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
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.
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%.
Storage Company owns 0,50% of the country's total land area.
given these figures, it is actually the government which owns 70% of the
total land while 30% is privately-owned.
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
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
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
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION 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.
NATIONAL REPORT IN
BRIEF: 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. REGIONAL REPORTS
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.
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.
Manicaland 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.
Midlands 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.
Matabeleland 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
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 night.
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
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.
By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Johannesburg
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
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
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
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
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 courts.
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
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 farm.
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.
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.
long-suffering television viewers say they are fed up with government
propaganda which they say has become regular fare on
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 householders.
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
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.
HANOI: Vietnam and Zimbabwe signed a framework trade
deal Friday aimed at cutting out the European middleman from their growing
trade in agricultural commodities.
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
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
"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
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.
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 Mudenge.
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
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 Rhodesia.
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.
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
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
the use of armed force internally within
the exercise of the powers to prosecute
persons for crime,
the use of presidential powers to pardon
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
Push For Reform In
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
From The Independent (UK), 29
Commonwealth summit called
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
Makoni pushes for
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
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 28
Donors won’t fund illegal land
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
War vets harass
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
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
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.
Chinhoyi Farmers further remanded out of
custody - CFU News Release: 28 September
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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????' Ends. ___________
News Release (On behalf of the Commercial
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
Mr. Bibby was arrested after two men died during clashes between
rival occupier factions on his property, Bita Farm, on September
Govt ‘reluctant’ to stop violence in disputed farms
From The African Church Information Service, 30 July
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
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