Harare - President Mugabe is charging the editor and two reporters of Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper with criminal defamation for their reports of a scandal in which Mr Mugabe is said to have benefited. Geoff Nyarota, Editor of the Daily News, and the reporters Julius Zava and Sandra Nyaira had to present themselves at Harare central police station yesterday for the second day in succession, to make statements over the paper’s disclosures in November of payoffs for a contract to build Harare’s new £63 million international airport. The paper quoted Hani Yamani, the son of Sheikh Ahmed Yamani, the former Saudi Oil Minister, as saying that he had complained to Mr Mugabe that he had had to pay $3 million to Cabinet ministers, civil servants and businessmen, including a nephew of Mr Mugabe, to secure the contract. A copy of Mr Yamani’s letter, published in the Daily News, said that $20,000 had gone towards building Mr Mugabe’s new three-storey home in Harare’s most affluent suburb.Mr Nyarota dismissed the charges as another attempt at harassment. “Somebody failed to deal with us physically recently,” he said, referring to a bomb blast on January 28 that demolished most of the newspaper's printing presses, an attack for which the Government was widely blamed. “It appears somebody else is now attempting to exhaust us physically and mentally through the law courts.” The Daily News has become a main target of Mr Mugabe’s wrath after its undaunted coverage of the campaign of terror unleashed by the ruling Zanu (PF) party in the run-up to parliamentary elections in June last year. Founded in 1999, its sales soared to make it the country’s biggest circulation daily newspaper as readers abandoned the diet of propaganda in the 110-year-old state-controlled Herald. Mr Nyarota and his reporters are being charged under Rhodesian-era laws used as a weapon to silence black nationalist criticism of white minority rule. It carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. The airport scandal has continued to haunt the Government since 1996 when Mr Mugabe’s Cabinet ordered that the contract be given to Leo Mugabe, his nephew.
Ndoga Mupesa of Chiweshe ward in Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central province, was allegedly killed in cold blood last Friday by alleged Zanu PF militias and war veterans for supporting the MDC. The deceased’s brother, Gift Mupesa, yesterday said about 60 Zanu PF supporters came to Chigwida village and attacked Ndoga but he managed to flee to Charlton Farm near Centenary. The farm has been occupied by war veterans since February last year. Mupesa said: “People at Charlton Farm told me that my brother was assaulted by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters until he died. They told me that he was later hanged so that it would appear as if he committed suicide.”
Mupesa said his brother’s body was taken to Mvurwi Hospital by officers from Centenary police station. He said the police later told him that the body had been taken to Harare for a postmortem. “We were supposed to bury him yesterday but the police later informed me that he will be brought home on Friday after the postmortem. We will bury him on Saturday, he said. Ndoga Mupesa is survived by his wife, Jane and five children. The police in Centenary yesterday confirmed the death but refused to give details of the alleged murder. They referred The Daily News to Bindura police station. It was not possible to raise the police in Bindura at the time of going to Press yesterday. However, the police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Wayne Bvudzijena, refused to comment on the issue as has become the norm when The Daily News seeks clarification on any issue pertaining to police investigations.
Mupesa said his brother started having problems after the death of Eswat Chihumbiri, a Zanu PF supporter from the same village. Chihumbiri was shot dead by an alleged member of the MDC last week when Zanu PF youths attempted to force him to renounce his MDC membership. “War veterans and Zanu PF youths accused my brother of failing to co-operate with them during the forced defections. They accused him of sympathising with the shooting of their colleague,” Mupesa said. “My life is also under threat. Zanu PF supporters told me that 10 people would be killed. They said I was one of them. I pray to God everyday so that I can survive and look after my family and my late brother’s.”
Johannesburg - The South African government is currently redrafting its strategy on the Zimbabwean crisis. Various government departments, including the Government Communication and Information System, the presidency and the Department of Foreign Affairs, have been involved in a series of workshops and strategising sessions on the crisis over the past few weeks. The sessions are being held in preparation for a presidential briefing on the crisis, in which a more realistic view will be presented on its effect on South Africa. Sources attending the sessions said while it was felt that the government's stance has not been wrong, it had been receiving inadequate information from the intelligence authorities. Approached for comment, Ronnie Mamoepa, representative for the Department of Foreign Affairs, was non-committal and said the three government departments met on a regular basis on a "variety of issues to chart the way forward in relation to day-to-day developments". He expressed confidence in the South African intelligence services.
The South African government and President Thabo Mbeki have come under heavy criticism from several members of the world community for not condemning Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. It has been explicitly spelled out in the sessions between the various departments that the clampdown on the press, the judiciary and the deterioration of the rule of law are the most important factors adversely affecting the economic crisis in Zimbabwe. The concerns were heightened this week when the Mugabe-led regime used its majority to bulldoze the legislature to pass controversial legislation blocking independent radio and television.
Mugabe's leadership of Zanu-PF has been identified as a problem. It has also emerged in these sessions that Mugabe, whose popularity has waned among members of his party, is seeking a graceful departure from politics. Sources said Mugabe wants to leave after having established a perception that he has contributed constructively to the land reform process in Zimbabwe. In the light of that information, the South African government is expected to adopt an approach focusing on a post-Mugabe scenario in Zimbabwe rather than a post-Zanu-PF one.
According to sources, it has been suggested that to help Mugabe achieve his objective of attaining some land reform targets, South Africa will have to play a more proactive role in mobilising financial aid for Zimbabwe from the European Union and other world bodies. Sources say foreign exchange reserves in the hands of Zimbabwean businesses are expected to dry up in the next two months. The country has a parallel currency economy. It is believed that the Zimbabwean dollar is still overvalued by 56%. The country's growth rate has plunged from 5,5% in 1999 to -10% this year. The government departments have also been advised that Zimbabwe will be facing a food crisis in the next two months when its stock of maize - the country's staple diet - is expected to be depleted. However, conservative estimates are that maize supplies will run out next month. Zimbabweans consume 150000 tons of maize every month. The food shortage could have severe repercussions on South Africa, with the possibility of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing across the borders.
Sources say the overwhelming feeling in government circles is that South Africa has to take a proactive interest in the developments in Zimbabwe. According to diplomatic sources, Mugabe has severely damaged ties between Zimbabwe and the EU. Britain, which has been vociferous in its criticism, has managed to mobilise Nordic countries in the EU against Mugabe. The government has also discussed fears that Mugabe could create problems in the peace efforts in the DRC. Mugabe is apparently plagued with "paranoid delusions" about attempts to oust him, according to South African intelligence sources. The sources speculated this is the reason why Zimbabwean intelligence officials had accompanied last month's delegation of Zimbabwean ministers to South Africa. "There was a feeling that Mugabe feared we could be plotting a Kabila," an intelligence source said, in reference to the assassination of former DRC president Laurent Kabila. The Zimbabwean intelligence officials were sent out of the meeting last month between Zimbabwean Minister of Finance Simba Makoni, Minister of Minerals and Energy Sydney Sekeramayi, Land Minister Joseph Made, Industry and International Trade Minister Nkosana Moyo and their South African counterparts, led by Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel.
Harare - The Zimbabwe government on Thursday ruled out any shortages of wheat, after the white commercial farmers' union projected a 50 percent drop in grain production. The CFU was quoted in the independent Financial Gazette on Thursday as saying that Zimbabwe faced a 50 percent reduction in wheat output due to disruptions arising from land seizures by supporters of President Robert Mugabe. Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made denied the possibility of shortages, and accused the farmers' union of trying to earn political mileage through alarmist statements. "I want to categorically state that, that is not a fact," Made told a news conference. "Again the CFU continues to bring in information that is meant to be despondent in nature, to be a threat to our people by indicating that the wheat crop production will be down 50 percent," he said.
Zimbabwe's domestic annual wheat requirements are about 400 000. "We are going to have a shortfall of 200 000 tonnes of wheat this season unless there is a positive statement from the government assuring farmers about the security of their investment on the crop," CFU deputy director Jerry Grant told the Financial Gazette. Made said government had budgeted up to Z$500 million Zimbabwe dollars to be loaned to resettled farmers and black commercial farmers to boost the winter wheat production. "We will make sure that every piece of land that should be under wheat... we have to put in wheat," he said, adding: "we have to mobilise the resources for doing that (because) the issue now has become a strategic issue, where we cannot continue being threatened by the CFU. We have government resources, we are putting them in place in order to produce wheat," he said.
"This continued behaviour by a union that represents farmers, again taking a position that is political, that is really to put fear in our people... has got to come to an end," Made said. Made said his ministry would seek Z$15 billion dollars for inputs to be used by more than 1.4 million black farmers - including 1.2 million communal farmers, 221 000 resettled farmers and some 30 000 small-scale commercial farmers. Those resources would be for the next agricultural season, which starts in August and covers most of the staple and commercial crops as well as livestock production. "I hope this time we will not have the commercial farmers standing in our way," he said. Zimbabwe, under its controversial land reform scheme, plans to take some five million hectares of white-owned farmland. Made said the gazetted properties so far stand close to 6.5 million hectares. "So we are confident that we are going to get that land way before the season starts," he said.
Last month Kabila appointed new advisers to his presidential cabinet and removed a senior aide arrested in connection with the assassination of his father. But his cabinet is the same as the one he inherited from his father. ``This could be the long awaited purge which will give an idea of where the government is really headed,'' said one western diplomat. Since becoming president, Kabila has consistently shown himself much more willing than his father to embrace peace efforts to end the war, which has dragged six African armies into a battle for the vast, mineral-rich territory. He has accepted former Botswana president Sir Ketumile Masire as mediator in a planned inter-Congolese dialogue and cleared the way for UN observers to monitor a cease-fire. But watchers of the former Zaire believe that some members of the cabinet were less supportive of Joseph's more positive stance toward the 1999 peace deal his father was often accused of blocking.
conflict has driven tens of thousands from their homes and transformed thousands
of children into soldiers, while combatants have plundered the nation's
diamonds, copper, cobalt and gold. The war pits separate rebel factions backed
by Uganda and Rwanda against government forces and their allies from Zimbabwe,
Angola and Namibia. Fighting began in 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda invaded in
support of the rebels. All parties agreed in February to withdraw at least nine
miles from their front lines after Kabila revitalized stalled peace efforts.
Under the peace deal, the first UN troops began deploying in rebel-held eastern
Congo last week. A second group of 200 UN troops arrived from Senegal Wednesday
in the central city of Kananga to begin deploying behind government lines. Some
2,500 armed troops are eventually due in the country to guard 500 unarmed UN
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Wednesday he would soon pull out another two battalions -- around 1,500 men -- from Congo in the light of improving relations with Kinshasa. The UN Security Council plans to send eight envoys to the Congo and other African nations next month to try to hold combatants to the peace accords they signed earlier, the council's president said Wednesday. Kabila is due to meet German President Johannes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Thursday. Since taking office, he has visited numerous countries including the United States, France, Britain and former colonial power Belgium.
From IRIN (UN), 5 April
Harare to Withdraw 5,000 Troops
Nairobi - Zimbabwe plans to pull out 5,000 troops from the DRC in the "immediate future" - halving its military presence in the mineral-rich country - in a move a defence spokesman on Thursday described as a vote of confidence in the peace process. Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni stressed that the exercise, which began on Tuesday with the departure of 200 soldiers from the western DRC town of Mbandaka, was a "force reduction" and not a "complete withdrawal". But, he added, "ultimately we want to reduce by 5,000 men in the immediate future." Zimbabwe has had troops in the DRC since 1998, supporting the Kinshasa government against Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebels. Gatsheni said the pull back had been "on the cards for a long time" but was interrupted at the end of last year with the fall of the government-held town of Pweto in the south, ceasefire violations in the northwest, and the death of former president Laurent-Desire Kabila. "Now we have a lull," he said, "and these days most people who are positive minded are hopeful that peace will be retained in the DRC." But he added that a full withdrawal of Zimbabwean soldiers would rest on a "political decision".
Meanwhile, defence and foreign ministers of countries allied to the DRC government met in Harare on Wednesday ahead of a Joint Military Commission (JMC) meeting on Friday in Zambia. News reports said the disengagement process was high on the agenda of the officials from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. The JMC Lusaka talks are expected to review progress of the first phase of disengagement, in which rival forces were by last week due to have pulled back 15 km from frontline positions. The disengagement is being monitored by UN observers.
From The Times (UK), 5 April
Rushed law gives Mugabe media control
Harare - Two repressive laws were steamrollered through Parliament yesterday to give President Mugabe’s regime unchallenged control of radio and television and to starve the opposition of finance. The opposition MDC managed to drag out a heated debate over the Broadcasting Services Bill and the Political Parties (Finance) Bill for almost 12 hours, to be defeated finally at 2.30am. MPs of the ruling Zanu (PF) party used their majority in the 150-seat house to suspend procedures meant to ensure balanced lawmaking.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said: “This is a twin strategy to ensure that the Government gets to presidential elections next year without anyone else having access to finance or to alternative broadcasting. They are unable to offer the people anything but more and greater repression while they continue to plunder.” The two Bills, which have to be signed by Mr Mugabe to become law, are key ingredients of a Machiavellian battle plan, with tactics ranging from murder to aggressive corporate takeovers, to throttle any chance of a repeat of the defeat Zanu (PF) suffered in a referendum on the draft of a new national constitution in February last year.
Patrick Chinamasa, Leader of the House, lifted standing orders so that all stages of both Bills could be passed in a day instead of about a week apiece. He got government MPs to vote to ignore a report by the parliamentary legal committee, the legislature’s constitutional watchdog, which said that the broadcasting Bill was unconstitutional because it violated guarantees of freedom of information. The three-member legal committee was given four days, instead of the stipulated 26 days, to consider the political finance Bill. The two Zanu (PF) MPs on the committee decided that it did not breach the Bill of Rights, and outvoted the other member, Mr Ncube.
The political finance Bill will make it illegal for a member of a political party to receive a donation from abroad. The move is seen as a reaction to the MDC’s fundraising trips which, sources say, have met with much success. The broadcast Bill sets out procedures for the licensing of new radio and television stations. The Government decides to whom licences may be issued, can revoke them at any time and sets the conditions that it wants. Eighty-five per cent of all programme content has to be local and African. No foreign capital or shareholding is permitted and community radio stations may not broadcast political material.
From The Daily telegraph (UK), 5 April
Zimbabwe pulls 200 troops out of Congo
Harare - With its economy in tatters, Zimbabwe began a partial retreat from a ruinous intervention in Africa's largest war yesterday. Two hundred troops were flown home from frontline positions in the DRC. The Zimbabwean forces left the Congolese jungle town of Mbandaka, 350 miles north-east of the capital, Kinshasa. Another 2,000 soldiers are expected to follow in weeks.
When the Congolese civil war began in August 1998, President Robert Mugabe sent at least 11,000 troops, almost a third of the Zimbabwean army, to defend Laurent Kabila's government against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. Although Angola and Namibia have joined the alliance defending the Kinshasa regime, Zimbabwe has more soldiers on the ground than any other nation. Observers blame the war, which costs Zimbabwe about £20 million a month, for wrecking the economy and causing a desperate shortage of fuel and hard currency. Mr Mugabe's intervention is deeply unpopular and has helped to shatter his domestic reputation.
All sides began disengaging from the conflict last month, in accordance with a peace deal signed in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, in July 1999, and the first UN observers arrived, giving Mr Mugabe a face-saving formula for a withdrawal. But Zimbabwe has promised to support President Joseph Kabila, who replaced his assassinated father in January, and the Harare regime has numerous commercial interests in the Congo to protect. Zimbabwean businessmen and senior army officers run diamond mines around the Congolese town of Mbuji-Mayi. Some units will be withdrawn, but Mr Mugabe is likely to retain a strong military presence.
From The Star (SA), 5 April
Uganda to pull out troops from DRC
Kinshasa - Uganda's foreign minister visited Kinshasa for the first time during the Democratic Republic of Congo's two-and-a-half-year war, and confirmed that his country was ready to withdraw troops sent to help rebels. "Originally we brought our troops to Congo because the territory has been used by the ADF (Ugandan rebel Allied Democratic Forces) to attack our populations," said Eriya Kategaya in comments broadcast by Congolese state television late on Tuesday after he met Congolese President Joseph Kabila. "We think the objective has been achieved because we have broken the back of the ADF. They are no longer a threat," added Kategaya, who is also deputy prime minister. He gave no date for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from Congo.
United Nations monitors and support troops are deploying in Africa's third biggest country under a disengagement plan agreed in February since when Uganda has pulled some of its troops out of Congo. A Uruguayan contingent arrived in rebel-held eastern Congo late in March, and Senegalese troops are due in the central city of Kananga later on Wednesday in the first armed UN deployment in government territory. "We can get out now. But when we leave, what type of Congo do we leave behind? We want to discuss the region to make sure that there is no repetition of the conditions which made us come in the first place," said Kategaya.
From Business Day, 4 April
Congo rebel group demands UN assurances
Kigali - Congolese rebels admitted yesterday they had not pulled all their fighters back from frontline towns in accordance with a peace deal, because the UN had still not guaranteed their enemies would not take up the rebels' old positions. The Congolese Liberation Front, a coalition of rebel groups in the northern half of Congo, also wants the UN mission in Congo to guarantee the start of interCongolese talks to find a political solution to the country's two -and-a-half-year civil war, a UN spokesman said yesterday. The rebels are concerned about the safety of civilians left within the 15km military disengagement zone mandated by a 1999 cease-fire agreement. All armed groups fighting in Congo were expected to pull back from frontline positions on March 15.
Rwandan rebels, known as the Interahamwe and allied with the Congolese government, had built up troops along some front lines, said Congolese rebel spokesman Olivier Kamitatu in a telephone interview from Beni, eastern Congo. "There are 3000 Interahamwe militiamen on at least two points along the front line and we want guarantees that they will not move into the areas vacated by our forces," he said. The Interahamwe militia was allied with the Rwandan Hutu extremist government responsible for the 1994 genocide that left more than 500 000 people dead. The UN has deployed 500 unarmed military observers in several key towns along the front lines. The 2500-strong armed UN force that has begun deploying in Congo is responsible only for protecting UN observers' equipment.
From IRIN (UN), 4 April
Civic Groups Prepared for "Mass Action”
Nairobi - Civic groups in Zimbabwe are willing and able to take on the government over a new constitution, Thoko Matshe head of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) told IRIN on Tuesday. "We're talking mass action and civil disobedience on a wide scale if government ignores the people," Matshe said. She was speaking after a conference at the weekend - organised by a broad coalition of civic groups and attended by hundreds of campaigners - voted unanimously to press for a new constitution. Matshe said the NCA would now broker consultation over a "people friendly" constitution that it hoped to sell to government by the end of the year.
"We need a new constitution that lays out a proper bill of rights, limits the presidency, promotes freedom of expression and gives women in this society equal rights," Matshe said. Early last year, President Robert Mugabe proposed a new constitution which would have increased his powers. It was decisively rejected by referendum after a successful campaign by the NCA. Relations between the NCA and government deteriorated after the poll. In the lead up to the NCA conference, boycotted by the government, the ruling ZANU-PF took out full-page newspaper advertisements saying the NCA had no national mandate to press for reforms. The adverts accused NCA members of taking money from Mugabe's western critics and the main opposition MDC to undermine his government. IRIN tried to contact government officials to canvass their views on the NCA, but without success.
Despite the government boycott, information minister Jonathan Moyo and presidential spokesman George Charamba were reportedly seen briefly at the conference. "They probably looked in to see how successful their campaign against us had been, they were sorely disappointed," an NCA delegate told IRIN. The two government officials were reportedly jeered by delegates when they were recognised. "We're certainly not a front for the MDC," Matshe said. "The NCA is a credible outfit and we make no bones about the fact we receive funding from many sources, including the Dutch, Danes, Norwegians and Americans."
Analysts said that the NCA could be in a position to tackle Mugabe's government. "The NCA has to be one of the broadest-based organisations in the country, if anyone is capable of putting real sustained pressure on Mugabe its them," Masipule Sithole a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe told IRIN. Trade unionists, academics, church groups, youth organisations, gender activists, business people and farmers were all represented at the conference. "I think things will move quite rapidly now," Sithole said. "The NCA wants a new constitution in place before next year's presidential poll, there's bound to be confrontation because government are totally opposed to the NCA and what it stands for," he added.
From Business Day (SA), 4 April
Tobacco crop may not ease Harare's woes
Refusal to devalue Zimbabwean dollar could see farmers boycott annual auctions
Harare - As the clock begins to tick ahead of April 24 the official start of the annual tobacco auctions analysts are warning that the traditional foreign exchange spinner will not ease Zimbabwe's continuing political and economic crisis. Analysts who watch the industry say foreign currency inflows will be low during the selling season, owing mainly to the fixed exchange rate. Total production output for this year is estimated at 198-million kilograms, about 16% lower than that auctioned last year.
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association says tobacco farmers are threatened with lack of viability due to the current exchange rate. Government is refusing to devalue the local unit, which is pegged at Z55 to US$. However, pressure is mounting on the government to devalue Zimbabwe's overvalued currency. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Leonard Tsumba and bank chief executives met last week to discuss the issue. The Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe, the central bank and other players agree that the official exchange rate is unsustainable, given high inflation and skewed economic basics.
However, Finance and Economic Development Minister Simba Makoni is resisting devaluation despite the fact that the official exchange rate has been overtaken by the parallel market rate which is now thought to be hovering around Z$150 for US1. Banking sources say Makoni has threatened to withdraw licences from banks fuelling the parallel market. Banks and government institutions are now using the parallel market rate in transactions. Market insiders say an expected boycott of the auction floors by the tobacco farmers in protest against the official exchange rate which does not reflect the real value of the dollar would negatively affect foreign currency inflows.
Tobacco is the country's largest foreign currency earner and the crop's marketing season has traditionally eased pressure on the foreign exchange market because of increased inflows. "I don't see the tobacco season alleviating the shortage. Already there is a foreign payment pipeline it is long and the foreign currency will have to meet orders already there," says economist Witness Chinyama. The market has had outstanding orders from importers which have been piling up for the past three years. Buyers, however, say initial assessments indicate the quality of the crop was good.
Although there is a general feeling the auction will be heavily supported by international buyers, says one market watcher, fear is rife that the tobacco may not be available from the farmers until devaluation of the local unit to allow the farmers to realise more receipts. Last year growers withheld their crop, resulting in a late start to the selling season. Faced with a tough election, the government refused to devalue the dollar. This was only done after the elections. Only small-scale growers, with urgent obligations like debt repayments to banks, were early starters on the auction floors.
From The Namibian, 4 April
The House Uncle Bob Bought
MDC- At Work for You ! Bulawayo South Constituency
TEXT PRÉCIS FROM THE HON. DAVID COLTART MP- CHURCH OF ASCENSION HALL, FEED BACK MEETING,MONDAY MARCH 26 FRIDAY MARCH 9 To start off, in the Bible Psalm 7 vs. 14 & 15 paraphrased says, " evil men dig a deep hole for all to fall into, but they eventually fall into it themselves"
Zanu pf continue to dig a hole deeper and deeper for it’s so called enemies but is heading towards falling into the hole itself, through it’s own evil works: -
1. The bombing of the daily news had an enormous impact on the international community, who has responded by giving millions of dollars for a new printing press. 2. When Jonathan Moyo expelled the foreign journalists it had the effect of focusing much more interest in our country by the international media. BBC has a continuous rotation of fresh television crews in Harare due to Moyo’s time constraints of 2 weeks, per accredited journalist.
3. The forced resignation of Chief Justice Gubbay and vicious remonstration on the International Bar Association (I.B.A.) in front of the media (including blatant lies by Jonathan Moyo of white dominated meetings when of 60 lawyers only 7 were white) made highly respected senior judges and even a former chief justice from India very angry. Their reports will tell the full story.
4. The intimidation of farmers by trying to destroy their unity and leadership is not working. They are more united than ever after Wednesday 21/3/01 CFU meeting.
5. The ZCTU after serious battles have M.D.C. members firmly grounded in all their key positions.
These are all factual circumstances proving they are trying to crush us, we may feel haggard but in reality THEY are getting weaker.
Last year U.K. & U.S.A. showed minimal interest but now they believe the rogue regime is real! The Bush administration has put Zimbabwe top of its African agenda.
The Americans are taking a firm line with the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recover Act 2001, not calling for general sanctions - which nobody wants - but personal travel bans and the freezing of assets.
E.U. and the House of Lords are calling for the same type of sanctions in debates around the world.
Many Zanu pf Parliamentarians are in a panic because of the plight of their own business interests.
The International Convention Against Torture, Section 8 is also a consideration for action in the future.
The road ahead is still hard and rocky but is shorter now.
Zanu pf tearing itself apart. The Old Guard (Zvobgo etc) is being pulled down by young turks.
The Panic in Parliament evident by the ridiculous call to discipline the commonwealth!
SOUTH AFRICAN INTERVENTION.
The International community is calling on South Africa to ensure the ground rules are carried out in Zimbabwe and Mbeki appears to be trying to do his best in a very difficult situation. A positive development is Mbeki has plans to send a bipartisan team to ensure free and fair Presidential elections and a cross party grouping to discuss land reform on the basis of a return to the rule of law.
Danger still lies ahead but we must gain courage from all the people’s sheer determination across our nation to get rid of these evil men. The international community promises to help equip the opposition and to bring pressure to bear on the government.
We must hold our nerve in this the final lap – M.D.C. is consolidating and continually drawing further ahead of Zanu pf. We are about to have an incredible win and the future will be MAGNIFICENT.
1. What’s happening about the seats being contested?
Three reasons for contesting the seats: -
a) The obvious one is claiming back what was stolen from us by rigging, intimidation etc in sending the message that one can no longer get away with violence, rape and murder.
b) We will fight the cases as high as we have, even to the Supreme Court. Ultimately International Convention and Law will be used. This is a global village.
c) As a human rights issue, these cases will empower the people who have been the most intimidated and will help to restore the people’s dignity.
2. What about voting problems?
We will enforce constitutional rights. All over 18’s can vote. Everyone must register to vote now at your local District Council office.
3. Can the problem of the wooden ballot boxes be overcome?
We hope to get transparent ballot boxes donated but Zanu pf will try all their dirty tricks again.
4. Intimidation in the rural areas is intensifying? Is it working?
Intimidation does not turn people towards the intimidators. At Chitungwiza, with massive intimidation, 15000 people turned up at Morgan Tsvangirai’s rally. This is evident at MDC rallies through out the country.
6. Why are the police beating up their own people?
They are a small group, often not real police, but the same thugs are turning up everywhere namely Hunzvi and Chinotimba. Zanu pf will be hard pressed to intimidate the whole country, as Hunzvi cannot be everywhere.
7. How far back do we go with the Amnesty?
The people are demanding retribution but as the MDC amnesty before the election was ignored, we may only go to then.
Register where you are resident and make sure everyone you know is registered.
We need to win by justONE VOTE
From BBC News, 4 April
Zimbabwe pulls troops out of Congo
Zimbabwean troops, who have fought rebels in the DRC for almost three years, have begun leaving the country for the first time. A first group of about 200 soldiers flew out of Mbandaka in Equateur province on Tuesday. Another 2,000 are due to leave from the same area soon. The head of the Congolese army, Brigadier-General Francois Olenga, warned the rebels not to try to take advantage of the pull-out. He said the government in Kinshasa and its allies had proved they were serious about peace, and the rebels should follow. Some of the soldiers have been in the Congo since 1998, when Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia joined the fight on Congo's side. The fighting has killed thousands, with two million people forced from their homes.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 4 April
Zim calls the shots in Kinshasa: With much resting on Joseph Kabila's political survival, Robert Mugabe is now the Congo president's most powerful backer.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila and an entourage of ministers visited Zimbabwe this week for talks with Robert Mugabe and to address the Zimbabwean Parliament. He used the occasion to thank the country for its military intervention and to invite Zimbabwean business people to invest in the DRC. The talks also focused on economic links and Congo's war. Mugabe said that his troops would not leave Congo until Rwandan and Ugandan forces had withdrawn "unconditionally". Kabila's trip has strengthened speculation that Mugabe has become his most powerful backer, after the initial ascendance in Kinshasa of Kabila's other main ally, Angola, following the assassination of Laurent Kabila in January.
According to a report by the usually well-informed think-tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), the Angolan government and its allies within Kinshasa's elite, who are mainly Lundas from Katanga, were dominant in the weeks following Laurent Kabila's death. This dominance was used, says the ICG, to push Joseph Kabila into accepting the 1999 Lusaka accords, agreeing to the deployment of UN observers and starting the long-awaited inter-Congolese political dialogue, which is supposed to lead to a transitional government and elections. The Angolan government, argues the ICG, has already secured its main military objectives - to cut off Unita supply lines and escape routes - and is less interested in Kabila's survival than in a political settlement that can generate a semblance of stability, credibility and capacity for the Congolese government and state.
The Zimbabwean government, however, has much greater need of Kabila, as it requires a return on its financial investment in keeping him and his father in power, but cannot be sure that a transitional government in which Kabila is sidelined would assist in achieving this goal. In addition, there is the political imperative of preventing a settlement that enables the Zimbabwean opposition MDC to portray Mugabe's whole adventure in Congo as a defeat.
Western diplomatic sources have told the ICG that Zimbabwe began arming Luba elements within the Congolese armed forces in Kinshasa in February, which appears to have paved the way for the wave of arrests later in the month of prominent Lunda politicians and senior military officials and their replacement with Lubas, thus consolidating the Zimbabwean position. However, Kabila also wants his own army, and has brought into Kinshasa up to 600 veterans of former president Mobutu Sese Seko's army from neighbouring Congo (Brazzaville), under the command of Mobutuist general Denis Kalume, to form its nucleus.
Kabila met Sir Ketumile Masire, the former president of Botswana and the facilitator of the Congolese political dialogue, last week in Kinshasa and discussed arrangements for the dialogue's first session. One obvious obstacle is Kabila's retention of his father's ban on political activity. A commission set up by Kabila to investigate the matter recommended this week that the ban be lifted, but Kabila has said he is unwilling to unban all Congo's estimated 150 political parties for fear of chaos. Western governments appear sympathetic, and it seems that provided the major players are unbanned, little fuss will be made about the others.
Meanwhile, under the latest military disengagement plan, all belligerent forces in Congo were to have withdrawn 15km from their front lines by Thursday. Reports so far suggest Rwandan and Ugandan forces have largely complied, but that their Congolese rebel allies and, on the opposing side, the Congolese, Angolan, Zimbabwean and Namibian forces have largely not. Indicating how things are changing in the Great Lakes region, neither Rwanda nor Uganda has complained about this lack of reciprocation, nor Mugabe's hard-line position on the Zimbabwean troop withdrawal. Even more strikingly, the Rwandan government no longer insists it will retaliate if Congolese government forces capture towns Rwandan troops withdraw from, claiming instead that its only concern is for its security needs to be addressed by the overall settlement.
One reason for the change is that neither Rwanda nor Uganda are confident that the new United States administration would support their taking a hard line, as Bill Clinton did throughout Laurent Kabila's presidency. The main reason though is that both have turned to the task of building up their Congolese rebel proxies, in preparation for the political dialogue. Uganda began on January 16 by forcing the merger between its faction of the Kivus-based Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), led by the inept Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, and the Equateur-based Movement for the Liberation of Congo, led by Jean-Pierre Bemba. Bemba heads the new movement, called the Congolese Liberation Front (FLC), and has moved swiftly to establish his political authority in the Kivus. On March 21 he signed an agreement with some representatives of the Mai-Mai - ethnic militia opposed to Rwandan and Ugandan "imperialism" in Congo, in a tactical alliance with the Congolese government - to incorporate some of their forces into his army.
Rwanda's faction of the RCD - based in Goma and called the RCD-G - is stronger militarily than the FLC, which controls no major Congolese towns, but is weaker politically. The Rwandan government is trying to build capacity and this week more than 400 RCD-G civil servants "graduated" from their training in the Rwandan capital Kigali. However, this technocratic approach does not solve the problem that the RCD-G is hated by most in the territory it holds as an alleged front for foreign and Tutsi interests. This perception will limit the RCD-G's scope for building alliances when the dialogue begins, in contrast to Bemba, who is well-placed to position himself as the main alternative to Kabila. The attitude of Congo's long-suffering political opposition, and particularly veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi, will be significant in determining whether Bemba can secure the transitional presidency, but the critical factor may well prove to be the extent of Kabila - and Zimbabwe's - ambitions.
From The Daily News, 3 April
Police launch probe into Msika shooting
Bulawayo - Police in Matabeleland North have launched intensive investigations to unravel a mysterious object which hit Vice-President Joseph Msika's official Mercedes Benz, shattering a rear window, while he was touring the flood-hit Tsholotsho last Saturday. The object shattered the rear left window on the side of the car where Msika was sitting, but did not penetrate the bullet proof window. The object has not yet been identified. Security officers said only a bullet from an AK47 rifle or any other powerful firearm could penetrate the double windows. Msika's car was struck on the rear left window as it approached Siphepha Clinic, where thousands of villagers have sought refugee from floods. Msika was not injured. Yesterday, the officer commanding Matabeleland North province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Albert Mandizha, said the police had sent a team of forensic experts to the area. Efforts to get comment from Msika were fruitless yesterday.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 4 April
Mugabe 'moving towards fascism'
President Robert Mugabe's regime caused uproar yesterday by rushing a series of "repressive" measures through Zimbabwe's parliament in one day. The Political Parties (Finance) Bill bans foreign funding for any political party, and observers believe it is intended to strangle the opposition MDC. The Broadcasting Services Bill introduces regulations that critics say are designed to make the establishment of private radio or television stations impossible. When Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, announced that both bills would be forced through all their parliamentary stages in a day, the opposition benches erupted in cries of "shame". MPs from the ruling Zanu-PF party hurled abuse as Tendai Biti, the MDC's shadow foreign minister, said: "It is morally wrong for Zanu-PF to use its unlawful majority to push these Bills through." Mr Biti claimed that the "repressive" legislation showed "a marked difference of approach towards more fascism".
From The Daily News, 3 April
MDC refutes allegations of military training in Uganda
The MDC yesterday dismissed allegations by the government that it sent five of its members to Uganda in July 1999 for military training because the party did not exist then. Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC's secretary for Information and Publicity, said his party would not engage in activities that were not constitutional in order to seek the removal of the government. Police refused to comment yesterday. Jongwe said Zanu PF was trying to work out a pretext to crack down on the MDC in order to avoid next year's presidential election, which the party knew it would lose.
He said the MDC was formed in September 1999 and held its first national congress last February, four months before the June parliamentary election in which Zanu PF had its majority in Parliament reduced drastically. The MDC won 57 seats out of 120 contested. "How can the government say that a political party that was not in existence was involved in military training?" Jongwe asked. "The people of this country should be assured that the MDC will never carry out unconstitutional activities. As a democratic party, we respect the laws of this country. We want our country to be one of the most peaceful and stable in the region and the world at large."
The government-controlled weekly newspaper, The Sunday Mail, on Sunday said the government was probing the allegations. The paper alleged that four men and a woman had undergone training in guerrilla warfare under the guise of attending a labour conference in Uganda. The newspaper alleged the five trained alongside the Rwandese invasion forces in the DRC, and were assisted by their Ugandan allies. Zimbabwe has more than 12 000 troops fighting to prop up President Joseph Kabila's regime in the DRC.
Jongwe said the allegations by the government were not surprising. He said: "We are not amused by this rubbish. This shows that the government does not want to hold a democratic presidential election and they are trying to use any trick in the book to avoid it." Jongwe said this was not the first time such allegations had been made against his party. "In the run-up to last June's parliamentary election, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira and Chenhamo Chimutengwende appeared on national television claiming to have discovered an MDC arms cache and that our party was training people on the farms. There was no shred of evidence to support this nonsense. If it was true, why were people not arrested?" Jongwe asked.
He said when the MDC offices were bombed last year, John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, "unashamedly" told Parliament that his officers had discovered weapons. "Nkomo gave specific lies about specific weapons which were not found," Jongwe said. "Our party is committed to a democratic change of government in the country and we do not harbour any illusions of using unscrupulous means to get into power." Last month the government arrested four MDC youths. It alleged they were part of an MDC youth movement called the "Red Army", which allegedly underwent military training at St Mary's Cemetery. There is no such place. Under Zimbabwe's laws, undergoing military training with the intention of overthrowing a legitimately elected government is treasonous, warranting a sentence of death or life imprisonment.
CFU Invasions Report, 3 April
Every attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing activities in relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported due to communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness on the part of farmers. Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisal.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF:
Over the weekend, numerous section 8 (compulsory acquisition) and section 7 (notice to appear in court) orders were served in some parts of the country.
An attempted eviction of the owner of Chidikamwedzi Farm in Mvurwi has been defused.
15 illegal occupiers armed with axes and sticks reacted to a labour dispute on Leopard's Vlei in Glendale last week.
It would appear that the Presidential campaign is well under way in Mashonaland Central. There has been a marked increase in political activity in Glendale, with assaults of workers and forced attendance of ZANU PF rallies. On Saturday, the entire belongings of a tenant at Verona were removed from the house in an attempt to evict him due to alleged opposition political activity. In Shamva, a large group of ZANU PF youths attacked farm workers and demanded opposition material. Four farm workers and two illegal occupiers were injured in a dispute which was only broken up when a crop guard fired shots into the air.
Many of the farms in Chegutu that are expected to be fast-tracked shortly do not fit the government's criteria for acquisition and are highly productive.
The value of lost revenue due to poaching in the Bubiana Conservancy in the West Nicholson area for the month of February is Z$ 1.8 million.
Reports were not available from: Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Matabeleland.
Centenary - Invaders have been attempting to evict the owner of Chidikamwedzi today. The situation is stable and police have responded.
Horseshoe - Invaders have planted beans in lands prepared for tobacco at Chingoma Farm. The DA has endorsed the prevention of land prep at Manovi since the owner has received a Section 8 Order. Planting of green maize was prevented at Chiringi due to death threats from invaders. Building of illegal structures is ongoing at Muzhanje.
Glendale - 15 illegal occupiers armed with axes and sticks reacted to a labour dispute on Leopards Vlei last week, but the owner managed to defuse the situation. Police responded later and spoke with the invaders. Political activity has increased dramatically, with assault of farm labour and forced attendance of political rallies. On Saturday, the entire belongings of a tenant at Verona were removed from the house in an attempt to evict him due to alleged political activity. Police negotiations were unsuccessful - the situation is ongoing and extremely tense.
Mutepatepa - About 100 head of cattle were driven into Rhodes Grass seed at Katanya yesterday and a gate has been stolen from the farm boundary. A hut is being constructed outside the homestead fence today. Tractors have been prevented from working at Amanda today. Both cases have been reported to the police, who are expected to respond tomorrow morning.
Shamva - It was clarified that the houses on Beacon Hill taken over by illegal occupiers as reported on 19/03/01 were not vacant and that the farm workers and their families were evicted by invaders. A large group of Zanu (PF) youths arrived at Bamboo Creek demanding opposition material while attacking some people in the farm village. A dispute arose resulting in four farm workers and two illegal occupiers being injured and was only broken up when the crop guard fired two shots in the air. Police did respond and two illegal occupiers were later arrested. War vet leadership accompanied by police visited the farm the following day and detained some farm workers who are expected to appear in court.
Mashonaland West North- nothing to report
Mashonaland West South
Norton - There was a re-invasion of Idaho Farm. Illegal occupier Austin Chirambadere has maliciously damaged tobacco plants and an illegal occupier is building a new structure despite instructions from the DA and police to desist. Police have reacted.
Chegutu - The District Administrator says that he is going to proceed with the fast tracking of farms that have recently received Section 8 orders. Many of these farms are single owned, fully productive, are not adjacent to communal or resettlement areas and do not fit any of the Government criteria for acquisition. One property received a section 8 order, having never been listed. Another property was listed then received a Certificate of No Present Interest in December and has now received a section 8 order!
Beatrice - Last Thursday, 5 invaders claimed Kerry Farm and restricted the farmer and workers to the barn area only to finish grading. Police have instructed the invaders to follow the channels through the Lands Committee.
Enterprise - Voting for the RDC by-elections went off without problems. Land preparation for a rye grass pasture was stopped on Chibvuti. There is interference with the cut flower export operations on Strathlorne.
Marondera - 20 cattle belonging to illegal occupiers have been left on a farm in Marondera and yesterday another 12 were bought onto the farm. On Saturday, illegal occupiers pushed down the homestead security gate and drove the farmers dairy cattle into the yard on Esperance Farm, in an attempt to force him to concede the farm. Police attended. Drivers have been warned by illegal occupiers not to proceed with land preparation.
Marondera North - Illegal occupiers on Dorset have stated that they intend to plant beans. Illegal occupiers are preventing the harvest of 70ha of maize for silage for the dairy herd on Welcome Home. They claim that the owner destroyed their own plots by establishing this maize field.
Matabeleland(late report for 29th March)
West Nicholson - In Bubiana Conservancy, for the month of February, the following animals were found alive in snares: 1 Wildebeest; 2 Kudu; 2 Zebra; 1 Giraffe; 1 Eland; and the following animals were found dead: 6 cows (bovines); 2 Buffalo; 15 Eland; 3 Giraffe; 7 Impala; 26 Kudu; 1 Klipspringer; 5 Sable; 14 Warthog; 2 Waterbuck; 3 Wildebeest; 16 Zebra. The lost revenue this month, at 50% of trophy value, is $1 787 250.
From The Guardian (UK), 4 April
Milosevic faces death penalty
Belgrade/Brussels - Slobodan Milosevic could soon be charged with crimes that carry the death penalty, such as ordering the murders of political rivals during his 13 years in power. The implicit threat of capital punishment was made yesterday by Serbia's interior minister, Dusan Mihailovic, who told reporters on a visit to Vienna: "There are indications that Slobodan Milosevic was involved in severe criminal acts for which the death penalty is provided." Mr Mihailovic did not elaborate but Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, told the Boston Globe that the former Yugoslav president would be charged within two months with ordering the murders of personal and political enemies.
The jailed ex-president's close colleague, Rade Markovic, his former security chief, is already being investigated for the suspicious road accident which killed three bodyguards and the brother-in-law of Vuk Draskovic, a leading opposition politician. Mr Milosevic could be questioned and charged over that event, and also in connection with the assassination of Slavko Curuvija, the editor of a Belgrade newspaper, who was gunned down at his front door after writing a critical piece on the president.
Meanwhile, President Vojislav Kostunica criticised the police operation to arrest Mr Milosevic as bungled and clumsy. He also denied that it was linked to the American decision to release $50m of new aid for Yugoslavia. "I would have been happier if the arrest was done earlier. But the decision was not made under threat. The day before the arrest one could already see that the US decision would be positive," he said. Although Yugoslavia needed the money, as well as IMF loans, "to survive and rebuild" he described it as "extremely little when compared to the $30,000m of damage caused by the Nato bombardment".
Mr Kostunica said that the decision to transfer Mr Milosevic to the Hague was "not in the president's competence". It would be taken by Momcilo Grubac, the justice minister, who said that the draft bill on co-operation with the Hague should be in force by the end of next month. The European Union signalled yesterday that aid to Serbia could become conditional on the handover of Mr Milosevic to the Hague war crimes tribunal, though it said it would not set any deadline. Gunnar Weigand, a spokesman for the EU's external relations commissioner, Chris Patten, said that E809m-worth of aid for 2001 still had be programmed, and that its delivery would depend on "political developments".
Jean-Jacques Joris, political adviser to the Hague prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, said that the tribunal was prepared to wait a "few months" for the handover, but added: "Further co-operation is something they will also have to deliver on. This includes access to documentation and to witnesses and the most visible part, the transfer of indictees." In announcing the $50m of aid, Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, threatened not to help to convene a donors' conference for Serbia this summer unless Yugoslavia went on cooperating with the tribunal. However, Mr Kostunica insisted: "Conditioning will not be there in the case of the donors' conference. Blackmail doesn't work." Yugoslavia was happy to co-operate with the international community but "it doesn't mean accepting everything or putting a handful of dollars above national dignity".
Mr Milosevic's appeal against the order jailing him for 30 days pending investigation into corruption and other charges was rejected by a Belgrade court yesterday, as expected. In a long defence plea the former president argued that he could not tamper with witnesses because his phone was tapped nor could he escape because his villa was guarded. But he admitted for the first time that he had secretly made funds available to the Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb armies to fight their wars. While defending himself against misuse of funds, he may have aided the prosecuting lawyers in the Hague by showing his closeness to military operations in Bosnia and Croatia.