The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zimbabwe destruction: One man's story

In the last of our series on housing demolitions in Zimbabwe, a resident of Harare's Hatcliffe Extension township tells his story to our correspondent Justin Pearce.

Hatcliffe extension resident
This resident had lived in his Hatcliffe home for 13 years
"They started breaking houses down on 28 May. They came early, around seven or eight in the morning, to warn us, but by three in the afternoon they started demolishing. Since then we have been living in the open.

It was because we didn't vote for the ruling party. They know we are town people. Once we go to the tribal trust lands [communal farming areas] the chiefs are told how to deal with us - to get us back to the party they wanted us to vote for.

They used police and District Development Fund Vehicles to take us to Caledonia Farm [transit camp].

My family were in Caledonia Farm for four weeks, I was there for three weeks. People were dying daily. They [the authorities] didn't want this to be known - so no ordinary people were allowed in.


The only relief, when they were allowed to work, came from the Catholic church and the United Nations. They helped us - gave us food and medicines, and asked what our problems were. Some people had no blankets and no food.

Child walks past shelters made of roof sheeting
One old man couldn't bear to destroy it. He fell down unconscious and woke up to find his building in rubble

When the UN representative [Anna Tibaijuka] came to Zimbabwe the police were telling people to go to the kumushas [rural ancestral villages]. The government allocated tents to people but then reallocated them to the police. So it was in their interest to go kumusha.

My family had a lease for our stands, so we didn't go kumusha.

When the UN representative came they tried to hide us.

They started bringing us back to Hatcliffe on the third weekend. When we got back to Hatcliffe there was nothing. When they destroyed the houses, people from a neighbouring location came in and took away what was valuable.

The donors are giving us roofing material - but the government says it's them who are giving it to us. No foundations have been dug.

In two or three days time I might sleep under a roof again. That's something I'd forgotten about.

Blood pressure

I have been in Hatcliffe Extension since 1992, 23 December. Before that I was living on [opposition leader] Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole's farm. He split his farm to share between the rest of us.

My wife had a miscarriage at eight months. All of the things that have happened since 28 May are what caused her blood pressure to go very high

The government thought we would end up voting for Reverend Sithole. So they promised to build us decent accommodation [at Hatcliffe Extension]. They allocated us stands - but no buildings. Donors promised us basic two-room houses.

I am originally from Rusape [180km south-east of Harare], and came here to find work in 1971.

I have eight children, including two from my previous marriage who are now grown up. I live with my wife and our six children. I have two children in form four, one in form one, one in grade two and two in kindergarten. They are not going to school now [because of the removals].

Jobs lost

My wife had a miscarriage at eight months. All of the things that have happened since 28 May are what caused her blood pressure to go very high.

Ruined shop in Hatcliffe Extension
Businesses as well as homes were left in ruins

Three or four times a day, the police were telling us to go to the kumushas. But not me. I am supposed to be at work - how could I have gone?

It was difficult to destroy our own property. Some people stood by.

I remember one old man had built a nice two-storey thing - he couldn't bear to destroy it. He fell down unconscious and woke up to find his building in rubble.

Eventually they had AK47s - a group of five had one AK.

Some went to Caledonia - those who weren't used to the threats went to the kumushas.


The other day they found me shaving. There were lorries there 30 of them - you are supposed to go kumusha. I said no, I am going to work.

Around half of the people went to the kumushas.. We at Hatcliffe are less than half the number that we were.

This "tsunami" thing affected us in the workplace and at home. Some people had home industries - once they destroy your house, how can you work? I was lucky - I was affected only in my home, not my workplace.

From Caledonia Farm we had to walk six kilometres to board a bus to work. The police didn't want the emergency taxis [informal public transport] to come there. I don't know why they were punishing us in that way. Maybe they didn't want people to know we were living there."

Do you have any questions for Justin Pearce about his reporting trip to Zimbabwe? Use the form to send your questions.

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The IMF can go to hell, says embattled Mugabe    Basildon Peta
          August 30 2005 at 06:24AM

      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe "does not care" whether his country
is expelled from the International Monetary Fund next month.

      He is also "little bothered" by any decision the global lender's board
will take when it meets to review Zimbabwe's position next month,
well-placed sources close to the ageing Zimbabwean leader have revealed.

      His "to hell with the IMF attitude" has consequently stalled progress
on South Africa's planned aid package to Zimbabwe, they said.

      In fact, the sources said Mugabe had refused to meet an IMF mission
visiting Zimbabwe, leaving the task of dealing with the team to Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.

      The IMF team is expected to issue an unfavourable report, which would
complicate South Africa's willingness to help Zimbabwe.

      "The president (Mugabe) has made it clear that Zimbabwe would now
follow its own policies, which are not IMF or World Bank prescribed. He
would rather focus on that and he simply does not care whatever decision the
IMF will make over the debts it is owed," said an official close to Mugabe,
who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

      "Furthermore, the president does not see the IMF ever agreeing to help
Zimbabwe, even if all its so-called arrears and debts are paid."

      Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF total $290-million (about R1,8-billion),
while its total debts to the global lender exceed $1-billion.

      But Mugabe's attitude fundamentally differs from Murerwa and Gono,
whose task of managing the Zimbabwean economy would become impossible if the
country was expelled from the IMF.

      Most lenders take their cue from the IMF, and Gono and Murerwa are
clear that the formal expulsion of Zimbabwe would eliminate their chances of
ever raising aid.

      This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on August
30, 2005
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Sunday Times, SA

Zim lawyers blast proposed reforms

Tuesday August 30, 2005 07:16 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwean lawyers urged President Robert Mugabe's government to
scrap a bill that will prevent white farmers from legally challenging land
grabs, saying it made a mockery of the law.

"This a direct and undisguised frontal attack on the independence of the
judiciary," the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) said in a statement on the eve
of the bill's tabling in parliament where it is expected to be passed.

"In the circumstances the LSZ urges the government of Zimbabwe to abandon
its current moves to remove protection of the law and oust the power and
jurisdiction of the judiciary." The Zimbabwean parliament will today vote on
the bill, which if passed, will also bar people perceived to be
anti-government from travelling abroad.

It will also disenfranchise all those who have one or more foreign parents
and hold permanent residency status but not full citizenship.

"The amendment, if promulgated, it will seriously erode if not remove the
fundamental rights to property, secure protection of the law and freedom of
movement," said the nearly 2,000-member body.

The reforms also aim to introduce a bicameral parliament which critics say
is meant to boost Mugabe's hold on the legislature and accommodate more
ruling party members.

Zimbabwe's land reforms, which began, often violently, in 2000 after the
rejection in a referendum of a government-sponsored draft constitution, have
seen some 4,000 white farmers lose their properties.

The land has been redistributed to landless blacks in a move that the
government has said is designed to correct imbalances created by colonial
rule, when the majority of prime farmland was owned by some 4,500 whites.

Critics say the majority of the beneficiaries lack farming knowledge and
depend on government handouts.

Human rights lawyers say around 4,000 former white commercial farmers are
challenging the seizure of their properties.

For the bill to be passed, the governing Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) needs 100 votes. The party has 107 members
in parliament, including including chiefs.

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New Zimbabwe


      What you can do for Zimbabwe

      Last updated: 08/30/2005 12:31:59
      I WOULD like to apologise for the absence of this column last week.
Circumstances conspired against me. As some of us might know, I have been
appointed as the Media Programmes Co-ordinator for the Southern African
Editors Forum. To that end, I was asked to attend the recently held Media
Institute of Southern Africa Annual General Meeting and Conference in

      While in Namibia, I had the opportunity to share ideas about our
beautiful country's future with several Zimbabweans I met there. Among those
I had deliberations with were the likes of the MISA Zimbabwe chapter
Executive Director, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists President, the new
Editor of the Chronicle and the Editor in Chief of the Southern Times weekly

      I also cherished the privilege I had to establish strong contacts for
the Zimbabwe CSOs Forum in Namibia. In the end I managed to meet several
Zimbabwean journalists and professionals based in Windhoek. As it is, there
is now a process of exploring the options available in the idea of setting
up a national public forum for all Zimbabweans based in Namibia.

      Upon my return to Johannesburg, I had no adequate time to find some
rest since I had to participate in a big meeting called for all the
Zimbabwean CSOs based in South Africa. The meeting was part of the current
efforts to build a very strong and united Zimbabwean civil society movement
here in South Africa. It is hoped that the forum will become the foundation
of a future strong and vibrant Diaspora pro-democracy movement.

      I also had the opportunity to meet Lauri Penn. Lauri is a part of an
effort to unite Zimbabweans based in North America to ensure a more
effective strategy in dealing with the way forward vis-à-vis the crisis in
Zimbabwe. It is hoped that as a result of this process of coming together,
the contribution from the North American based Diaspora movement will become
even more decisive and influential for the good of Zimbabwe. I am also made
to understand that there are some efforts to stage some pro-democracy
protests at the historic UN special General Assembly in September.

      On Sunday, I was also due to travel to Potchestroom a university town
some 100km outside Johannesburg. I was supposed to be part of a five member
delegation from the Zimbabwe CSOs Forum. The forum plans to help launch
another local public platform for all Zimbabweans based there. This is part
of the forum's strategy to ensure that its activities do not remain centered
in the Johannesburg-Pretoria are but also spreads to other South African

      It is thus not surprising that at the moment I find myself in an
awkward position that I am completely engulfed by issues related to the
crisis in Zimbabwe. It is very evident to me that my life is now virtually
revolving on the axis of the Zimbabwean crisis.

      In this regard, I feel I have no choice. I am prepared to sacrifice
every other issue for the sake of putting my beautiful Zimbabwe first. I
really desire to see to it that the situation in Zimbabwe remains my first
priority at all costs. The situation has to change somehow back at home.
Indeed as they say in America, something gotta give! I gotta give something
for something to happen for the better.

      What then is my point? My point is that I am using my very own
obsessive love for my country to challenge every other Zimbabwean to strive
to prioritise the situation. All Zimbabweans wherever they are should not
fall into the bottomless pit of despondency and hopeless inertia. All
Zimbabweans wherever they are must start to do something about the crisis in
our country. This includes among other things ensuring our personal
involvement in any effort to help highlight the plight of our people.

      Let us make every effort to form or to actively participate in the
various pro-democracy efforts in the respective countries where we are
based. Let avoid the destructive and self-defeating path of apathy. Let us
all seek to get involved. In any case, we as the Zimbabwean people are best
placed to help resolve our national problem not other nationalities.
Zimbabwe is our problem and so let us ensure that we are part of its
solution to its problems.

      If there is a debate let us give our opinions. If there is a public
meeting or conference, then let us attend it. If there is protest march or
demonstration, then let us carry our own placards. Let us all be willing to
make an active personal contribution. At the end of the day, it will make a
big difference for our beautiful country.

      We must not wait for organizations like SADC, AU, EU or UN to make
Zimbabwe their priority. Neither should we wait for countries like South
Africa, United Kingdom or USA. Nor should we wait for world leaders like
Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, Tony Blair or George Bush to come up with a
decisive way forward.

      We must all learn to make the quest for a resolution to the crisis in
Zimbabwe our main preoccupation and priority. We must all seek to ensure
that whatever we do, we must put our Zimbabwe first at all costs. It starts
with me. But it also starts with you too. We all have to ensure that we
become part of the starting point in terms of the way forward vis-à-vis the
crisis in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe needs us now!
      Daniel Molokele is a human rights lawyer based in Johannesburg. He has
been elected as the Interim Chairperson of the Zimbabwe CSO Forum (South
African chapter) National Committee. His column appears here every Monday

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New Zimbabwe


      A walking cassette

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe returned to the Heroes Acre last Sunday to
bury his comrade, Josiah Tungamirai, and to bang the rostrum once more
before a restive crowd forced to listen to one man since 1980.

      As usual, the President sounded like an 18th century King, issuing out
his customary threats in passionate and shocking language.

      The more he raised his fist to bang the rostrum and punch the air, the
more he sounded like before. Essentially, the President has become a
cassette which can be purchased from the Flea Market like The Very Best of
Jimmy Hendrix if one wants to hear the language and utterances from the

      Each time he returns to the Heroes Acre or he addresses crowds, he
sounds like re-winded material which is why he is, at times, mistaken for a
hero. What outsiders from the Third World are attracted to is hardly wisdom
but the content of the cassette that was played at the Jo'burg Earth Summit
and elsewhere.

      The only value in his utterances is the good English making his
speeches like the Shakespearean classics. The utterances are like those of
Macbeth and company.

      Instead of talking about a liberation war hero in peace time on
Sunday, his language sounded like he was at war when there is no war to talk
about. The idea, obviously, being to justify the supposed anti-imperialist
crusade which is essentially a smokescreen to cover for the evident march of

      Despite his evident knowledge of the English language his dictionary
seems to have only a limited number of words and phrases underlined. They
include, "never ever", "crushing", "defeat", "no", "sell-outs",
"consistent", "sacrifice", "gallant fighters".

      But how is it possible that the President can still sound like in the
1980's when so much has changed with the world having seen the fall of the
Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the Mozambican war, the death of
Savimbi, the South African independence, the advent of the cell-phone, the
introduction of a computer mouse and so on?

      What sin did the President commit that he will be the only one being
pursued today while his compatriots like Solomon Mujuru and company long put
their guns down and are now eating their money in silence and peace.

      If the President is really fighting these wars he is telling us about
daily, then he is the most enduring soldier ever to walk on earth. How good
and pleasant it would be if for sure our patriot was really waging these
wars against the "imperialists, "corrupt people", "sell-outs", "traitors
within" and their kith and kin?

      Robert Mugabe is a man whose relevance as a good tyrant was washed
away down the drain with the end of the Cold War but who has refused to
accept the reality because of his gargantuan ego hardly matched by
capability. Listen to how he will cling to the Old language alone on a plain
ground exposed to all attacks as though there was still Botha and Savimbi in
our midst.

      While he had an option to become relevant by pursuing carefully
crafted and unveiled programs and politics, he chose to keep the old ground
so that he could incur the sympathy of the narrow minded lot who will
mistake him for a victim. The idea is to obscure the "traces of tyranny" so
evident in every project he embarks on.

      Unbeknown to the Old Man the world has so changed that all those who
want to cry in the open pointing fingers at the supposed bullies should
themselves not be bullies and tyrants. If they ever want to be obdurate
tyrants they should be as strong as George Bush who survived a massive
world-wide anti-Iraq war wave. Just because the Old Ground of the Cold War
era is itself self-evidently over exposed and makes its occupants forever
uncomfortable, some will quit or devise methods of remaining there. In the
case of Mugabe, we have interesting measures being put in place.

      Imagined battles with the imagined Savimbis and Smiths are devised
with the drums of war beating to a crescendo and gullible scribes and
academics tumbling over one another in a scramble to be heard first.

      Every resource is left at the mercy of a carefully nurtured oligarchy
and their carefully groomed Dogs of War. All those who see the mendacity of
the system should be branded and should forever (unless recruited again)
remain in the cold. Under this gigantic fallacy, garbage is known as good
food, arrogance is mistaken for principle, indolence and clear lack of
talent is renamed as patriotic conduct. Those who are corrupt arrest those
who are starting to be corrupt, murderers are the sons of the revolution etc

      The language must remain static and frozen and the people, even those
with the talent and skills to move on, to be known as something else other
than just "Liberation War Heroes" must be tuned. They must accept seeing
their stories amended by the truth twisters to fit the master's thinking.

      Continuously they must dust the cassette and dance to the music of
deceit even if there are more other songs being churned into the market.
      Mthulisi is a Zimbabwean journalist and writes from Harare. CONTACT

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This Day, Nigeria

Obasanjo Wants More States in White Farmers' Deal
From Josephine Lohor in Abuja, 08.29.2005

President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked the Kwara State government to take
another look at the framework of the deal it signed with commercial farmers
from Zimbabwe, so that possibly 12 more states could start such.
The president said this yesterday during a meeting he had at the State House
with a delegation from Kwara State, which included Deputy Governor, Chief
Joel Ogundeji, Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mustapha
Mashood and some Zimbabwean farmers.
 Obasanjo had last week visited the state to see the extent of commercial
farming that had taken place on the 15,000 hectare agricultural project
being handled by the farmers.
He pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to assist the farmers
overcome initial financial and infrastructural difficulties.
Giving further insight into the idea of other states joining the programme,
Mashood while speaking with news men after the meeting with the president,
said we had very fruitful discussions and basically we highlighted some
areas for which the farmers could  collaborate more with Nigeria. Mr.
President is of the view that this project should extend beyond Kwara. That
we should not just limit it to Kwara.
 "And we actually bought the idea and we are working towards a framework by
which we could look into the Memorandum of Understanding and perfect the
framework so as to see how at least 12 more states could actually start this
commercial farming."
According to him, "one of the areas discussed with the president is wealth
creation, extension services where our local farmers will be able to benefit
and have what we call transfer of skills from this expertise and in the area
of processing. When we harvest our produce, what is the next thing to be
done? We are looking at the area whereby most people can collaborate with
Nigerians in this area. There is also the issue of irrigation which is one
area where Nigeria has not done well."
Speaking on the role that Kwara State was expected to play as facilitator of
the commercial farming initiative, Mashood said  "as you can see, we  are
the model. This is something that we initiated  and the president is of the
view that for the mere fact that we have taken the bull by the horn, it is
important that we are used as one of the models.
"The programme now is to collaborate and see how we can work together with
other ministries of agriculture, then we look into the possibility of
bringing these states together to come to Kwara and see what we have done,
meet with these farmers to see how Nigeria can really move forward."
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From The Sunday Argus (SA), 28 August

Malnutrition and death a daily occurrence in Zim jails

By Basildon Peta

For Roy Bennett, the best indicator of Zimbabwe's crisis is not the
perennial fuel, food, and electricity shortages, but the state of that
country's prisons. "You can best see what Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe too by
being in the prisons, seeing the suffering in those prisons," said Bennett,
sharing the story of his nearly year-long incarceration with members of the
Johannesburg Press Club this week. He was jailed after he shoved justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament who had described the former
Movement for Democratic Change parliamentarian's ancestors as "thieves" and
"murderers". In prison, Bennett said he witnessed the destruction of the
country's future - its young people. The average age of inmates is roughly
20 to 25. They are brutalised in jail for flimsy offences. "These young men
are good people. They are not criminals in the strict sense of the word," he
said. "They are there (in prison) because of the economic situation. They
steal a chicken, they still a goat, nzungu (groundnuts) maize to try and
stay alive and they get hefty jail sentences for very petty crimes of
survival. The poverty in the prisons is terrible. Sometimes food is only a
cup of porridge with no sugar nor salt served in the morning," said Bennett.
Sometimes this is accompanied by a small piece of sadza (pap or thick
porridge) in the evening with boiled vegetables. Ninety percent of the young
prisoners never receive visitors. Their parents cannot afford bus fare to
visit them, he said. In this way they miss an opportunity to get food from
home and supplement their diet. The prison guards plunder the oil, sugar,
salt and other goods meant for prisoners because they are too poorly paid to
survive. Deaths are a daily occurrence in over-crowded prisons like
Chikurubi, said Bennett. "We saw at least three bodies a day being taken out
because of deaths mainly due to malnutrition which worsens the plight of
those who are already sick," said Bennett.
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