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From The Guardian (UK), 7 April

Zimbabwe workers threatened

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's self-styled war veterans stopped production at Zimbabwe's largest bakery this week at the start of a campaign to take political terror to the cities. Police officers and agents of the CIO helped the militants to break into Lobel's Bakery and stood by as they threatened the 1,200 workers on Thursday. Workers were told to support Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party or face being beaten to death. "We are terrified," said a Lobel manager. "We called the police for help. Instead they helped the war veterans to get into the factory." Whites and supporters of the opposition MDC were singled out. The dispatch manager, Ian Nel, was charged with having defamatory material against Mr Mugabe and was held by police overnight. "We are setting up structures ... aimed at penetrating every urban area as part of our campaign for the presidential ballot," said the leader of the "veterans", Chenjerai Hunzvi, referring to the election due in April 2002.

From The Daily News, 5 April

Govt threatens state of emergency

The government threatened on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency if the Western countries and donor organisations impose sanctions on the country. Dr Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “Sanctions are not the best way to deal with problems affecting the country. There is need for concerted efforts and resolve by all Zimbabweans to deal with the economic and social ills facing them.” Mudenge was contributing to the debate on a motion moved by Chinhoyi MP, Phillip Chiyangwa, on the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe. Special reference was made to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill of 2001. If adopted by the United States Congress, Zimbabwe may not be able to get any funding from the IMF and the World Bank. “Madam Speaker, I also want to observe that in most cases, due to the demands for national survival, countries under sanctions usually resort to declaring states of emergency,” Mudenge said. “I do not say Zimbabwe will necessarily follow this example by declaring a state of emergency, but one cannot rule it out.”

He said those who lived through the Rhodesian sanction experience “do not desire to go through a similar harrowing time”. “If sanctions are imposed, the law of survival takes over. Often some civil rights are suspended or circumscribed - rule by decree becomes the norm. Parliament is rendered irrelevant and the economy takes a further downturn,” said Mudenge. “This is both unnecessary and unproductive. It certainly neither promotes democracy nor economic recovery in Zimbabwe.”

A number of countries have withdrawn or scaled down bilateral assistance to Zimbabwe citing anarchy, attacks on the Judiciary and the Press. Zanu PF has accused the MDC of calling on the international community to impose sanctions in order to push the government out of power. The MDC has denied the allegations. The party insists it is calling for sanctions against individuals in government, including President Mugabe and Chenjerai Hunzvi, the leader of the war veterans’ association.

Mudenge told Parliament that the imposition of sanctions as a way of influencing behaviour has been criticised and heavily discredited at the international level. He equated sanctions to the use of a blunt instrument which “cuts very painfully and damages and/or destroys several other unintended portions”. He said sanctions neither solved problems nor did they promote dialogue. “It has been proved at the international level that sanctions, because of their general nature, end up wreaking more havoc and inflicting greater pain to the generality of the people than the intended individuals and groups,” Mudenge said.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 6 April

Mugabe Hunting for Home in Namibia?

Harare - Reports that President Mugabe has purchased an up-market property in Namibia was the subject of questions in that country's legislature this week, with opposition MPs warning against subsidising any acquisitions he might make. Following on the heels of press reports about his multi-million mansion in Harare, President Mugabe is said to be planning to buy a property in the affluent Klein-Windhoek suburb in the Namibian capital, the Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.

An opposition MP in the National Assembly of Namibia, Katuutire Kaura, told the Independent from Windhoek yesterday that he introduced a motion seeking government's position on Mugabe's reported acquisition.  He said speculation about Mugabe's house had been doing the rounds for the past month. "So I posed the question in parliament whether Mugabe has bought or intends to buy the said property in Namibia because this has been in the papers for more than a month," said Kaura who is also the president of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA)-United Democratic Front (UDF). "I directed this question to the Minister of Finance because government officials are the ones with the information at their disposal, but I did not get a confirmation or denial. We are concerned with such an acquisition as it will affect us and we will not have a way of blocking it."  

Namibian press reports say the DTA-UDF chief cautioned the Namibian government against subsidising the purchase of any property there. He argued that Mugabe was unpopular at home and abroad with his fast-track land redistribution exercise which had seen 800 commercial farms in Zimbabwe confiscated. "Surely that is enough land for anyone so what does he need land for in Namibia?" Kaura asked. He said the purchase of the property would increase Mugabe's influence on Namibian president Sam Nujoma. “After all, he already influences the majority party government in our country by remote control ... think how scary it would be if he moves to Windhoek and starts exerting his influence directly on State House and Cabinet," Kaura told parliament this week. Reports suggested Mugabe was eyeing a recently refurbished up-market residence located along the Jan Jonker Road in the posh suburb of Klein- Windhoek. The property was said to be owned by a German national, identified only as Steinhausen, who had indicated that his property was up for sale. Steinhausen did not disclose who prospective buyer was. The value of the property has been estimated at N$15 million.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 6 April

Minister Seeks Court Order to Gag Independent Newspaper

Harare - Information minister Jonathan Moyo this week sought to block the Zimbabwe Independent from publishing details of a Ford Foundation civil suit in which the donor is alleging misappropriation of its funds. Moyo has accused the Independent of misrepresenting the Ford Foundation's claim to recover $6 million of its money. In his court application to bar the paper from reporting on the case, Moyo claimed the Independent was "clearly bent on tarnishing my image". "I am a government minister, a senior ruling party office-bearer, and an academic of national and international repute," Moyo claimed in his application for a gagging order.

Moyo, a former Ford employee, said the payments made to him were only referred to as "unauthorised" and therefore did not constitute "misappropriation" or any other act of dishonesty. "It will be noted from the summons that there is a contractual dispute between the Ford Foundation and myself, wherein they allege that I breached my contract of employment by engaging in other employment without their authority, and as such, making a 'secret profit'," Moyo said in his affidavit. "The relief sought from the High Court of Kenya in this case clearly confirms that no allegation of 'theft', 'fraud',or 'misappropriation' is being levelled against me," he said.

Moyo denied that he is accused of "unlawfully or wrongfully" misappropriating funds. However, the summons which was served on him in February reads in part: "The fifth defendant (Moyo) unlawfully and/or wrongfully received the sum of US dollars 108 000 (one hundred and eight thousand) from the first and/or second defendant either by himself or through his nominee." Other defendants are the Series on Alternative Research in East Africa Trust (Sareat) which received the allegedly mishandled money from Ford, Mutahi Ngunyi, a Sareat director, Joshua Olewe Nyunya, a Sareat trustee, Milka Wanjiri Njuguna, former Ford accountant, and Talunoza Trust which is named after Moyo's children. "The fifth defendant either in collusion with and/or partnership with the first and/or second defendant directed the sum of US dollars 98 000 to be paid to the fifth defendant (Moyo)'s nominated account in the Republic of South Africa..." the summons says.

It is alleged that part of Ford's grant to Sareat was diverted by the "first and/or second" respondent to Moyo. Details of the allegedly "unauthorised" payments are contained in the summons. When Ford gave Sareat about $23 million, it was agreed that the money would not be used for any other business than the intended purpose. The grants were supposed to be used for two projects to be conducted by Sareat. Moyo, who was a programme officer at Ford, was linked to the projects insofar as he facilitated communication between Ford and Sareat. Ford alleged that some of the money it donated to Sareat for the specific projects ended up being paid to Moyo's "Generations" project "which was not part of the first defendant (Sareat)'s agreed proposals and was in breach of the Grant Notification letter for Grant Number 970-1825."

By releasing money to Moyo, who was not an intended beneficiary, Sareat breached the conditions under which the grants were donated. The "unauthorised" payment to Moyo was therefore outside the terms of the agreement. According to Ford, this constituted misappropriation of funds by Sareat and its trustees. But Moyo, who is suing the Independent for defamation in addition to seeking a court interdict to stop reporting on the case, said the issue was not being accurately reported. "Clearly, the false reporting of fraud and misappropriation have, and will have serious repercussions for me and my family," he said.

However, the Independent's lawyers said Moyo should not make vague statements about the issue. "Your client contends that the article was false and defamatory, but omits to identify the statements which he considers to be false and defamatory," the Independent's lawyers wrote to Gambe & Associates, Moyo's lawyers. "Furthermore, the respects in which the article is alleged to be false have not been specified; nor has your client's version of events been related..." the Independent's lawyers said. The lawyers reminded Moyo that he had on several occasions made malicious allegations against the Independent and urged him to "desist from uttering defamatory statements of our client".

From Business Day (SA), 6 April

South Africa Seeks Rautenbach's Return From Zimbabwe

Johannesburg - South African investigators are preparing to extradite fugitive businessman Billy Rautenbach from Zimbabwe to stand trial on a range of charges including customs fraud, theft of company assets and corruption involving in excess of R100m. Meanwhile, Rautenbach's former associate John Dewar was arrested at his home in Fourways, Johannesburg, on Wednesday night. He was granted bail of R20000 in the Germiston Magistrate's Court yesterday, investigating directorate of serious economic offences spokesman Sipho Ngwema said.

Dewar was the fifth person arrested on charges connected with Rautenbach and his now liquidated Hyundai and Volvo distribution business, Wheels of Africa. Investigators from the directorate said yesterday they were turning their sights on Rautenbach and were starting to prepare the paperwork involved in extradition proceedings. Both SA and Zimbabwe are bound by the Commonwealth Agreement for the Rendition of Fugitive Offenders. The investigators have not yet held discussions with the Zimbabwean authorities. Dewar will stand trial with two co-accused, John Anderson and Konstant Claassen, who are also on bail of R20000. 

From Business Day (SA), 6 April 

Kabila murder suspects being mistreated

Late president's economic adviser among prisoners being held at Makala prison

Harare - Zimbabwean security agents are guarding the chief suspects in President Laurent Kabila's assassination amid accusations of mistreatment of the detainees. The late Kabila's economic adviser, Dr Emile Mota, who is one of the captives, is being held in solitary confinement at Makala prison. Sources said he was being kept in pavilion one, cell number five in the notorious Kinshasa jail. Mota was arrested on March 14 as a key suspect because he was briefing Kabila at the time of his murder. Kabila, whose security apparatus was controlled by relatives and ethnic cronies, was killed on January 16 by a close aide who was later shot dead. Sources said Zimbabwean security forces in collaboration with Kinshasa authorities are denying Mota adequate food supplies. Conditions for the  detainees are said to be terrible. "In his (Mota's) recent and only contact with the outside world, he said he was living in bad conditions," a source said. "He explained that Zimbabwean soldiers guarding him are only allowing him to be fed once every two days." Sources said Mota was suffering from high blood pressure and his condition was deteriorating due to ill-treatment.

DRC ambassador to Harare Kikaya Bin Karubi said Mota was being held incommunicado to facilitate investigations into Kabila's murder. "Mota was the only person who witnessed President Kabila's murder," he said. "He was talking to the late president when he was killed." Asked about the jail conditions in which Mota was living, Karubi said: "I can assure you those being held are kept in good conditions. UN representatives recently visited them to see the situation for themselves."

Mota, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Lubumbashi, is said to have blocked a mining deal involving Zimbabwean authorities who wanted to buy into the Congo state mines. The late Kabila is said to have agreed with Mota in thwarting the deal. Congo President Joseph Kabila has set up a commission which includes Zimbabweans and other allied forces representatives to probe his father's assassination. Apart from Mota, other prominent Congolese who have been arrested include the late Kabila's cousin and former presidential aide-de-camp Col Eddy Kapend. Former national security council chief Constantin Nono Lutula, who was Kabila's security adviser, was also arrested along with the ex-head of the national intelligence agency George Mangasa Leta. They are being held in solitary confinement. Karubi confirmed the detentions.

It is also understood that several security aides from the presidential special unit who were manning the front door of the Marble Palace when Kabila was killed are in detention, as are officers from the special presidential security group. Sources said the entire intelligence network is being investigated as well. Zimbabwe intelligence which is providing security for President Kabila is playing a major role in the investigation. However, the clash between Angola and Zimbabwe in the Congo is undermining investigations. Zimbabwe is supporting a Balubakat faction while Angola is backing a Lunda camp in the struggle for political mastery. Before Kabila was killed Angola supervised intelligence in Kinshasa, but Zimbabwe has been trying to take over control. Several senior Congolese military and intelligence officers were trained in Angola and support Luanda and not Harare.

From IRIN (UN), 6 April

Masire Concerned About Non-Withdrawal

Nairobi - The OAU-appointed facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue, Ketumile Masire, has expressed concern over reports that some of the allied forces in the country are not pulling back from their positions, the South African news agency (SAPA) reported. It quoted him as telling journalists in Cape Town that he was otherwise optimistic about the prospects for lasting peace in the DRC. "It is giving great concern, the fact that the allies seem not to be pulling back," he said on Wednesday. "I say they 'seem' not to be pulling back because I'm not fully briefed on the status of withdrawals of all parties. And if that does not happen it might even encourage those who have withdrawn to re-invade the country." Masire was speaking after a series of consultations with all parties involved in the conflict, preparatory to formal multi-party talks, SAPA said. He said he would go to Kinshasa for the last of these meetings, then report back to the presidents of all SADC countries, and to Rwanda and Uganda.
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From Business Report - S Africa
Devaluation ball is rolling for Zimbabwe dollar
Basildon Peta
April 06 2001 at 12:20AM

Harare - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would soon submit to the finance ministry new proposals on the management of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange market, according to banking executives who met central bank officials this week.

Executives from Zimbabwe's 16 merchant and commercial banks met central bank governor Leonard Tsumba to put forward proposals on how the foreign exchange market could operate under a fixed exchange rate system that would eliminate the thriving parallel forex market.

The executives said the proposals called for the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, officially pegged at Z$55 to one US dollar for the past five months, to at least Z$75.

They also proposed that a pool of the country's meagre foreign currency reserves be managed by the Reserve Bank, which would make allocations to the business sector, utilities and the government.

The sources said nothing had been decided at the meeting; the central bank did not set policy and could only advise the finance ministry. "Exchange rate policy is determined by the minister of finance, and the Reserve Bank merely enforces it," a financial executive said.

Financial sector officials said they believed a devaluation of the local currency was imminent, even though Tsumba had not indicated so.

They said recent attempts by finance minister Simba Makoni to throttle the parallel market, where some treasury departments were said to be acting as facilitators, could be linked to efforts to regulate the market before a devaluation was announced.

"We understand that devaluation is on the way," said one source. "What the minister seems to have decided is that banks should comply with the market rules because he wants sanity in the market before the devaluation.

"Banks E will be forced to comply with policy because they are the ones who made the suggestions."

However, bankers said the ministry was unlikely to inform the market in advance of a devaluation, to prevent speculation.

Analysts said a devaluation must be effected before Zimbabwe's tobacco auction floors opened on April 24, or farmers might withhold their crop.

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April 4, 2001

Rugby hero tackles Mugabe's foes

John Bredenkamp is the central backer of Mugabe’s attempt to split the white farmers in Zimbabwe and end their fierce opposition to “fast-track” land seizures



ohn Bredenkamp was a star of Rhodesia’s national rugby team during the heyday of white rule. Canny and ruthless, he emerged as a key figure behind Ian Smith, helping to supply arms to the white minority regime in its battle with the guerrilla forces of Robert Mugabe. Now he is the central backer of Mugabe’s attempt to split the white farmers in Zimbabwe and end their fierce opposition to “fast-track” land seizures.

Although the farmers rejected his proposal, Bredenkamp, the country’s wealthiest businessman, will continue his efforts, as an influential Mugabe ally, to divide the farmers by persuading them to open negotiations with the regime.

Bredenkamp, an international arms merchant, mining entrepreneur, oil dealer and hotelier, maintains that Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis will ease once a resolution of the land issue is reached.

Mugabe strives to make it appear that his chief enemies are Zimbabwe’s whites. But his regime’s dealings with Bredenkamp make it clear that when it comes to money Mugabe doesn’t care where it comes from.

Bredenkamp’s demeanour is affable, but those who have done business with him say this masks a steely determination. Aged 55, Bredenkamp is a self-made man. He rose to prominence as a star of the Rhodesian rugby team and began amassing his fortune in the tobacco business.

His firm, Casalee, had success in breaking international sanctions and selling Rhodesian tobacco overseas, and it became a major international shipping and forwarding company. Having learned to evade sanctions, Bredenkamp then moved into arms trading and reportedly sold weapons to Smith’s government. After Smith’s regime fell in 1980, Bredenkamp stayed in the arms-broking trade with offices in Europe.

Bredenkamp’s empire is now global and his fortune is estimated at between £300-million and £500-million. He has moved his headquarters to Zimbabwe, where he now spends most of his time.

Bredenkamp defends his dealings with Mugabe, saying his business has required close relations at the top with both the Smith and Mugabe governments. He maintains he is working to find a middle ground in Zimbabwe at a time when the country is polarised and that he is trying to help it out of its economic crisis.

One of his companies, Petraf, is the only firm bringing fuel into Zimbabwe. His critics claim he is simply making money as the supporter of a corrupt regime.

Bredenkamp’s companies are major suppliers of arms to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the Africa Confidential newsletter, and he has taken over management of Zimbabwe’s mining concessions in the Congo, following the failure of another Zimbabwean businessman, Billy Rautenbach, to make profits from the mines. Those concessions were granted as payment for Zimbabwe’s support to the Laurent Kabila regime.

It was Bredenkamp’s role in the campaign to reform the white farmers’ union that revealed him as one of Mugabe’s strategic allies. He bankrolled the drive by former Commercial Farmers’ Union chair Nick Swanepoel to persuade the union to accept the loss of nearly half its members’ land. Swanepoel tried to convince white farmers to drop all legal cases objecting to Mugabe’s “fast-track” land seizures. He also called for the union’s leaders to step down and to be replaced by allies of Mugabe.

-- The Mail&Guardian, April 4, 2001.

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From the Daily Telegraph, UK
Mugabe's mobs storm 'white' factories
By David Blair in Harare


PRESIDENT Mugabe's supporters have begun a new offensive against Zimbabwe's white community by storming businesses.

Four Harare factories have been invaded since Monday by chanting mobs of Mugabe supporters claiming to be veterans of the war against white rule. They still occupy more than 900 white-owned farms. Now they are widening their campaign to any business with the faintest connection, real or imagined, to a white person.

Dezign Inc was forced to suspend operations, threatening 120 jobs, after 30 men stormed its factory in the suburb of Southerton. Shouting "Forward with Comrade Mugabe", the gang burst into the office of Danisa Mandoa, the general manager, and demanded the reinstatement of 88 sacked workers. Mr Mandoa said: "They kicked and punched me in my office. Then they dragged me through the factory."

Bleeding from the head after being hit with an iron bar, Mr Mandoa was frog-marched six miles to the headquarters of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. During the journey he was abused, kicked, punched, spat on and pelted with stones.

He was taken to the ninth floor, where he was interrogated and accused of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. "They were saying that Dezign was owned by the whites, that I was sacking Zanu-PF supporters and hiring MDC people."

In fact, a white family has only a 30 per cent stake in the textile company and 40 per cent of the shares are owned by the workforce. Mr Mandoa was held for more than three hours and allowed to leave only after being forced to address a baying mob and promising to reinstate the sacked workers.

After receiving eight stitches for head wounds, he fled for South Africa yesterday and shut the factory. Mr Mandoa said: "I fear for my life. That's why I'm getting out of here."

Lobels Bread Ltd was the next target, when at least 80 men stormed its factory. Mark Prior, the white managing director, was harangued before the workforce, and the gang, which entered the premises with the help of the police, said all whites would be forced out of Zimbabwe and they would run the business from now on.

Police searched the offices of the white managers and found some emails from the MDC. Ian Nel, a manager, was immediately arrested and held in cells overnight.

Mr Mugabe has labelled whites "our enemies" and accused them of creating the MDC as a front for restoring colonial rule. By breaking the whites, he hopes to break the opposition and secure victory in next year's presidential election.

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Zimbabwe Plans Massive Funding for New Farmers

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)

April 6, 2001
Posted to the web April 6, 2001

Rangarirai Shoko
Harare, Zimbabwe

The government of Zimbabwe Friday said it was providing a 15 million Zimbabwean dollar package for new black farmers, who have been resettled on repossessed white farms in furtherance of its controversial land reform programme.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the money would cover land preparation, cropping and livestock development for the resettled farmers.

"This amount, although not adequate to meet the farmers' full requirements, will enable us to reach the 71,000 families already resettled, the 150,000 newly resettled, 1.2 million communal and 30,000 indigenous commercial farmers," Made said.

In spite of international criticism, Zimbabwe is stepping up its land reform programme involving the seizure of vast tracks of uncultivated arable land from white farmers to resettle landless peasants.

About 4,500 white farmers in the country own more than 70 percent of Zimbabwe's arable land, leaving the majority blacks squashed in marginal farming areas.

Made, who has taken a tough stance on land reform, said the government would provide additional financial resources to the new farmers at the end of the farming season.

"We will not be able to give the farmers everything, but their own efforts and governments' intervention will result in massive agricultural production," he said.

The government argues that land reform is needed to stimulate Zimbabwe's economy, which is based on agriculture.

It has so far designated nearly 3,000 white-owned farms for compulsory acquisition for resettlement in spite of protests from the white farmers and Western countries.

The government says 66 percent of the land held by the white farmers was not being used.

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02 April 2001

Seizing the initiative

ZIMBABWE is in the doldrums. After all the hype and expectation surrounding the CFU's special congress, little emerged from government. There were a few cautious remarks from government - which had to be better than the expected alternative - but that was it. Then it was announced that government had begun compensating farmers for land acquired under the so-called fast track scheme. It hadn't, of course, because the agriculture minister, Dr Joseph Made, only began to form a compensation committee a week later. Sometimes the propaganda machine gets out of sync with the ruling party - and sometimes it's just very slow.

Also last week, the acting director of the agriculture ministry, Dr Vincent Hungwe, dissociated himself form advertisements bearing Mr Nick Swanepoel's name. The pre-CFU congress ads were allegedly inserted under the auspices of the state-approved National Economic Consultative Forum's land task force, where Mr Swanepoel sits as co-chairman. But the other co-chairman is Dr Hungwe - and he said he'd never heard of the adverts before they went in, they certainly weren't discussed at the NECF and they weren't NECF policy. In short, the doctor distanced himself from the whole affair, providing a few people with the opportunity to nod knowingly and whisper about Mr John Bredenkamp's involvement.

But that was it; brief sparks of unimportant light in an otherwise standstill week. Zimbabweans, it seems, are settling into their new life of crisis management, taking it all in their stride so that even a brief influx of fuel (for it won't last) and endless queues provided more humour than horror.

Perhaps 12 long months of violence and horror - and 12 months of punishing fuel shortages - have left their mark. This is how life is in Zimbabwe and people have simply adapted to the new order.

That would be a pity. A lazy acceptance of disorder and economic decay, not to mention political violence, will herald calamity for the country. Farmers have long spoken of the "wearing down process", of how the pressure that has been maintained by the state and its thuggish agents for so long that, eventually, makes people give in. Now the country's township residents are saying much the same thing, complaining that the people they voted for, Zimbabwe's new opposition, might make for light hearted entertainment in parliament, but they do little else of consequence.

All that would be terrible if it were true. What is more likely is that the sudden lack of activity is caused by the fact that government is uncertain how to proceed - and lacks the funds to proceed even if it knows which direction to take. This would be a remarkably good time for organised agriculture to put its money where its mouth is in terms of the proposals made recently by Mr William Hughes, a CFU vice president.

The hiatus being experienced by frankly bored Zimbabweans provides perhaps the best opportunity farmers have to heave their new proposals into the public eye. The entire world knows that the CFU emerged from its recent congress with bright new and progressive ideas. The problem is, no one knows what they are. And they were good ideas, farmer driven ideas that have the potential to bring about a degree of common sense to the present lunacy that Zimbabwe has become. But… they have to be sold and they must, at all costs, be common knowledge to all Zimbabweans - and the donor community.

In short, it is time to seize the initiative. And even if that proves a short-lived experience countered by yet more lawlessness and confusion, enough time will have been bought to bring the world's attention back to the fact that organised agriculture is trying to solve its own problems, that it isn't prevaricating and buying time to maintain a status quo that no one will ever again support.

All that would take confidence and an understanding that Zimbabwe can "come right", but that it will never again be the same sort of right that it was before the madness began. The proposals, unanimously accepted at congress, will also present government with a conundrum. They're not easily contradicted with the usual rhetoric because Mr Hughes' plan is good, common sense stuff that recognizes the faults associated with commercial agriculture and seeks to redress them in an equitable, open-handed way.

Now all the farmers, and their leaders, need to do is sell the proposals. Even if the majority of (frankly slightly sceptical) Zimbabweans accept them and government doesn't, immense progress will have been made. But if government concedes that there is common ground, then there is real hope.

Not that Zimbabwe's crisis will be brought to an end by the resolution of the land issue alone. One thing that all Zimbabweans, but especially farmers, have to understand is that land is but one of the issues that is preventing progress. Interference with the judiciary, pressure on the Press, whether subtle, engineered or brutal, and violence in townships and communal areas must end before normality can return.

Fortunately, that's something most farmers now recognize.


Brian Latham
Editor- The Farmer

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'Farming into the Future'
New roundworm remedy launched Government says compensation for improvements has started
In support of the CFU
Farm woman award returns

'Farming into the Future'

ZIMBABWE'S Commercial Farmers Union has come up with a package of radical proposals it hopes will break the impasse with government over the controversial land reform programme. In a document titled "Farming into the Future," the union concedes the need for transformation, admitting that commercial farmers are perceived as being isolated and entrenched.

There was urgent need for the union to adopt a broader perspective and to take tangible steps to build strategic alliances, the union said in the document, which was adopted unanimously at its special congress held on 21 March

"The current path is unsustainable for the sector and the country; change is inevitable and necessary," the union said. It concedes that divisions within the CFU were diverting efforts from dealing with what it called "the real issues."

Two weeks ago, a former president of the CFU, Mr Nick Swanepoel, ran a series of advertisements in the local media proposing, among other things, that the union change its attitude and leadership; that commercial farmers give up a third of their land and assist in resettling at least 20 000 people on 100 000 ha of land and provide free tillage, seeds and fertilisers to the new settlers.

The initiative, said to have been drawn up in collaboration with tycoon arms dealer, Mr John Bredenkamp, also suggested that the union stops all litigation against government. Mr Bredenkamp was present at the CFU special congress but snubbed Press inquiries on his involvement in the deal.

Although the CFU counter-proposal, hailed as presenting "new progressive thinking" among commercial farmers makes no mention of the Swanepoel initiative, it nonetheless addresses some of the key points raised in it. For instance, the CFU's "Farming into the Future" document makes reference to the setting in motion of a competition for a name, logo and catch phrase for the "new CFU" and to prepare a new CFU charter to be launched at the union's next annual congress.

The document, presented to the special congress by CFU vice-president (Regions) Mr William Hughes, says the proposal for the transformation of the union was based on a systematic and pragmatic appraisal taking political realities into account.

Addressing flood victims at Muzarabani last week, President Mugabe was scornful about the new initiative telling his audience he doubted the sincerity of the CFU.

However, the union resolved to immediately commence dialogue with government on the way forward. In apparent reference government's statements that it would no longer negotiate with CFU because it wants to talk directly to individual farmers, the union said, "acceptance by government of the sincerity of the CFU strategy would be a process that would be achieved through tangible actions rather than an event."

"The CFU has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment by implementing nationally co-ordinated community based programmes and by becoming representative of all commercial farmers,"said the union.

Among the strategies that the union is proposing to tackle the land crisis is the formation of a "Technical Team on Agrarian Reform", subject to obtaining consensus from other stakeholders. Through the technical team, it is hoped plans and proposals on procedures for the compensation to farmers whose properties are ceded to resettlement will be drawn up and implemented.

"The CFU would lobby intensively for the adoption of a sustainable agrarian reform programme underpinned by continuity of national production," the union said adding, "A quick-fix solution to the land issue would not deal with the fundamentals."

The union believes under a phased programme of land redistribution, the commercial farming sector can optimize land use through intensification.

New roundworm remedy launched

ZIMBABWE's fight against livestock diseases has a new ally following the launch, this week, of Cydectin, an injectable antiparasitic remedy said to have longer residual effect against round worm.

Distributed by Coopers' Zimbabwe, the drug was launched at ART Farm by its South African manufacturers. South African anthelmitics expert, Dr Arrie DuPlessis, told guests who included veterinary surgeons and others associated with the local livestock industry that because Cydectin was stored in fat rather than the liver of cattle and sheep, the product was effective for up to seven weeks against many of the common round worm.

Dr DuPlussis said Cydectin, which comes in convenient plastic pillow packs, did not sting on injection by either subcutaneous or intramuscular routes because it is water-soluble. It was very stable prior to use and was environmentally friendly being readily biodegradable in the soil and that it did not affect dung beetles.

This new product can be used against parafilaria, mange, blue ticks and sucking lice in cattle, against wireworm in ostriches and sucking lice in sheep.

Cydectin controls blue ticks for 28 days, including those resistant to other acaracides. Dr DuPlessis said after a few days from application there should be no ticks on the animal.

Asked about the safety of the chemical, he warned that it could be very toxic on young animals still at suckling stage if over dosed.

Coopers Zimbabwe managing director, Mr Peter Nichols, said Cydectin was recently registered with Zimbabwe's medical control authority and that orders had already started coming in from local livestock producers.

Government says compensation for improvements has started

COMPENSATION for capital improvements to some farmers whose farms have been acquired by government is said to have started following visits by government evaluators to assess the value of capital improvements on farms around the country. These evaluations are used by the compensation committee as the basis upon which to determine the amount payable to the affected farmers.

In the meantime, some farmers have already been served with eviction notices to vacate their farms immediately but it remains to be seen whether government would have paid them compensation before the deadline given for them to leave.

A week ago, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made told ZBC-TV that some farmers were already being compensated but declined to give actual amounts of money paid to the farmers or to identify the farmers that had so far received their compensation.

People were surprised when, a few days later, the minister announced the appointment of the compensation committee which would be responsible for determining the amounts that would be paid to each farmer whose farm was acquired for the purpose of resettlement.

Compensation is only paid after the government's team of evaluators assess the farms and make recommendations to the compensation committee, which then decides the amounts payable.

The evaluators have reportedly been to some of the farms to evaluate improvements made on the properties and the compensation committee is said to have sat and decided the amounts payable although no figures were available. Some of the farmers were said to have already received compensation although efforts by The Farmer to identify them last week proved fruitless.

The acting permanent secretary in the lands ministry, Dr Vincent Hungwe, chairs the compensation committee, appointed by Dr Made.

In terms of the conditions of compensation, a farmer who is not satisfied with the amount determined by the compensation committee can appeal. Some farmers are understood to have engaged private evaluators to assess their properties and may contest the government evaluation.

Under the land acquisition Act, there are three ways in which government can pay for the capital improvements; this is either payment by instalments, lump sum or through the issuance of bonds that would mature over time.

However, analysts have said given government's serious financial problems, the likelihood of it exercising the first option of a lump sum payment is remote. Although most farmers are said to favour the first option, the government prefers the bonds route.

Dr Hungwe said the number of farms for which compensation had been determined would be released soon. He said the government had since February been determining the amounts of compensation to be paid to land owners for the capital improvements.

Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) regional executive for Mashonaland West (south), Mr Ben Freeth said he was not aware of any farmers that have been compensated in his area. He said although government evaluators had been there about four months ago, he knew of no one who had been paid.

CFU Mashonaland East regional executive, Mr Steve Pratt, said he was not aware of any farmer who actually got the money in his hands from government but there were some who had reached some agreement with government on terms of payment and the amounts to be paid.

In Matabeleland, regional executive, Mr Ben Zietsman said he had no knowledge of any farmers who have so far received compensation.

In support of the CFU

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) the largest grouping of Zimbabwe's industrialists is urging all parties involved in the land reform dispute to return to the proposals of the 1998 donor conference on land reform.

CZI President, Mr Zed Rusike, said while CZI accepted that an enormous amount of work had been done in the process of trying to resolve the land issue, it was still of the view that a return to the agreement reached during the 1998 donor conference on land would be the best way forward.

"While this may not be agreeable to all parties, it could provide a basis for the way forward." He said.

The government has repeatedly rejected calls by donor countries and the United Nations Development Programme to adopt recommendations of the 1998 conference which, among other things, called for a phased, well planned resettlement programme that would address the question of poverty among rural communities.

UNDP administrator, Mark Malloch Brown held several meetings with President Robert Mugabe and his government to press for the acceptance of the 1998 recommendations to no avail.

Mr Rusike said while the agricultural sector remained a critical generator of foreign currency, shortages of which were abundantly clear to every Zimbabwean, the viability of the farming sector was crucial to the ongoing viability of the greater part of Zimbabwe's industrial and commercial sectors. The farming sector, he noted, was already under considerable strain and this was impacting heavily on the industrial and commercial sectors.

"If there is any further deterioration in agriculture, then the viability of these sectors would be significantly impaired," he said.

He said the CZI, while not wishing to comment on the administration or leadership of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), believes that the union leadership as presently constituted, was composed of individuals who have a deep commitment to this country, and "who are genuine in their endeavours to reach a workable solution with government. They are individuals whose credentials are of utmost probity."

According to Mr Rusike, the CZI firmly believed that ongoing dialogue between government, commercial farmers and other stakeholders was absolutely crucial and that those involved had to have a genuine commitment to resolving all the outstanding issues. He pointed out however, that in any dialogue there had to be an element of give and take on either side.

Farm woman award returns

The Farm Woman of the Year award presented by The Farmer magazine annually is back after a two year absence.

Organisers say the presentation for this year is being brought forward to coincide with other farming awards. As before, judges will be interested in activities on and off the farm. Some women are the bookkeepers on the farm or run a section: help with community health or have a cottage industry. Others are involved in the local club, church or farmers' association.

Before nominations forms appear in the next issue of The Farmer, interested farm communities are advised to gather as much information as possible to help them prepare the necessary CV to support their nominations. Closing date for nomination is set for 31 May, 2001.

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Zimbabwe workers threatened

Special report: Zimbabwe

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Saturday April 7, 2001
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe's self-styled war veterans stopped production at Zimbabwe's largest bakery this week at the start of a campaign to take political terror to the cities.

Police officers and agents of the Central Intelligence Organisation helped the militants to break into Lobel's Bakery and stood by as they threatened the 1,200 workers on Thursday. Workers were told to support Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party or face being beaten to death.

"We are terrified," said a Lobel manager. "We called the police for help. Instead they helped the war veterans to get into the factory."

Whites and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were singled out. The dispatch manager, Ian Nel, was charged with having defamatory material against Mr Mugabe and was held by police overnight.

"We are setting up structures ... aimed at penetrating every urban area as part of our campaign for the presidential ballot," said the leader of the "veterans", Chenjerai Hunzvi, referring to the election due in April 2002.

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'Only President , God can remove me from my post'

THE Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Timothy Stamps, yesterday said only President Mugabe and God could remove him from his ministerial post.

He was reacting to calls by the Movement for Democratic Change for him to do resign.

"I will not resign from my ministerial post. It’s only President Robert Mugabe and God who can remove me from that post."

Dr Stamps would not say anything further to defend himself.

Glen Norah MP, Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) this week during parliamentary proceedings on a motion to discuss the situation at Parirenyatwa Hospital, called on Dr Stamps to resign because of the deplorable state Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals was in. — Ziana.

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Agriculture Reporter

THE Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is seeking $15 billion to finance cropping and livestock programmes in the smallholder sector in the 2001/2002 agricultural season.

The funds will help boost the production of grain including maize and wheat.

Of the required $15 billion, $2 billion will go to winter crops, $7 billion to summer crops, $1 billion to tillage and $5 billion to livestock development.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made said yesterday the money would see smallholder farmers growing maize, cotton, groundnuts, sorghum, sunflower and wheat.

"This amount, although not adequate to meet the farmer’s full requirements, will enable us to reach the 71 000 families already resettled, the 150 000 newly-resettled, 1,2 million communal and 30 000 indigenous commercial farmers,’’ said Dr Made.

It would also help in the purchase of livestock production inputs. Livestock production would include beef and dairy cattle and the small stock such as goats and sheep.

"We will not be able to give the farmers everything, but their own efforts and Government’s intervention will result in massive agricultural production.’’

Already, the Government through the Grain Marketing Board, has made available a minimum of $300 million for winter wheat production in the smallholder sector.

The money to be accessed by smallholder farmers through the GMB, would also cover fuel, electricity and inputs needed in wheat production.

Dr Made urged farmers to approach the GMB and indicate their requirements for the winter wheat crop.

Zimbabwe’s national wheat requirements are estimated at around 400 000 tonnes.

Additional resources would be made available at harvest time for hiring of combine harvesters. The ministry would be seeking a further $200 million for that.

The GMB would be the buyer of the wheat that would have been produced by the farmers. The money would be lent to farmers at an interest rate of 20 percent, payable to the GMB through a stop order system.

It would be up to the minister to either extend the repayment period or write-off the debt for farmers who fail to produce crops for various reasons.

Dr Made dismissed forecasts by the Com-mercial Farmers’ Union that wheat production would tumble by about 50 percent this season owing to the compulsory acquisition of land.

"That is not a fact. It is unfortunate the CFU continues to bring in information meant to cause alarm and despondency by falsely indicating that the wheat crop will be down.

"The continued behaviour of the CFU of taking a political position and putting fear in the people must be dismissed at all cost.’’

The minister also directed the Grain Marketing Board to start buying grain and to consider re-opening all the depots in the remote areas that had closed several years ago due to operational problems.

The exportation of wheat, maize and other grains has also been suspended while the Government assessed the food situation.

The Government has also made available a minimum of $500 million to be accessed by smallholder farmers through the inputs credit scheme in the coming season.

The maize output is forecast to decline to about 1,3 million tonnes, down from last season’s 2,1 million tonnes.

Production prospects were compromised by the late onset of the rains, a devastating January dry spell, which led to complete crop failure in parts of the southern and western provinces while excessive rains and flooding in late February and March led to crop losses in the northern areas.

Although no maize production estimates have been forthcoming from the Government, the Southern Africa Development Community regional early warning unit has forecast maize imports of up to 700 000 tonnes to cover for the expected shortfall.

A Sadc special maize update, noted that given a poor maize harvest outlook of up to 1,3 million tonnes and projected opening stocks of close to 500 000 tonnes (giving availability of 1,8 million tonnes), maize availability is projected to fall short of domestic requirements estimated at 2,5 million tonnes.

This should leave a shortfall of up to 700 000 tonnes, 500 000 tonnes of which is the strategic grain reserve requirement.

The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, the representative body of communal and resettlement farmers, said it expected a maize production of 1,1 million tonnes while the Commercial Farmers’ Union has forecast a crop size of 1,3 million tonnes and the Indigenous Commercial Farmers’ Union expects 1,5 million tonnes.

Dr Made instructed the GMB to buy maize from farmers at the pre-planting price of $5 500 a tonne, which would be backdated when a new producer price is finally agreed on.

"The GMB must start buying maize now. It should not dilly-dally when it comes to purchasing maize.

"It must go on the market with whatever little resources it has to buy the maize while we sort out the Government guarantee with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for maize purchase.’’

The Government was also looking forward to Seed Co releasing the summer wheat variety for smallholder farmers.

Proposals for the release of the money have already been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for consideration.

Dr Made was confident that Treasury would consider the proposals positively for the benefit of the agricultural sector and the nation.

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