|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
President Robert Mugabe's government has launched a new wave of
seizures targeted at white-owned land in Zimbabwe's urban areas, in
violation of his own controversial private property confiscation laws.
A government programme codenamed Operation Clean Sweep is reportedly
underway despite statements by President Mugabe that his land seizures ended
There has been no official confirmation of Operation Clean Sweep but an
analysis of new lists of properties published in recent days by the state
press show that vast swaths of land in or near urban areas have been
earmarked for compulsory seizure.
In a notice published in recent days by the state-owned Herald newspaper,
the permanent secretary for Local Government and National Housing, Vincent
Hungwe, announced: "The Government has identified a number of peri-urban
farms around major cities and towns of Zimbabwe for immediate acquisition to
accommodate urban expansion.
"The identified farms will be acquired in terms of the law and held as state
The government has claimed it needs land for low-cost housing and other
urban expansion projects. But opponents say the real aim is to consolidate
illegal housing developments by so-called "war veterans" on private land in
The first such urban seizure was the 330 hectares Carrick Creagh Estate
owned by the Newmarch family in the affluent Borrowdale suburb of Harare.
Invaded two years ago by war veterans, the prime residential land has since
been sold off in plots as part of the "Sally Mugabe Heights" housing scheme.
The Newmarch family obtained a court order to halt the developments but the
authorities have ignored it.
The Zimbabwe government has mostly completed its land seizure programme in
farming areas outside city boundaries as set out in the Land Acquisition
Act. Prime farms have since been confiscated by President Mugabe's cronies,
forcing the Zimbabwe leader to set up an inquiry to establish the extent of
abuse of the land reform programme by his own supporters.
Mr Mugabe has since ordered his supporters, some of whom had reportedly
grabbed as many as five farms each, to surrender land and keep only one farm
each. But many have registered the farms in the names of relatives.
Landowners - who asked not to be named for fear of retribution - said there
was no law which allowed the government to seize urban land without paying
One man whose estate has been designated for seizure said he was being
pushed off his land to make way for a housing co-operative run by ruling
party supporters who had illegally occupied his farm and partitioned it into
residential plots for sale.
"The simple point is that there is no respect for property rights in this
country. There is no respect for any form of tenure and you can be told you
are no longer the owner of your property any time this suits the regime,"
said the farmer.
"It should surprise no one if this government starts seizing all white-owned
houses one of these fine days."
Farming organisations in Zimbabwe say only about 400 farmers have been left
on their properties out of an initial 4,500 before violent land seizures
began in 2000. But the new wave of land seizures could push remaining
private owners out. What baffles many farmers is that the land seizures have
continued despite President Mugabe's announcement last year that they had
The economic collapse in Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa,
has been blamed on the land seizure programme.
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwe's succession struggle coming to a head
Tuesday September 30, 2003 06:56 - (SA)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's succession struggle is intensifying
ahead of the ruling Zanu (PF)'s annual conference in Masvingo in December.
The escalating battle to take over from Mugabe has been fuelled by the
recent death of vicepresident Simon Muzenda.
Muzenda was Mugabe's buffer against ambitious lieutenants. His death has
left Mugabe exposed to clandestine succession machinations by the ruling
party's outspoken youth.
Mugabe's predicament over Muzenda's replacement is that the current party
succession policy indicates that Zanu (PF) chairman John Nkomo is the next
But in terms of the present Zanu (PF) hierarchy, Nkomo cannot be promoted
because the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu (PF) and PF Zapu dictates that a
member from the old Zanu should step in.
The unity agreement was designed to achieve an ethnic balance between the
country's main tribes, the Shona and Ndebele.
The remaining vice-president, Joseph Msika, is a former Zapu deputy leader
to Mugabe's other late vice-president, Joshua Nkomo, and represents
Ndebeles. Promoting Nkomo would topple this ethnic order.
Zanu (PF) introduced tribal checks and balances following government's
campaign against purported Zapu rebels in Matabeleland between 1982 and 1987
in which more than 20000 minority Ndebeles were massacred by Mugabe's troops
in what was seen as ethnic cleansing.
At the same time, promoting Zanu (PF) secretary for administration Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who is the next in line from the old Zanu pack and a Shona by
tribal origin, could also destabilise the ruling party power structure.
It will upset the party's delicate pecking order because it means Mnangagwa
would forthwith become Nkomo's senior. Nkomo defeated Mnangagwa in the race
for the chairmanship during the party's congress in 1999.
Mnangagwa was saved from political redundancy by Mugabe after his defeat in
the 2000 parliamentary election by an opposition Movement for Democratic
Change candidate. He was imposed on parliament as speaker by Mugabe and in
his current party position.
Zanu (PF)'s succession struggle has of late been revolving around a
controversial committee appointed to look into Mugabe's raging takeover
Zanu (PF) heavyweights are said to be quarrelling over the committee which
some fear is now being used to further personal political agendas in the
heightening power struggle.
Nkomo said at the weekend that the committee had been dissolved because it
was causing divisions in the party.
The Zanu (PF) chairman said yesterday that Mugabe's successor would be
elected by all party members and not imposed as widely feared.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth foreign ministers said Zimbabwe remained suspended
from the 54-member club until the summit in December where its status would
This declaration flies in the face of President Thabo Mbeki's recent claim
in Parliament that Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth expired in
The Commonwealth ministers, who met in New York, agreed that Harare was
still banned from the club of mostly former British colonies for electoral
fraud and it had little chance of rejoining the grouping soon.
Instead, Pakistan, also suspended for lack of democracy and human rights
abuses, had a better opportunity to bounce back earlier than Zimbabwe, the
The eight foreign ministers who comprise the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group are from Botswana, Malta, India, Bangladesh, the Bahamas, Samoa,
Nigeria and Australia. All had been attending the United Nations General
Assembly session in New York.
Mbeki to look into Zim paper
29/09/2003 21:41 - (SA)
Cape Town - The South African government has
agreed to talk to Zimbabwe
about the closing down of the country's only independent daily newspaper,
This comes after a meeting between government, the South African National
Editors' Forum (Sanef) and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) on
Sanef expressed concerns over press freedom in Zimbabwe after the Daily News
was told to shut down its operation under the country's strict media laws.
The organisation is also concerned about the arrest of journalists and
threats against Misa members in Zimbabwe. Sanef asked the South African
government to use its influence to stop such actions against the media.
Sanef also asked government to insist that Zimbabwe change its media
legislation as promised to President Thabo Mbeki earlier this year.
The organisation said the South African government reiterated its support
for freedom of the press and acknowledged the role of the media to find
solutions for the socio-economic problems in Zimbabwe.
Ronnie Mamoepa, government spokesperson, confirmed that they would approach
Zimbabwe on these issues.
Unleaded petrol now available at filling stations
UNLEADED petrol is now available at several filling stations in Harare at
between $2 200 and $2 600 a litre following an approval of the new prices by
But there was no leaded petrol that is commonly used by most motorists at
the service stations as the oil companies were still waiting for a response
from the Government on their proposals for higher prices.
Several motorists yesterday welcomed the availability of unleaded petrol
saying it would help alleviate the fuel shortages.
"This is better than nothing," said Mr Brian Mutopa of Sunningdale.
"As long as we are assured we will be able to fill our tanks and move from
point to point we welcome the move."
Other motorists urged the Government and private oil companies to quickly
come up with new prices of leaded petrol and diesel if that would make the
They said they were prepared to buy the commodities at higher prices as long
as they were assured of their availability.
"It is better for the petrol to be available even if it means at a much
higher price," said one motorist.
"What we want is to have petrol in the country that will assure us of having
something in our tanks."
The Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Justin Mupamhanga said the
oil companies had informed the Government about the new prices of unleaded
"We said fine to the price of unleaded petrol," he said.
"They came to us with figures and informed us, but for leaded petrol and
diesel they have to justify the need to increase the prices."
Mr Mupamhanga said the importation of unleaded petrol alone by the oil
companies because it had a higher price was abusing the privilege to import
fuel following the deregulation of the industry.
"If they want to play it fair and square, they also have to import leaded
petrol and diesel because they are the ones who proposed prices the
commodities are being sold at," he said.
The deregulation of the oil industry last month resulted in a two-tier
pricing system for fuel meant to cushion the travelling pubic and to support
farmers through making fuel available at affordable prices.
Under the new system that ended Noczim’s monopoly in importing fuel, oil
companies undertook to sell leaded petrol at $1 170 a litre with diesel
going at $1 060 a litre.
Noczim would continue to supply the Government, parastatals and public
transport operators at the old prices of $450 a litre for petrol and $200 a
litre for diesel.
No price was set for unleaded petrol.
Chairman of the Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe Mr Masimba
Kambarami said they would bring in more unleaded petrol following the
approval of the new price.
"Our philosophy is that it is the price that determines the importation of
fuel," he said.
War vets congress set for November
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) congress
originally set for early this year is now set for November in Mutare.
The congress has been postponed several times owing to financial problems.
ZNLWVA acting chairman Cde Patrick Nyaruwata yesterday said the association
had managed to secure money from Zanu-PF and the business community.
He said $70 million was now needed to host the congress.
The funds would be used for transport, food and accommodation for delegates.
The association had originally budgeted $54 million but this had risen owing
to the rising cost of living. Cde Nyaruwata said the association’s provinces
and districts would next week begin a restructuring exercise to flush out
impostors and revitalise the body’s organs.
He said it had come to the association’s attention that there were a lot of
impostors within the association’s structures.
"Real war veterans are those who received military training between 15
February 1962 and 15 February 1980," he said.
"The time has come to cleanse the house of fakes. Those who lied before
should give way for real war veterans".
Members of the national executive would supervise the elections.
Cde Nyaruwata said at least 600 delegates would attend the November
The congress would elect a new leadership for the war veterans.
Cde Nyaruwata said he would give a report detailing the work of his
He said his executive had succeeded in improving the welfare of war veterans
through the payment of $50 000 gratuities and pensions.
The war veterans have also been accorded a 20 percent share on any piece of
land earmarked for redistribution and Government is paying school fees for
Cde Nyaruwata said district administrators, provincial administrators and
provincial governors should ensure that all war veterans in need of land
were allocated the resource before the end of October.
The association’s last congress was held in August 1998 in Umzingwane in
Matebeleland South Province.
The congress then elected the late national hero Cde Chenjerai Hunzvi as
When he died, his deputy Cde Nyaruwata was appointed acting chairman, a
position he still holds.
Extracts From Statement
“The closure of the Daily News is a political act. It has nothing to do with the law. The newspaper informed the world of the vicious government crackdown on the opposition before, during and after the election and exposed the electoral fraud of June 2000 and the Presidential election in March 2002.”
forced shutting down of the Daily News has a lot to do with the desire to smash
“We believe the Supreme Court made a serious error when it refused to hear the arguments of the newspaper in its contest with the need to register under the Access to Information and Protection to Privacy Act (AIPPA). The refusal to hear the complainant’s case strengthened perceptions and reservations on the independence of the judiciary at a time when the people rely on that arm of society as the remaining protector of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
fear is that this latest assault on democracy in
THE CLOSURE OF THE DAILY NEWS WAS A POLITICAL ACT
month, the Mugabe government closed down the Daily
News, the only alternative voice in the form of a daily newspaper in
public media lost all credibility a long time ago and degenerated into a
fully-fledged propaganda machine of
formation of the M
You will recall
that the newspaper was never allowed to circulate freely in small towns and in
the rural areas. You will recall television pictures of so-called war veterans
burning copies of the newspaper in Mutoko, Rusape, Shamva and other centres.
The company’s property was being destroyed in the full view of the police. We,
in the M
In April 2000,
Almost a year
later, in January 2001, the newspaper’s printing press was blown up in
Almost all members of the company’s board of directors and its editorial staff face different charges arising from their association with that newspaper. Staff at the newspaper were constantly harassed, arrested and brutalised on untested allegations as part of a brutal campaign to muzzle the newspaper.
The Daily News
represented a key addition to the range of voices calling for change in
May I make
clear that we do not own the Daily News; nor do we determine its editorial agenda. Our interest in the newspaper is very clear. We feel
hurt by the government’s continued onslaught on the democratic space. We are
concerned about the shrinking avenues for Zimbabweans to express themselves. Our
concern is the rising democratic deficit in
shutting down of the Daily News has a lot to do with the desire to smash the
We believe the Supreme Court made a serious error when it refused to hear the arguments of the newspaper in its contest with the need to register under the Access to Information and Protection to Privacy Act (AIPPA). The refusal to hear the complainant’s case strengthened perceptions and reservations on the independence of the judiciary at a time when the people rely on that arm of society as the remaining protector of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As an independent nation, we are bound by international instruments that require us to respect minimum standards necessary for promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression. Our Constitution is clear on the right to receive and impart information freely.
AIPPA was enacted specifically for the Daily News after all other attempts to squeeze the newspaper out had failed. First it was war veterans and hired Zanu PF officials who confiscated the newspaper, burning and tearing up copies on a daily basis. They beat up readers in the rural areas. They harassed vendors. Reporters were denied access to government information and to government buildings. Local investors were intimidated and editors were arrested.
AIPPA is an
unjust law. It was fast-tracked through Parliament primarily to sabotage the
right to freedom of expression and suffocate the free exchange of ideas and
information. AIPPA, together with the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Broadcasting Services Act, the
Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA), among many
other pieces of repressive laws, form the bedrock of legislative repression in
The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) and the Daily News challenged AIPPA before the same Supreme Court on the grounds that it infringed the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. The IJAZ challenge was heard 12 months ago and no judgement has been made to date. The delay has never been explained; nor has the nation been informed of why no decision has been made after such a long time.
Within a short space of AIPPA life, three foreign journalists were deported and dozens of local journalists, all from the private media, were arrested. None were convicted.
We say the law was promulgated with the intention of curtailing media freedom as expressed by private citizens because no journalist from the state media has ever been harassed or arrested under the provisions of AIPPA.
We believe the rights of Zimbabweans are under siege. Repression is set to increase as long as the Daily News remains silenced. Nearly every issue of the Daily News carried reports of the state abuses. Without that regular exposure, the state may step up its brutal campaign because the government owns all the other dailies and they do not criticise the regime or expose its violence. Without the Daily News the future is bleak indeed.
It is for this reason that we believe pressure must be brought to bear on this government to re-open the democratic space and allow Zimbabweans to enjoy generic freedoms that make it possible for them to make informed decisions necessary in a free society.
The Daily News provided us with a vital channel through which to communicate with the people on a daily basis. We are denied access to the public media, which is simply a mouthpiece for Zanu PF and an outlet for their deception, lies and propaganda. Closing down independent papers will not conceal the criminal failings of this regime. People experience these failings on a daily basis: in the queues for food, in the queues for cash and in the queues for fuel. They know who is to blame.
Our fear is
that this latest assault on democracy in
setback, the people of
Zanu PF ministers attempted to
exploit the M
If Zanu PF is serious about the need to break the current
political impasse and allow the people to set up a functioning democracy, then
that party needs to add some substance to its rhetoric. People are not fools.
They know that
We urge Zanu PF to put the people first and discharge their basic
duties by disbanding the youth militias, ending state sponsored violence and
ensuring that everyone receives equal protection under the rule of law. We urge
them to commit themselves to a process of dialogue for a long-term resolution of
the problems currently facing us. As we have said before, only through a free
and fair election, held according to SA
We are ready to
engage Zanu PF in meaningful dialogue. Our victory in
urban elections shows that we are no longer a mere opposition party. We are
governing the country. We determine the agenda for
The key to
whole saga rests with the leaders of Zanu PF and the
The Commonwealth then imposed certain measures to bring back the regime into line. The regime has remained adamant. The regime has taken no steps to address the issues raised by the international community. Such actions have forced the Commonwealth to maintain its position because there has been no significant shift in the regime’s actions. The CHOGM position must be enforced until there is meaningful change in the behaviour of the regime.
I thank you.
leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
denied media speculation that he and the ruling Zanu-PF party are close to a
deal on constitutional reform. Mr. Tsvangirai says the two sides are not
even talking to each other. Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai says news reports that his party and President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party have agreed on changes to Zimbabwe's constitution are grossly
exaggerated. In fact, he said, the two sides are not even negotiating.
He specifically contradicted South Africa's President Mbeki who has said
that, "the Zimbabweans are talking" and there would be an agreement in the
country by the end of the year.
But he said President Mbeki's help would be welcome. "I hope that President
Mbeki will continue to use his influence to achieve that objective and we
would like to work with him in making sure that the formal talks are resumed
and that there is an agreement by the target date he has set," he said.
Mr. Tsvangirai added that, despite President Mugabe's conciliatory remarks
toward the opposition MDC at Vice-President Muzenda's funeral earlier this
month "democratic space is being closed to the MDC."
He also condemned the closure of the country's only independent daily
newspaper, the Daily News, by Mr. Mugabe's government and said his party
would launch a campaign to get the newspaper back on the newsstands.
Zimbabwe oposition calls for pressure on Mugabe
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Sept. 30 — Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Tuesday
urged African leaders to step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe over
the country's deepening crisis, saying the economy was on the brink of
Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, which government critics blame on state mismanagement
and Mugabe's controversial policies, including the seizures of white-owned
farms for black resettlement.
''The country is on the brink of collapse economically, socially and
politically...it is affecting the whole region,'' Tsvangirai, head of the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told a news conference
''It is incumbent upon all the regional leaders to understand that as
long as Mugabe believes that he has the blind support of the regional
leaders he will continue to be intransigent, adamant to any course of
reason,'' he added.
Talks between the ruling ZANU-PF party and MDC on rescuing the
economy collapsed a year ago after Tsvangirai filed a court challenge
against the veteran leader's controversial re-election in a poll condemned
by Western powers as fraudulent.
Since then, the two sides have only held informal meetings.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe was only paying lip service to the talks.
''We have submitted our agenda, they have not. They are stalling so
we are not seeing that commitment,'' Tsvangirai said.
ZANU-PF says while it is committed to political talks with the
opposition, it wants to thrash out what the talks are meant to achieve
before getting engaged in any formal negotiations.
Tsvangirai said South African President Thabo Mbeki -- pilloried by
critics over his quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe -- had power to nudge Mugabe
back into talks with the MDC.
''I say he has leverage because he has been appointed the point-man
to the crisis,'' he said referring to Mbeki, whom U.S. President George W.
Bush called the point-man on the Zimbabwe crisis during an African tour
early this year.
MDC officials had recently visited and been received by the
presidents of Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique to explain the Zimbabwe
crisis, and would continue this diplomatic offensive, he said.
Tsvangirai also condemned the government's closure of the country's
only private daily, the Daily News, after a court ruled that it was
operating illegally, calling it an attack on democratic institutions.
St Petersburg Times, Florida
Tyranny wins again in Zimbabwe
A Times Editorial
Published September 30, 2003
The closing of the Daily News of Zimbabwe is just the latest outrage
President Robert Mugabe has inflicted on his struggling country. The Daily
News was Zimbabwe's last independent daily newspaper and its largest, with
932,000 readers. It had been a lonely critical voice in a nation where all
other major news outlets are under the control of government. It was closed
after new media laws effectively made its continued publication contingent
on government whim.
Stamping out opposition by passing undemocratic laws or unleashing strongmen
and thugs has been Mugabe's playbook for remaining in power. Before the
Daily News was shut down by the Media and Information Commission that used
trumped-up reasons for refusing to grant the newspaper a license to operate,
the newspaper's offices had been bombed twice and its editors and reporters
had been beaten. Now that it is closed, seemingly for good, one of the
nation's last vestiges of freedom has been stamped out.
Tyranny has won out again in a country that was once a bright spot on the
During Mugabe's 23 years as president, this increasingly paranoid and
malevolent man has led Zimbabwe to societal and economic ruin. When he took
the reins of government, it was a relatively prosperous food-exporting
nation. But Mugabe's policy of violently ejecting 3,000 white farmers from
their land and handing over the prime soil to political cronies has turned a
country once known as the breadbasket of Africa into a basket case.
Dwindling food supplies don't come close to sustaining the nation's
12-million people. Reports are that citizens in the more remote areas are
dying of starvation.
There is convincing evidence that Mugabe stole the last presidential
election, and his leading opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, is now being
prosecuted for treason. In an effort to change this miserable course, the
world has isolated Mugabe. But African leaders and South African President
Thabo Mbeki in particular - people who may exert real leverage over Mugabe -
have not done enough. Mbeki has suggested that a whisper in the ear is more
effective than a shout, but subtlety apparently isn't getting the job done.
Zimbabweans are streaming across the border into South Africa, straining its
economy and government services. Mugabe is bringing the entire region down
with him, and someone should be screaming about it.
Zim: More journos charged
30/09/2003 18:04 - (SA)
Harare - Seven journalists from Zimbabwe's only independent
shut down by authorities 18 days ago, were Tuesday charged by police for
practising without licences, the newspaper's lawyer said.
They are the second batch out of some 45 journalists employed by the Daily
News whom police want to question over their association with the paper. The
first group of nine were charged on Thursday.
"They gave statements and police will proceed by way of summons," said the
Daily News's legal director, Gugulethu Moyo.
The reporters and five of the paper's executives have been handed down
charges, all related to the major official complaint against the newspaper -
that it was operating without a licence.
The Daily News was highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government,
and the opposition has called the affair a politically-motivated attack
intended to silence the independent press.
"The closure of the newspaper merely extends the democratic deficit in this
country and creates an enviromnent of intolerance and fear," said opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The country's strict press laws compel all journalists to register with the
government's Media and Information Commission (MIC).
Most of the paper's journalists had applied for accreditation last year, but
the MIC had refused to process their applications on the grounds that their
employer had not sought an operating licence.
Eyewitness: Zimbabwe's endless queues
Harare sales representative Michael Stiee tells BBC News Online about
all the queues he has to endure as Zimbabwe grapples with shortages of
banknotes, petrol and food.
"At the moment, the worst queues are for petrol. You never know when
the deliveries will be made, so sometimes I just queue up outside a petrol
station in the hope that a tanker will turn up before too long.
Yesterday it was really hot and the queue I was in
was about one
Whilst in the queue I decided to buy lunch and a couple of beers just
to ease my mind from the boredom and stress of waiting for hours under the
The delivery only came in the late hours of the day, but only with
5,000 litres, which served only 80 cars.
I regretted spending some of the money I had, because I could only
afford 15 litres of the precious liquid and that will only last me a couple
of days - and then back again to the queues.
The situation for banknotes is slightly better since the government
introduced travellers' cheques, bearer cheques and the new 500 Zimbabwe
Now, I just have to wait for an average of 30 minutes to withdraw cash
from my bank, instead of the several hours it took a few weeks ago.
dispensing machines have not worked for ages.
My bank has increased the amount we are allowed to withdraw in a
single transaction to Z$50,000, up from Z$30,000.
But this still does not go very far when a loaf of bread costs Z$1,000
and a bottle of beer Z$2,000.
So I have to go back to the bank and queue again every couple of days.
Officially, US$1 buys Z$800, but on the black market it fetches up to
The situation is made worse by technical problems.
I do have a debit card, so I should be able to go shopping even if I
do not have any hard cash, but the swipe machines in shops are often out of
Last week, I was so desperate for money that I had to resort to the
I phoned up someone I knew who had lots of cash.
This helped me out of a hole but he charged an extra 20%.
A few months ago, we had to queue for everyday foods like bread, sugar
But prices have now gone up so much that most people can no longer
This means the queues have disappeared, as long as you have the money
to buy what is on the shelves.
I hope things will improve soon before we give up on our beloved
Even the critically ill are turned away due to food shortages
BULAWAYO, 30 Sep 2003 (IRIN) - The announcement this week by
Shangani Hospital in Matabeleland South that it would no longer admit patients,
because it ran out of food a fortnight ago, is further evidence of Zimbabwe's
deepening economic and humanitarian crises.
The hospital, situated in a former commercial farming area, serves an estimated 12,500 newly resettled families. A senior hospital official, who refused to be named, said the hospital had not been able to admit patients because the institution ran out of staple maize meal and other foods two weeks ago.
"We have not been able to admit any patients, even the critically ill and pregnant women, because of the worsening food situation. The word we got from the district administrator in Filabusi [about 80 km southeast of the country's second city, Bulawayo,] is that there is no grain at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot. So we have been forced to turn our patients back to their homes or refer them to hospitals in Bulawayo and Gweru [the provincial capital]," the official told IRIN.
The district administrator is also the chairman of the district food taskforce, a body charged with ensuring steady and adequate food supplies to government institutions like hospitals, prisons, orphanages and boarding schools.
Operations at the hospital had been previously compromised as it has "been operating without an ambulance for almost two years now, so we are unable to attend to critical cases that occur in the remote parts of the district," the official added.
Dumisani Ncube, the Matabeleland South province administrator and provincial food taskforce chairman, described the state of affairs at Shangani hospital as "appalling".
"I have been told about the precarious food situation in Shangani. I can confirm that the hospital has been without food for the past two weeks now. However, I have no further details because I am yet to receive a full report from food taskforce members who went there to study the situation and make recommendations. However, since this is an emergency, we will dispatch food to the hospital while we find out why the situation was allowed to become this bad," said Ncube.
He added it was government policy that all hospitals, prisons, orphanages and other caregiving institutions were classified as priority areas in terms of access to food supplied by the GMB. "I am actually surprised that the hospital has been without food for two weeks when we have people on the ground, in addition to hospital management. We will have to launch a full investigation into this," he said.
Meanwhile, the Bulawayo City Council's directorate of health services announced this week that 20 health clinics, as well as a referral hospital it runs, had been severely affected by the exodus of qualified health staff.
The director of health services, Rita Dlodlo, told IRIN the institutions were operating with only half the required staff complement. As staff continue to leave for greener pastures in South Africa, Botswana, Europe and the Americas.
"The situation at council clinics is critical, as the health department is badly understaffed. The calibre of staff leaving includes nurses, health directors, pharmacists and other specialists, who are very difficult to replace because of the national problem of brain drain. We are operating with only 50 percent of ideal staff complement because of that," said Dlodlo.
She reported that a total of 90 staffers had resigned from council services, while 14 retired and some simply absconded between January and September.
The city council operates 19 clinics and one referral hospital, which specialises in life-threatening illnesses like tuberculosis. The brain drain affecting the council clinics may make access to health services more difficult for the majority of the city's residents, who have often relied on the more affordable medical service rates charged by the council.
The health sector in Zimbabwe has been hardest hit by the country's economic meltdown. Which has resulted in a failure to retain staff because of low rates of pay and a lack of basic medical equipment, due to breakdowns and foreign currency shortages.
The crash occurred 72 km
south-west of Harare when a car tried to overtake a
bus, police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said.
Instead it collided with a truck coming in the opposite direction. The truck
then swerved and rammed the bus.
Several other passengers on the bus were injured.
Zimbabwe's roads, like those in many countries in southern Africa, are
becoming more and more dangerous.
A major road accident now takes place in the region almost every month.
The East African
Who's Reading My Mail?
Everybody, it Seems!
By WAIRAGALA WAKABI
Should your employer have the password to your e-mail, in which case they
would become like Big Brother, watching all you write – including that
naughty little note thanking your workmate for making your weekend?
Hardly anybody would be comfortable with that, as it seems such a gross
invasion of the employee’s privacy. The fact is, however, that quite often
when an employee uses a company e-mail address, the IT department and the
office administrator have the password to that account. Actually, in many
cases they assign the password – and often read – the employees’ e-mails.
The logic? The company has the password because that account belongs to the
company rather than to the individual. The employee is supposed to use that
account to conduct company business, not to write personal notes. Hence,
ideally, they should be comfortable with their managers checking on what
they have been writing or reading.
There is more. Managers want to ensure that employees are doing their work
rather than surfing and chatting away. Credible studies show bored
employees – which is probably most employees – have an affinity for adult
chat rooms and downloading pictures that they would not like to be caught
ogling by their aunties.
Now, there are big problems with those downloads. They slow down the company
computer network, they can introduce viruses, and oh, anyone who has ever
visited those adult sites will tell you this: Days after the visit, a pop-up
window featuring a nude girl will appear on your screen, offering you
subsidised access to adult sites. What’s more, those pop-ups tend to appear
just when you are explaining some important issue to a valued client off
Thus far, then, Big Brother has a fine case. But then we know it is not
always with good intentions that managers go snooping around their
subordinates' work. And however naughty the uses some people may put the
Internet to, it should always be worthwhile giving employers fairly
unlimited and unmonitored access. Many companies in East Africa have
restricted their employees to only the Outlook office e-mail, or designated
just a handful of Internet sites they can visit.
There are more innovative solutions, like the one British phone firm Phones
4u adopted early September. It declared war on internal e-mails, saying they
were eating up too much employee time, and projected the measure could save
it $1.6 million a month. John Caudwell, the firm's CEO, said he believed
"e-mail in general is the absolute curse of British business" – but only
because it is misused.
OK, so companies have a case for restricting how workers use e-mail and the
Internet. But how about governments – particularly our not-so-enlightened
African governments? Right now they are fighting to do just that. It is
mainly the European and American states that are encouraging this trend,
saying they want to read our e-mails so they can catch thieves and
terrorists and treasonous types.
A document the world leaders are likely to sign this December at the World
Summit on the Information Society – a United Nations event, mark you – could
give states tighter controls over the Internet such as even China or Saudia
Arabia have yet witnessed. In Saudi Arabia, authorities filter material
entering the country through the Internet, chucking out sites for sex and
gambling, as well as information that authorities feel is not good for Islam
and the traditions of the country.
Partly why the states want controls is because of the terrorists who hit
America in 2001, and the belief that their worldwide network keeps contact
through the Internet. So, states want to have powers to read our e-mails at
will, or to restrict what we do or do not do with the Internet. South Africa
and Zimbabwe are among the countries that are into more surveillance and
interception of private communication, in the name of hunting for
But under the guise of tracking the bad guys, many self-serving African
governments would love to develop a culture of "cyber-security",
particularly if that UN summit gives them the excuse. It was only this month
that Tanzanian police freed a Pakistani national whose intercepted e-mails
to a friend in Pakistan were found suspect.
And repressive governments are learning that when you want to clamp down on
the critical press, you must also snatch away their servers so they cannot
pass the word to the online world. That happened when Uganda closed The
Monitor in October 2002, and when Robert Mugabe’s police ransacked the Daily
News this September.
Our governments are all long-standing signatories to another, rather
old-fashioned UN document that promises that a person shall be free from
"arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence".
That document, in fact, requires governments not to interfere with the
e-mails we write, or the websites we visit.
If governments want to be seen to be making some meaningful interventions
vis-a-vis the Internet, there are lots of better areas they can get into.
For instance, make it accessible to schoolchildren and peasant women. And
make it affordable for them, with content that is relevant and
understandable, preferably in local languages.
But there are, of course, genuine scenarios in which control of the Internet
is necessary – though this should not be exclusively by state organs but
should involve civil society organisations as well: freedom of expression
must not always be at the expense of security and must not be used to
encourage hate speech.
And adult sites, with due respect to all their fans, are no fun when they
are used to promote child pornography and the abuse of women.
Michael Wakabi is a special correspondent for The EastAfrican
Judgment in Associated Newspapers Application Postponed
September 30, 2003
Posted to the web September 30, 2003
THE High Court yesterday postponed judgment on a fresh application by the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe to have its property seized by police
during investigations returned.
The newspaper group, which was shut down by police for operating illegally,
had made an urgent chamber application last week to have its property
Justice Tendai Uchena sitting in his chambers deferred the ruling to
tomorrow saying The Daily News lawyers should serve court papers on the
magistrate who granted police a search warrant before he could make his
Lawyers representing the ANZ and the State confirmed the matter was deferred
"We are required to serve court papers on the magistrate who issued police
with a warrant to seize the equipment," said ANZ director of corporate
affairs Miss Gugulethu Moyo.
She said the new development might result in their lawyers getting into
fresh arguments before the case was finalised.
The newspaper group, which publishes The Daily News and The Daily News on
Sunday was closed by police on September 12 following a Supreme Court ruling
that declared its operations illegal.
In its ruling, the court said ANZ was operating outside the law because it
was not registered with the Media and Information Commission.
Last week police seized the ANZ property that had been returned to the
newspaper group after it successfully applied for a provisional order to
resume operations at the High Court on September 18.
The property was seized as police investigations into the company's illegal
ANZ then sought an order for the police to release its property in terms of
the order issued by Justice Yunus Omerjee.
ANZ claimed that its property was improperly seized and had been removed
from its premises for other purposes, which were not for investigations.
The newspaper group also argued that the actions of the police were an
extension of their conduct in their previous case, when they seized ANZ
property without a search warrant.
It described the conduct as unjustified in a democratic society.
The State opposed the ANZ application arguing that the property in question
was lawfully seized in accordance with the law as the newspaper group had
committed a crime.
The State said it wanted to use the property as part of exhibits in a
criminal offence the ANZ might face and the property could not be returned
as police investigations were continuing.
Police said the ANZ won a provisional order for them to return its property
because at that time their property had been seized without a search
Mr Mordecai Mahlangu of Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans represented the ANZ
while Mr Stephen Musona of the Attorney General's Office represented the
Reserve Bank's Anti-Graft Drive Intensifies
September 30, 2003
Posted to the web September 30, 2003
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe inspectors have been given more powers to
effectively undertake their duties as efforts to weed out corruption and
unprofessional practice within the financial services and industrial sectors
Under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Promotion of Banking
Transactions) Regulations 2003 published last week, the central bank was
empowered to appoint additional inspectors with a specific role of
monitoring operations of financial and other institutions.
Inspectors, may without previous notice and at all reasonable times, enter
premises of any financial institution, trader or parastatal with a view of
carrying out their respective duties.
The inspectors may undertake an examination and inquiry, which they consider
appropriate in their mission to weed out corrupt practices.
"An inspector is empowered to question any person who is employed in or at
the premises of any company that may be under investigation.
"The inspector may require any person who is employed in or at the premises
to produce any book, account, notice, record, list or other document
pertaining to the operations of the financial institution," read the notice
in the gazette.
In pursuance of their duties, inspectors may require, from any person, an
explanation of any entry made in any book, account, notice, record, list or
any other document found upon any person or premises.
The inspector may take possession of any book, account, notice, record or
list provided that such documents shall be retained only as long as may be
necessary for the purpose of examination, investigation, trial or inquiry
arising out of any contravention of the regulations.
Under the regulations, inspectors may be accompanied by members of the
police while undertaking their investigations.
Any financial institution, trader or parastatal whose premises an inspector
has entered and any persons employed in the respective organisations, are
required to furnish the inspector with all the required information.
"Nothing in this section shall be taken or require any legal practitioner to
disclose any privileged communication made to him or her in that capacity.
"Any financial institution, trader or parastatal which hinders or obstructs
or fails to comply with a lawful request of an inspector, assistant of an
inspector or police officer shall be guilty of an offence.
"The institution shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not
exceeding three years or both," read part of the instruments.
Those who fail to provide inspectors with relevant details may be forced to
do so by the courts.
A central bank director, may in consultation with the RBZ governor, issue to
financial institutions or any class of financial institutions, written
directives of a general character not inconsistent with these regulations.
The directives may relate to the exercise of any functions conferred or
imposed on financial institutions, which may be necessary or convenient for
better administration of these regulations.
"They may provide, among other issues, the hours during which financial
institutions shall be open for the purpose of enabling persons to withdraw
"Accounts, returns and reports to be submitted to the monitoring unit by
financial institutions, the form of applications, permissions, authorities,
accounts, returns and reports made, granted, issued or submitted," according
to the regulations.
The directives may also enforce the suspension or cancellation of any
permission or authority granted or issued in terms of the regulations.
Any directive issued under these regulations may be absolute or conditional.
The directives may be revoked or varied in the same way as they were issued
or shall be given to such persons or published in such manner as, in the
opinion of the director, any person affected by it an adequate opportunity
of getting to know of it.
Any financial institution, which fails to comply with a directive within a
specified period, shall be guilty of an offence.
The director may, in his or her discretion, publish a directive by notice in
the Government gazette.
Such publication shall be sufficient notice to any financial institution or
class of financial institutions to which it is addressed.
No financial institution shall be convicted of a contravention of these
regulations by virtue of a directive, which was not published in the
Penalty can only be effected if it is proved that the directive was served
on the financial institution or the financial institution knew or avoided
getting to know of the directive.
"Provided that, where it is shown that reasonable steps were taken for the
purpose of bringing the contents of the directive to its notice, the onus
shall lie on the financial institution concerned to show that it did not
know and did not avoid getting to know of the directive."
Officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the
Reserve Bank were not immediately available for comment yesterday.
However, analysts said the new instrument further equipped the central bank
with the muscle it needed to restore sanity in the financial sector.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 26 September
The Daily News will return
Gugulethu Moyo, Legal Adviser to The Daily News
‘I was in the offices of The African Daily News. It was situated
twilight zone between white and black Salisbury. Hardly anyone outside
Rhodesia had heard of it then. Eight months later it was one of the most
discussed news- papers in the world. In July the circulation manager, George
Lamberis, would come into my office most days waving his arms and shouting:
‘Mr Watson, we are sold out.’ You bloody fool, I thought, no paper should
ever sell out. In the last week of July the circulation touched 20 000. We
were elated, and worried; elated because unexpected success tastes good;
worried because terrorism in African townships was getting out of control.
On August 26 The African Daily News was banned by the Rhodesian Front
government." The back cover of the book from which I extracted this
quotation has a picture of protestors with the following caption: "Judy Todd
protesting with others against the banning of The Daily News." That was
Sixteen years later the repressive Rhodesian Front
regime had been removed
from power through a violent uprising of the majority. Nathan Shamuyarira,
founding editor of The African Daily News, now secretary for information of
the party that led the armed struggle, which led to the removal of that
repressive regime had this to say about the state of affairs: "Even the
limited freedom of expression accorded to the media during the colonial
period in Zimbabwe came to an end with the advent of a Rhodesian Front
regime … Thus was the situation inherited by the new Zimbabwean government
in April 1980. Obviously, this kind of orientation could not be accommodated
in a free and independent Zimbabwe." How soon we forget. I was seven years
old when Shamuyarira penned these words, so I might be forgiven for not
knowing what this bloody struggle was all about. And so it was with a great
sense of irony that I found myself in the agonizing position last week of
having to give "Judy" Todd, now shareholder of The Daily News, an account of
why The Daily News can no longer be published in a "free" and independent
As I understand it, there is now a law
- the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, Chapter 10:27 - that decrees that no Zimbabwean
shall publish a newspaper without seeking the approval of the Media and
Information Commission. To obtain approval, the aspiring publisher must
submit details of his or her political affiliations, the source of financial
resources, other business interests, his address, educational
qualifications, his previous experience with the newspaper business and his
cellphone number (if he is a journalist), among other things. The commission
can then decide whether or not the submitted details qualify the aspirant to
publish. In the case of aspirant Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
the commission found that even though we had three years experience of
producing the nation’s best-selling newspaper, we did not qualify to
continue to serve the people of Zimbabwe. This decision now awaits the
hearing of our appeal. Till then we have no right to publish The Daily News.
How did we get here?
I was advised by colleagues
that there was another law - The Constitution of
Zimbabwe which in Section 18 (1) reads as follows: "Except with his own
consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be hindered in the
enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold
opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without
interference, and freedom from interference with his correspondence." This
same law also reads in Section 3 that: "This Constitution is the supreme law
of Zimbabwe and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that
other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void." This same law
also reads in another part: "If any person alleges that the Declaration of
Rights has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him
(or, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges
such a contravention in relation to the detained person), then, without
prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is
lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may ... apply to the
Supreme Court for redress." This seemed simple enough to me. And so, after
extensive discussions with lawyer colleagues, it was agreed that the ANZ
would approach the Supreme Court to seek redress, on the basis that the
Access to Information and Protection of Act hindered the exercise of our
right to freedom of expression. Those who have followed the story of The
Daily News since then will know by now that The Daily News still awaits
redress from the Supreme Court on this matter, but in the meantime the
supremacy of the Act prevails. As of September 19 The Daily News no longer
enjoys its freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. And more than that, 942
323 readers of The Daily News no longer enjoy the right to receive or impart
information through The Daily News.
spent hours searching for a justification for this draconian law. In
his opposing affidavit in the constitutional challenge to the Act launched
by The Daily News in January, Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo shed
some light on the intention underlying the Act. "This publication, among
others, presents clear testimony to the threat Zimbabwe’s sovereignty faces.
The government is obliged to defend this sovereignty. Necessarily there is
an obligation on the part of government to weed out subversion whenever it
masquerades as ‘free press’," he says. My understanding of constitutional
law from my days at the University of Zimbabwe was that not all law enacted
by Parliament is good law. It was with this insight that those freedom
fighters who represented Zimbabweans’ interests at the Lancaster House talks
extracted a guarantee that all laws of Zimbabwe from that day on (1980)
would not infringe the fundamental rights they had fought for. I surmise
that the reason they might have sought this guarantee is that these freedom
fighters had wasted much of their youth in the struggle to overturn a regime
that had used the law to suppress their freedoms. A regime that had used the
now obsolete version of our own Public Order and Security Act, the Emergency
Powers and the Law and Order Maintenance Act to stifle all political
dissent. But history tells that such laws will be resisted by the people.
History tells that such laws are bad laws that hold no legitimacy in a
democratic society. The historical account of the Rhodesian Front’s
violations of rights of the majority of the Rhodesian populace to freedoms
of expression are well documented in a book by Elaine Windrich, The Mass
Media in the Struggle for Zimbabwe. The parallels between this and that
regime are uncanny. In my view, this law is unjust. It has no place in a
democratic society. And I believe that in time a higher law that protects
the fundamental rights of Zimbabweans will reign supreme and The Daily News
will be returned to the people of Zimbabwe.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 26 September
The curse of a quiet diplomacy
Bill Saidi, Editor of the Daily News on Sunday
Last week one of my reporters, seeing about 10 police officers
around our newsroom, commented wryly: "You would think we were hiding
weapons of mass destruction, the way they barged in and scared the hell out
of everyone." He didn’t seem frightened though, even as the detective in
charge harangued Sam Nkomo, the CEO of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ), publishers of the only independent daily newspaper in Zimbabwe, The
Daily News, and its recently launched sister publication, The Daily News on
Sunday. "I shall arrest you!" the detective shouted at Nkomo, a
slightly-built 60-year-old who had performed his fair share of national duty
during the struggle for independence. ANZ had just been told by the Supreme
Court that before it could challenge the constitutionality of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, it had to register with the Media
and Information Commission, the lynchpin of a law described by commentators,
journalists and human rights activists as evil, draconian and
anti-democratic. The effect of the ruling was to unleash the police on the
premises of the publishing company. They were there to collect the computers
and any other equipment used to produce the newspapers "unlawfully". Later I
asked Nkomo, who had spent time in Zambia during the struggle, whether he
had met President Thabo Mbeki, who had been in that country at the same
time. No, he said, he had not.
My question was
pertinent in that most of what was happening to ANZ was a
result of the "quiet diplomacy" launched by Mbeki to help the people of
Zimbabwe find real meaning in their hard-fought independence. Quiet
diplomacy had emboldened Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to conduct the
affairs of his nation with a palpably outrageous disregard for the niceties
of the rule of law, consensus, or even any pretence that the people’s
opinions mattered. Later, in the high court, Justice Yunus Omerjee, hearing
ANZ’s challenge to the uncouth police action, was acerbic in his questioning
of the hapless prosecutor assigned to handle the government’s case. "What
does that mean?" he asked her after she read a passage from the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, trying to bolster the prosecution
case. At one time, the courtroom burst into raucous laughter when the
prosecutor said the police had acted because they were afraid the newspaper
company would hide computers. Omerjee granted the ANZ application with an
emphatic reference to the lawlessness of the police action.
But since 2000, when the wheels
started coming off the experimental vehicle
that Mugabe’s Zanu PF ruling party hoped to bamboozle the rest of the world
into believing was heading for democracy, the rule of law has been virtually
moribund in Zimbabwe. This was just one episode during the turbulent
four-year existence of The Daily News. Long before its printing press in
Harare was bombed in 2001, a junior reporter got the fright of his life when
Mugabe asked him: "Who is funding your newspaper?" Before the bombing, key
Zanu PF personnel, including Jonathan Moyo, the architect of the obnoxious
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, had warned that it was
time something was done about The Daily News, then under the editorship of
Geoff Nyarota. To this day, there have been no arrests for the bombing.
Mbeki has virtually
endorsed the two elections others have condemned as
grievously flawed - the parliamentary elections in 2000 and last year’s
presidential elections. To challenges to take a more principled and tough
stance against Mugabe, Mbeki has said the people of Zimbabwe must be allowed
to sort out their own mess. He has also pleaded for a chance to apply his
quiet diplomacy, which many Zimbabweans now believe to be responsible for
Mugabe’s mounting arrogance. Mugabe’s refusal to countenance any resumption
of dialogue with the Movement for Democratic Change has been cited as
another product of Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy. If the actions against ANZ and
its newspapers result in their demise, it will be on Mbeki’s head. Quiet
diplomacy will have helped a ruling party alleged to have staged one of the
biggest election frauds in history to silence its fiercest domestic critic.
It may leave most Zimbabweans with little option but to wage their own
struggle against quiet diplomacy.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Letter 1: John Kinnaird
I would like to thank the people who took the time to read the letter where
i expressed my opinions. With the probability of being accused of boring
everybody I would like to continue the discussion.
Farming and the rule of law.
I am in constant touch with many of my farming friends around the country.
I appreciate the fact that so many of them have been brutalised and their
lives destroyed and property vandalised and stolen.
What amazes me is that so many of you are sitting back and letting the
perpetrators get away with it. The white commercial farmers of Zimbabwe are
supposed to be a pretty tough bunch.
I hear so often comments similar to the following.
"My grandfather came to Rhodesia in 1906, opened up a virgin farm, built
roads, built a school for the workers, etc etc... Now I have been kicked
off the land and my whole life has been destroyed"
Whilst so many of you are languishing in Harare or Marondera (or in
Borrowdale Brook like I am!). Do yourselves a favour and go to the nearest
library and get hold of books about the pioneers or that era and read them.
This will remind you of the depravations that your forefathers overcame in
order just to get here. They put up with Malaria, Rinderpest, Sleeping
sickness, Typhoid, Smallpox and so many health hazards. They had to fight
off wild animals attacking what little livestock they owned. They had to
force their way through flooded rivers and cut a route over seemingly
When they got here they settled on a piece of barren bush and planted their
food. They came here by and large as virtually penniless peasants looking
to create a better life for their children & grandchildren. That is you
guys!!!!!!!! They fought tooth and nail over decades to create a modern
That state was not perfect but when the present regime took over it was a
system that was working very well.
You have to ask yourself if you are prepared to allow bullies and thugs to
just take it away. You have to ask yourself if you have the right to give
away without a fight something that your grandfather created for
generations of his offspring.
I would say that you do not have the right to let some thug take it away.
The laws of Zimbabwe have been modified since 1980 but the laws that
guarantee your rights are still there. Every single time that something of
yours is taken away illegally you should let the person know that it is
unacceptable! He must be told in writing that he will personally be held
responsible! Every single policeman that refuses to uphold the law should
be facing a lawsuit for every time he allows your rights to be trampled on.
As far as I am aware there is no law that says he is not obliged to act
"because it is political"
The greatest nightmare of an official in this governing beauraucracy of
ours is to be given something in writing. These officials could be The DA,
Member in charge, MP, Minister of lands, Court official, etc..etc Every
letter to any official should be copied to his superior and any other
remotely connected official. By sending a copy to other people the official
cannot deny the existence of the letter. Once a complaint is in writing he
has to respond because to not respond is for him personally to accept
responsibility. Once he accepts that responsibility he becomes liable for
any reaction to that decision.
At some stage that chain of paperwork will end up in the hands of someone
who is not able to say "I am not the one." If he then refuses to act on a
court decision you have a right to take that to the African or
International courts. The courts should by now be inundated with litigation
from individual farmers against greedy officials that are perpetrating the
The Bankers, Parastatal bosses, Teachers, Policemen, Judges, Company
directors and their mates should be repeatedly reminded that there will one
day be a return to the rule of law and that you will not give up the fight
to recover what was taken from you. The question should be asked of every
single one of them whether they think that ZANU-PF will be in power
Even Robert Mugabe knows that his days are numbered! Jonathan Moyo needs to
be asked whether he feels that his safety blanket is going to be there
Every single person who is sitting on your farm and who has stolen even the
smallest thing should by now know that he is in big trouble. He should have
received lists of the items that were there when you left. He should know
that theft under any guise is illegal and that you intend to recover your
property from him or alternately you will seek compensation from him for
theft of that property. A great number of these people are immensely
wealthy and are becoming even more wealthy as a result of the use of you
property. They are intelligent and prominent members of society. They must
know that there is a very real possibility of them being thrown in jail
once their protective big brother deserts them. Tell him in writing that he
will be held accountable.
I challenge every single farmer who has been evicted or brutalised to
defend himself through the courts. Once you are off your farm you are no
longer vulnerable and are free to defend yourself. Are you so bone idle
that you are not prepared to spend a couple of hours a day writing letters.
You should be investigating and doing the groundwork to get back what is
rightfully yours. The person that has taken your farm most likely from
somewhere else in the country. Find out who he is, what he owns what
companies he owns and where his wealth is stored so that you are ready to
act when the time presents itself.
To do nothing or the bare minimum and then whine about it is no excuse at
all. To not even have the time to compile your Compensation claim forms is
pathetic and inexcusable. Cancel your DSTV subscriptions and make time to
do the things that are important in your life.Who of us really gives a toss
whether England or New Zealand win the world cup.
I fully expect many of you to take great exception to my point of view.
Please have a think about your situation and sort out your priorities.
I listened to the summation of the Hutton Enquiry, which was a masterly
example of destroying people's characters, and political futures, in
perfect English, and with precision, and one sentence caught my attention.
The lawyer for the BBC said "There is no reason not to be open, if you have
nothing to hide." This could apply to the ongoing saga of discussions
between the Shona, and the Matabele CFU leadership, which has disappeared
Letter 3: Enquiring Mind
In response to "Enquiring mind's" letter I must categorically refute any
suspicion that members of the Matabeleland leadership have something to
First we wanted to keep our members advised of developments and to get
their approval of our plans. At a meeting of our Executive Committee on 26
September our actions and proposals were unanimously endorsed. The open
meeting which followed approved the Executive Committee's decision.
The plan now is to visit each of our Farmers' Associations, for the benefit
of those farmers who were not present on 26 September. The deadline set for
us to complete these visits is 10 October. Once that has been done we will
be willing to visit any other farmers outside of Matabeleland, who are
interested to find out why we took the action we did. What we ask is that
anyone who wants us to visit them please write inviting us and giving
preferred venue, date, time as well as a contact person and 'phone number.
Once we have these we will finalize an itinerary.
The Matabele Executive Committee and farmers agree to our visiting other
farmers or interested parties provided we have invitations.
Hopefully the above clarifies why there has been silence from the
Letter 4: Re Open Letters Forum No. 148 dated 19 September
Hey, guys, it is not only in the rurals that people get threatened. Last
week 3 poor boys, ex-workers, came to try to scare me - they wrote a letter
saying the trade union boss, ole Joseph C. was going to call. I became
very angry. When will the next installment be?
They only wanted a great thing called 'termination' or severance' or
Letter 5: Re Open Letters Forum No. 153 dated 29 September
Here's a thought!
If John Kinnaird has the ability to generate thoughts and feelings - could
he not also get some action in progress???
A person with clarity of vision is the best navigator and director of
Letter 6: Re Open Letters Forum No. 153 dated 29 September
May I ask you what you have lost in all this theft of land? Even if you
have I feel you have no right to judge any of the farmers on the choices
they made - you are not in their shoes? You should have realised by now
that the biggest problem has been that people like you are so busy
analysing issues that have been over analysed for the last four three years
and blaming other for the problems. What are you DOING to help the current
problems not just WRITING about them?
How dare you say that the farmers only stood by and thought of themselves -
well what did all the city dwellers do but get on with their lives
(especially the middle class white's). Farmers have died for their beliefs.
I am proud to be a farmer as we have always been the givers to society,
building schools, clinics etc.. at our own expense and we have the right to
decide how best to survive in the current climate without your very poor
judgement of our characters or choices.
Everyone spends hours & hours writing about what we must do & not do while
they are sitting safely in their safe little world but how many of you have
actually stood up and DONE something. All we read daily is why this was
done and all the thousands of detailed reasons the govt has acted as it has
and how wrong it is etc.. We are all experts on the ways & hows of the bad
governance & dictatorship BUT no one is interested in getting their hands
dirty to solve the problem as they are not being affected.
I am sorry but you have upset me as my family & we have lived through hell
and still are here on the farm barely making a living, we have not bribed
etc.. as you so inform us we have, why we are still here only God knows the
answer but YOU DO NOT!!!!
Look in the mirror!
Disappointed Farmer's Wife
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice