What makes Mugabe
White skin, that’s what. Fergal Keane deplores the shameful
silence in response to ethnic cleansing in Zimbabwe
Naomi Raaff is leaving
Africa. She was born on the continent, as were her children. But Naomi Raaff is
no longer welcome in the land of her birth. Her problem is that she is white,
and in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe this makes her an enemy of the state.
|‘Yes, I can read it all — it’s
a pretty basic code.’|
White. Not an armed rebel or a political
subversive or a hater or a killer — just white. Decent, law-abiding, kind and
hard-working but, alas, irredeemably white. In a few days’ time she will take a
plane to Britain and, with her three children, attempt to start a new life in
Hampshire — that is if she can find a job and a house.
I met her in her
comfortable bungalow in Harare as she packed the last boxes of her family
belongings. Naomi cannot afford to transport her furniture or pay the quarantine
fees for the family cat. So these are being parcelled out to friends, while the
treasured essentials — old letters, copies of her children’s school reports,
gymkhana rosettes and photographs — are carefully packed in cardboard boxes for
the journey to England.
The most cherished photograph is of Naomi and a
ruggedly handsome man in his early fifties. The picture was taken at a party and
both of them are beaming into the camera. He had been Naomi’s best friend and
lover for seven years. The man’s name is Terry Ford, and I know that I have seen
his photograph before.
But the photograph I saw — weeks before I met
Naomi — was of a brutalised and bloody corpse. The Terry Ford in the news
photographs was lying near the gate of his farm, having been battered, hacked
and shot to death by Robert Mugabe’s thugs. The night he was murdered Terry rang
Naomi in Harare to tell her that some men had tried to break into the house. He
had driven them off by firing a shot. That was the last Naomi heard from him.
The following morning a farm labourer found Terry Ford’s body. A gang of
20 men had returned and murdered him. The world paid a little bit of notice to
his death, only because Terry had a small terrier called Squeak, and the dog was
photographed pining beside the body of his dead master. Then the world resumed
its customary indifference to the terror in Zimbabwe, and Naomi Raaff decided
she could take no more.
In her view there is no room left for white
farmers in Zimbabwe. ‘It’s over,’ she told me. ‘The farmers who believe they can
stay working are deluding themselves.’ She is, of course, absolutely correct.
Now, with Mugabe and his cronies threatening to expropriate white businesses,
the days of white urban dwellers may also be coming to an end.
is becoming clearer with every passing day: the whites are to be driven out of
Zimbabwe. A despotic regime has targeted an ethnic minority and used all the
powers of state to marginalise and demonise them. It has changed the law so that
it can steal their property, unleashed militias to enforce its will, and turned
a blind eye to murder and mayhem. (When Terry Ford called the police for help
just before he was murdered, they told him their driver was asleep.)
be white is to be a target of state hatred. It is to be told that your life and
livelihood have no value. In any other context we would denounce this as racism
and ethnic cleansing, but when it comes to Zimbabwe there is a curious failure
to call things by their proper name.
The Western nations went to war in
Kosovo proudly declaring that ‘ethnic cleansing’ had no place at the end of the
20th century. No more Bosnias or Rwandas, they declared. Western forces are
deployed in the Balkans to ensure that minorities are not brutalised. The newly
inaugurated International Criminal Court has as an implicit goal the prosecution
of those who target vulnerable population groups.
So why the silence
over Robert Mugabe’s campaign against the whites? Let us consider the more
plausible rationalisation. It is undeniably the case that black Zimbabweans are
enduring far more physical suffering at Mugabe’s hands. While 3,000 farmers face
eviction, there are 250,000 farm workers who are being made destitute; the
torture and killing of Mugabe’s black enemies is on a far greater scale than
anything suffered by whites; and, unlike the mass of African peasantry, the
whites are not facing starvation. All of this is rightly condemned by the West.
The failure to recognise the ethnic cleansing of whites has old roots.
Blame it on a noxious blend of history and bigotry. In the liberal West a white
African is invariably characterised as a racist buffoon, the last vestige of a
colonial past that we would much rather forget. The whites of Zimbabwe are
spectacularly unfashionable. Cut off from Western society, they have not learnt
the arts of obfuscation and spin. They generally tend to say what they mean.
Sometimes their blunt speaking offends our more cultivated sensibilities. Most
Western liberals regard them with condescension and disdain. And as for their
dress sense! Men in shorts, women in 1950s-style floral dresses, those strange
clipped accents ...not like us, not like us at all.
People who will
happily campaign for human rights in East Timor or the Middle East start to
behave like the most rabid social Darwinists when you mention Zimbabwe’s whites.
‘Africa is a tough place and they were on top for a long time. It’s their turn
to be dominated now,’ a friend I’d previously regarded as a liberal told me.
Certainly many, but by no means all, white landowners are the
descendants of colonialists who stole African land. Some of them undoubtedly
harbour racist attitudes and, yes, there was a failure to integrate with black
Zimbabwe after independence. But set against this the enormous contribution made
to the prosperity of post-independence Zimbabwe by the white farming community,
and consider the example of people like Sir Garfield Todd, who fought the racism
of Ian Smith and now finds himself stripped of his citizenship; or a farmer like
Chris Shepard from Karoi, who ferried black torture victims to and from hospital
during the election campaign. I could cite numerous more examples of whites who
have been putting themselves in the frontline to protect the human rights of
black Zimbabweans. These are not racists but proud citizens of Zimbabwe.
Let us compare the situation to what happened in a country to the north
of Zimbabwe. When the ruling Hutu clique in Rwanda decided to destroy the Tutsi
minority, they first denounced them as foreigners and invaders (the comparison
with the language used by Mugabe’s cronies about whites is chilling). The Tutsis
had once been feudal overlords and had worked fist in glove with the colonial
administration; but did anybody in the West, or even in the rest of Africa,
suggest that the Hutu were justified in targeting the Tutsis because of history?
Like the Tutsis in Rwanda, the whites in Zimbabwe are being vilified
because of their ethnic origin. Only whites are being told that they no longer
have a place in their own country. A white who was once close to Mugabe told a
Zimbabwean friend of mine recently that Mugabe ‘positively shudders’ with
revulsion in the presence of pale skins.
He will go on shuddering until
he has rid Zimbabwe of its white population. But you won’t hear Africa’s leaders
speak up for a threatened minority, nor will the African secretary-general of
the UN, Kofi Annan, rally the international community to support the beleaguered
farmers of Matabeleland. And I would bet anything you like that we won’t hear
any of our Western leaders use the phrase ‘ethnic cleansing’. That would create
an obligation to intervene to protect the vulnerable, and, for all the fine
rhetoric, this simply will not happen.
The whites of Zimbabwe have been
abandoned. Some will try to hang on and hope that Mugabe dies of old age or is
eventually overthrown; but most will eventually be driven out, the victims of
Robert Mugabe’s racism and our indifference. As Naomi Raaff said, it’s over.
"I HAD A FARM IN (Zimbabwe) AFRICA"
The Time - Five days after the 2002
The Crime - Supporting the official opposition
party and deploying their polling agents. The Action -
The Reality - 50 B.G.B.'s (Border Gezi Boys)
advance in full formation, stoked up on mbanje and political indoctrination,
wielding their weapons of the day, sticks carefully wrapped in barbed wire.
Surround the farmer, his son and four employees in their truck, smash the
windscreen, yell abuse, threats of violence, punishment. Hail the arrival of a
Police Santana - could they hope for some sort of lawful support? How naïve,
Four men in camouflage uniform, wielding more "sophisticated
weaponry" - AK 47'
- leap out, accompanied by one of the local self styled
"war vets", and the main "man in dark glasses" all the way from Chivu. Was
there some connection with having deployed election agents in that area? "Get
out of the truck, or we will leave you to the youth". An option that could be a
serious health hazard ? So, heads down and accelerate away. (This is a
shortened version, as we all know the rhetoric and role-plays off pat by now
Ah wonderful, now the real fun begins. Money is
short now and paying the B.G.B.'s and other state sponsored thugs is no longer
an option, "so go for it boys, loot, pillage, rape, mutilate, beat, just
whatever it takes to satisfy you. Do go ahead with absolute impunity, because
after all, you are liberating the people from the shackles of freedom of speech,
freedom of association and political affiliation, from the last vestiges of hope
for a better life ..".
So get the show on the road, in the presence of the
Police and Army details, just to ensure that it is all "legal". Chase all the
farm employees and their families from their homes, steal everything they have
worked for all their lives. And don't worry about where all these now
unemployed and homeless people go - imperialist human rights organisations will
see to their welfare.
What next? The goats, yes! Commence the feeding
frenzy - kill those you can, then hamstring the rest so they remain "fresh"
while they await their turn to have their throats cut. Now for the homesteads -
oh what a prize, the irreplaceable family heirlooms and team photographs, just
too much to list.
Of course the "war vets" and senior members of the Looting
Squad get first choice and remember chaps, what you can't take unlawful
possession of, just trash. Don't forget to take all the cattle while you're at
it. Oh and by the way, quickly call in the DDF (District "development" Fund)
truck to remove irrigation pumps, motors, pipes, and don't forget to loot the
farm office, fuel, fertilizer and chemical sheds, take all the tobacco and
paprika from the sheds/barns and the lands and call it your own. Then feel free
to sell it under your new Tobacco Growers number (you did only register as a
"grower" in January 2002 ?!). Don't worry about running into any problems with
the main large-scale tobacco grower's body - they are, on their own admission,
only interested in tobacco and not who sells it or how it was acquired! And for
those disadvantaged and disillusioned ex-large scale tobacco farmers there are
wonderful opportunities in Paraguay if you can speak Spanish and you have a
large pocket full of those US dollars. Oh dear, the writers mind has strayed, a
sign of the times!
Back to the day of retribution. Report the "grand
theft" to the Police and obtain that coveted RRB number - sorry no C.R. (Crime
Register) number because it is unlikely that the upholders of misrule and
disorder will be able to open a docket as "it is political" and of course the
perpetrators and accused's are not known! And so, due to circumstances and AK
47's beyond their control, the whole farm family - numbering around 600 -
relocates and sets up home in a more user friendly environment. Now why hadn't
they noticed the "take by" date stamped on the title deeds of their farm and
lives? They, the farm family, might have left with more after 53 years of
working, building and nurturing the land, flora, and fauna and future
Well, the moral of the story (to be multiplied
by 2700 farm families, approximately 1,3 million men, women and children, by
August 6the 2002) is that the miscreants of the misruling party and their thugs
may have wantonly broken many individuals and families, financially, materially
and physically, but give credit where it is due, they must be commended for
having succeeded admirably in bonding the people of Zimbabwe in the common cause
for justice and truth, and more importantly enhancing their
So most of us will still be around when change
comes, to rebuild the country we love, with the people we love.
Rest in Peace until we meet again
HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Activist and Zimbabwe
Mother and wife of an MDC activist
(On behalf of Justice for Agriculture)
from Bindura, Mashonaland Central indicated that the Hinde
family are in the
process of being evicted from their Condwelani Farm which
is under compulsory
acquisition. Father and son and their families reside on
the farm with 60
employees and their families. The family are having to
leave for safety
reasons but are putting into the High Court an urgent
action using the Tengwe
Estates legal precedent. (It is confirmed that no
acquisition notices were
filed with Bond holders - Barclays Bank Agric
have called for a removal company to come and have been pushed
into one half
of the house whilst the militant settlers on the other half
furniture onto the lawn. Police are enroute. The governor of
Central - Minister Youth and employment Creation, Elliot Manyika
contacted and indicated that he could not address this matter until
The report from the family reads....
We are Zimbabwean
citizens, a single farm owners for the past 27 years. We
were first invaded
two and half years ago. We remained on the farm awaiting
of translocation. The officials admitted that as a
single owned farm we
should be given another farm of similar caliber and
allow the settlers from
the adjoining communal area to move onto Condwelani.
We received our
Section 8 (compulsory acquisition notice) - before the 10th
May - and have
applied for an extension to complete the tobacco grading and
harvest a 80
hectare (valued at ZD $19,2 million) wheat crop still in the
ground. We have
had receipt of a Section 7 - and are awaiting a date to
appear before the
Administrative Court to defend their case.
We have co-existed with A1
Settlers (approximately 50 in number) - since the
on-set and had not
insurmountable problems until today.
This winter we entered into an
agreement to grow wheat, which is still in
the ground, and we are also still
grading tobacco. All indicators were that
we would be permitted to continue
with these operations, but on Saturday
10th August, we experienced a work
stoppage and were ordered to leave the
farm immediately, by the settlers. We
continued to press for more time and
were given until Friday 16th August but
the pressure to leave continued.
Father - Terry (in his 60's)
Son Christopher (30's)
14th August 2002
Contact Jenni Williams on
Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978
or (+2634) 703829
Office email firstname.lastname@example.org
A member of the
International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
Q&A: Zimbabwe's land reform
August 12, 2002 Posted: 11:10
AM EDT (1510 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe has ordered white
farmers to abide by a government
deadline to leave their land under a
government land reform policy aimed at
handing the properties to landless
blacks. Adrian Lunga of the Freedom For
Zimbabwe campaign spoke to CNN.
Q. The deadline has been set and
punishment has been set as well, where do
we go from here?
situation is not about white farmers as such, it's about a
catastrophe in Zimbabwe with over one million people
(displaced), and the
white farmers are a small minority of that group.
The farming community
has been devastated by the policies of Robert Mugabe
and his regime, and that
is the sad thing.
Q. What kind of impact is this going to have on the
rest of the rest of the
southern African region?
A. It is really bad
because Zimbabwe has been turned from the bread basket
of the region into the
basket case of the region, and since it was exporting
food to Malawi, Zambia
and other neighbouring countries, those countries
will not be able to feed
their own populations, and so we have a
humanitarian disaster in the making
in southern Africa because of the
Zimbabwean situation, and the racist,
corrupt and genocidal dictatorial
regime of Robert Mugabe.
Q. So what
are you looking to the international community to do?
the international community has been slow in acting and one
of the main
things to do is tighten the targeted sanctions.
We should start banning
the spouses and children of members of Zimbabwe's
regime from entering
international countries, including the United States,
the EU and even
neighbouring African countries, as these people are being
used as the
conduits for corrupt funds that are keeping those people in
power and keeping
them comfortable. We have got to make it uncomfortable for
the regime and by
doing that we will be making a change sooner rather than
What is happening to those white farmers who have been forced to
A. As I said, the issue is really not about white farmers, over
people have been displaced by this policy, and there are only
Those people who own land should not give
up their title deeds and farmers
and farm workers should start setting up
structures to resume farming at a
later stage, but the international
community should be acting to change the
attitude of the Robert Mugabe regime
and also exerting pressure on South
Africa and other regional countries to
push Mugabe in the right direction.
Q. What has the opposition been doing
throughout all this?
A. The opposition is powerless at the moment because
we have a regime that
is using all the arms of the state to oppress any
We have no freedom of the media, no freedom of speech or of
cannot have a meeting in Zimbabwe without the approval of one
of the regime
lieutenants, and if you continue to have a meeting, they can
and stop it or even teargas the people in there.
a regime that is intent on suppressing every right of the Zimbabwean
and that is why it is very important the international community does
waste time and the next step should be closing embassies.
Resettled farmers face hunger as government fails to
8/7/02 9:45:15 AM (GMT +2)
RESETTLED farmers in Chief Chivero's area in Mhondoro have
the government for not fulfiling its promises to assist them to get
The farmers, interviewed at the weekend, said they had fallen on
Lydia Muzenda, 62, of Muzindaweshumba resettlement scheme, said
"We have nothing to eat," she
said. "We are buying a bucket of maize
at an unaffordable price of $1 000 or
more." Muzenda said she feared the
worst if they failed to secure draught
power to till their newly-acquired
land. The settlers said they had made
several vain attempts to secure maize
grain at the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB), as the government had promised to
help them with food relief until the
next harvest. Joseph Made, the Minister
of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, has repeatedly assured the
settlers that the government would
support them with farming inputs,
including seed and fertiliser. Muzenda said
when she moved to Mhondoro from
her original home in Gokwe, she sold five of
her cattle to raise money to
transport her property.
"Most of us
on this scheme don't have cattle to till the land," she
said. "We have
waited, in vain, for a long time to get the District
Development Fund tillage
tractors." Muzenda said they held monthly meetings
to discuss their problems
and possible solutions, but there was still no
positive response from the
She said the settlers had spent a lot of money
travelling to the
Chegutu GMB depot to get maize grain without success.
Nelson Takawira, 42,
of Stokesay resettlement area, said: "The rainy season
is only a few months
away but we are still to prepare our fields for
planting." "We haven't
received the promised maize seed from government," he
said. Another settler
at Zimbo, who refused to be identified, said
involved in the food aid programmes should
them help to avert starvation
which he said was now very imminent in the
area. The government has
discouraged the NGOs from distributing food unless
this is done through the
government or Zanu PF channels.
Sydney Morning Herald
PM moves to tighten screws on Zimbabwe
Skehan in Canberra and Ed O'Loughlin in Harare
August 14 2002
Prime Minister, John Howard, is set to back tougher international
against Zimbabwe, including possibly wider sanctions, in the face
continued expulsions of white farmers from their land despite
The Australian Government is also moving towards
sanctions against Zimbabwe.
considered include bans on senior members of President Robert
travelling to Australia and stopping them transferring money
to or through
Mr Howard will discuss options for further co-ordinated
with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon,
and regional leaders
at the annual Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji this
The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, also warned yesterday
stronger punishment of the Mugabe regime was urgently needed.
the chairman of the Commonwealth, Mr Howard is part of a "troika" of
including the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, and the
President, Olusegun Obasanjo, appointed to try to stem endemic
repression, violence and corruption in Zimbabwe.
Mr Howard successfully
pressed for the suspension of Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth after elections
in March, which were widely condemned as
"If we don't get
some response on what the Commonwealth troika decided
earlier this year from
Zimbabwe, then countries like Australia have no
alternative other than to
look at some action on the sanctions front," Mr
Howard said on July
A spokesman for Mr Howard said yesterday Zimbabwe had "not made a
attempt to respond to the Commonwealth's concerns".
that as well as talking to Mr McKinnon, Mr Howard planned talks on
"on the fringes" of the Pacific forum in the Fijian capital, Suva.
the Pacific nations are members of the Commonwealth.
In Zimbabwe, critics
of Mr Mugabe have reacted coolly to a key speech which
has added further
confusion to his Government's already chaotic land reform
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that despite
aggressive anti-white and anti-Western sentiments, Mr Mugabe's speech
mark the country's Heroes' Day on Monday failed to clarify the fate of
2000 white farmers still defying an August 9 deadline for them to quit
homes and land.
Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for the farmers'
defence group, Justice for
Agriculture, said the omission was "a change from
what we usually expect
from him, so we take some heart from that. But the
problem is we get
messages in messages and we never know exactly what it
The MDC's economics spokesman, Eddie Cross, said that while Mr
repeated his insistence that black settlers who wanted to farm should
white land before the end of this month, he had made no mention of
already-expired deadline for white farmers to leave.
But Mr Cross
dismissed international reports suggesting that Mr Mugabe had
concession when he said in the speech that confiscations would only
farmers with more than one farm and that no co-operative white farmer
be left without land.
"I think the statement that no farmer will be left
without land is mainly
aimed at an external audience and those African
leaders who find it
convenient to believe that what's going on here is a good
thing," he said.
This story was found at:
Call for UN force to stop starvation
OPPOSITION leaders in Zimbabwe are demanding armed intervention
by a United
Nations force to prevent mass starvation.
They want British
troops, as part of the multinational force, to stop food
aid being seized by
the Zimbabwean authorities to give to supporters of
Roy Bennett, an MP with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
who was in
London yesterday, said that food shortages could trigger
“We need the UN to intervene immediately to
stop a mass slaughter,” he said.
“Britain has an obligation to be part of
that force, but so far it’s been
spineless in the face that all Mugabe has
“Mr Blair sends troops to the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan
of intervening in Iraq, so why turn your back on Zimbabwe, where
dying?” Mr Bennett predicted that without outside intervention,
be bloodshed within weeks in cities and towns.
mistake, the security forces that are part of Mugabe’s gravy train
their guns on their own people,” he said.
The West and the United Nations
had a responsibility to intervene, even if
it meant casualties. “If you don’t
do something quick, people are going to
die in their thousands,” Mr Bennett
“Mugabe is using food as a weapon, which is just as evil as
is doing to his people.”
Yesterday the UN gave warning
that six million Zimbabweans faced hunger as
Mr Mugabe insisted that white
farmers should leave their land before the
planting season. Judith Lewis, the
UN World Food Programme’s director for
East and Southern Africa, said: “At
least half of the people in Zimbabwe
will need some sort of food assistance.
Cases of malnutrition are
The MDC is trying to lobby
support in Canada, the United States and Britain
for a United Nations
Mr Bennett said: “Britain has an obligation, which it has so
His farm, Charleswood in Chimanimani, has been occupied
several times over
the past two years by gunmen.
When a gang invaded
in May 2000, they grabbed his pregnant wife, Heather,
held a machete to her
throat and forced her to chant slogans praising Mr
Mugabe. She lost the baby
she was expecting. The gunmen looted the house,
stole guns and cash,
slaughtered livestock and emptied the urn containing
his father’s ashes.
Since then Mr Bennett, 45, has received death threats,
but he refuses to
leave his farm or his country.
MDC leaders will urge Mr Blair and the
contingent of British ministers
attending the Earth Summit in South Africa to
raise Zimbabwe’s plight.
“They are supposed to be stopping the earth’s
destruction; well look next
door and start with Zimbabwe. Sanctions don’t
hurt Mugabe and his cronies.
Our neighbours, South Africa and the rest, won’t
act, so the UN must.”
Mr Bennett’s condemnation came hours after Peter
Hain, the Foreign Office
Minister, said that Britain was doing all it could
to support those fleeing
Zimbabwe. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“They are entitled to get a
job. They are entitled to all sorts of rights and
they are able to claim
those rights. That is a different category from those
who are not British
citizens and are seeking asylum.”
He added: “I
don’t think we should turn what is a failure of leadership in
some kind of criticism of reception facilities here.”
He said he knew
nothing about reports that the Prince of Wales had written
to Mr Blair over
his concerns that farmers were facing difficulties in
claiming benefits and
getting work in Britain.
President Mugabe said yesterday that he
would withdraw troops from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, after a peace
deal last month between Congo
and Rwanda aimed at ending the four-year
conflict.Mr Mugabe, who has been
accused of using the war to make money from
Congo’s gold, diamond and copper
resources, said that his forces had
protected vital Zimbabwean interests in
Congo, particularly its electricity
supply. There was nothing sinister or
extraordinary about the deployment of
troops, he said.
Should Britain or the UN intervene in
E-mail your views to email@example.com
August 14, 2002
Armed gangs fire
at white farmers
By Daniel McGrory
White Zimbabwean farmers facing eviction yesterday reported
by armed gangs.
Five farmers in the southeast of the country left
after they were told by armed police and troops that they were
President Mugabe's deadline for vacating their
The Justice for Agriculture group, which is calling for
evictions to be challenged in court, said that a gang of "war veterans"
fired a gun at a farmer and his workforce in the Banket area, 60
northwest of Harare, the capital.
At a farm just
outside Harare, a black manager employed by a
white farmer was assaulted by
militants. Armed gangs with scores of
supporters tried to force the occupants
of three neighbouring farms to
leaders were hoping, however, that a speech on
Monday by Mr Mugabe, in which
he said that no white farmer would be left
landless, signalled that he was in
a more conciliatory mood.
Crean wants Govt to take tougher stance on
The Federal Opposition is urging the Government to support
international action against Zimbabwe.
The Prime Minister
heads a group of three leaders, which decided to suspend
Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth after its government was re-elected in
circumstances in March.
John Howard will discuss the continuing turmoil
in Zimbabwe with the
secretary general of the Commonwealth and the New
Zealand Prime Minister
Helen Clark, during the Pacific Islands forum in Fiji
The Opposition leader, Simon Crean, has told Channel Seven the
Minister has his support for tougher measures, including
"We've been calling for that some time," he said.
should have taken a stronger lead when he chaired the CHOGM meeting here
February and March earlier this year.
"(He) should have taken a stronger
lead to have that, and the issue of
sanctions, on the agenda.
finally catching up, let's hope he has the courage of his convictions
Ancram condemns Labour's Zimbabwe 'failure'
The Government was accused yesterday of
"complacency" over the plight of
people fleeing Zimbabwe after a Foreign
Office minister rejected criticism
that refugees were meeting bureaucratic
obstacles in Britain.
Michael Ancram, Conservative foreign affairs
spokesman, made the charge
after Peter Hain, Europe minister, said that
Britain was doing all it could
to support people forced out of Zimbabwe by
Robert Mugabe's land-grab
The Prince of Wales has written to
Tony Blair voicing concern that white
farmers arriving in Britain after being
thrown off their land by the Mugabe
regime were facing difficulties claiming
benefits, getting work and finding
schools for their children.
told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Those coming as citizens
because they are British, to settle here, go through the same
every other British citizen would go through."
Mr Hain said they were in
a different category from those who were not
British citizens and were
Mr Hain dismissed Tory claims that the Government was
Zimbabwe as "bluster". He said Britain had been at the
forefront of moves to
impose sanctions on the central African state and
suspend it from the
Mr Hain compared Mr Mugabe to the
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the
former Serbian leader Slobodan
Milosevic. "One of the problems with
dictators like Mugabe - and we saw it
with Milosevic before and we see it
with Saddam Hussein - is that they take
no notice of international opinion,"
Mr Ancram, who will have
talks in London today with Zimbabwean opponents of
Mr Mugabe's regime, said
Mr Hain's comments amounted to "hand-wringing mixed
with complacency and a
total failure to face up to the situation".
Editorial: Mugabe's madness / Starving his people, begging
Published Aug 14, 2002 ED14A
What will it
take to silence Robert Mugabe, president and persecutor of
Impervious to conscience and world scorn, this one-time freedom
disgraces himself with nearly every utterance. Speaking at Rome's
summit earlier this summer, he defended his government's
white-owned farms -- and then begged for aid to avert the
That lightning didn't strike then and there seems a
seems to be nothing this man won't say. This past Monday in Harare he
his pledge to tear 3,000 white farmers from their fields by month's
reason? In Zimbabwe, he said, "There is no room for
This should be consoling to Zimbabwe's 12
million citizens, now in the grip
of the worst famine in decades. "Rapacious
supremacist" (or, as ordinary
folk might say, "greedy swellhead") perfectly
describes their president. A
mercenary and boastful election-stealer, he has
turned one of Africa's
greatest hopes into a horror story. It takes a lot of
chutzpah to savage a
nation's cropland and then whine to the world about it.
Nervier yet is
Mugabe's frequent assertion that seizing farms will improve
The claim is pure nonsense. The violence
aimed at Zimbabwe's white farmers
has caused horrible agricultural upheaval
at the height of a harrowing
famine. As many as 13 million people throughout
southern Africa -- half of
them in Zimbabwe -- face starvation by February.
Many will die because
Mugabe has exacerbated the region's food scarcity
instead of scrambling to
minimize it. Zimbabwe's food production has dropped
75 percent in the three
years since Mugabe launched his harassment campaign
against white farmers.
Its economy is expected to shrink by more than a tenth
this year -- one of
the worst records in the world. And though international
groups are trying
to help, evidence suggests that Mugabe is diverting food
aid from his
opponents into the mouths of his own followers -- the same
Mugabe's rhetoric to the contrary, this is
not a black vs. white fight. It's
a life vs. death fight. Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai said it well
this week: "Zimbabwe is currently suffering
under the effects of Mugabe's
dictatorship," he said, "with millions facing
death from disease, starvation
and state-sponsored violence."
no question that nations like Zimbabwe and South Africa, where
still held in a few white hands, must find ways to move toward
ownership. Even Mugabe's fiercest foes grant the point. But
country's agricultural foundation, as Mugabe has done, is no
way to bring
about justice. Starving a nation serves no noble populist end.
Zimbabwe has no room for avaricious thugs, it certainly has no room
Mugabe. His claim that he's thinking only of his country's future
preposterous. Indeed, it would be laughable -- but for the graves his
Sunday Times (SA)
Botswana rejects Zimbabwe farmers
Botswana has told white farmers fleeing Zimbabwe they are free to
partnerships with local farmers but there is no government policy
encourage them to come to Botswana nor can they expect special
A group of 17 Zimbabwe farmers and businessmen met with the
Ministry of Agriculture on August 1, the permanent secretary in
ministry, Masego Mphathi, confirmed.
"They came here to see if
there were opportunities for them to settle and
farm here," Mphathi
"The constraint is land, we do not have any to allocate to
"Some of them broached the idea of partnerships. If our farmers are
to do that, it is a personal issue and no one can stop
Land in Botswana is either the property of tribal authorities or
control of state land boards.
The government was not
thinking of offering the Zimbabweans any assistance
to farm in
Mphathi said: "We were merely answering the questions they put
"We are not recruiting them as foreign investors. They came under
initiative and at their own expense. We had no alternative but to
Botswana is prone to drought. Its agriculture is
flagging and since 1974 has
rapidly given way to diamonds as the revenue
earner for the country.
Two areas where the Zimbabweans might be able to
form partnerships with
Batswana farmers are in the Pandamatenga and Tuli
Block areas of Botswana.
Pandamatenga is on the top north eastern border
with Zimbabwe, and the Tuli
Block farther down the east side of Botswana,
bordering South Africa.
"But there are only about 4000 hectares
unallocated in Pandamatenga,"
"The Zimbabweans were
talking of large scale commercial farming and
according to them that would be
enough only for one farm. We suggested they
try and form partnerships with
farmers in the Tuli Block."
Pandamatenga meanwhile is an arid area, with
Crops are sorghum, sunflowers and
cotton, potentially profitable only as the
result of newly introduced dryland
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ON UMBONO RANCH
Although many cruel tactics are being used on many commercial farms in
Zimbabwe to force the farmers to give up their farms “voluntarily”, the below is
just one illustration of some of what has happened on one property.
Umbono Ranch is a long narrow ranch of 5341ha, and is situated in
agricultural region V, in the Mwenezi District of Masvingo. Its sole water
supply is through a 13km pipeline, which transports water from a weir on the
Mwenezi River. Underground water is extremely poor, low yielding and generally
unhygienic and unpalatable. Receiving only 300mm of rainfall per year it is best
suited for cattle ranching and wildlife.
From as early as 1992 Government has shown interest in acquiring this
ranch, which is the only property, home or business owned by the occupant. In
April 1993 Umbono received its first Designation Notice and has been regularly
receiving Acquisition Notices ever since. The apparent reason for acquisition
was because of the soil type, which was indicated as highly suitable for
irrigation on an old CONEX map. This was regardless of the fact that the
Government’s Development Trust of Zimbabwe owns the over 336,000ha Nuanetsi
Ranch, which runs on three sides of Umbono, and has the same soil types. To date
no legal transfer of land has occurred, not has any compensation been discussed,
offered or paid. Although the owner is still in occupation he has extremely
limited usage of the farm as it has been settled by the Government under the
intensive A1 model under the “fast-track”.
When the owner bought the property in 1982 there was a limited number of
wildlife, but after careful management and with a sustainable off-take the
numbers soon increased. Game fencing of the property was almost completed
(before the invasions), a camp had been built and animals were sold to
registered safari operators who brought in foreign clients. A limited quota was
also taken off to sell as a cheap source of protein for the local community, to
curb poaching. Whilst water was supplied to game through the cattle water
troughs, water was also pumped to three natural pans to encourage and sustain
Over two years ago when the political farm occupations were encouraged the
occupants on Umbono first settled around the water points. Apart from their
indiscriminate poaching activities they denied the wildlife access to the water.
Umbono has been a traditional breeding ground for over 300 Eland cows, which
were calving at the time of the first occupations. Since the occupation of
Umbono it is feared that most of the wildlife died of thirst during those early
days of the occupation. The rest of the numerous herds of giraffe, wildebeest,
kudu, warthog, impala and zebra have been poached, as well as the destruction
and wounding of the bird life with catapults. Umbono was home to the following,
very little of which is still alive today: -
450 Eland 150 Giraffe 150 Wildebeest 250 Impala
90 Kudu 30 Zebra 60 Bushbuck 50 Duiker
50 Stembuck 15 Cheetah 5 Leopard 200 Warthog
pig 60 Jackal 20 Aardvark 20 Aardwolf
20 Bat-eared Fox 30 Cape
Wild Cats 5 Hippo
Plus Pangolins, Genets, Caraculs, Mongooses, Honey Badgers, Porcupines,
Bush Babies and numerous bird and reptile species including Crocodiles.
Intensive resettlement under the A1 “fast-track” scheme is a threat to all
forms of wildlife. The continual movement of people, uncontrolled dogs and fires
is not conducive to the existence of wildlife. The continual slow deaths and
maiming of wildlife through snaring, not to mention the savage injuries from
dogs and wounding with spears and arrows is a horror in itself. This should not
be allowed to continue.
During the owners 20-year occupation on Umbono Ranch he has never had a
single fore, yet since the settler occupation the air is continually a haze of
smoke. Considering the length of the current dry period, compounded with the
predictions of a drought next season, serious environmental damage has resulted
from the malicious fires.
The starvation of the surviving game and in particular the baboon
population already indicates this. They are becoming braver every day and even
entering houses in search of food. A lot of their natural diet of berries is
either being eaten by the starving settlers or just burned in the numerous
fires. Although there is no chance of dryland crops being grown in this arid
area (and therefore not being raided by baboons) one does not know how far the
baboons will go in their panic to find food.
The settler’s cattle are daily being brought down to the weir to drink. The
wildlife has also concentrated there for shelter, where it is being
indiscriminately snared and chased by dogs. The fish in the weir itself is being
severely netted out.
At the time of the first Designation the owner ran a herd of 1100 head of
cattle – half of which were on another farm where he was able to lease grazing.
This soon changed with the 1993 drought, combined with the caveat, which was
placed on the owner’s title deeds, which denied their use as security for a bank
overdraft. Subsequently the owner was forced to sell all his livestock to repay
Today only 20 of his valuable herd remain. To survive grazing was leased
out, but with the invasions the lessee bailed out as soon as the settlers
applied pressure. This act in itself was a de facto surrender of the farm.
However, some of the settlers were opposed to this because they fully realised
that their water would no longer be pumped in fact meetings were held with the
owner to request him to pump water for them. He explained that pumping would
cost $20,000 per month and as he had no income he could no longer pay. If they
could pay he would continue, but no payment has ever been received and therefore
the pumping has ceased.
At the beginning of the invasions the owner was given a verbal agreement
that his homestead area consisting of four very small paddocks, totalling about
200ha, would be left for him. This has never been honoured and in fact
completely to the contrary with the area being maliciously overgrazed by
With no available water on the farm the settlers obtain water from
neighbouring Nuanetsi Ranch and Moria Ranch and the Mwenezi River. Those who
water in the river are responsible for overgrazing the homestead area where 500
of the owner’s sheep are run. Most of the cattle belong to wealthy businessmen,
civil servants, politicians and NRZ senior employees. They employ herders for as
little as $800 per month. Obviously those employees cannot survive on these
pathetic wages, so they poach and fish in order to feed themselves. For
convenience they leave their herds in the overgrazed areas near the homestead
Appeals for the protection of the owner’s grazing have fallen on deaf ears,
resulting in both sheep and cattle dying and aborting from poverty. So far over
50 sheep and 3 head of cattle have died with lambs also starving to death from
lack of milk. There is no doubt that the starvation of the livestock on Umbono
is a malicious and cruel tactic being used in an attempt to force the owner from
The owner does not have sufficient capital to buy feed for his dying
livestock, but is supplementing with low protein cane tops from a neighbour
whilst desperately trying to develop irrigated pastures. Although these pastures
are game fences as well as individually fenced there is huge competition from
the wildlife as they are trying to seek refuge, (and food) from the settlers and
Most of the available grazing areas as well as half the ranch have been
burned. Some of the fires are runaway fires from people clearing lands to
hopefully plant dryland crops. Being a marginal rainfall area this is a waste of
natural resources and habitat because this area is unsuitable for dryland
cropping due to the low and erratic rainfall. The other cause is from the
poachers. Some light fires to smoked the poached meat, which often run away, and
others try to burn out wounded game from ant bear holes where they have sought
refuge. Te settlers have never once tried to save the grazing by assisting to
fight the fires.
The indiscriminate unsustainable poaching and snaring of wildlife holds no
bounds and often domestic animals like horses are snared, maimed or even killed.
On Umbono the owner’s daughter’s 3 horses have also become victims. Initially
the all ran away from the chopping, burning and harassment by people and their
dogs, but the two foals returned without their mother. The only available food
they have found is around the Government complex, as there is no food for them
on Umbono. These horses, which are untrained, have become a bone of contention
in the village as they raid gardens in order to survive. One was recently caught
in a snare and it took many weeks before the broken snare could be removed from
the frightened animals neck, and eventually treated.
Where do these animals go now and what do we do with them now that they
have become unwilling victims of a brutal and cruel political campaign? Caught
up in this ruthless campaign are many thousands of animals that are being
condemned either to a cruel death (genocide) or starvation. What have they done
to deserve such a fate?
On Umbono some 500 sheep, 20 head of cattle, numerous surviving wildlife
and 2 horses are destined to die from a cruel slow death of starvation unless a
solution is hastily found.
When considering the recovery of the environment it will take many years
for this to fully recover. Sadly, although the grasses and shrubs may recover
after a few years the majestic hardwoods and other trees, which have been
reduced to ash, will never recover in our lifetime.
As a long term result of this vicious desperate political campaign the
destruction of commercial agriculture will seriously affect the food supply in
the country, which could result in unnecessary malnutrition of its innocent
people as well.
Take the commercial beef industry as an example. Although this herd was 20%
of the national herd it supplied over 60% of beef for local sales and 90% of
meat for export to the lucrative overseas markets. This herd has been reduced in
size by nearly 60%, mainly through the slaughter of the very core and future of
the industry in the form of the breeding cows.
The remaining part of the herd has been driven into small corners of the
farms and is presently being starved off as has been described above and many
surviving females have aborted due to malnutrition. The genetic material, which
has taken generations to improve, is being lost through the abattoirs, and in
many cases will never be able to be replaced. This is particularly in the local
breeds of the Inguni, Mashona and Tuli.
The off-take from the communal
herd is only between 1 and 2% per annum as the ownership is extremely complex
being widely distributed between numerous family members and spiritual totems.
Subsequently beef supplies will be minimal in the future, and sold at a luxury
price, which many people will simply be unable to afford.
One senior director in the government service has been quoted as saying
that there may be a need to reduce agriculture to completely zero if they are to
be able to impose a change. Does this man think that a commercial cattle
operation can be re-established overnight? It will take at least 15 years of
dedicated breeding in a stable environment!
Can this country really afford just to sit back and watch generations of
work and development being destroyed and just swept under the carpet, when
commercial agriculture plays such an important part in food production for a
very large portion of southern Africa? Can we afford to have these established
and productive farmers simply replaced by people who are traditionally
subsistence farmers? Who will supply the markets?
Our country is facing famine, starvation and the possibility of another
drought yet the rhetoric of a political few is drowning out the hunger cries of
What will we tell them in the future – if they are among the lucky few to
22 July 2002
The National Co-ordinator,
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AS AN INTIMIDATORY POLITICAL TACTIC
As you have been made aware through my voluminous correspondence to the
authorities our livestock and domestic animals continue to bear the brunt of a
cruel brutal political tactic.
Whilst the CFU has long ago realized the necessity for transparent and
lawful land reform in Zimbabwe all our overtures have been disregarded in
apparent favour of the politically preferred revolutionary method. During the
past few years neither the CFU nor individual farmers have been able to come to
any mutual agreement, which has ever been respected. Every offer or promise of
land has been dishonoured either by the Government or the individuals settled on
Although we have bent over backwards to assist with a sustainable land
reform programme it has become obvious that this is not on the agenda of the
Third Chemurenga. Instead we are just pawns in a political ideology which is
being forced on the people of Zimbabwe where retribution for perceived political
affiliation appears to be at the forefront. During this political campaign the
laws have been changed; laws have been disregarded or even altered to suit the
unsavoury purpose of their agenda. Tragically racialism is also being used as a
Being situated in Region III, IV and V, which are marginal rainfall and
drought prone areas our main commodities here are cattle and wildlife. In order
to force farmers into bankruptcy and to move them off their farms their sole
source of income either from their livestock or wildlife has been brutally
attacked. The cruelty of the political antagonists holds no bounds. The
livestock have been butchered, stolen, burned, snared, slashed and worst of all
starved. Whilst the legitimate owners livestock are starving or dying or
aborting from malnutrition, the settlers’ livestock are thriving and fattening
off the owners prime grazing from which the owner has been denied.
The horrors of this cruel starvation tactic have to be seen to get a
realistic and graphic idea of what is happening. Although we have received some
co-operation as far as the release of cattle being confined into pens is
concerned, the real problem is that of destruction and denial of grazing.
Thousands of cattle from communal areas are being forced onto already overgrazed
properties and uncontrolled indiscriminate cutting and burning of browse and
grazing continues unabated. Veterinary legislation has also been openly flouted
which has resulted in the loss of our lucrative overseas markets.
The legal acquisition process has been perverted by recent controversial
legislation. Whereas an acquisition of a property could only occur after
confirmation by the courts the process has been reversed. The farmers are being
forced off their properties within 90 days of receipt of a Section 8, which is
before the acquisition has been confirmed. This confirmation could take years
and in the mean time he is denied his home, his business and in most cases his
only form of income. If the confirmation of the acquisition is denied to the
Government, who is then eligible for the payment of compensation, for damages
and loss of income?
In the case of a cattle or wildlife property his entire herd would be non
existent by that time as there would be nobody to care for them.
As a result of the tactics used towards the wild and domestic animals in
this political campaign the nation is facing the complete loss of both the
commercial cattle and wildlife industries.
I therefore beg you and your staff to use both your influence and legal
options to convince the authorities to rein in this cruel destruction of our
national herds. Our difficult position is that where we complain to the
authorities we rather tend to expose a perceived weakness, which is later
capitalised on and exploited as part of the intimidation.
May I take this opportunity of both paying tribute to you and your staff
and to express the appreciation of what you have done in a most diplomatic and
non-racial manner in the interests of the humane treatment of the silent
Zim journos escape under barrage of stones
Harare - Two
journalists escaped from a farm in northern Zimbabwe Wednesday,
pro-government militants had trapped them inside for about five hours,
farming official said.
Precious Shumba of the Daily News and Peta
Thornycroft of Britain's Daily
Telegraph fled the farm, where the militants
were trying to forcibly evict
the white owners, said Jenni Williams,
spokesperson for the Justice for
Agriculture advocacy group.
for fear of their lives that they stayed in, hoping that the police
escort them to safety," Williams said.
The militants had surrounded the
house where farmer Terry Hinde and his
family had barricaded themselves
inside for safety, even as the militants
were breaking windows and trying to
The journalists had been trapped inside with the Hindes, whose
land has been
targetted for acquisition by President Robert Mugabe's
government under a
controversial programme to redistribute land held by
minority whites to
The Hinde family was packing
their belongings and trying to leave their home
of 27 years before dark,
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he had no
details on the incident
in the northern district of Bindura.
at the Daily News, Bill Saidi, said the militants had accused
writing lies about the land reform scheme.
The Hinde family plans to
challenge their eviction in court, Williams said,
following a precedent set
last week when the High Court said farms under
mortage could not be resettled
until the bank was notified. - Sapa-AFP
Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 18:55
GMT 19:55 UK
White farmers under siege in Zimbabwe
Many white farms have been invaded since
Tension has been mounting in Zimbabwe as pro-government
militants attempted to force defiant farmers to honour a government eviction
order that expired last week.
||Zimbabwe's land reform
2000: 4,000 whites own 70% of prime land
1890-1980: Black peasants were moved to less fertile areas during the
March 2000: "War veterans" occupy white-owned farms
2000-2002: Several white farmers and black workers killed during
9 August 2002: 3,000 white farmers must leave their homes
A white farmer become the first to be evicted from his property after a group
of militants seized his farm north of the capital, Harare.
In a separate incident, another farmer returned to her property in the
eastern district of Marondera after spending a few days away and found squatters
An estimated 2,900 white farmers should have left their houses by midnight
last Thursday, according to a recently passed law.
But most of them are reported to have stayed put, waiting to see what action
would be taken against them.
Earlier on Wednesday, supporters of President Robert Mugabe moved the
furniture of one family on to the lawn in Bindura, which is an area of strong
support for Mr Mugabe and his centrepiece policy of redistributing land from
white to blacks.
A member of family, Christopher Hinde, told BBC's Focus on Africa programme
that police were called to the farm but did not intervene.
"Settlers surrounded our house from 0700, ranting and raging, and were there
for five hours."
In the eastern district of Marondera, Hazel Thornhill returned to her farm on
Wednesday to find it occupied by militants after she had left over the weekend
for safety reasons.
In southeast Zimbabwe, five farmers left their land early on Tuesday after
local officials, police and soldiers warned them that they were violating the
eviction orders, the Associated Press news agency reported.
In another incident, a farm owner and his workers in the Banket tobacco and
corn district were shot at by a militant in an effort to drive them away, a
farmers representative said.
Four other farmers were said to be under pressure from militants to leave.
The farming group, Justice for Agriculture, says the farmers would make an
urgent appeal to the courts.
The group's spokesperson, Jenni Williams, said some of the farmers were
leaving "for safety reasons".
Last week, a High Court ruled that farms which were mortgaged could not be
acquired unless the bank had been informed.
On Monday, Mr Mugabe repeated that all farmers must leave this month, so that
black farmers could move in and prepare the land before the rainy season begins
Foreign donors say the land reform programme has contributed to Zimbabwe's
Up to half of the population - six million people - need food aid this year,
aid agencies say.
Since March 2000, many white-owned farms have been occupied by government
Eleven white farmers have been killed, along with an unknown number of their
The disruption to farming has dramatically cut production of the staple food,
maize, and Zimbabwe's major export - tobacco.
Zimbabwe farmers ponder move as land crisis
HARARE, Aug. 14 - Zimbabwe's white farmers are exploring
opportunities in neighbouring countries after President Robert Mugabe
to press on with the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for
Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia are being
eyed as possible
destinations if Mugabe goes through with his order to 2,900
vacate their properties to make way for landless black settlers,
''Farming is a business and the white
farmers would have to seek a
place to continue what they know best,'' Jenni
Williams, spokeswoman for a
newly-formed pressure group, Justice for
Agriculture (JAG), said on
''They are looking at
regional options because most want to remain
nearer home in the hope that
they can return one day,'' she told Reuters.
Farming officials believe
nearly two thirds of the 2,900 farmers
targeted by the government's eviction
orders have ignored the deadline,
hoping for a reprieve from the courts or
from Mugabe himself.
But Mugabe said this week the farmers must comply
with the state's
midnight August 8 deadline to surrender their
On Wednesday, black militants began evicting a white farmer
land in northeastern Zimbabwe, the first incident since the
eviction order expired last week.
Regional reaction to the prospect of an influx of white
farmers has been mixed.
Botswana has told white farmers
that they are free to form
partnerships with their neighbouring counterparts.
But there is no official
policy to encourage them to relocate and they can
expect no special help.
Masego Mphathi, a senior Agriculture Ministry
official, said 17
Zimbabwean farmers and businessmen had met ministry
officials on Tuesday to
discuss opportunities for them to settle and farm in
the mainly desert
''The constraint is land. We do not have
any to allocate to them.
Some of them broached the idea of partnerships. If
our farmers are willing
to do that, it is a personal issue and no one can
stop them,'' Mphathi said.
''We are not recruiting them as foreign
investors. They came under
their own initiative and at their own expense. We
had no alternative but to
talk to them,'' he added.
drought-prone Botswana, land is either the property of tribal
under the control of state land boards. Agriculture has given
way to diamonds
as the country's main source of revenue.
Zambia's state investment agency said it had received dozens of
inquiries from farmers in its southern neighbour. Zambia has
million hectares of arable but unutilised land.
Zimbabwean farmers are
attracted to Zambia's five big rivers, three
large lakes, inland streams and
dams that offer adequate water for
agriculture even during a drought
''The inquiries are spread across beef and dairy farming and
and tobacco production. There are also possibilities of farmers looking
coffee opportunities,'' an official from the investment agency told
She said the immediate problem appeared to be a lack of
investment, because most farmers have seen their resources
two years of wrangling with the Zimbabwean government over
Zambia wants to boost farming in a bid to diversify away
troubled economic mainstay, copper mining.
of committed commercial farmers will boost the
agriculture option. Financing
opportunities will be discussed with the
European Union and other foreign
lenders,'' she said.
Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana said the
resettlement of white
farmers in Zambia was a sensitive subject that could
only be addressed by
President Levy Mwanawasa, who was on vacation and
unlikely to comment before
In Mozambique, officials said
they have been in talks for the past
three years with about 150 Zimbabwean
commercial farmers seeking to acquire
440,000 hectares of land.
Jose da Grada, director of agriculture in the central province of
said about 60 farmers so far had been granted 1,000 hectares each.
''The land is available for any investor, but we have no plans to
massive land requests,'' Grada said.
(Additional reporting by Shapi
Shacinda in Lusaka, Barry Baxter in
Gaborone, and Charles Mangwiro in
Mugabe scuttles farmers' hope
8:46:17 AM (GMT +2)
President Robert Mugabe dashed the
hopes of thousands of white farmers
on Monday, saying those ordered off their
properties by his land reform
programme must surrender them without delay to
"We set ourselves an August deadline for the
redistribution of land
and that deadline stands," Mugabe said in a televised
address during the
funeral for former finance minister Dr Bernard Chidzero,
at Heroes' Acre.
Mugabe's government had ordered 2 900 of the
remaining 4 500 white
commercial farmers to quit their land without
compensation by midnight last
Thursday, 8 August.
have caused upheavals at a time when Zimbabwe is facing
"We, the principled people of Zimbabwe; we, the true
owners of this
land, shall not budge. We shall not be deterred on this one
vital issue, the
land," Mugabe told about 20 000 supporters.
did not say what would happen to the farmers defying the
Farming sources estimate about 60 percent of
farmers targeted in the
action are defying eviction orders and hoping for a
reprieve from the
country's courts or from Mugabe.
Williams, spokeswoman for the Justice for Agriculture pressure
she was disappointed with Mugabe's speech.
"The reprieve expected
from the speech did not show. It is unfortunate
that, coming from Mugabe's
side, there has been no acceptance of
responsibility (for the food crisis),"
"We as farmers accept that land must be redistributed,
but we do feel
our political leaders must understand that in land reform you
compromise production or you will have starving Zimbabweans," she
Aid agencies predict that up to 13 million people in six
African countries face starvation by February as a result of drought
political mismanagement. About half of them are in Zimbabwe.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Mugabe's
just a "promissory note" for more misery.
"Mugabe fails to connect
with the primary concerns of the people of
Zimbabwe which are food, jobs,
health and an end to poverty. He instead
concerns himself primarily with
rhetorical nationalism," MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said in a
"In fact Zimbabwe is now a country where everything is
in short supply
except misery, starvation and death," he said.
Colin Cloete, president of the Commercial Farmers' Union, said it
Mugabe had toned down his rhetoric but that his message on
Cloete and other farm sources said they were
confused by Mugabe's
comment that no farmer would be left landless, adding
that many had been
ordered to surrender all their land.
said he was pursuing a "one farmer, one farm policy" with a
"well-meaning white farmers who wish to pursue a farming career as
citizens of this country".
Vernon Nicolle, one of the farmers
resisting eviction, said Mugabe had
not sent a clear message to farmers or to
the self-styled war veterans
waiting to take over abandoned
"I know of a big percentage of farmers who have left their
have been forced to evacuate or who have been physically pushed
farms, who had only one farm."
Mugabe did not say what his
government would do about the farmers
defying last week's deadline, but he
warned against a white resistance
In an apparent
reference to court challenges and possibly to defiant
white farmers, Mugabe
said: "We brook no impediment and we will certainly
suffer no avoidable
Eleven white farmers have been killed since the land
began with violent invasions by so-called war veterans early
in 2000, some
in possible robberies fuelled by a climate of lawlessness and
direct clashes with militants.
Hundreds of black farm
workers have been beaten and an unknown number
have died at the hands of the
war veterans, many of them too young to have
fought for the liberation of the
former Rhodesia in the 1970s, enforcing the
Mugabe, who led the country to independence from Britain in 1980,
tribute to the war veterans and said even those too young to have
with his guerrilla forces were entitled to be called war veterans. -
Ex-Zipra members urge farmers to stay put
8/14/02 8:44:19 AM (GMT +2)
From Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu in
A GROUP of former Zipra war veterans are urging white
farmers to remain on their farms and resist eviction saying the
eviction order is against their constitutional right to the
Four officials of the
Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Forum Leonard Mhlanga,
the public relations
officer, Volta Siwela the secretary-general, Moses Moyo
and Max Mnkandla,
told The Daily News in Bulawayo on Monday that it was
remove the farmers from their homes.
Mhlanga, said it was against
natural justice to force people to leave
their homes because of the colour of
"Many of these farmers were born in this country, and
their farms are
their only homes. We are not against the government's land
policy, but the unjust way it is being carried
He said Zipra did not fight the independence war to replace
oppressive racialist white government with a racialist black
"That's not what we fought for, and in Matabeleland we are not
with the system used by the government in the allocation of
Mhlanga said in 1980 when Zimbabwe became independent,
announced a policy of reconciliation by which people of all races
in harmony irrespective of their racial or tribal
He said the liberation struggle was against a system and
particular racial groups.
"Joshua Nkomo said we were
fighting against a system and not against
white people, and that in a
liberated Zimbabwe black people should live
peacefully with white or Indian
or Coloured neighbours," he said
Mnkandla added: "We don't
understand why the government wants these
people out of their only farms and
yet government policy promotes one farm
for each farmer.
white people have one farm each, a situation that conforms with
government's land policy as announced earlier. Now, what is wrong with
Is it simply that these people are white and the government is in
Mnkandla said it should be remembered that some of these
actually helped Zipra during the liberation
"The Zimbabwean armed revolution was materially supported
people in Cuba, the then Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary,
Rumania, Yugoslavia, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland,
America, Canada, South Africa, Greece and elsewhere. Indians
fought side by side with us," he added.
declared that former Zipra cannot join a racial war. "That is
out of question
because that would be against our political philosophy.
"As it is,
we are lost because what the government is doing is against
constitutional provisions of Zimbabwe."
He asked why government did
not write a new constitution that will
exclude the right to property if it
feels its actions are justifiable.
"We are opposed to the unjust
way the land redistribution programme is
carried out," Mhlanga
"We are surprised, for instance, that traditional chiefs and
are not actively involved in the government land resettlement
"How can chiefs be left out of a land
resettlement programme and yet
they are the traditional custodians of our
land?" asked Mhlanga.
Targeted households allegedly denied food
8/14/02 8:48:10 AM (GMT +2)
By Foster Dongozi
PF, whose president, Robert Mugabe, has been warned by the United
World Food Programme against using food as a political tool by
international community, is starving more than 100 households in Mhondoro
suspicions that they support the opposition MDC.
Loveless Nyariri of Nyariri Village and an elder from Kawara
confirmed that a councillor in Ward 7 was ensuring that only Zanu
supporters can buy maize from the Grain Marketing Board.
councillor, identified as Matswayire, was not available
Nyariri said a woman whose life could have been
saved if food had been
made available to her, was believed to have died of
hunger after reportedly
being denied food on allegations that she sympathised
with the opposition.
"After she failed to get any maize, her
relatives collected wild fruit
called mutukutu and pounded it into a pulp
before making porridge for her.
However, she died the following
He said although the woman might have been facing certain
death could have been accelerated by hunger.
election campaign Mugabe said no Zimbabwean would starve to
death due to food
shortages and he repeated the comments at the national
"We will feed everyone, even the puppets and stooges," said
Heroes' Acre in apparent reference to MDC supporters.
Mhondoro and Kadoma Central are the only constituencies in Mashonaland
Mugabe's home province, which were snatched by the MDC in the June
Nyariri said orphans and elderly people,
whose "biggest sin" he
alleged was to be suspected of belonging to the MDC,
faced certain death as
Zanu PF officials and youths were uncompromising on
their party's bid to win
the September rural and urban council
An elderly member from the Kawara clan, who declined to
said: "We are being accused of supporting the wrong party, but
if we believe
that party will improve our lives, what is wrong with
Aspiring Ward 7 councillor under the MDC ticket, Manuel
villagers were prepared to buy the maize with their own
"We have been starved since April, but we are prepared to
"How can people intentionally cause death among
vulnerable groups like
the elderly for the sake of becoming a councillor?" he
So desperate are the villagers that on Tuesday, they summoned
strength to get to Mubayira growth point where they hoped to confront
councillor, whose approval would guarantee them a bucket of maize
The councillor was not available, but the hungry villagers
addressed by a Zanu PF official identified as Mafa.
promised to "look into their problems" at a meeting to be held
Price of bread shoots up
8/14/02 8:46:55 AM
From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo
prices have shot up to between $75 and $100 on the black market
as the shortages of the essential basic commodity continue
Long queues form every evening as workers jostle to
buy bread on both
the black market and in supermarkets.
the inconsistent supply of maize-meal on the market, people
sadza with bread which was more readily available until
last month, when
loaves started disappearing from shop shelves.
Bakers have said
this is due to wheat shortages countrywide.
The situation is likely
to get worse as wheat stocks continue to
traders at the Renkini bus terminus have taken advantage
of the shortage and
are selling at exorbitant prices to desperate families.
"We have no
choice but to buy the expensive bread because the children
would starve and
bread is more available than maize-meal," said Emmilia
Chingoma, a resident
Zimta attacks government
8/14/02 8:43:36 AM
THE Zimbabwe Teachers'
Association (Zimta) has castigated the
government for its failure to address
the country's faltering economy which
has led to the mass exodus of teachers
to neighbouring countries.
Dennis Sinyolo, the Zimta
secretary-general said thousands of teachers
were leaving the country for the
United Kingdom, Botswana, South Africa and
other Western countries where they
are paid salaries commensurate with their
said the government should address the problems affecting teachers
than the symptoms.
He said a college graduate teacher earned a
basic salary of $22 000
and took home between $10 000 and $15 000, compared
to a nurse who gets a
basic salary of $50 000.
looking at the level of qualifications, the duration of
training, the nature
of duty and other comparable factors, there should not
be such differences
between teachers' and nurses' salaries.
"Teachers are being
frustrated and their grievances have been
neglected." he said. "So they
decide to leave for better environments
because no one is prepared to listen
Sinyolo said there was no country anywhere in the world
develop without the requisite skilled manpower.
Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Higher Education and
quoted by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on Monday
government would consider bonding teachers.
Mumbengegwi said the
country could no longer afford to be a teachers'
training ground for other
countries. Bonding, he said, was the solution.
"As far as brain
drain is concerned, bonding of teachers is not the
solution because those are
symptoms of the problem and not the causes."
Sinyolo said the reasons teachers were leaving were obvious.
is unprecedented violence against teachers throughout the
salaries are very low and their working conditions
He said the government had restructured
salaries for nurses, uniformed
Organisation, Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, and
He said government has failed to restructure
teachers' salaries for
the past three years and morale among teachers in
Zimbabwe was at its lowest
ebb due to political violence, poor remuneration
and deplorable working
Sinyolo said disgruntled
teachers could not withstand the violence and
the hands of Zanu PF militants and so-called war
veterans, which the
government has failed to stop.
He said as long as the economic
problems of this country were not
addressed, Zimbabwe would continue to
suffer from a brain drain for ages to
Sinyolo said the
government had abandoned its responsibility to build
schools and teachers'
houses to councils and parents who are themselves
He said most teachers' houses, particularly in the rural
unsuitable for human habitation but the government insisted that
remain in the country.
He said they had repeatedly
asked the government to award teachers a
hardship allowance but that genuine
request had not been considered.
Thousands of Zimbabwean
professionals in medicine, education and
engineering have been leaving the
country in droves in search of greener
pastures in neighbouring countries,
Europe, the Americas and even as far
afield as Australia and New Zealand
Mugabe comes under fire for stand on land
8/14/02 8:45:35 AM (GMT +2)
President Mugabe came under
fire from critics at home and abroad
yesterday after he vowed to press ahead
with an order to white farmers to
turn over their properties to landless
In a televised speech on Monday, Mugabe did not say what
to those defying an 8 August order for the hand-over of 2 900 of
's 4 500 white-run commercial farms.
further confusion by saying white farmers who were
"well-meaning" and "loyal
citizens" had a place in Zimbabwe.
White farmers yesterday were
hoping Mugabe would clarify his remarks
when he addressed a major rally to
commemorate Defence Forces' Day, a
Zimbabweans can farm is entirely new to us," David
Hasluck, director of the
mainly white Commercial Farmers' Union, told the
South African Press
"The majority of my members have been trying to farm as
Zimbabweans but they have been stopped from doing so," Hasluck
Nearly two-thirds of the 2 900 farmers targeted by the
eviction orders are believed to have ignored the weekend
for a reprieve from the country's courts or from Mugabe
But Mugabe, who has governed Zimbabwe since independence
in 1980, quashed their hopes on Monday saying his government
would stick to
its redistribution plans.
"We, the true owners of
this land, shall not budge. We shall not be
deterred on this one vital issue,
the land. The land is ours," he told more
than 20 000 supporters
the funeral of a former government minister.
reforms have caused upheavals at a time when six million
half the country's population, face severe food
shortages due to the
disruption on the farms and drought.
In Washington, the United
States accused Mugabe of recklessly risking
disastrous food shortages by
reinforcing the land redistribution deadline.
Fosenet, a network
comprising 24 non-governmental organisations in
Zimbabwe, said yesterday that
poor Zimbabweans were forced to barter goods
for food, sell household assets
or livestock, or "selling sex for money or
aid agencies have alleged that early food shipments have
been reserved for
supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party and diverted
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost
a disputed presidential
election in March, called Mugabe's speech a
"promissory note" for more
Eleven white farmers are
among the estimated 160 people who have been
killed since the land reform
programme began with violent invasions by war
veterans early in 2000, some in
possible robberies fuelled by a climate of
lawlessness and others in direct
clashes with militants.
Hundreds of black farm workers have been
beaten and an unknown number
have died at the hands of war veterans, many of
them too young to have
fought for the liberation of the former Rhodesia in
the 1970s, enforcing the
land redistribution. - Reuter