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Zimbabwe militants threaten to seize Asians' property

Government-backed militants have threatened to seize property owned by Zimbabwe's Asian community unless they willingly hand it over to blacks.

The state-owned Herald newspaper says the so-called 'war veterans' have given the country's Asians an ultimatum to reduce rents.

They also want the 12,000-strong community to stop black market currency trading, bank their money locally and raise wages.

Andrew Ndlovu, the leader of the Liberation War Veterans Association, told the paper: "Nothing will stop us from reclaiming commercial land from Indians.

"If they do not stop looting our economy, they will leave us with no choice but to go door-to-door making sure all Indians in the cities are complying with instructions from war veterans."

While the association claims to represent veterans of Zimbabwe's war for independence from minority white rule, many of its members are too young to have ever seen combat.

The association has been at the forefront of a campaign by President Robert Mugabe's government to seize white-owned farms and hand them over to landless blacks. The two-year farm seizure campaign has sparked an economic collapse in Zimbabwe, resulting in soaring inflation and widespread food shortages.

The government has blamed Zimbabwe's tiny minority of white farmers for the country's woes but is now also targeting the country's Asian and Jewish communities.

In February, Eliott Manyika, a senior ruling party official and provincial governor, said once the government had finalised the seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms it would shift its attention to urban businesses and mines.

He told the pro-Government Zimbabwe Mirror: "Asians, commonly referred to as Indians, would also not be spared for what is said to be their role in the hoarding of essential commodities."

Business Day

Zimbabwe threat to Asian property


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's militia of so-called guerrilla war
veterans are shifting their campaign of lawless seizures of white-owned
farms to property owned by the country's small Asian community, the state
press reported.
The state-controlled daily Herald newspaper quoted Andrew Ndlovu, an
executive of the notorious Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association, as saying that "Operation Liberation" would now target Asians.

"Nothing will stop us from reclaiming commercial land from Indians," he

He accused Asians of being "economic looters" and said: "If they do not stop
looting our economy they will leave us with no choice but to go door-to-door
making, sure all Indians in the cities are complying with instructions from
war veterans.

"In 1980 when most whites left the country, Indians had money to buy nearly
all the developed land in cities," he said at a press conference to which
only state media were invited.

"We now want these Indians to surrender a certain percentage of that land to
the government," he said. He did not specify how much.

"Indians are not here to develop our country or to work with the government,
they are economic looters."

He accused them of creating a black market in critically short foreign
currency, of failing to attend celebrations to mark the country's
independence anniversary and of owning "under-utilised vacant properties
which they did not want to share with blacks".

No comment was available from representatives of the country's Asian
community, estimated at about 10,000 people, largely seen as affluent
traders and professionals. They appear to play a low-profile and apolitical
role in the country's affairs.

Ndlovu has been at the forefront of Mugabe's campaign of illegal seizures of
white-owned farmland since war veterans began moving onto properties in
February 2000, and in the last two weeks he has been on a tour of white
farms and claims to have ordered hundreds of owners to get off and leave
behind all but their immediate
personal possessions.

His appearances in farming district around the country have been followed by
massive looting, against which police have taken no action.

Over 150 farmers have been forced off their farms since flawed presidential
elections last month, where war veterans also played the main role in the
wave of violent intimidation against the opposition Movement for Democratic

Ndlovu is facing criminal charges of incest and of stealing ZD800,000 (about
US$13,800 and R151,800) from his movement.


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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Zimbabwe activist freed
Riot police in Harare
Mugabe is wary of street protests
Lovemore Madhuku, a pro-democracy campaigner arrested on Monday, has been freed following a court ruling throwing out all charges against him.

He had been accused of conspiracy to commit public violence, under a controversial security law passed before last month's disputed presidential election.

There was no basis for the police to arrest him

Madhuku's lawyer
Mr Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), was arrested along with two other top NCA officials.

His release follows anti-government protests staged by the NCA in Zimbabwean cities on Tuesday, in defiance of a police ban.

Broad powers

In the ruling releasing Mr Madhuku, the court said the state had failed to back up its case.

"There was no basis for the police to arrest him," Mr Madhuku's lawyer, Andrew Makoni told AFP news agency.

Lovemore Madhuku
The NCA's Lovemore Madhuku is now free
Mr Makoni said many people arrested during Tuesday's protests faced similar charges to those brought against his client.

The NCA is a coalition of church groups, students and trade unions campaigning for a reduction in the powers of President Robert Mugabe.

The current constitution, negotiated with Britain at independence in 1980, gives Mr Mugabe broad executive powers, which he used to change electoral rules up to a day before voting began in March.

Earlier this month, the NCA said that around 400 activists were arrested ahead of similar planned demonstrations.

Flawed poll

Mr Mugabe's re-election was marred by accusations of vote-rigging and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has asked the courts to annul the results.
Vote counting in Zimbabwe
The opposition alleges massive fraud

The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called for fresh elections.

But President Mugabe denies the allegations of fraud and has said no new presidential poll will be held until his term expires in six years' time.

The Commonwealth has said the poll was held in a "climate of fear" and suspended Zimbabwe for a year.

The security law gives the police sweeping new powers to break up public gatherings.

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Mail and Guardian

Robert Mugabe still rules by the truncheon
GRIFFIN SHEA, Harare | Wednesday

ZIMBABWEAN police brutally broke up a protest on Tuesday in Harare by about
200 people demanding the government adopt a more democratic constitution.
The protest, organized by the pro-democracy National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), was banned by police under a tough security law passed ahead of last
month's presidential election.
About 200 people defied the ban and marched through the centre of Harare
during the lunch hour, carrying banners with the NCA logo and calling for a
new constitution.
But the protest only lasted about 15 minutes, as about 20 riot police
blocked the road and began severely beating the protesters with batons.
The crowd of mostly young protesters quickly dispersed.
Police did not say how many people were arrested during the demonstration.
"I heard that there have been some arrests, but I am still trying to find
out details," police representative Tarwireyi Tirivavi said.
NCA representative Douglas Mwonzora said 10 protesters had been arrested in
Simultaneous protests had been planned for Zimbabwe's five main cities and
towns. The protest in the eastern town of Mutare did not take place, NCA
representative Douglas Mwonzora said.
In the second largest city of Bulawayo, Mwonzora said about 300 people
staged a protest that was quickly broken up by police who arrested eight
In the southern town of Masvingo, Mwonzora said 840 people joined the
demonstration, which police broke up, arresting 20 people.
A smaller protest in the central town of Gweru went off without incident, he
Police had tried to prevent the nationwide protests getting off the ground
at all by arresting three top NCA officials on Monday and sealing of the
group's national headquarters early on Tuesday.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, national coordinator Edna Zinyemba and
information officer Maxwell Saungwene were arrested mid-day Monday and were
still in police custody more than 24 hours later.
NCA's lawyers were still trying to find at which police station the three
were being held. They had only managed to locate Zinyemba by early Tuesday,
Mwonzora said. The demonstrations are part of a series of national protests
the NCA has organized in the aftermath of President Robert Mugabe's
controversial re-election last month, which was declared illegitimate by
independent Zimbabwean observers and the opposition.
The first protest on April 6 was quickly broken up by police.
The NCA wants to force the government to adopt a more democratic
constitution, which the group says would prevent the abuses that aided
Mugabe's re-election in the March 9-11 presidential poll.
The current constitution, negotiated with Britain at independence in 1980,
gives Mugabe broad executive powers, which he used to change electoral rules
up to a day before voting began.
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean court denied bailed Tuesday to jailed pro-democracy
leader Lovemore Madhuku, who was arrested one day earlier for organising
anti-government protests, state television reported.
Five other activists from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) were
granted bail of 8 000 Zimbabwe dollars ($145), but a magistrate's court
denied bail to Madhuku, the report said.
The report did not name the other five activists. All six are due to appear
again in court on Wednesday, it said.
The six face charges under Zimbabwe three-month-old Public Order and
Security Act, which bans all political demonstrations.
President Robert Mugabe pushed the law through parliament ahead of the March
9-11 presidential elections. Independent observers here said the law was
used to break up campaign rallies by the opposition. - AFP

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23 April 2002 19:38
Zimbabwean VIP intimidates farmers in Gutu
Press Release
(On behalf of Commercial Farmers Union)

Zanu PF official demands grazing rights from elderly farming couple.

A senior Zanu PF official from the Masvingo region is demanding a payment of
zd$370 000 as a Grazing Rights fee for the past 6 months from an elderly
farming couple in the provinces Gutu North district.

The couple, Mr. and Mrs Cias Vosloo, who are in their 70's and reside on
Donnachaird Farm, had their neighbouring cattle ranch, Irvin (a) Farm which
they have owned for the past 24 years, taken over in November last year by
the Zanu PF Chairman for the region, Dr. Samuel Mumberengwi.

The Vosloo's have been unable to move their cattle as they have no where
else to take them and cannot accommodate them on Donnachaird Farm as it is
only 600 ha in size and is therefore unable to carry the 300 head of cattle.

The ranch has no homestead, but boasts of a large dam, three small dams, a
borehole and a 5 ha gum tree plantation.

It is alleged that Dr. Mumberengwi has locked all the gates leading to the
farm to prevent the Vosloo's from entering the property, and in addition to
the payment, has demanded that the couple give him 3 weeks notice should
they wish to tend to their cattle.

The cattle have been left to stray and some are said to be dying as they
have not been dipped against diseases.

23 April 2002

For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (263) 11 213 885 or 91 300 456
Email: or

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Reuters alert

24 Apr 2002 00:00
Zimbabwe imports maize to ease food crisis
By Cris Chinaka

Harare residents queue outside a supermarket for maize meal, the country's
staple food.
File photo by HOWARD BURDITT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has imported 28,000 tonnes of yellow maize, a
grain used for both human and animal consumption, to ease food shortages,
state media reported on Wednesday.

The Herald newspaper said the government-controlled Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) had paid US$3.8 million for the yellow maize as part of the board's
programme to import 200,000 tonnes to cover Zimbabwe's food deficit.

Aid agencies say thousands of Zimbabweans face starvation as crop production
was slashed last season by drought and the state's seizure of white-owned
farms which disrupted agriculture.

The Herald said the yellow maize was imported because supplies in
neighbouring South Africa of white maize, the preferred staple food in
Zimbabwe, were dwindling fast.

Zimbabwe has traditionally imported yellow maize for human use in drought

Analysts say agricultural production in the cropping season ending this
month has fallen by 50 percent. Maize rationing has been instituted in
communal areas with some households being limited to sharing a 50 kg bag of
maize-meal each month.

The Herald quoted GMB acting chief executive Joan Mtukwa as saying that the
bulk of Zimbabwe's maize imports were white, but the board would be getting
more consignments of yellow maize from Brazil and China.

"We started bringing in yellow maize about two weeks ago and it will soon be
available on the local market," she said.

Mtukwa did not give details of how much yellow maize would be imported in
the future, or specific prices. Board officials were not available to
comment on Wednesday.


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said this week it had received
just over a third of the food it needs to feed hungry Zimbabweans.

WFP representative to Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell said the agency had so far
received about 37,000 tonnes of food out of 117,000 tonnes the programme is
seeking, and was trying to increase the amount but could not say when this
would happen.

Industry officials say the slow response to the aid appeal is a reflection
of Zimbabwe's international isolation over its human rights record, the farm
seizures and Mugabe's controversial victory in March presidential elections.

The United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and South Africa
are the only countries to respond to the WFP's appeal made last year. This
has forced the agency to dip into its emergency funds to buy food for
Zimbabwe, Farrell said.

Earlier this month the U.S. government said it would soon start delivering
34,430 tonnes of maize as part of the WFP programme.

Some aid agencies say thousands of opposition supporters in many parts of
Zimbabwe are being denied access to maize at the state GMB depots in the
aftermath of the disputed presidential elections. But Farrell said the
problem was not that widespread.

Mugabe's government, which accuses some aid agencies of aiding the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under the guise of aid
programmes, insists that all food distribution be done in conjuction with
the state.

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Super-luxury car for Mugabe

Erika Gibson

Pretoria - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will be protected against any
projectile or hand grenade when travelling in his new official car.

The car, together with the new luxury vehicles for his vice-presidents and
speaker and the 19 new armour-plated cavalcade vehicles, will cost the
government about R52 million.

Mugabe's luxury Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullmann arrived in Zimbabwe via South
Africa, after it was custom built to his specifications in Germany.

According to the Zimbabwe Standard, the vice-presidents and speaker will
have to be satisfied with Mercedes-Benz S320 models.

The cost of Mugabe's vehicle is difficult to calculate. A spokesperson for
Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Shirle Greig, said on Tuesday it was a personal
transaction of which the details were extremely confidential.

She confirmed the car had arrived in South Africa by ship and was taken to
Harare on a special truck. The German company, Cloer, armour-plated the
vehicle to the highest possible specifications, a B7 Dragunov standard.

According to Grieg, the Zimbabwean government negotiated directly with Cloer
for the luxury vehicles.

Mugabe's car's floor, roof, windows and petrol tank have been specially
reinforced, as the most vulnerable parts of the vehicle.

A quick calculation shows that the car - at 3 850kg - weighs more than
double the weight of a large sedan.

According to the information on Cloer's website, the car will do only 200km
on a full tank, which means that Mugabe will have to take a petrol tanker
along if he wants to travel long distance.

Between 35 and 40 litre/100km means the car's fuel consumption is twice that
of a loaded, large 4x4 vehicle.

Order was placed last year

Depending on Mugabe's specifications for the car, it may have anything from
a DVD and CD player, Internet access, a telephone to special, heated (or
ventilated) leather seats and walnut finishes.

The tyres on the vehicle can travel a further 50km if punctured by bullets.
The driver can address people outside the vehicle without turning down a

According to the Zimbabwe Standard, the Mugabe government placed the order
and possibly paid for the vehicles last year. According to experts, such an
order would not have been accepted without guarantees or cash payments.

The vehicles were ordered before the European Union instituted sanctions,
prohibiting this sort of trade, against Mugabe and his cabinet earlier this

When Mugabe's car was delivered last week, it apparently was taken
immediately to the nearest garage to check for listening devices.
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