19 September 2000
In this issue :
Zimbabwe - Concerned Citizens' Initiative (Bulawayo)
VIGIL FOR PATRICK NABANYAMA
Zim cops round up war vets after homes burnt
Harare - Zimbabwean police rounded up scores of war veterans and illegal settlers at the weekend after labourers' homes were burnt down at a white-owned farm east of the capital, police said on Monday. "There were some disturbances at Chipesa farm resulting in part of the compound being burnt. After screening, we are now holding only six people," said a senior police officer, who asked not to be named. The police officer could not give the exact numbers of arrests, but a local newspaper, The Daily News, said 52 war veterans were arrested on Saturday after clashes with farm workers in Marondera district, 80km east of Harare.
Topper Whitehead, a rights activist and witness of the incident, said about 40 "squatters" were arrested. "The police searched the house (of the war veterans) and gardens, finding arms of war, poached meat and numerous stolen goods," said Whitehead, who witnessed the incident. Trouble started when the farm owner, Iain Kay, who had allegedly been brutally assaulted by war veterans who had occupied his property in April, returned to resume farming operations two weeks ago. The occupiers, who claimed ownership of the farm, were angered by Kay's homecoming and allegedly accused the workers of having facilitated it by their refusal to vacate the farm during their employer's absence. "The war vets and squatters have objected to this (Kay's return) and ... started to beat up the farm labourers and burn their dwellings," said Whitehead.
From The Daily News, 18 September
Farm workers destroy war veterans dwellings
HUNDREDS of rampaging farm workers at Dunottar Farm in Beatrice on Friday razed to the ground dwellings built by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters with some of the occupants fleeing to Chitungwiza. Ignatius Kachitsa, the senior foreman at the farm, said the workers decided on Thursday night to evict the invaders from the farm to protect their jobs. "These people are occupying land on which we are supposed to grow tobacco," said Kachitsa. "If we stop working on this land we have no reason to be here. We agreed not to beat up anyone but simply to remove them so that we can save our families from poverty."
More than 200 angry workers brandishing sticks and picks gave the war veterans 15 minutes to pack their belongings before they razed the new dwellings. An assortment of property, mostly empty opaque beer containers, were thrown into the burning shacks. A lone policeman from a police base on the farm tried to restrain the workers but he was overpowered. He fired one shot into the air to disperse them, but they ignored and became more incensed, instead. "Please stop what you are doing until you get an order from the government to remove these people," said the policeman, who refused to be identified said before leaving scene. Francis Kamoga, a farm worker, said: "Why is the policeman telling us to respect the law when these people from Chitungwiza are not respecting any law? They are stealing our chickens here. Is that lawful?"
From The Daily news, 18 September
Lawyers adamant they served papers on Mugabe personally
THE papers relating to a $20 billion civil suit instituted by four Zimbabweans against President Mugabe in the United States were served on him personally in Harlem. Roland Whitehead, a representative of the four complainants, said in Harare yesterday the papers were served on the President personally as he ascended the stairs of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. Whitehead said the papers were served on Mugabe by representatives of a firm of legal practitioners, and not by members of the US secret service, as reported in The Washington Post. "The papers were served on the President and on Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge," said Whitehead. "Government officials cannot deny that fact."
The Minister of State for Information, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has denied the President received any such papers. Presidential spokesman George Charamba made the same denial. The $20 billion lawsuit was filed by Evelyn Masaiti, Elliot Pfebve, Maria Stevens and Adella Chiminya who said they were convinced that the criminal justice system had collapsed in Zimbabwe. They said the police had made no arrests in connection with the murders, before the parliamentary election in June, of their relatives. The four sued Mugabe under the US Alien Tort Claims Act (1979), filed at the US District County Court in Manhattan. An affidavit of service, signed by Larry Martin of legal consultants On Watch Limited in the US says that on 7 September, he personally served Mugabe with the summons on the steps leading to the entrance of the Mt Olivet Baptist Church. Mugabe was in New York to attend the United Nations Millennium Summit.
"I approached Mr Mugabe and handed to him personally the summons and complaint aforementioned which named him a defendant in his capacity as an officer and leader of Zanu PF," the affidavit reads. "I then stated to Mr Mugabe that he was served with a summons and complaint filed with the US Federal District Court. Mr Mugabe, having accepted the papers, entered the church with them in hand." Martin says on 8 September, he handed the same set of papers to Mudenge, in his capacity as an officer of Zanu PF, outside the Zimbabwe Mission building at 128 East, 56th Street, New York City in New York. "He refused to accept them. Standing approximately one foot from Mr Mudenge, I placed the summons and complaint near his feet and informed him that he was served with a summons and complaint filed with the US Federal District Court," he said.
Whitehead said yesterday Mugabe could not invoke the privilege of diplomatic immunity. "There is no such thing as immunity in cases involving violations of human rights. By inference, if Mugabe invokes diplomatic immunity privileges, it confirms that he is guilty because if he is not afraid, he should have the courage to defend himself in court," Whitehead said.
From The Daily News, 18 September
Sakhala says CIO tips off MDC on plots
MEMBER of Parliament Job Sikhala has said that many senior members of the CIO are so tired of the government that they freely provide the MDC, with vital information. Debating a motion introduced by Welshman Ncube (Bulawayo North East) calling on the House to condemn the harassment of the MDC, Sikhala (MDC, St Mary's) said the Zanu PF government was having what he called its last supper. "The creation of the MDC became a nightmare for Zanu PF," he said. "We are aware of Zanu PF meetings to plot to eliminate the MDC leadership".
Sikhala surprised Parliament by divulging details of a Zanu PF security meeting held on 8 September at the Zanu PF headquarters. He said the meeting was held by the Zanu PF-CIO think-tank on how to curtail the MDC because "the land gimmick is not working and they have to moot new ideas to paint the MDC as a subversive organisation&". He said the think-tank had agreed on a number of ways to portray the MDC as a political party seeking to sabotage the peace in the country. He challenged the Home Affairs and State Security ministries to reveal the owners of four cars seen driving around and monitoring the MDC offices at Eastgate. He disclosed the registration numbers of the cars, saying they rotated their duties of monitoring the MDC. He said he had been tipped by security agents in the CIO before the cars were even deployed.
Sikhala said he had information that Zanu PF was saying Morgan Tsvangirai would never rule if he won the 2002 presidential poll. "All this is Zanu PF’s despicable and desperate attempt to suppress the people of this country," he said. "Even those in the CIO are also tired of this government. They bring information to us and say: 'There is a plot being hatched, tell your leaders to be careful'." Sikhala said all the confidential information he had disclosed in his contribution to the debate "came directly from Minister Goche’s office". Nicholas Goche is the Minister of State for Security in the President’s Office. Sakhala said last week’s bombing and subsequent searching of the MDC offices for arms of war were based on "naivete and stupidity" because "the MDC will not be lost to the extent that they will harbour any military equipment in their computers and cupboards".
Sikhala likened the police action last Thursday, during which four MDC officials were arrested and three of their offices in Harare were ransacked, to the period in the early 1980s when the PF Zapu leadership were arrested. Sikhala said, at the time, Zanu PF had, in fact, planted the arms to find a pretext to eliminate the Zapu leaders in the same way it was now trying to get rid of the MDC leadership. He cited the case of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole of Zanu, saying the CIO had created a plot to damage the veteran politician’s reputation, by charging him for attempting to assassinate President Mugabe. "We must condemn totally the behaviour of the army, the CIO and the police against the MDC and its supporters," Sakhala said.
From The Daily News, 18 September
Top Bulawayo politician leaves Zanu PF to join MDC
Bulawayo - The Zanu PF vice-chairman for Bulawayo province, Edward Simela, has joined the MDC. The Zanu PF provincial commissar, Faineth Dube, said she had received Simela's letter of resignation. She declined to give details. But the party's office said Simela had resigned just before a scheduled Zanu PF meeting to discuss his fate following reports that he had bought an MDC membership card. "His resignation was well-calculated because if he had not done so, he was going to be expelled from the party," said a source. Simela stood for Zanu PF in Pelandaba in the parliamentary election. He lost to the MDC's Jeffet Khumalo.
Recently the Chikomba MP, Chenjerai Hunzvi, said all provincial chairmen would be replaced by war veterans after the party performed badly in many constituencies in the election. The MP for Mpopoma, Milford Gwetu, of the MDC recently announced Simela had joined the party at a victory celebration part held in the constituency. Simela, the long-serving chairman of the Bulawayo Residents' Association, was not available for comment.
From The Star (SA), 18 September
Uganda teaches Zimbabwe new anti-Aids tricks
Uganda and Zimbabwe may not be the best of friends right now - courtesy of the Congo war - but Zimbabwe finds it has to learn Aids control tricks from Uganda. Recently, a 10-person Zimbabwean delegation was in Uganda to study how to curb Aids. The delegation was led by churchman Dr David Imaen and included other religious leaders as well as staff and students from the United Theological College of Zimbabwe.
According to the Ugandan population secretariat, the Aids infection rate there has fallen from 30,5 percent to 9,5 percent in the past few years. Jotham Musunguzi, the secretariat's director, told the Zimbabwean delegation last Monday that this had been achieved through the right programmes and approaches. "The leadership in this country has opened up doors for the people to go out and talk about Aids freely," he added. He said Aids was not only a health issue, but also on the development agenda. The New Vision, a Kampala daily, recently reported that more than $954-million (about R6,7-billion) had been budgeted for improving health services, including Aids research, control, treatment, and awareness education, in Uganda in the next five years.
According to Professor Francis Omaswa, the director-general of health services, the money would come from both the government and foreign donors. Under the health sector strategic plan, all donor funding for health would go into a common account in the ministry of finance, instead of to specific health projects. Omaswa insists the new plan is aimed at reducing poverty and improving economic development through making people healthy and productive. By contrast, in Zimbabwe, health expenditure is reported to have gone down the drain, like any other sector, due to the strain caused by the Congo crisis, and by the continuing scuffles over land redistribution.
A member of the Zimbabwean delegation, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was difficult to fight hunger and improve economic prospects when the country is faced with "chaos". The delegate agreed with South African President Thabo Mbeki's remarks at the Durban Aids conference that there was an inter-relationship between Aids and poverty, and commended Uganda for working out a comprehensive programme to deal with both. The Uganda programme includes opening health registers in every village to record birth, sickness, and death, besides constructing an out-patient centre in every parish, a dispensary with a maternity unit in every sub-county, and a mini-hospital in every county.
And amid all those, the message on abstinence, or, in the inevitable case of one failing to abstain, use of the condom, is everywhere. On radio, TV, and in the newspapers advertisements for condoms predominate. And at grocers, as you pay for your sugar, you have the option of buying condoms, too. In workplaces, and in some public places, you are likely to find condoms strategically located. Parents have learnt how to give their own children sex education, something that was taboo not so long ago. Uganda has also provided one of the first African guinea pigs for testing Aids drugs, and the earliest medical break-throughs in this effort have used Ugandan results.
Traditional medical practitioners have not been ignored. Concern Worldwide, an international NGO, has encouraged ordinary people in central Uganda to turn to herbal medicine where modern drugs are unavailable. And because individual Ugandan patients have developed a culture of extreme frankness in the face of Aids, they can testify openly whether a particular herb has relieved them, however temporarily, of their suffering. The national chemotherapeutic laboratory has prepared a directory of herbs and recommends what to use in treating Aids in the absence of modern drugs, especially where patients cannot pay for hospital treatment. No less that 339 such traditional healers are recognised in central Uganda alone.
Zimbabwe police expelled hundreds of squatters occupying five white-owned farms Monday and destroyed some of their makeshift huts, notably near Harare, the pro-government daily The Herald said Tuesday.
Police operations, in the outskirts of Harare, the nearby town of Chitungwize and in Ruwa, 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) to the east, lasted around four hours, the paper said.
Chenjerai Hitlet Hunzvi, deputy for the ruling ZANU-PF party and leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans who have lead a campaign to occupy white farms for redistribution to landless blacks since February, said he was "shocked" that the police had expelled the landless people in such an "inhuman manner."
War veterans in court for assaulting farm workers
9/19/00 9:08:16 AM (GMT
TEN people appeared at the Marondera Magistrates’court yesterday on charges of assaulting farm workers at Iain Kay’s Chipesa Farm near Marondera.
On Saturday, police rounded
up about 50 war veterans and Zanu PF supporters who attacked Chipesa Farm
workers and burnt their compound. The rest, including the war veterans leader
Wilfred Marimo were released on Sunday.
Kay's wife Kerry, said the invaders were brought back to the farm in a police Land Rover on Sunday night.
The police then went on to arrest four workers from the farm who also appeared in court yesterday.
They were remanded out of custody, together with the 10 war veterans.
A Superintendent Matibwiri of Marondera police said the four were arrested for allegedly assaulting the invaders.
Kay said when her husband went to Marondera police station with the complainants to report the beatings, there were two war veterans from Harare at the police station.
One of them, Francis Makaro asked her husband if he was going to press charges against Marimo, she said. Her husband said he was going ahead with the charges, and Makaro said Zimbabwe did not need people like him.
Said Kay: “I do not understand why they released the people who torched our farm, and why our workers have been arrested.”
She said when they asked the police, they said they were reacting to the law.
The invaders burnt the houses after the return of Iain Kay to his farm last week.
Kay had fled in April after a number of attempts on his life by war veterans.
Zimbabwean couple ‘invade’ German farm
9/19/00 9:06:58 AM (GMT
A ZIMBABWEAN couple,
Juddy and Michael Carter, invaded a farm in Hamm,
Germany, a month ago claiming that the property belonged to their forefathers.
The couple said they
decided to go back to the land of their ancestors and invade the farm on 18
August because they wanted to make a political statement.
“We wanted to make a political statement of how far back we can go with the question of land.”
“Our feeling is that we have been in Africa for 300 years and we do not have any claims in Germany,” said the couple.
Michael said when they invaded the farm, which was once owned by Juddy’s
great-grandfather, Germans took it as a joke.
No attempt was made to remove them from the farm, now a natural monument owned by the German government.
Michael said they wanted to find out whether the land could be returned to its rightful owners.
Juddy said: “My ancestor, Haarhoff, was the rightful owner of that land so we wanted to find out whether the land could be returned to its rightful owners. We were asking that in Zimbabwe do you go back (to) 1890 to have land redressed or do you go back to Germany to get land.”
The couple said they were calling for a lawful land redistribution in the country.
They said President Robert Mugabe should desist from victimising the minority for land, as this would make Zimbabweans guilty in the future.
Michael said: ”Germany also suffered one of the worst dictators in history, Hitler. Hitler killed millions of Jews and now the Germans are forced to feel guilty towards the minority groups. If Mugabe keeps on victimising the minority, Zimbabweans would be made to feel guilty.”
WASHINGTON, US (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, September 17, 2000) - Zimbabwe's ambassador to the US, Simbi Mubako, said on Sunday a team of foreign ministers from the Southern African Development Community or SADC had managed to sway a group of American Congressmen and Senators to vote against a proposed congressional bill imposing sanctions on Harare for allegedly violating human rights and the rule of law.
The US is considering imposing sweeping sanctions on Zimbabwe, including exclusion from debt relief and funding from global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in punishment for President Robert Mugabe's refusal to evict independence war veterans who have forcibly occupied nearly 2,000 white-owned farms.
The former guerrillas are demanding land reforms.
But Zimbabwe has won strong regional backing for its controversial land reform programme, with all SADC countries agreeing to send individual and joint delegations to the US to argue Harare's case.
On Saturday, Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge led his counterparts from Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia in talks on land reform with a group of US Congressmen and Senators.
"Some of the Congressmen and Senators we met showed that they had not been given enough information regarding the whole issue (land reform) and showed signs that they will not support the passing of the bill.
Most of them said they will definitely re-think because they were willing to hear the government's point of view," said Mubako who accompanied the SADC Foreign Ministers in the talks with the US lawmakers.
In spite of international criticism, Zimbabwe is pushing ahead with plans to seize and re-distribute five million hectares of farmland from white farmers to landless peasants who have joined the war veterans in the land seizures countrywide.
Just 4,500 white farmers own 70 percent of Zimbabwe's arable land, while the majority blacks farmed in marginal areas in overcrowded conditions.
SADC has said US sanctions on Zimbabwe, expected to be debated in Congress shortly, would have an adverse impact on other countries in the region as their economies are inter- twinned.