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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      When the farmer saw the woman's name, he knew he was finished

      9/24/02 9:05:32 AM (GMT +2)

      ONE afternoon last week a smart, silver, double cab pulled up at the
gate of a Marondera farm.

      A woman, a complete stranger, got out of the car and introduced
herself to the farmer as the new owner of the property.

      Before even identifying herself, the woman ordered that all the
furnishings in the farm cottage be removed.

      She would move in, she said, and would be preparing the fields for
planting very shortly.
      At this stage, the farmer politely pointed out that he had not been
served with a Section 8 notice.

      "It's coming very soon," he was told. The farmer then asked the woman
to identify herself. She produced an official letter and her ID.

      When the farmer saw the woman's name, he knew that he was finished. As
she was leaving, as if to add insult to injury, the woman spotted the farmer
's wife and said that she would like to meet her so that the two could have
a cup of tea together!

      Scenes like this are happening all over Zimbabwe. Until quite recently
I was
      a commercial farmer in Zimbabwe and now, less than three weeks away
from the beginning of the 2002/03 rainy season, I thank God that I am not a
farmer any more.

      If I was one of Zimbabwe's so-called "new farmers",

      I would be tearing my hair out by now, the ulcer would be percolating
and a nervous breakdown would be looking precariously close.

      Anyone in their right mind would not dream of venturing into farming
in late September 2002 in Zimbabwe.

      We are facing a very unpredictable season and weather experts are
already warning of El Nino, erratic rains and an early cut-off to the
      The new owners of Zimbabwe's farms might indeed take over and move in,
but without title to what they are calling their land what is to stop
someone coming along and evicting them too?

      There is not a single pip of seed maize to be had in our farming

      Neither of the two biggest farm suppliers in Marondera have any seed
maize at all and both stockists say they have no idea when they will receive

      Both suppliers told me last week that they were still waiting for the
government to issue a directive on the new price of seed and that only when
that is done will any seed maize be ordered.

      This is a diabolical disaster in a country where the newly revised
figure of starving people has increased by 600 000 and now stands at 6,8
million people.

      I wonder how much longer Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, is going to keep on telling us that
everything is just fine and dandy out there on the farms.

      A recent United Nations humanitarian report on conditions in Zimbabwe
for the coming season reports that only 50 percent of the District
Development Fund's tractors are serviceable and available for ploughing on
resettled farms.

      It also points out that the majority of our so-called new farmers do
not have oxen with which to plough and in other areas draught power has been
severely restricted by foot-and-mouth disease which has debilitated

      Agricultural experts are already warning that, even with the
government's budget for agricultural inputs, only 15 percent of available
land will be ploughed in time for the rainy season.

      Surely now the time has come for the men and women who lead and govern
Zimbabwe to get out of their comfort zones and see just exactly what is
happening on Zimbabwe's farms. Can they really continue to blame everything
on the whites and the weather?

      By this time next year, how many people will there be left for them to
govern and who will they have left to blame for the starvation once they
have chased all the legitimate farm owners off their land?

      Surely now the time has come for Made and President Mugabe to admit
that they are simply not going to be able to cope with satisfying the needs
of a starving nation.
      The fields are not ploughed. The tractors are grossly insufficient.

      The lands are not fertilised. The seeds are not waiting to be planted
and the new farmers are either destitute peasants or multi-millionaire
government officials and their relations.

      All these things are a recipe for the complete demise of Zimbabwe -
and the world and our regional neighbours sit by and watch it happen because
they dare not interfere in case they are called racists.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      State urged to give land to peasants

      9/24/02 8:43:52 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE chairman of the newly-formed Justice for Agriculture (JAG), David
Conolly has urged the government to return to the original Land Reform
Programme which places emphasis on giving land to landless peasants.

      JAG is a group of concerned Zimbabweans with a mission to secure
justice, peace and freedom for the agricultural sector and Zimbabweans.

      In a statement entitled, The way forward for Zimbabwe, on the eve of a
meeting on Zimbabwe in Abuja, Nigeria by the Commonwealth troika, JAG said
the 10-year resettlement programme People First, adopted in June 2001 said
government had already listed six million hectares for acquisition, one
million more than it thought it would need for resettlement in that period,
and it would start de-listing.

      The troika comprises the Presidents of Nigeria and South Africa and
the Prime Minister of Australia.

      "Another four million hectares have instead been added. The programme
has been doubled in area and shortened from five years down to just one,
without resources to pay for any part of it. Forgotten is that precaution to
spread land acquisitions over five years to 2005 and to still leave a six
million hectare strategic core which government recognised was necessary for
economic stability and food production," JAG said.

      The organisation said despite previously set criteria, 1 024 single
owned farms had been listed for acquisition with at least 50 percent of the
farmers being off their farms and unable to produce any crops.

      A large number of these were stopped from farming after the signing of
the 6 September Accord.

      JAG also called for the appointment of an impartial board in
accordance with the Land Acquisition Act and Constitution, and the
Agricultural Land Settlement Act governing applications for allocation of
land and conduct an independent audit.

      "The laws regarding allocation have not been complied with. An
impartial board is required to consider each application for a lease, with
specific criteria to be taken into account, and make recommendations," it

      The organisation said despite government promises for a transparent
land reform programme, there was very little information about the ultimate

      "There are serious problems over the allocations, arising in part from
the Ministers announcement in April that maximum farm sizes would not apply
to blacks, only whites.

      "The few published lists and information from farms show that some
people, particularly those associated with police and defence forces,
government, and the ruling party are receiving pieces of land far larger
than those maximum farm sizes, largely at the expense of other Zimbabweans
including skilled farm workers," JAG said.

      According to JAG, only 12 000 of the more than 50 000 people who were
promised commercial plots of land and whose names were published have
actually been allocated land.

      The overall total names officially published of those who have now
been allocated and accepted land is only about 6 456 names, on 698 farms.

      The number of farms thus shown is insignificant.

      A recent survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust
(ZCDT) indicated that already 150 000 agriculturally skilled employees are
jobless and only 34 000 of these have somewhere to go with some obtaining
plots. This translates to 750 000 Zimbabweans displaced to date.

      JAG also noted that commercial farmers owned 28,2 of commercial land,
of this 97 per cent had been listed for compulsory acquisition. Despite
this, Government was silent on the aspect of title.

      "The new beneficiaries of the A2 Resettlement Model (Commercial) are
receiving mixed signals and already the banking sector have said they will
not fund new farmers who do not possess collateral. Commercial Farming can
only succeed on the basis of Security of Tenure and Provision of
 Collateral," JAG said.

      The organisation urged the government to make a public statement
calling for settlers, war veterans and other persons to cease interfering in
the vital production process on legally correct farms, and where there are
violations, to press for convictions of offenders.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      Poverty replaces politics as main talking point

      9/24/02 8:07:29 AM (GMT +2)

      While the case of Zimbabwe remains alive elsewhere, a dangerous vacuum
seems to be developing at home, replacing the once noisy political
thoroughfares with a cemetery of silence.

      Pessimism and dejection have sunk in as the nation awaits further
bruises from a cornered government whose public behaviour has left the world
gasping for meanings.

      For the past six months, President Mugabe has failed to be heard and
turned on his own people with a cocktail of repressive measures to maintain
his position.

      His outbursts at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg and at the United
Nations General
      Assembly in New York quickly turned into a whimper soon on his return
to the realities at home.

      While the majority is quiet, it is becoming clearer that Mugabe has
taken the position of a beleaguered international outcast left without a
choice, but to engage in a sombre soliloquy as he pleads for understanding
and a long-lost camaraderie among former friends and associates at the world

      Zimbabwe is still a major talking point among business executives,
investment analysts, politicians and even street vendors in the Southern
African Development Community (Sadc) region, within the Commonwealth and in
most Western capitals.

      But here, muffled murmurings have replaced the open shouts, stickers
and slogans that dominated our public spaces and commuter omnibus talk in
the past three years. We showed our concern for the future and tossed our
thoughts into the air for all to hear and respond.

      The scene has changed radically, mainly because the government has
poured all its resources into subverting any open attempts to free political
speech and dissent.
      New legislation, increased police surveillance, intolerance and a
public media squeeze have succeeded in bringing about plastic compliance
with the status quo. The countryside is under an iron seal, barring the
opposition, privately-owned newspapers
      and the free movement pro-democracy activists.

      Civil society is failing to conduct education campaigns.
Non-subversive literature prepared by the National Constitutional Assembly
is being barred from circulation in the rural areas. Any public claims to
political rights and freedom have been effectively neutralised.

      Neither Parliament nor civil society seems to have the spine to jolt
the government on matters of public policy. Parliament has failed to move
and deal with a national grievance presented by the opposition on the
impeachment of Robert Mugabe as president of the republic.

      Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa scoffed at the impeachment articles soon
after they were lodged. That subject died - without debate. No explanation
was given either to Parliament itself or to the MDC, the movers of the
impeachment attempt.

      The ordinary person, after two-and-half years of hyper-political
consciousness, can be excused to conclude that the democratic movement and
people-driven institutions have hit a rock in their quest to enhance the
quality of life for all. Sustained tyrannical pressure and stubbornness are
holding sway.

      In the absence of alternative strategies to rekindle debate and get
people to talk about the future, ordinary voters would be right to believe
that the government has managed to weaken Parliament and the opposition
substantially. Nothing has emerged from that House on the ongoing violence
in the rural areas, the continued shrinkage of the democratic space, policy
reversals on food distribution, citizenship and governance.
      Poverty has taken over as the main discussion point, broadening the
needs basket, leaving politics festering in the background. Desperation has
removed the last veneer of social comfort, pushing any other agenda off the
immediate concern of the family, the community and society.

      The situation became acute in the past few weeks when supplies of
maize, bread and other basics dwindled to a threatening level. There seems
to be no time to organise political meetings or refine the pressing
questions over Mugabe's legitimacy. Everybody is scavenging for food to ease
hunger and personal discomfort.

      Underlying the food crisis is an open, but rarely discussed, tragedy
of families decimated by the HIV/Aids scourge. The convergence of hunger and
disease has sharply increased ordinary people's vulnerability to infection
and disease.

      Grandparents caring for innumerable children and orphans could soon
give up the fight as they are unable to source food, nor do they have the
money to buy at black market rates.

      "This is a very, very different crisis than anything we've seen
before - HIV/Aids is laying siege to entire communities, decimating the
workforce and putting an even heavier strain on already over-burdened and
weak healthcare systems," said Tim Morris,
      the director of the World Food Programme.

      Morris says he was shocked to be confronted by a devastating mix of
extreme hunger and severe shortcomings in agriculture, health, sanitation
and institutional capacity.
      "The needs are immense and immediate, and we are working very hard to
secure the rest. Failure to address all of the needs now will only extend
this crisis," said Morris.
      Preliminary findings of an emergency food needs assessment, which
began in mid-

      August, co-ordinated by Sadc, says the number of people in trouble has
now risen from
      12,8 million in May, to 14,4 million. The crisis is not only
devastatingly real, it is worsening faster than was originally projected.
Limited supplies of maize - and people's access to it - are mainly
responsible for the increased numbers, especially in Zimbabwe where the
government is broke and unable to import food at a faster pace.

      As a result, prices continue to soar. When available, bread has gone
up to between $130 and $150 a loaf, potatoes sell at nearly $2 000 a pocket
and maize has shot up to $1 500 a bucket in a country where the minimum wage
of a domestic worker is less than $5 000.

      The government's populist policies of price controls and other
political impediments on critical issues, such as a refusal to let the
opposition and the private sector take part in food matters, are leading to
greater food insecurity.

      Without the support and supply of essential inputs necessary to
guarantee continued survival into next year, the government will have to
brace itself for a difficult period. The people's patience is thinning fast
because prospects for next year's harvest are bleak unless villagers,
generally assumed to be pro-government, immediately receive adequate seed.

      In the urban areas, the grip is getting tighter. Food inflation and
the erratic availability of basics look set to spark a serious backlash.

      Food riots are certainly on the way. The people can't take it any
      The stories dominating discussion in public buses, shopping malls, in
offices and in the villages point to a scale of unrest that could derail all
possibilities for a peaceful resolution of Zimbabwe's unending crisis.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

For immediate release 24 September 2002

Government intimidation of opposition candidates for council elections in Zimbabwe is intensifying as local elections draw near and the ZANU-PF regime seeks to extinguish all political opposition.

Roy Bennett, outspoken MP for Chimanimani, reported today that there has been further pressure on MDC candidates for the local council elections in the area. Mr Bennett said "Since Saturday, pressure on the MDC has intensified. MDC Councillor Mukhazhi from Mhakwe ward has been arrested and the police will not disclose where he is being held. Another councillor from Martin ward has been visited by members of the President's office, the CIO, and threatened. The government's strategy is clear. As the election dates draw closer, it is trying to force MDC out of the elections".

Arrests have been spearheaded by notorious human rights violator, Joseph Mwale, who is head of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in Chimanimani and Chogo Gueza, Police member in charge of the district. Mwale's human rights record has been well documented by respected human rights organisations. He was transferred to Chimanimani 14 months ago after an order for his arrest for the murder of two MDC activists was ignored.

In latest developments, Mr Bennett added, "This afternoon, Joseph Mwale and Chogo Gueza visited my farm demanding to know where I was. When I wasn't there they arrested six others in my place. They also stole all the heavy vehicles which are used to transport workers to and from their work. Tonight there are 300 men stranded on the farm. They arrested about 13 others in Chimanimani, including an MDC activist, and a prominent local sawmiller. Thankfully, 10 black workers who were arrested have been released. Of the latest round of arrests, Shane Kidd, Wally Johnson, Rocky Stone, Amos Makaza, and Steven Housden remain in police custody. Last night they severely harassed Allen Radford, owner of a local tourist lodge and confiscated his passport".

Chief Spokesman for the Save Zimbabwe campaign, Ephraim Tapa, said "Chimanimani is one of the few constituencies in Zimbabwe in which the opposition candidates have managed to withstand government intimidation and harassment. With elections only days away, local authorities will do all they can to make sure no opposition members contest the local elections. The government is subverting democracy at all levels of government. In Chimanimani and elsewhere in Zimbabwe, the Mugabe regime is making sure there is no-one to vote for except themselves."

Mr Tapa also pointed out that farms like Mr Bennett's employed up to 1,500 people. "When these farms are attacked, when their equipment is looted and work has to stop, the local community loses its livelihood. Mr Bennett has never opposed the idea of orderly land reform. From the outset he has worked closely with his local community. But what is happening here is not land reform. It's political terrorism, and theft by a ruling elite to reward its henchmen. The attack on Roy Bennett has nothing to do with his farming activities. It is an assault on an articulate and well-loved member of the Opposition. It should be remembered that Roy Bennett was elected by a constituency of 50,000 black and just 11 white voters. This is an assault on democracy and a deliberate policy to displace opposition supporters."

The "Save Zimbabwe" campaign is a non-partisan international initiative, with broad-based support drawn from both political parties and community groups. It was launched during the recent African Union meeting in Durban and is designed to restore democracy, human rights and legitimate government to Zimbabwe. The holding of early, free and fair elections, under full and proper international supervision, is a key objective of the campaign.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Terence Fane-Saunders +44 20 79397939
                                      + 44 7768 283 144

Helen Campbell              +44 20 79397939
                                      + 44 7768 283 144

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Customs impound maize

      9/24/02 8:28:34 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      ABOUT 2 000 bags of maize sourced by the MDC from South Africa are
being held by Customs officials at Beitbridge border post. The consignment
has been denied entry into the country.

      The maize is the second consignment being held by the government,
which has accused the MDC of importing maize without a licence.

      The bags of maize arrived on Friday last week. The first consignment
of 640 bags arrived in the country three weeks ago.

      The MDC is working with the Feed Zimbabwe Trust, a humanitarian
non-governmental organisation, that is helping to secure food supplies for
the starving millions, especially in rural areas.

      Current United Nations estimates put the total number of Zimbabweans
facing starvation at more than 6,5 million.

      The maize was destined for selected areas in Gweru, Chivi, Binga and
Chikomba districts, where hunger has ravaged whole communities.

      Renson Gasela, the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, said his team
had failed to have the maize released over the weekend.

      "As far as they are concerned, they are implementing the law but this
is not necessary because we are facing a crisis as thousands of people are
starving," said Gasela.
      He said the maize was now in Customs storage. Officials had indicated
they would continue to store the maize and may even have to discard it.

      "It would be tragic if they were to dispose of the maize because we
know the issue will be politicised and food only given to Zanu PF
supporters, while other deserving people suffer," he said.

      He said the maize was a donation and was not for resale therefore
there was no justification for the pretext of competition with the Grain
Marketing Board, the only company licenced to import maize in the country.

      He said the MDC would continue to bring in more maize and would be
undeterred by the government's efforts to discourage them.

      "We are hoping that reason will prevail because people are hungry and
since the government is failing to feed all of them, they should let anyone
who can assist proceed, rather than be counter-productive," Gasela said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Commonwealth Secretariat, 23 September

02/71 - Meeting of the Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe


The Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe, consisting of the Prime Minister of Australia, Rt Hon John Howard, the President of Nigeria, HE Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the President of South Africa, HE Mr Thabo Mbeki, met in Abuja, Nigeria, on 23 September 2002, to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Don McKinnon, participated in the discussions.

Following a review of recent political developments in Zimbabwe, the Committee recalled that in their Marlborough House Statement of 19 March 2002, they had mandated the President of Nigeria and the President of South Africa to continue to actively promote the process of reconciliation in Zimbabwe and to appoint special representatives to remain engaged with all the parties concerned towards this end. The Committee had also mandated the Commonwealth Secretary-General to engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the specific recommendations from the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to the March Presidential elections were respected and to remain actively engaged with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in promoting transparent, equitable and sustainable measures of land reform in Zimbabwe. The Committee deeply regretted that the process of reconciliation facilitated by the Special Envoys of the President of Nigeria and the President of South Africa had stalled. The Secretary-General reported that as a consequence, the level of suspicion, division and hostility between the various parties in Zimbabwe has increased considerably in recent months and that reports of harassment of the political opposition, the press and sections of the judiciary continued.

The Committee was disappointed to note that despite repeated efforts, including in collaboration with regional Commonwealth Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Secretary-General had been unable to establish a dialogue with the Government of Zimbabwe in fulfilment of his mandates.

The Committee was also deeply disappointed that the President of Zimbabwe had not taken up their invitation to come to Abuja to dialogue with them.

The Committee also called on the Government of Zimbabwe to engage with the Commonwealth Secretary-General at an early opportunity on the basis of the mandates given to him.

Whilst all members of the 'Troika' strongly believe that efforts to engage the Government of Zimbabwe should continue, one member, Australia, supported the full suspension of Zimbabwe with immediate effect whilst the other members wish to see how Zimbabwe responds to the Marlborough House Statement over the next six months as foreshadowed in that Statement, at which point stronger measures might need to be considered.

PM foreshadows action against Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's time in the Commonwealth was limited, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.

He said Mugabe would not be allowed to thumb his nose at democratic principles forever.

Mr Howard said while the troika of Commonwealth ministers, of which he is a member, did not agree on expelling Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, it could not go on indefinitely.

"The Commonwealth has to be concerned about what has happened in Zimbabwe. What is at stake is a central Commonwealth principle of respect for the democratic process," Mr Howard said after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"The troika was given a role in Zimbabwe because of the rorted election. The Commonwealth in the past has upheld very strongly the maintenance of democratic principles and I think it would be to the Commonwealth's detriment if Zimbabwe was allowed to indefinitely thumb its nose at Commonwealth opinion."

Asked if he would accept Mugabe's offer to return to inspect conditions, Mr Howard laughed and said: "What's your next question?"

©AAP 2002
Daily News

      Zimbabwe escapes C'wealth suspension

      9/24/02 8:27:57 AM (GMT +2)

      ABUJA - A three-nation Commonwealth group ended talks yesterday
divided over whether to toughen sanctions on Zimbabwe for its land and
political policies, an official communique said.

      The "troika" of the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and prime
minister of Australia was meeting to review what steps Zimbabwe had taken to
avert further sanctions after it was suspended from the Commonwealth in
March following Mugabe's controversial re-election. The Commonwealth and
Zimbabwe's opposition said those polls were rigged.

      But the troika failed to reach agreement because of objections from
South Africa and Nigeria, the communique said.

      "Whilst all members of the troika strongly believe that efforts to
engage the government of Zimbabwe should continue, one member, Australia,
supported the full suspension with immediate effect," said a statement by
the committee.

      Diplomats at the talks had earlier said the Commonwealth, a 54-nation
group of mainly former British colonies, was left with little choice but to
toughen the symbolic sanctions.
      President Mugabe boycotted the talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja,
with Nigerian officials saying the Zimbabwean leader complained of being
made to feel he was going to be "court-martialled".

      The statement said that Nigeria and South Africa wished to see how
Zimbabwe responded over the next six months to the measures imposed in
March, "at which point stronger measures might need to be considered".

      The Commonwealth troika has the group's mandate to recommend sanctions
and suspension, and could make such a move in March 2003 when current
      measures against Zimbabwe run out. Full suspension of Zimbabwe would
cut off Commonwealth development assistance at a critical time for the
nation in the throes of economic crisis.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo
are long-time allies of Mugabe and only reluctantly agreed to limited
sanctions on Zimbabwe in March.

      But political violence in Zimbabwe and the government's campaign to
appropriate white farms for redistribution ostensibly to the largely
landless black majority is hurting their initiative to promote good
governance in Africa in return for massive foreign investment.
      Diplomats described the atmosphere at the talks, overshadowed by a war
of words between Zimbabwe and Australia, as tense."It was hot in there. The
jackets were off," said one diplomat. The communique said that the
Commonwealth process to reconcile Mugabe with his domestic political
opponents had "regrettably stalled".

      Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon told the meeting that as a
consequence, "the level of suspicion, division and hostility between the
various parties in Zimbabwe had increased considerably in recent months".

      "Reports of harassment of the political opposition, the press and
sections of the judiciary continued," the communique said, quoting McKinnon.

      "The committee was also deeply disappointed that the president of
Zimbabwe had not taken up their invitation to come to Abuja to dialogue with
them," McKinnon added.
      Mbeki and Obasanjo are spearheading the New Initiative for Africa's
Development (NEPAD).

      "Everywhere they go to promote NEPAD internationally, they are asked:
What are you doing about Zimbabwe?" an African diplomat said earlier.

      Zimbabwe's fierce attack on Howard, the Commonwealth committee's
chairman, followed Howard's invitation letter to Mugabe listing Zimbabwe's
domestic politics on the agenda.

      "No serious person expected us to be part of that kind of a circus (in
Abuja)," Moyo was quoted as saying in the state-owned Herald newspaper. "The
whole thing stinks of an orchestrated media event designed to insult the
president and demonise Zimbabwe at the behest of Britain with Australia
playing the role of a cheerleader.

ZIMBABWE: Commonwealth postpones decision on further action

JOHANNESBURG, 24 September (IRIN) - Zimbabwe received a reprieve from full suspension from the Commonwealth this week when a three-man Commonwealth Chairperson's Committee on Zimbabwe decided to give the country another six months to reform.

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard pressed for full suspension at the review meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on Monday. But Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki decided to wait until the end of the initial one-year suspension period before taking any further action.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth shortly after March elections, which the organisation, along with most Western countries, found was marred by politically motivated violence and conditions that "did not adequately allow for a free expression of will."

A statement from the South African government following the Abuja meeting said that it regretted that the post-election reconciliation talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), facilitated by Obasanjo and Mbeki, had stalled.

As a result, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon reported that "the level of suspicion, division and hostility between the various parties in Zimbabwe had increased considerably and that reports of harassment of the political opposition, the press and sections of the judiciary continued," a Commonwealth secretariat statement said.

The committee noted that many of the suggestions made in the Marlborough House Statement, which followed Zimbabwe's suspension, had not come to fruition. These included helping the Zimbabwe government address the land issue, but attempts at discussing the matter with the government were not successful.

The committee was also "deeply disappointed" that President Robert Mugabe had not attended the Abuja meeting.

Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mugabe had felt insulted by an apparently unsigned invitation, and could not negotiate the date of the meeting, making him feel as though he was being summoned.

After the announcement on the troika's decision, The Herald reported that Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge had invited the Australian premier to visit Zimbabwe "to find the truth about the situation in the country".

The Austrlian

Howard invited to Zimbabwe
From correspondents in Harare
September 24, 2002
ZIMBABWE'S government has welcomed a decision by a Commonwealth troika not
to take tougher action against it - and invited Prime Minister John Howard
to visit the country.

"They're free to come to Harare," Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge

"Particularly we want Prime Minister Howard to come to Harare.

"We guarantee he (Howard) will be safe. He can come and see what he wants to
see, he can discuss what he wants to discuss."

Of the three countries of the troika - Australia, Nigeria and South Africa -
only Howard backed a complete suspension of Zimbabwe from the 54-member
Mugabe did not attend the leaders' meeting in Nigeria, called to discuss the
possibility of imposing more sanctions against the southern African country
over alleged human rights and democratic abuses.

Mudenge strongly condemned Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon and
accused him of playing the role of "a hatchet man of British imperialism and

He said in previously suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth councils,
the troika had attempted to "get to the throat of Zimbabwe".

Smug Zim regime 'invites' Howard to Harare

September 24 2002 at 08:58AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's government on Monday welcomed the decision by a Commonwealth monitoring panel not to take tougher action against Zimbabwe or suspend it from the body altogether, and invited Australia's premier to visit the country.

"They're free to come to Harare," Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge told a press conference. "Particularly, we want Prime Minister Howard to come to Harare."

"We guarantee he will be safe. He can come and see what he wants to see, he can discuss what he wants to discuss," Mudenge added.

Of the three countries on the panel - Australia, Nigeria and South Africa - only Australian Prime Minister John Howard backed a complete suspension of Zimbabwe from the 54-member body.

'We guarantee he will be safe'
Mugabe did not attend Monday's meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja to discuss the possibility of imposing more sanctions against Zimbabwe over human rights and democratic abuses.

Mudenge strongly condemned Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon and accused him of playing the role of "a hatchet man of British imperialism and machinations".

He said in suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth councils, the panel had attempted to "get to the throat of Zimbabwe". - Sapa-AFP

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Morgan moans after troika goes easy on Mugabe

      September 23 2002 at 10:00PM

By Toye Olori and Basildon Peta

Abuja - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has shunned meeting the
Commonwealth "troika" set up to discuss his controversial March election.
But he seems to have had the sympathy of the two African leaders in the
three-member group.

The group ended their talks divided on the issue of new sanctions against
Zimbabwe over its land policies and human rights record.

Zimbabwean civic groups said the troika should disband because it was not
serving any purpose.

      'I am convinced that Mugabe should be given a long rope'
While Australian Prime Minister John Howard wanted an out-right suspension
of Zimbabwe, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Thabo Mbeki
argued for more time. Zimbabwe was temporarily suspended from Commonwealth
in March.

On Monday Howard spoke strongly in support of an outright suspension of
Zimbabwe "because the political situation in the country (Zimbabwe) has
continued to deteriorate - even now we cannot get the secretary-general of
the Commonwealth to talk to Zimbabwe. That to my mind is a very serious

But Obasanjo, speaking also for Mbeki, argued that the main issues - land,
elections, drought and reconciliation - still needed time.

He said Mugabe had promised to resolve the land question soon: "You may not
believe him, but that is what Mugabe said. I am convinced that Mugabe should
be given a long rope," Obasanjo said.

Mugabe, who was invited to Abuja, refused to attend. He was quoted as saying
the invitation gave the impression that he was going to be court-marshalled.

His government claimed the Commonwealth was "ganging up" on Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said that in six
months' time, all democratic forces in Zimbabwe would have been destroyed by
Mugabe's "siege of terror" on his opponents.

"He (Mugabe) has been given a blank cheque," said Tsvangirai.

"Zimbabweans must now realise that putting faith in the international
community to resolve the crisis in this country is futile." - Independent
Foreign Service
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Commonwealth risks credibility by ignoring Zimbabwe

CANBERRA, Sept. 24 - The ink on the Commonwealth communique delaying action
on Zimbabwe was barely dry before analysts and member states began debating
the relevance and very future of the group of mostly former British
       Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who led a three-nation
Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria to discuss Zimbabwe, did not hide his
disappointment at the group's decision to overrule his desire to impose
sanctions on President Robert Mugabe.
       ''I think the Commonwealth is the poorer because there hasn't been
unanimity on this view,'' Howard told the BBC.
       South Africa and Nigeria blocked Howard's efforts to impose sanctions
on Mugabe, targeted by the West for the confiscation of white-owned land and
allegedly rigging his re-election in March.
       In two interviews Howard granted before leaving Nigeria, media
commentators got straight to the point.
       Cable news network CNN asked whether the Commonwealth wasn't really
''a toothless bulldog.'' The British Broadcasting Corp held off until its
fifth question to ask if the Commonwealth didn't ''look very toothless
       Howard offered a muted defence.
       ''Well I think the Commonwealth has gone through difficulties like
this in the past and survived and I think it will in the future. But I'm
concerned about the Commonwealth values and one of those values is a
democratic process,'' he said.
       Commonwealth officials said privately the inconclusive talks marked a
major setback for the 54-nation group.

       Australian Senator Sandy Macdonald, a member of Howard's conservative
government who saw Mugabe's alleged election abuses first hand as a
Commonwealth election observer in March, said the failed troika meeting had
ended the group's credibility.
       ''If it can't impose its own Harare declarations on the country from
whence the Harare declaration were born, then you have to have some doubts
about the relevance of the organisation,'' Macdonald told Reuters.
       The 71-year old Commonwealth, molded from the ashes of the British
Empire, pledged in Harare in 1991 to commit its members to democracy, human
rights and the rule of law.
       Since then, the group which represents 1.7 billion people from
nations as diverse as Canada, Pakistan and Tuvalu, has suspended Nigeria in
1995, Sierra Leone in 1997, Pakistan in 1999 and Fiji in 2000, all following
coups or rights violations.
       In March, the troika agreed to a sort of half-expulsion for Zimbabwe,
suspending it from the ministerial meetings but not from non-political
events, like the Commonwealth Games in August.
       It was a far cry from the 33-year exile of South Africa, which lasted
until the white apartheid government was ousted by Nelson Mandela's rainbow
coalition in 1994.
       Chris Reus Smit, an international relations analyst at Australian
National University, said the difficulty in going any further with Zimbabwe
lay in black Africa's loyalty to Mugabe, hailed as a nationalist hero when
he came to power in 1980.
       Senator Macdonald agreed, saying white leaders understandably
flinched at accusations by black Africa that the former British rulers were
trying to re-assert influence in the region.
       ''It's an easy ploy, that's Mugabe's great line -- that we're just
the running dogs of the former colonialists,'' he said.
       Reus Smit said the Commonwealth would survive the Zimbabwe crisis,
but its credibility may not escape intact.
       ''If the Commonwealth role is not to facilitate peace and cooperation
and good governance among and between its members, what is it there for?''
he asked.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age

Govt may go alone on Zimbabwe
CANBERRA|Published: Tuesday September 24, 8:05 PM

Australia could impose its own sanctions against Zimbabwe after Prime
Minister John Howard failed to convince African leaders to take strong
action against the Mugabe government.

Mr Howard was unable to convince fellow Commonwealth leaders that Zimbabwe
should be expelled from the Commonwealth because of the breakdown in
democracy under President Robert Mugabe.

Fellow Commonwealth leaders Thabo Mbeki from South Africa and Nigeria's
Olusegun Obasanjo instead gave Mr Mugabe a further six months to restore
democratic principles in Zimbabwe.

The three leaders met in the Nigerian capital of Abuja to decide on
Commonwealth action against Zimbabwe after Commonwealth observers found the
country's elections to be unfair and conducted in an atmosphere of violence
and intimidation.

But African nations have been wary of the push by white Commonwealth
nations - Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand - for stronger action
against Zimbabwe.

Mr Howard was clearly disappointed with the outcome and said he had hoped to
convince Mr Mbeki and Chief Obasanjo of the need to suspend Zimbabwe's
Commonwealth membership.

He said the outcome undermined the Commonwealth's goal of promoting
democratic values.

"I think it was clear that what should have happened today was full
suspension and that's what I argued for," Mr Howard told the BBC from Abuja.

"I think the Commonwealth is the poorer because there hasn't been unanimity
on this view."

He said he would push for Zimbabwe's full suspension at the next meeting in
six months unless the situation in Zimbabwe changed significantly.

ABC Australia

Target Zimbabwe with sanctions, says Rudd
The Federal Opposition is calling for the Government to introduce targeted
sanctions against Zimbabwe, after a meeting in Nigeria failed to suspend the
African nation from the Commonwealth.

The presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and the Australian Prime Minister
were unable to reach agreement on taking any further action against the
Mugabe regime.

The Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, says it is now up to
Australia to impose its own bans.

"Targeted sanctions fall into two categories - joining the US, EU and
Switzerland and introducing an international travel ban on selected members
of the regime," Mr Rudd said.

"It is also placing a ban on the international personal financial
transactions on the members of the Zanu elite, the Mugabe thugs who actually
run Zimbabwe."


ALP urges action on Zimbabwe

The Howard government needed to deliver on its promise to take action
against the regime of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, the opposition

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the government had been
all talk and no action over the issue of Zimbabwe.

A bid by Prime Minister John Howard to suspend Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth was blocked by the presidents of Nigeria and South Africa.

Mr Howard, who chaired a meeting on how to bring Zimbabwe and Mr Mugabe back
to the path of democracy, said Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
South African President Thabo Mbeki had a different view.

Mr Rudd said it was up to the Australian government to introduce targeted
sanctions against Zimbabwe given the Commonwealth's failure to act.

"It's high time the government introduced the targeted sanctions it promised
it would introduce back on the 21st of February," he said.

Mr Rudd also took aim at the Commonwealth troika chaired by Mr Howard, which
he said had shown itself to be a toothless tiger.

"More broadly there is a risk that as a consequence of that the Commonwealth
itself will be seen to be a toothless tiger in failing to deal with a
barbaric regime in form of Mugabe's regime in Harare," he said.

©AAP 2002

Back to the Top
Back to Index

U.N. criticises Zimbabwe for abuses

GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- A U.N. human rights investigator accused
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday of undermining the judiciary
and urged states to step up pressure on his government.

Param Cumaraswamy, United Nations rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers, said the arrest this month of retired High Court Judge Fergus
Blackie in Zimbabwe was "yet another clear systematic attack on the basic
fabric of democracy, i.e. the rule of law."

He said there was "reasonable cause" to believe that the charges of
corruption and obstruction of justice against the white judge were "an act
of vendetta" following his conviction of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
for contempt of court.

"When judges can be arrested, detained and charged on trumped up facts for
exercising their judicial functions, then there is no hope for the rule of
law in such countries," Cumaraswamy said in a statement.

It was the sixth public declaration on Zimbabwe in as many months by the
Malaysian jurist.

Cumaraswamy urged the international community to "continue its pressures and
double its efforts to get the government of Zimbabwe to comply with its
obligations under the constitution and international law."

He also criticised a recent ruling of the High Court refusing the opposition
access to the voters' roll in a court action challenging the legality of
presidential elections won by Mugabe in March.

"The voters' roll must necessarily be a crucial and material evidence in the
action," the U.N. investigator said, noting an appeal was due to be heard on
October 1.

Earlier this month, the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists
also expressed deep concern over Blackie's arrest.


UN: Zim has grudge
against judge

Geneva - The government of Zimbabwe was carrying out a vendetta against a
respected white judge to punish him for trying to jail the justice minister,
a United Nations expert said on Tuesday.

The arrest of retired High Court Mr Justice Fergus Blackie on charges that
he improperly freed a woman from jail are "yet another clear, systematic
attack on the basic fabric of democracy" in Zimbabwe, said Param
Cumaraswamy, the UN expert on the independence of the judiciary.

"There is reasonable cause to believe that this latest arrest, detention and
charges against Justice Blackie is an act of vendetta by the government,"
Cumaraswamy said in a statement.

"When judges can be arrested, detained and charged on trumped-up facts for
exercising their judicial function then there is no hope for the rule of law
in such countries."

Prosecutors allege Tara White, a former travel agency executive, had an
affair with Blackie (65) and influenced him to throw out her one-year prison
sentence for theft. Blackie's lawyers say the two never met.

One of Blackie's last acts before retiring in July was to sentence Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa to three months in jail on contempt of court
charges after the minister repeatedly ignored a court summons.

Chinamasa ignored the contempt ruling and police refused to arrest him in
what was seen by international legal experts as further evidence of the
breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

Opposition lawyers denied access to voters list

Cumaraswamy, a Malaysian lawyer, has regularly expressed his concern about
the situation in Zimbabwe.

He said on Tuesday he also was concerned that lawyers for the official
opposition have been denied access to the voters registration list in a
pending case challenging the legality of the recent presidential election.

Cumaraswamy said he also had been told that President Robert Mugabe had
threatened the opposition's "shadow" justice minister, David Coltart, by
telling him the only place for him in Zimbabwe was prison.

"The prevailing lawlessness in the government is not only a menace to the
people of Zimbabwe but if allowed unabated could threaten peace, democracy
and the rule of law in the African region," Cumaraswamy added.

ICJ mission frustrated

The International Commission of Jurists, which seeks to uphold the rule of
law around the world, has accused the Zimbabwe government of acting "in bad

A commission statement on Monday said that in April 2001 Chinamasa had
visited its headquarters and invited the body to send a mission to examine
threats to the independence of Zimbabwe's judges and lawyers.

"Since receipt of the invitation, the ICJ has been frustrated by the
government's stalling on the date of the mission and its imposing
unreasonable conditions," it said.

It said it had just been told that a mission is impossible during the autumn
of 2002. "No alternative date has been provided."

"The government's opposition to any outside scrutiny is a serious blow to
the rule of law in Zimbabwe," the commission said. - Sapa-AP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      State set to lose more health personnel to UK, Canada

      9/24/02 8:43:29 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      AS the government struggles to fill vacancies left by health personnel
migrating to the greener pastures abroad, public health institutions are set
to lose more skilled staff to private hospitals in the United Kingdom,
Australia and Canada.

      Foreign hospitals and other institutions have found a ready "pool" of
potential personnel in Zimbabwe, where skilled people are leaving a country
facing caught in its worst economic recession to seek employment abroad.

      Advertisements by international recruitment and immigration agencies
are a common feature in local newspapers as foreign companies take advantage
of the parlous state of Zimbabwe's economy. One such agency, Pearls
International Nursing Agency based in the UK, has been running an
advertisement in The Daily News inviting applications from registered nurses
on behalf of Australian and Canadian health institutions.

      Two weeks ago, Thomas Zigora, the chief executive officer of the
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, conceded that the hospital could not cope
with the demand for nurses as some of the few trained nurses available were
leaving the country for better pay and working conditions in Britain.
President Mugabe has in the past rebuked Britain for "coming in the dead of
night" to steal nurses, doctors and pharmacists from Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Clinton says Zimbabwe crisis a ''burden'' to Africa

ABUJA, Sept. 24 - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday that
Zimbabwe's land and political crisis was ''a burden to all of Africa'' and
the continent must resolve it to demonstrate its new commitment to good

       Clinton said in a public lecture in the Nigerian capital Abuja that
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election in March and
seizure of white owned farms ran counter to the goals of the new continental
body, the African Union.
       ''In the end President Mugabe must be held to the African Union's
standards of free and fair elections,'' Clinton told a packed audience that
included Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the presidents of Ghana,
Senegal and Sierra Leone.
       Clinton acknowledged it would be difficult for Africans to oppose
Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to the
largely landless black majority.
       But he said Africa needed to send a strong message around the world
''that no matter how great the solidarity one feels he has from natives, no
matter the much general grievances intertwined with the land reforms or any
other issue, it is simply no longer acceptable to organise an invasion to
intimidate opponents, to rig elections or to mutilate the results.''
       ''The situation in Zimbabwe is a burden to all of Africa including
Nigeria, not only because of the increase in the interdependence of nations
and people but because around the world there are still so many people who
engage in what I will call the regrettable tactics of continental
profiling,'' Clinton said.
       This refers to when something bad happens somewhere in Africa and it
automatically applies to all of Africa, he said.
       ''It is not fair. It's based on ignorance, but it is a fact
nonetheless that may have consequences for foreign policy decisions and
financial decisions by investors from other parts of the world,'' he added.
       Clinton made a jibe at the long-serving Mugabe, who has been in power
since the south African nation's independence from Britain in 1980, saying:
''The essence of democracy is not just winning power, it is also knowing
when to let go.''
       Zimbabwe has been gripped by a political and economic crisis since
the government launched a campaign in 2000 to seize white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
       Clinton's lecture on democratisation and economic development came a
day after a special Commonwealth committee ended talks in Abuja divided on
whether to toughen the group's sanctions against Zimbabwe.
       Harare was suspended from Commonwealth meetings for one year in March
after the group said Mugabe's re-election was rigged.
       At the Abuja talks, boycotted by Mugabe, Australian Prime Minister
John Howard was left isolated in pushing for a tougher line. Obasanjo and
South African President Thabo Mbeki, the other members of the committee,
said Mugabe should be given more time to find a domestic solution to the
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Dear Peter,
We extend a warm invitation to you to join us for the first Farmers for Jesus Convocation to be held in Bulawayo. It will be at the Ascot Racecourse, Bulawayo on Saturday 28th September 2002 starting around 10am with Praise and Worship, and finishing around 4.30pm. Registration 9.30am for 10am. (no registration fee but an offering will be taken up during the day).
Pastor Phillip Ligthart of the Tabernacles of David Church, Chinhoyi will be speaking. We are also privileged to have Angus Buchan of Shalom Ministries in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa to speak to us. During the day we will have times of prayer and ministry so it promises to be a day of inspiration, hope and encouragement for each one of us.
We look forward to seeing you there. Please feel free to bring along friends, workers and anybody else who might be interested and spread the word that this event is on shortly.
Please note that everyone needs to bring their own lunch, although we hope to have a stall selling burger-type refreshments and we will serve tea and cooldrinks.
Please could I ask if you would print the poster attached and put it up wherever you feel you can.
 There is also a men's breakfast at Top-of-the-sun room at Rainbow Hotel on Saturday 8am 28th September 2002. Tickets are $1200 and need to be booked with Helen Palmgren on 09-241509 as soon as possible. Angus will be the guest speaker.
Thank you so much . Stay safe and God bless you.
Peter and Nan Goosen





       Let us meet and be a joy to one another


DATE : Saturday 28th September 2002

VENUE : Ascot Racecourse

TIME : 10am


We extend a warm invitation to you to join us for a time of praise and worship, prayer and ministry. It promises to be a day of inspiration, hope and encouragement. Come and be blessed.



                   Tabernacles of David Church, Chinhoyi


                      : ANGUS BUCHAN – Shalom

                         Ministries- Kwazulu Natal


please note that everyone needs to bring their own lunch, although we hope to have a stall selling burger-type refreshments and we will serve tea and cooldrinks.


Back to the Top
Back to Index