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

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Dear Family and Friends,
This week shortly after Vice President Simon Muzenda had been buried at Heroes Acre, President Mugabe, his wife and a large entourage of Zimbabwean ministers flew to America for a meeting of the UN General Assembly. Almost the entire entourage are subjected to travel bans and targeted sanctions and have had their overseas assets frozen but again they are protected by the United Nations. I could not help but feel disgusted by the crass insensitivity of Zimbabwe's leaders to the plight of their own people as they jetted off across the world. Whilst our leaders arrived at Harare airport in their limousines and walked up aeroplane steps in their fine suits I wondered when, if ever, ordinary Zimbabweans would ever be able to do anything even as normal as visiting their families and relations inside Zimbabwe, let alone in other countries and continents.
We have now not had fuel for such a long time that families less than a hundred miles apart are going for months and months without seeing their relations. Recently it was my Mum's birthday and just going to spend that one special day with her turned into a marathon of planning and scheming, wheeler dealering and huge expense. It began with finding enough fuel to get to and from her rural home - begging a few litres here and there, going everywhere by bicycle to save the little fuel I already had and looking for a trustworthy black market dealer who hadn't watered down the petrol and whose prices were not too exorbitant. Finding the actual bank notes to be able to buy the black market goods is another story all on its own ! Then there was the problem of the birthday lunch and a birthday cake. Finding and buying black market flour and then going without ordinary groceries to be able to afford a few little luxuries to be able to spoil my Mum with. Then came the problem of the birthday present. I knew that the nicest things I could actually give my Mum for her birthday was things she can no longer get or afford herself. This meant chocolate, real coffee and, the most precious gift, 20 litres of petrol to put in her car which had stood empty and unmoving for almost two months. One small bar of chocolate is now almost two thousand dollars. A jar of real coffee is thirty seven thousand dollars, 20 litres of black market petrol was forty thousand dollars. As I shopped and schemed, begged and borrowed I could hardly believe that just two years ago a similar bag of groceries and container of fuel would have all been bought for less than 10 thousand dollars.
The big day arrived and although we started out early for the journey to Mum's home, the first visit in 6 months, the sun was high in the sky before we actually hit the road. This was because we had been desperately and fruitlessly trying to get someone to stamp a piece of paper saying that we were legally allowed to carry Mum's 20 litres of fuel on our 86 kilometre journey. The trip was depressing as we passed mile after mile of now deserted farms. Farms which had been seized by our government and supposedly resettled with thousands of peasants now lie completely derelict and deserted. We saw nothing, no ploughed fields, no vegetables, no cattle, just derelict wasteland. A part of the journey is through a communal land and here there were people everywhere, a few scrawny cattle looking for grass on the roadside, children in rags pushing little wire toys in the sand and men sitting around a hut drinking beer from  brown plastic bottles. Here too, even in the communal land there was no sign of land preparation, people cannot afford to plough, there are no seeds to buy and no one can afford fertilizer either so perhaps the feeling is, why bother to even try, lets just wait for world food aid. Here, better than anywhere, was the blatantly clear evidence of the massive propaganda of this so called land redistribution that out government undertook in order to stay in power. Miles of deserted farm land and then a squalid over crowded communal land.
When we neared Mum's home there was a huge police road block and even though I'm not very religious, the prayers were silently pouring out. "Please God, don't let them take the fuel from me," I begged. God was listening and we arrived to a tumultuous welcome from a mother who had not been visited by her own daughter for many many months. Sitting at her kitchen table was a friend who happens to be a genuine veteran of Zimbabwe's liberation war. He runs a little odd jobbing business and had just returned from a plumbing job in a former very rich farming area. He told us disgustedly how others, who call themselves war veterans, were just sitting there on those once rich and prolific farms. They were just sitting doing nothing except waiting for yet more government handouts. They had recently been given very cheap diesel to plough the land with but hadn't bothered because they made far more money by selling the fuel on the black market. The day flew past and I cried as we drove away, not knowing when I would be able to visit again. I cried for the families that are no longer able to spend normal happy times together, the families who are spread out over continents, the huge sadness that has engulfed every man woman and child in this country, regardless of their colour, all because of political power. Until next week, love cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 27th September 2003.
For enquiries about my books on Zimbabwe's turmoil, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears", in the UK and Europe contact my publicist Wiz Bishop: ; in Australia and New Zealand contact: and in Africa: and
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Mugabe succession debate abandoned
Sat 27 September, 2003 12:39 BST

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwe ruling party committee, spearheading debate on
who should succeed President Robert Mugabe when he retires, has been
disbanded for causing party divisions, reports a state-owned daily.

But political analysts said the committee has probably been dissolved
because Mugabe wants to manage the debate after the death of one of his two
deputy presidents.

Earlier this year the Mugabe, 79, who has ruled for 23 years, encouraged
members of his ZANU-PF party to begin debating who should succeed him as
leader, sparking speculation he planned to quit well before his six-year
term ends in 2008.

Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper reported on Saturday that "a committee formed by
some senior ZANU-PF politburo members to discuss the succession issue has
been disbanded after it emerged that its activities were causing divisions
in the party."

"The Herald understands that the committee had not been sanctioned by the
presidency, which resulted in party members questioning its mandate and
composition," it said.

Political analysts said disbanding the committee was an indication that
Mugabe wants to tightly control debate over his possible successor,
especially after the death last week of his long-serving deputy president
Simon Muzenda.

"I think this is an indicator that he wants to manage the debate in a way
that does not threaten the cohesion of his party, and undermine the
government," Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei of the University of Zimbabwe told

"I don't think it's an indicator that he has changed his mind on the issue,"
he said.

The Herald did not say who was in the committee.

But private media reports suggested recently that a five-member ZANU-PF
group, including some cabinet ministers, was garnering party members' views
on the succession issue.

Senior ZANU-PF officials were unavailable for comment, but the Herald quoted
ZANU-PF national chairman John Nkomo as saying the succession issue should
not be discussed clandestinely but through "relevant party forums."

Mugabe's choice of new deputy could be a pointer of who he wants to
eventually succeed him as president.

Zimbabwe has plunged deeper into crisis since Mugabe's re-election last year
was condemned as fraudulent by some Western governments.

The President's main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, has gone to court to
challenge Mugabe's victory.

Mugabe, the country's sole ruler since its independence from Britain in
1980, says Zimbabwe's crisis-hit economy is the result of sabotage by
domestic and Western opponents of his campaign to seize white-owned farms
for redistribution to landless blacks.

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Media freedom victory in Zim
27/09/2003 18:38  - (SA)

Harare - The top court in Zimbabwe has struck down a section of the
country's controversial broadcasting law that gave the information minister
the power to license would-be broadcasters, a newspaper said on Saturday.

The law, which was passed in 2000, is seen by rights activists here as part
of a raft of recent laws that are inhibiting freedom of expression and

The state-controlled Herald newspaper said the court struck down Section 6
of the Broadcasting Services Act, which gives the minister the authority to
license broadcasters.

"I, accordingly, hold the view that Section 6 of the Act is unconstitutional
because it totally subordinates the regulatory authority to the minister in
the process of granting broadcasting licenses," Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku was quoted as saying in his ruling.

Media freedom here has been in the spotlight since the recent forced closure
of the country's only private daily, the Daily News, after the Supreme Court
ruled the paper was operating illegally.

The ruling on the broadcasting law was made after Capital Radio, a private
station that was closed down by armed police in 2000, applied to the Supreme
Court to have sections of the law declared unconstitutional.

The radio station filed its application after the government's Broadcasting
Authority refused to license it.

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Business Day

Mugabe calls for united agenda in Zimbabwe


Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe yesterday departed briefly from his usual
searing vitriol aimed at the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change,
saying the ruling Zanu (PF) and the MDC must work together for peace.

On Monday, Mugabe had lashed out at the MDC for being "puppets" of the UK

Addressing mourners in Harare at the funeral of Vice-President Simon
Muzenda, who died on Saturday after a long illness, Mugabe said Zanu (PF)
and the MDC must work together and forge a unity of purpose in their
political agendas.

The two parties are engaged in selective, secretive talks in a bid to find a
solution of the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Formal talks
between them are expected to start towards the end of this month or early
next month.

Mugabe paid tribute to the MDC leaders and MPs for attending Muzenda's
funeral, saying that it showed the opposition leadership had "grown up". He
said there was a need for unity and co-operation among Zimbabweans, although
he insisted on Zanu (PF)'s terms.

In a reference to the MDC on Monday, Mugabe warned that "puppets" would not
rule Zimbabwe. He has always claimed the MDC is a front set up by the
British to seize power from him.

Meanwhile, in London, Britain's opposition Conservative Party demanded
yesterday that the government use its influence to bar Mugabe from a
European Union meeting in Rome next month.

But Britain's Foreign Office said the African Caribbean Pacific-EU meeting,
scheduled for October 11-15, was not for heads of government and Mugabe had
made no bid to attend.

Michael Ancram, the Conservatives' foreign affairs spokesman, said he had
learned from sources in Zimbabwe that Mugabe planned to attend a meeting of
fellow African leaders that has been organised by the EU's Italian
presidency. With Sapa-AP
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Suggestion

Dear J.A.G.

I am sure all displaced farmers feel the same way as we do. Not only have
we lost our homes and livelihood, but we have lost our very close farming
community which has always been such a special and important part of Zim,
farm life, and to which each one of us has "belonged".

Not only our own area, but we have lost contact with friends and
acquaintances in other farming areas. So many of these farming friends are
now scattered all over the world and living in the towns, trying to survive
and start a new life. All of us probably keep in touch with a few of our
closer friends, but have lost contact with a whole lot more from other

I was just wondering therefore if JAG could not also send out by these
means another heading called "Contact"? in which people can write in
briefly with their new addresses, and saying where and what they are doing.
We have spoken to so many different people doing different things, and
others still in shock wondering what to do and how to go about things. Some
have "made" it, some are battling, but perhaps if ideas and suggestions are
shared, it may help for them to not make the same mistakes. To feel you
still "belong" somewhere, and can share with people who understand, to be
able to say "Oh remember so and so, I see he is now in Australia (doing
whatever) lets contact him and see how he went about it" etc

In this way at least we can all help each other and become a rather "large,
worldwide" (ex) farming community again. I don't think it should be a "when
we ", situation, as we all know we have to blend in with other lifestyles,
but just a "contact" and help situation, as it used to be in all the
farming communities.

Briefly, to start the ball rolling. We were farming in Centenary, and were
probably one of the first invaded in Feb. 2000. Our area gave us amazing
help and support, but we have been off Mavuradona for almost 2 and bit
years, and have moved 3 times since. The usual "survival" routine, selling
equipment doing odd things to survive and for the past year and a half have
been going down to Inhassoro in Mozambique "caretaking " 3 holiday home
property's on the coast for Zimbabwe syndicates. Trying to buy a plot of
land there with another farming family to develop and sell. Lease a small
house in Milton Park.

We are no experts in the field, but have been observing how to go about
things for quite a time, and also watching others making expensive
mistakes. So should any one be interested in any thing similar in Moz, we
are happy to help and suggest ideas.  Please contact us on 792418 or cell
091 305002,,or at no 29 Van Praagh Ave, Milton Park.

Yours, Chris and Dawn Pohl


Letter 2: A Personal Account

Dear all,

After reading the letter about the old lady, I felt calm enough (finally),
to report on a personal account with our famous "law enforcement" officers.

Three weeks ago, my husband aged 54, recovering from a recent heart attack,
(white - and it shows as his hair and beard are snow white), was driving
along Fourth Street when the famous entourage's sirens sounded.  As usual,
he, together with the rest of the traffic, pulled over to the side of the
road.  After the motorcade had passed, he began to proceed, flanked on
either side by two black drivers, travelling in the same direction.  A
young policeman ignored the black drivers and walked toward my husband,
cocked his AK47 rifle at him, asking, "what do you think you are doing? you
dirty F@#**!! white piece of dirt!!!?  To which my husband responded, "the
motorcade has passed, so I am proceeding".  Well, the abuse continued from
the foul-mouthed, obviously Youth-brigade-trained "little person".  "What
are you still doing in our country you old white piece of s@#*$ - go back
to Britain or I will kill you right now - do you hear me???".  My husband
responded that he was not from Britain, to which the "little person" set
his rifle aside, put his hand through the driver's window in an attempt to
punch my husband.  Fortunately, my husband blocked the blow by lifting his

An older policeman, obviously one from the "old school", came up to my
husband's vehicle and asked the "little person" what he thought he was
doing - the driver had done nothing wrong and he should allow my husband to
proceed, which he did.  Needless to say that my husband was severely shaken
up and extremely lucky to escape with his life and un-injured!

I thank God each day that I was not in the car with my husband at the time,
as we would both have been shot, because I would have got out of the car
and told the twerp to put his gun down and then knocked the living
daylights out of him.  My husband, too, thanks God I wasn't there, as the
idiot, whose eyes were bloodshot and filled with unadulterated hatred, was
younger than our youngest son, aged 21!

How much further are they going to go?  This is our country too and the
fact that this incident took place in a suburban area, in brought daylight
brings to mind the question of what would happen in the dark.



Letter 3: Open Letters Forum No. 150 dated 24 September


I comment on the (often vicious) responses to the contributions to Mr
Kinnaird's letters. We are all certainly playing into the hands of the
enemy!  (Incidentally, if your conscience is clear, then why don't you sign
your name?).

How many of you out there still buy vegetables from the local

Those of you who do, have any of you wondered where those vegetables have
come from?  The chances are they are stolen property, harvested via remote
control by the New Farmer, whose main job is running the bank where you
keep your money; or managing the insurance company where you insure your
property; or tending to patients in the hospital where you go when you are
ill; or dispensing drugs at the pharmacy where you buy your medicine; or
owning that service station where you are buying fuel at black market
rates; or managing that department store where you buy clothes for your
family; or owning that salon where your wife goes to cheer herself up; or
running the law firm which is fighting for you to get back the farm where
you used to grow vegetables......

As one anonymous author said "take a close look at some of the people with
whom you have done business." And grow your own vegetables!

Carol O'Neill-Williams

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - September 26, 2003



To all out there

I hope this warms your hearts and touches your souls.
Read and enjoy.
Words by Vicki Silvers.

Follow your DESTINY, wherever it leads you.

There comes a time in your life when you realize that if you stand still,
you will remain at this point forever. You realize that if you fall and
stay down, life will pass you by.... Life's circumstances are not always
what you might wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go
as you plan. Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different
directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed. Yet if you had
never put any effort into choosing a path, or tried to carry out your
dream, then perhaps you would have no direction at all.

Rather than wondering about or questioning the direction your life has
taken, accept the fact that there is a path before you now. Shake off the
"why's" and "what if's" and rid yourself of confusion. Whatever was ~ is
in the past. Whatever is ~ is what's important.

The past is a brief reflection. The future is yet to be realized. Today is

Walk your path one step at a time ~ with courage, faith, and determination.
Keep your head up, and cast your dreams to the stars. Soon your steps will
become firm, and your footing will be solid again. A path that you never
imagined will become the most comfortable direction you could have ever
hoped to follow.

Keep your belief in yourself and walk into your new journey. You will find
it magnificent, spectacular, and beyond your wildest imaginings.

Hope you enjoyed these words as much as I did.

with love to all out there,
Vonda Jelliman.
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Mugabe is going nowhere
01/12/2002 22:16  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's successor will not be named
until 2006, the state-run Sunday Mail said in an apparent bid to quash
speculation the 78-year-old longtime leader could be replaced.

Nathan Shamuyarira, information secretary in Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), was quoted by the paper
as saying the issue would be discussed at a party congress in 2006.

The paper said the news had "scuppered frenzied speculation" in the private
media that a Zanu-PF conference due later this month would name a candidate
to contest the next presidential election in 2008.

The private press regularly speculates on possible successors to Mugabe, who
has held power in this southern African nation since 1980, first as prime
minister and later as president.

This year he won a new six-year term in a hard-fought election against
Morgan Tsvangirai, 50, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Western
observers said the poll was not free or fair. - Sapa-AFP

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      Government against Zimbabwe tour

A government official has told the ECB they are not in favour of England's
tour to Zimbabwe next year.

Lord MacLaurin, chairman of national team sponsors Vodafone, has already
voiced his displeasure about touring the African country gripped by
humanitarian crisis.

MacLaurin does not want the telecommunications company's image tarnished by
supporting a tour hosted by Robert Mugabe's regime nor does he believe it
will be good for the English game.

And it appears the Government is of a similar opinion.

"Essentially our position has not changed," a spokesman for the Department
of Culture, Media and Sport told The Guardian.

"Ministers made it clear before the World Cup that they did not want an
England cricket team to play in Zimbabwe and nothing has changed on the
ground to alter that view.

"The tour is still a long way away but if things remain the same in Zimbabwe
we would suggest that the team does not tour."

Story filed: 08:02 Saturday 27th September 2003

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SECURITY COMMUNIQUE - September 27, 2003



Many thanks to all those who sent in the human rights abuse returns for
farmers and farm workers.  A reminder to those who are still to respond,
please let us have those reports.  They are vital for our accountability

Please supply full names of perpetrators if possible and any background
information e.g. related to who?, where employed?, etc.  If possible send
photographs of any injuries/damages incurred and please pass the original
request for information to anyone you know who does not receive JAG emails.

Kind regards

Kerry Kay

Below is a statement from The African Civil Society Consultation on
Zimbabwe calling on the Commonwealth to continue the suspension on Zimbabwe
as a result of ongoing human rights abuses: STATEMENT TO THE COMMONWEALTH

September 18, 2003

The participants in the African Civil Society Consultation on Zimbabwe, who
met in Gaborone, Botswana, on August 5 and 6, 2003, today call upon the
Commonwealth states to ensure the continued suspension of Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth.  Zimbabwe should remain suspended from this institution until
it complies fully with the principles contained in the Harare Declaration
of 1991 and takes concrete steps to restore the rule of law, to respect
human rights and to hold perpetrators of human rights violations

We, the participants in the African Civil Society Consultation on Zimbabwe,
represent over thirty civil society groups from Zimbabwe, Botswana, South
Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya.  Following a two-day meeting
held in Botswana, on August 5 and 6, 2003, we issued a Concluding
Statement, condemning the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe
and calling for urgent action to address this crisis.

In light of the upcoming meeting of Commonwealth Heads of State and
Government, to be held in Nigeria in December 2003, we reiterate our
condemnation of the situation in Zimbabwe and call upon the Commonwealth to
continue its suspension of Zimbabwe.

Widespread violations of international human rights standards are being
committed in Zimbabwe and until these violations are ended, Zimbabwe
remains in contravention of the principles contained in the Harare
Declaration of 1991.  Moreover, Zimbabwe has failed to comply with the
recommendations of the Commonwealth Observer Group, issued on March 15,
2002.  Following the recommendations of the Commonwealth Observer Group,
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth on March 19, 2002.  Since that
time, the government of Zimbabwe has not made any significant efforts to
improve the human rights situation or to come into compliance with the
Harare Declaration and Commonwealth Observer Group recommendations.

Indeed, the situation in Zimbabwe has steadily deteriorated.  Violations of
basic human rights are endemic throughout the country, including torture,
denial of food, arbitrary detention, attacks on human rights defenders,
muzzling of the independent press, systematic violence against women, and
the forceful indoctrination and abuse of youth through a government youth
training programme.

We therefore urge the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, meeting in New
York on September 27, to examine the situation in Zimbabwe and recommend
that Zimbabwe remain suspended from the Commonwealth until such time as the
government brings an end to the human rights and humanitarian crisis and
restores the rule of law.  Rumours of political talks between the
government and opposition parties are not sufficient to justify the lifting
of Zimbabwe's suspension, but rather real improvements in the human rights
situation in the country must be demonstrated.

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