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

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Mugabe's Rape and Starvation Camps
Capitalism Magazine
Rape is not the only weapon in Robert Mugabe's political arsenal. Like Stalin in the 1930s, Mugabe is now using famine to defeat his opponents in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's Rape and Starvation Camps
By Jeff Jacoby (September 21, 2002)

[CAPITALISMMAGAZINE.COM] He is a bloody dictator and a hard-core racist. He clings to power with undisguised brutality, rigging elections and arranging for opposition candidates to be kidnapped, beaten -- even killed. He has made criticism of himself a crime, and deploys squads of armed goons to terrorize his political foes. He is engaged in a campaign of naked "ethnic cleansing", scapegoating racial minorities as "enemies of the state" and driving them from their land. His policies have shattered the economy, leaving more than half the workforce unemployed. He uses food as a weapon so ruthlessly that in a country that was once a breadbasket to its neighbors, the specter of mass starvation looms.

What does Robert Mugabe have to do before the civilized world finally makes him stop?

For months the media have dutifully reported the bleak news out of Zimbabwe, which Mugabe has ruled since it became independent in 1980. Reporters have filed stories about the presidential election Mugabe stole in March, about his campaign to dispossess Zimbabwe's several thousand white farm owners, about the widening food crisis that is pushing millions into famine. The impression they convey is one of Third World despotism, corruption, and thuggishness -- an all-too-familiar tableau.

But Mugabe is not just another African strongman. He is a sociopath determined to hold power at all costs -- even if those costs include mass murder. Must it come to that before the outside world intervenes?

To get a sense of how hideous life in Mugabe's Zimbabwe has become, consider that rape has become a favored means of political control. Thousands of Zimbabwean girls and women have been raped by policemen and members of the "war veterans," as the gangs of armed Mugabe loyalists call themselves. An Australian newspaper reported recently on the punishment meted out to Dora, a 12-year-old whose father had made the mistake of voting for the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's main opposition party.

"For . . . four hours, the girl's mother and younger sisters, aged 9 and 7, were forced to chant praises to . . . Mugabe and watch Dora being gang-raped. . . . Dora's screams in the African night were a warning to all the other villagers as to what might happen to those who even think of defying the president again."

At least Dora was spared the fate of hundreds of other women and girls, who have been herded into rape camps run by Mugabe's youth militia, the so-called Green Bombers. Whether she was spared an even more terrible fate, she does not yet know: Nearly 40 percent of Zimbabweans are infected with HIV, and sexual assault frequently leads to death.

Rape is not the only weapon in Mugabe's political arsenal.

Like Stalin in the 1930s, Mugabe is now using famine to defeat his opponents. The few thousand white farmers who grow most of Zimbabwe's food are being demonized in poisonously racist terms and forcibly evicted from their land. Their black employees are being thrown off the farms along with them, often after savage beatings by Mugabe's thugs. An estimated 780,000 Zimbabweans have been expelled so far; most are now without homes or income. Acre upon acre of rich farmland lies unplanted and untended. Food production has plummeted. As many as 6 million people -- half of Zimbabwe -- is at risk of starvation.

"In the last two years," writes David Coltart, an opposition member of parliament, "Zimbabwe has been transformed into a state that increasingly resembles Cambodia under Pol Pot."

As famine spreads, food donations have poured in. But the regime sees to it that food goes only to its supporters in Mugabe's party -- the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front.

"It's quite simple," a hungry Zimbabwean told The Times of London last month. "Those who have ZANU-PF cards get food; those who don't, starve."

He explained how it works. When food trucks arrive in the villages, "everyone has to stand up and shout, 'Long live Robert Mugabe!', 'Down with the whites!', and 'Down with Morgan Tsvangirai!' (the opposition leader). Only those who can prove they are members of the ZANU-PF can queue. They say to the others, 'Go and get your food from Tony Blair,' " the British prime minister who has bluntly condemned Mugabe's "corrupt and ruinous" misrule.

In other villages, meanwhile -- those that supported Tsvangirai in the election last March -- the food trucks never come. According to the International Crisis Group, a think tank focused on the resolution of deadly conflicts, the Mugabe regime is using "selective starvation" to crush dissent.

"The denial of food to opposition strongholds has replaced overt violence as the government's principal tool of repression," the ICG wrote in August. "People are beginning to die. . ."

Millions of lives are at stake. The surest way to save those lives would be to force Mugabe from power. A detachment of Marines could do the job on its lunch break. But that would mean interfering in another country's "internal affairs" and is, of course, politically unthinkable. Perhaps we will think differently when the corpses begin to pile up.

--Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.

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Shot forced to abandon a dream
CHERYL Jones has been shot, terrorised, robbed and forced to flee her
adopted homeland by a ruthless despot.

Corruption in Africa is the primary cause of the destruction Ms Jones, 47,
and her 13-year-old son, Callum, returned to Australia on Tuesday after her
African dream was shattered by the policies of Zimbabwe President Robert

Yesterday, she said his land grab and ruthless suppression of dissent was
destroying the social fabric of the once-prosperous nation.

"It's a social tragedy. I can be angry at (my attackers) for doing it but
the circumstances that forced those boys to do it are what need to be
addressed. None of them had ever worked," Ms Jones said.

Born and raised in Wagga Wagga, she fell in love with colourful Africa, and,
in 1997, established a 1000 ha coffee and vegetable farm about 150km east of
the capital, Harare.

Even though she is resigned to losing her farm to Mr Mugabe's "land reforms"
and starting again with nothing in Australia, Ms Jones knows she has been
very lucky. Several white farmers have been murdered since the President
announced farms would be seized from whites and redistributed to blacks.
Only a medical miracle ensured she was not another victim.

On May 3, Ms Jones was shot and robbed by four thugs aged 16, 18, 23 and 24,
who had waited in ambush at her farm.

The .303 bullet shattered her right elbow and ripped through her torso,
literally forcing Ms Jones to hold her organs inside her body as she drove
the 2km home.

While Cal held a quilt around his mother to stem the bleeding, her partner,
John Logan, drove for 40 minutes before they were met by an ambulance.

She underwent emergency treatment at a rural hospital before being
transferred to a hospital in Harare.

Surgeons were  horrified at the extent of her injuries and blood loss.

Despite the twisting maze of scars on her torso that are a constant reminder
of her ordeal, Ms Jones focuses most of her anger on Mr Mugabe.

She said the best farms and equipment were being given to Mr Mugabe's
political cronies, exacerbating the country's famine caused by a severe

"When the land invasions started three years ago, they were entirely
politically motivated to re-establish Mugabe's position as the overlord of
Zimbabwe," Ms Jones said.

"We've got politicians in Zimbabwe saying the Government would like to
reduce the population to six million. That means six million people need to
die - that's a Pol Pot situation."

In February, 2000, Ms Jones' farm was one of the first to be invaded by a
militia of about 20 young men armed with axes and machetes.

They threatened to kill her dogs and ruin her crops.

After Ms Jones and her farm workers refused to be intimidated, the thugs

She remains "desperately sad" for her workers and neighbours who now are in
danger of starvation.

She still loves Africa but fears the continent will not evolve unless the
Western world takes a stand against entrenched top-level corruption.

"I love the crude edges," she said.

"The people generally are wonderful. I love the colour, the smells, the
challenges that you meet every day.

"But I think there has to be a consensus among leaders of the world that
corruption in Africa is the primary cause of the destruction of all these

Ms Jones is living with her brother, Ian Stone, in the Blue Mountains and
plans to move to the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland.

Her daughter, Sally, 22, lives in London.
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      Mounting violence against South Africa's white farmers raises spectre
of Zimbabwe

      Fred Bridgland In Johannesburg

      A COURT case begun this week by one of South Africa's most successful
white farmers has stoked growing fears among his 40,000 colleagues that
South Africa's future could develop along the disastrous lines found in

      Abraham Duvenage, who farms at Benoni, 30 miles east of Johannesburg,
went to the Pretoria High Court to seek implementation of a year-old order
to evict nearly 50,000 illegal squatters from his land.

      The removals were meant to be carried out by a Johannesburg sheriff,
but he has declined to act, arguing Mr Duvenage must pay him 1.8 million
rand (£115,000) to hire a security company to do the work.

      Mr Duvenage has named the national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi,
the local council, President Thabo Mbeki and three of his ANC government
ministers as respondents.

      Agri South Africa, the farmers' umbrella organisation, points to wide
and serious political implications in the case, which was postponed until
November to allow lawyers time to prepare their arguments.

      An Agri South Africa spokesman said it comes against the background of
Zimbabwe's land invasions and murders of white farmers. Killings of South
Africa's farmers are running at more than 15 times the equivalent rate in
Zimbabwe but go barely reported and militancy is quickly accelerating among
landless blacks.

      Furthermore, a best-selling book shows that white farmers are being
attacked and killed for political reasons, not as part of the worsening
crime wave.

      The mantra in the splendid malls, shops and restaurants in enclaves
where whites and the new black élite spend their money is: "What's happening
in Zimbabwe can't happen here."

      But the trend is well under way, said Jonny Steinberg, author of
Midlands, a complex story of land appropriation and killings of white
farmers in the Midlands area of KwaZulu-Natal province.

      Landless blacks are flying Zimbabwean flags in support of President
Robert Mugabe's policies and the Midlands story is being repeated across
South Africa.

      From January 2001 to April this year more than 1,400 armed attacks on
white farms occurred, resulting in nearly 200 deaths of farmers and their
families. In the previous five years some 700 white farmers were killed.

      By comparison, 11 white farmers have been killed in the past 12 months
in the more obviously unstable Zimbabwe.

      Steinberg began investigating the murder of Peter Mitchell, 28, who
farmed near the Midlands town of Sarahdale. He was shot dead in his Land
Rover with a bullet through his head. His killers have not been brought to

      "In the district's kraals, where few whites had ever wandered, I
discovered that three generations had kept alive their inherited memories of
1910," said Steinberg. "That was the year the chieftaincies of the district
had large tracts of land confiscated [by the British rulers] in punishment
for their participation in the unsuccessful Bambatha Rebellion of 1906.

      "An old man told me matter-of-factly, 'This land was stolen from us.
Ask anyone you meet and he will tell you the same'."

      Midlands describes how white farmers have been killed, wounded or
driven away by Zulu peasants with long memories and resentments of baasskap
[servitude to whites].

      Mr Mitchell's neighbour, Lourie Steyn, an unsympathetic employer, was
forced off his farm by landless peasants.

      "First, vast stretches of his fence came down during the night,"
Steinberg said. "Then one grazing field after another was burnt. Hundreds of
his prize cattle were stolen and slaughtered. There were death threats. His
foreman was shot in the chest while watching TV one night. And then someone
crept into Steyn's garden and took a shot at his son"

      Alarmed by growing farm destabilisation, many groups have urged
President Mbeki to speed up greatly his sluggish land reform programme.

      Among the more surprising of these is the Afrikanerbond, successor to
the Broederbond, the secret Afrikaner society that provided the intellectual
underpinning of apartheid. The Afrikanerbond has made comprehensive
proposals for more equitable distribution of land between blacks and whites.

      "We want to empower disadvantaged [black] communities to engage in
successful agriculture," said Tobie Meyer, the Afrikanerbond's land reform
convener, who served in Nelson Mandela's post-1994 transitional government
as deputy agriculture minister. "We argue in our paper that a new government
strategy needs urgently to be launched to set up commercial partnerships
between first-time black farmers and communities and established white
commercial producers."

      Mr Meyer said the Afrikanerbond argues that the new partnerships had
to be reinforced by wide-ranging support services. "These would include the
transfer of our modern technologies, widespread training facilities,
reasonably generous start-up finance, subsidised seeds, fertiliser and
chemicals in the early stages and much after-care and in-service training
once the new farmers are established."

      The Afrikanerbond said speedy restitutions are needed of drawn-out
land claims, such as those in the Natal Midlands.

      The Afrikanerbond has also proposed a 1 per cent levy on imports to
provide sufficient funds for farm reform, which it says would raise 1.2
billion rand [£80 million] a year.

      While the former architects of apartheid wait for government
decisions, they have begun their own land reform measures.

      One, near the beautiful town of Paarl deep in the mountains behind
Cape Town, involves helping and training 90 former ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe
guerrilla fighters - whom the Broederbond once pledged to eliminate - to
establish their self-owned commercial farm.

      "The Umkhonto group leader, Deacon Mathe, is a fine man by any
standards, and is now one of my closest friends," Mr Meyer said.

      Mr Meyer, 63, a farmer, added: "It is one of South Africa's wildest
myths that black people can't farm. Given the right help and training, many
of them can farm every bit as well as Afrikaners - and often even better."

      Kobus Visser, spokesman for Agri South Africa, last night told The
Scotsman that it had so far proved impossible to distinguish how many farm
murders, attacks and land invasions were politically motivated and how many
could be attributed to the crime wave. "But it is a much more complex
problem than simple crime, Mr Visser said.

      "Farm squatting and occupations have become big problems. Farmers are
complaining to us and we are trying to work something out."

      Japie Grobler, Agri South Africa's president, was much more blunt: "We
cannot simply accept that these attacks are motivated by criminality."

      Mr Grobler said groups affiliated to Agri South Africa and targeted by
land invaders and killers were victims of a concerted endeavour to push
white agriculturalists off their land. He said it was a more covert
operation than in Zimbabwe.

      Werner Weber, chairman of Action: Stop Farm Attacks, a member of Agri
South Africa, appealed to the government to acknowledge what lies at the
root of the deaths. He said: "If this was a matter of mere criminality, why
do these perpetrators wait for hours for farmers to return late at night,
then torture the man and rape the woman, only then to kill the farmer?

      "It is time the government admitted that farm attacks are not part of
the normal criminal cycle. It is an orchestrated effort to intimidate
farmers to share or leave their land."

      In South Africa's Limpopo province, bordering Zimbabwe, Joyce Lesiba
warned that blacks who own only scraps of land might be forced to occupy
white farms illegally. Mrs Lesiba, who runs an agricultural training project
for Limpopo's rural poor, added: "If the government does not move fast we
may see Zimbabwe happening here, even though most of us don't really want to
see that happen."

      At the lake-dotted Lavalle Estate, in an exquisite mountain valley
near Paarl in Cape Province, Mr Meyer introduced The Scotsman to black Xhosa
and coloured [mixed race] workers who have been helped by the Afrikanerbond
to acquire part-ownership of the finest olive farm in South Africa.

      They have also been given the rights to establish commercial fisheries
in estate lakes and take all the profits for themselves.

      John Scrimgeour, from Skye, manager of the estate, said: "Together,
the management and the workers have turned the old autocratic leadership
into an inclusive co-operative partnership. We are a community, part-owned
by workers who have security of tenure on their farm homes for life. Since
they acquired shares, productivity has increased and farm profits have

      "It's so basic. There's no magic to it. We must transform this country
completely. But do we have enough time left? We must do this on a really
large scale right across South Africa. Unless we do, we will be in a
Zimbabwe situation for sure."
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      Govt rejects offers of sub-divided farms

      Staff Reporter
      9/19/02 7:45:27 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is refusing to take up offers of sub-divided farms from
white commercial farmers, saying they should instead relinquish all the land
and move off it, contradicting its policy that the farmers should sub-divide
and share their land with newly resettled blacks, the Commercial Farmers'
Union (CFU) said yesterday.

      CFU president Colin Cloete said although white commercial farmers had
signed undertakings with relevant government authorities offering part of
their land for resettlement, they were still being arrested and evicted from
their properties.

      Farmers sign Land Acquisition (LA3) forms detailing how much land they
have and how much they are prepared to offer for the resettlement of blacks.

      District land committees then survey the land to verify the
information on the LA3 forms before resettling the new farmers. But this is
not happening and instead farmers are being told to leave the farms.

      "In light of current events taking place on commercial farms in
Zimbabwe, the CFU wishes to place on record that what is happening on the
ground is in complete variance with stated government policy," Cloete said
in a statement.

      "Many farmers have signed undertakings with the relevant authorities
offering subdivisions of their properties in compliance with government
policy. This has not stopped farmers from being evicted, or in some cases,

      Jenni Williams of the CFU splinter group Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
said her organisation did not entertain any subdivision of land because this
was illegal, noting that there was no law that forced the farmers to
subdivide their properties.

      JAG said 17 farmers had been arrested this week, bringing to 333 those
held by police for defying government orders to vacate their properties
since August 10.

      The government has ordered 2 900 commercial farmers off their land
without full compensation and of these 1 000 are single-farm owners who have
subdivided their land for resettlement.

      More than 2 500 of the total have however defied the eviction orders,
some of them successfully challenging these in court.

      But the government has already proposed amendments to the Land
Acquisition Amendment Bill, which will allow evictions of the defiant
farmers within seven days.

      Ruling ZANU PF party legislators were yesterday expected to use their
numerical advantage in Parliament to push through the changes made to the
Bill, which will raise the fine for resisting an eviction to $100 000 from
$20 000.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe should not be left to SA to sort out


IN MY travels across SA I am asked time and again about the situation in
Zimbabwe and its effect on SA.

Somehow this nation state, with an economy smaller than Durban's and
representing less than 3% of SA's foreign trade, has managed to upset the
apple cart for the international community. There are also those who
silently believe SA's future will play itself out on a similar basis. For
those, Zimbabwe has become a microcosmic snippet of things to come in SA.
This type of rationale smacks of Afro-pessimism and a fatalistic analysis of
life in Africa.

The truth is that SA has an entirely different socio-economic and political
landscape. Our economic policies and outcomes are entirely different from
those in Zimbabwe. SA has exemplary credit and investment ratings and
internationally benchmarked fiscal and monetary policies. Zimbabwe's
interest are nearly 60%, inflation exceeds 120% and foreign reserves are
depleted the unofficial black market value of the Zimbabwe dollar is about
Z500 to Z600 to the US dollar.

SA's fledgling constitutional democracy has enshrined the sanctity of the
individual and our political system is configured as one of the most
progressive liberal democracies in the world virtually to a fault. Zimbabwe
at best represents a quasi-democracy, at worst an authoritarian

There has also been an expectation of SA, and in particular our president,
to "sort out" the Zimbabwean situation. Many have questioned "silent
diplomacy", with some likening it to complicity. This assumption is
unfounded and untrue. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary. In fact,
the state-controlled media in Zimbabwe has attempted to portray President
Thabo Mbeki as an "agent of the West". Although there is no truth underlying
the propaganda, it does indicate that tension is rising between the two
leaders. The reason is obvious: SA government's position is diametrically
opposite to that of Zimbabwe's on how to tackle the crisis in that country.

It is also obvious that SA foreign policy makers are looking beyond Zimbabwe
when grappling with the problems of Africa. The establishment of the African
Union (AU) and the launch of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) require a circumspect approach when dealing with conflicts and civil
strife. SA has to be extremely careful, given its economic hegemony, not to
fall prey to Zimbabwe's claims that it is the new bullyboy and imperial
platform in Africa. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe knows full well that
the emerging framework of Nepad will challenge some of his current actions
and policies in terms of accepted democratic principles, the rule of law and
respect for human and property rights.

Nepad and the AU require support and "buy-in" from all African states to
create an environment for peace, stability, democratisation, investment and
growth. The peer review system and built-in accountability mechanisms within
the Nepad framework deserve a chance to beef up the credibility of joint
action and co-responsibility.

Obviously some national sovereignty (as in the EU) will be sacrificed for
the greater good. To achieve this, one needs to ensure that progressive
states such as SA and, for that matter, any other states do not dominate the
AU. Such an outcome will collapse multilateral influence. I am convinced
that building multilateral capacity and accountability has been Mbeki's
single-minded imperative and focus. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe's dissident
behaviour has flourished during this process.

I think it goes without saying that it should not be left to SA alone to
sort out Zimbabwe's situation. It must be dealt with multilaterally rather
than through a bilateral foreign policy approach. Although SA could deal
with the situation single-handedly, it would undermine Nepad's goals.

It is quite obvious that the Zimbabwean situation cannot be allowed to
continue. The gross abuse of human rights, the pending collapse of the
economy, the prostitution of the fundamental tenets of democracy and the
flagrant disregard for the rule of law, all challenge the founding
principles of the AU and Nepad. In this context Zimbabwe has literally
become a rogue state.

It is high time the AU and even other international agencies treat the
country as such. The options open to them are abundant.

Wakeford is SA Chamber of Business CEO.

Many have questioned silent diplomacy', with some likening it to complicity.
This assumption is unfounded and untrue

Sep 19 2002 12:00:00:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition
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      ZANU PF chefs defy Mugabe

      By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
      9/19/02 7:39:24 AM (GMT +2)

      RULING ZANU PF politicians, including Cabinet ministers, have defied a
directive from President Robert Mugabe to cede multiple farms which they
grabbed under the ongoing fast-track resettlement programme and are instead
entering into private deals to buy listed properties at giveaway prices from
desperate white commercial farmers.

      Official sources told the Financial Gazette this week that the
directive was issued three weeks ago to all members of ZANU PF's supreme
Politburo organ and Cabinet.

      The sources said the President had directed the officials to strictly
adhere to the policy of "one man, one farm", which the government says it
adopted after receiving reports that some senior party and government
officials had acquired multiple properties under the land resettlement

      The exercise is supposed to reform land ownership in Zimbabwe by
taking away farms from white landholders with more than one property and
redistributing them to landless black peasants.

      "The President issued a directive to the leadership of the party to
follow the one man one farm policy, but apparently this is being defied by
some who are retaining multiple ownership by using fronts," a ZANU PF
Politburo member told the Financial Gazette.

      Mugabe issued the directive after being given an intelligence report
by the spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), listing ZANU PF
politicians who had acquired more than one farm under the land reforms.

      The report also gave details of ruling party politicians who were
facilitating the delisting of designated farms after acquiring them for a
song from white commercial farmers using newly formed, black-owned
agricultural companies as fronts.

      Politicians included in the dossier have grabbed most of the prime
agricultural and cattle ranching land in Mashonaland West and Central, the
Midlands and Matabeleland, under the agrarian reforms' A2 model promoting
commercial farming.

      Most of the officials already own farms with vast tracts of land that
they obtained under another failed government resettlement exercise, while
others bought farms soon after independence in 1980.

      The sources said ZANU PF politicians and well-known local business
leaders with close links to the ruling party were entering into private
deals by taking advantage of the desperation of white farmers, whose
properties have been targeted by the state for seizure, to buy their farms
at give away prices.

      The officials offer to pay the farmers meagre sums promptly as an
alternative to the farm owners waiting a long time for compensation from the
cash-starved government.

      The businessmen, with the help of ZANU PF politicians, in turn
facilitate the delisting of the purchased properties, arguing that these are
now in the hands of blacks and that their firms are venturing into
agriculture to help the newly resettled farmers.

      The sources said more than 20 white-owned commercial farms had been
acquired in this manner.

      In the past six months, several black-owned agricultural companies
have sprung up, most of them hunting down white commercial farmers whose
properties have been designated.

      Commercial Farmers' Union president Collin Cloete told the Financial
Gazette: "We are aware that some businessmen have been approaching farmers
whose properties have been listed, with the offer of purchasing them.

      "We don't know how they have been going about it with regards to the
process of getting these properties delisted. Maybe they have been able to
do it because of their influence."

      It was not possible this week to secure the CIO document presented to

      But information from the militant pressure group Justice for
Agriculture shows that Cabinet ministers who have indicated interest in
acquiring more that one farm include Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and
Local Government and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo.

      Also included are Youth and Employment Creation Minister Elliot
Manyika and his deputy Shuvai Mahofa, as well as Mashonaland West governor
Peter Chanetsa and Masvingo provincial governor Josiah Hungwe.

      Others linked to multiple farms are ZANU PF parliamentarians Saviour
Kasukuwere, Jorum Gumbo, Victor Chitongo, Sabina Mugabe and Elliot Chauke,
as well as Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe and Air Force
Commander Perence Shiri.

      None of the named officials were available for comment.

      The government has earmarked more than 90 percent of Zimbabwe's 4 500
commercial farms for compulsory acquisition and needs at least $160 billion
to successfully implement its land reforms, including payment of

      The land reform programme has slashed food production by more than 60
percent and could displace close to two million people, mostly farm workers
and their dependants.
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20 September 2002
Congressional Subcommittee Discusses Situation in Zimbabwe
(A "principled stand" must be taken, all agreed) (800)
By Charles W. Corey
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the Subcommittee on
Africa in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Aziz Pahad, South
Africa's deputy minister of foreign affairs, agreed September 18 that
a "principled stand" must be taken by Africans and the entire
international community against ongoing rule of law abuses in Zimbabwe
-- but they differed on the best way to solve the problem.

Royce and Pahad were both speaking during a subcommittee hearing on
Capitol Hill examining the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD). Pahad had been asked to testify before the subcommittee to
provide an African perspective on the new initiative.

Following his testimony, the South African minister responded to
questions and comments from the lawmakers, which focused on Zimbabwe.

The subcommittee chairman acknowledged that South Africa alone is not
going to be able to solve the ongoing problems in Zimbabwe, but he
reminded Pahad that in the testimony he had delivered just minutes
earlier, the minister had quoted Abraham Lincoln that all men are
created equal.

"What I am asking is that it seems that South Africa asked the world
to take a principled stand not that long ago" to confront apartheid,
Royce told Pahad. "It seems that there is a principled stand to be
taken with respect to food that is being used as a weapon today in
Zimbabwe, with respect to the torture that is going on."

Royce recalled that he recently attended an international convention
on torture regimes, "and a big part of the testimony this year was
about torture in Zimbabwe."

Taking a principled stand against Zimbabwe is of utmost importance, he
said, because people from all over the world are being asked to invest
in institutions across Africa. Many of those same institutions, he
said, are often given little value by African leaders.

Responding, Pahad reminded the subcommittee that the region has taken
a principled stand on the issue, but now is being accused of
practicing "quiet diplomacy" with little effect.

"Our understanding is that by its very nature, there is no non-quiet
diplomacy," Pahad said. "If there are suggestions being made by the
international community about what else can be done, I am sure the
African leaders . would be willing to discuss this and see how we can
cooperate with the Zimbabwean people to help them solve their problem.

"As Africans," Pahad said, "we share the concerns about the
development of political and economic problems in Zimbabwe and

African leaders are doing everything possible to help normalize the
situation and ease the tensions in Zimbabwe because . Zimbabwe is
fundamentally important to the future of all the countries in the
region, he said.

Royce asked Pahad about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's standing
with other African leaders.

"Why do democratically elected leaders of Africa -- leaders with great
legitimacy -- . so readily associate with Mugabe in the wake of the
undermining of the rule of law in that African state?" Royce asked.

"African leaders, either through the previous Organization of African
Unity and now through the African Union and through our subregional
groupings and bilaterally," have been working hard to reduce tensions
and crises across the continent, Pahad responded.

"We all accept that the land issue is fundamental to the solution of
the Zimbabwean problem and, indeed, in many of our countries in
Africa. We have been on record as African leaders stating the fact
that while we accept that the land issue is fundamental, it [a remedy]
must be carried out within the rule of law and within the constitution
and in a way that does not create greater tensions politically and

Concerned African leaders, Pahad explained, are hoping that the United
Nations Development Initiative on the land issue will help
de-politicize the matter and allow it to be tackled in a way that is
transparent, within the law and the constitution, and satisfactory to
all parties.

Pahad also cited the existence of a Commonwealth initiative, which has
mandated the presidents of South Africa, Australia, and Nigeria to
interact with all Zimbabweans to see if they can establish a dialogue
between the different political formations in Zimbabwe.

Those three presidents, he noted, will be meeting with President
Mugabe in Abuja, Nigeria, September 23. "We hope that out of that will
come some decisions that will help us help the Zimbabwean people
resolve their problem," he said.

Also commenting in the discussion was Republican Congressman Amory
Houghton of New York, who lamented that the rule of law violations
that have taken place in Zimbabwe do little to foster international
investment confidence and partnership with the international

Houghton, a former business executive with a large American
corporation, told Pahad he speaks from firsthand experience. "My
family, myself, and my friends have invested in Zimbabwe and that is
just gone, finished, over. We cannot even get in there to help."

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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