The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zim Independent
Mugabe putting party before economy - MDC
Stanley James

ZIMBABWE'S economy is set to plunge into deeper crisis because of President Robert Mugabe's ignorance of basic economic fundamentals in favour of political expediency, the Movement For Democratic Change said this week.

Giving its outlook on the economy at a media briefing this week, the MDC said the downturn in the economy in 2002 would be between 10% and 12%, while export receipts would fall below US$1,5 billion resulting in more food imports.

"The economy will not improve as all the sectors continue to register negative levels of growth," said the MDC shadow minister of finance Tapiwa Mashakada. "The government's desire to serve the interests of its political ambitions will result in severe crisis."

The MDC said a decline in investment, low interest rates, high inflationary rates, a high unemployment level, the decline in productive sectors and withdrawal of donor support were some of the major detriments to the economy.

"The recent reduction in a number of key interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance will simply excarcerbate inflationary pressures throughout the economy," Mashakada said. "In addition they continue to be a serious disincentive to savings and contribute a major new form of informal taxation.

"The outlook for the economy in the face of continued decline in all economic sectors remains dismal. Many banks are now over extended with debt of questionable quality and fears exist of a serious crash in these markets if the situation is not managed carefully," he said.

Mashakada said exchange rates continued to be held at artificially low levels and this had a serious effect on the economy, adding that the country's gross domestic product, which now exceeded US$10 billion, posed a threat to achieving economic growth in the next five years. The decline in export activity would trigger shortages of imported items and drive up the price of the Zimbabwe dollar on parallel market.

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Zim Independent
The pitiful story of our fallen hero

IT seems like it was eons ago when he had the whole world at his feet, yet it was only a few years ago. Then, world leaders beat a path to his door, it was prestigious to have him attend your international conference, and universities all over the world felt proud to confer honorary degrees on him.

People spoke with reverence about his principles, his intellect and what a breath of fresh air he was to an Africa blighted with corrupt, murderous strongmen. That was the Robert Mugabe of newly independent Zimbabwe.

All that is in the past, a distant memory.

The face now is usually grimaced or contorted with rage at some new slight from the many imagined enemies, and the preoccupation is no longer accomplishing anything, but ensuring that the snowballing number of opponents are thwarted by any means necessary.

Where once he would be mobbed by admirers wherever he went, now he is a lonely, isolated figure. There remain a few genuine diehard loyalists, but many members of the inner circle are simply mercenaries, there not because of a belief in any particular cause but because it provides protection from the demons of their past, or for other self-serving reasons.

Further afield, he laments the loss of support of his neighbours.

The silent code of the neighbourhood is that you do not openly criticise your neighbour, but the signs of waning support and disapproval are clear for all to see.

The neighbours no longer come to visit, and they spend a lot of time whispering about him behind his back. He is a dominant, feared figure; so in his presence they make sympathetic noises, but even he can tell they have little conviction.

He is in such a warped world of his own that he is genuinely hurt and angry that the world is disgusted at his insisting on bringing about necessary change by destroying all the old, including the good, instead of rising to the challenge of building on it to create the new like a hero should. While his neighbours stroke his ego to his face, behind his back they work tirelessly to use the destruction he is causing to their benefit.

Used to being respected and the centre of attention, he is deeply stung and wounded by his new status as an outcast. He travels far and wide for new friends, but those who now offer "friendship" do so at a very high price.

That price includes many of his most precious assets, ironically the very ones he claims to be causing upheaval to restore; as well as licence for the friends to do as they wish in his home. Where once he was admired for the calibre of the company he used to keep, now he sadly has to scrape the bottom of the barrel for associates.

Those new "friends" keep him humiliatingly at arm's length to make it clear to him that the "friendship" is not based on equality, and can be withdrawn to his detriment at any moment. He is hurt and resentful of this, but is so cornered and lacking in options that there is little he can do about it.

He spends day and night in tirades against those across the river who wronged him and his neighbourhood many years ago. He spends his considerable energy and intellect on moaning about past events that are beyond his power to change, instead of focusing them on getting on with solving present day problems.

The pride and fortitude that made him such a considerable force against those who kept the neighbourhood down for so long, and for which his community once so revered him, are now the instruments of his own destruction. He is in deep trouble in every sense, but is too proud to admit it.

The signs of collapse are all around him, but he insists that everything is just fine, it is the evil enemies who are trying to convince his people that what they see and experience everyday is simply an illusion.

His desperate, frightened hangers-on and disgruntled groups from all over the world who enjoy his message of protest and defiance assure him that his joining them in being an outcast is romantic and sexy, and he derives some shallow comfort from this for the few days that they stop by to visit, before they rush back to the comforts of their homes or adopted countries.

He has enjoyed good health and has lived a long, eventful life. In the sunset of his life, he has sadly deprived himself of the time to reminisce and savour that privileged life. There is so much anger, hunger and despair in the land that he stands the tragic risk of his legacy being regarded as more the decline, hate and destruction of the later years, than the sacrifice, inspiration and promise of the earlier years.

That is the pitiful story of a fallen hero.

Chido Makunike,


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Zim Independent
Editor's Memo
Will he go now?
Barnabas Thondlana

NOW that the deadline for the fast-track land reform is upon us, the focus is once again on pledges made when the programme began. President Robert Mugabe said he would consider retiring after he had seen the land returned to its rightful owners, the blacks. Now it looks like he wants to sit through the balance of his term as his departure would necessitate another presidential election. It is persuasive to think that he will use this time to groom a successor.

President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya is trying hard to convince his party to accept his anointed one, Uhuru Kenyatta, a move which has seen two other party members throwing their candidature into the fray, in the process splitting Kanu. Mugabe will obviously want to avoid such squabbles as they will weaken the party in the face of a Movement for Democratic Change onslaught.

The Zambian debacle where the chosen successor has turned against his appointer will provide useful guidelines on what not to do. Mugabe will want to avoid one who will most likely turn against him, or divide the party.

He is searching for one who will not do a "de Klerk on Botha" ie, dismantle Zanu PF hegemony. The successor will need time to get acclimatised to the Cubans, Malaysians and Libyans. The choice is made more difficult here because there is no Mugabe old enough to do a "Joseph Kabila" in Zimbabwe.

Useful pointers can be gleaned from the appointment of cabinet over the last years. There was no clear formula until after 1987 when the dictates of the Unity Accord became an issue. Outside Edgar Tekere, all others have resigned rather than be fired - barring those who died in office. Until the advent of Jonathan Moyo, there has been no clear favourite among the new blood and there is none among the old blood. Those that float names like Emmerson Mnangagwa are just speculating as he is not allowed to behave in the same manner Moyo is doing.

That there is an internal struggle for power is part and parcel of politics. What is impossible to ascertain is the outcome. This begs the question whether the centre will hold long enough to push the appointed successor down the throats of others or whether the internal struggles will force the centre to accept their outcome. Will those that have challenged Mugabe recently have any chance, eg Simba Makoni on devaluation? Party strongmen like Solomon Mujuru and Mnangagwa are dangerous as they are not predictable and will most probably be their own bosses.

On the other hand, younger members lack the liberation war credentials necessary for them to be acceptable to the war veterans constituency.

The war veterans' stake in internal party affairs has increased tremendously in the last few years such that they can no longer be ignored. Furthermore, they have uncouth methods of getting their own way if they are not heeded.

This leaves the party in exactly the same position that Mozambique's Frelimo found itself after the death of Samora Machel. Joachim Chissano, if you like, emerged from the blue to take over. This is what will happen in Zimbabwe as well. The successor or the victor in the internal struggle is likely to emerge from the blind side to facilitate cohesion within the party.

This person will not emerge from Masvingo due to the bitter and acrimonious intra-party relations there. The person will not come from Matabeleland as they are a minority in the party and are divided amongst themselves. With Harare province in disarray, factional fighting in the Mashonaland provinces is likely to weaken them singly and collectively.

This will leave Manicaland as the compromise province but with a dearth of possible candidates. Could it be there is someone outside the country who will be acceptable to all - a Bernard Chidzero of sorts?

As Zimbabwe slides towards dictatorship, there is a strong possibility of the armed forces producing a candidate. Indeed, we have witnessed the elevation of the "retired brigade" into the civil ranks. They have maintained a lower profile in party affairs than others like Elliot Manyika. Whoever wins this poisoned chalice must, for his survival's sake, be amenable to the armed forces, especially their commanders.

In the final analysis, the next leader of Zanu PF is going to be a compromise figure between the various competing interests which include the mafikizolos, the armed forces (to guarantee Mugabe's personal safety), the old guard, the young Turks (the Philip Chiyangwas, Saviour Kasukuweres and others), the ethnic balance between Zezuru, Ndebele, Karanga and Manyika, the war veterans, the third force (Makoni, Oppah Muchinguri and others), regional and international acceptability (ANC, Frelimo, MPLA, Swapo, etc).

Altogether this is a downright mess any sensible person would want to avoid. I deliberately ignore academics as they do not hold sway in Zanu PF. In fact there is none to write about.

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Zim Independent
Trudy's Diary
Trudy Stevenson

Ratifying protocols we won't respect

THE third session of the Fifth Parliament was officially opened on July 23, but since this was presided over by Robert Mugabe, MDC naturally decided not to attend the function.

However, we are adamant that we recognise the institution of parliament as one of the three pillars of democratic government, and that it should be empowered to act as a check to the other two, judiciary and executive - especially the executive. It is for this reason that we have resolved to attend normal parliamentary sessions, and to continue with our

committee work, despite contradictory reports even in the independent press.

Back to the opening: we caucused and agreed on a walkout as a more effective strategy than just remaining absent, as opposed to a mere lack of appearance. Moreover, we decided to wear black or dark colours to signify our mourning for democracy and for the institution of parliament which is so clearly in intensive care, if not already dead.

Zanu PF was expecting us to boycott but strangely, on the day itself, they did not seem surprised to see us there, suggesting prior knowledge. When we marched in, they took up both sides of the benches, and spread themselves out so that when we entered the chamber, we could not have accessed our seats even if we had wanted to! Not only that - the cameras were pointing away from us, mostly operated by types in military uniform.

They had no intention of showing the opposition, and sure enough, people relying on ZTV had no idea that we marched out and did not attend the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, a helicopter circled overhead, gun at the ready, in case we should cause any upset.

We caught snatches of Mugabe's speech - it said nothing new, except to declare that devaluation is sinister and moreover, it is dead in Zimbabwe. He intends replacing heads of independent schools with civil servants (to Zanunise them), and says parliament will be asked to ratify the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise! What kind of make-believe world do we live in?

At our press conference afterwards to explain the walkout, the unanswered question was - are the women wearing black because of Rutendo Jongwe?

The "Jongwe tragedy" has undoubtedly been the story of the month, painful to everyone remotely involved. When ZTV news was interrupted by a "special news item just released" that "a woman has been attacked at Learnmore Jongwe's home" we all thought it was a domestic worker or visitor. When I joined two colleagues to go to the clinic to try and establish the truth and give our support to the suffering woman, we were still unclear what had really happened.

However, it soon became apparent that Rutendo was very ill indeed and unlikely to survive - she had had 10 pints of blood already. We thought perhaps Learnmore had been framed, that it was a Zanu PF plot and they might even have kidnapped him so that we would never know the truth. We were soon disabused of that wild notion when Learnmore himself admitted killing Rutendo, insisting that she had provoked him.

We were deeply upset. We attended Rutendo's funeral at her home to give support, and when we returned with Gibson Sibanda (Vice President and Leader of the Opposition), our Chief Whip and other MPs, her mother was inconsolable - but appreciative.

We, women MPs could not attend her burial, as we were committed to a workshop on the role of women in peace-building in Zimbabwe: ironic timing. Obviously the Jongwe issue and domestic violence in general were added to discussions originally intended to focus on political violence, and feelings were high.

We, therefore, missed Simba Makoni's presentation of the supplementary budget of $ 62,6 billion - but it appears that it was pretty much a rubber-stamp job, in any case. Mention of Zimdollars generally elicits hollow laughter, these days - it's not considered serious. How he retains any self-respect when his requests to devalue and allow the farmers to farm in peace go unheeded is beyond me. I am convinced that the state of our economy was a major contributory factor to Bernard Chidzero's death.

"The continuing contraction of the economy is caused by the drought, foreign currency shortages, rising costs of production, and prices of goods and services and relatively low and eroding personal incomes." No mention of the real cause - Zanu PF's disastrous so-called fast track land reform programme. He blithely talks of average inflation being 116% - not mentioning what that means to ordinary citizens, especially pensioners who are in dire straits as their pension is worth nothing at all - the state has stolen it.

The litany of decreased productivity projections is startling: Agriculture down 24,6%, mining down 4,1%, manufacturing down 11,9%, electricity and water down 4,7%, construction down 10% and distribution and hotels down 12%. Of the $62,6 billion he asked for, only $8,5 billion is for agricultural inputs for the resettled farmers, but an astounding $35 billion is required to support the tobacco farmers. In normal times, it was the tobacco farmers who supported the rest of us!

Despite the Order Paper informing me that the House had adjourned to August 6, I discovered too late that it had in fact sat on July 30, to formally approve the supplementary budget and ratify the Sadc Pan African Parliament Protocol.

The latter gave MDC the opportunity to point out the difficulties in having a parliament of countries accepting very different practices of democracy and governance - in other words dictatorship, military rule, kingdoms, etc, and the hypocrisy of signing protocols when we and other nations do the very opposite of what we agree to do.

The protocol was ratified, in the end - but one still wonders how realistic it is, or how relevant to us in Zimbabwe at present. Time will tell whether the African Union and the Pan African Parliament will find the guts and the teeth to deal with member states which go astray as badly as we have done.

Now parliament really is in recess until September 10 - so poor Francis Nhema is not able to do a publicity stunt with his Environmental Management Bill just in time for the Jo'burg Summit on Sustainable Development.

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Daily News
Soldiers flee to Botswana

8/23/02 9:44:20 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

CAPTAIN Ernest Moyowangu Chuma, missing from duty for five months, is reportedly being held in Botswana to which he fled from interrogation by Zimbabwean army intelligence officers for his alleged support for the opposition MDC party.

Chuma is said to have sought refuge at the United Nations-run Dukwe refugee camp near Francistown, where he joined two other Zimbabwean soldiers who had skipped the country for the same reason. Chuma bolted to Botswana after the March presidential election. He found Corporals Irvine Ndou and Peter Kwanele Ntini in the same camp. They too said they had fled the constant interrogation by the military intelligence officers for supporting the MDC. One of Chuma’s relatives on Wednesday said the family had heard that he was in Botswana, but they feared for his safety. The relative, who was reluctant to give details and referred all questions to the army, said officials in Botswana transferred Chuma from Dukwe refugee camp to a state prison in Francistown.

Once there, he was allegedly tortured by the Special Branch for two weeks on suspicion that he could have been sent by the Zimbabwean authorities to spy on Ntini and Ndou and was, therefore, not a genuine asylum seeker. The Botswana authorities apparently disbelieved that he had fled political victimisation in Zimbabwe.

The police in Botswana have reportedly completed their investigations and are considering repatriating him to Zimbabwe. Cecil Manyeula, the Botswana High Commissioner, on Wednesday said he was unaware of Zimbabwean soldiers seeking asylum in his country. Manyeula said: “I am not familiar with this matter. I need to check with the authorities in my country about that. This is the first time I am hearing about it.”

Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman, said the army was unaware of Chuma’s whereabouts and he was still being sought for being absent without official leave. Gatsheni said: “Chuma is a deserter. We do not know where he is. The army has no information about people who have run away to seek political asylum.”

Investigations have established that Ntini and Ndou were students at the Medical Training School at Imbizo Barracks on the outskirts of Bulawayo where they were doing an environmental health course. While on a field attachment in rural Matabeleland after the presidential election, they were allegedly visited by military intelligence officers who accused them of MDC membership. It is alleged that from there on, the State agents visited Ndou and Ntini frequently to interrogate them about their alleged MDC sympathies. The scared pair then decided to flee to Dukwe refugee camp as a transit point for asylum elsewhere. It could not be established whether their asylum papers had been processed accordingly.

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Daily News
SA intervenes in Zimbabwe land grab crisis

8/23/02 9:20:34 AM (GMT +2)


CAPE TOWN – South Africa intervened on behalf of its citizens caught up in Zimbabwe’s controversial land grab on Wednesday. But the move was not enough to silence critics of President Thabo Mbeki who say his lack of action on the Zimbabwe crisis is a key factor behind the rand’s slide to a 15-week low of 10,95 to the United States dollar.

President Mugabe has ordered 2 900 white farmers to hand over their land for redistribution to blacks, but the majority have ignored the 8 August deadline. Around 200 white farmers, including two South Africans, have been arrested in the last week for defying eviction orders. South African Foreign Ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the country’s High Commissioner in Harare had been in touch with the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. “The South African High Commissioner has made representations to the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry regarding six farms owned by South Africans in Zimbabwe and earmarked for redistribution,” he said. Mamoepa declined to elaborate or say whether Pretoria was asking for an exemption from the land reform drive.

“The mission remains in contact with the Zimbabwean authorities to find an early resolution to this matter,” he said. Mbeki’s critics said South Africa’s mission in neighbouring Zimbabwe had not done nearly enough to bolster confidence in the region. “What is happening in Zimbabwe is having a big effect,” one trader said.
Tony Leon, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, said Mbeki’s response had been completely inadequate. Officials could not confirm a statement by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner that South Africa was cooperating in a programme to isolate Mugabe. “We are looking at that statement,” said Mamoepa. A senior government source said Pretoria believed the Zimbabwe crisis was a domestic issue. Stellenbosch University political scientist Willie Breytenbach said the arrest of two South African farmers had given Mbeki a key chance to send a strong signal to Mugabe.

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Daily News
Libyan spy says Zanu PF got $225m

8/23/02 9:49:39 AM (GMT +2)

Chief Reporter

Story: ZANU PF received over $225 million in the early 1990s in foreign funding from Libya, according to papers before the High Court. This is despite the ruling party’s rantings against opposition parties receiving foreign funding as undermining national sovereignty.

The disclosures are in a letter written on 16 April 2002 by the deported Libyan spy Yousef Murgham to President Mugabe, relating how he helped build Zanu PF-Libyan government links. Murgham’s letter is part of his defence against his deportation last week on allegations that he had compromised national security. Meanwhile, Justice Susan Mavhangira yesterday reserved judgment in the case. According Murgham’s letter, he arranged a meeting between Mugabe and Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary for information, and a Libyan, Mussa Kosa, in Windhoek on 21 March 1990. Following the meeting, Libya contributed US$100 000 (Z$5,5million) to Zanu PF’s presidential election campaign for that year.

Murgham said he co-ordinated Shamuyarira’s first visit to start dialogue with Kosa and one Mukhtar Ghanas in Tripoli. This led to them offering Zanu PF more than US$4 000 000 (Z$220m). He said of that amount, US$1m (Z$55m) “was deposited in the bank account of Jongwe Printers in Harare also without a request from you (Mugabe), but as suggestion from me which contributed to the 1990 presidential election and saved Jongwe Printers from its financial crisis”. Jongwe Printers is wholly owned by Zanu PF. Shamuyarira yesterday denied that Zanu PF received donations from the Libyans. “All that information is not true, but since you got that from documents before the court I will not comment in detail because the matter will be sub judice.” Murgham said he was then working with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

He said: “I contributed in monitoring the Lebanese activity in Zimbabwe, monitoring Islamic, Western, Libyan activities and following the opposition activities in Zimbabwe. “For the first time in the history of the Libyan and Zimbabwean intelligence since independence, I convinced the Libyan side to appoint a liaising officer from the Libyan intelligence to Zimbabwe, Mohammed Telb, and the facilitation of the Zimbabwean appointed intelligence liaising officer in Libya,'' Murgham wrote to Mugabe. Murgham, 43, who was arrested before his deportation last week, was allegedly assigned by the CIO to assasinate the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, before the March presidential election, controversially won by Mugabe.

Tsvangirai has said he was aware of the plot to kill him through poisoning. The government refused to comment on the allegations. Murgham left his Zimbabwean wife Jean, 39, daughter Samia, 12, and son Mohammed, 8. Jean said her husband was a staunch Zanu PF supporter who negotiated the current fuel deal between Zimbabwe and the Libya. He came to Zimbabwe in 1986 as a counsellor at the Libyan Embassy and resigned from the government in 1993 but preferred to remain in Zimbabwe.

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Daily News
Chinotimba evicts farmer

8/23/02 9:50:30 AM (GMT +2)

By Precious Shumba and Angela Makamure

JOSEPH Chinotimba, a war veteran leader and the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, yesterday led several youths to evict Vincent Schultz from his farm in Banket.

Chinotimba works full-time for the Harare City Council. He led the violent land invasions in 2000 as a self-styled commander of the exercise. “It is no longer his farm,” Chinotimba said yesterday. “The farm now belongs to the black people. Whites in this country should go back to their country. These land evictions will continue. The whites should know that by now.” He said he only visited the farm to facilitate the payment of gratuities to the workers. Schultz claimed that Chinotimba was hired by Bright Matonga, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, who has taken over the farm.

Matonga could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Schultz said he was at the farm during the disturbances. Schultz said Matonga had no claim to the farm because the Section 8 eviction notice served on him under the Land Acquisition Act was nullified by the Chinhoyi Magistrates’ Court last month. But Chinotimba said he would not respect the law and insisted Schultz should leave. Schultz said Matonga came to the farm on Tuesday accompanied by five youths and ordered him to leave the property, claiming he was the new owner. “Matonga threatened to have me assaulted by Zanu PF youths and war veterans if I remained on the farm,” Schultz said. He said the youths were guarding his property.

Schultz said: “Chinotimba started playing to the gallery, vilifying whites and threatening me with violence if I remained on my farm.” Schultz said the police refused to protect him, asking him to leave. “It is difficult to move out of my house of 22 years and pay my 135 workers in one day,” he said. Chinotimba said he was at Mupandaguta to facilitate the payment of the farm workers before Schultz left. The officer-in-charge at Banket Police Station, identified only as Inspector Bare, was said to be out of the office. But a policeman who answered his telephone confirmed the disturbances at Mupandaguta Farm.

He said: “Some police officers have gone to Mupandaguta but l do not know what the situation at the farm is like.” Meanwhile, Brian Sydney Hein, Leon Heathcote, Rodney Knight Tourie and Folkerstsen of Gweru, on Wednesday appeared before provincial magistrate, Ephraim Movonyane, charged with violating the government’s eviction orders. Movonyane, who ordered the farmers to remain on their farms until the matter was finalised in court, remanded them on $10 000 bail each to 30 September except for Tourie who paid $2 000. Tourie said he could not afford to pay the bail of $10 000. The farmers were served with the Section 8 orders and were expected to have left on or before 10 August but the dairy farmers defied the orders. Bright Nyoka prosecuted.

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Daily News
British nationals denied entry into Zimbabwe

8/23/02 9:53:06 AM (GMT +2)

From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

Five British nationals were denied entry into Zimbabwe in what could signal the beginning of retaliatory measures against targeted personal sanctions and travel bans slapped against President Mugabe and senior government and ruling Zanu PF party officials.

Last week, Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the State media the government was finalising measures to be taken against individuals in Britain and the European Union in retaliation against the sanctions imposed on Mugabe and members of his inner circle. Two British nationals were barred from entering the country upon arrival at Harare International Airport on 8 August, one on 11 August, another on 15 August, while the fifth was deported last weekend. But the British High Commission declined to disclose the names of the citizens and why they had been denied entry. Diane Corner, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, said it was Harare’s responsibility to disclose the reasons behind the decision to bar entry to the Britons. “The Zimbabwean authorities are responsible for regulating the entry into Zimbabwe of all non-Zimbabwean nationals including British nationals. “It would not be right for us to speculate on the reasons,” said Corner.

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Daily News
Leader Page
Why the new farmers can’t move onto the land

8/23/02 9:56:38 AM (GMT +2)

Leader Page

Story: August is the busiest month for most serious farmers, as they prepare to harvest their winter crop, plan the summer season and finalise negotiations with the banks.

Companies record an increase in orders and deliveries for spares, implements, seed and fertiliser. The picture is radically different this year. All farmers, old and new, are nervous about the future. Nearly 3 000 whites were, or are about, to be pushed off their land. They are harried daily. Those who should replace them have yet to come to terms with their unexpected responsibilities. The reason for their reluctance is simple: poverty. Unless a newly-acquired plot includes a farmhouse, none of them possess the wherewithal nor the energy to clear up new lands, build a home and throw anything into the ground. Most are government officials and a few are middle-class urban professionals struggling to meet their day-to-day commitments. Some are battling to service their mortgages with building societies. They are the least prepared group to take on fresh projects in agriculture.

The whites, for the past two-and-a-half years, have had to endure the indignity of official harassment, living with truckloads of Zanu PF supporters driving through their farms, causing work stoppages and intimidating their families. They have tried to avoid confrontation, tried to follow the due process of the law and tried to reason with the authorities – all in vain. Debate about land reform has been with us almost a century. Why does the government want the farmers out in such a hurry as if they are aliens who suddenly invaded us from outer space? The government has offered no explanation for this haste: why does it want its new occupants to move in, despite overwhelming evidence these “cellphone” farmers are not ready? The government refuses to be reasonable because doing so could defeat the populist political gains Zanu PF expects to reap from the chaos.

Merely pushing white farmers off the land will neither lead to the resolution of the land question nor guarantee the flow of food to the people. Food security, for the individual, the nation and the region, is a fundamental issue of development. If the intention was to reduce farm sizes and make sure that every piece of land was fully used, that programme could have been implemented without necessarily disrupting the productive sector. In 1994, the government adopted and later ignored a report of the commission of inquiry into appropriate agricultural land tenure systems, chaired by Professor Mandivamba Rukuni. The 12-member commission was fairly representative, with four traditional chiefs, led by Chief Jonathan Mangwende, the president of the Council of Chiefs, the late Gary Magadzire, himself a successful farmer and a representative of small-scale commercial farmers, Advocate S K M Sibanda, and six other prominent Zimbabweans. The commission recommended the upholding of the freehold land tenure system for all commercial farms and suggested the cutting-up of large tracts of land into smaller units to bring into agriculture more players capable of undertaking more intensive forms of production.

Large farms could have been subdivided before settlement and a proper set of guidelines, criteria and procedures developed for identifying the interested farmers.
The haphazard allocation of productive land to suit a particular political agenda and drive out the whites for the sins of their ancestors is counter-productive.
The Rukuni report strongly suggests that long-term racial integration was more feasible if farm sizes were smaller and if there was transparent entry of farmers into the commercial sector. That was ignored. Today, race relations have been shattered by the desperate actions of a government that ignored professional and sober
advice eight years ago.

The cost to the nation is enormous, compounded by looming starvation. Donor nations, supposed to be in the forefront of bailing us out, watch the government’s antics with trepidation. The people must stop the government from sacrificing Zimbabwe to a Zanu PF political programme which, ironically, seems set to make the party even more unpopular.

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Leader Page
What is needed to bring truly sustainable development to Africa

8/23/02 9:58:30 AM (GMT +2)

By Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane

When world leaders assemble for a United Nations conference in Johannesburg from today, global attention will focus on Africa – its progress, ambitions, and needs.

While the primary focus of the World Summit on Sustainable Development may be the environment, the gathering will also provide an excellent opportunity to discuss what is needed to bring truly sustainable development – in the fullest sense of that term – to Africa. The continent’s needs are immense. Poverty is endemic, with nearly half the population in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than US$1 (Z$55) per day, and almost four-fifths living on less than US$2 per day. Life expectancy is less than 50 years, due in large part to armed conflicts, the Aids epidemic, and inadequate health care and social services.

The human suffering underlying these statistics is horrifying. Encouragingly, important gains have been made across Africa in recent years. In 13 countries, real gross domestic product growth has averaged in excess of 5 percent per year since 1997. Governments are striving to meet the needs of their poorest citizens, while still managing to check the need for deficit financing and reduce inflation – always the worst form of taxation on the poor.

A generation ago it was fashionable to debate whether the state or the private sector should lead the way for economic development. Today, we know that development requires both an honest, well-functioning state and a dynamic private sector. Many African governments have embraced this, and are now carrying out the reforms needed to boost private savings and investment, growth, and employment. There are many good examples of these successes. Mozambique and Uganda, once devastated by war, are now among the most rapidly growing countries in Africa. In Burkina Faso, policies to increase agricultural production and cotton exports have led to faster economic growth and higher incomes for the rural poor. In Botswana and Cameroon, revenues from the extraction of diamonds and oil are being used to develop stronger, more diversified economies.

Yet, achieving a meaningful reduction in poverty requires that these accomplishments be repeated and enhanced, over time and across all countries on the continent. Africa needs sustained growth of at least 7 percent per year, and it needs job-creating growth, particularly in rural areas. This, in turn, calls for better roads and other basic infrastructure, improvements in financial intermediation and wider access to financial services, promotion of regional integration to enlarge markets and expand inter-regional trade, and better access to education, health and financial services. HIV/Aids must be combated decisively. At the same time, every effort must be made to use resources efficiently and protect the environment. These needs were recognised by the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. There, an unprecedented consensus emerged that fighting world poverty requires: the recognition by developing nations that they themselves have the primary responsibility to tackle poverty – and that crucial for this is good governance; and stronger, faster, and more comprehensive support by the international community.

Second, and even more important, is the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), an ambitious action programme to redevelop the African continent launched by a new generation of African leaders and embraced by the newly formed African Union. Nepad’s long-term goal is an end to poverty in Africa, underpinned by peace, democracy, and the rule of law; development of social and physical infrastructure; and the full participation of African countries in international trade.

What is most significant about this programme – and what should help turn its vision into concrete action – is that it is an African agenda, designed and carried out by African leaders and people. It is now essential for the international community to respond with resources to help achieve its goals. There is a role for everyone.

What can the International Monetary Fund (IMF) do? At present, the centrepiece of IMF engagement with African countries is its assistance – in collaboration with the World Bank – in supporting poverty reduction strategies. Already, more than two dozen countries in Africa are engaged in preparing such strategies. While it is still early days, we are encouraged by the progress to date: spending on education, health care, and other social services is rising. Governments are becoming more transparent and accountable, and listening more to the views of their citizens.

The IMF provides financial support for countries’ poverty reduction strategies through its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). At present, US$3,5 billion (Z$192,5 billion) in PRGF loans to Africa have been approved. In addition, the IMF and World Bank have helped 26 African countries qualify for US$41,5 billion of debt relief under the enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative. But in our work on debt relief, we are reminded that the ability to borrow and to attract foreign direct investment is crucial for financing economic development. Therefore, the IMF and the World Bank are intensifying efforts to help African countries develop sound financial sectors and, over time, obtain access to international investment capital. This includes emphasis on banking sector reform and improvement in the regulatory environment – including the adoption of internationally recognised standards and codes, the creation of diversified financial institutions to provide start-up and working capital, and the development of soundly managed micro-finance institutions, in order to support the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises and the rural sector.

There are two key areas where the rest of the donor community can help: aid and trade. We welcome the action plan recently announced by the G8 countries in their latest summit in Canada to increase assistance to Africa. However, even stronger support should be possible as these countries demonstrate that they are putting the aid to good use. Africa’s needs are great. The ambitions of Nepad and the recent economic progress of many countries are encouraging. But it will be up to the rest of us – the IMF, other international organisations, and developed countries – to work in partnership with African governments and provide the support they need to eradicate poverty and realise Africa’s potential. n Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané is the Director of the African Department in the International Monetary Fund

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Daily News
Farm evictions – a sad chapter in the country’s history

8/23/02 9:06:42 AM (GMT +2)

A View from Matopos By Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu

Story: AT the time of writing, some white farmers were appearing in various courts in Zimbabwe to answer charges of defying a government order for them to leave their farms by 10 August 2002 as part of the country’s land acquisition and redistribution programme.

They decided to defy the law mainly for two reasons: they each have one farm and, therefore, meet the stipulations of the government’s one-farmer, one-farm policy; they bought the farms after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, having first written to the government to find out whether or not the government would require the farms for resettlement purposes. The government’s response was that it would not need those farms. Some of the farmers are Zimbabweans by birth, and are as constitutionally entitled to own property in this country as any Zimbabwean, whatever their ethnic origin or skin pigmentation – black, white, yellow or otherwise.

That the government has decided to acquire land from white farmers virtually by force or violence rather than by other more humane means, is a sad chapter in this country’s relatively short history. The method being used sounds more vengeful than patriotic in that it seems to be implying that Zimbabwe is a nation of black people, to the exclusion of those of different skin colour. A patriotic policy would recognise first and foremost that Zimbabwe is a multi-racial nation. A genuinely patriotic policy is non-racial and not otherwise. That the government has a duty to correct past economic, cultural, political and social injustices against the country’s black community is clearly indisputable. That fact was the basic cause of the national liberation struggle.

Emphasis should be placed on the important word NATIONAL. The objective of that struggle was to found a free nation in which social justice would be dispensed to all sectors of the society: cultural groups (religious organisations); economic organisations (industrialists and commercial entrepreneurs, labour unions); investors (commercial farmers and transport operators, peasants) and professionals (teachers, medical personnel, lawyers, and engineers etc). We all know that land was the major bone of contention between the British-sponsored colonial administrators and the dispossessed black people of this country.

That was why in the 1960s, the slogan of the national liberation organisations, first the National Democratic Party (NDP) and then the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) was: “Ilizwe ngelethu! Nyika ndeyedu!” (The country is ours!) It was perfectly clear that something would be done to acquire land from those who had more than they needed and be given to those without any and those with less than their requirements. In 1962, the then Zapu leader, Joshua Nkomo, was asked by an American government official, Menen Williams, what he would do about white-owned farms if he got into power in Zimbabwe (known as Southern Rhodesia at that time).

He said his government would “use peaceful means to return the land to the deprived majority”. A method Nkomo said his government would use was heavy taxation of excess land as a way to induce the owners to sell it to the State.

That method was a very advisable option for the government in 2000 in that much revenue for the fiscus could have been raised thereby, and meaningful infrastructure could have been created in the newly established resettled areas with it. That method could have been applied in such a way that the government’s one-farmer, one-farm policy could have been achieved on one hand while public revenue was being generated on the other, resulting in the raising of funds, some of which could have been used even for compensating the farmers. As it is today, there is a great deal of tension, nay, animosity, within the Zimbabwean society itself, to say nothing about lack of goodwill by the outside world towards the country. The government is now being compared with the Amin regime of Uganda, the Pol Pot anarchists of Cambodia and the autocratic regime of Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.

This unfortunate environment could have been easily avoided had government adopted a truly conciliatory rather than a retaliatory approach. The government seems not to realise that nation-building calls for tolerance and not harshness; for a long-term vision and not stop-gap measures; for wisdom and not cunning; for strategies and not stratagems, and that, more than all these, that there is no such thing as a mono-ethnic nation. Nations comprise communities with a diversity of cultures, interests and aspirations that must be peacefully harmonised to create national co-operation, unity and stability. We have had accusations by pro-government media that independent media are mouth-pieces of imperialistic nations like the United States, Britain and others.

I have agonisingly searched in vain for evidence to prove that criticism of Zimbabwe’s economy. Teachers could be exported to Malaysia and Namibia where most could specialise in the teaching of English. Labourers can be sent to Libya where they can work in that country’s oil fields. Nurses can be sent wherever there is a demand for their professional services. If that is not done, Zimbabwe will sooner than later be flooded with hundreds of thousands of professionals without jobs. These are produced by the country’s six universities. Meanwhile, there are plans to establish another three: one at Great Zimbabwe, one at Matopo Mission, and a third at Plumtree

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Independent (UK)

Charities angry at Tory plan to use aid as weapon to topple Mugabe

By Nigel Morris Political Correspondent

24 August 2002

Third world charities reacted angrily last night to a Tory demand for all Western aid to Africa to be tied to President Robert Mugabe's removal from power in Zimbabwe. They said the move, when the south of the continent faced its worst famine for a decade, would inflict extra suffering on some of the world's poorest people.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, and Michael Ancram, the shadow Foreign Secretary, have backed a link between aid and action against the Mugabe regime.

Their call followed the revelation that Tony Blair will be speaking on 2 September at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, only an hour before President Mugabe's address.

Mr Ancram said yesterday: "Money for investment in Africa through the New Partnership for Africa's Development, which is supposed to be tied to good governance in Africa, must now relate to seeing a change in the government of Zimbabwe."

But Judith Melby, of Christian Aid, said: "There are millions of people suffering from floods and droughts. These are the people we are trying to help.

"If you look at people really suffering in neighbouring countries like Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, there's no justification for penalising them." In a joint statement, Save the Children and Oxfam condemned any suggestion that the recently agreed programme of help for Africa should be made "hostage to the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe".

Brendan Paddy, of Save the Children, said: "You cannot make Western approval of the way African countries are run a precondition of aid."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, denounced the Tory plan as "particularly ill-considered". He said: "Not only would it hinder attempts to isolate Mugabe, but its cruel effect would be to punish the whole of Africa for the sins of one man. It would push back the prospects for a continent which has suffered for so long from hunger, mismanagement and disease."

* Mr Mugabe sacked his cabinet yesterday and said he would spend the weekend forming a new "government team". No reason was given.

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From The Star (SA), 22 August

Time to get tough on Zimbabwe, says Mbeki

By John Battersby

President Thabo Mbeki has acknowledged the need for a "vigorous" response to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. His admission on Thursday came amid growing diplomatic and political pressure on South Africa to take tougher action against land seizures mounted ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. "I intend discussing with the Prime Minister (of Australia, John Howard) ... the challenges facing the Commonwealth. "I agree with Mr Howard that the troika of the Commonwealth needs to address vigorously the present state of affairs in Zimbabwe," Mbeki said. The Commonwealth troika of Australia, South Africa and Nigeria agreed to suspend Zimbabwe from participation in Commonwealth affairs following its flawed election in March this year.

Mbeki's intervention comes amid fears in political and diplomatic circles that President Robert Mugabe, who is scheduled to attend the summit, would attempt to hijack the agenda by putting his government's case for illegal land seizures on the table. While Mugabe's attendance is a United Nations matter, as the summit is being held under the auspices of the UN, there are fears that his presence could divert attention from the agenda and dominate media coverage. Mbeki's remarks were backed up in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs calling for land reforms to be carried out according to the rule of law and a tough statement by Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, who insisted that Zimbabwe-style land seizures could never happen in South Africa. "We are not Zimbabwe. We believe in property rights. We believe in the importance of the rule of law," Mboweni said. He strongly urged financial markets not to judge South Africa by the way the Zimbabwean government handled its land-reform programme. "As far as I am aware, nothing of the sort will happen here," Mboweni said.

Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon accused Mbeki of being "in dereliction of his duty" by failing to speak out against state-sponsored lawlessness in Zimbabwe. "The markets advise that our currency is being hit and attacked by mounting concern over Zimbabwe's eviction of white farmers and the absence of condemnation by South African authorities," Leon said in a statement. The department of foreign affairs earlier in the week issued a statement stressing that the SA high commission in Harare was assisting the South Africans concerned "in terms of the consular services that are provided to all South Africans arrested abroad". It said the government had also approached the Zimbabwean Foreign Ministry regarding the listing of six farms owned by South Africans that were earmarked for resettlement. The statement also reiterated that any land reforms in Zimbabwe should take place according to "the rule of law, respect for the Zimbabwean constitution and due process". It hinted at a shift closer to an international consensus on Zimbabwe but stopped short of embracing sanctions.

A senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity on Thursday that some countries in the EU felt that the EU should have taken a more considered view on Zimbabwe and not rushed into adopting sanctions. They could have been more flexible in their approach, the diplomat said. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, who a few days ago lashed out at opposition parties for exploiting the Zimbabwean dilemma rather than helping to resolve it, undertook on Thursday to follow up stalled negotiations on a bilateral agreement to protect South African investments in Zimbabwe. Earlier this week, Pahad lashed out at the DA in a parliamentary debate for failing to make "a single honest suggestion" on how Zimbabwe could resolve its political and economic crisis. "All you are doing is putting the fear of democracy into the minorities in our country, and therefore you play a very dangerous and subversive role in this sense," Pahad said.

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Comment from Business Day (SA), 23 August

Land reform a cover for Zanu war on opposition

RW Johnson

I have spent the past two weeks in Zimbabwe, watching the surreal spectacle of white farmers being arrested, in the middle of a famine, for continuing to try to grow food on their land. When asked how did it come to this, my mind drifts back to 1999 when Morgan Tsvangirai told me that he was planning to launch a new political party to fight President Robert Mugabe. I agreed he could be sure of massive urban support, given his trade union connection, but asked how he planned to extend that into a countryside which was very much under Mugabe's thumb. The workers all go home to rural families, he said: they will spread the word. And so it transpired but of course the job was easiest among the 2-million Zimbabweans, farm workers and their dependants, who lived on white-owned farms. When, in February 2000, Mugabe was defeated by 54% to 46% in his constitutional referendum the humiliated Zanu PF government spoke angrily of how farmers had driven lorry loads of farm workers to vote, implying that the farmers had somehow influenced their workers to vote the same way they had. In fact as everyone knew when, at independence in 1980 the farmers had voted heavily against Mugabe and their workers massively for him, this had also ended all notions of farmers delivering the farm worker vote. But the real point was that the world of the white farm was that part of the countryside which was least under Mugabe's thumb. It was a milieu in which farmers' wives ran schools and charities for AIDS orphans. When famine struck the communal land areas Mugabe would ruthlessly link food handouts to the holding of Zanu PF membership cards but on white farms the farmers ensured workers and their families never starved, without enquiring about their political views. In effect, white farmers created a social umbrella protecting those beneath from the harshness of Zanu PF hegemony. It was inevitable that when an opposition mass movement was launched in the cities it would quickly connect up with the world of the white farm and, as February 2000 showed, the resulting coalition could eject Mugabe from power.

The rest of the world regards Mugabe as a madman but there was in fact a steely rationality in the way he then decided to destroy the world of the white farm. Within weeks the war vet invasions began and the frightful tale of murder, torture and intimidation unfolded. This was all done under the pretence of "land reform" but only those like President Thabo Mbeki who wanted to fool themselves ever believed that. Mugabe had, after all, not bothered much about land reform for 20 years. Vast tracts of land taken over by the state stood empty, but Mugabe made no move to redistribute this land or the land owned by Zanu PF fat cats any more than he was willing to take up white farmers' repeated offers to make more land available for redistribution. Such constructive schemes were besides the point for Mugabe's aim was deliberately destructive: the social milieu of the white farm must be destroyed so that the opposition's coalition could never win. Only this destructive logic can explain why war vets invaded game farms which could never support human settlement, why their first acts were always intimidatory and why they so often destroyed irrigation equipment: their aim was to drive white farmers off the farms, not make them viable settlements in the future. This was also why last week saw Zanu PF in schizoid mood, denouncing some farmers for staying on their farms after August 10 and others for "faking" or "stage-managing" their own evictions. Similarly, Mugabe's bitterest attacks were reserved for Britain, the biggest donor of famine relief. Yet without donor aid, the population could be cut by half. For while Zanu PF and Mbeki have maintained the pretence that the aim of this genocidal policy is to hand land over to a successor class of productive black farmers, the witching hour has struck: with no sign of that class. Without doubt the result will be to turn flourishing farms back into barren bush: already a journey through the Zimbabwean countryside reveals a picture of dilapidation and desolation. The results will be famine not just this year or next but as far ahead as one can see. The fact Mbeki has quite literally gone hand in hand with Mugabe all the way, trumpeting the pretence that this devastation is actually about land reform, sheds a garish light on our president's professed interest in "sustainable development".

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