No protection for Zimbabwe's beleaguered
permits to plant count for nothing when a land-acquisition
with its heavily armed escort
THE story reads
like a script from a docudrama or a Hollywood gangster
movie, but the events
unfolding north of the Limpopo are real.
A group of about 20 people,
consisting of official land-acquisition
committee members among others,
visits four farms on a scorching Saturday
afternoon in the middle of the
remote Sabi farming district, about 475km
south east of Harare.
the group are soldiers brandishing AK-47 assault rifles and armed
wielding rusty G-3 rifles.
The leader of the group, a stocky,
fierce-looking woman, who refuses to
identity herself, tells the farmers that
they have to leave by the following
Two of the farmers, whose
properties the group has invaded, tell the group
that they are not under
compulsory acquisition notices. They have received
only preliminary orders
under section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act.
But this makes no
difference, and the group gets aggressive. They assure the
acquisition orders will be changed soon into eviction notices.
flare, one of the farmers is threatened with arrest for
maintaining his story
about the preliminary notice. In the ensuing argument
efforts are made to
seize him, but he resists, saying he is a police
agitated soldiers and police demand his police identity credentials
immediately confiscate them, telling him he has been summarily
from the police force on their authority. But he is not
In this wheat-producing area, at least nine farmers are under
acquisition. Despite the threat of eviction, the farmers have been
permission by the district administrator to grow food crops. The
to plant is in writing, and has an official government
This year farmers as usual have used the document to secure
local banks for the planting season. They received the funds and
planted 1025ha of wheat, 160ha of barley, 20ha of tomatoes, 10ha of
trees and 40ha of citrus. The market value of this produce is more
But after the land officials visit, farmers are nervous
and uncertain. Most
decide to relocate their families. Besides, they have
been through numerous
similar incidents before, including drunk youths
driving to their farms and
intimidating their families. The farmers decide to
avoid confrontation at
But the following weekend the group
of 20 returns. An ad hoc land committee
has overruled the documents granting
permission to farm the land, citing a
No explanation or evidence is produced, and it is clear they
have no higher
authority than their own say.
The farmers have to wait
for the weekend to pass before they can consult a
police have started a countrywide sweep of farmers in breach of
eviction orders, leaving the Sabi farmers' fate on the edge of a
From the Govt mouthpiece - The Herald
No to confrontation
lobby, including the Justice for Agriculture, will be
entertained in any bid
to stop the ongoing land reform while defiant farmers
will continue to be
arrested, the Government has said.
By mid afternoon yesterday, the number
of farmers arrested for defying
eviction orders had risen to 147.
eviction notices expired on August 10.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Cde
John Nkomo, yesterday warned that lobbies
such as the JAG would not be
allowed to derail the Government's efforts in
JAG, a splinter group of the Commercial Farmers' Union, has been
members to defy the Government and contest the evictions in
"I prefer to call it the Injustice for Agriculture. It is unjust
for a few
people to hold onto land at the expense of the majority. We won't
He said the Government had in the past
negotiated with the CFU and the
Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative
because there was a demonstration
that the farmers wanted to be
Cde Nkomo advised the evicted farmers to desist from
confrontational approach but to continue farming on the land they
"However, if they want to attract international
attention, then it's their
democratic right to do what they
"They need reminding, though, that during the colonial rule we were
allowed to criticise them lest we were thrown in places like Wha
He reiterated that - as said recently by President Mugabe and
Msika - no white farmer was being left without land under the
The minister said the redistribution was meant
to ensure that all
Zimbabweans had access to their country's most important
resource, the land.
"Uneven land ownership will undermine efforts to
bring about a stable
climate in Zimbabwe.
"Reforms will enable
appreciation by Zimbabwe-ans that they have access to
He defended the arrests of defiant farmers saying they were
crimes and should therefore, be brought to book.
(eviction notice), he said, clearly stated when a farmer should
the acquired premises and therefore would be in clear violation
of the law if
he continued occupancy.
"The eviction and arrests are legal and
constitutional. The Supreme Court
confirmed that the land reform exercise was
constitutional so we are
Police spokesman, Inspector
Andrew Phiri, said arrests of defiant farmers
"So far we have not recorded skirmishes as we continue
"We are also encouraged by the bail conditions being
imposed by some
magistrates," said Insp Phiri.
Eight farmers, who
appeared before a magistrate in Selous on Saturday, were
given $5 000 bail
and ordered not to be at or near their farms.
JAG has been advising
farmers who have been arrested to attend court with a
fail to secure a lawyer on time, said JAG, the farmers must make no
no admission but request the remand of the case to get
"If the court refuses to respect your request,
you can refuse to take part
and remain silent. You must, however, still
proceed and draw the Court's
attention to the George Quinnell case and the
provisional ruling thereof."
The provisional ruling is simply a
show-cause order seeking the response of
the Minister of Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement, Cde Joseph Made,
among others to allegations that he
is not a lawfully-appointed minister of
group also suggests that farmers bring up the constitutional ban
Meanwhile, the CFU said more than $3,72 billion worth of
ongoing crop and
livestock production was at risk with former farm owners
being evicted and
assets worth $5,6 billion had been left on the untended
The Government has said farm owners should have planned the
operations once they knew when they would have to leave their
Monday, 19 August, 2002, 07:25 GMT
Zimbabwe farmers due in court
Mugabe says land reform is
Dozens of Zimbabwean white farmers are due to appear in
court on Monday after defying a government order to vacate their land.
Over 140 farmers have been arrested after refusing to leave, in protest
at President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms. Many of them spent the
weekend in custody.
||Zimbabwe's land reform
1890-1980: Black peasants are moved to less fertile areas during the
2000: 4,000 whites own 70% of prime land
March 2000: "War veterans" occupy white-owned farms
2000-2002: Several white farmers and black workers are killed during
9 August 2002: 3,000 white farmers must leave their homes
Late on Sunday, a lobby group for the farmers, Justice for Agriculture (Jag),
said 35 farmers had already appeared in court and been granted bail, and 96 were
still technically under arrest and awaiting court appearances.
BBC correspondent Barnaby Phillips says a usual condition for bail is that
the farmers do not return to their land.
In Monday's edition of the state-controlled Herald newspaper, the government
has again said it is aiming at a fairer distribution of Zimbabwe's land, and
that the current uneven ownership is undermining Zimbabwe's stability.
Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since the country gained independence from
Britain in 1980, says his land reform policy aims to correct colonial injustice
which left most of the best farmland in the hands of white farmers.
On Sunday, Zimbabwean police said they had arrested at least 147 farmers. "We
have made arrests in almost every province and we will continue with the
exercise until everybody has been accounted for," a police spokesman said.
About 2,900 of the country's remaining 4,500 white farmers were ordered to
vacate their homes by 8 August, or face up to two years in prison and a fine.
spokeswoman for Jag defended those remaining on their land, saying: "Farmers are
not defying the government, but rather orders they believe to be illegal."
Zimbabwe faces mass starvation, according to
The group says that most of the farmers who have been arrested have only one
farm and no other means of making a living.
The Commercial Farmers Union estimates that $75m worth of crops and livestock
are at risk as a result of the arrests, as fields and herds of animals are left
Foreign donors also say the land reform programme has contributed to
Zimbabwe's food crisis. Up to half the population - six million people - needs
food aid this year, aid agencies warn.
But a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU), which represents a
mixture of mainly black commercial and small holder farmers, told the BBC that
the Zimbabwean people were positive about the reforms.
He said the ZFU viewed the evictions as a fait accompli and were now looking
to the future with optimism.
Much of the maize and cotton produced in Zimbabwe is already grown by small
holder farms, he said. "The limiting factor has been the size of the land
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
Click here to read the diary
The disruption to farming has dramatically cut production of the staple food,
maize, and Zimbabwe's major export - tobacco.
The Jag group says police and war veterans assaulted a white farmer during
his arrest on Saturday, a month after he had left his farm in compliance with a
government eviction notice.
The same day also saw the 11 Pacific members of the Commonwealth call for
stronger action against Zimbabwe, but stop short of threatening to expel the
Several hundred white commercial
farmers are thought to be resisting the evictions
Zimbabwe: 150 farmers held
8.04AM BST, 19 Aug 2002
Police in Zimbabwe have arrested more
than 150 white farmers.
The Government has ordered almost 3000 to
leave their land as part of President Mugabe's plan to redistribute the farms to
But several hundred white commercial
farmers are thought to be resisting the evictions.
Five have appeared before a magistrate in
the southwestern town of Gwanda, charged with defying orders to leave their
farms in Matabeleland.
Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo, who chairs the Government's land acquisition audit committee, told the
official Herald newspaper the Government would take action against farmers
defying the evictions in the next few days.
Reporting restrictions apply in Zimbabwe,
and independent information is hard to establish.
But farmers' supporters have claimed
police and war veterans assaulted a white farmer, Tony Smith, during his arrest,
a month after he left his farm in compliance with a government eviction
The pressure group Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) claimed: "Tony Smith, who left his farm a month ago, was
severely beaten up early this morning allegedly by police and war veterans at
his Chisipite home in Harare."
Mr Smith's brother-in-law, Brian Bawden
said: "Well, I looked this morning, I spoke to the workers that work for Tony at
his other house, and they said, 'ya, he was handcuffed'.
"As soon as he got out of the house he
was handcuffed, and then he was thrown to the ground and he was beaten there,
and he was dragged away down the driveway by the handcuffs.
"That's why I think he got the bruises
round his wrists. Then he was taken away, and I was speaking to him now and
apparently he was beaten at the police station as well."
Meanwhile, white landowners who had been
evicted from farms in Zimbabwe have been told they are welcome to farm in
neighboring Mozambique, according to the country's government.
"We have a law on investment," Mozambican
Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao said.
"If someone wants to come here and
invest, and respects our investment laws, he is welcome. Be he or she white,
black, yellow, green - if it is possible - he is welcome."
Agent hired to 'poison' Mugabe foe
By The Sunday Times
ZIMBABWE'S Opposition Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has claimed that a
Libyan intelligence officer deported last week had been hired to
in a plot hatched by President Robert Mugabe's intelligence
Zimbabwean authorities accused Yousef Murgham, 43, a former
officer at the Libyan embassy, of compromising national security
for British intelligence.
But in a bizarre twist, Mr
Tsvangirai claimed the Libyan had been assigned
by the Central Intelligence
Organisation to assassinate him when it realised
Mr Mugabe would lose the
presidential election in March if it was free and
Mr Mugabe won,
but the poll was widely regarded as rigged.
"We have intelligence
information to that effect and the party does not
doubt the authenticity of
that information," Mr Tsvangirai said.
Details of the "plot" emerged as
police admitted they had arrested at least
133 white farmers and charged some
in court for defying government orders to
vacate land set aside for
redistribution to landless blacks.
One farmer, named as Tony Smith,
suffered head injuries and a suspected
broken leg after he was beaten up by
police and war veterans, some farmers
claimed. The Government has ordered
2900 of the country's remaining 4500
white commercial farmers to quit their
land without compensation but
two-thirds are refusing to go after ignoring an
August 8 deadline.
Mr Murgham was arrested on Tuesday and deported amid
unruly scenes at Harare
airport. Witnesses said the former Libyan spy turned
businessman, who has
lived in Zimbabwe since he came to the Libyan embassy in
1987, was dragged
aboard a flight to Nairobi accompanied by CIO agents under
orders to hand
him over to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi's security police in
expulsion is legally questionable because he is married to a
entitled to permanent residence.
His wife Jean, 39,
daughter Samia, 12, and son Mohammed, 8, are still
waiting to hear from
The government line is that Mr Murgham was expelled for "engaging
activities that posed a threat to the security and national interests
Zimbabwe". It accuses him of compromising national security by working
British intelligence and meeting officials from Mr Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change.
Sources in Harare
attributed Mr Murgham's expulsion to a rift with Grace, Mr
avaricious wife, over a confiscated white commercial farm they
But Mr Tsvangirai is in no doubt the Libyan was
expelled because the CIO
realised the MDC had information about the
"(Mr) Murgham became a liability to both the Libyan
and the Zimbabwean
governments," he said.
Spirit 'spook' men into jail
Harare - Two men in Zimbabwe
have been charged with murder after confessing
to a local witch doctor that
their victim's vengeful spirit was haunting
A police spokesman
said the two men approached a witch doctor last week
seeking medicine to
protect themselves from the spirit or 'ngozi' of British
Jerzy Slanislaw Toloczko whom they murdered days
of a protecting them, the local healer alerted the authorities.
had not been aware of Toloczko's disappearance, but a search of his
Saturday revealed traces of blood. Toloczko's body was buried in a
The two men were found in possession of clothing, a cell
phone, a wrist
watch and US$90 cash taken from Toloczko's house in the
western city of
Harare police said Toloczko, a lecturer at
the Zimbabwe National University
of Science and Technology, was just two
months short of completing his
three-year tenure at the Bulawayo campus. -
Zimbabwe farmers flee new wave of arrests
Jane Fields in
TRUCKS piled with furniture and household goods were seen on
the main road
between Harare and the rural east of Zimbabwe yesterday as
made plans to leave in a hurry amid an escalating wave of
Police have arrested close to 150 white farmers for refusing to
homes under President Robert Mugabe's land redistribution
television said last night. Several farmers' wives have also
including one, Louise Cochrane, from Karoi in the west of the
two children have been left alone as police have been unable
to find her
Hundreds more farmers could be picked up in the
next few days as police step
up arrests. The state-run Sunday Mail newspaper
said that the government
"was losing patience with defiant
The arrests began on Thursday, a week after the expiry of a
deadline for nearly 3,000 white farmers to leave their homes to
make way for
An estimated 1,900 farmers defied the
deadline, insisting that the eviction
orders were unlawful. Others say that
until the government pays for their
homes, which it had promised to do, they
have nowhere to go.
Nearly 100 farmers spent the weekend in jail,
according to the farming
pressure group Justice for Agriculture (JAG). At
least 147 were arrested.
One farmer, Tony Smith, was severely beaten up
at his home in Harare on
Saturday, allegedly by police and so-called war
veterans who have led the
invasion of white-owned farms. He vacated his farm
last month, but left a
few possessions on his farm, which is enough to
warrant arrest, according to
A farmer from Glenara, near
Harare, said that he had been asked if he wanted
to live "in peace or in
pieces". Another farmer was assaulted in the back of
a police van, according
to the JAG.
Dave Meikle, a farmer who spoke to The Scotsman last week,
was among those
held. At least £100 million worth of crops and livestock
could be lost if
arrests continue, it is estimated.
In the face of
mounting international criticism, the government denied that
there had been a
breakdown in law and order. "There's no lawlessness," said
John Nkomo, the
home affairs minister. However, tensions are clearly rising.
farmers, who face up to two years in jail if convicted of failing
their homes, are trying to keep their spirits high.
Twelve are held in
police cells in Nyamandhlovu, southern Zimbabwe,
traditionally a political
flashpoint. Their wives are keeping vigil in the
car-park. "They [the
farmers] have named themselves the Big Brother
household [after the
television series] because there are 12 of them," a
relative of one of the
men told The Scotsman. "When they come out to
exercise they do a striptease
for their wives, who wolf-whistle," she said.
Among those held are Robin
Greaves, a 65-year old who is partly blind, and
Charles Stirling, who is
The men are "sore from sleeping on the floor", the relative said, but
managing to remain cheerful.
A political analyst, Masipula
Sithole, told The Scotsman that the scale of
the arrests was not surprising,
but the timing was "regrettable and
"The country is
half-starving, there's a drought and the food production is
scarce," he said.
"The whole thing is wrong in my view ... This is a
confused and ill-advised
President Robert Mugabe launched his controversial land
more than two years ago, when white farmers owned nearly 30
per cent of the
best agricultural land. At least eleven white farmers have
Zimbabwe steps up its land campaign
The Associated Press The
Associated Press Monday, August 19, 2002
Ignoring court orders and Western condemnation, Zimbabwe's
up its efforts to seize white-owned land Sunday and
rounded up more farmers
defying eviction notices.
A total of 133 farmers who failed to heed an
Aug. 9 deadline to leave their
farms have been arrested since Friday, said a
police spokesman, Andrew
There would be "no favor or
compromise" for those who broke the government's
land redistribution laws, he
The increasingly unpopular government of President Robert Mugabe
seize nearly 5,000 white owned farms, claiming they are to be
About 60 percent of the 2,900 farmers
ordered off their land failed to
comply, said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman
for a farmers' pressure group,
Justice for Agriculture.
have no intention of confronting the police but would fight for
and their title deeds through the courts, she said. "Farmers are
the government," he said, "but rather orders they believe to
Phiri reported that there had been no violence since
Friday, but Justice for
Agriculture said one farmer had been beaten at his
Harare home Saturday by
the police and militant supporters of Mugabe's party
despite having vacated
Williams said 30 to 40 of the
farmers who were arrested had since been freed
on bail. The others were in
police cells and were hoping to appear in court
Monday, she said.
farmers' lawyers say the eviction orders violate constitutionally
rights of freedom from racial discrimination and contain
rendering them invalid.
However, the assistant police commissioner,
Wayne Bvudzijena, said the
police would continue arresting farmers until they
instructions from the attorney general. This policy would also
farmers who had won court orders staying their eviction, he
Among those who have obtained an court order to delay the planned
farmland is the former Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Smith,
Smith, the last white leader of Rhodesia before its independence
renaming in 1980, said he intended to carry on producing food regardless
the threat of a two year jail sentence. The police have not yet visited
property outside the central city of Gweru.
The government claims
the farm seizures are an extension of its efforts to
liberate the country
from colonial rule, which has left most of the best
farmland under the
control of whites.
Previously, 4,500 white commercial farmers owned a
third of the country's
farmland while 7 million black farmers shared the
rest. About 95 percent of
white-owned farms have been targeted for
'Zim farmworkers killed as cops
August 18 2002 at 04:27PM
African Christian Democratic Party on Sunday claimed that five
farmworkers were murdered by Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF government
in full view of police who showed reluctance to stop the attacks
Quoting a relative of one of the "murdered" workers, ACDP
Jo-Ann Downs said the five were killed in an apparent campaign
them in the ongoing forced removals of white farmers from their
According to Downs, the owner of the farm watched from
place in horror as the men were murdered while Zimbabwean police
to stop the murders.
"It is clear that the action of
the Zimbabwe police in swooping on its
citizens before they can get the word
out is being quite successful.
'The children are now alone on
"The Zimbabwean police have been applying an
diligence towards covering their tracks when arresting and
people who have little to do with farm ownership," she
Sapa could, however, not verify the claims as the people
cited as her sources were not available when contacted for
In a separate incident, the ACDP claimed a farmer's wife
by Zimbabwean police after they could not find her husband on
The party said the woman, Louis Cochrane, was bundled into
vehicle and was not allowed to attend to her two children aged eight
"Despite protestations she was not allowed to take
them with her. The
children are now alone on the farm and have been
outside the country by telephone," Downs said. -
'Pol Pot' tactics leave half of Zimbabweans
From Sue Lloyd-Roberts in
"IT'S quite simple. Those who
have Zanu (PF) cards
get food; those who don't
The man explaining the politics of food in
today is speaking in a hotel room in Bulawayo. It is too dangerous
in his home.
The name of the
34-year-old railway worker must be
concealed, along with the name of the
hotel whose manager allowed 20 hungry
black Zimbabweans to talk to me, and
the name of the church mission who
brought them. Any criticism of the
Government is considered a slur on
President Mugabe and his party and can
result in charges of conspiracy and
subversion. In the absence of food, fear
is the staple diet in Zimbabwe.
"The food trucks
arrive in the villages once a
week," the man explains. "Everyone has to
stand up and shout 'Long Live
Robert Mugabe!', 'Down with the whites!' and
'Down with Morgan Tsvangirai!'
," (the opposition leader). "Only those who
can prove they are members of
the Zanu (PF) can queue. They say to the others
'go and get your food from
Tony Blair in No 10 Downing Street in London!' But
we don't know where
London is." As everyone in the hotel room nods in
agreement, a woman, a
former shop assistant whose husband died of Aids,
begins to cry.
"My seven children are starving. I
heard that food
was being delivered in a village 40 kilometres away," she
says. "When I
arrived, they said I could not have any because I supported the
the opposition party during the election. I dare not go home and
children. I wish I could die."
is causing famine across southern Africa. In
Zimbabwe the catastrophe is
aggravated by the collapse of commercial
farming, and manipulation of food
"There is only food available for half
of 13 million people," an economist in Harare said. "Robert
employing the tactics of Pol Pot. He plans to get rid of the
of the population by starving them to
A village close to Nkayi, in the Midlands
Zimbabwe, made the mistake of voting for the opposition in last
elections. Now its people are being punished. No food trucks
arrive here and
there are only 44lb of maize left for 200 people until the
next harvest in
Sithembiso Sekai sits in
a forlorn heap outside her
house, watching her painfully thin eldest daughter
crack muphura, a
foul-tasting wild nut, to feed to the other four children.
The baby at her
breast lies asleep, exhausted by the effort of sucking to no
At the neighbouring house 15-year-old Musa
a supper of cow's intestines and one tomato for her family of 16.
two cows left. Her father, Sima, worked on a white-owned commercial
before he was laid off when the farm was invaded by black squatters. He
that once the cows have gone, they will have nothing and the family
While Mr Mugabe appeals to the
outside world for
food, the 2,500 or so white farmers who are left have been
planting crops. They have watched helplessly as the war
veterans and their
hangers-on have invaded their farms, slaughtered their
cattle and poached
paradox in Zimabwe today," says Peter
Rosenfels, under siege at his farm near
Bulawayo. "While the Government
carries a begging bowl we, the producers of
food, are being criminalised.
Zimbabwe once fed the region. Now we can't feed
Appeal to Blair as 150 whites
From Michael Hartnack in Harare and Michael Dynes
ALMOST 150 white Zimbabwean
farmers have been arrested by police
for allegedly defying President Mugabe's
order to vacate their properties.
They are expected to appear in court
The arrests came after a Zimbabwean white farmer
personally to Tony Blair for help. Archie Stander, who lost both
the Rhodesian civil war, has written to Mr Blair about his
Mr Stander, who owns a farm near Beitbridge, on the South
said: "If my farm is seized, my future looks
"I am still farming, but expect the militia to force
me off. The
settlers (squatters) are stealing my cattle and snaring giraffe,
Mr Stander's wife, Annamie, who spoke to
The Times by phone
after the family was forced to flee their property on
Saturday, said: "Our
next-door neighbour was taken into custody. We left
that being taken into custody on a Saturday would mean
that Archie would
spend the rest of the weekend in jail.
"Archie and I will be returning today. Archie will never leave
his cattle and
game unattended to. Everything we own is on the farm."
Wedza, southeast of Harare, Florence McKay, 77, was arrested
when the police
failed to find her son, who is in Mozambique. She was
released but ordered to
report daily until her son returned.
want to go, don’t want to leave…..
want to hurt or bleed or grieve!
want my home to be my place -
familiar as the reflection of my face.
in the mirror – I see pain –
fear. Memories remain
brutality – of sanity lost…..
too enormous to count the cost!
committed – but no one heard….
one printed the written word.
our home becomes our cell
our heritage becomes our hell!
ZIMBABWE: Farming uncertainty continues
JOHANNESBURG, 19 August (IRIN) -
The future of commercial farming in Zimbabwe faced further uncertainty on Monday
as about 100 estate owners went to court to fight for the right to remain on
their land instead of leaving to make way for a wave of new farmers to be
On 9 August 2,800 farmers were meant to leave their land under
the terms of controversial land reform laws which aim to transfer land ownership
from white farmers to underprivileged black settlers. It also became a crime for
commercial farmers to continue tending their crops or feeding their cattle.
Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for pressure group Justice for Agriculture
(JAG) told IRIN that about 100 farmers appeared in courts around the country on
Monday to challenge the order that they stop farming. The outcome ranged from
farmers being fined and allowed to return to farming, to farmers being told they
The farmers are using a range of technicalities including
that farms still being paid off may not come under the acquisition programme
without informing the bond-holding bank - a condition that has not always been
Zimbabwe's land reform programme is being pursued against the
backdrop of a food crisis affecting six million Zimbabweans - half the
According to JAG's website, cereal production had dropped 57
percent compared to last year - with doubt cast over the fate of the US $330
million crop still in grading sheds - and maize production had fallen by 67
Economist John Robertson told IRIN that current uncertainly
surrounding the future of farming placed the country's billion dollar tea,
coffee, sugar, flower and vegetable export markets at risk.
He said that
almost 95 percent of the country's commercial farmland was affected by the land
reform programme and added that even the remaining five percent may eventually
come under the spotlight.
Robertson said the full extent of the impact on
farming and the economy would only be known in a few months' time as it became
clearer which farmers would be leaving their land. With the land reform law
forcing "Section 8" farmers to down tools, crops like tea and tobacco which need
ongoing post-harvest processing, could be ruined, losing farmers millions in
Banks also faced an uncertain future with the risk of farmers not
making bond repayments and this would adversely affect the country's
international credit rating. He said the government had so far not provided
promised agricultural inputs for the incoming farmers, and they could be too
great a credit risk for the already wary banks to lend them the cash they need
to get started.
"The banks are currently badly exposed to debt from the
commercial farmers and the new owners (the government) won't pay. The banks will
have to write this off as bad debt which is dangerous for their long term
"The economy is very involved and intricate and it will all
fall in a heap if anything goes wrong," he said.
IRIN was unable to get
official comment on the land reform process.
BELOW FIND A REPORT FROM THE DESK OF DAVE COLTART(MP)
RE- THE INHUMAN TREATMENT OF 2 AGED & INFIRM DETAINEES, FLETCHER
DULINI-NCUBE & ROBIN GREAVES.
THE MEDICAL REPORT ON A 3RD, CHARLES STIRLING, (AGED 80) FOLLOWS. GREAVES
& STIRLING ARE FARMERS DETAINED OUT AT NYAMANDLOVU.
IT WAS REPORTED THIS MORNING THAT THEY"D BEEN RELEASED. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
THEY....WITH ALL THE OTHER NYAMANDLOVU FARMERS IN DETENTION AWAIT THE ARRIVAL OF
THIS MORNING THEY WERE TOLD THERE MAY BE ONE "AVAILABLE" ON WED!? THIS
REPORT CONCERNS ONLY THOSE AGED & INFIRM IN BULAWAYO.........AGED FARMERS
COUNTRYWIDE HAVE BEEN DETAINED, SOME OF THEM WOMEN!!
Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
MDC Statement :
Mugabe regime guilty of violating Convention against Torture
against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nation on the 10th December
Not surprisingly Zimbabwe, under the Mugabe regime, as never become a
"State Party", that is a nation that has ratified the Convention. During the
last 18 years the Mugabe regime has systematically violated the Convention.
During the period December 1984 to December 1987 numerous members of Joshua
Nkomo's ZAPU party were subjected to Torture at the hands of the regime. Whilst
the incidence of Torture lessened greatly during the period 1988 to 2000 there
were nevertheless sporadic cases of Torture.
Since February 2000 the numbers of Torture cases have escalated
dramatically. However in most case of Torture the regime has been able to hide
behind the fact that the Torture has been committed by so called "war veterans"
and ZANU (PF) militia, not State functionaries. However in the last few weeks a
number of clear cut cases involving State officials have occurred.
The first case involves MDC Treasurer General and Member of Parliament,
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. Dulini-Ncube was arrested by the police 2 weeks ago, on
the instructions of the Attorney General, Andrew Chigovera, and was detained
until his release yesterday after the High Court ordered his release.
Dulini-Ncube is diabetic and aged 63. Following the denial adequate medical
treatment when he was detained in solitary confinement in November last year his
eyesight deteriorated in his right eye necessitating the surgical removal of eye
on the 9th August. The following day Dulini-Ncube was arrested and hauled out
of his sick bed. Since then he has been detained in a hospital and has been,
for the entire duration of his incarceration, in leg irons. On the 16th August
a High Court Judge dismissed the Attorney General's objections to him being
granted bail, stating that there was no basis to the denial of bail. Indeed the
Attorney General's action in opposing bail in the circumstances was simply
vindictive as was the use of leg irons.
The second case involves the detention of commercial farmer Robin Greaves
by Nyamandlovu Police on the 16th August, 2002. Mr Greaves was detained on
allegations that he remained in his home more than 90 days after being given
notice to vacate it by the regime. Mr Greaves is aged 64. On the
August 2002 Mr Greaves' family doctor Dr. J.G.M. Ferguson wrote a medical
report which reads as follows:
" This patient is chronically unwell with multiple problems. He has had
carcinoma of the prostrate and renal cancer which led to him having a
nephrechtomy. He was badly shot up in a dissident ambush which left him with
neurological damage and his eye had to be removed. His vision is extremely poor
and there is chronic sepsis of the eye socket.
Mr Greaves suffers from
chronic bronchitis and requires frequent courses of steroids. There is
polycystic liver disease which may be due to secondary cancer deposits. Mr
Greaves requires constant medical supervision and it is inadvisable for him to
be detained. I must advise that he should be urgently released."
The above mentioned medical report was brought to the attention of the
following people: Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Senior Assistant Commissioner
Zengeni (a staff officer in Police Headquarters in Harare), Superintendent Moyo
(District Officer Commanding Bulawayo Rural - it is thought), Officer Commanding
Police Matabeleland North (name unknown), Officer in Charge police Nyamandlovu
and Obert Mpofu, and Governor Matabeleland North Province. Doctor Ferguson
himself travelled to Nyamandlovu with Mr Greaves' lawyer and made
representations to. Despite their efforts the authorities refused to release Mr
Greaves and tonight he remains in a police cell and will probably only appear in
court on Monday the 19th August. It goes without saying that the conditions he
is being held under are shocking and extremely unhygenic.
It is pertinent to note that numerous other farmers arrested on identical
charges have been released by the police in their areas having been simply
cautioned or granted free bail. In other words this is clearly a case where the
police and other authorities could have exercised mercy and released Mr
Greaves. The decision to hold him is accordingly gratuitous and vindictive, as
was Mr Dulini-Ncube's treatment.
Article 1 of the Convention against Torture states:
'Torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical
or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as ...
intimidating him or coercing him, or for any reason based on discrimination of
any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of
or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting
in an official capacity.
Article 5(2) of the Convention against Torture states:
Each State Party ( i.e. Nations which have ratified the
shall likewise take measures as may be necessary to establish its
jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present
in any territory under its jurisdiction.
The actions of the Attorney General, the Police and the regime's officials
in the above mentioned cases are clear cut violations of Article 1.
which have ratified the Convention, which include South Africa, Algeria,
Canada. Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Togo, and most European countries, are
obliged to take measures to ensure that those people who commit torture anywhere
in the world can be prosecuted if they happen to come on to their
The MDC condemns these ongoing acts of Torture perpetrated by the
It should be stressed that these two cases are simply the tip of the
iceberg and most poor black Zimbabweans who have been subjected to Torture at
the hands of the regime do not have the luxury of legal counsel, as these two
men had, and as a result their cases are largely unreported.
The MDC calls
upon the international community to take vigorous action against all those
guilty of Torture in Zimbabwe.
David Coltart Secretary for Legal Affairs MDC
17th August, 2002
Thought I would bring you up to date with our weekend and
what is happening in Zim. Let me say before I even start that everyone is okay.
This is a general newsletter so that I can get it out to everyone so bear with
me if you do or don't know the people mentioned.
On Thursday we heard over our 'over-over' radio that there
was a group of officials, including the District Administrator visiting some of
the farms that have section 8 notices and asking why the farmer was still on the
farm. None of the farmers were taken away, they were only questioned. We were
obviously concerned about this new development, but glad that this was all that
was happening. Most people in this area are still on their farms and there have
been very few problems - lots of niggles and irritations and work stoppages,
etc., but no violence like in some other area's, and we had made it through last
weekend which was the section 8 deadline without incident so were fairly
confident that the dreaded date might just slip by.
On Friday evening, a group of police from Darwendale and
including CIO visited Mike Barry and asked him if he wouldn't mind going down to
the station to show his papers and apologised for any inconvenience caused. He
said that he would do that with pleasure but when he arrived there, he was
immediately locked up without any explanation. The group then continued on their
rounds and went to Jody Cowley, Jim Brown and Nick Winskill - who did not open
his gate as by now it was very late. Jody Cowley was aked to visit the police
station 8am the next morning and Jim Brown was taken to the police station and
also locked up that night. Jim and Mike were put into seperate cells at
Darwendale police station. They were not allowed any warm clothing, shoes and
socks or blankets or food. Our 'over-over' radio went on until 11pm that night,
reporting the whereabouts of the dreaded vehicle.
6am the police were back at Nick Winskill's and told him to
get into the vehicle - no questions asked and not interested in any
documentation or discussion. Nick, not having been all that well recently
refused to get into the vehicle and drove himself there in his own car. The
police then went on and picked up Warwick Evans and then Bob Cary (65), stopping
in at other farms along the way but obviously unable to find who they were
looking for. There were now 6 farmers at Darwendale and they were all taken
through to Chinhoyi to attend court and hopefully be let out on bail. However,
the magistrate was nowhere to be found and so the farmers were returned to the
cells in Darwendale.
The lands committee arrived at the police station in the
afternoon and they started going through all the documentation for each case.
Jody Cowley was allowed to go and so was Nick Winskill due to his ill health.
The others were refused release, despite the fact Mike Barry only has one farm
and is not even farming it apart from grading last season's tobacco, Bob Cary
does not live on the farm that has a section 8 and it is not being farmed, and
Warwick Evans has even ceded his farm - signed documentation was made available,
as they are leaving the country at the end of the year, he also has verbal
permission to live on the farm until he has finished grading his tobacco
although the person from the lands committee who gave this permission later
Saturday afternoon I went up to Darwendale police station as
I knew that Diane Evans had been there all day and probably needed a bit of
support. I met up with Strath Brown and Rich Moores who were doing whatever they
could to make sense of it all. Di was
told that they could bring food which they did later that afternoon as well as
blankets which the police said they could have - we discovered the next day that
a lot of the blankets provided were later taken away and they were only allowed
one very thin blanket each in this FREEZING cell. However, it was better than
nothing. They were all in the same cell along with two other criminals. We were
allowed to see the guys and they were 'fine', bearing up under the
I arrived back home late afternoon to discover that my
Father-in-law Dave Pentland-Smith had also had a visit and had been asked to
take his papers up to the police station in Banket. He did not think there would
be anything sinister as he has co-operated all along and has had no problems on
the farm although there is now a large group of settlers on the farm. Tim
Henwood had also been asked to go down to the station earlier that day and only
had to sign a warned and cautioned statement. Dave has also been told on a
number of occassions and by numerous officials that the farm is 'delisted' but
this too was later denied. As per Darwendale police, when he and Jenny arrived
at the station, Dave was immediately locked up. Soon after that Dave Van Wyk was
also brought in - our neighbour who leases the farm he is on, he himself does
not own any land. Bridget and Jenny, their wives, were not allowed to give them
any food or extra clothing or blankets but fortunately they were put into the
Today has been a quieter day and only one other farmer has
been added to the Banket list - Vince Schultz despite the fact that he has
already been to court and won his case. No more farmers picked up in Darwendale
- they have obviously (and hopefully) filled their quota. They were busy in
Chinhoyi today though and picked up at least three farmers that I know of and
then in Karoi, Louise Cochrane was locked up and forced to leave her two little
children unattended until someone arrived to take care of them. Apparantly her
husband was not there at the time but they have agreed that she will sit it out
because otherwise they will start to take 'prisoners' as 'bait' for anyone they
can't find. She is a very strong and very brave girl and our prayers go out to
her and her family.
The wives have been allowed to visit three times a day and
take them food and they have also managed to get them the odd 'luxury' such as a
Bible, clean shirt - amazing how your priorities change!
This afternoon the Darwendale 'prisoners' were told that they
were being set free but that they had to be handcuffed to go down to the charge
office. They were obviously very suspicious and were right - they had been lied
to, they were not being set free, but were paraded before the ZBC camera's and
told not to smile! They found the whole incident very amusing and were rewarded
with a shower for their 'good behavior'. When the wives arrived at 4pm, they
were clean and spruced up and in good spirits.
Tomorrow (Monday) we are hoping and praying that they will go
before a magistrate and have bail set and be released. We are bracing ourselves
for a let down though because there is a very good chance that they will be
messed around for a while and kept in as long as possible.
These are good people who want to quietly get on with what
they know best - farming. I understand that there are over 100 farmers who have
been picked up country wide and have heard some horror stories - one who has
been very badly beaten up and now has a broken leg, and a lady who has been
indecently assaulted but this is heresay. Some of the farmers signed warned and
cautioned statements and have been released, but some of those are not allowed
to return to the farm, they have been given 24 hours to pack up and leave. For
these farmers, this is their only home, their only form of income, their pension
and every cent they have ever made has been ploughed back into their farm. They
have nowhere to go and no future without the farm. They are not going to be
compensated for their farm or equipment and with our inflation running at over
100 percent, if they are not able to carry on farming, the little money they may
have will dry up within a very short space of time and they will be destitute.
This is so scary for so many of them.
Please keep these people in your prayers, we still hope for a
miracle in Zimbabwe.
Take care and God bless,
Pressure grows over Mugabe evictions
Britain and the West were today facing fresh calls to put
more pressure on
the Zimbabwean regime of President Robert Mugabe.
Bennet, a white farmer and MP for the opposition Movement for
Change, said the international community needed to exert the kind
pressure which led to the ending of apartheid in South Africa. At a
conference in London, he said the expulsion of white farmers from their
was hurting the black community in the country every bit as much as
"What is happening in Zimbabwe is not a white and black
issue. It is an
orchestrated attempt by the President of Zimbabwe to
opposition," he said. "There is nobody in their right mind who
agrarian land reform for the betterment of the people. What is
being done is
not land reform, it is the suppression of another
He described how his estate in the Chimanimani district was
the weekend by the police and army who rounded up his workers
indiscriminately beat them. Ephraim Tapa, a former leader of the
civil servants trade union now living in exile in Britain, said
in particular had to be urged to do more.
He said that
the South African government effectively controlled Zimbabwe's
supply and its access to the sea, giving it real "leverage" over
in Harare. "South Africa could actually play quite a major role
pressure is applied on it. The same applies to Nigeria and Libya,"
"These are the main players when it comes to exerting pressure
Nujoma backs Mugabe's land grab policy
August 19 2002 at
As at least 141 defiant farmers were arrested in swoops
President Sam Nujoma urged Namibians to back the Zimbabwe
defeat "the forces of imperialism".
remarks were followed by a warning from New Zealand Prime
Clark that Zimbabwe was close to collapse - blaming the
"club" of struggle
leaders for the international failure to act.
And opposition leader Tony
Leon called on Sunday for a snap debate on the
crisis and urged President
Thabo Mbeki to "end his chronic silence" on the
Nujoma told a Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) congress at
the weekend: "We cannot allow imperialism to take over our
We must defend ourselves.
'We must unite and support
"Today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow it is Namibia or any other
"We must unite and support Zimbabwe," he said.
spoke in Wellington today after returning from a meeting of the
Island Forum in Fiji, which issued a statement "recommending further
by the Commonwealth should there be no rapid change of approach by
"The situation in Zimbabwe is lowering confidence
across southern Africa and
deterring badly needed foreign investment in the
region," Clark said.
Zimbabwe was "heading for absolute collapse", and
the failure of the
Commonwealth to suspend its membership was "deeply
Mbeki's failure to speak out or to act was because
the victims were
The troika of leaders set up this year to consider
further action has done
little because two members, South Africa and Nigeria,
are reluctant to act
against an African government.
Clark said: "The
old club of those who were involved in the freedom movement
Africa hasn't been prepared to pull the plug.
"They (Zimbabwe) have two
months supply of maize, and it's eight months to
the next harvest - and the
next harvest won't be anything much because they
have basically prevented
commercial farming being effective."
The Democratic Alliance is to
request an emergency debate on the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, where
at least 141 white farmers have
been arrested for defying orders to vacate
their farms under President
Robert Mugabe's land reform
Leon said in a statement that the arrests demanded a response
"It is time President Mbeki ended his chronic
silence on the reign of terror
and cruel discrimination being practised by
Robert Mugabe," he said.
On the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, it would be
unfortunate if the perception arose that Mbeki's
failure to speak out or to
act was merely because the victims in this case
were white, Leon said.
In a separate incident, the African Christian
Democratic Party claimed a
farmer's wife, Louise Cochrane, had been detained
by Zimbabwean police,
leaving her small children alone on their farm
An ACDP spokesperson in Durban alleged Cochrane was bundled
into a police
vehicle. The children, aged eight and three, were left alone on
the farm and
had been phoning relatives outside the country, she said. -
From The Sunday Times (SA), 18
Anything that is alive, we'll
As drought and famine grip Zimbabwe,
starving villagers are driven to desperation
"It is God," Charles Simampale concludes simply. "I don't know
what happened but they both just went blind. First him," he says gesturing over
his shoulder to his younger brother sitting on a rock nearby, "and then his
wife." When you have to contend with the wrath of the elements, a starving
family, crying children and two adults who are unable to help to sustain a
12-person household, it must be comforting to think that this is the plan of a
higher being. Simampale, 32, and his brother Myros, 28, built their little
settlement in a valley that would have been pretty had the grass not turned pale
gold and the trees not lost their leaves. A small stream dried up months ago.
The Simampales last received mealie meal from the Zimbabwean government in
March. Five months later, they think their village, between Kamativi and Binga,
about 250km east of Victoria Falls, has been forgotten.
With no rain, no food and no income, many families and small
communities like theirs have upped and left. The area is among the worst
affected by the drought, which has turned large parts of the country into
wasteland. What was once a busy tourist route is now almost deserted. Abandoned
villages serve as an eerie reminder of the life that once was. Kilometres of
devastated landscape are punctuated by dry riverbeds. Some of the riverbeds have
become playgrounds for children; in others, adults burrow for water. The elder
Simampale says he has never had stable work and made a living by catching and
selling fish. Now, to fish, he has to make a 60km journey to the Zambezi River.
His wife, Nancy, walked off that morning in search of something - anything - to
feed the little ones. She came back empty-handed. About 30km down the road,
Philemon Msaga has arranged carved ornaments and animals on the side of the
road. He is one of few artists who live in hope that the tourists will soon come
back and buy their crafts. Others abandoned their stalls long ago to go in
search of food. "It is hard at the moment. We have to hunt in the field for food
. . . Anything that is alive we eat . . . We dig wells in the river to get a
little bit of water," he says.
It's 4pm and several hundred people are queuing outside the
Saba Trading Store , where a man is standing on stacks of mealie bags, shouting
out names from a long list. He is a representative of the local government
department that has provided 197 bags of mealies to be sold at Z510 a 50kg bag
(R98 at the official rate) to the locals. But many people who have been waiting
since dawn cannot afford to buy food. From the crowd emerge several aggressive
young men, some in Zanu PF T-shirts. It is clear that they are in authority at
the distribution point. The agencies distributing food in Zimbabwe have become a
new force in the country. Political wrangling seemingly takes precedence over
people's hunger. Catholic Bishop Robert Ndlovu says a consignment of maize to
Binga was stalled for about six weeks by the government because of the
involvement of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, which has earned
the government's wrath for investigating human-rights abuses. "In order not to
jeopardise the project, we now use the Catholic Development Agency to distribute
the food," said Ndlovu. "Everyone is affected and the situation is
U.S. appalled at eviction campaign in
WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 - The United States said on Monday
it was appalled by
what it called the senseless campaign by the Zimbabwean
government to evict
It called on the government to
stop the campaign, which it said was
contributing to food shortages and
damaging the international reputation of
the southern African
President Robert Mugabe's government has ordered 2,900 of
country's remaining 4,500 white commercial farmers to quit their
without compensation, but nearly two-thirds have defied an Aug. 8
Police have arrested nearly 200 farmers since Friday and
Monday to pick up more farmers resisting the government's fast-track
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip
Reeker said, ''We're certainly
appalled ... that at a time when 6 to 8
million Zimbabweans are facing the
real possibility of famine that the Mugabe
government continues its
senseless campaign to evict commercial farmers and
''The United States once again calls upon Zimbabwe to
pursuit of unchallenged power, restore the rule of law and cease
human rights of its citizenry.''
Reeker called the
arrests ''reckless and reprehensible actions ...
(that are) causing further
damage to Zimbabwe's international standing.''
The spokesman said the
United States recognized that land
distribution in Zimbabwe was inequitable
for historical reasons and that it
favored rational land reform.
''That is not what's happening there,'' he said. ''Many of the farms
thus far appear to have been distributed to ruling party officials
regime insiders and not to the landless peasants whose interest Mr.
pretends to represent.''
All your efforts did effect some major
exposure yesterday on our(US) most prestigious and longest running
investigative TV show-60 Minutes. This CBS staple has been running on
the air for at least 30 years and viewing it every Sunday afternoon has become a
ritual for millions of thinking Americans.
Yesterday about the first 15
minutes of show was on the killings and beatings of white farmers. It showed at
lot of black and blue on white skin. Beaten blacks also shown. And point clearly
made that many more blacks than whites have been killed.
This was an
updated version ( to raise specter of starvation ) of a Jan 02 show. The
intrepid reporter was Steve Kroft. While the nexus was established that food
shortages were linked to farm closures the issue of Mugabe's thugs withholding
food to non-party members was not addressed
But that single show hit many
many more Americans than all the BBC World reports we get here on public
television. CBS is one of the three major networks( ABC, & NBC the others.)
So CBS slice of the audience pie makes public TV's look like a sliver.
sent in an e-mail praising the piece and have enclosed that.
As you will
see I am trying to nudge 60 MINUTES to investigate the Yank link in installing
Mugabe. If that link can be made public it just might dawn on someone we Yanks
have a responsibility to help disinstall him.
e-mail sent yesterday to
High Praise for Steve Kroft's courageous piece on Zimbabwe. He
captured it all the first time and this update may save lives. There is
little doubt in my mind that Steve's life was hanging in the balance when he
confronted the leader of the "War Veterans" on one farm. I applaud his raw
courage for keeping the cameras rolling.
Because of its tremendous
viewership and prestige 60 Minutes has given maximum exposure of the
Zimbabwe nightmare to the American audience.
Kroft also made it perfectly
clear that MOST of the victims are black.
This pillorying of the white
farmer is a classic case of scapegoating to hide 22 years of failure and
corruption by President Robert Mugabe.
If these white farmers all happened
to be Jews Mugabe would already be gone! The WORLD wouldn't stand by like they
There is another angle to this story. Robert Mugabe is OUR
guy. Selected and groomed by then UN Ambassador Andrew Young under the Carter
Administration. Brit. For. Sec. Dr. David Owens deferred to Young's judgment
in the matter-because Young is black.
A huge US intelligence mission was
there in Salisbury, Rhodesia("77-'80).
And so was I. Author Robin Moore in
his 1991 book "The White Tribe" accurately describes the US effort which created
the present nightmare in Zimbs. To those of us who were there all the
"fictional" characters in his book are clearly identifiable. It's worth a dig.
WE(USA) bear a goodly portion of the blame for the present mess. Mugabe's
megalomania was no secret to anyone then.
Zimbabwe farmer fears detention if he seeks political
A white Zimbabwean farmer says he would settle in Australia "in a
Australia's immigration laws allowed him to.
who is in Australia on a visitor's visa, has not applied for
because he is afraid he and his family could be placed in
"I have considered applying for political asylum, I have a
wife and three
small children," Mr Roper said.
"I'm trying to apply
through the proper channels - I wouldn't want to be
thrown into a refugee
camp and that's what concerns me at the moment," he
white farmers in Zimbabwe were ordered to leave their land by
August 8 or
face up to two years in prison and a fine.
More than 190 farmers have
been arrested for refusing to comply with the
Mr Roper says the Australian Government should give special
white farmers who have lost land in Zimbabwe as a result of
"I don't see any future for white
farmers in Zimbabwe," Mr Roper said.
"Of course, there will be a few that
are allowed to remain that are
politically correct, they will be allowed to
remain and continue farming.
"But the whole economy is totally trashed at
the moment. I don't know how
it's functioning," he said.