The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

My lifetime's work stolen from me'

I SIT and watch helplessly as my lifetime's work is stolen from me.

It matters not that I am an African, that my family has lived in Africa for over 200 years, that I am supposed to rely on the state to protect my human rights: rights to life, liberty, and security of person; to freedom from arbitrary arrest; to a fair trial; to be presumed innocent until proved guilty; to freedom from interference with privacy of one's home and correspondence; to freedom of movement and residence; to asylum, nationality and ownership of property; to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression; to association, peaceful assembly and participation in government; to social security, work, rest, and a standard of living adequate for health and well-being; to education; and to participation in the social life of one's community.

It matters not that I have been abducted, beaten, put in jail, harassed and threatened.

It matters not that I went to court and obtained a High Court Order nullifying my Section 5 and Section 8 orders - which were to allow the government to take away my farm as well as my movable equipment with payment for the "improvements" only at some future date - on Erewhon farm in Raffingora, on July 3.

Minister Ignatius Chombo has issued an instruction allowing his Zanu PF supporters to move onto my farm in defiance of the very laws we elected him to uphold. That instruction has given the people the impression that they can just take anything they like.

My home on Erewhon was broken into recently and the thieves, for that is what they are, sat and drank anything they could find in the house before looting my possessions as well as taking keys to my sheds, office and motor vehicle. They were surprised by my manager arriving home and, to their credit, ran off into the dark leaving behind many things they had not had time to collect.

You see, when a man who is given the task of caring for our people believes he is above the law and issues instructions which are clearly illegal, he allows law and order to break down. We then lose whatever human rights we think we are entitled to and have to face the consequences of that lawlessness.

When lawlessness is rewarded in the manner in which Chombo has done by giving a Mr Matafara, the local Zanu PF district chairman, a plot on my irrigation farm, Nswala, for dislodging me from my home, then the saga will continue. Chombo believes that I should not have any farms, let alone two which I worked for and bought over the last 10 years.

And my sin? I am white, yes, but I am perceived to be a member of the Movement of Democratic Change, and I constantly stand up against him for abusing the rights of the people who live and work around me.

So now that the A2 settlers allocated my two farms, despite the fact that they do not have Section 8s transferring ownership to the state, have not come forward to take up their plots as allocated to them under minister Joseph Made's fast-track resettlement programme, Chombo has told his underlings to arbitrarily get people to settle on my farms to make me leave.

How many more senior Zanu PF people will be allocated a piece of land for favours done for Chombo, not only on my farm but on other farms in the same district as well as the rest of Zimbabwe?

We are watching the unfolding of a horrific scenario. Yes, the commercial farmers were perceived to be wealthy. But what Chombo is now doing with the support of his colleagues in the politburo and Made and Phillip Chiyangwa in particular in this area is this:

The wealth which the commercial farmers held and invested in productive capital, ie seed, fertiliser, chemicals, labour, etc, is being taken away and given to a select few government supporters who are in turn, investing it in consumable capital: Mercedes Benzes, 4x4 vehicles, BMWs, $600 million homes, and that is fine in the short-term but soon these items, which do not generate further capital, will be used up and the nation will starve.

And then the peasants, who have diligently worked for their Zanu PF masters, will no longer get the money or promises they are being given now by Chombo.

And the staff on Erewhon and Nswala who have so diligently worked to keep their homes, jobs, clinics, children's schooling, will just be dispensable as the minister uses people to achieve his goal of removing all opposition. And our nation will starve.

I wonder if Chombo cares?

Jean Simon,


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Dear Friends,
AT LAST each and every one of us has a chance to do something.  For 29 months we have been forced to watch as our farms have been taken over, our grazing claimed, dams liberated and fished out, our wildlife poached and our trees chopped down.  We've been helpless as our stockfeed has been stolen, crops and produce seized, our livestock killed and our fences stripped away.  We've tolerated the most obscene abuse and psychological torture and have been stripped of every single one of our legal, human and constitutional rights.  We've seen our friends tortured and beaten, our spouses break down and our children go into counselling for chronic stress.  We've watched as fellow farmers were tortured, abducted, beaten and murdered.  We've watched our life's work being seized and destroyed, stood helplessly by as our homes have been taken over, looted and trashed.  We've seen our workers beaten, raped, tortured and abused.  We've lost millions and millions of dollars worth of both assets and income.  We've all lost our homes and jobs.  We've all lost our ability to earn a living and support our families.
We have not lost our pride or dignity though and I beg you all to now take this chance and stand up for what is right. 
Please contact Jenni Williams at: <> and ask for loss documents.  I know we've all filled in hundreds of forms this last 29 months but these are now going to be used in court by a team of lawyers to sue the Zimbabwe Government.
Please also read the email pasted below.  A group of South Africans lawyers will, on behalf of the Zimbabwe Victims Coalition, be filing suit against Zimbabwe's President in the International Criminal Court.
They need our information urgently.  Making representation now is the least that we can do.  We owe it to ourselves, our children, our workers and our country.  This is our first and last chance to all stop being victims.  Please pass this letter on to other farmers.
 Thank you, with love, cathy
Attorneys, Administrators of Estates, Conveyancers, Labour Law Practitioners
Private Bag X122
Centurion 0046
Tel + 27 12 664 0704 
Fax + 27 12 664 2557
Republic ofSouth Africa

2 July 2002
 A newly-formed organization, The Zimbabwe Victims Coalition (ZVC) is to lay charges with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in terms of the mandate of the ICC.
The ICC entered into force on July 1, 2002, triggering the jurisdiction of the first permanent court capable of investigating and bringing to justice individuals who commit the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and, once defined, aggression.
Unlike the International Court of Justice in The Hague, whose jurisdiction is restricted to states, the ICC will have the capacity to indict individuals.  The jurisdiction of the ICC will only apply to those crimes committed after entry into force of the Rome Statute.  This Statute was adopted on 17 July 1998 and on 11 April 2002, the threshold of the 60 ratifications necessary for entry into force of the Statute was crossed.
It is unlikely that Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe will suddenly cease to condone and authorize the murder, torture and starvation of his citizens, so all infractions of human rights must be recorded and forwarded to ZVC.
ZVC has already collected a substantial amount of information which is being collated to form a background dossier which will be submitted to the ICC in The Hague.  This week, a preliminary notice will be sent to the ICC advising the organisation of the purpose of submitting a ZVC dossier.
The ZVC is headquartered in Centurion, Pretoria, at the law office whose name appears on this letterhead.  All administration will be carried out from this office.  Aggrieved persons are requested to submit information regarding the following violations to our offices:
Farmers killed and/or assaulted Farm workers killed and/or assaulted Citizens killed and/or assaulted Citizens and non-citizens tortured Farms (including houses and other improvements) destroyed Crops destroyed Farms rendered inoperable, thus causing starvation Jobs lost on farms Farm and other equipment destroyed by government proxies Workers’ houses destroyed Citrus orchards lost Dams destroyed Farm land illegally expropriated (in hectares)
Animals lost, maimed or killed The abuse of the legal system - intimidation of judges, magistrates, etc.
People detained on false charges or without trial Forestry land lost Tobacco barns and grain silos destroyed or purloined It is worth noting that the Mugabe government has reportedly over the past two years taken from several private investors assets worth one trillion Zimbabwe dollars (US$18 billion).  This is three times the annual GDP and more than the entire continent of Africa received in foreign aid in the past year (US$14,6 billion).
The policies and behaviour of the Mugabe government are directly responsible for the starvation now existing and to come in Zimbabwe.
Thousands have lost their homes and their jobs.  Many have had their private property stolen by the government, property which was purchased after 1980 and which had been guaranteed by the Mugabe government as "safe".  Affected persons who wish to contribute information towards the compilation of the dossier on crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe are urged to contact ZVC as soon as possible.
All information will be kept confidential.
We believe that Robert Mugabe will be the first person to be indicted under the ICC, and not a moment too soon.  We are hopeful the ICC will give our submission full consideration, given the state of government-sponsored starvation, torture, murder and mayhem now existing in Zimbabwe.
Tel +27 12 664 0704
Fax + 27 12 664 2557
Cell 082 557 5264 <> <>
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 Farmers Paying Heavy Price for Old Sins
The Daily News (Harare)
August 9, 2002
Posted to the web August 9, 2002

Mugabe has a magical spell. It bewitches his fellow African leaders into
acquiescent stooges, and much of the West into embarrassed inaction,
every time. It is this: "My people were wronged by colonialism." Who
perpetrated this great wrong? According to Zimbabwe's president, it is the tiny and
shrinking band of white commercial farmers, that's who. Hence the Third
Chimurenga, or War for Land.
A quorum of African leaders, Mbeki, Chissano, Obasanjo, seem to believe
that the land issue justifies Mugabe's extraordinary war of terror against
his own people and the desolation of the very land he claims. For many long
months European and American journalists and politicians fell under Mugabe's
spell and shielded him from criticism or action. Even now the agonising fear that
Mugabe will brand his critics as "racists" or "neo-colonialists" turns western
governments to stone, an effect seemingly not achieved by Saddam Hussein
or the Taliban. The truth is, of course, utterly different. The white
commercial farmers of Zimbabwe have every bit as much right to their farms as has
the Japanese to his Tokyo flat or the merchant banker to his terraced house
in Mayfair. For the most part they have been amongst the heroes, not the
villains, of the last, deranged, 30 months. They were the foundations of
Zimbabwe's economic structure; if Zimbabwe is to survive as a viable nation, so
must they.
At a Zanu PF rally earlier this year it was purported that in 1890 Rhodes's
Pioneer Column took by force not a sparsely inhabited area of uncertain
boundaries, but a great nation of successful farms. By our contemporary
standards the actions of Rhodes and his followers, even as they carved
prosperous farmland from the bush, were wrong (as, presumably, was the
contemporary genocide of the Shona by the Ndebele), as was the
subsequent disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the African population by
educational and property qualification, and a distribution of land
over-favourable to the white commercial farmer. But, by 1980, there were
few direct beneficiaries of the original distributions alive; if there were
sins associated with the commercial farmers, they were very much the sins of
their fathers. By 2000 this was even more the case, many farmers, perhaps a
majority, having bought their farms in recent times with large loans and,
latterly, with certificates of no interest from the government. And the balance of land ownership had shifted markedly - the big commercial farms counting for
little more than 20 percent of the national area, a moderate proportion by the
standards of many nations.
The commercial farmers occupied some, but by no means all, of the good
farm land - often-good commercial management made poor land viable whilst
subsistence agriculture, and a lack of title deeds, soon exhausted
communal lands. Most important of all the supposed reconciliation of 1980, and
the associated constitution, forbade discrimination on the ground of race,
and enshrined property rights. Thereafter it should have been not just
unconstitutional but illegal to distinguish between a black commercial
farmer and a white one. Mugabe not only accepted it, but also propounded it. At
the time. This has long posed a problem for the UK and other powers who
acknowledge, when pressed, that they cannot fund a re-allocation of land
based upon the skin colour of its owner. Instead they take refuge in uneasy
theories about a re-allocation of land to reduce poverty, increasing the number
of commercial farms but lowering their hectarage (the models were never
very distinct).
The farmers, for understandable reasons, also subscribed to land reform
with mixed results. Farms did move from white to black hands under these
schemes but not always to the right black hands. The 1998 donors conference provided a sensible and optimistic programme for further re-distribution. In
parallel the commercial farmers were making a formal programme less necessary through their sponsorship of a new generation of black Zimbabwean talent - not just
managers and, subsequently, owners but also in the varied agricultural support
They also provided islands of accommodation and facilities, education
and healthcare amidst Mugabe's increasingly arid public systems. By 2020
commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe would undoubtedly have lost any distinctively
white aspect. Zimbabwe had, for a time, a template for Africa.
Then, in February 2000, everything changed. To save his discredited
political hide Mugabe turned on the architects of his prosperity. Commercial
farmers became "enemies of the state", "a disgrace to the nation", "Nazis", and
even terrorist manufacturers of anthrax. "It's war," cried Mugabe's
unlamented lieutenants, Border Gezi and Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi. Farmers were
murdered, sometimes by agents of the State, their farms invaded, their homes
ransacked, their equipment smashed or stolen and their rights trampled in the dirt
with those of their beaten workers. When the courts protested at this
unconstitutional rampage, the judges were first ignored and then replaced with
Mugabe's cronies. It became an arrestable offence for a white farmer to
visit a police station. With the mobs came the most senior officials and
politicians of the State: generals, judges, ambassadors, politburo members, even
Chiwewe, Zimbabwe's senior diplomat and negotiator, spitting racial hate and
plundering shamelessly.
As the final, and unkindest cut of all, Mugabe corrupted the hitherto loyal
workforces, demanding that bankrupt farmers not only leave but also pay
massive State-decreed pay-offs to their workers, the latter terrified and
desperate as Mugabe's howling emptiness closes around them. "The land is ours,"
screamed Mugabe. By the same argument New York must be returned to the Manhattan Indian, Sydney to the Aborigines, and Zimbabwe. . . . . to the Bushmen the Shona displaced in about 900 AD. Some misguided observers have noted that it
is unfortunate that the West has been obsessed with the farmers, not Mugabe's
numerous other victims. This is absurd. Tony Blair and his diplomats have
fastidiously shunned any association with their kith, their kin, their nationals or anyone else who might claim acquaintance.
For two years the West lifted not a finger to help the farmers. Having made the
inexcusable, and diplomatically insane concession that land is at the core of
Zimbabwe's crisis last year, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw now
shrugs and says there is nothing he can do. However, now that the destruction of
the farms has conjured famine out of a once prosperous land it is, so says,
Foreign Ministry official Baroness Amos, Britain's "moral obligation" to feed
the starving. Saving the farmers would, presumably, have been colonial.
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Zim Independent
Brainpower, not land, enriches a nation
By Tom Henshaw

Opinion and Analysis
9th Aug 2002

FORGET land.  It's not about that.  It's not money and it's not
political power either.  It's brainpower that makes a country rich and
knowing how to use that brainpower makes it prosper.  Right now,
Zimbabwe is being given a lobotomy.  It's brain is being cut out, piece
by piece.  For a start, the country is being divested of nearly all the
agricultural knowledge that gave it the name "the breadbasket of
Africa".  Zimbabweans shouldn't kid themselves that they are going to
profit by chasing away the farmers, the businessmen and women and
highly-qualified "others".

These people are the wealth of the country - they feed, clothe and
employ most people in Zimbabwe.
And they are leaving by the thousand.  Zimbabweans shouldn't kid
themselves that they're going hungry because of a well-publicised
Dams around the country are full to overflowing, so there's obviously no
lack of water.  That water would have irrigated many thousands of
hectares of land, had it been allowed.  It's the stupidity of politics
making them hungry.

Instead of terrorising the farm community into leaving, Mugabe should be
cherishing them.  They are the ones with the business acumen and
knowledge to generate wealth and jobs - the people who make the country
tick.  As the country spirals down to year zero, Zimbabweans of all
colours are moving on, to countries who welcome them with open arms.
Robert Mugabe's plan, and we have to believe there is one, has enriched
countries around the world with the brains that made Zimbabwe tick.
And, as the country winds down, the emigration of even more brains
speeds up.  Doctors, nurses, teachers, chemists are all on the move to
greener pastures.
And believe it - they are greener.

Many in Zimbabwe seem to be getting some vicarious pleasure in seeing
people with British backgrounds heading for the UK penniless.They
shouldn't kid themselves they'll be living in poverty for long.  That
country's social security net and free health system looks after them
until they get on their feet - and the money they get from the
government there makes the average Zimabwean's paycheck look sick.

Not only that - housing, too, is found for the most desperate.  So with
a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs and a violence-free
future to look forward to, they can hardly be regarded as hard done by.
True, they don't have domestic help, but that's no real pain with all
the labour-saving devices today.  And the weather is something anyone
can get used to.

Every family that leaves Zimbabwe leaves at least another couple of
Zimbabwean families without breadwinners.  Domestic workers lose not
only their jobs - they lose the very people who know how to come by
cooking oil, mealie-meal and other essentials.

In Australia last weekend the prestigious Weekend Australian published
an article featuring just some of the people Zimbabwe has lost in recent
times.  A farming couple, the Tonkins, were harasssed into leaving the
property they managed.  Now they have a thriving wheat property in
Western Australia.  Ironically, if Australia responds to the plaintive
pleas from Zimbabwe for food aid, his (the Tonkins') wheat could end up
in loaves of bread on Harare dinner tables.  The Tonkins' lifestyles
haven't changed all that much either, apart from not having continually
be on guard for their very lives.  As in Zimbabwe, they are enthusiastic
members of the local tennis club, the children are doing well in school
and, most importantly, they are secure in the knowledge they are living
and working in a safe environment.  The paper describes the Tonkins as
the "lucky ones who escaped to make a new home in Australia".

"On visits to Perth, the family meets up with the parents of three
classmates from daughter Colleen's former Zimbabwean school who are now
living in Australia," said the paper.

In 1998-99, 322 Zimbabweans entered Australia.  But last year, in only a
six-month period, nearly double that number arrived.  Migration agents
in Perth report they are being flooded by inquiries, including a handful
of black families.

Tonkin told of the events that drove them to leave.  "War veterans
invaded the farm and settled in, to the consternation of dozens of black
farmworkers who lived there," he said.  The next day he was ordered to
turn up to the schoolhall to sing pro-Mugabe songs and make black power
salutes.  He was warned the farm would be burnt down if he didn't
attend.  For an hour and a half he did "whatever I was told to do" and
then he was released.  "I walked back to the farm and rang Lara.  I
'That's it - I'm not putting up with this any more',"
said Tonkin.

A migration agent told him, although his farming skills weren't on the
skills list in Australia, his qualifications as a diesel mechanic were.
They searched for suitable properties while visiting Lara's younger
sister, who was studying at a Perth University, settling on a property
two and a half hours north-east of Perth in the small rural town of
Wongan Hills.

Another Zimbabwean family - Glynis Purkiss and her husband Arthur - also
live in the small town.  Another loss to Zimbabwe, as she is a qualified
nurse who now tends the sick in the regional hospital there.
Arthur now sells farming equipment.  Says Glynis: "I feel free, free."

In Perth, Tony Baker, who once worked for the Commercial Farmers Union
and part-owned one of Harare's most famous sporting shops, Feradays,
said the phrase "chicken run" had changed to the "owl run" - because it
was the wise thing to do.  He now runs an antique export consultancy.
His wife, Ros, is a business broker who specialises in helping southern
African migrants set up businesses.

And there's no shortage of clients, she says.  The paper reports that
Zimbabweans favour Western Australia over almost anywhere else in the
Queensland, was second choice and it is there that many head for
pastoral and agricultural jobs.  Since February last year, 50 families
have settled in Toowomba.  Many work on farms or have set up rural

Many now arriving do so with almost nothing, due to the value of the
Zimbabwe dollar.  Baker says it's only a matter of time before a
Zimbabwean becomes a test case for refugee status.  Whatever their
financial circumstances, though, those arriving in Australia legally can
be assured of a free world-class medical system, as they can in the UK.

All the people mentioned have one thing in common -
they are clever in one way or another.  They have used that cleverness
to say: "No, I can't handle this any more," and have opted to find a new
home.  And Zimbabwe is poorer for it.  Every time a skilled person
leaves, Zimbabwe loses that bit of knowledge forever.

It's no good saying: "We can educate more people."
That goes without saying.  But the many thousands of years of collective
knowledge that have already been lost cannot be replaced overnight.  The
answer is: make an accommodation with the clever people left.  Forget
the historical problems for now and get the country back to basics.
Food, work, education and health.

Only then can Zimbabwe begin to think of itself again as a "clever
country" and the breadbasket of Africa.  Tom Henshaw is a
Zimbabwe-raised, Perth-based journalist.
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From the Telegraph [UK]

Mugabe is starving his own people
By Tim Butcher (Filed: 09/08/2002)

People are being starved in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe's
deliberate and systematic ploy of using food shortages to cling to

Millions of people are going hungry not, as Mr Mugabe's government
claims, because of poor rains but as a direct result of its policy of
denying food to opposition supporters and enriching its loyalists.

Last night, the deadline passed for the mass eviction of 2,900 of
Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, for decades the mainstay of the
agricultural sector.  Mr Mugabe ordered them to abandon their homes,
land and livelihoods by midnight.

An investigation by The Telegraph found that control of the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe's state-owned monopoly supplier of
commercial maize, was passed this year to one of Mr Mugabe's most loyal
henchmen, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, an alleged war criminal.

With Zimbabwe's economy in chaos, Shiri's mission was to spend a £17
million loan provided by Libya buying just enough maize to stave off
food riots, which would then be supplied through the GMB.

The organisation, which is meant to supply maize at subsidised prices to
all Zimbabweans, has instead been selling maize only to supporters of
the ruling Zanu-PF party.  Backers of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change went hungry.

Worse still was the country's Food For Work programme.  Thousands of
opposition supporters would provide 15 days' labour only to be told at
the end there was no GMB food for them.

The GMB is so corrupt and politicised that aid groups shipping food into
Zimbabwe are being forced to set up their own expensive parallel storage
and distribution facilities, rather than using those of the GMB - the
traditional way of bringing food aid into Zimbabwe.

There is also evidence that the Zimbabwean government is deliberately
blocking the work of these international aid groups and keeping the flow
of aid down to a trickle.

That trickle is enough to stave off threats of public unrest, but not
enough to provide food for all of the country.

"What we are seeing is nothing but humanitarian torture," an aid worker
said.  "It takes three months to die of starvation and this is a torture
every bit as bad as beating someone with barbed wire or hanging them
from handcuffs."

One British Government source said: "The irony is that the food shortage
is one of the reasons the people in Zimbabwe might be impelled to rise
up against the government but we are morally obliged to provide food
that removes that impulsion and secures the Mugabe regime."

The British government has promised aid worth £32 million to Zimbabwe.

A warehouse of supplies organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice
and Peace was blockaded for three months by Zanu-PF militants and an
attempt to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies by the World Food
Programme (WFP) has also been blocked.  The WFP relies on recognised
agencies to do the final distribution on the ground and aid sources said
the mere presence of a British charity, Save the Children (UK), on a
list of possible distributors is hindering expansion.

Aid groups are routinely criticised in the state-owned media in
Zimbabwe, accused of being tools of the "imperialist, colonialist West".

The situation is being worsened by logistical problems in neighbouring
countries such as South Africa, where management errors in the state-run
railways mean there is a drastic shortage of goods wagons to move grain.

And in Mozambique a malfunction in a bagging machine at the port of
Beira means six ships carrying grain remain in the approaches to the
harbour, unable to offload supplies for Zimbabwe.

In effect, the regime in Zimbabwe is doing just enough to help its own
supporters while blocking efforts to help the millions of needy people
in the country.

So far, there have been only a handful of deaths connected to food
shortages.  Without any basic food supplies, families have been forced
to live off what they can find in the bush and some children have died
from eating poisonous berries.

By early November, however, before the next planting season, aid experts
predict widespread malnutrition in Zimbabwe unless significant food
supplies can be brought into the country.

The WFP, the world's largest humanitarian aid organisation, currently
estimates six million people in Zimbabwe out of a population of 13
million are suffering from food shortages.

There have been intermittent rains in the region this year but observers
believe most of the shortages have resulted from Mr Mugabe's policy of
land invasions, which have all but destroyed the country's once thriving
commercial farming sector.

South of the Limpopo in South Africa the same intermittent rains have
not stopped farmers producing a surplus of about 1.8 million tons of

For almost all of the 1990s, Zimbabwe was a net exporter of maize and so
good were its supplies that the WFP had an office in Harare, not to
distribute maize in Zimbabwe but to procure Zimbabwean maize for
distribution elsewhere.

That situation now seems a long way away.
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From, Friday, August  9, 2002

Zimbabwe's white farmers ignore Mugabe's deadline

With a report from Jeff Sallot

The climax in Zimbabwe's bitter land dispute came and went last night, with resolute farmers staying on their land and the international community remaining silent, as a government order to evict 3,000 white farmers from their land took effect.

"At one minute past midnight, people are criminals if they stay in their homes -- there is no precedent for that in history," said Jennie Williams, spokeswoman for Justice for Agriculture, an alliance of farmers defying the order for white farmers to leave their lands to make way for black settlers.

Jean Simon is one of those farmers who anxiously watched the clock tick last night.

"Of course I'm staying," she said by telephone from her 350-hectare farm north of Harare.

"I'm an African, my family has lived here for over 200 years. Although my skin is white, in the same way black-skinned Americans believe they are Americans, we believe we are Africans and have rights equal to the blacks. And we believe we have the right to maintain our lives," she said.

Ms. Simon has challenged her eviction order in court, and she, like some other farmers, found hope yesterday in court rulings that said the evictions were not legal, because, among other reasons, they were to be executed without consultation with the banks that hold mortgages on the farms.

Some farming families headed for Harare or to new farms in Zambia yesterday, but many more defied the order and stayed put. There were only limited reports of violence as the deadline came and went, but farmers who defy an eviction order face a fine and up to two years in prison, which the government said would be implemented immediately.

The deadline is the bitter culmination of a 12-year fight that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has cloaked in the guise of land reform. Zimbabwe's tiny white population, which amounts to about 50,000 of the country's 12 million people, owns an estimated 70 per cent of the country's best land. The 4,500 white farmers do the bulk of the farming in the nation, which until recently was one of the strongest economies in Africa.

As the deadline passed, Mr. Mugabe was in Singapore, a member of the Commonwealth that did not seem interested in enforcing the organization's punitive measures against Zimbabwe. This year, the Commonwealth introduced so-called smart sanctions, including a visa ban for senior government officials, to punish the Mugabe regime for allegedly rigging the presidential election in March.

"Zimbabwe has been treated with kid gloves even though Mugabe is engaging in state terrorism against his own people," said Keith Martin, a Canadian Alliance MP who is the opposition critic on Africa. He met last September with white farmers and black farm workers in Zimbabwe.

"A pox on all of our houses -- it is totally irresponsible for the international community to ignore a situation that is a profound human tragedy," Mr. Martin said. "This is not about whites, it is mostly about the black population. Mugabe has been throwing out land reform as a smokescreen [so he can] brutalize his own population, 99.3 per cent of which is black, and the ruse has been accepted by the international community and the press."

Mr. Mugabe has pledged to "redistribute" farmland equitably, saying white-owned land would be given to war veterans from the nation's fight for independence. In June, three-quarters of white farmers were ordered to stop farming and told they would have to be off the land by Aug. 9.

The immediate implication of the evictions is a worsening of Zimbabwe's already disastrous food situation. About 600,000 people rely on emergency food aid, and about six million will need food over the next year, the World Food Program says. Zimbabwe's large commercial farms once fed people in neighbouring countries, all of which are now struggling for food after successive crop failures.

Ms. Simon said government-directed squatters had invaded her land, on which she usually raises chickens, cattle, sheep, maize and tobacco. This year, though, she has no crops in the ground and her maize store for her 350 workers and their 700 family members was confiscated this week. Ms. Simon has been arrested and beaten by government forces before, and she was dreading what could happen next.

"It's very, very frightening," she said. "As a schoolgirl, I studied the behaviour of the Germans against the Jews, the youth groups and kristallnacht, and I feel very strongly that we're facing a similar situation."

The larger message from the evictions, though, may be the inability, or unwillingness, of Zimbabwe's African neighbours and the international community to intervene in an unfolding disaster.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, Bill Graham, called the events in Zimbabwe "disturbing" and "an unfolding disaster." Canada is in regular contact with South Africa because it is the country the government feels is most likely to be able to restrain Mr. Mugabe, he added. Asked what Canada intends to do, he said: "We will continue to monitor the situation."

Mr. Martin said Canada should take the lead and impose tougher sanctions on Mr. Mugabe.
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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 09 August 2002


This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.


·        Norton - On Bryn Farm the owner had to move out of his homestead and is now homeless.  He had three farms, two of which he offered to Government but Josiah Hungwe, the Governor for Masvingo has now taken over his last farm and home.  

·        Mwenezi Area – at Valley Ranch, a serious situation is starting to develop on this property. It is inundated by settlers and communal cattle originating from Malapati. To worsen the situation World Vision (NGO) using a white Nissan Double Cab Registration Number 727-799K is carting settlers to the property and driving around on the property checking up on communal cattle

·        In the Banket/Trelawney/Darwendale areas the continuous theft is horrific and what we hear about is probably the tip of the iceberg. 

·        Norton - On Idaho, the ZANU (PF) chairlady for legal affairs and women’s rights, and ex M.P, Mavis Chidzonga, continues to create problems.  She is presently trying to evict the storekeeper.

·        Chakari - On Tawstock, M.P Ziyambi, who has been living in the owner’s guest cottage in his garden for about 6 months, is now trying to evict the 90 households that live in the farm village.  It is the owners only home and farm, and most of the farm workers have known no other homes apart from on the farm. 



No report received.



No report received.

No report received.


Doma - at Nirvana Farm the farmer is not allowed to move his property off the farm.  ZRP informed.  At Hundred Ends Farm an A2 settler would not allow the workers, (who wished to reap coffee), to work.  The A2 settler locked the gate and would not allow reaping the coffee to continue. Further to the hi-jacking of the white Volvo Fl6 truck with 84 bales on board, opinion is it was either hi-jacked for the cargo of flue-cured tobacco or for the truck belonging to Northern Hauliers No. 599-860W.  It is reported the truck stopped at the Little England turnoff and was parked in the nearby lay-by. There was a female accomplice with the driver and when the vehicle was hi-jacked it was taken down the Darwendale Road and the Police picked up the driver by the Zipan turn off.  The physical characteristics of the tobacco are open grained, long leaf irrigated tobacco in 84 bales marked 1032 on the paper and on the hessian.  The truck would have had a range of 450 km with the fuel in it and would have done 200 km.  To sell the cargo all the paper marks would have to be torn off and all the hessian changed with the individual bale tickets.  Our roads are obviously patrolled at night by vehicle pirates.  The anti hi-jack trust is at

Trelawney - an accused was handed over to Banket Police for the theft of 10 kg of tobacco from the barns.

In the Banket/Trelawney/Darwendale areas the continuous theft is horrific and what we hear about is probably the tip of the iceberg.  At Trelawney Sports Club, a handbag with I.D.'s, cash, chequebook etc. stolen from the squash court.  Mtotwe Farm suffered theft of hosepipe, irrigation taps and fittings.  Gwina Farm reports stolen 78 irrigation sprinklers valued at $585 000 from the wheat field.  Elinda Farm had 27 sprinklers valued at $500 000 stolen from the seedbed site.  Firhill Farm had football boots and cassettes valued at $7760 stolen from the farm village.  Stolen from Squatodzi Farm was the TV, decoder, satellite dish, VCR plus blankets, towels and hats valued at $392 000 in a housebreak-in, as well as irrigation taps.  The Fazanzi Farm electrician was in possession of 9 MCB's.  At Dieu Donne Farm 21 MCB's were stolen valued at $230 000.  20 litres of herbicide was stolen from the chemical store at Bessville Grange Farm.  At Gretton Farm an animal was slaughtered.  The Head and skin was recovered and two accused were picked up.  Another decoder was stolen from near Mazvikadei area and was found when the thief absconded 40 km away.  At Mvebi an electric cable was stolen from the pivot in the field.  Zivoto Farm reports stolen hydrant taps and window handles from the main house.  At Cango Farm 10 tobacco flue pipes were stolen valued at $100000 from the barns.  Finally, on 26.07.02 Agritex arrived to re-demarcate a farm into 100 ha 'farms'. All existing pegs are null and void and they left the owner with 350 ha gross (147 of which is arable). They returned on 29.07.02 to actually start marking and tell the owner he will not be getting the 350 ha originally stated because he has not applied for any land.


Norton - On Bryn Farm the owner had to move out of his homestead and is now homeless.  He had three farms, two of which he offered to Government but Josiah Hungwe, the Governor for Masvingo has now taken over his last farm and home.  The owner of Rock Farm was beaten up with sticks by settlers.  On another day he was abducted and taken to ZANU (PF) headquarters in Harare and spent six hours in the custody of the settlers.  On Kilvington Farm the seedbed site has been trashed five times, and the owner is not allowed to plant anything despite it being his only farm.  On Idaho the ZANU (PF) chairlady for legal affairs and women’s rights, and ex M.P, Mavis Chidzonga, continues to create problems.  She is presently trying to evict the storekeeper and has also removed 3.6 kilometres of fencing wire from the fences, and is wanting to move into the owners house despite it being the owners only home and farm. 

Kadoma - On Ardconnel A2 settlers stole the gate to the electric security fence.  They then set the haystack alight in the owner’s garden that was being kept for the few remaining cattle.  Fires were lit all around the house during the night and the fruit trees burnt.  Letters were then left saying the owners would be beheaded if they did not vacate their home within the next 48 hours.  Another letter said they would do "the same as Bin Laden". The farm is unlisted and is the owners’ only farm.  Under the circumstances they have had to move out.  Police response was abysmal.

Battlefields - On Umsweswe River Block 8A the cold room was vandalised and the stable roofs removed.  The owner’s father was held hostage whilst removing household effects from the home and was only released when he handed the keys to the home over to the settlers.  The settlers have stolen all interior doors.  Police have not assisted.  On Railway Farm 5, 300 Guinea Fowl were poisoned by the settlers, and the owners told to get off the farm by 10.08.02 August despite it being their only farm and despite them having permission from the Governor to continue their winter cereal crop.

Chakari - On Victory Farm the owners were evicted despite it being their only home, and settler Gondo moved into their home before they even managed to get all their belongings out.  On Tawstock M.P Ziyambi, who has been living in the owner’s guest cottage in his garden for about 6 months, is now trying to evict the 90 households that live in the farm village.  It is the owners only home and farm, and most of the farm workers have known no other homes apart from on the farm. 

Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.

Chiredzi - Ongoing poaching and snaring.

Gutu / Chatsworth – the Bath Farm owner returned home from town late evening on 02.08.02 and was stopped just outside his homestead by a ZFTU Official who has been demanding exceedingly high labour wages from the owner. The owner said the bank would not allow him to withdraw any more money, which the ZFTU Official refused to believe and continued to harass him by refusing to move away from the front of the vehicle. He threatened to return the following day and after a lengthy period the situation was resolved.

Mwenezi Area – at Valley Ranch, a serious situation is starting to develop on this property. It is inundated by settlers and communal cattle originating from Malapati. To worsen the situation World Vision (NGO) using a white Nissan Double Cab Registration Number 727-799K is carting settlers to the property and driving around on the property checking up on communal cattle. It has now also been established that World Vision has also moved cattle on to the property.  At Marcon Ranch, two A2 settlers, being Mutendi Brothers from Nyika Growth point, arrived driving a 7 tonne Scania Truck loaded up with some cement. They indicated to the owner that they have been allocated plots on the property. They were also seen driving a pickup and were armed with a 303 rifle. Vehicle tracks were seen on the top section of the farm indicating that they were driving around on the lookout for game.  Battlefields Ranch reports another Impala and one dairy heifer caught in snares. Owner reports extensive poaching on the property.

Save Conservancy - Ongoing poaching and snaring.


No report received.

No report received.                                               Visit the CFU Website

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ZIMBABWE: Farmers defy ban to leave land

JOHANNESBURG, 9 August (IRIN) - Most white farmers in Zimbabwe remained on their property on Friday, waiting to see if the government would enforce the deadline to seize their property and hand it over to landless blacks.

"About 60 percent of farmers have decided to stay on their land and continue working as normal. Ten percent have taken a long weekend and the rest have simply packed up and left for fear of their lives," Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for Justice for Agriculture (JAG), told IRIN.

Williams added that most of the farmers intended to stay on their farms and were legally contesting the eviction orders.

Those who had already left had moved to nearby towns or neighbouring countries, Williams said. 

Close to 3,000 farmers under the Section 8 controversial Land Acquisition Act had until midnight Thursday to down tools and leave their properties or face a fine of US $375 or two years in jail, or both.

Although there were no reports of any immediate government reaction, Vice-President Joseph Msika said that defiant farmers would face the full wrath of the law, local newspaper, The Independent reported.

Since the first state-driven farm invasions began in February 2000, a total of 13 farmers and about 40 farm workers have been murdered and about 70,000 farm workers have been forced into homelessness, Williams said.

Williams said: "It is obviously a very tense time in our history but from speaking to farmers and their families, many are intent on securing their assets. It is really a wait and see situation."

Western donors and aid agencies have slammed President Robert Mugabe's fast-track land reform programme saying that the government's haphazard approach to the land re-distribution had contributed to current food crisis in the country.

A World Food Programme (WFP) report said disruptions to farming saw agricultural production drop dramatically. Combined with drought and rising food prices, this left up to six million Zimbabweans facing hunger and the cash-strapped government unable to buy the stock needed to fill the food gaps.
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Mugabe's actions a danger to entire region
By Harry Sterling
WHAT IS AFRICA going to do about Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe? At a time when African states have been trying to convince the outside world that their newly created African Union intends to ensure all countries fully respect democratic principles and the rule of law, President Mugabe has ordered most remaining white farmers to leave their lands without compensation. This action followed on the heels of stringent new media regulations to further muzzle the few voices within Zimbabwe still prepared to expose his government's systematic violation of human rights.
Mugabe's actions are an affront to those who've tried to downplay the undermining of rights in Zimbabwe and the violence unleashed by the president. His latest land grab was set in motion weeks ago, while African leaders were in Alberta trying to convince G-8 member nations, including Canada, to support their proposed New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) between African nations and donor states.
Some of those same leaders, including South African President Thabo Mbeki, have gone to bat for Mugabe in the past when other countries wanted tough sanctions imposed on his government for violating human rights and allegedly rigging Zimbabwe's presidential election.
But no one should be surprised by Mugabe's expropriation of most remaining white-owned farmlands. Anyone who has followed Mugabe's actions over the years could have predicted what has happened, not just to white farmers, but also to Zimbabwe's newly created political opposition and human rights organizations.
Once it became apparent that his government's gross economic mismanagement and corruption was endangering his political future, Mugabe didn't hesitate to hit back at his opponents, as he did in the 1980s when his followers ran amok in anti-Mugabe areas, massacring entire villages.
Although Mugabe initially tried to win back popular support by confiscating white-owned lands, this clearly did not eliminate the threat posed by the neophyte political opposition force, the Movement for Democratic Change, led by trade union head Morgan Tsvangirai.
When the MDC appeared to be gaining popular support, even from Mugabe's own Shona tribe — traditionally loyal to his ZANU-PF party — the president set his thugs upon MDC activists, torturing and killing dozens prior to the recent elections. His followers also firebombed the country's remaining independent newspaper, the Daily News, repeatedly harassing its editor and journalists.
When members of the country's high court ruled the land seizures violated Zimbabwe's constitution, Mugabe intimidated law-minded judges into "retiring" out of fear for their lives. He then packed the court with compliant new judges who reversed earlier findings against land seizures.
The land seizures take place at a time when about half the population of 12 million face chronic food shortages, with starvation now appearing in various areas. Much of the responsibility for this growing tragedy rests with Mugabe. Until recently, Zimbabwe actually exported grain to other countries. (In recent days, Mugabe threatened to seize the country's largest food processing company for not selling salt at uneconomic, government-controlled prices.)
But Mugabe's repressive actions and the deteriorating economic situation are not only destabilizing his country; they could have a dangerous spillover effect on neighbouring states.
Famine and instability could spark a major humanitarian crisis and a flood of refugees into nearby nations, particularly South Africa. (The seizures of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe has also had an impact in South Africa, where some blacks support similar actions against their country's white farmers, several of whom have been killed in the past several years.)
It is very much in the interest of African states, as well as Commonwealth nations and others, to recognize the danger Mugabe's continued rule represents. Direct dealings with his government should be severely restricted and humanitarian and development aid channelled exclusively through reputable non-governmental organizations.
African leaders such as Mbeki and Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo can no longer afford to find excuses for Mugabe's repressive rule. If they don't act to restrain his excesses, they could confront another crisis right on their own doorsteps.
And the horrific events in the Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and elsewhere graphically illustrate what could happen if African leaders continue to stay silent while Mugabe drags everyone closer to the abyss.

Former diplomat Harry Sterling is an Ottawa-based commentator who has served in Africa twice.
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Zimbabwe's food crisis: what went wrong?

8/8/02 9:00:39 AM (GMT +2)
 Daily news zim

By Mercedes Sayagues

PRETORIA - On average, large-scale drought hits Southern Africa once a
decade. In 1992, the worst drought in living memory as it was called, parched the land from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

The region had to import 5,9 million tonnes of food to feed between 18 and
20 million people in 11 countries.

After a 75 percent crop loss, Zimbabwe, usually a grain exporter, had to
import 2,5 tonnes of maize.

It coped. The government reacted.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Yet, unlike 1992, reservoirs are full of water and there is plenty of grazing for cattle. Why are things worse? Ten years ago, a drought induced by the El Nino weather phenomenon caused the crisis.

"It was strictly a natural disaster," says Judith Lewis, regional director for the World Food Programme (WFP).

Today, a combination of bad governance, economic crisis, widespread poverty
and the spread of HIV/Aids add man-made elements to a natural disaster.

Early warning leading to action can stop a shortage from turning into a
famine. In spite of many forecasts of looming crisis, Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made denied it until the presidential elections were over in March.

"This food shortage is the accumulation of three years of economic
mismanagement," Zimbabwean economist John Robertson told AlertNet by
telephone from Harare.

According to the World Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP),
Zimbabwe is the world's fastest shrinking economy, declining at a rate
of minus 10 percent last year. Poverty rates have doubled since 1992.

By the UNDP yardstick, seven out of 10 Zimbabweans are defined as poor -
i e earning US$1 (Z$55) per day - and four of these live in abject poverty,
earning less than a dollar per day.

One-third of jobs have been lost since 2000, says Finance Minister Simba
Makoni. People's coping mechanisms are stretched to the limit.

These include going to live with relatives, taking children out of school and sending them to work - for example panning for gold or begging - eating one meal a day instead of two, having more than one job, looking for food in the bush because out there there is none to buy.

In the past decade, HIV/Aids rates have soared to nearly 34 percent, or
one in three adults, according to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids, UNAids.

As productive adults fall ill and die, orphan- and grandmother-headed
households multiply. The UN Children's Fund estimates that one million
children have lost one or both parents to Aids.

Oxfam says local health services are almost collapsing.

The second casualty is commercial agriculture. Since President Mugabe began
a controversial and violent land redistribution programme two years ago,
the amount of land planted and crops harvested by commercial farmers has
decreased every year.

According to a WFP food supply assessment mission in May, cereal production
has fallen by two-thirds since 1999.

UN agencies and Oxfam say production of crops that earn foreign exchange,
such as soyabeans, cotton and tobacco, also declined.

This year's wheat crop is threatened by the eviction of the bulk of white
commercial farmers under Mugabe's land redistribution programme, who
must leave by 10 August to make way for landless blacks, before the harvest.

One million farm workers and their families have lost their jobs and homes.

The collapse of agriculture means that, unlike 10 years ago, the country
has no carryover maize stocks to cushion the drought's impact. The
government's ability to import food is extremely low.

FAO estimates foreign exchange reserves to be just US$65 million
(Z$3,575 billion), enough to cover only half a month's imports.

A three-year-long foreign exchange crisis has been made worse by an
overvalued currency and a drain of US $1 million (Z$55million) a day to
pay for Zimbabwe's military intervention in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, where thousands of its troops are supporting the government of President
Joseph Kabila against rebels backed by Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The main foreign exchange earners - tourism, agricultural and gold
exports - are severely crippled.

What little foreign exchange is earned must pay for fuel and electricity
imports, foreign debt servicing, and now maize.

Because of its low foreign exchange reserves, the government is unable
to import all that is needed.

The shortfall must be met, says the FAO, by a combination of food aid
and commercial sector imports - up to one-third by the latter.

The government will not lift the monopoly of the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) on cereal imports and movements.

Nor will it lift price controls so that imported maize can be sold at
realistic prices. Donors and NGOs have pleaded for private commercial
imports. These were key in the relief effort 10 years ago.

In three meetings with Mugabe in Durban in July, James Morris, executive
director of the WFP, failed to persuade him.

The private sector remains blocked, although two foreign NGOs were
allowed to import small quantities in July for free distribution.

People can obtain maize in three ways. Two of these - food-for-work
schemes and buying at low prices from GMB depots - are run by the ruling party and
open to abuse. "One can clearly see in government's food distribution an
unfair, unlawful, systematic process of punishing people and regions, like
Matabeleland, for supporting the opposition," says lawyer Tawanda Hondora,
who chairs the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

In a report, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a US-based human rights
watchdog, refers to "the political manipulation of hunger in some areas
to exclude those labelled as supporters" of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Some children were denied free school meals because their parents
supported the MDC. The third way to obtain food is donor-led feeding schemes and
food distribution. This is where, according to PHR, donors can make a
difference through a firm policy of "food for everybody or food for nobody".

In late March and again in May, donors solved several cases where needy
people were denied food because of their political affiliation.

As the WFP prepares for massive food distribution, Morris conveyed to
Mugabe that the agency would not tolerate political interference and Mugabe
gave him his word that food aid would not be politicised.

The potential for abuse lies in registration.

War veterans, youth militia, councillors, headmasters, businessmen and
chiefs can manipulate lists to benefit supporters of the ruling Zanu PF
party and exclude others. The only good news is that the transport and
storage network can cope.

Trucks are old and turnaround slow, but they work. There has been
maintenance, although no investment in expanding the road and rail

Thanks to a deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, critical fuel
shortages of the past two years have ended. - AlertNet
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The Times [UK],,3-378233,00.html

Mugabe trades white farms for oil
By Michael Evans, Defence Editor

PRESIDENT Mugabe may be forced to give Libya much of the prime land he
is seizing from white farmers in order to pay for an oil deal with Colonel
Gaddafi, diplomatic sources said yesterday. The full extent of the
bizarre arrangement between the Zimbabwean and Libyan leaders was revealed hours before Mr Mugabe's midnight deadline for 2,900 white farmers to leave
their properties.

The sources said that Mr Mugabe owed Libya so much for imported oil that
he was preparing to give thousands of acres to his "friend", Colonel
Gaddafi, to repay his debts and to stay in power.

The net result would be to negate Mr Mugabe's avowed goal of returning
land to Zimbabwe's black population.

The extent to which Mr Mugabe is "in hock" to Colonel Gaddafi was not an
issue apparently discussed with Michael O'Brien, the Foreign Office
Minister, who returned last night from Tripoli after meeting the Libyan
leader in the desert for talks about Lockerbie bomb compensation and the
war on terrorism.

Mr Mugabe depends on Colonel Gaddafi for supplying his country's oil
needs - about 800,000 barrels a month. Seventy per cent of that comes from the
Libyan oil company Tamoil, whose ultimate owner is the Libyan Arab
Foreign Investment Company.

Last December Mr Mugabe visited Tripoli to secure a deal with Colonel
Gaddafi under which oil worth $360 million would be supplied to the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. However, for 21 days in May, Tamoil turned off
Zimbabwe's oil because Mr Mugabe had failed to pay for the fuel
According to oil industry sources, the desperate Zimbabwean leader
contacted Colonel Gaddafi to plead for the oil supplies to be resumed.

One diplomatic source said: "Colonel Gaddafi has always had this dream
of being the leader of Africa and he has engineered it so that Mugabe is
totally dependent on him. So he agreed a special discounted rate for the
fuel, which was disastrous for Tamoil. It was only Colonel Gaddafi's
personal intervention that forced Tamoil to resume oil supplies."

While the oil company is now having to face the consequences of the
arrangement between Mr Mugabe and Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader is
spreading his influence and his investments in Zimbabwe.

As part of the deal fixed in Tripoli, Libya agreed to provide the fuel
in exchange for shareholdings in Zimbabwe's state-run companies. Libya now
has a controlling stake in the Jewel Bank, formerly the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe, as well as the state travel company, Rainbow Tourist Group.

It is now believed that as part of the deal to pay back the Libyan
leader for his generosity, Mr Mugabe will hand over some of the most valuable
farms to Colonel Gaddafi.

Sources said that Colonel Gaddafi's "misguided support" for Mr Mugabe
had brought one of his state oil companies, Tamoil, to the verge of
Tamoil's European investors and creditors - the company has offices in
Monaco, London, Milan and Geneva - had also been placed in a vulnerable
position by the Libyan leader's political manoeuvres, the sources said.

Mr Mugabe's acceptance of the special oil deal with Colonel Gaddafi, for
which he could not pay, had also left Zimbabwe exposed as the Libyans
tried to seize assets and recoup losses.

The other 30 per cent of Zimbabwe's oil needs are supplied by IPG of
Kuwait and overland from South Africa.

In the past Libya has granted Zimbabwe a 120-day moratorium after every
delivery, which amounts to $30 million worth of fuel each quarter. The
Libyans set three conditions: cash payment, investment in properties and
businesses or bilateral trade in exchange for fuel. If the conditions
were not met, the fuel was cut off.

A group of white Zimbabwean farmers, among thousands facing eviction
without compensation, are trying to raise money in Britain to help them start
over in neighbouring Mozambique. "It is no good sending a farmer to
Mozambique without equipment," Christopher Ryan, a financier, said on a fundraising
visit to London. Derek Arlett-Johnson, who lost his Zimbabwean farm to
Mugabe two years ago said he had doubts about the scheme as the
Mozambicans refused to hand over land ownership.

Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda were also trying to lure dispossessed
farmers, with varying degrees of success, he said.
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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

CIO boss moved
Barnabas Thondhlana

ZIMBABWE'S top spy, Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini, has been relieved of his duties as head of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to take up a diplomatic posting in Kenya, the Zimbabwe Independent understands.

Other new diplomatic appointments include telecoms boss and former Zanu PF Harare province official Chris Mutsvangwa.

Muzonzini fills a post left vacant in Nairobi after the departure of Ambassador Bozwani Mothobi who earlier this year joined the Department of National Parks as board chairman. The mission is being run by a chargé d'affaires.

Civil society critics say Muzonzini, who has been at the helm of the CIO for the past three years, has during his tenure effectively turned the once-professional organisation into an agency of the ruling party. They claim the CIO - like other government departments - has become identified with Zanu PF's repressive rule.

Ruling party sources said Muzonzini's departure could be designed to dilute the power base of former military supremo Solomon Mujuru, who is credited with recommending Muzonzini and his deputy Happyton Bonyongo to President Robert Mugabe for appointment to the helm of the CIO.

Mujuru, long seen as a quiet power broker, has reportedly influenced the appointment of military men to nearly all significant national institutions, thus paving the way for what analysts say is his final card, the presidency.

While parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the presidency, new aspirants are slowly coming out of the woodwork. Mujuru, who has the support and respect of the military, is being named alongside outsiders such as Simba Makoni and Sydney Sekeramayi.

Other party insiders however said Mujuru had no presidential ambitions.

The Independent has been told that Muzonzini is part of a contingent of new diplomats who will be replacing "tired" and politically unattuned incumbents at foreign missions, some of whom have been on foreign duty for more than 15 years and are seen as not combative enough to sell Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

"Government and the party have seen it fit to replace some of these diplomats, some of whom have totally lost touch with developments back home and the prevailing thinking," said a government source.

"We have had instances where a Zimbabwe diplomat first apologises to his host country for successful developments like the land reform programme, only to then seek direction after the event. Such people are no longer useful in the new Zimbabwe."

Among the new recruits will be Isaac Nyathi, a former diplomat and MP for Lobengula/Magwegwe and business-man-turned politician Mutsvangwa who is reportedly headed east. The Independent could not establish the names of the other appointees at the time of going to press.

Muzonzini and, it is understood, several other appointees are on the "smart sanctions" list released by the European Union and the United States. Their appointment is viewed as Mugabe's way of busting sanctions by making them immune under diplomatic conventions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs two weeks ago hosted the new recruits, numbering about 50, at a workshop in Msasa where government policy on various issues like indigenisation, agrarian reform and "British imperialism" was explained.

Intelligence sources denied that Muzonzini had been demoted, saying he was part of the new crop of Zanu PF supporters who were well versed with party and government policy.

"Because of the closeness he enjoyed with the party hierarchy as a result of his position as head of the CIO, Muzonzini is undeniably in sync with the thinking of the top brass," said an intelligence source.

"And remember government rewards those who have shown unwavering support for the party and its policies with foreign postings. He is in that mould."

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

Farmers to stay put
Augustine Mukaro

GOVERNMENT yesterday began a crackdown on defiant farmers as Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) officials held marathon meetings with authorities to prevent sweeping evictions.

Police yesterday raided Justice for Agriculture (JAG) offices in Bulawayo, arresting an evaluator, Andrew Lang, and seizing the organisation's confidential memo spelling out a plan of action for the nearly 3 000 farmers under threat.

As the raid was taking place, CFU president Colin Cloete, was holding a series of meetings with Vice-President Joseph Msika to try and break the deadlock.

CFU vice-president (commodities) Doug Taylor-Freeme yesterday said the majority of farmers would stay put on their properties as they make representations to government expressing their desire to continue farming.

"The position of the CFU is that farmers will not vacate their farms but will not be confrontational," Taylor-Freeme said.

"If anyone comes to their farms, they will explain that they have crops to look after, animals to feed and assets to protect as the reasons why they will not leave.

"As I am speaking to you, my president, Colin Cloete, is in a series of meetings with Msika and government officials to try to break the impasse," he said.

About 3 000 farmers sitting on Section 8 orders should according to the law leave their farms today. Failure to comply could attract a two-year jail term or $20 000 fine, or both. Msika, speaking at the CFU AGM in Harare on

Wednesday, said defiant farmers would face the full wrath of the law.

However, JAG vice-chairman John Wriswick yesterday told the

Independent that most farmers would not be leaving their farms.

"There will be no eviction without conviction," Wriswick said.

"JAG will be having lawyers on standby throughout the weekend and the holiday to represent any farmer arrested for being on his property."

Cloete on Wednesday called on government to suspend the mass evictions and foster a spirit of peaceful co-existence in the transitional period without disturbing the country's on-going cropping programme.

Msika on Wednesday acknowledged the need to keep the expertise of the farmers.

"We should co-operate and together succeed in our endeavours.

Productivity on the farms can only be enhanced with a deliberate blending of your experience, expertise and knowledge of all farmers," Msika said.

There were fears yesterday that war veterans would take the law into their own hands and drive out the farmers. However, War Veterans Association secretary-general Endy Mhlanga said they would not join government to evict the farmers since that was the duty of law enforcement forces.

"We don't take the law into our hands," Mhlanga said.

"There is no room for war vets to come in to enforce the law but we are simply calling on all Zimbabweans to abide by the law."

Government plans for the mass eviction of farmers after the deadline have been constantly checked with court rulings which gave farmers on Section 8 notices the right to continue farming.

On Wednesday High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that a farm that is mortgaged or bonded - as is the case with the majority - could not be acquired for resettlement if the state has not properly informed the financial institution involved.

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

Chidzero dies
Staff Writer

FORMER Minister of Finance Dr Bernard Chidzero died early yesterday morning at Harare's Avenues Clinic after a long illness.

Chidzero (75) died of cardiac failure and leaves behind a wife and four children.

Chidzero narrowly lost an election to Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt - by seven votes - for the powerful post of United Nations secretary-general in 1991.

Zimbabweans best remember him for his management of financial affairs in the 1980s and introducing the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in 1991.

Chidzero was appointed to the Senate in 1980 soon after Independence after working for the United Nations in different capacities. He also worked for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund from 1987 to 1990 as the chairman of their joint development committee. - Staff Writer.

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02


Friday, 9 August 2002

Moyo moves to slay phantom chimurenga

THE spat between Zimbabwe and Britain over the Langkawi Dialogue meeting provided the Herald with a front-page story for much of the week. And the paper must be congratulated for publishing the remarks of British Minister of State Baroness Symons in full.

She wrote to Dr Mihaela Smith, chief executive of the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management Ltd, one of the sponsors of the Langkawi Dialogue, to say President Mugabe was an inappropriate beneficiary of the programme which the UK government funds.

"The manner in which the economy has been damaged by the government of Zimbabwe, and the laying to waste of the tremendous potential and skills of the people of Zimbabwe can hardly be an example for other partners to follow," Baroness Symons wrote.

"Nor can there be effective dialogue with the head of a regime that so blatantly stifles freedom of expression and ignores the rule of law."

That in a nutshell reflects the views of most people about Mugabe’s regime. And it raises the pertinent question of why Commonwealth resources are being used to fund platforms where Mugabe can emit his noxious nationalism that has germinated nothing but destitution and famine in his own country.

Symons’ letter was branded "diplomatic terror" by the Herald’s usual sources although it is difficult to see how a letter couched in such temperate language can be equated to the murder of opposition supporters and threats to farmers that are a part of daily life in Zimbabwe.

What does strike us as strange though was Mihaela Smith’s naïve statement in reply that "independent nations are entitled to choose their own leaders". Doesn’t that beg the whole question about Mugabe’s legitimacy as an elected leader? And didn’t the Commonwealth make a stand on that very issue when it suspended Zimbabwe for failing to conduct a free or fair poll?

Smith refers to certain countries arrogating to themselves the right to determine the leadership of other countries "without regard for democratic practices or respect for international norms".

Isn’t that exactly what the Sadc parliamentary forum said about the March poll? That it was in clear violation of the international electoral norms adopted by the Sadc states only the year before? The Commonwealth agreed. Why didn’t Smith know any of this, or was she, as we suspect, merely parroting what a handful of leaders gathered in Malaysia required her to say?

But the most revealing part of Smith’s letter was her suggestion that the leaders feared they too could become the targets of an international campaign to remove them. She needs reassuring on this point. That will only happen if, like Sam Nujoma, they insist in following in Mugabe’s footsteps.

Putting aside the obvious point that Mugabe is now a source of controversy wherever he goes, diverting the attention of international conferences from their main business, the fact is that Malaysia under Mahathir is an economic success story and Zimbabwe under Mugabe a miserable failure. As the news agency AFP reported this week, the two leaders may share a love of anti-Western rhetoric, "but while Mahathir has steered his country from the economic backwaters to the mainstream of Asian development, Zimbabwe’s economy is in the worst crisis of its history".

That’s the bottom line.

President Mugabe told journalists covering the Langkawi Dialogue in Malaysia last week that no farmer in Zimbabwe had been evicted from his farm.

"There is no farmer being deprived of the land, we are kicking nobody out," he is reported as saying in what must constitute the biggest economy with the truth since Joseph Made guaranteed us food security last year.

Is Mugabe seriously claiming no farmers have been evicted? Is he completely unaware of the evictions taking place around the country, often in violation of provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and frequently accompanied by threats of violence? Has he not been reading his own newspapers which openly boast of the land seizures?

He wants the international media to believe that no farmer is being deprived of his land. Is he unaware of the deadline that was set for 2 900 farmers to leave their farms this week? And what of the $14,5 billion in property that Justice for Agriculture says has been illegally impounded or looted since February 2000? Is he completely unaware of these sinister dimensions to his third Chimurenga?

Did those present in Langkawi swallow this misinformation? Did they ask for evidence of a single farmer who has been given alternative land?

Mugabe must think that all journalists are very stupid. Or more to the point, that they are likely to believe his claims in the same way the Zimbabwean state media does. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

The president said that his government would arrest journalists who told lies. But he said nothing about politicians telling lies.

"We do not want journalists or reporters to have freedom above everyone else," Mugabe was reported as saying. "It is not freedom of the press to be immoral, to be untruthful, to be a liar. It is freedom of the press to be learned and to have prescribed morals and standards."

And what of politicians who don’t have "prescribed morals and standards", who fool around with their secretaries, who lie about the reasons for the country’s economic collapse? What shall we do with them?

But we liked the president’s unwitting commentary on the state media. He said: "There is a mission of wanting to destroy certain individuals because he does not belong to your camp and you must be saying things that are damaging to that individual all the time."

He has obviously been reading commentaries on Morgan Tsvangirai in the Herald and Sunday Mail. We are at least happy to have him acknowledge the problem.

As for the "perfect journalist" he hoped might emerge from greater education and experience, what about the one who claimed the MDC had "blown up" £1,3 million. What an explosion that must have been with pound notes scattering everywhere!

Jonathan Moyo, it seems, has felt the need to curb excesses in that section of the media he directly controls by quashing all talk of a fourth Chimurenga.

Moving against what might be called infantile dementia, Moyo found it necessary to hose down (as distinct from blow up) visions of a fourth Chimurenga being nursed in the Sunday Mail’s editorial offices where anticipating the minister’s next move is a full-time business.

Asked whether institutions like New Ziana represented the cutting edge of the mind-decolonising fourth Chimurenga, Moyo snapped: "What in heaven is that?"

"I must say it is news to me that there is or will be a fourth Chimurenga."

Institutions like New Ziana were the engines of the third Chimurenga, he sternly pointed out to his over-zealous wards. The picture at the top of the story showed Moyo looking delighted to once again be affording Miss Malaika a photo opportunity. The caption didn’t say whose Chimurenga engine she’s been fuelling but it seems to be a whole department’s.

We could ask the same of William Nhara. He heads something called the Southern African Institute for Democracy and Good Governance. But his article in the Sunday Mail last weekend suggested he was nothing more than another Zanu PF propaganda pedlar. He seemed quick to accuse others of being "Baa baa black sheep" but did some bleating of his own which included the occasional twisted fact. Does anybody remember Argentina defeating Britain in the "Malvinas"? Perhaps this was a subsequent event we all missed!

What exactly is the Southern African Institute for Democracy and Good Governance? When was it formed, who funds it, and apart from Nhara who else is a member? We would hate to think it was just another Heritage-Zimbabwe-type outfit headed by a second-rate party apologist.

Speaking of which, does anybody buy Look & Listen anymore? We ask because its editor, Alexander Kanengoni, is a contributor to the state media’s poisonous effluent and we would not want the reading public to buy a guide to ZTV’s threadbare productions without knowing whose salary they are paying for. Last weekend he launched a splenetic attack on Trudy Stevenson for "misleading" young blacks into thinking she was on their side.

But what was truly revealing about the article was the anger and frustration Kanengoni expressed over his failure to convert his drinking companions to the politics of race hate.

"Which side are they calling our side?" Kanengoni raged. "I get the more depressed when these same young men turn around and charge that the perception people like myself have belongs to the politics of the liberation struggle."

Doesn’t that tell us all we need to know about the moribund politics of those who have nothing except the shibboleths of the liberation struggle to offer today’s youth?

The Herald on Monday last week led with a story in which it claimed the GMB monopoly had been relaxed to allow private operators to buy maize directly from farmers. Agriculture minister Joseph Made went on to vehemently refute the story, describing it as "false" in a telephone interview with the ZBC from Malaysia.

Are we to expect any arrests for publishing falsehoods? Where are the police who are always so ready to pounce on anyone accused of this Moyo-invented crime? Or should we be content with the view that there are now two definitions of falsehoods, one official where the state-media are involved and they are not liable for prosecution, and a general one under which the state has been arresting journalists from the private press for abusing "journalistic privilege"?

On Friday the same paper led with a misleading heading claiming "Another opposition MP up for murder". As curious readers soon discovered, this was just another deception designed to tarnish the MDC.

The truth is no-one had been murdered on the days leading up to the report and therefore there could not have been an MDC MP involved in murder where there was none.

The fictional headline in fact referred to a repeat story on the murder of Bulawayo war veterans leader Cain Nkala last year in which an MDC MP was allegedly involved.

Our Nigerian list has now expanded to include: Mariam Ba-ngura, Dr Funke Ajayi, and Barrister Graham Douglas representing Mohammed Abacha. All say they have huge amounts of money waiting to be laundered. Our thanks to readers for sending in their nominations.

We recently reported on the damage done to Zimbabwe’s standing by remarks on food manipulation made by deputy Foreign minister Abednico Ncube. Not to be outdone, Didymus Mutasa last week made his contribution to the country’s growing isolation.

Here was his response to the BBC’s Grant Ferret on food aid: "There are true and genuine friends, like China, like Libya, like the Arab world, who will help us, and they will help us at our request. The rest of you can please keep your money, keep your aid, and keep yourselves out of Zimbabwe, and we will manage — thank you."

Zanu PF "manage"?

Now there’s an oxymoron!

Reports regularly appear in the press of poorly-organised beauty pageants where things go wrong from the moment the event fails to kick off on time.

Last Saturday the Herald carried a hilarious report — it was not meant to be — of a Miss Mashonaland East pageant in Marondera where a contestant fell off the ramp and fistfights broke out in the audience.

As the show got off to a painfully slow start, members of the audience became impatient and wandered onto the stage, we are told.

"They would pull our dresses and I was personally attacked as a person who is not from Marondera and called a Hararean," one contestant said.

Off stage, the contestants were crammed into a tiny dressing room where — heaven forbid — they had difficulty looking at themselves in the mirror. At one point a bottle was thrown through the dressing room window which led to some people being injured by broken glass. As they bravely soldiered on more obstacles awaited.

One contestant had difficulty seeing her way along the poorly-lit ramp, which did not have a supporting structure under the carpet, and tumbled into the audience.

When fistfights broke out among the spectators, police and security guards did nothing. The beauty contest was at times reduced to "a boxing show", the Herald said.

Sounds like everybody had a good time!

Finally, we were interested to note that the "trained professional criminals" and "political cowards" who Jonathan Moyo accused of attacking Dr Tafataona Mahoso recently were nothing more than streetkids who took advantage of a slow-moving target. We are not sure whether the opportunistic attempt to link an unfortunately common occurrence to the possibility of mass action constitutes a deliberate falsehood planted in a gullible paper. But we will expect a retraction in the public interest so there is no further alarm and despondency of this sort!

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02
Eric Bloch
Friday, 9 August 2002

Devaluation is, isn’t, is, isn’t dead!

WHEN President Robert Mugabe opened the third session of the fifth parliament of Zimbabwe a little over a fortnight ago, he stated in no uncertain terms, that "devaluation is dead!". He said so unequivocally and without any caveat whatsoever. It was as if the oracle had spoken, and that which the oracle says must be absolute fact.

Moreover, he said that to advocate devaluation was sinister, and those who did so were saboteurs and enemies of the government. Although he named no specific persons, the world at large assumed that he was making reference to his Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and his governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), both of whom have most wisely and constructively urged that the grossly overdue and economically constructive devaluation of the Zimbabwean currency be realistically pursued, as a very necessary, unavoidable element of any programme to achieve economic recovery, and both of whom have unhesitatingly and courageously made their beliefs in such an essential measure known to government, and to the public at large.

However, whether or not the president had those two dignitaries in mind when he castigated those who support the concept of the inevitability of devaluation if economic recovery is to be forthcoming, they are not an isolated duo of economic realists. With one or two very notable exceptions, who have in the main focused upon ingratiating themselves with the government, in general, and the ruling party, in particular, almost all Zimbabwean economists recognise the absolute need for devaluation, and have resolutely made their views known.

So, too have the majority of the "captains of commerce and industry", they realising that, in the absence of devaluation, Zimbabwe’s fast shrinking capacity to export will become virtually extinct. In that event, the prevailing critical shortages of foreign currency will become even more intense, crippling the ability of most enterprises to continue in operation, markedly exacerbating the already pronounced hyperinflation, and being catalytic of yet further unemployment.

Zimbabwe has an already severely stressed economy, subjecting most Zimbabweans to massive poverty and hardships. The constraints upon economic survival become ever greater, with devaluation being a prerequisite for alleviation of the reversal of the economic collapse.

That is not to suggest that devaluation would be a magical cure-all, for if it is to enable an economic transformation, numerous other measures would have to be pursued vigorously and concurrently. They would include restoration of agricultural viability under a land programme transparently and justly implemented, encompassing communal, small-scale and commercial farmers of all races.

They would also include the establishment of absolute law, order, democracy and mutual respect, and interaction and entente between Zimbabwe and the international community. They would include determined destruction of racial, tribal, ethnic and gender divides and the creation of a single, united nation.

Measures would also be required to achieve rapid economic stimulation, the creation of an investment-welcoming environment, and one which is conducive to wide-ranging economic empowerment.

But, within the Zimbabwean environment, all those measures cannot suffice to bring about an economic metamorphosis unless devaluation to real currency exchange values is pursued. So, far from being saboteurs, those expressing the need for devaluation have the interests of Zimbabwe and all its people at heart. They fully appreciate that there are negative repercussions from devaluation, and not only positive consequences, but are aware that sometimes bitter medicine must be taken to cure a serious malignancy — or, as some suggest: "There is no gain without pain!".

Perhaps, it is because that — notwithstanding official governmental policies — in practice Zimbabwe is regularly actioning disguised, partial devaluations. The official mid-rate of exchange has, for almost two years, approximated Z$55 : US$1. In that same period of time, a parallel market has developed, and has become an essential source of foreign exchange to fund imports and to meet foreign debt obligations. The existence of that parallel market has enabled some exporters to survive, although for most only barely so.

The exporter has been able to realise 60% of export proceeds at a rate higher than the official rate, save for such exporters as require that 60% to fund import and foreign commitments. Thus, those exporters who were able to release export earnings into the parallel market, a new rate of exchange came into being, that rate being known as the blend rate.

At the present time, that blend rate approximates $412 : US$1, which is a far cry from the official rate, where the exporter can anticipate to receive $52,25 : US$1 only. Effectively, the Zimbabwean dollar has devalued, for those able to sell into the parallel market, by 87,32%, or has an official value of only 12,68% of that which should be its real rate.

Then, there is the "black market", wherein all trade is unreservedly unlawful, as distinct to that in the "parallel market" where there are extensive doubts as to their legality or illegality, according to the divergent characteristics of each transaction, and hence that market is often referred to as "the grey market". Relatively authoritative sources suggest that exchange rates within the black market range from 20 to 35% higher than those in the parallel market.

The official, parallel and black market rates are not the only ones prevailing in Zimbabwe, and they are, save for the official rate, in any event, not rigid, but change responsively to fluctuations in supply and demand and to rising inflation. Overall, the rates over a period of time reflect effective devaluation. But, to all intents and purposes the government which rejects devaluation nevertheless does initiate special exchange rates for certain market sectors, thereby actually carrying out qualified, but not acknowledged, devaluation.

It first did so when it could no longer deny that the Zimbabwean gold mining industry was progressively approaching total collapse as, irrespective of the international gold market price, reward to the gold industry determined that the official exchange rate could not cover costs, which costs were continuously rising.

It, therefore, motivated the Reserve Bank to introduce a gold floor support price, yielding an exchange rate well beyond the official rate. It has since reviewed that support price on several occasions, although inadequately, each review being nothing other than a disguised devaluation, even if benefitting one market sector only.

And earlier this year, it emulated that action by specifying an enhanced exchange rate for the tobacco industry. As always, government addressed a pressing economic need half-heartedly, creating a quasi-exchange rate for the tobacco industry’s sales at $99:US$1, and very recently devaluing that to approximately $159:US$1, thereby yielding the average tobacco sale a marginally more realistic price of about $317 per kg, as against $110 a year ago and $198 a few months ago.

The latest governmental recognition of the need for devaluation evidenced itself only two days after the president pronounced sentence of death upon devaluation. A little more than 48 hours after that pronouncement, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development tabled a supplementary budget for 2002 in parliament.

Included therein was that a dual currency structure would, in future, pertain to imports for purposes of computing liability to customs duty and import tax. Imports other than manufacturing inputs, basic consumer commodities, and a range of other goods not specified by him, are to be valued at an exchange rate of $300:US$1, as distinct from application of the official rate. That represents a 545% increase in Zimbabwean dollar value of imports, or equates to a devaluation of 81,67%!

So, Zimbabwe has an official exchange rate, a parallel market exchange rate, a blend rate, a black Market exchange rate, a gold producer’s exchange rate, a tobacco grower’s exchange rate and, of these six rates, five are reflective of devaluation, with two of such rates having been significantly adjusted subsequent to the alleged decease of devaluation.

Clearly, therefore, devaluation is not dead but, because it is applied selectively and illogically, instead of consistently with changing real values, most economic sectors continue to suffer, and the circumstances of the economy become ever more parlous.

Foreign exchange markets in turmoil

ZIMBABWE'S foreign exchange markets are in turmoil. The official market, being that conducted (at exchange rates prescribed by the Reserve Bank) by the banks is almost non-existent. The only inflows into the official market are the 40% of export proceeds of the private sector as are sold by exporters upon their receipt of payment from their customers beyond Zimbabwe's borders.

Those inflows are directed almost exclusively towards servicing the foreign currency needs of government and its parastatals, being for the payment of fuel and energy imports, some limited servicing of foreign debt, funding of the ongoing military involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other government needs.

The amount of foreign exchange flowing into the official market is steadily declining as Zimbabwe suffers a continuing shrinkage in exports. To a very major extent that decline is a direct consequence of the inflation prevailing in Zimbabwe.

Inflation impacts massively upon production costs of almost all exports, and the producers are increasingly unable to recover the rising production costs, for their export markets will not accept any substantive escalation in prices, and the rigidity of the official exchange rates precludes the exporters achieving any increase in export proceeds.

Those rates have remained almost unchanged since August 2000 in which period aggregate inflation has exceeded 210%. Effectively, production costs have virtually doubled, whilst the sales proceeds have to the extent that they were realised through the official market, remained constant.

To some extent exporters were able to compensate for the adverse impact of the official rate by disposing of the residual 60% of export proceeds through what has become known as the parallel market, being sale of their foreign exchange to those requiring such foreign exchange for payment for imports and of other commitments as are legitimately payable in terms of prevailing exchange control regulations, the purchasers being unable to source their requirements within the official market as the hunger of government and its parastatals for hard currencies is so voracious that there is hardly any available to others. However, many exporters cannot dispose of the export revenues remaining in their hands, for they require them to effect payment for the import content of their production.

The result has been that if they continued to export, they inevitably sustained losses, for the costs of production exceed their earnings. This has been particularly so for many of Zimbabwe's mines, forcing cessation of operations, and for numerous of the previously very viable horticultural operations which have similarly been forced into discontinuance of exports or, at best, continuance of export operations to a lesser extent only sufficient to provide them with their foreign exchange requirements for imports.

The same constraints have sharply diminished the exports of the textile, clothing, furniture and many other industries.

Inflows have also been very severely reduced by the extensive cutback of international aid to Zimbabwe. The country's confrontation with the international community, characterised by endless abuse by Zimbabwe of those that have long been its principal supporters and the source of considerable developmental and humanitarian aid, and by Zimbabwe's pursuit of policies in conflict with the fundamentals of human rights, democracy and law and order have forced termination of many aid programmes and, therefore, a sharp reduction in foreign currency inflows.

As a result, there has not only been a lessening of foreign currency within the official market, but also in the parallel market. Concurrently with the decreased availability within the markets, there has been a marked increase in demand, primarily as the state has desperately had to source as much foreign exchange as possible to pay for the massive food imports rendered necessary by the abysmal levels of maize, wheat and other crop yields as consequence of a combination of the devastating drought suffered by Zimbabwe and the considerable reduction in agricultural production as a direct result of government's mismanagement of the agricultural sector.

To all intents and purposes, currencies are commodities as much as are any other items of merchandise, their values being driven by the extent of balance between supply and demand. The greater the availability of a currency and the lesser the demand for that currency, the lower is its value, and the greater the demand and lesser the supply, the higher the value that attaches to it.

In recent weeks there has been a very marked increase in demand, whilst the contraction in exports, the virtual non-existence of foreign direct investment, and the loss of much international aid have significantly lowered supply. As a result, foreign exchange rates on the parallel market have soared to almost unbelievable heights. Prior to the March 2002 presidential election the parallel market rate of the US dollar was approximately $310, whereas it now exceeds $600. In a matter of only 12 weeks, the value of foreign currencies has approximately doubled, the upsurge being not only for US dollars but also other currencies.

The rise in demand has been occasioned not only by government's need to fund food imports, but also by other factors. During the run-up to the presidential election, exchange rates fell by more than 25% and some in the private sector with foreign currency commitments, foreshadowed that the rate would continue to fall. Therefore, they delayed purchasing their currency needs.

Others believed that following the commencement of the tobacco sales on May 14 there would be substantially greater availability of currency and, therefore, a fall in exchange rates. However, that did not occur, for a change in exchange control policies resulted in tobacco generated foreign currencies flowing directly to the Reserve Bank and, in any event, the tobacco sales proceeds were considerably less than anticipated.

The decrease in sales revenues below expectations was partially due to a much reduced production, thanks to the extensive destruction of the tobacco industry by government's ill-conceived land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement programme.

But the decrease in tobacco earnings was also to a very great extent due to government's determined continuance of a totally unrealistic exchange rate which could only yield sales proceeds equal to a fraction of production costs. Within a week of the commencement of the tobacco sales, government reluctantly recognised the reality that tobacco producers could not afford to sell if they were paid at the prevailing, artificially maintained rate of US$1: $55 and introduced an 80% support price enhancement, giving producers an effective $99 for each US dollar.

But that still does not suffice, for growers need at least $160 to the US dollar if they are to recover their costs of production and be able to fund next season's crop. Many have therefore been understandably reluctant to consign their tobacco to the sales floors, but are holding their crop in a hope of price improvement. Others have been forcibly prevented by those who have settled on their farms from sending their tobacco to the floors for sale.

When it was realised that, contrary to some expectations, the exchange rates were not going to fall, those who had delayed sourcing their requirements of foreign exchange rushed into the market, and that further increase in demand contributed even more to the upsurge in the rates.

Soon an upward spiral was in motion, for as the rates rose higher and higher, near panic set in for many who, fearing yet further rate increases, rushed into the depleted market to buy currencies ahead of those increases, and that additional demand in excess of supply stimulated still further rate increases.

The result is that some speculate that rates will rise to $800: US$1 before the end of June, and at least $1 000: US$1 by year-end. Should this be so, the impact upon inflation will be cataclysmic, and the already severely distressed economy will be sent to never-before experienced depths of recession, with innumerable businesses unable to survive, and the existing widespread poverty becoming even more intense.

However, the turmoil and bedlam that is the parallel market of today is not likely to continue, and there is every likelihood that the pessimistic forecasts of future exchange rates will not materialise. What is likely to occur is that the market rates will soon reach resistance levels as occurred in September 2000, whereat many will withdraw from purchasing in the market, knowing that at such rates they will be unable to recover the costs from their customers. This will particularly be so of importers of luxury goods such as television sets, perfumery and the like, for the consumer market will cease buying such goods when prices are prohibitively high.

When that occurs, rates will stabilise and may well reduce, although not to the previously pertaining levels.

But the bedlam and turmoil will only end temporarily unless government, finally and belatedly, does that which is necessary to restore economic wellbeing, including a realistic devaluation of the Zimbabwe currency, positive export incentivisation, deregulation and so forth.

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

Motor industry reels under import duty hike
Stanley James

ZIMBABWE'S motor industry has started to feel the impact of government's recent 445% hike in duty payable on imported motor vehicles which has depressed demand for locally produced cars.

Responding to queries from the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Motor Trade Association of Zimbabwe president Cleophas Makoni said the tariffs increase would result in a hike in the cost of imported cars and new cars, thus depressing demand.

"The measure will increase the cost of imported used cars in the same way as that of new cars," Makoni said.

"Most dealers feel this will depress demand. On the other hand, if there is a large negative reaction to the high price of a new car, this may cause buyers to seek lower prices and favour used cars despite the increased cost."

Government recently increased the rate of exchange used for calculating value of duty on luxury goods such as vehicles from the previous rate of $55/US$1 to $300/US$1.

Makoni said the duty structure would create difficulties for the country's major vehicle assembly players, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry (WMMI) and Quest Motors Corporation, both reeling under production constraints because of difficulties in accessing hard currency to import kits.

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

Msika rapped at CFU congress
Dumisani Muleya

AGRI-SA director Jack Raath stunned Acting President Joseph Msika and ministers at the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) annual congress on Wednesday by delivering a frontal attack on government in their presence.

The South African agricultural leader, who was attending the meeting as an invited guest, seized the stage with ginger and condemned government's land reforms and economic policies.

"Mr Acting President, you have told the truth and let me tell the truth because only that way can we move forward," he said. "There is gross mismanagement of this country's economy by your government. There is confusion and destruction in the way you are dealing with this issue of land reform and this is disappointing."

Raath said he was not there to fudge issues but to tell the truth. He said hand-wringing and a timid response by the South African leadership had not helped matters.

"I also see increased racism in Zimbabwe at this point in time," he said amid muffled voices of protest by government officials, in particular Minister of State in Msika's office, Olivia Muchena.

"I must tell you this because it's what we observe," Raath continued. "We can't just ignore this and say it's not true. Some of the things happening here look crazy to us and they are not good for the region and Zimbabwe itself. We need a paradigm shift."

Raath said ill-conceived reforms like the mining reorganisation in South Africa and the ongoing land redistribution in Zimbabwe had been poorly undertaken.

"Can we afford this?" he rhetorically asked. "Are we taking the continent forward if we are doing this?"

Other government officials who had to endure Raath's broadside were acting Agriculture minister Ignatius Chombo, who was standing in for Joseph Made who was in Singapore with President Mugabe, Public Service minister July Moyo, and Mashonaland West provincial governor Peter Chanetsa.

Msika looked glum at the high table while Chombo continued scribbling notes as Raath delivered salvo after salvo.

There was a low-intensity verbal clash between government officials and CFU officials ahead of last night's midnight's deadline for thousands of farmers to vacate their land.

Restrained confrontation simmered in statements and a thread of mutual hostility ran through all the addresses.

Msika set the tone warning government would deal with defiant farmers.

"The launch of the land reform programme was met with a lot of resistance from most of you," he said. "Not only did you sensationalise a noble objective but also both politicised the programme and even internationalised it. We are aware there is a small clique amongst you (thought to be a reference to Justice for Agriculture) who are itching for continued confrontation with government. This group will only have itself to blame," he said without elaborating.

Turning to charges of racism, Msika said: "I have never been a racist and I will never be a racist. I despise racism." But only recently Msika said whites were not human beings.

CFU president Colin Cloete struck back at Msika, saying the land reform exercise was chaotic and muddled.

"Government's declared land reform policy is not in question," he said. "However, the amendment of the Land Acquisition Act and subsequent actions brought about a variety of interpretations on implementation, resulting in confusion and causing a breakdown of law and order thereby giving free rein to warlords, settlers, and other elements to take control on the ground and operate outside the laid down rules."

CFU regional executive Ben Freeth had opened the meeting with a controversial prayer, which also unsettled authorities.

Part of the prayer said: "Lord God thank you for the situation we now face. Thank you not because we enjoy being dispossessed or assaulted or because we enjoy having friends or family murdered and abandoned...but because we are being taught to learn."

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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

The land grab has destroyed Zimbabwe

I AM a Zimbabwean studying in the UK. I have a strong sense of national pride. However, seeing the news I am always seeing makes me wonder how and why Zimbabwe has sunk so low. Zimbabwe used to be referred to as the breadbasket of southern Africa. Now half of the population stands to starve because of what President Robert Mugabe says is a drought.

I have been reading the independent newspapers on the Internet for a few months (since the Herald is now just Mugabe's propaganda machine). I read them with the utmost shock and sadness. You might say that I am a whimp for saying this from here and not facing it like it is, but what choice is there? Education is unaffordable in Zimbabwe and without education there is little hope of a decent future.

This is all to blame on President Mugabe who is hoodwinking the world and blaming it all on the drought. Mugabe is trying to turn Zimbabwe into his personal property (he being king and feudal overlord over a nation of starving peasant farmers). All he ever says is that whites are enemies. Yet, though they treated black people badly and have done some terrible things, they have also built schools, clinics, and other essential services.

Mugabe himself was educated in a school built by "white enemies". Agriculture, the basis of our economy, is almost completely destroyed. That is why Zimbabwe is starving now. We pay for all our sins. The land grab has destroyed Zimbabwe. There is a Shona saying:

Nhamo yomumwe hairegererwe sadza (You can't grieve on account of another's problems). That is why we never progress. On the contrary, whites assist each other. That is why they were able to colonise Zimbabwe so successfully. You may say they had better technology but in terms of numbers, we were more than them.

I don't think that if colonialists fought one another or refused to give each other ammunition, men, or any other kind of help, they would have got anything done. Instead they put aside any differences to concentrate on colonising us.

Mugabe accuses Morgan Tsvangirai of treason simply because he wants to stamp out opposition. This is mainly to perpetrate his rule. Mugabe himself is arguably guilty of treason against the people of Zimbabwe. Rule number one in leadership is: "Everything is your fault."

In our culture old people are considered wise enough to make vital decisions. But old people are more prone to ill-health. What we need now is a young fresh mind; a strong, young person who can make quick and wise decisions. Henry IV of France once said: "France will not be successful until every Frenchman has a roast chicken on his dinner table at least every Sunday."

As a nation we are proving Ian Smith's every word right when he said: "The black majority will never rule this land. Not in a thousand years. It will be disastrous." All Zimbabweans are doing now is destroying each other. The land grab is creating more hunger, food shortages and loss of jobs than people thought it would.

It is creating more problems than it is solving. Mugabe and his cronies are looting the country dry. They are now confiscating farms and helping themselves. If we were all united, we could and would rid ourselves of this tyranny. Wake up from this nightmare Zimbabwe before it is too late.

Looking on Sadly,


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Zim Independ. 9/8/02

Memo - barren landscape
Iden Wetherell

IT will be interesting to see what the majority of farmers decide to do today after their Section 8 notice deadlines expired last night. I suspect many will go quietly. They have very simply had enough of threats and harassment.

Others will not want to risk a jail term or fine. A number have already explored the possibility of moving to Mozambique, Zambia or Uganda where their skills are more welcome than they are here. Those countries evidently need people who can grow food irrespective of their colour!

Many more will stay put. They will wait and see what government's response will be to the expiry of their final 45-day notices. Some among this group have successfully sought court orders enabling them to challenge the legality of the process. Others will stay anyway because they feel they cannot abandon their workers who have mostly remained loyal and supportive.

Then there is the livestock which needs constant attention. One of the under-reported dimensions to what government misleadingly calls land reform is the fate of farm animals and wildlife abandoned, slaughtered or cruelly mistreated.

The occupation of the Lowveld conservancies for instance has taken a terrible toll on what was a national resource - our rich diversity of game. It is reckoned by conservationists that up to 50% of animals in conservancies have been poached. Many species will be decimated by the cutting down and burning of habitat.

Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema understands perfectly well the implications of this eco-disaster for tourism and forex receipts, not to mention the transfrontier park scheme at Gonarezhou. But he is powerless against the hardliners driving President Mugabe's scorched-earth policies.

There are several NGO bodies attending to the welfare of farm workers whose fate the government evidently doesn't care much about. But the numbers are daunting. Up to 300 000 face dispossession and unless plans are made to relocate them, they will add to the tide of rural poor drifting to the towns. The food crisis - itself a product of land seizures - and the Aids pandemic will add to the misery of the rural scene where once productive farms fed the nation, earned valuable forex and employed a sizable proportion of the national workforce.

In the 1980s we understandably tended to identify commercial farmers with the ancien regime, hopelessly unreconstructed leftovers from an earlier era. But like all things, the picture soon changed. By the late 1990s a majority of farmers were no longer descendants of Victorian pioneers. They had bought their farms since Independence at the market price and many had "certificates of no interest" from government to show they had first been offered to the state as new laws required. Many farmers built clinics and schools, and their intensive conservation areas that preserved woodlands, river systems and wildlife were models of environmental care.

It must be heartbreaking for those farmers to know that the first thing many of the new occupiers did was to cut down the trees for commercial sale and kill the game. A drive through Banket, Chinhoyi and Karoi will now reveal lean-to structures and barren fields where once irrigated maize, wheat and soya beans thrived.

The great tragedy is that none of this need have happened. If the government had taken up the donors' 1998 offer to fund a properly planned land reform programme, new settlers would have acquired skills from their more experienced neighbours. Donor funds would have been available for infrastructure such as roads, clinics and schools as well as inputs.

Training in animal husbandry, seed cultivation and wildlife management would have been possible and new farmers would have been able to access loans

As it is, none of this will be forthcoming from government despite extravagant assurances of money it doesn't have. There is anyway no substitute for the transfer of skills that occurs when the inexperienced benefit from those who are regarded as among the most successful farmers in Africa.

While blame for the disaster now unfolding can be laid squarely at the door of a terminally sick and lawless regime, the role of farmers' representatives in seeking to do deals with Zanu PF officials behind closed doors is part of the problem. Those farmers' leaders who have collaborated with ruling party land-grabbers don't deserve to keep their own. As it is, the whole record of violent occupations, political retribution, and hugely damaging official orders for all agricultural activities to cease, have created a desert where there was once a lush landscape. It has also of course led to the country's pariah status. Nobody wants to be associated with a regime that has pauperised its people.

Those leaving the farms this weekend will have the nation's sympathy as will those staying. But it is those who have stood up to the bullying cowards in power who deserve our real admiration. That's what we should all be doing.

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