For the first
time, Libyans in Zimbabwe's capital of Harare have demonstrated against Moammar
Gadhafi, saying he and his family stole Libya’s oil revenues. Zimbabwe’s
President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party criticize Western support for the
rebels on a daily basis, as well as lashing out at the African Union for failing
to go to Colonel Gadhafi’s aid.
Many Zimbabweans believe Libyan Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe are close allies, so passers by were astonished when a group of Libyans demonstrated Wednesday outside their embassy in central Harare in support of the rebels who control of most of Libya.
The green flag previously flown above the embassy has been pulled down and in its place is the flag used by the rebel National Transitional Council, previously used in Libya between 1951 and 1969.
One of the Libyan protesters who worked in the embassy for four years said he supported the rebels in Libya and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe. He said that although Zimbabwe was a “poor” country, it was a “free” country. He said Colonel Gadhafi had stolen Libya’s oil revenues for his family.
"We have the oil, we have everything, but all the people without houses, with nothing, without freedom, without media in Libya, you do not see any media in Libya, and also you will find in Libya many tanks with Gadhafi," he said. "The money in Canada, the money in Switzerland, they take all the money from Libya. Forty years now they collected the money.”
Gadhafi last visited Zimbabwe 10 years ago at the height of Mugabe’s often violent land-reform program. The Libyan leader said he supported the eviction of white farmers, and said Zimbabwe’s whites should return to their countries of origin.
Mugabe and Gadhafi fell out in 2004 when Zimbabwe failed to pay for two-thirds of $360-million in fuel supplied by Libya’s state oil company.
Then Mugabe criticized the Libyan leader for reconciling with the West, particularly when former British prime minister Tony Blair went to meet Gadhafi in Libya.
Mugabe recently said that while he did not support Gadhafi’s governance or his attacks on demonstrators in February, he believed the West is only interested in Libya for its oil.
On a daily basis the ZANU-PF-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and state newspapers have strongly criticized Western support for the rebels.
The demonstration outside the Libyan embassy was ignored by police who usually arrest street protesters, unless those taking part are promoting ZANU-PF.
“We are celebrating today because no more Gadhafi," said a Libyan. "And we have our new flag. This is our flag, this the original flag, the green one is for Gadhafi and we do not need it any more. Freedom it is a new life. We are Libyan freedom fighters not rebels. All the money he is using for him and his children. He is selling the oil and he is keeping it for his sons.”
The pro-ZANU-PF Herald newspaper said Wednesday it expected Gadhafi to be killed in Tripoli or if captured sent to the International Criminal Court, which the writer described as a "Kangaroo Court in the Hague.”
Eyewitness News | 8 Hour(s) Ago
Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs ministry on Thursday said it does not recognise
Libya’s rebel-led National Transitional Council.
It comes after Libya’s ambassador to Harare defected to the rebels on
Joey Bimha, the permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, said
the Libyan ambassador now does not have any business to do in Harare.
He said the Zimbabwean government does not recognise the rebels and added
that this is the official AU position.
The Libyan situation is a difficult one for the Mugabe government to
Mugabe and Muammar Gaddafi have both been in power for decades and Mugabe
has been deeply critical of the Nato-led offensive in the North African
By Chengetai Zvauya′Senior Writer
Thursday, 25 August 2011 10:52
HARARE - The Libyan community in Zimbabwe yesterday celebrated the fall of
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi by pulling down the old flag and hoisting a
new one belonging to a transitional authority in charge of the North African
country, as chaos in Tripoli escalates.
At the same time, Zimbabweans from all walks of life have said that the
Libyan dictator is not welcome in Zimbabwe.
In a sign that the eccentric strongman has lost support even in countries
supposedly friendly to his regime over the years, Libyan first counsellor in
Harare Mohammed Elrabt denounced Gaddafi in front of his countrymen and told
the Daily News that the tyrant was now history.
“We are celebrating the fall of dictator Gaddafi who has ruled the country
for over 40 years. There was no freedom of movement, association and freedom
of the press. Many people were killed and jailed for opposing Gaddafi’s
“This celebration is similar to what has happened in South Africa and
Nigeria where the Libyan people are rejoicing the victory of a new dawn in
our country,” he said amid cheers from his fellow countrymen.
“We join the people in Libya and our capital Tripoli today and we want them
to know that we are together in the victory. We are saying Gaddafi must go.
We know that Gaddafi has killed a lot of people, over 1 000 who wanted their
freedom and we are happy that people have managed to achieve this victory."
The Libyan diplomat said they wanted all the investments that were signed
between Gaddafi and the Zimbabwe government to be handed over to the new
administration in Tripoli because Gaddafi signed them in his personal
“Gaddafi was treating these bilateral agreements as his personal′ property
and these investments in farming, tourism and oil businesses are not
supposed to be under Gaddafi but must be returned to the people of Libya.
“We are telling Gaddafi that everything has changed and we are under a new
government and give back everything you have back to the people of Libya,’’
The crowd, which brought business in the Kopje area to halt, comprised of
women, children and men clad in “their new flag”, as they celebrated the
African strongman’s demise at their embassy yesterday afternoon.
The group had painted their faces in the colours red, green and black
colours of the new flag. One elderly woman carried a placard written
“Gaddafi expired.”′ Scores of Zimbabweans also joined in wild celebrations.′
“Down with the dictator, down with Gaddafi, ‘’ shouting on top of′ their
voices, echoed the Libyans.
Another embassy official Abdusslam K. Sweey was also rejoicing the′ fall of
“I was the representative of Libya at the African Union and I am happy that
regime change has happened today, our celebration is to show the world that
we are in solidarity with the Libyans."
Our country is rich in minerals and oil but the money was being siphoned by
Gaddafi and his children and my message to him is that your days are
“I look forward to going back to Libya when everything has stabilised′ and
rebuild the country under the new government,’’ said Sweey.
Gaddafi is a long-time ally of President Robert Mugabe, and is under′ siege
in his home country with rebels running over the capital′ Tripoli.
Gaddafi visited Zimbabwe in 2002 and was given some farms in the′
Mashonaland West Province to start some farming projects which′ include
beef, dairy, wheat and maize farming in exchange for fuel.
Last year, Gaddafi’s son Saif visited the country to wrap up′ commercial
deals in tourism and other sectors on behalf of his′ family.
He was looking for opportunities to start business ventures in′ petroleum,
mining, farming and tourism and an ethanol project in′ Masvingo province.
A reward of £1m (about US$1,65m) is being offered for whoever finds Colonel
Muammar Gaddafi, dead or alive, the head of the Transitional National
Council (NTC) has said.
The leader’s forces have attacked several locations in central Tripoli,
including the former leader’s own compound.
A rebel spokesman said: “There were bombardments on Bab al Aziziyah
(compound), Al Mansoura area and another area near Rixos hotel.
“Most of this bombardment was carried out by the regime’s cells positioned
in the Abu Salim area.”
Gaddafi is believed to be hiding somewhere in the city and Mustafa Abdel
Jalil said, “The NTC supports the initiative of businessmen who are offering
two million dinars (£1m) for the capture of Muammar Gaddafi, dead or alive.”
Meanwhile, fighting is also underway in the south of Tripoli, where rebels
believe Gaddafi is hiding.
As the dictator’s forces began to hit back, members of the rebels’
transitional government are preparing for a move to Tripoli, where they
intend to establish an interim administration.
The counter-attack comes as Gaddafi called for the city’s residents to
“cleanse” the capital of insurgents in an audio broadcast on Syrian
Said Gaddafi, “All Libyans must be present in Tripoli, young men, tribal
men and women must sweep through Tripoli and comb it for traitors. “I have
been out a bit in Tripoli discreetly, without being seen by people, and...I
did not feel that Tripoli was in danger,” he said.
Rebel forces swept into Gaddafi’s compound on Tuesday, seizing weapons and
destroying symbols of the long-standing dictatorship.
The jubilant fighters celebrated their rapid advance and erected their flag
above the base.
One man found Gaddafi’s gold-trimmed hat in his bedroom inside the compound
and was wearing it saying he planned to give it to his father.
There is widespread speculation that Gaddafi may have used a secret network
of tunnels to escape and the US believes he remains in the country.
He has reportedly told an Arabic television station that his withdrawal was
a tactic and promised death or victory against rebels.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a rebel commander, said he did not know where the
dictator or his sons were, saying, “They ran like rats.”
Gaddafi’s remaining forces are said to be heading for his home town of
Sirte, raising fears of a bloody final showdown with the rebels.
Opposition leaders say 400 people have been killed and 2 000 were wounded
during three days of fighting in Tripoli.
Celebrations took place across the country as the rebels’ success became
clear and thousands gathered in Tripoli’s Green Square — now renamed Martyrs’
But reports of hostile fire around the city centre overnight suggested the
six-month popular insurgency had not completely triumphed yet.
Rebel National Council chief Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who was until February a
loyal minister of Gaddafi, warned: “It is too early to say that the battle
of Tripoli is over.
“That won’t happen until Gaddafi and his sons are captured.”
Gaddafi has vowed death or victory in the fight against “aggression”,
telling Al-Orouba TV that his Tripoli headquarters had been levelled after
64 Nato airstrikes.
His main spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, also told the same channel the regime
could resist rebels for “months or even years” and would be “back to take
He vowed Libya would be turned into “volcanoes, lava and fire”. - With Sky
by Staff Reporter
TWENTY people died and 19 others were injured on Thursday in a horrific road
accident involving two buses and a heavy goods truck along the
Harare-Bulawayo highway, police said.
A Chivi-bound Chawasarira bus burst its right front tyre and side-swiped a
haulage truck heading towards Harare about 15km out of Norton.
Eighteen people died on impact after the entire right hand side of the bus
sheared off. A nineteenth passenger died in hospital.
A Lofombo bus following behind tried to avoid the stricken Chawasarira bus
but overturned, killing one person.
Police Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mutombeni, speaking at the scene of the
accident near Brian Farm, told state radio that the injured had been taken
to Harare Central Hospital.
Musiyiwa Sahi, who survived the crash with her seven month-old baby, claimed
the Chawasarira bus driver had been speeding and passengers.
"Passengers had been appealing to him to reduce speed moments before the
accident," she said.
Major accidents are sadly all too common on Zimbabwe’s roads. Police blame
speeding drivers, unroadworthy vehicles and the poor state of the country’s
Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:06am GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE Aug 25 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's electricity regulator has ordered a 31
percent tariff increase, in a move it said was meant to ensure the
state-owned power utility ZESA's profitability, the authority said on
The increase would see the average tariff going up to 9.3 cents per kilowatt
hour (kWh), from the current 7.5 cents, with effect from Sept. 1, the
Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC) said in a statement.
ZESA, the country's sole power supplier, has often blamed low tariffs as one
of the reasons behind erratic electricity supplies.
The southern African country currently generates less than 1,000 megawatts
against demand of more than 2,000 megawatts, a situation that has held back
the recovery of the key mining and manufacturing sectors.
Zimbabwe compliments local power generation with imports from the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia.
By Roy Chikara, Masvingo, August 25, 2011 - Five leaders of a local human
rights group were arrested on Wednesday and detained for over six hours at
Masvingo central police station for allegedly organising a demonstration to
call for the sacking of controversial war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda
from Masvingo province.
The leadership Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Development (COTRAD)
said they were beaten up and harassed while in detention before the police
disrupted their demonstration.
The five were Cotrad director, Gamuchirai Mukura, Programmes Officer,
Brighton Ramusi, Talent Maposa, Muchaneta Chinho and Anorld Batirayi.
Mukura told Radio VOP after their release that they were harassed and beaten
while they were incarcerated.
“They picked us up in the morning while we were organising our youths to
start the peaceful march. Armed police took us to Masvingo central and
detained us while others disrupted the youths who later dispersed,” he said.
Mukura said they were charged of organising an illegal demonstration and
defying a ban of the march by the police.
“We said our march was illegal and we defied their call for ban when we
approached them to notify them of the march. But we went ahead because the
law says you must notify police not to seek permission from them,” Mukura
He added that they sustained injuries during the beatings but vowed to go
ahead with the demo.
“Although they assaulted us and detained us after disrupting our demo. We
will re-group and organise another one until Sibanda leaves.
He said the intention of the March was to take a petition to Governor Titus
Maluleke to order Sibanda out of the province.
Sibanda is accused of leading a reign of terror in the rural Masvingo
province where he forces villagers to meetings and threaten to kill anyone
if President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) lose the next elections.
By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:05
HARARE - The trial of Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others was again postponed
yesterday to September 7 with the state providing the defence counsel with
the necessary exhibits and state papers in preparation for the long delayed
The matter, which is now going to be handled by magistrate William Bhila was
initially pencilled to go on trial on July 18, but has been repeatedly
postponed after magistrate Morgan Nemadire recused himself from the matter.
Gwisai, an International Socialist Organisation coordinator and 44 social
justice and human rights activists were initially charged of treason when
they first appeared in court in February this year.
The state later withdrew charges against 39 other activists, leaving Gwisai
and five others to answer to treason charges, which attracts a death
sentence or life in prison.
Gwisai is jointly charged with five other social, economic, justice and
human rights activists.
These are Antonater Choto, 36, Tatenda Mombeyarara, 29, Edson Chakuma, 38,
Hopewell Gumbo, 32 and Welcome Zimuto, 25.
The six who were initially facing treason charges are now facing charges of
conspiracy to commit violence or alternatively inciting public violence or
participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence,
breaches of peace and bigotry.
According to state papers, the six convened a meeting on February 19 this
year at Zimbabwe Labour Centre in Harare, where they agreed to act in
concert to forcibly and seriously disturb peace, security or order of the
public in Zimbabwe.
The state further alleges that they had agreed to mobilise the people of
Zimbabwe to revolt against the government and demand the resignation of the
president of Zimbabwe.
According to state papers, the activists allegedly viewed video footage of
the Egyptian protests and made speeches urging other activists in attendance
to mobilise a revolt against the government in similar uprisings that
toppled long serving tyrants in Egypt and Tunisia.
The court heard that the video footage showed pictures of Egypt and Tunisia,
where protesters destroyed government buildings, attacked law enforcement
agents, killed and injured several people.
24 August 2011
Human rights defenders have called for the closure of the training base, but
presidential aide Didymus Mutasa told a Harare newspaper that the youths are
school leavers engaged in constructive activities
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington
Zimbabwean human rights groups say about 200 members of the youth militia
controlled by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party are being trained at
Sherenje Secondary School in Headlands, Manicaland province, contrary to the
wishes of local residents.
The member of parliament for the constituency of Headlands is ZANU-PF
Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa, minister of state in the office
of President Mugabe.
Human rights defenders have called for the closure of the training base, but
Mutasa told the independent Daily News paper recently that the youths were
school leavers engaged in activities that would benefit the local community
Sources said about 70 of the youths will graduate later this month and that
villagers have been forced to contribute to costs of the ceremony.
Education Minister David Coltart said he was not yet fully informed of what
was going on at Sherenje, but promised to comment once he had investigated
the situation. Coltart has on a number of occasions declared Zimbabwe's
schools off-limits to politics.
Though ZANU-PF considers the youth militia to be performing national
service, they are generally regarded as an arm of of the party. Youth
militia members were prominent in the deadly violence seen in many parts of
Zimbabwe during the 2008 elections.
Manicaland provincial spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the militia have turned the school
into a no-go zone and that the youths have been abusive of local residents
and demanded they perform menial services.
Neither Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere nor ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo
could be reached for comment on the situation in Headlands.
by Staff reporter
2011 August 25 17:21:10
Zanu-PF National Chairman, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo has warned U.S
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Charles Ray to stop meddling in the country's
internal affairs through reckless public statements which criticise Zanu-PF
officials in government.
Ambassador Ray, who paid a courtesy call on the Zanu-PF National Chairman,
has been making headlines in the private media for criticising government
and Zanu-PF policies.
Ambassador Ray is also on record for saying his country will not fold hands
and watch while human rights are being abused in Zimbabwe.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo said it is undiplomatic for the US ambassador to make
controversial statements on issues concerning the Zimbabwean government and
Zanu-PF, adding that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation which does not interfere
in the internal affairs of other nations.
"If the US ambassador has any burning issues it is important to discuss them
rather than rush to the media," said Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
In response, Ambassador Ray said the reason why he makes statements which
are usually based on assumptions is that he has on several occasions tried
to have meetings with top government officials but to no avail.
ambassador moyoo.jpgHe suggested that both parties should turn on a new leaf
and work on ways to move forward.
Despite Zimbabwe not having a bilateral dispute with the US as is the case
with Britain, the US has been at the forefront of criticising the Zimbabwean
government and even spearheading the imposition of illegal sanctions.
On 21 December 2001, the then US President George Bush signed the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) into law. The law virtually put
illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
August 25, 2011
Ambassador Charles Ray met with Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, National Chairman of ZANU-PF, at Zanu PF Headquarters today. During the meeting Ambassador Ray stressed his desire to cultivate better relations between the United States and ZANU-PF.
Ambassador Ray reiterated his message presented in recent dialogue discussion sessions in Harare and Bulawayo on the future of U.S.- Zimbabwe relations that the United States does not support or oppose any single party in Zimbabwe. The U.S. will continue to engage with the people of Zimbabwe and any political party or individual that wins the next election as long as the election is credible and non-violent, reflects the will of the people, and is honored in implementation. Ambassador Ray noted that while there are some restrictions on what the U.S. can do in Zimbabwe, he is committed to cooperating on the broad array of areas in which the U.S. and Zimbabwe share a common interest, including in the areas of promoting national stability and economic growth.
In his message to the Ambassador, Mr. Moyo expressed his appreciation for the meeting and emphasized the need to turn a new page in relations with the U.S. through more regular and direct interactions to remove suspicions and antagonism.
# # #
Issued by the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section. Contact: Sharon Hudson Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +263 475800/1, Fax: +2634758802. Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
Note: Copies of Ambassador Ray’s recent speech at the policy dialogue forums held in Harare and Bulawayo are available at http://harare.usembassy.gov
By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 August, 2011
The streets of Masvingo town were flooded with uniformed police and soldiers
on Thursday, who blocked a protest march against the self-proclaimed war vet
leader Jabulani Sibanda. No arrests were reported.
About 150 supporters of the youth group Community Tolerance for
Development (Cotrad) had gathered in Masvingo for the march. They are
demanding that the ZANU PF thug end his violent campaign and get out of
“The environment has been very hostile since the Cotrad executives were
arrested yesterday and we were not surprised that soldiers were involved”,
director of the youth group Gamuchirai Kumura told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday. “They are always involved in national issues,” he added.
Kumura and three other youth leaders from Cotrad were seized by police on
Wednesday and illegally detained for six hours. They said the police
intimidated and warned them not to fight against Sibanda. But the youth
leaders still gathered their supporters on Thursday, only to be dispersed by
soldiers and police.
Sibanda has been forcing villagers in Masvingo to attend rallies where he
threatens to murder those who do not support Robert Mugabe in elections. The
party’s Masvingo executives once called for his dismissal saying he does
more harm than good. But Sibanda defied them and caused a row.
Kumura said Cotrad plans to petition the provincial governor and the police
because “every citizen has the right to freedom of assembly and speech”. He
said the group has support from youths in 7 districts of Masvingo province
and at least 300 would turn out for the next march.
The other Cotrad leaders who were briefly detained and intimidated on
Wednesday were programmes manager Brighton Ramusi, Muchaneta Chimbo, and
By Alex Bell
25 August 2011
The newly elected Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) has said that ZANU PF is behind the worsening factionalism in the
The ZCTU has been on the verge of splitting for several weeks, with at least
seven disgruntled union affiliates now insisting that the new leadership,
elected at a weekend congress, is not legitimate.
That group, and five non-affiliated unions, has this week said it will have
its own congress by the end of year, adding that it still recognises
Lovemore Matombo as ZCTU President.
The faction, led by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), tried
to have the weekend’s Bulawayo congress stopped last week, but their court
application to that end was dismissed. The union then boycotted the meeting,
with threats from PTUZ Secretary General Raymond Majongwe that they would
“expel themselves” if they attended.
The congress ended on Saturday night with the election of George Nkiwane as
the new leader of the ZCTU. Japhet Moyo now takes over from Wellington
Chibebe as the new ZCTU Secretary General, with Chibebe heading for Brussels
after he was appointed deputy General Secretary of the International Trade
Union Confederation (ITUC).
Moyo told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that they will not stop the Matombo
faction from holding another congress, but he insisted “it will not be a
ZCTU congress. We are past this stage, and we are continuing with more
Moyo added that there is a “sad force behind this quarrel,” which he
explained the ZCTU has been fighting for a decade.
“There are characters in this grouping that have tried to destabilise the
ZCTU in the past. We are certain that these comrades are being handled by
ZANU PF, to destablise the ZCTU from within,” Moyo said.
He added: “This is not about workers grievances. This is about politics.”
SW Radio Africa was unable to reach the PTUZ’s Majongwe, who has been
commenting on the ZCTU fight. But he denied in a recent interview that he
was linked in any way to ZANU PF. He said the allegations were being made by
people “who had an agenda against him.”
By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 August, 2011
Members of a regionally appointed team that is meant to assist Zimbabwe’s
unity government with implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
have still not been selected, months after SADC leaders resolved that the
political parties needed help. Additionally, no timelines for the process
have been set.
The news was revealed by the co-chairman of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC) Elton Mangoma, who said the team has now
been reduced to just two members. South Africa was to appoint the third rep,
but it was decided their role as facilitators was adequate. President Zuma
also chairs the Troika Organ on Security, which the teams report to.
The other two Troika representatives will be appointed from Mozambique and
Zambia. “The facilitators have undertaken to send envoys to those two
countries to identify who will be their Troika reps,” Mangoma told SW Radio
Africa on Thursday.
At a summit in Lusaka back in May, SADC resolved to appoint a team that
would help speed up implementation of the issues agreed to by Zimbabwe’s
political parties. This was after the regional leaders criticized the unity
government for their slow progress in implementing the GPA.
SADC has since held summits in Sandton, South Africa and Luanda in Angola,
which simply “reaffirmed” the resolutions that were made in Lusaka.
Meanwhile, progress towards elections in Zimbabwe has stalled.
Speaking on the Crisis Analysis programme, Mangoma said: “The urgency of the
situation has been made clear to SADC and they know that ZANU PF is using
delay tactics. They also want the outstanding issues in the GPA to be
ZANU PF has insisted that they will not accept the involvement of Troika
representatives in Zimbabwe’s affairs. But Mangoma said it is not up to them
to decide, and no election will be deemed credible without monitoring by
Lindiwe Zulu, who heads President Zuma’s facilitation team, told SW Radio
Africa she did not know any specific details regarding the appointment of
the Troika team to assist JOMIC.
By Alex Bell
25 August 2011
About 300 members of the pressure group Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) marched to Parliament on Thursday, to protest against the corruption
and monopoly of ZESA.
The group, carrying symbolic ‘coffins’ and football style red cards, were
stopped from reaching Parliament’s doors by a line of riot police, who then
confiscated the coffins. According to a WOZA statement, a 30 minutestand-off
ensued whilst the activists were forced to use alternative routes to deliver
signed WOZA ‘anti abuse of power’ petitions.
“During this time a huge group of passers-by gathered to read the flyers,
watch the drama unfolding, and to comment on the electricity issue. Members
sang Shona language songs, calling for removal of the ZESA monopoly. When
the riot police became aggressive, they switched to song, Udzvanyiriri ndiwo
unei (so what is this oppression all about) and ‘munu wese ane kodzero’
(everyone has rights, even police officers). Various members took the
opportunity to address the gathering and bemoaned the challenges of
continual power cuts and the need to spend money on alternative means of
light and fuel to cook food,” WOZA said.
The peaceful protesters were then forced to scatter after a police van
approached the group, driving at speed. The police officers then took the
chance to swell their numbers using reinforcements and ordered the remaining
WOZA members to disperse.
The petitions, which have been signed by more than one hundred thousand
people, calls for the electricity monopoly enjoyed by ZESA to end. This is
part of WOZA’s ‘anti abuse of power campaign’ which has so far involved
delivery of ‘yellow cards’ and now ‘red cards’ to suburban and central
officers of the power utility.
WOZA is urging Parliament’s Anti Corruption and Monopolies Committee to take
action on the matter, amid threats by ZESA to raise rates regardless of
ongoing power cuts and shortages.
Harare, August 25,2011 - LAWYERS representing the Anglican Diocese of Harare
in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), led by Bishop
Gandiya have filed a Constitutional appeal against a chamber ruling by Chief
Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on 4 August 2011, which allowed the
ex-communicated Dr Nolbert Kunonga in temporary custody of the churches
The Chief Justice ruled that while he reinstated the appeal by the CPCA, he
categorically stated that ‘the appeal shall not suspend the operation of the
order’ giving the ex-communicated Dr Kunonga full custody of Anglican
properties, yet he left the Church voluntarily to form his own Province of
In light of these developments, clergy and members of the laity belonging to
the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA) across Harare, Mashonaland West, East
and Central have been receiving threats, constant harassment and lately
severe beatings from Kunonga’s hooligans, masquerading as clergy,
accompanied by ‘certainly hired thugs’.
The latest casualty is Reverend Jonah Mudowaya who was severely assaulted in
Chinhoyi on Wednesday 24 August 2011.
In the court challenge, filed Wednesday 24 August 2011, the Anglican Diocese
of Harare (CPCA) argues that paragraph 3 of the order that granted Kunonga
custody of Anglican properties in Case Number SC 180/09, judgement Number
SC19/11 by the Chief Justice in his chambers to the effect that the ‘noting
of the appeal should not suspend the operation of the order’ is null and
void for being in contravention of sections 18(1), 18(1a), 18 (9) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The CPCA argues further that: “Any actions taken by or on behalf or in the
name of Kunonga and his trustees on the basis or pursuant to Judgment
SC19/11 should be reversed, and the status quo aute as at the time that
judgment was given shall prevail.”
The Diocese of Harare (CAPCA is demanding that Kunonga’s agents, followers,
representatives should restore to the CPCA all property, movable or
immovable which they took, seized, occupied or otherwise took possession of
from the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA).
In his judgement, in paragraph 3, while acknowledging the multiple
applications and counter applications by the CPCA and Kunonga, the Chief
Justice ironically ruled that: “For the avoidance of doubt, the judgment
will not be suspended by the noting of an appeal against it.”
He said the multiplicity of these applications is simply adding ‘to the
confusion and hampering expeditious finalisation of the dispute between the
parties’. His judgement has furthered the confusion, unfortunately.
By Lance Guma
25 August 2011
The US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, has denied press reports that he
was blocked from meeting Vice President Joice Mujuru at her Chisipite home
in Harare last week Tuesday. Ray went to see Mrs Mujuru to offer his
condolences, following the suspicious death in a farm house fire of her
husband, retired army General Solomon Mujuru. But some news agencies
reported that security personnel denied him access.
Responding to questions on SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme, the
Ambassador said he travelled to Mujuru’s house which is just a few
kilometres down the road from his own residence. He said: “There were a lot
of people and I chose out of my own volition to stand in a line with
everyone else. I don’t like this ‘I am a VIP I get to push people aside’
Ray said Mrs Mujuru had “been greeting people all morning, had to go to a
meeting and then was gonna take a rest. This was communicated directly to me
by a senior member of her staff with apologies because they understood that
I had a fairly busy schedule and wouldn’t be able to stay.
So I asked him to relay my condolences and I left.” Ray went back later in
the afternoon (5:30pm) with a group of ambassadors and was able to meet
directly with Vice President Mujuru.
“So the fact is that the security personnel at the residence were very
professional and very polite and I have no complaints about the performance
of their duties. There was no effort made by anyone to block me from doing
anything,” Ray said.
Explaining the inaccurate press reports he said: “The situation here has
become so politicised and so polarized that people take events and depending
on their particular view points spin them to support their viewpoint rather
than reporting accurately.”
Ambassador Ray bemoaned the “lack of journalistic professionalism” saying
“if you read some of the things some of the media have accused me of doing,
you wonder if I’m not some re-incarnation of Machiavelli instead of a simple
country boy who happens to be the American ambassador here.”
SW Radio Africa also asked him what he made of the death of General Solomon
Mujuru and he said: “I would like to echo what Vice President Mujuru said
herself, let’s wait until the facts are known and investigations are
completed. I don’t as a rule engage in speculation about things I don’t have
Commenting on the vicious attacks on him in the state media Ray said, with
his wife, they had “raised four children and I’m the oldest child in a
family with 3 younger brothers and sisters. I am accustomed to temper
tantrums and the way I deal with that is ignore it until they run out of
steam.” He said he had a job to do and along with representing US interests
in Zimbabwe, he would work towards improving the lives of many Zimbabweans,
“everything else is just background noise.”
NB: The full interview with US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray will be
broadcast next week Wednesday on Question Time. He talks about a variety of
issues affecting Zimbabwe and US relations.
Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:45
A Zimbabwean minister has warned that the seizure of foreign owned companies
that fail to comply with the country’s empowerment laws will be more vicious
than its land reforms that reportedly cost the economy US$12 billion in a
Indiginisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Savious Kasukuwere said
companies that fail to transfer 51 percent of their shareholding to locals
will be dealt with harshly.
"The fight will overshadow the land reform programme as this one is much
more sophisticated and is about serious wealth” he said.
On August 19, the legal department in Kasukuwere’s ministry issued a 14
day ultimatum to Standard Chartered, Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, Murowa
Diamonds, Pan American Mining, Zimplats, Blanket Gold Mine, Mimosa Holdings,
Duration Gold Mine, British American Tobacco, Nestlé and Cargill Zimbabwe.
He said he had powers to withdraw their operating licences and warehouse
their shares in a government trust, before passing them on to black
Under the country's empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans should acquire 51
percent of foreign businesses in the next five years.
But in a sign of major fissures within the regime of President Robert Mugabe
over the implementation of the laws, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gono
urged Barclays and Standard Chartered banks to ignore the ultimatums.
“The Reserve Bank, which is the legal authority to issue or take away
banking licences…, wishes to advise all stakeholders that it has neither
given notice to, nor does it have any immediate or foreseeable intention to
withdraw operating licences from, any registered financial institution,” he
said in a statement.
Gono described Kasukuwere’s threats as “irrational exuberance” done by
someone who did not understand banking.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange did not negatively respond to the ultimatums
with analysts saying the market is now used to the threats as they had been
there since 2009.
The indigenisation law is strongly supported by Mugabe but has created
tensions within the unity government, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
arguing that it will discourage investment.
Mugabe says the regulations were meant to correct the economic imbalances
created by Zimbabwe's colonial past.
JOHANNESBURG | Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:36am EDT
Aug 25 (Reuters) - Impala Platinum , the world's second largest platinum
producer, wants to retain full control of its Zimbabwe operations Zimplats
and is confident it will not have to transfer 51 percent of the stake to
locals, chief executive David Brown said on Thursday.
"We are confident that it will not be at 51 percent equity. We believe that
negotiations are ongoing with government and we believe an adequate and
appropriate level of ownership is one that will be final result," he said at
a presentation after the group unveiled its annual results.
"We are not necessarily willing sellers," he said, adding the group also
wanted to retain majority control over the operations there.
JOHANNESBURG | Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:53am EDT
Aug 25 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Impala Platinum , the world's
second largest platinum producer, said on Thursday that a drive by the
Zimbabwean government to force foreign miners to transfer 51 percent of
their local equity stakes to black investors in the country could not work
and was hurting the country.
"We believe that 51 percent equity just does not work," David Brown said on
a conference call with journalists after the group unveiled full year
results that showed headline earnings per share had soared over 40 percent
on higher prices.
"What they are doing is very bad for the country ... and has the potential
to retard investment," he said in comments that were unusually blunt for a
company official on the issue. He also said the company wanted to see the
Implats has a huge stake in the outcome of the situation as its Zimbabwe
unit Zimplats accounts for close to 10 percent of group production.
Brown also said the group's platinum output for the 2012 financial year
would likely decline to 1.7 million ounces from just over 1.83 million in
the past year as old infrastructure becomes less productive. But as new
shafts ramp up the company is aiming for 2 million ounces by 2014.
August 25 2011 at 05:57pm
The chief executive of Impala Platinum (Implats) said on Thursday its
Zimbabwe operations would be severely hampered if it met government demands
to transfer majority ownership to local black investors.
Foreign mining houses are scrambling to submit plans to surrender 51 percent
stakes in their local operations to local blacks, a move the government says
is needed to rectify colonial-era imbalances.
“In essence if you were to look at 51 percent equity with the current
operations you could probably limp along, but would you be able to expand?,”
David Brown said in an interview with Reuters after the group unveiled its
annual results, which showed a 41 percent surge in earnings.
Analysts see the Zimbabwe threat as a way to squeeze more funds out of the
companies tying to build operations in the country with the world's second
biggest platinum reserves after South Africa.
Zimbabwe's government likely does not want a takeover because the
impoverished state does not have the money to buy controlling stakes in
foreign mining firms. It neither has the money or expertise to run mines,
where production will almost certainly dwindle under government control.
Foreign firms may be playing a waiting game in the country run by the
87-year-old Robert Mugabe, looking for a future government more amenable to
international investment before they ramp up production, analysts have said.
But they also risks losing rights to claims, especially with the country
giving greater access to mining firms from its biggest international
benefactor and long-time ally China.
Implats' Zimbabwe unit Zimplats had its proposals on the issue rejected and
Zimbabwe's Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who wrote to the company
on Aug. 17, directed it to offer a revised plan within 14 days. .
“The way I see it is, he's given us a challenge ... 14 days is quite a short
amount of time considering what we have to achieve but we want to engage
with him in the time frame,” Brown said.
Brown flatly said earlier the policy could not work.
“This is not me David Brown making up this story that 51 percent doesn't
work. Anyone can put their slide rule across the numbers and 51 percent
equity does not work,” he told Reuters.
“The 51 percent equity we feel quite strongly that it's just financially not
possible to put in the large amounts of capital that are required with the
right risk/reward process.”
Brown said part of the problem was people are seeking fast returns when
commodity prices were hot.
“Mining requires lots of capital and returns over many years ... You don't
get instant gratification for mining”.
Implats is the world's second largest platinum producer and has a lot riding
on Zimbabwe as Zimplats accounts for about 10 percent of its global
production, which came in at just over 1.83 million ounces of platinum in
the last financial year.
Brown said he was frustrated that previous agreements which were said to be
“empowerment credits” were not being honored by the government or that the
value or viability of the land that the group ceded was being called into
Among such deals, Zimplats reached an agreement in Zimbabwe in 2006 which
saw the firm releasing claims amounting to 36 percent of its resource base
in one area.
The firm said the market value of the released ground was $153 million. The
release of the claims was in exchange for empowerment credits and cash,
Zimplats said at the time. - Reuters
Commercial farmers have returned to this year’s Harare Agricultural Show,
nearly a decade after they pulled out of the annual exhibition in protest at
the state-sponsored farm invasions that began in 2000.
by Vusimusi Bhebhe
“We have not had a stand at the show for a number of years, for obvious
reasons, but we hope that this will now herald the start of a new beginning
for agriculture in Zimbabwe,” said a Commercial Farmers Union spokesperson.
He said participation at the Harare Show was one of the ways the CFU was
using to move forward following a turbulent 11 years, during which the
majority of its members have been dispossessed of their properties.
The CFU has been trying to engage the government to amicably resolve the
issue of outstanding compensation payments for farmers evicted from their
farms by Zanu (PF) supporters.
However, unlike during the pre-invasions era, when large-scale commercial
farmers dominated the exhibition, there were only a handful of white farmers
showing their products, mainly cattle.
The rest were small-scale farmers who have benefited from Mugabe’s chaotic
land “reform” policy.
The illegal land occupations, which saw more than 90 percent of the 4 500
former large-scale commercial farmers violently ejected from their
properties by Zanu (PF) thugs since 2000, decimated commercial agriculture.
An estimated 300 white farmers are currently engaged in farming activities
although most of them remain under threat from thuggish Zanu (PF)
hardliners, most of whom are multiple farm owners.
by Staff Reporter
THE government is conducting census trial runs in selected areas in all the
country’s 10 provinces ahead of the 2012 population count.
Officials said the exercise, which began on August 18 and runs until August
28, is designed to “test various census instruments”.
The programme, being run by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency
(Zimstat), will identify problems with the system which should be fixed by
this time next year when the census is held.
Zimstat, previously known as the Central Statistical Office, has been
conducting a census every 10 years since 1982. The last count in 2002 put
Zimbabwe’s total population at slightly over 12 million.
Zimstat Census Manager Washington Mateta said: “People should get ready to
be counted. We want to appeal to people to minimise movement next year
during the same period so that it becomes easier for enumerators to count
everyone and that we get reliable statistics.”
The pilot census programme, he said, was being conducted by 100 enumerators
and 20 supervisors – all seconded by government departments.
“We are doing exactly what we will be doing next year and we urge people to
cooperate. Some enumeration areas are almost through as we test census
instruments which include questionnaires, enumeration methods, manuals, data
processing methods as well as logistics and administrative arrangements for
the main census,” said Mateta.
Zimstat picked two wards in every province except Bulawayo and Harare – one
urban and one rural.
Analysts expect the next census to show either a drop in population growth
or stagnation after a political and economic crisis drove more than a
million Zimbabweans out of the country over the last decade.
By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Thursday, 25 August 2011 19:22
HARARE - Theresa Makone, the co-minister of Home Affairs was admitted into
hospital for a minor stroke which she suffered a day after attending a
meeting with senior party officials in Mutare.
According to party officials Makone, who is the national chairperson of the
MDC women’s league, had an altercation at a rally in Mutare on Sunday after
some members accused her of trying to impose her “loyalists” on them.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News that the minister was
admitted at a private hospital.
“She suffered a minor stroke on Monday evening and is admitted at a private
“She attended a meeting with the president and other senior officials but
she did not attend the rally,” Mwonzora said.
Sources within the party say her minor stroke could have been caused by
pressure that has been mounting on the minister with some members lobbying
for her dismissal.
Knives have been out for Makone ever since she accompanied Minister of
Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa to Matapi Police Station in search of
his son who had been arrested.
She was accused of trying to influence the release of Mutasa’s son. The
minister has since denied the allegations.
By Thalif Deen
STOCKHOLM, Aug 25, 2011 (IPS) - The statistics coming out of Africa are
staggering: 40 percent of Africa’s 1 billion people live in urban areas and
60 percent live in slums, where water supplies and sanitation are "severely
inadequate", according to the Nairobi-based U.N. Environment Programme
The worst affected are countries in sub-Saharan Africa where shortage of
financial resources, bureaucratic mismanagement and lack of political
leadership are hampering progress towards resolving longstanding problems
relating to water scarcities and lack of sanitation facilities.
The London-based WaterAid points out that at least five African countries -
Angola, Comoros, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Togo - have no specific public sector
budget-line for sanitation. Comoros and Angola, along with Timor-Leste, are
three of the world’s lowest scoring countries for sanitation.
Asked what factors are hindering Africa’s progress towards achieving the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and sanitation, Nelson Gomonda,
Pan-Africa programme manager at WaterAid, told IPS that financing for the
water and sanitation sector remains one of the greatest challenges.
In their "high-level commitment’ made during the Africa Sanitation
conference of 2008, countries in Africa committed to allocate at least 0.5
percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to sanitation in their national
budgets, but most countries’ allocation has not exceeded 0.3 percent of
"In simple terms, the water and sanitation sector is not attracting the
funding that it requires from finance ministries. This could also be traced
to poor appreciation about the link between water and sanitation issues and
wider human development," he said.
The United Nations estimates currently over 800 million people worldwide do
not have access to safe water, and more than 2.4 billion lack toilet
facilities: factors that have triggered diarrhoeal diseases that kill an
estimated 4,000 children every day.
The MDGs call on developing nations not only to reduce by 50 percent the
number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger but also those without
access to water and sanitation. The targeted deadline is 2015.
But at the current rate of investment progress, about a billion people in
sub-Saharan Africa and also in Asia will miss the MDG targets on sanitation
alone, UNEP said, in a report titled ‘Towards a Green Economy’, released
According to the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), water is
also a dominating political factor in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan,
particularly along nomadic migratory routes.
"A revolution in Egypt, and the splitting of Sudan into two independent
states in the north and the south, gives the Nile basin a new and untested
hydro-political balance that is yet to stabilise and take form," warns SIWI.
"What are the different scenarios for future cooperation along the Nile? And
how will different interests play in the newly-created nation state of South
Sudan, as it braces itself for agricultural export riches, and attractive
offers from north and south riparian countries alike to join either bloc in
negotiating Nile water allocation agreements?"
The African Regional Centre for Water, an inter-governmental body based in
Burkina Faso, believes that real expansion of access to water and sanitation
implies sustainability of services over time. "At this level, sustainability
cannot be obtained without local ownership by the beneficiaries. Local
ownership means local knowledge of how to build, operate and maintain
systems, and learning how to work together."
Gomonda of WaterAid told IPS that at the local government level, the water
and sanitation sector is faced with serious human resource gaps, with a
vacancy rate as high as 66 percent in such some countries like Malawi and
He pointed out that poor coordination amongst ministries involved in water
and sanitation issues is another major challenge. While everyone recognises
that water is life and that sanitation is key to good health, with 4,000
children dying daily due to poor water and inadequate sanitation, there is
inadequate coordination among key players and actors, he said.
As a result, countries do not have clear water and sanitation investment
plans to attract funding. He also said that all these issues of inadequate
financing and coordination could also be blamed on poor political
For water and sanitation to be given the priority that they deserve, there
is need for the political leadership to champion issues of water and ensure
that they are given the required priority within national development
frameworks. "But in most African countries, the issue of water and
sanitation is not given much within poverty reduction strategy papers," he
The Africa Working Group at the European Union’s Water Initiative (EUWI)
says despite increased aid commitments from European countries, water and
sanitation "remain dramatically underfunded across Africa."
Africa receives about 60 percent of all EU aid in the water sector, and
total annual aid disbursements to African states for improved water supply
have nearly doubled: from 500 million to 950 million dollars between
This accounts for 59 percent of all development aid for water supply,
sanitation and hygiene in sub- Saharan Africa, according to EUWI. But the
African Working Group complains of the "uneven distribution" of aid between
recipient countries, citing that 18 countries received aid from at least six
EU countries, while eight received aid only from two donors.
"It is also noted that aid has become increasingly fragmented, with
increased numbers of smaller disbursements that can lead to more
administration and less performance on the ground," says a press statement
Still, all is not lost. According to the World Bank, African countries that
transition to taking a leadership role in safe water and sanitation services
have an unprecedented opportunity to drastically reduce the number of people
without access to safe water and sanitation.
In a report released here, the Bank said economic growth, debt relief and
increasing political stability have opened up new opportunities for many
African countries to take charge of their water supply and sanitation
sectors and develop sustainable service delivery pathways.
"Stable countries have outperformed the fragile ones by making greater
increases in water supply coverage and in reducing open defecation in rural
areas more markedly," according to Dominick de Waal, the author of the
report and a senior financial specialist at the World Bank.
August 25th, 2011
This narrative was written by
Zimbabwean farmer Guy Watson-Smith in 2004, recounting his experiences at the
hands of General Solomon Mujuru. We are re-printing it as he wrote it at that
time. General Mujuru died in a fire earlier this month on August 17th. You can
read our obituary
for the General here.
Our farm in Beatrice had been two smaller units, but was consolidated in the 1960’s, decades before I bought it. It was designated in1997 for acquisition and then again in 2000, and of course we did what was legally our right, and proper to do, and that was to launch a detailed and fully backed up objection to the Minister of Agriculture. To this day we have not had a response and it must be fair to assume that nobody in the Ministry has read, let alone considered our submission or the thousands of others.
We bought our 1400 hectare farm in 1983, with Government funded Agricultural Finance Corporation backing, 70 Kms. south of Harare near Beatrice. My wife and I devoted the next 14 years to extremely hard work and heavy investment in a Zimbabwe where black and white worked together, the country produced surpluses of every commodity it put its mind to, and phrases like “the Switzerland of Africa” and “the breadbasket of Africa” were commonly heard.
Our farm became a garden of production. In a relatively arid part of the country we managed to capture water in a series of huge reservoirs built during the droughts of the late 1980’s. By 1997 when the farm was first designated for compulsory acquisition we had a model village of over 300 families employed full time on the farm. We produced the largest ‘single-farm’ crop of tobacco in the country, with all of it under irrigation, and more each year being committed to an Israeli ‘drip’ system, for the most efficient use of all resources. The rest of the arable land on the farm was under irrigated pastures. Our breeding herd of 460 simbra beef cattle had been bred over years, with the use of semen imported from the USA, and introduced under a scientific programme of artificial insemination which we ran. The non-arable area of the farm was fenced and we had introduced viable breeding herds of all the 15 main species of plains game found on the ‘highveld’ of Zimbabwe, including giraffe, sable antelope and waterbuck, and numbering over 600 in total.
Unfortunately this jewel was to prove too attractive for someone to resist just a few years hence, however we remained blissfully unaware of the cruel twists that lay ahead.
The strangest thing was that from the beginning of the violent farm invasions in March 2000 until late in 2001 our farm was never interfered with by anyone, and we were never hampered in our production.
Strange because I was high profile amongst the commercial farmers, and perhaps too outspoken in my condemnation of our government’s methods for my own good. I spoke regularly and without fear to the press any time they asked me to, I was a thorn in the side of the governor of the province (Mugabe’s cousin David Karimanzira), the provincial administrator, the police, ministers, and the highest ZANU PF figure in the province, General Mujuru. I met with the national ‘war veterans’ leadership, including Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi before he died, and later Patrick Nyarhwata, the diplomatic corps, and the British High Commissioner.
I visited the Foreign Office in Whitehall in August 2000, in January 2001 and in August 2001, and put the case of our country’s farmers to the head of the Africa desk Dr. Andrew Pocock on each occasion, and appeared on numerous television and radio interviews which I actively courted, because I wished to tell the story of what was happening at home in the hope that it would make a difference. I had meetings with numerous British and Euro M.P’s. and politicians and briefed them too.
I and one other farmer presented to and were questioned on the land issue by the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in Harare. Secretary General Don MacKinnon was there, as was Baroness Amos, and the Foreign Ministers of Kenya, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, and one or two others.
9\18 and the next three months.
Eviction. Deception. Threats.
It was seven days after 9/11, 2001, and we had just returned from a trip to Europe with the family, to the horror of the Twin Towers. We were still trying to absorb the absolute enormity of that awful event, when our world crashed too.
A car pulled up in our drive at home, and out stepped the awful Comrade Zhou, so well known to me. He was with two other well dressed and menacing individuals that I had never seen before. One of them was huge, and because I had never seen them before I knew that they were not local, and I knew that they were on serious business. The two said nothing. We sat down at the table on the patio, my wife and I, our two farm managers and the three of them.
Zhou said “you leave this farm now.” I protested and asked that we should perhaps discuss the issue….
He replied, “You are not listening – we do not want what happened to Dunn to happen to you now.”
I saw the menace in the eyes of the three of them and felt cold. I knew then without any doubt that the only thing to do was to go. We were given permission to collect the clothes we needed, and two hours to leave.
I had no idea where the order had come from.
Sherry and her girls were still living with us although she thankfully had left early with chores to do in Harare that morning. However she was effectively evicted too, and had to find somewhere else to live. She had not been able to live at her home in the 16 months since Alan’s murder, or to move her assets, but that is another story.
The next months were a blur of confused messages, hopes raised and then dashed. We lived with my father in law in Harare and I continued with my duties as CFU chairman of the province which took me out on meaningful business most days into the farming areas, but I spent an equal amount of time negotiating with authorities to be allowed to return to my farm with the family. The governor and the provincial administrator were unhelpful and normally refused to see me, the ministers were polite and made empty promises that they would ‘look into’ our case. The most helpful person who was always available when I requested a meeting was the highest person in the ZANU PF hierarchy of the province, and widely regarded as the third most powerful person in the country – none other than General Mujuru. He always left me hopeful that there was some light at the end of the tunnel for us, and encouraged me to continue through my managers to plant a full crop of tobacco, to invest in the soil. Between September and December we planted 85 hectares of tobacco under irrigation, short of our normal 140 hectares, but a substantial crop none the less.
It is in hindsight quite amazing how slowly one understands what one does not wish to understand.
My parents were on the farm until mid November, my Father neither able to walk nor speak due to brain surgery, and my Mother attempting to cope alone. The General allowed them to move with their personal belongings into Harare, but still I could not go there to help them. My sister flew from Cape Town and in a day moved them and everything they owned off the farm and out of their home for ever.
I was expressly forbidden to go to the farm for any reason. On 21st November I was told by the General that I should go there to meet Zhou, so my wife and I left Harare – she was very keen to visit our home and the pets while I discussed I was not sure what, with Comrade Zhou. We were part way there when my mobile phone rang, and it was him to say that I should not approach the farm under any circumstances. I told him that the General had authorized it, and he was plain and clear. “If you go to Alamein Farm you will be shot.” We returned to Harare.
I still had no idea who was behind my banishment from the farm, who was instrumental behind the scenes. And the most helpful person to me – the only person in authority who would still speak to me was the General.
The horrible penny drops.
On the morning of 5th December, two and a half months after leaving home, I received a call from the General: “Meet me at Zitac” (the tobacco auction floors on the outskirts of town) “I am waiting for you.”
I immediately drove there, and he climbed into my car with me and said we would go to the farm together. In the fifty minutes it took us to get there he explained to me that he had family close to Alamein in the Mondoro Communal Land, his step mother and half brothers and sisters still lived there and he had driven through my farm many times over the years. I began to fear that perhaps my efforts to irrigate the arid kalahari sands we farmed on had been too successful! Perhaps the sight of fat cattle knee deep in irrigated pastures, and lush dark green tobacco crops as far as the eye could see had been too much to resist. I began to understand, slowly and reluctantly during that 50 minutes, that I had been duped. I began to understand why it was that my farm had been left alone while other seemingly less valuable properties all around had been occupied and vandalized in the last year and a half, and their owners harassed, barricaded or worse by ‘war vets’ and their followers during the previous two years. I had not shared their disruptions despite my high profile and vigorous activities on behalf of farmers in the province.
The crashing realization of what was happening was confirmed when he told me what was required of me when we got to the farm. I should address the labour force who would be gathered and waiting for us, to tell them that they “must work as well and as hard as before, but from now on they will be under different management.”
Still the General would not admit that he was taking the farm. Zhou was to be the next manager, and my managers were to remain to work under him. One later declined, while the other stayed on. Zhou and one of the two who had forced us to leave the farm back on 9/18 (the big man) were there to meet us, and I addressed the labour and their families who had all been gathered, as I was instructed to do. Oh! The sadness! I had known many of these people all of my life, had known their parents, their ups and downs, and we had created wonderful things together – yet I knew then that this was goodbye for ever. I saw tears in the eyes of some of them but could not approach them for a personal word or handshake or hug because if I spotlighted them they would likely become victims. I was not allowed to go to my house to see our dogs or say goodbye, but was escorted the 17 Km to Beatrice village and onto the road back to Harare by Zhou and his team, now with the General in their car rather than in mine. My job was done. I have not seen my farm or home again.
I did still have the presence of mind to extract one agreement from the General and Zhou while I was there. That we be allowed to collect our personal belongings, photographs and furniture. My wife was given permission the next day to go to the farm and pack up our house. I was not allowed to go with her or help her. Again I was threatened by Comrade Zhou in his now familiar unsubtle way that if I went I would be shot and the removals truck would be burned.
On the 6th of December, the very next day, Vicky went to the farm with our two teenagers Adam and Alice and their cousin Oliver. After an hour alone with their tears in her beloved garden, the four of them with the kind help of two neighbour’s wives and close friends, began to pack. Another neighbour came over during the morning and shot the horse and our faithful old dog Lady. She was too old to get used to another home but dear Sherry took Romeo, our three year old bull mastiff and her faithful friend of the last 16 months.
It took all of Thursday and Friday, and the removals truck finally got away on Saturday at lunch time. But not without drama!
Zhou and his team were in evidence throughout the packing up – a brooding and threatening presence. On the final morning our sixteen year old son Adam and his cousin spent many hours catching and boxing our collection of exotic birds and wildfowl. He loaded them all carefully for transportation to their new home with a fellow collector, on the back of my farm pickup truck. He was then informed by Zhou that the pickups could not leave as they were a part of the farm, and Adam had no option but to release all the birds back onto their ponds and into their aviaries.
In the final hours Vicky wanted to pack the gun cabinet containing seven rifles. She was prevented from doing so, and informed that the keys had to remain with Zhou. She called me on the phone and both she and I separately phoned the member in charge of the local police station, who agreed that as the firearms were licensed in our name, a police vehicle would come and collect them for safe keeping. The police never arrived in spite of numerous subsequent calls. In the end, Vicky had no option but to flee with the keys of the weapons cabinet, and the removals vehicles driving in front of her, when she realized that Zhou had gone to the nearby store to get some lunch. The result was that not everything was packed on the trucks – some deep freezes and other bigger items were left behind. She dropped the keys at the police station on the way through Beatrice where I was waiting for her.
Realisation: The full extent of the theft .
I continued to speak to the General as I wanted his permission to move my assets from the farm. Land acquisition was one thing and it seemed that our government was supporting the seizure of land by the ruling party elite, but I had not heard that they were entitled to my tractors and generators, vehicles and equipment, fertiliser and chemicals, fuels and livestock. Apart from the valuable and sophisticated equipment I had my 460 head of prime beef and 600 head of wild game still on the farm. That was surely mine. And what was to happen with the crop in the ground, now three quarters grown on my inputs?
It was known throughout the district by now that if Watson-Smith came to Beatrice he was fair game. He would be shot, and if he tried to have assets removed from the farm the trucks would be burned. It had been announced at a mass meeting of the labour force held on Alamein by none other than the General soon after Vicky had left with our furniture. I never had any doubt that it was not an idle threat.
The legal system without teeth.
My last resort was the High Court of Zimbabwe.
I did not know it then but my family and I had only two weeks left in Zimbabwe.
My first priority was to pay all of my labour what they were due – termination pay and benefits, leave pay and long service gratuities. We spent many days calculating it all, with the help of the Agricultural Labour Bureau and the Ministry of Labour, and obtained their seal of approval that all was correct and in fact substantially more than that required by law. Finally on 19th December, as I could not do it myself, I hired a security company to take the cash to the farm, pre-counted and individually bagged, to pay the labour force. I sent a duplicate of all the calculations to General Mujuru, and left another with my lawyers.
Simultaneously I prepared with my lawyer and advocate to appeal to the High Court for the return of my moveable assets. Affidavits were prepared and I decided to cite four respondents in my urgent application: General Mujuru as the occupier of my farm and therefore the person directly in control of them, and his enforcer Comrade Zhou, as well as the two most senior government personnel involved in the land seizures nationwide, Joseph Made the Minister of Agriculture, and Ignatius Chombo another hard-line Minister in Mugabe’s cabinet in charge of Local Housing, but more importantly the Chairman of the National Land Task Force.
Fears began to be expressed for my safety and that of my family by friends and professional and respected contacts. No individual farmer had taken government ministers and generals to court in this way before, and this is a very powerful trio. Zhou was an add-on (evil and dangerous but not important).
A further curious thing happened that was chilling in the circumstances. During this period I took a phone call from the General personally. He told me that it had come to his attention, through contacts that he would not name, that I had been to Greece to “buy vehicles for the MDC”. Did I know that there was a law against foreign funding of political parties and why was I doing it? Of course the logic of the setup was impeccable – I had just been to Greece on holiday in August, and my passport had the stamps to prove it. It is a well known tactic of our government to arrest people before weekends or public holidays to make it almost impossible for the accused person to access a lawyer or a judge for bail purposes for a good few days. Many opposition activists, journalists and farmers have fallen prey to this nasty trick, and spent long weekends and more undergoing torture and interrogation. I imagined, quite possibly correctly, that I was to be arrested just before the long Christmas / New Year break on trumped up charges and held until after New Year at least! The charges of course were entirely ludicrous but how was I going to prove that over the festive season?
I took advice widely, quietly and quickly and decided that it would be safer to leave the country before filing the court application. We slipped out early on the morning of the 21st December. Once away I phoned my lawyer and the urgent application was filed in the High Court later the same day. My plan was to stay away for a few weeks to let the dust settle.
Our case was heard on 28th December in the High Court of Zimbabwe and the ruling was in our favour. The Judge instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to proceed to the farm with my agents to remove the moveable assets. I had appointed four agents, one to remove the cattle, one the game, one the equipment, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel and vehicles, and the fourth a specialist, to remove the huge Modro Bulk Tobacco Curers (nine of them requiring a low-loader each). I had organized all aspects of storage facilities and/or auction before I left the country.
A day or two after New Year the sheriff went to the farm with his court order, an escort of police from Beatrice police station, the first two low-loaders, and a couple of my agents to begin their work. They were greeted by Comrade Zhou in a frenzied reception of his arranging, and were literally driven from the farm in fear of their lives. The Sheriff’s vehicle was manhandled into facing back the way it had come, with threats of burning of all the vehicles. The convoy retreated as fast as they could never to return and the police did nothing to assist the sheriff and the course of justice either then or at any time since. The inspector in charge (Tarugwisa) was well known as a loyal ZANU PF functionary, and the entire police force and system of justice in the country had anyway been perverted in the preceding two years. This episode was simply further evidence of it.
The High Court, the sheriff and the police therefore proved powerless against a small mob of venom-spitting and threatening individuals. The authority behind this seemingly insignificant group of paid thugs is clearly above the law of the land, a fact that has been proved so many times that I am sure it was naïve to have expected the order to have been executed, but what else can one do? Where else is there to turn to?
The power and the fury of General Mujuru and his man on the ground Comrade Zhou began to be seen and felt.
On January 9th 2002 a truck load of approximately 70 individuals from the farm organized, terrorised and led by Zhou’s men traveled into the centre of Harare. One block from Parliament in the very heart of Harare the police watched or turned away as the mob rushed up the seven flights of stairs to the offices of my legal representatives – a major city law firm. They pushed half a dozen of the partners around but found my lawyer, assaulted him and threatened his family. The excuse for the attack was that I had underpaid them and that he represented me and should therefore pay some silly figure amounting to millions to my ‘cheated’ labour force. It was the gathering of a crowd of press photographers that caused the mob to return to their truck and home, and perhaps prevented further assault and even perhaps the abduction of my lawyer. The police were not interested in intervening and did not.
It was an orchestrated attack, and there is evidence that many of the participants were both unwilling and confused by the whole adventure. However the effect was shattering. Lawyers were proved not to be able to represent their clients in safety, and my lawyer has since emigrated to Canada. I had serious concern that I personally would become “unrepresentable” because of the danger that I posed to any lawyer or firm representing me. It remains a grave concern today.
The effect on my own family has been equally shattering. Although Vicky and I planned to stay away for a while, the intention was to fly our two children back to Zimbabwe to school and we had bought them tickets for Saturday the 12th January, to start school on the following Monday. Adam was to enter his final year of school, to write “A” Levels and Alice was to write her “O” Levels at the end of the year. A critical year for them both. We had asked a close friend to act in our absence as their guardian, to collect them from the airport, get them to school on Monday, and look after all their needs until we could return – hopefully soon.
The news of the attack on our lawyer and his colleagues sent shock waves through the country, and the next morning no fewer than three of our closest friends advised us not to send the children back. “If they can get at your lawyer in a city law firm, they can get at your children in their schools” was the message. The friend who had agreed to be responsible for our children phoned to say she was terribly worried and felt she could not accept the weight of responsibility. She was absolutely correct – they all were and on that day we were forced to change our plans and our lives for ever. We had absolutely no choice!
Our children have started again in a new and strange system and country and have adapted and performed like absolute heroes. Quite fantastic.
Vicky and I have with enormous help and encouragement from loving friends and family started a new career and our lives are once again more or less on track.
We desperately miss our former life and our many friends, but we try to spend a lot more time looking forwards than backwards.
Alamein Farm today.
The General and his men reaped the 85 hectares of tobacco I had planted. In addition to our state of the art equipment, 10 000 liters of diesel and a few hundred tons of coal were already on the farm when he took it over, as was all the fertilizer and the chemicals he would need to bring the crop to market. So his investment was negligible, but he sold the crop across the auction floors to his own account anyway. I believe he owes me that money.
I do not know where all my equipment or livestock are today, but I am informed that some farming continues, albeit on a much reduced scale. Very few of the 300 families that lived in our village remain on the farm, and for many months after our departure it was Zhou’s policy that any person who fled, as some did, had his house burned down. The intended message was clear – “if you go you don’t come back.” One needs an understanding of the atmosphere of intimidation and fear, the unemployment at 70%, and inflation at 300%, to grasp properly the psychological effect of this sort of campaign on simple and vulnerable folk without any security in their lives. It is a true and living reign of terror – it is the only way it can be described.
General Mujuru lives with his wife in my parents’ house. His wife is the powerful inner circle Cabinet Minister Joyce Mujuru, her portfolio being “water development” although I forget the exact title. She like her husband is a ‘war hero’ and she fought under the ‘nom de guerre’ Tauraii Rhopa Nhongo, Nhongo being her husband’s name at the time and Tauraii Rhopa translating approximately as “spill blood”. Their son lives in our house now. Another irony of which there are so many is that their younger daughter is at the private school our Alice was forced to leave, and amongst the things that she had to cope with in her forced uprooting into a foreign country and school system was the thought that this strange girl would be sleeping in her beloved bedroom, the only one she had ever known. We assured her that it was most unlikely that the girl would have Alice’s bedroom, and anyway, it really wouldn’t be her bedroom without all her personal things in it, so it wouldn’t matter. But we quietly wept for her.
Where to now?
My family has invested everything we have produced for two generations into what remained behind at Alamein.
General Mujuru must believe he has a future after Mugabe – he is not yet 60 years old.
I wrote to him recently and suggested that if he were to pay for what he has taken from my family I would return my title deeds to him, and the farm and the assets he took would become his. I would do it with sadness because the farm was never for sale, however today’s reality is not an easy one for us, and life must go on. I asked him to respond by the middle of July 2003 to my offer, and I have not had any response, somewhat predictably.
I must advance my claim now not only for the ultimate benefit of my own family but because the injustice that I have tried to portray accurately and as it happened is not entirely uncommon, although most farmers who have been stripped of their land, homes and livelihoods have at least been able to salvage most of their moveable assets. Many are still caught up in a terrible position somewhere between fear and expediency in that they are still there trying to salvage something of their life’s work from within the country. They therefore can not afford to or risk raising their voices! But they are there.
For my part however, my family had a farm, a business and a home. We bought it with the help of loans (now paid off) from the Government Agricultural Finance Corporation, post independence. Post Mugabe coming to power! We worked very long and hard, produced huge surpluses of food and exports, and paid our taxes. We were good employers of many people who lived in clean and healthy villages, with schools, clinics and food to eat.
All of that has been stolen “in broad daylight” and it is inconceivable to me that the perpetrator will get away with it in the 21st century. Can he?
Land redistribution. A final word.
It is a terrible tragedy that the guise of equitable land reform still provides Mugabe with cover to hide behind for his evil maneuvering, when the reality as I have seen it and described it is so very far removed from anything just or equitable.
On my farm in Bearice there were “300 farmers” (and one “white” farm owner it is true). None of those 300 farmers have received any land in the so-called redistribution process, not to mention support in the pursuit of production – tillage and fertilizer and other assistance has been loudly promised by the government.
Instead the land has been allowed as “payoff” to party faithful and very few of them are farmers. This sort of corruption is the greatest scourge, and yet it is accepted by many African governments as the norm, and praised and rewarded with high and prestigious positions and recognition, with speaking engagements and standing ovations for Mugabe the architect of the evil. And even more surprising, his behavior is still at least tolerated in the West.
This small story is only one, and there are many others yet to be told.
Guy and Vicky Watson-Smith – 2004