ZIMBABWE morning NEWS: 20 April 2000

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Embattled Zimbabwean Whites Look to Get out - Mocambique & Zambia invite Farmers to invest

Embattled Zimbabwean Whites Look to Get out

HARARE, April 19 (Reuters) - Less than a day after a land-grabbing mob murdered their friend Martin Olds, Carol and Russel Franklin queued at the British High Commission on Wednesday to regain British citizenship.

"We don't want to leave. We do want to stay but we have family to consider. It's not looking safe any more," Carol Franklin told Reuters soon after collecting application forms for a British passport at the commission (embassy) in Harare.

"We lost a friend yesterday," she said, tears rolling down her cheeks.

The Franklins were among some 280 predominantly white Zimbabweans who streamed to the commission early on Wednesday to reclaim British citizenship or make enquiries about asylum in the face of rising violence over a land crisis in which two white farmers have been killed by blacks in the past four days.

Two members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and a police officer have also been killed over the past fortnight as political tensions have risen.

Government officials in Mozambique have appealed to the Zimbabwean farmers to seek shelter there, saying the government will gladly provide them with land.

The governor of the central Mozambican province of Manica, Felicio Zacarias, was quoted by local media as saying between 400,000 to 500,000 hectares of commercial farming land can be made available to the Zimbabwean white farmers.

Zacarias said he regarded the Zimbabweans as "the best farmers in sub-saharan Africa."

Last week, officials in neighbouring Zambia were also quoted as inviting Zimbabwean white farmers to invest there. Zambia has huge tracts of arable land.


Cattle rancher Olds was found shot and beaten to death on Tuesday at the back door of his homestead near Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo after a four-hour siege by a mob that had invaded his land.

"Right now two deaths, two white farmers have been killed. I don't know whether this is gonna escalate and move into the suburbs. It's going to be a difficult one to put breaks on," said John de Wet, a businessman who said he was seeking British residence in the wake of the violence.

"The ex-combatants are flamed up, they are fired up," he said.

He said that President Robert Mugabe was not doing enough to stop veterans of the country's 1970s independence war from violent invasions of hundreds of white-owned farms that have pushed Zimbabwe to the brink of anarchy.

De Wet, who said he employed 100 black people, said his mother was born in Britain and he felt he should be able to get British asylum if the need arose.

"I have to make sure that my family are protected...I don't know how far this is going to escalate," he said.

Last month British Foreign Office Minister for Africa Peter Hain said that London would take in up to 20,000 whites entitled to British nationality if the situation deteriorated further.

British High Commission officials in Harare barred reporters from the immigration offices but a Reuters reporter who went inside earlier saw over 40 whites waiting to either hand in passport forms, collect passports or enquire about emigration.


Within hours, the number of people who had gone through the doors of the high commission had risen to about 280, according to an entry register.

"People here are panicking," said a woman who declined further comment, saying all she wanted was to go and join her daughter who was working in London.

"I was blinded in the war here but decided we were going to stay and make a life here. But after 20 years it looks like it's not possible any longer," Russel Franklin said before leading his distraught wife away.

Zimbabwe marked 20 years of independence from Britain on Tuesday as Mugabe branded white farmers "enemies of Zimbabwe."

Mugabe has not ordered a stop to the invasions and the police have not heeded a court order to remove the squatters.

Copyright 1999 Reuters.

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Zim Christians must not sheepishly accept misrule

Tafirenyika Makunike, Harare.

EDITOR — Statistically speaking, it is said that Zimbabwe is over 70 percent Christian but there are probably less than two percent Christians in politics.

The local political landscape is littered with carcasses of confident tricksters and fraudsters whose early warning sign of corrupt tendencies is distributing beer to the electorate for the purpose of soliciting votes.

Christianity is not a Sunday morning feeling; it is a practical religion and it is about accepting the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and Life.

A Christian is identified by standing for the truth whatever the circumstances. I suggest those who are Christians and belong to political parties do a manpower evaluation to see how many Christians they are presenting in the next election and, if they are very few, I suggest they do something about it.

The business of politics is too valuable and precious to be left in the hands of pagans.

I know most Christians think politics is a dirty game, but as one pastor said, it is a beautiful game being played by evil people. We need to go up the "political mountain" and evict the fraudsters who have infected it.

The practicality of Christianity has got to be demonstrated to be believed. God did not just say he loved the world; he demonstrated it by making the Word flesh in the lordship of Jesus and by living among us. The greatest gospel we can ever preach is by being "doers of the Word" (James 1:22).

We need strategic thinkers in Parliament, not strategic dozers who will only open their eyes when a TV camera is passing. We do not need to be praying for evil men to rule us properly for the next five years when we could be praying for God's kingdom to come right here on earth.

Current consensus is that a good MP is one who scrounges around for second-hand sewing machines and distributes them in his/her constituency. As a result a second-hand mentality is pervading the whole nation.

Myles Munro says the "poorest man in the world is the man without a dream" and the most frustrated man is the man with a dream that never becomes a reality. We have been systematically murdering the dreams of this nation and the sooner we realise that the better.

Admitting that we have a problem is the first step towards solving it. Please do not sing "Lord I am coming home" because I believe God will let us go nowhere until we have done this.

If our young and qualified people think the only thing they can do just to get by is looking after dying old people in London while our own old people are dying here with token care, I say that is a problem.

If our political leaders say our education system is the best while shipping en mass their own children to overseas schools, then that is a problem.

If we say our health delivery system is the best yet we are off to Cape Town at the slightest cough, that is a problem.

If 1 400 of us are dying every week of AIDS and all we read about are people dying of Zimbabwean diseases called "short" and "long" illnesses, then it seems we have perfected and institutionalised the art of lying.

We have become a nation of speechifiers. We speechify about small businesses being the engine of growth yet we allocate nothing in the budget.

We speechify about resettling our people yet we allocate nothing in the budget to put up infrastructure and train the new farmers.

The first sign of decay in a nation is too much kwasa-kwasa dancing when we should be mourning our dead dreams. We spend all our little resources defending some kwasa-kwasa dancing sorry example of a leader (God, my heart grieves!).

Christians need to stop petty arguments such as who has the most charismatic pastors, whose church has more signs and wonders, who has the best following . . .

We are here to do God's will and not this bubblegum and porpcorn gospel I hear. The Bible says where there is no vision the people will perish.

Unfortunately, candidates who normally present themselves for election are the mediocre, so below I have put down a list of people I think have sufficient vision which various communities can consider and approach for service in Parliament:

Mr Mweyamweya, Gideon Gono, Patson Sithole, Reverend Mabhaudhi, Rev Dr Eben Nhiwatiwa, Rev Philip Mupindu, Geoff Mhlanga, Pastor Ngwiza Mkandhla, Dr Constantine Murefu, Dr Godfrey Kanyenze, Evangelist Hilda Bunzawabaya, Reverend Dr B Manjoro, Reverend Andrew Wutawunashe, Pastor Langton Gatsi, Dr Nkosana Moyo, Florence Mashaire, Dr John Makumbe, Brian Makokoro, Pastor Leonard Tsumba, Pastor Chisango, Nigel Chanakira, Strive Masiyiwa, Benjamin Rafemoyo, Felix Tangawarima, Pastor Chi Chi Bismark, Grant Madondo, Bishop Peter Hatendi, Father Fidelis Mukonori, Dr AGO Mutambara, Pastor Chikono, Dr Rogers Dhliwayo, Mrs Mazhindu, S Mangwengwende, Professor Levy Nyagura, Pastor Gary Amstrong.

I believe these people have enough passion about this country and would not be seeking a salary but an opportunity to serve.

In return we should expect no favours from them except facilitating the birth of dreams and visions.

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If I were the President

Pasval Mukuwerere, Bulawayo.

EDITOR — If I were President Robert Mugabe:

I would abolish the word Comrade;

I would immediately withdraw Zimbabwan troops from the Congo;

I would use my law degree to stop lawlessness; and

I would stop the "government process" of printing money since this is the main cause of inflation.

I would also use my degree in economics to stop scaring investors away through unwarranted racial attacks.

And through my broadcasting company ZBC, I would give an actual date for elections and promise the electorate that the elections will be free and fair and whoever wins will smoothly take over in the House.

I would also assure the people that Tobaiwa Mudede is not going to rig elections to help Mugabe win.

ZANU PF is scared

Musha Uya Waita Mamvemve, Bulawayo.

EDITOR — If the Movement Democratic Change (MDC) is not a threat at all as we have been told by the ZANU PF big wigs, why is it that all of them, from President Robert Mugabe himself through to "Madzibaba" Border Gezi to Chen Chimutengwende, the minister of "explanations", cannot even string five or six words without mentioning the party or its leader Morgan Tsvangirai?  

Of course, the good thing to come out of this is that since the ZANU PF propaganda machines like the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation or Zimpapers won't allow MDC adverts, the party is still getting free publicity courtesy of the decaying old guard.  MDC ndizvo!

BBC: Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK

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SA media urges action on Zimbabwe

Lesotho 1998: Pretoria made its views very clear
South African newspaper editorials have begun criticising the government's apparent refusal to take a firm regional lead on developments in Zimbabwe.

They have also been examining the wider political and economic implications and asking searching questions about what the future holds in the wake of President Mugabe's comments on Independence Day.

Under the headline "Zimbabwe: Time for Mbeki to declare where he stands", the Financial Mail said that, as the crisis in South Africa's neighbour deepened, its capacity to spill over into other countries in the region was increasing proportionately.

It contrasted Pretoria's failure so far to condemn the situation in Zimbabwe with its decision to intervene militarily in Lesotho in 1998 after weeks of political turmoil and civil unrest.

"Awesome vistas come to mind", the paper wrote.

"Major disruption of commercial farming and loss of foreign exchange earned through the sale of tobacco; hunger as food supplies slow to a trickle amid rising prices for the little that is available; and growing anger in the cities as enraged residents there take to the streets to protest against the conspicuous wealth of Zanu-PF notables."

More trouble in store

"These glimpses into the future serve as warnings that even graver times may lie ahead, not least the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and the degeneration of SA's [South Africa's] most important trading partner into a lawless state where judges are ignored and political differences are settled by violence," the Financial Mail wrote.

It noted the possibility that South Africa could experience similar land invasions to those occurring in Zimbabwe.

"Yet, in the midst of these developments, Mbeki has refused to speak out publicly against Mugabe's contempt for the rule of law. Instead he has maintained a discreet public silence and opted for quiet diplomacy to express whatever misgivings the government may have.

"But his silence may be misinterpreted as condonation, particularly when SA's 1998 military intervention in Lesotho is recalled. "

What price the SADC?

Business Day took a look at the regional implications of the crisis in Zimbabwe.

It said recent developments there should be "setting off alarm bells" regarding the effectiveness of the organisation designed to bring about conflict prevention within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The paper pointed out that President Mugabe has nominally chaired the SADC body on Politics, Defence and Security established in 1996.

The body's draft protocol calls on the SADC to intervene when instability arises from the breakdown of law and order and to use diplomacy to pre-empt conflict within states and promote the development of democratic institutions and practices.

"These commitments are in stark contrast to the veil of silence among the 13 other SADC member states regarding the apparent suspension of the rule of law and the use of violence and intimidation in the run-up to elections in Zimbabwe," the paper said.

"Where are the voices of Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi... and others? And what of the Organisation for African Unity?"

'Tiptoeing around the problem'

The Natal Witness also called on Pretoria to condemn events in Zimbabwe.

"The world is weary of watching the anarchic collapse of country after African country. It is troubled and exasperated by the spectacle of Mugabe destroying Zimbabwe's economy by his wild utterances, and, most recently, by his encouragement of invasions of white-owned farms by war veterans," the paper said.

"Instead, until this week, South Africa, in the persons of President Thabo Mbeki and former president Nelson Mandela, has tiptoed around the problem, not approving, not condemning, perhaps hoping it would go away."

"Zimbabwe is a powder keg whose explosion could be disastrous for the region. It is South Africa's responsibility to face this fact and take steps to halt Mugabe's runaway madness.

"It's time for South Africa to express strong criticism of events in Zimbabwe and to seek ways of controlling the damage."

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Zim slides towards rule by decree

Opposition parties fear postponement of election

Cris Chinaka

ZIMBABWE appears headed for a state of emergency that would allow President Robert Mugabe to delay a general election scheduled for next month, according to opposition officials.

With two white farmers killed in three days, squatters led by veterans of the 1970s guerrilla war against white settler rule were roaming the countryside, invading and burning farms.

The opposition said government supporters have also stepped up violence against its members since a speech by Mugabe this week denouncing whites in the country as "enemies of Zimbabwe".

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement that a number of its members had been arrested, others assaulted and its meetings disrupted around the country.

"There is an attempt to seal off the rural areas to the opposition. There is a reign of terror being waged for electoral gain," MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said.

Mugabe's government, which has ruled for 20 years but suffered a humiliating defeat in a constitutional referendum in February, would face a fight for survival if the general election goes ahead in May.

Many opposition figures believe the two-month-long crisis over land ownership will allow the President to declare emergency rule, which would allow him to postpone elections for up to a year.

"He is pushing us into some sort of state of emergency, unless he finds a way of restoring law and order," said Heneri Dzinotyiwei, president of the opposition Zimbabwe Integrated Programme.

Speaking on Zimbabwe's 20th anniversary of independence on Tuesday, Mugabe all but declared war on white farmers for their opposition to his plans to seize their land without paying compensation.

"Our present state of mind is that you are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe," he said in unscripted remarks.

Thousands of government supporters have squatted on white-owned farms since late February, backing Mugabe's plans to seize land he says was stolen when Zimbabwe was colonised by the British in the 1890s.

The murder of two farmers and the burning of some farms near the capital Harare have put Zimbabwe's minority whites in a state of panic. Some families have abandoned their farms to seek refuge in towns.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to Mugabe by telephone on Tuesday, urging him to defuse the tension.

The Commonwealth's secretary-general has urged the authorities in Zimbabwe to exercise restraint in the crisis over land reform, which has tipped the country into a spiral of racial violence.

Don McKinnon said in a statement released yesterday that the mounting tension was "a matter of growing concern" and not conducive to free and fair elections.

But political analysts believe Mugabe is sponsoring the farm invasions to divert public attention from a severe economic crisis on which the opposition has managed to build a strong campaign.

Britain said yesterday it was encouraged by Annan's intervention in the deepening crisis and said Mugabe appeared to have agreed to "return to dialogue".

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who has sought greater international pressure on Mugabe, said in a television interview he phoned Annan late on Tuesday to ask him to step in.

Mugabe blames Britain for Zimbabwe's land crisis, saying it has been refusing to honour its historical responsibility to pay for land reforms needed to correct colonial injustice.

He says Zimbabwe's 4 500 white farmers occupy about 70 percent of the country's best farmland.

But critics say Mugabe has so far distributed to his cronies many of the farms he has acquired for peasant resettlement.

— Reuter

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BBC: Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Zimbabwe land talks planned

Chenjerai Hunzvi says he cannot stop the occupations
Zimbabwe's war veterans and white farmers have reportedly agreed to start negotiations on the problem of land redistribution.

But President Robert Mugabe said after meetings with both sides on Wednesday that there would be no immediate withdrawal of veterans from occupied white farms.

Mr Mugabe said a solution to the ongoing land crisis had not been found but added: "I am happy that this meeting was held. It has created an atmosphere of understanding."

The meeting started immediately after the High Court found war veterans' leader Chenjerai Hunzvi in contempt of court for inciting illegal occupations of white-owned farms.

The Commercial Farmers Union brought Wednesday's court case following two months of occupations, in which over 1,000 farms have been targeted.

Mr Hunzvi was found in "clear and wilful contempt" for disobeying a court order last month, and was given until 5 May to instruct his followers to end the illegal occupations or face imprisonment.

Two white farmers and several opposition activists have been killed in recent violence.

Mr Hunzvi said he had no power to encourage his supporters to end their actions.

"How can I contradict the order of my president?" he asked, referring to Mr Mugabe's support for the occupations.

He then spent most of the day in talks with the president, joined by five of his aides.

A presidential spokesman said Commercial Farmers Union director David Hasluck, president Tim Henwood and Tobacco Association chief Richard Tate joined the meeting late in the afternoon.

"We have agreed hostilities should cease and we should work toward a solution," Mr Hunzvi said.

Mr Mugabe said that with the squatters' promise to refrain from violence, he saw no reason to send in extra police.

UN appeal

On the 20th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from Britain, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to President Mugabe by phone to defuse the tensions.

Correspondents say the UN has previously been cautious about commenting in public on the occupations because it views land ownership as a domestic issue.

In Washington, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart urged Harare to uphold the law and enforce the court order.

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said that the continuing violence will be deeply destructive for Zimbabwe and destabilise the region if it is allowed to continue.

Britain had to tread carefully or Mr Mugabe may hit back against the farmers, he said.

In an independence anniversary speech, Mr Mugabe described white farmers as "enemies" of the state, whose resistance to land redistribution was the last vestige of British colonialism in Zimbabwe.

He hinted that the parliamentary election may take place next month as expected, but declined to given an exact date.

Families flee

Some white farmers are leaving their farms altogether, while others have sent their families to stay in major cities.

The squatters have subsequently burned some farms that have been abandoned.

Hundreds of whites queued at the British High Commission on Wednesday to check that their travel documents were up-to-date.

Correspondents say the next few days will be tense as people wait to see if the fatal shootings of two white farmers were isolated incidents.

Farmers say busloads of war veterans are moving into the eastern highlands and the ranch lands northwest of the capital, Harare.

They fear a new wave of farm seizures.

Bands of war veterans and squatters are reported to be roaming the area and the police are doing little to arrest those behind the violence.

Opposition supporters say they are facing intimidation and attacks from groups of activists from the governing Zanu-PF party.

Zimbabwe's information minister, Chen Chimutengwende, told the BBC that government supporters had also been killed.

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Zimbabwe emergency move could delay poll
Thursday 20 April 2000

Zimbabwe appears headed for a state of emergency that would allow President Robert Mugabe to delay a general election scheduled for next month, opposition sources fear.

Their warning came as Mr Mugabe's supporters, who claim to be veterans of the 1970s guerrilla war against white rule, continued their attacks on commercial farmers and opposition party-members that have left at least nine dead.

The opposition said government supporters have stepped up violence against its members since a speech by Mr Mugabe on Tuesday denouncing the "enemies of Zimbabwe".

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement that a number of its members had been arrested, others assaulted and its meetings disrupted around the country.

"There is an attempt to seal off the rural areas to the opposition. There is a reign of terror being waged for electoral gain," said movement secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

Mr Mugabe's government, which has ruled for 20 years but suffered a humiliating defeat in a constitutional referendum in February, would face a fight for survival if the general election goes ahead in May.

Many opposition figures believe the continuing crisis over land ownership will allow the President to declare emergency rule, thus enabling him to postpone elections for up to a year.

"He is pushing us into some sort of state of emergency, unless he finds a way of restoring law and order," said Heneri Dzinotyiwei, president of the opposition Zimbabwe Integrated Program.

Speaking on Zimbabwe's 20th anniversary of independence on Tuesday, Mr Mugabe all but declared war on white farmers for their opposition to his plans to seize their land without paying compensation.

"Our present state of mind is that you are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe," he said in unscripted remarks.

He said their resistance to "reform" had "exposed them as our enemies, not just political enemies, but definite enemies in wanting to reverse our revolution and our independence."

Speaking from an English-language script only minutes before, Mr Mugabe had expressed regret for the deaths of the two farmers. He then used the Shona language part of his address to congratulate war veterans for invading white farms. The widening contradictions in Mr Mugabe's public statements are leading some observers to speculate that the 76-year-old former freedom fighter is at worst developing schizoid tendencies, at best responding in an ad hoc and irrational manner to his increasingly desperate situation.

With the Zimbabwean economy rapidly crumbling and his efforts to boost support by making whites the scapegoats manifestly failing, many of Mr Mugabe's actions now seem like the emotional flourishes of a gambler on the slide.

"Rationality is not his strong point right now," said Professor John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe's politics department.

"He is driven by fear. Fear that he will lose forthcoming elections. Fear of the war veterans. Fear he will be moved from office."

With the police refusing to help beleaguered whites, the Commercial Farmers' Union has urged its members not to resist squatters, but in several cases clashes with squatters have been started by black farm workers fearing for their jobs.


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White Zimbabwe Farmers Vilified
The Associated Press, Wed 19 Apr 2000

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's president vilified white farmers as ``enemies of our people'' Tuesday, hours after dozens of gunmen besieged a farm and killed a white rancher during the worst spasm of violence in two months of land occupations.

On the country's 20th anniversary of independence from white rule, President Robert Mugabe accused the farmers of ``mobilizing, actually coercing'' their workers against his rule and wanting to turn the clock back to the colonial era.

Tuesday's violence on several farms and Mugabe's stepped-up rhetoric escalated the standoff that began in February when landless blacks started occupying white-owned land. Squatters now occupy more than 900 farms.

Mugabe has backed the squatters, saying they are veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war protesting against inequitable land distribution in a country where 4,000 white farmers own a third of the productive farmland.

But many of the squatters, who have begun wearing ruling party T-shirts in recent days, are far too young to have fought in the war.

Opposition politicians say the occupations are an effort by Mugabe to scare white farmers and their workers into abandoning the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which could pose a major challenge to Mugabe's 20-year rule in parliamentary elections expected to be called next month.

``Violence and intimidation are being orchestrated by Mugabe and his party hierarchy,'' said David Coltart, a party official. ``They are going for the MDC support base'' in rural areas.

Early Tuesday, 40 to 100 attackers armed with AK-47 assault rifles drove onto a farm in western Zimbabwe and besieged the home of cattle rancher Martin Olds. The 42-year-old rancher was killed in a three-hour gunbattle, Coltart said. The attackers then burned down his house.

Olds' death was the fourth killing linked to political violence since Saturday, when two MDC members were killed in a firebombing and farmer David Stevens, a known MDC supporter, was slain by ruling party supporters. Five of Stevens' neighbors were also severely beaten.

Also Tuesday, attackers wearing ruling party T-shirts rampaged across a white-owned farm 25 miles north of Harare, torching tobacco barns and workers' dwellings. They also trashed and looted the hilltop farmhouse of David Stobart and his wife, Gillian, who fled safely to the capital.

Neighbors of Olds and Stobart were evacuating to nearby towns, said the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents most of the white farmers.

The white owner of a small farm near Harare also was taken hostage Tuesday. MDC member Kevin Tinker was assaulted and released after being taken to a nearby ruling party office, said a neighbor, Hamish Turner.

Farmers union officials on Monday accused the government of arming the squatters with submachine guns.

Mugabe's verbal assault on white farmers during an interview with state-run Zimbabwe Broadcast Corp. was a marked hardening of his stance, even from the televised anniversary speech he had made just minutes before.

During that speech, he said he would work to broker a compromise between farmers and the squatters, a stand that seemed to echo what farm leaders said he told them in a meeting Monday.

But Mugabe portrayed the meeting very differently in the interview.

``I told them it required real transformation on their part in a positive way for us to accept them as allies wanting to live side by side. Until then we will continue to regard them now and in the future as enemies of our people,'' Mugabe said.

The president accused white farmers of working to defeat a failed constitutional referendum that aimed to speed up the seizure of white farms for distribution to landless blacks. He said white opposition ``exposed them as our enemies, not just political enemies, but definite enemies in wanting to reverse our revolution and our independence.''

Immediately after the failure of the Feb. 16 referendum, the squatters began moving onto white-owned farms.

Farm union leaders were ``angered and frustrated'' by Mugabe's remarks, said David Hasluck, director of the union.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke Tuesday with Mugabe, who told him he would meet with squatter and farmer leaders again Wednesday, Annan's spokesman Fred Eckhard said. Annan deplored the reported violence and urged Mugabe to ease tensions over land reforms. The Wednesday meeting could not be immediately confirmed by Zimbabwean officials.

Mugabe's government had canceled military parades, tribal dances, sports displays and other celebrations for Tuesday's anniversary because, it said, it wanted to save money to aid flood victims. However, it is widely believed that Mugabe feared political protests or violence during festivities.

Zimbabwe is suffering from its worst economic crisis since independence with more than 50 percent unemployment and 70 percent inflation.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press.

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Revolt looms in government ranks as . . .

Mugabe's election strategy splits party

Staff Reporter - The Financial Gazette

ZIMBABWE'S embattled President Robert Mugabe risks a revolt in his government over a high risk election ploy combining seizure of white-owned farms and intimidation of the opposition, officials and analysts say.

They say the strategy is sponsored by a small number of Cabinet ministers close to Mugabe and an equally tiny but powerful group in the security services.

"A majority of the people in the government don't support what is going on, and if things continue at this pace, we are going to see a confrontation in the government ranks over this problem," one senior government official said.

"Many of them are ashamed of what is going on and these people have been expressing their dissent by keeping quiet. But there are signs this is changing," he added.

Government sources said there was a heated Cabinet debate last week over the continuing invasion of white farms by supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party, led by former guerrillas in Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war.

That meeting, which was held while Mugabe was away in Cuba at a developing world economic summit, led Vice President Joseph Msika to order an end to the invasions and to urge ZANU PF leaders to restrain supporters from intimidating the opposition.

ZANU PF supporters have occupied at least 500 farms in the past two months and waged a campaign of violence which has claimed several lives, including two white farmers. Dozens of farmers have been forced off their land, threatening a key sector of the country's economy.

Ahead of parliamentary elections expected in May, ZANU PF youths and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been clashing around the country in what Mugabe has described as an evil strategy by the MDC.

Many others blame the violence on government supporters.

Political boss

When Mugabe returned home from Cuba on Sunday he said he would not order the veterans off the land, and said his supporters should hit their opponents so hard they would never forget who was the political boss.

"They have provoked a lion with a slap, and they will be devoured," he said to wild cheering from his supporters.

Analysts say the 76-year-old former guerrilla leader's militant supporters hope intimidation will help ZANU PF ward off a strong challenge by the MDC, especially in urban areas, in parliamentary elections set for May but likely to be held later.

Red herring

The analysts believe Mugabe is driving the land seizure programme to draw attention away from economic collapse, rampant corruption, unemployment and acute fuel shortages.

"His calculation is that he will not have it easy if all these issues are allowed to dominate the election, so he has chosen his own campaign platform," said political analyst Masipula Sithole.

"But it is a high risk strategy because it does not have popular support in the party or the country," he added.

"It is divisive and open to challenge because some in his own party believe ultimately it will backfire," Sithole said.

Some of Mugabe's lieutenants turned on him in February when he suffered a crushing defeat in a referendum on a draft constitution which critics said was designed to entrench his rule.

They told him he was the party's greatest political liability, and urged him to retire. But a party source said he had declined, saying ZANU PF's chances of surviving the elections would be worse without his leadership.

"He is behaving like an uncrowned absolute monarch. He is not even taking wise counsel from some of his own senior officials, and those are the seeds of self-destruction," said political analyst Emmanuel Ma-gade.

Magade, a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said Mugabe was desperate but had painted himself into a corner.

"He has always played to the gallery of the gullible but that gallery is getting empty," he said. —Reuter

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What price freedom?

FOUR precious lives have been cruelly cut short in the past week, the latest victims of Zimbabwe's widening anarchy.

Martin Olds, David Stevens, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika died because they dared to hold views different from those of their political foes.

The four join at least two others, including a policeman on duty, sent to their deaths in the past three weeks.

The blood of these innocents, spilled on the eve of Zimbabwe's 20th independence anniversary, is a sobering testament of how a once proud nation has crumbled in every sense of the word.

Their deaths were predictable in the highly poisoned mood Zimbabwe has been plunged into and yet they need not ever have happened.

Instead of sparking retribution, let these tragic deaths spur all Zimbabweans — black and white — to solemnly rededicate themselves to the ideals for which another 50 000 lives needlessly perished in the 1970s campaign for this country's freedom.

Those ideals — the permanent banishment of the oppression of man by man and the ushering in of an era of palpable freedom and tolerance of divergent views — must steadfastly propel the people forward even at this darkest hour, fortified in the knowledge that they hold their destiny in their own hands.

Let the people not vent their anger over these murders through senseless acts of counter-violence, but through an overwhelming vote for peace and freedom as they boldly reclaim their sovereignty in the coming elections.

Let them unmistakeably and forcefully make the point that violence, from whatever quarter and for whatever purpose, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Never again should Zimbabweans allow anyone or any organisation, whatever their political credentials, to play this supreme overlord over their lives.

They should send an unambiguous signal here and across the globe that only they are in charge — and permanently — and that only they will empower and disempower anyone who takes them for a ride so crude and cruel.

For the record, Zimbabweans must not so much blame the perpetrators of the evil deeds of the past three weeks but those who have inspired the misguided minds of the young and jobless to launch into such desperate and destructive tendencies.

It is the promoters of violence who must bear the greatest responsibility for these dastardly acts — and they know it.

In time, justice and fairness should prevail. They always do, but for now many will be forgiven for asking: what price freedom?

We urge Zimbabweans to pause and digest the anguished cry from the Catholic bishops and other heads of Christian churches sent out this week.

"The laws of the country that protect people from abuse and physical assault must be enforced. The courts of the land must be respected. The law enforcement agencies must do their duty without fear or favour," they stated.

Is the nation asking for too much?

UNDP says ZANU PF dominance killing Zimbabwe's economy

Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S political landscape in which Parliament has largely been dominated by the ruling ZANU PF party is to blame for inaction by the government to administer painful economic prescriptions agreed with international donors, according to a study funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The UNDP report, expected to be officially made public next month, says Zimbabwe's political system does not punish policy-makers for failing to meet set economic targets.

It cites the domination of ZANU PF as one of the chief causes of the profligacy by the government which it says had caused Zimbabwe to incur a national debt of more than $240 billion.

The ZANU PF-dominated Parliament, whose term expired earlier this month ahead of general elections later this year, is accused of rubber-stamping policies which have cost the country crucial economic aid.

"We have argued that the political set-up in Zimbabwe does not force difficult decisions to be made and has an inherent tendency to encourage inaction," the UN report, a copy of which is with the Financial Gazette, said.

The report is being prepared by local and international consultants and is co-funded by the UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Zimbabwe is mired in its worst economic crisis in two decades blamed largely on mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

The southern African country, once hailed as one of Africa's beacons of hope, has seen its economy slide during the past three years as the government experiments with various half-baked economic policies.

The government has often discarded some policies mid-way to appease a restive populace, which has been angered by rapidly deteriorating living standards.

The UNDP report however dismissed claims by the government that the economic prescriptions administered by international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were not suited to meet conditions of developing countries.

It said the failure of the Western-backed economic reforms was caused by the half-hearted implementation by the government rather than the design of the policies.

"The problem does not lie in the absence of ideas but rather in the implementation of those ideas. This raises the fundamental question of why government's commitment to its own policies is so weak," the report said.

Mugabe has personally made public his dislike of the World Bank and the IMF which he says prescribe policies that destabilise developing economies.

The IMF, the main backer of Zimbabwe's economic reforms since 1991, last year suspended aid to the country after the government failed to meet set economic targets.

The IMF also questioned the cost to the fiscus of Zimbabwe's military involvement in the 20-month-old civil war of the Congo, where Harare says it has been spending US$3 million a month to back military ruler Laurent Kabila against rebels.

The sour relations with the IMF have also cost Zimbabwe potential aid worth more than US$6 billion from several Western governments and international donors such as the World Bank and the European Union.

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of inciting war against whites

WASHINGTON — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is trying to start a race war in a desperate bid to divert attention from the crumbling economy before a May election, the leader of the nation's biggest opposition party said this week.

As Zimbabwe marked the 20th anniversary of its independence from Britain, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the embattled Mugabe had branded white farmers as traitors in a last-ditch attempt to rally the mainly black population behind his plan to grab their land without paying compensation.

"By targeting white farmers, by promoting the racist angle, he is hoping that the whole nation will support him on this dangerous path," Tsvangirai said in an interview during a visit to Washington.

"Fortunately the whole of Zimbabwe doesn't see this as a racist issue. They see this as political opportunism on the part of Mugabe, trying to raise this land issue in the next election," he said. "And yet he had 20 years to resolve this whole issue, so people have seen through this strategy."

Mugabe, 76, a former guerrilla commander who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, said in an anniversary speech in Harare that white farmers, who have resisted his attempts to seize their land, have behaved as enemies of the state. He refused to call off thousands of black "war veterans" who have occupied at least 500 white-owned farms.

His comments came just hours after news that white farmer Martin Olds had been killed by farm invaders. It was the second such killing since the farm occupations began four months ago. Last weekend white farmer David Stevens was abducted from his home, brutally beaten and shot dead.

Amid the spreading violence, two officials of the MDC, including Tsvangirai's driver, were killed at the weekend when their car was firebombed by veterans.

"I believe the responsibility for the current state of affairs lies squarely on President Mugabe himself," said Tsvangirai. "When the farm invasions were first on the table as part of his plan, he was publicly condoning lawlessness and anarchy."

"It's a very shattering experience that people are getting killed. Some of them are very close to me — blacks and whites. It's not about race. It is not a race war."

Critics of Mugabe's rule say he has previously handed some of the best land appropriated by his government to political cronies, while presiding over an economy racked by corruption and mismanagement. The result has been falling wages, soaring inflation and fuel shortages that have angered his people.

Sixty five percent of Zimbabweans surveyed in recent polls made clear they want a change of government, but Mugabe has become increasingly erratic as he clings to power.

Since the farm invasions began Mugabe has ignored court rulings, refused to order the police to remove the squatters and recently dissolved parliament as a precursor to the elections, which are supposed to be held sometime in May.

"I think there are those in Zimbabwe who realise that Mugabe is acting as a lone ranger," said Tsvangirai. "I think he has just sidelined his Cabinet, parliament has been dissolved, so he's acting alone."

"I think that we may have an election. But whether it's going to be free and fair is questionable." —Reuter

Fears of new attacks force Zim farmers to evacuate

19 April 2000 11:34 PM - (SA)

Bulawayo - Ranchers in Zimbabwe's western Matabeleland Province were evacuating some farms and expecting new attacks after one of their neighbours was shot and killed when war veterans overran his farm, a farming official says.

"We have had reports that certain people have been targeted," Mac Crawford, president of the Commercial Farmers' Union in Matabeleland told AFP.

"We have moved women and children into town and the men are laagering up in groups of four or five on one farm."

Crawford said the union had received information, in the wake of the killing Tuesday of rancher Martin Olds, that two groups of government supporters had moved into the area specifically to kill white farmers.

"This is not random," he said. "It is an orchestrated campaign which could be stopped at any time by one man" -- President Robert Mugabe.

"You're sitting like a lame duck waiting for someone to come and kill you," John Rosenfels, a third-generation Zimbabwean rancher, told AFP.

"The point is we see ourselves as Zimbabweans, but you've got to start asking yourself 'Are we wanted here?'"

Crawford said Mugabe's remarks on the 20th anniversary of independence Tuesday, in which he labelled white farmers "enemies", should have removed any doubt over who was behind the escalating violence.

Thousands of squatters led by veterans of the country's independence war have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in the past two months, and two farmers have now been killed in the space of four days.

Crawford said, however, his members were not planning on leaving Zimbabwe.

Mugabe says the squatters are simply reclaiming land stolen by colonialists, but critics charge that the war veterans are being used as storm troopers to intimidate the opposition ahead of elections due next month.

The president accuses the farmers of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change, a labour-backed party which is tipped to present his government with its biggest challenge after 20 years in power. - Sapa-AFP

Buckingham Palace Red-Faced on Mugabe Note -Paper

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Buckingham Palace is trying to distance itself from an embarrassing congratulatory message which Queen Elizabeth sent to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe this week, the Times reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted palace sources as confirming the message was delivered by the British High Commission in Harare on Tuesday -- the 20th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from Britain and also the day that a white farmer was killed.

The sources insisted the British Foreign Office was responsible for writing and sending the note, the Times said.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor the Foreign Office could be reached immediately for comment.

The Times said the message was a routine one which the queen sent on national days to all countries which had diplomatic relations with Britain.

It said the timing of the message had sparked an "instant furore" among Zimbabwe's whites. "Her Majesty should know she has let us down badly," one farmer, Tim Savory, was quoted as saying.

Thousands of veterans of the guerrilla war to overthrow white minority rule in the then Rhodesia have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in the past two months, demanding back land they say the British stole.

Two white farmers have been beaten and shot to death, and many others have been attacked and forced to flee their farms or sign over land to the squatters.

Copyright 1999 Reuters.

Swapo Quashes Zimbabwe Motion

Windhoek (The Namibian, April 19, 2000) - Swapo yesterday took advantage of its heavyweight presence in the National Assembly to smother the first motion of the Congress of Democrats (CoD), which was aimed at drawing parliament's attention to crisis-ridden Zimbabwe.

Tsudao Gurirab, the CoD Secretary General, proposed that the Assembly "congratulates the people of Zimbabwe on their victory against the forces of colonialism and racism, 20 years ago".

Swapo members of parliament immediately shouted at Gurirab questioning his credentials to bring such a proposal to the National Assembly.

Some Swapo MPs asked: "Who are you? You have not even spent a month in parliament."

Gurirab continued unperturbed, calling for a quick solution to the land problem; for the Assembly to express "deep concern over the disregard for the rule of law in Zimbabwe"; and to state "concern" that the problems in Zimbabwe could spill over to the rest of the "already volatile SADC [Southern African Development Community] region".

Gurirab asked the National Assembly to support "constitutional and democratic rule ... in that country and urge authorities to create the necessary conditions for free and fair elections".

Swapo MPs immediately indicated they would quash the motion, and when Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Willem Konjore called for a vote, only five opposition party members - the four CoD MPs present and Kosie Pretorius of Monitor Action Group - supported the proposal.

More than 30 Swapo MPs voted against it. The DTA-UDF coalition abstained.

Gurirab sat back with a smug look as Swapo MPs told him he was "trying to look for cheap points" and that he should "join the Zimbabwean parliament" if he wants to discuss Zimbabwe.

Swapo has a close ties with the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), the country's ruling party, and President Sam Nujoma is probably President Robert Mugabe's closest international political ally.

By Tangeni Amupadhi

Copyright 2000 The Namibian.

Several Journalists Threatened

Paris (Reporters sans frontieres, April 19, 2000) - In an 18 April 2000 letter to Minister of Home Affairs Dumiso Dabengwa, RSF expressed concern about the deterioration of press freedom in Zimbabwe on the twentieth anniversary of the country's independence. RSF urged the minister to ensure that journalists can work freely and safely in Zimbabwe.

"We wish to remind you that Zimbabwe has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of which guarantees press freedom," added Robert Menard, RSF's secretary-general.

According to the information collected by RSF, several journalists have been physically or verbally attacked by "veterans", former fighters in the war of independence, since the beginning of April. On 16 April, during a meeting with President Robert Mugabe in Harare, many journalists were assaulted by Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF ruling party) militants who brandished placards proclaiming: "That's enough with CNN, BBC, and SABC lies". A few days earlier, in an occupied farmhouse near Centenary (150 kilometers north of Harare), Alexander Joe and Rose-Marie Bouballa, a photographer and journalist with Agence France-Presse, respectively, and a cameraman with the British news agency Reuters were threatened by some fifty men armed with machetes and iron bars. Their leader declared: "If you come back here, we will take your equipment and your car, and we will keep you for many weeks if necessary." He also prohibited them from taking pictures.

On 6 April, in another farmhouse, Nyasha Nyakunu, and Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, editor and photographer with the privately owned "Daily News", respectively, were detained for two hours by ZANU-PF youths armed with iron bars. They threatened the journalists and seized their two cameras, identity cards and press cards, accusing them of being "pro-White people" (see IFEX alert of 7 April 2000).

For further information, contact Jean-Francois Julliard at RSF, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: afrique@rsf.fr, Internet: http://www.rsf.fr

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.

Contact: Reporters sans frontieres, 5 rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris - France - Tel : 33 1 44 83 84 84 - Fax : 33 1 45 23 11 51 - e- mail : afrique@rsf.fr - web : www.rsf.fr

Market awash with properties as owners flee - Financial Gazette Property report

Staff Reporter

PROPERTY owners are fleeing Zimbabwe in increasing numbers in the wake of mounting political violence, leaving a market with properties which have no takers.

Real estate firms this week said the market was awash with properties because of an upsurge in the number of sellers while most buyers were taking a wait-and-see position.

"We are now getting up to 10 properties brought up for sale every day instead of the usual maximum of only two. The reason is mainly that the owners are getting very nervous about what is happening in the country and are leaving," said James Fox, a spokesman for a leading Harare-based real estate agency.

Situation reversed

The market usually has more buyers than sellers but the situation has now been reversed.

The analysts say this has been caused by mounting political violence and the illegal occupation of private farms by veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war with the full support of President Robert Mugabe.

"Normally when we get two properties to sell, there would be 10 buyers. But we are now getting as few as two buyers for more than 10 properties we are getting a day," Fox said.

Properties on the market are mainly houses from low-density suburbs occupied by the rich as well as farms and plots.

Jill Thomas, an official of another Harare estate agency, said her company was getting buyers for properties valued at up to $2 million but virtually none for properties with values higher than this.

No buyers

"More properties are coming onto the market and there are no buyers for those in the higher bracket," she said.

Except for a few clients who had soft loans such as bank employees, there were very few customers coming to the market to buy property.

Another property expert with an international real estate company told the Financial Gazette that Zimbabwe's rapidly deteriorating political and economic climate had unnerved many property owners, especially foreigners with investment in Zimbabwe.

"Despite the huge amounts of money invested in the property sector, many owners are not willing to take chances. They are beginning to feel very insecure when there is a total breakdown of law and order in the country," he said.

Property rights

"The sellers' reaction is very normal because they cannot wait until they lose their properties. Buyers know that security is very important in this sector so they cannot just rush to buy at a time when property rights are not protected."

For the past two months, veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war have been on a rampage occupying nearly 1 000 mainly white-owned farms across the country.

In the past month, the High Court has twice ordered the police to evict the invaders but the police and Mugabe have refused, saying it was a political issue and that police had no resources to enforce the court orders.

Another property agent said: "When police can no longer protect the country's citizens from being attacked and having their properties seized and the government starts crafting pieces of legislation to take properties without paying anything, then investors will rush to dispose of these properties before they lose them."

The agent was referring to a constitutional amendment passed by Parliament two weeks ago authorising the government to seize white-owned farms without paying compensation to resettle peasants.

Apart from the farm invasions, security concerns have been heightened by politically-motivated clashes between supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as they campaign for general elections tentatively scheduled for next month.

At least six people have been killed in the violence, the latest being at the weekend when two supporters of the MDC were bombed by alleged ZANU PF followers and a farmer was shot dead by the veterans occupying his land.

Mugabe telling farmers It's me or your land

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 19 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe, on the ropes after 20 years in power, is forcing Zimbabwe's small white minority to choose between their livelihoods and their politics.

Political analysts say Mugabe's support for the occupation of white-owned farms and his silence on the violence against white farmers is a desperate strategy to make whites abandon the fledgling Movement for Democratic Change.

``The farm invasions, the violence against the opposition, the endless diatribe against the West are all part of his programme to win the elections,'' said Emmanuel Magade, a law lecturer at the University of

Political sources say he is signalling increasingly clearly that he will not call his supporters to order until whites agree to back his ruling ZANU-PF against a new opposition.

Mobs of pro-government supporters, led by veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war, have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in the past two months, shooting and beating two farmers to death.

They have burned homes and crops and driven many farmers off their land, while a parallel campaign in the countryside by ruling ZANU-PF party militants has left at least five opposition supporters, including a pregnant woman, dead.

Mugabe has fired up his supporters by describing the white farmers as ``enemies of Zimbabwe'' for bankrolling the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and opposing his plans to seize their land for blacks
without paying compensation.

``His position is not about farmers, it's about power. He believes the MDC would not be a problem for his government without the farmers,'' political commentator Alfred Nhema said.

The MDC has built a strong support base and analysts say it stands a good chance of toppling Mugabe's 20-year-old government with a campaign based on allegations of mismanaging the economy.

Mugabe is accused of driving the economy to a 20-year low by pumping national resources into a political patronage system aimed at sustaining his rule.

Unemployment has doubled to about 50 percent since Mugabe came to power, interest rates are around a record 70 percent and inflation soared to a record 70.4 percent last October.

On top of that, the country is battling with acute fuel and foreign currency shortages while poverty has risen to 70 percent from 60 percent 10 years ago.

Key Western donors have suspended aid to Zimbabwe over differences on economic management, especially its costly deployment of a third of its army in the war in the Congo.


But Mugabe believes the West is trying to strangle the economy to pave the way for an MDC victory in the parliamentary elections provisionally set to take place in May.

Although his own presidential term does not expire until 2002, analysts say Mugabe's position would become untenable if his government lost the parliamentary elections.

Nhema and Magade believe Mugabe will try to tie growing demands to defuse the rising violence against white farmers to their withdrawing support from the MDC.

``Mugabe is holding the country to ransom, telling the world: 'If you don't let me do what I want, I will blow it up','' said Masipula Sithole, one of the country's leading political commentators.

``He is saying: 'Dare me and we will fight to the finish', and he is trying to keep peace in his own ranks by saying, 'This is about our survival','' he said.

Sithole said Mugabe might also be trying to push the country towards a state of emergency which would allow him to delay elections for up to a year and to crush the opposition.

Political analysts say although Mugabe might be persuaded by mediators such as Nigeria to soften his stance on the land issue, his paramount interest was to win power.

The government published a document last week which it said came from the MDC, outlining a campaign of violence and economic sabotage.

But the MDC dismissed it as a forgery, and an excuse to ban it or go for a state of emergency.

Although officials say there are rumblings over Mugabe's strategy, party sources say he is confident he can carry the day with the support of a small but powerful group of supporters in the ruling party and the security

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