The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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"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?

This 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

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.

Amongst 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

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
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 life.

There are no easy decisions here, but war is not an answer.

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 hope.

Chaz Maviyane-Davies        USA 16th September 2001

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From Business Day

Mugabe gets a breather

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

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 affairs.

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.

19 September 2001
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From The Australian

Zimbabwe stacks land case bench

September 20, 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 violence.

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 white-owned farms.

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 impartial verdict.

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 rent.

The ranches were bought by the Government to resettle landless peasants.

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 supporters.

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 land
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From The Guardian

Mugabe's party backs deal to buy white farms

Special report: Zimbabwe

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 land.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, a politburo member and the speaker of the parliament,
said yesterday that the land seizures would continue.

The white farmers would be paid for their property when Zimbabwe received
the international funds specified in the agreement, he said.

The government 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 takeovers.

The Abuja deal stipulated that the political violence must stop and that the
government must uphold the Commonwealth's basic democratic principles.

The white farmers are taking the government to the supreme court today,
arguing that there is no rational plan to the land seizures.

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 has not."
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From Business Day

Zimbabwe moves to declare land grabs legal


HARARE 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 white-owned farms.

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 condemnation.

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.

Political 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 said.

Mugabe's government has blamed white farmers for further violence since the
Abuja deal was struck.
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From Business Report

US official says Zimbabwe will need help with food shortage crisis

September 19 2001 at 03:24PM

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

McGovern was in South Africa as part of a tour of the continent to assess
its food situation.

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 landless blacks.

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 (UNDP).

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
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From the Daily News

Hospitals using expired drugs

9/19/01 9:28:23 AM (GMT +2)

By Chief Reporter, Conrad Nyamutata

GOVERNMENT hospitals and clinics are giving patients expired drugs because
the government does not have money to buy new medicines.

The 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
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.

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From the Republic of Botswana

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 Lindiwe Ncube.

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.
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From the Daily News, 18 September

Invaders terrorise farm workers in Matabeleland

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 week.

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Poll warning

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.

Glenys Kinnock MEP
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Farmers demand judges' recusal

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 case.

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.

"The 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

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For your info
15th September 2001.
Dear All,
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 fact.
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.
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.
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Three journalists assaulted by "war veterans"

Reporters Sans Frontieres

September 19, 2001
Posted to the web September 19, 2001


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 veterans.

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Economy in 'downward spiral'

Mariam Isa

Pretoria - 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 sector.

"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 currency.

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 forecast.

"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 the country.

"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 market.

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 reform plan.

But farmers say there has been no let-up in attacks against them and their workers.

Shortages of fuel and foreign exchange have forced hundreds of businesses to close, and contagion jitters have hit the rand.

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