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Government Defies Court, Grabs 1 200 Farms

    Financial Gazette

September 27, 2001
Posted to the web September 28, 2001

Staff Reporter

The Zimbabwe government, which rejects charges of flouting its own laws,
served notices to acquire nearly 1 200 commercial farms in open defiance of
a Supreme Court ruling barring any further land seizures from July this
year, it was established this week.

Judicial officials said the government's seizure of more farms after July 1
this year following the Supreme Court interdict was unlawful and in contempt
of the highest court in the land.

"Government clearly acted in contempt of the Supreme Court interdict," one
official said, referring to the notices to seize farms published in the
official media.

"There should not have been any more farm seizures until after the
government had proved that it had complied with the Supreme Court order
issued last year," the official said.

A constitutional law expert, Welshman Ncube, said: "Any farm seizures done
by the government after July 1 were technically unlawful and therefore in
contempt of the Supreme Court interdict."

Ncube is also shadow home affairs minister of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai is seen threatening to
unseat President Robert Mugabe in crucial presidential elections due by

Mugabe, who rejects charges of suspending the rule of law since last year
when he allowed his followers to violently occupy commercial farms
nationwide, is using the land question as his main campaign tool.

At least 35 Zimbabweans, including nine farmers, have been killed in the
ongoing violence linked to the farm occupations.

According to official statistics examined by the Financial Gazette this
week, the government served 529 notices of farm acquisitions on July 6, five
days after the Supreme Court's ruling had become operational.

Under the ruling, initially issued in November and then confirmed in
January, the government was ordered to halt any further farm seizures unless
it had produced a workable land reform programme and ended widespread
violence on farms. The court said the government's land reform plan was

The government went on to issue another notice to acquire 420 farms on July
13 and a further 234 farms were served with notices on September 7 - the
latter just a day after the government signed up to a Nigerian-brokered deal
to end Zimbabwe's farm crisis.

A total of 1 183 farms were thus listed in contempt of the Supreme Court

According to the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), whose members are bearing
the brunt of the government's illegal land reforms and accompanying farm
seizures, 25 new farm invasions have taken place since the Abuja accord.

A total of 900 of 1 150 farms under occupation nationwide are unable to
continue with normal farming operations, a situation which is bound to
create food shortages next season, the CFU warned this week.

Among the 900 farms, 200 of them are tobacco farms which cannot plant their
crop for the 2001/ 2002 season which started last Tuesday. The CFU said
about 25 percent of the irrigated tobacco crop had not been planted.

Last week and this week a reconstituted bench of the Supreme Court has been
hearing an appeal by the government over the Supreme Court's ruling in
January. The court yesterday reserved judgment in the matter.

The government, which argues that it has a lawful land reform in place, has
since complied with the earlier Supreme Court ruling and wants to continue
acquiring more farms for resettlement.

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From MBendi
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe posts profits for the second half of 2001

It was reported by The Insider that Zimbabwe’s Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, otherwise known as the Jewel Bank, has posted net profit increase from $40 million four years ago to $397 million in the half year to June 2001. Interest income increased from $2.7 billion to $3.4 billion and net income also reportedly rose 223% from $417.4 million to $1.3 billion.
Zimbabwe: Inniscor posts increase in profits by 107%
It was reported that Zimbabwe food company Innscor has had an 84% increase in sales to Z$6.9 billion. Net profit was also up 107% from Z$246.5 million to Z$510.1 million. Local sales were up as well as regional sales up 125%, accounting for 9% of total sales.

The company recorded an increase in bread sales and a decrease in fast food sales.
Zimbabwe: First Bank increases profits 363% for the first half of 2001
The Insider reported that Zimbabwe’s First Bank posted a before tax profit increase of 327% from $51.4 million to $219.5 million in the first half of 2001. Net profit was up 363% from $32.9 million to $152.3 million. First bank listed on the stock exchange in June.
Zimbabwe: Interfin Merchant Bank posts a 706% increase in net profit for the first half of 2001
Interfin Merchant Bank for Zimbabwe has reportedly posted a 706% increase in net profit from $11.5 million to $93.1 million in the first half of 2001. The Insider reported that the bank posted a 1310% increase in net interest income from $12.5 million to $176.3 million.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Seminar to develop innovative knowledge society in Zimbabwe held

Hebert Zharare

THE British Council in conjunction with the Scientific and Industrial
Research and Development Centre (SIRDC), this week held a seminar in Harare
to deliberate on the need to develop an innovative knowledge society in

The meeting brought together a group of key Zimbabwean stake-holders from
the private and public and sectors.

Some of the people who attended the meeting were secretary for education
sports and culture, Washington Mbizvo, Fortune Mhlanga, director of
informatics and electronics institute at SIRDC, Bernard Makam, assistant
resident representative of UN development programme and Nicholas Bromley of
e-business managing consultant, positive focus of UK.

Busi Dube, the SIRDC public relations manager, said this is the seventh
series of high level Horizon 2010 seminars that are organised by the British

“We live in the knowledge age, and access to information rather than capital
is the critical factor in both individual and national competitive-ness and

“Access to the right information at the right time allows individuals to
reach their full potential by providing appropriate data on education,
employment, healthcare, and citizenship,” said Dube. She said when a nation’
s citizens are optimally productive and engaged, the nation can compete on
equal terms with others in the global market.

Dube said the main driver of the knowledge age over the last two decades was
the rapid development in information and communication technologies (ICTs).

However, the benefits of ICTs were only restricted to urban areas especially
in developing countries where the majority of the country’s citizens live in
rural areas where there is no electricity.

People in rural areas send their children to understaffed, under-equipped
schools, and struggle every day to feed their families, said Dube. She said
the proliferation of ICTs will be confined to the top level of society and
the gap between informa-tion rich and information poor will increase. “There
is worrying evidence everywhere that the “digital divide” is further
marginalising the poorest of the world’s peoples.

“On the other hand, most pundits suggest that the risks of not developing an
ICT infrastructure are even greater, dooming a country to marginalisation
globally.” Among African nations, Zimbabwe scores relatively highly on the
ICT scorecard.

There are only 11 African countries with more than 20 000 Internet
subscribers and Zimbabwe is one of only 10 countries with high outgoing

However, less than one in every 50 Zimbabweans has a telephone at home and
only 13 people per 1000 own computers (in comparison, 55 South Africans per
thousand own computers, and 511 for Americans). Dube said developing an
innovative knowledge society in Zimbabwe’ will focus on practical, concrete
steps that can be taken in the various sectors to forward Zimbabwe’s agenda
in this area.
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ABC News Australia   Fri, Sep 28 2001 3:43 PM AEST

World events force CHOGM postponement

World events surrounding the attacks on the United States have postponed the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was due start in
Brisbane next week.

Organisers hope to reschedule the meeting for early next year.

Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon says the decision was taken in
consultation with world leaders, including Britain's Tony Blair, India's
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Canada's Jean Chretien and Australia's Prime Minister
John Howard.


  In spite of advanced preparations, the Commonwealth Secretariat in London
has confirmed that the Brisbane Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
will be postponed until early next year. Catherine McGrath reports.

 There's disappointment but not surprise in Brisbane, where hundreds of
workers were this morning still putting the finishing touches to the
event.Ian Townsend reports.

All are involved in decisions surrounding the attacks on America and many
were likely to be absent from the meeting.

This morning, Mr Howard toured the meeting venue in Brisbane, warning
workers that CHOGM could be postponed.

"At the moment I'd be less than honest with you if I didn't at least put
that possibility on the table, it's not something we can control," the Prime
Minister said.

Mr McKinnon says the Prime Minister is keen to host the meeting in Brisbane
early next year and will be discussing the exact timing with the Queen and
other world leaders.


The Queen's scheduled visit to Australia has also been postponed until next

As head of the Commonwealth she was due to open CHOGM, and also visit
Canberra and Adelaide.

Meanwhile, CHOGM protest organiser Karen Fletcher says the people's march,
which was scheduled to coincide with the meeting's opening, will still go

"We want to make the point that we have to have some form of social justice
in the world if we're going to prevent terrorism," Ms Fletcher said.

"We don't think a war is the answer and the focus had changed even though it
looked like CHOGM was going ahead, the focus has completely changed to


The Governor-General, Dr Peter Hollingworth, says he is disappointed CHOGM
has been cancelled.

"I share the sad feelings of those people who have spent many, many hours of
their time preparing for this event," Dr Hollingworth said.

"I simply want to say, take heart, it will happen.

"Clearly it's not propitious to hold such a large gathering of heads of
major nations throughout the world in one place at this time."
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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Media Update # 2001/38 September 17th to September 23rd, 2001

1. Summary
2. Abuja & CHOGM
3. Political Violence and Bita Farm deaths
4. Constitutional Court


The week under review witnessed increasingly hysterical attempts by the
state controlled media to convince its audiences that the government had
fulfilled its obligations to the Abuja Accord but that white farmers and
ex-Rhodesian racists resident in Australia were attempting to bury the
agreement by discrediting the government's land reforms at the upcoming
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Brisbane. In order to
reinforce this profoundly warped perspective, the state media again
abandoned all standards of ethical journalism by attributing the recent
deaths of two "settlers" on one commercial farm in Wedza to the white farm
owner who is alleged to have instructed his farm workers to attack the
settlers as they arrived to occupy allocated plots on the farm. It is
notable that the state media were able to do this by relying on police
statements and the fact that the farmer and 30 of his workers were brought
to court facing charges of murder. They have not yet been convicted. Relying
on the observation of a government official, the state Press (17/9) referred
to the incident as an attempt to discredit the government's land reform
programme and linked it to the earlier death of a settler in Odzi attributed
to a white farmer and an alleged attack on settlers by white farmers in the
Chinhoyi area which led to widespread looting. The incident provided
President Mugabe with the opportunity to warn white farmers to "stop
inciting farm workers to attack resettled farmers" Zimpapers (22/9). Thus an
impression was created that white farmers were responsible for the violence
on the farms, and The Herald's editorial (18/9) confirmed this view:
"Reports of fresh farm occupations are nothing but creations of unrepentant
white commercial farmers bent on rolling back land reforms in Zimbabwe. They
have stage-managed beatings, massive looting and now fresh farm
occupations.... as part of a wider campaign to discredit the government,"
the paper said. The privately owned Press however, provided readers with
profoundly different perspectives of the events during the week and their
political implications, including reports in two newspapers (The Financial
Gazette 20/9, and The Zimbabwe Mirror 21/9) that the settlers themselves
were responsible for the deaths of their two colleagues at Bita Farm in
Wedza, although the papers' versions of how they died differed.


In a well orchestrated campaign to promote the government's perspective of
the Abuja meeting at the expense of all other interpretation, ZBC and
Zimpapers provided extensive coverage of government officials responding to
the ruling party Politburo's endorsement of the agreement. ZTV (17/9 8pm)
quoted ZANU (PF)'s secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa saying:
"We believe that a way has been found to move forward. We also took
cognizance of the fact that now the British government has come on board to
support land reform in this country." The next morning (18/9), Zimpapers'
dailies (The Herald and The Chronicle), reported that the Politburo had
hailed "Britain's confirmation of its commitment to make a significant
contribution to a land reform programme and undertaking to encourage other
international donors to do the same...." The papers also quoted Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, saying: "The Politburo noted that the next step to
move the Abuja agreement forward is for the donor community, co- ordinated
by the prepare a project proposal for the purpose of setting up a
fund to support Zimbabwe's land reform in terms of the Abuja agreement." And
by merely referring to the conditions relating to Zimbabwe's commitment to
the agreement as "reaffirming its commitment to implement the (land reform)
exercise according to the country's constitution and laws," the paper gave
the impression that it was now up to the international community to devise a
mechanism for Britain to hand over the funds. That evening (18/9) on ZTV
(8pm) Moyo was again quoted echoing the comments of Mashonaland East
resident Governor, David Karimanzira, in the previous day's Herald blaming
white commercial farmers for stage-managing fresh farm occupations and new
incidents of violence. In the story announcing the death of two settlers on
Bita Farm in Wedza, The Herald (17/9) quoted Karimanzira responding to
recent allegations in the privately owned Press that previous incidents of
violence in his province were a result of clashes between resettled farmers
and local villagers: "These are obvious lies. Commercial farmers are
inciting their workers to stop settlers from being resettled." But the paper
never asked for any evidence to support his claims. On ZTV (18/9) Moyo was
quoted contradicting his claim of the previous week that there had been no
new farm invasions: "As far as allegations of new occupations, yes there
have been some, but these have been isolated. And some of them appear to
have been instigated by pseudo-criminal elements from some political parties
and some working in collusion with some commercial farmers who are trying to
undermine the Abuja agreement..." Moyo was not asked to provide evidence for
his claims either and nor were political parties or commercial farmers asked
to comment on them. The private press, however, highlighted the missing
ingredient from the state media's interpretation of the Abuja agreement by
explaining that unless and until the government put an end to the illegal
invasion of commercial farms and restored the rule of law, the agreement was
simply a waste of time and paper. Viewing the accord as "a God-sent
opportunity for Mugabe to tactfully retreat from his most unfortunate ego
trip without appearing to surrender or losing too much face..." an editorial
in The Daily News (22/9) explained that British funding could only be
released once Zimbabwe had fulfilled the conditions in the Abuja agreement
relating to government's obligations. In a clear response to Zimpapers'
reportage, The Daily News dismissed the Politburo's endorsement of the
agreement as a "little ceremony" meant to buy time and avert the imposition
of sanctions.  The editorial endorsed observations originally published by
The Zimbabwe Independent the previous week that President Mugabe was using
the pact as a way of avoiding hostility at CHOGM. The daily specifically
disputed the Politburo's expectations that the next step would be for the
UNDP to co- ordinate a project proposal for the hand-over of British funds,
saying that government was first obliged to restore law and order before
Zimbabwe could expect any external support. According to the paper, this
means, "disbanding Joseph Chinotimba's paramilitary group of outlaws; ending
all farm invasions; dismantling all "war veterans bases" set up
strategically all over the country; removing all illegal farm occupants;
restoring the police force's full autonomy; restoring the independence of
the Judiciary; ending the harassment of journalists and political opponents
and restoring Press freedom." Surprisingly however, The Daily News
completely ignored a parliamentary debate on the Abuja accord in which MDC
MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, defied party policy by objecting to the idea of
compensating white farmers, as reported in The Herald (20/9) and repeated on
Saturday (22/9). In its Behind the Words column, The Zimbabwe Mirror (21/9)
did not blame any political party for the violence, but insisted that war
veterans' representative, Joseph Chinotimba, should be stopped in his
violent actions. In the week under review, Zimpapers resorted to the
extensive use of anonymous "sources" and "analysts" to manufacture
propaganda about white farmers who had "teamed up" with hundreds of ex-
Rhodie racists resident in Australia to bankroll the MDC's delegation to the
CHOGM summit with plans to discredit the government and "rubbish land reform
in Zimbabwe". The paper provided no evidence to support any of these wild
claims. This first appeared in a front-page story in The Herald (20/9). The
following day, The Herald accused the Australian government of sponsoring
the travel costs of an MDC plan to send youths to CHOGM to demonstrate
against President Mugabe. It stated without a shred of corroborative
evidence that there was bitter hatred in Australia against Zimbabwe,
especially among its Cabinet ministers, and wrongly estimated the
ex-Rhodesian population in Canberra alone to be between 300 000 and 400 000
and "about 80 000" in Brisbane. It made no effort to check these figures and
no comment was sought from the Australian government or any other
identifiable source to lend this nonsense any credibility. So it was hardly
surprising that the state daily was obliged to carry a sharp rebuke in its
letters column the next day (22/9) from the Australian High Commissioner to
Zimbabwe, Jonathan Brown. He told The Herald's readers that Australia was
only sponsoring two youths from the Youth Ministry of Zimbabwe for a
separate agenda.  And, citing a 1996 census, Brown said the population of
the whole of Canberra was 307 000 and the number of all Zimbabwean-born
people living in Australia was only 8 953. MMPZ strongly condemns such crude
misinformation and the peddling of lies as fact. Despite this rebuke
however, President Mugabe took the opportunity provided by the inventions of
his own media to attack the MDC. The Herald (22/9) published the story of
the President insisting that CHOGM was a meeting for Commonwealth heads of
state and ZBC also weighed in with its own coverage of the President's
remarks. Describing the MDC leadership as 'mad men' ZTV (22/9 7am) also
quoted the President as saying, "...look at them they want to go to
Brisbane. As what? Brisbane is for heads of states and he (MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai) is not a head of state. They are sending the youths to do what?
Of course they have a lot of money to waste..." ZBC (ZTV, 21/9,8pm)
castigated the international media for reporting new farm invasions and
quoted unnamed observers saying that such reports were meant to discredit
the government ahead of the CHOGM summit. The police and the minister of
Agriculture, Joseph Made, were quoted denying the reports. However, since
Jonathan Moyo had agreed that there had been isolated new farm invasions
(see above ZTV 18/9) these denials should be dismissed as futile attempts to
create the impression that there had been no new occupations. No comment was
sought from the CFU for corroboration. But it could be found in The
Financial Gazette (20/9), which reported that violence had intensified on
the farms despite the Abuja agreement. Referring to CFU statistics, the
weekly reported that 20 new farms had been invaded since the signing of the
Abuja agreement and that 570 tobacco farms were currently affected by work
stoppages related to the land issue, resulting in a loss of US$225 million.
The paper also quoted the CFU's deputy director Gerry Grant saying: "There
is no change regarding the situation on the farms. In actual fact, there is
increased violence."


The Herald carried 11 reports of political violence in the week, eight of
them about the incident at Bita Farm. By comparison, The Daily News carried
16 far more diverse reports of political violence, including an
extraordinary attack on senior Harare City Council employees led by Joseph
Chinotimba (18/9). The Zimbabwe Independent (21/9) carried a harrowing story
about "a campaign of violence against white commercial farmers (that)
continues unabated on undesignated farms..." Quoting unnamed commercial
farmers the paper said "senior politicians were operating in cahoots with
army officers, the police and CIO officers to spread terror and evict the
farmers." It reported that CIO officers had settled on properties evacuated
by farmers and attempted to obtain comment from the CIO and the police
without success. ZBC's coverage of political violence was constructed in
such a way as to portray white commercial farmers as the perpetrators. The
state broadcaster also used the Bita Farm incident as a new phenomenon
calculated to undermine the Abuja agreement. ZANU PF officials were widely
quoted accusing farmers of instigating violence to discredit the government
in the eyes of the international community. In its initial report of the
Bita farm incident (ZTV, 17/9, 8pm), ZBC's news reader, stated that there
was confusion over how the two settlers had died, with some reports alleging
they had been murdered, while others stated that they had died in an
accident.  Any professional broadcaster would have pursued both angles. But
this was not the case at ZBC; the reporter ignored the 'accident' angle and
emphasized the 'murder' angle. A settler, war vets, Home Affairs Minister,
John Nkomo, and police spokesman, Assist. Comm. Wayne Bvudzijena, were
quoted to corroborate ZBC's stance. The incident was only reported on Radio
2/4 the following day (18/9, 8pm). One of the settlers (ZTV, 17/9, 8pm)
stated that when the settlers were attacked the police were there. But the
police were not asked why they did not intervene.  In the same bulletin
Nkomo was quoted accusing white farmers of perpetrating violence, saying,
"It is an unfortunate development given that we had hoped that the farmers
were now ready to reconcile and of course, given that we just had the Abuja
understanding...and some farmers still assign themselves that task of being
violent" The farmers were not given the right of reply. The Herald that day
(17/9) only reported that police in Marondera and Harare had confirmed the
attack and merely stated, without any attribution, that the settlers had
been stoned to death in a stampede after the windscreen of the truck they
were in had been shattered. MMPZ condemns the publication of such serious
allegations without any corroboration whatsoever. Bvudzijena was also quoted
(ZTV, 20/9, 8pm) accusing commercial farmers of perpetrating violence,
further reinforcing ZANU PF's stance without being questioned by the
national broadcaster to provide some evidence for his claims: "We will like
to believe that some of these incidences are calculated to uphold that
notion that there is no rule of law in the country. We find entrenched
positions particularly by the white farmers whom, in our opinion and from a
policing perspective, would not like to release the land hence create
situations where violence erupts..." Mugabe went a step further and warned
the farmers not to take the law into their own hands by evicting resettled
farmers (all radio and ZTV, 21/9, 8pm). Implications of such threats were
not subjected to any interrogation by ZBC or Zimpapers, which carried his
threats the next day. Zimpapers' first report of the Bita Farm incident
(17/9), gratuitously stated that "The latest attacks on resettled farmers by
commercial farmers fly in the face of both Abuja and SADC initiatives to see
an amicable end to the country's land crisis." The Financial Gazette
however, rekindled ZBC's 'accident' angle to the Bita Farm incident. Quoting
the farmer's son, Peter, the paper reported that the resettled farmers had
been sent to attack his father. The source also said that those who had died
had fallen off a truck and were crushed to death in a stampede. This theory
was partly supported by evidence in a Zimbabwe Mirror story (21/9), which
quoted guards at the farm as saying that one of the settlers had been
crushed when one of the trucks bringing them had run him over by accident,
while the second was axed to death by a colleague who had mistaken him for a
farm worker. Zimpapers (21/9) carried an article quoting Minister Moyo
denying the existence of any violence in Zimbabwe, which he described as
"phantom." The incident also resulted in the assault of journalists. The
Daily News (18/9) gave front-page prominence to the assault of its news
crew, reportedly by farm invaders, and merely reported the deaths and
injuries at the farm at the end of its story. The paper reported that the
news crew was accused of being sent by the MDC and the British and that The
Daily News was "scuttling" government's land reforms. Significantly however,
the paper did not report that the news team had misrepresented themselves as
coming from The Herald. In an attempt to justify the attack, The Herald
picked up the story the next day, blaming the victims for having invited
their assault by lying about which news organization they belonged to.
Quoting villagers, it was reported that The Daily News journalists had
falsely introduced themselves as Herald reporters. In both reports, the army
presence was referred to without questioning their role in the land


The judiciary returned to the headlines during the week; this time as a
result of the government's application to have its current fast track
resettlement programme endorsed by the Supreme Court, sitting as a
constitutional tribunal. The story received wide coverage in the media when
it took on controversial proportions after the CFU's legal representative,
Adrian de Bourbon, had requested that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
recuse himself from hearing the application. Initially, The Daily News
(18/9) reported that Chidyausiku had sidelined three of the country's most
senior judges who had opposed the present manifestation of land reform. It
also provided background to the application. The Daily News (20/9) simply
reported the heated exchanges in the proceedings of the court during which
De Bourbon earned the ire of the Bench when he accused the Chief Justice of
being biased in favour of the government's present land reforms. He also
questioned why Chidyausiku had not selected the three most senior judges to
hear the application. But unforgivably, The Daily News (21/9) failed to
report the second day's proceedings at all; the case simply disappeared from
the paper, except for a rather clumsy comment reminding its readers that
government's campaign to remove Chidyausiku's predecessor had contained
racist sentiments. The Herald (20/9) also carried a detailed report of the
first day's proceedings under the front-page headline, CFU Application
Dismissed, which also contained Chidyausiku's assertion that remarks in the
CFU affidavit were "absolute (sic) racist". And the state daily continued to
follow the proceedings on it front page the following day. But earlier, The
Herald (19/9) set the tone of the debate before the hearing had even started
when it discovered the CFU's application.  It quoted unnamed "legal experts"
"a senior white judge" and "a diplomatic source" to construct an argument
that the CFU's efforts to have the Chief Justice recuse himself was racist
and that the selection of Supreme Court judges and their objectivity were
more open to question before Chidyausiku became Chief Justice. The Zimbabwe
Independent (21/9) however, set the record straight with an incisive and
irrefutable editorial that brought together the rationale for the violence
on the farms, the selective activities of the police and the bias of the
judiciary under the headline, Courts Can No Longer Uphold Rights. It pointed
out that two of the judges appointed to hear the government's application
"...are listed by the Ministry of Lands as recipients of leases of land
originally earmarked for peasant resettlement. In other words, they are
beneficiaries of government patronage in a scheme riddled with controversy."
"What we have in Zimbabwe now is the appearance of law without the
substance," the editorial noted and concluded: "Whether the courts are any
longer able to defend the democratic rights of Zimbabweans remains to be
seen. Going by this week's proceedings this looks unlikely." But while the
upper echelons of the judiciary are now clearly mired in controversy,
persistent reports in the privately owned Press in recent weeks indicate
that there are magistrates who are resolutely standing up to the pressure
that is being brought to bear on the judicial system. In the week under
review, The Daily News (19/9) reported that Harare magistrate Weston
Nyamwanza refused to place on remand the MDC's vice-chairman of Mashonaland
Central on allegations of attempting to murder a ZANU PF supporter in
Bindura in the run-up to the by-election there. The paper reported that the
police arrested the man the previous week despite the fact that Bindura
magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, had thrown out the State's request to place
him and six other MDC members on remand in July, facing a lesser charge of
public violence over the same incident. Nyamwanza was reported as accusing
the police of treating the judicial system as a "shopping forum for
magistrates". The incident related to an attack on MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai's convoy in Bindura, which the state media originally described
as an MDC attack on a ZANU PF base in the constituency. The story follows an
earlier report in The Zimbabwe Independent (14/9) of the previous week of a
Bulawayo magistrate accusing senior police officers in Matabeleland of
"panel-beating" a case in order to prosecute three MDC security officers who
were arrested and detained on the eve of the Bulawayo mayoral election on
charges of illegally possessing weapons, described by the police as "arms of
war". Despite evidence submitted to the court that the MDC had provided
licences for the weapons to the police at the time, the state media reported
that the police had found "massive arms caches" at the homes of the accused.
The paper reported provincial magistrate, John Masimba, as saying:
"Actually, there was a lot of panel-beating in this case in a bid to enable
the state to prosecute the accused. Most of the evidence in this case is
incoherent...I do not see any reason why this court should not grant bail to
the three accused because, according to the evidence...this case is not as
serious as the police want it to appear." The state media has made no effort
to report these cases to correct the impressions it first gave its audiences
at the time the incidents occurred. MMPZ condemns the complicity of the
police in its biased and selective conduct and the state media for
perpetuating these unbalanced and shameful efforts by the police to subvert

The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and distributed by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare,
Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
Send all correspondence to the Project Coordinator.
Feel free to circulate this report

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From The Age, Melbourne

Australia urged to monitor Zimbabwe elections

Source: AAP|Published: Thursday September 27, 1:44 PM

Australia needed to press the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to
push for monitors in Zimbabwe to ensure a free and fair election there, MPs
were told today.

A delegation from Zimbabwe, including farmer Vernon Nicolle, journalist
Benhilda Chanetsa and economist John Robertson, said sanctions against
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe may be needed if next year's election was

Members of the group met government and opposition MPs to highlight the
situation in Zimbabwe, where Mr Mugabe has seized whiteowned farms and
returned them to socalled veterans of the independence war of the late

That process and the accompanying breakdown of law and order has been
condemned by Zimbabwe's opposition parties and independent press and by
African and western nations.

Mr Mugabe says he will attend CHOGM in Brisbane from October 69 but it
remains unclear whether he will actually turn up to confront the expected
avalanche of criticism.

Ms Chanetsa, a reporter with the independent weekly The Standard, said she
and her colleagues faced routine intimidation, threats and violence for
reporting the government's activities.

"It should be stressed we need a free and fair election so election monitors
are important," she said.

"If we don't have a free and fair election, some kind of sanctions are going
to have to be imposed on Zimbabwe."

She said one type of sanction which would not harm the already suffering
Zimbabwean people would be restrictions on travel to foreign countries by Mr
Mugabe and members of his government.

Presidential elections are due to be held in Zimbabwe early next year.

Mr Nicolle said Mr Mugabe had become a dictator and he would almost
certainly lose office in a free and fair election.

"We feel that the only way to bring these people to book is by freezing
their bank accounts. They have got millions," he said.

"It goes beyond him. His henchmen are there as well."

Mr Robertson said those occupying the farms would become subsistence
farmers, having no title to the land, paying no wages and salaries to former
farm workers and exporting no produce.

He said the nation's food production was falling and up to a million people
faced starvation.

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From The Daily News

UK Zanu PF sponsor charged with murder

9/26/01 7:19:54 AM (GMT +2)

Conrad Nyamutata Chief Reporter

Millionaire landlord and property developer, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, a
friend of President Mugabe, was formally charged with the murder of a former
business associate in Britain on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom reported yesterday that Van
Hoogstraten, 58, had been arrested, questioned and bailed by officers from
the serious crime group of the Metropolitan Police two months ago.
He was arrested as part of their investigation into the contract killing of
Mohammed Raja, 62, a wealthy businessman who was shot and stabbed at his
home in Sutton, Surrey, in July 1999.

On Monday, Van Hoogstraten arrived at Bexleyheath police station, south-east
Detectives charged him with murder and conspiracy to murder. He was due to
appear before Bexley magistrates yesterday.
Police questioned him in July after they found that Raja was suing him over
a business dispute. Raja, who had recently retired, was attacked by two
masked men on his doorstep.
A van thought to have been used by the killers was found abandoned.

In March, David Croke, 58, unemployed, from Brighton, was charged with
murdering Raja. He is in custody awaiting trial.
Last year, the British tycoon said he was funding individual Zanu PF
politicians in return for the safety of his properties in Zimbabwe. He says
he has funded Zanu PF since the 1960s when he acquired land in Zimbabwe.
Van Hoogstraten, according to The Daily Telegraph, has become notorious as a
landlord and for his clashes with ramblers after blocking public footpaths
at Framfield, East Sussex.

When the leisure walkers complained that he had blocked rights of way with
barbed wire, he condemned them as “scum” and the “great unwashed”. He
flouted court orders to reopen the paths and his former company,
Rarebargain, which owns the land, has failed to pay £15 000
(Z$1 200 000) in fines.

Van Hoogstraten made his money from property ownership in Britain, including
hotels, and from mining in Zimbabwe. He has a fortune estimated at £185
million (Z$14,8 billion) and owns many properties, particularly in Hove, UK.

He has five children sired with three women and owns homes in America,
France, Zimbabwe and the West Indies. He is rated as Britain¹s 140th richest
man. He is building a £40 million (Z$3,2 billion) mansion at Framfield,
which is said to be the most expensive new home in Britain. In Zimbabwe, it
is understood he owns nine farms, covering 400 000 hectares.
He is a friend of Mugabe and has supported his land seizure programme. Last
year, Van Hoogstraten said he was one of Zanu PF¹s long-standing financial
backers. “I am in bed with his Zanu PF party,” he said of Mugabe.

He boasted that none of his farms would be designated, and has branded
Zimbabwean commercial farmers “white trash”.
However, two of his farms, Eastdale Estates in Masvingo and Essexvale Ranch
in Matabeleland North, have been designated for compulsory acquisition.
Cephas Msipa, the Midlands Governor, said Van Hoogstraten had agreed to hand
over the whole of Central Estates in the Midlands, and Hayhill Farm in
Matabeleland South. His five properties, with 28 000 cattle, were, however,
invaded by people claiming to be war veterans late last year.
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From  the independent (UK)

Talks over Zimbabwe land grabs collapse in deadlock

By Angus Shaw, AP, in Harare
27 September 2001

Talks between white farmers and the Zimbabwean government over land seizures
and lawlessness on farms have collapsed in deadlock, both sides said

Adrian de Bourbon, the lawyer for the Commercial Farmers Union, said a
meeting late on Monday with Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, had
made no progress. Officials at the union, which represents 4,000 white
farmers, hoped to discuss with Mr Chinamasa efforts to implement a deal
brokered earlier this month by mediators in Abuja, Nigeria, to end violence
and restore the rule of law.

Mr de Bourbon told the Supreme Court in Harare: "In light of the attitude of
the Minister of Justice, it is regretted no progress was made at all."

The court had adjourned a hearing on Friday in which the government sought
to overturn a ruling in December last year that its programme to seize
white-owned farmland for redistribution to landless blacks was illegal. The
court had asked both sides to hold talks on the Abuja deal, reached on 6
September, as a way of resolving their differences and possibly to soften
the acrimonious legal case involving the government's plan to seize 4,500

The State Attorney, Bharat Patel, said yesterday he had hoped that would
happen but added, "it seems there is a divide that cannot be bridged".

The deal, put together by ministers of the Commonwealth of Britain and its
former territories, called for law and order to be restored in farming
districts in return for aid from Britain and other donors.

President Robert Mugabe had promised to abide by the accord, but others
doubted whether he could rein in violence by the ruling Zanu-PF party
militants, who have illegally occupied 1,700 white-owned farms since March

Two weeks after Abuja, militants' intimidation of farm labourers had led to
a shutdown of about 500 white-owned farms. The union said that thousands of
farm workers had been driven from their homes and a further 21 properties
had been occupied by militants.

Mr Mugabe, who left on Tuesday for a trip to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam
before a Commonwealth summit in Brisbane, Australia, on 6 October, is
expected to be asked to report to Commonwealth leaders on his compliance
with the land agreement.

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From The Times (UK)


Mugabe sidelines promised land pact


PRESIDENT MUGABE has taken advantage of the terrorist attacks on America to
tighten his grip on Zimbabwe.
As the pressure on him to honour pledges made at the Commonwealth meeting in
Abuja has eased, he has stepped up the onslaught against his opponents and
has barely implemented a deal brokered by Nigeria on his country’s land

Lawyers for the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) disclosed yesterday that the
Government had cut short the negotiations with white farmers over the
implementation of the Abuja deal, as urged by the Supreme Court.

Adrian de Bourbon, representing the CFU, said that there had been “no
progress at all” in a meeting on Monday between senior union officials and
Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister.

The Supreme Court, where the CFU is again contesting the Government’s
illegal seizures of land, had urged both parties to open dialogue along the
lines of the accord drafted by Commonwealth foreign ministers on September
6. The agreement commits Zimbabwe to restoring the rule of law to the
battered white farming areas and to carrying out legal and sustainable land

“The CFU hoped to be able to pursue discussions which could lead to the
implementation of the Abuja accord and to engage Government in domestic
dialogue,” Mr de Bourbon said, “but in the light of the attitude of the
Minister of Justice, it is regretted that no progress was made at all and
the door was closed to approaches to others in Government.”

Bharat Patel, the Deputy Attorney-General, confirmed that there was “a
divide which cannot be bridged” between the two parties. He said that he had
a “very different perception” of how Monday’s meeting had gone, but did not

In court, neither Mr de Bourbon nor CFU officials would give further details
of the meeting, but legal sources said that Mr Chinamasa “was not interested
in Abuja”. They said that he had ordered the union not to try to open talks
with other senior government figures.

Mr de Bourbon pointed out to the court that five southern African
Presidents, at a meeting in Harare on September 11, had endorsed the Abuja
agreement and demanded that Zimbabwe hold talks with civic bodies in
Zimbabwe, including the CFU.

Mr Chinamasa’s attitude appears to confirm doubts about Zimbabwe’s sincerity
when the agreement was concluded. Critics say that violence and intimidation
is Mr Mugabe’s only strategy for presidential elections due by March and the
implementation of Abuja would mean defeat for him. “It looks like he’ll drag
it out for as long as possible before (the Commonwealth summit in)
 Brisbane,” a Western diplomat said.

It took Mr Mugabe more than two weeks to put the agreement before his
Cabinet and the senior officials of his ruling Zanu (PF) party. At the
weekend, after a meeting with the party central committee, he told the state
press that the Government “was not placing all its hopes on the pact”.

Far from displaying any immediate intention to end 19 months of lawlessness
on white-owned farms, Mr Mugabe said that the Government “would be able to
take a position on compliance” only after a nationwide “education process”
to explain the deal.

Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, accused the Australian Government
of barring his entry to Brisbane to campaign for the arrest of President
Mugabe at the Commonwealth summit over fears that he would cause a
diplomatic incident.
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Minister Pushes for Devaluation

UN Integrated Regional Information Network

September 28, 2001
Posted to the web September 28, 2001

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Simba Makoni will in two weeks present to
cabinet recommendations for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, the
'Zimbabwe Independent' said on Friday.

The report said the attempt by Makoni to convince cabinet to sanction a
devaluation of the local dollar against the US dollar would be the third by
the minister in three months following foiled attempts vigorously resisted
by President Robert Mugabe and his colleagues in June.

It added that the reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba had submitted
recommendations to Makoni for a devaluation after complaints by airline
representatives and bankers following threats that the government wanted to
impose strict sanctions on the foreign exchange market. The government has
banned airlines from quoting their fares in parallel market rates which had
soared to 350 Zimbabwe dollars against the US dollar compared to the
official exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar. Mugabe's
cabinet supporters have in the past argued that a devaluation of the
currency would be an act of economic sabotage.
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BBC: Friday, 28 September, 2001, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
'Democratic' constitution for Zimbabwe
Launch of the new constitution
The NCA says existing electoral laws favour Zanu-PF
By our reporter in Harare

A coalition of churches, civic groups, political parties and students has launched a ''democratic'' draft constitution demanding that it be adopted before next year's presidential elections.

The most serious problem in our current constitution is an all-powerful president with all sorts of powers

Douglas Mwonzora
NCA spokesman

The NCA spearheaded the successful campaign against a new constitution in February 2000, which gave President Robert Mugabe his first ever electoral defeat.

'We are headed for exciting times,'' said Lovemore Madhuku, National Constitutional Assembly chairperson and constitutional law expert.

The NCA said it will campaign against any party that rejects the draft constitution in next year's presidential elections and could even encourage mass protests.

Ceremonial president

''If any person believes that this current constitution will deliver change, then that person is mad. It is not up to the government to decide but up to the people to decide,'' said Mr Madhuku.

NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku
Madhuku won the 2000 referendum and now he is on the campaign trail again

The key change in the NCA constitution is to limit the president to two, five-year terms of office and reduce his powers.

Under the current constitution, there is no limit to the number of terms a president can serve. Robert Mugabe, 77, has ruled the country since independence in 1980.

The NCA document also proposes reverting to the system of a ceremonial president, as Zimbabwe had immediately after independence.

No confidence

The prime minister would have more executive powers but he would be accountable to parliament, which would be able to pass a vote of no confidence in the government.

Man holding NCA constitution
Can this document change Zimbabwe?

''The most serious problem in our current constitution is an all-powerful president with all sorts of powers,'' according to Douglas Mwonzora, NCA spokesperson.

For the next two months, the public will study and debate the proposals.

Still up for discussion are the issues of abortion, dual citizenship and the funding of political parties.

After the final draft has been endorsed, it will be presented to the Government of Zimbabwe with a demand that it be enacted into law.

Opposition front

But having the dismissed the NCA as front for the opposition MDC party, the government is unlikely to accept the constitution, especially as its own draft was rejected in last February's referendum.

Police wanted to ban the launch and monitored it closely

The violent invasion of white-owned farms began just days after the referendum result was announced.

Zimbabwe has not had a popular constitution since gaining independence from Britain in 1980, following a protracted liberation struggle against the rebel Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith.

The country has been operating on the cease fire document, signed at Lancaster House in Britain in 1979.

Both the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition agree that the Lancaster House constitution is heavily flawed,

Truth and reconciliation

''The draft guarantees a multi-party system based on regular, free and fair elections. To achieve this ideal, the bill of rights provides a set of political rights and the draft creates a truly independent electoral commission to manage the whole electoral process,'' said Mr Mwonzora.

Political analysts in Zimbabwe say a skewed electoral playing field has helped the ruling party dominate all elections held since independence in 1980.

If this draft is accepted, a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be put in place.

Its functions would be to investigate matters relating to past human rights abuses which include:

  • the use of armed force internally within the country,
  • the exercise of the powers to prosecute persons fro crime,
  • the use of presidential powers to pardon offenders.

The government has been accused of gross human rights abuses while some people with close links to top political leadership have been freed from jail under controversial presidential pardons.

For instance, when bodyguards of Vice President Simon Muzenda shot and injured Patrick Kombayi, an opposition party candidate, the two were later released under a presidential pardon.

And following the violence associated with last year's parliamentary elections, Mr Mugabe announced an amnesty for all political crimes except murder, rape and fraud.

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Newsline America
Zimbabweans in US set up funeral fund

Maggie Mzumara
Financial Gazette: 9/27/01 5:49:37 PM (GMT +2)

NEW YORK-Caught unprepared once, the Zimbabwean community in Lansing, Michigan, has vowed it will be prepared the next time if and when a similar inevitability occurs.

Following the death of one from their community, Douglas Nyandoro Madzudzo in July, Zimbabweans in this community have rallied together to form what they are calling the Zimbabwe Fund to help in the wake of death in this, a foreign land, where most Zimbabweans live with virtually no relatives and not enough money put aside for emergencies.

"The Zimbabwean community residing mostly in Lansing and surrounding areas brought up this idea as reality sank in," said Charles Kahari, chairman of the fund.

Kahari was also a cousin to the late Nyandoro.

"With the present number of the student population, it is inevitable that death within our community will at one time or another occur. The idea is to take a pro-active stand."

Transport bodies

According to Kahari, the objective of the fund is to transport bodies of members for burial back home should they meet their death while in the US.

"It is for the sole purpose of repatriating the dead for burial at home. The fund will meet all costs involved in shipping the deceased back to Zimbabwe," Kahari said adding that it was important to note that the fund is not for people going home to attend funerals there. However, members could borrow with no interest charged from the funds to enable them to go and attend other deaths of immediate relatives at home.

Led by a seven-member committee of mature Zimbabwean men and women, the Zimbabwe Fund has put in place measures to ensure accountability and integrity of the group.

Registration fee

Started in July and registered as a non-profit organisation, the Zimbabwe Fund currently has well over 40 members. The number is expected to grow into several hundreds as the information about the fund spreads.

"It is open to all Zimbabweans in different parts of the United States, and we encourage any interested individuals or familes to join," Kahari said.

The group operates on monthly membership dues at different rates for individuals and families. There is also a one-time registration fee.

Following Madzudzo's death, Zimbabweans in Lansing demonstrated an unprecedented unity and effort in their community, and together with the Madzudzo relatives from back home were able to come up with enough to bury the deceased.

Handle the problem

"When Douglas passed away we realised, perhaps for the first time for most of us, that none of us had prepared ourselves to handle the problem of death in a foreign land, that is why we all thought it would be a good idea to form the fund that will cover us if a problem of this nature falls on any one of us," said Vengai Govereh, a Lansing Zimbabwean who is also a registered member of the Zimbabwe Fund.

Lansing has one of the largest Zimbabwean communities in the US. Texas, North Carolina, Boston and Lowell in Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia and Indiana, among others, also have substantial Zimbabwean populations.

Terrorist attacks

According to the Zimbabwean ambassador to the US, Simbi Mubako, there are about 5 000 Zimbabweans in America.

So far this year, there have been four known Zimbabwean deaths in the US, including Madzudzo.

There was Andrew Muzanembi Mutizira who passed away beginning of this year at the US/Canada border; another Zimbabwean who died in Texas and lately the engineer at Pentagon who was caught up in the terrorist attacks on the US two weeks ago.

According to Tichaona Jokonya, Zimbabwean ambassador to the United States with the United Nations mission in New York, of the seven Zimbabweans presumed caught up in the terrorist attacks, the engineer at Pentagon was the only one confirmed dead.

Five others, suspected of being in the attacked buildings were confirmed safe and alive. Only one was yet to be confirmed either alive safe, injured or dead.

Still hopeful

"We can confirm that five of our children are safe. We still have to confirm the other one. Efforts have not been exhausted yet for that individual's whereabouts and so we are still hopeful," Jokonya said.

Meanwhile Ambassador Mubako is appealing to Zimbabweans to register with the embassy as soon as they arrive in the US.

"It helps in situations like death. That way we are more able to locate the deceased or to liaise with relatives back in Zimbabwe in arranging for the transportation of the body," Mubako said.

When relatives contacted the embassy with names of family members they feared dead in the terrorist attacks, the embassy experienced some initial challenges in obtaining information and location of the individuals as it (the embassy) had no prior information of their whereabouts.

Mailing list

"If our citizens are registered and are on our mailing list it becomes easier," he said.

What most Zimbabweans don't know, and Ambassador Mubako wants them to know is that in the event of death, the body cannot be released to Zimbabwe without some documents from the embassy and also in the event of brushes with the law, of which there is currently a number of such cases with the embassy right now, police contact the embassy.

Police cases the embassy is handling right now for Zimbabweans include Zimbabweans caught without proper visa documents, theft, fraud, drugs and other such like.

Zimbabweans in the US interested in registering with the embassy can contact it on telephone (202) 332-7100 or visit them at their web site at

And those interested in either membership or more information about the Zimbabwe Fund you can contact the chairman at or the spokesman at

Maggie mzumara is a Zimbabwean journalist, writer and social commentator currently based in New York. She can be contacted on email:

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ZIMBABWE: Makoni pushes for devaluation

JOHANNESBURG, 28 September (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Simba Makoni will in two weeks present to cabinet recommendations for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, the 'Zimbabwe Independent' said on Friday.

The report said the attempt by Makoni to convince cabinet to sanction a devaluation of the local dollar against the US dollar would be the third by the minister in three months following foiled attempts vigorously resisted by President Robert Mugabe and his colleagues in June.

It added that the reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba had submitted recommendations to Makoni for a devaluation after complaints by airline representatives and bankers following threats that the government wanted to impose strict sanctions on the foreign exchange market. The government has banned airlines from quoting their fares in parallel market rates which had soared to 350 Zimbabwe dollars against the US dollar compared to the official exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar. Mugabe's cabinet supporters have in the past argued that a devaluation of the currency would be an act of economic sabotage.
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ZIMBABWE: Donors won't fund illegal land reform - EU

JOHANNESBURG, 28 September (IRIN) - Donors said they would not fund an illegal land reform programme despite comments by Zimbabwean government officials this week that the donor community would support its fast-track land reform programme, the 'Zimbabwe Independent' said on Friday.

This week information minister Jonathan Moyo, in a televised programme on the Abuja agreement, said that money would be "forthcoming" to support the current land programme. On Thursday the European Union, one of the key multilateral donors, said there had been no commitment to support the fast-track land reform programme, the newspaper reported.

EU spokesman in Harare Alex Kremer was quoted as saying that the EU would support a fair, transparent and sustainable programme. "The European Commission recognises the inequity of Zimbabwe's agrarian structure, its historical origin and the need to redress the imbalance," said Kremer. "It agrees that land reform can contribute to poverty reduction and is essential for stability. The EC would therefore support land reform, including non-governmental initiatives, provided that these are
implemented in a transparent, fair and sustainable manner, with respect for the law, broadened stakeholder as well as beneficiary participation and the inclusion of community-based land-redistribution initiatives," he said.

In reference to whether or not the current land reform programme met with EU requirements, he said: "We are not currently able to fund a programme."

Meanwhile, the British High Commission said on Thursday that funding would only be made available to support a legal land reform programme. Spokesman Richard Lindsay said Abuja was very clear that Zimbabwe should proceed on the basis of a legal agrarian process. "We would fund a programme that is legal and that is clearly stated in Abuja. The Supreme Court has said the fast-track is illegal," he was quoted as saying. Lindsay said the Zimbabwe government appeared to have a "different interpretation" of Abuja from everybody else.
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ZIMBABWE: Police defy court order, ban demonstration

JOHANNESBURG, 28 September (IRIN) - Zimbabwe police on Friday ignored court orders and illegally squashed a demonstration in Harare by a pro-democracy group launching a proposed new national constitution, news reports said.

Reports said that about 150 riot police, armed with teargas and batons and backed up by dogs, sealed off all entrances to the capital's central Africa Unity square where the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) was to launch the new draft document.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku obtained a court order instructing police not to interfere with the demonstration, but the officer in charge of police at the square refused to accept it.

The NCA earlier this week notified police of their intention to hold the march to launch the new draft constitution, NCA officials were quoted as saying. "The notification was as a matter of courtesy, because demonstrations are a constitutional right and there is no provision in Zimbabwean law for police to interfere with them unless they turn violent," an NCA  official said.
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From The Guardian (UK), 28 September

Commonwealth deal fails to halt farm invasions

Harare - More than 20 fresh farm invasions have taken place in Zimbabwe in the three weeks since a Nigerian-brokered agreement was supposed to have put an end to the illegal land seizures by supporters of President Robert Mugabe. Violence or threats of violence have halted farming operations on more than 900 farms, according to the Commercial Farmers' Union which represents the country's white farmers. It says that the work stoppages will exacerbate Zimbabwe's food shortages. With the collapse of talks between Mr Mugabe's government and the farmers this week, the Commonwealth agreement thrashed out in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, was "a dead letter", a political analyst, Masipula Sithole, said. "Mugabe is flouting it shamelessly and has no intention of keeping up his side of the bargain," he said. "He is challenging the Commonwealth to do something about hold him to his promises to uphold good governance, the rule of law and human rights."

The Abuja agreement called for Mr Mugabe to stop his followers from illegally invading farms and spreading political violence. In return for the restoration of the rule of law, the British government said it would provide substantial funds for land redistribution. The farmers' union had welcomed the agreement but is now frustrated following the collapse on Wednesday of talks with the government about the implementation of the accord's principles, such as an end to violence and the removal of the invaders from farms not officially designated for seizure. The justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was "intractable" on the issues and said the government had no intention of taking steps to implement the agreement, sources close to the talks said. Zimbabwe's supreme court adjourned on Wednesday after hearing government arguments that the court should overturn an earlier decision that ordered a halt to all compulsory farm seizures until a plan for orderly land redistribution was produced. A "new look" supreme court is considering the case, with a new chief justice and three new judges, all of whom are known to be ardent supporters of Mr Mugabe. Two of the judges have been named as leasing valuable state land originally acquired for the resettlement of poor black peasants.

Neither Mr Mugabe nor any other cabinet minister has publicly urged a halt to the violence or farm invasions. The government maintains that it has always followed the rule of law and does not need to change its policies to abide by the Abuja accord. The information minister, Jonathan Moyo, said on television this week that there was "no such condition in the agreement". The foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, told MPs last week that as soon as Britain provided funds for the purchase of farms, the violence would stop of its own accord. "That was not the agreement reached in Abuja," a Commonwealth diplomat who was present at those talks said. "The Mugabe government was told in no uncertain terms that things must change, and that it must stop illegal farm invasions and political violence. We do not see any movement towards that on the ground." In last weekend's Chikomba by-election, a school headmaster who had been accused of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was beaten to death, and scores of others were beaten and tortured, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum.

From The Cape Argus (SA), 27 September

Carry out spirit of Abuja deal, urges Pallo

African National Congress member of parliament Pallo Jordan, in a hard-hitting motion in parliament, chastised Zimbabwe's Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo for saying that his country did not agree to curb violence on farms. In a notice of motion in the national assembly on Wednesday, Jordan noted statements by Moyo on the Abuja agreement and the effect that the "extra-legal" farm invasions were having on the economies of Zimbabwe and the region. He called on the Zimbabwean government to "follow the letter and the spirit of the Abuja agreement" to restore stability in Zimbabwe and the region. Under the agreement, Zimbabwe agreed to curb violence on the farms in exchange for British financing of its land reform scheme. Moyo said: "There is no such condition in the agreement."

From The Star (SA), 27 September

Murder-accused Zim farmer freed on bail

Harare - A white Zimbabwean farmer, accused of inciting violence and being an accessory in a murder case, was freed on bail on Thursday, but about 30 of his workers remain in jail, awaiting trial, legal sources say. John Bibby, 70, was granted bail by a High Court, but his workers were still being held as defence lawyers awaited instructions. Bibby's lawyer Ray Passaportis said that the defendant had been ordered to stay away from the farms for the next four weeks, to surrender his passport, to report to police once a week and pay a cash deposit of Z$20 000 as part of the bail conditions. The farmer and his workers last week appeared in court and were formally charged with the murder of two people who had just been resettled at Bita farm nearly two weeks ago.

"The position is that they (workers) are still being detained and no bail application has been instituted yet," a legal source said. Police accused Bibby's workers of beating to death two of the people who went to his farm, about 100km east of the capital, to take possession of land which had been allocated to them under controversial government reforms. But the workers said the two were run over by a car that was ferrying newly resettled people. Passaportis said it was unclear why police held Bibby for 12 days but claiming they did not have any evidence of his involvement in the unrest at his farm. "They had actually no evidence for holding him, the only evidence they have is that the district administrator in Hwedza believes that he was involved and believes that he ordered his workforce to attack," he said.

Violence on Zimbabwe's white-owned farms has been common since February 2000 when war veterans and pro-government supporters launched a campaign to invade and occupy farms in a bid to correct colonial imbalances in land ownership. Scores of people – black and white - have been killed in the violence that has also been linked to political developments in the country. International and regional diplomatic bids to restore order on the farms have so far proved fruitless.

From The Daily News, 27 September

58 UZ students arrested

Fifty-eight University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students were arrested on Wednesday night after they went on a rampage, destroying property worth thousands of dollars on the campus. Graham Hill, the UZ Vice-Chancellor, yesterday said the student body would foot the cost of repairing the damage. He threatened to close the halls of residence. The students say they are not happy with the high tuition fees that the government intends to introduce as well as the erratic disbursement of their pay-outs.

Emmanuel Mbofana, a student, was seriously injured after he jumped from the first floor when the riot police fired teargas into the halls of residence while several sustained minor injuries. Eddison Madondo, a Students’ Representative Council member, said Charles Mugaviri, the UZ Dean of Students, rushed the injured students to Parirenyatwa Hospital where they were treated and discharged. Madondo said the campus fracas started after the students clashed with the institution’s security guards. He said: "Students were coming in from Mount Pleasant Hall where they had expressed their displeasure over the recent suspension of some students and the pending increase of tuition fees. When we got into the campus, the security guards descended on them. The guards were overwhelmed and after about an hour the riot police came and started throwing teargas canisters at the students."

The students, said Madondo, then began destroying window panes in some halls of residence, the campus post office and one of the kitchens. When The Daily News visited the campus yesterday, the post office was closed and some students, fearing further violence, were leaving, luggage in hand. Innocent Mupara, the Students’ Representative Council president who was expelled recently, but has appealed to the High Court against the ruling, said Hill’s reaction would not help the situation. He said: "All the students want is a clear policy on pay-outs and tuition fees. The threat is meant to divide us." Meanwhile, 26 students at the Bindura University of Science Education were arrested after they blocked the Harare-Bindura road. The students, who were due to appear in court yesterday, allegedly stoned a bus resulting in their arrest.

From ZWNEWS: The UZ incident took place on Tuesday, not Wednesday, evening.

From The Daily News, 27 September

MP quizzes Nkomo over $28m CIO fraud

Pearson Mbalekwa, the MP for Zvishavane, yesterday asked John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, to explain to Parliament why the government is dragging its feet in dealing with a fraud case involving over $28 million in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Mbalekwa sought to know why nothing had been done to the former CIO deputy director-general, Lovemore Mukandi, who was allegedly involved in the fraud case involving the construction of five "safe houses". The Mukandi issue caused serious divisions within the CIO with the President eventually dismissing him together with his boss, Shadreck Chipanga, now the MP for Makoni East. The Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, however, ruled the Zanu PF MP out of order, saying such a question was not a policy issue, therefore, it could not be asked during the "questions without notice" section. MDC MPs shouted Mbalekwa would be dismissed from Zanu PF for asking such questions.

"I’m sure you remember a case of fraud in 1998 involving about $28 million," said Mbalekwa. "What has happened to this case?" But Mbalekwa will have to re-introduce his question with notice to the relevant minister. In July last year the Attorney General’s Office said it was still investigating the docket implicating Mukandi in the fraud case with the amount pegged at $17 million and this was nine months after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had completed investigations. The CIO first instituted its own investigations into the matter in 1998 before handing the matter over to the CID. Also allegedly involved in the case are David Nyabando, a former chief administration officer in the CIO, Ricky Nelson Silvern Yeukai Mubvumbi-Mawere, the organisation’s former chief transport officer, and businessman Mohamed Ahmed Meman. They allegedly defrauded the organisation of over $17 million between June 1996 and July 1998.

From ZWNEWS, 28 September

Civil rights activists urge West to set October deadline for Mugabe

Three leading Zimbabwe civil rights activists on a tour to London, Brussels and Washington are urging Western countries to set a five-week deadline for President Robert Mugabe’s government to implement conditions for free and fair elections. "When a state fails to protect its citizens or protects them selectively, this is anarchy," University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe told a meeting Thursday evening at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London. "We are close to anarchy – some would say we already have it." Makumbe, along with former ZIPA guerrilla leader Wilfred Mhanda, and Tony Reeler, founder of the Amani Trust which chronicles human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, addressed the meeting – organised in association with the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust – after lobbying in Brussels and London. They represent a loose coalition known as the Civil Society. The trio, who head for Washington on Saturday, acknowledged they received no firm response in London or Brussels to their pleas. They argued to British Foreign Office and EU officials that unless there is a return to the rule of law, a drastic decrease in state-sponsored violence, equal access to the state-run media and acceptance of international monitors by the end of October, next year’s presidential elections cannot be free and fair. The elections must be held by the end of March.

Speaking from the floor, Zimbabwe’s top diplomat in Britain, High Commissioner Simbarashe S. Mumbengegwi, accused the organisers of ``trashing’’ Zimbabwe. He maintained that Mugabe’s government permitted free speech, and that the country’s problems stemmed solely from white ownership of farm land. "In the whole history of Zimbabwe the question of race has been the central question," said Mumbengegwi. "Would you all be here if the landowners in Zimbabwe had been black," he added, to interjections of "Yes" from the multiracial audience. Mumbengegwi declared that the Commonwealth agreement brokered in Abuja, Nigeria, September 6 was ``the way forward.’’ The Abuja deal called for an end to invasions of white-owned farms, a halt to political violence and restoration of the rule of law in return for funds from Britain and other Western countries to compensate white farmers and aid poor blacks settled on the former commercial farms. However, some 20 more white farms have been invaded since the September 6, and state-sponsored violence has continued unabated, or in some areas increased. Many observers see the Mugabe government’s tactic as paying lip service to the deal in order to fend off criticisms at a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Australia next month and to distract international attention from continuing political violence and intimidation ahead of the election.

Makumbe, describing the Abuja deal as "as dead as a dodo," said the group was disappointed that the Foreign Office appeared to have no fall-back position. "I think they somehow hope the crisis will go away," he added. "They know they have offered to make money available to Mugabe on conditions Mugabe cannot implement without losing the presidential election. This is Catch-22." Some 120 people have been killed in political violence, almost all perpetrated by government supporters, including self-styled war veterans and in some cases by members of the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation, said Reeler. About 300 people who have testified in court in election abuse cases and are now in hiding in safe houses. Mhanda, a former guerrilla leader, told the audience: "We see what is happening now as a betrayal of the original aims and objectives of the liberation movement."

Comment from The Insider (Zimb), 27 September

Too Much Ado About Abuja

Bulawayo - The Abuja Agreement, under which the Zimbabwe government is reported to have agreed to end all illegal occupations of white-owned farms and return the country to the rule of law in return for financial assistance mainly from the United Kingdom, is unlikely to get off the ground unless the ruling Zanu PF wants to commit political suicide. Although the ruling party's supreme policy making body, the politburo, has endorsed the agreement, observers say Zanu PF could just be buying time to let things cool off as it has been under intense pressure. It only received temporary relief when world attention was swayed to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the United States.

According to the agreement, although land was at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe, it could not be separated from other issues such as the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and the economy. Land reform had therefore to be implemented in a fair and sustainable way, in the interests of all the people of Zimbabwe. Orderly implementation of land reform could only be meaningful and sustainable if it was carried out with due regard to human rights, the rule of law, transparency and democratic principles. The Zimbabwean government agreed that there would be no further occupation of farms. It also said it was going to speed up the de-listing of farms that did not meet the criteria for land reform and to move occupiers from farms that are not designated. It also said it was committed to the return of the rule of law and freedom of expression. But perhaps the most important reason both parties were interested in signing the deal was the need to avoid a division within the Commonwealth, especially at its heads of government meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

Before the agreement there was pressure to bar Mugabe from attending the summit in Australia. He can safely go now and perhaps renege on the agreement on his return. One political observer said the Abuja Agreement was a major coup for Mugabe because it gave him time while it gave farmers false hope that they could be compensated. The agreement is full of loopholes which Mugabe could exploit to back out. He can argue, as he has done in the past, that there is rule of law in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has a law which says it is entitled to take over white farms without compensation. It does not need to move out any occupiers because almost all farms have been designated. Besides, there is a law that bars anyone from moving occupiers from land they would have occupied. By moving them out, Zimbabwe would be breaking its own laws. All the other reasons fall away as Zimbabwe is already claiming that it is a democratic country and the ruling Zanu PF brought democracy to this country so no one can preach to it about democracy.

But most important of all, reneging on its promises for land redistribution would be political suicide for Zanu PF as it is now the only election platform it has. The ruling party has lost the powerful women's league to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change largely because of the hardships people are now facing. Inflation has shot up to 76 percent and is expected to peak at 100 or above before the end of the year. Poor households are the worst affected. It has also lost the youth to the MDC because of increasing unemployment. Its only base is now the war veterans and they are for the fast-track resettlement not the gradual resettlement which the Abuja Agreement advocates. While Zanu PF is in a Catch 22 because it badly needs money but at the same time needs crucial votes for the coming presidential elections, observers say, it will opt for the votes because it is desperate to win the presidential elections at any cost. That cost could be peace and stability which it has already sacrificed since February 2000.

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Currency Management to Continue to Be a Problem

The Insider (Harare)

September 28, 2001
Posted to the web September 27, 2001

Staff Writer

Currency management will continue to be a problem as long as there is no
comprehensive approach to bring all the key variables in line, recently
listed Trust Holdings says in its maiden half-year report as a listed

The company says it is now evident that there is a thriving parallel market
as exporters seek to maximise their returns while importers are desperate to
bring in raw materials and essential capital items.

It says the negative effects of the shortage of foreign currency have been
severe. They include outright company closures, with some reports saying
that more than 400 companies have shut down, downsizing of operations
leading to unemployment and higher costs of production that undermine
profits and fuel inflation.

Inflation stood at 64.4 percent at the end of June and was likely to rise
because of the looming food shortages and the necessity to import, erratic
food prices which were prone to changes in weather conditions, and the
declining dollar on the parallel market due to a severe shortage of foreign

In its results for the period ending June, Trust says it had a net profit of
$626.6 million following excellent performance by its merchant bank, stock
broking and premium finance operations.

The company which broke records when its initial public offer was
oversubscribed by 21.6 times, had an operating income of $1.4 billion with
interest income contributing 62 percent.

Trust Banking Corporation had a net profit of $573.4 million, an increase of
406 percent from the same period last year when it had a profit of $113.4
million. The profit was 89 percent above that of the whole of 2000 which
stood at $303.5 million.

Although interest and discount income only rose marginally from $501.2
million to $632 million, net interest income shot up by 415 percent from
$82.4 million to $424.5 million because of a drastic reduction in interest
expense from $418.8 million to $207.6 million.

Operating income shot up from $364.8 million to $1.2 billion largely due to
a significant increase in trading income which increased from$144.4 million
to $733.7 million.

Trustfin also had an equally excellent performance with net profit
increasing more than four-fold from $11.2 million to $48.6 million.
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Shortages Making Some Rich!

The Insider (Harare)

September 28, 2001
Posted to the web September 27, 2001

Staff Writer

The persistent shortages of fuel and foreign currency has had the
unfortunate effect of creating a few rich people and making many poorer, the
Merchant Bank of Central Africa (MBCA) says in its latest results. It does
not, however, elaborate on how the few have become rich.

The bank says low interest rates introduced in January, while meant to boost
the productive sector, had adversely affected the revenue generating
capacity of banks. Although it had also boosted the stock market, it had
been restrictive for the corporate sector because the low interest rates had
accelerated the shortages of foreign currency and pushed the effective
exchange rate unsustainably ahead of the official rate.

According to the bank's results, interest income dropped by more than half
from $975.5 million to $440.1 million but net interest income was slightly
higher at $256.6million from $250.7 million. Fees and commissions, however,
increased from $137 million to $193.3 million.

Dealing profits were up from $58milion to $101.2 million and other income
increased from $1.5 million to $5.5 million resulting in operating income
going up from $447.2 million to $556.6 million. Profit before taxation
increased from $269.9 million to $394.6 million and net profit rose
from$184.1 million to $266.2 million.
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War vets demand more money

Brian Hungwe
WAR veterans have forwarded a list of new demands to President Robert Mugabe including a 300% hike in their monthly pensions from $5 000 to $15 000, the Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.

If Mugabe approves the new set of demands, over $450 million of public funds will be going into the pockets of an estimated 30 000 war veterans, some of whom are gainfully employed.

President Mugabe has until December to address the grievances of the veterans.

They also want the government to grant them title deeds to the farms they have occupied and give them fertiliser and maize seed.

The demands, Zanu PF sources said, were meant to put a squeeze on Mugabe before the presidential poll next year as the ex-combatants have played a leading role in campaigning for the ruling party.

War veterans association secretary-general Andy Mhlanga told the Independent yesterday that they were now “more mature”, and had since abandoned their confrontational approach to issues and have been communicating through proper channels.

“We forwarded our concerns through the party to President Mugabe,” Mhlanga said.

“We have not received our response but we are sure he is looking into our concerns,” he said.

Mhlanga confirmed that the war veterans wanted their allowances to be upped to $15 000 and that they also wanted title deeds to the farms they invaded. They are also demanding financial back-up and fertilisers to start farming as the growing season was nearing.

“The government has not yet responded to our calls for the increases and we shall be making follow ups,” Mhlanga said.

Another war veteran said it made no sense for war veterans to get an allowance of $2 000 per month, “far less than the $10 000 which village heads are receiving. We are more important than village heads,” he said.

The war veterans said that they could not embark on the presidential election campaign on empty stomaches.

“Most of our colleagues are suffering. You enter into a shop and come out with nothing and we feel our allowances need to be reviewed in respect of this,” Mhlanga said.

Mugabe, who gave in to extortionate demands by the war veterans in 1997 when they besieged him at State House demanding gratuities and pensions for the “injuries” they sustained in the liberation war, has until December to look into the demands of the war veterans.

In 1997, Mugabe released over $4 billion from Treasury to meet the
demands of the war veterans, sending the dollar into a tailspin.

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THERE has been a mischievous rumour doing the rounds on the Internet suggesting CNN used old footage to show Palestinians celebrating the attack on the World Trade Centre. The mailings, which originated in Brazil, claimed CNN used material filmed at the time of the invasion of Kuwait.

CNN, in response to inquiries from this newspaper, among others, has said “there is absolutely no truth to the information that is now distributed on the Internet that CNN used 10-year-old video when showing the celebrating of some Palestinians in East Jerusalem after the terror attacks in the US”.

The video was shot that day by a Reuters camera crew, CNN says.

“CNN is a client of Reuters and, like other clients, received the video and broadcast it. Reuters officials have publicly made the facts clear as well. The allegation is false. The source of the allegation has withdrawn it and apologised. It was started by a Brazilian student who now says he immediately posted a correction once he knew the information was not true.”

A statement by his university, Unicamp — Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil — said: “Unicamp would like to announce that it has no knowledge of a video-tape from 1991 whose images supposedly aired on CNN showing Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks in the US. The tape was supposedly from 1991, and there were rumours that the images were passed off as current.

“This information was later denied, as soon as it proved false, by Márcio AV Carvalho, a student at Unicamp. He approached the administration today, 17.09.2001, to clarify the following: the information he got, verbally, was that a professor from another institution (not from Unicamp) had the tape; he sent the information to a discussion group e-mail list; many people from this list were interested in the subject and requested more details; he again contacted the person who first gave him the information and the person denied having the tape; the student immediately sent out a note clarifying what happened to the people from his e-mail list,” the university said.

“The original message, however, was distributed all over the world, often with many distortions, including a falsified by-line article from the student. He affirms that a hacker attacked his domain. Several e-mails have been sent on his behalf and those dating from 15.09.2001 should be ignored.

“Among the distortions is the fact that Unicamp would be analysing the tape, which is absolutely false. The administration considers this alert definitive and will be careful to avoid new rumours.”

As a result of this episode the New York Times on Monday carried an article highlighting the danger of Internet rumours. This one ranks second only to the one about how to make money from Microsoft by sending out chain letters which dozens of people in Zimbabwe fell for despite our warnings when it first surfaced a couple of years ago.

While on the subject of gullibility we weren’t surprised to see ZTV’s Reuben Barwe taking the Rhodesians Worldwide website seriously. They have a link to the Rhodesian “government in exile” which is of course a spoof government, including as it does a “Minister for Breweries”.

But Reuben, in pursuit of a conspiracy, took this all literally as “proof” (hopefully non-alcoholic) of a plot against the president. Last year he was expecting “evidence” to turn up in a diplomatic bag!
ZBC is also taking seriously a silly e-mail that purports to show a link between the flight number of one of the doomed planes, Q33 NY, and a diagram of the attack.

“If you have MS Word, type in Q33 NY (the flight number of one of the airplanes that crashed into the WTC). Then change the font size to 26 and change the font to Wingdings,” the e-mail says.
This could be linked to the bombings, ZBC surmised, or it could be a computer virus.

It could also be a load of hogwash. Q33 NY is not a number of any of the flights involved. It is in fact a New York bus number.

The guys at Pockets Hill appear to be unaware that Wingdings is a form of font that converts letters into pictures and symbols. Any decent computer with MS Word has the font so you can see it for yourself. Go to Format and select the Font “Wingdings” which should be at the bottom of the scroll.

We were amused by Jonathan Moyo’s remarks that the CFU’s court affidavit seeking Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s recusal “had unwittingly exposed some judges by giving the unfortunate impression that they were in the pockets of the CFU”.

Presumably then, by the same logic, Moyo’s remarks in support of Chidyausiku give the impression that the Chief Justice is in the pocket of President Mugabe — or worse still Moyo?

And who was that Inyika Trust spokesman attacking former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay in the same Herald article? Why doesn’t he identify himself so we can see the link with Moyo?

It is interesting to note that in addressing the international community the government pretends the dispute with the judiciary was settled “amicably”. Yet in its domestic propaganda it allows its proxies such as the Inyika Trust — meaning its legal spokesman who also happens to be Moyo’s lawyer — to trash the former Chief Justice in violation of the terms agreed between Gubbay and the government.

And why is it racist to accuse Chidyausiku of bias? Wasn’t it the view of dozens of black lawyers who wrote to the Law Society when his appointment was being mooted that he is biased in favour of Zanu PF? Isn’t that a view widely held by Zimbabweans from different backgrounds since his maladroit handling of the constitutional commission’s deliberations?

And why do some of his colleagues think that episode, in which he demonstrated manifest partiality, should not be cited in a court hearing where he is being asked to exercise judicial independence? Why should his record be regarded as irrelevant?

But no, Chidyausiku insisted, he would not recuse himself.

What a contrast to the behaviour of those judges who voluntarily re cused themselves when Chidyausiku heard the citizenship case!

In the proceedings last week Chidyausiku made a number of remarks about the land issue that could at best be described as naive.

“We are likely to have a breakdown in the rule of law where we have a law that acquires notoriety of three quarters of the popuation,” he opined.

Which law is that? The law passed by Zanu PF in 1992 and amended last year? And what is his view of the majority of voters who repudiated the clauses on land which he did nothing to prevent President Mugabe inserting in the constitutional proposals last year?

Why doesn’t he give any regard to the views of the majority that legally and democratically expressed itself on the issue at the polls?

Jonathan Moyo was once again threatening journalists last week when he addressed a meeting with academics in Gweru.

Asked about the arrest of journalists, he replied: “We are arresting them because they are breaking the law and we will continue to arrest them.”

This showed Zimbabwe upheld the rule of law, he said.

But he omitted to say which law. The law currently being used by the CID to detain and question journalists is the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act (1960, as amended 1962-79).

Why is this law being used when the government has professed its distaste for all things colonial? Selective justice, it would appear, favours Rhodesia.

And haven’t successive ministers promised to repeal it because it is anomalous? Is this the law Moyo wants upheld?

“The police have to do their jobs...” he said. But isn’t it his job they are doing?

Moyo followed up these remarks with a vicious and defamatory attack on Basildon Peta which the Herald — once again flouting the most elementary precept of media ethics — published without asking Peta for his comments. Moyo accused Peta of being an “economic terrorist” by writing “negative articles” on the land issue that were damaging to Zimbabwe.

In fact it is the plain truth that is damaging to Zanu PF. It must be evident to everybody now that the government has no intention of upholding the terms of the Abuja agreement. Far from winning over international opinion or discomfiting the MDC, the agreement has simply exposed the yawning chasm between government promises and reality on the ground. Peta is not alone in pointing that out. In fact, with the exception of the emasculated state media, everybody has.

Moyo accused Peta of writing negative articles “in order to earn a couple of British pounds”. Does Moyo think everybody has forgotten how much he earned in the 1990s working for the Ford Foundation and other donors? He presumably wasn’t paid in Zim dollars!

Now he is earning his keep by “echoing the president’s sentiments”, as the Sunday Mail so helpfully put it.

The paper was reporting Mugabe’s speech to the central committee in which he tried to put a brave face on the humiliating rebuff the party — and in particular Moyo — had suffered in Bulawayo which no amount of rigged by-elections in Zanu PF’s heartland can compensate for.

Zanu PF had “a strong basis for recovering support in urban areas”, the president said.

There was everywhere “palpable disenchantment” with the opposition and “people want to be walked back to their party”, he said.

We thought only children and the infirm had to be “walked”. And who is it exactly that the country is expressing “palpable disenchantment” with?

What planet has he just come down from? There is massive disenchantment with him and his useless cronies who preside over the country’s ruin.

And what is his answer to the myriad problems the country is facing? The leadership must be “firm”, he said, and united in “singing the song of land to the people”.

That sounds a bit like a broken record to us. But Moyo it seems is prepared to join any chorus that pays well!

Who by the way are the real “economic terrorists”? Those who write about the anarchy on the land, or those who have occupied undesignated farms and prevented farmers from planting crops? We are already seeing the cost of the economic terrorism Moyo’s party has unleashed in the collapse of agriculture and looming food imports.

As for Mugabe’s observation that Morgan Tsvangirai was “like a mad man who goes everywhere”, do we detect a note of pique? Now Mugabe can hardly go anywhere he understandably resents doors being opened to Tsvangirai, especially in places like Pretoria.

And why does the president have to keep reminding us that he is a head of state? Is there some doubt surrounding this? Chogm is for heads of state only, he reminded Tsvangirai.

Chogm may indeed be for heads of government (not heads of state as Mugabe appears to think) but the Commonwealth can no longer remain indifferent to civil society. The president, it seems, has yet to take on board the accommodations Sadc leaders were urging on him at their meeting in Harare recently.

Holding forth in the Sunday Mail on the prospect of US retaliation against Afghanistan after the attack on the World Trade Centre, Garikai Mazara observes: “It would be folly of the highest order for America to assume that Bin Laden carried out those acts, if indeed he carried them out, single-handedly.”

Since when has the US suggested he carried out the acts single-handedly?

Haven’t they said the opposite — that he is part of a worldwide network? And why does Mazara tell us the Soviets were in Afghanistan for two decades? How many years is 1979-89? Finally, was Cambodia’s “Lon Col” any relation of premier Lon Nol who took over in 1970?

We appreciate the Sunday Mail wants to beef up its op/ed sections, but what it calls “Analysis” should be reasonably factual and not just a rather poorly researched anti-American diatribe that looks as if it has come from the Osama bin Mahoso School of Journalism.
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