ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS PROTEST
Saturday 06 October 2001
: From the Union Buildings to Zimbabwe High Commission, Pretoria, South
Gather at 12h00 - March to begin at 12h30
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
The protest will focus on
A cessation of
all acts of violence and the immediate restoration of law and order - and peace
- in Zimbabwe.
of freedom of speech and press freedom.
The demand that
Robert Gabriel Mugabe abide by the Abuja Agreement.
A call for
continued pressure to be placed on Robert Gabriel Mugabe by SADC Heads of State,
and in particular President Mbeki, because of the dramatic and negative impact
the Zimbabwe situation is having on South Africa (in terms of the economy, Rand
exchange rate, prospect of the influx refugees etc).
The support for
the imposition of selective sanctions (as introduced by the US Senate as
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill, September 2001) by the USA,
the British Government, the European Union, the Commonwealth member
states and SADC, if Mugabe continues on this destructive course.
The urgency and
importance of free and fair Presidential elections in Zimbabwe with independent
TO ALL ZIMBABWEANS -
WE SALUTE YOUR STRENGTH AND COURAGE!
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
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
Parking : Parking is available in this area.
Directions : By
email on request
Bring : Posters,
banners and flags - and something to drink and eat
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.
|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
|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.
ZIMBABWE: Civic groups want independent poll and right to educate
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.
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
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.
A letter to Fingaz
Stamps has overseen more deaths than any other
Dr Alex Stevenson, Tasmania.
10/4/01 9:05:07 PM (GMT
EDITOR - I was shocked to learn that there are only a few doctors
Zimbabwe's government service. I was less than surprised to read
Timothy Stamps laying the blame everywhere except on
The last time I met Stamps I advised him to resign. Under
his leadership the
ministry has collapsed. There are neither drugs nor
He tried to excuse himself saying that he was under-funded. This is
but why then support a government that puts a private war in the Congo
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
Few would disagree that through errors of omission and neglect Stamps
overseen the deaths of more Zimbabweans than any other politician has.
all things considered, that is quite an achievement.
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.
Dollar to be devalued 50%
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
No comment could be obtained from the Ministry of Finance
on the issue this
week but the sources said Makoni had finally enlisted the
President Robert Mugabe and the Cabinet a few weeks ago in his
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
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.
unsuccessfully pushed for the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar
beginning of the year, with Mugabe and other Cabinet ministers
fearful of its
inflationary effects on an economy already under siege.
Daily News Leader Page
Zanu PF’s lies fly on everyone’s
10/4/01 10:10:07 AM (GMT +2)
By Bekezela Dube
HAVE joined the long list of “malcontents”, those who believe
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
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
political advantage. He reminded the world: “We are dealing with a
that has accumulated in Zimbabwe for almost a century and to pretend
problems are new will not help us find solutions.” While his efforts
laudable, Mbeki showed little understanding of the facts on the ground
real issues in Zimbabwe. It’s clear there is no way he can help,
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
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
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
From the Daily News
Zimpost admits rampant mail theft
10:24:13 AM (GMT +2)
INTERNATIONAL mail and
cargo destined for Harare has gone missing and in
some cases has been
tampered with, the general manager of Zimbabwe Posts
Mutyavaviri, told a Press conference in Harare yesterday.
attributed the problem of mail theft to the withdrawal of 16
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
Misheck Ugaro, the
manager of the commercial services division, cited in
withdrawal of KLM and Lufthansa airlines as having negatively
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
A number of airlines withdrew from Zimbabwe at the height
government-sanctioned lawlessness when former freedom fighters
PF supporters unleashed a reign of terror throughout the country.
result, mail from many European countries now passes through two or
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
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
“Although we don’t know who is responsible for the interception, we
that it could be some postal officials who open letters searching for
Makombe said many people in London were no
longer posting letters to
Zimbabwe because they feared that it would not get
Back home, Tendai Matambanadzo said he found
it very disturbing that letters
from outside the country were being tampered
He said two of his relatives in the United States posted letters which
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
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 12:46:17 +0200
Nyanga Area - Pungwe Falls
For your Information
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.
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.
Regional Executive Manicaland CFU
From the Daily News
Border jumpers threaten police
AM (GMT +2)
From Kelvin Jakachira and Sydney Saize in
TENSION ran high in Mutare as the police came under increasing
from cross-border traders and local businessmen for allegedly
heavy-handed tactics to curb the cross-border smuggling.
outcry follows the arrest last week of up to 60 people, Zimbabwean
Mozambican, in the city and along the border and the confiscation of
quantities of goods worth more than $5 million.
said the arrests and perceived harassment of Mozambicans had
colleagues across the border. Some Mozambicans are reported to
threatened retaliatory action against Zimbabwean-registered
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
Provincial Governor Oppah Muchinguri said there were plans to
army and police units to bolster border patrols. She said those
farms along the border were likely to be relocated.
and the army are going to be deployed in full force to monitor
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
protests when the police descended on several wholesale outlets
supermarkets, rounding up those with large quantities of
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
While residents and
businesspeople interviewed said they supported the
police crackdown on
smuggling, they complained about the alleged random and
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
empowerment lobby group, Affirmative Action Group, said the
raid smugglers at the border post or at illegal exit points and
not at the
premises of wholesalers as they could arrest Zimbabweans who
legitimately in business, running tuckshops.
Mupfumi said eight
tuckshop owners, who are members of his group, were
caught in the
But Mubvuta said anyone aggrieved by the police¹s handling of the
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
Mozambicans have also been regularly tracking to Mutare to buy
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,
Last week, Zimbabwean police
arrested 20 Mozambicans in Darlington, Mutare,
allegedly for illegally
entering the country and smuggling. They were fined
From the Australian
White farmers lament Mugabe's win
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
accusing the judiciary of being "no longer independent".
overturned a Supreme Court ruling last November which found Mr
reforms unconstitutional and instructed police to evict
occupiers from white
The nation's highest court could take months to deliver its full
but the two-page order on Tuesday clears legal obstacles the
faced in processing its claims to white-owned farms.
legal about-turn came in a 4-to-1 decision by a bench dominated by
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
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 latest ruling came after a month of diplomatic efforts aimed
resolving the political crisis in Zimbabwe, which the Government says
rooted in colonial-era inequities that left the white minority owning
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
From the Guardian
Zimbabwe To Honor Farm Agreement
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
At a news conference in Johannesburg, Information Minister
said police were arresting anyone who has occupied farmland
agreement was signed last month in Abuja, Nigeria.
party militants have occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since March
the government has earmarked 4,600 white-owned farms to be seized
to landless blacks. At least nine white farmers have died in
The agreement aimed at ending the takeovers pledged an immediate
violence and farm invasions in return for British funding for orderly
Since then, more than 20 farms were newly occupied, said
Farmers' Union, which represents most white
``Those are unlawful things and the government of Zimbabwe does
them,'' Moyo said. ``We will prosecute anyone violating the law.
not mean you will not find people violating the law.''
4,000 white farmers own an estimated one-third of Zimbabwe's
Human rights groups and opposition officials have accused
Mugabe of orchestrating the farm occupations and its
to crush political opposition in rural districts.
- Promises, promises - CNN
- Continued violence threatens deal -
- Moyo threatens to sue -
- Disquiet over court bias -
- Makoni wins devaluation battle? -
- Kabila, Obasanjo Meet But Rebel Leaders
Fail to Show
- CHOGM protests
From CNN, 3
Zimbabwe vows to protect
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
Farm seizures threaten Abuja
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
From The Star (SA), 3
Zim government threatens to sue Tony
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
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
Makoni wins battle to devalue dollar
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
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
"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
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.