High Court rules farmers can return Vincent
Kahiya THE High Court has ruled that a magistrate cannot set as a bail
condition the eviction of a farmer arrested for defying a Section 8
In his ruling this week, Justice Lawrence Kamocha said
magistrates did not have the powers to do so, as it was "wrong in law to
impose such a condition".
Hundreds of farmers have in the past
four weeks been arrested for defying eviction notices. A number who have been
granted bail have been ordered by magistrates not to return to their farms.
But Justice Kamocha upheld an application by farmers to have that condition
He was ruling in the case in which 10 commercial farmers
appealed to the High Court to have their bail conditions
"They were aggrieved by that condition and appealed to this
court," said Justice Kamocha.
"Quite clearly the magistrates did
not have the power in law to impose such conditions which can only be imposed
on people who have been convicted. The appellants have not been
State counsel Elizabeth Ziyambi had argued that a
magistrate had the discretion to impose any condition in a bail
"I did not understand the state counsel to suggest that
the magistrate has a licence to impose conditions which are contrary to the
law," Kamocha said.
Heads of argument by lawyers representing the
farmers pointed to political pressure that had been brought to bear on
magistrates. - Staff Writer
Army used to enforce land grab Blessing Zulu/Augustine
Mukaro GOVERNMENT is expanding the role of the Zimbabwe National Army which
it has conscripted to implement its land programme, it emerged this
The army has of late been heavily involved in the enforcement of
the land reform programme with officers reportedly evicting commercial
farmers who defied the August 10 deadline.
Unofficial army sources
this week said new recruits, mainly graduates from the Border Gezi Training
Centre attested into the army, would be deployed onto the farms to effect
evictions and help with logistics.
Justice for Agriculture, a
commercial farmers' representative grouping challenging the legitimacy of the
ongoing evictions, confirmed there was an increase in the army's involvement
and use of firearms.
"Prominent faces of war veterans who spearheaded
farm invasions since 2000 have suddenly disappeared," JAG spokesperson Jennie
Williams told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.
have been replaced by well-known military personnel who are behind the latest
wave of ultimatums and evictions taking place in Mashonaland West, Central,
She said the use of firearms, reported this week, had not
previously been widespread.
"Firearms were used before but not at
this rate, which makes the farming community suspect there is a change of
personalities commanding the land seizures," she said.
JAG said at
Renoc Farm owned by the Cochranes in the Karoi area, about 25 shots were
fired on Wednesday.
"A group of 60-70 people arrived at the farm and
three were armed with automatic shotguns and an FN," JAG said.
Mema Estates in Banket, one Major Murombedzi armed with an Uzi
automatic rifle and in the company of two Libyans and others, forced the
owner to flee his house last Saturday. At Wicklow Farm in the Selous area
near Chegutu, the farm owners were last Thursday forced to temporarily leave
their farm for security reasons following the police, army and CIO giving
them 24-hours notice to vacate their farm," JAG said.
Zim unlikely to be on Club agenda Vincent
Kahiya ZIMBABWE is unlikely to be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Foreign
Affairs Ministers meeting to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations
General Assembly in New York tomorrow.
However, the South African
government has said President Thabo Mbeki would try to meet with his
counterparts in the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe, Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, to discuss the
growing crisis across the Limpopo.
Zimbabwe is unlikely to come up in
the foreign ministers' meeting as the troika, which is a higher authority,
currently had the sole mandate to deal with the problem.
South Africa's deputy Foreign minister Aziz Pahad said Mbeki would try to
meet Obasanjo and Howard.
"If they are all there at the same time, it
is expected that they will try to meet to tackle the Commonwealth
mandate...to find in some way a solution to the situation in Zimbabwe," Pahad
"There is an economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the food
situation is quite dramatic, tensions are still very
Opposition MDC Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tendai Biti said
Zimbabwe could not escape world attention.
"There is no bigger
issue in the Commonwealth today than Zimbabwe," said Biti.
is embarrassed with what took place in South Africa," he said in reference to
the attack on British Prime Minister Tony Blair by President Mugabe and his
Namibian counterpart Sam Nujoma, and the booing of US secretary of State
"He knows that Blair and Powell were not happy and when
Mbeki hugged Powell at the end of his speech it was like an
"Mbeki knows that his projects like Nepad and the African
Union will not work as long as Mugabe remains a constant reminder of the past
that other leaders like Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal) and John Kufuor (Ghana) are
trying to get away from," he said.
A statement from the
Commonwealth secretariat office this week said Commonwealth secretary-general
Don McKinnon will convene a meeting of Comonwealth Foreign ministers at the
United Nations Headquarters in New York tomorrow. This will be a first-ever
such meeting and follows a decision taken by Commonwealth Heads of Government
at their summit in Coolum last March that the secretary-general should
explore opportunities for greater interaction amongst Commonwealth Foreign
The meeting will among other things look into the
developments in the Commonwealth and the outcome of recent meetings such as
the G8 Summit as well as other issues of concern, including terrorism and
Pahad this week said land reform in Zimbabwe must be done in an
orderly way within the rule of law and the constitution.
must) . ensure that the principle of willing buyer, willing seller becomes a
Only $900m for resettlement exercise Blessing
Zulu PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's much-vaunted land reform exercise is headed
for collapse amid revelations that the government has set aside a paltry
$900 million for infrastructure development in resettlement areas, a figure
which falls far short of the required amount.
Government is scrambling
to fund the land reform programme as all eight provinces require an estimated
$20 billion for the exercise to be a success.
Sources in the Ministry
of Rural Resources and Water Development said the money would be used over a
period of two years.
"The government has budgeted only $932 284 246
for all the eight administrative provinces, mostly for development of roads,
clinics and schools up to the year 2004," said the source.
of the money will be used for transporting newly-resettled farmers, their
livestock, provide training and extension services."
is battling to raise $76 billion from financial institutions who have so far
refused to comply, asking government to provide
To date no guarantees have been put in
Last week, the Zimbabwe Independent revealed government would
be floating a $30 billion bond to assist in the agrarian reforms, and would
compel all pension funds to subscribe to the bond.
Govt steps up farm evictions Augustine Mukaro THE
government is following up President Robert Mugabe's threat that
white farmers should leave their land by conducting another wave of mass
evictions which started last weekend.
On his return from the Earth
Summit in Johannesburg last week, Mugabe said the government would take steps
to ensure that "unrepentant" white farmers were not entitled to land in
Last weekend farmers in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland
Central and Matabeleland North were given 24-hours to vacate their farms.
There were long convoys of trucks on the Harare/Chinhoyi Road at the weekend
as evicted farmers moved their belongings to urban areas.
for Agriculture (JAG) chairman Dave Connolly said different government agents
implemented the evictions.
"In Matabeleland North the order to evict
was from the governor's office; in Mashonaland Central, East and West police
and army officials were involved in the visiting of farmers," Connolly
Farmers' representatives said the clampdown is likely to spread
to all farmers who defied the deadline. This has forced most farmers served
with Section 8 notices to dispose of their farming equipment as their hopes
of returning to the farming business are dashed.
A visit to yards
selling second-hand farm equipment in Mt Hampden revealed that farmers were
disposing of their equipment after losing their farms
"We are no longer taking any more equipment, the
yards are full," Greg Hinde of Tsoko Farm Sales told the Zimbabwe
"We are getting daily enquiries from displaced farmers
throughout the country wanting to dispose of their equipment. The equipment
here is just the tip of the iceberg because the past two years witnessed the
sprouting of farm implements sales companies throughout the country," he
Mashonaland West/South regional executive Ben Freeth said last
Friday government agents were issuing 24-hour ultimatums.
vice-chairman John Worswick said most of the farmers ordered to leave have
had their eviction notices ruled invalid by the courts.
community has come under a new tense atmosphere because of these ultimatums,"
Worswick told the Independent this week.
"We thought things were just
progressing quietly, but now it seems there's a major drive
JAG has urged farmers to stay put. Worswick said the deadline
was part of a government strategy to intimidate the farmers. The ultimatums
and arrests came exactly a month after the deadline for some 2 900 white
farmers to leave their farms, which most ignored. Their defiance sparked a
police clampdown, with more than 300 farmers arrested.
Masvingo regional executive Mike Clark on Tuesday said two Gutu farmers, Boet
Jacobs and Jannie Erasmus of Bath Farm, were harassed by the police and spent
a night in jail.
"This is merely the intimidation and provocation of
farmers to make them give up and leave the land of their birth, Zimbabwe,"
In one incident, a farmer in the Doma area in Mhangura
was barricaded in his house on Saturday night after being "visited" by an
army major who claimed to have taken over the farm. The farm shop was looted
on Sunday and a tractor taken.
Chiyangwa, Zvoma clash Godfrey Marawanyika/Blessing
Zulu THE Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, has dissociated parliament from
any involvement in the formulation of a new economic blueprint being
spearheaded by Philip Chiyangwa, chairman of the Portfolio Committee on
Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Trade.
week shot down Zvoma's remarks saying he had clearance from Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa.
NMB Bank of Zimbabwe are facilitators
of the blueprint which is aimed at charting the way to economic
Two weeks ago the Zimbabwe Independent reported that the
committee, headed by Chiyangwa, was meeting to draw up the economic
Chiyangwa said the draft document would be finalised this week
before being handed over to President Robert Mugabe. Economist Newton Madzika
is compiling the final report.
While it is not doubted that
Chiyangwa did meet with a number of players in the banking and industry
sectors to draw up his blueprint, his role is not recognised by parliament
In a letter to the Independent last week Zvoma denied that
representatives of banks and industry had met with the portfolio
"In the first instance, there was no meeting between a
parliamentary committee and any stakeholder on the day mentioned in the
Zimbabwe Independent article," Zvoma said.
"Committees for the
Third Session of the Fifth Parliament stood dissolved when parliament was
prorogued at the end of the second session and have not been reconstituted at
the time of the alleged meeting."
Zvoma said while parliament, its
committees or individual members could make inputs into any policy
formulation, none of the committees in the House was discussing any economic
"In this particular instance, neither parliament nor any
of its committees, acting as the legislature or in collaboration with private
organisations, are involved in the drafting of an economic blueprint for the
country," he said.
Chiyangwa this week said he had clearance from
the Speaker to hold the meeting adding the planning of the blueprint was not
"I do not report to Zvoma, who is he?" Chiyangwa
"Talk to the Speaker, he knows about this. Zvoma is not an MP
and he is not my boss. If he wants to resign and stand as an independent
candidate in Chinhoyi then he should do so, but he must know that I will beat
him in broad daylight. I am not a farce," said
Mnangagwa said when contacted for comment: "I am aware
that the Clerk of Parliament has written a letter to your paper, and that is
the position of parliament."
Zanu PF youths to train in Egypt Mthulisi
Mathuthu THE Zanu PF information department has sent five youths on a media
course in Egypt, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
said the youths, who recently assisted Information minister Jonathan Moyo to
mount a whirlwind propaganda drive in South Africa ahead of the Earth Summit,
left for Cairo last week for a crash course.
The youths were led by
the ruling party's website manager, Thomas Matondoro, a former Financial
Gazette business reporter who helped Moyo distribute placards and mobilise
Zanu PF supporters in Hillbrow, in league with Pan Africanist Congress
members, to demonstrate support for Mugabe's land policy.
names of the four others were not available yesterday. They are expected back
after three weeks.
A spokesman for the Egyptian embassy confirmed
five youths were in Cairo but said they were attending an "international
workshop", without providing details.
Zanu PF sources said another
batch of youths was expected to leave for a crash course in Cuba under the
auspices of the Young Communists in a deal confirmed by the Cuban embassy
The development is part of government's strategy to
vigorously market Mugabe's current revolutionary posture and counter what it
sees as its demonisation by the media.
A ruling-party source, who
was also in Johannesburg, said the strategy would involve the creation of new
NGOs and sponsoring of existing ones with a Zanu PF outlook to pose as civil
society. This was seen in Johannesburg where Zanu PF supporters were flown
down to wave anti-Tony Blair placards and show solidarity with the president
at the summit.
Included were representatives of groups like the
Inyika Trust, the Gaddafi Sisters Foundation and the Joseph Chinotimba-led
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions.
"Most of those people went
there specifically to demonstrate and not to attend the summit," a source
said. "Some of the placards previously ascribed to South African
demonstrators were seen at Harare airport on the president's return and have
been seen here before."
Youth department officials declined to
comment on Wednesday.
MDC to sue Zanu PF for barring candidates Blessing
Zulu THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is taking legal
action against the ruling Zanu PF for barring its candidates from contesting
rural district council elections, the Zimbabwe Independent has
The government has set September 30 as election day in all rural
district council and urban areas where there are vacancies.
spokesman for legal affairs David Coltart confirmed his party would
file papers against Zanu PF.
"We are certainly taking legal action
against Zanu PF for barring our candidates from registering in the local
government elections," said Coltart. "This regime is acting in breach of the
constitution and the Electoral Act."
Coltart said they were not
underestimating the local government elections as they were crucial to the
"Zanu PF is using these councillors in food distribution, food
for work programmes and giving funds to the aged," he said. "All these
programmes are now politicised and used as campaign tools by the ruling
party. Our members are not benefiting from them and we hoped our councillors
were going to make them non-partisan programmes for the benefit of all
United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan raised the
issue of politicisation of food distribution when he met President Robert
Mugabe on the sidelines of the UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg last
The ruling party is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to
retain its stranglehold on its rural fiefdom.
"They are using a
variety of tactics to tip the balance in their favour," Coltart said. "They
are manipulating the boundaries. Some of our candidates have mysteriously
disappeared from the voters roll. In some instances the officers simply
demand that they need long birth certificates and most of our members who did
not have these were simply turned way.
"Those who were duly elected
were being targeted and most of them had to flee for their lives," he
Coltart said the situation in the country was getting grave.
"The electoral process is deteriorating and the situation now is worse than
the presidential election. The actions of Zanu PF is a mockery of the
electoral process making it a complete farce," he said.
spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira denied the allegations being levelled against
Police still probing VOP blast Loughty Dube POLICE
have not abandoned investigations into the bombing of a private
radio station, Voice of the People (VOP), and are examining evidence
collected at the scene of the crime, ZRP spokesman Bothwell Mugariri said
The offices of VOP in Milton Park, Harare, were bombed and
destroyed last month by unidentified attackers.
investigations were still on and the police would keep the public informed of
any progress made.
"We are still investigating all pieces of evidence
collected at the bombing scene and once we are through with investigations we
will move ahead from there," said Mugariri.
The bombing of the VOP
offices came 22 months after unknown assailants blew up the Daily News' $100
million printing press in Southerton in similar circumstances. No one has
been arrested over the incident and police have not released the results of
"The suspects we arrested last week were
released after we completed investigations on them," Mugariri
The VOP is a private station not licensed by the Zimbabwean
government but broadcasting from the Netherlands where it has a transmitter
that transmits signals sent by computer back to
Heavily-armed police last week stormed the house of
Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada and arrested him for allegedly bombing the VOP
The police said they were acting on an anonymous tip-off
that Mashakada was responsible for the bombing.
the MDC chairman for Chitungwiza, was also asked to hand himself over to
The chairperson of the VOP Board of Trustees, Faith Ndebele,
said they had not heard anything from the police on investigations concerning
the bombing of their offices.
"The police have not communicated
with us on investigations into the bombing and we do not have information on
how far investigations have gone," Ndebele said.
She said they
were still compiling an inventory to establish the property damaged in the
Information minister Jonathan Moyo has alleged that VOP
might have been used by "terrorists" to store explosives.
Maize stocks critical Augustine Mukaro MAIZE stocks
have dwindled to unprecedented levels and could run out early next week
unless the government gets fresh supplies, the latest United Nations
humanitarian report has said.
Over the past two weeks shops have not
received any supplies of mealie-meal while bread shortages have become a
common feature of people's daily lives.
"The maize in the country is
expected to run out during the second half of September unless the planned
imports are quickly moved into the country," the UN report
Government is understood to have suspended grain imports until
the end of the year arguing that food aid would cater for the country's needs
for the next four months.
Milling industry sources this week
confirmed the government had not floated new tenders for the importation of
"If I was in a position of influence at the Grain Marketing
Board I would float tenders now because the logistics of bringing the maize
into the country is a nightmare," a source said. "If tenders are floated now,
such maize will only get into the country after six weeks at the
Food imports by humanitarian organisations, government and
private players recently granted permits to import food continue to be slow
despite government's acceptance last week of genetically-modified foods to
stave off a looming famine.
The UN report says a mere 382 965
tonnes of food had by mid-last month been brought into the country since
"Food imports continue to be slow at a time when the majority
of the rural households have run out of the 2001/2 harvest," the report
Zimbabwe has a maize deficit of 1,1 million tonnes.
report says despite concerted efforts to import maize being made, there were
no known plans to import wheat.
"Despite speculation that wheat
stocks have already dried up because of the current bread shortages and that
this season's harvest would only be available on the market in October, no
plans are in place," says the report.
Humanitarian organisations and
private companies have complained government's bureaucratic set-up was
delaying movement of imported food.
Private-sector sources said the
donor community is prepared to provide grain to Zimbabwe but the only
available grain would be GM- engineered.
"The donor community,
particularly in the US is prepared to avail grain that would feed the country
until next season's harvest," sources said.
Private players who have
obtained licences to import food include Plan International which has already
shipped into the country 2 117 tonnes of food, Oxfam (GB) which has been
granted a permit to import a maximum of 10 000 tonnes of food per month, and
recently Zimbabwe Regional Disaster Alleviation Trust which obtained a permit
to import 700 000 tonnes of which 600 000 tonnes would be maize.