White woman, black husband get farm
By Jane Flanaganand Andrew
LONDON SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
LONDON - A white British
woman who had worked as a local government
officer in Essex is the latest and
most unlikely beneficiary of Robert
Mugabe's land-grab policy in
Anne Matonga and Bright, her black Zimbabwean husband, have
a 1,500-acre farm after it was seized from a white farmer on the
Mrs. Matonga's new home, which the farmer
and his family had lived on
for four generations, is a reward for her
husband's support of Mr. Mugabe,
whose dictatorial policies are responsible
for Zimbabwe being ostracized by
much of the outside world.
Matonga, 34, was until recently the head of the pro-Mugabe
Broadcasting Corp. and now works for a government department.
Mrs. Matonga, 39, tended spring roses at her new home while
owners, Vincent and Monica Schultz, tried to get accustomed to
their new life
in a tiny apartment in Harare, the capital.
Despite moving to Zimbabwe
last year after a lifetime in Britain, Mrs.
Matonga spoke angrily, and
without a hint of irony, last week against the
"white colonialists who stole
Mrs. Matonga, who married Mr. Matonga in Britain five years
praised Mr. Mugabe for his "patience with the racist white farmers" as
spoke to the Sunday Telegraph at her new home in Banket, 50 miles north
Harare. She said those evicted by force "only have themselves to
She dismissed as "nothing but propaganda" reports of
starvation across Zimbabwe and charges that Mr. Mugabe had won
election by vote-rigging and crushing any opposition.
personal bodyguards from Mr. Mugabe's feared youth militia slept
trees, Mrs. Matonga said she regularly has to counter negative
the crisis in Zimbabwe. "Britain should keep its nose out of
Blair has no right to interfere," she said of the British
The Matongas, who also have a spacious house in a prosperous
Harare, paid nothing when they were "resettled" on Mupandagutu Farm
As the couple arrived, Mr. Schultz, the previous owner,
arrested by the police for defying the eviction order minutes
Matonga was screaming at me: 'Get off our land; we are taking
back what you
stole from our forefathers,'" Mrs. Schultz said. "I thought it
remarkable thing for her to say since she was clearly white and
The Schultzes, who are among more than 3,000 white Zimbabwean
being handed eviction orders, spent the last of their savings -
$17,000 - on
severance packages for their 130 workers. In addition, they
angry call from Mr. Matonga demanding the return of irrigation
had sold to pay their staff.
"We are feeling very bitter
about the whole thing," said Mr. Schultz,
57. "We are left with absolutely
nothing." His wife was born 58 years ago on
the farm, which her family bought
in the 1920s.
In Britain, the behavior of the Matongas has angered
former friends and
acquaintances, many of whom campaigned for Mr. Matonga to
be allowed to
complete his degree when he faced being sent back to
Zimbabwe: 750,000 Farmers
Peta ThornycroftHarare21 Sep 2002
Listen to Peta Thornycroft's report (RealAudio)
Thornycroft report - Download 229k (RealAudio)
The Zimbabwe pressure group, Justice
for Agriculture, estimates that about 750,000 people who lived and worked on
Zimbabwe's formerly white-owned farms are now destitute. The end of commercial
agriculture has produced a massive humanitarian crisis.
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
Justice for Agriculture admits it is hard to arrive at solid statistics, but
with only about 400 white farmers remaining on their land, it means that more
than 4,000 other white-run farms are now closed down and their work forces
Before President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms two and a half
years ago, about two million farm workers and their families were supported.
Almost all of them lost their jobs and their homes as farm invasions and work
stoppages were ordered by the ruling Zanu PF Party. Many primary schools in the
commercial farming areas, supported by farmers, have closed down.
|Unidentified farm laborer carries her child as she tends to tobacco
crops on a white-owned tobacco farm |
Zim farmers beg Aus for help
Harare - White farmers in
Zimbabwe on Saturday called on Australian Prime
Minister John Howard to
intervene politically over the country's land reform
call came two days before Howard is due to meet in Nigeria with the
members of a special Commonwealth troika set up to discuss action
following an alleged breakdown of the rule of law.
"Assist us to make our
leadership accountable to the disasters they have
perpetrated against their
own people," farming crisis group Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) said in a
JAG alleges that the government's current land redistribution
which aims to resettle formerly white-owned farms with new black
"both brutal and chaotic."
JAG says scores of people in
the farming sector have been murdered over the
last two years and accuses
ruling party officials of receiving large pieces
It is not
yet clear whether President Robert Mugabe will attend Monday's
Abuja, to be held between the committee's chairperson, Howard,
President Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from its meetings
after it declared
March presidential elections that returned Mugabe to power
did not reflect
the will of the voters. -Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe's Mugabe snubs Howard
AFP - The leaders of Australia, Nigeria and South Africa gathered for a
meeting of the Commonwealth "troika" on the crisis in Zimbabwe, but a furious
President Robert Mugabe pulled out of attending.
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard got off his plane in Abuja to be met
with the news that Mugabe had changed his mind about coming to the meeting to
discuss Commonwealth sanctions against his troubled country.
Commonwealth officials said the event - at which Howard will discuss
tightening sanctions with Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki - would continue as planned.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is very important. The situation cannot be
allowed to continue indefinitely," Obasanjo said after a meeting with Howard at
his official Abuja residence, Aso Rock.
Obasanjo said the troika was most concerned about the "humanitarian issues"
arising from Mugabe's policy of throwing white farmers off their land and from a
catastrophic drought that has brought millions to the brink of starvation.
Diplomatic sources said the troika members were annoyed by
Obasanjo, who has invested a great deal of personal political capital in
the troika process and in reigning in Mugabe, played down his anger but admitted
he would have preferred to see the Zimbabwean leader face-to-face.
"Disappointment would not be the right word," he told reporters. "If he
were to have been here it would have made our job easier, because he would have
given us first hand information on the situation in Zimbabwe."
In Harare, officials were unrepentant.
In a newspaper interview Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, derided the meeting as "a monumental waste of
The troika suspended Zimbabwe's membership of the organisation's ruling
structures in March after a violent, disputed election and amid a violent
campaign to evict commercial farmers, mainly whites, and seize their land.
Now, six months into the 12 month suspension, the panel will consider
stepping up the pressure on a leader many believe has abused his electorate and
brutalised both white farmers and the black opposition.
Under the current suspension, Zimbabwe is barred from Commonwealth heads of
government meetings and ministerial meetings such as the foreign ministers'
meeting at the United Nations earlier this month.
Now it could face full suspension from the body, something that has only
happened once before, to Nigeria while it was under military rule.
If suspended, Zimbabwe would miss out on Commonwealth technical assistance
for its development, would not be able to appoint officials to the Commonwealth
secretariat and would miss the Commonwealth Games.
Diplomatic sources told AFP that nothing had been decided, but that full
suspension would be an option on the table.
PM's Zimbabwe talks
PRIME Minister John Howard begins a frenetic round of
jetset diplomacy today
after touching down in Nigeria's capital,
Mr Howard will meet fellow Commonwealth leaders to discuss
flying on to London to discuss Iraq with British Prime
Minister Tony Blair.
Before leaving Australia Mr Howard said he was
pessimistic about achieving a
quick resolution on Zimbabwe, whose president
Robert Mugabe is accused of
human rights abuses.
"It is going to be
quite an up-hill task because Zimbabwe so far has been
quite indifferent to
the views of other Commonwealth countries and the views
of other people
around the world," he said.
Mr Howard will discuss possible action
against Zimbabwe with members of the
Commonwealth leadership group - the
Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo,
and his South African counterpart,
However the Commonwealth is
still a long way from imposing sanctions on
Zimbabwe and is uncertain about
what its next step will be.
Mr Mugabe has been invited to present his
case before the meeting, but Mr
Howard said he was not sure the Zimbabwean
leader would show up. "I don't
know whether he is going to come or not but we
will obviously have the
opportunity of putting our point of view," Mr Howard
"I hope I can with my colleagues, Thabo Mbeki and President
present a solid front on this issue, but it is not going to be
After leaving Abuja, Mr Howard will make the six-hour flight to
meetings with Mr Blair and British Foreign Secretary Jack
Mr Howard said he expected a briefing on information contained in
so-called secret dossier of information about Iraq's attempts to
weapons of mass destruction.
They would also discuss the
progress of efforts to impose new United Nations
Mr Howard's visit follows that of Labor's foreign affairs
Rudd, who met Mr Straw last week.
Labour Party faces a similar split over Iraq as its
Mr Blair's International Development Secretary, Clare Short,
declared her opposition to an all-out war with Iraq, unless more
evidence emerges about its weapons capability.
echo similar views expressed by Labor's reconciliation
Lawrence, who said yesterday she would consider crossing
the floor of
parliament to express her opposition to war.
She said Labor should
consider allowing a conscience vote on the issue, as
it did with abortion and
"How much more important when we're talking about the
loss of life, the real
loss of living, breathing human beings - 80 per cent
of casualties of war in
the 20th century are civilians," she said.
MDC reeling after Mugabe's latest crackdown
2002 at 12:15PM
By Basildon Peta
The ruling Zanu-PF party
of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched
a fresh crackdown on its
political opponents ahead of next week's local
government elections, with its
armed militants preventing opposition
candidates from registering in almost
two thirds of the wards involved in
elections in March polling agents of the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) were chased away in most rural wards
where Mugabe enjoyed strong
This time around the MDC claims militants armed with axes,
rifles are chasing its candidates away from registration points
in the rural
'Who maintains the law?'
It said some of
its candidates had also been prevented from registering in
wards in its urban
The opposition party said that because of the violence it
had managed to
field only 600 candidates for the nearly 2 000 posts that must
be filled in
the district and municipal councils. The registrar-general's
week declared that Zanu-PF had already won 700 uncontested seats
MDC "failed" to field candidates in them.
Chinamasa, the Zimbabwean justice minister, this week accused the
being a "bad loser", saying the opposition party could not blame
its own failure to field candidates. He said the MDC had no
support in the
constituencies concerned - an allegation the opposition party
"stupid and absurd".
The MDC released a statement detailing instances of
violence against its
candidates. It said 11 potential candidates were
seriously injured when
ruling party supporters went on the rampage against
opposition candidates in
In several provincial
districts, the opposition party claimed, its
candidates found gates of
registration centres closed, and armed militants
chased away those candidates
who tried to force their way in.
Paul Nyathi, the party's elections
director, said police were also
preventing candidates from registering for
elections by setting up
roadblocks around registration centres.
said scores of council hopefuls had been beaten up and kidnapped by
of the ruling party's notorious youth brigade, the Green Bombers. As
some of the hopefuls had given up contesting the polls.
candidates had been abducted from their beds at night, Nyathi said,
Chegutu, about 100km west of Harare, Zanu-PF youths stormed MDC
assaulted officials before abducting an MP, Hilda Mafudze.
is, to whom do we complain? Courts, police, election officials
are all in
Mugabe's pocket. Look at who the beneficiaries are - at who is
previously white-owned farms - judges, army commanders, secret
police officers. So who maintains the law?"
In the Midlands South
district alone, 26 MDC candidates had withdrawn from
the race and 20
candidates were assaulted, Nyathi said.
Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 15:33 GMT
Mugabe snubs Commonwealth talks
Mugabe said he did not want to face a court
Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has decided to boycott
talks about his country's suspension from the Commonwealth, apparently because
he objected to the tone of his invitation.
Mr Mugabe had, until the last minute, been expected to attend Monday's
meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to review Zimbabwe's response to its
exclusion from the organisation.
But in a phone call to the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Mugabe
said he objected to the invitation letter from Australian Prime Minister John
"Mugabe said the invitation gave the impression that he was going to be
court-martialled in Abuja," a Nigerian official told Reuters news agency.
The BBC's Dan Issacs in Abuja says the boycott is a major blow to the
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in March, following Mr Mugabe's
disputed re-election, and the Abuja meeting was to review what measures he had
taken to avoid further sanctions.
Commonwealth officials say Mr Mugabe had been prepared for talks on land
reform, but was not prepared to be lectured on political reform and human
Mugabe supporters have been evicting white
The meeting will
go ahead despite Mr Mugabe's absence and will be chaired by Mr Obasanjo and
attended by Mr Howard and the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon is also due to be present.
The Commonwealth panel aims to bring pressure to bear on Zimbabwe over the
disputed election and the policy of violently evicting white farmers as part of
Mr Mugabe's land redistribution programme.
Possible measures include the extension of the one-year suspension from the
Commonwealth or even expulsion.
September 22, 2002
Mugabe in line for UN £500m
MORE than £500m in United Nations development money
could be offered to Robert Mugabe tomorrow as Commonwealth representatives try
to persuade the recalcitrant Zimbabwean president to restore law and order and
save the region from famine.
After months in which all diplomatic
initiatives to solve the Zimbabwean crisis have been shunned, diplomats close to
the talks in Abuja said they regarded it as a "coup" even to have persuaded
Mugabe to fly to the Nigerian capital for his first face-to-face meeting with
Commonwealth leaders since they suspended Zimbabwe from the organisation in
John Howard, the Australian prime minister, along with the Nigerian
and South African presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki, will be looking
for signs that Mugabe is ready to compromise.
Mbeki may find himself in a
difficult position because of substantial support for Mugabe among the ANC, but
all three will partly blame Mugabe for causing the famine. No British
representative will attend the meeting, but afterwards Howard will fly to
London, where he will brief Tony Blair.
The diplomats confirmed that rather
than admonishing Mugabe for the chaos he has created at home, an incentive could
be on the table in the form of UN Development Programme funds for helping to
redistribute land in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's Zanu-PF government drove 2,900
white farmers off their land last month.
If order is restored, Mugabe could
receive an initial tranche of about £300m to help to settle black farmers on up
to 5m hectares. The full amount is to be spent over a 10- year period. UN
officials had discussed the plan with Mugabe before, but it was shelved as
violence increased during flawed elections that gave Mugabe another five years
in office in March.
"There's a possibility (the UN money) could be back on
the table," said one diplomat who is organising the Abuja talks. "Mugabe
relishes this kind of thing, the spotlight, the attention."
insisted that suspension from the Commonwealth had been a genuine blow for
Mugabe, despite his apparent indifference. A diplomat said: "I was in the next
door room when he was suspended. I've never heard a man so mad."
Commonwealth sources said Mugabe would not come under pressure to re-run the
March election, nor would expulsion be threatened. Asked if the prime minister
might find it politically difficult to sell a UN financial bail-out to a man
widely perceived as a tyrant, another diplomat said: "I don't think Tony Blair
is that concerned if it means people will not starve."
Chihuri fires salvo at Daily Mirror editor
Vice President of Interpol's Africa
region, Zimbabwe's Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri speaks to The Herald ( Zimbabwe's govt mouthpiece)
Chihuri last night attacked The
Daily Mirror for publishing what he
described as "utter garbage which belongs
to the sewer." Responding to a
story carried by the newspaper on Monday
claiming that he was incompetent
due to ill health, Commissioner Chihuri said
his health condition was
"very much under control."
"Let me make it
categorically clear that it is only the Almighty God who
holds the key to
life and knows when a man shall die and not a bunch of
rumour-mongers or bar-talk peddlers in the form of
editors-in-chief," Comm. Chihuri said. He said that he
hypertension but it is not of a serious nature. He said his
style of work did
not entail a provision of "my working itinerary to any
journalists as proof
of my good health, competence or otherwise". He took
a swipe at the Daily
Mirror editor saying his article "was contemptuous,
naïve, divisive and full
"There are some morally bankrupt editors in the private
businesses thrive on targeting certain strong politicians and
officials in order to earn a living. It is no wonder that the
the Daily Mirror on the media was supposed to be blessed by golden
such as mine and not by the sound marketing strategies commensurate
modern day business management principles."
Comm. Chihuri said
Zimbabwe's independence and democratic dispensation
enjoyed by the people,
"including the malcontents in the private media",
did not come on a silver
plate. Thousands of people were killed in the
liberation struggle. "In this
context, I stand by and absolutely support
the statement made by service
chiefs prior to the 2002 presidential
The service and
military chiefs declared that they would not salute any
who worked against the principles of the war of
liberation. Comm. Chihuri
said: "If selling the country to Western
imperialism and neo-colonialism is
what they regard as competence, then I
take a great exception to such
sentiments and would rather be described as
stooges of Western imperialism and neo-colonialism who cherish
of servitude intend to induce cracks in the ZRP by sowing
seeds of tribalism,
village politics and regionalism ." He added that
contrary to the paper's
inference, he had good working relations with his
deputies, Griffiths Mpofu
and Godwin Matanga. "If the editor wants to be a
crusader in village
politics, he should know that anyone is free to run a
village as headman if
he so wishes. This practice cannot be dragged in
important institutions of
government such as the ZRP by conspiratorial
endeavors of the private media.
"If he thinks that a handful of homeboys and girls from Chipinge can
this important and huge government institution on their own, then he
revise his intellect. This is fallacious and wishful thinking of
highest order reminiscent of the medieval ages." Comm Chihuri
The Daily Mirror story as "utter garbage which belongs to the
"If anything, the entry of the paper into the media market has
wrong initiation based on political expediency, noviceship and
with which the private media has tended to treat government
According to the police chief, the allegations about his
started in 1987 when he was about to be promoted to the rank of
commissioner. The damaging assertions, he said, were being peddled
within the organisation by "moron and misguided police officers who
loyalty patriotism and work in cahoots with unprofessional scribes of
foreign sponsored independent media, whose sole intention is to see
meltdown in the Zimbabwe polity." He said it was no coincidence that
allegations were revived each time his tenure of office is
"There is no doubt that this strategy is meant to dampen the
relations between the office of the commissioner and the government."
On charges that he had coerced police officers to contribute towards
construction of a boarding school for children of officers, Comm.
said the contributions were optional. The financial books for the
were open for auditing and inspecting by all stakeholders, he said.
The Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo,
Monday said the only people who were not happy with Comm. Chihuri's
were puppets and criminals. He said it was malicious and unacceptable
a newspaper to describe as incompetent someone whose professionalism
been recognised internationally.
Commissioner Chihuri is the
vice-president of Interpol's Africa region.
"The only people who are not
happy with the work of Commissioner Chihuri
are puppets and criminals and I
hope the editor of the Daily Mirror is not
one of these," said Prof. Moyo.
"Journalism and the media in Zim is desperate for editors and
who are professional and ethical and who understand that a good
accurate, balanced, fair and objective. We can't afford to have a
entrant behaving in the old ways. For this reason, I am afraid we
welcome the Daily Mirror. We have to advise the editor that if he
incapable of launching and running a professional paper, the law will
to assist him," said the minister. He described the new paper as a
start by a bad editor and we hope it won't lead to a bad daily."