"The Zimbabwe Situation" news page
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
WEDNESDAY 30 AUGUST 2000
CFU President, Tim Henwood, will be interviewed on ZBC at 8.30 this
Block - 150 people from Dande and Mahuwe have been resettled at Berry's Post. 31
of them are war vets.
Mazowe/Concession - A man called Makoni has threated
to return and peg on Musasa Farm, Watakai Farm and Amatola Farm.
war vets threatened to kill the foreman on Rydal Farm. Police have intervened
Marondera - The owner of Monora and
some farm labourers were surrounded by about 50 war vets armed with sticks and
axes. They were reacting to the farmer having pulled their huts down on
Saturday. They threatened the farmer and beat one of the labourers, but the
situation was defused by the farmer. The police reacted at their own will as the
farmers who pulled down huts were asked to go and speak to DISPOL and they did
Marondera North - Nothing to report.
Beatrice/Harare South - About 57
trees were cut down on Walmer and the police went to investigate. New houses are
being erected on Glovina and Germany. People are still moving onto Eden. Houses
are being built on Corby. There were 42 snares found in one paddock alone on
Rocklands. The fence was let down, so that vehicles could pass through to
collect to riversand, and wood that had been chopped.
Wedza - There is wire
cutting on Chakadenga and two bush fires were started on Hele. On Una four
lengths of 9 metre 6 inch pipe were removed. A kudu calf was chased into
electric fence. An alarm surprised the war vets and they fled. The calf
survived. On Sutton there are 38 houses to date. There was an attempted
stocktheft of three head of cattle on Poltimore. On Mbima two occupiers are
cutting down trees and moving off wood. A second group of hunting dogs is now
active on Shaka. A scotch cart and oxen are also on the farm, and there is a
large number of snares. A new group moved onto Fair Adventure
Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa - On Wearedale there was a new occupation
of about 7 people from Rusunguko School. The officer in charge is being
Macheke/Virginia - Building in the area is on the increase. The war
vets advised the owner of Camdale that they were making their HQ on the farm and
would need wood, water etc.
MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Karoi - There was
a work stoppage on Jenya on Monday. On Tuesday there was tree cutting and 1 km
of fencing wire stolen from La Rochelle. Stray cattle were grazing on the farm
unattended. Eight huts have been built. Structures are being built on
Toekoms. There is no irrigation taking place on Kupeta. Structures are being
built on Nyamanda, Mashalla and Collington. On Collinwood there are 38
temporary structures up, and about 30 communal cattle being
MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Chegutu - On Maridadi there is
continued hut building and tree cutting, with two huts in the middle of prepared
lands. There is a volatile situation on Kutawa. Last night a war vet was
arrested by the farm guard for poaching. The labour was verbally abused on
their way to work this morning by the war vets. The foreman, guard and war vet
got on a truck to go to the police, when a group of war vets harassed them,
jumped on the truck and tried to overturn it. The driver kept driving and three
war vets hurt themselves jumping off the moving vehicle. About thirty war vets
then confronted the manager, foreman and two guards and threatened them with
their lives. The foreman was pushed around, the farm workers threatened to beat
the war vets, and the police were summoned. They managed to defuse the
situation, but more trouble is expected later. The labour are now very keen to
use force. War vet Soswe advised the manager that the D.A. will be coming on
Friday to resettle Kutawa, to which labour responded - "we'll see". DISPOL has
been contacted on this matter.
Masvingo East and Central -
War vets reported the owner of Shallock Park to the Police yesterday for
knocking over a windmill. What exactly transpired is not clear. All occupiers
have returned to Lothian Farm. On Chidza structures are being built all over
the property. The cattle foreman has been accused of knocking down a hut.
There is an increase in numbers on Bon Domi. The whole of Springfields Farm has
been burnt down. The situation on this property is very serious and out of
control. Two people were seen setting the property alight. Cattle are running
all over the property. The owners are closing gates and tying them down with
wire. War vets are cutting the wires and leaving the gates open, there has been
evidence of poaching with a shotgun, snaring continues, hunting with dogs
continues. Two different groups of war vets on the property and are clashing
with each other. Acton Farm has been reoccupied. Generally in the district veld
fires are being observed every day. Fomax Farm has been completely burnt out.
The fire was believed to have begun where the occupiers are at present. The fire
then burnt half of the neighbouring property.
Mwenezi - Tree cutting
continues on Moria Ranch, Oerwoud Ranch, Rutenga Ranch, Solomon Ranch /Santidza
Ranch. Occupiers have abandoned their base camp and are now squatting all over
the property and building shacks everywhere. The Police have said that they will
visit this property today. The owner of this Lumbergia Ranch received a call
from the Labour Officer, who is the Vice-Chairman of the war veterans. He
enquired about the situation on his property and informed the owner that he was
visiting the properties today with the Police to assess the situation of the
tree cutting taking place.
Gutu / Chatsworth - The situation in this area is
generally quiet. Occupiers are still on properties, and Gooiehope Farm was
occupied for the first time two days ago. Chopping down of trees and poaching
do occur in this district.
Chiredzi - Two more veld fires were started
yesterday on Buffalo Range. Poaching is on the increase. All known forms of
poaching are being used on this property. Snaring, gangs of poachers with bows
and arrows, dogs and even rifles are being used. Chopping down of trees
continues, with trees being carted out to the adjacent Tsovani Township in
Chiredzi. The situation on Buffalo Range and Crown Ranch has reached a point
where it is affecting the owners now due to bad publicity. It is clear that the
problems on this ranch have increased significantly since the elections. The
owner of Samba Ranch had a meeting with the war veterans, and informed their
leader, Mashirie, that no poaching would be allowed, no cutting of trees and no
clearing of lands. Mashirie then addressed a crowd of approximately 200 people
and informed them of the opposite - saying they should continue poaching etc.
The owner reported this to the Police, who reacted and warned a few people.
There are presently still about 200 occupying the property and 40-50 huts being
constructed. There are two groups of people on the property, one from Magudo
and the other from Triangle.
Save Conservancy - The situation on Fairange is
out of control. War vets were overhead threatening to burn out Fairange so as to
get rid of all the animals so that they can begin pegging and ploughing. A lady
known as Theresa is believed to behind some of the burning. Today occupiers have
set up barricades and booms, and have set fires all over the property. They are
obstructing the workers who are trying to put out the fires. The police have
eventually responded, but by now the fire is extensive. Local farmers are
reacting to put it out.
In addition to this, one cow has been hacked, five
calves have been snared and 16 snares have been taken off. Cutting and stealing
of fences (especially barbed wire) and poaching continues.
There are still
3 resident war veterans on Mapari Ranch. General - On the western side from the
Turgwe River approximately down three-quarters to Mukasi Ranch a clearing of the
western boundary and setting of fires taking place. The small-scale settlers
from the Chipiwa Cane Resettlement farmers are coming in and collecting firewood
and opening lands. Timber is being cut, and according to information, occupiers
already possess 10 hectares of cane and want more. Chigwete Dam - people were
spotted yesterday with a bag of fish. Water and fish samples have been taken
because it appears that poison has been put into the water to kill the fish. A
training exercise of game scouts was stopped by the war veterans yesterday. This
exercise was a result of war veterans indicating to management last week that
game scouts are not fully trained. Alfred Moyo was yesterday afternoon arrested
by Mkwasine Police Station due to a restraining order against
Nothing to report.
Nicholson - After a meeting on 19 August in Gwanda with Hunzvi, Police
telephoned the owners of Burnt Kraal and told them that it was not designated.
War vets occupied the farm on 22 August. They verbally abused the manager when
he went to see them, and the Police present had to subdue the manager,. On 23
August Police phoned the owner telling him war vets were at the Police camp,
wanting to meet him. They told him that no hunting is to take place on Tshabezi
, and deposits made by foreign clients are to be returned to them. The owner
refused to do this and said that he would continue hunting.
Nothing to report.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe seen risking economy for his job - Reuters - Aug 30 2000
Zimbabwean children scrape a living from capital's rubbish dump -
MBARE, Zimbabwe, Aug 30 (AFP)MP warns of army revolt - The Daily News 8/30/00
12:24:43 PM (GMT +2)
Ten policemen up for assault - The Daily News - 8/30/00
11:32:48 AM (GMT +2)
Farmers to seek compensation from foreign donor
community - The Daily News - 8/30/00 11:28:34 AM (GMT +2)
Police beat up
soldiers at party - The Daily News - 8/30/00 12:25:37 PM (GMT +2)
Mugabe seen risking economy for his job
Reuters - Aug 30 2000 7:43AM
HARARE, Aug 30 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe is pushing ahead with
land redistribution to try to save the presidency for himself or his party at
the expense of Zimbabwe's economy, independent analysts say.
analysts say the 76-year-old president's gamble could backfire because the
presidential race, like the June parliamentary election his ruling ZANU-PF party
narrowly won, is likely to be decided on the health of the economy.
Blacks left landless after generations of white colonial rule form the
constituency he hopes to woo.
``I think Mugabe is continuing with his
controversial (land) programme because, in his calculation, he is probably
seeing it as a vote winner for the coming elections, either for himself or for
his candidate if he decides to step down,'' said political analyst Brian
Raftopoulos, a senior researcher at the University of Zimbabwe's (UZ) Institute
of Development Studies.
Political analysts say Mugabe's primary goal now
is to try to stop the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from
winning the presidency.
The MDC, formed about a year ago, won 57 seats
against ZANU-PF's 62 seats in the June parliamentary elections in the biggest
electoral challenge to Mugabe's administration since it came to power at
independence in 1980.
ZANU-PF dangled a promise to redistribute
white-owned farms before the majority black voters ahead of the June poll, but
critics say it would have lost had its militant supporters not waged a violent
countrywide campaign against the opposition.
Thirty-one people including
white farmers and black opposition organisers were killed as Mugabe's supporters
invaded close to a quarter of the country's 4,500 commercial farms and beat
farms workers seen as likely opposition supporters.
analysts expect Mugabe to abandon his militant approach after the elections and
try to win back crucial donor support lost over the land policy and Zimbabwe's
role in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
say they will not renew aid until Zimbabwe quits the Congo war and restores
order on the export-earning farms. Without their support, Mugabe has little
chance of addressing a severe fuel and foreign currency crisis and taming
runaway inflation, analysts say.
Economic analysts say resettling
thousands of poor peasants overnight on huge farming plots without the necessary
financial, material and technical support will cut commercial production and
increase poverty in a country where poverty has risen to 70 from 50 percent in
the last 20 years.
``He (Mugabe) has probably swallowed his own election
bait, the ZANU-PF slogan that 'land is the economy, economy is the land',
without seeing that the way they are handling the whole programme is ruinous and
will in no time alienate almost everyone,'' Raftopoulos told Reuters.
The government has promised greater assistance for its resettlement
programme, and denies that the hoe and axe already issued to each new farmer is
all the help they will get.
TENSION IN RULING PARTY OVER INVASIONS
Mugabe's government plans to redistribute to blacks at least five
million of 12 million hectares (30 million acres) held by 4,500 white commercial
It has already published a list of 1,542 farms targeted for
seizure and 684 are expected to be identified on Friday, making a total of more
than seven million hectares.
Farmers have a legal right to appeal
against the seizures, but Mugabe and his officials warn it would be futile.
Political analysts say besides fighting public frustration from a
bungled resettlement programme, Mugabe is facing growing tension in his ruling
party over his continued support for ZANU-PF militants, led by liberation war
veterans, who have invaded hundreds of farms in the past seven months.
In his absence on a business trip to Mozambique last week, his cabinet
ordered police to drive out veterans from farms close to Harare and demolish
their illegal settlements, to cheering from hundreds of ordinary people.
But the drive was stopped on Mugabe's return and a government spokesman
said the administration ``regretted'' it.
``I think what
happened...shows that Mugabe does not have the full support of his cabinet on
the farm invasions, but he is clearly using his immense executive powers as
president to pursue his own line,'' said Alfred Nhema, chairman of the political
science department at the UZ.
``He is looking at the war veterans as a
campaign tool and the land issue as a campaign issue, but I doubt this will work
in his favour if the economy deteriorates and the country becomes a real pariah
on the international diplomatic stage,'' he told Reuters.
children scrape a living from capital's rubbish dump
MBARE, Zimbabwe, Aug 30
"This place is my life, my home, my workplace and my larder," said
Mishek, a frail 10-year-old, as he pointed to a huge pile of rubbish on the
outskirts of Mbare, one of the poorest suburbs of Zimbabwe's capital,
To earn his living, the boy has to plunge into the stinking
morasse every day, looking for food or for junk that he can sell for
"Here, the people are poor, they don't throw much away," the
boy said. His afternoon's scavenging had turned up half a tomato, the remains of
a can of food, some stale bread, pieces of scrap and tyres.
Mishek and his seven-year-old sister Rusape leave the shack which serves as
their home on the edge of the dump and head for Mbare's major market, the
Amid the roar of diesel engines from the nearby bus station and
the shouts of the market sellers, the children try to sell scrap and old tyres
for a few Zimbabwean dollars.
"The scrap always finds takers," said
Mishek. "The handymen can always find a use for it."
In the days of
white-ruled Rhodesia, when Harare was still known as Salisbury, Mbare was called
Harare Township. But since independence in 1980, Mbare has remained the poorest
neighbourhood in the capital, overcrowded, filthy and infested by
Mishek set up home on the dump when his mother, who was
bringing him up alone, died of AIDS. "No one helped us," he said. "Our family
was too poor, the social workers have too many children to help and no
Zimbabwe has being going through an unprecedented economic crisis
for the past two years, with 25 percent of the people living below the poverty
line, unemployment at 50 percent and 60 percent inflation.
The state is
cash-strapped and can no longer finance basic social services, such as
hospitals, help for the growing numbers of homeless people, AIDS victims and
The situation is particularly critical in the poor townships
such as Mbare. Dunmore Makuvaza, new parliamentarian for the area, was elected
on a ticket of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
neighbourhood is dangerously overpopulated. Every house is surrounded by 10
shacks threatening to collapse, a lot of people do not even have a roof over
their heads and live in desperate hygiene conditions," said Makuvaza, who was
born in Mbare and spent his pre-parliamentary career there as a trade union
"We know that more and more children do not go to school,
prostitute themselves or do degrading work because of the economic crisis or
AIDS, which has made a million of orphans out of a total population of 12
million," he said.
"We know all this, but what can we do without money?"
Jim Fangai, of the agency for the homeless Streets Ahead,
said that humanitarian asociations were "submerged by the situation" in view of
the increase in the numbers of street children over the past two
"We just cannot count them because we find new ones every day,"
On the dump, Mishek is training up his sister to her future
career as a sifter of rubbish. "It is better than being a prostitute," he
MP warns of army revolt
The Daily News 8/30/00 12:24:43 PM
(GMT +2) - Tarcey Munaku Political Editor
Giles Mutseyekwa (Mutare
North), the MDC shadow minister for defence, yesterday warned the government
from pushing the army into a revolt against the Zanu PF leadership.
The warning comes in the wake of accusations that government was
using the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to beat up and intimidate people to cow them
into voting for President Mugabe in the 2002 presidential elections.
Mutseyekwa told Parliament that in Romania in 1989 dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed by once loyal soldiers.
warn that it is dangerous to test soldiers' degree of loyalty to the extreme.
Lessons must be learnt from Romania where Ceausescu and his wife were captured
when the soldiers turned against them, executed them and threw their bodies into
the sea," Mutseyekwa said.
He also said the MDC had strong and reliable
information that morale had sunk to its lowest ebb in the army and that the
armed forces were fed up with the continued military intervention in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
He said the DRC military campaign,
was being prolonged for the financial benefit of certain leaders in the
In his maiden speech when the House resumed sitting after a
two-week recess, Mutseyekwa, a retired army major, said: "It is sad and
certainly difficult to comprehend why the Zanu PF government has used our forces
to beat up people, torture and intimidate our brothers and sisters in the high
Members of Parliament (MPs) on the MDC benches loudly hailed
Mutseyekwa's reference to Ceausescu's demise and two or more voices loudly
interjected in Shona: "That is what is going to happen to Mugabe!"
Apparently stung by the mention of the President's name, the Leader of the
House, Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, immediately objected on a point of order, saying the remark was
Taking exception to the interjection from the MDC benches
and mentioning by name the MP for St Mary's, Job Sikhala, Deputy Speaker Edna
Madzongwe, in the chair in the absence of the Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa said:
"Don't say things which are unparliamentary. I have to remind you that in this
honourable House we use honourable language, we use parliamentary language."
Continuing with his speech, Mutseyekwa said soldiers should not be used to
"terrorise" their parents.
He said the military should not be involved in
the redistribution of land for resettlement.
"The military has no business
whatsoever in the land redistribution exercise. There have been reports that
army personnel were seen with the farm invaders," said Mutseyekwa.
"It is an
attempt to use the army to cow voters not to vote for the MDC in the
Mutseyekwa said the troops were no longer happy
about being deployed in the DRC to help Laurent Kabila fight rebels backed by
Rwanda and Uganda.
He said: "We in the MDC have information to suggest that
the morale of our troops is very low. The back-up system is very erratic and the
casualty evacuation is not guaranteed because there is no money. The soldiers
must be withdrawn."
He said only top politicians in Zimbabwe stood to
benefit from the DRC which was costing the taxpayers $1,5 billion a month as
they had private mining concessions racking in around US$500 million (about
Mutseyekwa said the presence of more than 11 000 Zimbabwean
troops in the DRC was contributing to the continued suffering of the Congolese
He said that for as long as Zimbabwean soldiers remained in the DRC,
Kabila would not move towards a peaceful settlement of the political crisis in
his war-torn country.
Ten policemen up for assault
The Daily News -
8/30/00 11:32:48 AM (GMT +2) Staff Reporter
TEN policemen at Harare
Central Police Station will appear in court soon on allegations of beating up
Tedius Muchawira, an eyewitness to an accident in which they were involved along
Speke Avenue in Harare last week.
The policemen, in a Santana
vehicle, allegedly assaulted Muchawira when he warned them it was improper for
them to drive away from the scene of an accident before the arrival of traffic
police to record details.
Other onlookers intervened and argued that the
police could not remove their vehicle as that would be a breach of the law.
Muchawira said he would report the policemen to their superiors if they
drove away from the scene.
The policemen confronted him before he could make
a report at Harare Central Police Station and beat him up with an iron bar and
He sustained serious injuries on his head but proceeded to
the police station where he filed a report.
A day after the incident
Muchawira positively identified two of his alleged assailants at an
identification parade held at the police station.
Police at Harare Central
confirmed the incident saying a crime record had been opened against the 10
Farmers to seek compensation from foreign donor
The Daily News - 8/30/00 11:28:34 AM (GMT +2) Staff Reporter
THE Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) has set up a team to look into the
possibility of negotiating directly with foreign donors on compensation for
their farms acquired by the government under the land reform programme.
The head of the team, Paul Hanly, said yesterday they were seeking
the farmers' views on the resolutions following a proposal for direct
negotiations by the CFU's Mashonaland West region.
"We are trying to
establish the views of farmers on the resolutions after which we will chart the
way forward," he said. He could not say which donors the farmers would approach
if the resolution was adopted.
Another member of the team, Ben Freeth, said
all the views gathered would be reported to the full council of the CFU. They
would then decide whether to adopt the resolutions or call for a referendum
among commercial farmers.
The government has gazetted 1 542 commercial farms
for compulsory acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, but is not obliged to
pay for the full value of the farms. It can, however, pay for improvements on
the acquired properties.
There is panic among commercial farmers, especially
those whose properties are to be acquired, as compensation is not guaranteed.
The government insists that Britain, the former colonial master, should pay
A number of commercial farmers and their workers have fled
their properties as the war veterans rampaged on the farms, causing stoppages
and seriously disrupting production.
The Mashonaland West farmers resolved,
among other things, that Hanly's team should investigate the possibility of
active negotiations with donors and the government so that compensation for
acquired properties is paid directly to the farmers.
One of the proposals is
for commercial farmers to give up ownership of agricultural land to the
government, provided compensation by foreign donors is guaranteed.
team is already soliciting responses from commercial farmers countrywide on the
Part of Hanly's message to the farmers reads: "We as farmers must
be in a position to make our own reasonable and unprejudiced decisions. I
therefore urge you to very seriously consider the resolutions and urgently
accommodate us with your opinions."
"With the political motivation behind
the current fast-track approach to land reform, the present government will
remain unable to negotiate a well-planned and organised transference of land
ownership," says the document.
"An opportunity has arisen, uniquely created
by the present government and the current situation, for an independent
negotiating team to talk directly with foreign donors on matters regarding
The farmers say they want the government to depoliticise the
land issue and focus on a policy that includes all stakeholders.
beat up soldiers at party
The Daily News - 8/30/00 12:25:37 PM (GMT +2)
RIOT POLICE armed with guns and batons descended on
a birthday party in Msasa, Harare on Saturday night and beat up revellers,
including soldiers, who were dancing the night away at a birthday party.
It was alleged by the police that the celebration was disturbing the
peace in the neighbourhood.
Ten people, including the two soldiers, were
injured during the commotion.
One of the soldiers, Charles Mapimbira, said:
"The police were brutal and completely disregarded the law when they scaled the
fence before proceeding to beat the hell out us. They were supposed to protect
us, instead they caused havoc."
Mapimbira, 36, sustained head injuries.
Rhodesville police confirmed the incident, saying investigations were in
Tsitsi Nyambiya, who threw the party to celebrate her son, Ralph's
fifteenth birthday, said she was shocked when a group of about 16 members of the
police support unit, in riot gear, stormed into her house and switched off the
She said one of her neighbours had complained to Rhodesville police
about the noise fromthe party.
Nyambiya said two policemen from Rhodesville
station had come to the house around 11pm and ordered the revellers to reduce
"We complied, only to be taken by surprise about an hour later
when the riot policemen stormed into the house," said Nyambiya, who said her
T-shirt was torn during the fracas.
"The disco was off when the riot police
arrived. They jumped over the fence into my yard.
"They started beating up
everyone, accusing us of being supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change.
We were not violent. The police brought the violence."
Nyambiya said most of
the guests, including children, most from as far as Mabvuku and Chitungwiza,
were forced to flee for their lives.
Some of the tables and chairs she had
hired for the event were damaged during the melee.
Nyambiya's brother, alleged the policemen fired shots into the air
indiscriminately before dragging some of the injured revellers into two police
He said two men were taken to Rhodesville police station where
they were thrown into the cells for the night. They were released the following
The neighbour who complained to the police could not be immediately
contacted for comment.
Lucky Murwira, who lives in the same neighbourhood,
said her family had been notified of the party in advance by Nyambiya. Murwira
described the noise from the party as "nothing out of the ordinary.
fact, the situation got out of control when the police arrived and fired shots
into the air. The next thing I heard was the sound of breaking bottles and
people screaming," said Murwira.
Nyambiya said she would sue the police for
their action which she described as "uncivilised and provocative".
"YOU'VE GOT TO GET INVOLVED TO GET THE PROBLEM
NO STAYAWAY Yet
There is an email circulating called "Noah's Ark to
Save Zimbabwe's Game", which is calling for a 15 day stay away from 1st to 16th
September. It is in support of the farmers and Zimbabwe's wildlife.
Please note that this is NOT
a FreeZim initiative, and is not being
FreeZim are planning stay-aways, but these will be
co-ordinated with the relevant organisations, and will be officially announced
Only after you have bombarded the ZCTU, CZI, ZNCC
and CFU with emails calling for a stay away to support a return to the rule of
law, and the impeachment of Mugabe can these organisations be persuaded that
stay aways are supported by the people themselves (that's YOU). Please continue
to copy us with your emails to them.
Their addresses again:
Please note our change of address to free_zim2000 @
yahoo.com. This is because yahoo can store more messages than hotmail can before
transmission, and we are receiving so many messages that some have been returned
due to hotmail's smaller capacity. Please remember to put the "2000" into our
Send those 4 emails off today,
if you haven't already done so.
If you are not good at composing messages, then all
your email needs to say is,
"We call upon your organisation to support civil
action stay aways until we have a return to the rule of law and the impeachment
"YOU'VE GOT TO GET INVOLVED TO GET THE PROBLEM
the official record of proceedings in Parliament - is now available on the MDC
website (http://www.in2zw.com/mdc/ .
Printed copies are also available from Jongwe Press at Z$1
each collected - or $450 for the
session inc postage. This is very good value if you are interested. This must
be a loss leader for Jongwe Press.
Concern over banks -
Confusion over dollar
devaluation - N24
Street kids on the Mbare
dump - N24
MDC moves closer to control
of Byo council - DNews
District council falls to
MDC - DNews
Farmers want to stay -
Invasions a boon for
poachers - N24
Open letter from Allan
From Business Day (SA), 30
Concern over state of banking
industry prompts renewed scrutiny
HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is stepping up its onsite
examinations of the country's financial institutions amid concerns that a number
of them are in financial distress. The central bank said this week that it had
issued five "corrective orders" to the banking industry last year to try to
"make them safe for the public" and would continue to implement constant
risk-based onsite examinations until the industry was "safe and sound". Leonard
Tsumba, governor of the bank, said the financial condition and performance of
financial institutions would be monitored through "off-site surveillance"
against set prudential standards. Tsumba declined to name the financial
institutions suspected of being in a risky position. The bank's moves come a
year after a locally owned bank, United Merchant Bank, sent the financial sector
into turmoil by fraudulently issuing fake bills worth billions of dollars to
unsuspecting financial institutions.
From News24 (SA), 30
Confusion over devaluation of Zim
Harare - Currency markets still reported some confusion on
Tuesday following the chaos caused on Monday when the Zimbabwe central bank
devalued the local currency by three per cent without informing all banks. On
Monday, currency markets were riddled with confusion as radio reports announced
the new rate. Aggravating the situation was the fact that the central bank had
failed to inform all the banks that it had devalued the Zimbabwe dollar from 50
to the US dollar to 51.5 effective from the opening of trading on Monday. The
local currency had been valued at 38 to the American dollar before the central
bank devalued it by 24 percent 1 August in what dealers said was a first step to
correct its artificially-pegged value. The government had argued that a free
fall in the currency would fuel inflation and worsen the nation's plummeting
shortfall on foreign debt repayments.
The announcement of the second devaluation came as government
officials met with a visiting delegation from the IMF. The IMF froze loans to
Zimbabwe last year, saying the government failed to meet budgetary targets,
including the easing of exchange rates in line with pressure from the free
market. However, even at 51.5 to the dollar, the Zimbabwean currency is trading
far below the black-market exchange rate, reportedly about 70 to the dollar. IMF
officials on Monday said their visit was an exploratory mission on economic
indicators and refused to elaborate. The lending institution had accused the
government of not curbing excessive public spending and concealing details of
the costs of Zimbabwe's deployment of 11 000 troops to support the Congolese
government in its 2-year civil war against rebels fighting to oust Congolese
President Laurent Kabila.
From News24 (SA), 30
Zim kids scrape living from
Mbare - "This place is my life, my home, my workplace and my
larder," said Mishek, a frail 10-year-old, as he pointed to a huge pile of
rubbish on the outskirts of Mbare, one of the poorest suburbs of Zimbabwe's
capital, Harare. To earn his living, the boy has to plunge into the stinking
morass every day, looking for food or for junk that he can sell for recycling.
"Here, the people are poor, they don't throw much away," the boy said. His
afternoon's scavenging had turned up half a tomato, the remains of a can of
food, some stale bread, pieces of scrap and tyres. Every Sunday, Mishek and his
seven-year-old sister Rusape leave the shack which serves as their home on the
edge of the dump and head for Mbare's major market, the Musika. Amid the roar of
diesel engines from the nearby bus station and the shouts of the market sellers,
the children try to sell scrap and old tyres for a few Zimbabwean dollars. "The
scrap always finds takers," said Mishek. "The handymen can always find a use for
In the days of white-ruled Rhodesia, when Harare was still
known as Salisbury, Mbare was called Harare Township. But since independence in
1980, Mbare has remained the poorest neighbourhood in the capital, overcrowded,
filthy and infested by criminals. Mishek set up home on the dump when his
mother, who was bringing him up alone, died of Aids. "No one helped us," he
said. "Our family was too poor, the social workers have too many children to
help and no money." Zimbabwe has being going through an unprecedented economic
crisis for the past two years, with 25 percent of the people living below the
poverty line, unemployment at 50 percent and 60 percent inflation. The state is
cash-strapped and can no longer finance basic social services, such as
hospitals, help for the growing numbers of homeless people, Aids victims and
orphans. The situation is particularly critical in the poor townships such as
Dunmore Makuvaza, new parliamentarian for the area, was elected
on a ticket of the opposition MDC. "The neighbourhood is dangerously
overpopulated. Every house is surrounded by 10 shacks threatening to collapse, a
lot of people do not even have a roof over their heads and live in desperate
hygiene conditions," said Makuvaza, who was born in Mbare and spent his
pre-parliamentary career there as a trade union activist. "We know that more and
more children do not go to school, prostitute themselves or do degrading work
because of the economic crisis or Aids, which has made a million orphans out of
a total population of 12 million," he said. "We know all this, but what can we
do without money?" Makuvaza asked. Jim Fangai, of the agency for the homeless
Streets Ahead, said that humanitarian asociations were "submerged by the
situation" in view of the increase in the numbers of street children over the
past two years. "We just cannot count them because we find new ones every day,"
Fangi said. On the dump, Mishek is training up his sister to her future career
as a sifter of rubbish. "It is better than being a prostitute," he says.
From The Daily News, 29
MDC councillors head key Bulawayo
Bulawayo - The MDC took a giant step to controlling the city of
Bulawayo when two of its councillors were elected to head key committees of the
city at a council meeting yesterday evening. Alderman Mike Parira-Mpofu and
Matson Hlalo were elected unopposed to head the audit and procurement committees
respectively, with the third, Charles Mpofu, becoming Hlalo's deputy. The acting
executive mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor David Ndlovu was re-elected deputy mayor
after beating Thmsanga Magonya by five votes. Ndlovu polled 13 votes to
Magonya's eight. The town clerk could not be accessed to give official figures
of the votes polled by each contestant.
Parira-Mpofu took over the reigns from Mike Batandi. Council
sources attributed this to the division among the Zanu PF councillors who were
not sure of their chances against MDC members who have grown powerful as a
result of the wrangle. The sources also said that the MDC councillors together
with Independents had resolved to vote for Ndlovu at a caucus on Sunday. Ndlovu
had become unpopular within Zanu PF for his middle of the road stance when
approaching council issues. One MDC councillor said after the meeting: "We voted
for the better devil."
From The Daily News, 29
Ten councillors defect to
Bulawayo - Ten ZANU PF councillors from Bubi-Umguza District
Council have defected to the opposition MDC, leaving Zanu PF with only seven of
the 18 councillors. An eleventh councillor, William Mpofu, resigned from Zanu PF
before the mass defections, leaving the council in the control of an opposition
party for the first time since the merger of PF Zapu and Zanu PF in 1987.
Bubi-Umguza has, for the past 13 years, been the political base and stronghold
for Obert Mpofu, the new ZANU PF governor for Matabeleland North. One of the
councillors said it had become impossible to work with Mpofu, defeated as Member
of Parliament in the constituency in June. He lost the seat to the MDC's Jacob
Thabane in a campaign that became the most violent in the area. Thabane's house
was razed and scores of MDC supporters were injured in the violence that
engulfed the area. "Mpofu has refused to work with some of us here and since we
are here to serve the people who elected us we have to follow them as they are
now in the MDC," the councillor said. Thabane said, "I had to tell them to go
and renounce their Zanu PF membership before we formally accept them as our
members because they cannot come to us while they are still married to Zanu
From News24 (SA), 30
Zim farmers vow to stay on
Harare - Economic hardship may threaten to shut them down, and
politics to throw them off the land, but white Zimbabwe farmers at this year's
premier agricultural show vowed on Monday to stay put. "People (farmers)
generally are not going to just throw in the towel," said Bill Francis, a
Zimbabwe tobacco farmer and cattle rancher. Exhibition halls at the usually
vibrant Zimbabwe annual agricultural show were sparse on Monday, and attendance
below capacity. The number of exhibitors has dropped from 420 last year to 350
this year, according to organisers. "I, like a lot of other people, am here to
stay," said cattle farmer Jane Deary from Mutorashanga, about 80 kilometres
north of Harare. She said many other farmers she knew were too depressed to
attend the show this year, or too nervous to leave their farms unattended. "The
turn-out is dismal," said Les Mallett, chairman of the cattle section at the
show. "But the competition is still strong. It's fierce," he added.
"Disturbances on the farms have made people reluctant to leave home," he
Livestock pens were virtually empty on Monday morning, and
Mallett said dairy and beef livestock on show were down by 50 percent and 40
percent respectively. Zimbabwe's national cattle herd of about 5.4 million
cattle is in decline as cattle farmers send breeding stock for slaughter to
alleviate cash flow problems, said an official. "People are off-loading cattle
(for slaughter). There is no confidence in the farming industry," said Tim
Reynolds, chairman of the Cattle Producers Association. "(But) The resilience of
farmers is incredible," commented Reynolds. An agricultural implements dealer
told AFP his company had only sold four tractors this year to a single customer.
"I can't foresee selling a hell of a lot more this year," he said, adding "It's
now wait and see."
The subdued start to the opening of what is considered a
showpiece to Zimbabwe's economic mainstay - agriculture - might be a hint of
things to come, said Francis. Zimbabwe's 4 500 white commercial farmers - many
of them producers of tobacco, the country's top foreign currency earner - have
since February been targeted for militant land invasions spearheaded by
Zimbabwe's liberation war veterans. Over 1 600 properties have been invaded and
occupied by the veterans and supporters of President Robert Mugabe, pressing for
urgent land reform. White farmers in Zimbabwe own up to 70 percent of prime
farming land, but make a significant contribution to the agriculturally
dependent economy. Tobacco alone contributes 12 percent of gross domestic
product, and makes up 34 percent of the country's exports. Francis said he was
of the opinion that Zimbabwe's white farmers had been "unfairly victimised and
racially attacked". At least four white farmers and three black farm workers
were among the 34 people killed in the violence in months in the run-up to June
parliamentary elections, which were accompanied by farm invasions. The annual
showcase is traditionally inaugurated by a foreign head of state, but this year,
Vice President Joseph Msika is to open the show.
From News24 (SA), 30
Farm invasions a boon for
HARARE - Poachers are using the widespread farm invasions in
Zimbabwe as a cover to kill some of the nation's rarest species, wildlife
reserve wardens and environmentalists say. "The occupation of hundreds of farms
and ranches and the fact that the police are doing little to uphold the law in
the last months have led to an increase in poaching," said Graham Connear, who
runs a conservancy in the Save Valley, in southeastern Zimbabwe. Connear said he
was still in shock after discovering a black rhinoceros caught in a snare last
week, leaving the rare animal seriously injured. The Save Conservancy comprises
a string of privately owned ranches and farms, which the government has allowed
to create one of the world's largest private wildlife preserves in addition to
the state-run parks. Threatened black rhinos were brought there in a bid to
preserve and boost the numbers of the species.
But on Mukwasi ranch, one of the many that make up the Save
preserve, 700 snares were discovered in only one month and 45 animals were found
dead or seriously injured, Connear said. Mukwasi is one of the 1600 farms that
have been invaded by veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war in a bid to speed up
a government programme that seeks to seize without compensation white-owned
farms for resettlement by poor blacks. The often violent occupations have led to
killings, beatings and other intimidation of farmers and farm workers. The
police have failed to stop the violence and at times have condoned it which has
led to an increase in thefts and poaching on the farms. "We cannot reach certain
areas of the ranch and are therefore unable to protect a number of animals,"
said one ranch employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Africa's black rhinos are among the most endangered large
mammals on earth. Only 300 roam Zimbabwe's parks and reserves, but their horns
remain highly valued for knife handles in Yemen or as an ingredient in
traditional African medicine. The CFU, which represents farmers on Zimbabwe's
4500 white-owned farms, reports that animals are killed almost every day on the
occupied farms. Sometimes the animals are cattle or livestock, but last week on
Balihai Farm, near the eastern town of Marondera, a farmer found a reedbuck that
had been shot dead. The farmer said the antelope was a disappearing part of
Zimbabwe's natural heritage. "This situation cannot go on, and we have made it
clear to war veterans," said Charlene Hewat, head of the Environment 2000
Open letter from Allan
I once more write an open letter to our government
and people in view of the serious light of our country.
All of us Zimbabweans, including our white
farmers, want the land issue resolved and acknowledge the need to redistribute
land. The sole issue is how it should be done as many have said. Having worked
since the late 1950's on the problem of poor land throughout history always
leading to poverty, social breakdown, violence, minority blaming and
persecution, genocide and eventually war, I am aware of difficulties government
has not considered. For over twenty years I have provided consultation and
training in policy formation to many people in the US government, World Bank,
United Nations (FAO), Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, India,
Canada, etc. so I am also familiar with the two alternative approaches that can
be taken. The two approaches are (1) use conventional decision making and policy
formation or (2) use holistic decision making and policy formation.
When our government finally decided to
redistribute land I immediately flew home and warned two senior Ministers that
the approach they were taking would lead to economic and social chaos and the
downfall of government (this was some time before the MDC existed). If the CFU,
MDC, World Bank, IMF, US or UK government had helped our government even with
full compensation of all displaced farmers, the short-term result would have
been different, but the long-term result would still have been chaos and
suffering for Zimbabweans. The reason is simple to understand. One cannot form a
land policy in a complex situation toward a narrowly focussed objective - such
as redistributing land - without drastic unplanned consequences. If policy is
focussed on an objective, no matter how much money is poured in, or how much
support it has in the country or internationally, land will be redistributed but
subsequently many problems arise that were not planned or expected, as
government and all of us are learning. And most of all, the land will continue
to deteriorate which underlies the long-term problems that we and our children
There is only one other currently known approach
to policy formation. This approach was originally pioneered in Zimbabwe but
subsequently developed in the US and several other countries. This alternative
approach requires that any policy be formed holistically. Policy is formed aimed
at the achievement of a national holistic goal expressing what all Zimbabweans
desire (greater wealth and prosperity, good health, more stable families and
communities, security, self-sufficiency and freedom to pursue our own spiritual
values, sustain our different cultural values, etc.). Such desires are tied to a
description of the land in such a state that it will sustain Zimbabweans for
many generations into the future in peace and prosperity and with full
employment. Only by forming policy toward such a goal rather than a narrow
objective (redistributing land), can all the relevant issues be covered -
social, political, economic, land degradation, women's rights, tribal, racial,
international, urban, industrial, commercial, employment, taxation, education,
extension services and more. Our land sustains our cities, all businesses and
society and provides the only form of wealth that sustains nations, thus it is
not a matter of farmers or agriculture alone that have to be considered in
forming a land policy. Such a holistic goal is not attainable without
redistributing land. Thus a policy has to be formed toward the national goal
that all desire, while ensuring access to land and other resources is
The first approach (conventional) takes a longer
time to formulate a policy and is always contentious and leads to problems as
explained because so few factors are considered. I am not just saying this. This
we discovered while putting over 2,000 American government people through
holistic policy formation training in the 1980's. The second approach (holistic)
takes a shorter time to formulate a policy and has agreement from all sectors of
society throughout the process.
Using the conventional approach (as government is
doing) has already taken well over a year and it is by no means over - nor will
it be for many years. It can only result in a few hundred thousand people
getting land while displacing about the same number with eventually all ending
up in greater poverty and conflict. The land will continue to deteriorate
adversely affecting the well being of almost all businesses and every
Zimbabwean. Even if government can provide a million people with some land and
only 200,000 are displaced, we still have another six, seven or more million who
will begin to demand placement on land that continues to deteriorate - thus
ensuring continued violence, political and economic instability. Zimbabwe has a
far greater problem with deteriorating land, poverty and unemployment than with
land pressure as I was pointing out in Parliament about 25 years ago and nothing
has changed. After a lifetime of working all over our country I have yet to see
any farm or ranch on which the land is not deteriorating (this is a worldwide
If we use the second (holistic) approach, bringing
all parties to the table with the formation of a Land Commission (or body
charged with formulating a land policy) we will experience a totally different
result. I would be prepared to stake my life on it that we would settle several
million people on land, with a bright future of greater wealth, peace and
stability and we need not lose a single productive farmer. We will see the land
deterioration begin to reverse, thus increasing the wealth and security of our
nation. We would gain substantial international support and we would help South
Africa, Namibia and other countries avoid making the same mistakes we initially
made. Is this not what we all want?
The longer we pursue a bad policy the harder it
becomes to truly address the problem. However, even at this late hour, President
Mugabe, you who once had the support of all Zimbabweans, can still provide the
necessary determination and leadership to resolve the land issue quickly and
properly. I thus once more appeal to you, and to the CFU leadership (who,
although having no solution, have repeatedly rejected what I am suggesting) to
do the right thing. Now, more than ever, is the time for statesmanship and
caring for all our people. We do not want to live for ever in fear and violence
while pleading with the international community to feed and finance us. We
Zimbabweans of all races and tribes are proud people. We are not international
beggars so please let us begin quickly to put our house in order as only we can
do. We have capable people who when called upon can do all that is required - by
Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans. All that we are waiting for is good