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Centenary - Pegging continues on Avalon and Viewfield.
Horseshoe - The work stoppage continues on Manovi Farm, Runguzi Farm, Chirenge Farm, Nyamsewe Farm and Rushpeak Farm.
There has been renewed pegging on Penrose Farm and Chingoma Farm.
Victory Block - The ZRP have been informed of a work stoppage on Mutendamambo. Mvurwi - Fifteen invaders demanded a map from the owner of Mwembezi Farm and then proceeded to peg. Donje and Govete farms were visited by some unknown people, who told the labour that they now owned the farm.
Mutepatepa - Police are investigating an incident of two goats being killed by unknown people on Crewkerne Farm. There has been a report of a kudu and impala found in snares on Tara Farm. Snaring appears to be on the increase.
Harare West/Nyabira - Approximately 50 occupiers are pegging on Berea/Landscapes. Invaders have threatened to close down the clothing factory on Stockade Farm. Mazowe - Three truckloads of war veterans arrived on Sigaro this morning. They are the same group that were on Mayfield (next door) yesterday.

Marondera North - The empty farm village on Nyagambi was reoccupied yesterday. Beatrice / Harare South - The owner of Orangia received a visit from Cde Carter and was told that the farm now belonged to Cde Carter. The farmer advised him that as he has already sold three farms to the government, he feels he has done his bit, and Cde Carter then left the farm. Cde Chidzinde and four others arrived on Argyle with a blue Chinese tractor. A vehicle with four people arrived on Plumstead saying they were sent by the DA to peg. He convinced them that he had sorted the issue out with the DA and they had to leave, which they did. Colandra was occupied, shelters were built, and the farmer advised that ploughing will begin in the near future. Occupiers have been on Goldilands but yesterday two men arrived armed with axes and beer bottles and told the farmer not to do any more land preparation because the farm and house is theirs. A heifer is missing from one of the paddocks on Eden.
Wedza - Occupiers on Devon are trying to clear the land by cutting down a number of large trees. Another two cattle are missing, totalling eight. The occupiers are not always on the farm: about six of them move from farm to farm.
Enterprise - About three war vets tried to stop the labour from working on Atlanta, but they were unsuccessful. Female occupiers on Devonia went into one of the farm lands and started to ridge the land by hand.
Bromley/Ruwa - Occupiers on Lincoln are beginning to interfere with farming operations.
Macheke/Virginia - Yesterday there was a work stoppage on Faroe farm. War vets have taken over two hardware stores in Macheke - Mash Co and Farmers Supply.

Doma - There was a reoccupation on Makamba Farm by 20 war vets from the Kachuta area, East Doma. Re-pegging occurred on Binge Farm, Chipiri and Chitatu, and Wolwehoek. The owner of Chenene Farm has been allowed to resume grading of tobacco and harvesting maize, but the owner himself is not allowed home and to run his own farm.
Chinhoyi - The manager of Sholliver Farm was taken hostage at the Hunyani war vet camp. The situation was peaceful and the manager was returned unharmed. Karoi - 2 July- On Landithy labour were assaulted and abused from midnight to 2.00 a.m. MDC t-shirts were confiscated.
There was a work stoppage on Ardingly on Wednesday, which was resolved. Musha Wedu was visited by war vets who stated that due to the stayaway no more work would take place in the future. The owner of Grand Parade was surrounded by about 23 war vets, and the local reaction group diverted them. On Buffalo Downs and Magunje road blocks were set up by war vets and the respective owners were stoned and all traffic diverted. The labour of Muchbinding were told not to work again. War vets threatened to destroy seed beds on Ansdell. Pangas were removed from labour on Tavoy by war vets. Pegging is to begin today on St Brendons and Chisange, and war vets have moved bulls from Baobab to Pumula which is designated.

3 July - There was a work stoppage on Nassau, and the labour were threatened. ZRP responded and took away a few of the war vets to the station. On Mombe there was a work stoppage which was resolved. A situation on Moy was reported to Mabunda, who replied that he would reacted and slammed the phone down. Makuti Police resolved a situation on Chiuwa. There was a work stoppage on Muchbinding and Templecomb. There were threats of serious violence on Sangalalo, and the farmer wanted to stop all work. 2 poachers on Ruwanzi were arrested by a game guard. 1 kudu has been killed and 78 snares recovered. No ploughing and pre-irrigation are allowed on Deerwood and there was a work stoppage on Mukuyu. A poacher was caught on Laughing Hills and taken to the Police.

Norton - On Parklands Farm Colonel Mutasa put up a road block at the main gate, and is not allowing anyone on to the property. Dispol is getting the Norton Police to react. Mrs Rusike's docket is finalised and she will be appearing in court on Monday. This has taken nearly five months! On another farm the owner has been told by Lovejoy that they should have left yesterday.
Selous - There were further visits by war vet Makoni to Stroomop and Wakefield Farms in order to peg. These are new occupations.
Chegutu - War vet Gilbert Moyo, who was involved with stealing two tractors on Concession Hill and is evidently under warrant of arrest visited Farnham Farm, and apparently has "the list".
Suri Suri - Ploughing continues with war veteran's oxen on San Fernando. Chakari - Tree cutting etc. are continuing.
Kadoma - On Molina a Section 8 Order was delivered. This property was never offered and the Ministry appear to have made a mistake. There are approximately 3000 people on Milverton Estates who have come in from the neighbouring resettlement area to cut trees, snare game and steal fences, maize and cattle. At this stage 44 cattle are unaccounted for. Occupiers are disrupting farming operations by continuing to leave gates open, driving fences down and preventing the movement of pumps. Death threats are being received.

Save Conservancy - Sango Ranch is peaceful. There is no-one on the east side, and a few in a camp on the western side. An impala was found in snares on the western Suni Pan (old snareline from occupiers). On Masapas Ranch a total of 108 snares have been found in various sweeps by game scouts. Three dead impala and one kudu were found, and some poachers were found skinning an impala. They escaped, but 2 other poachers were arrested. About 10ha has been burnt out on the Levanga boundary. Safaris are continuing.

On Levanga Ranch there are many occupiers who are clearing land, burning land and settling in along the Masapas boundary as well as inside the ranch. One of the Gudo headmen has set himself up at Dam 17. The owner of this property is still off his property, but negotiations underway with Officer in Charge, Chiredzi. On Mkwasine Ranch game scouts are not allowed to patrol. An eland was found in a snare, and all the meat taken away. A gap of 100m was cut in the game fence and a vehicle went into the ranch from the commercial area. Vehicles carrying war vets are going through the Save Conservancy boom daily to Mkwasine Ranch.

A buffalo and young zebra were snared on Mukwasi Ranch. Game scouts were instructed not to attend to anything, including the uplifting of snares, as the ranch now belongs to the occupiers. They have been threatened with their throats being cut. Four poachers were arrested by scouts on Tuesday, but escaped custody and sought refuge with the occupiers. Police failed to respond immediately and only attended the following day. Member in Charge, Mkwasine said that action on his part would have sparked violence. On Savuli Ranch two squatters were arrested for killing two sable. There are 20 occupiers on the ranch. Pegging around the buffalo paddock of Makore Ranch continues. 7 poachers were arrested on Angus Ranch North. Occupiers and game scouts are patrolling Angus Ranch South. No arrests have been made, the game fence is being repaired and war veteran Makaye says the buffalo fence must be left alone. Mukazi Ranch is in a similar situation to Angus Ranch South. Angus and Mukazi Ranches are doing combined patrols from poaching. Yesterday one nyala bull was found snared and 42 snares were collected. Impala Ranch is fairly quiet. There is a large camp at the main gate. The eastern boundary of Senuko Ranch has been occupied, and clearing and burning of lands is taking place. Pegging is taking place on the northern boundary by 6 war veterans who originate from Matsai Communal Area. The MP from Bikita East has made contact and wants to mediate between war veterans and the Save Conservancy. He wants to organise a meeting in conjunction with MP Chauke. Masvingo East And Central - The situation remains the same. A letter was received from the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing advising that Government planners will be visiting a list of 12 properties commencing from the 1st August 2000 to facilitate in their resettlement as announced by Government. These properties are the conceded properties for the region out of the 804 list from Government. Dromore Farm was reoccupied. The owner made a report to the Police of wire cutting and movement of cattle onto the property and requested a RRB number from Famers Hall ZRP. None was given and he was asked to go to the Police station in town and make the report. The Member in Charge said that they are "too scared to go out and resolve this issue."
Gutu/Chatsworth - Situation still remains the same.
Chiredzi - On Dawlish Farm attempts to proceed with fire breaks have been stopped. The war vets claim this is their property. On Buffalo Range occupiers are all over the property, cutting fences, trees, transporting cut mopanie trees out and selling them. It has now become a business. Mutemachani yesterday arrived at Mapanza Farm with another war veteran by the name of Gumbo. After having been reported to the Police on 2 August 2000, it has taken the Police 30 hours to respond and they now agree that war vets camped within the security fence area must move out. They are now situated within a 15m radius from this fence. Attempts are being made to move them even further away. Mutemachani also visited Sacarina yesterday and a small party has invaded Sacarina.
The rest of the area is the same, extensive cutting of trees pegging building of structures and poaching.
Mwenezi - On Klipdrift Ranch wire is being removed at an alarming rate. 77 head of cattle are still missing. Regarding cattle that have been found, there is proof that cattles' ears have been tampered with in removing ear marks or tags. The rest of the area is exactly the same - poaching continues, trees are being cut, shelters erected and pegging is ongoing.

Chipinge - The Governor, Rural Council, army and war vets held an official ceremony to move people onto Ypres (conceded) this morning. On Wolf Craig permanent structures have been built under the centre pivot, 1.5 km of fencing has been stolen and a cow is missing. Gum poles on Dabradee are being cut. Houses are being built on Rietvlei, and it was reported that Chemec was mixed with mealie meal and laid around the sides of the lands. Many cattle from the communal lands have been pushed onto the farm. War vets are ploughing.
Burma Valley - Four farms have been occupied and occupiers are planting tomatoes.

Section 8 Orders are being served on conceded properties in the province.
Inyathi - There are threats of an occupation on Pollards this weekend. A resettlement ceremony will take place on Goodwood tomorrow. The DA has ordered the shooting of two kudu on the ranch for the celebration. Agritex have been pegging plots all week. An American hunter was stopped at a war vet roadblock, verbally abused and threatened with knobkerries, spears and sticks. Inyathi Police did not react, and the shaken client has been withdrawn to another area to continue hunting.
Gwaai - 20 war vets arrived on Sikumi from Binga, and are intending to occupy Good Luck, Carlisa and Bindonvale, which are all listed farms.
Umzingwane - 21 war vets arrived on Zimbile to tell the owner they will be returning on Monday to take over the property. They were in possession of a list. Nyamandhlovu - War vet Hitman Moyo advised that he would be occupying Redwood Park on Tuesday. On Wednesday Dube brought 70 people onto the farm, who pegged, cut poles and trees and started building structures and clearing lands. He says that he will return on Sunday to tell the owner what his future holds. Epping Forest, Mt. Pleasant, Matabeleland and Concession Farms have been occupied.
Permanant structures have been built.
Insiza - Poaching is thriving on Debshan and Palawan Dam is being stripped of fish with major gill netting operations.

Gweru East - Eighteen groups, with fluctuation numbers, are operating on Gando Farm. There is tree cutting, pegging, clearing of plots, but no serious aggression. Some properties have received Section 8 Notices.
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Pre-Election communication regarding Party activities and intentions were intense. In the absence of access to State-run news media, information was disseminated in the form of 
electronic mail and "flyers". Pamphlets were dispatched to rural areas overnight by volunteers driving up to 300 kms through communal lands. Some even fell from heaven like Manna!
The post-Election period has seen a dramatic drop in the availability of information and has been characterised by the number of enquiries asking why this is so.
E-mail is the main source of information but only reaches those with the facility. An M.D.C. Bulletin has been proposed which would address topical issues and counter the opposition's utterances and misinformation. Allowing 4000 per Constituency, a budget figure of approximately $10 000.00 per issue may be expected. This would provide a single sheet of A4 newsprint printed both sides. This would be reduced considerably if the paper were to be donated as current support funds are very low.
These bulletins could then be disbursed by the support networks in each constituency.
Independant press newspapers were collected and disbursed throughout the Rural areas during the pre-election period.  Probably now more than ever this exercise needs to be re-instated.  It would therefore be appreciated if all supporters would please donate their newspapers to support groups or local MDC offices for circulation.
To ensure the Party and Support Groups keep up the momentum, donor funding will continue to be required and we appeal to all for assistance.
In the case of this office we desperately need A4 bond paper, envelopes, inkjet printer cartridges.  Our printed letterheads will cost approximately $12 000.00, and assistance to fund this will be appreciated.  Finally a two-tier filing cabinet is required.
The MDC Provincal Offices that are being developed in each Province will also require commissioning.  This includes furnishing, at least one computer, phone and fax.
We thank everyone for their contributions to date whether it be in kind, monetary or general support.  To further the cause of democracy it is unfortunate that your continued help is required.
As a final request, would you please forward this e-mail to contacts on your personal e-mail address list to ensure that maximum distribution is achieved.
Mike Lander
MDC Support (Southern Region)
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Zim vets seize and sell tobacco firm's land

August 04 2000 at 06:15PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's war veterans have taken the government's plans for land reform into their own hands, occupying a huge swathe of white-owned land in Kambuzuma, cutting it into plots and selling it, a reporter said on Friday.

The move, described as a "housing scheme" by the veterans' local leader, Benjamin Sitiya, involves selling 2 500 plots on about 100 hectares of land in this southern suburb of Harare owned by Rothmans International, a major tobacco firm with United States and British interests.

The initiative is a new twist in the veterans' six-month campaign to occupy white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

The land invasions began in February, in the wake of the government's controversial plans to seize white-owned farms. On Sunday, President Robert Mugabe announced that an additional 3 000 farms would be seized on top of 804 already earmarked for redistribution.

The walls of a dozen houses have already sprung up

About 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best farming land is owned by approximately 4 000 white farmers.

The veterans wanted to "take their fate into their own hands since the local council is doing nothing to help them", Sitiya said, as workers around him were building homes on the plots.

On Friday, about 50 people, mainly men, were busy building on the site, where the walls of a dozen houses have already sprung up and the foundations of another 50 were in place.

"We are not doing anything wrong," said Tobaiwa, as he dug foundations for a house. "If some say what we are doing in unlawful, they must have a roof over their head."

"We have occupied the land and we now divide it between ourselves," another person said. "It is easier, safer and quicker than to wait for the government to do it."

'Mugabe can't have it both ways'

Hundreds of people, mainly women, have gathered to support the workers, singing independence war songs in their native Shona language and shouting slogans against white farmers and the opposition to President Robert Mugabe's government.

Nora, whose husband is busy building a large house, is impatient to move out of the overcrowded township where the couple and their eight children live in three rooms with his parents.

"We could not stand this life any more," she said. "This scheme is something we never even hoped for."

Sitiya said houses with ten bedrooms were planned at the site.

But questioned on the financial transactions involved in distributing the plots of land, the war veteran leader suddenly became nervous.

He confirmed that those who were benefiting from the scheme were soldiers, police officers, former detainees and war widows who had paid a sign-up fee of Z$230 (about R21) and Z$1 000 per month.

One of the buyers, who preferred to remain unnamed, confirmed he had paid the veterans "a much bigger amount of money" but would not say how much.

"You have to abide by the rules of the game," he said.

Rothmans International was not available for comment.

The veterans are in a head on conflict with the Harare municipal council which in theory is responsible for distributing land for construction of new homes.

Low-cost housing in the area is in short supply as increasing numbers of villagers have begun flooding into the suburbs of the capital.

Sitiya condemned the authorities' failure to act to help those in need and rejected statements by the government that veterans could not take on the government's role of redistributing land.

Thousands of war veterans and their supporters have invaded 1 600 white-owned farms since February. At least four white farmers and three black labourers have died in the ensuing violence.

On many of the farms, the occupiers have issued death threats and eviction notices to the owners and beaten and raped black labourers, with little if any police response.

The veterans have been closely allied with Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party since they began "invading" farms. But since Mugabe narrowly won legislative elections in June, many veterans have become disenchanted with the government, which is increasingly embarrassed by the invasions.

"Mugabe can't have it both ways," Sitiya said. "He cannot ask us to occupy the farms before the elections and then tell us to go home when he feels he has saved his skin." - Sapa-AFP
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4 August 2000

In today's issue :

From The Star (SA), 3 August

Mugabe: I didn't promise an end to land grab

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has denied giving any pledge to force an end to illegal farm invasions - and even held out the prospect of further extending his land-grab programme. After seeming on Wednesday to be ready to compromise, Mugabe's return to a hardline stance dashed hopes of an economic and political turnaround in the southern African country. On Wednesday, Mugabe had announced after talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki that liberation-war veterans, who had begun seizing white farms in February, would be moved off them by the end of this month. The statement had been welcomed by Zimbabwe's mainly white commercial farmers and its hard-pressed financial markets, but Mugabe said on Thursday in a speech to black farmers in Bindura that he had never undertaken to end the invasions. "I didn't say war veterans should be removed," he said. Mugabe reaffirmed his intention to take more than 3 000 farms from white owners without compensation and added: "Whatever we do after the 3 000 farms will be purely complementary, but we are not stopping there."

Mugabe lashed out at white "imperialists" and scoffed at a nationwide general strike that paralysed the country on Wednesday, saying it "was a producer strike ... and it wasn't popular". Mugabe said he was not afraid of any person or country, adding: "We can never allow a return to racial oppression. Our land is, to us, first. The donors can stay with their money. We will not give up our land because of what the donors say." Political analysts and South African government sources said Mbeki had gone to Zimbabwe in a final attempt to steer Mugabe back to the international fold, offering to intercede with the IMF if Mugabe would end the land grab. Mbeki has been heavily criticised for his gentle handling of Zimbabwe's veteran president and has seen his own country's currency hammered by investors fearing South Africa could go the same way as Zimbabwe.

On Thursday, he dodged a welcoming hug from Mugabe and spent five hours urging him to end political intimidation by his followers and the occupation of white-owned farms. "South Africa committed itself to help in any way it can to implement a programme for Zimbabwe's economic recovery and to restore Zimbabwe's image abroad. "I think that includes giving advice, but not economic support," said one South African government source. The source said Mbeki and Mugabe appeared to have agreed on the broad outlines of a programme of fiscal discipline, privatisation, prudent foreign exchange policies and security for the country's 4 500 white farmers. "There is a lot of movement that needs to be made by the Zimbabwe government. What we basically need to do is to encourage them," the source said. There was no immediate comment from South Africa on Mugabe's apparent repudiation of the concessions he made on Wednesday.

From The Guardian (UK), 4 August

Mugabe talks tough as war veterans expel farm family

Mazowe - Just hours after they were driven weeping from their farm yesterday, the Parks family were trying to work out how it had gone so wrong so quickly. Were they victims of Robert Mugabe's threat to grab even more white-owned land? Or had they been set up by a former worker bitter at his dismissal? It hardly mattered to the "war veterans" who moved on to Mayfield Farm in Mazowe, less than an hour's drive from Harare, on Wednesday. Within a day they had forced the white owners off and claimed the land as their own. But Duncan Parks did not leave before he and 17 other white farmers who went to his family's aid had been held hostage and threatened with death.

The seizure of Mayfield Farm was the first such occupation since the government announced it would expropriate four times as much white land as originally planned, to give to poor blacks. Even as the Parks quit their home, Mr Mugabe dispelled any doubts that he might have been persuaded by a visit from President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa or pressure from Zimbabwe's foreign donors that his economy is facing ruin if the government hands over most of the productive land to subsistence farmers. He confirmed that the government plans to take 3,041 farms - about two-thirds of all white-owned land - and will expropriate more if it wants. "The donors can stay with their money if their condition is that that money can only come if we give up the demand on land we are pursuing," he told a meeting of black farmers.

The road to Mayfield Farm was blocked by a felled tree. The veterans hung a sign at the gate: "Peter Hain, Robin Cook. Stop lying about Zimbabwe." In the yard lay thousands of corn cobs ready for packing, but no one was working. The invasion was led by Chinotimba Brown, a member of the war veterans' national committee, who arrived in a Land Rover with government number plates. "It's time for the colonialists to push out," he said. "The 804 [farms the government originally listed for expropriation] were not suitable and we are going to acquire more. If the 3,000 we are now taking are not sufficient we will go on acquiring more. All the farms can be acquired if necessary."

Mr Brown and the "war veterans" initially refused to allow Mr Parks to leave. Seventeen white neighbours turned up in the hope there might be safety in numbers. They too were taken hostage. Several hours into the standoff, Mr Brown said all the farmers and the Parks family could leave on foot, without taking anything with them. Duncan Parks did not want to abandon the house he has lived in all his life and the other farmers were not going to leave their vehicles. "There was verbal abuse and death threats against all of us," Mr Parks said. But it was the beating of his workers that convinced the 55-year-old farmer to leave the land his family had owned since 1911. Mr Brown denied workers were beaten or the farmers held and threatened.

Two hours after abandoning Mayfield Farm, Isla Parks sat between her husband and her son as the two men wept. "Be strong, be strong," she whispered. Her son, Stewart, said: "I was trying to negotiate with them on why they were picking on us and what I had done wrong to them." He added that a former employee, dismissed for selling drugs, was at the gate as the family left. "They said we were rough to our labour. We are not rough. When someone steals or sells drugs they have to be dealt with. I didn't turn him in to the police. I should have and I regret that," he said. Shortly after Mr Parks and his family fled, the veterans' leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, arrived, cheered by the new tenants. "This is Zimbabwean land," Mr Hunzvi said. "We need land and it is going to be resettled. We will give land to the people."

From Reuters, 3 August

Zimbabwe war veterans hold 17 farmers overnight

HARARE - Zimbabwe's war veterans held 17 white farmers hostage overnight after they had answered a distress call from another farmer near the capital Harare, a farmers' union official said today. The 16 men and one woman were released unharmed on Thursday morning after talks between CFU representatives and the veterans, Tim Henwood, the CFU president, told Reuters. "We went there and tried to smooth things out. It seems there was a misunderstanding. The war veterans thought the farmers had come to attack them," Henwood said.

One of the hostages, who asked not to be named, said the 17 farmers had responded to an alarm raised by one of their colleagues, who said he was being forced to leave his farm by a group of war veterans on Wednesday. "When we arrived, a group of 40 war veterans came armed with axes, machetes, hoes and other weapons and ordered us to leave, that we should take one car and leave all others behind. We refused and that's when things turned nasty," he said. "They punctured 10 to 12 of our vehicles and we were slapped around, and they said we had to leave. We were held here overnight. We shared a fire with the veterans and slept in cars," the farmer told Reuters by telephone. "The situation is very tense. They (veterans) are friendly one minute and very hostile the next," the farmer said. In another incident on Wednesday, a dozen war veterans armed with automatic rifles stormed a white-owned farm at Norton, 40 km (25 miles) from Harare, and threatened a manager and a secretary who had talked to reporters about farm invasions.

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 4 August

Squatters seize farm rescuers

Mazowe – WHITE farmers who rushed to the rescue of a neighbour and found themselves taken hostage by squatters wielding axes, knives and clubs were released unharmed yesterday, as another rural community was hit by Zimbabwe's anarchy. Farmers in Mazowe district were placed on alert after squatters tried to break into Duncan Parkes's homestead on Mayfield farm. When 17 of his neighbours went to his aid, they were abused, kicked and spat upon by a mob who threatened them with war and chanted: "The white pigs must go back to Britain." They were held captive overnight until negotiating their release with the help of the police yesterday afternoon. The latest incident came as President Robert Mugabe contradicted his conciliatory remarks on Wednesday and held out the prospect of extending his land grab. More than 3,000 white farms, almost 75 per cent of the total, have already been listed for acquisition.

A panic-stricken radio call from Mr Parkes's son, Stewart, began Mayfield's hostage crisis on Wednesday. A neighbouring farmer, who asked not be named for fear of reprisals, said: "I heard Stewart on the radio saying, 'Please help, these guys are breaking into my house, they've just assaulted my father'. I was on my way, I leapt into my car." All of the nearby farmers responded to the call in a convoy of eight vehicles. As they roared on to Mayfield, they saw a squatter hammering on Mr Parkes's back door with an axe while 30 others ringed the farmhouse. Alarmed by the sound of the engines, the gang turned on the rescue party.

On Wednesday, Mr Mugabe promised: "We will be removing the war veterans from the farms we are not resettling." But, addressing the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union yesterday, the president insisted that he had been misquoted and said: "I didn't say war veterans should be removed." The government has promised to seize another 2,237 farms, in addition to the 804 already listed.

Comment from The Guardian (UK), 4 August

An African tragedy - Mugabe leads Zimbabwe towards ruin.

Predictions that the damaging turmoil in Zimbabwe would subside in the wake of June's general election have proved to be optimistic. Although the ruling Zanu-PF party fought off the most concerted challenge to its rule since independence in 1980, the manner of its victory, relying heavily on intimidation and violence, underscored well-founded doubts about its ability to give the country the fresh start it so badly needs. A new cabinet was formed, but is sadly lacking in new policy ideas.

This week's devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, for example, was a measure that the government stubbornly resisted until the crushing weight of Zimbabwe's problems finally gave it no choice. The devaluation will help exporters, but only if there is anything left to export. On present trends, this looks increasingly doubtful. Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis, the ruling party's inertia and the failure to take on board the electorate's clearly stated desire for change can be traced to a common cause: President Robert Mugabe. Africa's angry old man is, if anything, even angrier than he was before the polls delivered their stinging rebuke. He remains the repository of all real decision-making power, making a mockery of parliament, the courts and even his own ministers.

Reports that he might step down when his term ends in 2002, or even before, have been flatly denied and nobody in Zanu-PF appears strong or brave enough to beard him. Despite all this year's upheavals, including Wednesday's portentous general strike, Mr Mugabe, it seems, has not learned a thing nor shifted an inch. Mr Mugabe's actions during the last few days amply illustrate his talent for intransigence and his gift for divisiveness. Responding to a strike by white farmers, he almost quadrupled, to more than 3,000, the number of farms he plans to seize without compensation. He reneged on a pledge to end land occupations by thuggish vigilantes and denounced all critics as "imperialists" and "racists".

With breathtaking irresponsibility, he told international aid donors that if they did not like it, they could "keep their money". And along the way, he managed to humiliate South African President Thabo Mbeki, who went to Harare this week to plead, on behalf of an investment-starved region already damaged by Mr Mugabe's antics, for a return to lawful, rational governance.

But there is little that is rational about Mr Mugabe's behaviour these days. Here is a man who for much of his career demonstrated enormous creative energy, a man whose brave, unifying vision for Zimbabwe advanced in the 1980s as education and health standards rose, ethnic and racial wounds appeared to heal, and an independent judiciary and press flourished. Now this same man, aged 76, turns destructive and vicious. Using force rather than persuasion, demonising opponents, fulminating against global economic realities that cannot be bucked, trying to ignore problems like the growing food, fuel and Aids emergencies, dabbling in the Congo war, and blaming Britain for his woes, he undoes all his own good work. For Mr Mugabe, the reclaiming of the land seems to have become the final, defining cause of a life-long liberation struggle.

This is about legacy now as much as justice; about a man whose time is running out, who desperately seeks vindication, who fears greatness deferred. Yet in his impatience and fury, in his bully-boy methods, he achieves only the devaluation of his leadership, the despoliation of his dreams. Sadly, Robert Mugabe's personal tragedy is one that all Zimbabweans must share.

Comment from The Independent (UK), 3 August

'All Mugabe cares about is getting land. It doesn't matter if he destroys a nation'

Durban - The calm in Harare from yesterday's general strike ominously resembled the hour before a storm, with the news that the government is to seize at least half of the white-owned farms without paying a single devalued Zimbabwe dollar. A Western diplomat said: "Nobody really knows what Mugabe is trying to do. But if he goes ahead with the farm plan it is catastrophic for Zimbabwe, its agriculture and the economy as a whole. It seems that the government wants to solve the land problem once and for all. Getting the land is the ultimate goal -it doesn't matter if it destroys Zimbabwe and makes people poor."

The government, faced with a mass "stay-away" led by unions and supported by business and farmers, appears to have been booted out of the inaction that had beset it since the June elections, when the new opposition MDC just lost to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, in power for 20 years. But the action the government has taken seems irretrievably illogical. On the eve of yesterday's highly effective mass action,the Finance Minister, Simba Makoni, said Zimbabwe's currency was to be devalued from Zim$38 to Zim$50 to the US dollar. It is good news for a devastated economy whose overvalued currency has stifled imports crucial to its key mining and agriculture sectors, and led to serious fuel shortages. The devaluation is aimed at restoring confidence in the Zimbabwean economy. But at the same time, the extended land seizure is going to destroy confidence.

On Monday Vice-President Joseph Msika confirmed plans to seize in the coming weeks, without compensation, half a million hectares of "white" farms for redistribution to half a million poor black families: sort of "one family, one hectare". The number of white farms already planned for confiscation rose from 804 to more than 3,000. White farmers went to the supreme court yesterday to try to halt the seizure. Some 1,500 farms have been occupied since February by "liberation war veterans" intent on repossessing land "stolen" by colonisers.

However, there are serious doubts about the government's capacity to implement land reform. Despite saying two weeks ago resettlement was to begin "immediately", there is no evidence that a single Zimbabwean has been moved on to a seized farm. This week the government said the army would help. But even if the relocation goes ahead, the government will be unable to assist the half-million families. It has glibly said development will follow: but in 20 years the state has provided little help to poor farmers on communal land anywhere in Zimbabwe, and it has no money to do so now.

So what is Mr Mugabe doing? The signs are that he is a man caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On the one hand he is trying to appease what he believes is land hunger felt by the rural poor, the bedrock of a Zanu-PF support base that has shrunk by half in less than a year, and to fulfil his primary election promise. At the same time, by devaluing Zimbabwe's currency he is trying to bring back on board some of a mostly urban electorate lost to what he believes were "protest votes" during the election, and international institutions whose financial support he urgently needs. But until the rule of law is restored in Zimbabwe and a reasonable land reform programme pursued, reconciling the two will be difficult.
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Mugabe didn't contradict himself: minister

August 04 2000 at 03:25PM

Windhoek - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe did not contradicted himself on the removal of war veterans from occupied farms, the country's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said in Windhoek on Friday.

Moyo said it was government's intention to ensure that war veterans "demonstrating" on farms earmarked by the state for reallocation were not moved - although if there were some occupying land outside the designated five million hectares of farmland, they would have to be shifted.

This was allegedly what Mugabe had said after a meeting with President Thabo Mbeki on August 2, and what he said on Thursday when he addressed members of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union. - Sapa

Zim in shock over Mugabe's about-face on land

August 04 2000 at 01:37PM

By Susan Njanji

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's immediate climbdown on a pledge to remove invading war veterans from white-owned farms was greeted with disappointment and scorn on Friday.

Mugabe promised on Wednesday to give land to all blacks in need within this month, and that, in the process, war veterans - and their land-hungry followers - would be moved from the farms that were not earmarked for seizure.

His statement during a visit by his South African counterpart, President Thabo Mbeki, on Wednesday was understood to mean that the hundreds of invaders occupying about 1 600 white-owned farms would be removed by end of August. On Thursday, however, he denied ever saying that.

'There is an element of senile dementia' "I didn't say war veterans should be removed," he told small-scale commercial black farmers.

Opposition and trade unions said his about-face on as crucial a matter as the land issue was "dangerous", but not surprising.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow minister for lands described Mugabe's volte-face as "dangerous", while the workers' association described the entire land reform programme as "confused".

"Ideologically, we have always known that he is a two-faced man who is unprincipled, but the clear blatant allegation that he was misquoted ... is a dangerous sign which we are seeing here and goes beyond ideological confusion and hypocrisy. There is an element of senile dementia," said Tendai Biti of the MDC.

Isaac Matongo, acting president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions which organised a one-day general strike to protest against the lawlessness on the occupied farms said Mugabe's statement was not surprising.

'Mugabe doesn't do what he says' "We are not surprised, Mugabe doesn't do what he says.

"We knew very well when he said the war veterans would be removed, he was lying. He was saying that because Thabo Mbeki was by his side," said Matongo.

"It may be difficult for Mbeki to recover from this latest about-face by Mugabe," stated the editorial in the independent Daily News.

Phillip Munyanyi, secretary-general of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), blamed the confusion surrounding land reform on politicians trying to prove that the land seizures were not politically motivated.

"The only thing is that there is confusion. When you are dealing with people that want to prove that what they have done is right (before and after the elections) and is not for political gains, that becomes the source of misunderstanding," said Munyanyi.

Biti said the land issue was too important to stand idly by as it was mishandled.

"The question of land is obviously important in the politics of the country, and for him to be allowed to continue playing football with the question of land like he is doing, Zimbabweans must not accept that.

"We are being foolish in that we are watching somebody who is now really suffering from insanity mess around us with our country, with our lives and, I think what he is doing is to lay the basis for the break-up of Zimbabwe."

He accused Mugabe of "whipping up emotions of war veterans" and militarising the land issue by having the army spearhead the redistribution process, adding that the president had turned the issue into "a powderkeg".

"It epitomises the state of the country, it characterises and underpins the state of the crisis and the crisis of the state," said Biti.

Matongo said Mugabe had ceased to be a leader, but had turned into a ruler.

"Mugabe has got no love for this country, he doesn't have love for his people, he doesn't even care about the people being killed, day in and day out.

He is not leading us, he is ruling us," Matongo said.

Mugabe said war veterans could not be removed from the farms until they were moved to newly acquired land and vowed to push ahead with accelerated and extended reforms, telling international donors to keep their promised aid if it came with conditions. - Sapa-AFP

Unpredictable Mugabe paints Zim into a corner

August 04 2000 at 09:47AM

By Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's increasingly unpredictable twists and turns on his controversial land-grab scheme could leave him internationally isolated, political analysts said on Thursday.

Mugabe's hardline policies also are likely to bring more domestic pressure against his beleaguered Zanu-PF, which barely survived its toughest electoral challenge in June and was on Wednesday hit by a crippling national strike, they said.

Just a day after appearing to give ground with a promise to remove war veterans illegally occupying hundreds of white-owned farms by month's end, Mugabe backed off from reconciliation on Thursday and said he was determined to seize more than 3 000 farms for the veterans and landless peasants.

Conciliatory words contradicted a day after a broadly backed strike "I think Mugabe is now courting international isolation," said political scientist Alfred Nhema. "He is compounding a perception that Zimbabwe's problem is Mugabe himself."

Mugabe contradicted his conciliatory remarks a day after a broadly backed one-day strike called by the powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and a meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been trying for months to lead him back into the international fold.

The strike, which was also backed by the white farmers' association and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was called to protest about violence against opposition supporters, farmers and farm workers.

Nhema, chairman of the political science department at the University of Zimbabwe, said Mugabe's latest turnaround was bound to increase domestic and international pressure.

"I don't think there are many countries or international organisations in the world who are prepared to follow this act and all these twists and turns and to make sense of them," he said.

'He is behaving in such a way it is difficult for people to defend him'

"In that respect, and on account of the lack of clarity and consistency, many countries around the world, including those Zimbabwe badly needs for its economic wellbeing, are going to give up on its government."

Solomon Nkiwane, another political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said Mugabe risked isolation even on the regional diplomatic stage and could alienate Mbeki.

"He is behaving in such a way that it is very difficult for people to defend him," he said. "It is also difficult to say who is benefiting from his so-called hardline policies. The majority of the people have not, and the results of the general elections show that his party is not a beneficiary either."

Zimbabwe's economy is bleeding. Foreign reserves are virtually depleted, unemployment is at a record 50 percent, inflation is at 60 percent, interest rates are up at 70 percent and the country has a severe fuel shortage.

International donors abandoned Mugabe's government last year over his controversial policies, including a costly intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a third of his army is deployed in support of President Laurent Kabila.

Analysts say Mugabe should be working to restore confidence in the country, not undermining it.

"What's going on is a circus. The economy is doomed at the rate at which we are going," said private economic consultant Edmore Tobaiwa.

An economist at a Harare bank added: "A president who denies something within 24 hours of saying it does not cheer the market. He's kind of added to the general gloom. Investors love some predictability and Mr Mugabe is handing them the opposite."

The opposition MDC said Mugabe's behaviour was predictable and focused on cowing voters ahead of presidential elections in 2002.

Mugabe was not concerned about the impact of his policies on his people and it was left to Zimbabweans to continue to vigorously fight for their rights to force their leader to do the right thing, said MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

Ncube said the MDC and its ZCTU union ally would call for more action if Mugabe did not restore law and order within weeks.

On Mugabe's behaviour, Ncube said: "It confirms what we have always said, that the president is a populist who says one thing at night and another in the morning. For him to repudiate what he publicly said, monitored by television and radio, shows that he wants to perpetuate the crisis."

Political commentator Emmanuel Magade, a law lecturer, said Mugabe had clearly chosen the land issue as his political card and the war veterans and landless peasants as his constituency to retain power.

"That seems to be the basis of his actions now," he said.

Despite the apparent chaos, senior Mugabe aides say the 76-year-old former guerrilla leader - in power in the former Rhodesia since independence in 1980 - is fully convinced that his actions are right and in the interest of all Zimbabweans.

"The president is a nationalist at heart, and the world is out to demonise him," said one. - Reuters
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Open Letter No 4 – to all who have Zimbabwe at heart and to whom life and justice is precious.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.”
John F Kennedy

I am a 4th generation Zimbabwean, my name is Topper Whitehead – my objectives in this the fourth circular letter to you and others are NOT political but the survival of the country and its 13 million people.

Please hear what I have to say – much of which has been said before and for those who have listened bear with me, for those to whom “the cap fits” wake up, wipe the s**t out of your eyes and look at the real situation.

“ The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in a moment of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” Matrin Luther King Jr.

The darkest hour of Zimbabwe’s history, prior to elections has turned out to be the darkest WEEKS after the elections - we the citizens of the country are faced with two options.

Surrender to the threats, intimidation, murder and rape of ZANU PF and allow the breakdown of law and order to continue to destroy the nation -

------------- OR ----------------

Unite for democracy and freedom, and say “NO MORE” - This is now a national issue and the nations future – and yours – is at stake.

Mugabe refuses to acknowledge the wishes of the majority of the people and is determined to beat them into submission so that he can satisfy his personal ego and hang onto power.

Mugabe does NOT care about the consequences – he does NOT care about the people, he thinks ZANU PF and himself and NOT for the good of ZIMBABWE.

Look at the facts

1,212 million people voted ZANU PF – mostly forced and intimidated to do so.
1,282 million people voted against ZANU PF – willingly and in spite of threats.
2,956 million people did not vote – because they were too scared to do so.

I ask if it had not been for the intimidation and state sponsored violence what results would have been ?

We have to break the shackles of the Mugabe’s de-facto dictatorship – Mugabe has betrayed the people and is holding onto power by foul means to protect his selfish and greedy interests. His henchmen such as Hunzve and Stamps will do anything to assist him, as without Mugabe they are and have nothing.


Munangagwa a failed Minister, rejected by the people in his constituency, is now the Speaker of the House, will, to a certain extent, be able to control parliamentary debate.

The people of Mutare have overwhelmingly rejected Oppah Muchinguri, yet she is now the Governor of Manicaland destined to receive a new Mercedes Benz and fat salary etc.

Timothy Stamps could not even make the ZANU PF primary elections, and gave the most disgraceful display of a nauseating buffoonery and total disregard for oaths he took to abide by the laws of Zimbabwe

the at the swearing in of MP ceremony, he is now a Minister with a Mercedes Benz paid for by the people with forex that we do not have.

Mugabe’s strategy is and has always been to focus on the greed and fear of the people – especially the white community and relies on the capitulation of business in the hope that they will not be affected.

The path Mugabe and his small band of dependants have chosen is certain to result in economic collapse. He does NOT care what happens as long as he remains in power.

The call for the National Stay-Away in protest against the state sponsored violence and breakdown of Law and Order orchestrated by Mugabe, to be reduced from 3 to 1 day by the “Captains of Industry,” is indicative of the fear that Mugabe has instilled into the leaders of commerce and industry. Fear of going against the government because of what financial losses might occur is exactly what Mugabe wants us to fear. We must ALL stand up and say NO.

Look at Natzi Germany where the Jews, destined for the gas chamber, did not fight NOT to go in, they fought to be the LAST to go in.

MUGABE has chosen economic ruin and we are fighting to be the last victim of the economic collapse instead of ALL fighting to STOP the collapse.

It takes ALL of us going at this from ALL angles.

Look at ALL of us on a huge flight into the future. Those in first class must not scorn those in economy class or even those in the baggage compartment – If the plane crashes we are ALL in it together – true some like Mugabe have parachutes overseas – but I ask you where that parachute originated, and consider the people of the country who had that parachute made for you. Consider them, your conscience and scruples, then join the ALL to stop the plane from crashing. The Zimbabwe Dollar has been devalued which will give temporary relief in most quarters BUT we must ask why this has been necessary and WHO is responsible – good governance free from corruption violence and intimidation would have prevented this step – MUGABE has failed and betrayed the people and the country. One cannot be part of the wealth of the country without being sensitive to the poverty – Get involved and be a leader – your strength in standing up to intimidation will give strength to the povo who are the ones who have been beaten, raped, had their worldly possessions burnt and yet are still determined to stand up the tyranny of Robert Mugabe.
The people and captains of industry who care about the country must CHANGE from saying
“follow me, I am behind you” to “FOLLOW ME – I AM THE LEADER”
I refuse to be intimidated and with total conviction I am doing what I can for the survival of this Country and its 13 million people. I have a sense of patriotism that I last felt a long time ago. Try it ! – the rewards are sleep at night with a clear conscience.

Before the elections I said
“Please do not be fooled into thinking that Mugabe will not continue his reign of terror and the country’s destruction if we allow him to steal the election.”
Look what is happening Mugabe as the leader of a corrupt ZANU PF may be brilliant but as a Statesman and the President of ZIMBABWE and 13 million people most of whom are NOT supportive of ZANU PF his actions are appallingly disgraceful and tantamount to treason.

Mugabe thinks politically for himself and NOT economically for the country and 13 million people. He has betrayed the people, even those he is giving land, to satisfy his ego.

Betrayal is the worst sin and I despise the man for it.

Finally, please forward, print and circulate this message to everyone you know, or is on your address list.

I can be contacted at :- e-mail topper@mweb.co.zw
cell number 263 (0) 91 401 847
phone / fax 263 (1) 4 336876.
Cheers for now,
Topper Whitehead

be afraid of WHAT IS HAPPENING because of ZANU PF’s cheated win and Mugabe’s determination to retain power at any cost.

Give Mugabe the RED CARD.
Written on Wednesday 2nd August 2000
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Financial Gazette - Thursday 3 August 2000
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Financial Gazette

Zimbabwe headed for military rule?

THE government’s decision this week to throw the army into the front line of the land resettlement programme camouflages the real intentions of President Robert Mugabe, who sees the deployment as part of his already airborne campaign for the presidential election in 2002.

The military has no business and must have no role whatsoever in the land redistribution plan, which should be handled by an independent civilian agency that is voted funds for its operations by Parliament and is accountable to the legislature.

That is the way things should be. Or, at the very worst, the government’s District Development Fund and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority should coordinate the programme, otherwise they have no reason to exist at all.

It is notable that the government wants to go ahead with the army’s deployment on farms despite widespread concerns that some elements of the security forces could have been aiding the war veterans in ongoing invasions of commercial farms.

Despite official denials, farmers have repeatedly reported seeing some army personnel on farms and certainly some of the army’s members were among scores of people who descended on farms near Harare months ago as the veterans illegally parcelled out privately-owned land.

While the army has the logistics to back up such a mammoth exercise as the government’s fast-tracked land resettlement programme, it has neither the necessary skills nor the softly-softly approach needed in such a delicate, if at times emotional, allocation of the land.

But more importantly, it is politically and morally unacceptable to deploy the army after widespread accusations of harassment by army units by some residents of Harare and other urban dwellers who feel that they are being victimised for voting for the opposition in the June general elections.

For most Zimbabweans, the government’s latest action will be seen as an attempt to use the army to cow voters and seal off rural areas from the opposition, as happened during the parliamentary poll, ahead of the 2002 plebiscite.

Mugabe, his powerbase shaken to its foundations, has already militarised the government enough by appointing army men to lead the spy police, the prison service, some government ministries and so on.

The latest step would complete a de facto move to full army rule of the country, an unacceptable development in a country that claims to be a democracy.

For the record, no amount of an open display of the government’s military firepower nor intimidation by it can or will ever subdue a nation ready for change.

These desperate steps are coming too late and will inevitably fail.

No sane Zimbabwean is opposed to a fair, transparent and orderly land redistribution plan — it is indeed painfully long overdue because of the government’s failure to match its words with deeds in the past 20 years.

But equally no sane Zimbabwean should accept an unplanned and wholesale land grab which may only result in food shortages and the death of the agriculture sector that is the locomotive of the entire economy.

By insisting on orderliness, fairness and transparency, Zimbabweans and donors only wish the country well so it can use the land programme not only to banish widening mass poverty and regenerate the economy, but to be an example on how to do this to all other nations facing similar injustices.

The injection of lawlessness into the plan — as is happening with the illegal war veterans-led land grabs — has only served to alienate Zimbabwe’s development partners who, even at this late hour and despite all else that has gone wrong, stand ready to help the country succeed.

Strike shuts Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE ground to a halt yesterday as workers went on a massive one-day strike to try to force President Robert Mugabe to end violence against political opponents and the occupation of white-owned farms.

Shops and factories were closed and streets deserted in the four major cities - Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare - as farmers, workers and the political opposition delivered the most broadly based challenge to Mugabe's 20-year rule.

Isaac Matongo, acting president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said only civil servants turned up for work after being warned the strike could cost them their jobs.

"The indications we have are that the call for a work stoppage has been heeded. We estimate 80 to 90 percent of the people did not go to work," he said.

A government spokesman said, however, the strike was a flop with civil servants including teachers and nurses at work.

"Factories and private industry would have been functioning if employers had not locked out their workers. The so-called strike is a flop. Those who have not gone to work have not done so voluntarily," said the spokesman, who asked not to be named.

The government has said the strike could further damage the already battered economy and increase unemployment, estimated at 50 percent, a view shared by some economists.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wonder Maisiri said the strike could not be separated from the current political environment, adding: "The strike is costly, but so is the political environment that has caused it."

Joseph Muzulu, chief economist at banking group FINHOLD, said the strike would hit export production.

"There are things which are time-bound, like flowers, and these will be heavily affected. There is going to be heavy loss in output and foreign exchange," he said.

With foreign exchange reserves estimated around one day's imports, the country on Tuesday devalued its currency by 24 percent to 50 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar. It had been pegged at 38 to the US dollar for more than a year.

"The move is part of a package of short-term stabilisation measures we hope will put the economy on track," said Simba Makoni, a former businessman appointed finance minister after the ruling party narrowly won an election in June.

Mugabe had resisted devaluation because it would impact on voters already fighting runaway inflation, but analysts said Makoni probably had persuaded the government of the need to send a positive signal to investors and Western donors.

Exporters including tobacco farmers have been holding back crops and export earnings, expecting a devaluation.

Business welcomed the devaluation as a boost for exports, but South African analysts said it was too little to rescue an economy burdened with interest rates of around 70 percent.

Rand Merchant Bank chief economist Rudolf Gouws labelled the move "long overdue and definitely not enough", but added: "To the extent it spells what one hopes is a more realistic economic policy approach by the Zimbabweans, it has got to be good for the region."

Political instability and violence apparently condoned by the government against opposition supporters and white farmers have shattered international confidence in Zimbabwe's economy.

The strike was called to press Mugabe to end political intimidation and order veterans of the 1970s liberation war in the former Rhodesia to leave farms occupied during a violent campaign for parliamentary elections in June. At least 31 people, including five farmers, were killed.

The government condemned the strike, but said it would not intervene if the action remained peaceful.

State radio quoted police as saying several youths had been arrested in Budiriro, Glen View and Mbare townships for blocking roads with stones.

"Those bent on mayhem will be arrested and prosecuted," a spokesman said.

Police maintained light patrols in the cities, but did not turn out in force as they have done during previous strikes.

In the Willowdale industrial area on the outskirts of Harare, factories remained closed and in the Mazowe and Arcturus farming districts, workers loitered around their huts and farm equipment remained idle.

The mainly white Commercial Farmers' Union and the 10-month-old opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which delivered a strong challenge in June's elections, have backed the strike.

The ZCTU, apparently sensitive to potential damage to the economy, on Tuesday cut the duration of the strike to one day from three. But Nicholas Mudzengerere, acting secretary-general of the ZCTU, said that if the government did not respond, a longer stoppage would be called.

-- Reuter

Govt official flees as war vets run riot
Staff Reporter

GWANDA - The provincial administrator for Matabeleland South, Angelous Dube, was this week forced to flee her offices by armed independence war veterans who accused her of supporting the opposition, it was established yesterday.

Staff at the government building housing the provincial administrator's office as well as that of the governor for Matabeleland South here said they were working under duress because of constant threats from the war veterans camped outside.

Some government officials yesterday narrated to the Financial Gazette how Dube fled her office through the back door on Monday, with armed veterans hot on her heels.

According to the eyewitnesses, the visibly angry former fighters accused Dube of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the labour-backed opposition party that embarrassed the governing ZANU PF in Gwanda North in the June parliamentary elections.

The MDC took Gwanda North, where its elections director Paul Themba Nyati trounced ZANU PF women's league boss and Cabinet Minister Thenjiwe Lesabe.

In Gwanda South, ZANU PF's Abednico Ncube narrowly avoided defeat by the MDC's candidate Paulos Nare.

Dube is also accused of frustrating war veterans' efforts to get resettled on the land acquired by the government for landless villagers in the province.

"She (Dube) has not been in her office since fleeing on Monday afternoon. The war veterans want to beat her up and she has vowed to stay locked at home until her safety is assured by the police," a high-ranking ZANU PF official close to Dube said.

Dube could not be contacted for comment but her office confirmed that weapon-wielding veterans raided the premises threatening to beat her up on Monday.

"The war veterans, some with sticks and others with axes, swooped onto the office as the provincial administrator addressed a meeting of district administrators from the province. They asked her to come out so that they could beat her up," said an official who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation by the veterans.

"It was embarrassing the way they forced her to flee. She is now at home," added the official who was ordered to "toyi-toyi" by the invaders.

A member of the war veterans' association in Matabeleland South this week alleged that Dube was favouring MDC followers in Gwanda North at the expense of areas under ZANU PF's control when allocating land for resettlement.

"From the 20 farms that have been allocated the province, Gwanda North in which the opposition candidate won has been given five farms while in Gwanda South, a seat won by the ruling party, the office has allocated just one farm. This is favouritism and we are not happy, hence the punishment we wanted to mete out on her," the veteran said, also declining to be named.

Rural Gwanda South and the border town of Beitbridge are the only two seats won by the ruling party out of the 23 contested in Matabeleland in the June 24-25 elections.

Police here confirmed they had received reports of disturbances at the provincial administrator's office and were now investigating.

Army redeployed in high-density suburbs
Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe army on Tuesday night redeployed in high-density suburbs across the country to quell any disturbances ahead of yesterday's one-day job stayaway called by unions and opposition political parties to demand an end to violence on farms and in the townships.

Sources told the Financial Gazette yesterday that hundreds of troops were deployed in armoured trucks between midnight and dawn on Tuesday in Harare and other major Zimbabwean towns.

The troops will remain in the townships for the next three days until law enforcement agencies are satisfied that the situation is back to normal.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, also the spokesman of the joint army-police operation in the townships, yesterday confirmed that the troops had been deployed in potentially volatile areas countrywide to help them maintain law and order.

"The history of stayaways has been marked by public violence and the destruction of property," he said.

"In view of that, we have enlisted the help of the army to prepare to deal with any eventuality, hence the structure of the deployment in place.We have put this arrangement in various places countrywide to be ready to attend to any situation because we cannot leave anything to chance," Bvudzijena told the Financial Gazette.

The operation is said to be backed by military helicopters maintaining aerial surveillance on the movement of people in high-density suburbs where the government fears clashes between supporters of its ruling ZANU PF and those of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is backed by labour unions.

Bvudzijena could not say how long the troops would remain in the townships.

The army and police, who maintained a strong presence in the high-density areas just after the June election, were withdrawn last week after a public outcry about their conduct.

Several Harare residents had reported severe assaults by soldiers for no apparent reason. There were also complaints of harassment and public humiliation.

In some cases, the soldiers - who virtually imposed curfews in most areas they patrolled - randomly raided beerhalls and beat up patrons whom they accused of supporting the MDC, which swept all the seats in major towns in the June 24-25 poll.

Ironically, the redeployment of soldiers in the townships coincided with a massive job stayaway yesterday by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the MDC to complain about the troops' brutality and that they be removed immediately.

The stayaway, which shut shops, banks, commerce and industry across Zimbabwe, also sought to end mounting violence on commercial farms occupied by rampaging mobs of independence war veterans and ZANU PF supporters.

The veterans have seized more than 1 600 white-owned farms since February and left mayhem in their wake, killing at least five farmers and some black workers, most of them members of the MDC.

The farm violence, which gathered momentum in the aftermath of the parliamentary election, has forced scores of farmers to flee into nearby towns and cities. In the process, farming operations have been halted, threatening the livelihood of more than 350 000 farm workers.

The stayaway was backed by the Commercial Farmers' Union but criticised by most business organisations wary about its effect on already tumbling profits, a result of Zimbabwe's long-running economic crisis.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Zed Rusike said the stayaway would cause massive disruption to business "at a time when the country and its people are facing severe economic hardships".

Zimbabwe, grappling with record inflation and interest rates of 60 and 70 percent respectively and runaway unemployment and poverty of 60 and 80 percent, is expected to lose billions of dollars because of the stayaway.

Its organisers say it is a warning for President Robert Mugabe to act against violence or face more and prolonged industrial strife.

Mugabe says war vets to be removed from farms

ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe said at the end of a one-day strike against his government yesterday that war veterans illegally occupying white-owned farms would be removed before the end of the month.

Responding to reporters' questions after talks with visiting South African President Thabo Mbeki in Harare, Mugabe said his government would speed up the acquisition of farms identified for redistribution to landless blacks.

"The farms that will be resettled, farms on which we will resettle those people, will be the only ones in which we should have those presently occupying the farms and the rest of the farms must become vacant.

"In other words, we will, in the process, be removing all war veterans from the rest of the farms that will not be resettled. I want to say, within this month we will have concluded this exercise," he said.

The government has completed procedures to take over about 200 farms that owners were willing to give up.

A process has been started to seize a further 600 farms from owners who object to the confiscation of their land with compensation only for buildings, but not the land itself.

It was not clear, however, whether Mugabe was including the further 2 237 farms his government announced on Monday it would identify for redistribution.

Mugabe has said in the past he wants about half the 12 million hectares currently owned by around 4 500 white farmers.

Thousands of veterans of the former Rhodesia's 1970s liberation war are currently occupying close to 1 000 white-owned commercial farms in defiance of court decisions, branding the occupations illegal.

"We will be resettling those in need of land, both those occupying the farms and those who have not done so," Mugabe said.

Mbeki, who visited with a delegation including ministers of finance, trade and industry and agriculture, said he was confident Mugabe would end the lawlessness and occupations that triggered yesterday's unprecedented strike by business, industrial workers, farmers and opposition supporters.

Asked whether the perception that law and order had broken down in Zimbabwe had been discussed, Mbeki said: "It's a matter that we discussed and I am quite sure that the Zimbabwe government will take the necessary steps to address that."

Mbeki, who has been criticised by business and foreign investors for failing to condemn Mugabe's administration, said the months of turmoil in Zimbabwe were partly to blame for the volatility in the South African rand.

The rand hovered below seven to the US dollar yesterday with traders citing a strong dollar and concern about Zimbabwe as factors in play.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis and the collapse of law and order in some areas stem in part from the occupation of the white-owned farms.

A bitter political campaign ahead of June parliamentary elections narrowly won by ZANU PF has also undermined stability in this usually peaceful country.

At least 31 people died in pre-poll violence.

In the first apparent concession to market demands and criticism by Western donors, Mugabe's newly appointed finance minister, former businessman Simba Makoni, on Tuesday devalued the Zimbabwe dollar by 24 percent to 50 to the US dollar.

The Zimbabwe unit trades around 60 to the US dollar on a parallel grey market, but had officially been pegged at 38 to the US dollar for over a year.

Zimbabwe is South Africa's largest trading partner in the region. However, a major trade imbalance in South Africa's favour has remained a point of contention for years

Stayaway to cost $600m
Staff Reporter

THE nationwide job stayaway staged by workers yesterday will cost Zimbabwe's already shaky economy more than $600 million, plunging the troubled southern African country deeper into the economic abyss, analysts said yesterday.

Business in all of Zimbabwe's main urban centres came to a standstill yesterday as most employers and workers heeded calls by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to stay home in protest against state-sponsored violence on white-owned commercial farms and in towns and cities.

The capital Harare was a ghost town yesterday, with shops, banks and factories closed and the usually bustling streets virtually empty.

The situation was the same in Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare where only a handful of shops and companies initially opened in the morning but later closed and joined the strikers.

Analysts said the one-day stayaway could cost Zimbabwe's battered economy about $625 million in lost output and business.

"One hopes that wiser counsel ultimately prevails so that the powers-that-be act on the socio-political problems facing the country and pluck the economy from virtual collapse," said one bank analyst.

The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), which groups players in the country's commercial sector and employs the largest number of workers, said the stayaway would worsen the current economic crisis of record high inflation and interest rates and runaway joblessness and poverty.

ZNCC chief executive Wonder Maisiri said lost production caused by the stayaway was going to add to the problems of foreign currency and fuel shortages already threatening industry with collapse.

"We believe that stay-aways do not add value to the process of development," Maisiri told the Financial Gazette.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, an umbrella of the country's industrialists, said it was preparing a report on the full impact of the stayaway.

The analysts said more worrying was the long-term cost to the country's tarnished investment image internationally.

The work stoppage and the standoff between the government, workers and employers would put paid to current attempts to win back crucial international support for Zimbabwe's halting economic reforms.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank last year cut crucial balance of payment support for Zimbabwe because of the country's failure to adhere to conditions and Harare's involvement in the costly Congo war.

"There is always a price for this sort of action but the price of not reacting (by the government on the strikers' demands) might in the end be much higher," private economist John Robertson said.

The stayaway is the latest salvo by the increasingly militant labour movement and opposition parties in their bid to force President Robert Mugabe to act against mounting lawlessness on farms occupied by his supporters.

Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war have seized more than 1 600 white-owned farms since February and have threatened to seize more land in a violent orgy that has already seen the death of over 31 people.

The strike was also called to force Mugabe to pull army troops out of cities and towns where they were deployed after the June 24-25 general election and only briefly withdrawn last week. The troops have been accused of harassing innocent civilians.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Financial Gazette

Mugabe’s idea of lawlessness

Charles Makombe, Chitungwiza.

EDITOR — Listening to President Robert Mugabe addressing his ZANU PF party’s consultative meeting, which followed the swearing in of Zimbabwe’s new legislators, was nauseating.

The man had obviously been hurt by the support the Movement for Democratic Change had openly enjoyed at Africa Square adjacent to Parliament and by the deafening shouts from the public denouncing his party.

This, according to him, was lawlessness.

Mugabe warned Zimbabweans that he was going to use the law enforcement agents — that is the Central Intelligence Organisation, army and police — to deal with this “lawlessness” that took place during the two days of the opening of the fifth Parliament.

But Mugabe can only do two things with the law enforcement agents and these are:

*Teargassing us.

*Killing us.

There is nothing new in this as we have seen it happen for the past 20 years, climaxing during this year’s election.

Mugabe can only take so much of our blood but not all of it. Whatever blood he squeezes from us will sooner than later rot and stink in his hands and the smell haunt him for the rest of his life, his wife’s life and his children’s life.

In the meantime let us look critically at paying taxes to this government as it is being used to finance activities that do not benefit us, the taxpayers. The taxes we are paying are being used to:

*Buy teargas to teargas us.

*Buy bullets to kill us.

*Pay the police and soldiers who are killing us everyday.

*Pay war veterans who have been killing innocent people in the rural areas, high-density suburbs and on farms since February 2000.

I appeal to the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, all national employment councils, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Commercial Farmers’ Union and other civic organisations to seriously consider the tax proposition as I feel it is the last weapon we have left to ensure our murderers enforce law and order and protect the citizens of this country.

‘Robbed’ by Gezi

B Maboya, Madziva.

EDITOR — The former governor and resident minister for Mashonaland Central, Border Gezi, has stolen our heritage in the form of Shashi Wilderness area.

The high-ranking civil servant has fenced off part of this area.

Shashi Wilderness area has very important historical and cultural value to the people of Zimbabwe and the Kore-kore people of Mashonaland Central and it is because of this that even the white settlers did not fence it off. Doing so would ignite a possible war with the Kore-kore.

I wonder why the minister doesn’t respect the traditions of the people in his province.

So, on behalf of the people whose traditions have been taken for granted by Gezi, I say to him: surrender back our priceless property, our heritage.

Change is the key

John Mugove Mujokoto, Baltimore, USA.

EDITOR — Our hope for the future was indeed rekindled by the June 24-25 parliamentary election.

To those Members of Parliament who have been sworn in, in particular the 58 opposition MPs, here is a really unique opportunity for Zimbabwe to be established as a full democracy.

I would like to wish the 58 parliamentarians every success in their endeavours. I hope the 21st century will hold great promise and opportunities for the new MPs and the generations to come.

I wish them a long and great life filled with great lessons to learn, people to love, dreams and goals to fulfil and a law-abiding people’s hopes and wishes that will see them from success to success.

I do hope that, as you sit and go deeper into the recess of parliamentary debates, you will remember that the people shall always be there for you. The only thing we can do together is play on the one strength we have — and that is change.

New Cabinet has no technocrats to talk of

Nervous, Bulawayo.

EDITOR — Certain unmathematical innocents thought the Cabinet had shrunk and that we now had technocrats on board.

Well, each day brings more ministers of sorts and Joseph Made and Simba Makoni are hardly technocrats.

One ran a not-so-successful government department and the other’s record hasn’t been looked at.

Makoni has held three ministerial posts and we know nothing about his actions in these portfolios. He was the boss of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference, which failed totally to unite southern African countries and detach them from then apartheid South Africa.

Having successfully restored the Zimbabwe Newspapers group, Makoni was sacked for treading on the chefs’ toes, we assume but of course weren’t told.

He has run a business, we are told, but “technocrat” is a very superior word.

The innocents thought new notions might appear but we were soon disillusioned. Made is going to dump people, doubtless incompetently and corruptly chosen, on unsurveyed land with no amenities as has happened in the past 20 years, even in the so-called era of designation.

The communal lands have been extended and production reduced it — full stop. Terror is still a weapon.

Each war veteran has now received almost $100 000 since 1997, apart from the vast perks received over the last 20 years. Why they expect land too I can’t imagine. Any war vet who is not well off has only himself to blame.

And why the President unleashed the destructive Chenjerai Hunzvi and his mercenaries I can’t imagine. The economy, especially farming, could have been ruined quite effectively but less terribly without them.

The new Cabinet will be supervised by ZANU PF — in practice by Mugabe and his clones in the Politburo.

Minister’s calibre worries me

Advance Zimbabwe, Bulawayo.

EDITOR — The President seems to be succumbing to both internal and external pressure to trim government expenditure.

Robert Mugabe has reduced his Cabinet to an affordable number.

However, I doubt the competence of some of his newly appointed ministers.

Of great concern to me is the appointment of Joseph Made as Lands and Agriculture Minister.

Made has been at the helm of the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) for the past few years.

For the short period he has been chief executive of ARDA, the organisation has been severely crippled. Many ARDA estates are struggling to operate.

I wonder how Made will run a government ministry when he failed to make it at a lower level.
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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Dashes Hopes for Reform
Thursday August 3 10:13 AM ET

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe denied Thursday that he had given any pledge to force an end to illegal farm invasions and even held out the prospect of further extending his land grab program.

After seeming Wednesday to be ready to compromise, Mugabe's return to a hard-line dashed hopes of an economic and political turnaround in the southern African country.

Mugabe had announced after talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki Wednesday that liberation-war veterans who began seizing white farms in February would be moved off them by the end of this month.

The statement had been welcomed by Zimbabwe's mainly white commercial farmers and its hard-pressed financial markets, but Mugabe said Thursday in a speech to black farmers in Bindura that he had never undertaken to end the invasions.

``I didn't say war veterans should be removed,'' he said.

Mugabe reaffirmed his intention to take more than 3,000 farms from white owners without compensation for the value of the land and added: ``Whatever we do after the 3,000 farms will be purely complementary, but we are not stopping there.''

The farm invasions, which have hobbled the country's crucial agriculture industry, and Zimbabwe's participation in a civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have driven the economy to the brink of collapse.

h foreign reserves down to about one day's imports, unemployment at 50 percent, inflation at 60 percent and interest rates around 70 percent, the country is in deep recession.

Political violence unleashed by supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF ahead of parliamentary elections in June and Mugabe's anti-white rhetoric have compounded investor concerns.

Mugabe Dismisses Strike Message

Mugabe lashed out at white ``imperialists'' and scoffed at a nationwide general strike that paralyzed the country on Wednesday, saying it ``was a producer strike ... and it wasn't popular.''

The strike was called by the country's major labor federation, with backing from the Commercial Farmers Union and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to back demands for a return to law and order and an end to farm invasions.

Mugabe said he was not afraid of any person or country, adding: ``We can never allow a return to racial oppression. Our land is, to us, first. The donors can stay with their money. We will not give up our land because of what the donors say.''

International institutions including the International Monetary Fund and most foreign governments have suspended aid and credit in protest against violence and mismanagement in Zimbabwe.

Political analysts and South African government sources said Mbeki had gone to Zimbabwe in a final attempt to steer Mugabe back to the international fold, offering to intercede with the IMF if Mugabe would end the land grab.

Mbeki has been heavily criticized for his kid-gloves handling of Zimbabwe's veteran president and has seen his own country's currency hammered by investors fearing South Africa could go the same way as Zimbabwe.

Thursday, he dodged a welcoming hug from Mugabe and spent five hours urging him to end political intimidation by his followers and the occupation of white-owned farms.

``South Africa committed itself to help in any way it can to implement a program for Zimbabwe's economic recovery and to restore Zimbabwe's image abroad.

``I think that includes giving advice, but not economic support,'' said one South African government source.

The source said Mbeki and Mugabe appeared to have agreed on the broad outlines of a program of fiscal discipline, privatization, prudent foreign exchange policies and security for the country's 4,500 white farmers.

``There is a lot of movement that needs to be made by the Zimbabwe government. What we basically need to do is to encourage them,'' the source said.

There was no immediate comment from South Africa on Mugabe's apparent repudiation of the concessions he made Wednesday.

Mugabe denies promising to kick invaders off farms
3 August 2000, Sydney Morning Herald
By ED O'LOUGHLIN, Herald Correspondent in Johannesburg, and agencies

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe yesterday denied vowing to remove war veterans illegally occupying white-owned farms, and said he planned to take more than 3,000 farms from whites for black resettlement.

Mr Mugabe told the black Zimbabwe Farmers Union in Bindura, north of Harare, that he would not bow to international pressure and had told donors who have suspended aid to his country that he did not want their money.

Mr Mugabe denied saying at a news conference with the visiting South African President, Mr Thabo Mbeki, on Wednesday that he would have war veterans removed from farms. "I didn't say war veterans should be removed," he said.

In the apparent U-turn on Wednesday, Mr Mugabe undertook to move his supporters off most of the 1,600 farms they have occupied. He had said the Government would move to end the wave of illegal farm occupations, which the opposition claims his party has orchestrated, and would relocate the "war veterans" to farms slated for resettlement under the Government's formal resettlement program.

"I want to say, within this month we will have concluded this exercise," he had said.

But Mr Mugabe said yesterday in Bindura: "We are now in the process of settling people and have identified the slightly more than 3,000 farms we shall gazette and acquire. The war vets will stay on all the farms until we resettle them.

"The donors can stay with their money. We will not give up our land because of what the donors say."

Mr Mugabe's turnaround on Wednesday came as opposition leaders were celebrating the end of a one-day general strike which shut down much of the country, and followed a five-hour meeting in Harare with Mr Mbeki.

The one-day stoppage, called by the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions with the support of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was billed as the first of an escalating series of protests aimed at forcing the Government to uphold the rule of law.

The opposition claims that the farm invasions are part of a concerted campaign by Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwean African National Union to cling to power in the face of a worsening political and economic crisis. More than 30 people, almost all opposition supporters, were killed in a wave of violence before the election in June.

While the violence has since slackened off, the MDC's leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, claims that police and the army are continuing to harass residents of Zimbabwe's main cities and towns, which voted overwhelmingly against the Government.

After Wednesday's meeting, Mr Mbeki said he and the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, were concerned about international confidence in the region, particularly over the rule of law.

"I am quite sure that the Zimbabwe Government will take the necessary steps to have that matter addressed," Mr Mbeki said.

South Africa to help with economic recovery in Zimbabwe
Business Day (Johannesburg)
August 3, 2000
By Dumisani Muleya,John Dludlu and Reuters

Harare – South Africa made a pledge yesterday to help Zimbabwe implement measures to shore up its economic recovery programme and polish up its international image.

George Charamba, spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, said the SA delegation, led by President Thabo Mbeki, had welcomed Zimbabwe's move to devalue its currency by a third to Z50 against the US dollar. The Pretoria delegation encouraged Harare to consolidate measures aimed at restoring goodwill towards Zimbabwe.

Because of the meetings with the SA ministers, Zimbabwean Finance and Economic Development Minister Simba Makoni postponed an announcement of new measures intended to stabilise the economy.

The meetings coincided with a oneday strike organised by Mugabe's political and economic critics, which paralysed the country.

Makoni said the SA government would help Zimbabwe implement the "millennium economic recovery programme". Although this plan was drafted months ago by Mugabe's old cabinet, it has yet to be implemented.

Mugabe asked his cabinet last week to prepare for its implementation.

Makoni indicated Harare would need to consolidate its fiscal reforms, strengthen macroeconomic stability and speed up privatisation.

As part of yesterday's talks, which are to be continued this weekend in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, SA agreed to help Zimbabwe restore its relations with the international community.

The two delegations discussed the need for the involvement of the private sector in helping the recovery and agricultural restoration, Makoni said.

Charamba also strongly signalled the government's willingness to welcome the international community back into Zimbabwe. After longstanding disagreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), "a basis now exists for the return to communication" with the IMF, he said, pointing to a growing convergence of views.

Signals of a thaw in relations included government's willingness to hasten its privatisation and cut the public service, as well as to agree to a currency devaluation previous areas of disagreement with the fund. "We are revisiting our expenditure patterns to obviate duplication and we are looking at outsourcing," Charamba said.

Mugabe, who is due to address small-scale farmers today, also indicated that the country's liberation war veterans would have moved off occupied white-owned farms by the end of the month, given the rate of the resettlement programme.

It also emerged that the United Nations (UN), which withdrew in anger over the government's controversial land reform programme, would return shortly to assist in the process.

"There was never a time when we slammed the door on the UN. Let them come in to help and not to change our programmes," Charamba said.

Mugabe also explained Zimbabwe's approach to land reform to Mbeki. "There is scope now for more resolute movement in land acquisition," Charamba said. Government has already announced its plan to acquire 3000 more farms for resettlement.

Yesterday's strike left shops and factories closed and streets deserted in the three major cities Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo, as farmers, workers and the political opposition delivered the most broadly based challenge yet to Mugabe's 20-year rule.

Zimbabwean Troops Await UN Deployment Before Withdrawal From DRC
August 3, 2000

HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) - President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe will withdraw thousands of troops sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help government forces suppress an armed insurrection only after the UN deploys peace-keepers to police a shaky truce brokered by Zambia in 1999.

He told a press conference after meeting South African President Thabo Mbeki that Zimbabwean troops, the backbone of southern African allied forces backing President Laurent Kabila's government, would be withdrawn as soon as the UN deployed peace-keepers as planned under a Lusaka peace agreement.

The UN has agreed to deploy 5,000-armed peacekeepers, but has delayed the start of the deployment because of continued violations of the peace accord by the warring sides.

Kabila is also against deployment of armed peacekeepers in government controlled territory.

"They (Zimbabwean troops) are there for a purpose, to defend the sovereignty of the Congo government and we are there in accordance with the Lusaka peace process and we will withdraw when the time is right," Mugabe pointed out.

Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are backing the government side, while Rwanda and Uganda support three rebel groups.
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JULY 24, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 4

Little Hope, Less Help
The epidemic has hit with devastating force--and things will get much worse before they get better

As a metaphor for hopelessness, it's hard to equal the AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty-four million of the area's people are HIV-positive--70% of the world's infected population. Thirteen million Africans have already died of AIDS, and 10 million more are expected to die within five years. In South Africa, 1 in 5 adults is infected; in Botswana the rate of infection is 1 in 3; in Zimbabwe it is 1 in 4. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2003, AIDS-related deaths will slow population growth in some of these nations to zero, and the population in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa will actually start to decline. Life expectancy by the end of the decade would normally have been about 70 in this part of Africa; as a result of AIDS it will plummet to 30. Said the Census Bureau's Karen Stanecki at last week's 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa: "It is hard to comprehend the mortality we will see in these countries."

But terrible as these numbers are, they're bound to get worse. While some of the talk in Durban focused on modest advances in AIDS treatment--and on South African President Thabo Mbeki's flirtation with discredited ideas about what causes AIDS--the central dilemma of the conference was how to fight this voracious plague under the conditions that made the continent so vulnerable in the first place.

One reason AIDS has hit sub-Saharan Africa so hard is that the public health system in many countries is inadequate to deal with even "conventional" disease, let alone a grinding juggernaut like AIDS. According to the World Bank, the region averages $34 per person annually in health-care spending--and far less in places like Nigeria and Kenya--compared with an average of $2,485 in developed countries like the U.S. Less than half the people in the area have access to clean water, and just over half of all children are vaccinated against diphtheria, polio and tetanus. The notion that African countries can somehow buy and distribute the expensive drugs that can prolong life for those infected with HIV--even at the drastically subsidized rates that some companies have promised--is farfetched. Beyond that, the illness and death of so many workers is draining what little strength these already weak economies have.

Another problem is that while AIDS is almost completely preventable, prevention methods must be taught to potential victims. Yet sex education of any sort is rare in Africa, and many people lack even the most basic understanding of how the disease is spread. Upon hearing that AIDS in Africa was mostly a heterosexually transmitted disease, for example, prostitutes in western Kenya started offering clients unprotected anal sex. Since they considered this form of sex "homosexual," they figured they'd be safe.

Even getting Africans to talk about sexually transmitted disease is difficult, says Susan Muguro of the Kenya branch of Standard Chartered Bank, which has begun its own AIDS-awareness programs. The bank's trainers get staff members used to talking about AIDS, safe sex and condoms by making them call out the names of body parts such as penis and vagina. "At first," says Muguro, "people were giggling and blushing. Typhoid wastes us; malaria wastes us; but this disease touches the core of humanity--our sexuality."

Strong leadership from public officials may help, but most African governments have been slow even in admitting they have a problem. It is only in the past 18 months that President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe have used the word disaster in relation to AIDS.

Yet amid the despair, at least two countries have managed to address these problems. Led by President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda started a public AIDS-education program in 1990 that has driven the rate of new infections down dramatically in some places. And Senegal, with its own awareness program, has also cut taxes on condoms and got religious leaders to participate in AIDS education. As a result, Senegal's infection rate is a mere 1 in 50 adults, one of the lowest in Africa.

The notion that developed countries could do more to subsidize the cost of drugs was given impetus by a study reported in Durban last week. Such aid has been dismissed in part on the grounds that patients on these medicines need more monitoring than local health officials can possibly provide. But pilot projects in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Uganda have proved that even poor patients can stick reasonably well to a regimen without constant supervision.

If that's true, then drug companies and Western governments have lost a major excuse for inaction. When the G-8 economic summit convenes this week in Okinawa, AIDS will be a major item on the agenda. And while the African crisis may worsen, it's at least possible that last week's consciousness-raising meeting in Durban could mark a change in attitude--and perhaps even a tiny glimmer of hope.


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