excluded by the IMF and chooses this moment to threaten to take over the industrial infrastructure of the country, having effectively ruined its prosperous agricultural sector and condemned millions of its people to starvation, compounded by HIV. Yet, despite everything, many people, both white and black, still want to stay with their country and bring it back to health. They can do so only if the rule of law is restored, together with human rights. I recognise that the Government are doing all they can behind the scenes to work through SADC countries to achieve that and other objectives. However, they should not be deterred from speaking out through fear of appearing colonialist. It is only Mugabe who professes to think that and who uses it as a convenient weapon. The man in the street in Zimbabwe does not think like that. It would mean a great deal to such people if we were to speak out in the EU, at the UN and, indeed, in the Commonwealth, which has been notably silent.

We need to bring the SADC nations to understand, as I am sure we are trying to do daily, that the whole future of the region depends for good will on what happens in Zimbabwe. But if they argue that Zimbabwe is an African problem where only the African countries may properly intervene, then they must be told very clearly that, until they do so, the economic quid pro quo of NePAD will not operate.

7.45 p.m.

Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, I begin by congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, on taking the opportunity to raise again the important subject of Zimbabwe. In a fast and constantly changing situation, one, if not two, constant themes run through.

The first is that the government of President Mugabe have portrayed Britain's interest in what is happening in Zimbabwe as a post-colonialist attempt

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to protect privileged white farmers, and they have portrayed that as the only thing with which we are concerned. That charge is undoubtedly meeting with some resonance in the region, as witnessed by President Sam Nujoma's rather intemperate remarks at the Earth Summit in an attack on the Prime Minister. I say that not as a defence of the Prime Minister—he has broad enough shoulders to take it—but simply to illustrate the constant drip of the charge that we are interested only in the 600 or so white farm families who have been evicted. That is said to be all that we are interested in, and that message is getting home in the region.

I am as concerned with the 16,000 or 18,000—the figure is hard to come by—families of farm workers and farm managers who have been evicted, as the noble Baroness, Lady Park, mentioned. They are suffering destitution but no one is trying to help them. When discussions continue, as they must, on a rational farm acquisition programme, I hope that the money which the United Nations provides will go to help the farm workers to establish themselves and to ensure that they have a decent chance to farm the land.

We have witnessed too many occasions, in this country and elsewhere, when compensation has been paid but the people who do the work have been left out. For example, when a huge restructuring took place of the British trawling industry, all the compensation money went to the ship owners and the seamen received nothing. We certainly do not want to see a repetition of that in Zimbabwe.

The situation is changing. Perhaps I may be forgiven for saying so, but I was disappointed in the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Park. In it she repeated everything that is bad in Zimbabwe. That, of course, is true, and to some extent it bears repetition. But no attempt was made to discover how to get out of the situation.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting suspended Zimbabwe for 12 months. The "troika" of Nigeria, South Africa and Australia was charged with trying to sort out the situation. Those countries met after six months and said—disappointingly, I believe—that they would have to wait another six months before they took action and before a final judgment was arrived at. They certainly said that the situation was bad and they certainly expressed great disappointment that the discussions on power sharing have ceased.

The report of the "troika" states that relations between the government and the opposition have never been so bad. Certainly, if one reads the speech made by Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare yesterday, one will see that. He speaks about mass exterminations, but I believe that possibly that goes too far. It does no good to exaggerate the situation. We must look for a way forward.

I have been told by what I regard as a reasonably reliable source that a power-sharing agreement was certainly within grasp, if not agreed in any detail. But I understand that agreement was reached on the general

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principle. However, the next day, the MDC went to the courts to have the election annulled. That organisation is perfectly entitled to do that, but ZANU-PF has used that as an excuse to say that there will be no more discussions on power sharing.

In a very brief debate we cannot cover all areas. In his speech yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai called for two things. He called for the intervention of the United Nations under Chapter 7 of the charter, and he called for a transitional executive authority, charged with the responsibility simply to rewrite the constitution. It is perhaps wrong of me to arrive at too hard a judgment, but at first sight that appears to me to be over-exaggerating demands that are not likely to be arrived at.

We have to find some solution because as the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, has said, people in Zimbabwe are starving. The situation is becoming more serious as time goes by. Other noble Lords will mention how the rule of law has totally broken down. We have to encourage the "troika" to act swiftly and to continue to try to reach some kind of an arrangement in which there can be power sharing. I do not like power sharing in principle, but I believe that that is possibly the only way forward.

7.51 p.m.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, does not agree with Morgan Tsvangirai in his suggestion that the UN should intervene under Chapter VII of the charter because of the acknowledged threat that exists to the peace of the region arising from this tyranny. Mr Tsvangirai has always called for a re-run of the presidential election, but I do not believe that that will happen. As the noble Lord says, we have to find some way out of the impasse.

Pressure from outside can help, but there are few ways of applying that without harming the people. We need to get at the generals, the politicians, the police and the CIO while trying to save the masses from the consequences of the dictator's criminal conduct. One approach has been to try to impose travels bans on leading figures of the regime and the EU added to the list in July. But there are gaping holes in these sanctions. The Americans have a wider list than we do, and I suggest that we should pool our names with them and invite others to join in. If they are not members of the EU they can still impose travel bans on a bilateral basis.

Switzerland, I believe, normally follows EU policy but makes exceptions for people attending UN meetings in accordance with a treaty that was signed in 1949. There should be a mechanism for cancelling those exceptions and prohibiting people from travelling to international gatherings whether in Geneva or New York.

Recently one prominent crook, Emmerson Mnangegwa, was to travel to Geneva to attend a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, but cancelled at the last moment because of potential embarrassment on his arrival in Switzerland. The IPU

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council passed a resolution deploring the fact that no reply had been received from Mr Mnangagwa—speaker of the assembly—to their inquiries about seven opposition MPs whose human rights had been violated.

I have mentioned before Mr Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, who is a 62 year-old diabetic and who was deprived of his insulin while in custody so that he almost lost the sight of one eye. Another, Mr David Mpala, was kidnapped and stabbed in the abdomen. His would-be assassins are known, but no investigation has been launched by the police. The noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, pointed out that that occurs widely. The police do not look into attacks on the MDC.

Mr Peter Hain told me that we would draw the previous Inter-Parliamentary Union report to the attention of our partners in the European Union and the Commonwealth. I should be grateful if the Minister would say whether that has been done and whether she will also see that the EU and the Commonwealth have knowledge of the report by the IPU that was published at the end of September.

The travel ban should be extended to all Zanu-PF officials, the war veterans, the people working for the Mugabe stooge media and their spouses. I know that it is difficult to get agreement on that in the General Affairs Council of the European Union, but we should try. We should also tighten up the sanctions on arms and dual-use goods. As the Minister is aware, the regime was able to import armoured Mercedes Benz limousines from Germany for the personal use of the president and his cronies. Amazingly, when the Minister looked into the matter, she told me that the EU common military list, which is used in cases of "full scope" embargoes, does not include armoured limousines. Surely that is a serious gap in the list and we should propose that it be amended.

There is an EU-SADC ministerial conference coming up in Copenhagen in November. When the US had their meeting with SADC recently, they insisted that no representatives from Zimbabwe should be invited. I hope that we shall do the same. The top people in the regime should not be able to evade sanctions by attending multilateral meetings other than by special invitation. We should try to stop up the loopholes.

The Commonwealth has not been effective in bringing about change in Zimbabwe, and the device of the "troika", mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, in particular has been shown up as having no teeth. At their recent meeting they acknowledged that the Secretary-General had been unable to establish a dialogue with the Government of Zimbabwe, and Mugabe had ignored the "troika's" invitation to Abuja, but all they could do was to express regret once and disappointment twice.

At least the Commonwealth should commission an independent study on the crisis of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, so that it has a better appreciation of the facts on which to base its decisions. Such a study would also be useful to

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SADC, which decided not to let Mugabe become deputy chairman in 2003, but as a matter of expediency, and not because of his violations of human rights.

At the CHOGM in March 2002, the Heads of Government reiterated their commitment to democracy, good governance, human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law, all of which are absent in Zimbabwe. But because of the tendency to concentrate exclusively on the land reform issue, there has been a lamentable failure to address those principles which, ironically, are enshrined in the Harare Declaration. It is time the Commonwealth faced up to the gross breaches of its core values, and to proclaim them before the world.

7.55 p.m.

Lord St John of Bletso: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, for again giving us the opportunity to debate the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately the plight of the 12 million Zimbabweans and Robert Mugabe's continuing tyranny have been overshadowed by the media focus on international terrorism, the imminent war against Iraq and numerous financial scandals.

It is probably true that Mr Mugabe does not cause many sleepless nights in Washington or major European capitals. He presents little threat beyond the borders of his small, land-locked and once thriving country. Certainly, as the noble Baroness, Lady Park, mentioned, the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe is not only destabilising the economy of southern Africa, but also endangering the lives of millions of faceless African men, women and children by exacerbating the spread of famine and AIDS.

Despite some international huffing and puffing, and a batch of sanctions here and there, Mugabe is allowed to carry on persecuting his political opponents, torturing prisoners, rigging elections, kicking farmers off their land, throwing farm labourers and their families into poverty, extending his personal wealth and destroying the very country that he fought so hard to liberate.

What can Her Majesty's Government do about it? I fear the answer is not much. We can continue to shake our heads, thunder disapproval from afar and lobby behind the scenes within the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the European Union. We can keep encouraging the MDC opposition; we can hope that a government of national unity will somehow eventually emerge; and we can assist British nationals living in Zimbabwe who want to come here. But Mugabe still sails on.

We must not be indifferent. Britain has an historical obligation to all the people of Zimbabwe. In my humble view, there are four ways in which Her Majesty's Government can respond to recent events. The first, following the recent "troika" meeting in Abuja—already mentioned by the noble Lords, Lord Hughes and Lord Avebury—which sadly reached deadlock, is to support the Australian Prime Minister

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in his endeavours to have Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth. All efforts to promote reconciliation have clearly failed. It is depressing that the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria are not prepared to take a more decisive and affirmative stand. Perhaps they feel that Zimbabwe's expulsion would not help and could effectively take away their opportunity for continued diplomatic pressure on Mugabe.

A second option is to focus aid initiatives, both to relieve famine and to control the spread of HIV, in such a way that the food and medicines are more effectively targeted at the people in need and by-pass Zimbabwean government officials. We need to ensure that tonnes of well-intentioned aid reach those in need and are no longer hijacked and distributed as political favours.

I hesitate to mention the third option because in the current climate it is totally impractical, but, in theory, Britain could push for a strong UN resolution threatening President Mugabe with punitive action if he does not end his rule of terror. We could then have the option of international military force to enforce what is now called a "regime change". I appreciate that military action by Her Majesty's Government could never be an option.

The fourth option appears more realistic. Specifically, that is to put more pressure on the South African Government and SADC to take more decisive action. While our direct influence over Zimbabwe may be greatly diminished in recent years, South Africa continues to wield enormous economic influence over Zimbabwe. Among the many political and economic apron strings between those neighbouring countries, South Africa still supplies bankrupt Zimbabwe with free electricity. The Ian Smith government was effectively brought down when John Vorster—then South Africa's Prime Minister—effectively switched off the lights in Rhodesia. Thirty years on, President Mbeki wields the same capacity to switch off the lights on Robert Mugabe.

I recognise that the South African President finds himself in an invidious position. Whatever anger he might feel about Mugabe's recent conduct, I understand how he does not want his country to be perceived as anti-African, and I appreciate the bonds of liberation solidarity felt by a strong constituency within the ANC. And yet, for President Mbeki, surely there must come a point when enough is enough. When that time comes, and it may not be too far away, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will provide every support to the South African President.

8.1 p.m.

Lord Brennan: My Lords, in the spring of 2001 my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith, then a Back-Bencher, led a delegation of lawyers for the International Bar Association to Zimbabwe. They concluded that the rule of law in that country was in grave peril. A year later, sad to say, it has gone.

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I turn first to the judiciary. On 13th September last, 65 year-old Judge Blackie, who had previously made a decision adverse to a government minister, was arrested at his home at 4 a.m. He was taken to a communal gaol and refused food, medication and access to a lawyer for more than 30 hours. An application for habeas corpus was dismissed out of hand. He was only able to resume liberty four days later, still facing charges which the rest of the world regard as trumped up. Chief Justice Chaskelson of South Africa robustly criticised that state of affairs. It was designed, he said, to humiliate the independent judge and to intimidate any democratically minded judge. That is the judiciary.

Secondly, I turn to democracy. In the past year, attempts to investigate the validity of the latest presidential election and to ensure the validity of the next local government elections have depended upon access to the electoral rolls, which is declared to be available under law. The chief justice of Zimbabwe, or, if not him, one of the senior judges, produced the bizarre if not grotesque interpretation of the word "copy" when access to the electoral rolls was sought by saying that it meant pen and ink, not electronic access. As a result, there is no means reliably to identify the validity of the electoral process by which Mugabe was returned to power.

Thirdly, I turn to individual liberty. Thomas Spicer is 18 years old. He is white, but one of the mistakes in his life was to associate with black democrats. He was recently arrested and his feet were beaten. His genitalia was connected to an electric circuit, the pain of which was so severe that he suffered severe damage as in extreme pain he mangled his tongue in the inner part of his mouth.

The judiciary has lost its independence; democracy is undermined; and individual liberty is ignored. What worse can there be in a regime? Perhaps Mugabe will show us what there is that is worse than I have described. But the result of that state of affairs has now reached the pitch at which not only the Commonwealth and this Government, who are to be commended for all the efforts they have made, but now black Africa must speak.

As the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, has pointed out, the power lies in the hands of President Mbeki. He is probably the most important politician in Africa today. His image of a new economic programme for African development is a new hope. It puts paid to the African syndrome. It requires delicate handling. It makes it difficult for him to condemn people he wants to participate. But the time has come when he must speak and, if necessary, act. Why? Because Param Cumaraswamy, the special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, reached the conclusion about Zimbabwe today that,

"The prevailing lawlessness in the Government is not only a menace to the people of Zimbabwe but if allowed unabated could threaten peace, democracy and the rule of law in the African region".

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Black and white Africans fought for liberty. But, as the famous quotation goes, no man or woman is free until they continue to fight for the freedom of others. Black Africa must speak and must act.

8.7 p.m.

Lord Monson: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for initiating this debate. I thank her also for having gone to enormous trouble in collating for us so much interesting and highly depressing up-to-date information on what is happening in Zimbabwe.

I shall be extremely brief. The question that I shall pose is essentially a rhetorical one. Nevertheless, if the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, happens to have a moment to spare to comment upon it in the course of her reply, I should be extremely grateful.

My question is this: what is the legal and moral difference between forcibly seizing the property of an ethnic minority without compensation and handing it over to selected members of the governing party in Zimbabwe in the year 2002, and doing the same thing to a different ethnic minority in Germany in the mid-1930s? I cannot see much difference, if any.

There is of course a further parallel; namely, the great brutality meted out to dissident members of the governing party's own ethnic groups. A number of noble Lords have already referred to those brave individuals. Let us hope that the similarities end there and that there is no prospect of a repetition—albeit on a much smaller scale—of what happened in Germany subsequent to the mid-1930s. Let us also hope that it goes without saying that there is no repetition of what happened in Matabeleland a mere 19 or 20 years ago.

8.9 p.m.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, for initiating and securing this debate today. I have been wondering what is meant by "the recent developments in Zimbabwe". I take the view that it means what has happened since the presidential election. It seems to me that it is the same but worse.

Several noble Lords have referred to the decline in the role of the judiciary, the problems of land invasions, food and state-sponsored violence. There are two areas that have not yet been mentioned. Only nine days ago there were the local elections in Zimbabwe.

I was struck by the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes of Woodside, about a government of national unity. All that I can say is that the members of the Movement for Democratic Change would have to be incredibly saintly people indeed if they were to contemplate that, bearing in mind that during the elections that took place only nine days ago they were unable to nominate or to campaign, they were subjected to intimidation or they were barred. Rallies have been cancelled by the police; candidates have been attacked; and villages that have had the temerity to vote for the MDC in the past have been burnt down. There is also the question of how the Mugabe regime

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has, since the presidential election, continued to try to diminish the role of the independent media. Only recently, the independent radio station was fire-bombed.

My colleague, my noble friend Lord Hooson, asked me to raise a matter concerning a farm that was mentioned in a letter to him. I accept that there is much more to the problems in Zimbabwe than the farms, but the correspondent writes in relation to someone who was forced to leave that they:

"helped one of the neighbours pack up and leave their home in 48 hours. However, the army and police arrived before the time limit given, burst into their home, raided the liquor cupboard, and then, drunk, proceeded to evict them at gun point. The police were told there was a high court ruling that their eviction was not lawful, but they told these poor people that they were not interested in high court rulings. When it came for the furniture van to leave, these thugs refused to let it go until they had been given a combine harvester."

In that brief paragraph, we have thieving, drunkenness and violence, disobeying even the rather dubious laws and graft.

I was sat at home last week and turned on the television. The only part of the Labour Party conference that I received—I was glad that I received it—was the speech by former President Clinton. It was impressive. To summarise what he said, he extolled the need for and high calling of politics. My question to the Minister is: what are the Government doing to give us comfort and confidence that the high calling of politics is being used to try to influence events in Zimbabwe? What are we doing in the European Union, the United Nations, the South African Development Community and the Commonwealth, where certain action can be taken? Where is the New Partnership for Africa's Development now?

8.13 p.m.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lady Park on securing this vital debate. Her speech reflected in chilling detail the tragedy that is Zimbabwe today. I wish to express from these Benches the horror and outrage that we all feel. There has been strong, united condemnation from the House, and I hope that the Minister associates herself and the Government with it and does so with some conviction. Her Majesty's Government have come in for a good deal of criticism—and rightly so—for their feeble policy of avoiding confrontation with the regime, which comforts and emboldens Mugabe and his thugs.

How much more blatant, state-sponsored violence and terror must be perpetrated before the Government and the international community take any action? What representations have Her Majesty's Government made to the United Nations about the illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe? Is it not now time for the UN, through the Security Council, guided by its Chapter VII powers, to take decisive action? On that point, I tend to disagree with the views of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, to whose views on Zimbabwe I always listen with care. The situation in Zimbabwe is now so serious that decisive action must be taken.

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What steps are the Government taking to ensure that EU targeted measures, such as travel bans, against Zimbabwe are enforced by member states? There must be a rigorous implementation of the ban, with loopholes closed, to show that Europe matches words with actions. Are there any plans to extend sanctions to the families of key officials? At every level the regime must feel the pinch of international isolation.

Augustine Chihuri, commissioner of the Zimbabwe police, is responsible for widespread human rights abuses, including executions, the disappearance of citizens suspected of being opponents of Mugabe, and torture. The noble Lord, Lord Brennan, described in graphic detail the terrible things that happened to Tom Spicer. Those crimes are punishable under international law. Chihuri is also Interpol's vice-president for Africa and makes frequent overseas jaunts. Apparently, Britain did not bother to protest when he flouted the ban to travel to Lyon in August. French authorities say that they gave the Foreign Office notice of his presence, but that Whitehall raised no objection. Why? He will now attend an Interpol conference in January about, of all things, corruption in Hong Kong. He will undoubtedly use his position to prevent discussion of one of the most serious examples of serious police corruption: the corruption over which he personally presides in Zimbabwe.

Can the Minister confirm that her department will communicate to the Home Office, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and all chief constables an expectation that our representatives on Interpol will do all that they can to work against Chihuri's involvement in that conference?

In the light of the human rights abuses and the lawless and ruthless victimisation of any form of opposition to the regime, work has begun on setting up a special court for Zimbabwe, along the lines of those set up in Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Will Her Majesty's Government support such initiatives? The noble Lords, Lord St. John and Lord Brennan, mentioned South Africa's increasingly untenable position on Zimbabwe. I hope that it will not take the rand falling to 20 to the pound to galvanise the South African Government. Can the Minister elaborate on the "constructive engagement" that her Government are apparently having with the South African Government on Zimbabwe?

Finally, what practical steps are the Government taking to support British passport holders fleeing the dangerous conditions in Zimbabwe to seek refuge in the United Kingdom?

8.18 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Park, for opening this debate. Her concern about the situation in Zimbabwe is well known in this House. The contributions of all speakers today demonstrate the deep concern felt in this House about the situation in

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Zimbabwe and the collective frustration felt by all those who consider themselves friends of that country and its people.

The Government's policy on Zimbabwe is straightforward. We want a stable, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. We will support Zimbabwe's people and their democratic aspirations while aiming for the maximum isolation of the Mugabe regime. As I have said many times in this House, Britain's ability to influence events on the ground in an independent country such as Zimbabwe is limited.

I have listened carefully to the comments, criticisms and suggestions that have been made during our numerous debates and discussions. It is significant that proposals that have been made mirror action that the Government are already taking. I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Astor of Hever, who described the Government's policy as feeble. The Members sitting on the Benches opposite have made no concrete suggestions about the way forward. Perhaps, the paucity of ideas reflects the policies that were followed by previous Conservative Governments during the dark days of UDI in what was then Rhodesia.

We have worked to achieve a stable, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe, but Zimbabwe has been destabilised and impoverished by bad governance in recent years. Investor confidence has collapsed, and donor assistance has dried up. The social and economic indicators are depressing: inflation is at 135 per cent; unemployment is over 70 per cent; and currency trading 10 times below its official rate. The country is poorer now than it was at independence. That is something that concerns us all.

Zimbabwe is no longer a truly democratic country. It retains the outward forms, but the Government share the view of the Foreign Affairs Committee that the regime in Harare lacks democratic legitimacy and has lost the moral authority to govern. The international community has responded. The European Union and the United States have imposed targeted sanctions against the regime. Those sanctions have had an impact. Assets have been seized, and the travel ban impedes the regime's ability to operate. The Commonwealth has suspended Zimbabwe from its councils. The more the regime ignores world opinion, the more isolated it will become.

We keep the sanctions under review. Since the travel ban was introduced, 59 more names have been added, including seven that were added on 13th September. However, they are European Union sanctions, and we must work with our EU partners and colleagues in reviewing them.

Questions were asked about the travel ban. I repeat what I have said in the House several times. Only where international treaties legally oblige EU member states to let banned individuals in has that been done. Countries outside the European Union, including the United States, Switzerland and New Zealand, have imposed a travel ban. The noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, asked a specific question about Oryx with respect to assets. I can assure her that we will

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continue to examine ways in which we may seize the assets of those who are on the banned list. We are constantly engaged in that.

I mentioned the isolation of the Mugabe regime. Zimbabwe is beginning to hear the same message from within the region as well. At the Southern African Development Community summit in Luanda last week, it was expected that Mugabe would be chosen as the new SADC vice-chairman. It is automatic that, after a year, the vice-chairman becomes the chairman. In the event, the heads of state chose President Mkapa of Tanzania instead.

I agree with my noble friend Lord Hughes of Woodside and with the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, that ordinary Zimbabweans deserve the support of the international community. Between January and 31st August this year, there were 58 politically motivated deaths in Zimbabwe, including those of 37 MDC members and one white commercial farmer. Over the same period, there were 1,053 recorded cases of torture. The UK Government, with the European Union and the United States, are the biggest providers of emergency food aid to the seven million Zimbabweans now suffering as a result of the region's food crisis. That crisis is essentially man-made. It is more the result of bad policy than of bad weather.

The noble Baroness is right about the impact of the fast-track land reforms. It will take years to reverse the damage done to the Zimbabwean economy, now the worst- performing in Africa. It has shrunk by 23 per cent in the past two years and is likely to contract by a further 10 per cent next year. The crisis has also damaged the economies of neighbouring countries. International investment and tourism have declined. Neighbouring countries have suffered damage to local production and customs revenues from the influx of cheap Zimbabwean goods. There are mounting bad Zimbabwean debts and an increase in largely unskilled Zimbabwean migrants, when their own unemployment levels are already high.

The United Kingdom's contribution to attempts to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe stands at £32 million. It is ironic that, if this country had taken on board the concerns of the international community about land reform, that money could have been better spent. I assure the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, that our aid goes through international organisations, such as the United Nations World Food Programme, and NG0s. The level of our support will be determined on the basis of need, not political affiliation.

I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, that Zimbabwe's future prosperity depends on the re-establishment of the rule of law and an end to political violence. There may still be independent judges in Zimbabwe, but, as my noble friend Lord Brennan said, there is no independent judiciary and no rule of law.

The noble Lord, Lord Monson, raised the issue of ethnicity and the treatment, in particular, of white farmers. State-sponsored political violence and harassment has destroyed the country's democratic

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structures. Over 200 people—mostly black opposition supporters—have been murdered since 2000. Thousands have been tortured, raped, harassed and beaten. The independent media have been systematically targeted. There is a serious risk that Zimbabwe's economic, social and political institutions may soon move beyond the point of no return. We must be clear: prosperity and stability will not return until the rule of law is restored. The situation has an impact on the life of all Zimbabweans. It is not about ethnicity: that is a smokescreen.

There is also the important issue of land reform. The United Kingdom Government accept, and have always accepted, that land reform is essential to Zimbabwe's development. We have contributed to it. However, we have never accepted that the solution is to hand over large sums of money to the Zimbabwe Government on an unconditional and unsustainable basis. We did not agree that at Lancaster House in 1980, and we will not do so in future. We have said that we will support a land reform process that is transparent, fair and legal, as part of a wider strategy to reduce poverty. I assure my noble friend Lord Hughes of Woodside that we hope to resume support for long-term development programmes in Zimbabwe. However, that will be possible only when the needs and concerns of all stakeholders are fully addressed. The programmes must be based on the rule of law and on sensible economics and are carried out by democratic governments. None of those conditions is in place.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, asked several specific questions. We have been proactive in ensuring that the Inter-Parliamentary Union report on Zimbabwe has been brought to the attention of our EU partners. I assure the House that the report was on the agenda at last week's meeting of the General Affairs Council and at the previous meeting in July.

With respect to the EU-SADC meeting, we oppose the waiving of the travel bans so that ZANU-PF members can visit the EU. Our EU partners know our views. The issue is being discussed by senior officials. SADC has offered a meeting in Maputo as an alternative to Copenhagen, and most EU partners support that.

As far as I am aware, the armoured Mercedes Benz vehicles are not dual use vehicles. That is to say that they do not have a military use, which is why they were not on the list.

The future of Zimbabwe must be decided by the will of the people, freely expressed. Zimbabwe's people must be allowed a free and fair election, in the presence of impartial international observers. The noble Lord, Lord Shutt, mentioned the recent local elections. The rural district council elections on September 28th and 29th demonstrated the lack of democratic accountability in Zimbabwe. The election was a complete sham. Through a process of intimidation and bureaucratic obstruction, ZANU PF prevented the opposition MDC from fielding candidates in half the wards. During the campaign MDC supporters were killed. Others were intimidated. ZANU PF used food to bribe voters.

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The noble Baroness, Lady Park, said that the Government should not be deterred from speaking out. We have not been. We have made our views known to our partners in SADC, the European Union and the Commonwealth countries and we shall continue to do so. But I agree with my noble friend Lord Hughes that we need to find a solution. I recognise the important role that South Africa can play—a point made by the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso. We are in constant discussion with our South African partners.

The noble Lord, Lord Shutt, raised NePAD. The G8 has discussed this issue in conjunction with our NePAD partners. We are all aware that Zimbabwe casts a shadow over the NePAD process. We do not want to hold an entire continent hostage to the behaviour of one country, but we will have to continue our discussions within the context of NePAD.

The Government believe that the only solution to the impasse in Zimbabwe is for ZANU PF to resume the Nigerian/South African brokered inter-party dialogue: to demonstrate a readiness to work for genuine national reconciliation; to stop violence and intimidation; and to co-operate fully with the UN on humanitarian aid. If these are genuinely implemented, Zimbabwe might—I emphasise that word—weather its humanitarian crisis. If not, Zimbabwe faces irreversible economic decline and suffering on a huge scale. That is something we do not want to see perpetuated, but the reality is that if this action is not taken, that will be the result.

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until 8.35 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 8.33 to 8.35 p.m.]

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Daily News

      Man wins the right to fight law on citizenship

      10/11/02 8:40:45 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      IN a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court yesterday granted Leslie
Levente Petho, a Harare computer technician of Hungarian descent, the right
to represent thousands of Zimbabweans in a test case against the Citizenship
Amendment Act.

      The Supreme Court reversed Justice Nicholas Ndou's ruling in the High
Court that Petho was not the right person to institute the class action.

      Petho wants the government to recognise and protect as Zimbabweans,
all citizens in his class, to renew their passports upon expiry and to meet
the costs of the lawsuit.

      Justices Wilson Sandura, Elizabeth Gwaunza and Misheck Cheda said Ndou
had "misdirected himself and erred".

      Ndou ruled that while Petho fell in the class of potential holders of
dual citizenship, he was not a suitable person to represent the class.

      "Accordingly, having accepted that the class of persons existed and
that a class action was appropriate, the learned judge should have directed
the appellant on the best way of notifying as many members of the class as
possible about the proposed class action," the Supreme Court judges said.

      The judges said even if Petho was not suitable to represent the
people, among them farm workers mostly of Malawian, Mozambican and Zambian
descent, that would not have justified the dismissal of his application.

      The judges said, even then, the High Court judge should have appointed
another suitable person to represent the class.

      The Supreme Court allowed the appeal with costs and said the Registrar
General of Citizenship, cited by Petho as the second respondent, should meet
the costs of the appeal.
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