"If you get hold of MDC supporters, beat
them until they are dead. Burn their farms and their workers' houses, then
run away fast and we will then blame the burning of the workers' houses on
the whites. Report to the police, because they are ours" Phillip
Chiyangwa member of parliament, Zimbabwe. (Addressing ZANU PF youth and
filmed by Channel 4, UK)
Terror engraved 11th September 2001
as yet another bloody date in the turbulent history of mankind. As the news
spread around the world, so did the pain, because this was not a violation
against one nation or one people but on the principles of respect for
civilian life cherished by all people.
As I made my way home through the
shock waves of that day, burdened with a disbelief that stunned my senses, I
stopped at a shopping mall to return some videos I had borrowed. In the shop
I found myself in a bizarre trance as I stared at the glossy images of
violence and opulence that engulfed me. As shelf after shelf beckoned me to
consume illusions of power, war, devastation, spite, blazing guns and
contempt. I wondered, were these made to make us feel good?
celluloid world that uses more gunpowder than any other non-military industry
and where steroid heroes single handedly vanquish evil, all of a sudden,
inadvertently or not, made a mockery of everything that had happened that
morning. I found myself speculating if this Oirreverent
virtual entertainment¹ was not the seed of the imagination in the audacious
means of delivering wanton death and destruction whilst plotting that
sinister act of infamy. Images real and imagined Hollywood¹s staple has
never been more unpalatable.
As the ash and dust of the following day
began to settle, it also brought with it a numbing silence as people
contemplated and mourned atrocity¹s victims. Speaking to friends it appeared
that they felt immortality had been breached. The closer ones confided in the
fear that privilege and vulnerability were not exclusive.
these colleagues, the events triggered a sudden realisation that I had come
from a place where terror and fear are the daily diet for many. As I searched
for differences, I was hard pressed to find any, besides the fact that nobody
really paid any attention our ongoing plight. The similarities though, are
chilling: o Humanity¹s rights are despised and crushed to serve their own
selfish agendas. o Their actions are calculated and ruthless to achieve
their objectives. o They are manipulative and immune to reason. o While they
are educated, law and order is not part of their vocabulary. o They feel
they have the god given right to accuse, judge and sentence whoever questions
or opposes them. o More often than not they are motivated by hatred. o
They spit at the idea of democracy.
Like this event, I cannot forget the
brutality inflicted on the people of Matebeleland in the 1980¹s, when
Zimbabwe¹s elite forces were used to murder and maim thousands of civilians
to silence their opposition to oppression and consolidate power for the
ruling party. Nor too, today, how government inspired anarchy and violence is
being used to hold Zimbabwean¹s hostage to a desperate, archaic, corrupt and
power hungry regime.
Witnessing the solidarity, courage and support of
the victims in New York and Washington is an eye-opener to what has made this
nation more than the sum of its parts. The damage control and cleaning up
exercises, totally dedicated rescue, medical teams and firemen and general
public involvement are a tribute to mankind.
While it is only human to
call for retaliation after experiencing the depth of this tragedy, day three
saw the congealing of rage that in few cases spilt into the streets, as
people of middle-eastern decent went to ground. Herein lies the real tragedy
for us when ethnicity, race or religion is allotted the blame for the
criminal acts of the misguided. It also exposes a double standard in a nation
that is built on the cultural mosaic of its people¹s. Oklahoma City
bombing, -did Caucasian people feel alienated and threatened because the
perpetrator was white? Was Christianity under siege because of his beliefs?
Today and tomorrow see cries for war, -as revenge, -as exorcising the
heart felt anger, -as a time to rid the world of evil, once and for all.
There is baying for much blood and carnage from a populace who have the
capacity and will to deliver the unfathomable. The problem is that the
enemy is undefined, while it seems that the powers that be, feel that window
of political opportunity to strike with almighty force commensurate to the
occasion, might close soon.
While I believe the perpetrators should be
punished, I fear that some nations and their many innocent civilians too,
might bear the brunt of a devastating reprisal to truly satisfy the many
notions of justice and revenge. As painful and enormous as this outrage is,
it is not the time for anxiety and malice. While it is not a time for
inaction, it is a time for reflection, calm, cooperative planning and
coherent thought towards a long-lasting resolution. Because what this nation
does, ultimately impacts the world. While nobody speaks openly about this,
the idea of nuclear retribution should not even be entertained or we will
forever have to answer to humanity. I am not a fortuneteller and can only
hope that the path chosen will not be regretted for generations to come as we
have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to create an
atmosphere of peace, tolerance and respect for each other and human
There are no easy decisions here, but war is not an
It is in times like these when great leadership spreads its
beacon of enlightenment further than the present and into the future, to
guide and hold its people together in a sense of security and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Mugabe
gets a breather THERE is a danger that events of the past week the terrorist
attacks on the US will knock Zimbabwe out of the international spotlight to
the detriment of the country and the region. The savagery and horror of the
US attacks make Zimbabwe look like a picnic.
However, over the past
fortnight, even with global attention on New York and Washington, there has
been some excitement here and abroad about the Abuja accord, brokered by UK
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge. The
two attended university together and are old friends. That may matter in what
is to follow.
The Abuja treaty, followed days later by the SADC-inspired
Harare summit last Tuesday, has sparked hopes that all may now be coming
right with our northern neighbour. We wish.
Although President Robert
Mugabe has endorsed both accords, which call on him to end government farm
seizures in his country, in exchange for funds from Britain to implement a
fair land reform plan, there has been no let-up in farm invasions. Neither,
critically, did the agreements compel him to allow international observers to
monitor next March's critical presidential elections.
As it is, ruling
Zanu (PF) militants continue to tighten their grip on hundreds of farms
across the country,
Still, even though the deals are imperfect and, in
and of themselves, unenforceable, they provide the basis for the resolution
of the crisis in Zimbabwe. For a start, last Tuesday's SADC deal will give
government's opponents and the region's leaders a voice in the country's
As for the Abuja treaty, the challenge now is for its sponsors
to use their forthcoming visit to Harare to wring a commitment that next
year's polls will be free and fair. Mugabe must be forced to invite monitors
to help ensure they are.
2001 THE new Chief Justice of Zimbabwe has put forward a bench of
judges dominated by recent presidential appointees for a crucial hearing over
the Government's land policy.
The list on the court noticeboard for
the case between the Government and the Commercial Farmers' Union is headed
by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a supporter of President Robert Mugabe,
and three other judges sworn in only last month.
The fifth, Judge
Ahmed Ibrahim, is the only name on the list who was part of the court that
once won international acclaim for its independence, before Mr Mugabe forced
the former Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, to resign in March under threat of
The three other court judges, two blacks and a white who served
with Mr Gubbay, have been excluded.
Victory for the Government would
effectively close off one of the last sources of hope for Zimbabwe's white
farmers, opposition parties and ordinary citizens battered by the lawlessness
and violence of Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu party.
Mr Mugabe is seeking
approval by the court for his so-called "fast-track land reform program",
which amounts to little more than trucking ruling-party supporters on to
He hopes that it will dissolve the smear of
lawlessness that has torn the country apart for the past 19 months, during
which courts have repeatedly dismissed his campaign as unlawful and ordered
police to remove squatters from white farms.
In an unprecedented move
yesterday, the farmers' union is to ask Mr Chidyausiku to excuse himself from
the case. The union said that according to papers filed with the Supreme
Court, he has so clearly allied himself with Mr Mugabe's campaign to seize
white-owned land that the CFU had no confidence that he would deliver an
Two other judges, Misheck Cheda and Luke Malaba, are
being asked to also step down, because they have been named in an official
Agriculture Ministry list for being granted large cattle ranches at nominal
The ranches were bought by the Government to resettle landless
In March this year Mr Mugabe promised a delegation from the
International Bar Association, comprising former chief justices and senior
barristers, that he would not "pack" the Supreme Court with government
Farm union officials said on Tuesday there had been no easing
in the violence and harassment on white farms, despite the Government's
commitment to restore the rule of law and to carry out legal and sustainable
Andrew Meldrum in
Harare Wednesday September 19, 2001 The Guardian
The politburo of
the Zimbabwean ruling party Zanu-PF has unanimously endorsed the Commonwealth
agreement in which Britain promised money for land redistribution and Robert
Mugabe's government promised to restore the rule of law, it was announced
yesterday. The party's top executive body stressed that Britain and
international donors must provide funds for the redistribution of land from
white farmers to black peasants to sustain the momentum of the deal, reached
in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 7.
Mr Mugabe endorsed the agreement in
principle more than a week ago, but said he needed to put it to the politburo
and the cabinet.
Britain, the former colonial power, agreed to part-fund
compensation for farmers whose land is handed to black peasants. Whites
comprise less than 0.5% of the population but own 70% of the best
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a politburo member and the speaker of the
parliament, said yesterday that the land seizures would continue.
white farmers would be paid for their property when Zimbabwe received the
international funds specified in the agreement, he said.
insists that the seizures and occupations have been in accordance with the
law. Legal experts, farmers and human rights monitors disagree, drawing
attention to the crimes and violence that have accompanied the land
The Abuja deal stipulated that the political violence must
stop and that the government must uphold the Commonwealth's basic democratic
The white farmers are taking the government to the supreme
court today, arguing that there is no rational plan to the land
So far the court has consistently ruled against the government,
but Mr Mugabe has appointed a new chief justice and three judges, all of whom
are known to be government supporters.
Several violent invasions of
farms have occurred since the Abuja deal. In the past week a school
headteacher was beaten to death for allegedly supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
Two supporters of Mr Mugabe died on a
white-owned farm in the central Hwedza district. Police have charged a white
farmer and 17 of his workers with killing them.
"The violence is
continuing, so are the farm invasions," a Commonwealth diplomat who was at
the Abuja talks said. "Mugabe was told very clearly that this must stop. It
Zimbabwean chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku was accused by local lawyers and
farmers yesterday of loading the Supreme Court with a majority of judges
appointed by President Robert Mugabe in a bid to have the country's seizure
of white-owned farms declared legal.
The government is seeking a
declaration from the Supreme Court today that it has a comprehensive land
reform programme in place and that there is law and order on the country's
Zimbabwe's courts have in the past repeatedly ruled
Mugabe's "fast-track land reform programme" illegal. Observers warned
yesterday that it is now feared that should the new "loaded" court reverse
previous decisions, the government would be able to claim that all previous
land seizures were in accordance with the law.
The director of the
Commercial Farmers' Union, David Hasluck, said his union had filed an
application yesterday morning to the Supreme Court, asking that Chidyausiku
recuse himself from the bench and that the bench be reconstituted. He said
Chidyausiku had replaced "experienced judges and packed the bench with those
he is more likely to have influence over".
Before being appointed by
Mugabe as chief justice in June, Chidyausiku criticised earlier Supreme Court
judgments on land acquisitions.
In December, the Supreme Court bench made
up at the time of four senior judges and then chief justice Anthony Gubbay,
who retired under pressure from the government in June ordered the government
to end violence on white-owned farms.
It also described the land
acquisition programme as "unlawful and unconstitutional" and gave the
government six months to come up with a land reform programme that was in
accordance with the constitution. It threatened the government with the
suspension of all further land acquisitions.
For the past 18 months,
whiteowned farms have been invaded by government supporters calling for a
speedy handover of commercial farms to landless blacks. The invasions have at
times been violent, earning the government international
Today's court case comes a day after the politburo of the
ruling Zanu (PF) accepted a deal drawn up 12 days ago by Commonwealth foreign
ministers in Nigeria, to restore the rule of law, party officials said.
However, reports of serious lawlessness and repression by the regime
continued in spite of the agreement and Mugabe's promises to five southern
African presidents last week to end the violence.
commentators said yesterday it was a foregone conclusion that the leaders of
the war veterans association, whose members have spearheaded farm invasions,
would endorse the politburo's decision.
"War veterans will have to accept
the deal since Mugabe has already publicly stated he saw no reason why his
cabinet and the politburo should reject the Abuja agreement," an analyst
Mugabe's government has blamed white farmers for further violence
since the Abuja deal was struck.
US official says Zimbabwe will need help with food
Reuters September 19 2001 at
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe, in the throes of a controversial land
seizure campaign, has a food shortage crisis and will need help from abroad,
a senior US official said on Wednesday.
"Zimbabwe should be the bread
basket of the region. The situation is so critical that the country will need
external food assistance," George McGovern, US ambassador to the UN's food
agencies, told reporters in Johannesburg.
McGovern was in South Africa
as part of a tour of the continent to assess its food
Zimbabwe, southern Africa's second biggest economy, has been
in crisis since February last year when self-styled war veterans began
invading white-owned commercial farms.
The militants say the invasions
are meant to bolster President Robert Mugabe's drive to seize over two-thirds
of the 12 million hectares of white-owned farmland for redistribution to
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party have endorsed a
Nigerian-brokered plan to end the farm seizures in exchange for funds to
implement a fair and just land reform programme.
A land reform fund
would be administered by the United Nations Development Programme
But the farm invasions have already severely hampered
agricultural operations, raising the spectre of food shortages later this
year or in early 2002, food security analysts say.
The UN World Food
Programme is conducting an assessment in Zimbabwe and US officials said they
were providing food assistance to hungry people in southern Zimbabwe. The
officials gave no further details.
The land chaos has hit Zimbabwe's food
output and tobacco exports, the country's leading agricultural foreign
exchange earner, and worsened economic performance. - Reuters
hospitals and clinics are giving patients expired drugs because the
government does not have money to buy new medicines.
Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) is said to be aware of this malpractice,
but doing nothing about it. The Government Medical Stores (GMS) is reportedly
instructing pharmacies at government hospitals to extend the shelf life of
certain drugs beyond expiry dates. Memoranda given to The Daily News suggest
that the use of some drugs was being extended by as much as six months after
expiry. On 17 May, the GMS in Bulawayo issued a memorandum authorizing
hospitals to extend the use of doxycline capsules, used mainly for chest
infections. The memorandum, signed by a pharmacist named S Moyo, said
authority had been granted to extend use of the drugs by six months. The new
expiry date for the doxycline capsules was given as 31 August. The
memorandum was signed on behalf of the deputy controller of the GMS
in Bulawayo . Yesterday, the deputy controller, who refused to be named,
said: “I don’t know anything about it.” She declined further comment.
Another memorandum, dated 30 July and also signed by Moyo on behalf of the
deputy controller, authorised extension of the shelf life of four
drugs. These are doxycline, tetracycline (eye ointment), penicillin
and metronidazole. Doxycline is used for chest and blood infections,
meningitis, abscesses and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Tetracycline
is prescribed to treat eye infections. Penicillin is used for, among other
ailments, chest infections and skin diseases. Metronidazole is administered
to patients suffering from STDs, diarrhoea and liver infections. According
to the memorandum, the use of the drugs has been extended to periods ranging
between 31 October to 5 January next year. Both memoranda bear the date
stamps of the principal pharmacist of the GMS in Bulawayo. Sources in the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said the pattern was the same in all
government hospitals. “Apart from those listed drugs, we have also been asked
verbally to use contrimoxazole beyond the expiry dates,” said the source. The
GMS has large stocks of the expired drug, which is now used to reverse Aids
symptoms. The sources said the use of expired drugs, however, caused
allergies and had other serious effects. They cited penicillin, in
particular, which they said caused high levels of toxicity if improperly
administered or taken after expiry. They said it was possible that, a few
years ago, the government, through the GMS, ordered too many drugs than the
amount it required, until they expired on the shelf. But the government
did not want to throw away the expired stock, choosing to use the drugs on
unsuspecting patients. The sources said tuberculosis (TB) and immunisation
drugs had also run out. They said the government could not afford drugs
because the GMS owes local pharmaceutical companies millions of dollars for
drugs supplied to it. The companies were now reluctant to deal with the
parastatal because of its poor creditworthiness, choosing to export their
drugs. Timothy Stamps, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, and his
deputy, David Parirenyatwa, could not be contacted for comment
yesterday. The MCAZ requested questions in writing, but had not responded to
them at the time of going to press.
Zimbabwean charged for four counts of
murder 19 September, 2001
Police have charged a 28-year-old
Zimbabwean, Gerald Dube for four counts of murder following the murder of a
lawyer, her two sons and their maid on September 13. Police identified the
lawyer as Patricia Majoko (37) of Majoko and Majoko Attorneys and Notaries
and her two sons are Dumisane (7) and Amochilani (4).
Their maid is
Police investigations are continuing and the accused who
is a cousin to the deceased lawyer is also likely to face charges of stealing
an Isuzu bakkie that was found abandoned near Shoprite as well as breaking
into an office and stealing.
Farm invaders in Matabeleland have launched a reign of terror
on farms forcing workers to flee to Bulawayo. Samson Ncube, a worker at The Barn
Farm in Matopos, said he had fled to Bulawayo because of the continuous
harassment and threats from the invaders. The war veterans chased away the
farmer, named only as Parkin, and four of them have occupied the farmhouse. "At
least I am safe here in town, but my children and wife Christine are at the farm
and are living in fear. The kids have stopped going to school," said Ncube. He
said he had failed to negotiate with the invaders as they openly boasted
President Mugabe gave them the power to do as they pleased. One invader
identified as Frank Ndlovu and another known only as Martin are alleged to have
threatened to beat up the farm workers for taking care of Parkin’s property. "My
wife was beaten up for refusing to leave the farm and they have chased away the
guys who were looking after the cattle," said Ncube.
Neighbouring Ntunzi Farm has not been spared as all the workers
have been ordered to leave and the cattle driven off. The farm workers said
their situation was desperate as they were viewed as allies of the farmers. At
Redwood Park Farm in Nyamandlovu, war veterans looted property belonging to farm
workers whom they claimed to have "fired". The farm workers are reportedly too
frightened to go back and retrieve their property. The attacks on farm workers
intensified after the MDC victory in the municipal and mayoral elections last
Special report: Zimbabwe Have your say Wednesday September 19, 2001 The Guardian
The US observation mission to Zimbabwe's presidential elections was brought to an abrupt halt a few days ago.
It was made clear to them by Mugabe's government that they would not be permitted to remain in the country. Now we have learnt that the EU's team of 10 people, who were due to leave for Harare on Saturday, has been told that they will also not be welcome. The seriousness of this development should not be underestimated, since it threatens to derail any chance of free and democratic presidential elections next March. The history of violence, intimidation and vote rigging in elections, such as those which took place recently in Bulawayo, are an indication of how essential it is that there should be international monitoring.
The Zimbabwean authorities have immediately begun to unpick and reinterpret the text of the recent Abuja agreement. The mistake made by the Commonwealth ministers was to allow Mugabe the opportunity to link the key issue of elections and the essential observation of those elections, with the issue of land. Whilst land rights are important, there are other equally significant political concerns, such as access to the media, a new electoral roll and firm guarantees on election observation.
The next meeting of EU foreign ministers should - if necessary - implement a travel ban on entry into the EU by President Mugabe and his close associates, a freeze on all assets held in EU countries by them, and should consider the suspension of aid. The time for less carrot and more stick has arrived.
HARARE -- Lawyers acting for white farmers have
demanded the nation's black chief judge and two colleagues withdraw from a
hearing today on land seizures, claiming the three have interests in the
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, appointed head of the judiciary
last month, will be asked to recuse himself, along with fellow Supreme
Court judges Luke Malaba and Misheck Cheda.
Chidyausiku, promoted on
August 20 by President Robert Mugabe after former Chief Justice Anthony
Gubbay was forced out of office, has closely identified himself with the land
seizure programme in past rulings favouring the government, according to an
application lodged for the Commercial Farmers Union.
queries his ability to apply an impartial mind to this case," said the union,
which represents about 4000 white landowners.
Malaba and Cheda, elevated
on July 27 from the High Court to the Supreme Court in a move seen as an
effort to pack compliant judges into a court that has often ruled against the
government, had been awarded land under the programme to hand over
white-owned farms to blacks, the union alleged.
The union called for
the five-member panel of judges to be reconstituted from the remaining five
of the nation's eight Supreme Court judges. -- Sapa-AP
Along with most of humanity we are stunned at the horror of what has
happened in The U.S., and we grieve with those who have lost loved ones. My
wish is that it will bring some good by hardening the resolve of the governments
and the people of the world to find and stop the evil-doers wherever they are.
Milosovich languishes in jail in the Hague, and I hope that others of his
persuasion, starting with Bin Laden, will face justice for the terrible crimes
they have committed. Mobutu and Pol Pot were allowed to cheat justice, and they
should not have. Mengistu eludes it in Harare, as a guest of our President! I
really hope that the world loses its patience with them all.
We have been away for the school holidays, and it was a great relief to be
removed from the ongoing madness in this country for a while. Most especially
to remove the children from the environment of uncertainty and fear under which
we unfortunately live.
It is worth highlighting I believe that farm children (and their
parents) are suffering greatly from the evictions, forced evacuations, work
stoppages and violence, and the total lack of clear direction. Dads, certainly
in our case, are seldom at home, and the radio crackles all day and often at
night with real-life stories, and frightened people. They are friends and
people who we know, and it is often traumatic. The farm workers and their
families are worse affected, with fewer options open to them - that's a
ABUJA - on the surface it seemed to be a 'breakthrough'. The visit of
regional Heads of State to Harare also seemed to be a 'turning point' with
outright condemnation of this regime from the assembled Presidents, and we have
to hope that these events prove to be pivotal. However, we have been fooled
before, and the feeling that I have is that positive and good steps have been
taken, but we should be careful to be realistic. The agreement itself appears
fairly loosely written, and open to interpretation, although I have no doubt
that the intent is very strong, and we are grateful for that. The deviousness
and the evil that this regime is capable of defies easy comprehension, and we
continually underestimate just how far they are prepared to go.
The dance of deception has already begun. In my area alone we have had
three new farm invasions with two sieges since Abuja, work stoppages are
everywhere, and the invaders go about their evil business of assault, sabotage,
theft and disruption with impunity. A headmaster was bludgeoned to death for
his alleged political affiliation this week, just down the road in Chikomba.
This is hardly in the spirit of Abuja. The great chameleon, our Minister of
Information, has embarked upon a mission to convince the world that farmers are
trashing their own farms to reflect Government in a poor light! Please! So
whether it is just around the corner or a still distant dream, the word and the
principles of "Abuja" have not yet reached the districts, the invaders on the
farms, or the police and army who should be enforcing it.
We personally are still 'not allowed' to plant, and neither is Sherry
(Dunn) on her farm. Fifteen days late now and counting. Our farm labour (we
pay 290 each month) are beside themselves with worry - they simply can not
understand what is going on as they see their very survival in the balance - and
neither quite frankly can I.
I attach an analysis from Oxford Analytica sent to us by our friend
Ralph. It is very interesting, and probably realistic, although it would be
nice to be able to feel a little more upbeat about things. Events on the ground
do not fill us with hope just yet and the state propaganda machine is in full
swing. There is little doubt here that Abuja is to be used as a smokescreen for
ongoing strife and repression. Will they be allowed to get away with it?
With love and best wishes to all
from V and I and the family.
G W S
FROM OXFORD ANALYTICA ZIMBABWE:
Political Scenarios; Sep 10, 2001 : 1
EVENT: Commonwealth ministers meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 6
signed an interim agreement designed to bring an end to Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis. SIGNIFICANCE: In the short term, the agreement is likely to
undermine international efforts to isolate President Mugabe's government.
However, land and political violence remain central to ZANU-PF's strategy
for winning the forthcoming presidential election. Thus, any easing in violence
is likely to be temporary, raising doubts over the conduct of the
elections. ANALYSIS: On September 6, at a Commonwealth-sponsored meeting in
Abuja, Nigeria, Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge and his United Kingdom
counterpart Jack Straw reached an interim agreement over land
reform. According to the deal, Zimbabwe agrees to end illegal land
occupations and restore the rule of law, while the United Kingdom has promised
to commit 36 million pounds (52.6 million dollars) towards the land
redistribution programme. At first glance, this appears to be a major step
forward in the resolution of Zimbabwe's land dispute and a warming of
UK-Zimbabwe relations. For President Robert Mugabe, this sign of moderation
is likely to undermine attempts to expel his country from the Commonwealth ahead
of a summit in Brisbane next month. Although the Commonwealth has been an
impotent force so far in influencing Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis,
the Brisbane meeting could have been embarrassing for Mugabe. There were signs
that many of his African allies, who have to date failed to openly criticise
him, were growing increasingly frustrated. The new accord may also take the
momentum out of the US Sanctions bill, which is due to be debated in the House
soon. Scepticism. There are reasons to doubt that this will resolve the
current political crisis. The Mudenge-Straw agreement contains little that was
not contained in previous agreements, which Mugabe abandoned in the interests of
political expediency. Indeed, this latest development is at least the fourth
major policy change by the Zimbabwean government over land reform since
1998. In the past, Mugabe has agreed to implement land reform under
transparent conditions and in accordance with the rule of law. However,
whenever this contradicted his political strategy, he has changed tactics and
unleashed, either tacitly or explicitly, organised violence against commercial
farms. In this context, it is unclear whether, despite the new agreement,
leaders of the war veterans or security forces will be ordered to change their
behaviour. Early indications are that they will not: on September 8, 150
pro-government militants invaded a white-owned farm in Beatrice, 50 kilometres
south of Harare, and chased out farm workers, burnt residential lodgings and
destroyed tobacco seed in defiance of Harare's pledge to put an end to illegal
land seizures. Election angle. Most importantly, occupation of commercial
farms and organised violence is central to ZANU-PF's electoral strategy. At
recent by-elections armed groups aligned to ZANU-PF played a crucial role in
intimidating voters and preventing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) from campaigning In a free and fair presidential election, Mugabe would be
almost certain to lose to the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai. In the largely free
referendum on a new constitution held in February 2000 -- which was widely seen
as a vote of confidence in the president -- the government lost by 55%-45%. In
the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which organised intimidation and
electoral malpractice played a large part, the MDC still won 57 out of 120
contested seats (the remaining 30 are appointed by the president or allocated to
traditional chiefs). Since then, economic conditions have deteriorated
rapidly and a sense of looming breakdown has grown. Fuel shortages, inflation
in excess of 70%, and a collapse of the local currency on the black market
have all had a severe effect on living standards. The MDC has also successfully
focused its political campaign against Mugabe, making him a focus of public
outrage. Mugabe options. As such, Mugabe will be forced to rely even more
heavily on intimidation to win re-election. There are several possible
scenarios: -- Waiting game. Mugabe cannot afford to wait until March or
April to call the election and allow it to go ahead freely and fairly. If he
did, the possibility of major food shortages and potential food riots would
swing the electorate strongly in the MDC's favour -- and galvanise public
sentiment in a way that the opposition has been unable to do so far. Mugabe
would then have to intensify political repression and intimidation, in both
urban areas and on commercial farms. Nevertheless, this scenario would provide
Tsvangirai's best chance of victory. -- Snap election. There has been
growing speculation that Mugabe may call a snap election, taking advantage of
the MDC's current weaknesses and ZANU- PF's superior ability to mobilise its
supporters. This would also entail significant levels of intimidation and would
probably mean there were fewer international election observers on the scene.
Mugabe's chances of retaining the presidency would therefore be enhanced,
although he would be unlikely to win outright. -- Retirement. Mugabe has
become such a focus of opposition ire that he could defuse the situation by
announcing his retirement. In such a scenario, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
parliamentary speaker and the ex-security chief, is most likely stand in his
stead. However, a Mnangagwa presidency, or that of several other close Mugabe
allies who are potential candidates, would not represent any real change. The
primary beneficiary would be ZANU-PF: such a move might undercut both domestic
and international criticism of Mugabe, yet maintain the party's grip on
power. -- Military intervention. Mugabe has indicated that he will not
accept an MDC government. This suggests that his allies in the security forces
may step in to halt voting or counting, perhaps suspending the
constitution. Tsvangirai and top MDC officials would either be imprisoned or
forced into exile. This would almost certainly lead to international isolation,
and perhaps a fracturing of the armed forces, along two possible lines: the
senior officer corps could face a revolt from junior officers, while soldiers
from Matabeleland (which is strongly pro-MDC) could side against the
government. The likelihood of military intervention still remains small, but it
has increased slightly in recent weeks. International dilemmas. The United
States and the EU have debated imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe in an attempt
to force Mugabe to allow free and fair elections, but without antagonising him
into calling a state of emergency or using such international pressure as a
political scapegoat. At the same time, there is some uncertainty within
western capitals over whether to allow Zimbabwe to deteriorate (thus hopefully
encouraging political change) or to offer limited assistance (perhaps prolonging
Mugabe's reign). Looming food shortages will quickly bring this issue to the
fore. CONCLUSION: The new land agreement is unlikely to lead to a substantial
change in policy by Harare: land occupation and political violence are central
to Mugabe's strategy to remain in power. There is little prospect of an
improvement in the overall situation; indeed, conditions in the country can be
expected to deteriorate further.
PRESS RELEASE September
19, 2001 Posted to the web September 19,
Concerned over the recent arrest of journalists from
Zimbabwe's independent 'Daily News', Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) on
Wednesday urged police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to do everything in his
power to ensure that journalists could work safely throughout the country.
"It is your responsibility to protect journalists who use
their right to inform, this without consideration of their editorial policy,"
Robert Ménard, RSF general secretary, said in the letter. Ménard said
journalists from a pro-government newspaper who covered the same event were not
attacked. "After having pushed foreign journalists to leave the country,
Zimbabwean authorities are attacking the local press," he added.
According to information gathered by RSF, on 17 September,
reporters Mduduzi Mathuthu and Collin Chiwanza, photographer Urgina Mauluka and
a driver were attacked by war veterans in Hwedza, about 60 km southeast of
Harare. The journalists went to a farm after the death of two veterans in a
clash with a white farmer. RSF said that since the beginning of the year, 17
local journalists had been arrested and seven assaulted by the police or war
Zimbabwe's central bank warned on Tuesday that the country's economy was in a
"downward spiral" and was likely to shrink by at least eight percent this year.
Sydney Mabika, economist and assistant director at the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, said that initial forecasts of a 2.8 percent contraction for the year
had been revised lower because of the knock taken by the country's agricultural
"We are forecasting an eight percent decline (in the economy) in 2001,"
Mabika told a conference on African monetary policy in South Africa. Later he
said the decline would be "more than five percent".
"Interest rates are low, inflation is shooting through the roof...and our
economy is in a downward spiral," he said.
Zimbabwe's economy is in its third year of recession, worsened by the seizure
of mainly white-owned commercial farms which began in February last year,
hitting both food output and tobacco exports, its main source of foreign
Analysts expect food shortages later this year or early 2002, raising the
spectre of civil unrest ahead of presidential elections due by April next year.
The economy shrank by 4.2 percent last year. Mabika's forecast was relatively
close to estimates from independent economists who predict the economy will
contract by ten percent during 2001.
Mabika also warned that inflation, which surged by a record 76 percent in the
year to August, would end the year "higher than that," without giving a precise
"Our monetary policy has not been very successful in containing inflation,"
said Mabika. This was partly due to the fact that the central bank's hands were
tied by the government, which was not pursuing complementary fiscal policies.
Mabika sees parallel market at 95% forex trade
On Monday, the International Monetary Fund warned that Zimbabwe's economy was
deteriorating rapidly and its recovery depended on restoring business confidence
and an orderly land reform programme, within the rule of law.
? It also said that Zimbabwe's current fixed exchange rate system was
damaging the country, saying it should stop trying to close down a thriving
parallel foreign exchange market.
The Zimbabwe dollar is trading illegally at around 350 against the US dollar,
versus an exchange rate of just 55 to the dollar. The government has said it
will not devalue the currency.
But Mabika said that despite the government's efforts, the parallel market
accounted for an estimated 95 percent of all foreign exchange transactions in
"We don't know where the parallel market is ...," he said.
The central bank said on Sunday it had fined three local commercial banks
Z$11 million for allegedly buying scarce foreign currency on the parallel
Mabika also said he was concerned by the way in which share prices and real
estate values had surged this year.
Analysts say is due to the fact that the government has kept interest rates
on government debt instruments, artificially low, limiting investment outlets.
"Our worry is that when the bubble bursts, inflation will ignite and will
require tight monetary policy," he said.
But he dismissed suggestions from the IMF that the monetary policy in
Zimbabwe was too loose, saying it was important to stimulate productive sectors
of the economy.
"We are unable to mop up excess liquidity, it is in line with the
government's restructuring programme ... we have been faced with a very
difficult environment," he said.
"There are so many challenges facing the economy ... but we are hoping that
sooner rather than later ... things will be under control," he said.
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party have endorsed a
Nigerian-brokered plan to end the seizures of mainly white-owned farms in
exchange for funds from former colonial ruler Britain, to implement a fair land
But farmers say there has been no let-up in attacks against them and their
Shortages of fuel and foreign exchange have forced hundreds of businesses to
close, and contagion jitters have hit the rand.