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

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White woman, black husband get farm
By Jane Flanaganand Andrew Alderson

     LONDON - A white British woman who had worked as a local government
officer in Essex is the latest and most unlikely beneficiary of Robert
Mugabe's land-grab policy in Zimbabwe.
     Anne Matonga and Bright, her black Zimbabwean husband, have been given
a 1,500-acre farm after it was seized from a white farmer on the orders of
the president.
     Mrs. Matonga's new home, which the farmer and his family had lived on
for four generations, is a reward for her husband's support of Mr. Mugabe,
whose dictatorial policies are responsible for Zimbabwe being ostracized by
much of the outside world.
     Mr. Matonga, 34, was until recently the head of the pro-Mugabe
Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corp. and now works for a government department.
     Last week, Mrs. Matonga, 39, tended spring roses at her new home while
the former owners, Vincent and Monica Schultz, tried to get accustomed to
their new life in a tiny apartment in Harare, the capital.
     Despite moving to Zimbabwe last year after a lifetime in Britain, Mrs.
Matonga spoke angrily, and without a hint of irony, last week against the
"white colonialists who stole our land."
     Mrs. Matonga, who married Mr. Matonga in Britain five years ago,
praised Mr. Mugabe for his "patience with the racist white farmers" as she
spoke to the Sunday Telegraph at her new home in Banket, 50 miles north of
Harare. She said those evicted by force "only have themselves to blame."
     She dismissed as "nothing but propaganda" reports of widespread
starvation across Zimbabwe and charges that Mr. Mugabe had won this year's
election by vote-rigging and crushing any opposition.
     As personal bodyguards from Mr. Mugabe's feared youth militia slept
under nearby trees, Mrs. Matonga said she regularly has to counter negative
stories about the crisis in Zimbabwe. "Britain should keep its nose out of
Zimbabwe. Tony Blair has no right to interfere," she said of the British
prime minister.
     The Matongas, who also have a spacious house in a prosperous suburb of
Harare, paid nothing when they were "resettled" on Mupandagutu Farm last
     As the couple arrived, Mr. Schultz, the previous owner, had been
arrested by the police for defying the eviction order minutes before. "Mrs.
Matonga was screaming at me: 'Get off our land; we are taking back what you
stole from our forefathers,'" Mrs. Schultz said. "I thought it was a
remarkable thing for her to say since she was clearly white and British."
     The Schultzes, who are among more than 3,000 white Zimbabwean farmers
being handed eviction orders, spent the last of their savings - $17,000 - on
severance packages for their 130 workers. In addition, they received an
angry call from Mr. Matonga demanding the return of irrigation pipes they
had sold to pay their staff.
     "We are feeling very bitter about the whole thing," said Mr. Schultz,
57. "We are left with absolutely nothing." His wife was born 58 years ago on
the farm, which her family bought in the 1920s.
     In Britain, the behavior of the Matongas has angered former friends and
acquaintances, many of whom campaigned for Mr. Matonga to be allowed to
complete his degree when he faced being sent back to Zimbabwe.
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Zimbabwe: 750,000 Farmers Destitute
Peta Thornycroft

21 Sep 2002 16:45 UTC
Listen to Peta Thornycroft's report (RealAudio)  
Thornycroft report - Download 229k (RealAudio)  

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe pressure group, Justice for Agriculture, estimates that about 750,000 people who lived and worked on Zimbabwe's formerly white-owned farms are now destitute. The end of commercial agriculture has produced a massive humanitarian crisis.

Justice for Agriculture admits it is hard to arrive at solid statistics, but with only about 400 white farmers remaining on their land, it means that more than 4,000 other white-run farms are now closed down and their work forces dispersed.

Before President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms two and a half years ago, about two million farm workers and their families were supported.

Almost all of them lost their jobs and their homes as farm invasions and work stoppages were ordered by the ruling Zanu PF Party. Many primary schools in the commercial farming areas, supported by farmers, have closed down.

AP Photo
Unidentified farm laborer carries her child as she tends to tobacco crops on a white-owned tobacco farm

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Zim farmers beg Aus for help

Harare - White farmers in Zimbabwe on Saturday called on Australian Prime
Minister John Howard to intervene politically over the country's land reform

The call came two days before Howard is due to meet in Nigeria with the
other two members of a special Commonwealth troika set up to discuss action
on Zimbabwe following an alleged breakdown of the rule of law.

"Assist us to make our leadership accountable to the disasters they have
perpetrated against their own people," farming crisis group Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) said in a letter.

JAG alleges that the government's current land redistribution programme,
which aims to resettle formerly white-owned farms with new black farmers, is
"both brutal and chaotic."

JAG says scores of people in the farming sector have been murdered over the
last two years and accuses ruling party officials of receiving large pieces
of land.

It is not yet clear whether President Robert Mugabe will attend Monday's
meeting in Abuja, to be held between the committee's chairperson, Howard,
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President Thabo

The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from its meetings after it declared
March presidential elections that returned Mugabe to power did not reflect
the will of the voters. -Sapa-AFP
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Zimbabwe's Mugabe snubs Howard

AFP - The leaders of Australia, Nigeria and South Africa gathered for a meeting of the Commonwealth "troika" on the crisis in Zimbabwe, but a furious President Robert Mugabe pulled out of attending.
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard got off his plane in Abuja to be met with the news that Mugabe had changed his mind about coming to the meeting to discuss Commonwealth sanctions against his troubled country.
Commonwealth officials said the event - at which Howard will discuss tightening sanctions with Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki - would continue as planned.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is very important. The situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely," Obasanjo said after a meeting with Howard at his official Abuja residence, Aso Rock.
Obasanjo said the troika was most concerned about the "humanitarian issues" arising from Mugabe's policy of throwing white farmers off their land and from a catastrophic drought that has brought millions to the brink of starvation.
Diplomatic sources said the troika members were annoyed by Mugabe's no-show.
Obasanjo, who has invested a great deal of personal political capital in the troika process and in reigning in Mugabe, played down his anger but admitted he would have preferred to see the Zimbabwean leader face-to-face.
"Disappointment would not be the right word," he told reporters. "If he were to have been here it would have made our job easier, because he would have given us first hand information on the situation in Zimbabwe."
In Harare, officials were unrepentant.
In a newspaper interview Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Minister of State for Information and Publicity, derided the meeting as "a monumental waste of time".
The troika suspended Zimbabwe's membership of the organisation's ruling structures in March after a violent, disputed election and amid a violent campaign to evict commercial farmers, mainly whites, and seize their land.
Now, six months into the 12 month suspension, the panel will consider stepping up the pressure on a leader many believe has abused his electorate and brutalised both white farmers and the black opposition.
Under the current suspension, Zimbabwe is barred from Commonwealth heads of government meetings and ministerial meetings such as the foreign ministers' meeting at the United Nations earlier this month.
Now it could face full suspension from the body, something that has only happened once before, to Nigeria while it was under military rule.
If suspended, Zimbabwe would miss out on Commonwealth technical assistance for its development, would not be able to appoint officials to the Commonwealth secretariat and would miss the Commonwealth Games.
Diplomatic sources told AFP that nothing had been decided, but that full suspension would be an option on the table.
©AAP 2002
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PM's Zimbabwe talks
By Jim Dickins
PRIME Minister John Howard begins a frenetic round of jetset diplomacy today
after touching down in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

Mr Howard will meet fellow Commonwealth leaders to discuss Zimbabwe before
flying on to London to discuss Iraq with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Before leaving Australia Mr Howard said he was pessimistic about achieving a
quick resolution on Zimbabwe, whose president Robert Mugabe is accused of
human rights abuses.

"It is going to be quite an up-hill task because Zimbabwe so far has been
quite indifferent to the views of other Commonwealth countries and the views
of other people around the world," he said.

Mr Howard will discuss possible action against Zimbabwe with members of the
Commonwealth leadership group - the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo,
and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki.

However the Commonwealth is still a long way from imposing sanctions on
Zimbabwe and is uncertain about what its next step will be.

Mr Mugabe has been invited to present his case before the meeting, but Mr
Howard said he was not sure the Zimbabwean leader would show up. "I don't
know whether he is going to come or not but we will obviously have the
opportunity of putting our point of view," Mr Howard said.

"I hope I can with my colleagues, Thabo Mbeki and President Obasanjo,
present a solid front on this issue, but it is not going to be easy."

After leaving Abuja, Mr Howard will make the six-hour flight to London for
meetings with Mr Blair and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Mr Howard said he expected a briefing on information contained in Mr Blair's
so-called secret dossier of information about Iraq's attempts to obtain
weapons of mass destruction.

They would also discuss the progress of efforts to impose new United Nations
resolutions against Iraq.

Mr Howard's visit follows that of Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin
Rudd, who met Mr Straw last week.

Britain's governing Labour Party faces a similar split over Iraq as its
Australian counterpart.

Mr Blair's International Development Secretary, Clare Short, has publicly
declared her opposition to an all-out war with Iraq, unless more compelling
evidence emerges about its weapons capability.

Her comments echo similar views expressed by Labor's reconciliation
spokeswoman, Carmen Lawrence, who said yesterday she would consider crossing
the floor of parliament to express her opposition to war.

She said Labor should consider allowing a conscience vote on the issue, as
it did with abortion and stem-cell research.

"How much more important when we're talking about the loss of life, the real
loss of living, breathing human beings - 80 per cent of casualties of war in
the 20th century are civilians," she said.
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MDC reeling after Mugabe's latest crackdown

      September 22 2002 at 12:15PM

By Basildon Peta

The ruling Zanu-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched
a fresh crackdown on its political opponents ahead of next week's local
government elections, with its armed militants preventing opposition
candidates from registering in almost two thirds of the wards involved in
the polls.

During presidential elections in March polling agents of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were chased away in most rural wards
where Mugabe enjoyed strong support.

This time around the MDC claims militants armed with axes, machetes and
rifles are chasing its candidates away from registration points in the rural

      'Who maintains the law?'
It said some of its candidates had also been prevented from registering in
wards in its urban strongholds.

The opposition party said that because of the violence it had managed to
field only 600 candidates for the nearly 2 000 posts that must be filled in
the district and municipal councils. The registrar-general's office this
week declared that Zanu-PF had already won 700 uncontested seats because the
MDC "failed" to field candidates in them.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Zimbabwean justice minister, this week accused the
MDC of being a "bad loser", saying the opposition party could not blame
Zanu-PF for its own failure to field candidates. He said the MDC had no
support in the constituencies concerned - an allegation the opposition party
dismissed as "stupid and absurd".

The MDC released a statement detailing instances of violence against its
candidates. It said 11 potential candidates were seriously injured when
ruling party supporters went on the rampage against opposition candidates in
the countryside.

In several provincial districts, the opposition party claimed, its
candidates found gates of registration centres closed, and armed militants
chased away those candidates who tried to force their way in.

Paul Nyathi, the party's elections director, said police were also
preventing candidates from registering for elections by setting up
roadblocks around registration centres.

He said scores of council hopefuls had been beaten up and kidnapped by
members of the ruling party's notorious youth brigade, the Green Bombers. As
a result some of the hopefuls had given up contesting the polls.

Some MDC candidates had been abducted from their beds at night, Nyathi said,
while in Chegutu, about 100km west of Harare, Zanu-PF youths stormed MDC
offices and assaulted officials before abducting an MP, Hilda Mafudze.

"The question is, to whom do we complain? Courts, police, election officials
are all in Mugabe's pocket. Look at who the beneficiaries are - at who is
being given previously white-owned farms - judges, army commanders, secret
police, senior police officers. So who maintains the law?"

In the Midlands South district alone, 26 MDC candidates had withdrawn from
the race and 20 candidates were assaulted, Nyathi said.

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Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Mugabe snubs Commonwealth talks
Robert Mugabe
Mugabe said he did not want to face a court martial
Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has decided to boycott talks about his country's suspension from the Commonwealth, apparently because he objected to the tone of his invitation.

Mr Mugabe had, until the last minute, been expected to attend Monday's meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to review Zimbabwe's response to its exclusion from the organisation.

But in a phone call to the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Mugabe said he objected to the invitation letter from Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

"Mugabe said the invitation gave the impression that he was going to be court-martialled in Abuja," a Nigerian official told Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Dan Issacs in Abuja says the boycott is a major blow to the Commonwealth.

Sanctions review

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in March, following Mr Mugabe's disputed re-election, and the Abuja meeting was to review what measures he had taken to avoid further sanctions.

Commonwealth officials say Mr Mugabe had been prepared for talks on land reform, but was not prepared to be lectured on political reform and human rights.

'War veterans' outside a white-owned farm in Zimbabwe
Mugabe supporters have been evicting white farmers
The meeting will go ahead despite Mr Mugabe's absence and will be chaired by Mr Obasanjo and attended by Mr Howard and the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.

Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon is also due to be present.

The Commonwealth panel aims to bring pressure to bear on Zimbabwe over the disputed election and the policy of violently evicting white farmers as part of Mr Mugabe's land redistribution programme.

Possible measures include the extension of the one-year suspension from the Commonwealth or even expulsion.

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September 22, 2002
Mugabe in line for UN £500m
Tom Walker
MORE than £500m in United Nations development money could be offered to Robert Mugabe tomorrow as Commonwealth representatives try to persuade the recalcitrant Zimbabwean president to restore law and order and save the region from famine.
After months in which all diplomatic initiatives to solve the Zimbabwean crisis have been shunned, diplomats close to the talks in Abuja said they regarded it as a "coup" even to have persuaded Mugabe to fly to the Nigerian capital for his first face-to-face meeting with Commonwealth leaders since they suspended Zimbabwe from the organisation in March.
John Howard, the Australian prime minister, along with the Nigerian and South African presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki, will be looking for signs that Mugabe is ready to compromise.
Mbeki may find himself in a difficult position because of substantial support for Mugabe among the ANC, but all three will partly blame Mugabe for causing the famine. No British representative will attend the meeting, but afterwards Howard will fly to London, where he will brief Tony Blair.
The diplomats confirmed that rather than admonishing Mugabe for the chaos he has created at home, an incentive could be on the table in the form of UN Development Programme funds for helping to redistribute land in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's Zanu-PF government drove 2,900 white farmers off their land last month.
If order is restored, Mugabe could receive an initial tranche of about £300m to help to settle black farmers on up to 5m hectares. The full amount is to be spent over a 10- year period. UN officials had discussed the plan with Mugabe before, but it was shelved as violence increased during flawed elections that gave Mugabe another five years in office in March.
"There's a possibility (the UN money) could be back on the table," said one diplomat who is organising the Abuja talks. "Mugabe relishes this kind of thing, the spotlight, the attention."
Officials insisted that suspension from the Commonwealth had been a genuine blow for Mugabe, despite his apparent indifference. A diplomat said: "I was in the next door room when he was suspended. I've never heard a man so mad."
Commonwealth sources said Mugabe would not come under pressure to re-run the March election, nor would expulsion be threatened. Asked if the prime minister might find it politically difficult to sell a UN financial bail-out to a man widely perceived as a tyrant, another diplomat said: "I don't think Tony Blair is that concerned if it means people will not starve."
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Chihuri fires salvo at Daily Mirror editor  
Vice President of Interpol's Africa region, Zimbabwe's Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri speaks to The Herald ( Zimbabwe's govt mouthpiece)

Chihuri last night attacked The Daily Mirror for publishing what he
described as "utter garbage which belongs to the sewer."  Responding to a
story carried by the newspaper on Monday claiming that he was incompetent
due to ill health, Commissioner Chihuri said his health condition was
"very much under control."
"Let me make it categorically clear that it is only the Almighty God who
holds the key to life and knows when a man shall die and not a bunch of
speculative, poor, rumour-mongers or bar-talk peddlers in the form of
journalists and editors-in-chief," Comm. Chihuri said. He said that he
suffers from hypertension but it is not of a serious nature. He said his
style of work did not entail a provision of "my working itinerary to any
journalists as proof of my good health, competence or otherwise". He took
a swipe at the Daily Mirror editor saying his article "was contemptuous,
naïve, divisive and full of scorn."

"There are some morally bankrupt editors in the private media, whose
businesses thrive on targeting certain strong politicians and governmentt
officials in order to earn a living. It is no wonder that the launch of
the Daily Mirror on the media was supposed to be blessed by golden names
such as mine and not by the sound marketing strategies commensurate with
modern day business management principles."
Comm. Chihuri said Zimbabwe's independence and democratic dispensation
enjoyed by the people, "including the malcontents in the private media",
did not come on a silver plate. Thousands of people were killed in the
liberation struggle. "In this context, I stand by and absolutely support
the statement made by service chiefs prior to the 2002 presidential
The service and military chiefs declared that they would not salute any
presidential aspirant who worked against the principles of the war of
liberation. Comm. Chihuri said: "If selling the country to Western
imperialism and neo-colonialism is what they regard as competence, then I
take a great exception to such sentiments and would rather be described as
"Those stooges of Western imperialism and neo-colonialism who cherish
their chains of servitude intend to induce cracks in the ZRP by sowing
seeds of tribalism, village politics and regionalism ." He added that
contrary to the paper's inference, he had good working relations with his
deputies, Griffiths Mpofu and Godwin Matanga. "If the editor wants to be a
crusader in village politics, he should know that anyone is free to run a
village as headman if he so wishes. This practice cannot be dragged in
important institutions of government such as the ZRP by conspiratorial
endeavors of the private media.
"If he thinks that a handful of homeboys and girls from Chipinge can run
this important and huge government institution on their own, then he must
revise his intellect. This is fallacious and wishful thinking of the
highest order reminiscent of the medieval ages."  Comm Chihuri dismissed
The Daily Mirror story as "utter garbage which belongs to the sewer."

"If anything, the entry of the paper into the media market has seen a
wrong initiation based on political expediency, noviceship and familiarity
with which the private media has tended to treat government officials."
According to the police chief, the allegations about his ill health
started in 1987 when he was about to be promoted to the rank of deputy
commissioner. The damaging assertions, he said, were being peddled from
within the organisation by "moron and misguided police officers who lack
loyalty patriotism and work in cahoots with unprofessional scribes of the
foreign sponsored independent media, whose sole intention is to see a
meltdown in the Zimbabwe polity."  He said it was no coincidence that the
allegations were revived each time his tenure of office is extended.
"There is no doubt that this strategy is meant to dampen the sound
relations between the office of the commissioner and the government."
On charges that he had coerced police officers to contribute towards the
construction of a boarding school for children of officers, Comm. Chihuri
said the contributions were optional. The financial books for the project
were open for auditing and inspecting by all stakeholders, he said.  
The Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, on
Monday said the only people who were not happy with Comm. Chihuri's work
were puppets and criminals. He said it was malicious and unacceptable for
a newspaper to describe as incompetent someone whose professionalism had
been recognised internationally.
Commissioner Chihuri is the vice-president of Interpol's Africa region.
"The only people who are not happy with the work of Commissioner Chihuri
are puppets and criminals and I hope the editor of the Daily Mirror is not
one of these," said Prof. Moyo.
"Journalism and the media in Zim is desperate for editors and journalists
who are professional and ethical and who understand that a good story is
accurate, balanced, fair and objective. We can't afford to have a new
entrant behaving in the old ways. For this reason, I am afraid we can't
welcome the Daily Mirror. We have to advise the editor that if he is
incapable of launching and running a professional paper, the law will have
to assist him," said the minister. He described the new paper as a "bad
start by a bad editor and we hope it won't lead to a bad daily."
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