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Zim tobacco crop
under threat

OWN CORRESPONDENT, Johannesburg | Monday 12.45pm.

ZIMBABWE tobacco farmers on Monday called for an end to lawlessness by war veterans occupying their farms, warning that the country's position as a leading world supplier of tobacco was under threat from the disruptions.
Kobus Joubert of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, the main growers association, said the "urgency of restoring law and order cannot be over-emphasised" because farmers needed to be able to plant by September 1.
"The current prevailing disruptions to farming operations need to be urgently addressed and all parties are encouraged to work together to find an immediate solution," Joubert said in a statement.
Thousands of liberation war veterans and their supporters have occupied hundreds of white-owned farms -- many of them tobacco farms -- since February, intimidating and attacking farmers, beating up labourers and disrupting farming operations.
The tobacco industry, on which Zimbabwe depends for a third of its total foreign currency income, has been hit hard by the violence.
"Failure to achieve the 180 million kilogramme core business crop will jeopardise Zimbabwe's position as a leading supplier of quality flavourful flue-cured tobacco for the international brands of cigarettes," Joubert warned.
Zimbabwe is the world's second-biggest exporter of tobacco after Brazil, and is one of the top three producers of quality flue-cured virginia leaf along with the United States and Brazil.
"Dry land tobacco preparation and seedbed sowing are normally completed by mid-August, thereby effectively determining the overall size of the national crop," Joubert said.
Government last week started an accelerated land redistribution programme taking land from whites and redistributing it to blacks. --AFP
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It is sad but predictable to see that the recent meeting of the SADC group in Windhoek, Namibia, has resulted in a resounding endorsement of Mugabe's position on the theft of land in Zimbabwe. President Mbeki of South Africa has been saddled with the job of extorting compensation funds from the UK government for the Zimbabwe land grabs.

This endorsement by the SADC has legitimised the policy of land theft, and opened the door for similar actions in both Namibia and South Africa. It has also revealed the true nature of the policy, the destruction and forced emigration of the white population of Southern Africa, the last areas of sizable white land ownership on the African continent.

The SADC evidently supported the Zimbabwe land grabs as "one percent of the population owns more than 70% of the best land". Of course, what is the definition of best land? The best arable land is not the best ranching land and vice versa. In any case, in every developed nation in the world, the land ownership percentage figures are very similar.

Maybe the deprived citizens in the inner cities of Europe, or the USA can use this excuse to peg out the Cotswolds or the Prairies for smallholdings? It is total nonsense, an efficient farming industry by necessity concentrates land into fewer hands, it must do so to feed an increasing urban population. God help the urban populations of Zimbabwe, some three million people, when the productive farms are carved up and handed over to peasants, who do not know anything about sustainable and productive farming.

Maybe Mugabe is aiming to be another Pol Pot, and depopulate the towns and force people into the countryside, to scratch about on a smallholding for a precarious living. That I think is what is called progress African style, whilst the West is entering the Space and Technology age, Africa is furiously trying to get back to the Stone age, and they are definitely progressing!?

When the farms have been seized in Zimbabwe, and the inevitable happens, mass food shortages and starvation, I for one will not give one cent in aid, just as you do not buy an alcohlic a drink, I will not support the economic stupidity of Marxist and racist African regimes, and their addiction to hand-outs from the 'hated' white man.
Markus (rhodesia@visir.is)
Reykjavik, ICELAND - Wednesday, August 09, 2000 at 10:47:30 (PDT)

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President Tim Henwood's meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Resettlement, Dr. J. Made, has been postponed until Thursday.
Invasions (new and revisits) - 49
Work stoppages (mainly tobacco) - 48
Unofficial eviction notices - 21
Poaching incidences on farms - 28
Cases of theft on farms - 15
Properties with hut building - 43
Properties with tree cutting - 32
Cases of abductions on farms - 3
Beatings on farms - 8
Veld fires on farms - 7
Cases of intimidation on farms - 25
Centenary - No developments as of yesterday on Mavhuradonha.
Horseshoe - There is extensive pegging of the orchard on Penrose Farm. There is also extensive pegging on Nainital Farm and Mapetu Farm. The owner of Rushpeak had negotiations with war vets over the stoppage of land preparation. The war vet agreed to allow the owner to continue, but then his plough was stolen.
Glendale - War vets are building structures on prepared land on Verona Farm.  Police spoke to war vets but were ignored. Police will be going out again when transport becomes available.
Mutepatepa - Approximately 4 war vets are staying over night on Insingisi Farm and are joined by 60 during the day. They are made up of the unemployed from Ashanti Mine.  On Benridge Farm there was an altercation with war vets, which was resolved amicably. A group of 60 war vets were addressed by senior war vet on Bourtonvale Farm who told some of the group to move to Lilstock Farm, and a presence of 50 were left.
Shamva - There were 30-40 peaceful occupiers outside the security fence on Woodlands A. A similar situation exists on Woodlands B.
Marondera North - The Governor did not arrive to attend the pre-arranged meeting.
Beatrice/Harare South - On Twa Glens there are now 13 permanent pole and dagga huts on the farm. On Sanctury there is one hut. The owner is concerned that the occupiers are all from the Ringa resettlement and wonders whether people should be resettled twice. On Goldilands yesterday, war vets stopped the farmer working after having agreed that he could continue last week. With regard to Stoneridge and Blackfordby, the report in the Herald and the Daily news on the abduction of the school children was accurate. The ZBC news this morning at 6:00 reported that it had been misreported, but it was in fact correct. The children and the parents are too intimidated to give statements. Denmark was occupied by about 10 people. They are staying in a shed about 300m from the main homestead. It is believed that two of them were in camouflage uniform.
Wedza - There is an increase in hut building on Msasa. Mount Arthur and Plymtree Farms were visited by CIO. At this stage no details are known. On Bristol 3 shots were heard from the paddocks at midnight. Investigations are underway.  People gathering at Chakadenga Store on the Watershed Road attempted to stop the farmer using a temporary road block. Their attempts failed but the farmer was told to move his cattle from the farm and remove all the gates. Later a white Mazda truck arrived and started selling off plots of land in the land that has been prepared for September planted tobacco. 25 metres of boundary fencing has been stolen. On Collace Farm occupiers have started river line cultivation.  On Fair Adventure a person was seen boarding a farmer's lorry with a weapon in a case. A roadblock set up by the farmers stopped the lorry, and the recovered weapon turned out to be an air pistol. It was returned. War vet Choto is reselling plots on Rupaka and tree cutting continues.
Enterprise - A war vet arrest was made in response to rape victims' prosecutions going ahead.  Friction continues on Munego and Chimbweno.
Bromley/Ruwa - On Surrey there was interference with the centre pivot irrigation scheme implementation. Police are attending to the matter.  Farms around the Epworth area are experiencing a lot of timber cutting - Police are reacting and some arrests have been made.  On Bromley Park about 20 invaders arrived in two vehicles wanting to move onto the farm. They left when they thought that the farm was too small for them.
Featherstone - On Rainbow about 20 occupiers have stopped at the dam on this farm but were supposed to be going on to Knockholt Annexe.  Occupiers have agreed to move onto Glegarry and Glenafflin rather than Phillipsdale. On Nyamazun there is still confusion about the boundaries.
Macheke/Virginia (Report from Monday) - War vets ordered the manager of Timorin to move 209 head of cattle onto Klipspringer Kop, and this was done.  About 16 people in trucks arrived on Castledene as part of an advance party of the DA Murewa who was arriving to take possession of the farm as per the Section 8 notice, and on instruction from Gov Karamanzira. After lengthy discussions they left saying that they would return later with Agritex to officially peg the farm. They moved to Welcome Home Farm and did the same thing.
Raffingora - On Cornrise on Monday, the farmer started burning grass around the irrigated land. The war vets noticed and proceeded to build three shelters in the irrigated land. Today they have stopped the ridger and advise the farmer that he is wasting his time because it is their land and they cannot afford to pay for fertilizer.  Police Mtorashanga and Raffingora have been informed, and are awaiting instructions from Dispol Chinhoyi in order to move occupiers from the land to the "Sacred Hill".  When the Police spoke to them yesterday, the invaders were adamant that they were not leaving. On Great Gain Farm war vets stopped the laying of a new irrigated line in preparation for pre-irrigation tobacco.  It was resolved by the Police, and work continues. There were threats by war vets to the owner of Kelston Park to stop him ridging. The farmer then informed his labour that they would all be without jobs, he notified GAPWUZ and NEC Agri., and telephoned the Chinhoyi Governor, informing them that his labour would have to be signed off if he could not plant a crop.  The labour have reacted in the farmer's favour and we await to see what happens when he puts in the ridger.  The Governor's office and Dispol promised to react today. 
Chinhoyi - There is continued building of houses on Angwa Farm. A white Opel, carrying war vets sent by Nigel Chirava, visited Portlet Estates to see if it was still occupied by war vets.   
All other areas - quiet.
Norton - On Sunflower huts are being built and on another property war vets are moving off. On Emojeni there are approximately 100 occupiers. There were visits to Gowry and Mapleleaf, but the situation is generally quiet.
Chakari - Farmers are not putting forward any plans until there is political assurance that they will be able to reap their crops. At last count there were about 650 people on Blackmorvale, with 6 huts in the middle of one land which has been ploughed for the coming season.
Chegutu - Gilbert Moyo remains under warrant of arrest, but is still avoiding Police. On Stewartonia there are huts in the middle of the lands.
Selous - There was a visit to Balclutha Farm. 
Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.
Mwenezi - Continued chopping of trees, pegging of plots and poaching.
Chiredzi - On Buffalo Range tree cutting is extensive and the damage caused is intensive. Wood is being carted out and pegging continues. There are now 30 occupiers on Malilangwe Ranch.
Save Conservancy - The situation remains the same - there is continued poaching, snaring, pegging and many people everywhere.
Gutu/Chatsworth - The owner of Malton Farm reports that the Governor and the DA were there yesterday measuring plots. They are due to return to this property tomorrow and will begin resettling people.
Comments - Six properties that have contested have received Section 8 orders.
Nothing to report. 
Bubi - On Goodwood a handover ceremony on Saturday resulted in people being bussed in on military vehicles, with war vets in each vehicle being sent out to round up people and transport them to the rally. The result was that many people were assaulted in the process. At the rally of some 200 people (not 500), O. Mpofu ordered farm workers and MDC supporters to stand up, and in front of the meeting had war vets lead them away to be beaten again and again, all to intimidate the  crowd.  Propol was present at the meeting but claimed to have been unsure of the assaults. Some 14 statements have been taken from assault victims, and 6 arrests of assailants are to face a court hearing shortly. At the rally an order was issued by Mr Mpofu to kill three farmers (named). He also stated in the following day's press that only Zanu PF supporters should be allocated land.
On Huntsman Farm on Monday afternoon a maroon BMW with Botswana number plates arrived at the security gate, and a man in Police uniform got out and gained access to the premises from the gate guard. Four armed men with pistols, including the false policeman, severely assaulted the members of staff on duty and then proceeded to destroy the home and steal a video machine, cash, and three weapons. The owner returned home a few minutes after they left. They have not yet been caught.
Nyamandhlovu - Mindora war vets spent an hour or more at the homestead gate at 8 p.m., hurling abuse and threats to the owner. On Cawston war vets are pegging, building structures, and causing major disruption of foreign hunting clients, reaching the stage where operations may have to be stopped.
On Naisby a second group of war vets that moved on and camped near the homestead have issued an ultimatum that all hunting operations are to stop, or else they may react to the shooting and stealing of game by the farmer.
Comment - since the new Governor, O Mpofu has taken office, there has been a distinct escalation of occupations and hostilities in the constituencies of Nyamandhlovu and Bubi (that lost to MDC in the elections).
Lower Gweru - Inglenook and Humewood Farms (listed) have been settled by the Governor with 24 families on each. The farmer cannot continue operations on his third farm Missouri, which was not listed, so has offered it to Government. Kent Farm has also been settled with 9 families. 24 occupants were moved off it for this purpose. Keynshamburg Farm has more occupants moving on. They are ignoring the cleared lands and are cutting trees. Somerset Farm has an increase in numbers and fences are being cut for vehicles to move around. Loudon Farm has an influx of 40 peggers.  Matambo Farm also has a huge influx with ox-drawn ploughs.
Somabhula - Occupiers on Sonamabula Farm are clearing lands, cutting trees and removing wood from the property. Police have been informed. ZRP found resident war vets on Woodend Farm responsible for poaching. The war vets were warned and as a result 8 to 10 have vacated the property. The safari operations which were threatened by the war vet presence can now, hopefully resume.
Gweru East - On Plawsworth Farm war vet Mafuta found the dairy gate locked and threatened to shoot off the lock. He uttered threats against the farmer if the gate was found locked again. A new group, led by Homba Trust, arrived yesterday and pegged in the middle of the lands, preventing land preparation for the next cropping season. Resident war vets do not know why this new group came. The group is believed to have come from Safago and, after pegging, left to continue on to Wildebeest Lot 4. Police have been informed. Wildebeest Lot 4 was visited yesterday by a group of aggressive people armed with sticks. Some of the labour fled while others ran to the compound to arm themselves with choppers etc. The group left but threatened to return today to peg. The Police have been informed.
Mvuma - On Bushy Park Farm numbers of occupiers are increasing, and pegging and building continues. A fire, started by occupiers, burned out neighbouring Sebakwe Farm and part of Mvurachena as well as part of Bushy Park. Occupiers refused to assist in putting out the fire.
Queries on reaction to Section 8 orders are now coming in from most areas.

Any farmers needing to make special arrangements for domestic pets, please contact Meryl Harrison on
09-66578 / 09-66593 (bus)
011 630403 (cellular)
09-46243 (res)
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9 August 2000

In today's issue :

From The Times (UK), 9 August

Land vote will sour links with Mbeki

JOHANNESBURG - Britain and South Africa face their severest diplomatic test since the collapse of apartheid over Zimbabwe's land reform programme. At the end of their two-day summit in Windhoek, Namibia, SADC, a group of 14 countries, urged President Mbeki to press London to pay compensation for farms seized by President Mugabe's Government. The decision to appoint Mr Mbeki threatens to put London and Pretoria on a collision course over how to redress the legacy of colonialism while upholding the rule of law. The group's ringing endorsement of Mr Mugabe's handling of the land reform crisis has left Western diplomats bewildered, marking a rift between the new generation of African leaders and their Western counterparts over the colonial legacy. Mr Mbeki and the group will support Mr Mugabe's insistence that land redistribution is necessary because "one per cent of the population owns more than 70 per cent of the best land".

Britain has said that it will not finance land reform amid the state-sponsored thuggery that Mr Mugabe has unleashed in the former British colony. More than 30 people have been killed. When Zimbabwe won freedom in 1980 Britain agreed to fund land reform, handing over £36 million. About £44 million remains on the table. London has refused to release this because it fears the money will be misused.

From The Star (SA), 9 August

Mbeki cautioned in fighting Mugabe's case

A senior political analyst has cautioned President Thabo Mbeki to be careful in fighting President Robert Mugabe's case in Britain, because the Zimbabwean leader has proved to be unpredictable. Dr Xolela Mangcu, a senior political analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies at Wits University, said on Tuesday that, by taking the SADC mandate to help secure funds from Britain for the land reform programme in Zimbabwe, Mbeki risked losing credibility because Mugabe had failed to keep his word that the violent and illegal invasions of white-owned farms by self-styled war veterans would stop. "Not so long ago, Mugabe made the undertaking, promising to end the farm invasions. He has failed to honour his word," said Mangcu. He warned that Mbeki was risking his credibility by arguing on Mugabe's behalf.

He said Mbeki, who had been travelling the globe arguing Africa's case, was the obvious choice by SADC to help secure funds promised by Britain. However, he did not think Mbeki would achieve much as long as Mugabe continued to undermine the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Political parties are divided on the SADC resolution, with the Democratic Party slamming Mbeki for not using the opportunity at the Windhoek summit to "send a strong, clear message to President Mugabe that he must cease to hold the entire region's political and economic future to ransom. President Mbeki failed SADC and the people of South Africa in his failure to act responsibly." DP spokesperson Nick Clelland said that if Mbeki wanted to play a meaningful role in ensuring the economic and political wellbeing of the region, he should be using his influence and political muscle to make certain that the rule of law was restored in Zimbabwe. The illegal farm invasions and the unlawful confiscation of farms in Zimbabwe should be stopped immediately in order to attract foreign investors who had withdrawn during the election, he added.

However, the ANC has thrown its weight behind Mbeki. ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama said the party had been working towards a resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe. "We must just make sure that we resolve the matter amicably, because what happens in Zimbabwe affects South Africa," he said. Pan Africanist Congress secretary-general Thami Plaatjie said SADC's call proved that Africans were still far from determining their own destiny. "The fact that we still have to convince the world about our programme can only expose the so-called independence we have. Africans must look inward and find African solutions to address African problems. "The UK has persistently shown its lack of interest in honouring its own agreements. Whites can only honour agreements made with other whites and not with Africans," he said. Asked who would fund the land reform programme if Britain was left out, Plaatjie said funds should be secured from within the continent because Europeans could not be trusted.

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 8 August

Eskom may pull plug on Zim

Johannesburg - SA power supply company Eskom has warned it may pull the plug on its supply to neighbouring Zimbabwe, citing mounting debts by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). "The debt situation is increasing slowly," Eskom transmission manager Peter O'Connor told journalists in Johannesburg. "Obviously it's a worry for us and we're taking steps through the correct processes to address it. We have informed them that if we are stretched with our local customers who are good payers, they will be the first to be cut," he added. O'Connor said Eskom had cut in June the amount of power it was supplying to ZESA, "for commercial reasons." "Previously we were supplying up to 450 megawatts. We are (now) limited to 150 megawatts."

O'Connor said ZESA's contract entitled it to a "continuous supply" of 150 megawatts with an option to take 450 megawatts at peak times, but Eskom cancelled this option just before general elections in Zimbabwe on June 24 and 25. "We said if you are not paying us, let's not use the additional power part of the contract," he said. O'Connor did not disclose the amount currently owed to Eskom, saying it was improper to divulge customers' accounts. In June, the size of the debt was given as 20 million US dollars. ZESA, which draws a third of its electricity from Eskom, began falling into arrears on loan repayments in May when Zimbabwe started running out of foreign currency. Eskom subsequently issued a threat to cut power supplies, but retracted it two weeks later, saying ZESA had agreed to set up a trust account into which money would be deposited as soon as foreign currency becomes available. O'Connor Tuesday said that although the trust had been set up, "it is not operational" as ZESA is still stuck in a foreign currency crisis.

From The Star (SA), 9 August

3 Zanu-PF leaders call for Mugabe resignation

Harare - Zanu-PF leaders in three of Zimbabwe's nine provinces have openly called for President Robert Mugabe and his two deputies to resign. The provincial leaders from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands expressed their views at a meeting held on Monday to review the ruling party's loss of many parliamentary seats in the three provinces to the opposition MDC in a general election held in June. The meeting was chaired by former home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa and was also attended by Vice-President Joseph Msika. Dabengwa was heavily defeated in his Nkulumane constituency by MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda. Delegates blamed Zanu-PF's losses on Mugabe's continued desire to remain in office when it was clear that people wanted a change of leadership. Most of the delegates agreed that Mugabe and his two deputies, Msika and Simon Muzenda, should resign from the party leadership. They also agreed with a widespread sentiment within Zanu-PF that Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, will lose the presidential election in 2002 if he decides to run against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, the new Zanu-PF governor of Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, has exacerbated a longstanding rift between the ruling party and people in the province when he declared that all supporters of the MDC would not be considered for the government's fast-track land resettlement programme. Mpofu said MDC supporters would not be resettled because they had shown that they had no interest in the land by voting against Zanu-PF in the election. He asked war veterans and Zanu-PF members to ensure that no known MDC supporters were included on the list of those to be resettled.

From The Daily News - The Bulawayo meeting was informed that at a similar meeting held in Mashonaland, members had been warned against making utterances that might undermine the party's leadership. After some members had expressed the view that people had lost faith in Mugabe, Msika and Muzenda, war veterans' leader, Cain Nkala, is said to have disagreed saying that Mugabe was "now revolutionary and progressive". Nkala is currently on bail facing charges of kidnapping Patrick Nabayana, an MDC polling agent for the party's secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart. Nabayana was dragged from his Nketa home in June and has not been seen since then.

From The Star (SA), 9 August

Zim governor conducts surprise land handover

Lion's Den - The governor of a northern Zimbabwe province on Tuesday led an impromptu ceremony on a farm near here, handing the land over to 97 black peasant families, the farm's white owners said. Governor Peter Chanetsa of Mashonaland West Province, accompanied by police and liberation war veterans, turned up at the farm early on Tuesday with no prior notice, Arthur and Glynnis Purkiss told reporters. The visit to Kuti Estate was "peaceful and jovial," Arthur Purkiss said, adding however that the governor did not speak to them before or after conducting the two-hour ceremony. Purkiss said: "No government official has ever approached us" over plans to resettle the farm, although he has received notice that the farm is among 804 properties that the government has begun seizing under its controversial land reform program to award white-owned farms to landless black peasants.

Similar ceremonies have been held in the past few days on uncontested farms in northern Mashonaland Central Province, southeastern Masvingo and southwestern Matabeleland North Province. Kuti Estate was already occupied by another group of war veterans and their followers, who had staked out plots on the land, Purkiss said. A white businessman in the area had said earlier in the day that an invasion was planned, and that the visitors were bent on "demonstrating, taking the land and ordering them off the farm or giving him (Purkiss) the option of 30 hectares." He said he had been tipped off by a local government official who attended a meeting presided over by the governor at which the decision to visit the farm was taken.

Viewfield Farm in northern Zimbabwe was among the first to be handed over to landless black peasants under the government's controversial "accelerated" land reforms. The 1 500-hectare farm near Centenary, 150km north of Harare, has been parcelled out to 43 black families, having been handed over voluntarily by its owner Anna Davies, whose husband died three months ago. The new governor of the northern Mashonaland Central Province, Elliot Manyika, awarded the 32-hectare plots to the families in an official ceremony last Wednesday. Similar ceremonies have been held around southeastern Masvingo and southwestern Matabeleland North Province.

At Viewfield, where production of tobacco and grain halted several months ago, numbered stakes could be seen marking out the plots among the tall dry grass and scattered trees, but few other outward signs of the resettlement were visible on Tuesday. Hardly any of the beneficiaries - unemployed youths, war veterans or villagers from overpopulated "communal lands" where black peasants are concentrated - could be seen on the farm. One of them, Epiphania Charadza from a nearby communal farm, was shown dancing for joy on the front page of the state-run newspaper The Herald on Friday after being awarded Plot 14. "I never hoped for that," the round-faced woman sporting a blue headscarf told reporters on Tuesday. "I am a widow and I cannot support my family on communal land." Asked why she was selected for a plot, she said: "I am among the poorest and gods are with me."

Malcolm Vowles, the regional representative of the CFU representing about 4 500 white farmers across the country, said Viewfield had not been occupied by veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war, who have invaded hundreds of other white-owned farms demanding land equity. In addition, he said, the question of compensation for the seizure had not been raised between the owner and the government. "It's not a contentious farm in any way." Black labourers who have been employed at Viewfield Farm for years are uncertain how the reforms will affect them. About 100 farm workers and their families still live on the farm in quarters reserved for black workers. Their fate has not been clearly spelled out by the government, which has accused them of backing the white owners on whom they depend for work, lodging and education for their children. Jaime Santos, originally from Mozambique, has lived and worked on the farm for 10 years. "My fellow farm workers are all going to be thrown out to the streets," he said, adding that only two of his co-workers were included in the redistribution of the farm. "Because they vote Zanu-PF," Santos said, referring to Mugabe's ruling party, which won in most rural constituencies in June parliamentary elections, having campaigned on promises of land reform.

From Business Day (SA), 9 August

Business hails cuts in duties

HARARE - Zimbabwe's business community has cautiously welcomed the new steps announced at the weekend. Finance and Economic Development Minister Simba Makoni has announced a reduction in duties on raw materials and intermediate goods. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the biggest private sector umbrella body, said the steps would dampen the effect of the currency devaluation on input costs. It would also enhance competitiveness of members' products regionally and globally, it said.

From The Daily News, 8 August

Meet Joseph Chinotimba

JOSEPH Chinotimba, the ex-combatant who has made it on to the front pages of newspapers and who makes nightly appearances on State television as he commands hordes of Zanu PF supporters and other war veterans in the invasion of commercial farms, is a Harare municipal policeman who has been absent from work without official leave for six months now. Since the launch of the land invasions in February, Chinotimba's working life has taken a dramatic turn from the boring routine of guarding beerhalls and other municipal installations to the more hectic invasion and parcelling-out of portions of land to settlers, with journalists trailing behind.

Sources at the Harare City Council say council officials are totally powerless to rein in Chinotimba. But the municipality continues to pay Chinotimba his full salary and has continued to do so for the six months he has been working full-time on the farm invasions. "The fact that Chinotimba is a war veteran and the land invasions have the blessing of President Mugabe has instilled fear in the hearts of council officials," says one source. "He has not reported for work for six months, yet he remains on full pay. Apart from that, the council has been destroying illegal structures in the high-density suburbs, but Chinotimba is behind the construction of illegal structures elsewhere in the city with impunity and this is on municipal land which is not serviced land with no sewage reticulation, no water, no roads and no other infrastructure."

The source, a council official who requested anonymity, said council officials were aware of the problems created by Chinotimba. "They see him on television every night," he said, "but they cannot touch him - he has become untouchable. Their hands are tied and they have no power whatsoever over their employee." Calls by senior Zanu PF officials to stop more chaos on the commercial farms have fallen on deaf ears. Chinotimba, 45, maintains his stance that "nothing will change on the farms. We brought the land at independence," Chinotimba told The Daily News, "so we are the only legitimate people who can allocate land."

Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity, and Kembo Mohadi, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, have said war veterans have no power to allocate either plots on commercial farms or residential stands in the urban areas. "They were simply wasting their time," said Chinotimba, referring to Shamuyarira and Mohadi. "They are ignorant of the origins of our power to give people land. No one can tell us what to do now after we have gone so far with the land acquisition exercise." Chinotimba has given himself a title commander-in-chief of the farm invasions.

His agenda for Zimbabwe seems broader than his participation in the invasion of the farms. He says he now wants to lead trade unions. He says he thinks he is qualified to take over the leadership of the ZCTU. "The ZCTU has failed to do their job," he said. "They cannot organise a national strike." He said until all landless people are allocated land and a house they can call their own there will be no going back on the land question. "We can't stop that process now," he said. "You can't build your house and stop at window level. You have to continue until the house is fully built and this is exactly what we are doing now."

He attacked war veteran groups such as the recently formed Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform, which opposes what they regard as Chinotimba's illegal invasion of land. He called them "traitors with no agenda". Chinotimba's view is that Zanu PF now belongs to the war veterans. "The Zanu PF leadership abandoned the party and the war veterans revived it," he said recently. "We report directly to President Mugabe." Born on 6 July 1956 in Bikita, Chinotimba crossed into Mozambique and joined the liberation war in 1975. After receiving basic training in guerrilla warfare in that country, he moved to Tanzania and then Romania for further training.

David Samudzimu, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' and Ratepayers' Association, yesterday said his association was concerned about a situation where a worker was paid a salary when he was not reporting for work. His association would raise the issue with the commission running the Harare City Council at their next meeting this month, he said. "If it has become necessary for any council worker to do any other work," said Samudzimu, "he should be given leave of absence based on any terms agreed to by both the employer and the worker." Samudzimu said there was a parallel case involving Gift Chimanikire, a Posts and Telecommunications Corporation worker accused of using a company vehicle for his election campaign in the June election. "If the PTC is investigating him why can't the City of Harare investigate and discipline Chinotimba? Otherwise the people employing Chinotimba should refund the council the money it used to pay him."

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African Leaders Back Zimbabwe's Land Policies - WINDHOEK, Aug 7 (Reuters)
SADC Stands by Mugabe - Windhoek (Business Day, August 7, 2000) 'Mdc Willing to Meet ANC'  - Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000) 
War Vets Invade Harare Property - Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000)
Mugabe Shocks Farmers - Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000)

African Leaders Back Zimbabwe's Land Policies

WINDHOEK, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Southern African leaders rallied around Zimbabwe's controversial land reform programme late on Monday at a regional summit which also endorsed a free trade pact and broke the silence on the killer disease AIDS.

Ending two-day talks on the region's simmering conflicts and tepid economic growth, the leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also called on rich nations to write off foreign debt and expressed concern over unending civil wars in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"We are disappointed by the partisan and biased manner in which a sector of the international media has misrepresented the land policy of the government of Zimbabwe...," a statement issued by the heads of state of the 14-nation regional grouping said.

It said the policy "seeks to effect a just and equitable redistribution of land in a situation where one percent of the population owns over 70 percent of the best arable land."

"We reiterate our acceptance of the urgent need to effect land redistribution in Zimbabwe to address land hunger and poverty affecting millions of black Zimbabweans," it added.

Zimbabwe has plunged into economic and political crisis since February when self-styled war veterans, encouraged by the state, seized hundreds of white-owned farms across the country.


The land chaos has left 31 people killed and has disrupted economic activity in the southern African nation.

President Robert Mugabe says the land redistribution is necessary to address a century old imbalance in land ownership in the country.

He says former colonial power Britain must pay compensation for the land to be seized by the state. But London has said it will not finance land reform amidst chaos and disregard for the rule of law.

The SADC leaders said they had appointed Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to make representations to the British government on SADC's behalf for London to finance the land reform.

The statement also condemned a Senate bill in the United States which seeks to impose penalties on Zimbabwe because of its stance on land reform.

The SADC heads of state also took an important step towards concluding an elusive free trade pact, which would be a crucial boost to growth in the impoverished region.

"The protocol on free trade will come into effect on September 1, 2000," outgoing SADC Chairman and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said.

SADC officials said implementation of the trade protocol, first adopted in 1996, would encourage the development of manufacturing in the 14 countries of SADC, which has internal trade currently valued around $7.2 billion.


SADC's four poorest countries, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, would be given special concessions for the first five years on tariffs covering clothing and textiles.

SADC includes some of the most impoverished countries in the world, and the summit made a widely expected call for greater forgiveness from the burden of foreign debt repayments, which it said diverts scarce cash from spending on schools and hospitals.

The presidents also broke the silence on the killer disease AIDS and pledged to pool resources to fight the epidemic which poses the most serious threat to the security, stability and future of the SADC region.

Around 11 million of SADC's 190 million population are infected with HIV/AIDS, statistics show, and the figure is rising.

"The summit expressed its concern that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in southern Africa continues to be a major developmental and security issue, with more than 10 percent of the adult population infected in some countries," the statement said.

At the summit's opening on Sunday, former South African President Nelson Mandela challenged the heads of state to take a common stand against HIV/AIDS and warned them against wasting time on debating the issue.

Copyright 1999 Reuters.

SADC Stands by Mugabe

Windhoek (Business Day, August 7, 2000) - Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, the chairman of the Southern African Development Community, effectively threw the weight of the SADC leadership behind Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe last night.

Addressing the opening function of the 20th summit of SADC leaders, Chissano moved off his prepared speech to suggest that the region closes ranks.

In remarks widely viewed as support for Mugabe, Chissano said there was a tendency to put a "blanket" over the history of the freedom struggle. Those who fought Ian Smith, the former Rhodesian prime minister, could now be challenged and even called dictators. Those views could not be condoned in the SADC. "We are democrats we want democracy to work according to the will of the people," he said to a round of applause.

In his review of political developments in the region, Chissano did not name Zimbabwe. He mentioned only the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola as areas of "grave concern" to the SADC.

Crucially, Zimbabwe, which has been criticised for its handling of land invasions, is expected to receive the backing today of the SADC leaders against US legislators who are critical of its land reforms.

The SADC ministers have agreed to recommend to heads of state that concern must be expressed about the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill, the US law that places conditions on aid to Harare. This is expected to be mentioned in a statement by the leaders today, according to Leonardo Simao, Mozambique's foreign minister and outgoing chairman of the SADC ministers' council.

Last night, Mugabe also received a positive mention from former SA president Nelson Mandela, his known critic.

While accepting the Sir Seretse Khama award from the SADC in honour of his leadership of both the SADC and SA, Mandela veered off his prepared text to mention Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo as examples of African leaders who had reconciled their feelings and ideas for the good of the nation. Also mentioned were Chissano whom, Mandela said, had shown patience in his dealings with his opponents, and Namibian President Sam Nujoma.

Last week, SA President Thabo Mbeki led a delegation of senior ministers to Zimbabwe as part of efforts to help Zimbabwe out of its economic mess and to advise Harare on improving its negative international image.

However, sources close to discussions say that Mugabe will be asked by his counterparts today to end the equivocation on the rule of law and Zimbabwe's economic policy.

Laurent Kabila, Congo's leader, cast doubts on efforts to revive the stuttering Lusaka peace process when he decided to stay away from the summit.

Diplomatic sources at the meeting say Kabila's absence is a sign of lack of interest in ending the war.

Others say it was a snub directed at Ketumile Masire, the former Botswana president now facilitating the inter-Congolese dialogue.

However, fear that Masire's presence would prompt a walkout of Abdoulaye Yerodia, the Congolese foreign minister representing Kabila, failed to materialise.

By John Dludlu

'Mdc Willing to Meet ANC'

Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000) - Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of MDC, has said his party is willing to meet with South Africa's ruling Afri- can National Congress (ANC), even though the latter openly supported Zanu PF in the run-up to the June 24 and 25 elections. Tsvangirai was responding to a statement by South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who, during his visit to Zimbabwe last week, said the ANC was willing to talk to Zimbabwe's opposition parties.

Tsvangirai told The Standard that his party had met the ANC leadership in Harare before the elections and briefed them about the political violence that was taking place against their supporters. Tsvangirai added that ANC went on to meet Zanu PF officials whom they endorsed, despite the evidence that the party was behind the political violence that was ravaging the country.

"We will welcome the opportunity to meet them again and present and explain our position as the official opposition party in the country. However, we took great exception to the fact that they went ahead to endorse Zanu PF, amidst political violence after meeting its leadership in South Africa," said Tsvangirai.

"We are not going to snub them. We want to give them a true picture of what is happening in the country in the political and economic spheres, and not for them to be misled by Mugabe," he said.

By Staff Writer

War Vets Invade Harare Property

Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000) - A Harare man, Andrew Newmarch, was stabbed on the arm with a spear on Friday when about 70 war veterans invaded his Carrick Creagh Farm, situated just a stone's throw away from President Robert Mugabe's private house in Harare's posh suburb of Borrowdale, The Standard has learnt.

The farm was subdivided into residential stands several months ago by war veterans, who now want it to be turned into a high density suburb.

Neighbours said that the farmer was forced by the invaders to slaughter a beast worth about $12 000, yesterday afternoon.

They said a payment of $6 500 would be made by Stalin Mau Mau, who was expected to visit the farm yesterday afternoon.

Efforts to contact Mau Mau, who lost the 2000 parliamentary election to the MDC's shadow lands minister, Tendai Biti, were fruitless at the time of going to press.

Last week the ministry of local government said it was illegal for war veterans to allocate residential stands.

By Staff Writer

Mugabe Shocks Farmers

Harare (Zimbabwe Standard, August 6, 2000) - The farming community has expressed disgust at President Mugabe's inconsistency concerning farm invasions by war veterans. Individual farmers who talked to The Standard yesterday, said they were "disgusted" by Mugabe's behaviour, charging that he was not acting like a president.

"I am disgusted by this man's behaviour. If he goes on with this kind of thing then it is going to take us ages to regain the world's confidence and rebuild our economy," said one farmer from the Midlands town of Kwekwe. The farmers refused to divulge their identities for fear of retribution.

He said the farm invasions were the major cause of Zimbabwe's current problems, as most investors were not willing to invest in the country as a result of the invasions. He said most farmers had welcomed Mugabe's speech on Wednesday that he would withdraw war veterans occupying farms not meant for resettlement, but were shocked when Mugabe woke up on Thursday saying that he would never withdraw war veterans from farMs.

"When we heard that he intended to withdraw the veterans from our farms, we thought he was sincere and hoped that at last we could start our operations.

But he does not seem serious at all. He is not taking the recovery of our economy seriously and we are disheartened," said another farmer from Bindura.

Mugabe, at a joint press conference with South African president Thabo Mbeki in Harare on Wednesday, said: "You are aware now that there is a process of acquiring land as per amended law. We will be resettling those who are in need of land. We will, in the process, be removing all war veterans from the farms that are not earmarked for resettlement. The time frame I cannot say, but I certainly want to say it will be within a month."

However, Mugabe on Thursday said he was misquoted.

Official comment could not be obtained from the Commercial Farmers Union. The union's president, Tim Henwood, was said to be locked up in meetings for the whole day on Friday while the director, Dave Hasluck, was said to be out of the country.

Those farmers who spoke to this newspaper though were unanimous in their condemnation of Mugabe's contradictions.

"President Mugabe is killing a whole sector and yet he seems not prepared to do anything about it.

He was making those statements in order to give Mbeki an impression that he doing something about the lawlessness on the farMs. When those war veterans are finally removed from the farms it will be too late to resuscitate the sector," complained another farmer.

By Staff Writers



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Squatters seize children, sexually harass girls - David Blair, Daily Telegraph (London) , Tuesday 08 August, 2000
Today's News - Zimbabwe Democracy Trust: Wednesday 09 August, 2000
Zimbabwean unions consider renewed strike action - Business Day - 09 August 2000
Zimbabwe faces power cut - BBC: Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Zimbabwe minister drums up new parliament's support for land reforms - HARARE, Aug 8 (AFP)
Zimbabwe Settles Hundreds on Seized Farms -  HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters)
Zimbabwe Central Bank Cuts Lending Rate 12 Points, Paper Says - Bloomberg News - Aug 8 2000 9:07AM

Squatters seize children, sexually harass girls
David Blair, Daily Telegraph (London) , Tuesday 08 August, 2000

Children seized by farm squatters 'for re-education' - first atrocity of its kind.

SQUATTERS have raided a school on a white-owned farm in Zimbabwe and kidnapped 17 children, it emerged yesterday.

They were taken away for political "re-education", but the Commercial Farmers' Union claimed that the girls among them were sexually harassed.

Although farm squatters, who now occupy almost 1,200 properties, are blamed for more than 2,400 recorded cases of assault and at least five murders, this is the first incident of this kind.

Local residents accused the police of failing to respond to their pleas for help.

Twenty invaders, armed with guns, axes and knives, have been occupying Stoneridge Estate, 10 miles south of the capital, Harare. The CFU said the gang attacked Blackfordby school on Saturday night and seized 10 girls and seven boys, aged between 12 and 14.

A local resident, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said the terrified children were dragged to the squatters' camp, about a mile from the school, which is on Stoneridge's land.

He said: "We heard them screaming. Then I heard two gunshots. The children later told me that the men had fired shots over their heads to frighten them."

The mob forced the children to dance and chant the slogans of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.

"They were taken for political re-education. We could hear them singing. People who work at Stoneridge and live in a village near the squatters' camp heard the tearful children chanting: "Forward with Comrade Mugabe, forward with Zanu-PF," the resident said.

Then the girls were singled out and, according to the CFU, were "harassed and fondled" by the squatters.

"It was terrible, there was nothing we could do. I fear to go near those people at the camp," said the resident.

Police arrived on the scene within two hours of the kidnapping, but were in no hurry to free the captives.

After they had suffered a three-and-a-half hour ordeal, the children were released, but the squatters demanded that their parents must surrender in return.

The resident said: "The parents were taken to the camp. They were forced to spend the whole night there. Some were tortured."

Police allowed the parents to be driven into the squatter camp and did nothing while the captives were detained and beaten until Sunday morning.

The resident said: "They did not help. They were just watching. I found it hard to believe."

Because Mr Mugabe has publicly supported the squatters, police are reluctant to act against them and their failure to uphold the law has become the most disturbing feature of the farms crisis.

The president has quickly contradicted promises by government ministers that the invaders would be removed and the crisis, which began in February and has affected almost 1,700 farms, shows no sign of ending.

Today's News
Wednesday 09 August, 2000

Mugabe needs to rein in war vets -'it's all out of control.'
Mbeki to lobby Blair
Zim Labour considers another strike
Zimbabwe faces power cut over unpaid bills

War vets out 'of control'

Mugabe has won support for his controversial land policies from his southern African counterparts, but now must win control over liberation war veterans occupying white-owned farms, analysts say

Heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said after a two-day summit in Windhoek that they had received welcome assurances from Mugabe "that the land reform programme would be handled peacefully, and within the laws of the government of Zimbabwe".

Back home however, "it's all out of control," said Admore Kambudzi of the University of Zimbabwe. referring to the ongoing and often violent occupations of hundreds of white-owned farms by liberation war veterans and their supporters.

"Much depends on the internal dynamics within Zimbabwe. The government has lost control of the various social forces involved," said Kambudzi, a political scientist.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is leading "a broker initiative" for land reform in Zimbabwe "to try to get a substantial package of support (from donors) that will have to follow the principles" of poverty alleviation, respect of macro-economic factors, transparency and legality, Lopez said.

Mbeki to lobby Blair

South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, is to lobby Tony Blair to "honour Britain's obligations" and fund the rapidly expanding land seizures in Zimbabwe.

A summit of 11 southern African leaders has handed Robert Mugabe a diplomatic victory by appointing Mr Mbeki and Malawi's president, Bakili Muluzi, to put pressure on Britain after backing unequivocally the Zimbabwean leader's policy of expropriating white-owned land for redistribution to poor blacks.

The regional presidents said in a statement: "We are convinced that to have a land reform programme which is fair and just to all the stakeholders it is imperative for the UK government to honour its obligations under the Lancaster House agreement to provide resources for that purpose.

Zimbabwe faces power cut

South Africa's power company Eskom has threatened to cut electricity supplies to Zimbabwe because of unpaid bills.

The debts are owed by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), which imports a substantial amount of the country's power needs from Eskom.

Due to a failure to pay its bills, Zesa has already seen its imports from Eskom cut to 150 megawatts from 450 megawatts.

It claims Zesa owes it more than 140m rand ($20.1m).

Zesa has blamed the unreliable payments situation on a severe shortage of foreign currency as Zimbabwe grapples with its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

The Zimbabwe dollar stood at an official rate of 50:1 against the US dollar on Tuesday following a 24% devaluation earlier this month.

But dealers said the local currency was changing hands at up to 60 to one US dollar on the black market as sellers of foreign currency held out for better rates in a tight market.

Zim labour considers further strike action

ZIMBABWE'S labour leaders are considering further strike action, citing the continuation of politically-linked violence as its reason for more protests.

Isaac Matongo, head of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said last week's one-day strike had had very little effect on government policy.

Matongo said last week's general strike was a warning to the government that more mass action would follow if it failed to crack down on violence on farms and in towns blamed mostly on ruling party militants angered over the party's poorest-ever electoral showing in June's parliamentary elections.

Zimbabwean unions consider renewed strike action

Business Day - Wednesday 09 August 2000
HARARE - The continuation of politically-linked violence may push Zimbabwe's labour groups to more extreme measures after their one-day strike last week proved to have little effect on government policy, labour leaders said on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe's ailing economy was virtually halted on August 2 when labour leaders, backed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and white commercial farmers, called for a nation-wide work stoppage.

Labour officials are weighing up new strikes to force authorities to take firm action to stop violence in impoverished townships and on farms across the country, said Isaac Matongo, head of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

"The situation has not improved," he said.

Police and farm leaders confirmed on Tuesday that mobs claiming to be ruling party militants abducted workers' children from two farms south of Harare last week.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said at least 10 children were taken for several hours from a workers compound near Chitungwiza, 25km from Harare, on Friday.

Police released them and were investigating complaints by another group of at least seven children, mostly teenagers, who were seized at a nearby farm on Saturday. No arrests had been made by Tuesday, Bvudzijena said.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that one group of children was released after 20 farm workers surrendered themselves to a mob of self-avowed militants.

The workers were forced to dance and sing slogans of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party before being released, the newspaper said.

It said some of the workers were forced to smoke marijuana, which grows in the wild and is widely accessible in farming districts.

The newspaper described the militants as "rogue" veterans of the bush war that released this former British colony from minority white rule in 1980.

Ruling party militants and squatters led by war veterans have illegally occupied more than 1 600 white-owned farms since February, demanding they be seized, divided up and turned over to landless blacks.

Mugabe has described the occupations as a justified protest against the unfair ownership of huge swaths of Zimbabwe's best farmland by a few thousand white descendants of British and SA colonial era settlers.

He has called on his followers to occupy private land peacefully but police have largely stood back where violence has flared.

Matongo said last week's general strike was a warning to the government that more mass action would follow if it failed to crack down on violence on farms and in towns blamed mostly on ruling party militants angered over the party's poorest-ever electoral showing in June's parliamentary elections.

After two decades of virtually unchallenged rule, Mugabe's party won a slender majority of 62 of 120 elected seats in the Harare parliament. The labour federation top leaders will meet by the end of this week to discuss their next move, Matongo said.

The independent Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce estimated last week's shutdown cost at least Z$600m in lost production, orders and sales.

The nearly six months of farm disruptions cost the country up to a quarter of its crops of wheat and tobacco, Zimbabwe's biggest source of desperately needed hard currency, according to farm union estimates.

The union warned that land preparation and planting for next year's tobacco crop is far behind schedule and must be completed by September 1 if minimum production targets are to be met.

Tobacco sales earned about US$220m last year, about 30% of Zimbabwe's hard currency income. - Sapa-AP

Zimbabwe faces power cut

BBC: Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK

South Africa's power company Eskom has threatened to cut electricity supplies to Zimbabwe because of unpaid bills.

Eskom senior manager Peter O'Connor said that the debts were increasing slowly.

"Obviously it is a worry for us and we are taking steps through the correct processes to address it."

The debts are owed by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), which imports a substantial amount of the country's power needs from Eskom.

Due to a failure to pay its bills, Zesa has already seen its imports from Eskom cut to 150 megawatts from 450 megawatts.

Foreign currency

Eskom said payments stopped in the lead up to Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in June and have only just resumed.

It claims Zesa owes it more than 140m rand ($20.1m).

Zesa has blamed the unreliable payments situation on a severe shortage of foreign currency as Zimbabwe grapples with its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

The Zimbabwean government has raised the possibility of privatising Zesa as part of wider economic reforms but analysts say little progress has been made with the plans.

Despite the dispute, Eskom said it would consider buying into a restructured Zesa.

Black market

"We have informally talked about taking up a stake ... but we will have to wait for the privatisation process," Mr O'Connor said.

Efforts to recover the debts have included the establishment last week of a trust account in Harare into which Zesa would make deposits.

However, nothing has yet been received in it, Eskom said.

The Zimbabwe dollar stood at an official rate of 50:1 against the US dollar on Tuesday following a 24% devaluation earlier this month.

But dealers said the local currency was changing hands at up to 60 to one US dollar on the black market as sellers of foreign currency held out for better rates in a tight market.

Wednesday, August 9 3:30 AM SGT

Zimbabwe minister drums up new parliament's support for land reforms

HARARE, Aug 8 (AFP) -

The Zimbabwe government Tuesday went to the new parliament to seek its support of the controversial land reforms.

Olivia Muchena, minister of state in the vice president's office -- which is responsible for land reforms -- went to great pains to try to convince the deputies that the government-led accelerated land reforms would solve the country's political and economic woes.

She said the fast-track land reforms would address once and for all the "persistent and potentially explosive political problem".

But while her speech was well received by the ruling ZANU-PF members of parliament, she was booed throughout the 45-minute delivery by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputies.

Deputy parliamentary speaker Edna Madzongwe had to caution several MDC deputies for their interjections and responses to Muchena, which she said were "unparliamentary".

For the first time in history, Zimbabwe's parliament has a significant opposition presence, with 58 seats out of the 120 contested places.

Muchena said for MPs who represented the "disposessed majority, you will support this motion because the fast-track land reform and resettlement programme is the last leg of the liberation struggle and the beginning of genuine economic independence for the majority".

For those MPs who represent the "minority who feel insecure and threatened" she urged them to support the fast-track programme because it provided a "long term secure, peaceful and stable future based on equity, restitution and genuine reconciliation."

Earlier, opposition MDC deputy Trudy Stevenson had criticised the fast-tracked land reform, saying it would spell disaster for the country already on the brink of collapse.

Stevenson said the idea of resettling hundreds of thousands of people at the same time "makes one gasp in horror of the probability of total chaos."

"In 1980 Zimbabwe was referred to as the jewel of Africa and people have started to refer to us a pariah state ... on the brink of collapse," Stevenson said.

She said the collapse of the commercial farming sector put at least 600,000 jobs on white-owned farms on the line, while food shortages were a possibility.

But Muchena dismissed the fears saying "agriculture will not collapse and the nation will not starve".

War veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi who sat in the front row normally reserved for cabinet ministers, banged his bench in applause of the motion raised by Muchena.

Wednesday August 9 10:47 AM ET
Zimbabwe Settles Hundreds on Seized Farms

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has started to implement its controversial land program, settling black families on land seized from white commercial farmers, officials said on Wednesday.

The government has said it plans to take over nearly half the 30 million acres owned by about 4,500 white farmers, who make up about one percent of the country's population.

The officials denied media reports that some beneficiaries had abandoned their new land hours after it was given to them because there were no houses, roads, clinics or water.

Zimbabwe state television Tuesday showed government officials sub-dividing farms and allocating 6-12 hectare plots to villagers and liberation-war veterans in northeastern Zimbabwe, the Midlands and southern Matabeleland provinces.

Some women ululated in celebration, but were later shown walking bewildered through thick virgin bush, each carrying a hoe and an axe.

A ministry of agriculture spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that hundreds of people had been allocated plots across the southern African country.

``We don't have figures right now, but the resettlement program is taking place throughout. Those reports suggesting that people are abandoning their (new) homes are just malicious,'' said the official, who declined to be named.

``What is happening is that people get their land, go back to pack and the government moves in to provide the basic facilities where they are not available,'' he said.

200 Farms Being Resettled

A ``fast-track'' resettlement program was launched this week in the country's eight administrative provinces by provincial governors, initially on 200 of over 800 farms that the government earmarked in May for seizure, he said.

``The program has started on those farms which are currently unoccupied and whose owners are not contesting their acquisition,'' said another official.

The farm seizures have been strongly criticized by Western governments and donors, with some saying the program will undermine the country's major source of food, employment and export earnings.

Last Wednesday, Mugabe said after a meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki that self-styled liberation-war veterans would by the end of August be moved off white farms they had seized since February.

A day later, however, Mugabe denied he had undertaken to end the invasions. Instead, he reaffirmed his intention to take more than 3,000 farms from white owners with compensation over five years for infrastructure, but none for the value of the land.

Mugabe Says Britain Must Pay

Mugabe says former colonial power Britain should compensate whites for the land because it is morally responsible for a system that left more than 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best land in the hands of just 4,500 whites.

Britain has said it will fund fair and transparent land reforms, but has refused to hand over a lump sum without strict controls in place.

At least 31 people, mostly opposition supporters and including five farmers, were killed during the farm invasions and a wave of violence that swept across Zimbabwe ahead of general elections in June.

The mainly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says its members are still being terrorized by government supporters who are threatening farmers, poaching and cutting down trees.

Zimbabwe Central Bank Cuts Lending Rate 12 Points, Paper Says

Bloomberg News - Aug 8 2000 9:07AM

Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe restricted bank lending rates to within 2.5 percentage points of inflation, effectively cutting rates by about 12 points, the Daily News reported.

With inflation running at 59 percent, Zimbabwe's commercial banks have been charging more than 70 percent interest. Exporters, farmers and other business people have criticized the banks for profiting from the country's worst economic crisis in 20 years. Banks such as Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd. and NMBZ Holdings Ltd. reported that profits more than doubled last year.

``The reduction of inflation remains critical for economic growth to occur,'' the central bank said in a statement, according to the newspaper. ``The Bank will adjust the bank rate in responses to the rate of inflation.''

The move is the second by Zimbabwe's government this month to rescue the economy. Finance Minister Simba Makoni last week devalued Zimbabwe's currency 24 percent to 50 to the U.S. dollar.

(The Daily News, 8/8/2000)

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Mr. Speaker.
I am privileged to present myself to this August House and hope that my
colleagues and I on these benches will, through our contributions, reverse
20 years of apathy and inertia that have characterised the conduct of our
country's politics and governance. We, members of parliament, have been
given the opportunity not only to lead, but more importantly to
follow-follow the wills of the people. And by following we shall lead-lead
Zimbabwe to success, democracy and free its people, our people, from the
chains of poverty, from the abuse of power and protect their deserved

I am my party's shadow secretary/minister for Local Government.  Mr.
Speaker, the situation in all local government institutions is appalling to
put it mildly.  The rot in local government processes, in a microcosm of the
decay in the whole governance body in this country.  Our major cities are
dying under the weight of mismanagement, corruption and dictatorship.  Other
local government's structures have been turned into partisan structures used
by ZANU-PF to practice its now familiar brand of destructive and negative

Look at the City of Harare, a Commission that is not representative of the
democratic aspirations of the residence has overstayed to usefulness.  It is
retained there by ZANU-PF in order to avoid a crushing defeat at the hands
of the MDC should both mayoral land council elections be held.

In Bulawayo, the councillors who realise that they represent a detested
party seek to cling to power by deceit.  Meanwhile, services are declining
and the quality of life of the residence continues to plummet.  Contrary to
the fiction that is being peddled by ZANU PF this party hates democracy with
a passion.  That is understandable.  Democracy does not co-exist with
murder, rape, violence and corruption.  We plead with ZANU PF to unshackle
our people in both urban and rural locations so that they can freely choose
their leaders.

Statements to the effect that our roots are on the land are designed to
exclude the urban and peri-urban residents who have resoundingly rejected
ZANU PF at the polls.  It is a dangerous statement that does not understand
the processes of developing and modernising a state.

Contrary to the pejorative perceptions held in some quarters that we in the
MDC might be less patriotic than those who have arrogated to themselves the
tag of patriotism, these benches are occupied by gallant sons and daughters
of Zimbabwe who took up the cudgels in defence of this country's honour,
decency and integrity and quest for democracy. Those of us who had been
active in the liberation struggle watched in despair for twenty years as
those we had entrusted with the sacred duty of managing the state of our
country's affairs took advantage of that trust to destroy the very
foundations of our nationhood. Hence the formation of MDC. We MDC and those
who share our beliefs we shall no longer stand by as those we entrusted to
lead take Zimbabwe, a country of peace and promise, into a state of poverty
and anarchy.

Mr. Speaker we are Zimbabweans and in that regard are willing to join hands
with those Zimbabweans who love their people and their country to the extent
that they would not subject them to indignity penury and misery through
corruption, abuse of power, arrogance and impunity that saw the deliberate
killing of innocent Zimbabweans in Matabeleland and the Midlands.  The pre
and post election violence stems directly from the fact that those that
killed, brutalised and traumatised our people then were not brought to book.
And if we do not bring the individuals responsible for these murders to
justice, we share their sin by our inaction. Impunity takes root when
lawlessness is rewarded with such inaction. The very reason we have
government is the welfare of our people.  We shall free our people, not
oppress them, and we shall protect their rights, not deny them these rights
as many of our predecessors have. We shall lead Zimbabwe democratically not

Government does not exist to prey on its own people, it exists as a service
to the people.  What have we witnessed in the past 20 years?

* Disregard for the sanctity of life
* Rampart corruption that has gone unchecked
* Disrespect for basic principles of decency

It would seem Mr. Speaker that the past 20 years have entrenched in our
governance processes a culture of total disrespect and disdain for the
humanity of Zimbabweans.

* Theft of public funds is more than criminal, it borders on treachery
and treason. The greedy perpetrators have stolen the money from the needy,
showing disrespect for the dignity of their fellow countrymen who were to
benefit from such resources. This is why the international community regards
corruption as a violation of human rights. 

* A leader who indulges in corrupt practices ipso facto loses the
privilege to lead the people.  Thieves cannot be patriots and they cannot be
entrusted with the lives and welfare of the people.  And yet Zimbabwe today
rubs shoulders in the corruption rankings with the worst in the world.  Have
we ever paused to think how many lives and how many jobs have been lost due
to corruption?

How many babies have died because funds earmarked for drugs in hospitals
have been stolen?  And yet the President's speech offers deafening silence
in respect of corruption and the debilitating effects it has on the soul of
our nation.

Willowvale, GMB, NOCZIM, VIP Housing Scheme, War Veterans Compensation Fund
etc, etc, these are names that have brought shame on our country.  They
demonstrate starkly how absolute power corrupts absolutely.  These are
reminders of what happens when fallible human beings are allowed free run
without  strong checking mechanisms.  We in the MDC, believe that these
things have happened because the system deliberately undermined the law
enforcement capability of institutions such as the police.  Lawlessness
breeds contempt and becomes a breeding ground for criminals and in the
process undermines democracy.  We will not allow this to happen.

We, the people, have in the past twenty years, witnessed what used to be a
revolutionary party, mutate into a racist, tribalist and brutal entity. A
party that bears no resemblance to the aspirations of Zimbabweans who fought
and participated in their own liberation. We have witnessed the elevation of
violence as though it was a legitimate means of promoting development. A
party cannot win an independence struggle, only the people can win the
independence struggle. And a party remains as strong as the force supporting
it. A party needing to gain support through violence and intimidation is
weak, and has lost sight of its role.

Is it surprising Mr. Speaker that 76% of our people live beneath the poverty
datum line?  It takes a government that cares to eradicate poverty.  If you
do not respect the life of your fellow beings can you be expected to provide
them with life giving resources like water, good hospitals etc. etc? Each
and every one of us is personally responsible for the wellbeing of each and
every Zimbabwe; you and I, we hold their livelihoods in our hands.

We listen in horror to leaders in this country who trivialise the numbers of
people killed. Whether it be 2, 32 or 300 people that are killed, the
killing of these people, our people, is unnecessary, abhorrent and totally
unjustified.  We should be sufficiently revulsed when any one of our people
is killed.  We, who have been enslaved, colonised and humiliated through the
ages, should be the first to value, promote and celebrate the sanctity of
life.  In order for the rest of the world to respect us, for other racial
groups to realise our worth, we as black Zimbabweans should place a very
high premium on the lives of our people. 

In the long-term interests of our country Mr. Speaker I plead with you that
you lead as soon as possible a bi-partisan delegation to present a petition
to the President of Zimbabwe along the following lines:

"Your Excellency, we, representing our respective parties, our
constituencies and the People of Zimbabwe, mindful of your pivotal role in
the liberation struggle, having observed with sorrow your current role in
the destruction of our country, do pray that you resign the presidency
immediately so that Zimbabwe can live and breathe once more.  We
respectfully request this of you, Your Excellency not because we hate you
but because we love our country more".

Mr. Speaker, another bi-partisan petition should be directed to the member
of  Parliament for Chikomba along the following lines:

"We urge you Dr. Hunzvi to desist from actions that have thrown our country
into misery, disrepute, poverty, chaos and anarchy.  We call upon you to
summon whatever patriotic energy.  You have left to follow the path of
building and not that of destruction.  Please remove your people from farms
so that an orderly, constructive and transparent resettlement programme can
take place.  The abduction of our innocent children, the murder of our
citizens the maiming and raping of some, will never enhance justice nor do
these actions contribute to nation building".

Mr. Speaker, this country is not singularly hated by the rest of the world.
Our country, in the past few years, has been led in a direction  that has
diminished its status in the community of nations.

Perhaps one positive development out of all this tragedy is that we are now
aware of the fact that those in government are men and women of flesh, and
they are not infallible.  There was a time when we held our leaders with so
much reverence - in very high esteem.  You have betrayed our aspirations and
wounded our pride by promoting violence, corruption and dictatorship.

All is not lost.  We still can pull this country out of the precipice.  We
need to reclaim our reputation as a law abiding country.  We need to find
the energy once again to embark on nation building.  We,  in the MDC are the
only party that has a Secretary for National Integration because we realise
that we are a multi-cultural, multi ethnic and multiracial country.   The
beauty of our country lies in the racial diversity of its people.  It is
saddening that ZANU PF lacks the vision to realise that racism is obnoxious.
Infact, racism and tribalism are two sides of the same coin.  Those who
espouse racism, will not stop at harrassing those they view as white, once
racist appetites have been whetted the next step is persecution of tribal
minorities.  History is replete with these sorry precedents,  We cannot
afford as a people to divide ourselves on the basis of skin pigment or
linguistic diversity.

We need to strengthen and deepen democracy in all aspects of governance in
our country.  By the way, democracy is not a western concept; democracy is
about human civilisation and, claims a universality that trascends
historical and geographic boundaries.

Good governance is an entitlement of Zimbabweans.  It is not something they
owe to the benevolence of some super conquering hero, it is their right.  No
country succeeds in entrenching democracy when the relationship between the
governed and those who govern is defined by the charitable intentions of the
executive in power.  The people are masters of their own destiny and all
institutions of governance should take note of that reality.  We do not
strengthen our country or our leaders by being undiscerning and
psychophantic praise singers, we only strengthen their egos to the detriment
of the country.  We in the MDC, place the sovereignty of the people above
the self-serving interests of leadership.

Mr. Speaker, this country is too unique and important to surrender to the
forces of darkness that seek to drag all of us into oblivion.  All
Zimbabweans should join hands in isolating the merchants of violence and
death.  Let us remove from our midst, the corrupt, the cruel and the
uncaring.  The starting point should be in this August house.  It is here
that we should establish a covenant with all our people, black, white, asian
or coloured.  In this covenant we should undertake never to inflict harm on
our people.  We should pledge to serve them selflessly and honestly.  We
should honour their dignity and desist from being the purveyors directly or
indirectly of rape, death and injury.

The image of our country will immediately improve, both locally and
internationally when we desist from actions that give our detractors room to
trash our image.  How do we do this?  By simply going back to being a law
abiding country.  Our people need jobs:  How do we develop jobs?  By dealing
with the economic fundamentals that have so far escaped the attention of
those whose responsibility it is to manage our country's affairs
judiciously.  Our children need good education, good schools, which can only
be provided by reducing military expenditure in favour of social services.
Committing our troops outside our borders to prop up a dictatorship will not
entrench democracy in our own country nor will it help those on whose behalf
we seek to intervene.  (Image of solidarity - ..... house).

Governance might not be about religious probity.  It however, does call for
morality and decency.  That is what our country has lacked in the past few

Mr. Speaker, we sit in this August house representing a sizeable proportion
of this country's electorate.  The ruling party enjoys a small majority of
four seats.  It is up to the ruling party to begin to make the necessary
adjustments in its behaviour and perceptions so that Zimbabweans can benefit
from the results of their electoral choices.

I represent a largely rural constituency.  If I were ZANU-PF, I would
immediately sack the person who ran my campaign.  Can you imagine the total
inappropriateness in Nkwidze, Lushonkwe or Tshoboyi of a poster that says
"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again".  I spent a lot of time trying to
explain to bemused villagers what the poster meant.  I simply told them that
the poster was a result of a humorous ZANU PF bureaucrat who was alluding to
the fact that the electorate would not allow yet again ZANU PF to mortgage
the country through over indebtedness, corruption, arrogance, unaccountable

This August house, Mr. Speaker, should represent the best that Zimbabwe has
to offer in terms of intellectual ability.  Speaking for my party, I was
privileged as Election Director to have worked with each and every one of
the honorable members this side of the house.  Each time they came back from
their campaigns they showed both physical and emotional scars of campaigning
in an environment where basic human decency had deserted some of their
opponents.  What moved me Mr. Speaker was the resolve of these members never
to demean themselves or those they sought to represent by matching violence
of those on the other side.  Violence brutalises the perpetrator as well as
the victim.  It has no place in civilised societies.  Those who seek to
suggest that it is as inevitable as taxes or death, do so because they lack
basic morality and decency and should not be in this august house.

This country needs healing.  It will not do so unless we change the manner
in which we do our political business.

Back to my constituency.  Its poverty is so appalling that one wonders what
has been happening in the past twenty years.  Does this government really
understand what development is all about?  In the rural areas, whose poverty
defies imagination our people have been subjected to dehumanising
intimidation and denial of free choice.  What demon would have visited
someone to force a free person to surrender their t/shirts or membership
cards of a party of their choice?  You have to be a heartless person to
display in full view persons who cannot dance kongonya to do so because they
fear for their lives.  My constituency requires a lot of basic social
serves.  If someone offered my constituency 228 million dollars that would
go a long way to reduce the level of poverty!

Mr. Speaker, UNZIMA LO UMTHWALO.  This is the case because we are looking at
a country that has been abused beyond recognition LAFA ELIHLE KHAKHULU.

In closing, let us remember that we are a government of the people,
empowered by the people, and must govern for the people-so let us conduct
ourselves appropriately. Fellow Zimbabweans and the world will little judge
what we say here, but will witness and judge henceforth. Let us follow (or
"We, MDC will follow") the will of the people leading democratically,
honestly and judiciously. (and if you use "we, MDC will follow", possibly
add as a closing remark "and I hope you will join us in this quest" ) 

Keep up the support!


MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge


Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja

"We call upon the government to restore law and order in the country and
immediately stop the violence being inflicted on MDC supporters and innocent
people" (Gibson Sibanda)

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