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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


95% commercial farms listed

Forward Maisokwadzo
Zimbabwe Independent, 28 September 2001

GOVERNMENT has to date designated 4 593 commercial farms for
acquisition, representing 8,3 million hectares, which is over 95% of the
8,56 million hectares previously-owned by Commercial Farmers' Union
members, it has been learnt.

The CFU, whose membership has fallen to less than 3 555 from 4 500, says
it owns only 20,7% of Zimbabwe's best farmland, contrary to President
Robert Mugabe's repeated assertion that white farmers occupy 70% of the
prime land.

The country has a total land area of 39,6 million hectares and out of
that, 33 million hectares is reserved for agriculture while the rest is
set aside for national parks, forests and urban settlement.

According to figures from the union, about 22 million hectares out of
the 33 million is owned by the state, which means that it owns 67% of
all agricultural land. That includes the communal lands where there is
no individual title.

The CFU says the total commercial farmland comprises 11,2 million
hectares of which union members had 8,56 million hectares before the
current acquisition programme.

The CFU says there were 7 132 farms listed so far with 2 335 errors and
duplications on the lists of acquisition. They say 495 have since been
delisted; 4 593 are still subject to listing and further action.

The union says it could not quantify the number of farms fast-tracked
but said 900 farms have been occupied.

CFU leaders have recently privately said 2 700 farms have been seized
under fast-track.

The union says since 1986, over 6 300 properties have been offered to
the government for resettlement. It said there are 211 farms comprising
450 000 hectares currently on offer to the government by the CFU for
immediate resettlement.

Agricultural experts said there was over 300 000 hectares of former
commercial farmland owned by the government but not utilised.

Communal areas comprise 41,80%, Development Trust of Zimbabwe owns
0,80%, small scale commercial farming 3,50%, large estates 2,40%,
Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union and non-Commercial Farmers' Union
3,30%, the Agricultural Rural Development Authority 0,60% while the
Forestry Commission owns 0,30%.

The Cold Storage Company owns 0,50% of the country's total land area.

Experts say given these figures, it is actually the government which
owns 70% of the total land while 30% is privately-owned.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Electronic Telegraph

Mugabe police flout law to halt protest
By Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg
(Filed: 29/09/2001)

ZIMBABWEAN riot police, armed with batons and tear gas and backed up by dogs, brushed aside a high court order yesterday and prevented a demonstration by a pro-democracy group taking place in central Harare.

President Mugabe inspects a guard of honour in Hanoi during an official visit to Vietnam

About 150 policemen sealed off Unity Square in the capital, where the National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of religious, civic and opposition groups, planned to launch a national constitution "for the people".

Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, presented the officer in charge with the court order instructing police not to interfere with the demonstration. But he said: "He waved it aside and ordered his men to keep us out of the square."

A television journalist was detained briefly by the police. Mr Madhuku said: "The government doesn't really care. This means there is no rule of law and there are no democratic rights left in Zimbabwe."

The heavy-handed police action appeared to confirm the views of human rights groups that President Mugabe is bent on seizing advantage from the postponement of the Commonwealth conference to press home land grabs and unleash more violence against political opponents.

They warned white farmers and their black workers to expect a new wave of invasions by militants supporting the ruling Zanu-PF party as well as renewed intimidation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum said the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane was the "last hope" to rein in Mr Mugabe's "flagrant breaches of the rule of law and violation of basic democratic rights" before he seeks another six-year term in a presidential election next April.

An opposition activist said: "The indefinite postponement of the Commonwealth conference could not have been better news for Zanu-PF. It must be delighted."

Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's increasingly influential information minister, this week repudiated the pledges Zimbabwe made to Commonwealth leaders in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, earlier in the month. Mr Moyo claimed that Zimbabwe had not given undertakings to curb violence and intimidation in white farming areas.

The text of the Abuja agreement made it clear that the Mugabe government had agreed to take "firm action" against unlawful farm invasions in return for promises by Britain to help fund a land reform programme. The Commercial Farmers' Union said 20 farms had been invaded since the Abuja deal.

Another 900 of the 4,500 commercial farms were unable to operate normally because of the land occupations, disruption of crop planting, fires deliberately caused by squatters, widespread intimidation of black farm workers and theft of plant and machinery.

John Bibby, 70, a white farmer, has finally been granted bail after being accused of incitement to murder in a clash between his workers and Zanu-PF activists who tried to occupy his land in Hwedza, east of Harare.

Post-Abuja talks between white farmers and government officials over land seizures and widespread lawlessness in the rural areas collapsed when Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, said the CFU and journalists who reported their comments were economic terrorists.

John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, said the country was close to anarchy and the Abuja agreement was "as dead as a dodo". He said: "When a state fails to protect its citizens or protects them selectively this is anarchy . . . Some would say we already have it."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Farm Invasions and Security Report
Monday 24th & Thursday 27th September 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

Out of 20 farms in the Victory Block area, only 2 are currently able to continue with farming operations for the forthcoming season. 
27 work stoppages have occurred on farms in the Doma area, with 9 farm owners having had to temporarily vacate their farms for safety.
Resident war lord Muturugudu has ordered illegal occupiers on Wichens Farm in Chinhoyi to chop down 5 trees each for him and is charging farm workers rent for residing in the farm village.
In Banket, poachers in the possession of a kudu were apprehended on Nyapi Farm and taken to court.
Farm workers were severely beaten by illegal occupiers on Maidon Farm.  Clinic reports were taken and affidavits submitted to police who refused to sign them.  10 farm workers wish to leave the farm due to intimidation.
16 farm work stoppages have occurred in the Norton area.
On Malham Estates in Norton, army personal intimidated farm workers and their families by forcing them to beat out fire with their bare hands and feet.
A further theft of potatoes by illegal occupiers on Alabama in Kadoma, has resulted in a loss to the owner in excess of $150 000.
10 farm workers were forced out of their homes by illegal occupiers on Wenimbe  in Marondera.
There are currently 16 work stoppages on farms in the Bromley / Ruwa areas.
Over 200 illegal occupiers, transported by police from Mayo in Manicaland, held a pungwe (all night rally) outside the main homestead fence throughout the weekend on Hazeldene in Macheke.
Illegal occupiers have forced farm workers out of their homes on Glen Somerset and Markwe Estates in Macheke / Virginia area.
ARDA took over Tara Farm, saying it had been abandoned and proceeded to register a tobacco number with TIMB under ARDA t/a Tara Farm and sold 55 bales valued at $1.2 million.  The payment is being withheld, pending investigations. 
About 200 illegal occupiers herded cattle into the homestead security fence on Ruware Ranch in Chiredzi, and then forced the owner's son to chop down trees with an axe.  The owner managed to rescue his son from the mob and illegal occupiers proceeded to the farm village, where they ransacked farm workers homes and destroyed their belongings.  Police reacted the following day and arrested a large number of illegal occupiers.
Farm owners are constantly under harassment and receiving demands from illegal occupiers to remove cattle off farms, plough lands for them, vacate their homesteads and pay off farm workers.

Mashonaland Central 
Bindura - A group of illegal occupiers on Amanda Farm informed the owner they had been given permission by the DA of Mount Darwin to take over the whole farm. The owner of Solomio Farm tried to relocate her cattle onto Minto, an adjacent farm, but was prevented by illegal occupiers. An employee of Ashanti Gold Mine arrived on Granta Farm and demanded to be shown his plot of land which was promised to him by the DA. When the DA failed to make an appearance he left. The pegs which had been placed in an irrigated tobacco field on Chelvy were removed and used to peg the remainder of the farm. 11 families of illegal occupiers have moved onto Guitingwood Farm. Chinenga Farm was reinvaded by illegal occupiers from Munzi Farm.   A tractor transporting bricks from Solomio Farm to Minto was stopped by illegal occupiers who removed the bricks from the trailer and sent the tractor back. Farm workers on both farms were threatened and ordered to stop working. In addition, illegal occupiers  ordered the removal of cattle from the farms and prevented them from grazing in wheat stover. 180 gum trees have been chopped down by illegal occupiers. The work stoppage on Rossetta Rust remains unresolved. A large group of illegal occupiers who left Minto Farm, proceeded to harass passers-by's and throw rocks at passing vehicles.
Mvurwi - Work stoppages occurred on Donje Farm and Braid Jule Farms. Violence broke out on Rhimbick Farm after a rally and several people were assaulted by illegal occupiers from Omeath Farm. Police defused the situation. After the owner of Petra Farm completed land preparation he was prevented from planting seedlings as the DA Concession said the farm had been allocated. When the owner requested a letter of confirmation from the DA, it was denied and the owner referred to the governor.
Mazowe / Concession - Chinotimba instructed the owner to vacate Watakai Farm after the wheat crop had been harvested. There has been a large increase of illegal occupiers on Belgownie Estate.  The DA of Concession advised the owner of Kilmer Farm that land preparation must discontinue.
Victory Block - A hostile group of illegal occupiers confronted the manager of Mutendamambo Farm and confiscated his hand held radio. When the owner and his wife arrived, they were all prevented from leaving. The owner was forced to sign a document stating he would vacate the farm by the end of October in order to secure their release. The owner, his wife and the manager have remained off the farm for safety reasons. Of the 20 farms in the area, only 2 are currently able to continue with farm operations for the forthcoming season. Illegal occupiers advised farm workers on Under Cragg Farm, that the owner would be evicted from the farm.
Centenary - Farm workers on Two Jays Farm demanded to be paid gratuities. Police defused the situation, although negotiations are ongoing. Farm workers on Silverstroom Farm also demanded to be paid gratuities, but after negotiations the issue was resolved.
Shamva - The owner of Bamboo Creek Farm was given a letter from the DA of Shamva by 2 youths who had been sent to evaluate the farm. The owner granted them permission to do so whereupon, they proceeded to take rough measurements of the various buildings on the farm but were refused entry to the owners house. On the same day, illegal occupiers disrupted work on the farm to hold a meeting. Requests for transport following the meeting were denied.
Tsatsi - An aggressive group of illegal occupiers held a pungwe outside the owner of Nyachura Farm gate, demanding he be evicted from the farm. Concession police were called in twice to defuse the situation, after which the situation became calm. Farm workers on Mapere Farm were prevented by illegal occupiers from continuing with land preparation.

Mashonaland West North
Trelawney / Darwendale - Illegal occupiers on Squatodzi Farm prevented the owner from planting and threatened to pull out any seedlings if the owner continued, or claim the crop as theirs, as well as calling the army in to resolve the situation. The owner has been forced to give casual workers notice and is awaiting the outcome as to what action to take with permanent farm workers. A new invasion occurred on Gondowasika  and was pegged by illegal occupiers who told the owner to vacate the homestead, and threatened to burn the homestead down if he did not comply with their demands. No reaction from police has been received to date and the situation remains unresolved. A work stoppage occurred on Allova Farm.  Illegal occupiers insisted that the owner of Bickleighvale Farm purchase gumboots and overalls for them. Farm workers were then forced to march round the farm with illegal occupiers until their demands were met. The owner received further threats by illegal occupiers that if their demands were not met, farm workers would be prevented from working. The situation is tense and the owner and his family have had to temporarily leave the farm. The owner of Ilsham Farm was visited by Lt. Jumbe and the land committee from Murombedzi, who questioned the owner politely on: what was grown on the farm; how much was exported and how many farm workers were employed. They left shortly after all the questions were answered. Illegal occupiers spoke to the manager and threatened to beat the owner of St Andrews Farm, who was in town at that time, because he had not responded to their demands. The owner had previously written a letter to illegal occupiers saying he would accompany them the following day to Murombedzi as he had commitments that day. Illegal occupiers tore up the letter claiming there was nothing the owner could do to keep his farm and that they now owned it, and had allocated 30 ha for the owner's use.
Doma - 27 work stoppages occurred on farms in the district, with 9 farm owners having to temporarily vacate their farms for security reasons. A work stoppage on Binge Farm  has been ongoing for 4 weeks. Sterlingrale farm has been pegged.
Chinhoyi - Illegal occupiers are preventing tobacco planting on most farms in the area. The owner of Fupi was abducted by illegal occupiers who took him to their Chairman, and verbally abused the owner. The owner was also instructed to remove all cattle off the farm. The owner of Nyatande was prevented from planting by illegal occupiers and had to vacate his homestead for a night after illegal occupiers became aggressive. 2 dogs belonging to the owner of Portlet Farm were poisoned by illegal occupiers. On Athens Farm, illegal occupiers stole diesel and ring barked fig trees in the lands. Further threats were made to the owner that all his cattle would be removed off the farm, if he did not comply with their demands to plough land for them. An engine was stolen on Marnett Farm. Police responded and found 3 engines at Tandere farm homestead, but refused to confiscate them before receiving serial numbers for the engines. Extensive tree felling by illegal occupiers is occurring on Wichens Farm. Resident war lord Muturugudu, has ordered illegal occupiers to cut down 5 trees each for him and is charging farm workers rent for residing in the farm village. The owner has vacated the farm for security reasons.
Banket - Poachers in the possession of a kudu were apprehended on Nyapi Farm and taken to court.  Tree felling is prevalent throughout the area, and government evaluators are demanding to evaluate farm owners homesteads.
Tengwe - Glen Craig Farm has been pegged. The owner of Rugare was prevented by illegal occupiers from planting tobacco. Illegal occupiers are preventing the owner of Wilcor from watering coffee trees.
Karoi - Agritex officials pegged Songalala Farm and the owner has since been prevented from planting tobacco. Farm workers were severely beaten by illegal occupiers on Maidon Farm. Clinic reports were taken and affidavits submitted to police who refused to sign the affidavits. 10 farm workers wish to leave the farm due to intimidation.

Mashonaland West South   
General - A large proportion of commercial land preparation is being prevented due to illegal pegging initiated by the DA and agritex officials. 
Norton - There are currently work stoppages on 16 farms, accounting for over 600 ha of tobacco amongst other crops. The DA has categorically told several owners that they cannot plant and this continues to be reinforced by military intimidation. Further to the report on Malham last week, army personnel intimidated farm workers and their families and forced them to beat out fire with their bare hands and feet. On Emojeni, Chief Chibero is wanting to move into the homestead. There remains no change regarding the enforced lack of planting in this area. Police continue to refer matters to the DA saying they have no directives to sort problems out. The DA continues to refer matters to the local war veterans and other illegal occupiers that have been placed on the ground. The army remain as a threatening presence to back the lack of planting up. Planting of 700 ha of tobacco has been prevented. On Elston the DA's pegging team was sent out to peg the farm for a new illegal occupation, and illegal pegging continues on a number of farms at the DA's command.
Selous - On Norwood and Homedale a member of the land committee told the owners to lay off all their work force and stop planting. After the DA fast tracked Carskey, he has allowed 50 huts to be built and poaching continues to become an increasing problem.  On Homedale the owner was told to stop further planting and lay off all farm workers. When the regional executive officer approached the DA, he stated that he had not received directives from the Governor.  Further, he stated that it would not be possible to remove illegal occupiers from plots that he had placed them on in order to allow the farmers to farm as he would be accused of having been bribed. Commercial wood cutting continues on Exwick Farm along with demands and threats, despite a directive by Minister Chombo to remove Wing Commander Mazamban and the other illegal occupiers as a result of the farm being de-listed. Planting is being prevented on Norwood and Zimbo Drift. Illegal occupiers instructed the owner of Carskey Farm to remove all cattle off the farm.
Chakari - 4 armed police details stopped paprika from being planted on Chevy Chase. Land preparation has been prevented on all farms in the area.  On one farm, the DA told illegal occupiers to move from one side of the road to the other. Illegal occupiers had started building permanent houses.
Kadoma - A further $150 000 worth of potatoes was stolen by illegal occupiers from Alabama. The DA has pegged and evaluated Teesin, and an illegal occupier says he was granted permission from the DA to move into the homestead. The owner of Abendruhu was stopped from ridging again. When the owner of Kingchim commenced cotton reaping, illegal occupiers moved into the lands and started building huts. The owner has previously offered 5 farms to government.  Illegal occupiers instructed the owner of Inniskilling to remove all cattle off the farm and stop work. 2 head of cattle were then snared and slashed, in order to reinforce the order. Police told the owner to negotiate with illegal occupiers regarding the situation.
Chegutu - Illegal movement of donkeys and cattle is occurring on Bougainvillea Farm. 32 head of cattle were illegal moved onto Concession Hill Farm, and 1 km of steel droppers were stolen from the fence line. A new invasion has occurred on Oldham Estates. 
Battlefields - Permission for the owners to plant paprika has been refused on Twintops  and Abendrhue.

Mashonaland East
Harare South - 3 illegal occupiers forced farm workers on Walmer to  destroy a pit latrine structure. The following day, illegal occupiers threatened the owner of repercussions should any attempt be made to retrench the remaining farm workers. 6 illegal occupiers arrived on Dunluce and offloaded bricks near a seedbed site. Later, 4 more illegal occupiers arrived and told the tractor driver to relay a message to the owner that if any land preparation continued on the farm, the owner would be shot. 15 hectares of sun hemp was burnt by illegal occupiers on Kinfauns. Illegal occupiers on Auk's Nest evicted the owner's parents from their homestead, broke the security gate padlock, hoisted a flag and lit a fire in the homestead yard. The owner's domestic worker was then told to vacate his homestead and an illegal occupier claiming to be a Colonel, said he intended to occupy the main homestead himself. The domestic worker would be allowed to work for him for $1 000 per month, which is less than a third of the minimum wage. The owner has also had to leave the farm.   Illegal occupiers broke the padlock on the security gate belonging to the manager of Auks Nest.
Marondera - Illegal occupiers gave the owner of Uitkyk a deadline in the morning to vacate and remove all possessions from the homestead by midday. 10 farm workers were forced out of their homesteads on Wenimbe by illegal occupiers, who also gave a deadline to the owner and remaining farm workers to vacate the farm by the 30th September. A third prefabricated structure was erected on Bali Hai.
Featherstone - Illegal occupiers on Kuruman A have relocated themselves from the pastures to a ploughed land. There has been an increase of illegal occupiers on Vergenoeg. Farm workers were beaten by illegal occupiers on Gelukverwacht.   An aggressive group of illegal occupiers wielding sticks and chanting outside the homestead belonging to the owner of Ashton farm demanded that the owner give a vehicle to farm workers to enable them to go and vote. The owner had already made arrangements for farm workers to have time off to vote, and the situation resolved. Illegal occupiers arrived in 4 vehicles onto Gelukwerwacht and assaulted some farm workers, alleging they were MDC supporters. Illegal occupiers have relocated themselves from farm grazing areas, onto arable land which has been prepared for paprika and vegetable production. The owner of Sable Flats was told by police from Featherstone to stop reporting "petty thefts". To date fencing, irrigation equipment and maize has been stolen.
Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise  - There are currently 16 work stoppages on farms in the area.  Theft of irrigation piping continues as well as a number of evaluations been done throughout the area.
Macheke / Virginia - The owner of Howgate and his farm workers continue to attempt work on the farm despite a previous work stoppage. Cattle are continually being pushed into wheat lands and 5 head of cattle, mainly adult, have died from stress. Half the farm has been ceded but in spite of this, illegal occupiers claim the DA has officially handed over the whole farm. About 50 illegal occupiers locked the owner of Flint farm  and his workers in a grading shed in the morning. The owner insisted on only talking to a representative committee and when they were released, illegal occupiers gave farm workers a deadline to vacate their homesteads by that afternoon. Over 200 illegal occupiers, who were transported by police from Mayo in Manicaland, held a pungwe throughout the weekend on Hazeldene outside the homestead fence.  The owner of Glen Somerset was instructed by illegal occupiers to pay off farm workers and provide tractors to remove their possessions off the farm. When this was refused, the manager was told that he would end up "like David Stevens" if he did not comply.  Police were unhelpful on the telephone and when the manager went to the police station he was accused of not complying with the illegal occupiers demands and then told to get out of the policeman's office.  Support Unit eventually responded, but were unable to resolve the situation. Farm workers have since been forced out of their homesteads and their possessions moved into the farm barns.   Agritex officials are pegging on Faroe. 65 Illegal occupiers requested the owner of Hazeldene plough 1 acre of land for them, provide 10 kgs of maize seed and a bag of AN each, to which the owner refused. About 65 illegal occupiers congregated outside the owner's homestead gate and demanded proper housing, forcing farm workers to march up and down the road and threatened the owner's son with death if all furniture was not removed from the cottages. Police and the lands committee responded later and defused the situation. About 20 illegal occupiers caused a complete work stoppage on Murrayfield. When the owner tried to negotiate with illegal occupiers, one of the illegal occupiers struck the owner on the head with a branch. There was no serious injury, although the owner reported the incident to police and laid an assault charge. About 20 illegal occupiers gathered on Fault Farm and proceeded to Murrayfield with the intention of ensuring the work stoppage. Shortly thereafter, a number of large veld fires were started on Murrayfield and the owner remained off the farm for the night. The DA and police responded to the tense situation and farm workers have returned to their farm village under the protection of a Support Unit detail. The work stoppage continues on Fault farm.  Large veld fires were started by illegal occupiers on Hilton Farm, who also threatened to evict a farm security guard. An agritex official continues to peg on Faroe. The owner of Royal Visit was instructed by illegal occupiers to vacate the farm within 24 hours if he did not comply with their demands to remove all cattle off the farm and disc in tobacco re-growth. Police refused to respond. The owner negotiated with illegal occupiers and the situation was defused. The owner of Maryland was instructed to close down farming operations and vacate the farm within 7 days. Police advised the owner that the DA and lands committee would respond, which they failed to. Illegal occupiers threatened farm workers on Howgate and Glensomerset farms, that if they did not vacate the farm village, their homes would be burnt down. The owner of Lamjang was instructed by illegal occupiers to remove cattle off and vacate the farm within two weeks. The owner of Glensomerset was also threatened that if he did not pay farm workers off, illegal occupiers would "torch" (burn) the farm village. The police, lands committee and Support Unit responded and left Support Unit and army details to ensure peace. The owners of Chirunji and Lingoni were instructed by illegal occupiers to vacate their farms by the end of the month.
Wedza - A complete work stoppage occurred on Markwe, with the owner and his family receiving death threats should they try to return. All farm workers were forced by illegal occupiers to leave their homes. Illegal occupiers have given the owner a deadline to remove all possessions off the farm.  A fire deliberately started by an illegal occupier on an unlisted farm, resulted in 6 cows and a calf being burnt.
Beatrice - Tense situations are occurring on Nengwa, Maas Plein and Alamein. 9 head of cattle are missing from Nebo farm where the LIT tags have been cut off the cattle. Some army individuals invaded Kufara Farm. An army truck was seen leaving the farm loaded with gum poles and the incident reported to police. As a result, 10 army personnel led by Tatirigana, threatened to take over the owner and his son's homesteads.
Marondera North - About 65 illegal occupiers approached the owner of Ulva to check that the owner had started moving his belongings off the farm, as he had 2 weeks to clear the farm so that they could take it over. A complete work stoppage has occurred. 

General - There has been extensive evaluations, ploughing and theft taking place throughout the district.
Odzi - ARDA took over Tara farm, saying it had been abandoned and then registered a tobacco number with TIMB under ARDA t/a Tara Farm and sold 55 bales valued at $1.2 million. The cheque has been withheld pending investigations. Illegal occupiers broke into the security fence on Wilton Farm, held up a guard at gun point, confiscated the keys and locked all the gates. The incident was reported to police. 
Chipinge - 2 homesteads on Kromkloof have been occupied by illegal occupiers and the entire farm pegged with the crops being abandoned due to threats. Illegal occupiers have pegged the farm village on Vaalkoppies and one of the farm workers huts has been taken over by illegal occupiers. There are empty illegal occupier huts now standing in maize and coffee fields, preventing land preparation. The majority of Lot 12A of Newcastle has been pegged and a work stoppage occurred.
Nyanga - The situation remains tense on Claremont and a manager has received threats from illegal occupiers.

General - There has been a general influx of illegal occupiers moving onto farms throughout the region.
Masvingo East & Central - 2 head of cattle were slaughtered on Townlands Farm by illegal occupiers. 2 large steers were hamstrung and axed behind the head on Netridge Farm. Illegal occupiers Muzenda, Mahia and Makova tried to enter the main homestead on Yettom and Marah Farms. They then broke into an adjacent storeroom and stole all the keys and threatened to return. On Shallock Park Farm, illegal occupier Muzenda threatened to remove all employees and burn down their homes. PROPOL and Support Unit reacted promptly. Theft of wire on Beauly Farm is occurring at alarming rates. A poacher previously apprehended by police on Bon Domi has had his case dismissed in Court.  Illegal occupiers have taken occupation of a homestead on Elandskop Farm, running a beer hall from there and using surrounding buildings as stores. The owner of Bon Domi was accused of theft of government property by removing a section of wire to enable his cattle to graze in an adjacent paddock. An increase of illegal occupiers who are being transported by army vehicles is occurring on Chidza Farm.  3 head of cattle are missing on Greenhills Estate, 3 on Dromore Farm and 5 on Beauly Farm. 8 irrigation pipes and 4 sprinkler head were stolen from Chikore Farm.
Chiredzi - Mugwezi Ranch, which is ideal for wildlife, has been sensitively managed for the last 14 years and was in pristine condition until the first invasions on August 20th.  Massive deforestation, new invasions in the core of Makwekwete Hills and serious poaching of wildlife has occurred. Snares have been set to maim or kill large animals such as elephant and rhino. War vet Lovemore Ndziniri has been authorising new invasions on all areas of the ranch, and informed the owner that the Abuja accord has no relevance. No response has been received from the DA or police. The Riverine habitat at Makwekwete Lodge is being destroyed by new illegal occupiers, who have erected huts outside the lodge, preventing the owner from using the lodge for overseas clients. About 200 aggressive illegal occupiers on Ruware Ranch moved the owner's cattle into the homestead garden and then forced the owner's son to chop down trees with an axe. The owner managed to rescue his son from the mob. Illegal occupiers proceeded to the farm village, where they ransacked farm workers homes, and destroyed their belongings. Police reacted the following day and arrested a large number of the illegal occupiers. 48 head of cattle were stolen by illegal occupiers on Minaarshof Ranch, and 45 head have since been recovered by the owner. Police have not responded. Illegal occupiers shot the owner's Arabian stallion with a bow and arrow and the stallion has since died.  Poaching, snaring and theft of wire continue.
Mwenezi - Illegal movement of cattle continues despite the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Theft of wire and firewood, destruction of pipelines, gates being left open continues unabated. Theft of wire on Kleinbegin Ranch is occurring on a daily basis.  Theft of wire continues unabated on Kleinbegin, Lumbergia, La Pache and Quagga Pan Ranches. 
Save Conservancy - The situation remains unresolved.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Illegal occupiers threatened the owner of Felixburg Farm again, if he did not remove all his cattle off the farm. A police vehicle has been used for illegal hunting on Condor Farm. When the owner followed up, it was allegedly said to the owner that a senior party official had given the instruction to police to source meat for a celebration that was held the past weekend. This also transpired on another commercial farm.

General - We have been asked not to name farmers, or properties, in the sitrep as this has led, in the past, to immediate targeting of those named.
Kwe Kwe - The following reports of incidents occurring over the past week were received from 7 farms in the area. Illegal occupiers are purposely leaving gates open, allowing cattle access to Barley crops. 7 Irrigation pipes and 4 sprinklers have been stolen. 220 snares have been recovered. Theft of water from irrigation canals is ongoing. Asbestos roofing sheets and window frames are being stolen from houses. A poor response was received from police. Army trucks are active in the area and destroying locked gates to gain access. A heifer was slaughtered by illegal occupiers. There has been an increase of brick making by illegal occupiers for permanent structures. Illegal occupiers are preventing farm owners from planting paprika and tobacco crops. DA and agritex officials continue to peg and resettle farms. Since the Abuja and Nigeria agreement was signed on 6th September, pegging and resettling of two properties is ongoing. Veld fires are serious, especially in the Rhino Conservancy and cattle ranch land, resulting in minimal grazing. Police response was poor.
Somabhula / Daisyfield - On a farm in the area, cattle were driven onto the railway line where 3 were killed and 1 injured so badly it had to be put down. Meat from 2 of the dead animals was stolen and police have arrested 3 suspects for the theft. On another farm, when farm workers were collecting wood, illegal occupier Mandevu forced them to unload the wood, demanded the owner see him and threatened to have him arrested by the police if he did not. On another farm, cattle were driven onto the main Bulawayo Road, and once rounded up safely by the owner, illegal occupiers opened the gates for the third time causing potential danger to inter-city traffic. Police were notified. 5 more illegal occupier huts have been erected on the farm since the Abuja Agreement. A farm owner was informed via his farm workers that 4 illegal occupiers had told them a Mr Moyo would be grazing 300 head of cattle on the farm and would be building a homestead. The 4 illegal occupiers proceeded to a neighbouring farm in search of farm workers to make bricks for Mr Moyo. Mr Moyo told the neighbour that his farm had been acquired by government and he had been relocated to this area.
Gweru East / Lalapanzi - A farm which has numerous illegal occupiers is being stripped of trees and fences, as well as an increase in hut building activities. Most of the resettled illegal occupiers are from town and it is their workers who are currently residing on the farm. Tractors hired by illegal occupiers have total disregard to drains and watercourses when ploughing.

Nyamandhlovu - Illegal occupiers threatened the foreman on Drysdale Farm with death, threatened to burn down the farm village and demanded that all cattle be moved off the farm. Illegal occupiers have blocked all inter-leading farm roads. A new invasion occurred on Pontnewydd Farm with illegal occupiers being transported on a DDF truck. Illegal occupiers have brought their chickens with them and settled next to the owners ostriches, causing a risk of New Castle Disease.
Mberengwa - The police, CID and district land committee told illegal occupiers to vacate Manjere Ranching. The following day, farm workers were abducted and police are currently investigating.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From the Daily News

Sikhala threatens to quit MDC

9/29/01 8:03:42 AM (GMT +2)

By Lloyd Mudiwa

JOB Sikhala, the MP for St Mary’s, yesterday threatened to quit the MDC if
the party fails to meet a one-week ultimatum to discipline certain party
officials he accuses of being behind the stoning of his home on Thursday

He named two senior MDC officials and seven youths, who defected to Zanu PF
two weeks ago, as having been among the group that descended on his home.
Police confirmed the incident and said investigations were in progress. His
two-week-old daughter, Theodora, sustained minor injuries to the face
following the attack. Sikhala’s wife, Helen, who was at home with the baby,
was not harmed. Sikhala himself was not at home.

Said Sikhala: “It’s either they leave the party or I will resign and meet
them in the field of politics as an independent candidate.” Sikhala said he
had spoken to a number of senior MDC officials who intimated that they would
join him in the event of him quitting the party. Learnmore Jongwe, the party
’s spokesman, referred questions to Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, who declined to comment. Sikhala, who believes the attack
was an assassination attempt on him, said a gang of about 150 youths
travelling in four trucks, stoned his home and smashed its windows.

They also smashed the windows of a Land-Rover vehicle owned by the MP.
Sikhala was visiting Stephen Chasara, the MDC district chairman for St Mary’
s, in Zengeza 5, whose home was allegedly stoned on Wednesday night by the
same gang. The same gang is believed to have also thrown missiles at the
homes in Zengeza of Unganai Tarusenga, the party’s secretary for the
district, and Lucky Parehwa, the chairman of Chitungwiza’s Ward 6.

They allegedly ransacked a bottle store at Gombe shopping centre in Dema
owned by Elliot Pfebve, the losing MDC candidate in the recent Bindura
by-election, which is being leased by Sikhala. The mob allegedly assaulted
Sikhala’s younger brother, Sam, and Serita Hamamiti, a worker at the liquor
outlet. Sikhala’s threat to pull out from the MDC comes at a time when
factionalism is threatening to split the country’s official opposition party
ahead of the presidential election scheduled for early next year.

Last week, three MDC MPs, who are members of the party’s national executive,
attacked Tapiwa Mashakada, the MP for Hatfield, accusing him of plotting to
unseat Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s president. Sikhala, Jongwe and
Tafadzwa Musekiwa, in a letter they wrote to Tsvangirai, urged the party to
investigate Mashakada’s conduct or alternatively dismiss the current Harare
provincial executive.

The three MPs accused Mashakada of assaulting rivals in the MDC’s primary
elections for the Hatfield constituency last year, and during the Harare
provincial elections early this month, in which Mashakada was retained as
vice-chairman. This is the third time Sikhala has been attacked at his home
and the second time his bottle store has been vandalised. Sikhala and his
family were twice attacked at their home in February. Two of Sikhala’s
workers, Cuthbert Magwede and Felix Matavanda, were seriously injured and
property worth $60 000 was destroyed at the bottle store by about 15 youths
in June.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Age, Melbourne

Crops to rot as Mugabe bends justice to his will

By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Johannesburg

White farmers in Zimbabwe say there has been no let-up in state-sponsored
attacks despite the Government's agreement to a peace deal brokered by the
Commonwealth three weeks ago.

The Commercial Farmers Union says 550 farms have been closed by gangs of
self-styled liberation war veterans, preventing the sowing of a quarter of
next year's tobacco crop - the main source of foreign exchange.

Regional analysts fear that the President, Mr Robert Mugabe, will honour his
agreement to restore the rule of law simply by changing it.

This week, the Supreme Court finished hearing a Government appeal against
earlier rulings that Mr Mugabe acted illegally by sending gangs of
supporters to occupy and seize hundreds of white-owned farms.

While the courts have consistently ruled against the Government's campaign
of violence, the case is being chaired by the new chief justice, Mr Godfrey
Chidyausika, a former minister with a long record of finding in favour of
the ruling party.

Last week, Mr Chidyausika refused to stand down from the case despite having
made a series of public statements attacking farmers and the white former
chief justice Mr Anthony Gubbay, who resigned this year after the Government
refused to promise him protection against pro-Mugabe "war veterans".

The other judges hearing this week's case include three recent appointments
who are also seen as close to the Government.

Three surviving members of the old Supreme Court have been excluded from the
case. A judgment is expected in the next few days. "All the signs are that
Mugabe is going to get what he pays for from the new judges," one regional
analyst said.

Observers say that Mr Mugabe seems bent on further tightening his grip on
power while world attention is focused on the terrorist attacks in the
United States.

At the time of the Nigerian-brokered agreement it was believed that Mr
Mugabe had only agreed to rein in the violence in response to intense
Commonwealth and African pressure.

There was further evidence of a new strategy this week when the Information
Minister, Mr Jonathan Moyo, told the state media that the Government had not
agreed to halt attacks on white farmers. The Commonwealth deal only obliged
the Government to implement land reforms in accordance with the laws and the

Mr Moyo repeated the Government's long-term claim that the violence on the
land - which has killed nine white farmers and dozens of black employees and
left tens of thousands more farm workers without homes or jobs - was a
spontaneous reaction to colonial-era injustice.

The Government says Zimbabwe's troubles will be solved once it completes its
plans to seize nearly all 4,500 white-owned commercial farms and
redistribute the land to blacks.

On Thursday, the High Court granted bail to a 70-year-old white farmer
arrested for allegedly murdering two black "settlers" who were occupying his

The Government claims that John Bibby ordered his farm workers to attack
settlers occupying his land at Hwedza, east of Harare. Thirty of his
employees are still being held without bail.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

I sat on the edge of my chair this week to watch the screening of what was to be a "live, phone in" debate with the Minister of Information on the Abuja Agreement. According to the state run media, this programme had been lengthened to an hour and re-scheduled twice due to "overwhelming response." Well I guess most people had popped out because for the first 27 minutes there was not a single phone call and Minister Moyo went on add nauseum about how all was quiet on the farms, how the police said no reports were being made and that the Zim government was upholding its side of the bargain. He peppered his monologue with the usual gobbledy diplo talk and explained at length the difference between government and governance; could not bring himself to use the words MDC and instead refererred to the official opposition party which has 57 seats in parliament as "this party you are talking about". He referred to the leader of the opposition party as "that non graduant". Oh dear how childish that a government minister should talk like this and on such a critical subject too. The programme only ran for 45 minutes and not once did we hear the voice of a live caller or see a switchboard light flashing so who was fooling who.
Regardless of the repeated and very vocal asurances all week by a number of government officials that law and orderhad been restored on farms and that the police said no reports had been made, all hell has continued to break loose. Farming officials say that 900 farms are now completely unable to work. In Chinoyi dogs have been poisioned, fig trees ring barked and 'war veterans' are forcing farm workers to pay rent to them in order to be allowed to remain in their farm homes. In Karoi, Police refused to sign affidavits from a local clinic stating that farm workers had been beaten by 'war veterans'. In Norton army personnel forced farm workers to beat out a fire using their bare hands and feet. In Marondera farm workers have been forced out of their homes. In Beatrice army trucks are loading and removing gum poles from a farm, an Arabian stallion was shot with a bow and arrow and died. In Somabhula cattle were driven onto a railway line, three were mown down by a train and a fourth so badly injured it had to be destroyed. And so it goes on, and on and on. Police continue to refuse to give report numbers, to sign affidavits or to attend the scenes of crimes. It seems that as long as they do not officially acknoweldge the crimes then they are not in fact occuring, or that is what our government want us to believe. Who is fooling who.
The cancellation of the Brisbane meeting of Commonwealth leaders again leaves Zimbabwe temporarily un-accountable but I am sure that outside pressure will continue to mount as we get nearer to Presidential elections. This week two incredibly positive things have happened. The first is that Mr Van Hoogstraten, a well known and very big financial backer of our government, has been arrested in England and charged with murder. Mr Van Hoogstraten, although an absentee landlord, owns substantial farm land in Zimbabwe and has, for many years, been assisting our government. I would think his support will be sorely missed by our leaders. The second piece of encouraging news is that the first travel ban has been imposed on a senior Zimbabwe government official. Intending to travel to the USA for a conference, the Permanent Secretary for Mines was denied entry. The letter said: "Due to the Administrations serious concerns about recent events in Zimbabwe, it would be inappropriate at this time to support his travel...."  So perhaps we are not as alone as it seems and the terror in Zimbabwe has not gone un-noticed or been excluded from President Bush's world campaign to stamp it out.
The prices of all goods continues to go up in the shops and this week the Independent newspaper carries a front page story on how "war veterans" are demanding an increase in their monthly pensions. They want their monthly handout increased by 300% and are also demanding that they be given Title Deeds for the farms they have invaded and seed maize and fertilizer too. They have given the President until December to address their concerns. This does, however, raise a very interesting point - that of Title Deeds and future land ownership. If 35 families are resettled on a seized farm - who gets to hold the Title Deeds? Undoubtedly it will be the same as it is now in communal lands across Zimbabwe. No one holds the Title Deeds, borrowing cannot therefore be effected, improvements remain minimal or non existent as only a fool would pour money into land which he does not own. The whole fiasco of land re-distribution cannot work in this way.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From the Daily News

Viewers say they are fed up with ZBC

9/29/01 7:53:44 AM (GMT +2)

By Collin Chiwanza

Zimbabwe’s long-suffering television viewers say they are fed up with
government propaganda which they say has become regular fare on their

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) could be losing millions of
dollars because of an apparent television and radio licence fees boycott.
The situation has become so inflamed that in some areas, ZBC licence
inspectors have been attacked or forced to beat a hasty retreat with angry
viewers and listeners in hot pursuit. In Harare’s western suburb of Glen
Norah residents said this week they had observed ZBC licence inspectors
moving in groups on a corporation bus, having abandoned their traditional
motorcycles, for fear of being attacked.
Richard Mlambo, the senior public relations officer for ZBC confirmed that
inspectors had, indeed, been assaulted or chased away by furious

Mlambo said: “Cases of our inspectors being chased away and even assaulted
in the course of their duty have been encountered. In all such cases, we
have allowed the law to take its course.” Scores of Harare residents said in
interviews they had stopped paying their licence fees several months ago
because of what they described as poor programmes screened by ZBC-TV. The
residents alleged there was biased coverage of national events in TV news
bulletins which they said were dominated by footage of Zanu PF personalities
and functions.

They said opposition political parties were rarely accorded any meaningful
coverage. Martin Mufuka of Glen Norah said: “All we hear and watch is news
about Zanu PF and about the land issue. Whenever mention is made of the MDC,
it is always negative. “When the MDC won in Bulawayo recently, there was
very little coverage of their victory and their celebrations. “But we heard
and saw a lot about the Makoni West by-election where Zanu PF won.”

The MDC won the mayoral and municipal elections in Bulawayo held on 8 and 9
September. Mufuka said he was certain that television viewers would this
week be subjected to extensive coverage of Zanu PF’s victory in the Chikomba
by-election. Some residents in upmarket Borrowdale suburb, where almost
every house boasts a satellite dish, said they had long ago switched to
foreign stations because ZBC-TV had become what one of them described as
“such a painful bore”.

Linda Musarurwa of Borrowdale said: “There are no exciting films on ZBC-TV
and most of their programmes are very boring. We really consider ourselves
lucky because we can switch to other stations, particularly SABC. It is much
better than the ZBC.” The residents complained that ZBC-TV was taking
advantage of its monopoly of the airwaves to campaign for President Mugabe
and Zanu PF.
In Mbare high-density suburb, viewers criticised ZBC-TV for always being
quick to screen international soccer matches live at the expense of the
domestic league.

Busi Mutevedzi of Mbare said: “There was so much talk about the 75 percent
local content. Up to now there is no improvement whatsoever and we are still
bombarded with trash from outside the country.” On the screening of live
domestic soccer, Mlambo said measures were afoot to intensify the screening,
not only of domestic soccer but of other sporting disciplines as well.
“The corporation does not have a deliberate policy to exclude or marginalize
any individual or organisation,” said Mlambo. But the Zimbabwe Media
Monitoring Project announced that the ZBC had devoted 92 percent of the
total political coverage in the run-up to the parliamentary elections last
year to Zanu PF, while the MDC was allocated the remaining 8 percent. Nearly
all the MDC coverage was, however, negative, the report said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From the Times of India

Vietnam, Zimbabwe sign trade agreement

HANOI: Vietnam and Zimbabwe signed a framework trade deal Friday aimed at
cutting out the European middleman from their growing trade in agricultural

The agreement was signed by Vietnamese Trade Minister Vu Khoan and
Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge on the first day of a four-day
state visit here by President Robert Mugabe.

The agreement is intended to pave the way for direct trade between the two
countries in their principal commodities -- tobacco for Zimbabwe, and rice,
pepper and tea for Vietnam, Vietnamese trade ministry officials said.

"Most of the (Vietnamese) rice exported to Africa currently goes through
third countries, particularly European ones," the head of the ministry's
southwest Asia and Africa department, Vu Thi Thiem, told reporters.
"This framework trade agreement will help us to export directly to Africa."

Mugabe's arrival here from Singapore earlier in the day had been
overshadowed by the abrupt cancellation of a Commonwealth summit due to have
been held in Australia next week which was to have been the final
destination of his three-nation Asia-Pacific tour.

Mugabe himself declined to comment on the cancellation, which came in
response to the uncertain aftermath of the terror attacks in the United
States, leaving it to his foreign minister.

"The decision of the host country is that it is not appropriate at this
time. So we are waiting to hear when they will be ready for us," said

Aides acknowledged the Zimbabwean president had not been consulted about the
cancellation but declined to criticise the decision.
"No, he was not consulted," said foreign ministry information secretary
George Charamba.

Mudenge said Mugabe would now be making a hastily arranged state visit to
Thailand on Monday to replace the cancelled Commonwealth summit.
Mugabe was due to hold talks with all of Vietnam's top leaders Friday before
travelling on to one of the country's premier tourist attractions, Halong
Bay, for some weekend sightseeing ahead of some factory tours in the
commercial capital of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

It was Mugabe's first visit here as Zimbabwean president. On his only
previous visit in 1978, he was still leader of the Zimbabwe African People's
Union, one of the two main guerrilla groups fighting white rule in the then

Mugabe told his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Duc Luong the lessons he had
learnt then from Vietnamese strategists like General Vo Nguyen Giap had been
important in the African guerrillas' ultimate victory with Zimbabwean
independence two years later.

"We talked a lot about various tactics, the conversion of our guerrilla war
into a semi-conventional one," the former African guerrilla leader said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From BBC News, 28 September

'Democratic' constitution for Zimbabwe

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 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. "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.

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. 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. "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. 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. 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. "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 for 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.

From CBS News, 28 September

Push For Reform In Zimbabwe

Riot police sealed off a downtown square in Harare Friday, temporarily preventing about 200 people from holding a rally urging constitutional reform in Zimbabwe. Supporters of the National Constitutional Assembly eventually were allowed into the square after senior police officials honored a court order permitting the rally, said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the assembly. The civic organization used the rally to launch a campaign for democratic reforms to the constitution, but the gathering was smaller than planned because of the police confusion, Madhuku said. "It was a struggle to hold the meeting at all. The interference was unwarranted and shows the government is against us. We were only asking to exercise our democratic rights," he said.

On Tuesday, police banned the meeting, saying political tensions were running too high to allow the rally and a march through the city. The group was granted a High Court order Friday to hold the gathering, Madhuku said. Madhuku presented the court order to a police officer in charge of about 100 riot police armed with tear gas and stun guns who had encircled the square, but he was rebuffed. The order was later taken to police headquarters. A group of assembly supporters, with banners and flags, were at first kept out of the square, interrupting traffic in surrounding streets. Demonstrators carried flags emblazoned with the logo: "Marching for a new constitution."

The assembly has spearheaded a campaign against government-backed amendments to the constitution that were rejected in a referendum in February 2000. The defeat deeply rattled the government. The proposed amendments would have entrenched the sweeping powers of President Robert Mugabe and enabled him to seize white-owned farms without paying compensation. Despite the defeat, the ruling party passed the land seizure amendment anyway and a policy of "fast track" confiscations began soon after. The government has earmarked 4,500 white-owned farms to be seized and given to landless blacks. Soon after the referendum, ruling party militants began occupying the first of 1,700 white-owned farms. At least nine white farmers have been killed in violence since June. In an agreement signed in September in Abuja, Nigeria, Zimbabwe pledged an immediate end to violence and farm invasions in return for British funding for orderly land reform.

From The Independent (UK), 29 September

Commonwealth summit called off

Sydney - The sense of crisis gripping the world in the wake of the terrorist strikes has forced the postponement of next week's summit of Commonwealth leaders in Brisbane. A visit by the Queen, who was due to tour Australia and New Zealand after presiding over the meeting, has also been deferred. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, scheduled to begin a week today in the Queensland capital, would have been the largest gathering of world leaders since the attacks. The Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon, announced the change of plan yesterday after leading players, including Tony Blair, pulled out. The Canadian premier, Jean Chretien, also withdrew, as did the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, amid escalating tensions on the subcontinent as the US and its allies prepare for military retaliation against Afghanistan for harbouring the chief terrorist suspect, Osama bin Laden. The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, described the postponement as "incredibly regrettable" and said he hoped to reschedule the summit for early next year.

Mr McKinnon said in a statement that the meeting had been delayed for practical reasons, because of the "likely absence of a significant number of leaders, due to unforeseen circumstances". He went on: "It is with a huge feeling of disappointment that I announce this decision, a feeling that I know will be shared right across the Commonwealth and beyond. In these uncertain times, it is easy to understand the desire of political leaders to be with their own people, in their own countries." As recently as Tuesday, 45 leaders of the 54-nation Commonwealth were still planning to attend. They included the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who was expected to come under widespread criticism for encouraging the seizure of white-owned farms.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 28 September

Makoni pushes for devaluation

Finance minister Simba Makoni will in two weeks present to cabinet recommendations for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, just three months after a similar proposal went up in smoke at a highly-charged cabinet meeting, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week. Cabinet was expected to have met last week to authorise proposals for a fixed exchange rate system but balked after the private sector met the RBZ to propose a compromise package. So far industrialists have agreed to a proposal for a foreign currency pool but want the exchange rate devalued to $255 to US$1.

The attempt by Makoni to convince cabinet to sanction a devaluation of the local dollar against the greenback will be the third by the minister in three months following foiled attempts vigorously resisted by President Mugabe and his colleagues in June. Sources said Reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba had submitted recommendations to Makoni for a devaluation after being harangued 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 against the greenback compared to the official exchange rate of $55 to the US dollar. Sources said the directive had dragged rates down on the parallel market because airlines, which had become major buyers, had retreated.

"The Reserve Bank has in principle agreed to a rate of between $120 and $170 to the US dollar," a source said. "But even if Makoni has accepted the recommendations, don’t celebrate yet because cabinet can still reject the proposals." Mugabe’s cabinet supporters regard devaluation as an act of economic sabotage. Makoni’s proposal in June had been for a further 5% devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar against the greenback - the major determinant for the movement of other currencies against the embattled Zimbabwe unit. Zimbabwe is experiencing an acute foreign currency shortage that has disrupted the normal functioning of all economic activities. Industries have closed due to the situation, while those that remain in business have had to battle against all odds to keep afloat.

Bankers have reported foreign currency application queues by both individuals and companies estimated at over $1 billion. The exchange rate, which had been kept fixed at $38 to the greenback for 19 months, was devalued to $50 against the US unit in August last year and fell seven times to $55 to the US dollar. It has stayed at that level for the past 13 months. There has been panic in the private sector over indications by the government that it would crush the parallel market by re-introducing command-economy era controls on the forex market because of persistent diversion of funds from the inter-bank by exporters.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 28 September

Donors won’t fund illegal land reform

Government’s claim that the donor community will support the fast-track land reform programme has been shot down as donors yesterday said no support would be forthcoming for the current lawless campaign being waged by Zanu PF supporters with government’s backing. Since the Abuja agreement three weeks ago the government has been promoting the idea that a breakthrough has been achieved in the land impasse and that money to support land reform would soon be flowing into the country’s coffers. Last week government spokesman George Charamba said the Abuja meeting and the SADC mini-summit in Harare "recognise the status quo" on the land issue. This week Information minister Jonathan Moyo, in a live televised programme on the Abuja agreement, was adamant that money would be forthcoming to support the current land programme.

Yesterday, key multilateral donor, the European Union, said there was no commitment to support the fast-track land reform agenda. And the British government said they would not support an illegal programme. EU spokesman in Harare Alex Kremer said it 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. Asked if the current fast-track land reform process met the EU’s requirements, he said: "Let me answer you this way. We are not currently able to fund a programme."

The British High Commission yesterday said 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 said. Lindsay said the Zimbabwe government appeared to have a different interpretation of Abuja from everybody else. British High Commissioner Brian Donnelly, in an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent last week, said his government would fund a programme based on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposals of December 2000. Donnelly echoed the EU’s position. "Provided we have the right framework, Britain is willing to provide money for an effective and sustainable land reform programme co-ordinated by UNDP," he said.

The December 2000 agreement was crafted after a visit to Zimbabwe by UNDP administrator Mark Malloch-Brown. The agreement mirrors the requirements of the 1998 Harare donors conference on land as agreed by the UNDP and the Zimbabwe government. The UNDP, which has worked feverishly to broker a deal between the government and donors, last year proposed that resettlement should commence on land already state-owned, legally acquired, or offered free by commercial farmers. The UNDP said the government should establish a clear, transparent and accountable mechanism to help finance land acquisition and a resettlement programme in the form of a Trust Fund, managed by the UNDP. The proposed fund would provide resources for the resettlement process including basic infrastructure on the acquired land and direct compensation for the farmers for the land acquired and improvements, including infrastructure, as well as support for displaced farm workers.

The UNDP had also proposed that compulsory acquisition of land should obey the rules and procedures established by law with owners given full rights of appeal to the courts and court rulings respected by all parties. The UNDP said mechanisms should be put in place to select beneficiaries of the programme with a primary focus on families currently living in congested communal areas near to the property being acquired, squatter populations displaced during the war of independence, war veterans, farm workers and other displaced farmers, with special provision made for qualified women. The government has to date refused to consult stakeholders and ignored court rulings. Observers said it was rapidly becoming clear that Harare’s view of Abuja was at odds with both the laid-down terms and the views of the governments that had helped craft it.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 28 September

War vets harass doctors

War veterans have harassed doctors in Nyanga over allegations that they are sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. Medical personnel in Nyanga were accused of giving assistance to members of the MDC who had sought relief at a hospital following politically-motivated attacks. A source at Nyanga District Hospital said that it was now difficult for medical staff to treat anyone suspected of having opposition links or who could have suffered injuries in politically-motivated violence. "They (war veterans) want to reduce doctors to pliant characters whom they can direct on who to or not to treat," a hospital source said. This week, the war veterans ordered the hospital to temporarily halt operations as they lectured staff on "medical ethics" and how they should run the hospital. "Doctors were told to understand who they were and the role they played in society," the source said. The District Medical Officer (DMO), Cadwell Munjoma, told the Independent this week that he was contemplating leaving the hospital following the unprecedented abuse he received at the hands of the war veterans. Manicaland war veterans provincial executive, Major S Gurure, wrote a letter dated September 24 to summon Munjoma, the hospital’s advisory board and other medical staff to a kangaroo court this week at Nyanga Hospital. The war veterans rejected a call by the Manicaland Provincial Medical Director, Dr Tendayi Chimbadzwa, to channel their grievances through the provincial directorate.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe strife puts African Gold in red

AFRICAN Gold, the small Irish company with a mine in Zimbabwe, has turned in a net loss of £156,000 in the first half of this year because of the low gold price and economic and political chaos in Zimbabwe.

However, the company says that it is examining two natural resource ventures.

Stock market sources expect African Gold to announce a reverse takeover within the next few weeks which could put its African gold-mining operations into a minority activity.

The company has raised £40,000 in new capital in recent months from chairman John Teeling after raising a further £200,000 last year. The company's balance sheet has accumulated losses of £4.1m.

"I can report that our search for a new business sees us at an advanced stage in discussing a takeover project as part of our drive to add value for shareholders," Dr Teeling says.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Chinhoyi Farmers further remanded out of custody - CFU News Release: 28 September 2001
Deputy Attorney-General Mr. Bharat Patel: "a revolutionary situation almost exists on farms." - CFU News Release: 28 September 2001
Govt ‘reluctant’ to stop violence in disputed farms - from The African Church Information Service, 30 July 2001: Chinamasa adamant that "violence is a necessary tool for a successful land reform programme."
News Release - Friday 28 September 2001
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers' Union)

LEGAL Counsel of the Commercial Farmers' Union, in the Constitutional Court case with Government, today filed further written arguments urging the bench to address the lawlessness of Government's current fast track approach to land reform.

The filing of the submission by CFU was necessitated by the remarks made in Court on Wednesday by Deputy Attorney-General Mr. Bharat Patel, who had not raised these points when previously permitted, where his arguments to go unanswered it would have set a bad precedent for appeals and provided unfair advantage.

Following up on Mr. Patel's submission on Wednesday that "a revolutionary situation almost exists on farms." Advocate Adrian de Bourbon said that whilst CFU was for reform, the courts should apply and enforce the law and not ignore it in the "name of the revolution."

In the document, legal counsel also emphasized that Zimbabwe does not exist in a vacuum and that the judgment once handed down will be of interest both nationally and internationally.

Advocate de Bourbon said an examination of entries in the Government Gazette relating to preliminary notices since June 2000 showed that more than 50 percent of the farms were held under title deeds issued after 1980.

"Had Government wished to acquire more than 4 million hectares of land, they could have done so since 1980 by declining their interest in this land that was for sale rather than issuing certificates of 'no present interest', which enabled this transfer to the owners that are now listed."

That acquisition was done in terms of laws either validated in the 1980 Constitution or passed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe since 1980. Injustice arises not from the laws but from the manner in which the Government has failed to use the law since 1980 to bring about an equitable distribution of land," said Advocate de Bourbon.

He also questioned the statement made by Mr. Patel that the State had "within their political boundaries" restored the rule of law, saying that approach was behind the whole issue of lawlessness in the case.

"The State look to their particular political constituency, rather than to the law and the courts, in determining what action they should take. This Statement by the Deputy Attorney-General is highly significant, reflecting the whole approach by his clients - the State," said Advocate de Bourbon.

Advocate de Bourbon disputed the State's claim that Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri had been unable to respond to the question of the rule of law because of insufficient time.

Advocate de Bourbon was dismissive in his response to these pleas for leniency.  He explained: "The Deputy Attorney-General sought and was given a one week extension to file the Answering Affidavits. Lack of time is not claimed in the State's affidavits. It was not even raised in written argument. Only in oral argument in reply, when faced with the enormity of the facts alleged against the State, was the lack of time first raised.

The Police Commissioner knew that from 21 December (when judgment was handed down against Government) he would need to satisfy this Court at some stage that the rule of law had been restored. He was hardly taken by surprise with the extent of the detail given by the CFU. Indeed it is his duty to keep current records of such matters," said Advocate de Bourbon.

Government took the CFU to court, seeking an interim relief order from an interdict granted against it in December. The interdict, which came into effect on July 1 2001, ordered the State to suspend the compulsory acquisition and resettlement programme until it could prove that it had restored the rule of law on commercial farms. The interdict also requires Government to produce a workable land reform programme in terms which resettlement is to proceed.

When judgment is handed down a burning question will be answered 'Have political dictates won over justice for all Zimbabweans????'

News Release
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers' Union)

THE group of Chinhoyi farmers, charged with public violence after skirmishes with illegal occupiers on Liston Shields Farm in the area last month, have been further remanded out of custody to October 4, when a trial date is expected to be set.

In addition to the 21 originally arrested, three others were subsequently arrested in connection with the incident, which occurred on August 6.

Meanwhile, Mr. John Bibby, a Wedza farmer charged with two counts of murder was released on $20 000 bail today.

Mr. Bibby was arrested after two men died during clashes between rival occupier factions on his property, Bita Farm, on September 15.

Govt ‘reluctant’ to stop violence in disputed farms

From The African Church Information Service, 30 July 2001

Victoria Falls - Zimbabwean Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mr. Patrick Chinamasa has refused to assure heads of Christian denominations that the government will move to stop the violence currently prevailing in the country. Speaking to Church leaders in Victoria Falls, Chinamasa said political violence would continue until the controversial land issue has been resolved. Chinamasa warned the country could plunge into a war because of the land issue. "The nation is apparently on the verge of a war and in a war situation none is really in control," he said. Commenting on why the government was failing to arrest the rampant political violence and lawlessness that has gripped the country, Chinamasa remained adamant that "violence is a necessary tool for a successful land reform programme. The land issue must be solved now once and for all".

The chairperson of the ruling party Zanu PF, who is the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. John Nkomo also declined to assure the Church leaders that there would be no violence in the presidential elections. "We as Zimbabweans we do not have confidence in ourselves, we are ashamed of being blacks, we have too many negative attitudes towards ourselves and this is absolutely not a good for nation building," the Minister said. "I cannot assure you that there won't be violence next year. We are not a party which instigates violence Zanu PF is not a violent party. We just want to protect what we fought for," he said.

The delegates showed disapproval to this when the Minister of Home Affairs went on to say "if they are attacked violently, definitely they have to be on the defensive side and act accordingly". This apparently did not amuse the church leaders who continuously shook their heads in disbelief and disagreement while Chinamasa made his presentation. The Minister further challenged churches to work with the government in nation building. He said no matter how bad things might seem to be Zimbabweans should persevere and face the problems of their own country on their own. In his own perspective, Zimbabweans are crying to go back to slavery. "We as Zimbabweans we do not have confidence in ourselves, we are ashamed of being blacks, we have too many negative attitudes towards ourselves and this is absolutely not a good for nation building," he said. In emphasizing his point on slavery, Chinamasa gave a biblical example of Moses and the Israelites. He referred to the grumbling of the people of Israel when things got tough on the way. He noted whenever people were delivered from slavery and the challenges became unbearable, the freed slaves wished to return to the previous slave masters. He said this was now the case in Zimbabwe where people are wishing to go back to Rhodesia (the colonial name for the country) when they are being led to "Canaan".

One pastor totally disagreed with the example given by the Minister on Zimbabweans. He argued that while it is true that the Israelites grumbled in the wilderness, the example does not fit the Zimbabwe situation because Moses did not approve of violence or killings. Even during the time when God was angry enough and when the Israelites had wanted to kill them for their grumbling, Moses pleaded with God not to kill them, the pastor retorted. Another pastor stressed that it was the Church's concern to speak out boldly against violence whenever it was taking place. As an institution they want the government to guarantee and cultivate a non-violent environment in the country especially in the forthcoming presidential elections, he added. Many heads of denominations noted that it had emerged during the talks that the government was "not in a position to commit itself to stop the violence". Instead of dialoging and listening to concerns it appears as if the Church has been assembled to listen to what the government has to say, they said. The heads of denominations maintained that they expected to see peace and justice. But they do not want peace "that is forced on people from the police and Army which is characterised by fear".

Back to the Top
Back to Index