Maria Stevens planned to mark today's anniversary of his death with a march organised by the Anglican Church to remember all victims of political violence - from black pro-democracy activists to white landowners.
Church leaders have, however, refused to hold the event to avoid offending Mr Mugabe. "We have had many murders during different regimes in our country, we cannot just think of these ones," said Norbert Kunonga, the Anglican Bishop of Harare. "We don't want to further anyone's political views. We don't want to promote political parties."
Declining to take a "political view" is the accepted code for not wanting to upset the increasingly autocratic president. Mrs Stevens is furious. "They haven't got the courage to do it. That's just a typical example of how gutless they are," she told The Telegraph. "I asked them, how do you expect your flock in Zimbabwe to behave when you are such cowards?"
Mrs Stevens has been appalled by Zimbabwe's descent into chaos and has decided to leave. The family will emigrate to Sweden, where she was born, when her daughter, Brenda, 14, finishes school. Her eldest son, Marc, 16, is already studying there. Mrs Stevens said: "My generation is going to be the last generation of white Zimbabweans. We are all going to encourage our children never to come back."
With the support of the Rev Tim Neill, an Anglican clergyman who has been fiercely critical of the Mugabe regime, Mrs Stevens had proposed that worshippers gather in central Harare after the Easter Sunday services. They would march to African Unity Square, opposite the parliament building, and call for the return of law and order.
Instead, she will spend today with friends and try not to remind her four children of the traumatic events of a year ago. "What do I do on the anniversary of my husband's murder? I don't know - sit and cry perhaps. But I'll probably meet my friends and go out with them and try to be cheerful," she said, as her three-year-old twins, Warren and Sebastian, sat on her lap and tugged her hair.
At the height of the land invasions spearheaded by Mr Mugabe's supporters, Mr Stevens, 47, was abducted from their farm, beaten and shot dead in a dusty lane. The family fled to Harare after the killing and has never returned to Arizona farm near Macheke, 50 miles east of the capital, where they had lived for 12 years. Squatters burnt down the homes of the 75 black families who worked on the farm and then abandoned the land.
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won a narrow victory in last year's parliamentary election by waging a murderous terror campaign against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that claimed 37 lives.
Today marks the anniversary of the peak of the violence perpetrated against white farmers in Zimbabwe. Hours before the murder of David Stevens, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, both junior officials in the MDC, were ambushed by a Zanu-PF mob and burnt to death in a petrol bomb attack.
Five white farmers who tried to rescue Mr Stevens from the squatters were captured, beaten, tortured and narrowly escaped execution. No one has been convicted for the three murders.
The High Court summonsed an agent from the government's Central Intelligence Organisation to answer allegations by witnesses, made during the MDC's judicial challenge to the election results, that he participated in the killings of Mr Chiminya and Miss Mabika, but the operative did not respond.
The morning after the violence, Mr Mugabe fanned the flames with a furious speech in which he urged 1,000 supporters to "hit back" at the MDC. The president then caused Mrs Stevens more anguish in June by blaming her husband for starting the violence. During a campaign rally, Mr Mugabe said: "Stevens is the one who started the war. He is the one who started firing and he is the one who started the fight."
Mrs Stevens fears that Mr Mugabe, 77, will unleash more violence to secure victory in next year's presidential election and hold power for many years to come. She said: "African presidents always want to die in office and I don't see why Zimbabwe will be very different. It's so difficult to get people motivated here. It's depressing because no one is willing to do anything sometimes."
from the Sunday Times
descends further into lawlessness, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, has increased the pressure on President Robert
Mugabe by taking his election campaign to southern Matabeleland.
The Ndebele tribe, which forms the majority there, is traditionally hostile
to Mugabe, whose paramilitary units massacred thousands in the region in the
1980s, making the area a potential power base for the MDC.
But just as the party appears to be making progress in the south, it faces
more pressure in the capital, Harare, where businesses associated with the MDC
have been raided and its chief executive, Isaac Maposa, has been attacked by an
"The guy was waving a gun around," said Maposa, "but there was no point in
sending for the police. In the end we just took his gun and let him go."
In the topsy-turvy world that is Mugabe's Zimbabwe, it is the law-abiding who
are often in the dock, pursued by the law breakers, abetted by the state.
Zanu-PF war veterans were able to commandeer eight vehicles and storm Lobel's
Bakery in Harare last week, where they harangued staff for their allegedly
pro-MDC stance. Ian Nel, the general manager, called the police but when they
arrived they arrested him rather than the "vets", accusing him of receiving MDC
The lawlessness is orchestrated from Zanu-PF party headquarters in central
Harare, an unmistakable eight-storey building surmounted by a huge stone
cockerel, the party's emblem.
Those involved scarcely bother to cover their tracks. War veterans also
barged into the Leno Trading bus company last week and chased away Imran
Chaudrhy, the managing director, before stealing 34 vehicles that were then
parked outside Zanu-PF's HQ for five days. The matter was finally settled by the
intervention of a Zanu-PF official and large cash payments made by Chaudrhy.
"The threat to declare a state of emergency if the international community
reacts against Mugabe is simply a way of saying that the regime holds the whole
country hostage," said Paul Themba Nyathi, who heads the MDC's presidential
After Mugabe infamously declared last year that he had "a degree in
violence", few were surprised last week to find Josiah Hungwe, the provincial
governor of Masvingo, and Border Gezi, minister for gender, youth and
employment, dispensing cheques to teenage thugs and publicly avowing that those
who did not vote for Zanu-PF would die.
Newspapers are also in the firing line. The Daily News's presses were
destroyed by a bomb in February, widely blamed on Zanu-PF.
"There is absolute astonishment in Zanu-PF circles that the bombing didn't
stop the independent press in its tracks," said Basildon Peta, who writes for
The Financial Gazette. "What you hear now is that maybe the war vets will have
to kill a couple of journalists so that we get the message."
oThe Sunday Times's appeal to help restore the damaged printing presses at
The Daily News has so far raised £63,000.
The Ndebele tribe, which forms the majority there, is traditionally hostile to Mugabe, whose paramilitary units massacred thousands in the region in the 1980s, making the area a potential power base for the MDC.
But just as the party appears to be making progress in the south, it faces more pressure in the capital, Harare, where businesses associated with the MDC have been raided and its chief executive, Isaac Maposa, has been attacked by an armed policeman.
"The guy was waving a gun around," said Maposa, "but there was no point in sending for the police. In the end we just took his gun and let him go."
In the topsy-turvy world that is Mugabe's Zimbabwe, it is the law-abiding who are often in the dock, pursued by the law breakers, abetted by the state.
Zanu-PF war veterans were able to commandeer eight vehicles and storm Lobel's Bakery in Harare last week, where they harangued staff for their allegedly pro-MDC stance. Ian Nel, the general manager, called the police but when they arrived they arrested him rather than the "vets", accusing him of receiving MDC e-mails.
The lawlessness is orchestrated from Zanu-PF party headquarters in central Harare, an unmistakable eight-storey building surmounted by a huge stone cockerel, the party's emblem.
Those involved scarcely bother to cover their tracks. War veterans also barged into the Leno Trading bus company last week and chased away Imran Chaudrhy, the managing director, before stealing 34 vehicles that were then parked outside Zanu-PF's HQ for five days. The matter was finally settled by the intervention of a Zanu-PF official and large cash payments made by Chaudrhy.
"The threat to declare a state of emergency if the international community reacts against Mugabe is simply a way of saying that the regime holds the whole country hostage," said Paul Themba Nyathi, who heads the MDC's presidential election team.
After Mugabe infamously declared last year that he had "a degree in violence", few were surprised last week to find Josiah Hungwe, the provincial governor of Masvingo, and Border Gezi, minister for gender, youth and employment, dispensing cheques to teenage thugs and publicly avowing that those who did not vote for Zanu-PF would die.
Newspapers are also in the firing line. The Daily News's presses were destroyed by a bomb in February, widely blamed on Zanu-PF.
"There is absolute astonishment in Zanu-PF circles that the bombing didn't stop the independent press in its tracks," said Basildon Peta, who writes for The Financial Gazette. "What you hear now is that maybe the war vets will have to kill a couple of journalists so that we get the message."
oThe Sunday Times's appeal to help restore the damaged printing presses at The Daily News has so far raised £63,000.
From the Times of India
After farmhouses, Zimbabwe's war vets come to town
HARARE: Militant Zimbabwean war veterans - notorious for their violent invasions of white-owned farms - are expanding their campaign into cities, where they have attacked several companies in the name of disgruntled workers.
The veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war have stormed into at least six companies in Harare and the second city of Bulawayo in the last two weeks, usually saying they are acting on behalf of workers who have labour disputes.
But most of the besieged companies have links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) or are perceived to benefit non-black owners. Workers in Zimbabwe have faced massive lay-offs and reduced working hours as the economy buckles under pressure from the war vets' 14-month farm invasions, the costly military campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the resulting withdrawal of international donors.
The war vets' move into what they call labour relations also strikes into the home territory of the MDC, which was largely born out of the labour movement and draws much of its support from the urban working class.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the head of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) before helping to launch the country's first significant opposition party.
"This is all part of ZANU-PF's strategy," MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said of the raids on companies, adding that President Robert Mugabe's ruling party was re-organising after it failed to win any urban constituencies in last June's parliamentary elections.
As with the war vets' invasions of white-owned farms - of which they still occupy more than 900 - companies perceived to have MDC links have become the target of violence.
On April 4, war vets drove eight pick ups into Lobels bakery plant on Harare's industrial side, claiming they wanted to help end a wage dispute, although the workers' committee and management had already settled their differences, Lobels officials said.
The war vets threatened to kill a guard, told the whites they were lucky not to be beaten, and searched the company's offices and computers, the officials said. Police arrived but did nothing to stop the war vets. Police arrested one of the company's managers, Ian Nel, after the war vets found email from the MDC on his computer, the officials said.
Nel was held overnight and released without charge. Managers at many of the invaded companies, like most farmers whose land is occupied, have been unwilling to have their names published for fear of their safety. Neither the managers nor the workers at a Delta Corporation business training center in Harare's northern suburbs would speak on the record about the war vets' raid there on Monday, when they broke into the building and attacked staff.
War vets have also attacked managers with iron bars at printing house Dezign Incorporated, also on Harare's industrial side, after the company laid off a group of workers. After beating two managers, the war vets took them to the headquarters of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), ignored their pleas for medical attention, and detained them for more than three hours until they agreed to reinstate the workers, according to the privately owned Financial Gazette.
War vets have also seized commuter minibuses from Leno Trading, owned by an ethnic Indian, took four million Zimbabwe dollars (about $73,000) worth of equipment from Resource Drilling, and beat a white board member of textile firm Merspin Limited in Bulawayo during a meeting with a potential buyer. (AFP)
|Villagers defy war vets to listen to Tsvangirai|
4/13/01 1:18:30 AM (GMT +2)
Daily News Correspondent, Tsholotsho
AT LEAST 12 000
villagers on Wednesday defied threats of another Gukurahundi genocide by war
veterans, and attended a meeting addressed by MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai, on a tour of
the flood-torn district, waited for two hours at Sipepa District Hospital, about
182km west of Bulawayo, after war veterans attempted to thwart the gathering by
ordering villagers to disperse.
The villagers, who were displaced by floods and now live in tents in the hospital grounds, were ordered to disperse or risk being beaten up. The people were displaced by floods a month ago after the Gwayi River burst its banks.
On Wednesday the villagers stood up to the war veterans. They told the former freedom fighters and Zanu PF supporters that they would not bow to intimidation.
Over the past few weeks, the business community, mostly in Harare, has watched helplessly as war veterans switched their terror campaign from the rural areas to the cities and invaded or intimidated private companies.
The villagers in Tsholotsho defied threats by the war veterans and the Zanu PF councillor for Ward 4, Edward Sibanda, not to attend the meeting addressed by the MDC leader.
Tsvangirai eventually addressed the villagers, before donating five tonnes of maize to the flood victims.
The MDC leader said his party had bought the maize from the Grain Marketing Board.
Sibanda said they had been instructed by top government officials, whose identity he did not disclose, to prevent Tsvangirai from addressing the villagers.
Tsvangirai attacked the war veterans and the councillor for trying to intimidate the villagers. He warned the Zanu PF officials and the war veterans that the people would resist any dictatorial tendencies by leaders bent on harassing and ordering them about.
Tsvangirai said: “We are not here to talk politics, but to assist the people. Who are these war veterans to disallow people from receiving assistance? And how do they expect you to have your grievances taken up in Parliament when they don’t want your MP to address you?”
The villagers jeered the war veterans and Zanu PF officials, insisting they wanted Tsvangirai to address them.
|Shutting ourselves from the rest of the world|
4/13/01 12:53:13 AM (GMT +2)
AS A sovereign state, we are about to rid our airwaves of unfriendly and alien music and films.
The local producers should
brace themselves for a busy schedule as they have to come up with productions to
fill up the 75 percent of the airtime of any broadcasting station.
This is a chance for the likes of Steve Makoni to give us improved sequels to Handiende, while Oliver Mtukudzi can release a super remix of his album Bvuma-Tolerance.
As the musicians rightly put it, it is a milestone in the fight against cultural imperialism.
The Broadcasting Services Act was swiftly passed on Wednesday 4 April 2001.
The passing of the Act was against the recommendations of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. The legal committee contended that some sections of the Act impinged upon the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe.
Using its parliamentary majority, Zanu PF legislators fast-tracked the Bill into law.
In all fairness to the Zanu PF legislators, it is obvious that they were whipped into submission by their party.
Some members may have had reservations about the draft, yet for the sake of the party they had to do what the party deemed right. I am not saying that opposition parties do not whip their members into blinkered semi-idiots who will sing their parties’ stance however foolishly retrogressive the stance is.
It is not against the invasion of our culture that the Broadcasting Services Act was enacted. Our sovereignty was never threatened by the absence of the draconian Act, much as our sovereignty may never be protected by the Act.
Culture is a diverse subject that evolves with time, even for a closed community. Culture may never be protected from external influence.
Technological advancement makes it a mockery to try and restrict the evolution of culture. It is true that revolutions have also failed to stall the progress of cultural evolution.
As people embrace new cultural considerations, their perception of life in general changes.
It is at this stage that the people change their attitude toward authoritarian rule and begin to see through the thick walls of power.
The people see their leaders interacting with other leaders following an unwritten cultural etiquette. At this point the people’s minds are opened to the fact that culture can neither be prescribed like a medical dose nor maintained stagnant like the Rock of Gibraltar.
Long back, it was a culture that the king or emperor was to be feared by all his citizens. The rulers then enjoyed the fear instilled in the people by culture.
In some cultural dispensations, the subjects would lay prostrate when addressing the king. In China, the subjects would kowtow to the king. This culture of fearing the ruler has gone, thanks to the dynamics of culture.
People now respect or ridicule their leaders without fear of retribution.
There was no invasion or imperialism at play here, only people realising the changeability of culture.
People should not be programmed to adapt to culture, it is culture that has to be adaptive to the people’s needs.
It can be boldly stated that the history of culture is history and the future of culture of any community is unknown. No amount of law-giving can restrict the evolution of culture.
At times revolutionary elements end up promulgating sick laws to try and constrict the evolution of culture.
The Taliban of Afghanistan will agree with me that it is very difficult to impose or maintain a cultural status quo on the people. The Afghanis have had to resort to sick laws to protect what they think as their religious and cultural heritage.
Man have been forced to wear beards, even if some of them are not naturally hirsute. The Afghani women are forced to wear a veil on their beautiful faces, leaving only their eyes exposed. If this is culture, perhaps it was relevant during the early days of the history of Islam. Now it is exploitation at its worst. The best way the Afghanis could protect their Islamic culture was by offering incentives to those who follow the cultural code than force it on the people.
In our case we could also have offered incentives to broadcasting stations that play a certain percentage of local productions.
Such incentive could have been in the form of tax rebates and financial rewards. Trying to close cultural diversity by promulgation will only encourage more smuggling of foreign productions for home playing.
The locally produced stuff may fail to get any appreciable sales as people who want to hear or view it could always tune in to local stations.
As soon as our local producers feel the pinch of their productions not moving on the shelves, they will cry foul again.
So, you see dear musicians and film producers, the law as enacted by
Parliament may at the end disadvantage you.
I am not in the know as to how much ZBC pays the musicians in royalties though. Maybe it is better for them to receive royalties from music played on air than from sales of their records.
I believe it is cheaper for us to listen to foreign music on our stations than use scarce foreign currency to buy the music, or worse still to smuggle it, there-by depriving the Department of Customs some money.
I also believe that it is more beneficial to scramble for our local artistes’ productions on the shelves than to get them for free on the air.
Musical history has shown how quickly local music fades into thin air due to continuous airing.
Once a local song receives prominence on the airwaves, it is certain that it will not last long as the people’s song of choice.
The opening of the broadcasting systems to locals only may end up polarising the nation on tribal or regional lines even more. I am not saying locals are not capable of running their affairs with excellence.
All I am saying is that very soon stations like Radio Mthwakazi may start appearing. The nature of such stations can be deduced from their names.
They would preach the political song according to separatists, thereby
sensitising the people on their ethnic lines. This is actually the beginning of the road to disaster.
Artistes and producers may argue that the Broadcasting Services Act would open up new avenues in terms of employment opportunities.
To an extent I do agree, but what is the use of producing for local consumption yet the whole world is yearning for exotic productions?
To enjoy the foreign markets, we should also be receptive of foreign productions.
If we close our doors on foreign products, we should be prepared to suffer the reverse process.