By Alex Bell
17 September 2009
A Chinhoyi farmer who has faced continued and worsening harassment by land
invaders in recent months, is this week recovering from serious injuries
after a brutal beating by invaders on Tuesday.
Murray Pott from Hilltop Farm was hospitalised with head and arm injuries
after he was attacked on his farm by a large group of men, believed to be
responsible for a number of violent attacks on the farm recently. Last week
some of Pott's staff were attacked and assaulted by a group of about 15
youths, who forced the staff to stop working and also stole a trailer of
fertiliser. When the workers tried to recover the trailer on Monday, five of
them were beaten by the youths. In both cases police refused to investigate
and even warned Pott that he would be arrested if he intervened.
To add insult to the serious injuries sustained, Pott was on Thursday
charged with 'Public Violence' in connection with previous false allegations
that he shot at and assaulted up to eight land 'beneficiaries' on his farm.
Earlier this month Pott was taken into custody by Chinhoyi police and
accused of the assault, despite the contradictory statements of his accusers
and fabricated evidence. The charges are the latest in a string of legal
accusations Pott has been fighting while trying to keep his land. In May
Pott's 80-year-old mother was assaulted and detained by police when they had
arrested her son for being on the farm 'illegally'. Pott's arrest and the
attack on his mother had been part of worsening harassment and intimidation
on the farm.
This week's attack on Pott comes amid warnings by the Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU) that recent comments by Robert Mugabe at a ZANU PF Youth League
conference could incite more violence against farmers. At the conference
last Friday, Mugabe urged commercial farmers to embrace land 'reform',
telling the youths at the conference that the farmers would not be saved by
the unity government.
"Once people have offer letters and they are valid, that's it. The farm is
not yours any more. Please don't resist. I am saying please, please but that
will stop," Mugabe said. "If we hear about any resistance, we will stop
pleading. I will just send the police to drive them away. If they thought
they would be saved by the inclusive Government, kunyeperwa ikoko (they're
lying to you)!"
CFU President Deon Theron on Thursday explained that the speech might
provide "fuel for further politically motivated violence and disturbances on
commercial farms." He continued by saying that people's lives are possibly
in jeopardy by the government's decision to sacrifice "food self sufficiency
for possible political gains." Theron went on to explain that farmers have
complied with the criteria set out by the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement and that applications have been made to continue farming and
occupation of their farms. "To date, regrettably, government has not
responded to the numerous applications which were made," Theron said.
"It appears that the government does not accept the legal rights of skilled
commercial farmers," Theron said. "Their land has been acquired in an
arbitrary manner by the state and they are now excluded from being allowed
to use their wide experience, knowledge and skills for the benefit of all
The worsening situation on farms, which has seen recently seen more than 140
farmers face prosecution for being on their land 'illegally', has prompted a
series of visits by the government body tasked with ensuring the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement. The team from the Joint
Operations and Monitoring Committee (JOMIC) started their tour of farms,
which have reported disturbances and violence for several months, on Monday,
and a report on the situation is expected to be handed over to heads of
JOMIC by the end of the month.
The move has been criticised by observers and some members of the farming
community as 'too little, too late' and criticism is being directed at JOMIC
for not acting on the farm attacks. Violent attacks against farmers and land
seizures across the country have been widely reported on and detailed for
months, but such reports have continued to fall on deaf ears. A JOMIC visit
to the farms is understandably doing little to ease fears that the offensive
against the farmers will ease any time soon, and what will happen in the
aftermath of a report is still to be seen.
Meanwhile the government is recalling a judge it had seconded to the human
rights court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as part
of efforts to 'pull out' of the Tribunal. Former Harare High Court Justice
Antoinette Guvava was nominated to the Tribunal in 2005 by the government,
an issue which has been a key point of criticism in response to the
government's claims that it no longer recognises the Tribunal's orders.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the government was in the process of
withdrawing from the court, in a letter by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa. Chinamasa wrote that the government would not adhere to any
current or future rulings made by the court, arguing it is a not a legal
The Tribunal last year ruled that the land 'reform' programme was
discriminatory, racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty. The regional
court, in a landmark ruling, ordered the government not to evict more than
70 farmers who took their fight to the court, and the ruling was meant to
offer protection to the farmers. But Mugabe has publicly dismissed the
ruling and continues to condone the increasingly violent attacks on farms.
The Tribunal has since ruled the government in contempt as a result of the
ongoing land invasions, prompting the decision by the government to
'pull-out' of the legal body.
by Clara Smith Thursday 17 September 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told President
Robert Mugabe to rein in his press secretary, George Charamba, who the
Premier says has led a media campaign to undermine the coalition government.
In an interview, Tsvangirai said George Charamba, who is also permanent
secretary at the Ministry of Information, was abusing his control of the
government's vast broadcasting and newspaper empire to heighten tensions and
deepen mistrust in the six-month old power-sharing government.
Tsvangirai, who agreed to join Mugabe in government last February to try to
end a political crisis triggered by inconclusive elections last year, has
become a target of bitter attacks in the state media. The state media
remains under the firm control of Charamba and other hardliner supporters of
Mugabe's ZANU PF party despite formation of the power-sharing government.
"These are people who never wanted this agreement to work. They are stuck in
the past and are using their government positions to force a return to the
past," Tsvangirai said.
He added: "The state media is being used as the vehicle for the agenda. The
problem is not with state media editors. George Charamba is the problem and
he is behaving as a commissar of an anti-reform group. This can prove a
dangerous group if not reined in.
"I have told Mugabe that this cannot go on. Mugabe cannot allow his own
spokesman to exhibit such behaviour if he is genuinely interested in making
this government work."
Tsvangirai also disclosed that the Public Service Commission (PSC) that
hires government workers had refused to absorb some of his staff into the
civil service and dismissed charges that he was running a parallel
"They (PSC) are refusing to take a lot of my staff into the public service,
including security and administration staff. I have insisted they continue
working anyway and they are working for the Prime Minister's office," he
Pro-ZANU PF columnists writing in government-owned newspapers have accused
Tsvangirai of setting up a parallel government structure whose workers are
paid using money donated by Western governments and agencies. They claim
the rival government structure is part of a wider scheme by the West to
eventually oust Mugabe from power.
But Tsvangirai said he had no need set up a parallel structure to rival a
government that he leads as Prime Minister.
He said: "How do I run a parallel government when the GPA (global political
agreement or power-sharing agreement) and the Constitution clearly state
that I supervise the government, the entire government.
"All Cabinet ministers must report to me and that is why there is a council
of ministers, which I chair. Those who think there is a parallel government
are those that report to President Mugabe without reporting to me as
required by law."
Both Charamba and PSC boss Mariyawanda Nzuwa were not immediately available
for comment on the matter.
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government has done well to stabilise the economy
and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the
height of the country's economic meltdown last year.
But analysts remain doubtful about the administration's long-term
effectiveness, citing unending squabbles between ZANU PF and Tsvangirai's
MDC party and the coalition government's inability to secure direct
financial support from rich Western nations. - ZimOnline
By Violet Gonda
17 September 2009
Media watchdog, the Media Institute for Southern Africa - Zimbabwe, has
expressed grave concern over the upsurge of hate speech against the private
media and perceived opponents, by members of ZANU PF and the state
Earlier this week army commander, Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio
Sibanda, berated foreign based Zimbabwean radio stations, accusing them of
being at war with Zimbabwe and urged the military to 'guard against them'.
This has been widely seen as meaning that journalists broadcasting into
Zimbabwe are legitimate military targets because they threaten the state.
The Chairman of MISA, Loughty Dube, said General Sibanda's statements were
both dangerous and reckless and these statement could give the green light
to soldiers to directly target journalists. He said hate speech should be
condemned as it has the potential to destroy communities. The chairman also
appealed to journalists to stop using unethical language that could incite
hatred against other groups. Dube said: "There has been an upsurge in the
use of hate speech by the state media, especially in the opinion columns."
The media watchdog said this is one of the reasons the self regulatory body,
the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, was created - where journalists are
bound by a code of conduct to subscribe to. Unfortunately the entirety of
the state media has refused to be part of this council, which would provide
a mechanism for dealing with unprofessional journalists.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC continue to be
denigrated and berated, especially in the opinion pieces published in the
Herald newspaper, in spite of being a partner in the new government.
It's reported that the Prime Minister laid the blame squarely on Robert
Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba, who he accused of leading a media
campaign to undermine and deepen mistrust in the coalition government.
Zimonline quotes Tsvangirai saying: "The problem is not with state media
editors. George Charamba is the problem and he is behaving as a commissar of
an anti-reform group. This can prove a dangerous group if not reined in. I
have told Mugabe that this cannot go on. Mugabe cannot allow his own
spokesman to exhibit such behaviour if he is genuinely interested in making
this government work."
Dube said it is shocking to hear the Prime Minister, who is supposed to be
in control of all aspects of government, talking about how Charamba has all
this control over the state media. He said the state media is a public
entity which should be guided by principles of serving the public, and
should not be controlled by a single man.
By Blessing Zulu
16 September 2009
The seizure of the Zimbabwe exchange-listed Kingdom Meikles Limited Group,
which owns and operates the well-known Meikles Hotel in Harare, has
increased friction in the fragile unity government and, some warn, sent the
wrong signal to potential foreign investors.
The government gazette late last week said authorities have effectively
seized the assets of the Meikles Group under an anti-corruption law over
alleged illegal financial transfers.
Kingdom Meikles, Tanganda Tea company, Thomas Meikles Center and Murlis
Investments were listed as "specified," allowing the government to place
them under administration.
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has condemned the takeover as a "mafia style grab of assets which
erodes all hope" of economic and financial reform in the country. It did not
spare Giles Mutsekwa, MDC co-minister of Home Affairs, who with his ZANU-PF
counterpart Kembo Mohadi approved the takeover.
The MDC says the two ministers, who oversee the country's police, should
concentrate on pursuing those who commit violence rather than grabbing
Business sources said some 4,500 jobs around the country are at risk.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that government should
concentrate on its responsibilities and has no business stripping private
companies of their assets.
September 17 2009 , 4:56:00
John Nyashanu Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, has admitted that divisions are
rocking his Zanu- PF party and warns that defeat looms when elections come,
unless bridges are built. The call comes as a former top member of the
party is attempting to revive ZAPU, the party that united with Zanu-PF in
Mugabe's party held its women's conference in Harare today, ahead of
the national congress scheduled for December, where the veteran leader is
set to be endorsed for another five year term.
"We have provinces that are giving us unnecessary headaches. Harare is
one Bulawayo another, the two cities. Right up to now, in Harare, there is
no provincial executive council," said Mugabe.
A former senior party member Dumiso Dabengwa is calling on the former
PF ZAPU component in Zanu -PF to return to the party. He has reportedly
lured the former chairperson of the Women's League, Tenjiwe Lesabe. "If
people decide to join that creature, all I say is it will be a sad, sad, sad
story for the people of Matabeleland," adds Mugabe.
However, after failing to make a mark in a partnership with Simba
Makoni's Mavambo movement last year, an anxious nation awaits to see if
Dabengwa's project will succeed.
September 17, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has called for a meeting with senior
journalists of media organisations operating in Zimbabwe.The meeting is
scheduled for 9 am Thursday at State House.
Editors from state and privately owned, as well as foreign media
representatives have been invited to the meeting.
An official from the Ministry of Information who requested anonymity told
The Zimbabwe Times Wednesday evening that Mugabe had requested the meeting
with the editors.
"The President will tomorrow meet editors at State House at 9 am," he said.
"He wants to explain the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to the media."
Meetings such as Thursday's are rare as Mugabe usually communicates with the
media through his spokesman George Charamba or Chief Secretary Misheck
The only time that he gets to directly speak with the media is when he hosts
his annual state of the nation address for which Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) and Zimbabwe Newspapers journalists are invited to State
House to field questions which are usually submitted in advance.
Particularly striking is the invitation of representatives of previously
banned foreign news organisations such as the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) and Sky News.
These organisations have often been vilified as being responsible for
churning out anti-Zimbabwe messages but they recently made a dramatic return
to the country. They had occasion to attend a press briefing at State House
with Mugabe after talks with a European Union (EU) delegation which visited
the country over the weekend.
Most of them are now freely reporting in the country and even covering
sensitive issues such as the continued farm invasions.
But Thursday's meeting could also be an attempt by Mugabe to counter MDC's
constant communication with the media, especially through e-mail, at every
turn in the progression of the power-sharing government.
Of late the government has talked about opening up media space. Mugabe is to
appoint members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) which will oversee
the licensing of newspapers while the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) will license broadcasting stations.
September 17, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A rare meeting with editors of media organisations operating in
Zimbabwe which was convened at the request of President Robert Mugabe was
cancelled at the last minute Thursday.
The meeting was cancelled after Mugabe was forced to rush to the City Sports
Centre to address a meeting of his Zanu-PF party's Women Assembly.
Sources said Mugabe had to cancel the meeting at the last minute after he
received reports that the women's meeting had degenerated into chaos as
differences in the assembly escalated.
As happened last week at the Zanu-PF youth league's conference, scenes of
chaos characterised the opening of the Women's Assembly meeting. The meeting
will culminate in the election of a new executive on Saturday.
Mugabe had convened the meeting with senior journalists of media
organisations operating in Zimbabwe in a move seen by many as a public
According to media sources, a Ministry of Information official called the
newsrooms of the various newspapers that had been invited first thing on
Thursday morning and advised them of the cancellation.
"We received a call this morning as we were preparing for the meeting
advising us that it had been cancelled to a later date. No specific date was
given and no reasons for the cancellation were proffered," said a source
working for one weekly newspaper.
The meeting was scheduled for 9 am the State House.
Editors from state owned, private and foreign media representatives had been
invited to the meeting.
The call for the meeting came as a surprise as Mugabe usually communicates
with the media through only his spokesman George Charamba or Chief Secretary
The only time that he gets to directly speak with the media is when he hosts
his annual state of the nation address for which Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) and Zimbabwe Newspapers journalists are invited to State
House. They are required to submit their questions in advance.
September 17, 2009
HARARE (Bloomberg) - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti said he plans
to simplify taxes to lure investment, cut debt and won't restore use of the
country's currency until annual exports more than double.
Zimbabwe needs to cut the number of taxes, restore annual exports to between
$3 and $5 billion, a level last seen in about 1996, and tackle its debt
"overhang" before it restores its own currency, Biti said. Exports totaled
$1.52 billion last year, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
"The challenge for us is to broaden our tax base and to simplify it," Biti
told a mining conference in the capital, Harare, today. "Our thinking
generally is to move to a flat rate of tax."
In February, President Robert Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai formed a coalition government after intervention by the Southern
African Development Community of neighboring states to end a 10-year
political crisis. The economy, once the second-biggest in southern Africa
after South Africa, suffered a decade-long recession that ended this year.
In mining alone, there are 15 different tax rates and a number of exemptions
have cut the "effective" tax rate in that industry to 8 percent from 15
percent, he said. The top personal income tax rate is 47.5 percent.
Zimbabwe may look to emulate a simpler tax code adopted by Georgia, Biti
Under Georgia's tax code, introduced in 2005, the number of taxes was cut
from 21 to six, including a flat personal income tax rate of 25 percent that
will fall to 15 percent by 2013, according to the government's Web site. The
country has no capital gains, inheritance or social taxes.
The government of the African country abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar this
year in favor of currencies including the U.S. dollar and the South African
rand in a bid to tame the world's highest inflation rate. Inflation reached
almost 500 billion percent in September last year, according to the
International Monetary Fund. It is currently running at a monthly rate of
0.4 percent. Annual figures are not available.
Biti has forecast positive growth this year and Elton Mangoma, the minister
of economic planning and investment promotion, told the conference that the
country will expand at "double-digit" levels from next year.
Zimbabwe plans to consider new mining laws and will aim to make the country
"attractive" for investment, Mugabe said in a speech at the conference.
The country currently has less than $2 million in import reserves, Biti said
in an earlier interview. Total national debt is $4.7 billion, he added.
By Lance Guma
17 September 2009
On Wednesday Robert Mugabe told businessmen at a mining investment forum
that potential investments would be safe in the country. He claimed this was
because his government respected 'the sanctity of property rights and the
rule of law in all its dimensions'. Meanwhile 115 kilometres from where
Mugabe was delivering his speech South African farmer Louis Fick was
watching his 4 000 pigs, 14 000 crocodiles and several hundreds of beef
cattle starve to death in Chinhoyi, as he tries to fight of a Reserve Bank
official trying to grab the farm, whose hired thugs are preventing workers
from feeding the animals.
Fick is one of 70 white commercial farmers who, despite winning a SADC
Tribunal ruling allowing them to keep their land, are being hounded by the
regime to leave their farms. Deputy Reserve Bank governor Edward
Mashiringwana invaded the farm on the same weekend Mugabe was welcoming a
European Union delegation at State House and asking the EU to remove
targeted sanctions on members of his inner circle. It's not the first time
Mashiringwana has attempted to grab the farm, having previously tried to do
so in March 2008.
On Thursday Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai spoke at the same mining
investment conference Mugabe addressed on Wednesday. He said the coalition
government would implement rational mining royalties and taxes and
deregulate mineral marketing, to attract as much as US$16 billion in
investment by 2018. But six days before his speech government used an
extra-ordinary gazette to seize the assets of the Meikles Group, that owns
the world famous Meikles Hotel among several other big companies.
The Africa Heritage Human Rights Forum based in South Africa said its
members were very disturbed by the continuous harassment of investors in
Zimbabwe. 'The Zimbabwean government has continued to blame the western
imposed sanctions for the collapse of the economy, and yet they are
destroying the economy themselves by continuing to list as specified,
privately owned companies up to this day,' a press statement read. They
accused the state of interfering in 'corporate battles' and more
significantly tilting the bargaining and negotiating power of private
Newsreel spoke to Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister, Elton
Mangoma, and he decried the lack of consultation across the various
ministries. Commenting on the Meikles saga he said the decision to specify
the companies was 'rash' and done 'without consultation' making his job
difficult. He said he was still awaiting a full briefing on the matter
before he could issue a substantive comment.
Turning to the disturbances on the farms, Mangoma said cabinet had tasked
Lands Minister Herbert Murerwa to prepare a report on the matter and this
should be finished around the last week of this month. Mangoma who is also
co-chair of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, said the
group was touring affected farms to get a sense of what was happening. Asked
why the visits were necessary when it was obvious what was happening on the
farms, Mangoma said actual visits were always better than relying on
Sep 17, 2009, 13:54 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai came under
pressure from foreign investors on Thursday to revise a government proposal
which would require mining firms to hand 51 per cent of their investment to
Hundreds of investors attended a two-day mining conference in Harare ending
Thursday in search of information on investment opportunities and clarity on
the government's plans to give Zimbabweans a greater stake in the sector.
President Robert Mugabe's former government caused alarm among investors
three years ago when it proposed forcing foreign companies to hand 51 per
cent of their investments to black Zimbabweans.
The proposal drew comparison with the lawless seizure of white- owned farms
and their transfer to new, black farmers.
'The 51 per cent is just an objective and not definitive. I know that the 51
per cent has cause a lot of consternation,' Tsvangirai told the conference.
'It needs to be clear. It does not make sense that an (Zimbabwean) investor
comes without any contribution,' he acknowledged.
He was responding to a call for clarification from an analyst at South
Africa's Public Investment Corporation, that country's largest fund
The analyst said the 51 per cent proposal had cause 'panic' among investors.
Zimbabwe desperately needs foreign investment to rebuild the economy. The
undercapitalized mining sector accounts for half of all export earnings.
Tsvangirai said Thursday the mining sector could attract up to 16 billions
of dollars in investment between 2011 and 2018 if the government created an
environment conducive to investment.
'Thereafter we could rationally target an increase to GDP exceeding 3
billion dollars per annum arising from such investment.'
The seven-month-old coalition government he and Mugabe formed in February
would implement a Mines and Minerals Act by the end of the year, he said.
The 'policy of indigenization ... will be based on ensuring that ordinary
Zimbabweans benefit from the country's mineral endowment and participate at
all levels in the business of mining and mineral exploitation,' he said.
Zimbabwe was aiming for a 'world-class' investment environment, he said.
This included respect for the sanctity of mining titles, agreements covering
the repatriation of profits and dividends, favourable royalty and taxation
regimes and an independent judiciary as well as indigenization, Tsvangirai
The government would be reviewing existing concessions to make sure they
were being utilised fully as well as awarding new concessions in a
Zimbabwe has the world's second-highest deposits of platinum, a precious
metal used in car manufacturing and jewellery. It also has gold, coal,
chrome and dozens of other metals, as well as diamonds.
A decade of misrule by Mugabe's government left the economy in tatters. The
new government says it needs 10 billions of dollars to effect a turn-around.
Address by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, The Right Honourable Morgan
Tsvangirai, to the Zimbabwe Mining Indaba,
Harare 17 September, 2009
It is a pleasure to be with you today to mark the official closing of the
2009 Zimbabwe Mining Indaba.
The programme that you have covered as been extremely comprehensive and I am
encouraged and excited by the prospects that the mining industry holds for
Zimbabwe's development and growth.
As a young man, it was in the mines of Zimbabwe that I learnt the value of
hard work, teamwork and goal setting. I am proud of this aspect of my life
and, in the trials of recent years, I have often fallen back on the lessons
I learnt during that time.
This is why I welcome the opportunity to work with all stakeholders to
ensure that our country receives the necessary benefits that derive from the
successful exploitation of our mineral resources.
As you have heard at this Indaba, Zimbabwe is uniquely endowed with an
abundance of natural resources, blessed with well over 40 different types of
minerals and metals.
Zimbabwe also has one of the world's best documentation levels of geology
and geophysics, skilled manpower in the sector and a strong national
infrastructure which is the envy of most developing nations, albeit needing
some renovations. Most importantly Zimbabwe has a fundamentally robust and
well-respected mining law with over one hundred years of case law supporting
Ladies and Gentlemen, in a nation so fundamentally rich, we must ask
ourselves if our nation and our peoples are benefitting fully from the
presence of these minerals and, if not, what environment is required that
will see optimum benefits to the State, the people and the investors?
We must also acknowledge that many of the problems that we have faced
historically and continue to face today are home made. There is no
international conspiracy against the people of Zimbabwe or any sector of the
The sooner that all the parties that comprise this inclusive Government
accept this fact and start dealing with the real causes of the challenges
facing our nation, the sooner that we will be able to deliver real change to
the people of Zimbabwe.
For us as a nation to realise the full benefits of our natural wealth it is
essential that this Government provides a strong foundation for the sector
based on political commitment and the rule of law. This Government will not
tolerate corruption or practices that encourage corruption in any form.
My Government is committed to work with the existing sector and new
investors, to develop lasting solutions which will allow our mining and
minerals to propel the economy to levels well beyond its former glory.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Zimbabwe's mining sector presents the most immediate
opportunity to attract significant investment for economic development.
This Government, in conjunction with the mining industry, has a window of
opportunity to prepare a conducive policy environment by mid 2010, that
could see Zimbabwe's mineral sector attracting between $6 billion and $16
billion in exploration and mine development investment during the 2011-2018
period. Thereafter we could rationally target an increase to GDP exceeding
$3bn per annum arising from such investment.
The Global Political Agreement, signed between Zimbabwe's political parties
on September 15th 2009, leading to this transitional Government has the
potential to provide the basis for such stability as its thorough
implementation will help to protect, not just the rights of individuals, but
the rights of those that invest and develop key sectors of our economy.
All parties to this agreement accepted the land reform programme was
irreversible, but we also committed our selves to conduct a transparent land
audit to establish accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships.
In addition we are committed to ensuring that all Zimbabweans have the right
to apply land and farm the land with our principal priority being to restore
Despite the frustrations involved in the full implementation of the GPA, I
am committed to seeing it work and seeing the nation benefit from greater
stability and freedoms. The process of change is irreversible.
Ladies and Gentlemen, to remain competitive as an investment destination, we
will continuously review our investment climate. In addition, we must
acknowledge the need for a stable operating environment for long term
projects such as mining. We are also well aware that Zimbabwe does not
merely have to be adequate for mining investment therefore, we need to
COMPETE for investment dollars with other developing nations.
The key points to attract world-class investment in mining are well-known to
this audience and I enumerate them here:
Respect for, implementation and policing of the Mines and Minerals Act which
should be concluded by year-end.
Respect for the sanctity of mining title as provided for in the existing
A rational royalty schedule and corporate tax regime with incentives that
De-regulation of minerals marketing. This process has already begun with a
historic deregulation on gold sales already implemented and working.
Bi- and Multi-lateral investment guarantees with cast-iron repatriation of
profits and dividends.
Rational, realistic, fair and achievable indigenisation framework.
An independent Judiciary to enforce the respect for, and the application of,
these rights and laws.
In addition, the introduction of a multi-currency financial policy within
Zimbabwe has provided much need stability such that investors and
Zimbabweans alike can plan and operate with confidence - and this policy
will remain for the foreseeable future.
In return we will expect the industry to adhere to internationally
acceptable practices, having respect for environmental responsibilities and
ensuring that mining development results in community development. The local
communities must be the frontline beneficiaries of our mineral development
With the resource base we enjoy, we are concerned about the manner in which
the actual mining process will ultimately impact on our natural environment
which it is our duty to protect for future generations.
As we move forward, my Government is committed to protecting the environment
and ensuring that mining impacts positively on the surrounding communities
long after the mine has ceased operating.
The social and economic structures in these communities should see other
industries thriving so that developments that take place are indeed
sustainable. We believe that this is a fair expectation as the communities
will have hosted the mines during their life spans.
It is a sad fact, that in recent history the local communities have been
prevented from enjoying the fruits of our natural resources and,
particularly in the east of the country, have been persecuted for their
proximity to enormous natural wealth.
The tragedies that took place in Chiadzwa and other places cannot be
repeated. We must, as a Government, investigate, in an open and transparent
manner, any human rights abuses that took place so that the innocent victims
receive justice and to ensure that the protection of our people is paramount
in this new Zimbabwe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, mining is capital intensive, highly technical and a
long-term business. As Government, our philosophy is that we should be a
regulator of this industry but more importantly, a facilitator to
investment. In this regard government will support the industry through the
creation of a world-class investment environment.
Through the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment and the Ministry of
Mines and Mining Development, the Government will assure that existing
concessions are utilised fully and future concessions are tendered for and
awarded fairly and transparently.
Going forward we will continue on our chosen path of adopting an inclusive
approach in consulting stakeholders. In a tripartite approach involving
government, business and labour we call for open, constructive, frank and
progressive dialogue that can only help to place the country in a
Ladies and Gentlemen, to remove the uncertainty around the policy of
indigenization, it will be based on ensuring that ordinary Zimbabweans
benefit from the country's mineral endowment and participate at all levels
in the business of mining and mineral exploitation.
No right thinking Zimbabwean, or any person from anywhere in the world, can
see fault in such an approach if it is implemented fairly, transparently and
in line with accepted international norms.
The manner in which this approach and objective are realized has to, as a
matter of principle, led to growth of the economy and the upliftment of the
standards of living of our people. There should be no preferred class or
people in adopting the said approach and realizing this objective.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion, may I say that Zimbabwe offers exciting
investment, partnership and development opportunities. This is a new
beginning, a new era and a rare opportunity to participate in the exciting
development of one of earth's last great mineral treasures.
I trust that the information you have received at this Indaba, the
relationships you have formed and the opportunities identified, will drive
the development and exploitation of our mineral resources in a sustainable,
profitable and transparent manner.
I thank you.
Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:00am GMT
* Rio diamond mine could produce six times more
* Expansion limited by unfavourable investment climate
* Global diamond market starting to recover
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The head of global miner Rio Tinto's (RIO.L:
Quote) diamond unit in Zimbabwe said on Thursday the operation could produce
six times its current output, but the country's economic climate was not
conducive for investment.
Niels Kristensen, head of Murowa, Rio Tinto's diamond mine in the southern
African country said the group produced 260,000 carats in its last financial
year, but this could soar if the country brought certainty to the mining
"I cannot give an indication on when we will start (expansion), but the
investment climate in Zimbabwe needs greater clarity," Kristensen told
Reuters on the sidelines of a mining conference in the capital Harare.
"I hope it will be sooner rather than later that we can get clarity and
greater certainty so we can consider expansion of Murowa. We are looking at
a potential expansion of sixfold the current production," he said in an
Zimbabwe is holding the conference as part of efforts by a new power-sharing
government to attract mining companies to invest into a sector shunned by
foreign investors over fears that their businesses could be expropriated.
Kristensen said he was impressed that the country was keen to improve its
mining sector, but more needed to be done to resolve uncertainty on the
mining law, monetary and fiscal policies and marketing arrangements.
Following the collapse of commercial agriculture, mining has emerged as the
top foreign currency earner, with gold alone raking in a third of total
Analysts say uncertainty over policies was likely to hold back big new
mining investments in Zimbabwe for years.
Kristensen declined to give production estimates for the current year, but
said the mine had not reduced output owing to the global economic downturn,
which had forced much bigger rivals such as De Beers' operations in the
region to scale down.
"We are fortunate at Murowa that we have not had to reduce production, and
hopefully the worst is behind us," he said.
"The diamond market is starting to recover, but is is early days and we will
see how it plays out. The long term fundamentals are very strong and we are
in the game for the long term," Kristensen said.
De Beers, which is 45 percent-owned by mining giant Anglo American Plc
(AAL.L: Quote), temporarily closed mines in Botswana and Namibia, which it
runs as joint ventures with the country's governments, and announced plans
to reduce its workforce to cope with slack demand for diamonds owing to the
Kristensen said power supply to its diamond mine was not a concern, because
diamond mining is not energy-intensive. Other mining firms have said there
was an urgent need to resolve a power shortage, which could limit their
operations. (Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Keiron Henderson)
(email@example.com; +263 4 799 112)
Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:02pm GMT
* JV firm to get mining licence soon
* Platinum project to be built in three phases
* CAMEC has discussed ENRC possible bid - COO
By Nelson Banya and MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Central African Mining & Exploration Co Plc
(CAMEC) (CFM.L: Quote) said on Thursday its joint venture company in
Zimbabwe would launch a platinum mine in the country, producing 400,000
ounces annually within six years.
CAMEC's Chief Operating Officer Gordon Thompson, who spoke to Reuters on the
sidelines of a mining conference in Harare, declined to comment on a move by
Kazakh mining group ENRC (ENRC.L: Quote) to acquire CAMEC for about $950
million and expand into mineral-rich Africa. [ID:nLG219866]
Thompson said London-listed CAMEC had discussed the possible bid at a board
meeting on Thursday.
When asked if the matter was coming up for discussion at the company's board
meeting next week, Thompson said: "Yes. We also had a discussion at our
board meeting today, but I can't say much until our shareholders have been
The move by ENRC, one of the world's biggest ferrochrome producers, might
spark a bidding battle with Chinese parties seeking to lock in supplies of
cobalt, analysts said. [ID:nLG564561]
Buying CAMEC would allow ENRC to expand into Africa, where CAMEC has cobalt
and coal operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a stake in
the Bokia platinum project in Zimbabwe, a bauxite operation in Mali, and a
stake in a fluorspar operation in South Africa.
Phase one of the planned platinum mine in Zimbabwe will require about $250
million to produce 160,000 ounces a year, Thompson said.
The company's joint venture firm in Zimbabwe, Todal Mining, was about to get
a licence and would then build the initial phase of the mine.
CAMEC owns 60 percent in the joint venture firm, Todal Mining, while the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation owns the rest.
"We have got a big ore body and we intend to tackle it in three phases,"
"The three phases will be ready within six years, and the entire project
will produce 400,000 ounces a year," he said.
"This is our first attempt in Zimbabwe, we are very encouraged by what we
have heard here in the past two days," he said referring to the mining
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe set out in a speech on Wednesday to calm
fears that mines could be expropriated.
The country passed a nationalisation law in 2007, paving the way for the
government to seize majority shareholding in mines, in some instances
without paying a cent. [ID:nLG75392]
Zimbabwe's new power-sharing government is trying to attract mining
companies to invest in the sector. (Writing by James Macharia, editing by
By Blessing Zulu & Irwin Chifera
16 September 2009
Consumer prices in Zimbabwe increased 0.4% in August after rising 1% in
July, the Central Statistical Office said. But prices have fallen 8.5% since
the beginning of 2009 taking into account declines totaling more than 10% in
the January through May period.
The rate at which prices were increasing slowed in August from July mainly
due to lower prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, the statistical
Though prices are rising, the increase is quite small compared with the 231
million percent official inflation rate seen in 2008 before the statistical
office stopped issuing data. Private-sector economists estimated the
inflation rate in sextillions of percentage points and Zimbabwe's
hyperinflation is exceeded only by that of Hungary in 1946.
Chief Economist Kuda Ndoro of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that inflation in the
country is starting to be influenced by international economic and financial
conditions and factors.
Elsewhere, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told journalists in Harare that if
Zimbabwe accepts hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in global economic
crisis assistance received from the International Monetary Fund, most of
that money will go to rebuild infrastructure.
Correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Harare.
September 17, 2009
By Eddie Botha
ATLANTA (Daily Dispatch Online) - IN A blistering attack, former United
States president Jimmy Carter yesterday described Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe as a "horrible and corrupt" leader who should be defeated in
Carter made the remarks during a meeting - Conversations at the Carter
Centre - at his presidential library in Atlanta.
The statesman and his wife, Rosalynn, hosted the function, attended by a
number of journalists, including this reporter , who have received
fellowships from the Carter Centre for Mental Health Journalism.
During the Conversation at the Carter Centre, Carter and his wife reported
back on work they have done during the past few months in the fields of
election monitoring and health services provided to disadvantaged
At an event at the Carter Centre last year, also attended by this reporter ,
Carter disclosed that the closest he had ever come to a fist fight was
during a dispute with former SA President Thabo Mbeki. Carter said Mbeki had
refused aid for anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/Aids sufferers, claiming the
virus had been a ploy by whites to destroy black people in SA.
Yesterday, Carter said he had been excited when Robert Mugabe was elected in
the 1980s to replace the apartheid- style government in Rhodesia.
"But he turned out to have been a horrible and corrupt oppressor." He said
Mugabe had refused to let him and his Carter Centre delegation into Zimbabwe
to monitor that country's elections. "He (Mugabe) has formed this fragile
government with the opposition party. But it would be better for Zimbabwe's
future if it had honest elections and they let him leave . The future of
Zimbabwe will be much brighter if they get rid of Mugabe."
Written by STEVEN NYATHI
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 17:45
BULAWAYO - A critical shortage of coal and raw sugar has forced
Bulawayo-based sugar manufacturing company Gold Star to temporarily suspend
The company has not been producing any sugar for the last three weeks.
Employees at the factory told The Zimbabwean this week that the
company had been facing challenges in transporting coal from Hwange and raw
sugar from the Lowveld.
However, Tendai Masawi, the group chief operating officer of Star
Africa Corporation, owners of the company, denied they were facing any
"The plant is just undergoing routine maintenance work," he said.
Masawi said it was normal to carry out maintenance every eight weeks.
"As I speak right now almost ten trucks are being loaded with raw
sugar in the Lowveld, destined for Bulawayo," said Masawi.
But workers said there had not been any coal or raw sugar deliveries
in the last three weeks, forcing management to send them on leave.
"Most of our raw materials are transported by rail and that mode of
transport has not been reliable in recent weeks resulting in the company
running out of raw materials," said an employee.
He said employees had been informed that they would only return to
work when reasonable stocks of raw materials had been secured.
145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
17 September 2009
The Sixth floor of the City of Harare’s Department of Engineering and Urban Planning offices, Cleveland House, went up in smoke on Wednesday, 15 September 2009 after an electric fault had occurred. The unfortunate incident opened a Pandora’s Box as it emerged that this part of the building was actually not being used as offices but has been housing at least twenty families of the Council workers. CHRA is reliably informed that Cleveland House has been accommodating about twenty Council workers who were affected by Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 and that these people have been staying in Cleveland for the past four years.
Sources within Council revealed that the Town Clerk and other top city officials were aware of the situation at Cleveland House and they were determined to keep it a secret from the general public. An emergency meeting was conducted on the same day that the building went up in smoke and the Councilors who attended the meeting were actually disappointed that the Town Clerk and other city directors were aware of the current activities taking place at Cleveland house but they did not bother to ensure that the employees had a decent place to stay nor did they inform the councilors of the circumstances involving some of the offices being turned into homes. The truth only came out when one of the rooms caught fire due to an electric fault and two children (who were later rescued) were trapped inside.
Meanwhile the emergency meeting that was conducted on Tuesday afternoon resolved that the employees should leave Cleveland. However, the employees reportedly refused to leave the premises saying that they needed to be given alternative accommodation first. Sources within Council have revealed that there is a high possibility that the Council will evict all illegal tenants occupying Council flats and houses to make room for the Council employees at Cleveland. The areas that are likely to be affected include Mbare flats and Glen Norah.
Cleveland House 6th floor in smoke
The City of Harare’s failure to deal with such pertinent issues, even in their backyard is disappointing to say the least. City by-laws clearly stipulate that offices should not be turned into residential places and it leaves a lot to be desired when the law makers themselves are breaking their own laws. CHRA entreats the city fathers to be professional in all their operations. CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services on a non-partisan basis.
Written by GRACE CHIRUMANZU
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 07:13
Shingirai Maphosa (19), a waitress attending customers at a busy
restaurant in Harare, has inspired her older workmates with her courage and
strength to bulldoze through the barriers erected by Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown to accomplish her dreams.
Maphosa finished her ordinary school level at Glen View 1 High School
in 2007 and describers her four-year experience since then as "frustrating
and discouraging" -though she soldiered on. Getting chased out of school for
failing to pay school fees was typically how the young woman started every
school term in her high density suburb. She never had new school uniform,
white socks or shoes, since her father passed away in 2006. She had to buy
used uniforms from school leavers with the money she earned from selling
home-made mauyu (an African fruit) lollipop ice-creams.
"And I hardly paid any cash for the second-hand uniforms, but I was
fortunate that they were patient with me and sometimes I would even manage
to pay them when the uniforms were torn in the collar and armpits," she
recalled. "I was always left behind in the studies because I would spend the
whole week at home without school fees, then I had to help my mum at her
market place to raise my school fees as well as those of my young brothers.
It was even difficult to concentrate in school because I always worried if
we were going to be able to raise the exam fee in the end." Because of these
problems, she only passed three Ordinary level subjects (English Shona, Food
and Nutrition). Maphosa sat again for the Accounts, Geography and Science
examinations the following year, which she eventually passed. At 21 she went
on to do a 14 month-course in hotel and catering at a college in the
Her current job as a waitress, where she works 72 hours a week, is
nothing close to her dream of working at a five-star hotel and eventually
opening her own restaurant. But she remains happy that she is two steps up
the ladder. "It is that kind of job where employers love taking in young
girls like me whom they know won't complain much about the salary. I get
US$90 per month and my other workmates get US$60. But I have learnt not to
complain because I have told myself that all I need is experience," she
said. Her widowed mother is a vendor in Glen View and has relied on her
business to raise her four children -Shingisai, Godwill (17), Panashe (13)
and Masimba (3) - since her husband's death three years ago. She wakes early
every morning to source vegetables in Highfield's Lusaka market to sell in
her community. With a meager profit of $US15 per week, the family has
managed to survive. "It is not easy, but sometimes when I'm about to quit I
try to look at other options, but find none. The money I get each day is
sometimes not enough to prepare a meal for my children and looking at them
starve is heartbreaking for me as a mother," she said.
"But I'm happy that I have managed to get my daughter through ordinary
level and she has been helping with what she gets from her job. That has
been the life for us and we are at least proud that there was never one day
where we stole from anyone. We have always believed in hard work and that is
what I have taught my children." The Maphosa family epitomises thousands who
have been hard-hit by the Mugabe regime's corrupt patronage system which has
wrecked the country's once-thriving economy. Last year, before the
dollarization of the economy, almost half the population in Harare city
centre scraped a living by vending. Literally every street corner was jammed
with women and children selling sweets or cell phone re-charge cards as the
atmosphere was filled with voices shouting "R5 unodya ten masweets" (R5 for
ten sweets), "Dollar for dollar Buddie, Txt, Partnership".
Some have raised families by cross-boarder trading, while others have
been forced by circumstances to become housemaids in neighbouring countries,
ignoring the ill-treatment from their paymasters for the sake of their
Sep 17th 2009 | CHEGUTU AND JOHANNESBURG FOR Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, his son-in-law, leaders of a legal battle
to save Zimbabwe’s last white-owned farms, Robert Mugabe’s warning came too
late. By the time the president made his latest tirade against white
“imperialist” farmers, their own farmsteads were no more than a pile of ashes
and rubble. And just days after the arson attacks, two mysterious explosions
shook the farm. On September 14th the police, who say they are now investigating
a suspected arms cache, briefly arrested Mr Freeth and held a visiting crew from
the al-Jazeera television channel for “entering a potential crime scene”. The arms-cache trick has been played before, on Roy Bennett among others. He
is a dispossessed white farmer who was appointed deputy agriculture minister in
the power-sharing government set up in February with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
former opposition leader, as prime minister. In 2006 Mr Bennett was charged with
treason after the discovery of an arms cache at an alleged co-conspirator’s
home. The treason charge, which carries the death penalty, has since been
dropped. But Mr Bennett is still facing trial on equally spurious terrorism
charges next month. Mr Mugabe still refuses to let him be sworn in as a
minister. Since the land seizures began a decade ago, some 4,000 owners (virtually all
white) of Zimbabwe’s most productive farms have been forced out, along with
their 320,000 workers (almost all black) and their families, amounting to 1m-2m
people. Although around two-thirds of the land has been allocated to 140,000
poor black families, the rest has gone to Mr Mugabe’s relatives and comrades,
most of whom have little or no interest in farming. Vast tracts of fertile
farmland now lie fallow; agricultural output has slumped. One of Africa’s
biggest food exporters is now one of its main recipients of food aid. Of 6,500 white commercial farmers in 1980, when Mr Mugabe came to power, only
about 500 remain. But it is clear from the treatment meted out to Messrs
Campbell and Freeth that Mr Mugabe wants the whole lot out. In a speech on
September 11th, on the eve of the European Union’s first high-level visit to
Zimbabwe in seven years, he called on his ruling Zanu-PF party’s youth wing to
“protect” their God-given land from the designs of new white imperialists and
told the “former” commercial farmers to abandon their uneven struggle. Once the
government had issued an “offer letter”, supposedly giving the recipient the
right to take over a designated white farm, “that’s it,” he said. “The farm is
not yours any more. Please don’t resist.” For Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, their own saga began in 2004 when Nathan
Shamuyarira, then Mr Mugabe’s information minister, turned up one Sunday at
lunch time at their 1,200-hectare Mount Carmel Farm in Chegutu, a couple of
hours’ drive south-west of the capital, Harare. He announced he had been given
the right to take over what was then Zimbabwe’s biggest mango farm. Mr Freeth
insisted that the minister first go through the correct legal procedures. It was a bold, perhaps foolhardy, reaction. Thirteen white farmers had by
then been murdered and dozens more beaten up or jailed for resisting the seizure
of their farms. Though no one in the Campbell-Freeth families has been killed,
they and their 150 workers have, over the past five years, been subjected to
repeated harassment and terrifying intimidation. On one occasion, 15 armed invaders, banging on metal objects and chanting war
songs, forced their way into Mr Freeth’s house, threatening to burn it to the
ground, kill the two men present, rape the women and eat the three children
asleep in their beds. Thanks to an earlier beating, Mr Freeth, an emaciated,
soft-spoken man of 40, has never recovered his sense of smell. Mr Campbell, 76,
was so badly thrashed that his memory is impaired. The invaders, who say they are acting on behalf of Mr Shamuyarira, though he
has not been seen at the farm since his first visit five years ago, have taken
the Campbells’ home and their entire farm, leaving most of the crops to rot in
the fields. Like many of the other remaining white farmers, Mr Freeth has turned
to God. He has already started rebuilding his house. He says he is determined to
stay. Last November, in a case brought by Mr Campbell on behalf of 77 other white
farmers, a tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a
15-member regional group that includes Zimbabwe, ruled that all land seizures
since 2000 were discriminatory and violated both domestic and SADC treaty law.
Mr Mugabe and his ZANU-PF ministers claim that the tribunal has no legal
standing. In a further violation of the tribunal’s ruling, around 170 white
farmers are now being prosecuted in Zimbabwe’s courts for refusing to leave
their land. In June the tribunal held Zimbabwe to be in contempt of court for failing to
enforce its earlier ruling and asked SADC to take up the matter urgently. But at
the group’s summit earlier this month, no mention was made of this or any of the
other matters bedevilling Mr Mugabe’s seven-month-old power-sharing arrangement
with Mr Tsvangirai. It was a stunning victory for the 85-year-old president. Mr Tsvangirai is in a quandary. In a speech this week, he promised to stand
by the farmers. Yet he has blown hot and cold on the issue since he became prime
minister. At first he said that not a single crime against white farmers would
go unpunished, though no prosecutions have ever been brought. He has also
claimed that the issue has been “blown out of proportion” by the press. In any
event, Western donors have so far been firm. Unless farm invasions stop—and the
likes of Messrs Campbell and Freeth are treated fairly—development aid will not
From The Economist print edition
Sep 17th 2009 | CHEGUTU AND JOHANNESBURG
FOR Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, his son-in-law, leaders of a legal battle to save Zimbabwe’s last white-owned farms, Robert Mugabe’s warning came too late. By the time the president made his latest tirade against white “imperialist” farmers, their own farmsteads were no more than a pile of ashes and rubble. And just days after the arson attacks, two mysterious explosions shook the farm. On September 14th the police, who say they are now investigating a suspected arms cache, briefly arrested Mr Freeth and held a visiting crew from the al-Jazeera television channel for “entering a potential crime scene”.
The arms-cache trick has been played before, on Roy Bennett among others. He is a dispossessed white farmer who was appointed deputy agriculture minister in the power-sharing government set up in February with Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, as prime minister. In 2006 Mr Bennett was charged with treason after the discovery of an arms cache at an alleged co-conspirator’s home. The treason charge, which carries the death penalty, has since been dropped. But Mr Bennett is still facing trial on equally spurious terrorism charges next month. Mr Mugabe still refuses to let him be sworn in as a minister.
Since the land seizures began a decade ago, some 4,000 owners (virtually all white) of Zimbabwe’s most productive farms have been forced out, along with their 320,000 workers (almost all black) and their families, amounting to 1m-2m people. Although around two-thirds of the land has been allocated to 140,000 poor black families, the rest has gone to Mr Mugabe’s relatives and comrades, most of whom have little or no interest in farming. Vast tracts of fertile farmland now lie fallow; agricultural output has slumped. One of Africa’s biggest food exporters is now one of its main recipients of food aid.
Of 6,500 white commercial farmers in 1980, when Mr Mugabe came to power, only about 500 remain. But it is clear from the treatment meted out to Messrs Campbell and Freeth that Mr Mugabe wants the whole lot out. In a speech on September 11th, on the eve of the European Union’s first high-level visit to Zimbabwe in seven years, he called on his ruling Zanu-PF party’s youth wing to “protect” their God-given land from the designs of new white imperialists and told the “former” commercial farmers to abandon their uneven struggle. Once the government had issued an “offer letter”, supposedly giving the recipient the right to take over a designated white farm, “that’s it,” he said. “The farm is not yours any more. Please don’t resist.”
For Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, their own saga began in 2004 when Nathan Shamuyarira, then Mr Mugabe’s information minister, turned up one Sunday at lunch time at their 1,200-hectare Mount Carmel Farm in Chegutu, a couple of hours’ drive south-west of the capital, Harare. He announced he had been given the right to take over what was then Zimbabwe’s biggest mango farm. Mr Freeth insisted that the minister first go through the correct legal procedures.
It was a bold, perhaps foolhardy, reaction. Thirteen white farmers had by then been murdered and dozens more beaten up or jailed for resisting the seizure of their farms. Though no one in the Campbell-Freeth families has been killed, they and their 150 workers have, over the past five years, been subjected to repeated harassment and terrifying intimidation.
On one occasion, 15 armed invaders, banging on metal objects and chanting war songs, forced their way into Mr Freeth’s house, threatening to burn it to the ground, kill the two men present, rape the women and eat the three children asleep in their beds. Thanks to an earlier beating, Mr Freeth, an emaciated, soft-spoken man of 40, has never recovered his sense of smell. Mr Campbell, 76, was so badly thrashed that his memory is impaired.
The invaders, who say they are acting on behalf of Mr Shamuyarira, though he has not been seen at the farm since his first visit five years ago, have taken the Campbells’ home and their entire farm, leaving most of the crops to rot in the fields. Like many of the other remaining white farmers, Mr Freeth has turned to God. He has already started rebuilding his house. He says he is determined to stay.
Last November, in a case brought by Mr Campbell on behalf of 77 other white farmers, a tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a 15-member regional group that includes Zimbabwe, ruled that all land seizures since 2000 were discriminatory and violated both domestic and SADC treaty law. Mr Mugabe and his ZANU-PF ministers claim that the tribunal has no legal standing. In a further violation of the tribunal’s ruling, around 170 white farmers are now being prosecuted in Zimbabwe’s courts for refusing to leave their land.
In June the tribunal held Zimbabwe to be in contempt of court for failing to enforce its earlier ruling and asked SADC to take up the matter urgently. But at the group’s summit earlier this month, no mention was made of this or any of the other matters bedevilling Mr Mugabe’s seven-month-old power-sharing arrangement with Mr Tsvangirai. It was a stunning victory for the 85-year-old president.
Mr Tsvangirai is in a quandary. In a speech this week, he promised to stand by the farmers. Yet he has blown hot and cold on the issue since he became prime minister. At first he said that not a single crime against white farmers would go unpunished, though no prosecutions have ever been brought. He has also claimed that the issue has been “blown out of proportion” by the press. In any event, Western donors have so far been firm. Unless farm invasions stop—and the likes of Messrs Campbell and Freeth are treated fairly—development aid will not resume.
Mar 5th 2009 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition
ROBERT MUGABE was in a festive mood as he celebrated his 85th birthday on February 21st in a small town north of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. “Land distribution will continue!” he told his 2,000 or so partying guests. “The few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms, as they have no place there…I am still in control and hold executive authority.” Zimbabwe’s president seemed to have forgotten his recent power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which included an agreement to end the seizure of white-owned farms.
Of the 5,600-odd white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe when Mr Mugabe came to power in 1980, barely 250 are still on their land. Output has slumped; 7m people, in a resident population of perhaps no more than 9m, now rely on food aid to survive. Yet in the past month 75 white farms are reported have been occupied or threatened with invasion, often with police connivance. And prosecutions against 140 white farmers are being hurried through the courts to force them to comply immediately with eviction notices served in defiance of a landmark ruling by an African regional court in November.
This sudden upsurge in farm seizures suggests that Mr Mugabe’s ZANU-PF is determined to settle the land issue to its own liking before Mr Tsvangirai’s people can stop them. When the MDC was set up in 1999, many of Zimbabwe’s white farmers backed the party. Though Mr Tsvangirai wants land redistributed, he says it must be done fairly and by law. In his inaugural address to Parliament this week, he called for a “halt to the wanton disruptions of productive farming”. Those who believe they can “move onto a viable farm and steal the crops…are wrong.”
In a case brought by 78 white farmers last year, a tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a 15-country group, held Mr Mugabe’s land-reform programme to be illegal, since it violated a SADC treaty requiring respect for civil rights and the rule of law, and was racially discriminatory in targeting only white farmers. The tribunal said it might have reached a different conclusion had the “spoils of expropriation” not been awarded mostly to ZANU-PF people.
Didymus Mutasa, the minister then responsible for distributing the land, retorted that the judges must be “day-dreaming” if they thought Zimbabwe, a signatory to the SADC court, would heed the ruling. Several of the 78 farmers told by the judges that they could keep their farms are among those now facing imminent eviction.
Western donors have made respect for property rights, as well as for other human rights, a precondition for resuming development aid. This week, in a rare gesture of conciliation, a prominent human-rights campaigner, Jestina Mukoko, was freed on bail after nearly three months in prison, along with some 16 others out of 40 whose release the MDC had specifically demanded. Roy Bennett, a dispossessed white farmer whom the MDC had named as deputy agriculture minister in the new government, is also expected to be released on bail; he had been arrested on an array of charges, including insurgency, on his return from exile to Zimbabwe on the day the government was sworn in.
But over the land seizures Mr Mugabe seems loth to back down. Few dispute that land redistribution was sorely needed. In 1980 the 5,600 white farmers owned 15.5m hectares of land, most of it good, at an average of nearly 3,000 hectares each, including cattle and game ranches and some vast, often foreign-owned, estates. At the same time 780,000 black smallholders subsisted on 16.4m hectares of generally poorer communal land. Often less than five hectares in size, these smallholdings lacked title deeds and thus could not be used as collateral for loans. According to Justice for Agriculture, a mainly white farmers’ lobby, by 1995 whites still had 10.9m hectares. The British government says it stopped subsidising resettlement schemes at that point because the land was being dished out corruptly.
Sam Moyo, head of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare, maintains that Zimbabwe’s land redistribution has been “broad-based and largely egalitarian”. It is untrue, he says, that most of the land taken since 2000, when the seizures began, went to Mr Mugabe’s relatives, friends and other ZANU-PF faithful. More than two-thirds, he says, was allocated to 140,000 poor families, most getting around 20 hectares. He concedes that 30% of the redistributed land, consisting of bigger and better farms, was handed out to 15,500 officers in the army and security services, judges, ministers, members of parliament, civil servants and so on.
The professor blames drought, lack of affordable seed and fertiliser, price controls and a dearth of credit for the disastrous results of the confiscations, although he also admits that many of the new black owners lacked farming skills. Whatever the truth is, the upshot is that vast tracts of once-productive land now lie idle. Moreover, more than 200,000 experienced black farm-workers and their families—well over 1m people—have lost their livelihoods and homes, along with their dispossessed white masters.
In this week’s address to Parliament, Mr Tsvangirai repeated a promise to audit all the land to ascertain who owns what, to eliminate multiple ownerships and to ensure security of tenure for all farmers, black and white. He also sought help from abroad to compensate former (nearly all white) farmers whose land had been seized and to provide much-needed support for new farmers. But the MDC accepts that it cannot restore the seized land to its former owners. Most have gone. Even under an MDC government, it is doubtful many would come back. It will be many years before Zimbabwe’s farms, whoever owns them, will prosper again.
by George Ayittey Thursday 17 September 2009
OPINION: Zimbabwe's ZANU PF is brimming with intellectual turncoats,
chameleons and collaborators.
One notorious turncoat is Professor Jonathan Moyo, who was partly educated
in southern California and used to teach political science at the University
He was a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe's administration, writing
newspaper articles that condemned Mugabe in the strongest terms. The
Professor sent such scathing comments to the Zimbabwe Mirror (May 1999):
"His (Mugabe's) uncanny propensity to shoot himself in the foot has become a
national problem which needs urgent containment."
"Does the president not realise that when he belittles universal issues such
as basic human rights he loses the moral high ground to his critics?"
Suddenly, within months of that writing that article, the same Professor
Jonathan Moyo, had become the spokesman for the government-appointed
Constitutional Commission, strenuously campaigning for the acceptance of the
proposed new constitution. But the draft document was rejected in a national
referendum in Feb 2000.
Despite this setback, Professor Moyo was appointed as the ruling ZANU PF
party's campaign manager for the June 2000 general election. He took part in
drawing up the government's manifesto, which described the opposition as
"plagiarists, sell-outs, shameless opportunists and merchants of confusion."
He slammed whites who supported the opposition as "embittered racists using
black mouthpieces to preach mean-spirited democracy".
Rewarded with seat in Parliament
After a campaign marked by widespread violence and intimidation, ZANU PF won
a narrow majority in parliament and Professor Moyo was rewarded with a seat
in the Cabinet and the Politburo.
Even though he did not contest the election, he was appointed as a
non-constituency member of parliament. His immediate superior in the
politburo, Nathan Shamuyarira, described him as "a very sharp, very bright
intellectual. "He's good at rebutting the arguments of the opposition and at
articulating the (ruling) party's policies. He's a definite asset."
But a former friend, who worked with Professor Moyo at the University of
Zimbabwe before he launched his political career, said he was shocked to see
Professor Moyo as part of President Mugabe's government: "He was so
anti-government in those days. He was the loudest critic. And now here he is
as Mugabe's main cheerleader. I just don't understand it."
During a chance encounter at a local luxury hotel, the former friend asked,
"Are you the same Professor Moyo I used to know?" (BBC News, 28 February,
Most Africans recognise this "conversion" as "politics of the belly," or
Shopping spree in South Africa
Indeed, from December 27 to January 8, 2003, Professor Moyo checked into the
Mercure Hotel in Bedfordview, South Africa with four children and his wife,
Betty. While there, he went on a shopping spree - surrounded by his
bodyguards - and bought thousands of rands worth of food to take home to
Zimbabwe, where more than two-thirds of the population of 11.6 million were
desperate for something to eat. According to the Sunday Times (Jan 12,
"He bought a big-screen TV and a home theatre system. When he ran out of
packing space in his luxury vehicles - a Pajero (registration number
752-098X), a Mercedes-Benz car (registration 752-082E) and a bakkie - Moyo
filled a trailer (registration HYF 394 GP) with cooking oil, canned food,
rice, sugar, mealie meal, polony, macaroni and bread.
After Moyo had departed, escorted by bodyguards, the Sunday Times went
inside room 806 and found five staff cleaning up the mess. The family had
been enjoying appetising holiday takeaways. Bits of uneaten food were lying
on the floor. Empty bottles of beer were scattered about and at least four
unopened dumpies of Moyo's favorite beer had been left behind. Two trolleys
were needed to remove the garbage.
The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, said he was horrified.
"This man has no shame at all. He goes to South Africa to buy his food while
Zimbabweans are struggling to buy salt and bread. Where did he get the
foreign currency when we do not have any in Zimbabwe? Robert Mugabe is
ordering food from London and Moyo is shopping in South Africa. These people
are hypocrites" (Sunday Times, Jan 12, 2003).
During his tenure as information minister, he authored laws that restricted
even the most basic political actions, such as handing out campaign
materials or knocking on doors. Human rights groups rated Zimbabwe's
government as one of the most hostile in the world to press freedoms.
An outmoded concept
He dismissed freedom of expression as "an outmoded concept," shut down most
independent newspapers and banned foreign correspondents from reporting
without explicit official approval.
Under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), Moyo set up the Media and Information Commission (MIC) headed by
former journalism lecturer Tafataona Mahoso to license media organizations
and journalists. His harsh media law led to the arrests of journalists and
the shutting of several newspapers, including the Daily News and The
Trevor Ncube, who owned two independent weekly papers in Zimbabwe and who
was a close friend of Moyo's before Moyo joined the government, said he
watched in astonishment as Moyo transformed himself:
"On paper, this person knows about democracy, but in office he has a streak
that is worrisome. This streak is very dictatorial, very cruel," Ncube said.
"He will not stop at anything to get in power"(The Washington Post, March
26, 2005; p.A8)
Compulsive personal ambition and excessive lust for power became his
Achilles heel. The end of Moyo's career in government came at a ruling party
meeting in November 2004 where he backed a candidate for vice president who
was not favored by Mugabe. He allegedly crafted the infamous Tsholotsho
Declaration to re-arrange the ZANU PF presidium.
Moyo soon found himself marginalized, and in Feb 2005 he announced that he
would leave the party to run for parliament as an independent candidate,
defying a party decision to reserve the Tsholotsho seat for a female
Enemy number one
Mugabe promptly fired him as a Cabinet minister and expelled him from ZANU
PF, denouncing him as "enemy number one," and gave him 48 hours to vacate
his government house. Ministry of Local Government permanent secretary David
Munyoro accordingly wrote to Moyo:
"I regret to advise that you are to vacate the villa with immediate effect.
You are aware of the circumstances surrounding your occupation of villa
14262 Gunhill. Handover of the keys to my ministry should be done by/or
before 1600 hrs on Sunday 27 February 2005."
Moyo who ironically spent most of his time zealously defending illegal
eviction of white farmers, pleaded with the High Court to bar the government
from forcing him out of the Gunhill house, saying the move would be illegal.
He wrote in his court papers:
"The said eviction of the applicant is illegal and without a court order and
if allowed to proceed will cause great inconvenience and prejudice and
therefore irreparable harm. I have not had time to serve this application on
the respondent due to the imminence of the eviction which if effected would
cause undue complications and hardships of an irreparable nature to both my
family and me.
I believe that I am still entitled to my basic right to relocate on
reasonable notice which at law stands at three months as verbally confirmed
by Mr Munyoro over the telephone interview on 21st of February 2005. I have
no place to which I can relocate my family at such short notice which notice
is also illegal" (Zim Online, March 1, 2005)
Poetic justice? But like a political chameleon, he re-invented himself to
stand as an independent candidate in his hometown of Tsholotsho. He
described the party he served for five years as aging, undemocratic, riven
by internal disputes, filled with "deadwood" and likely to fall from power
over the next several years.
"It's quite possible ZANU-PF could lose these elections . . . The democratic
experience is working in Zimbabwe . . . The people in Zimbabwe are
understanding what democracy means. Zimbabwe will be transformed
democratically. I have no doubt about that" (The Washington Post, March 26,
Tears flowing down his cheeks
But Mugabe fired back, warning Moyo against breaking with the government,
telling him, "The whole machinery of the party will fall on you and you will
be demolished." Mugabe claimed that Moyo had plotted a coup in his final
days as information minister, meeting with senior military commanders and
doing "terrible things."
"When Moyo was privately confronted with evidence of his duplicity, the
president said, "tears started flowing down his cheeks." (The Washington
Post, March 26, 2005; p.A8)
He won his parliamentary bid, however. Like most of rural southern Zimbabwe,
Tsholotsho North had been neglected after Mugabe took power in 1980. His
attacks on ZANU PF did not cease. In 2007, he described the party as a "dead
duck on the shelf, only breathing from evils of state security and the abuse
In December 2008, in an interview with Reuters, Moyo denounced ZANU PF as a
"tribal clique" with no respect for democracy. The party, as he often said,
was full of geriatrics clinging to power.
But Tsholotsho North was too confining for Moyo's super-sized ego and
ambition. Like a frog out of a swamp he needed to get back in.
In the August 25, 2009 issue of The Herald, he launched a vitriolic attack
on Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. He wrote:
"The self evident fact which Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara has sought to
hide through his attention seeking statement that are manifestly
inconsistent and insane is that while he is a political principal on paper,
as per his signature on the GPA, he is not a political principal in reality
on the ground."
He saw an opportunity when Vice President Joseph Msika passed away. With an
eye on that vacant post, he pulled all stops. Within days after Msika's
funeral on Aug 19, 2009, Moyo sent a letter to secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa, seeking re-admission into ZANU PF. He might be re-admitted,
used against and tossed aside like a rag.
** The author of the article George B. N. Ayittey is Distinguished Economist
in Residence in the Department of Economics at American University in
Washington DC. He is an author of several books on Africa and is a
contributor to numerous scholarly volumes.
EDITORS' NOTE: Professor Aytttey's article does not necessarily reflect the
views of ZimOnline. Our editorial policy is to provide a platform for the
exchange of information, views and opinions without bigotry, bias or
intolerance -- as long as such content does not overstep the bounds of
public decency and mutual respect for those of differing viewpoints. -