HARARE --The wife
of Zimbabwe's army commander threatened to kill a white farmer, telling him
as she occupied his farm that she had "not tasted white blood" for 22 years,
according to court documents obtained here yesterday.
Jocelyn Chiwenga, a
senior figure in President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu(PF) party and her
husband, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the army,
were ordered by high court judge Anele Matika to stop selling the export
produce of the farm she and her husband illegally occupied in April this
Roger Staunton, owner of the 1 275ha farm, Shepherd Hall, about
30km east of here, said on May 23 Mrs Chiwenga came to his homestead
"breathing fire", according to affidavits accepted by the judge.
her were several men carrying AK-47 automatic rifles, said Constantine Mkiya,
"They were not in uniform, but because of her
husband's position in the army we are confident they were soldiers," he
When Staunton offered a handshake, "she told me she had no
intention of shaking hands with a white pig", the farmer said.
stated that she had not tasted white blood since 1980 (independence) and
missed the experience, and that she needed just the slightest excuse to kill
somebody," Staunton said.
"She ordered one of her guards to 'kill the
white bastards'," he said.
The gunman cocked his weapon, but did not open
General Chiwenga is reported to have been allocated another
highly sophisticated farm in the Marondera district, in an area where one of
his neighbours is Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the commander of the air force
who has forced about 300 previously resettled peasants to get off the farm
he has seized.
During the occupation, Mrs Chiwenga declared herself to
be "the new Mbuya Nehanda", a woman spirit medium venerated in Zimbabwe as
the leader of an uprising against white occupation in 1896.
said she also boasted she was "filthy rich".
He said the Chiwengas gave
him five days to leave the farm, and took over the entire property and all
its assets -- including buildings, trucks, irrigation equipment, and a major
rose and greenhouse project -- worth Zim$1billion (about R320
She also illegally sold his greenhouse vegetables and roses to
export companies for about Zim$85 million (R15m), said
Staunton said the Chiwengas had promised him they would
compensate him fully for the property, and pressured him into agreeing not to
take them to court or to publicise the incident in the press.
he said, since then the Chiwengas "have come out into the open and told me in
no uncertain terms that they were not going to compensate me as I had made
enough profits over the years, using the land stolen from them".
said he had reported the seizure to Vice-President Joseph Msika, who is in
charge of the regime's "land acquisition programme".
undergoing treatment in South Africa for a heart ailment caused by the stress
of the Chiwengas' occupation.
Judge Matika ordered Hortico, an agent
which sells Zimbabwean produce to Europe, to stop buying from the
Staunton is also applying for an order for the Chiwengas to
leave the farm and to allow him to return and continue farming. --
Forced transfers of farms threatened By Nicole
Itano THE WASHINGTON TIMES
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa, while
pledging to avoid the violence and lawlessness over land reform in
neighboring Zimbabwe, nevertheless is threatening to forcibly transfer
white-owned farms to landless blacks. The government says land reform
must move more quickly if it is to meet its target of redistributing 30
percent of the country's commercial farmland - most of which is owned by the
country's white minority - to blacks by 2015. The land ministry,
however, has reiterated promises that reform will take place within the law,
unlike in Zimbabwe, where vigilante groups and government forces have seized
nearly 3,000 white-owned farms without compensation. "If the process
of negotiations fails irrevocably, then we have the option of invoking the
right of the state to expropriate land in the public interest," Gilingwe
Mayende, director-general for land affairs, has told the South African
Business Report. "Property rights are protected by our constitution, but
the constitution says these property rights must be balanced against the
public interest and the nation's commitment to land reform." In
Zimbabwe, thousands of white farmers have been driven from their land, and
millions of people face starvation as a drop in commercial agricultural
production is compounded by a severe drought. As in Zimbabwe, the vast
majority of South Africa's most productive farmland is white-owned.
According to government estimates, 87 percent of commercial land is owned by
whites and 13 percent by blacks. The country's largest farming union disputes
those figures, saying about 60 percent of the country's farmland is
commercial property owned by whites. An estimated 3.5 million black
South Africans were driven from their homes during the 46 years of apartheid,
or racial separation. Voluntary attempts to redistribute land since the
end of apartheid have yielded poor results. Little of the 4 percent
to 6 percent of agricultural land placed on the market each year has been
purchased by blacks. Also, fewer than half the claims for restitution have
been settled, most of those in cash rather than a transfer of
landownership. The nation's largest farming union, Agri South Africa,
which represents about 40,000 mainly white commercial farmers and about
30,000 smaller-scale black farmers, says the biggest problem is the scarcity
of blacks willing to become commercial farmers. "The whole feeder
process of finding and training the right candidates is going to take time,"
said Jack Raath, chairman of Agri South Africa. "If you just want to
transfer land and not have any development, that's easy. But experience has
shown that you have to have the right beneficiaries if you want to maintain
competitiveness and profitability." But critics of the South African
program say the government must be more proactive about acquiring land.
Without faster movement on land issues, they warn, farm invasions could
begin. "We think we need to revisit the fundamentals of land reform in
this country, especially the willing-seller, willing-buyer ideology," said
Zakes Hlatshweyo, chairman of the National Land Committee, a South African
land lobby group. "After eight years of democratic rule and social
transformation, very little has happened insofar as the transfer of land is
concerned," Mr. Hlatshweyo said. Mr. Hlatshweyo's organization says
that at the current pace of purchasing land for redistribution, it would take
at least 215 years to meet the government's stated target of 30 percent black
ownership. Along with other groups operating under the banner of the
Landless People's Movement, the lobbyists have threatened to begin invading
unused public and private land if reform continues to drag. To date,
however, law-enforcement officials have dealt swiftly with illegal attempts
to occupy land in South Africa. Only once in the country's
post-apartheid history has the government tried to force the sale of
farmland. In that case, a farmer refused a government offer to purchase his
property after a special commission ruled that the land had been taken
illegally from black owners during apartheid.
SA chasing R50bn to pay for land reform
Johannesburg - The Industrial Development Corporation is
negotiating with the World Bank for huge amounts of money to finance land
reform "to prevent South Africa from becoming a second Zimbabwe".
negotiations are still at an early and sensitive stage, but amounts of R50bn
to R70bn, which will be made available for this financing over several years,
already have been mentioned.
IDC chief executive Khaya Ngqula and
financial head Gert Gouws left for the annual meeting of the International
Monetary Fund in Washington on Wednesday to continue
They and Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin met World
Bank representatives last week, who mentioned these amounts as money that
would be made available for financing land reform over a period of several
Ngqula said on Wednesday with the announcement of the IDC's annual
report: "The World Bank is willing to make money available for this goal to
prevent a situation developing in South Africa similar to that in
Gouws pointed out that negotiations were still at an early
stage and it was not yet possible to release details. He said the money most
probably would be made available in phases for land reform.
goal seems unlikely
The government regards land reform as one of the
biggest challenges with which it has been faced.
So far, 29 877 land
claims out of a total of about 68 000 have been concluded.
Thabo Mbeki set a goal for concluding all land claims by 2005, but experts
doubt whether this will be possible.
The effect of such a huge amount of
capital being made available to finance land reform will see the process
expand considerably further than these 68 000 land claims, as it would make
land acquisition possible for thousands of people.
IDC regarded in a
good light overseas
This will definitely place downward pressure on
interest rates as far as land transactions are concerned. It will not
necessarily mean that interest rates for these transactions will decrease,
but will mean, at least, that interest rates will be much more stable than in
At best, it could lead to interest rates for land
transactions decreasing considerably, and that interest rates of 6.5% or even
less could be levied on such transactions, as was the case in the
Ngqula pointed out that foreign investors increasingly regarded
IDC as an agent for investments in the country.
Up to the end of June,
the IDC had increased its assets from R27bn to R36.7bn, which made it the
country's largest financial institution by far.
Something to ponder over your sandwich and CD By Tom
Knott THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The anti-capitalist fruitcakes are
in town again, looking to make another political statement around the
meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, hoping against
hope to have a thorough airing of their important message, which is: Block
traffic, destroy property, go to jail. You know what these dedicated
anarchists say. A brick through the window of a McDonald's keeps the
artery-clogged consumer away. So "bring a sandwich and a good CD" and
hide the downtown Party Animals. The fun is expected to begin in
earnest tomorrow, when the various protest groups will attempt to
inconvenience the city. You think you could have problems getting around
the city? Try to imagine the burdensome problem before the protesters. They
go through life feeling the pain of the 6 billion inhabitants on Earth, just
not your pain if you happen to come up against them. There is so much bad
stuff out there. There is the starving child in North Korea. There is this or
that conspiracy theory to ponder. There is the war on terror, which is not
really a war, only a tediously contrived justification to try out new
weaponry. That is a lot of mental baggage to lug around. You wonder how
these poor souls have the strength to rise out of bed each morning. They
are brave, so darn brave, and they have come to Washington with the weight
of the world on their shoulders. They need to be heard, and you need
to understand. If some of your property happens to be damaged in the process,
consider it your donation to a higher cause. If these groups can save the
life of one person, either a starving child, mother or father, then all the
damage will have been worth it. Just one punctured tire from a cop
car will feed a family of eight in Zimbabwe. From one of the protest
Web sites comes a reminder to all activists to bring "bikes and bike parts,
automobiles, vans and trucks and a brain and conscience for the media who
refuse to cover our issues." The latter sounds almost similar to the mission
from "The Wizard of Oz," except the activists are off to see Metropolitan
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey instead of the man behind the curtain. They
want an audience. The police chief and his subordinates are there to listen.
They want global justice? That's not a problem. Chief Ramsey is all about
justice. Here's another appeal from the anti-capitalists: "Nothing ever
burns down by itself. Every fire needs a little bit of help." These ninnies
just had to go there, to the city service once led by Ronnie Few, the who's
who of ex-fire chiefs, with the who being highly subjective, of course.
Next thing you know, the visitors will be touting the signed support of
Dudley Moore. Go ahead, shove a piece of paper in the hands of the funnyman.
He'll sign anything. Need a co-signer on a bank loan? You know where to
go. Seriously, it is just too bad that two anarchists don't make a
right. The anarchists have their targets of interest. It would seem only fair
if their property somehow became targets of interest among those who
have neither the time nor patience to be interrupted from making a
living. It is hard to say how the anarchists feel about their property.
Given the quality of their rants, you assume no self-respecting anarchist
would object if someone grabbed a tire iron and performed major body work on
his vehicle. If anything, the anarchist would have to cheer the procedure.
The anarchist would have to grasp the enlightening aspect of it. But maybe
not. You never know. The self-righteous are funny that way. They can
pretend to have all the economic answers. Who is ever going to know
otherwise? They can put a city on notice and threaten to do this and that
because of the power of their ideas. They even can disrupt the quality of
your life, because it is good for you, whether you know it or not.
Here you are, with a job, bills, responsibilities and worries. You have any
number of concerns, and right now, where the next Starbucks franchise opens
up is not really very high on your priority list. That's too bad. Sit down,
shut up and listen to the heartfelt sentiments of the demonstrators. All
some of them are saying is give anarchy a chance. Not feeling it? Then,
as Chief Ramsey has suggested, have a sandwich and pop in a CD.
FOR any community,
tolerance to moral turpitude is a sure sign that life itself is no longer
guided by those ideals that separate man from other primates, like, for
instance, the pursuit of happiness and avoidance of everything else that
would bring unnecessary pain.
And this covers the whole range from
criminal inclinations to a people's chosen way of life, mannerisms and
Yet as Zimbabweans grapple with economic hardships on the one
hand and the exponential rise of AIDS infections on the other, that tolerance
for all things that have led to those huge numbers of AIDS statistics has
sought to stretch that "virtue" called tolerance. And it is somewhat morbidly
comical that what has been tolerated is perverse, when that same kind of
tolerance could well find more relevance in our contemporary
The most unfortunate development is that while not much
could be done by the ordinary man as far as changing the course of the
economy at any given time, what man has all the same been endowed with is
the ability to direct the course of his life, how he chooses to live
It is interesting however that there has been a causal link
attached to the economic woes, both here and elsewhere, and the proliferation
of behaviours that become an ideal breeding ground for HIV/AIDS
It then becomes a not- so-far-fetched conclusion that
if governments better the lives of the ordinary citizen, that in itself would
expedite all attempts to make extinct these and other infections that have
seemingly become a permanent feature in all poor Third World
Is it not tragic anyway that for many African countries,
many people are dying of diseases known not be fatal because they lack access
to medicines and health facilities? And despite all this, ruling parties go
on to claim they are the best thing that ever happened to the people so
There is no better way than that to assure us of a
better existence, because while the government seems lost for solutions on
how to get the economy back on its feet, that failure has given rise to
other problems that would never been had the government made attempts
to make life better for all here.
And that is a fact that finds
relevance just about everywhere else where there have been cries
against poor governance and poor economic planning. Because of the turn that
the captains of the Zimbabwean ship took, tolerance to ways of life which
have neighbours holding their breath as to when they will be making another
visit to the cemetery within a fortnight have been greeted with astounding
tolerance. And this way of life has all the same suddenly attracted eager
neophytes, and who meanwhile bat no eyelid about the prospects of reducing
their life expectancy to absurd levels as intimated to us by AIDS
The initiation rites into this realm that was previously
agreed to be the preserve of married folk has reached alarming levels, but
obviously the popular sentiment is that it is the new age Neanderthal who
raises eyebrows when confronted with that "reality." What is it about humans
that makes them suckers for punishment such they are morbidly attracted to
activities already known to be harmful?
But for us here the sad
reality is that this is not the kind of language that particularly invites
rapt listeners, be they old geezers or young chaps still in their
secondary school khakis. It could just as well be asked if the
sexual impulses are that powerful to render all calls for commonsense
Now there are "True Love Waits" certificates being signed by
youths vowing they will wait till they exchange life-time binding vows. While
this is commendable, such initiatives have a tendency to breed hypocrisy
as people say one thing in front of colleagues and do the other once the
owls start hooting.
Any youngster committed to themselves,
not anybody, will not need to sign anything about the life they intend
to live. The problem with such pronouncements is that they can be equated
to the Swazi king's edict criminalising premarital coitus! Imagine a
prison cell packed with teenagers charged with fornicating against the
consent of the king!
That is never a solution to deal with
issues like these. Solutions lie in the awareness of self and the ideals that
one embraces thereof. But the challenge then is that outside anything else to
look forward to as far as job prospects are concerned, it is very likely that
pastimes are reduced to chasing skirts and just about anything that will
catalyse one's crossover to the afterlife.
The religious purists
will not call it that considering the circumstances. They would call it
I have been surreptitiously amused innumerable
times by the idea of telling the young sexually active lads to use those
prophylactis if they are to engage in premarital coitus. I am fascinated if
at all they are "competent" enough to "roll it on!" Do they know in the first
place how to put on that rubber? And my cynicism stems from the exponential
rise of both HIV/AIDS infections and pregnancies out of wedlock among the
sexually active youths.
If there ever was any proof needed for
the failure of the "real," "wise" campaign, it must surely lie in the
statistics of infections among the young people who are seemingly the target
audiences for that "anti-AIDS" campaign!
Yet the unfortunate
part for the young folks who decide to take their relationships to another
level is that long gone are the days when the only risk one exposed
themselves to was contracting syphilis, gonorrhoea and other "mild" forms of
sexually transmitted infections. But still that little piece of "carnal
history" seems always to elude the supposedly enlightened contemporary young
man and woman whose pursuits seem to exclude the aesthetic and the "cerebral"
in favour of the sensual!
The weird bit out of all this not so
amusing circus is that some chaps still dread getting their sweethearts
pregnant more than dragging into their system that killer bug! So much for
informed choices! These young people who seem to think the best they
can get from a relationship is to one day look back into their
immediate past and list conquests, need also to be reminded that the
fool is one who believes all women are potential receptacles for their lust.
But then there are women who sadly view themselves as such, and point and
laugh at those poor lads who asked them out but decided to keep
their hands to themselves!
One of the most complex attributes of
human beings has to be what appears that esoteric pining for all things
physically and psychologically harmful. Is it not tragic that at a time that
we are all supposed to be aware by now what those untrammelled sexual
impulses bring to one's doorstep, the age of initiation into sexual activity
has actually gone down to as low as 11 years?
But what we also
know is that despite all the evidence, despite all the writing, despite
all the pontificating, what has guided thought is what men and women
have between their legs, not the grey matter they have between their ears! I
am curious though if this will ever come to pass, and still before the cure
for AIDS is discovered. But then what will save mankind is not
the intensification of efforts to find the cure, but rather awareness
that salvation lies within every man and woman who is sexually active.
Outside that there can be no way out of this.
But then one would
expext eveybody to know this, yet human beings seem to be in need for bashing
on their heads with the same messages. And aas long we continue on that path,
much like the one chosen by the government, concered citizens have to
constantly hit out at these self-destructive attitudes.
assuming the cure for AIDS was discovered today and made available to all the
hardest hit Third World countries and for free, will that availability of the
medicine be able to sustain the infections? One can foresee laissez faire
attitudes reaching their zenith as people get in and out of bed with whoever
as they become guided by the fact that they could get into any queue in any
clinic and be cured!
That is a possibility, and perhaps the numbers
are meanwhile being checked by that awareness by some that they will die
without getting any better, so meanwhile they keep their pants
zipped. The absence of a cure meanwhile keeps others away from those
zones that would compromise their HIV status. As long as ours continues to be
a society that tolerates sexually active teenagers, then our fate has
After all, have we not been told that Botswana
literally faces extinction going by the rate of HIV/AIDS infections
and casualties thereof? What is more paining is the link that has been raised
each time AIDS is discussed of poverty providing a springboard
for AIDS infections.
While we concentrate on the joblessness that
has been inspired by the ruling party, it is tragic that some of the direct
woes stemming from those flawed economic policies have somewhat tended to be
attributed to the people's own lax morals.
The bigger picture is
more gloomy. The ruling party has its hands full; the huge
AIDS statistics stem from poor planning as for a long time the
Zimbabwean government was accused of not having a comprehensive AIDS policy.
And this has meant the work is more than doubled as the legendary bunglers
have to rescucitate the economy, create employment, fight poverty which has
fed the AIDS infections, and fight AIDS itself. Are critics then missing the
point when they say salvation here lies in a new political
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki and
his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo have predictably decided to
postpone taking the tough decisions that had been expected from them on
Zimbabwe, underlining once more that they value the bonds of African
brotherhood above all else.
In doing so, the two leaders have
inevitably placed themselves in direct conflict with Zimbabwe's democratic
forces and all who seek a negotiated solution to a low-level conflict which
increasingly threatens southern Africa's peace and stability.
Mbeki and Obasanjo have pointedly refused to bite the bullet, somehow hoping
against hope that Zimbabwe's leadership will heed their implied warning and
right its wrongs to lift the country out of deepening economic and social
They have done this despite the fact that President Robert
Mugabe has spurned their previous calls for him to stage a fresh and
transparent presidential ballot or form a national unity government as a way
out of the impasse.
They have done this despite the fact that
Mugabe has refused to listen to their pleas to revamp his controversial land
reforms that are partly responsible for causing widespread hunger in
They have done this because they, as African leaders,
cannot and should not be seen to be taking a hard line against their
This is especially so if calls for such tough action appear to
be led by voices from the former imperialist West, never mind what
long-suffering Zimbabweans want and are saying.
They have done
this purely because they, as African leaders, are worried that they too could
find themselves in the judgment dock were they to pursue similar
In other words, they are afraid of setting a precedent
that could come back to haunt them or some of their peers.
message to Zimbabweans is one and simple: please sort out your problems on
your own because we have our own countries to run.
When the present
story of Zimbabwe is finally written in years to come, Mbeki and Obasanjo
will stand out as the two leaders who, at a critical time, thwarted the
people's interests by siding with those in power.
think of any way in which they could redeem themselves - even after the
six-month deadline that they have given themselves to act should Harare not
They and all others who genuinely wish Zimbabwe well should
know better by now: Harare never cares or listens to diplomacy and it will
not suddenly do so now or after the March deadline.
leaders must take full responsibility for whatever happens next in Zimbabwe's
descent into chaos.
Their determination to secure short-term
political interests while postponing the inevitable, however painful, could
yet prove too costly for them and their colleague.
international community and global business, which have backed Mbeki and
Obasanjo in their NEPAD project in the hope that it shows a new Africa that
is determined to break with its wretched past, will have followed this week's
events in Abuja and come out with a sad conclusion.
conclusion is that some African leaders, no matter what they pledge to do,
are not ready to embrace true democracy, good economic and political
governance and the rule of law, let alone make their own member accountable
This conclusion will sadly not be made by Africa's
so-called critics and pessimists but by realists and even optimists, who must
now realise that much work still needs to be done to free the continent from
its self-inflicted mayhem.
"MOST Zimbabwean urban
voters want a peaceful rerun of the presidential election, not mass action,
because they believe the March polls were rigged in favour of President
Mugabe," says a public opinion survey conducted in July.
majority favour dialogue and not confrontation as a way of solving this
country's problems," says the Mass Public Opinion Institute's summary of a
survey in which 1 768 voters were interviewed randomly in 10
political provinces." (Daily News September 16 2002).
this tore my heart.
It is truly sad that Zimbabweans have left to
fate what is at stake. It shows that many of us have resigned to submission.
In fact, we have committed mental suicide and that is an irredeemable
betrayal of our descendants and children.
In essence we have
surrendered to Mugabe's policies and we no longer anticipate any hope for
Shall we say the old man is invincible and let him run
'his' Zimbabwe in any way he so wishes? Shall we say we have lost the battle
for democracy and economic emancipation? In short, shall we say we have
I hate to lose - even in a game of pool, I simply do not
Let's say the Zimbabwean crisis is a game of pool in
which Mugabe has only the black ball to sink and his opponents, the
Zimbabwean people, have two balls to sink excluding the black
It is clear that we are at a point where he has robbed us of
two shots and so we must confront him. Either we do it or he crushes
Slowly, everyone who anticipated salvation with the departure
of Mugabe in March is being disillusioned and being rudely awakened to
the chilling reality that Mugabe is here to stay. And indeed he will
stay, especially when urban dwellers continue to fool themselves with
naļve expectations of a presidential election re-run.
heart of hearts we all know that that is a very distant cry from reality
particularly when the Americans themselves never anticipated such a
possibility following the Florida saga.
It's folly to look forward
to a "peaceful" presidential election re-run particularly when one does not
understand how, when and where the initial election was rigged. People should
not daydream that Mugabe will be dignified enough to start the game all over
again more so when he is just about to sink the black ball.
Recent history has shown that dialogue with ZANU PF is dangerously futile and
even if it were possible nothing favourable would come out of
All noble processes have been unsuccessful in
dealing with the country's man-made problems. What therefore, remains can
only be confrontation. With sound leadership confrontation cannot
The people should just rise like a bubble in a glass of
water; slowly it rises and as it rises it grows and as it grows it gathers
speed and then suddenly ... POP! It bursts. Then all is calm
Such is the ease with which serious Zimbabweans should rise
if there is any hope of ever stabilising every tattered facet of this
Even though there are reports that the army is on standby
to quash any opposition to the (mis)government of the day in a "short but
bloody coup", if the people are determined to pay a visit to State House, not
even nuclear weapons can stop them.
For Ngugi wa Thiongo and the
rest of the wretched of the Third World countries, "the voice of the people
is the voice of God." So if God is on our side, not even Mugabe can be
We have suffered enough, we have been patient, we have
been tolerant and as a matter of fact respectful, but we have been spat upon,
beaten, raped, murdered, maimed and shot at.
We have pleaded for
Mugabe to save us by stepping down but he has remained as adamant and
unconquerable as a piece chewing gum for you may chew and chew and chew but
never totally be rid of.
It remains to be seen whether the people
will continue to chew 78-year-old bubble gum they have been chewing for 22
It is undisputable that tension has mounted amongst
anti-Mugabe supporters because the old man is just about to sink that black
ball and sinking it would mean silencing the opposition for as long as he
There is no dialogue when a game of pool is about to end. It
is either you sink or you swim - period!
The docility of
opposition Zimbabweans is that they are timid players in the game of
political survival. They passively wait to pounce on ruling party mistakes
and as in a game of pool, a natural loser will wait for Mugabe to lose the
game by default after sinking both the black ball and the cue
The opposition must not wait for such a vain situation to
occur but rather must be seen to take the game to ZANU PF, zoom from behind
and save our souls by sinking that crucial black ball.
simply mean is: one of these bad days the people should just stage a
diplomatic march to State House and march back with Mugabe's resignation as a
PEASANTS settled by
the government on Zimbabwean game conservancies under its controversial land
reforms could end up owning the money-spinning wildlife if a proposed
wildlife policy is approved by the government, it was established this
The new farmers, severely hampered by lack of financial
resources crucial to embark on commercial agriculture, could use the
wildlife resources as surety to get loans from financial institutions, says
the government's National Parks and Wildlife Authority (NPWA) in a
proposal document of its new land reform-based wildlife policy.
The proposed policy document, shown to the Financial Gazette this week, was
submitted to the government last month, NPWA officials said.
Environment Minister Francis Nhema could not be reached for comment
on whether the government planned to adopt the policy's
If the government accepts the proposed policy, the new
farmers would use their right to wildlife to win capital to develop and
expand the lucrative wildlife sector.
According to the NPWA's
draft policy: "Security of tenure over wildlife resources is key to
wildlife-based land reform.
"Existing legislation vests ownership
in the state and ascribes use rights to land owners. Appropriate authority
provisions of the Parks and Wildlife Act 1975 should be extended to new
The NPWA proposes that the government engages the
private sector and donors to help raise resources required to incorporate
wildlife management in its chaotic land reform programme.
government would also be required to devise new and sustainable wildlife
management plans and to rigorously monitor the new farmers to ensure that
they managed the wildlife resources to world standards prescribed by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
will be considerable transaction costs involved in incorporating wildlife
options within the land reform programme. Suitable mechanisms similar to the
current crop and livestock schemes must be developed to support the
wildlife-based land reform options," the NPWA says.
will mobilise the private sector (and) NGOs to support the implementation of
wildlife-based land reform."
But donors, irked by the violence and
chaos that has accompanied the land reforms, have long shunned the
government's land redistribution plans.
The European Union, the
United States, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada have imposed travel and
financial sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his top officials because
of a presidential poll earlier this year they say Mugabe won through
They are also protesting against the government's drive to
seize land from white farmers without paying any compensation.
Agriculture experts say the land reforms have largely benefited Mugabe's
lieutenants and supporters of his ruling ZANU PF party, some of whom have
grabbed wildlife conservancies from white farmers.
ruling ZANU PF party supporters occupy large tracts of wildlife conservancies
and national parks against the government's own policies which stipulate that
the landless should not settle in such areas.
Poaching has been on
the increase in these areas, with wildlife experts estimating that half of
the $40 billion worth of game that was on private farms has been lost to
criminals since the farm invasions started in February 2000.
Wildlife production, which together with tourism had been expanding rapidly
before the invasions, is a lucrative business in Zimbabwe, which hopes to net
$10 billion this year, up from $4 billion earned last year.
Nyathi Assistant Editor 9/26/02 8:58:41 AM (GMT +2)
SECTIONS of Zimbabwe's private sector are increasingly uneasy
about farm-style invasions of white-owned companies following alleged
intimidation by ruling ZANU PF officials.
have been no organised invasion of companies since last year, sources in the
private sector say in the last few months there have been several reports of
senior ruling party officials secretly approaching white-owned firms for
takeover. Last Thursday, a member of Parliament and ZANU PF Politburo
is said to have arm-twisted a white shareholder in a Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE)-listed exporter into selling 4.87 percent of the company's
shares valued at $288 million. The company is one of the stock
exchange's best performers. "He basically said you have to sell these
shares whether you like it or not," a stock market source told the Financial
Gazette. "This is the first time we've heard of anything like this
happening on the stock market. Where we are a bit worried is if they have
been invading farms, is this the beginning of an invasion of the stock
market? It would be quite a disturbing trend if they were extending hondo
yeminda (the war to gain land) into industry." ZSE chief executive
Emmanuel Munyukwi would not comment on the matter. The sources said
reports of intimidation had also been received from an engineering firm in
Bindura, a small chrome exporter, a baking company and a cement
manufacturer. They said company officials had been subjected to
intimidatory visits at work and home as well as humiliation before their
workforce. Offers made for the companies were also below market value, the
sources said. "Companies are being made offers they can't refuse but at
only a fraction of the value of their assets," said opposition Movement
for Democratic Change secretary and Bulawayo-based industrialist Eddie
Cross. "They are being subjected to threats, intimidation, CIO
(Central Intelligence Organisation) visits and arrests. I think what's
happening at National Foods is part of that whole strategy. I think they are
trying to force it into liquidation." National Foods, Zimbabwe's
largest milling company, was earlier this year accused of hoarding salt, one
of the basic commodities in short supply in the country, and threatened with
nationalisation by none other than President Robert Mugabe. The
state-controlled GMB is subsequently said to have stopped deliveries of maize
to the Bulawayo operation. Cross said: "The situation at National Foods
is very serious. It has 50 percent of the capacity for milling and packing
food in this country and has the largest network of depots and transport.
It's been forced to close depots and that has affected people in remote
areas." Economic consultant John Robertson said: "I've heard of
something of the sort (company intimidation). They seem to believe that the
milling companies and the bakeries are strategic entities and they should
have control over them. They seem to be getting away with it because the
people are too scared to say anything." Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions information officer Mlamleli Sibanda said the labour watchdog had also
heard reports of companies being intimidated but had not been able to
substantiate them. "We have heard that and are still trying to
investigate that information. We have heard of especially companies in the
construction industry but we haven't heard of particular cases," he
said. Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce economist James Jowa told
the Financial Gazette: "What we know is that there are some companies that
have been listed down by the Ministry of Industry for takeover. They are said
to be under distress and they (ministry) are looking for people to take
them over. "According to internal sources, some officials are trying
to identify companies that they want to approach and go to the minister and
say: 'we want to take over these companies' so that they are added to the
list." The government, which in the past has accused white-owned
companies of closing down in a bid to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy, last year
set aside funds supposed to be used for the takeover and revival of closed
firms. There was no immediate comment on the matter from Ministry
of Information secretary George Charamba, who was said to be attending
meetings on Tuesday and did not return calls from this newspaper.
However, Mugabe has in the past threatened takeovers of firms in industry and
mining similar to those in the commercial farming sector, where at least 90
percent of white-owned properties have been earmarked for the resettlement of
landless blacks by the state. Company invasions by ZANU PF-aligned war
veterans last year fizzled out quickly while there has been sporadic action
against mines. In its financial statement for the year to March 31
2002, United Kingdom-based gold company African Gold says its main Zimbabwean
asset, Inez mine, was invaded three times and its staff intimidated,
threatened and physically abused. "This mine, containing a resource
of over 200 000 ounces of gold, has a modern plant capable of handling 250
tonnes of ore a day (but) is tottering along, barely making ends meet by
mining between 15 and 20 tonnes a day," company chairman John Teeling
said. Although most analysts said it was unlikely the government
would sanction invasions in industry since it was no longer facing a
crucial election, they however warned that such action would further dampen
investor sentiment and worsen Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
Instability in the agricultural sector, the backbone of the
country's economy, has already triggered capital flight, slashed food
production by at least 60 percent and is threatening many companies with
closure. "It would further dampen investor confidence, further express
the unavailability of the rule of law and respect for property rights,"
Jowa said. "It would also highlight that ZANU PF officials can do
what they want and that they are above the law." Robertson added:
"When Zambia got its independence, it nationa-lised everything and
manufacturers almost all closed down. At that time, the kwacha and our
currency were worth the same. Now the kwacha is 4 700 to the US dollar and
has been there for eight-to-nine years. "That's exactly what would
happen here. There's no choice, it's a sort of laid-down path and we would
tread it even though we can see it stretching ahead, going downhill and
taking us all with it."
Sydney Masamvu Political Editor 9/26/02 8:42:50 AM (GMT
REGISTRAR-GENERAL Tobaiwa Mudede yesterday filed an urgent
application in the High Court chambers seeking an order to destroy ballot
papers used in the disputed March presidential election, although there is an
ongoing legal challenge to President Robert Mugabe's controversial
Mudede, a known ruling ZANU PF supporter, is arguing that
he wants to use the ballot boxes in rural district council elections
scheduled for this weekend, whose postponement the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is seeking through an urgent court application also
The MDC, which failed to field candidates in over
700 wards for the weekend ballot, is alleging that ZANU PF used violence and
intimidation to scare its candidates from participating in the
According to Mudede, who refused a donation of transparent
ballot boxes from the United States of America during the March presidential
vote, financial constraints had left his office without the capacity to
purchase new boxes and seals for the rural polls.
An order for
the manufacture of the seals, which are imported, has to be made six months
in advance, Mudede says.
Mudede's application is being opposed by
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost to Mugabe in an election branded as
fraudulent by most of the world except a handful of African
The case to hear Mudede's application to destroy the
presidential ballots will be heard in chambers today before Justice Anele
Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe by over 400 000 votes in a poll
that was marred by violence and alleged rigging. Officially Mugabe polled 1
685 212 votes versus Tsvangirai's 1 258 401.
The MDC and the
international community have refused to recognise Mugabe's re-election,
deepening an already crippling political and economic crisis that has ravaged
Zimbabwe in the past three years.
In his application, Mudede is
challenging a High Court order granted by Judge Antonia Guvava on September
12, which barred the destruction of the ballot papers until the finalisation
of the Tsvangirai's court challenge against Mugabe's poll win.
Part of Justice Guvava's order reads: "The respondent shall not destroy and
instead shall keep in his safe custody and not alter or amend in any way all
the documents referred to in Section 78 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:01)
pending the outcome of the Election Petition instituted by the Applicant in
Case No. HC3616/ 2002."
Under the Electoral Act, ballot papers
should be retained and not destroyed for a maximum period of six months,
which Mudede says has lapsed under section 78 (4) of the Electoral
In his opposing affidavit, Tsvangirai said Mudede's wishes
should not be granted because this would be tantamount to destroying critical
evidence in the election results challenge.
Mudede has no right to ask the High Court to reverse an order it has already
issued by consent.
Meanwhile the High Court yesterday registered
Jeremy John Gauntlett, the top South African lawyer representing Tsvangirai
in his election petition against Mugabe.
High Court judge
Justice Edias Karwi granted an application by Gauntlett for registration to
practice under the laws of Zimbabwe. The registration only allows Gauntlet to
handle Tsvangirai's case.
Tsvangirai had earlier been denied the
right to engage a foreign lawyer by Justice Minister Patrick
The election petition has been ready for hearing since
July when Tsvangirai paid the statutory $2 million surety demanded by
Mugabe's lawyer, Terrence Hussein, who had successfully demanded that the
money be increased from $500 000 to $2 million.
THIS week the Australian
prime minister, John Howard, was unsuccessful in his efforts to have Zimbabwe
suspended from the Commonwealth at the so-called Troika meeting at Abuja in
Nigeria. The other two Troika leaders present - from South Africa and Nigeria
- said the panel should give Mugabe another six months to improve human
rights, promote political reconciliation and cooperate with a UN land reform
programme - before considering suspending Zimbabwe. We have seen the results
of such prevarication before.
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is rapidly
becoming Africa's Burma. The parallels are uncanny. Both regimes came unstuck
after they cast aside the old colonial names for their nations, with Burma
becoming Myanmar and Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe. Along with their names, both
jettisoned a tradition of efficient government under an apolitical civil
service in favour of a version of bureaucratic socialism. Now both countries
are run by paranoid dictators whose madness has wrecked their economies and
killed thousands of people.
Just as Burma was once Asia's rice
bowl, Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa. In 1980, the year Mugabe
overthrew white rule, inflation stood at 3 per cent, while the economy was
growing by 10 per cent. Now, inflation is rapidly spiralling upwards and food
prices have risen by 150 per cent in the past year. Most economists predict a
fall in gross domestic product of 12 per cent this year - the largest in
Zimbabwe's history. In the last three years, Zimbabwe has moved from being a
net exporter of food to a situation where today most of all food consumed has
to be imported.
Burma, under a similarly megalomaniac leader, Ne
Win, went through a comparable economic collapse. In 1947, when the British
gave Burma its independence, the country was the greatest exporter of rice in
the world. By 1988, it was one of the ten poorest countries in the world and
a net importer of rice.
Mugabe's violent onslaught against the
white farmers is akin to the Burmese junta's persecution of the ethnic
minorities. Compare the white farmers in Zimbabwe with, for example, the
Karen in Burma. Both were prosperous minority groups that valued education
According to Pascal Khoo Thwe, from the Kayan Padaung
ethnic minority in Burma, in his recent book From the Land of Green Ghosts,
Ne Win's regime was "marked by hostility to educated people". The same could
be said of Mugabe. Ne Win adopted an isolationist, anti-colonialist stance,
and associated the ethnic minorities with being pro-British. That is
precisely Mugabe's language against the white farmers.
stated ideal was to "end the exploitation of man by man." There are echoes of
this in Mugabe's programme of forcibly removing the white farmers and
redistributing farmland to Zimbabwe's black majority. The only problem, in
both cases, is that however equitable the theory sounds, in practice the only
beneficiaries are the leaders' cronies. In Burma, Pascal Khoo Thwe writes,
the result was "a sort of voodoo socialism, composed of little more than
slogans". Senior Burmese army officers "embarked on a campaign of national
plunder", profiting from the jade mines and opium trade. The news that
Mugabe's wife has appropriated a farm and ordered its elderly owners off is
yet more confirmation that he and his thugs, too, have embarked on a campaign
of national plunder.
Like Burma, Zimbabwe is now a country in which
one is likely to go to jail for speaking out against the regime. The former
leader of Zimbabwe's civil service union, Ephraim Tapa, now in exile in
Britain, said last month: "If I go back, I would be dead within hours." Most
Burmese in exile and Karen and Karenni refugees in camps along the Thai-Burma
border know that feeling only too well.
Yet another parallel is
the fact that even given the oppression of minorities, the majority peoples
still suffer. In Zimbabwe, more than 150,000 black farm workers have already
lost their livelihoods and possessions. Some have lost their lives. Last
month, Mugabe ordered the eviction of a further 2,900 farmers, out of 4,500
remaining - which, when farm workers and families are taken into account,
will involve up to 1.2 million people.
There is cause for
concern about the use of international aid to both countries. In both
Zimbabwe and Burma, distribution of food supplies risks being hijacked and
siphoned off to the armed forces and supporters of the regime.
Both Mugabe and the Burmese junta are illegitimate regimes. In Burma, the
seizure of power was unashamedly blatant. Aung San Suu Kyi and her National
League for Democracy won over 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats in 1990,
yet the military refused to recognise the result. She has been in and out of
house arrest ever since. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe stands accused of rigging the
presidential elections earlier this year. He subjected his principal
opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change, to
constant harassment and, on occasion, arrest.
The biggest point
that Zimbabwe and Burma have in common is the impotence of the international
community. In both cases, economic sanctions and boycotts have been piling
up. But these actions are token and involve little effort or
It is time for the democratic world to take a stand and
take bold, even risky, action to end the murderers' reign of terror. Such
action should not just involve the West. The neighbours of these two
tyrannies need to end their complicity. Zimbabwe's African neighbours have
been at best weak and at worst supportive of Mugabe's thuggish behaviour.
There are fears that his land redistribution policy will be copied in
Namibia. South Africa so far has been unwilling to act, despite having
considerable leverage over Zimbabwe, because it provides most of the
country's energy supplies.
Similarly with Burma, instead of being
sidelined it has been welcomed into the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations and has even been able to bully its smaller neighbours, as in the
case of its veto of newly independent East Timor's application for observer
status. Thailand, while providing shelter for refugees from Burma, is too
nervous to do anything to upset the junta; China arms Rangoon to the teeth;
Indonesia and the Philippines stay silent.
Opposition groups in
Zimbabwe have demanded armed UN intervention to prevent a humanitarian
catastrophe. Ethnic minorities in Burma ask for the same. Ephraim Tapa said
recently that "there is not much Zimbabweans can do. We need outside help
now." So do the Karen and Karenni, and indeed the pro-democracy movement in
"Governments talk openly about overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
Why not Mugabe?" says Mr Tapa. And why not the Burmese junta? Do Burma and
Zimbabwe not merit inclusion in the "axis of evil"? They may not be a direct
threat to the West in the way Iran, Iraq and North Korea are, but they are no
less evil in their slaughter of their own people and may spread instability
to their neighbours. So, on the road to Baghdad, Mr Bush, don't forget
about Rangoon and Harare.
a.. Benedict Rogers is a director
of the human-rights organisation Christian Solidarity Worldwide. A version of
this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
DOZENS of teachers in Zimbabwe are being assaulted and
tortured for being supporters of the opposition party, a human rights group
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum claims in its
latest report that war veterans and supporters of President Robert Mugabe
have unleashed a "reign of terror" in parts of the country, targeting
teachers believed to be supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). At least 75 teachers have been assaulted and 34 tortured since January
last year, the report says.
The claims will fuel allegations that
78-year-old Mr Mugabe is doing all he can to break the back of the main
opposition party, which emerged in 2000 as the biggest challenger to his
two-decade long grip on power.
The war veterans, who have led the recent
invasions of white-owned farms, have also forced black teachers out of their
homes, destroyed their property and ransacked their houses, the report
The violence is believed to be worse in the poor rural areas,
traditional hotbeds of support for the president which he appears determined
not to lose. Mr Mugabe is himself a former school teacher.
reported attacks on teachers who support or are suspected of supporting the
MDC seems to be a way of limiting their political influence on the
rural populace," the report says.
In one incident in eastern
Manicaland province, a pregnant teacher married to an opposition official was
allegedly assaulted by war veterans and ruling ZANU-PF party youths and lost
her baby soon after it was born.
Few of these cases have been confirmed
by police, and war veterans have denied the charges.
official Stanislous Chikukwa told the independent Daily News last week that
allegations teachers were being attacked by the ex-fighters were part of a
"I am not saying it's true that we beat up teachers. On the
contrary, war veterans are the most disciplined group of people in the
country," Mr Chikukwa told the newspaper.
A police spokesman, Wayne
Bvudzijena, told reporters yesterday that some of the incidents were "not
verified", adding that he was wary of reports made by non-governmental
The government believes some organisations are working
with the opposition and the former colonial power Britain against Mr Mugabe.
But the head of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe - a small
grouping of teachers - confirmed last week that teachers were being
"Teachers must seriously consider putting this victimisation
to an end by any means necessary," Takavafira Zhou said.
group says it compiled its study from 68 separate reports made by victims, as
well as from reports appearing in the press and those made by partner
Schoolchildren are also being affected. "In some instances
they are made to witness scenes of extreme violence such as beatings and
torture," the report alleges.
Pupils revising for O- and A-level
examinations at a school in Mberengwa West, central Zimbabwe, in October last
year were instead forced to undergo political "re-education".
some salaries in the profession barely topping Z$20,000 a month (about £250
at the official rate but only £20 on the parallel market), morale is at an
all-time low. Many teachers are leaving the profession and the
There have been threats that the government will take over
private schools, once exclusively white but now with many black
The government was angered by comments this year from the white
headmaster of one of Zimbabwe's most prestigious educational establishments,
St George' s College. The headmaster criticised Mr Mugabe's dubious victory
in the March presidential elections, echoing the opposition party.
- African economies are expected to pick up slightly next year after
stumbling in 2002 but the continent faces vast challenges including
a worsening famine in the south, the IMF reports. African growth had held
up surprisingly well, helped by better economic policies, fewer conflicts and
debt relief, the International Monetary Fund said in a twice-yearly report on
the global outlook.
"Serious problems exist in certain parts of the
continent, however - most importantly, a deepening famine in southern
Africa," it said.
Economic growth in Africa was set to ease from 3.5%
last year to 3.1% in 2002 before rising to 4.2% in 2003 as commodity prices
But the IMF cautioned that, in part due to unanticipated
natural disasters and conflicts, it had consistently overestimated African
growth in the past.
"Africa continues to face an enormous range of
political and economic problems," the report said.
political instability and armed conflicts still threaten macroeconomic
stability and longer-term prospects in a number of countries; natural
disasters regularly damage subsistence crops; and the HIV/AIDS pandemic - as
well as other infectious diseases - has seriously affected prospects across
the continent, particularly in southern Africa."
The IMF noted a
significant lowering of life expectancy in Botswana
These troubles were accompanied by other problems,
including low levels of investment and savings, limited investment, poor
infrastructure, distortions in the farm sector and underdeveloped laws and
Many of the problems were self-reinforcing, the Fund said. For
example, low life expectancy reduced the returns from education and political
instability magnified the impact of natural disasters.
gains made in establishing macro-economic stability in a growing number of
African economies, the pressing need now is to address these underlying
problems and improve the overall environment for
One key economic ingredient to the solution would
be strengthening the economic infrastructure by providing legal protection of
property rights, fighting corruption and cutting red tape, it
Countries such as Botswana and Tanzania had made progress in taking
aim at corruption while Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda took steps to
liberalise their economies.
"Looking more specifically at the region's
largest economies, economic activity in South Africa has held up well in the
face of the global downturn and higher gold prices and external demand should
stimulate stronger growth later this year and in 2003," the IMF
South African economic growth was expected to accelerate from 2.2%
last year to 2.5% this year and 3.0% in 2003.
But as Nigeria lowered
its oil production in line with Organisation for Petroleum Exporting
Countries agreements, its economy was expected to contract by 2.3% this year
before expanding 3.7% in 2003.
In Algeria, growth was forecast to slip
from 2.8% last year to 2.1% this year, then rising to 2.9% in
"The outlook for Algeria remains affected by civil unrest,
political violence, and very high unemployment, especially among youth," the
A former South African superspy who played a key role in the
settlement between the apartheid regime and the new government says the
secret to good negotiations - at least at the beginning stage - lies in
He says that this was a key ingredient which should be
remembered in dealing with the troubles in the Middle East and other world
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club today, former national
intelligence boss Niel Barnard, who as a government representative was
involved in 48 meetings with the African National Congress starting during
the presidency of apartheid supremo PW Botha, said peace could also not be
achieved by third parties.
Referring to the current Iraqi crisis and a
possible war being launched by the United States, Dr Barnard - who is famous
for once tying the shoelaces of then prisoner and later President Nelson
Mandela during negotiations - said the more he watched CNN and read the New
York Times and Washington Post, the more he was convinced that the way to
breach the gap between parties in conflict was through
When one kicked off negotiations between two warring
parties, "the two sides are worlds apart and a lot of concessions have to be
The problem was that politicians can not make concessions in
public. "It is not possible," he told members of the club.
to Botha, he said the former president had asked him when he should inform
his cabinet about "what was going on" (the start of talks with the then
exiled ANC ). "I told him sir, you have some ministers who find
it genetically impossible to keep the news to themselves."
emphasized that he was not arguing that the people should not be informed
about political processes, it was important that the kick-off phase of
negotiations should be confidential.
Although he declined to comment on
the lack of firm action by the Commonwealth on Zimbabwe - and refused to
provide advice to the government on how to deal with the political and
economic crisis there - he said protagonists in a conflict "have to see each
other face to face. In the end nobody else can make peace for
The other important rule was that once the process of negotiation
began it should not take too long. At the beginning of the South African
process a target for elections had been set in April 1994.
who served as director general of the Western Cape government after 1994
until recently, said if negotiations between protagonists were not conducted
quickly, the process could be hijacked by radicals "from the far left and far
Mbeki, Obasanjo press for fresh ZANU PF, MDC
Staff Reporter 9/26/02 9:04:22 AM (GMT
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian leader
Olusegun Obasanjo are pushing for the resumption of reconciliation talks
between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF and the opposition MDC to alleviate a
fast deteriorating political and economic crisis, diplomatic sources told
the Financial Gazette this week.
The sources said Mbeki and
Obasanjo were desperate to show the international community that they were
achieving progress in Zimbabwe by bringing the two parties to the negotiating
table. The two leaders this week put their own credibility and that of
their pet project, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), on
the line when they blocked Commonwealth sanctions against Harare.
The sources did not say whether the leaders of Africa's two powerhouses had
already dispatched emissaries to press President Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, to embrace the
peace talks. Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo said he was not aware of
any fresh efforts by the South African leader to bring ZANU PF and the MDC
back to the negotiating table but said Mbeki was committed to seeing the
Zimbabwean parties talking over their problems. "I am not aware of
that," Khumalo told the Financial Gazette by telephone from South Africa
yesterday. "But the question of dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF is
something that President Mbeki will continue to encourage because, after all,
the people who will have to resolve whatever problems Zimbabwe is facing
are Zimbabweans themselves." A month after Mugabe's controversial
March presidential election victory, Pretoria and Abuja pressured the
Zimbabwean leader into talks with his chief rival. But the
negotiations collapsed when ZANU PF pulled out saying a court application
filed by the MDC challenging Mugabe's poll win had to be conclud ed in the
courts first. ZANU PF chairman and Special Affairs Minister in Mugabe's
office John Nkomo yesterday appeared to resist resumption of talks now,
saying the ruling party's position remained that the court challenge had to
be heard first. "When the talks were suspended, reasons were given.
That is still the position of ZANU PF because nothing has changed on the
ground," he said. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai blamed ZANU PF for
scuttling the talks in the first place but said his party was not against
dialogue. "They (Mbeki and Obasanjo) should talk to ZANU PF because
they are the ones who scuttled the talks. But as a party we are not
anti-dialogue," he said. Political analysts said dialogue now stood
a chance of succeeding, especially because Mbeki and Obasanjo were in an even
stronger position to arm-twist Mugabe to make concessions at the talks after
they rescued him from tough sanctions on Monday. University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) political scientist Masipula Sithole said: "Mbeki and Obasanjo
are better positioned now having borrowed Mugabe six more months to act right
or face the wrath of the Commonwealth." UZ Institute of Development
Studies associate professor Brian Raftopoulos said dialogue stood a chance
because both ZANU PF and the MDC had little viable options left. "It
is clear even to ZANU PF that they cannot destroy the MDC nor do they have a
solution to the economic crisis, and a negotiated settlement with the MDC is
the key to unlocking international support which they clearly need.
"For the MDC, mass action is not on the cards while all political space
appears closed to it. The talks offer a reasonable chance."
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday reshuffled his
party's national executive and shadow ministries in a move he said was aimed
at strengthening the organisation and prepare it to take charge as Zimbabwe's
Following the reshuffle, Gwanda North
legislator Paul Themba Nyathi moves from his post as director of elections to
secretary for information, replacing Kuwadzana legislator Learnmore Jongwe,
who is awaiting trial on charges of murdering his wife. "We are
fine-tuning and strengthening ourselves ready to govern and meet the
challenges that lie ahead for the MDC in the future," Tsvangirai told
journalists in Harare. Other new appointments in the national
executive, which is equivalent to the ruling ZANU PF's Politburo, see Tendai
Biti moving from the post of foreign affairs shadow minister to secretary of
economic affairs and shadow home affairs minister. He replaces Eddie
Cross, who is now part of an executive committee on the economy.
Blessing Chebundo, the Member of Parliament for Kwekwe Central, becomes the
secretary for health while Remus Makuwaza takes over as director of
elections. Alexio Mudzingwa, a guerrilla in Robert Mugabe's ZANLA
during Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war, replaces Job Sikhala as secretary
for defence and security. Nicholas Mudzengerere, a member of the
national executive, was appointed lands secretary while Getrude Mtombeni
joins the international relations portfolio with the responsibility for
forging and strengthening MDC's trade union links locally and
internationally. MDC's secretary-general Welshman Ncube, the third
highest ranking official in the party's executive and former home affairs
shadow minister, has been tasked to supervise all shadow ministries and party
affairs by virtue of his position. The party's treasurer, Fletcher
Dulini Ncube, has been relieved of his duties as industry and commerce
minister and been replaced by Milford Gwetu, MP for Mpopoma..
Gabriel Chaibva, the MP for Sunningdale, was named shadow minister of local
government, while Moses Muzila, a guerrilla fighter in Joshua Nkomo's ZIPRA
forces and Bulilimamangwe North MP, replaces Biti at foreign affairs shadow
minister. Edwin Mushoriwa, MP for Dzivarasekwa, becomes the shadow
environment minister. Tsvangirai said the MDC was in the process of
forming three think-tanks that would deal specifically with economic, foreign
and domestic policies. The think-tanks will comprise technocrats
drawn from the private sector, civil society and the public service and are
already being constituted.
violence blamed on ruling ZANU PF youth militia and war veterans has hit
pastoral work in Zimbabwe, with pastors this week saying they are unable to
provide support to suspected opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
The Zimbabwe National Pastors' Conference (ZNPC), a
network of Christian pastors, said it was disturbed by reports of the
harassment and intimidation of pastors, who are under increasing pressure
from ruling party activists.
ZNPC coordinator Jonah Gokova said
reports from the organisation's members indicated that pastors were being
pressured not to provide support to perceived members of the MDC, including
officiating at their burials.
He said pastors were being subjected
to harassment, intimidation and displacement.
violence in this country is affecting pastoral work and, like any vocation,
we find our colleagues becoming victims and being subjected to harassment and
torture, acts of which are based on erroneous perceptions that pastors are
aligned to the opposition," he said.
The ZNPC said Manicaland
province had the highest number of pastors who had been subjected to
intimidation, with three being forced to leave the area, including Roman
Catholic Church priest Patrick Joseph Kelly who was last month removed from
his Nyanga parish by seven war veterans supported by the Central Intelligence
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC),
which groups the leadership of the Catholic Church in the country, will hold
a meeting at the end of this week to discuss the impact of violence on
pastoral work and Kelly's displacement.
"I can only comment
after our meeting at the end of this week and when the Bishop of Manicaland,
Alexio Muchabayiwa, releases his findings on Kelly's departure," said ZCBC
spokesman Steve Muchemwa.
Gokova said: "The lack of respect for the
vocation of priesthood that is becoming more and more apparent in the actions
of some politicians is diabolic and unacceptable to all those who believe in
He said his organisation is offering moral support and is
in the process of coming up with means of assisting pastors affected by
violence with alternative accommodation and food.
violence in Zimbabwe is estimated to have displaced more than 50 000 people
in the past two years, many of whom have been forced to flee their rural
homes into cities where non-governmental organisations are struggling to
LONDON - The Commonwealth's failure to agree on
tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe was a disappointment but not a major
setback for the group of mainly ex-British colonies, its Secretary-General
Don McKinnon said this week.
"I don't look at it as a heavy
blow, it was certainly a negative," the former New Zealand foreign minister
said after flying back to Britain from the meeting meeting in
The leaders of Nigeria and South Africa blocked calls from
Australian Prime Minister John Howard for stiffer penalties over Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's disputed March re-election and seizure of
white-owned farms for landless blacks.
The Commonwealth, which
groups 54 nations, had already partially suspended Zimbabwe in
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South African
counterpart Thabo Mbeki - who with Howard form a Commonwealth "troika" on
Zimbabwe - said more time was needed for political reconciliation in
Mugabe snubbed the meeting.
naturally hoped President Mugabe would be there. This was arranged with
President Obasanjo, he was very willing to come," McKinnon said.
"Then suddenly he decided that he didn't like the tone of a letter from Prime
Minister Howard, so when Prime Minister Howard was half-way across the Indian
Ocean, he decided he wouldn't come."
McKinnon said that was "more a
reflection of himself (Mugabe) than the authority of the
Nevertheless, the inconclusive outcome of the
three-nation Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria to discuss Zimbabwe prompted
analysts and member states to begin debating the relevance and very future of
But McKinnon rejected notions that the Zimbabwe issue
had shown the body to be ineffective, saying at least it was involved and
Others "walked away"
"I would hope the
commentators would make a comment on all the other international institutions
that have effectively walked away from the Zimbabwe issue," he said. "We are
about the only one left engaging, trying to influence, trying to encourage,
trying to get ahead of these problems.
"If everyone else was there,
we might see quite a different picture, so don't taint us for being the only
one trying to do something."
Divisions within the Commonwealth over
Zimbabwe down colour lines were, McKinnon said, being "overly
He noted that even within Africa there were four
distinct positions on Zimbabwe, giving the lie to a black-white
"It is a little bit too easy to put it into that category.
The Commonwealth is bigger than that," he said.
will next review Zimbabwe in March 2003, the 12-month anniversary of the
country's partial suspension from the grouping.
Predictions of the
group's demise were premature. "I've been reading obituaries for the
Commonwealth for a long time and they're all grossly exaggerated," he
Separately, Australian Prime Minister Howard said in London
this week the Commonwealth was still concerned about Zimbabwe even if it had
not expressed that in tougher sanctions.
"What is at stake in
relation to Zimbabwe is a settled Commonwealth principle of respect for the
democratic process," he said after meeting British Prime Minister Tony
"I think it will be to the Commonwealth's detriment if
Zimbabwe is allowed to indefinitely thumb its nose at Commonwealth
Howard had argued for a tougher line against Zimbabwe
because he said Mugabe was shunning all Commonwealth efforts to resolve the
issue of land seizure and to end political violence.
71-year-old Commonwealth group, moulded from the ashes of the British Empire,
joins almost one third of the world's countries with 1.7 billion
Full expulsion of Zimbabwe would have cut off Commonwealth
development aid just as food shortages threaten close to an estimated seven
BULAWAYO - The
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said this week the government had
refused to allow an ICJ fact-finding delegation into Zimbabwe to investigate
threats to the independence of the judiciary and that of
In a statement to the Financial Gazette, the Geneva-based
ICJ accused Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa of obstructing its mission,
pointing out that the minister had earlier agreed to invite the
Chinamasa yesterday declined comment on the issue when
contacted by the Financial Gazette, saying he had issued a statement to
the government-owned Herald newspaper. He declined to give that statement
to this newspaper.
The ICJ said Chinamasa and the ruling ZANU PF
had refused to honour an invitation it said the minister had extended to the
ICJ in April last year during a visit to Geneva.
deplores the refusal of the government of Zimbabwe to honour its invitation
for an ICJ fact-finding mission to examine threats to the independence of
judges and lawyers.
"The ICJ can only conclude that in extending
the invitation to the ICJ and in all subsequent discussions on the modalities
of the mission, the government of Zimbabwe has been acting in bad fact," it
"The government's opposition to any outside scrutiny is a
serious blow to the rule of law in Zimbabwe."
According to the
ICJ, Chinamasa visited the ICJ in Geneva and invited the ICJ to send a
mission to Zimbabwe during the summer of 2001. The invitation was also
received in writing, the organisation said.
"Since receipt of the
invitation, the ICJ has been frustrated by the government's stalling on the
date of the mission and of its imposing unreasonable conditions, in
particular as regards the composition of the ICJ delegation.
"The ICJ has now been advised that a mission is not possible during the
autumn of 2002. No alternative date has been provided. It is a matter
of great regret that despite the ICJ's best efforts, it is clear that
no constructive purpose is served at present in continuing this now
Since after Zimbabwe's constitutional
referendum in 2000, the country's judiciary has been under severe attack from
the government and ZANU PF supporters, with some magistrates and court
officials being forced to flee their stations.
Two weeks ago,
retired High Court Judge Ferguson Blackie was arrested and thrown into prison
for allegedly obstructing the course of justice, a charge he
The United Nations' human rights investigator, Param
Cumaraswamy, this week accused the government of undermining the judiciary
and urged the international community to step up pressure on Harare to end
He referred to the case of Blackie and said it was
"yet another clear systematic attack on the basic fabric of
In his sixth public condemnation of the government on
the rule on law in as many months, he stated: "When judges can be arrested,
detained and charged on trumped-up facts for exercising their judicial
functions, then there is no hope for the rule of law in such
expected to harvest about 6 000 tonnes of maize - enough to feed the nation
for one day - from an ambitious winter cropping programme launched by the
government in April this year, farming industry officials said this
They said that just over 6 000 tonnes of winter maize were
expected to be harvested from about 1 500 hectares of land put under maize at
the ambitious Masvingo Food Initiative which the government says will
alleviate the food crisis presently faced by Zimbabwe.
government however says more than 1 800 hectares of land were planted with
the irrigated maize crop and are expected to produce at least 18 000 tonnes
of the crop.
But the officials said the maximum yield expected from
the project was four tonnes an hectare. Harvesting of the winter crop is
expected to start in the next few weeks.
"The expected harvest
is enough to meet the country's maize requirements for one to one-and-a-half
days only, which means the initiative is just a scratch on the surface as far
as the severity of the food crisis is concerned," a senior official in the
Ministry of Agriculture told the Financial Gazette.
which consumes about 6 000 tonnes of maize a day, faces a severe food crisis
blamed on a severe drought and the government's chaotic land reform
programme, which has almost decimated the country's key agricultural
An estimated seven million people, or half the population,
now face starvation and are surviving on handouts from international aid
donors and the government.
The Masvingo Food Initiative, which
took advantage of land donated by Triangle and Hippo Valley estates in the
hot and arid southern Lowveld region, was one of the measures adopted by the
government to alleviate unprecedented human suffering in the wake of failed
attempts by former finance minister Simba Makoni to raise funds for food
The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), which is
currently delivering more than 11 000 tonnes of grain a month to Zimbabweans,
has also appealed for US$507 million in food aid for six southern African
But donors have so far committed about one third of that
amount and the WFP is negotiating for another third in
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow
agriculture minister Renson Gasela said the best that could come out of the
Masvingo maize project was 9 000 tonnes, assuming that the average yield is
five tonnes a hectare and that 1 800 hectares were indeed
"The Masvingo initiative is therefore not something that
will save this country from starvation," he said.
month the MDC was denied permission to import more than 100 tonnes of grain
to feed starving Zimbabweans amid charges by the government the food had been
donated by Britain and was meant to endear the opposition party to the rural
Since then the food aid has been detained at the
Beitbridge border with South Africa.
THE Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI)
could lose nearly $160 million dollars because a middleman it engaged five
years ago to run weapons to Sri Lanka on its behalf has refused to forward
monies paid for the supplies.
The Sri Lankan army, which made a
down payment of about $99 million for the weapons, is said to have also
refused to pay the outstanding debt, the Financial Gazette established this
Sources close to the deal said the ZDI in 1997 contracted a
South Korean company, Kolon International, to move thousands of rounds of
mortar bombs and other contraband to the Sri Linkan army who urgently needed
the bombs to repel an offensive by the separatist Liberation Tigers of
The ZDI entered the deal with the Singapore branch
of the Korean firm.
The Sri Lankans paid US$1.8 million (about $99
million at the current official exchange rate) as down payment for the
But Kolon did not transfer the money to ZDI, saying it
had used the money to pay commissions to Sri Lankan army officials who had
facilitated the arms supply deal.
Efforts by the ZDI to recover
its monies from Kolon have hit a brick wall after a Singapore law firm Katter
Hwang & Partner, hired in 1999 by the Zimbabwean company to take the
Koreans to the International Arbitration Centre, refused last year to handle
the matter almost at the eleventh hour, according to the
It could not be established why the Singaporean lawyers
turned down the ZDI case.
ZDI chief executive Tshinga Dube
yesterday confirmed the botched-up arms supply deal. A retired Zimbabwe army
colonel, Dube said Sri Lankan army officers had recommended Kolon to the
Zimbabweans and he suspected the Asians may have acted in collusion to rip
"Clearly the people we were dealing with are not
honourable guys," Dube said.
Besides the money lost to Kolon,
the Sri Lankan government is also refusing to pay the outstanding debt for
While another lot of bombs valued at about $45 million
and destined for Colombo was reportedly intercepted at sea by the Tamil
Tigers in 1997, Dube said ZDI had successfully sent other consignments to Sri
But the Sri Lankans are refusing to pay even for the bombs
they have received, according to Dube.
Interpol on the missing bombs, which an Israeli company known only as Bentso
was shipping to Colombo on behalf of ZDI, have not yielded
Dube said ZDI was now working on suing the Israeli firm
for the lost weapons.