|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Ministers from Commonwealth countries are gathering in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for talks to discuss land reform and political tension in Zimbabwe.
There has been uncertainty over whether the talks will concentrate on just the land reform process - as Zimbabwe hopes - or whether discussions will also cover the tense political climate in the country.
The meeting is likely to be highly charged.
But it is being seen as an opportunity to put the issue on the agenda ahead of the Commonwealth heads of government summit in Brisbane, Australia, next month.
Until now, the issue of land reform in Zimbabwe has been regarded by other African nations as largely an internal matter.
President Robert Mugabe and his government have been happy to keep it that way, accusing the former colonial power, Britain, of meddling in its affairs and of failing to pay reparations for land taken during colonial times.
But with increasing political instability in Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe can no longer guarantee the unquestioned support of his neighbours.
There are fears that instability in Zimbabwe could spread across Africa and sour the climate for foreign investment.
It is very unlikely that Nigeria will openly criticise Mr Mugabe at these talks.
But, like the South Africans, they will be hoping that pressure can be placed on Zimbabwe to tone down its support for the forced seizure of white-owned farmland.
Zimbabweans want to keep the talks limited to the land reform issue.
But other delegations, including the British, are determined to broaden the debate to include the issue of political instability and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
All sides are hoping that the meeting in Abuja will at least give them the opportunity to put their cards on the table in a civilised manner ahead of the Brisbane summit.
Among the dead were 16 local villagers who had been harvesting grass for their homes, and three game rangers who had been called in to help contain the blaze.
"It could be that it was a natural fire caused by lightning, or that it was a man-made fire," said Salifou Siddo, head of corporate affairs at South African National Parks.
"Currently our people are on the ground working to keep the fire under control," he said.
Kruger, South Africa's most famous park, attracts nearly one million visitors a year, 40% of them foreign tourists.
It is home to species including lion, rhinoceros, buffalo, leopard and elephant.
It's not completely put out, but it is under control
Police spokseman Captain Harry Shabangu told Reuters news agency that most of the villagers, who had been given permission to cut grass, died as they were trying to escape the blaze.
"Two ladies died on their way to hospital and another died (Wednesday) morning in hospital. The rest were found at the scene," Shabangu said.
"Most of the people died while they were running away," he added.
There were no reports of tourists or animals being hurt.
"Three rangers who were called in to fight the fire were also trapped and killed," said Mr Siddo.
Kruger Park spokesman William Mabasa said the fire, which started on Tuesday afternoon and covered a large area of dry bushland around the workers' tented camp, had been largely contained by midday on Wednesday.
"It's not completely put out, but it is under control," he said.
The fire was fanned by strong winds which blow across South Africa at the end of the dry season.
The statement came on the eve of a Commonwealth foreign ministers meeting called to discuss President Mugabe's controversial programme of farm take-overs, as well the violence that has accompanied it.
The farmers' offer has been on the table since July but the authorities have been in no hurry to discuss it.
Zimbabwe's Vice-President Joseph Msika said: "Government welcomes the fact that some white commercial farmers appear to have turned a new leaf in their attitude towards the government's land reform programme."
"This means precious time will not be wasted in needless legal battles which only serve to polarise our society and cost us dearly through loss of production time."
Mr Msika is Acting President while Robert Mugabe is in Libya.
In the past, he has made conciliatory suggestions concerning land reform while acting president only for them to be dismissed on Mr Mugabe's return.
As well as the land, the farmers have offered over $1 m to help the black settlers with infrastructure and agricultural inputs.
Most of the 531 farms now offered to the government were already listed for compulsory acquisition.
However, the owners have now agreed to stop their legal objections which will speed up the process of redistributing the land.
The government has described the initiative as "home grown" - a move which may be intended to stop international intervention.
Analysts say the white farmers will be hoping that this offer will free up other properties which the government has targeted for acquisition.
Mr Msika made no mention of this and the government recently increased the amount of land it wants to redistribute to eight million hectares of farm land - around 70% of all white-owned land.
The previous target had been five million hectares.
The Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria hopes to focus on a wide range of issues which include the seizure of white-owned farmland in Zimbabwe, the intimidation of the opposition, judiciary and the media.
The Zimbabwe Government wants the agenda limited to his quarrel with Britain
over the financing of land redistribution.
We have today learned of some very important issues through extremely reliable resources as follows :
The Zim authorities have piggy-backed the SA authorities by installing through PTC what is known as a "SNIFFER PROGRAM" which is designed through installing passwords or clue terminology against individual's names or organizations they may wish to investigate as potential breachers of "legislations" as determined by the authorities. Apparently a statuatory instrument/law has been passed in SA enforcing the above.
Through authorities PTC have ordered Mail Servers to take down what they call "FIRE WALLS" which are supposedly the systems which protect their client's confidentially - informers working for mail servers in Zim have verified this We are not sure if this is Politically motivated through CIO or Reserve Bank motivated however the fact that 3000 prisoners have been recently released means there is a good chance that those prison berths are going to be filled with white faces.
For this reason please do not forward any politically motivated or foreign currency associated data to anyone.
5th September - from Bev and Tony Reeler
In the last 18 months the Zimbabwean economy has been destroyed.
The Zimbabwean people have been intimidated, beaten, raped, and killed.
Their homes have been burnt, or taken from them.
Their lives have been disrupted by lack of transport, escalating prices,
the breakdown of infrastructures.
Businesses have been closed, tens of thousands of jobs lost.
Farming has been stopped, land burnt, animals killed.
Thousands of trees have been chopped down for cooking fuel and cash.
The population of homeless and orphaned swells.
In the last 18 months Zimbabweans have learned to endure:
To live with grief.
To look pain in the eyes.
To face fear.
They have learnt the meaninglessness of money.
The truth of actions.
The lies of words.
They have learnt the strength of friendship
The folly of racism.
In the last 18 months,
while the government has been bent on destruction
the people of Zimbabwe have woven miracles.
Despite this government sabotage.
and with the help of funding angels from across the planet,
The people of Zimbabwe have taken the government to court for acts of
violence and corruption.
They have staged stay aways, and peace prayers and peace marches.
They have established an opposition party who consistently refuse to resort
to violence .
They have challenged the government's war in the DRC.
They have challenged governments use of the police and judiciary of the
country for their purposes.
They have challenged the government control of the media.
They have managed to keep an independent press going
despite journalists being threatened, beaten, jailed and deported.
Despite their presses being bombed.
They have fought, and lost to establish a free radio.
Civic Action Groups have officially documented and made public,
the acts of government initiated violence.
They have issued reports and named the perpetrators.
They have provided transport, legal aid, and safe houses
for the victims to come to court and tell their stories.
They have set up provisions for food, medical treatment, rape clinics,
counseling, group story telling
for thousands who have suffered in this process.
The Civic groups of Zimbabwe have created a network of more than 250 of
the non-government organizations
From trade unions to churches to lawyers to human rights workers,
Who have presented the government with a unified petition demanding a
return to law and order.
They have spoken to foreign Governments, Human Rights Organizations, the
and presented their reports.
They have established Local Action Groups and Rate Payers Associations
Who refuse to co-operate with illegally appointed councils.
People have been forced out of their comfort zones,
And begun to weave their threads into the tapestry.
- 3 Zimbabweans have dedicated their lives to taking Mugabe to court in
America after the murders of their loved ones,
- a doctor leaves her practice to look after victims of violence
- a managing director on an international company consults with human
rights people on behalf of his staff
- a leading business woman creates a network for distributing food aid to
- farmers and farmer workers stand side with new found friendship
to face the violence
- therapists give their time to work with the traumatized
- a business man sets up an email service which dispenses the latest news
- a group monitors the media and makes weekly reports
- people connect in the shops, in the fuel queus, through the email -
keeping in touch, sharing their pain and strength.
- paint their own road signs
- fill their own pot holes
Black and white and in between
Young and old and in between
The people of Zimbabwe have been working for peace with incredible acts of
courage and love.
And in facing our challenges we are weaving a miracle.
ZIMBABWE: Rural poverty fuels anti-government sentiment
CHIKOMBA, 5 September (IRIN) - Susan Mhanga, a 55-year old widow, choked
back the tears as she contemplated her life. Three-years ago her husband
succumbed to AIDS leaving her with five children to raise on her own and
no savings to fall back on. She told IRIN she was forced to turn to
commercial sex work to make ends meet.
Her story of poverty and hardship is not unusual in Chikomba, a rural
district 200 km southeast of Harare. But what could be significant is that
in two weeks time, she has the chance to vote in a bye-election for a seat
that up until now was considered safe for the ruling party.
At 40, Mhanga’s neighbour Peter Gombo should be at the prime of his
working life. But instead he has been made redundant after the
Harare-based Willowvale car assembly plant shut down three months ago due
to Zimbabwe’s harsh economic climate. “Like idiots we continue to watch
silently while the future of our children is being ruined right before our
eyes,” Gombo, now one of the village elders, told IRIN.
With his few savings Gombo has started a poorly-paying small
brick-moulding business. He, like Mhanga, are unequivocal over who is to
blame for their circumstances. “For 21 years we have been groping and
floundering in the swamp, but some among us still think we should continue
to support ZANU-PF even when it has become all too clear that the ruling
party has no solution to our problems,” he said.
That kind of sentiment in a previously staunch ZANU-PF area could be cause
for concern for the ruling party’s candidate, Bernard Makokove. He is up
against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) Oswald
Ndanga, to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Chenjerai Hunzvi, the
combatative former leader of the war veterans’ association.
Even fervent supporters of President Robert Mugabe such as Cecilia Ngoni
agree that life has deteriorated in the rural areas. Ngoni, who said she
would still vote for Mugabe in next year’s presidential election,
resignedly agreed that the government could have done more for people in
her district in the 21 years it had been in power. “It was good for the
government to build the new schools and clinics for us, but they should
have done more to develop the rural areas,” Ngoni said.
What Mhanga fears is that a government - which in the past won handsome
parliamentary majorities against weak opposition - will again turn to
violence to retain its hold on power against the MDC, as it did in last
June’s parliamentary polls, she told IRIN.
At independence in 1980, Mugabe’s government understood that the neglected
countryside was its key constituency, and earmarked development projects
for the rural areas that had borne the brunt of the country’s liberation
war. But a decade-long economic crisis - coupled with alleged
mismanagement and corruption - have destroyed whatever social sector
initiatives the government poured money into, critics charge.
Zhenje Business Centre, deep in Chikomba communal lands, is one such
example of the decay. While Mugabe and his officials offer various
explanations for Zimbabwe’s economic woes - including “a conspiracy by
British enemies” - poverty and underdevelopment have taken their toll on
the thousands of small rural centres such as Zhenje.
It is quite clear to any visitor to Zhenje that the majority of the
households that surround it - or in any other rural area in Zimbabwe for
that matter - no longer meet the minimum food requirements. Officially, 75
percent of Zimbabweans now live below the poverty line. In Zhenje, one
simple illustration of that fact is that two of the community’s four
grocery shops have closed due to lack of business.
Growth points such as Zhenje were built to serve as centres of development
in the communal lands.
Schools and technical colleges were constructed to equip the rural people
with skills to feed these centres. But failed economic reforms and
controversial political policies by Mugabe’s government has scared
investors and foreign capital away, leaving much of the rural
infrastructure derelict. It has also left thousands of trained young
people with no jobs, and little hope.
The MDC, taking advantage of the grinding poverty and economic malaise, is
building its campaign in Chikomba on public discontent with Mugabe’s
administration. “We are explaining to the people how 21 years of ZANU-PF
mismanagement and corruption have destroyed the economy,” Piniel Denga,
the coordinator of the MDC’s campaign in Chikomba told IRIN.
Denga, whose house was stoned by alleged ZANU-PF youths two weeks ago,
said political violence had forced his party to resort to door-to-door
campaigns carried out mostly under the cover of darkness. “ZANU-PF cannot
explain to the people why they are poor and it is now resorting to
violence and intimidation,” he said.
Bright Makunde, ZANU-PF’s political commissar for Mashonaland East
province which includes Chikomba, dismissed the accusations. Makunde told
IRIN: “We have told our supporters to wage a peaceful campaign. Those who
allege we are responsible for violence only want to tarnish our party’s
While admitting that people are facing extreme hardships, Makunde said
ZANU-PF would explain how its controversial fast-track land reforms, to
resettle the landless on white commercial farms, were designed to empower
the people economically.
In two weeks time, it will be proved in Chikomba whether ZANU-PF can still
convince the people that land reform will address their hunger or whether
growing poverty will turn the electorate against the governing party.
PURSUIT OF POWER AT DURBAN
All you really need to know about the United Nations' "World
Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance" -- now missing the U.S.
and Israeli delegations, which decamped on Monday -- you can
learn by directing your gaze away from the conference
Look up the road, 700 miles or so, from the conference site,
in Durban, South Africa (named for a distinguished
19th-century British governor, Sir Benjamin D'Urban).
There lies Zimbabwe, the former Southern Rhodesia. You might
not know from exposure to the U.S. media, which have been
scandalously inattentive to the story, that terrible events
are afoot in Zimbabwe.
The regime of President Robert Mugabe is endeavoring to
expel from the country -- first taking care to seize their
lands without compensation -- the thousands of white farmers
whose know-how and energy are the backbone of the country's
economy. If the farmers were black, such tactics, such an
objective, would be called "genocide," but, well, you know
how it goes these days.
The regime sends mobs of young squatters to seize the farms.
No use calling the police, who invariably take the
squatters' side. Some weeks ago, about 20 farmers who ran to
the aid of elderly neighbors under mob attack were hauled
off to jail by the police. Mr. Mugabe has silenced judges
disinclined to put up with such tyranny and has all but
silenced Zimbabwe's independent newspapers.
Yet, at the World Conference Against Blah, Blah, how often
does one hear of Robert Mugabe? Oh, about as often as one
hears of the Peloponnesian War or the Defenestration of
Prague -- not a syllable of indignation; not the faintest
tintinnabulation of dismay.
Mr. Mugabe, who stayed home due to "security" concerns, is
Third World. He gets a pass. Who doesn't get one? Israel
doesn't. Yasser Arafat denounces Israel as a racist colonial
power. The conference gets ready to OK a statement
eviscerating the Israelis. Their stomachs too weak for
bilge, U.S. and Israeli delegates pull out.
And then there's slavery, which exists today chiefly in the
Sudan, but don't let that confuse you, because at the World
Blah, Blah, the Sudanese, like Mr. Mugabe, get a pass for
being Third World. In fact, it turns out that the First
World owes Africa a lot of bucks in "reparations" for
importing slaves (whose descendants for some reason haven't
elected to return to the Old Country), even though it was
the British, not the Africans, who suppressed the slave
trade, and even though the president of Senegal wonders
aloud at Durban whether he might be asked to pay
reparations, too, given that his ancestors helped round up
and sell those slaves in the first place.
Jesse Jackson, the noted adulterer, and the Congressional
Black Caucus are also there, lobbying for "understanding"
and First World concessions -- making the whole thing even
Race, seemingly the modern world's leading preoccupation, is
its most intractable, due to the dishonesty that infects
virtually every attempt to discuss the topic.
Discussions about race are rarely about race. They turn out,
as at Durban, mostly to concern power -- who's got it, who
wants it. "Race" is mainly a club for pummeling the
Israelis, wielded by people who want what the Israelis have
got. "Race," as with "reparations." is a pretext for
rattling the tin cup -- how about some dough, Bro? You won't
get any by not trying, that's for sure.
The real "victims of racism" are those who, with indulgent
smiles on their faces, must sit and listen to all this
tommyrot, with never a thought for Robert Mugabe: the
highway robbery he licenses, the human-rights crimes the
perpetrates, the smile on his own face as he contemplates --
how could he not? -- the joy of being a Third World despot
in the age of Yasser Arafat and Jesse Jackson.
A CONFERENCE OF HATE
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
So, the United States and Israel have finally had enough of
the naked display of anti-Semitism at the singularly
misnamed World Conference Against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in
Durban, South Africa. Whatever took us so long?
With this conference, the United Nations has reverted
to its old deplorable self. Does anyone wonder why
Americans, generally speaking, don't trust the organization
and are reluctant to pay the lion's share of its budget? We
are even footing 25 percent of the bill for the conference
in Durban, where the United States is being vilified as a
matter of routine. While it was certainly appropriate for
Secretary of State Colin Powell to refuse to attend, it was
a naive mistake for the United States to think that we could
influence the outcome of the declarations with a lower-level
U.S. delegation floating about.
In fact, you can be assured that whenever people come
together to discuss the lower human instincts such as
intolerance and racism, these same instincts will rear their
ugly heads in the worst way. Invite people to examine and
explore their grievances, express their true feelings, and
nothing but nastiness will result. In Durban, everybody
feels entitled to victimhood - with the exception of
apologetic and guilt-ridden Americans and Europeans, whose
colonialist past is considered the root of all evil. They
have no one to blame, unless they chose to blame the Vikings
and demand reparations for raping and pillaging from the
Scandinavians, which at least would make for a new twist on
a very old story.
In fact, more than anything, the proceedings have
brought back memories of an old 1960s song by Tom Lehrer -
"National Brotherhood Week." Not a blessed thing has changed
since he wrote it as a spoof on good-intentions-weeks. Not
usually one to quote Tom Lehrer, I nevertheless found the
refrain ringing in my head with every newspaper article
about the conference. Remember the refrain? "Oh, the
Protestants hate the Catholics/And the Catholics hate the
Protestants/And the Hindus hate the Moslems/And everybody
hates the Jews."
In this case, the anti-Semitism whipped up by
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and aided and abetted by
numerous Muslim countries has run so high that Israel has
been singled out as the only country to deserve special
condemnation, a practitioner of apartheid. This in a world
of egregious human rights offenders that include countries
like Russia, China, Sudan, Iraq, Egypt or Zimbabwe next
door, where white farmers are being driven from their farms
for no other reason than the color of their skin.
Among the offending language, which caused the United
States and Israel to walk out - but not the European Union -
was this draft statement: "The World Conference recognizes
with deep concern the increase of racist practices of
Zionism and anti-Semitism in various parts of the world as
well as the emergence of racial and violent movements based
on racism and discriminatory ideas, in particular the
Zionist movement, which is based on racial superiority."
Well, don't believe for a moment that the authors of that
clause were worried about anti-Semitism at all.
While reparations for slavery were for a long while the
cause celebre of the conference, the issue has been
overtaken by anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism as its primary
theme. Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson felt compelled to deplore
this fact, in a fairly backhanded way. Mr. Jackson seemed
concerned that it has detracted from his own agenda - racism
in the United States. "It is a shame, we've let the
Israeli-Palestinian thing constrict our view of racism to a
keyhole," he said in his capacity as a non-government
The tone of this conference unfortunately is a sign of
greater problems facing the Middle East. Muslim countries
obviously feel they have cornered Israel, at least in public
relations terms. Militarily, it very much looks as though
Mr. Arafat will be successful in forcing the hand of Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon through the continued Intifada
and suicide bombings. The Durban conference represents the
public relations arm of this effort, a wonderful forum for
Mr. Arafat to rant in front of a receptive international
Have no doubt about it, all the condemnations of
Zionism are part and parcel of the movement to erase the
state of Israel from the map of the Middle East. In this
instance, as in many others, Martin Luther King Jr.
expressed the thought with great clarity. "When people
criticize Zionism they mean Jews . . . Zionism is nothing
less than the dream and the ideal of the Jewish people
returning to live on their own land . . . and what is
anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jew of the fundamental
right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and
freely accord to all other nations of the globe. It is
discrimination against Jews because they are Jews. In short
it is anti-Semitism."
That this should be the essence and outcome of a U.N.
conference on racism would be ironic were it not such an
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ZIMBABWE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: Leaders to attend summit on Zimbabwe crisis
JOHANNESBURG, 4 September (IRIN) - South African President Thabo Mbeki and
four other regional heads of state will travel to Harare next week for a
two-day summit with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe aimed at resolving
the crisis in that country, AFP reported on Tuesday, quoting a
presidential spokesman. Bheki Khumalo told AFP that Mbeki would be joined
in the Zimbabwean capital by the presidents of Botswana, Malawi, Angola
The meeting forms part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC)
initiative to address issues relating to Zimbabwe.
The meeting scheduled for Monday and Tuesday with Mugabe and his cabinet
ministers will also involve interest groups such as commercial farmers and
war veterans. “This indicates the commitment of the South African
government to do whatever it can to deal with some of the challenges
facing Zimbabwe,” Khumalo said.
Zimbabwe has been shaken since early last year by the seizures of
white-owned farms by landless blacks and by violence by pro-government
militants. Political opponents of Mugabe have been attacked, killed and
beaten by his supporters with the apparent backing of the police. The rand
hit a record low against the dollar early on Tuesday amid concern in South
Africa about the political and economic situation in neighbouring
Zimbabwe, dealers said.
ZIMBABWE-NIGERIA: Commonwealth split over meeting agenda
JOHANNESBURG, 4 September (IRIN) - A special Commonwealth group on the
growing crisis in Zimbabwe will meet in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday. But
AFP reported on Tuesday that there was disagreement over the agenda which
Harare wants focused on land while London and others want to emphasise
political violence and the rule of law. The crisis in Zimbabwe was under
discussion on Tuesday on the sidelines of a Commonwealth ministerial group
in London, Nigerian officials said, and will be raised at the Commonwealth
heads of government meeting in Australia later in the year.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and a growing regional power since
its return to civilian rule, is hosting the special group talks to focus
on the Zimbabwe issue. Besides Britain, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, ministers
and officials are expected from Australia, Canada, Kenya and Jamaica,
while the Commonwealth team will be led by Secretary General Don McKinnon.
Zimbabwean government officials said the meeting in the Nigerian capital
should “make Britain realise” the social, political, moral and economic
justification of President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms. “We believe that
once Britain listens and realises the justification of our programme, we
should be able to patch our differences because our land policy is the
source of our problems,” Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge said
recently of the meeting in Nigeria.
From the ABC (Australia)
Commonwealth may need to get tough with Zimbabwe: PM
The Prime Minister has raised the option of suspending or ending Zimbabwe's
membership of the Commonwealth if the siutation there does not change.
Commonwealth ministers are holding crisis talks on the political violence in
The Prime Minister has again rejected calls for Zimbabwe's President, Robert
Mugabe, to be banned from attending the October Commonwealth Heads of
Government (CHOGM) meeting.
But Mr Howard says he and a growing number of Commonwealth countries would
like to see things changed.
"There's no doubt that what's happening in Zimbabwe is unacceptable," he
"It has to change otherwise people are entitled to look at Zimbabwe's
continuing association with the Commonwealth."
From The Financial Gazette, 6 September
CIO urges Mugabe to go
Middle and junior-ranking officers of the spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) have recommended that President Robert Mugabe should retire before next year's presidential election to enhance Zanu PF's chances of winning the ballot, it was learnt this week. However, some of the spies interviewed this week said the CIO's top directors who report directly to the President were blocking this message from reaching him. The CIO officers said several of their colleagues working on the "2002 elections assignment" had emphasised the need to rejuvenate the ruling party ahead of the crucial presidential election, which must be held by May.
Mugabe faces the stiffest challenge to his 21-year reign from the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai. "Our major task as CIO officers is to interact with people and report frankly and accurately to our top bosses on what is happening on the ground," said one junior officer. "Several of our officers have reported that many voters in the urban and even rural areas will not support Zanu PF unless Mugabe retires. The President is however being badly advised by those who report to him directly," he said, adding that this was the general sentiment among middle and junior ranking CIO officers, who constitute the majority of the 3000-strong spy agency.
The officials said the CIO's intelligence officers who are deployed to mingle and interact with the ordinary people - the heart and soul of the organisation - had in the past few months conducted an "intelligence census" which supported the theory that "Zanu PF required a new leadership" to enhance its electoral fortunes next year. "The rate at which our internal politics and frustrations within the organisation are clouding real issues is amazing," said another officer. "We blame our bosses squarely because they have allowed differences between them and us the juniors to widen."
The officers said Mugabe was not doing himself a favour by relying on everything he was told by the senior CIO directors without interacting with the juniors as he used to do in the past. "The President used to interact a lot with lower ranking officers, apart from his formal contacts with the directors. But that suddenly stopped and he now relies on his favoured officers who are badly advising him," another officer said. The spies said even if Mugabe decided to stand, he should at least be well informed about the mood of Zimbabweans who are angry at his policies, something the top brass seems reluctant to tell him.
Mugabe has already declared that he will run for another six-year term in the projected ballot. Many top politicians within the Zanu PF party have nonetheless said in private discussions that it is time he and his two ageing deputies - Joseph Msika and Simon Muzenda - considered retiring to pave the way for a new and younger leadership. Some CIO officers said they still believed there was a possibility that Mugabe could quit before next year's presidential election. They said the President would retire if he could secure Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa's position as his chosen successor. "But if he fails to put Mnangagwa in line to succeed him, then there is a strong school of thought that he will continue hanging in there," said another intelligence officer. Persistent efforts to get comment from CIO boss Elisha Muzonzini on the CIO's recommendations have been unsuccessful in the past two weeks because he refuses to respond to messages left with his secretary. Muzonzini's boss, State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, also failed to respond to other requests for interviews left at his office.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 6 September
Straw offers £36m for Zimbabwe land reform
Britain will renew its offer of millions of pounds to help pay for land reform in Zimbabwe when Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, meets his Zimbabwean counterpart today. Ahead of a tense meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, senior officials warned that intransigence by Zimbabwe could provoke tougher action by the Commonwealth. Mr Straw will make clear that Britain's offer of £36 million, made last year, is still on the table on condition that it is carried out with "transparency, respect for the law, poverty reduction, affordability and consistency with Zimbabwe's wider economic interests".
The meeting of Commonwealth ministers is part of an intense diplomatic effort to avoid a damaging split at next month's summit of Commonwealth leaders in Brisbane. A diplomat said: "The question of suspending Zimbabwe has been in the air for some time, but there has been no consensus until now. Abuja could be the trigger." Five southern African presidents will visit Zimbabwe next week to discuss the crisis with President Mugabe. Zimbabwe wants the Abuja talks to deal exclusively with demands that Britain pay for the acquisition of white-owned farms. Britain insists the meeting must also address the breakdown of law and political violence against Mr Mugabe's opponents. Zimbabwe also announced that it had accepted an offer of 2.5 million acres of land from white farmers to resettle 20,000 black families. But vice-president Joseph Msika said most of the 531 farms were already earmarked for acquisition under the fast-track resettlement programme and the government was still determined to seize about 5,000 farms.
From News24 (SA), 6 September
Zim workers 'need help'
Johannesburg - The growing number of farm workers displaced by land invasions in Zimbabwe has prompted agricultural groups to call for immediate humanitarian assistance to deal with the crisis, the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks reported on Tuesday. "There's certainly a role here for international organisations, these people urgently need feeding programmes and shelter," Godfrey Magaramomba of the Farm Community Trust (FCT), a Harare-based NGO, said on Tuesday. The FCT has been trying to assist former farm labourers in Hwedza, 100 kilometres southeast of Harare. Self-styled war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters evicted about 2000 families from 14 commercial farms in the area two weeks ago.
Magaramomba said that those evicted were now living in appalling conditions in makeshift camps and squatter settlements along main roads. "We've been held up from helping these people by pro-government provincial authorities and by war veterans on the ground," he added. Evicted farm workers have told FCT that after being labelled opposition supporters by war veterans, they are then told not just to leave the farms, but to leave the area completely. Analysts have said that making large numbers of farm workers destitute effectively disenfranchised them. "Kicking people out of where they live and vote appears to be a new tactic aimed at diluting opposition support in rural areas," one observer said.
Over 2800 commercial farms have been listed for compulsory acquisition. About 200 000 workers and their dependants, about 1.5 million in total, live on these farms. If they are displaced and only a handful are given land, Zimbabwe faces social catastrophe, some analysts warned. They argue that only a gradual land reform programme, helped by generous donor funding, could manage a smooth transition without creating more poverty. But donors have shunned President Robert Mugabe's fast-track scheme and accused his government of placing the political imperative of resettling land as swiftly as possible above the goal of poverty alleviation. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said that it was also extremely concerned about the plight of evicted farm workers. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said from Harare that it currently had no programmes in place to help evicted farm workers but that the situation could change. Other international agencies working in Zimbabwe were reluctant to speak on the issue, citing political sensitivities.
From The Financial Gazette, 6 September
IMF to hold onto aid until presidential poll
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not release critically needed financial aid to Zimbabwe until the southern African country holds a potentially explosive presidential election early next year, diplomatic sources said yesterday. Speaking as consultative talks between the government and an IMF delegation dragged on in Harare this week, one of the sources said the fund, which abandoned Zimbabwe in August 1999, would maintain "a wait-and-see attitude on Zimbabwe until after the presidential ballot".
A delegation comprising incoming assistant director on the IMF's Africa desk David Coe and his predecessor Paulo Neuhaus this week met Finance Minister Simba Makoni and will also hold discussions with Leonard Tsumba, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The IMF team also yesterday met leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Makoni could not be reached for comment yesterday. But the IMF's resident representative in Harare, Gilbert Johnson, denied that the IMF would only seriously consider resuming aid to Zimbabwe after the presidential election. He said the organisation only considered economic policy and not politics when deciding when to release aid. "The fund responds to economic policy that is designed to produce growth. Its is not about politics," he said.
The ongoing talks between Harare and the IMF fall under the organisation's Article IV and mainly focus on the country's economic and fiscal policies. Under normal circumstances, an IMF fact-finding mission like the one in Zimbabwe would recommend to the executive board of the Bretton Woods institution the release of blocked funds if satisfied by the outcome of Article IV consultative talks. But another source said that "at this point the board is not even going to want to hear anything coming from Zimbabwe". While Zimbabwe has since February this year defaulted on its debt commitment to the IMF, the sources said the refusal by the Harare authorities to end political violence, uphold the rule of law and implement a legal, transparent and rational land reform plan had scuttled any chances of the country winning back IMF support.
Long-standing differences such as the question of Zimbabwe's distorted exchange rate and the slow pace of privatisation of loss-making government parastatals are also still an impediment to the resumption of IMF aid to Harare, the diplomats said. The IMF's suspension of balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe has blocked billions of dollars worth of aid from other donors and institutions which provide help to countries that have functional IMF aid programmes.
The MDC's economic affairs secretary Eddie Cross said the IMF delegation had, in technical discussions yesterday, generally accepted the opposition party's approach and proposals on key policy issues such as how to stabilise Zimbabwe's exchange rate, interest rate management and the handling of the burgeoning national debt. Unveiling its economic policy last week, the MDC said it would cut by half the size of the government to rein in spending and drastically reduce the US$4.5 billion owed by the government to foreign creditors within the first 100 days of the party's coming into power.
From Business Day (SA), 6 September
Mugabe intransigence could block Mbeki
President Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe could finally be gaining teeth as next week's meeting in Harare puts the country's crisis firmly on the agenda as the eleventh hour looms before social upheaval impacts more on the region, according to Zimbabwe watchers. The meeting is a follow-up to the Southern African Development Community summit in Blantyre last month, where a task team comprising SA, Mozambique and Botswana was elected to tackle the Zimbabwe crisis ahead of the expected food shortage brought about by illegal land invasions.
The meeting will engage not only President Robert Mugabe's government but also stakeholders ranging from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the predominantly white Commercial Farmers' Union to war veterans and non-governmental organisations. Observers believe that the troika will attempt to set the scene for the task force. "It will be the first meeting in some time that the agenda is the crisis itself and not diluted by something else within SADC," says Kevin Wakeford, CEO of the SA Chamber of Business. But it will be against odds that have arisen since the Blantyre summit.
Firstly, the presence of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi on the Zimbabawe stage. On Monday he reportedly signed a $90-million deal to provide Zimbabwe with fuel. Champ Meso, researcher at the Africa Institute in Pretoria, notes: "It is possible that the recent Libyan move may make Mugabe more intransigent." Sanusha Naidu, senior Africa researcher at the SA Institute for International Affairs, points out that Gadaffi, unlike Mbeki or any other regional leader living in fear of the Zimbabwe crisis posing problems in their countries, "has nothing to lose from the situation in Zimbabwe".
The second obstacle is Mugabe's mood. Naidu notes that in late August, since Blantyre, the troika was supposed to have met with the Zimbabwe government to discuss the agenda of the task team at an outside conference meeting at the Global 2001 SMART Partnership International Dialogue in Uganda. However, that meeting had not taken place, as Mugabe had not viewed the task team favourably. "Now it's a delicate situation. Hopefully they are not about to tell Mugabe what he needs to do, but rather consult him on how he needs to proceed." Regional leaders could be in the process of making Mugabe "lose some of the edge on the region", as he lost control of the defence organ of SADC and Zimbabwe has not been put on the list of 15 countries driving the Millenium Africa Programme, Naidu adds. Meso of the Africa Institute adds: "The troika will probably want on the agenda the issue of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, the promise of free elections and the land issue being dealt with differently, while the Zimbabwe government will want to focus on land distribution."
On the issue of SA and other international organisations providing 100,000 tons of grain to Zimbabwe - something that will help avert SA feeling the pinch of Zimbabwe's woes - Sacob's Wakeford says it is important that it should be distributed through non-governmental organisations, business or the United Nations. The troika's mission is to engage with all stakeholders in Zimbabwe society to help President Robert Mugabe overcome the economic and political crisis in the country.
Comment from The Guardian (UK), 6 September
An African solution
Mugabe's neighbours must show the way
Zimbabwe's people are the primary victims of their country's economic and political problems. But food shortages and failing health provision, unemployment, lawlessness and violence, and a governmental culture of defiance increasingly threaten the well-being of Zimbabwe's regional neighbours, too. Worries about the Zimbabwe "contagion", particularly illegal land seizures and escalating indebtedness, are blamed for yet another run this week on the South African rand. This is no help at all to President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to attract foreign investment, crucial for the still-fragile post-apartheid transition.
For this and similar reasons of self-interest, next week's visit to Harare by Mr Mbeki and the leaders of Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia is the most promising of the various efforts now underway to modify President Robert Mugabe's odious behaviour. The Southern African Development Community, which generated this initiative, has been reluctant to take Mr Mugabe to task for his actions of the past 18 months. Some members may actually have believed his characterisation of his land "reform" programme as a symbolic, post-colonial struggle with an unrepentant, racist Britain. Then again, they know very well that Mr Mugabe, southern Africa's self-styled elder statesman, does not take kindly to gratuitous advice from perceived lessers, be they neighbourly presidents or British ministers of state.
But screwing up its courage, the SADC finally declared last month that the Zimbabwe crisis was a cause for regional alarm that must be addressed. By travelling mob-handed to Harare, and motivated by their own growing concerns, perhaps the presidential six-pack can persuade Mr Mugabe to make an overdue return to reason. His latest, anti-semitic outburst is a measure of their task. But try they must - and forcibly, for the sake of all who support human rights and the rule of law, want negotiated land reform, hope for a free presidential election next spring, and have southern Africa's broader interest at heart. Given this context, foreign secretary Jack Straw is right to take a low-key approach to potentially combustible Commonwealth-led talks today in Nigeria with Mr Mugabe's ministers. Britain has a duty to help turn Zimbabwe around. But only strong, clear-headed African leadership can create the right conditions for a constructive re-engagement.
From The Amani Trust, 5 September
Statistical summary of human rights violations in Zimbabwe
1 JANUARY 2001 TO 31 AUGUST 2001
Please note – this is a summary based on daily updates and subject to correction. Every effort is made to ensure that only reliable sources are used. Apart from deaths, all figures can be assumed to be conservative. Violations that are monitored but not listed here individually include violation of freedom of expression, association and movement, as well as voters’ rights. In the last months, owing to increasing prevalence of such violations, incidents of illegal dismissal of people from their work by others, and barricading of people in their own homes, and deliberate burning of grazing and wilderness areas, are now being specifically recorded.
TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY VIOLATIONS: 23,853
Deaths: ( gunshot, burns, beatings): 27
Assaults (blunt/ sharp, burns) : 1,770
Property offences: (destruction, theft) 1,165
Death/disappearance threats: 711
Rape threat 12
Assault threats 4,891
False accusations 751
Forced displacement: 20,583
Unlawful dismissal 114
No of districts affected by deliberate land burning 16
POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF VICTIMS ( 1 July – 31 August 2001)
Unknown 66,3 %
ZANU-PF 3,1 %
POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF PERPETRATORS (1 July – 31 August 2001)
ZANU-PF (war veterans, youths etc) 73 %
Army/air force: 6 %
Police 14 %
CIO: 1 %
Government ministers 2 %
MDC: 1 %
unknown: 3 %
There has been a dramatic increase in reported violence in the last two months, mainly linked to the new wave of violence on commercial farms, which have affected tens of thousands of farm labourer families, but also linked to election campaigns around the country. There have been 19 political deaths in the last two months. The pattern of perpetrators to victims remains similar to previous months, but with an even greater bias towards government agencies and Zanu-PF supporters. 23% of incidents cited government agencies as perpetrators. Only 4% of incidents reported in the last two months did not cite government supporters/agencies as the perpetrators.