African leaders and others from the rest of the world at the Earth summit in
Johannesburg had doubts about what ordinary Zimbabweans are facing on a daily
basis, then the utterances and behaviour of Zimbabwe's leadership there gave
them an insight into what afflicts our country.
Such is the
desperation to showcase Zimbabwe's madness at any world forum that thugs are
hired to stage so-called solidarity demonstrations on the chaotic land
reforms and sheer misrule of Zimbabwe.
When a government resorts to
stage-managing protests to sell its illegitimate actions and wayward
governance to the world, the circle of madness is surely
When a country's leader draws attention not by clout or
respect but through demonstrations and ridicule, it shows how you have become
a misfit, a laughing stock of the world.
When as a leader you
become a subject of ridicule, even among the majority of your own people at
home, then it is time to go.
When as a country your ministers
become pre-occupied with organising such useless protests, which are
supported by a handful of people but you say thousands of people attended,
you should know that that country is doomed.
The so-called 1 000
people who are said to have demonstrated in support of President Robert
Mugabe while wearing ZANU PF regalia are what Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo should rightly know as rented crowds.
As for us Zimbabweans
back home, we were not fooled by the rented thugs nor hired Sam Nujoma of
Namibia because we are used to these tricks which have become part of our
We now know the purpose of the advance team to the
Earth Summit comprising people such as Moyo: to ensure that paid-up
demonstrators are in place and those who are bussed in from Harare get on
with the business of holding posters whose message we are all too familiar
Mugabe's tumbling political fortunes have forced him to court
the support of unknown groups such as the December 12 Movement in New
York's Harlem and Australia's Aborigines.
That is how the mighty
have fallen and become irrelevant in our own time.
That is how
desperate Zimbabwe's leadership has become to cling to power in the face of
regional and international isolation and condemnation of its
Mugabe's road-shows, which bare out his true colours, have
been showcased at every international forum in the past three years. In the
past week, the South Africans and the world had a chance to catch a glimpse
of the madness gripping Zimbabwe.
The problem with these
stage-managed solidarity demonstrations and hired speakers such as Nujoma is
that they create a false sense of popularity on the part of Mugabe,
popularity which Mugabe knows he unfortunately does not have even back
It is for the same reason that Mugabe has surrounded himself
in the past 22 years with people who tell him what he wants to hear. These
are individuals who fear him so much that they can even salute his shadow
That is why in most instances Mugabe does not know the
real situation of poverty stricken-Zimbabweans in his own backyard because
his ministers are doing all they can to paint a rosy but fake picture to
The behaviour of ministers trying to shield Mugabe from open
criticism and to know how deeply unpopular he has become should come to an
Most ZANU PF officials and ministers now take it as their
daily challenge and obligation to shield Mugabe from the reality on the
ground in Zimbabwe.
That is why ministers like Moyo and John
Nkomo lose sleep crafting legislation like the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order Security Act which makes it a
crime to criticise Mugabe.
Indeed most of these politicians do that
in the knowledge that as long as Mugabe is in the dark and believes he is on
top of the situation, the longer these politicians will remain relevant to
In fact, one may not be wrong after all to think that the
propaganda that we are constantly subjected to in this country is also aimed
That is why I insist that the tragedy of this country is
that Cabinet ministers and ZANU PF politicians are the greatest bootlickers
and puppets. Their behaviour, as they jostle to please Mugabe, stinks all the
way to hell.
Enough of this madness and stage-managed
demonstrations that are sponsored by none other than ministers who have
become a source of pain to Zimbabweans.
Homeless white farmers push up demand for residential
Staff Reporter 9/5/02 7:03:44 AM (GMT
DEMAND for residential properties in Harare and in most major
cities has shot up in the past eight weeks as cash-rich white farmers
displaced by the government's controversial land reforms move into urban
areas in search of new homes, industry players said this week.
In some cities such as the eastern border town of Mutare, which is surrounded
by hundreds of farms and plantations, homeless farmers have snapped up nearly
all houses that are on offer, leaving the market struggling to meet rising
The property industry has reaped a financial windfall in
the process, with some estate agencies in Harare for example saying prices
for houses and rentals had gone up by as much as 50 percent in the past two
Nick Masaya, an official of a leading Harare real estate
firm, said his company had registered between 50 and 100 farmers a week
seeking residential houses to buy or rent in the past eight
"The increase in the number of the displaced farmers looking
for accommodation has fuelled the rise of rentals and residential properties
by about 50 percent," Masaya told the Financial Gazette.
official of Eagle Estate Agents in Mutare said demand for residential
property there since the eviction of farmers by the government last month had
been so high that there were few or no houses available to buy.
Several estate agents in Bulawayo and other smaller towns said they were
receiving no less then 10 enquiries a day from farmers who wanted to buy or
rent a house.
"We have been receiving accommodation and property
sales inquiries from at least 10 farmers a day over the past six weeks," said
an official of real estate firm Fox and Carney.
industry had remained stable after a controversial presidential ballot
earlier this year led to the further isolation of Zimbabwe.
many would-be-sellers who held on to their properties hoping that a new
political dispensation would lift prices as confidence returned into the
economy were forced to sell their properties at lower prices.
was until the government ordered 2 900 white farmers to vacate their homes by
August 10 or face jail as the government winds up its two-year-old seizure of
white-owned farms to resettle its supporters.
Masaya said his
company sold or rented out $435 million worth of accommodation space in July
this year compared to $300 million the previous month.
Harare real estate firm had total sales of residential property of $135
million and $155 million for June and July last year.
while the inflation rate, now pegged at 123.5 percent, is contributing to
higher sales, it was clear that there had been a marked rise in demand for
He said several farmers were preferring to
rent houses or town apartments in the hope of repossessing their farms some
Several farmers evicted from their homes are challenging the
legality of the government's action in the courts.
ZIMBABWE'S crisis is snowballing into the
biggest challenge facing South African President Thabo Mbeki, who himself has
had to swallow the bitter truth of the failure of his policy of quiet
diplomacy on his rogue neighbour.
In unprecedented scenes which
underlined Mbeki's predicament on Zimbabwe at the Johannesburg Earth Summit
this week, Namibian and Zimbabwean leaders used the meeting in choreographed
speeches as a platform to rebuff Mbeki's soft approach to resolving Harare's
crisis, which has been caused by none other than the government.
Indeed, behind-the-scenes manoeuvres had been made to prevent the Zimbabwe
question from hijacking the global summit on poverty, the environment and
sustainable development, but this message was rejected by both Sam Nujoma and
The two men turned a sombre and sedate occasion into
a war of words against British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Nujoma
repeatedly and crudely gesturing with his hand towards Blair in scenes which
stunned most world leaders.
Predictably their verbal tirades
focused on the racism that has coloured the land question in Zimbabwe, an
increasingly popular and only excuse by the besieged Mugabe, but glaringly
omitted to address the real cause of the crisis: the government's stark
No doubt, Mbeki's ambivalence on Harare must have
contributed to the hyperbole in Johannesburg, which shocked many into finally
realising why and how Zimbabwe has crumbled.
But it also must
have been a rude wake-up call for Mbeki to urgently review his blind support
for organised chaos in Zimbabwe, which the government calls land
Mbeki's country, as indeed all others in southern Africa,
have already been soiled by economic and political contagion from Zimbabwe's
lawlessness but stand to suffer even more unless the South African leader
firmly stamps his foot down now to say enough.
We are encouraged
however by Mbeki's public admission two weeks ago that his quiet efforts to
resolve the Zimbabwe crisis had failed and that it was time to take vigorous
action to end the madness.
Indeed the success of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), a brainchild of Mbeki and other
democratic African leaders for the continent's revival, is threatened with
collapse unless Mbeki and his peers assert themselves in the face of a regime
that will do anything to stay in power against the will of its own
Mbeki faces a simple question: why should Africa and the
international community believe in NEPAD if he and his colleagues are unable
to order one of their errant members to adhere to even the new blueprint's
minimum conditions of governance?
For Mbeki, whose country has
huge influence on Zimbabwe's fate, this question becomes more troubling, if
embarrassing, as the crisis deepens.
It also throws light on why
the Southern Africa Development Community has failed to hold Mugabe to
account for the many promises which he made but failed to deliver to other
regional leaders before and after the deeply flawed March presidential
Mbeki and other world leaders, especially France which is
increasingly aligning itself with the oppression of Zimbabweans, must reject
the racist card being waved by Mugabe to justify violence against real or
imagined political foes in Zimbabwe under the guise of land
As we have often stated before, the murder, rape
and torture of a farmer or any other Zimbabwean has nothing to do with
delivering the land to the hungry. It is the highest criminal offence
possible, which needs to be punished most severely.
purpose of the violence is to crush Zimbabwe's emerging democratic voices and
to perpetuate Mugabe's misrule at whatever cost to Zimbabweans and the
If leaders such as Mbeki remain silent about the
lawlessness and do nothing about it, they unfortunately become
co-conspirators to the crime, as indeed other world leaders did during the
Surely this is not the image of a new Africa that
Mbeki wants under his bold NEPAD, let alone the legacy upon which South
Africans and the rest of humankind should judge him in the years to come.
IT is remarkable how state-media reporters can see and
hear things invisible and inaudible to other reporters present. First there
were the "thousands" of people who, we were told, demonstrated in support
of President Mugabe at Johannesburg airport and outside his hotel in
Sandton when he arrived for the World Summit on Sustainable
It now transpires that many of these demonstrators
were part of a Zanu PF rent-a-crowd sent down to Johannesburg by the ruling
party to show support for the president's land policies. Zanu PF now funds a
number of NGOs masquerading as civil society. Yes, there was a handful of
PAC supporters present. But as they represent less than 3% of the South
African electorate, they cannot be said to be very
President Mugabe's speech on Monday received a
"rapturous standing ovation", the Herald's Innocent Gore told us. But anybody
watching the televised coverage would have heard only scattered applause from
some sections of the audience. Indeed, there was a point at which Mugabe
paused to allow applause but it wasn't forthcoming. The loudest applause, it
would seem, came from a "Red Indian" chief from Alaska, a delegate from
Suriname, and "two young Americans" from Seattle. Hardly a "rapturous"
Elsewhere the applause emanated from the usual
cheerleaders - Nyekorach Matsanga, Tafataona Mahoso, and Claude Mararike. Who
do they represent apart from the discredited regime they speak
At the Wanderers ground where WSSD delegates were visiting the
Ubuntu Village and craft fair, Mugabe's speech, carried on a giant screen,
excited only laughter and derision, according to our correspondent in
Johannesburg. For many young South Africans, it would appear, he has become a
figure of fun; in Desmond Tutu's words, a caricature of the African dictator
the continent's leaders are working so hard to expunge from the public
But Mugabe's speech, for all its bile and venom, was
revealing in one key respect. He regards Zimbabwe as his private domain. It
is "my Zimbabwe" lock, stock and barrel. His to exploit, pillage and ruin.
That point will not have been lost on observers.
visitors to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's exhibit
at the prestigious Nedcor headquarters in Sandton will have been disappointed
by Zimbabwe's efforts to promote sustainable development. Next to
well-designed stalls for Burkina Faso and Madagascar was the empty stand of
the Ministry of Environment and Tourism last week. Only a sign saying who the
owner of the stand was. The environment and tourism are of course endangered
species in Zimbabwe!
Are the Herald's diplomatic sources
poorly informed or just plain ignorant? The newspaper reported last Friday
that "impeccable diplomatic sources" had said British premier Tony Blair
would visit Mozambique "specifically to meet white farmers, some media people
and opposition elements in Zimbabwe".
Television footage on
Sunday showed Blair touring British-funded aid projects. The crowds of people
who gave him an enthusiastic reception all appeared to be Mozambican.
Zimbabwe was mentioned when Blair, together with President Joaquim Chissano,
met the press. Blair compared the progress being made in Mozambique to the
economic collapse taking place next door.
Zimbabwe was obviously
high on the agenda of talks Blair held with Chissano. But Mozambique's
contribution to sustainable development in the region appeared to be the main
focus of the visit. As for meetings with Zimbabwean opposition groups and
white farmers, the Herald's sources turned out to be
The Herald also worked itself into a lather
over British military exercises with South Africa. These were designed to
finalise evacuation plans for 20 000 British citizens in Zimbabwe, "mostly
white farmers", we were told. So their numbers have swelled from 4 500 to 20
000 in the midst of adversity? And aren't these regional military exercises
exactly the same as those Zimbabwe used to participate in before it became a
The revived media awards ceremony appears to have
been an unmitigated disaster. The organisers complained there were
insufficient submissions, ZBC pulled out at the last minute, the private
media evidently felt the whole thing was a waste of time with categories
being tailor-made for specific journalists, and the whole thing predictably
led to some rather dull people "shining".
But we did like Herald
editor Pikirayi Deketeke's comment on his newspaper's performance. He said it
showed that: "We have not sought to restrict our coverage to hate
Terrence Hussein, who has seamlessly made the
transition from Jonathan Moyo's lawyer to Robert Mugabe's, does no service to
his cause by sounding like a cheap recording of the Information
Responding to reports that a prominent South African
advocate will head the MDC's legal team in challenging President Mugabe's
re-election, he declared he was confident of the outcome.
not think any lawyer from anywhere, not even from the moon, would try and
distort what the law says," he said in suspiciously
"We are extremely flattered by the fact that the
MDC could not assemble a local defence team to match me and Advocate
Don't we recall Hussein instructing a leading South African
advocate called Cassim on behalf of government when it attempted to block the
MDC's electoral appeals after the 2000 election? Clearly, he couldn't
assemble a local team on that occasion that was up to the job. Let's see if
he can this time. And why do we need to be told where his colleague Adv Kara
has practised around the world including "the US, Turkey and the Caicos
Don't we recall Kara advertising opinions
sympathetic to the government's legislative agenda in the pages of the
Herald? We suspect his CV actually referred to "the US and the Turks &
Caicos Islands", a British dependency in the Caribbean which is a long way
from Turkey. But that's what happens when you entrust your credentials to
those award-winning turkeys at the Herald!
Munyaradzi Huni told
us recently that "Brain Donnely", the British High Commissioner, was "known
in many circles" as "an intelligence officer putting on a
He meant of course the opposite. But at least the
government media now refer to Donnelly as a "trouble-shooter". They used to
say "rabble-rouser", thinking it meant the same thing.
filing from Johannesburg where he has been sharing with Herald readers his
latest intelligence on the nocturnal activities of private-media editors,
said the British and Australians had threatened to "make noise" on the
sidelines of the WSSD conference over Mugabe.
We assume the use of
quotation mark indicates a direct quote. But why should the British and
Australians use an expression like "make noise" that is unknown outside
Zimbabwe? Or more to the point, exclusively Huni's?
toyboy needs a few lessons in credible attributions that do not look too
home-grown. It would also be useful if he could distinguish Tony Blair's
ambit from his armpit!
Huni's colleague George Chisoko has thrown
caution to the wind in his reporting of the land issue from Johannesburg.
Commenting on the land claims of South African communities, Chisoko slipped
the following sentence into his report: "Zimbabwe is implementing a
successful land reform that stands to be the pride of Africa."
No attribution of course. This was entirely George's own work we can safely
What position does Timothy Stamps now actually hold? He has
not been "entirely dropped" from government, the president told journalists
after the swearing in of the new cabinet. He would continue doing "light
work" and remain "a part of us".
What on earth does this mean?
Either somebody is a minister or they are not. Either they earn a salary or
they do not. What is this "light work" nonsense the president has dreamed up?
Is it the same work several of his closest colleagues have been doing on full
salaries for a number of years?
Which leads us to the
hagiographical coverage given to Vice-President Joseph Msika in the Herald
recently. Described as "a towering political figure", the bumbling and
occasionally foul-mouthed veep seems coy about his age.
older than Bob," he confessed. But later in the interview he suggested such
familiarity was a thing of the past.
That's what "we used to call
him," he quickly corrected himself.
He admitted to not knowing what
to do at first. "President Mugabe said just go in and do it and I called Dr
Muzenda and he advised me," Msika said. He didn't elaborate.
"The first day in office I was feeling a little bit lost but I'm
now beginning to get the feel of it," he said in an interview.
The Herald piece was designed to mark the award of an honorary degree to
Msika by UZ. While the transformation of that once august institution into
little more than a government degree factory run by party apparatchiks has
been evident for a while, the citation reveals just how partisan and debased
it has become.
"When the history of Zimbabwe comes to be written
his image will tower high among those who have slaved to make sure we have
our land and dignity," it read in the language of the Department of
Information. No mention of the destitution and famine Msika's policies have
Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri has again been
advertising his political credentials by complaining bitterly about lenient
court treatment of MDC suspects in murder cases. He even went so far as to
suggest that such kid-glove treatment led to further murders. It gave the
impression that opposition members can commit crimes and get away with it, he
"It's a worrying trend. We don't know who they are going
to kill next," he said.
The MDC should seriously consider its
legal options over such a shocking statement.
nothing about why the police had made no progress in their investigation into
the torture of Standard journalists or the bombing of the Daily News
premises. Nor did he refer to why the police had not acted with regard to the
alleged CIO killer of Tichaona Chiminya who is on the loose. Then there are
of course the cases of David Stevens and other farmers whose killers walk
All this creates the impression among the public that it is
ruling party members who can commit crimes and get away with it.
But as to why the courts are obliged to release suspects, he deserves a
response. It is because many of the police charges are seen
as politically-motivated, insubstantial and poorly investigated. In other
words they have no prospect of success, even in our government-friendly
Chihuri is responsible for that state of affairs and his
remarks in Johannesburg will only have confirmed the impression in South
Africa that Zimbabwe's police chiefs are unwilling to provide professional
and unbiased leadership.
Does anyone still remember Chen
Chimutengwende? One of Muckraker's informants says on the evening of the
swearing in of the war cabinet he saw Chen together with Swithun Mombeshora
having a quiet drink at a hotel bar behind Chen's New Africa International
Network offices in the Avenues. Joining them a little later was Leslie
Gwindi. Then Amos Midzi arrived. A hushed conversation ensued punctuated by
giggling and a large amount of fidgeting on Chen's part. Whatever was going
Finally, the latest requests to launder large amounts of
money come from ladies claiming to be the widows of Mobutu Sese Seko and
Laurent Kabila. The latter, Aisha, says she is still resident at the
presidential villa in Kinshasa but, needless to say, the US$22 million she
holds from the fund her husband accumulated before his assassination can only
be accessed through her brother in Johannesburg.
Another case of
sustainable development in the region?
JAG refutes Mugabe's claims on farms Augustine
Mukaro/Loughty Dube JUSTICE for Agriculture (JAG), a splinter group from the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), is in Johannesburg today to rebut claims
President Mugabe made at the just-ended World Summit for Sustainable
Development on the land issue in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, with support
from ally Sam Nujoma, told the summit that some white farmers owned 35 farms
each and the world - especially British Prime Minister, Tony Blair - was
demonising him for rectifying land imbalances in Zimbabwe.
said no farmer would be left without a farm despite the on-going eviction of
JAG spokesperson Jenni Williams said yesterday
JAG would this morning hold a breakfast meeting in Rosebank in Johannesburg
to clear the air on the real situation regarding government's chaotic
fast-track land reform programme as well as its impact on commercial
JAG will also make a presentation on the special
beneficiaries of the government's much touted "People First"
Williams said while President Mugabe lied to the World
Summit that no single-owned farms were being acquired by the state, 1 024
single-farm owners had already lost their properties.
Mugabe continues to usurp any and all speaking opportunities to pretend that
no single-owned farms are being acquired and that his government is abiding
by its criteria," Williams said.
"Justice for Agriculture calls on
our president to explain why there is such a chasm between his words and the
deeds on the ground. We call on him to accept that he has compromised
agriculture and reduced proud Zimbabweans to piteous beggars in just two
years. More and more land that was once productive lies fallow," she
"We demand an explanation as to why Mugabe is not accountable
to his constitution and to the legal instruments ignored in implementing the
land reform programme."
Meanwhile, the embattled CFU faces
collapse as major stakeholders and a majority of its membership have joined
JAG in challenging government's illegal evictions.
leadership is insisting on luring government into dialogue to forge an
understanding in solving the land reform, a move sources said had driven away
an estimated 90% of its members.
"CFU's top leadership have adopted
an appeasement approach," an official said.
"The approach has not
helped people on the ground ever since the start of farm invasions. Instead
of coming up with dialogue we now have a monologue in which farmers continue
to grovel to already blocked ears."
Mashonaland West/South regional
executive Ben Freeth said the appeasement stance had forced the CFU's
regional offices, which are the backbone of the organisation, to abandon
"Regional offices cannot sit back while their members lose their
property at the current rate. They have to stand for what is right," Freeth
He said the CFU leadership has shut down the organisation's
website, a move viewed as barring information to the international
Freeth said government was continuing with the eviction of
"Eleven farmers were evicted yesterday from my region alone
and were given 24 hours to remove all their belongings from the farms. As I
speak the district administrator has dispatched more people to evict the
farmers," he said.
New farmers ignore govt ultimatum Blessing
Zulu DESPITE claims by government that the controversial land-grab exercise
has been a resounding success, the Ministry of Lands might be forced
to re-allocate land as new settlers under the AI and A2 models have not
heeded calls to take up their pieces of land ahead of the deadline last
The government set August 31 as the deadline for all farmers to
move onto the land they were allocated. Threats that they would lose their
pieces of land by the expiry of the deadline have largely been
An official from the Ministry of Agriculture said the
process was set to start again.
"The government has to start the
process again because most of those allocated land have not moved onto their
plots," the official said, adding they were being overwhelmed by the task of
sorting out the papers.
"There is too much centralisation and this is
bogging us down. We are yet to send letters to some beneficiaries and some of
them might be dead by now and we might be forced to undertake the exercise
again. This must have been done at district level," said the
Minister of Local Government and the chairman of the
inter-ministerial task force on land, Ignatius Chombo, admitted that
Agriculture minister Joseph Made was being overwhelmed.
offer of the A2 farm is signed by Made and Made alone," said
"There is a huge volume of work. Though we are a bit behind
we are confident that we will be through in a few weeks time. A1 started well
before A2 and this explains why we are meeting the target
Chombo also said those who have been allocated land and had
not taken it up risked losing the farms. "There are many people on the
waiting list and those who do not take up their pieces of land will lose it
to those who are desperate for it," he said.
association secretary-general and national land taskforce committee member
Endy Mhlanga said those responsible for the bureaucracy sho uld move
"We are aware that some ministers may be delaying the process
and we urge war veterans to alert us on such people," said
He took a swipe at those ministers who were spending time
doing paper work and not hastening the process.
"We want fewer
people in the offices and more people on the farms so that we can maximise
production on the land. We are telling our members that those farmers who are
not serious must pave way for others," he said.
spokesman Renson Gasela described the process as chaotic.
farmers have moved onto the pieces of land that they have been allocated,"
"Those who have not moved are afraid of the
responsibilities of feeding the nation. The majority of them thought it was
an easy job and others were merely coveting houses on the farms."
Settlers turn tourist lodges into homes Vincent
Kahiya TOURISM infrastructure worth millions of dollars has gone to waste on
game farms where resettled farmers are converting lodges and hunting camps
into residential properties.
The most affected infrastructure is in
the south-eastern Lowveld and Matabeleland provinces where senior government
officials and politicians have targeted game farms with lodges and other
This is despite promises last year by Environment
and Tourism minister Francis Nhema that the resettlement programme would not
affect game farms, which he said would be placed under the jurisdiction of
MP for Gwanda South Abedinico Ncube who was allocated
Tshabezi Ranch in West Nicholson has taken over Todds Hotel owned by the
Richardsons, the former owners of the estate. The MP has also laid claim to a
kiosk, dwelling houses, a service station and servants' quarters on the
Last month Ncube wrote to Yvonne Richardson demanding that she
pays rent to the MP or vacate the premises.
"We are instructed to
demand as we hereby do that you pay rentals to our client in total sum of $50
000 per month for the premises with effect from August 31 or alternatively
vacate on or before August 10," reads a letter from Ncube's lawyers,
Mabhikwa, Hikwa & Nyathi.
The Independent this week heard that
this was a common trend on game farms where operations have come to a
"People who have been offered game farms are not the least
interested in tourism," said Johnny Rodriguez, chairman of the Conservation
Rodriguez, who was in South Africa this week to lobby for the
conservation of Zimbabwean game at the Earth Summit told South Africa's Beeld
newspaper that game worth US$45 million had already been lost to
"The wild dogs are all dead. Animals like cheetahs are long
gone, and 50% of our black rhino has been wiped out. Even pythons - up to
four a day - are slaughtered and eaten in reserves," he told
The Independent learnt this week that tourism in the
south-eastern Lowveld has collapsed as lodges and safari camps in the Save
Conservancy have either closed down or been converted to other use. The
beautiful Senuko Lodge is almost deserted as tourists are shunning the
Pension funds ordered to raise $30b for land
reform Godfrey Marawanyika GOVERNMENT has ordered pension funds to
underwrite a $30 billion bond issue to finance the land reform programme, the
Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
This follows failure by the government
to woo banking institutions to finance the land programme after it refused to
give assurances on how banks would recover loans.
The Ministry of
Finance, through the Registrar of Pension and Provident Funds, has informed
pension funds to subscribe to the bond issue once floated.
circular to members, the acting Commissioner of Insurance and Registrar of
Pension and Provident Funds, Clara Maya, said government would be
issuing bonds with a prescribed asset status "in the near future" to finance
the ongoing land reforms.
"In view of the land reform programme,
government will be issuing bonds with a prescribed asset status in the near
future to finance the ongoing agrarian reforms," said Maya in a circular
headed "Agro bonds $30 billion prescribed assets status".
percent will be earmarked for lending to the new farmers to
finance agricultural inputs and 50% will be for infrastructural development.
Your urgent attention to support the ongoing agrarian reform will be
Pension funds are required by law to have 45%
of their investment in prescribed assets. Over the past two months government
and financial institutions have failed to agree on funding of the land reform
exercise which requires a staggering $160 billion. Banks have already
incurred losses estimated at $11 billion in the first six months of the year
as a result of the fast-track resettlement programme.
is expected to finance two million hectares of maize, 147 000ha of soya
beans, 295 000ha of cotton and 191 000ha of tobacco. About $500 million is
required to rebuild the national herd.
Of concern to bankers is the
issue of loan repayment and ownership of debts as government is failing to
come up with an acceptable guarantee. Sources within the sector this week
said they were not sure when the bond would be floated.
seems to be sure what is going to happen but we believe the bond is coming to
the market," said a source. "It now appears everyone has to support the
reforms hence the issuing of bonds will be cheaper
Government is still to float long-term paper due
to the unwillingness of the market to subscribe.
"All the two and
three-year bonds which the government last floated were under-subscribed so
we are waiting to see how the ones they are about to float will be responded
to," said the source.
Resettled farmers duped Blessing Zulu THE chaotic
land reform exercise has taken yet another twist with the revelation this
week that new farmers under the model A2 scheme must refund government's
outlay. This is so it can compensate displaced white farmers, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.
The Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing and chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on
Land, Ignatius Chombo, confirmed that the land allocated to farmers under the
A2 model was not free.
"The government will pay the money for
immovable property to the commercial farmer who will be leaving and the new
settler will be compelled to refund government the amount paid as
compensation," said Chombo.
Chombo's disclosure this week adds to the
growing list of policy aberrations in the resettlement exercise as new
farmers were not informed about the compensation requirement when they
applied for land. The government's policy document on agrarian reform does
not refer to a cost recovery plan involving resettled
Over and above the purchase of immovable property new
farmers under the A2 scheme have to pay for the land through leases and land
Observers said this attempt to recover costs was a clear
demonstration that the government required international support to implement
a proper land reform exercise.
Chombo said farmers served with
Section 8 notices were allowed to move out with their movable
"The new settlers can negotiate with the commercial farmers
to purchase the movable assets but where there is disagreement, the farmer is
free to auction his equipment to the highest bidder," said
The commercial farmers and the new settlers are supposed to
carry out an audit of immovable assets before the former leave. The
government also assists in this process.
"An inventory will be
taken after every immovable asset has been evaluated and this includes
boreholes, sheds, the homestead and even the electricity transformers,"
He said the government was funding settlers under the
model A1 programme and the infrastructure on these farms would be used
Chombo echoed Vice-President Joseph Msika's words at the
Commercial Farmers Union AGM last month that new owners would only obtain
title deeds for their newly-acquired properties if they were paid-up
About 54 000 of the 160 000 people who applied for land
under the A2 model are set to be affected by the development as the
compensation will run into billions of dollars.
problems are being caused by the government's insistence on going ahead with
land reform without the support of the international community. The
government, which is demanding that the A2 model be a full cost-recovery
programme, is also frantically trying to raise $160 billion to fund the same
Speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development,
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterated the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) position that the land reform programme should
be legal and properly organised to avoid adverse effects on
Justice for Agriculture spokesperson Jenni Williams said
the issue of compensation was fraught with problems, as movable assets have
been looted preventing farmers from securing recompense in this
"Hopes for further compensation have almost entirely been
abandoned, especially now that the Zimbabwean government is bankrupt and
inflation is running at 123,5%," said Williams.
estimate over $20 billion worth of moveable assets have been illegally
impounded or looted since February 2000," said Williams.
Zimbabwe drops objections to GMO
crops-WFP Reuters, 09.05.02, 2:44 PM ET
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has dropped its objections to
genetically modified crops in a step that should encourage other countries in
the region to accept badly needed food aid, the World Food Programme said
"We made great progress today on the GMO issue,"
WFP Executive Director James Morris told reporters after a meeting with
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe. "It will enable us to do our
Morris is also U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's
special envoy for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa, where aid
workers say up to 13 million people face a looming famine.
Like several other countries in the region, Zimbabwe has expressed opposition
to feeding its people with maize from the United States, which cannot certify
its food donations as GM-free.
Until now, the government has
only said it may allow aid workers to distribute ground maize, to allay fears
that GM grain would be planted locally.
government officials were not immediately available for
Lavatory paper pads empty supermarket food shelves by Jan
MY LOCAL supermarket looks like a prison. TM is a drab,
undistinguished single-storey building with roll-down steel doors out of
keeping with the wealthy, upmarket neighbourhood it serves. Inside, the
walls and the shelving are painted an aged, institutional yellow. The
clientele are an eclectic mix of races, nationalities and languages. The
contents of the shelves are not nearly so varied: they graphically illustrate
Zimbabwe's precipitate decline.
In keeping with the neighbourhood, there
is little the store does not stock for President Mugabe's ruling elite and
the diplomats who live near by: Scotch, olive oil, macadamia nuts,
But do not go looking for staples. There is no maizemeal,
which is to Zimbabwe what rice is to Asia, no sugar, cooking oil, salt or
matches. Bread, milk and margarine make increasingly rare appearances at such
The management has learnt how to deal with the problem of
depressingly empty shelves: they create an illusion of abundance by filling
the gaps with lavatory rolls.
A rare delivery of basic foods is
signalled by a round-the-block queue of thin, downtrodden black people.
Inside the supermarket, the same people finger packets of cling-wrapped meat
at the butchery counter, turning them over and over before reluctantly
putting them back. Most of them can barely afford to take lumps of fat and
bone to the checkout. White pensioners look to be on the brink of tears as
they squint at the price stickers.
Before the Mugabe horror show started
2½ years ago, under Zimbabwe's price control system 500 grams of Zimbabwean
fillet steak would cost Z$80 (£1.40); now it is Z$1,200 (£20.70). A beer was
Z$15; now it is Z$120. Uncontrolled prices have fared little better: a 250g
packet of good local Caerphilly cheese was Z$35; now it is Z$450. A 1kg
packet of kitty biscuits used to cost Z$350; now I pull off the Z$4,500 price
sticker in shame before packing it away with my other purchases.
have become a nuisance. The only useful unit of currency is the Z$500 note,
which is called the Ferrari because it is red and goes fast. The central bank
says that we will have a Z$1,000 note before the year is out.
reason that people queue at the supermarkets is to buy their basics at state-
In the townships, maizemeal and other staples are
stacked in grimy stalls outside beerhalls and at bus stops, but they come at
about ten times the legal price and no one outside the elite can afford the
Ask after the health of any Zimbabwean below the rank of
company executive and invariably the reply will be: "Hungry."
my security guard, works four nights a week. He spends his three off-days
taking a bus to Hurungwe 100 miles north of the capital, where relatively
cheap maize is available, and buys a few bags.
He loads it on to the bus
back to Harare, where he catches another bus for Zaka, 100 miles further
south. If a police roadblock on "anti-hoarding duty" does not take his maize,
his parents there will have food for a week. Stanley gets back just in time
for the 6pm Friday shift.
"We must all leave this country," he says. "We
can leave Mugabe to rule the trees."
Mugabe defends his nations land reform policies and denies food aid
is being withheld from opposition
Zimbabwe, Sept. 5 - In a rare interview with foreign journalists, President
Robert Mugabe defended Zimbabwe's land redistribution program Thursday and
denied that his seizure of white-owned commercial farms had worsened the
nation's hunger crisis.
''It's absolute nonsense,'' he said,
describing his program to redistribute the land to blacks as an effort to
better the lives of the poor. ''If anything, it's the only way you can
empower people to produce, not just enough for subsistence, but more. To
enable them to enjoy life.'' Zimbabwe faces its worst hunger crisis in
a decade with an estimated 6 million of the nation's 12.5 million people at
risk of starvation. The World Food Program has blamed the crisis on a drought
during the growing season and on Mugabe's land program, which has crippled
the commercial farming industry in a nation that was once the breadbasket of
southern Africa. Last month, 2,900 white commercial farmers were
ordered to leave their land, though some had crops in their fields. Many
disobeyed the order and about 300 were arrested. Most were freed on bail but
have been forbidden to return to their farms. Mugabe said Thursday
he had no intention of leaving anyone landless. White farmers, some of whom
own several large farms, would be allowed to keep one farm of ''appropriate
size.'' ''We have said and sworn that no one should go without land,
but they want much more, greedy, greedy, greedy colonialists. We cannot
satisfy their greed at the expense of the rest of the people. We want to
distribute land fairly and justly,'' he said. However, many of
those being evicted only owned one farm, and many of those farms were
relatively small, said Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for Justice for
Agriculture, a farmers' support group. Critics also have charged that the
best seized land has gone to politicians, military and police officers and
Mugabe supporters instead of the poor. Mugabe dismissed the farmers'
criticism, accusing them of using ''Blair tactics,'' a swipe at British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, leader of the former colonial power here, who has
repeatedly condemned Mugabe as a despot. ''What the farmers are
saying to the world is that they are being evicted. We are not evicting them
from the land that we allow them to stay (on),'' Mugabe said.
Mugabe has shunned foreign journalists over the past few years, accusing them
of bias against his regime. In recent months, he has refused to allow most of
them into the country. But Thursday, he joked with four foreign
reporters before his meeting with WFP head James Morris. He said he was
thrilled at the warm reception he got Monday at the World Summit in
neighboring South Africa, when he gave an impassioned defense of his
government's policies. ''I feel good. I feel good. It's an approval of
our position. A position of truth, as opposed to the British position of lies
and dishonesty,'' he said. ''If you want to raise the issue of rule
of law, the issue of lack of democracy, we are here. We fought for democracy
against the British. We brought democracy, one man one vote. We brought human
rights,'' he said. Zimbabwe has been wracked by political unrest for
more than two years, when the fledgling Movement for Democratic Change began
to pose the first challenge to Mugabe's rule since he led the nation to
independence in 1980. More than 186 people, mostly opposition
supporters, have been killed in violence. Among the dead were 11 white
farmers. Human rights activists have accused Mugabe of using food as
a political weapon by keeping government aid out of opposition districts
and making recipients show ruling party membership cards before they
could receive corn. Mugabe strongly denied that.
''Everyone who needs food will be fed regardless of politics, religion or any
other persuasion the same way as the government runs its system of education.
We don't say that because your children belong to this party your children
must not go to school,'' he said. ''We don't go that far with our
politics.'' Mugabe also confirmed his country's agreement with the WFP
to accept a shipment of genetically modified corn donated by the United
States. Zimbabwe had initially resisted accepting the corn, fearing it would
damage its efforts to export agricultural products to Europe. But the
government agreed to mill the corn before distributing it to ensure it is
eaten and not planted, Mugabe said. The WFP's Morris said he and
Mugabe discussed how best to tackle the hunger crisis and how to get the
country producing food again. ''Everyone here now understands the
magnitude of the challenge,'' he said. Also Thursday, the Southern
African Development Community Regional Early Warning Unit said that Zimbabwe,
of all countries facing famine in the region, was most in need of food
Mugabe Defends Land Reform Policies The Associated Press, Thu 5 Sep
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
denied Thursday that his country's controversial seizures of white-owned
farms had contributed to the massive hunger crisis that threatens half his
people with starvation.
``It's absolute nonsense,'' he said in a
rare interview with foreign journalists. He described the redistribution of
the farms to blacks as an important program for uplifting his nation's
``If anything, it's the only way you can empower people to
produce, not just enough for subsistence, but more, to enable them to enjoy
life and to enable the country also to continue to export maize,'' he
Zimbabwe faces its worst hunger crisis in a decade with an
estimated 6 million of the nation's 12.5 million people at risk of
starvation, according to the World Food Program.
The WFP has
blamed the crisis on a terrible drought that hit during the growing season
and on Mugabe's land redistribution program.
Last month, 2,900
white commercial farmers were ordered to leave their land, though some had
crops in their fields. Many have disobeyed the order and about 300 were
arrested. Most were freed on bail but have been forbidden to return to their
farms before trial.
Mugabe said Thursday that white farmers, some
of whom own several large farms, would be allowed to keep one farm of
``We have said and sworn that no one should
go without land, but they want much more, greedy, greedy, greedy
colonialists. We cannot satisfy their greed,'' he said.
many of those being evicted only owned one farm, and many of those were
relatively small, farm leaders have said. Critics have charged that the best
farms have gone to politicians, military and police officers and Mugabe
supporters instead of the poor.
Earlier Thursday, state-run radio
said Mugabe vowed that the white farmers who had defied eviction orders would
be forced out. ``Time is not on their side,'' Mugabe was quoted as
Zimbabwe has been wracked by political unrest for more than
two years, when the fledgling Movement for Democratic Change party began to
pose the first real challenge to Mugabe's rule since he led the nation
to independence from Britain in 1980.
Human rights activists
have accused Mugabe of using food as a political weapon by keeping government
aid out of opposition districts and making recipients show ruling party
membership cards before they could receive corn.
``Everyone who needs food will be fed regardless of
politics, religion or any other persuasion, the same way as the government
runs its system of education. We don't say that because your children belong
to this party your children must not go to school,'' he told journalists
after meeting with WFP head James Morris. ``We don't go that far with our
Mugabe also confirmed his country's agreement with the
WFP to accept the shipment of genetically modified corn donated by the United
States. Zimbabwe will mill the corn before distributing it to ensure it is
not planted, he said.
Mugabe basks in praise for confronting
Blair September 6 2002
President Robert Mugabe has
returned home triumphant from a spat with the British Prime Minister at the
United Nations earth summit in South Africa and again warned white farmers to
hand their land to blacks or leave the country.
"I never thought we
would find so much support. People applauded until I had sat down and they
all rushed to congratulate me," he told hundreds of supporters taken by bus
to Harare airport to welcome him.
During his speech on Monday he accused
Britain, the former colonial power, of interfering in Zimbabwe's affairs.
"Keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe," he told Tony Blair to
enthusiastic applause from a number of the delegations.
Mr Blair had
earlier told the summit: "Zimbabwe is potentially one of the richest grain
nations in the world and yet, because of the way he [Mugabe] has ruined the
country, it is having to import grain for its people. It's a terrible,
Britain has spearheaded European Union and
Commonwealth sanctions aimed at isolating the Mugabe Government over
allegations of huge voting fraud and rights abuses during the March
Though Mr Blair and some other delegates were
harshly critical of Mr Mugabe and his seizure of white-owned farms for
blacks, the 78-year-old President and his wife, Grace, were cheered and
applauded at all their public appearances.
Mr Mugabe is also under
fire from the West for his decision to hand 2900 of the remaining 4500
white-owned farm to landless blacks at a time when 6million people - about
half the population - are facing the threat of starvation.
say his land policy, which recently led to the arrests of more than 300 white
farmers, is undermining agriculture and contributing to the food crisis,
which is also affecting six drought-stricken southern
Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe's
independence from Britain in 1980, says his land drive is aimed at correcting
colonial injustice, which left 70 per cent of the country's best land in the
hands of white farmers.
On Wednesday he again hit out at the white
farmers. "Amongst them are those who have been going to Britain and asking
Britain to impose sanctions on us, asking Britain to send troops to
Zimbabwe," he told his supporters.
"These do not deserve to be in
Zimbabwe and we shall take steps to ensure that they are not entitled to land
The 78-year-old leader made specific reference to two white
MPs from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Roy Bennett and David
They were "not part of our society", he said.
belong to Britain and let them go there. If they want to stay here, we will
say: 'Stay here, but your place is in jail'."
Mugabe Vows Crackdown on Farmers The Associated Press, Thu 5 Sep
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's president has vowed to
crack down on white farmers who oppose his plan to redistribute land to
blacks and are defying orders to abandon their farms, state media reported
President Robert Mugabe said half the 2,900 white farmers
served with eviction notices disobeyed a recent deadline under a government
program to seize land from whites.
``Time is not on their
side,'' Mugabe was quoted by state radio as saying. The increasingly
authoritarian leader said his government would take action against those who
Despite a potential famine in southern Africa,
Mugabe has continued with the seizures of 95 percent of the white-owned
farmland in the country, bringing to a standstill an industry that once
helped feed southern Africa.
About 6 million Zimbabweans are
threatened with starvation.
Mugabe also lashed out at two prominent
white lawmakers from the opposition Movement for Democratic
``Your place is in prison and nowhere else. Otherwise your
home is outside the country,'' Mugabe said of the two politicians upon his
return to Zimbabwe from neighboring South Africa where he attended the World
Summit on Sustainable Development. Mugabe was greeted at the Harare airport
Wednesday by thousands of supporters who were bussed in.
state Herald newspaper said Mugabe told the crowd that the government also
was planning to seize stakes in foreign-owned companies and mines that he
said were ``scooping out our wealth.''
``They can't continue like
that, using our wealth,'' Mugabe was quoted as saying.
white farmers have been arrested since an Aug. 8 eviction deadline, police
said earlier this week. Most were freed on bail but have been forbidden to
return to their farms before trial.
Scores of others fled their
farms fearing arrest.
The government began targeting minority white
farmers, who owned most of the country's commercial farms, in March 2000. The
program added to political unrest in the country and critics say many prime
farms have gone to politicians, military and police officers and Mugabe
supporters instead of the poor.
THE racist land seizures taking place in your country are
typical of a state in complete economic and social collapse, and this sort of
failure and destruction is typically associated with the takeover of the
state apparatus by criminal gangs.
Criminals operating with state
sanction usually target media outlets first. Congratulations for being
But experience has taught us that courage is of little
value when faced with evil, cruelty and stupidity, unless it is also backed
up by hard force and a solid willingness to take effective action. I am
curious to know what people in Zimbabwe intend to do about the current wave
of social destruction? Will people watch quietly from the sidelines, or are
there forces which will act to arrest the decline of the nation?
am appalled that someone like President Robert Mugabe can still move
about freely in the world. Certainly, if he were to come to Canada, it is
my opinion that he would not be welcome, and that any Canadian making
any economic transaction with Zimbabwe would be guilty of transgressing a
moral law, if not an explicit economic one.
We have our own
problems of corruption, malfeasance and fraud in this country, and those of
us who reject these are doing all that we can to influence the course of
events in both public and private sector organisations.
of course, difficult and unrewarding work. But it is necessary. There is more
of an "axis of evil" between stupidity, greed and criminality in the hearts
of individual men and women than there is between nations.
provides a particularly interesting and extreme example of just how effective
a small group of state-sanctioned criminals can be at taking a prosperous,
successful economic and social system, and utterly destabilising it by a
series of actions.
Scholars will use the "Great Zimbabwe land theft"
as an example for years to come, of why it is so important not to allow
criminality to infect the apparatus and the machinery of the state. Zimbabwe
had almost made it. It almost achieved take-off to a modern state where
security, justice and economic prosperity were available to most of its
Now, of course, it is on a direct track back to the
marginal existence and bottom-tier status of a typical third world
"basket-case" nation. This is very unfortunate.
But the difference
now is that few in the so-called first world will care. So many of us have
been burned by liars and misled by our own versions of your Robert Mugabe
that we realise we must begin to use different models.
It is now too
late for the white farmers who have had their property stolen from them. It
is also now too late for people who have invested in or transacted with
Zimbabwe. The economic death-spiral which has been engineered will now
continue with unrelenting certainty to its conclusion, and that will be the
complete marginalisation and impoverishment of your country.
bad as this is, it need not be an end which results in a violent bloodbath.
This is because, although it is too late for some, I suspect it is not too
late for the people of Zimbabwe.
It is possible to survive a complete
economic crash. Ecuador in South America did so recently (they now use the US
dollar as their circulating currency), and in 1998 so did South Korea, which
collapsed under a mountain of debt it could not pay. Both nations - and their
peoples - survived and prosper today. But the key was that in both cases,
there were changes of government.
Bad, stupid, dishonest people
went out, and good, smart and honest people came in. In this way, an economic
crash can work to the advantage of the people of a country. A real and
necessary "revolution" can occur - a revolving of the whole social order
where the good guys who support honest-dealing, and insist on the rule of
law, can come into power and displace those who are criminal, fraudulent and
who support arbitrary measures and the private enrichment of public
If I were advising the people of Zimbabwe (which, of course,
I am not), I would suggest to them that they try to use the growing crisis as
an opportunity to engineer real reform in the country. Real reform of
course means that the state apparatus is run by honest men and women and not
by "big men" trying to enrich themselves. Land title must be inviolate if
you are to avoid bloodshed and chaos, and the apparatus of the state must
be used to enhance the security of private persons - not to subvert and
Again, I would caution Zimbabweans that this problem is
one they must address for themselves. There is no longer much patience with
arrogant folks from Africa who strut around whining about the colonial
The 1836 Rebellion in Toronto, which resulted in Ontario being
garrisoned by the British for 20 years, was mostly over land tenure, as a
rich, political elite held the best land, and used state-control to restrict
market-based access to this choice property.
The solution was not
to use an army to apportion good land, but to use a fair registry office, and
an honest, democratic government - one which was as subject to the rule of
law as was any other entity.
In this way, access to the land was
based on fair economics and clear title.
This is the only model which
works in the long-term as it allows land to be hypothecated, pledged,
inherited, traded, and, most importantly, taxed. The most important job the
state has is to ensure security of private property. Even in the so-called
first world many of our political figures foolishly do not recognise
As for me, I have studied informally the land tenure features
of other "successful" African states such as Ghana and found them to be
stupid and dangerous - essentially programmes for conflict and warfare
waiting to happen. To see something that was wise, you can take a hard look
at the success that South Africa is having, in part due to the enlightened
approach that was taken by Nelson Mandela, which explicitly did not alter
land tenure rights or features, despite considerable pressure to do
Perhaps the future belongs to the honest, the effective, and the
just. If that is the case, then in weeks ahead, the people of Zimbabwe will
have a chance to use the burgeoning crisis to create a new future for
Perhaps, like the folks in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell,
in Russia when communism was purged, in Ethiopia when Haile Mariam Mengistu
was ejected, and in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk
abolished apartheid, you will have a chance to create some special history of
And the interesting thing about failure and destruction
for a social scientist is that it can often be seen as the beginning of
something that is better than what came before.
The success of
modern Germany and Japan, both of them bombed into ruins 57 years ago because
of their social experiments with fascism, shows just how paradoxically
beneficial destruction and failure can sometimes be.
If the people of
Zimbabwe can grasp the key lessons from this crisis - that theft is not a way
to build prosperity - and also use the crisis as an opportunity to effect
real change, then perhaps a more attractive and prosperous future is
Perhaps Zimbabwe could even show the rest of Africa the
best way to construct the path to prosperity.
IMAGINE if one day an unpopular American president decided that
all his woes were the fault of black Americans.
Using all the
resources at his disposal (press, police, army, party followers, US treasury
resources, supportive neighbouring countries), this president declared that
African-Americans should "Go back to Africa".
Using spurious judges
and legislators, he makes black Americans non-citizens unless they can
renounce any vague claim they might have to citizenship of a country in
Africa in which their parents or even grandparents were born; without this,
they lose American citizenship. Next, he declares their businesses illegal
and gives them 90 days to close down and leave.
After the 90-day
period, and in spite of numerous court cases proving the president's case
illegal, he sends in the army, police and mobs of drunk, drugged, illiterate
white Americans to force the black Americans out of their
They are forced to pay compensation to their workers (who are
now all out of jobs), and to hand over the keys and title deeds of their
homes and businesses either to mobs of axe-wielding, drunken, illiterate
white youths or to senior white civil servants, policemen or army commanders,
and even to the American First Lady. If these black Americans refuse to go,
they are arrested and locked up in filthy overcrowded cells awaiting their
recent months the army and the police have staged an unprecedented display of
naked brutality and excessive force upon the cowered but stoic suffering
Degrees of violence, intimidation and coercion have been
unleashed upon us, the already pulverised poor who are warehoused in the
shackles of poverty and repression in our own country. It can only lead to a
bloody denouement some day.
The people have genuine grievances
which require sympathy and real solutions. Unfortunately their cries are
falling on deaf, inhuman ears. Rather than address these pertinent everyday
problems bedevilling society, the ruling party has exacerbated the situation
through an ill-conceived fast-track of draconian pieces of legislation
serving the parochial interests of those in power. Even the national
broadcaster ZBC has not been spared being used as a tool for emasculating the
masses for it now vomits political hogwash at the expense of
Bankruptcy in ideas, use of force, confrontation,
hate-mongering and arbitrary arrests of imagined or real enemies cannot
permanently sustain the power of a government in this era.
irresponsible and dictatorial action speaks volumes of the measure
of insecurity cowardice and powerlessness of the ruling class. The
government should, therefore, wake up from its deep autocratic slumber and
stop harassing its own innocent citizens.
The police and the army
must desist from this pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible. These
heroes-turned-villains fought a protracted struggle which resulted in our
Independence. They must surely know that no amount of force will stop a
determined people on the path of freedom.
a black Zimbabwean who has been a direct victim of the Mugabe regime, I was
left speechless when I read a comment in The Voice newspaper of
Most black people who were born in the UK and other parts
of the Caribbean have been supporting or seeing President Robert Mugabe as a
But I would like to challenge them to visit Zimbabwe and see
for themselves that the once jewel of Africa has been destroyed by inept and
corrupt leaders who hide their failures behind colonial injustices and racism
when they have been in control for the past 22 years.
redistribution in Zimbabwe became part of Mugabe's agenda after the emergence
of the Movement for Democratic Change and his defeat during the 2000
referendum when people said "No" to a clause which allowed him to "forcefully
take land from whites. If the people of Zimbabwe voted "No", then where does
Mugabe get the mandate of allowing criminals to attack white farmers and
opposition party members?
Mugabe has been in control of 22 Zimbabwean
budgets and none of them allocated resources for land redistribution. Land
redistribution cannot be used as a weapon for silencing the opposition as is
the case at the moment. The fight for reparations for slavery should not be
justified by supporting the brutality and tyranny Mugabe is meting out to
Right now Britain has more than 200 000 black
Zimbabweans whilst the whites left in Zimbabwe are now less than 50 000. If
Britain were to say; "Zimbabwe, let's exchange the whites in Zimbabwe for
blacks in the UK", who will be the loser?
It's high time we called
a spade a spade. Mugabe is fighting for his political survival since he knows
the International Criminal Court is around the corner.
President George W Bush's view when he labelled Mugabe a war criminal. Who
doesn't know that more than 20 000 Ndebeles and Shonas have been massacred
since the liberation struggle?
It's high time blacks in the UK
assisted to cultivate democracy in Africa because no matter whether we become
millionnaires, popstars or celebrities, we are not going to get the respect
we fight for if Africa is in a mess.
KOFI Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations
said: "We've got the means and capacity to deal with our problems. If only we
can find the political will." He may not have been aware of it, but he was
undoubtedly expressing the heartfelt wish of most
Zimbabwe today has many problems, including widespread
poverty, imminent starvation, an economy which is progressively becoming
derelict, a monumental, unsustainable national debt, pronounced shortages
occasioned - in the main - by an immense lack of foreign exchange, social
services in general (and health services in particular) verging upon total
collapse due to inadequacies of state funding, the insufficiency of foreign
exchange, and an ever-greater "brain drain".
Compounding all these
problems are two key factors. Zimbabwe has steadily damaged its international
relations to an extent that to a majority of the global community, Zimbabwe
has become a pariah, and that virtually all acts of the Zimbabwean
authorities are motivated by their desires for self-preservation, their
adherence to ideologies which have been proven in many parts of the world to
be against the best interests of the people as a whole for almost a century,
and by widespread contempt for law and order, human rights and
Zimbabwe also has the means and the capacity to deal with its
problems. The means include the inherent and latent resource to be the
granary of central and southern Africa, with Zimbabwe's ample good soils,
water resources and generally favourable climatic conditions, whilst planned,
comprehensive water conservation can enable occasions of adverse climate to
be of minimal consequence.
The means also include an industrial
infrastructure which has been the second-most developed in the region, able
to meet many national needs, and also those of neighbouring countries and
others in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, Zimbabwe has the potential of a
very substantial mining industry, as distinct from one which is presently
contracting at a great rate. And Zimbabwe has a vast, near unique, tourism
resource. Agriculture, industry, mining and tourism are but a few of the
means available to Zimbabwe to deal with its problems.
It also has the
capacity. It has a population of approximately 14 million (more exact numbers
will become known once the results of the recent census are released), and
the vast majority of the populace is an extremely able, hard-working,
cheerful and ambitious people whose concerns for the wellbeing and
advancement of their families far exceed any political considerations
on their part.
Admittedly, many of the competent and skilled have left
Zimbabwe for pastures further afield in a desperate need to obtain employment
and maintain themselves and their dependants. But at this stage Zimbabwe
still has a skills resource base, and that base could be progressively
expanded if an environment came into being wherein those undergoing skills
development in the universities and other tertiary institutions, on the
factory floors, the mines, and elsewhere, would no longer be attracted to
distant economies, but perceive a future for themselves in Zimbabwe. That
would re-create the capacity to its full potential, reversing the brain drain
and enabling Zimbabwe to recover from the devastation which it has inflicted
But, as Kofi Annan said, having the means and capacity does
not suffice; Zimbabwe must have the political will! Government steadfastly
pretends that that will exists, and attempts to delude the people that it is
supposed to care for by alleging that the ills that have befallen Zimbabwe
are due to the evil machinations of foreign governments and of whites (It
defies belief that less than 30 000 whites should have such immense and
uncontrollable power over a nation of 14 million! Any thinking person
realises how spurious the allegation is).
Zimbabwe's economic distress
is not the consequence of acts of Britain, the European Union, the US, the
Commonwealth, whites, commercial farmers, industrialists, shopkeepers,
bankers, or the many, many others that government sees fit to blame. It is
also only minimally attributable to negative climatic
Government is fast running out of others to blame, and one
awaits with intrigue to see how it will justify blame upon those not yet
included in its accusations. Presumably it will, in time, find ways of
accusing polar bears, the rhesus monkey, American's red Indians and the man
on the moon!
Instead, some introspection is needed by government. It
needs to reassess, impartially, the efficacy of its policies. If it does so
without preconception and bias, it will recognise the deficiencies in those
policies and seek to replace or modify them. It must also stop deceiving
itself into beliefs that "Zimbabwe can go it alone". It cites the Malaysian
success to justify those beliefs, but Malaysia's circumstances were totally
different to those of Zimbabwe.
It had a sound, well-established
economic infrastructure, a well-developed industrial base, and an ability to
generate required foreign exchange with relative rapidity. In contrast,
Zimbabwe has an economy in ruins, massively unsustainable foreign and
domestic debt, a totally bankrupt government, and a diminishing skills
resource as those with required skills flee to other economies.
necessary political will must include a genuine desire, and an
intense endeavour, to reconcile with the international community. Only
such reconciliation can bring about very much needed restructuring
and rescheduling of debt, balance-of-payments support from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), development funding from the World Bank,
substantial inputs from donor states, foreign direct investment (FDI), and
trade. It must also include vigorous action to create a united nation of
Zimbabweans, free of discrimination founded upon race, tribe, gender or
That political will must also include the elimination of
"double-talk". There is much of that in Zimbabwe today. At rallies, on radio,
in the press, and elsewhere, government asserts repeatedly that whites are
welcome to continue farming, provided that they accept that they can only
have one farm, not exceeding specified sizes (usually incapable of
economically viable operation), do not retain title, and accept usage of such
land as allocated to them, irrespective of condition, and frequently
comprising rocky outcrops and other non-arable lands.
with the recurrent statements that, under those conditions, whites can
continue farming, government has expropriated 90% of all farms, and in a
majority of instances they are farms owned by farmers who own no others.
Government needs to align its deed with its words.
A change in political
will also requires a move to realism. How realistic is it to deprive a farmer
of his farm, prevent him from removing his equipment and his assets other
than household and personal effects, fail to pay him compensation, render him
virtually bankrupt, and then demand that he pay many millions of dollars of
severance packages to his departing employees, and call upon him to fund
irrigation and other agricultural inputs for new settlers?
all, the political will must include determination to re-establish a wholly
democratic society with absolute maintenance of law and order, and that that
law must be consistent with international norms and with the preservation of
If those characteristics are not part of the political
will, and are not unreservedly re-established, then all other potentially
positive acts and transformation of political will can only be ineffective,
and Zimbabwe's decline can only accelerate.
Mugabe's war cabinet intensifies crackdown Dumisani
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's "war" cabinet seems to
be stepping up political repression against individuals and groups resisting
its failed policies.
Analysts warn Mugabe's "war council" sworn in on
Monday last week amid calls for it to be more combative will intensify its
scorched earth policies and suppressive measures as government comes under
mounting internal and external pressure to change course.
Coming as it
did soon after Mugabe's threat that his government would impose retaliatory
sanctions against Western countries, the "war council's" exertions have
already begun to show.
Human Rights lawyer Brian Kagoro said Mugabe's
strategy was to target individuals and institutions refusing to purchase
wholesale his revolutionary rhetoric and populist prescriptions.
have to understand the idea of a war council from Mugabe's warning that he
was going to react to sanctions against his government," he said.
are now targeting radio stations, individuals and other institutions seen as
anti-Zanu PF. There will be a massive abuse of immigration laws and other
On the very same day the cabinet was sworn in,
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who had been subdued for some time,
resumed his torrent of hostile rhetoric with renewed vigour lashing out in
all directions against alleged government detractors.
inspired by Mugabe's confrontational drum-beating, Moyo marked his dramatic
comeback by launching a flurry of attacks against human rights NGO Amani
Trust over a report which implicated members of the national youth service,
war veterans and other supporters of the ruling Zanu PF in raping teenage
Instead of dealing with the substance of the report, Moyo blamed
the British and Americans. Harking back to the past, he accused the Western
countries of trying to protect their "racist colonial interests in their
unjust ownership of land in Zimbabwe".
The minister, who was retained
in his post for his ability to reflect Mugabe 's aggressive posture, said
police were expected "to do the right thing about Amani Trust".
two days after Moyo's warning police raided Amani's office and arrested its
medical director, Frances Lovemore, before charging her with "publishing or
communicating false statements prejudicial to the state". Police also seized
the human rights group's documents and announced they were hunting for its
director Tony Reeler.
Amani Trust has been documenting shocking human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe and rehabilitating victims of state-sponsored
violence. The group's reports have irritated government, which is anxious to
camouflage its grisly human rights record.
Amnesty International said
the raid on Amani Trust and attacks on dissenting groups were
"We view the arrest of Dr Lovemore as an attempt to intimidate
human rights defenders," it said.
The Attorney-General's Office has
refused to place Lovemore on remand.
Scaling new levels of vitriol, Moyo
also blasted the Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian governments for
condemning Zimbabwe's violent land reforms and growing
Analysts said the upsurge of repression in Zimbabwe was
hardly surprising. They said Mugabe was barricading himself while becoming
more belligerent. His leadership was commensurate with the power he could
muster to keep people under control and in his service.
Zimbabwe analyst Masipula Sithole said the rise in Mugabe's panicky
repression was not surprising given his political insecurity and paranoid
"He has always tried to create a war-like situation every
time he wanted to launch a sinister programme," he said. "The only difference
between the 1980s and now is that it has so much to do with personal
During the early 1980s Mugabe's regime created a
phony civil war situation in the Western part of the country and the Midlands
in a bid to snuff out former opposition party PF Zapu and consolidate
Political scientists say repression in societies where it has been
latent always springs up when the leadership concentrates power claiming real
or imagined internal strife or foreign danger.
authoritarian political orders cite salus populi suprema lex esto - a Latin
maxim popular with dictators which means state security or public safety is
the supreme law to justify repression. After swearing in his reshuffled
cabinet, Mugabe declared similar intentions by boasting he had stitched
together a militant team poised for political combat against foreign
"We have just sworn in our new cabinet and deputy ministers who
are really an economic war cabinet on one side and taking into account the
actions by Britain and its allies, they are on the other hand a political war
cabinet," he said.
"If you look at them, they are men and women full
of fight and punch."
The following day police raided the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s Harvest House offices in central
Harare claiming to be looking for a suspected criminal in connection with the
murder of Zanu PF official Ali Khan Manjengwa.
State security agents
have frequently raided MDC offices including the house of its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai variously claiming to be looking for subversive materials, arms of
war, explosives, or - more recently - vehicles used to transport illegal
Tsvangirai and several other MDC officials are currently
facing treason and murder charges while others have been charged for all
sorts of alleged offences ranging from violence to accusations of insulting
Two days after the "war" cabinet came in, the independent Voice of
the People (VOP) radio station was bombed into silence by
Taking advantage of the prevailing
lawlessness, the attackers ripped apart the station's offices and destroyed
all its equipment and records.
Although police said they were
investigating the incident, their track record shows that little emerges from
their probes. The Daily News's bombing in 2000 and 2001 is a case in point.
Since the attacks no one has so far has been arrested or successfully
Instead of condemning the bombing of the shortwave radio
station and speaking in remarks that sounded like justifying the attack, Moyo
said "for all we know they could as well be a terrorist organisation
Amnesty said the rise in state suppression
was linked to the forthcoming local government elections.
arrest of Dr Lovemore, the bombing of the office of the radio station and the
assaults on magistrates is evidence of a clampdown on critics of the
government as the September elections draw nearer," it said.
magistrates were recently attacked in Manicaland and Mavingo provinces. On
August 16, in the south-eastern town of Chipinge, district magistrate Walter
Chikwanha was dragged from his court by suspected "war veterans"
and assaulted at the government complex. No one was arrested. The attack
was alleged to have been in response to Chikwanha's dismissal of an
application by the state to remand five opposition party officials accused of
destroying state tractors.
Just more than a week later, Godfrey Gwaka,
the magistrate for Zaka district, was stabbed at the Zaka service centre. It
was suspected that the attack was related to recent judgements Gwaka made on
Amnesty again condemned the attacks against the
judicial officers, saying the incidents revealed the extent to which the rule
of law had been eroded and shredded in Zimbabwe.
"The attacks on the
magistrates reflect ongoing attempts on the part of government authorities
and state-sponsored militia to undermine the judicial system," it pointed
Moyo, who since last week had been energetically firing at opponents
from the hip and picking quarrels at the just-ended Earth Summit in
Johannesburg, was not alone in the intensification of government's political
Mugabe breathed fire and brimstone at the summit telling British
Prime Minister Tony to "keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe" - as
if the country was his personal property.
Agriculture minister, Joseph
Made, who was also kept in his position for being a pliant political tool,
has been giving him a helping hand by engaging Western countries in a
contrived conflict over genetically modified maize.
In a bid to
present government's agrarian reform as successful, the minister earlier this
year claimed Zimbabwe had an abundance of grain when stocks were nearly
depleted. Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, another official hawk, has been
attacking farmers of late after a protracted crusade against the
European MP John Corrie said Mugabe's repression against the
opposition, civil society and the purges of farmers bore the hallmark of a
warmed-up Stalinist orthodoxy.
"Stalin used the same techniques to
exterminate the kulaks in the 1930s, and Mugabe's tyranny has led to the
eviction of hundreds of thousands of innocent black farm workers," he said.
"Mugabe will stop at nothing to secure absolute power over Zimbabwe and throw
his country into darkness."
Zim gets little from summit fighting talk Staff
writers DESPITE President Robert Mugabe's fighting talk at the Earth Summit
in Johannesburg this week, Zimbabwe achieved little at the meeting due to
its preoccupation with confrontational politics.
and civic society leaders, co-ordinated by regional environmental
organisational Zero to make a national input at the summit on issues such as
energy, water, sanitation, health, education, environment, and globalisation,
failed to deliver due to lack of interest.
Zero was contracted by
government to co-ordinate non-governmental organisations and other
stakeholders to contribute at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
which ended yesterday.
Hordes of government officials including
ministers attended. Some like Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and Patrick
Chinamasa, went ahead of the president to set Zimbabwe's belligerent
However, little - if anything - came out of the Zimbabwe
delegation's visit as they failed to attend key discussions. Ministers
concentrated on a media blitz while NGO representatives went
Sources said some of Zimbabwe's delegates spent their time
loitering at the plush Sandton City complex as if they were on
Environment Africa (EA) this week expressed disappointment
at the Zimbabwean delegates' failure to deliver at the
"Although a number of Zimbabwe government officials and
non-governmental organisations are attending the summit, their absence from
discussions and debates taking place in Johannesburg is disturbing," EA
EA general manager Innocent Hodzonge said Zimbabwean
representatives were absent from key meetings.
government delegation was missing during crucial debates on energy and water,
environmental cross-sectoral issues as well as sanitation," Hodzonge
He said when he visited the Ministry of Environment and Tourism
stand at the summit this week, he found it empty.
"This is very
disappointing taking into consideration that many officials had previously
travelled to Bali, Indonesia, in preparation for this summit and had
participated in compiling the agenda but were now failing to contribute to
the culmination of these efforts," he said.
While the Zimbabwe
delegation was largely inactive, Hodzonge said, "progressive governments were
working hand in hand with NGOs and were involved in discussion sessions
before each debate".
Sources said Zanu PF supporters, including
information and publicity officers, were involved in demonstrations showing
solidarity with President Mugabe on the land issue. The PAC and the landless
lobby joined delegates ferried down to Johannesburg by Zanu PF "NGOs" to
provide an impression of international support for Mugabe.