|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Black farmworkers arrested|
|FROM JAN RAATH IN WEDZA|
|SIXTY black workers who had tried to protect white farmers
from attack in Zimbabwe appeared in court yesterday, as President Mugabe’s
militiamen extended their campaign of destruction to a second prime farming
The workers and peasant farmers from the district of Wedza, about 60 miles southeast of Harare, appeared before a magistrate on charges of “public violence”. They were refused bail.
In the past three weeks more than 5,000 people, mainly black farmworkers and their families, have been driven from their homes in Wedza.
The workers were arrested on Wednesday after clashing with so-called guerilla war veterans who were trying to remove Peter Bibby, a farmer, from his land. One of the veterans’ leaders had opened fire with a shotgun and injured two workers, one of them seriously. Police arrested one of those injured after he had been released from hospital.
Yesterday at 4.30am Mr Bibby, 34, his wife, two children and his parents, drove from the farm, their two vehicles loaded with clothing, a computer and the farm radios.
At midday, having installed his family at the home of a friend near by, Mr Bibby learnt that two army trucks loaded with Zanu (PF) youths were on their way to his farm. In his sheds is tobacco worth 38million Zimbabwe dollars (£475,000). “You look back and you think, is this all going to be just a piece of charcoal when we get back?” he said.
Luckson Phiri, 36, was a farm manager on one of the first Wedza farms to be cleared of workers. “They told me to collect my things and go in 30 minutes or they would kill me,” he said.
The expulsion of farm workers is a form of ethnic cleansing being practised by Mr Mugabe’s regime.
LONG ROAD: Farm workers carried their belongings Friday as they left a farm in east Zimbabwe, where they worked until government militias seized the property. AP
Zimbabwe refugee crisis looms
Next month, leaders from six Southern African nations will meet to discuss Zimbabwe's land crisis.
| Special to The Christian Science MonitorJOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Southern African nations are finding that political turmoil, like rain and air, is not bound by the borders on a map.
As Zimbabwe's land crisis jeopardizes food supplies and economic stability, its southern neighbors are beginning to feel the effects. A growing number of Zimbabweans are illegally entering South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique, fleeing high inflation, food shortages, and growing political violence. The three neighboring countries are now bracing for the possibility that tens of thousands of refugees may flood their borders in the runup to Zimbabwe's elections early next year.
The downward spiral of Zimbabwe's economy is also affecting the economies of neighboring countries, and is focusing greater international attention on their domestic issues.
African leaders, who have been loath to speak out against the situation there, are hardening their political positions toward Zimbabwe. Next month, leaders from South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, will meet to discuss the land crisis in Zimbabwe.
"The idea that we could isolate ourselves from the effects of their economic collapse is something of the past," says Richard Cornwell, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, a South African think tank that works on regional security issues.
Since the beginning of the year, the once-prosperous and peaceful Zimbabwe has been torn apart by political violence. More than 20 years after independence from Britain, about 70 percent of premium agricultural land is still owned by white farmers, who make up 0.06 percent of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million citizens. President Mugabe, who has lead the country since 1980 and is currently facing the first major challenge to his power, has used the land issue to rally support in preparation for the presidential elections next year.
Mugabe has targeted almost all of the country's 4,500 white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks. He has given his blessing to armies of self-styled war veterans, composed primarily of poor, black men, too young to have participated in the country's war of independence. Since April, more than 1,000 farms have been attacked and nearly 500 remain illegally occupied. In recent weeks, the looting of farms has increased as well.
Agriculture is one of Zimbabwe's top foreign exchange earners and its largest source of employment. The recent disruptions in production have led to severe food and gasoline shortages and skyrocketing inflation.
In response to the worsening situation there, South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique have held discussions with United Nations officials about plans to build refugee camps near their respective borders with Zimbabwe.
While the South African government insists that a refugee crisis remains a remote possibility, they don't want to be caught unprepared, should thousands of displaced Zimbabweans arrive at the border empty-handed. "The situation hasn't yet gotten out of hand. There are no panic buttons yet," says Leslie Mashokwe, a spokesman for the Department of Home Affairs. "But we are making plans, should there be a need for us to step-up."
Mr. Cornwell predicts refugee inflow will grow as Christmas nears. "The wheat shortage is starting to hit now. That affects the people in the towns. In the countryside, it's maize. Once that is seen to be in severe shortage, people may decide to vote with their feet."
In recent weeks, the Mugabe government has intensified the pressure on whites and political opponents. Twenty-one white Zimbabwean farmers, from the area near the northern city of Chinhoyi, were arrested by Zimbabwean police, along with a number of local reporters who had implicated police in farm invasions and looting in the area.
Those who succeed in passing through the porous border fence into South Africa, join an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants already living here. Illegals are blamed by many South Africans for stealing jobs and contributing to the high unemployment rate.
The troubles in Zimbabwe have also been blamed for South Africa's recent currency troubles. Over the past week, the rand fell to its all-time low against both the dollar and the pound and many believe that investor fears about the situation in Zimbabwe has contributed substantially to this decline.
Nico Czypionka, chief economist of SG Securities, says the currency devaluation is largely about perception and the fear that the situation in Zimbabwe is merely a precursor to unrest elsewhere in the region.
Conscious of this perception, Southern African leaders have hardened their stances toward Zimbabwe. Last week, South African Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni became the first high-ranking South African official to criticize Zimbabwe when he publicly blamed instability there for the current slide in the value of the rand.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has faced heavy criticism for his "quiet diplomacy," recently told the BBC that serious steps must be taken to avoid an economic meltdown in Zimbabwe. And when South Africa faced its own land crises in early July of this year, the government moved swiftly to evict land invaders, promising that no Zimbabwe-style land situation would develop in South Africa.
But Mr. Czypionka says that in order to restore investor confidence, more must be done to distance the two countries. "South Africa could turn the light switch off in Zimbabwe. And I think it should. It should give Zimbabwe an ultimatum."
|Wednesday, August 22, 2001|
ROBERT MUGABE IN
Leading a country to ruin
BY PUNYAPRIYA DASGUPTA
One more Third World country is in distress — in a situation sans hope.
Robert Mugabe was an anti-imperialist hero who fought the British for long years
in what was Rhodesia and promised his people freedom and land. Like so many
others before him in the former colonial world he too forgot his pledge to his
people and spent more than twenty years in building up his personal dictatorship
in a country renamed Zimbabwe. Nemesis is now catching up with him.
At the advanced age of 77, President Mugabe thinks he can make up for the valuable time he has wasted. And he is going about it the wrong way. He has revived the goal of land to the indigenous peasantry but the way he has chosen to reach it has landed him in a morass. His policy reflects desperation in the face of growing opposition to his leadership. A general election last year proved that urban Zimbabweans had lost faith in him. The rejection of Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party by the voters in the capital city of Harare was total. The leader and his men managed to remain in power on the strength of their showing in the rural areas. In the countryside the people's loyalty was retained by a new policy of expropriation of white-owned land and manipulation of votes.
One of President Mugabe's lieutenants declared with brutal frankness that the Zanu-PF would not have accepted a defeat in the general election. That was an indication that the Mugabe regime was prepared to proclaim an emergency and put democracy on hold. Such a contingency plan still exists. Zimbabwean freedom was not wrought by an uncompromising struggle all the way. The final stage was a compromise with the colonialist enemy. By the Lancaster House negotiations Britain agreed to hand over power to the Zanu-PF provided the white farmers who had settled in Rhodesia were allowed to continue on the vast lands they had snatched from the Africans. Mr Mugabe had raised his anti-British Patriotic Front guerrilla force mainly with those who were hoping for a better life on their own pieces of agricultural land. The ambitions of the leaders of the freedom movement were realised; the dreams of the people were not.
Corruption and misrule
During the two Mugabe decades Zimbabwe had no land redistribution. The leader suddenly, in February last year, woke up to the need for giving his people land. Less than five thousand whites owned ten million hectares while a million blacks no more than a total of 16 million hectares. Even with this iniquitous system of land holding rooted in the days of foreign rule, Zimbabwe was relatively well off. With its rich minerals and export-oriented agriculture based on tobacco and self-sufficiency in food, this country was regarded as one of the prosperous in Africa. Mr Mugabe, a one-time school teacher, also made his own significant contribution to the Zimbabwean sense of well being. He spread literacy to an astonishing 85 per cent of the population.
Not much else was done to make Zimbabwe really prosperous and socialist. Mr Mugabe and his colleagues soon found it more important for them to make themselves rich and powerful than looking after the country and the people. Corruption and misrule turned Zimbabwe into a problem country with a very uncertain future. Inflation is currently running at an annual rate of 70 per cent. Unemployment has affected well over one-half of the work force. Food sufficiency has given way to apprehensions of food riots.
Discontent naturally started foaming up. President Mugabe sensed that his regime was imperilled but could not think of anything to meet the situation except seizing the lands of the white farmers whom he had in the past wanted to stay because their export-oriented agriculture imparted some solidity to the economy. The policy reversal was given a radical tinge in the hope of whipping up nationalist and therefore pro-Zanu-PF fervour among the rural poor. Zanu-PF activists, described as [independence] "war veterans", were let loose and incited to seize the lands of the white farmers.
When voices of protest rose, especially in the West, President Mugabe argued that if the white farmers were feeling some "inconvenience" now, they should try to gauge the inconvenience the Zimbabweans had suffered when they had been forcibly evicted from their lands by the British conquerors. The anti-imperialist logic here is cogent but it does not explain everything. If President Mugabe is really determined to wipe out the wrongs done by British imperialists, why is he going about it now and was content to sleep over it for twenty years? He has designed his land grab and redistribution programme only to repair his dangerously eroded mass base.
Enough careful thinking was not done before letting the lawless gangs loose on the white-owned lands. The programme turned counter-productive immediately on launch. A serious law and order problem has arisen. Unable to force the judiciary and the media to toe its arbitrary line, the government is trying to subvert the former and suppress the latter. Zimbabwe is becoming isolated internationally and facing threats of sanctions from the West.
What is worse, the sudden chaotic change in land ownership has upset agricultural operations and worsened the economic crisis. A number of white farmers have been killed, some have been chased away and many are leaving. The blacks who are taking over their lands have not been provided with the tools, seeds, fertilizers required for their style of cultivation. Some of them do not have even any agricultural skill because they are from the urban unemployed. Hardly anything is growing in the fields taken over by force from the whites At the same time many of the blacks who were working on the big white-owned commercial farms are now out of jobs and facing starvation. Things are fast getting out of President Mugabe's hands.
The International Monetary Fund supported President Mugabe for years and now there is a clean break. Zimbabwe's Western sources of economic assistance have all dried up. For this President Mugabe blames Washington and London as well as the Movement for Democratic Change that has emerged as a powerful opposition to him at home with substantial Western assistance. The United States is threatening "targeted sanctions" unless attacks on the judiciary, media and the opposition and of course the white farmers stop. Once imposed, the sanctions will severely restrict travel abroad by President Mugabe, his ministers and high officials and their families. The European Union is also likely to take its own similar decisions
Even African neighbours are losing patience. The Southern African Development Community disappointed President Mugabe when he appealed to it for assistance on racial grounds. The members of the SADC are now clearly afraid that the crisis in Zimbabwe may affect their own economies by scaring away foreign investors and tourists.
South Africa is still trying to help but no longer denies that it cannot continue doing so for long. Archbishop Desmond Tutu laments that President Mugabe is becoming a cartoon figure of the archetypal African dictator.
|Will the Durban Conference Admit That Racists Can Be Black?|
Gerd Behrens IHT
Friday, August 31, 2001
August, 2001 15:54 BST|
HARARE (Reuters) - About 70,000 black Zimbabwean farm workers and their families have been displaced since militant government supporters began occupying white-owned farms 18 months ago.
The mainly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said on Friday a fresh wave of violence on the farms was forcing more farmers and their workers to flee for their lives.
"For workers, I think we are looking at numbers in the region of 70,000 -- those who have either been forced to leave the farms or have lost their jobs due to the farm occupations and the associated violence," a senior CFU official told Reuters.
"The numbers have been rising since last year. It's a really big disaster," said the official, who declined to be named.
Zimbabwe has been in crisis since February 2000 when self-styled veterans of the 1970s liberation war began invading white-owned farms, arguing that more land should be turned over to the country's black majority.
The militants say the farm invasions are a show of support for President Robert Mugabe's drive to seize large tracts of white-owned farmland for redistribution to landless blacks.
In the past three weeks, the militants have tightened the noose on hundreds of farms across the southern African country -- pegging out more plots of land and driving out farmers and their workers.
Hundreds of workers and their families, including sick children and pregnant women, have taken refuge in tobacco barns and sheds or are sleeping in the open in the Marondera area, 100 km (65 miles) east of Harare.
The CFU reported on Wednesday that at least 2,500 farm workers and their families had been forced out the eastern Hwedza farming district in a new wave of farm disruptions.
GOVT BLAMES FARMERS
The CFU, which represents 4,500 commercial farmers, also reported that many pastures, especially in the cattle-ranching regions of Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo, had been burned and animals driven out of paddocks.
The government -- which has alleged that farmers are engineering the attacks on their properties to win international sympathy -- denies there is a new wave of violence.
David Karimanzira, provincial governor for Mashonaland East, said on Thursday the government was investigating who was behind the burning of farm pastures.
Until the farm invasions, Zimbabwe's commercial farms employed 300,000 workers, about a quarter of the country's formal labour force, but the CFU estimates that about 20 percent of them have since lost their jobs.
Farm production has fallen sharply in the commercial sector in the past year, with output of key crops such as the staple maize dropping by over 60 percent in the wake of the invasions.
Nine farmers have been killed and scores of farm workers assaulted in violence which critics of Mugabe say is part of the Zimbabwean president's campaign strategy to retain power in presidential elections due by April.
But the 77-year-old Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980, says his land seizure drive has nothing to do with the elections.
Mugabe says it is immoral for 4,500 white farmers to occupy 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best farmland while majority blacks are crowded in barren lands.
He now plans to have another go when Mugabe lands in Brisbane for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on October 6.
Some Australian politicians have called for Mugabe to be banned from entering the country because of his appalling human rights record.
But the London-based Tatchell says excluding him would achieve nothing - and would let a chance to arrest him on torture charges go begging.
"It would be far better for Australia to allow Mugabe to attend CHOGM, and then arrest him when he lands in Brisbane," he said.
Tatchell believes Australia has an obligation under the United Nations Convention Against Torture to arrest any person who commits an act of torture anywhere in the world.
But if Australian authorities refuse to arrest Mugabe, Tatchell will try to bring a civil action against the president - with a citizen's arrest his last resort.
He will present Attorney-General Daryl Williams with signed affidavits from two black Zimbabwean journalists who say Mugabe ordered their torture by military police in January 1999.
The men were beaten with fists, wooden planks and rubber sticks all over their bodies, particularly on the soles of their feet, were given electric shocks and were subjected to "the submarine" - in which their heads were wrapped in plastic bags and submerged in a water tank.
"Given this overwhelming evidence, the Australian government has a moral and legal duty to arrest and prosecute President Mugabe on charges of torture," Tatchell said.
Zimbabwean farmers say ruling party
militants have chased 5,000 rural workers and their families from white-owned
farms in recent weeks, and thus created a humanitarian crisis.
Zimbabwe's white farmers union and other groups say the attacks have taken
place in northern and eastern districts. They report the farm workers now have
neither work nor food and are surviving as best they can along roadsides and in
The militants say they will carry out the government's plan to seize
white-owned farms without compensation and redistribute them to landless blacks.
The government of President Robert Mugabe says seizing some of Zimbabwe's
best arable land is necessary to benefit impoverished black farmers.
The farm occupations have crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture. The African
country expects food shortages this year.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.
Zimbabwe's white farmers union and other groups say the attacks have taken place in northern and eastern districts. They report the farm workers now have neither work nor food and are surviving as best they can along roadsides and in makeshift villages.
The militants say they will carry out the government's plan to seize white-owned farms without compensation and redistribute them to landless blacks.
The government of President Robert Mugabe says seizing some of Zimbabwe's best arable land is necessary to benefit impoverished black farmers.
The farm occupations have crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture. The African country expects food shortages this year.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.
Health Minister Rules Out Compulsory HIV/AIDS Tests
UN Integrated Regional Information Network
August 31, 2001
Posted to the web August 31, 2001
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Timothy Stamps, has turned down a call by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) to introduce compulsory HIV/AIDS testing of all patients, the 'Daily News' reported on Thursday.
In an interview with the newspaper Stamps said it was possible that affected people would prefer to die at home without knowing their status. "This radical call for mandatory testing should be condemned with the contempt it deserves as it violates people's constitutional rights to privacy," he was reported as saying.
Nearly 500 doctors, who are part of the 900-member association, demanded an adoption by their annual congress for a mandatory testing of all patients. This year's Zima congress focused on HIV/AIDS. The doctors said mandatory testing would give the country accurate statistics which would help in planning the way forward.
THE FULL TEXT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS ON THE COMMEMORATION OF HEROES DAY:
HEROES ACRE 11 AUGUST 2001
The Honourable Vice President, Cde Simon Muzenda and Amai Muzenda,
The Honourable Vice President, Cde Joseph Msika and Amai Msika,
Speaker of the House, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mrs. Mnangagwa,
Acting Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Amai Chidyausiku,
Members of the Politburo,
Members of the Central Committee,
Ministers here present,
Members of Parliament,
Members of the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association,
The Chairman of the Harare City Commission, Cde Elija Chanakira,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Comrades and Friends.
Each year in August we gather here at the National Shrine and at many other
shrines throughout the
country for the solemn commemoration of our heroes. This is a day we have set aside not just to
remember those who have gone before us and have died for our Independence and Sovereign Nationhood,
but also a day we seek to engage our collective thoughts in reflection of the arduous, tortuous, in fact
bloody road we have walked to get to this day and to our present national circumstances. The eleventh
of August is thus a profound day for our Nation.
In welcoming you to this event, I want to share with you some experiences we
have gone through as a people.
Maybe experiences which you and me as the present, living generation may not have lived through, but
experiences nevertheless vital to our sense of being, to our own sense of national identity as Zimbabweans.
For, while nations are defined by geographical boundaries, their real essence lies in human actions and
experiences. True, geographical boundedness is an important marker: the scenic mountains of the East
that mark us off against our brethren in the sister Republic of Mozambique; the might Zambezi and Limpopo,
themselves meandering markers of our beautiful land vis-à-vis sister Republics of Zambia, Angola, Namibia,
Botswana and South Africa; the thrusting hills and granite outcrops; the woody vleis, the forests, the havens
and many other features that typify our land. All these matter and the define us. But the real essence and
content of that nationhood is our people – great or small, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, royal or peasant,
- in their march towards collective self realization. The essence of our nationhood lies in the historical
struggles of our people, initially against nature and the elements in the process evolving practices and
technologies by which they conquered and asserted mastery over nature.
The essence of our nationhood is our people as they struggle with and even
against each other to establish
a common order and vision, bigger polities able to take them beyond small, narrow social circumstances.
We know of many wars and conflicts that were fought on this land, indeed for this land: between tribes, within
tribes; between kingdoms, with kingdoms; between chieftaincies, within chieftaincies, as our people evolved
and moved inexorable towards ever enlarging formations which would later yield this big country we now call
Zimbabwe. We think of the Great Zimbabwe monument, and many other monuments scattered throughout
the country, as indicative of those great struggles that bore the civilization which at once precede but also
lead to our present circumstances. It indeed has been a long road to Independence. A long road with dark
moments and stupendous challenges.
The year 1890 when our country was invaded and fell under British Imperial
occupation, began what no doubt
was the darkest phase of our nation so far. Our essence as a nation indeed lay in our people’s resistance of
this cruel encroachment and foreign domination that now asserted itself over our land. The 1893 and 1896-7
struggles, the Second and the Third Chimurenga. All these are dramatic episodes in the story of our Nation,
episodes which have given a tragic ring to our Independence, giving us as they do a sense of loss and inhuman
cruelty by one Imperious race to another. But the same episodes have also given us a sense of sacrifice, of
purpose, of unity and cohesion, of achievement, indeed of heroism and ownership which make us guard and
defend jealously our sovereignty. This indeed is our land, our heritage, our sovereignty, for we fought and
died for it! This indeed is our democracy, for we created it by our precious blood, created it by defeating a
heartless settler colonialism which had occupied and marginalized us! This indeed as a black man’s country!
When the British racial autocracy brutalized and traumatized us, the so
called democratic world would not lift
a finger, or even raise an eye-brow, for we were dubbed the world’s supernumeraries, a race of no rights
beyond that of a chattel. We were the white man’s hewers of wood and drawers of water; we worked, sweated
blood as we dug deep, deep into the bowels of the earth for them as they pillaged our minerals. We worked
the land, not so our children could eat but so we could feed their own children and kind.
When all that happened, the Free World was there: Britain, America, Germany,
Holland, they were there.
British, American and German citizens came here as mercenaries, to fight alongside Ian Smith’s soldiers.
The weapons used against us were NATO weapons and these claimed many of our people; at Nyadzonia,
Chimoio, Mkushi Luangwa, Freedom Camp, and many inside the country.
Yes the American Senate and Congress were there! At no point did the
American Senate think of supporting
our struggle here by crafting a sanctions bill against the Rhodesians who had overthrown the supreme law of
the land, the Constitution. If anything, the same Senators who today work with our own people in the
opposition to craft the iniquitous so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill, were part of
the infamous international right-wing Friends of Rhodesia (FOR) movement to defend overseas white interests.
Just what is our crime?
Our crime is that we are black, and America a condemned race! How dare we
challenge their kith and kin
here, God-chosen Anglo-Saxons, we who only yesterday were their condemned slaves? They feel revulsed
that we seek to correct the effects, imbalances and injustices of that sinful slave past. To do so is to
practice terrorism and autocracy. These Anglo-Saxon bigots glibly use the language and vocabulary of
democracy to duck their colonial responsibility so they can prolong their evil control and ownership of our
land and natural resources.
Today as we stand on the shrine that keeps our heroic dead, we tell them that
none of the freedoms we
enjoy on this land, not even an iota, came to us from them, from the West. The West brought us colonial
oppression, economic deprivation, the illegality and unconstitutionality of UDI; inhumanity and racism. It
meted out genocidal deaths, and maimings, robbed us of chunks of our lives through restrictions, detentions,
imprisonment and torture. Let them remember what they did to us, appreciate the mayhem their kith and
kin caused here in the name of their Queen and Government, their law and Parliament.
On 27th April, 1898, the district surgeon for Salisbury wrote:
“ I certify that I have examined the body of Nianda, upon whom sentence of
death has been
executed, and that life is extinct.”
“Nianda” was none other than our gallant, defiant and fierce heroine of the
First Chimurenga, Ambuya
Nehanda, the legendary Spirit Medium (svikiro) form Mazowe. She had been apprehended and hauled
to Her Majesty’s court in March of the same year, alongside Zindoga, Wata and Gutsa for the alleged
murder of one Henry Hawkins Pollard, a brutal white native commissioner of the British South Africa
Company (BSAC) who resided near Mazowe and terrorized “natives” in that district. Legal documents
classify Mbuya Nehanda modestly as “a Mashona woman residing at Chitawa’s Kraal” in the Mazowe
District; Zindoga as “a native kitchen boy residing at Nianda’s Kraal” in the Mazowe District and Wata
and Gutsa as “native hunters residing at Wata’s Kraal.” All of them stood accused of “wrongfully,
unlawfully and maliciously causing the murder of one Henry Hawkins Pollard in his lifetime a native
commissioner.” They were arraigned in the High of Matabeleland which sat in Salisbury on 20th
February, 1898, and were subsequently convicted on 2nd March, 1898 in a case entered as “The (British)
Queen against Nianda”. The sentence was that Nehanda was “to be hanged by the neck until she be
dead as such place of execution and at such time as His Honour the (colonial) Administrator should be
pleased to appoint.”
The execution of Ambuya Nehanda was authorized by the (British) High
Commissioner for South Africa,
one A. Milner, and endorsed by the (British) Imperial Secretary on 28th March, 1898. The presiding judge
was Judge Watermeyer, with Herbert Hayton Castens Esquire as “the acting Public Prosecutor of our
Sovereign Lady the Queen, within the British South Africa Company’s Territories, who prosecutes for and
on behalf of Her Majesty”. The warrant of her death that she be executed “within the walls of the Gaol of
Salisbury between the hours of six and ten in the forenoon”. What followed according to Roman Catholic
Father Richartz who had been assigned to convert the condemned before their death, was heart-rending.
Nehanda, we are told refused to talked to Father Richartz and,
“called for her people and wanted to go back to her own country – Mazoe –
and die there……..
When I saw that nothing could be done with her, the time of the execution having arrived, I left
Nehanda and went to Kaguvi who received me in good dispositions. Whilst I was conversing with
him Nehanda was taken to the scaffold. Her cries and resistance when she was taken up the
ladder, the screaming and yelling on the scaffold disturbed my conversation with Kaguvi very much,
till the noisy opening of the trap door upon which she stood, followed by the heavy thud of her body
as it fell, made an end to the interruption.”
She died at the hands of a British hangman, at the hand of a representative
of the Free World, and died for
resisting violent racial imperial encroachment. The thud of her lifeless body would not be last one to be heard
on this land, as many more lives would be executed in the walls of the British gaol, in battles of resistance
and in villages, all in the name of British law and justice. Her co-accused, Kaguvi, Wata and Gutsa, would
soon meet with the same violent end, even though they had converted to Christianity. Not even the Church
could save them!
Many of our people had already been killed before Nehanda’s demise and during
the first war of resistance
of 1893, with King Lobengula vanishing against a real threat posed by the rampaging Pioneer Column. Many,
many more were killed between March 1896 when the Ndebeles alongside the Shonas again resisted
occupation, heroically struggling on until about September 1896 when they eventually succumbed. Judicial
executions started soon after the rebellion and continued well into 1898, with 21 condemned Ndebele fighters
being executed in the month of May alone of 1898.
In Mashonaland, it was the same bloody orgy, with leaders of resistance such
as Mashonganyika, Muzambi,
Maremba, Ndowa, Zvidembo, Gundusa, Mvenuri, Mashindu, Manyongani, Chiriseri and Chief Gutu getting
executed in the same violent way. In the case of Chief Chingaira, the “civilized” British would savagely and
bizarrely decapitate him and carry his head to Britain as a trophy for their museum. To this day, we have
not recovered that head so we can give this great heroic chief a decent burial. These, our early heroes,
were apprehended and incarcerated by the British; tried in British imperial courts; convicted and sentenced
by British judges; under British law; and eventually executed by British hangmen.
The campaign extended to our forebears’ harvests which were torched and
dynamited to break their resistance.
The years that followed the 1896-97 struggled witnessed hunger and starvation artificially caused by invaders.
Even that did not break the spirit of resistance and sooner or later Africans would regroup and fight again. All
that was precious blood shed for this nation by those who claimed to be Christian, democratic and civilized.
Our notion of heroism thus comes directly form bloody resistance to British
imperial expansionism and the
challenges which come with foreign domination. These heroes we have here at the National and elsewhere in
and outside the country come from that tradition of resistance and tell through their own lives, the story of our
struggle in its various constitutive facets: trade unionism, urban protests, nationalist politics, peasant resistance,
spiritual struggle, student militancy, and of course liberation soldiery. The heroes we gather to celebrate this
day remind us that the principal goal of that struggle was the search for freedom, the search for democracy, and
the search for sovereignty and control over all our resources, principally the land. We will never lose sight of that
goal and remain prepared to die for it!
We have repeatedly told the world that the on-going land reform programme
seeks to redress land imbalances
deriving form the history of colonialism in this country. It is also meant to transform the agriculture set up which
we inherited form colonial governments. That set-up is not just; it is not fair; it is not productive; it is not
environmentally sustainable. There is nothing therefore that justifies it beyond racial imperial dominance which
we reject completely. This is what the British are resisting here in the name of democracy, rule of law and some
such drivel; this is what the right-wing American Senate is seeking to legitimize through a piece of legislation that
affronts our legislative sovereignty.
We hear that the Commercial Farmers Union have changed their heart and would
want to join the government in
implementing the Land reform programme. They are welcome to join Government if they so wish; they were the
irst ones to be approached when government embarked on this programme. They have used all sorts of wiles and
subterfuges; dropped those for more brazen one to defeat land reform in this country: by sponsoring an opposition;
by mobilizing the West to impose sanctions; by organizing and the regimenting workers to oppose constitutional
adjustments; and by attacking the landless on commercial farms.
We hope they have now realized the futility of their ways for we will not
budge on this one question. Our progress
on land reforms could certainly benefit from, but does not rest or depend on their, goodwill. We will proceed with
the current land reforms with or without their cooperation. We will proceed with current land reform with or without
sanctions. Let that position be known here and abroad and let the commercial farmers tell that to their constituency
overseas. We thank Africa and the Third World for standing by us. We undertake this very shrine an din
communion with the dear departed to accelerate the implementation of the Land Reform and Resettlement
Programme. To date 5 327 farms covering 9,5 million hectares have been gazetted. Government has paid out
$157 million this year alone as compensation for capital improvements on 47 farms that have been acquired.
Cabinet has approved an undated and comprehensive Land Reform and
Resettlement Programme Implementation
Plan, which clearly outlines the guiding principles of the resettlement process. The response of the Commercial
Farm Settlement Scheme has been overwhelming, with around 100 000 applications having been received. These
are now being processed quickly so that allocation starts before the rain season.
On the ground , planning and demarcation of acquired farms into arable land,
residential stands and plots is
progressing smoothly throughout the provinces. The District Development Fund (DDF) has planned and
demarcated 718 farms measuring two million hectares since the programme started in July2000. This year alone,
the Fund planned and demarcated 585 farms measuring 1,4 million hectares.
The commercial farmers cannot expect that we take them seriously when some of
their members adopt a
confrontational stance on the farms. The past few days have witnessed sporadic violence in Mashonaland
West, Mashonaland East and parts of Matabeleland, resulting from commercial farmers’ organised campaigns
against the landless and even resettled villagers. May these be brought to an end immediately.
Today we should remember all our heroes, but especially Umdala Wethu, Joshua
Nkomo, without whose
leadership spanning over decades, the struggle for our independence would have taken longer to start and
conclude. Those in our midst who today want to destroy that unity on whose strength we overcome British
Imperialism, are bound to fail, for these men and women who lie here did not die in vain.
Our hearts go out to the 809 heroes’ dependents consisting of 314 spouses and
495 children who have
been left under our care. They are all benefiting our should benefit from the National Heroes Dependants
Fund at a cost of about Z$2,3 million per month. In view of the recent sharp increase in school fees,
government is considering increasing the school fees form the current $15 000 to $20 000 per term to
enhance the welfare of the dependants. We remember today all the Heroes we lost this year, including
Cdes Gezi, Mahachi and Hunzvi. Their agenda remains our focus.
Government remains committed to the restoration of the macro-economic
stability as evidenced by its
commitment to fully implement the policy measures announced in the 2001 budget. Already the fiscal
position for the five months to June 2001 has been generally positive as evidenced by the performance
of revenues and expenditures, which were, on average, within targets.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and only Zimbabweans can
work for its
development. Indeed, only Zimbabweans can defend its sovereignty which should never be taken for
granted, and is a priceless heritage we owe posterity. This is a day on which we all should dedicate
urselves to the unity our nation, whatever our different walks of life.
Long Live our Freedom!
Long Live our Independence!
Long Live our National Unity!
Long Live our Third Chimurenga!
Long Live our Sovereignty!
I thank you
Mugabe tests Commonwealth chemistry
Can the ironically named Harare principles tame Zimbabwe's leader?
Michael Holman reports
Published: August 30 2001 17:28GMT | Last Updated: August 30 2001 17:33GMT
When Margaret Thatcher stepped on to the dance floor with Kenneth Kaunda at Lusaka's Pamodzi hotel 22 years ago, even hardened sceptics conceded that the fabled Commonwealth chemistry had worked its magic.
The spectacle of the British prime minister, no friend of Zimbabwe's guerrillas, in the arms of the Zambian president, a man until then regarded by Britain as an obstacle to the settlement of its colony's rebellion, was a harbinger of peace.
At talks in London a few months later, the protagonists in Rhodesia's guerrilla war agreed on a ceasefire and the 1980 elections that formally ended white minority rule in the country that was to become Zimbabwe.
Once again, Zimbabwe is at the top of the Commonwealth agenda, but the omens are grim.
President Robert Mugabe, presiding over a ruthless campaign to redistribute white-owned land and crush the country's opposition, threatens to humiliate the organisation that helped bring him to power.
If the Commonwealth is ineffectual in restoring democracy and human rights when confronted by flagrant abuse of its principles, the argument runs, the already slim credibility of this association of Britain and its former colonies will have been lost.
Yet for all its many shortcomings, it is a club which countries still think is worth joining. Membership is increasing - 54 compared to 49 eleven years ago, with several wanting to enroll.
Every now and then, it surprises itself, and the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) is usually the venue. The friendly, informal gatherings, where all speak English, makes for a chemistry of reconciliation that is unique among international conferences.
Yet few hold out any hope of another Lusaka epiphany - a dramatic and symbolic act of reconciliation between Mr Mugabe and Tony Blair, the British prime minister.
But there is no lack of trying. No less than six initiatives are under way, as minds are concentrated by fears of a breakdown in law and order in Zimbabwe, and an impending food shortage, which has already driven many thousands of Zimbabweans to seek refuge in neighbouring South Africa.
The US congress is debating sanctions against Zimbabwe, and the European Union is considering a visa ban on its ministers, among other measures.
The Southern Africa Development Community, the 14-member trade and development group, recently ended Mr Mugabe's chairmanship of its security and defence commission, and appointed a three-nation task force to seek ways to end Zimbabwe's crisis.
The African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity, has appointed a committee with a similar objective, notwithstanding the foreign ministers' resolution at the recent summit. It was supportive of Mr Mugabe - although later watered down by the heads of government.
But attention in the days and weeks ahead will be focused on the biennial Commonwealth summit in Brisbane, Australia, in October and two gatherings that precede it.
The first, a meeting of foreign ministers, known as the Commonwealth ministerial action group (CMAG) takes place in London on Monday. Two days later, a joint Nigerian-South African initiative gets under way in Nigerian capital of Abuja. Both are likely to be attended by Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Stan Mudenge.
Ironically, the Commonwealth declaration of democratic principles and respect for human rights which Mr Mugabe has flouted takes its name from Harare, Zimbabwe's capital.
It was there, in 1991, that Commonwealth heads of state belatedly admitted that the organisation suffered from a tunnel vision morality, condemning apartheid but turning a blind eye to human rights abuses by its own members.
The first test of the Harare principles came in November 1995. Nigeria's Abacha regime, already facing expulsion from the Commonwealth as a military junta, showed its contempt for the organisation by hanging Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other community activists on the very day the summit opened in New Zealand.
Since then the Commonwealth has been trying to put teeth into the Harare declaration, but it is a painfully slow process.
In London on Monday, ministers will consider a report produced by 10 Commonwealth countries - including Zimbabwe - which recommends Commonwealth action "when a member country is perceived to be in serious or persistent violation of the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth".
If approved in Brisbane, it will provide the grounds for the suspension or expulsion of Zimbabwe.
But the real negotiating will come later next week, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. The meeting of six foreign ministers will provide an opportunity for Nigeria and South Africa - the only two African states with any influence over Mr Mugabe - to persuade him to change.
Meanwhile the Australians are lumbered with an unwelcome guest. "Debarring President Mugabe from attending CHOGM on the basis of violations of civil rights and the rule of law does not appear possible under current Commonwealth rules," New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff, acknowledged last week.
From IRIN (UN), 30 August
Villagers flee new wave of violence
A new wave of violence had hit the Muzarabani and Mount Darwin districts in Mashonaland, forcing more than 24 families to flee their homes, the 'Daily News' reported on Friday. According to the newspaper, some MDC supporters had their homes burnt down. Biggie Chigonero, MDC vice-chairman for Mashonaland Central, was quoted as saying that police in Muzarabani had been ordered by the Bindura Magistrate's Court to facilitate the return of the families to their homes, but that the order had not been complied with. The order followed an MDC court application for a peace order to be granted so that people could return to their homes safely.
Seventy-seven-year-old Paul Katsuwa of Mungororo village in Mount Darwin North was quoted as saying that he had abandoned his home in April after being assaulted by Zanu PF youth and alleged war veterans for supporting the MDC. "They accused me of betraying them when I joined the MDC as its district chairman. I had no option but to flee because my life was in danger," he said. Katsuwa, who has 10 children and 16 grandchildren, said he was shocked last week when he returned to Mount Darwin and found his home completely destroyed. "I do not need any help from this government. What we need to do is to vote President Mugabe out of office. If he has support, why is he allowing his supporters to assault others? People can now see that Mugabe has failed to govern the country," he said.
From The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August
White-owned farmland set ablaze
Harare - Thousands of hectares of prime farmland have been set ablaze by government supporters preparing to seize white-owned property. Mr Malcolm Vowles, of the Commercial Farmers' Union, said on Wednesday: "The fires intensified today, and are especially bad in the ranching areas in the south, in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. We do not know how many cattle are trapped with nothing to eat but the bulk of the national herd is in those provinces." In one district the fires have trapped at least 8,000 pedigree cattle. Farm invaders and supporters of the ruling party say the fires were started to drive off cattle before today's deadline for white farmers to leave their land.
President Robert Mugabe plans to seize 10million hectares without compensation. State-controlled media say claims to the land must be staked by today. A farmer in one of the worst-hit areas said: "The fires are to drive off our cattle, and therefore drive us off, so that more squatters can move on to our land. We can't legally move the animals, because of last week's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease." Fences have been broken during the past 18 months of state-sponsored havoc on white-owned farms, allowing buffalo to mix with cattle herds. Many ranchers believe this led to the foot-and-mouth outbreak. The campaign against black farm workers and their families is also intensifying. The farmers union estimates that at least 70,000 people have been evicted by invaders in the past week. Many workers have no rights to tribal land in Zimbabwe and are trying to return to the countries of their ancestors: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The farming crisis comes as the nation faces a food shortage likely to be felt in the next few months.
From The Daily News, 30 August
War vets unleash terror in Epworth
Zanu PF supporters and war veterans in Epworth are allegedly forcing residents to attend rallies ahead of the Presidential election early next year. "A register of party members is being used to attack those who do not appear on it," said Clayton Chikoti, a tuckshop owner. "It is assumed that if you do not appear on the register, then you are an MDC member." Chikoti’s wife, Sekai, alleges she was beaten up by suspected Zanu PF youths who took her at night to nearby Donald Farm, where the war veterans have set up a base. Sekai said: "These supporters were singing and dancing when they kidnapped me."
She alleged that the youths used sjamboks to beat her up. The youths told Sekai to produce MDC T-shirts which they claimed her husband possessed. She claimed that while she was at the farm, she was ordered to take off her clothes by war veterans before she was beaten up. The Zanu PF youths sang throughout the ordeal, drowning Sekai’s appeals for help. Sekai also said she was forced to chant Zanu PF slogans and condemn the MDC. The Chikotis said Zanu PF youths were carrying out a door-to-door campaign aimed at identifying MDC supporters. They said the youths demanded from them Zanu PF membership cards and evidence of the number of meetings organised by the party they attended.
Chikoti said he had since stopped running his tuckshop because Zanu PF supporters accused him of having been given the start-up capital by the MDC. The couple said they ran away from Epworth on Thursday last week as their lives were in danger. Chikoti said they failed to secure a medical report because the officers at Harare Central police station refused to handle their case. They referred them to Domboramwari police station in Epworth, but the Chikotis, fearing for their lives, said they were afraid of going back to Epworth. But Inspector Chaurura, the officer-in-charge at Domboramwari, said he was not aware of the incident. He said as far as he was concerned, Epworth was peaceful.
From The Daily News, 30 August
Moyo told to stop dishing out money
Bulawayo - Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, has been ordered by senior Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo to abandon forthwith his charitable forays into the city ahead of the mayoral election early next month. Moyo has been splashing money to help disadvantaged groups set up income-generating projects in the city. Senior Zanu PF officials confirmed the strong warning given to Moyo by the party’s top leaders in the city. The officials said his hand-outs amounted to vote-buying and were "sending the wrong message" to voters. "It was felt that he was cultivating a dangerous mentality that the party can only be sustained on vote-buying," said a senior Zanu PF official. "It makes the people of Matabeleland look cheap."
Moyo has distributed more than $1 million to various communities in Matabeleland. The source of the money has remained a closely guarded secret. Moyo has not stated whether the donations are from him personally, from the government or from Zanu PF. His liberal generosity has been criticised by the opposition as a gimmick to entice the public into voting for Zanu PF. During the disbursement of the funds, recipients were urged to chant Zanu PF slogans while T-shirts with the portrait of its mayoral candidate, George Mlilo, were also distributed. Former Bulawayo mayor, Nicholas Mabodoko, is said to be leading the campaign to gag Moyo. Mabodoko could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was reported to be in Malawi on church business.
The Bulawayo mayoral and council elections - pitting Zanu PF, the MDC and the Liberty Party - will be held on 8 and 9 September. The Zapu mayoral candidate, Smith Mbedzi, was disqualified after he failed to produce an "O" level certificate in terms of the law. His appeal against the disqualification was dismissed by the High Court with costs. Moyo has been paying frequent visits to Bulawayo over weekends since last month, donating money lavishly to college students, churches, cultural groups and burial societies. Zanu PF’s former provincial spokesman, Effort Nkomo, received $200 000 from the Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, Elliot Manyika, among other top Zanu PF officials. Zanu PF candidate, Mlilo, the MDC’s Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, and Jabulani Ndlovu of the Liberty Party, will be fighting it out in the mayoral election. Seven councillors will also be elected into the 29-member chamber.
From The Financial Gazette, 30 August
Mugabe’s Cabinet cancelled war veterans congress
President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet and Zanu PF’s Politburo took the decision to abruptly postpone a congress of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association for fear that it could split the association’s ranks ahead of the presidential elections, it was established this week. Government and ruling party sources said former acting Defence Minister Joyce Mujuru had proposed the postponement of the congress, where war veterans would have elected a new leadership, saying she feared the congress would deepen divisions within the group.
Her views were backed by her newly appointed successor Sydney Sekeramayi. Zanu PF’s Politburo, including Mugabe himself, had last week endorsed the postponement, stressing that it was important that no divisions emerge among the war veterans in the run-up to the crunch presidential election which many analysts see Mugabe losing to opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai. "We are focused on the presidential election campaign and it was felt that such divisions among war veterans would disable our campaign," a senior member of Zanu PF’s supreme Politburo organ told the Financial Gazette. He preferred not to be named.
The postponement of the congress, due to be held in Mutare next month, has stunned and angered some members, especially Andrew Ndlovu who is vying for the powerful post of chairman to replace Chenjerai Hunzvi, who died two months ago. Ndlovu has publicly clashed with war veterans’ acting chairman Patrick Nyaruwata, who officially announced the congress’ postponement on state television at the weekend. The congress will now be held after the presidential ballot, which is due early next year. Ndlovu says Nyaruwata has no authority to postpone the congress because the latter was merely co-opted into the leadership after Hunzvi’s death.
The veterans, who launched a countrywide invasion of commercial farms last year to campaign for Zanu PF in a tough parliamentary election, are seen as the only group which Mugabe now trusts in the face of collapsing support for Zanu PF. He wants them to lead his presidential election campaign, the sources said, adding that the war veterans are about to receive $20 million from Zanu PF for this purpose. The sources say Mugabe wants Joseph Chinotimba to head the war veterans’ association while other Politburo members, specifically former army General Solomon Mujuru, have questioned the credentials of the Harare municipal driver. They say Zanu PF politicians with presidential ambitions are also lobbying to ensure that their favoured candidates land the post to head the influential association.
According to the sources, Zanu PF’s election strategists, who include state security agents, had also concluded that any election of a new leadership of the war veterans at this stage would create divisions that would derail Mugabe’s presidential campaign. Prior to the decision to postpone the congress, a meeting took place on August 6 between officials of the war veterans’ association and the Zimbabwe army to discuss the issue. The war veterans’ association now falls under the Ministry of Defence after the veterans were incorporated as a reserve force by the government.
From The Star (SA), 29 August
Zim farm occupations displace 2 500 families
Harare - Zimbabwe's commercial farmers on Wednesday said fresh farm disruptions in the prime farming district Hwedza have left at least 2 500 labourers and their families displaced. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said in a statement that work stoppages on 22 farms in the district have been ordered by illegal occupiers. Workers on 14 affected farms have been forced off the properties, said the CFU, which represents about 4 500 embattled farmers. "In excess of 2 500 farm worker families have been displaced in the district over the past 10 days," the CFU said in a statement.
The CFU also reported an increase in burning of fields and eviction orders by the self-styled war veterans and thousands of landless blacks who have occupied hundreds of farms here for 19 months. "The region is being burnt out on a large scale through acts of arson," said the CFU, adding that at least 4 500 hectares of land was burnt over the weekend. A wave of widespread destruction and looting two weeks ago in Chinhoyi, a farming region 100km north-east Harare, left another 4 000 farm workers destitute. About 350 whites fled the district as mobs ransacked more than 50 farms.
President Robert Mugabe's government has earmarked almost all white-owned farms in Zimbabwe for resettlement with blacks, in a bid to correct colonial-era inequities in ownership. Authorities originally said they would resettle about half the white-owned land, or about five million hectares. The area of white-owned farming land to be seized has now risen to 5 327 farms totalling 9,5 million hectares. The white commercial farmers have offered 557 farms totalling 911 000 hectares to the government as part of an initiative to help solve the land dispute.
The regular disruptions of the farms come as the traditionally self-sufficient nation faces a looming food shortage, which Zimbabweans are expected to begin to feel in the next few months. The government has finally admitted the shortage, but downplayed the requirements saying only 100 000 tons of the staple maize would be required when experts insist that the country will have to import 500 000 from neighbouring South Africa. Meantime, six regional leaders are due to meet in Zimbabwe next month for a major conference to tackle the country's land reform row which has also seen relations with its former colonial power, Britain, severely strained.
From BBC News, 30 August
Fire hits Zimbabwe game park
A fire has broken out in a game reserve in south west Zimbabwe, say officials of the Matopo National Park. Park officials say they are battling with the flames which started on Wednesday. The park lies just 30 km south west of Bulawayo. Hundreds of animals in the reserve are reported to have been killed, while others have fled from the flames. Safari tour operators have suspended all programmes. Fire fighters are making little headway against the fire which is being fanned by strengthening winds. Our correspondent says that the fires will come as a further blow to Zimbabwe's suffering tourism industry which has been on its knees since Zimbabwe's political problems discouraged foreign tourists from visiting the country. Officials and villagers who live near the park say they suspect the latest fire could have been started by squatters who were removed from some nearby farms last week. One white tour operator said most of his clients who had booked with him have cancelled because of the fire. He said he believed that the fires were a deliberate attempt by self-styled war veterans to sabotage white-owned safari companies.
From The Financial Gazette, 30 August
CIO spies in pay boycott
At least 1 200 officers of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boycotted writing the spy agency’s internal examinations 10 days ago to protest against the refusal of their bosses to approve salary and allowance increases at a time when the organisation has spent more than $50 million importing luxury vehicles for its top six directors. CIO officials this week said the agency’s directorate had turned down a demand from the mostly junior CIO operatives for an immediate 50 percent increase in salaries and 100 percent increase in all allowances. The directorate had argued that the money was badly needed for operations to secure President Robert Mugabe’s re-election next year. The CIO, argued the spy agency’s senior officials, was short of money and in fact needed a supplementary budget for its election programmes.
However, the junior officers said while they had been persuaded to tighten their belts for the sake of Mugabe’s re-election, they had been surprised by the lavish spending at Chaminuka Building, the CIO headquarters in Harare. Apart from the purchase of the luxury vehicles for the directors, who already have two top-of-the-range vehicles allocated to each of them, the officers said the fuel budgets for juniors had been drastically reduced. "We used to get full tanks as and when we required petrol without any restrictions. We have now been told that vehicles used by junior officers will be restricted to one full tank per week," said one junior officer. "How then are we supposed to travel to all the numerous MDC rallies and meetings we are required to monitor as a matter of course and compile reports timeously?" the officer asked this week. The MDC is the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader is expected to challenge Mugabe in presidential elections due early next year.
Junior CIO officers interviewed said the mood at Chaminuka Building now resembled that of a strike. "Although we are not allowed to go on strike, officers are unhappy about the treatment we have received over the past few months and are virtually on a go-slow. We used to get regular salary increments but we are surprised that the situation has suddenly changed at a time when we are expected to be doing more work," another officer said. Persistent efforts to get comment from CIO boss Elisha Muzonzini were unsuccessful this week because he did not respond to messages left with his secretary. Muzonzini’s boss, Security Minister Nicholas Goche, did not also respond to messages left at his office.
The directors’ posh vehicles include six Volvos imported from Sweden and six Nissan Hardbody trucks purchased locally. Each director has been allocated a Volvo and a Nissan Hardbody. The vehicles were allegedly bought through a local businessman who is said to have been a middleman. The businessman, reported to have made huge profits from CIO car deals, this week denied any dealings with the spy agency when the Financial Gazette approached him for comment. This is despite the fact that he is seen virtually every day visiting the CIO directors at Chaminuka.
At least 1 500 CIO officers should have written examinations on August 18 and 19 to fulfil the spy agency’s promotion requirements but only 300 turned up. All CIO promotions were frozen last year to prepare for an internal restructuring that would have seen the retrenchment and redeployment of officers to other ministries. The officials said the restructuring was postponed after some war veteran officers, who would have been affected by the exercise, protested to Mugabe. The exercise is now due to begin after the presidential elections, when many top CIO officers are also expected to retire from the agency.
The officers said the acquisition of the posh vehicles was part of measures by the directors to prepare for their departure at the expense of the welfare of juniors. The outgoing directors are expected to get the luxury vehicles as part of their retirement packages. The junior officers said they elected not to show up for the examination as their only way of protest. The exams would have been the basis of restructuring the organisation to determine who gets promoted, retrenched or redeployed in the 3 000-member agency. The exams should have been written in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.
Those who boycotted the examinations were mainly from the CIO’s Branch One, which is mainly composed of intelligence officers, and Branch Four, made up of security aides. The two branches make up almost half the agency’s 3 000 spies and also constitute the core group of the CIO. The exams, subsequently taken by only 300 junior officers, were immediately nullified for undisclosed reasons. The officers said they were concerned that Mugabe might not be aware of their plight because he was misinformed about the situation at the agency. They said they could not understand why Muzonzini had dropped a system established by his predecessor Shadreck Chipanga under which operatives got regular salary increases of between five and 10 percent in addition to the normal annual increases. "Sometimes the problem is also because the President trusts and listens to certain directors who mislead him. He doesn’t seem to have a mechanism of verifying what they say," one officer said. Sources said the disgruntlement at the CIO is now worrying its top directors, who are apparently concerned at information that is being leaked to the media and the opposition by some of the officers.
From The Daily News, 30 August
MDC to meet IMF delegation
The MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, says his party will meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation scheduled to visit Zimbabwe next week. No comment could be obtained from the IMF yesterday on the MDC’s disclosure. But it would be the first time the IMF has met the MDC. The high-powered IMF delegation will visit Zimbabwe to monitor its economic stagnation and continued suspension of balance of payments support. It is expected to meet the senior government economic and agriculture ministers, as well as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials.
Unveiling the party’s economic stabilisation and recovery programme known as BRIDGE (Bold Revitalising Innovative Development Growth Employment) at a Press conference in Harare, Tsvangirai said: "We are meeting the IMF delegation next week to discuss our economic programme. We hope to cover common ground with them." Eddie Cross, the MDC’s economic affairs secretary, said: "The IMF and other international organisations are prepared to listen to us and not to Zanu PF, which has messed up the economy for more than 21 years."
The IMF and World Bank suspended part of the US$191 million in balance of payments support for Zimbabwe. The bodies cited the government’s skewed macro-economic policies, a soaring and uncontrollable budget deficit, and alleged abuses of the judiciary and the independent media. The Bretton Woods institutions have criticised the government’s controversial land reform programme led by so-called war veterans, which has caused loss of life and disrupted farming operations.
Tsvangirai said yesterday: "When the MDC comes into power next year, we will be faced with a serious economic crisis. There will be macro-economic instability, high inflation and a huge budget deficit. We need to take full control of the economy as soon as we take over." The presidential election is scheduled to be held by April next year, but the MDC said it was prepared for it to happen as early as January. Tsvangirai said figures were being "doctored" to falsely project "a government doing well". He cited the huge budget deficit. "We must focus on the rule of law, economic prosperity and control poverty levels," Tsvangirai said. "There is no accountability in the government. Ministers are dishing out money everywhere and yet there are no receipts." He said the MDC would need at least two years to get the economy back on track if it came to power next year.
From The Financial Gazette, 30 August
Hands off UNDP food aid, Zanu PF, MDC warned
Zimbabwe could lose up to 500 000 tonnes of food aid worth millions of dollars because the government will not allow the food handouts to be distributed by non-political and neutral institutions as requested by international donors. Diplomatic sources this week told the Financial Gazette that donors had agreed to support a basket fund coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to buy food for Zimbabwe, which faces a severe shortage of bread and the staple maize meal by the end of this year. Victor Angelo, the UNDP’s representative in Harare, could not be reached for comment on the matter. But the sources said donors, most of whom have cut official links with President Robert Mugabe’s government over its controversial policies and human rights record, had agreed to help Zimbabwe after being approached earlier this year by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai. "We agreed on one condition: that both the MDC and (the ruling) Zanu PF keep away from the food aid and do not use it to gain political mileage," one Harare-based Western diplomat said. "We would prefer institutions like churches distributing the food aid. But if the MDC and ZANU PF cannot agree on how the aid should be given, then donors are obviously not going to deliver the aid," the diplomat said.
Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, whose ministry handles food relief programmes, could not be reached for comment yesterday. But his permanent secretary Lancester Museka said under existing regulations, only government institutions were allowed to handle such large-scale food aid distribution, as is envisaged especially early next year. "It is the government, through the social welfare department of this ministry, which handles such national food distribution," Museka said. He said the department of social welfare was not a Zanu PF institution and that it was capable of keeping party politics out of any food aid programme.
MDC’s shadow agriculture minister Renson Gasela said Tsvangirai had by February this year managed to convince donors to help Zimbabwe. He said his party was agreeable to the food relief distribution being overseen by churches or alternatively by Parliament’s committee on labour and social welfare which had representatives from both the MDC and ZANU PF. "Zanu PF is using public funds to try to buy support in Bulawayo and in other constituencies where there are elections and we cannot allow them to take advantage of people’s hunger to make political profit," Gasela said.
Zanu PF officials are distributing a $1 billion public fund meant for the informal sector at the party’s political rallies across the country, the latest incident being the disbursement of millions of dollars in Bulawayo at the weekend. The money is given to party supporters ahead of every election. Bulawayo residents are due to vote for a new mayor in two weeks’ time. Zanu PF has also been accused of manipulating a programme called the Better Education Assistance Module, which is jointly funded by the government and the World Bank and is meant to benefit all poor children. Instead the ruling party is aiding the children of its supporters only.
From Business Day (SA), 30 August
Mugabe snubs officials of world church group
Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe snubbed a high-powered delegation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) yesterday, evidently in retaliation for denunciations of his government by local affiliates of the world's biggest religious grouping. He refused to meet WCC secretary-general Konrad Raiser after the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) lambasted the Harare regime for the widespread political violence and impunity. When Raiser left in exasperation for Geneva, the five senior officials with him fired parting shots at Mugabe for his "political obduracy and unyielding posture". Raiser said: "It would have been normal to meet the president, but there has been no response to our request to meet him."
The WCC turned down a request by Harare two months ago to mediate between Zimbabwe and Britain in the land invasion impasse and the political standoff because the government was refusing to engage with the ZCC. Mugabe had told his ministers to ask the WCC to convince London to attend to what Harare says are its colonial obligations to fund Mugabe's land reforms. But the WCC said it would not help as long as Mugabe continued to rebuff the local churches that want to mediate in the land crisis. Harare claims Britain is reneging on colonial obligations and London denies it. Mugabe wanted the WCC through the British Council of Churches to intervene. Mugabe's latest dramatics against international efforts to resolve the crisis left the WCC officials "shell-shocked". However, they said they did not want to think he was angry about a ZCC pastoral letter to the nation on Tuesday because it carried a "true and useful message". The ZCC blasted Mugabe for violence, saying that he had let the "monster" persist when he had the powers to arrest it.
From C4 News (UK), 28 August
Straw on Zimbabwe
We talked to the Foreign Secretary - Jack Straw. Krishnan Guru-Murthy suggested that while attention had been focused on the plight of white farmers in Zimbabwe, the black population was suffering too.
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary: "I am very concerned indeed about what has been going on for a great time in Zimbabwe. Anybody's death, injury, destruction of their property is terrible. It happens to be rather dismal truth really that the death and destruction to the white community receives much greater publicity in the west than does numerically the much greater death and destruction to the black community in Zimbabwe.
"But the situation is very serious indeed. The present government of Mr Mugabe has systematically set about undermining any conception of democratic human rights. It has also very significantly undermined the economy in that country and although the situation is bad now unless it is extremely lucky economically the situation is going to get very much worse in the next few months as food shortages mount.
Ques: Now I understand that you don't want to open up a front that just makes this Britain against Zimbabwe, a colonial argument. But what is Britain doing diplomatically about this?
Straw: Well we've been doing a huge amount to ensure that what President Mugabe wants is for this to be represented as Britain the former colonial power against a black African nation Zimbabwe is not the way this is seen nor is it the reality. What we've been doing and what I've been doing in the three months in which I've held this office is working hard to ensure that it is seen as an international problem and there are two important indications of the way that has now developed.
First of all in the summit of Southern African nations they agreed with the leadership of South Africa to set up a task force to look very carefully, basically to hold an inquiry into the current circumstances in Zimbabwe because the Southern African nations who share borders with Zimbabwe are profoundly concerned about the state of that country and also about the possibility of very serious refugee flows coming across their borders.
Ques: So you want there to be an African solution.
Straw: As the situation gets worse. The second thing is that we have given full support to the initiative being taken by the president of Nigeria for there to be a meeting of Commonwealth countries to discuss Zimbabwe but we have been insistent that the agenda has to be wider than land reform. Of course land reform is important, we've stood ready to assist Zimbabwe in appropriate circumstances with land reform for many years and that's been repeated by this government. But you can't divorce the issue of land reform from human rights and from economic reform.
Ques: So the question of Britain coughing up more money which is what President Mugabe wants is off the agenda until something is done about human rights.
Straw: It is not off the agenda but these things are linked. Land reform, economic progress, human rights are part of the same agenda and the land reform would scarcely be worth the paper it is written on if money was simply handed over and there were no other change within Zimbabwe. That would not be reform, indeed it would make a mockery of reform.
Ques: Will you be going to Nigeria and what about the question of some Commonwealth sanction?
Straw: Well I'm going to Nigeria at the invitation of the president of Nigeria to take part in these discussions. I shall be making the British government’s contribution there, making it plain that yes of course we stand ready to recognise, as we have done for many years. our historic responsibilities to Zimbabwe in terms of assisting them with land reform but that has to be seen in the context of economic reform, the restoration of human rights and very specifically clarity about the circumstances in which the elections will take place next year and not only on election day or the day before but in the weeks and months leading up to the elections.
The economic scheme was the most specific proposal yet of how the two-year-old MDC would run the country if its leader Morgan Tsvangirai were to win the presidential election, expected in April.
Tsvangirai told a news conference that the first step in reviving the economy would be to rein in the violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe's countryside during the last 18 months.
"The country's economy is in a total mess. The state-sponsored violence, lawlessness and intimidation is what has led this country to where it is today," Tsvangirai said.
MDC's shadow finance minister, Eddie Cross, said restoring commercial agriculture was essential to bringing the economy back on track, in a nation where 50% of the economy is based on agriculture.
With the national debt expected to exceed US$10 billion by April 2002, Cross said a MDC government would turn to the Paris Club level. Now at about 70%, he said the inflation rate could reach 100% by the year's end.
The scheme also calls for stabilising the exchange rate, officially pegged at Z$55 to US$1, but soaring to about 300 to the greenback on the thriving parallel market.
The plan would boost social spending to rebuild the health and educational systems and to combat the spread of diseases, notably Aids.
But the MDC said it would also reduce spending by restructuring debt payments and by pulling out of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst-ever economic crisis, fuelled by the political instability stemming from President Robert Mugabe's violence-wracked land reforms. - AFP
Cape Argus (SA): August 29 2001 at 09:55AM
Harare - Think of a number in United States dollars and multiply by anything
between 55 and 350. The answer: chaos in business and confused central bank
Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank has declared illegal all unofficial exchange rates, which have soared between 160 and 350 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar this year as a result of foreign currency shortages.
Many industrialists, exporters, hoteliers and bankers, are panicking, having bought imports at the unofficial rates. They face financial ruin if forced to sell their goods at the official rate of Z$55/US$1.
Independent economist John Robertson said: "It's chaotic. You can't fix the problem of a parallel market without fixing the scarcity of foreign exchange."
The central bank, which announced the move last Friday, said it was aimed at reining in black market trading.
Foreign airlines complained on Tuesday the new regulations were forcing them to insist on US dollars for fares.
A round-trip economy fare on British Airways to London now costs $2 091 - equivalent to Z$730 000 on the black market in a country where average family income is $600 a year. - Sapa-AP
P.M. News (Lagos)
August 29, 2001
Posted to the web August 29, 2001
Nigeria will host talks in Abuja next week aimed at defusing tensions between Harare and London over Zimbabwe's controversial land reform campaign, the foreign ministry said yesterday. "Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and one or two other Commonwealth countries will attend," a foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters. "But we're not sure yet of the level of representation." He said the talks would be on September 5 and 6. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said earlier this month he was confident Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo would be able to help patch up relations between Britain and Zimbabwe. The talks in the Nigerian capital were originally scheduled for mid-August but were postponed to give the parties more time. Zimbabwe, the former British Colony of Rhodesia, has been immersed in an economic and political crisis since February last year when self-styled war veterans, encouraged by the state, seized hundreds of white-owned farms across the country. The secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association, Andy Mhlanga, told Britain's Guardian newspaper yesterday that militants were set to intensify the seizure of white-owned land, taking over many of the country's largest farms at a faster rate than before. Mugabe says Britain must pay compensation to white farmers for land to be seized by the state. But London has said it will not finance land reform amid violence and disregard for the rule of law. Officials from the British High Commission in Abuja were not immediately available to comment on whether Foreign Secretary Jack Straw would attend next week's talks. Nigeria is part of a Commonwealth ministerial group created in June to resolve the land reform crisis along with Britain, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Jamaica, Australia and South Africa.
It also chairs the Organisation of African Unity's special committee on Zimbabwe, which was created last month and comprises representatives from Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Cameroon and South Africa.
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Militants occupying white-owned farms in support of President Robert Mugabe's land seizure program have burned thousands of acres of pastures in Zimbabwe in the last five days, the farmers' union said on Wednesday.
The mainly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) also said that at least 2,500 farm workers and their families had been displaced in the eastern Hwedza farming district since the weekend in a fresh wave of farm disruptions.
The CFU, which represents 4,500 farmers, said many pastures, especially in the cattle-ranching regions of Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo, had been set on fire and animals driven out of paddocks.
``The region is being burned out on a large scale through arson. At least 11,000 acres of land has been burned since the weekend,'' the CFU said in a statement.
A CFU official told Reuters that the government had been informed, but the burnings were continuing.
``This is a terrible and very distressing development because not only are farmers losing their valuable pastures, but this is also endangering farm and wild animals,'' said the official who refused to be identified.
Agriculture Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.
One farmer said dozens of farms on a 65 mile stretch around the southern Chivhu district had been burned on Tuesday by militants in the area.
``I think the idea is to drive us out of business and out of farming,'' he told Reuters by telephone.
The CFU said militants, led by self-styled war veterans, had disrupted operations on 22 farms in the mainly tobacco-growing Hwedza district and forced workers on 14 of the farms to leave.
``In excess of 2,500 farm worker families have been displaced in the district over the past 10 days,'' it said.
Zimbabwe has been plunged into crisis since February last year when militants invaded white farms in what they say is a show of support for Mugabe's campaign to seize white farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
In the past two weeks, Mugabe's militant supporters have tightened the noose around hundreds of white-owned farms they have occupied since last year in support of his controversial land seizure drive -- pegging out more plots on the farms and driving out some farmers and their workers.
The pro-government militants have stepped up the pressure on farmers in the past few days after a Sunday newspaper quoted Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as saying owners must quit properties targeted for resettlement by the end of August.