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

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Saturday 06 October 2001 – 12 noon
...... URGENT NOTICE ......
Please note that the gathering place for Saturday’s protest has moved. We are now meeting at the Eastern Gate of the Union Buildings on Church Street – east of Leyds (just past the next street along – Wessels). Parking is available in this area.
Please contact 082 885 0771 if you have any queries. Looking forward to seeing you all there!


Date : Saturday 06 October 2001
Venue : From the Union Buildings to Zimbabwe High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa
Time : Gather at 12h00 - March to begin at 12h30
We call upon all concerned persons, whether you are ex-Zimbabweans or supporters of Zimbabwe, Human Rights campaigners, Church groups and organisations, Journalists, Gay Rights organisations and Environmentalists, OF ALL RACES - BLACK AND WHITE, to join us for a PEACEFUL PROTEST MARCH to demonstrate against the gross Human Rights abuses perpetrated by Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his Zanu-PF government - and their supporters.
This protest has been organised to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting / protests taking place in Brisbane, Australia, and a Human Rights Protest taking place simultaneously outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in London.
The protest will focus on :
SPECIAL NOTE : In light of the tragedy in the United States of America, at 13h30, together with those in London, we will have two minutes silence followed by prayer and the singing of 'Amazing Grace' (please try to bring the words - we can email them to you on request!).  We will take this time to voice our deepest sympathy, condolences and prayers for the victims and their families, and to pray for wisdom for our world leaders and WORLD PEACE during this critical time.
Address : We will gather, at 12h00, at the Eastern Gate of the Union Buildings on Church Street – east of Leyds (just past the next street along – Wessels), and at 12h30 march to the Zimbabwe High Commission at 798 Merton Street, Arcadia
Parking : Parking is available in this area.
Directions : By email on request
Bring : Posters, banners and flags - and something to drink and eat (or Sue - 082 885 0771)
If possible please confirm your attendance by email or cellphone.  This is to ensure that we have sufficient traffic control, police presence and monitors.  Thank you.
Please forward this Protest notice to EVERYONE you know - even those outside Johannesburg/Pretoria and the country - and ask them to send it to everyone they know (please also 'cut and paste' and keep it clean to make it easy to read).  Also, please print out copies and hand them out to those who do not have email (or put it on company notice boards).  It would be great if we could get a really good turnout... and it is very important that we stand together, BLACK AND WHITE, in this protest.  Thank you for your support.
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Zimbabwe: UN to send team out to work out details of the Abuja deal
The Financial Gazette of Zimbabwe reported that the United Nations Development Programme is expected to dispatch a team out to Zimbabwe in order to work out some details and mechanisms on the implementation of the Abuja agreement. Under the Abuja pact, the government of Zimbabwe agreed to pursue a just and transparent land reform plan based on the full respect of the rule of law in the country.
Zimbabwe government in plans to guarantee public enterprise loans
The Zimbabwe government is planning to introduce guarantees on loan repayments by public enterprises as of 2002. Reports in the Financial gazette state that the government hopes to entice Zimbabwean financial institutions to fund investment in infrastructure.
Zimbabwe: 2002 budget presentation postponed until the 1st November 2001
The Financial Gazette reported that the presentation of the Zimbabwean 2002 national budget to Parliament has been postponed until the 1st November 2001. The postponement was to give the government more time to finalise work on proposals for the 2002 budget.
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ZIMBABWE: Civic groups want independent poll and right to educate voters

JOHANNESBURG, 4 October (IRIN) - Civic organisations in Zimbabwe told IRIN on Thursday that for next year's presidential poll to be free, voter education should be encouraged and a genuinely independent electoral commission established as soon as possible.

Local human rights watchdog ZimRights this week announced it had produced a manual on voter education which could be used as a guide by organisations and individuals involved in preparations for next year's presidential election. "We've done lots of research and it's clear that many Zimbabweans do not vote because they are afraid of the process," David Jamali of ZimRights told IRIN.

ZimRights was trying to get to poorly-educated rural Zimbabweans who, Jamali said, had "been the victims of government misinformation". He said rural people told ZimRights that the government had informed them that by using computers they could tell who had voted for who. The decision to go ahead with the manual is seen as defying a planned move by the government to ban civic organisations from carrying out voter education ahead of the poll which pits President Robert Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We have been working on this manual for more than six months and we tried to answer most of the practical questions on voter education," Jamali told IRIN. The manual, "You And The Vote", provides information on the importance of voting and urges Zimbabweans to exercise their right to choose by participating in elections. Distribution of the manual was being held up by lack of funds, Jama said.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has said the government is considering banning civic groups, churches and aid agencies from conducting voter education programmes because they have "hidden agendas". The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of 38 civic organisations, told IRIN it was concerned by ruling party statements in parliament in August suggesting that civic organisations be barred from conducting voter education. "We will continue to maintain a dialogue with government and lobby for the constitutional right to educate our people about why voting is important," Rindai Chipfunde of ZESN told IRIN.

Mugabe's government had ruled out the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to conduct next year's presidential election and was instead formulating a code of conduct to clamp down on activities of Zimbabwean and foreign election observers, the 'Financial Gazette' reported on Thursday, quoting official sources. "The issue of the IEC is out," a senior cabinet minister told the newspaper. The action could set the government in direct confrontation with opposition and civic organisations demanding the formation of a genuine IEC as a minimum condition under which a free and fair ballot can be staged.

"Without an IEC the (presidential) elections will be a foregone conclusion," Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), another influential civic coalition, told IRIN. Madhuku dismissed the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), which has conducted elections since independence, as "an arm of the civil service totally under government control". Government wants the ESC to stage the presidential poll, which must be held by the end of March.

The NCA also wants international and Zimbabwean election observers to be deployed across Zimbabwe well ahead of the ballot. But the government wants the work of election observers, both local and foreign, to be regulated because it accuses them of interfering with Zimbabwe's internal politics. "We have held parliamentary and presidential elections since independence using the system which we have in place and these have been successful. So what is new about next year's election?" a minister, preferring not to be named, told the 'Financial Gazette'. He added: "As for election observers, we do not have problems with them, but we will put in place rules to monitor their conduct so they will not interfere with the electoral process."

One international election observer body contacted condemned the possibility of government regulation of election observers, but declined to be quoted for fear of souring relations. "At the end of the day we have to be invited in by Zimbabwe's government to monitor, so a relationship has to be maintained," the source said. The US and the 15-nation European Union have demanded the deployment of poll observers to check on the validity of the presidential election. But David Pottie of the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) told IRIN that regulation of election observers could be a positive step if it was part of an overall strategy to make the poll more transparent and better organised.
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A letter to Fingaz

Stamps has overseen more deaths than any other politician

Dr Alex Stevenson, Tasmania.
10/4/01 9:05:07 PM (GMT +2)

EDITOR - I was shocked to learn that there are only a few doctors left in
Zimbabwe's government service. I was less than surprised to read about Dr
Timothy Stamps laying the blame everywhere except on himself.

The last time I met Stamps I advised him to resign. Under his leadership the
ministry has collapsed. There are neither drugs nor doctors.
He tried to excuse himself saying that he was under-funded. This is true:
but why then support a government that puts a private war in the Congo and
funding for so-called war veterans before health?
If he can't do his job because he is under-funded, the honourable thing is
to resign. And yet he doesn't. In fact, he continues to wave his fist in the
air and shout the mindless slogans of the same party that has destroyed our
health system.
Few would disagree that through errors of omission and neglect Stamps has
overseen the deaths of more Zimbabweans than any other politician has. And,
all things considered, that is quite an achievement.
When history judges Stamps, and indeed all other people associated with ZANU
PF, don't let them say: "But what could I do?" Or "I was told to."
The answer to that is resign or be accountable for your actions.
Talking of accountability, Stamps will probably be wondering why I, a
Zimbabwean doctor living overseas, find myself in a position to lecture him.
By his own figures, almost every single doctor has left the government
service. We can't all be wrong. We entered this profession because we wanted
to help people. But without drugs or infrastructure we are useless.
Add to this the reports of doctors in Nyanga receiving "medical ethics"
lectures from war vets about whom they can and whom they can't treat and the
reasons for the exodus start to become clearer. Now consider the terrible
hours and poor pay. For all of this we are supposed to be ecstatically
Britain has its faults, but labelling it a "synthetic meaningless society"
seems a bit hypocritical coming from a ZANU PF chef. He did however go on to
predict that he expected to see all of us expat doctors home before long.
That is very likely, but more probably because of a change in government
than a return of the prodigal doctors to Stamps' loyal flock.
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From FinGaz

Dollar to be devalued 50%

Staff Reporter
10/4/01 8:55:54 PM (GMT +2)

THE Zimbabwe dollar is expected to be devalued by at least 50 percent in the
next few weeks as Finance Minister Simba Makoni moves to restore confidence
in the exchange rate and seeks to crush a thriving foreign currency parallel
market, the Financial Gazette learnt this week.

Official government sources said Makoni was likely to devalue the local
currency by about 56 percent from the present 55 Zimbabwe dollars against
one United States greenback to about 125 against the American unit.

No comment could be obtained from the Ministry of Finance on the issue this
week but the sources said Makoni had finally enlisted the support of
President Robert Mugabe and the Cabinet a few weeks ago in his quest to
restore confidence in the exchange rate.

"The devaluation is expected to immediately follow next week’s announcement
of the 2002 national budget and there is even pressure right now for the
minister to take advantage of the sharp drop in parallel market rates of the
past three weeks," one source said.

Makoni is expected to present his 2002 budget statement to Parliament on
November 1 this year. The budget presentation, initially scheduled for next
Thursday, was moved forward this week to give Finance Ministry officials
time to come up with a more realistic budget in the face Zimbabwe’s rapidly
worsening economic crisis.

Makoni had unsuccessfully pushed for the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar
since the beginning of the year, with Mugabe and other Cabinet ministers
fearful of its inflationary effects on an economy already under siege.
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Daily News Leader Page

Zanu PF’s lies fly on everyone’s face

10/4/01 10:10:07 AM (GMT +2)

By Bekezela Dube

I HAVE joined the long list of “malcontents”, those who believe nothing
positive can ever come out of Zanu PF.

The party has long lost its usefulness. Their strategies are akin to child’s
play and nobody wants to be party to them anymore! It’s doubtful even the
Abuja agreement would do anything to improve our standing.

If anything, it is being used to buy time, like the constitution-making
process, socialism, the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme and others.
And this wouldn’t be the first time Zanu PF has occupied people’s minds with
decoys, so they wouldn’t be able to realise the root cause of their problems
is the intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo war.

On Wednesday 30 May 2001, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa dropped his
“quiet” diplomatic stance on political problems besetting Zimbabwe to engage
the global village in finding a lasting solution to the country’s land
crisis. He did not know what he was against or that he was being used like a
pawn in a game of chess.

Mbeki said land redistribution was imperative but incorrectly assumed it was
not being used as an excuse to gain political mileage. To Mbeki, a colonial
legacy or past injustice cannot be used by a government in power to
political advantage. He reminded the world: “We are dealing with a problem
that has accumulated in Zimbabwe for almost a century and to pretend the
problems are new will not help us find solutions.” While his efforts are
laudable, Mbeki showed little understanding of the facts on the ground the
real issues in Zimbabwe. It’s clear there is no way he can help, except
offer moral support to Zanu PF.

The opposition is composed of freedom-minded people who want to liberate
themselves from Zanu PF misrule a dictatorship that has lasted 21 years and
devoured all there was of the economy, generating nothing. The problem of
land in Zimbabwe touches emotively on Mbeki’s African Renaissance concept
and, as such, his hands were tied. There was nothing to do. This blinded him
to the truth. He could not see that Zimbabwe’s problem is about installing a
new system of government that will listen to the people and with better
ideas on how to turn the economy around for the benefit of all.

The opposition groups academics and whites committed and loyal to Zimbabwe.
These whites are the ones, together with their sympathetic friends abroad
and elsewhere, who have committed resources for the removal of despots
through non-violent means. But is it a crime to gang up against despots?
Presently, nobody wants to oil the Zanu PF machinery anymore. In bars,
ommuter taxis and shebeens, people are engaged in a debate that is meant to
elicit the solution that evades the nation day in, day out.

This has angered the government, with people being beaten up, while others
are being killed. They are accused of all sorts of crimes, including
inciting rebellion. Still the country is told more will die. “Zanu PF will
not go without a fight.”

Writers have also been hounded in the middle of the night and bundled in
unmarked trucks to be tortured. The land issue is being used as a
smokescreen to cover up what our problems really are. At the same time it
provides the government with a perfect excuse to fight another war while
bragging about land redistribution and keeping itself in power.

“I cannot go and sleep knowing my party will lose the election.” This is
what the country has been told. The honest truth is that Mbeki has not been
given all the relevant information for him to make an informed decision
about Zimbabwe. Zanu PF has told him what they want him to believe.

Zimbabwe, a country with enough resources to support a population of 60
million, is failing to feed a mere fifth of this figure. It is failing to
generate enough foreign currency to service its debts and to buy fuel. The
economy is slowly grinding to a halt all because Zanu PF refuses to listen.

Since Mbeki has failed in his efforts to convince Mugabe, there is a better
way of doing things. This must be further ground for the people of Zimbabwe
to take the bull by thehorns and solve their problems. The truth is that
Zanu PF is suppressing people power and it has chosen the land issue as a
device to effect the repression. It must be impressed upon Zanu PF that
hungry, diseased people have no capacity for tolerance. The chaos that can
only follow is of a larger scale than can be imagined. The responsibilities
for all this chaos lie squarely on the shoulders of one man. If ever there
were patriots in the present leadership, they would have helped their
country, especially at this juncture, by making right decisions.

People want a government that does not become their master, statesman whose
only job is administration not leadership, no matter the consequences. For
Zimbabweans, the acknowledged failure by Mbeki is further ammunition for all
patriotic men and women to take the bull by the horns and solve their own
problems. It is up to the ruling party to change, be changed or be overtaken
by events.

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From the Daily News

Zimpost admits rampant mail theft

10/4/01 10:24:13 AM (GMT +2)

Collin Chiwanza

INTERNATIONAL mail and cargo destined for Harare has gone missing and in
some cases has been tampered with, the general manager of Zimbabwe Posts
(Zimpost), Gladys Mutyavaviri, told a Press conference in Harare yesterday.

Mutyavaviri attributed the problem of mail theft to the withdrawal of 16
airlines from Zimbabwe. She said out of 26 airlines that used to fly to
Harare, 16 had withdrawn, dealing a severe blow to postal services.
She said the withdrawal of airlines had resulted in high cases of mail
Zimpost is the former Posts and Telecommunications Corporation postal
service, now operating as an autonomous commercial entity following the
unbundling of the old PTC into three separate business entities.
The other two are TelOne for the fixed telephone network and NetOne for the
cellular business.
Misheck Ugaro, the manager of the commercial services division, cited in
particular the withdrawal of KLM and Lufthansa airlines as having negatively
affected Zimbabwe’s mail routing system.
He said parcels were being tampered with at post offices in Zimbabwe. The
culprits were being arrested with the law being allowed to take its course.
“The necessary punishment is meted out by the courts and Zimpost will
compensate for the lost items accordingly,” said Ugaro.
A number of airlines withdrew from Zimbabwe at the height of
government-sanctioned lawlessness when former freedom fighters
and Zanu PF supporters unleashed a reign of terror throughout the country.
“As a result, mail from many European countries now passes through two or
more transit points before it arrives in this country,” said Ugaro.
He said before 1999, mail to and from Germany, France and the Netherlands
would be flown directly to Zimbabwe.
Due to the many airline withdrawals, mail was now being delivered through
Kenya and Johannesburg, and sometimes through Gatwick Airport in London,
depending on flight availability.
In many instances, he said, the mail was kept at the airports for days until
the next available flight to Harare.
Ugaro’s admission comes after several reports from Zimbabweans living abroad
and at home, of lost mail. At times the mail gets to Harare without the
Kudzanai Makombe, a Zimbabwean living in the United Kingdom, said five
letters posted to Zimbabwe over the past few months, some of which contained
various sums of foreign currency, had not reached the final destination.
Speaking from London, Makombe said: “There is a very serious problem of mail
interception going on in Zimbabwe at the moment.
“Although we don’t know who is responsible for the interception, we suspect
that it could be some postal officials who open letters searching for scarce
foreign currency.”
Makombe said many people in London were no longer posting letters to
Zimbabwe because they feared that it would not get to the
intended destinations.
Back home, Tendai Matambanadzo said he found it very disturbing that letters
from outside the country were being tampered with.
He said two of his relatives in the United States posted letters which were
opened and the contents stolen.
Said Matambanadzo: “When I finally received the letters, they were no longer
sealed. In the letters, it was indicated that some money had been enclosed.”
A number of people interviewed said the problem was now so widespread the
public had lost faith in the postal services.
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Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 12:46:17 +0200
 Nyanga Area - Pungwe Falls
 For your Information
Dear Everyone
Please could you warn all your FA Chairmen to warn all their farmers that  anybody travelling to Nyanga - Please DON'T visit Pungwe Falls, Mterazi Falls and the Honde Falls. 
We have had numerous incidents of armed robbery at these sites and the police seem unable to overcome the problem.
There have  been some really nasty incidents with people being assaulted, attempted rape  and theft of all their belongings.  It is really not worth it, please advise  all your friends.
 Judy Wilson
Regional Executive Manicaland CFU
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From the Daily News

Border jumpers threaten police

10/4/01 8:49:58 AM (GMT +2)

From Kelvin Jakachira and Sydney Saize in Mutare

TENSION ran high in Mutare as the police came under increasing criticism
from cross-border traders and local businessmen for allegedly using
heavy-handed tactics to curb the cross-border smuggling.

The outcry follows the arrest last week of up to 60 people, Zimbabwean and
Mozambican, in the city and along the border and the confiscation of large
quantities of goods worth more than $5 million.

Police sources said the arrests and perceived harassment of Mozambicans had
angered their colleagues across the border. Some Mozambicans are reported to
have threatened retaliatory action against Zimbabwean-registered vehicles
including fuel haulage trucks.

But Francis Mubvuta, the provincial police spokesman, played down the threat
saying it was unlikely the Mozambicans, however disgruntled, “will ever do
such a thing”.

Provincial Governor Oppah Muchinguri said there were plans to deploy both
army and police units to bolster border patrols. She said those living on
farms along the border were likely to be relocated.
“The police and the army are going to be deployed in full force to monitor
border jumping between the two countries,” said Muchinguri.

Word has spread that the government will deploy war veterans along the
border and at Forbes Border Post to help stop the illegal export of basic
There were protests when the police descended on several wholesale outlets
and supermarkets, rounding up those with large quantities of essential
On Tuesday and Wednesday last week the police raided several wholesalers in
the city and rounded up those found with large quantities of goods. The
goods, which included sugar, maize, maize-meal, canned beer, cooking oil,
tomatoes, matches and bread, are piled high at Mutare Central Police Station
for auction.
While residents and businesspeople interviewed said they supported the
police crackdown on smuggling, they complained about the alleged random and
indiscriminate manner of the exercise.

Others questioned why the police arrested people in the city and not in the
border area. Esau Mupfumi, the regional president of the militant black
empowerment lobby group, Affirmative Action Group, said the police should
raid smugglers at the border post or at illegal exit points and not at the
premises of wholesalers as they could arrest Zimbabweans who were
legitimately in business, running tuckshops.

Mupfumi said eight tuckshop owners, who are members of his group, were
caught in the crossfire.
But Mubvuta said anyone aggrieved by the police¹s handling of the exercise
should notify his office.
Illegal cross-border trading of essential goods has increased over the past
months as Zimbabweans, battling to make ends meet, resort to smuggling goods
into Mozambique for sale.
Mozambicans have also been regularly tracking to Mutare to buy large
quantities of essential commodities.
Relations between Zimbabweans and Mozambicans have soured, with the police
on both sides arresting visitors from across the border.
A few weeks ago, Mozambican authorities arrested 15 Zimbabweans in Chimoio
for illegally trading in that country. Four were released, after paying $15
000 in fines. The fate of the remaining 11, being held in police cells,
remains unknown.

Last week, Zimbabwean police arrested 20 Mozambicans in Darlington, Mutare,
allegedly for illegally entering the country and smuggling. They were fined
$600 each.

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From the Australian

White farmers lament Mugabe's win

By a correspondent in Harare
October 04, 2001
ZIMBABWE'S white farming community has greeted with dismay a Supreme Court
ruling this week authorising President Robert Mugabe to go ahead with his
land reforms, accusing the judiciary of being "no longer independent".

The decision overturned a Supreme Court ruling last November which found Mr
Mugabe's land reforms unconstitutional and instructed police to evict
occupiers from white farms.

The nation's highest court could take months to deliver its full decision,
but the two-page order on Tuesday clears legal obstacles the Government
faced in processing its claims to white-owned farms.

The legal about-turn came in a 4-to-1 decision by a bench dominated by
recent Mugabe appointees. Only one senior justice had heard the original
case – the others have been promoted to the bench since March.

Counsel for the farmers, Adrian de Bourbon, said the decision was
unprecedented and went beyond what government officials had asked for. "I
believe we no longer have an independent judiciary," he said.

Mr de Bourbon said it was clear the court did not recognise there was "a
breakdown of law and order" on white-owned farms, and was pushing the land

"It not only authorises that the administrative courts go ahead, it directs
that they proceed," he said.

Administrative courts must approve the Government's claim to a farm if the
owner objects to its seizure.

While the ruling allows the lower courts to proceed, Mr de Bourbon said
that, on the farms, the order means "quite frankly, nothing, because what is
happening on the farms has nothing to do with the law".

Pro-Mugabe peasants, led by veterans of the 1970s liberation war against
white rule, began forcibly occupying white farms in February last year.
Since then, there has been widespread killings and rape, intimidation and

In July, Mr Mugabe expanded the Supreme Court by adding three new judges for
a total of eight, a step condemned by the Opposition as a move to influence
the court's rulings.

The latest ruling came after a month of diplomatic efforts aimed at
resolving the political crisis in Zimbabwe, which the Government says is
rooted in colonial-era inequities that left the white minority owning most
of the prime farmland.

Mr Mugabe has now travelled to Bangkok on a three-day state visit to discuss
trade and investment. He had been due to attend the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Australia, but switched to Thailand after it was

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From the Guardian

Zimbabwe To Honor Farm Agreement

Thursday October 4, 2001 2:40 AM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - A Zimbabwean official said Wednesday the
country would honor an international agreement to restore law and order to
farming areas and prevent more farm seizures.

At a news conference in Johannesburg, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
said police were arresting anyone who has occupied farmland since the
agreement was signed last month in Abuja, Nigeria.

Ruling party militants have occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since March
2000, and the government has earmarked 4,600 white-owned farms to be seized
and given to landless blacks. At least nine white farmers have died in
violence since June.

The agreement aimed at ending the takeovers pledged an immediate end to
violence and farm invasions in return for British funding for orderly land

Since then, more than 20 farms were newly occupied, said the Commercial
Farmers' Union, which represents most white farmers.

``Those are unlawful things and the government of Zimbabwe does not support
them,'' Moyo said. ``We will prosecute anyone violating the law. That does
not mean you will not find people violating the law.''

About 4,000 white farmers own an estimated one-third of Zimbabwe's
productive farmland.

Human rights groups and opposition officials have accused President Robert
Mugabe of orchestrating the farm occupations and its accompanying violence
to crush political opposition in rural districts.
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From CNN, 3 October

Zimbabwe vows to protect farms

Johannesburg - Zimbabwean officials said Wednesday they planned to honor an international agreement to restore law and order to farming areas and to prevent the illegal occupation of any new farms. In a news conference in Johannesburg, Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said police were arresting anyone who has occupied new farmland since the agreement was signed in Abuja, Nigeria last month. Since March 2,000 ruling party militants have occupied more than 1,700 white-owned farms - in some cases violently - demanding they be seized redistributed to landless blacks.

The government has earmarked more than 4,600 farms - about 95 percent of the farms owned by whites - for seizure under a fast-track land reform program. In an agreement signed in September in Abuja, Nigeria, Zimbabwe pledged an immediate end to violence and farm invasions in return for funding from Britain, its former colonial ruler, and other countries for orderly land reform. Since then, more than 20 farms were newly occupied, said the Commercial Farmers' Union, which represents most white farmers.

"Those are unlawful things and the government of Zimbabwe does not support them," Moyo said. "We will prosecute anyone violating the law. That does not mean you will not find people violating the law." The new occupations were carried out by "rogue elements and pretenders for all sorts of reasons," he said, adding that some opposition members and white farmers might be organizing new farm occupations for their own unspecified reasons. About 4,000 white farmers own an estimated one-third of Zimbabwe's productive farmland. Nearly 4 million people live on the rest.

Human rights groups and opposition officials have accused President Robert Mugabe of orchestrating the farm occupations and its accompanying violence to crush political opposition in rural districts. Moyo said the need for land reform in Zimbabwe was urgent and communal farming areas were overpopulated and bursting. "There can be no human rights, no rule of law, no democracy where there is social injustice," he said. Moyo, who was passing through South Africa on his way back from a trip to Asia, also threatened to take legal action against Tony Leon, the leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance, for criticizing Zimbabwe. He also said Zimbabwe also was considering legal action against any newspapers that printed his "defamatory lies against our country and our government."

From The Financial Gazette, 4 October

Farm seizures threaten Abuja deal

The continued occupation of commercial farms by militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe is threatening the viability of the Nigerian-brokered Abuja agreement and might turn it into yet another stillborn pact on the land crisis, experts said this week. Self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war have continued to lead gullible peasants to forcibly occupy commercial farms despite the Abuja agreement signed by Zimbabwe and Britain last month. The accord tied Mugabe's administration to restore law and order on the farms in return for British support for the resettlement exercise and the resumption of vital Western aid.

But Mugabe's supporters, who include the war veterans, have not stopped the invasions. In some cases, they have even accelerated the occupation of new farms in anticipation of the planting season that begins within weeks. The Commercial Farmers' Union, whose mostly white members have been the target of the farm seizures, has reported that more than 25 new farm occupations have taken place since the Abuja agreement was signed. In some areas such as Macheke, violence led by the war veterans has worsened. This week about 70 houses belonging to farm workers on one farm alone were burnt to the ground by the lawless mobs who sought to seize the farm. Terrified farmers in Macheke say they live in fear of being killed.

Respected analyst and politician Heneri Dzinotyiwei said the violence and lawlessness on the farms and in rural areas would continue unabated until perhaps after presidential elections, which are due next year, because both the government and the opposition are preoccupied with that poll above anything else. He said the only way to address the problems threatening the Abuja pact was for the ruling Zanu PF party, the opposition and civic bodies to convene a meeting before the presidential ballot to agree a national programme on land redistribution "that is non-reversible, regardless of who is in power". Dzinotyiwei, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer, said the Abuja agreement is being clouded by "political posturing" by both the government and the Movement for Democratic Change and what might be holding it together is a realisation by Britain that once it had signed, it stood to lose more by pulling out.

"I think the British will not pull out of Abuja . . . it would be unwise for them to do so because they would be misunderstood internationally," he said. What the British could do, he noted, was to continue pushing for the Zimbabwean government to keep its side of the bargain and bring back law and order, in suspension since the farm invasions began in February last year. Dzinotyiwei said the dilemma for the government was that it was getting increasingly difficult for the outside world to understand whether the violent occupations were a genuine quest for land or the invaders were being "deliberately inspired" by Zanu PF.

Jakkie Cilliers of the South African Institute of Security Studies said the failure of Abuja would have serious implications not only for southern Africa but for the whole continent. "Right from the start, I did not think that there was a great chance that Abuja would hold," Cilliers told the Financial Gazette by telephone from Pretoria. He said now that the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Australia had been postponed, there was no other platform on the horizon where the willingness of the Zimbabwean government to adhere to Abuja would be tested. "The implications are that the situation in Zimbabwe will continue to deteriorate until such time as the elections will occur. Zimbabwe's friends and allies are very concerned," Cilliers said.

He said some of the implications of the problems in Zimbabwe that would be compounded by the failure of the Abuja agreement were already being felt in the southern African country. Food shortages and an exodus of economic refugees into neighbouring countries were such examples. "The failure of Abuja will undermine President Thabo Mbeki's African initiative and other continental initiatives that African leaders are trying to push to attract foreign investment because of the lack of rule of law and instability in Zimbabwe," Cilliers said. While everyone understood the need for land reform in Zimbabwe, he said there was a growing feeling internationally that the government is using the cry for land for political gain ahead of next year's presidential poll.

From The Star (SA), 3 October

Zim government threatens to sue Tony Leon

The Zimbabwean government has vowed to sue Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon for allegedly defaming Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. Moyo issued the threat against Leon at a press conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday, saying it arose from a letter Leon had written to Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon. Leon complained that Zimbabwe had not agreed, at a Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria last month, to stop violence by war veterans invading white-owned farms. On Wednesday, Moyo angrily denied having ever said Zimbabwe had not agreed to end violence on the farms.

From News24 (SA), 3 October

Disquiet over 'Zim court bias'

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party expressed worry on Wednesday that newly appointed Supreme Court judges seen as government supporters would not give them a fair hearing in cases pending before the court. The Movement for Democratic Change has up to 15 appeal cases waiting to be heard by the court, most of them challenges to the results of parliamentary elections they say were tainted by violence, intimidation and electoral fraud. The opposition narrowly failed to win a majority of the 120 elected parliamentary seats in the June 2000 polls, leaving the ruling party with 62 seats. It is contesting some 27 results in voting districts across the country.

The government expanded the Supreme Court from five to eight judges in July, a move seen as a bid to pack the court in the state's favour. The appointment of new judges "doesn't augur well for us. It places the final outcome of these election petitions in jeopardy," said David Coltart, the opposition's legal affairs spokesperson. The Supreme Court, presided over by new Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, issued a snap order on Tuesday allowing the government to proceed with the seizures of white-owned farms despite a December Supreme Court order declaring the seizures illegal. Lawyers acting for farmers accused Chidyausiku, an outspoken ruling party supporter, of bias in choosing three other new judges to hear the land case along with one holdover, claiming he filled the bench with judges seen as favourable to the government.

"What is worrying is the blatant way the court was selected and the haste in which its first order was issued," Coltart said. The chief justice normally picks a bench of three to five judges to hear any one case. Violent ruling party militants have illegally occupied at least 1 700 white-owned farms since March 2000 and the government has targeted some 4 500 white-owned farms for confiscation and redistribution to landless blacks. In December, five Supreme Court judges put land seizures on hold and demanded the government restore law and order in farming districts riven by violence that left has killed at least 51 people - nine of them white farmers - and left thousands of black farm workers homeless. Former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to take early retirement following that ruling.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said on Wednesday that criticism of the new judges was coming from "people with an agenda." "They think that an independent judiciary is one that rules in their favour. We think that is very mischievous," he said at a news conference in Johannesburg. All the judges were appointed according to constitutional processes and were highly qualified and experienced, Moyo said. "There is no judge who has been picked from the sky or another planet or the bar. They have all been picked from the bench," he said. Aside from election appeals, the court is scheduled to hear an appeal by the owners of a private radio station shut down by a presidential order. Capital Radio went on air earlier this year after a previous Supreme Court ruling declaring the government's broadcasting monopoly unconstitutional. The opposition is also to challenge legislation that bans political organisations from receiving foreign funding for campaigning. Adrian de Bourbon, an attorney for the Commercial Farmers Union, representing about 4 000 white farmers, said he plans to lodge a complaint on Tuesday's "unprecedented" interim order on land to the Zimbabwe Law Society, the International Bar Association and the South African General Bar Council. "The repercussions of this go far beyond the land case," he said.

From The Financial Gazette, 4 October

Makoni wins battle to devalue dollar by 50%

Finance Minister Simba Makoni is expected to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar by at least 50 percent in the next two weeks after finally convincing President Robert Mugabe and his Cabinet to approve the depreciation, official sources said this week. Finance Ministry sources said the exchange rate of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US currency would be depreciated from the current fixed 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one greenback to about $125 as part of efforts by Makoni to smash a thriving parallel market that has exacerbated a hard cash crisis gripping Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his Cabinet, fearing that a devaluation will trigger price increases across an economy in crisis, have staunchly resisted calls by Makoni, economists and business to devalue the local dollar in line with its purchasing parity since last year. Mugabe, who faces a tough presidential election early next year, instead allowed the exchange rate to be fixed at 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one US unit since October 16 2000. The parallel market, itself just one of the distortions arising from years of poor fiscal management by the government, is trading one American dollar at between 300 to 350 Zimbabwe dollars.

The sources said Makoni had finally convinced his Cabinet colleagues that a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar could help partly ease the pressure on the parallel market, where rates once reached 400 local dollars against the American unit before tumbling in the past few weeks because of the weakening US dollar. "The devaluation is expected to immediately follow next week's announcement of the 2002 national budget and there is even pressure right now for the minister to take advantage of the sharp drop in parallel market rates of the past three weeks," one source said. Rates on the parallel market have crashed since the terrorist attacks in the US at the beginning of last month.

Makoni, whose previous calls for devaluation had been met by counter-claims by some of his Cabinet colleagues that the local currency was in fact under-valued, could not be reached for comment. His permanent secretary Nicholas Ncube was also not available. The sources said central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Leonard Tsumba had also lately joined Makoni in calling for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar following a meeting late last month between himself and representatives of the airline industry. The airlines had petitioned the RBZ following a directive by the government to ban the use of parallel market rates in companies' pricing policies. The directive severely affected the operations of airlines and other firms whose prices are quoted in hard currency.

"The Reserve Bank had recommended a devaluation to 150 against the US dollar but the Cabinet has settled on 125 to the US unit," another source said. The devaluation will boost sentiment on Zimbabwe's financial markets, although some analysts say the move will not result in increased inflows of hard cash into the official market because of restrictions on foreign currency accounts (FCAs). Under current legislation, FCA holders are required to surrender at least 40 percent of their foreign currency to the government to be used for fuel and electricity imports.

From IRIN (UN), 3 October

Kabila, Obasanjo Meet But Rebel Leaders Fail to Show

Presidents Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Olusegun Obasanjo met on Tuesday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for talks aimed at preparing the groundwork for peace negotiations with civil war rivals in the central African country. However, Nigerian officials said that the rebel leaders Adolphe Onusumba Yemba of the Goma-based Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie and Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo failed to show up for the meeting. "I can confirm that President Obasanjo met with President Kabila for more than three hours on Tuesday but the rebel leaders were not there," a senior presidential aide told IRIN on Wednesday.

Onusumba, whose group is backed by Rwanda, and Bemba, who enjoys Ugandan support, have been fighting Kabila's government since 1998 in a war that has drawn in at least six African countries on opposing sides. The United Nations has been working to persuade rivals in the war to respect a cease-fire agreement signed in 1999, which has largely halted fighting in recent months. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and a regional power often keen to broker peace deals in Africa's trouble spots, has shown increased interest in ending the DRC war since a meeting in Abuja in April between Obasanjo and Kabila. An inter-Congolese dialogue for peace and reconciliation, involving the DRC government and opposition groups, political and civil society leaders, is set to begin hold on 15 October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

CHOGM Protests
The CHOGM meeting in Brisbane may have been postponed, but the two simultaneous protests in London and Pretoria are very definitely still on.
On Saturday 6 October, there will be two large, colourful, and peaceful demonstrations - one in London, and one in Pretoria. It is very important that a strong protest is registered, to make sure that the delegates to CHOGM fully appreciate the importance of holding the government of Zimbabwe to the public promises it recently made in Abuja and Harare. Please make a HUGE effort for this one. We cannot emphasise this strongly enough.
London : Starts at noon on Saturday 6 October outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in the Strand, followed by a march to Trafalgar Square. Tel 01765 607 900 for details.
Pretoria : Starts at noon at at the Eastern Gate of the Union Buildings on Church Street – east of Leyds (just past the next street along – Wessels), followed by a march to the Zimbabwe High Commission at 798 Merton Street, Arcadia. Tel 082 885 0771 for details.
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