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Zimbabwe Court Rules on Searches

By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer  -Friday September 15 6:32 PM ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - An opposition leader charged Friday that police seized membership lists and financial records from his party, which had posed the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe since he led the African nation to independence in 1980.

But hours after authorities searched two offices of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's High Court declared the actions illegal and ordered police to return the materials, said party secretary general Welshman Ncube.

At one office, the police - some with automatic weapons - took checkbooks, address books and membership lists, and the personal files of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube said.

At the second office north of downtown, police took boxes of files and computer diskettes, he said.

Ncube said Judge Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled the search warrants did not sufficiently specify alleged offenses or identify suspects or documents sought.

``This is another attempt to access the database and financial records with a view to unleashing terror on people assisting MDC materially or financially,'' Ncube said. ``It violates our constitutional rights as a political party.''

Movement for Democratic Change won 57 of 120 elected seats in June parliamentary elections.

In the run-up to those elections, political violence left at least 31 people dead. Most of the victims were opposition supporters.

Police refused to comment on the searches.

However, George Charamba, a spokesman in Mugabe's office, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper the raids were linked to a grenade attack on Monday. Attackers hurled a grenade into the yard at party headquarters. No one was hurt and no one claimed responsibility.

Charamba said police needed access to opposition premises and individuals as part of their investigations.

Britain on Friday protested the searches, calling them a means of intimidation.

``No justification has been given for these raids,'' said Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain. ``Britain deplores any action by the Zimbabwean authorities which intimidates the legitimate parliamentary opposition, or indeed any citizen.''

On Thursday, police also searched the party's offices, claiming they were looking for weapons. None were found, Ncube said.

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Features (Zim Independent)

Candid Comment

“PEOPLE who thought we were using land as an election campaign tool now realise they were wrong.”

These are words attributed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made, published in the Herald of August 30.
If these were indeed Made’s words, then his statement has exploded the myth that President Mugabe did set out to form a government partly composed of technocrats after the June election. In time the rest of the citizens will come to realise that maybe only one, up to a maximum of two, of those ministers can be described as technocrats.

The rest of the new faces in that cabinet are actually Zanu PF apparatchiks who were previously deployed in other capacities elsewhere. It is patently clear that Made is out of his depth at the policy level. He was correct when, soon after his ministerial appointment, he described himself on ZTV as a “nuts and bolts man”.

A political heavyweight would have been preferable at that post, if only because for such a personality, the need to display excessive political sycophancy would have been somewhat diminished.

Take for instance the previous Minister of Agriculture, Kumbirai Kangai. Despite all his other failings, Kangai was both a politician and a farmer at heart and at appropriate occasions, he spoke the language of agriculture.

To date, I personally have not yet heard Made speak the language of agriculture, let alone agricultu- ral economics, which ought to have been his core business. Each time he speaks, I hear him doing his best to echo the voice of the King and trying to excel in Zanu PF racist bigotry.

How can someone that should be both literate and numerate, and is said to have earned a PhD in some agricultural science discipline, fail to comprehend that what should have been done in stages over a 20- year period cannot now be done in three months?

How can a scholar, a rational person, fail to comprehend that it is impossible at best, and calamitous at worst, to resettle some 500 000 families, which means approximately three million individual Zimbabweans, that is one quarter (25%) of the entire country’s population, on 5 - 7 million hectares of land in a time interval of three months?

How can educated and rational administrators fail to comprehend or anticipate the dire conse- quences of subjecting three million Zimbabweans to conditions of existence that are devoid of every form of infrastructure, namely shelter, potable water, clinics, roads, shops and schools?

How can an agriculturalist, qualified at PhD level, fail to realise the folly and madness, in terms of the national GDP and food security, of transferring millions of hectares of land from commercial agricultural production to subsistence agriculture?

The rulers of this country must be warned, in the comfort of their third heaven, that they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction down here.

Throughout history, it has been demonstrated that people can only take so much abuse and man- made suffering and no more. In that respect all people, I mean all races, all nations and all nationalities manifest the same limits of tolerance.

The sections of our population, Zanu PF followers and pretenders, that are presently being doled out with large tracts of land, 15 - 35 hectares per family, will have become sorely disappointed people in a year’s time from today. They could easily turn into the government’s bitterest critics. For by that time they will be starving and they will be poorer than they are today. This turn of events is inevitable because it will be impossible for the new settlers to work the land without the means to do so.

Don’t tell me that a government that cannot provide panadol pills, detergents and bandages in its hospitals, and chalk for teachers in schools, can know where to scratch resources to provide tools, draught power, seeds and fertilisers for 500 000 families spread on five million hectares of territory in the period between now and November 2000! Made and his masters are about to perform miracles. Let’s see them perform them.

However, what is telling is that the demagogic and belligerent policies of the rulers have resulted in the flight of capital from the country and the reduction of our money, the Zim dollar, into suitcase currency.

The tourist industry, which prior to the campaign of state-sponsored lawlessness and confrontational propaganda in the country was growing in leaps and bounds has collapsed and thousands of workers thrown onto the streets; the same has happened to horticulture, and industrial and commercial companies are falling like dominoes.

The overall result is accelerated poverty and widespread destitution, complemented by high mortality and high morbidity rates right across our society.

We are now saddled with a social set-up where a vast majority of the populace have no stake in the stability of society. Remember the saying that “where there is nothing to lose there is nothing to fear”. Against this background, I fear that our rulers are living on a precipice. The whole of our society, all of us, are living on a precipice.
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ZimNews - siege continues...

15 September, 2000
Updated 12:30

Just when MDC staff and officials thought that the disruptions of
yesterday's searches were over after the release of their officials early
last night, the CID descended upon their offices again this morning this
time armed with "police computer experts". They said the experts would go
through the party's computers for information related to the  allegations
that the party has arms of war. No formal charge has been made against the
party or its membership.

The police came with the same amended search warrant which they brought
yesterday afternoon. On top of giving them authority to search all the MDC
offices for grenades, pistols, rifles and teargas, the warrant provides
"access to documents and to access computers materials and information."
However MDC lawyers refused them entry on the grounds that the party made
application to the High Court for the search to be declared illegal. Until
there has been a ruling on the matter the CID can not continue to ask for
access in the MDC offices.  Judge Garwe, Vice President of the High Court,
was assigned to hear the case.  Justice Chidyausiku, it appears, assigned
the case to Garwe knowing he is out of the office today.  MDC attorneys
returned to the High Court to request that another judge be assigned.

Meanwhile the four MDC officials who were detained briefly late yesterday
were released at about 7 PM. This was after pressure mounted in Parliament
for the House to condemn the harassment of the MDC by police and also
that police stop acting as an arm of Zanu PF.  Speaker after speaker
condemned the continued police harrassment. So touching were their
submissions that the MDC youngest member of Parliament, Tafadzwa Musekiwa,
broke down into tears.  Musekiwa's parents were severly harrassed
as part of the police campaign.

Uniformed policemen in full combat attire remained at all the MDC offices
through out the night , and are still there.  MDC youth stood watch last
night outside the offices along with the armed policemen.

The MDC has started a 'red card' ribbon  campaign against harassment by
police officials and the continued breakdown of law and order across the
country.  As this is a national issue, the MDC is appealing to all
Zimbabeans to wear red ribbons in solidarity until law and order is

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Andrew Meldrum @ Harare

Special report: Zimbabwe

Monday September 11, 2000

It is 5am. Equipped with a Thermos, an apple, my cellphone and a wad of cash, I drive out on to the streets of Harare in search of diesel for my car. Following a tip from a trusted friend I go to a nearby service station and, sure enough, I spy a queue of more than 60 cars, buses and trucks.
Where there's smoke, there's fire and I think I have found a place that will sell the precious liquid.
I position my vehicle in the queue and settle in for the long wait. As dawn breaks, I take a stroll and see people sleeping in their vehicles, some drinking tea from flasks and many others huddled in groups discussing the situation. The fuel queues that snake throughout Harare are lively centres of political discussions.

Zimbabwe's racial and class divisions break down as everyone finds common cause in blaming the government for the fuel shortage. Black truck drivers, white housewives and Asian shop owners shake their heads in disgust at the dire straits of the Zimbabwean economy. One woman blames the war in the Congo. A man says it is corruption. Everyone agrees that things will not get better until Robert Mugabe leaves power.

After reaching that conclusion they get back to the pressing matter of getting diesel. How long is the queue? How much fuel did the station get yesterday? Will they let us fill up? Or will they only sell us a quarter of a tank?

Zimbabwe has been suffering a shortage of petroleum-based fuels since December last year because President Mugabe's government has run out of the foreign exchange needed to import adequate supplies. Zimbabweans have watched with interest as France threatens to grind to a halt because of the week-long blockade on its petroleum fuels. "The news makes it seem like they have it bad in France," said the manager of a factory which makes rubber hoses. "They say businesses cannot make deliveries. Well, we have had those problems all year. Imagine trying to keep a factory going when you cannot get regular supplies and you cannot make regular deliveries. It is a nightmare. But we carry on."

Everyone in Zimbabwe has been struggling to cope with a drastic fuel shortage for the entire year. It is estimated Zimbabwe has been operating on less than 50% of its normal consumption for 10 months. In September the situation became even more desperate, especially for diesel. Tankers bringing fuel from Kuwait arrived at the Mozambican port of Beira, landlocked Zimbabwe's nearest outlet to the sea, but they refused to offload their cargo because they had not been paid. The state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has defaulted on so many payments that Zimbabwe has lost all international lines of credit and must now pay cash up front for all deliveries of fuel.

By 7am the sun is up and the heat of the day begins to rise. Tempers also become heated when a vehicle tries to wedge in at the front of the queue.
People who slept in their vehicles all night jump out and shout at the driver. He glumly drives to the back of the queue which is now more than 150 vehicles.

Police are now patrolling the area to prevent any violence. The shortage of fuel is so desperate that there have been shootings and brawls in queues.
For a week now, police have been called out to maintain order.

The queue begins to move and we all rush back to our cars and trucks. I read the paper and every few minutes start my car to move forward. Some are so short of fuel they push their cars along the queue. The sun is now high and scorching but I don't mind because I am now in sight of the pumps. I can't believe my luck when I pull up and get a full tank.

It is after 11am when I drive home. I am tired and hot and the morning is shot, but I am elated with my score. I have a full tank, but the nagging thought is that the Zimbabwean economy is running on empty.
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  THE FARMER - 11/9/00
 Headlines - the full articles have been included in this issue
A tough decision
Government boycotts congress
Turmoil in Zimbabwe's economy
Fighting back
Back to court for farmers
CFU meets IMF delegation


A tough decision
"The CFU has to return to the Supreme Court to represent all farmers affected by the government's decision to acquire compulsorily over 3000 farms. This class action will specifically challenge the power to take land from an individual without compensation." Momentous words, quietly spoken by the president of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union at their annual congress in Harare last week.

But they are words that will have serious impact. First and foremost, farmers can expect government to become even more intransigent and doors that re-opened when the case was last dropped will be slammed in the union's face once more. That really doesn't matter. Dialogue with government achieved nothing; the absurdity of farms listed for acquisition continued unabated and there was no movement of illegal squatters from the farms.

Dialogue was a farce, orchestrated by ZANU-PF.

More seriously, farmers can expect an intensification of intimidation. The so-called war vets will now be encouraged to turn up the heat. Mr Mugabe and his fawning deputies will smirk; they'll claim they 're unable to control "the people". That will be a lie, but fortunately the whole world will know it is a lie - because the world (and Zimbabwe) knows that the "war veterans" are acting on orders from the highest level.

Still, the expected intensification of violence is the reason why the CFU's leadership must have found the legal route such a hard decision to make. Too many people have been murdered already, too many people have been raped and beaten - and too many have had to flee their homes. Even the slimmest chance that litigation will bring more rape and murder to the countryside requires immense thought - and critics should not mistake time taken in thought for hesitancy or weakness.

So… the decision has been taken and it is the right decision, backed by unchallengeable moral authority. Yes, there will be repercussions, sadly even very serious ones. Farmers know this - and they know they are still on their own in a fight to save themselves, their workers, their businesses and, in turn, their country. They can (and should) feel beleaguered and lonely, but there is also a great deal to feel proud about. History will treat commercial farmers well for taking the decision to fight the forces of anarchy and destruction - and unless there's a dramatic change of attitude, history will treat the people who should be farmers' allies with no small contempt.

But there are still critics out there, still people who believe that litigation won't be worth the cost. Well, no one knows what the cost of taking on the might of ZANU-PF will be, but there is now ample proof that negotiations are bearing no fruit and that the cost of lying low will be the destruction of commercial agriculture and, with it, the destruction of Zimbabwe. That means that litigation, whether successful or not, has to be pursued because if it does nothing more than delay Mr Mugabe's selfish plans, then it will be worth it.

We hear that among the critics are venerable old men who've guided agriculture along its bumpy road for the past five decades. Well, sorry, but they're wrong - this time. Agriculture has come to a pass and there really is very little to lose, so the caution that comes with age shouldn't be an overriding factor when it comes to making decisions.

Besides, these are decisions that affect and will effect younger generations of farmers, and those generations have, with wisdom and calculated caution, decided to fight it out. People who've not the stomach for the impending fight should now bow to the inevitable and allow the overwhelming majority of farmers who want to take a moral stand get on with it.

But… there's always a but. The fight ahead is going to be difficult - and the economic circumstances in Zimbabwe will make it more difficult still, though the rewards of succeeding remain tantalising and worth literally any effort. That doesn't mean that farmers should discard strategy, still less that they should take the law into their own hands. So far commercial agriculture has retained the moral high ground, thanks largely to subtle and clever strategies. But when Erik Morris, a Harare advocate, spoke to farmers at their congress, he told them he wasn't advocating they use force to remove squatters - and then went on to list cases where the use of force had been condoned by the courts. It was a cop out, and a rather silly one.

In effect, he seemed to be saying "I don't suggest you do this, but… all these people did and they got away with it."

The situation on the farms is far too dangerous to play with. Shooting at squatters is not an option and here's one certainty for you: if any farmer starts a shooting war with so-called war veterans, those "heroes" of Mr Mugabe's struggle to remain in power will be backed up by a hit team assembled by the shadowy forces working for the president. Shoot at these people and you won't be paying some legal wonk in the city to defend you, you (or your estate) will be paying for a box to carry you away in.

Harsh but true.


Government boycotts congress

ZIMBABWE's new Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made, set a precedent of sorts when he, and apparently all invited government officials, boycotted the 57th Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Congress in Harare last week.

Dr Made was invited to both the opening ceremony on 6 September and the plenary session at a Harare hotel where he was expected to address delegates. According to CFU President, Tim Henwood, the minister did not respond to any of the invitations extended to him.

However, it is reliably understood that several officials from the ministry attended the official luncheon at the Harare hotel but left immediately afterwards, disregarding the afternoon session during which Dr Made was expected to speak.

Ironically, Dr Made and several other cabinet ministers recently attended and addressed the predominantly black Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union Congress and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union Congress a few weeks earlier.

Efforts to seek comment from Dr Made at the time of going to press were unsuccessful.


Turmoil in Zimbabwe's economy

PRODUCTION from Zimbabwe's commercial agriculture will shrink by 13% this year due to the unfavourable operating environment charaterised by farm invasions, the "fast track" resettlement programme and the refusal by banks to extend seasonal loans to farmers due to land seizures by President's Mugabe's government.

Addressing the official opening of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) 57th congress, union President, Mr Tim Henwood said the drop in production would impact further on the scarce foreign exchange position. Zimbabwe has been in a foreign exchange crisis for months, which has led to severe fuel and electricity shortages.

High interest rates and unfavourable terms of trade due to the previously static exchange rate and depressed commodity markets were other causes of the decline. Commercial agriculture runs a book of in excess of $20 billion dollars with banks at an interest rate of 60%.

Mr Henwood said the country still has to contend with growing import demand on the back of a severely hampered export performance. He said in 1998 exports accrued $32,9 billion against imports costing $45,8 billion, leaving a large trade balance deficit. In 1999 Zimbabwe exported goods worth $66,3 billion against imports worth $67,1 billion.

Mr Henwood lamented that massive lists had been published of farms to be acquired for resettlement and 'banks tell us there will be no finance for affected farmers."

"Just being listed prevents a farmer from gaining finance. Those listed for compulsory acquisition, which had obtained season finance, have had their finances cut. Once a farm is listed, its assets value is effectively destroyed," said Henwood.

The bankers Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr Greg Brackenridge made it abundantly clear to farmers that banks would not lend any money to those whose farms were on the acquisition list as there was no guarantee that they would reap the crops. He said current economic problems and the land issue would lead to the fall of the country's GDP.

Based on the statistics made before the government extended the "fast track" programme to thousands of farms the GDP would fall by 8% this year and by 12% next year.

Mr Brackenridge called for dialogue in solving the land issue saying, "The consequences of us failing to resolve this land issue are ghastly and will exact a heavy toll on every single Zimbabwean in all walks of life."

"The key to the resolution is the land issue. banks will find it difficult to provide finance to farmers. Bankers are reluctant to incur potentially $30 billion dollars in exposure if they have no certainty that people are going to be able to reap their crops," said Mr Brackenridge.

Another speaker, Dr Stan Parsons said, " Banks have told it like it is. We must be prepared to take it like it is."

He said Zimbabwean farmers were not the only farmers who had encountered problems which are not of their own making but Zimbabwe's problems were probably of a bigger magnitude."The economic situation is disastrous but what do we do about it - there is no fiery Godmother and nobody will come to our rescue."

Henwood said, "All sectors of the economy are fast realising that they too are unable to survive alone and are becoming active in the call for return to sanity.

Already, the manufacturing sector is expected to decline by 10%, mining by 2%. Foreign and domestic debts have continued to grow with the domestic debt requiring to be serviced at a rate of $2 billion per week. Foreign debt shot up to $96 billion and for the first time, Zimbabwe has started defaulting on foreign debt service, which has resulted in withdrawals of lines of credits and humanitarian assistance.

Mr Brackenridge warned that unless Zimbabwe has a plan for a viable economic future there was no chance of attracting the support of the international community. He said while the economy has tremendous potential especially its export capacity, the potential could only be realised, "if we get our house in order and re-engage the international community."

The banker said 100 000 jobs will be lost and that excludes jobs on farms.

"This is worse than the great depression of the 1930s," he said.

"The economy of our country is in ruins and it will take maximum effort from all sectors of the economy to enable us to reverse the trend and climb out of the bottomless hole we are in now," said Henwood.


Fighting back

EXACTLY the sort of confrontation that the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), representing Zimbabwe's beleaguered commercial farmers, has been trying to avoid over the past seven months of anarchy and mayhem on the farms, came to the fore at its 57th annual congress when the guest speaker, Advocate Erik Morris, told the farmers that the law would be on their side if they fought back to protect themselves and their properties.

Mr Morris spoke off the cuff and, evidently, took most of his audience by surprise when gave a resume of legal precedents in Zimbabwe as well as neighbouring South Africa in which farmers and other property owners were acquitted for taking extra-legal measures resulting in either death or injury to poachers or other criminals who trespassed on their properties.

The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act which the government is using to expropriate the bulk of 3 000 commercial farms for its so called "fast track" resettlement programme was ultravires and contravenes the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Morris pointed out, and commercial farmers would be within the law if they used what ever means at their disposal to defend their property against vandalism and illegal occupation.

The CFU has been criticized by some of its members for not taking a firm enough position against government for its failure to halt farm invasions and restore the rule of law on the farms.

Describing the current situation in which 4 500 or so commercial farmers find themselves in as a "total eclipse of the sun," Morris said farmers were entitled by law to expect the protection of the police. "The police have a statutory duty to provide such protection and you have a right, as citizens to expect such protection," he said. Morris said he believed another effective option to goad police into action would be to sue individual officers exposing them to the discomfiture of litigation and related costs. "This is likely to have a salutary effect on the attitude of the police," he said.

Morris was confident the current situation is a passing phase. The "debacle" on the farms was being engineered by a small minority imposing its will on the majority, Morris said. But this would come to pass as the majority had already flexed its muscles through results in the February referendum and June parliamentary elections.

Warning that as a result of the current land seizures, chaotic resettlement and anarchy on the farms, Zimbabwe faced "mass starvation of horrifying proportions", Advocate Morris said it was up to the commercial farmers to take appropriate contingency measures to feed the nation, while at the same time taking what ever measures possible to retain their farms.

He advised the farmers to hold on to the title deeds of their properties while allowing the legal process to run its full course. He reminded the farmers that any legal victories they scored would remain enforceable for at least 30 years.


Back to court for farmers

SPEAKING at the Commercial Farmers' Union 57th annual congress last week, Mr Tim Henwood, the union's president, said that his organisation would reinstate legal proceedings to challenge the compulsory acquisition, without compensation, of farms in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's president, Mr Robert Mugabe, has said that he will take just over 3000 farms, about 60% of the total, from commercial farmers as part of his much criticised "fast track" resettlement programme.

The CFU's court action in the Supreme Court will be class action on behalf of all affected farmers, Mr Henwood said.

The union began legal action previously, but withdrew it on legal advice. The earlier withdrawal drew criticism from farmers and opposition political parties in Zimbabwe and it is understood that the CFU decided to re-new legal proceedings at a special council meeting just days before their annual congress.

Henwood said that it was necessary because negotiations had not halted the mass listing of farms for acquisition by the State, nor had negotiation achieved any results with the removal of so-called war veterans.

However, the CFU court action will not include President Mugabe as one of the respondents.

"Instead the respondents will be three ministers comprising the inter-ministerial committee that claims to have been charged with the duty of carrying out the resettlement exercise by the President, with the minister of Home Affairs being added as a fourth respondent" said a CFU statement.

Mr Roy Bennett, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP, and himself a commercial farmer, praised the decision. "It's sensible and practical," he said of the decision to go to court. "The only thing we have on our side is law and order and the rule of law and we have to get back to that and stick to it."

Bennett, as part of a group called "Farmers with Conscience", had been a vociferous critic of the earlier withdrawal from legal action.


CFU meets IMF delegation

THERE are indications that there is good potential for the future of agriculture in Zimbabwe but there are uncertainties that need to be clarified, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regional director for Africa, Mr Paulo Neuhous has said.

Speaking to The Farmer soon after meeting the CFU officials Mr Neuhous, who is heading the IMF delegation on an exploratory visit to Zimbabwe, said the meeting was to find out about the prospects of the new agricultural season and general overview of the agricultural industry in the country.

"Frankly, there is a lot of information to digest," he said adding that it had become increasingly clear there could be a decrease in the production of some crops like tobacco.

Mr Neuhous also said there were some concerns over the current land resettlement exercise and that this could affect food security in Zimbabwe.

CFU director, Mr David Hasluck said they (IMF) were in Zimbabwe on an exploratory visit.

"We gave them a brief of the existing production and the future prospects in context of the political and economic situation in the country," said Mr Hasluck.

He said the CFU brief also focused on the question of the return to the rule of law, the absence of which is making prospects for the new season difficult mainly in terms of food security next year.

"We also discussed the situation pertaining to the land acquisition programme and how it has evolved to become a political issue."

He said this in reference to the over 3041 farms that government has started acquiring under the "fast track" resettlement programme which some people, including opposition Movement for Democratic Change politicians have variously described as "fast track to poverty".

Mr Hasluck said, "It appears to us that this will have disastrous consequences for agriculture and the economy." He warned that there would be serious social and health implications on the people being resettled without basic infrastructure.

According to Mr Hasluck, the IMF had not expressed an official position as regards what was happening in the country at the moment.

He said, "They are gathering information from all sectors of the economy" and would come up with a country report when they go back to their headquarters.

According to Hasluck there was no change in the IMF's position on land reform programme, which remains that it be a clearly planned programme that is implemented in a transparent and lawful manner.




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Zim. Independent - 15/9/00

As commercial farmers destock . . .Zimbabwe to run out of beef

Vincent Kahiya
ZIMBABWE is set to run out of beef next year as commercial farmers who own about a quarter of the national herd have embarked on a massive destocking exercise in reponse to the accelerated land resettlement exercise and the pressure from skewed economic fundamentals, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week.

The Cold Storage Company and all smaller slaughterhouses this week confirmed that they have been fully booked from the middle of the year to November. They said the exercise was likely to have serious repercussions for the industry in the form of beef shortages and the country’s failure to meet the European Union export quota which is a key source of foreign currency.

Zimbabwe earns at least $2 billion in foreign currency from beef exports to the EU. Most of the slaughter stock for export is from the commercial sector as small-scale farmers are not keen to sell their cattle unless there are droughts.

An official of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union yesterday said the commercial herd constituted about 27% of the national herd but there was greater uptake from that sector. The destocking in the commercial sector, industry sources said, would reverse moves that had been made to boost the size of the national herd which was depleted by three droughts in the 1990s.
He said cattle from the commercial sector accounted for at least 85% of the beef exported to the EU.

A source at the CSC head office in Bulawayo on Tuesday said commercial farmers had booked 84 000 beasts for slaughter until November this year. Hendrik O’Neil who owns O’Neil Meats, a private abattoir, also confirmed that they were fully booked until the end of the year. This is the first time that all major abattoirs have been fully booked in the last five years, sources said.

“The farmers are getting rid of their cattle and yes, we are full booked until the end of the year,” O’Neil said.

Sources in the industry said at least a quarter of the commercial herd would go by the end of the year. They said the worrying aspect was that some of the farmers were selling breeding stock.

Last year’s statistics from the veterinary department show that there are about 1,3 million cattle in the commercial sector and the normal uptake is 20%.

Farmers on the ground this week said a combination of factors had necessi- tated the restocking exercise which abattoir owners said would result in beef shortages next year. The farmers said no financial institution was prepared to lend to farmers whose properties had been gazetted for compulsory acquisition.

Diversified farmers who have cattle on their properties need money to support other activities on the farms and selling cattle, which are currently fetching a good price, has become an easy option.

The abattoirs are buying the beef at between $70 and $85 per kg.
There is also the problem of uncertainty on the land which has been caused by occupation of farms by war veterans. Some of the cattle ranches have been designated and farmers have two options: either to move their cattle to properties which have not been designated or to destock.

War veterans and villagers who have been occupying farms have been accused of killing cattle worth million of dollars.

In Umzingwane district of Matabeleland 100 cattle have been slaughtered by the farm invaders since the beginning of the year.

Chairman of the Matabeleland chapter of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Ben Zietsman confirmed that there are a lot of cattle movements but said there was no massive destocking in the country. He however conceded that there were problems emanating from farm invasions.

“This uncertainty has meant that farmers are selling next year’s cattle now, also some of their properties,” he said.

He said one farmer had sold all his cattle after his property was occupied by war veterans.

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The Zim. Independent 15/9/00

$35b needed for proper resettlement

Godfrey Marawanyika
A PROPERLY planned resettlement programme would cost the government $35 billion and failure to secure the funding would lead to food shortages, experts in the Lands and Agriculture ministry revealed this week.

The technocrats, who have put together a working document on the resettlement programme entitled “Requirements for Sustain- ed and Increased Agricultural Production in the Resettlement and Communal Areas of Zimbabwe”, warned of food shortages if the programme was not properly implemented.

In particular they warn of the consequences of poorly-equipped settlers being dumped on the land.

“Given the history of these new settlers, in terms of resources endowment and agricultural skills in commercial production, it is anticipated that the nation may incur a decline in agricultural production unless the government intervened in order to cushion that potential setback, both in the short to long-time horizon,” the document says.

Sources in the ministry said the report was prese-nted to Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement Joseph Made last month.

The government has already embarked on an accelerated resettlement programme and one of the major criticisms the plan has attracted is the failure by government to provide the settlers with basic infrastructure and inputs. Two months ago the ministry came up with a $1,3 billion budget to get the accelerated scheme off the ground but more funds are urgently required.

The document prepared by the minister’s research group in the Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) department highlights both short and long-term problems.

The $35,2 billion budget covers provision of basic infrastructure, tillage, crop inputs and extension services under the short-term programme, whilst addressing among other things crop production, livestock production, and the equipment needed for specialised production in resettlement areas.

Sources at Agritex said the paper they prepared for the minister was more comprehensive compared to government’s initial plan.
Agritex gave the breakdown of the $35 billion budget as follows: $34 billion for crop packs, $158 million for tillage, $987 million for livestock, $18 million for extension services, $37 million for farm planning, and $23 million for farmer training.

The document said the budgeted plan would benefit 1,3 million households. Under the programme the largest portion of resettled land, 1 million hectares, would be committed to maize production, generating income worth $27,4 billion.

Last week the government approved an addition- al $35 billion supplementary budget in which the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement obtaining $603 million.

The drafters of the plan have however cautioned that more manpower was required to ensure proper supervision.

“Similar programmes have failed elsewhere due to lack of human resources. In Zimbabwe, skilled manpower to train the settled farmers is available. What is required is the provision of the right amount of resources at the right time to make this resettlement programme a success,” the experts said.

“By 1999, a total of 76 000 farmers had been resettled on 3,5 million hectares. Production by resettled farmers has been disappointing with the land not being fully utilised and yields being much less than projected,” said the report.

The sources cited the Ringa model scheme which was done in a proper planning manner which took more than five months to prepare adding that the beneficiaries were failing to fully utilise the land the families were allocated.

The report said the provision of tillage to the resettled and communal areas farmers would have to be provided adding that seasonal and medium to long-term loans offered at concessionary rates would have to be considered.

“Of major concern to Agritex is staff mobility which has to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the report said.
The report said most staff and officers are not motorised adding and the available transport was unreliable
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Zim. Independent - 15/9/00

Air Zim fails to pay $8m debt

Forward Maisokwadzo/ Dumisani Ndlela
AIR Zimbabwe this week failed to pay an $8 million debt to Air BP which fell due last Thursday, triggering fears that the country’s foreign currency shortages were intensifying the national airline’s woes.

Air Zimbabwe is currently battling to raise foreign currency for the procurement of spare parts for its ailing fleet.

The revelations on Air Zimbabwe’s debts to Air BP, a supplier of aviation fuel, emerged during an investigation by the Zimbabwe Independent which also learnt that the beleaguered airline also had unpaid bills for navigation at London’s Gatwick International Airport, home to Air Zimbabwe’s flights to and from Britain.

Gatwick is one of seven British airports owned by the British Airports Authority (BAA).

Air Zimbabwe customer relations manager Moses Mapanda said the airline had a $4 billion fuel account with Air BP and various other credit facilities with goods and services suppliers.

“At Gatwick Airport, Air BP provides us with fuel. Like any other business, we have bills to be paid but Air BP’s account is current,” said Mapanda.

Air BP is a part of the BP (British Petroleum) Group, an international oil supplier and distributor.

Air BP is responsible for the marketing and selling of aviation fuels and lubricants. It sells more than five billion gallons of fuel at around 1 400 locations in some 87 countries. All Air Zimbabwe’s planes are refuelled by Air BP when they land at Gatwick.

A spokesman for Air BP International, Wendy Sil-cock, said they were still doing business with Air Zimbabwe despite the default.

Asked about the aviation fuel supplier’s concerns over the airline’s failure to pay the outstanding debt, Silcock said:”Its nothing new.We are still fuelling them,” she said.

She maintained however that Air Zimbabwe had “always been managing”.

It is understood Air Zimbabwe’s planes are also re-fuelled by Air BP at other international airports around the world.

Air BP has six locations in Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls, Buffalo Range, Kariba, Charles Prince, Harare and Bulawayo airports - where it supplies jet fuel and aviation gas.

Air Zimbabwe sank into trouble earlier this year on the back of foreign currency shortages that have crippled all industrial operations in the country.

Although it has been able to make a few procurements from the little foreign currency it earns from ticket sales outside the country, the airline has been unable to raise meaningful reserves on the market for its import requirements.

The failure by the airline to procure spare parts has particularly dealt a big blow to the airline’s operations as many of its planes could be grounded if they become unfit for flights.

Privately, Air Zimbabwe pilots are understood to be complaining about the safety of the airline’s fleet, although sources told the Independent that its Boeing planes fly only if they have a certificate of fitness from Boeing auditors.

Problems facing the national airline will have a significant effect on its operations and future plans as it gears itself for privatisation as government, a shareholder in the airline, wants to dispose of its stake in an effort to reduce its expenditure.

AirZim shelves plan for London/Vic Falls flight

Ivan Vera
PLANS by the national flag-carrier, Air Zimbabwe, to introduce a weekly direct scheduled flight from London to Victoria Falls using its wide-body, long-haul B767 aircraft in November will have to be shelved, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Air Zimbabwe earlier this year announced plans to operate a weekly scheduled direct flight to the resort after a successful trial flight using the 203-seater long-haul aircraft.

In response to an inquiry by the Independent this week, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive Godfrey Manhambara said the authority still had to decide on the Air Zimbabwe request after the results of the evaluation are out.

“The data that was captured during the trial flight at Victoria Falls is currently being evaluated together with other information to help the authority determine the feasibility of a regular B767 operation into the airport,” said Manhambara.

He said that the evaluation was expected to be completed by December.

In June the information and data that was gathered during the Victoria Falls B767 aircraft trials was forwarded to Boeing Company in the US for further analysis.

An airline spokesperson last week confirmed to the Independent that representatives from CAAZ and Air Zimbabwe sent data to Boeing which would then use the information in a simulator.

Commenting on Air Zimbabwe’s desire to commence operations as early as November this year, Manhambara said that as had been previously advised, the authority would demand strict safety precautions before it could sanction the operation of the flight.

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Zimbabwe becoming more corrupt

Rashweat Mukundu
ZIMBABWE’S corruption rating internationally has taken a dive from position 45 last year to 65 out of 90 countries surveyed, Transparency International has said.

The most corrupt country was Nigeria, with the least being Finland.
Presenting the latest Transparency International Corruption perception index survey, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Chapter, Dr John Makumbe, said the rating was depressing as it affected the already tattered image of the country.

“We take the view that perceptions do matter because they are pertinent to the image of the nation and to the actions of potential investors in our country,” said Makumbe.

Botswana, standing at position 26 internationally, is rated the least corrupt country in the region. Zimbabwe’s downward trend is attributable to the continued lawlessness that is condoned by the government said Maku-mbe.

“Corruption thrives whenever there is a general collapse of the rule of law in any society,” he said.

Zimbabwe has been caught up in a wave of farm invasions by veterans of the liberation war and Zanu PF supporters. The political violence that preceded the June parliamentary election also contributed to the tarnished image of the country.

In light of this development, Transparency Inter- national Zimbabwe would be lobbying parliament to set up a parliamentary ad-hoc committee to investigate corruption in the country, Makumbe said.

He said they were against Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 16 which intended to bring into existence a government-sponsored anti-cor- ruption body because it was not an autonomous body but fell under the
Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

“Parliament must insist that the Anti-Corruption Commission be adequately funded, through parliament, and that it be autonomous and adequately empowered to investigate corruption, prosecute alleged culprits, and recover all ill-gotten wealth from convicted people,” said Makumbe.

Transparency International Zimbabwe also wants parliament to appoint a director of prosecutions to deal specifically with corruption cases and liaise with the courts directly because dockets have often disappeared from the Attorney-General’s office.

“The economy of Zimbabwe is too small hence the high level of corruption as companies jostle for the few contracts available. In the end it is the common man who suffers as we are seeing with the fuel problems,” Makumbe said.

The fuel crisis in Zimbabwe is largely blamed on corruption at the oil parastatal, National Oil Company of Zimbabwe where $9 billion was allegedly embezzled.

On why TIZ walked out of the National Economic Consultative Forum task-force on corruption, Makumbe said that some individuals who led the body were involved in corruption themselves, especially through vote-buying by promising cheap loans to the electorate.

Makumbe said that he “personally” supported the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill, which sought to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if it continued disregarding the rule of law.

“The Bill is intended to bring Zimbabwe to the principles of democracy and level the playing

field,” said Makumbe. He said that land reform was necessary but it could not be done at the expense of law, order, justice and peace.

“Offering money to political parties might be seen as political interference but one must note that even Zanu PF receives money from outside and also uses government resources in electioneering,” he said.
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