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

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CBS

Mugabe defends land seizure program before General Assembly
Friday September 26, 2003
By PRISCILLA CHEUNG
Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe on Friday
defended his country's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
blacks, a program widely blamed for his country's political and economic
crises.

In his address at the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, Mugabe said the
program ``is yielding tangible benefits to the vast majority of our
people.''

Under the program, white-controlled farms are being taken, often through
violence, and redistributed to blacks.

Mugabe has said the seizures, which began three years ago, are an effort to
correct colonial-era injustices that gave about 4,000 whites about one-third
of the country's productive land in a country of more than 12 million
people.

``There is a new sense of empowerment ... yielding a happy sense of
ownership, which has brought thousands upon thousands of hitherto
marginalized families back into the economic mainstream,'' he said.

Human rights activists claim that much of the seized land was used to reward
Mugabe supporters instead of landless blacks.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only leader since he led the nation to independence from
British rule in 1980, faces increasing international isolation after being
re-elected last year in polls largely considered rigged.

He has stepped up a crackdown on the opposition and the independent press.
The key opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is standing trial for treason,
and the only independent daily, The Daily News, was banned last week.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tehran Times

U.S., British Propaganda Against Zimbabwe Part of Plan for World Hegemony:
Ambassador

Following is a letter written by Zimbabwean Ambassador to Iran S.C. Chiketa
in response to a letter by Mohammad Fayyaz that was published by the TEHRAN
TIMES earlier this month. The TEHRAN TIMES often publishes letters by
readers, but this does not imply endorsement of the views of the writers,
and the TEHRAN TIMES definitely does not endorse all of the views of Mr.
Fayyaz. Dear Mr. Fayyaz:

I write to you having read your open letter to President George W. Bush
(Part 1) as published in the Tehran Times International Daily of September
9, 2003.

In your reference to my country Zimbabwe, the tone and content of your
letter reveal that you have signed up on and are peddling Bush and Blair's
accusations that, by giving the black majority of Zimbabwe their land, the
Zimbabwean leadership is a dictatorship.

For your own information, the People of Zimbabwe fought a war of liberation
from 1962-1979 to install (an until then non-existent) democratic system of
government and to reclaim their land that had been forcibly grabbed and
systematically and violently confiscated without compensation. The 1979
Lancaster House Conference Constitutional framework was agreed upon and war
ended only after Britain and the United States had agreed to contribute
funds to purchase land/farms from the white farmers for the purpose of
distributing it to and resettling the indigenous blacks. When the then
Democrat President Jimmy Carter was defeated by the Republican Ronald
Reagan, the U.S. reneged on the promise to assist Britain with funds to
purchase farms from white farmers. Not to be outdone by the Republicans
under Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair's New Labour Government that had already
stolen the Conservative Party political platform followed the American
example and also reneged on the agreements reached at the 1979 London
Lancaster Conference. Funds to purchase farms from white commercial farmers
to distribute and settle indigenous Zimbabweans dried up as the British New
Labour Government dissociated itself from the commitments made by the
British Conservative Government. Tony Blair's British Government claimed
that they were not bound by agreements made by a previous British
Government! The Zimbabwe Government could not and would not on its own
continue to honour and to be bound by the Lancaster House Agreement in so
far as they related to the question of the purchase of land for
redistribution to the indigenous people. Since the other parties to that
Agreement had reneged on their commitments the Zimbabwe Government was free
to resume the struggle for the land from where it had been left off in 1979.
For this decision, my country which until then had been held as a shining
example of a politically stable country with a democratic government begun
to be vilified, denounced, demonized and called a dictatorship. In an
attempt to undermine and reverse the land redistribution program, the
British Government and the white commercial farmers funded and financed the
labour movement and transformed it into an opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). In addition, sanctions were imposed and, at the
instigation of the British Government and supported by the USA, the IMF and
the World Bank denied the country any further loans and the balance of
payment support which it had enjoyed until the country decided to resolve
the land question on its own and in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe.
However, nothing could stop the land redistribution exercise. The exercise
continued and has just been completed.

The land policy is aimed at the equitable distribution of land, ensuring
social justice, racial harmony, political stability, improvement of the
economic situation of the majority of the people in the rural areas, and
putting the idle land into production. Every Zimbabwean, black and white,
who would like to farm, is entitled to one (farm).

However out of a guilty conscience, to deceive the international community,
and to justify their hostile actions before the international community,
Britain and the USA have branded President Mugabe a dictator and have gone
further as already been indicated and imposed sanctions on the country and
its leadership.

The claim that Zimbabwe is under a dictatorship is contradicted by the
following facts: Zimbabwe is a multi-racial Southern African country with a
multi-party democracy. There is freedom of speech and a free press. Though
Zimbabwe is an overwhelmingly Christian country, other religious groups such
as Hindus, Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, etc. freely practice their faiths.
Furthermore, though three political parties are represented in Parliament,
there are actually more than five (political parties) in the country.
General parliamentary elections are held every five years while Presidential
elections are held every six years. Bi-elections are held whenever there is
a vacant seat in Parliament due to death, ill health, or resignation of a
Member of Parliament. The first general election was held in 1980 and since
then, general elections were held in 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000. The next
general elections are due in April 2005. These elections have been observed
by officials from the contesting political parties, independent local
observers as well as invited observers from several countries and
international organizations. Such observers have in the past elections
declared the elections to be transparent, free, and fair. The last general
elections which were held in 2000 and in which the ruling party won 62 seats
and the two opposition parties 58 seats were declared by the majority of the
observers who actually were in the country to be free, fair, and
transparent. In addition to parliamentary elections the country holds
Executive Mayoral elections. Currently the opposition holds all but one of
the Executive Mayoral posts in the major towns and cities. Such a scenario
hardly speaks of a country under a dictatorship. One wonders then where the
writer of the letter gets his facts that lead him to such a false
conclusion. For, he leaves the impression that the victim of the unjust
colonial legacy and of the hundred years of brutal colonial rule is the
white man!

Furthermore, the country holds Presidential elections every six years. The
last Presidential election was held in 2002 and President Robert Mugabe was
re-elected with a majority of over 400,000 votes.

It speaks volumes of the country's respect for democratic values when one
considers the fact that the opposition parties and civic society
organizations are recognized and are free to operate in spite of the fact
that these same parties and organizations receive funding from the British
and American governments that are hostile to the current Government in
Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the fact that human rights violators like the former
Prime Minister of Rhodesia whose government was responsible for more than
50,000 deaths is still a free man residing at his farm in Zimbabwe is an
attestation of President Mugabe's respect for human rights. It was this same
respect for the value of man and his rights that was behind President Robert
Mugabe's declaration of the policy of reconciliation so that the Zimbabweans
would forgive one another, reconciled as they concentrated on rebuilding
their country as a united nation.

I am thus surprised that such a reputable paper like the Tehran Time chooses
to swallow hook, line, and sinker the propaganda that is disseminated by the
western media that is supportive of the discredited U.S. and British
Governments that are known the world over that they lie and peddle lies, and
that are known to have hostile intentions towards the current leadership in
my country. Worse still, the author of the said article allows himself to be
used to propagate such lies and thus misinform the friendly people of Iran.
The fact of the matter is that these two countries' leaderships have told
lies and "sexed" reports about the existence of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, they are telling lies about dictatorship in Zimbabwe, they are
telling lies about many other things and countries, and they will lie again
as long as it helps them attain their objectives, the domination and control
of the world resources and world hegemony. Itís high time the world and Mr.
Fayyaz realized this and stop aiding and abetting them in deceiving the
world public opinion. These countries are not led by angels, they are led by
people whose interests are and will always be first and last, their national
interests. Their national interests may coincide with my national interests,
but for the most part and particularly with regard to the land
redistribution question, their interests are in direct conflict with my
country's national interests. It should also be noted that the two countries
have even defied the United Nations as well as world opinion in pursuit of
their national interest.

I hope that your paper will publish this response and clarification in order
to make available the correct information to the readership of your esteemed
paper. I am for ever available to you Sir should you need any more
information and further clarification on my country. S. C. Chiketa
Ambassador

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Reuters
26 Sep 2003 22:18
Mugabe, at U.N., lambastes U.S., Britain over Iraq

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's president, battling international isolation imposed over his authoritarian rule, used a rare trip to New York on Friday to lambaste the United States, Britain and international agencies.

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Robert Mugabe accused the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization of serving only wealthy nations and said the United Nations needed a new structure because it had been designed to address the woes of another era.

The Security Council must democratize because the veto gives too much power to its five permanent members, the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France, Mugabe added.

But he saved his choicest barbs for the United States and Britain, which invaded Iraq without U.N. authorization.

"It was and remains an unjust and illegitimate war (that) has transformed itself into an effective occupation of a sovereign people," he said, accusing Washington and London of "naked unilateralism."

"We hope the coalition that willingly went to war without Security Council sanction is now willing to admit that defeating others is not always the same as wining peace, that wars are not ended by proclamations but by just settlements."

"Let it not be said that Zimbabwe enjoys criticizing the United States and Britain for the sake of criticism," he said. "Our criticisms are based on sound fundamental principles."

Mugabe, whose controversial re-election last year was rejected by many Western powers as fraudulent, cannot visit the United States except on U.N. business under travel sanctions imposed by Washington on key Zimbabwean officials.

He is also banned from traveling to the European Union and his country has been suspended from the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe is struggling with a severe economic crisis, blamed by critics on government mismanagement. Mugabe counters that the southern African nation is a victim of economic sabotage by Western powers opposed to his seizures of white-owned farms for black resettlement.

International donors, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have suspended aid to Zimbabwe over the last three years over Mugabe's land and economic policies.

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Zimbabwe arrests 'banned' journalists

Andrew Meldrum, Pretoria
Saturday September 27, 2003
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean police were yesterday hunting 36 journalists from the banned
newspaper the Daily News to charge them with working illegally.
If caught and convicted, they could be jailed for two years.

The police issued warrants for 45 Daily News journalists and arrested nine
of them on Thursday.

They were held for a few hours, charged, and released to await a court
appearance.

Reached by phone yesterday, one of those not yet arrested said: "I don't
know when they are going to come and get me, or how. No one knows how the
police will treat the rest of us. It's frightening. Things have gone from
bad to worse."

The police closed the Daily News two weeks ago after the supreme court ruled
that it must register with the state media and information commission. Last
week the commission refused to give it a licence, in effect banning the
country's biggestpaper and only privately owned daily.

Five of its directors have been charged with violating the media laws.

The police swoop is widely seen as intended to cow other newspapers and
journalists.

The banning of the Daily News has scuppered attempts by the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, to get President Robert Mugabe's presence at the
Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Nigeria in December accepted as
a step towards his rehabilitation, despite the suspension of Zimbabwe's
Commonwealth membership.
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Washington Times

Editorial

Silenced by Mugabe

††† By silencing the last independent voice in Zimbabwe's media, President
Robert Mugabe is escalating his repression and resembling what he once
fought against: apartheid-style power. Most of the world is noticing. But
there is a notable exception.
††† This week, Zimbabwe police said they would charge the entire editorial
staff and owner of the Daily News with working for or operating an
unregistered organization. The Supreme Court had recently shut down the
paper, drawing on a law, pushed by Mr. Mugabe last year, which requires
media outlets to register and submit details of journalists' party
affiliations. Mr. Mugabe also pushed through a law banning public
gatherings. Last week, police raided the Daily News and confiscated
computers and other equipment. The Daily News' attempt to secure a license
to operate was rejected last week.
††† The Daily News is Zimbabwe's best-selling publication and only
independent daily. The state also controls radio and television broadcasts.
With its own words, the Mugabe government has made clear it was targeting
the paper. Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said in 2001 that
the Daily News was "a threat to national security which had to be silenced."
††† Mr. Mugabe, who helped win Zimbabwe's independence from British colonial
rule, has sought to justify oppressive measures by invoking the apartheid
legacy. His policies appear to be motivated by racial retaliation and have
brought Zimbabwe famine, hyperinflation and epidemic unemployment. Crusaders
against apartheid in Africa have criticized Mr. Mugabe.
††† Anton Harber, the founder of South Africa's the Weekly Mail, said in a
column for allAfrica.com last week that, "Registration of journalists is
familiar to South Africans, who fought against repeated attempts to
introduce it in the apartheid era. It was blocked because journalists and
employees stood together in resisting what would have been a death knell for
dissident voices."
††† Sadly, the South African government doesn't see it this way. Rather than
pressure Mr. Mugabe to reform or step down, it criticized Australia last
week for blocking Mr. Mugabe from the next meeting of Commonwealth leaders.
Such a defense of Mr. Mugabe puts South Africa at odds with the United
States, Britain, Amnesty International, South Africa's National Editor's
Forum and media organizations around the world, all of which have strongly
criticized Zimbabwe's attack on press freedoms.
††† The Bush administration has done what it can in regard to Zimbabwe.
Given South Africa's silent diplomacy, Mr. Mugabe is coming under little
pressure. South Africa's handling of the Zimbabwe crisis should have some
bearing on America's relationship with South Africa.

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Washington Post

Editorial

Less Soft Diplomacy

Saturday, September 27, 2003; Page A24
IN AN INTERVIEW with The Post this week, South African President Thabo Mbeki
defended the "soft diplomacy" that he says he is using in his efforts to
persuade Robert Mugabe, the dictatorial president of neighboring Zimbabwe,
to introduce political and economic reform. His quiet approach -- which has
in the past been praised by President Bush -- will, he says, bring change
faster than shouting or economic sanctions. "One of the worst ways to have
proceeded would have been to make statements to make good newspaper
headlines," he said. "That wouldn't produce any results." The trouble is,
Mr. Mbeki cannot show that he has gotten any results from failing to make
good newspaper headlines.
In Zimbabwe itself, there are no headlines worth reading at all. This week,
the government took the final steps to shut down the Daily News, the
country's biggest-selling newspaper, its only remaining independent media
outlet and home to an unusually brave group of journalists. The Daily News
was shut down after it lost its legal bid to overturn a pernicious media
registration law. Among other things, the law requires media outlets to
register with the government and holds journalists liable for reports which
the country's Media and Information Commission deems to be inaccurate. More
than a hundred people protesting the decision have been arrested. The
newspaper's computers and printing equipment have been confiscated by armed
police, and journalists have been interrogated.
But the banning of the Daily News is only the latest in a long string of
outrages from President Mugabe. During an election campaign held last
spring, he unleashed a campaign of terror. His police systematically
arrested, tortured and murdered opposition activists. His political party,
ZANU-PF, extorted money from companies and sent gangs of thugs around the
country to beat up people who failed to show party membership cards. Thanks,
in part, to a series of violent attacks on white farmers, the country has
suffered food shortages for the past several years. Despite all of this, the
organized opposition to Mr. Mugabe, known as the Movement for Democratic
Change, continues to make some progress in elections. Indeed, many fear that
their success will propel Zimbabwe's president into ever more gratuitous
acts of violence.
Before this happens, Presidents Bush and Mbeki should reconsider their
unwillingness to use some less soft diplomacy in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mbeki in
particular -- as the leader of Africa's most visibly democratic country --
owes it to his Zimbabwean neighbors to start talking loudly about the
shortcomings of Mr. Mugabe, and to consider using economic and trade
sanctions against him. Mr. Bush should support Mr. Mbeki in these efforts.
There are, it is true, few political or strategic stakes in Zimbabwe. That
only makes it all the more important for the president to demonstrate,
forcefully, that Americans believe in their democratic rhetoric, even when
it isn't in their direct interests.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company
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