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Friday 8th December 2000


The owner of Sigaro Farm, who had been subjected to an abduction the
previous day, narrowly escaped an attempted car-jacking on the Old Mazowe
After the owner of Parklands tried to plant crops yesterday on the 400 ha
that has still not been planted (210 ha of which is a maize seed crop), Mrs
Rusike with war vet Zuda beat up the assistant manager James Kayira and put
a weapon to his head.  Police took several hours to arrive and in the
meantime a death threat was issued to the manager as well as a threat to
burn all the tractors
Police arrested four assailants who assaulted a cattle stockman on Nyagadzi
Farm in Macheke Virginia.  A cattle stockman was also severely assaulted on
Chakadenga Farm in Wedza, then held hostage by invaders.
A group of resettlement farmers from Bath Resettlement Scheme in Wedza
surrounded a police vehicle and banged the windscreen with their fists when
the police intervened in a dispute over cattle with the owner of Fair
Adventure .
During Wednesday night a crowd slashed 1.5 hectares of tobacco on Raffingora
Estates in Raffingora.
In Middle Save three suspects of recent robberies in the general area were
arrested in a dramatic combined operation between the community and the

In Masvingo, the definition of "landless" has been extended to include
teachers and blind people from Capoto Mission and employed people from town.

In  Gutu / Chatsworth , two sergeants and one constable, in full uniform,
from Chatsworth Police Station claimed Chilly Farm. One of the sergeants has
claimed   the homestead.  They face a conflict with war vet,  "Comrade Lion"
has also claimed the entire farm with all  assets.


Mashonaland Central

Horseshoe -  $30 000 worth of fencing has been stolen from Andrea and a
steer worth $16 000 was slaughtered.  Ploughing by invaders has intensified
at Worthington and Mapetu.

Victory Block -  Invaders at Msitwe River Ranch have complained to the owner
about the lack of water supply and are demanding that the land be ploughed
for them.  Cultivation and ploughing by invaders is taking place at Rusumbi
and Mount Fatigue.

Mutepatepa -  The district has been reasonably quiet of late, although there
are large numbers of communal cattle being driven onto farms mainly for the
purpose of ploughing.  The owner of Katanya has managed to complete planting
in spite of continued interference by invaders demanding more land.  Despite
attempted negotiations, no planting has been allowed on the Sub-division of
Dunaverty and invaders have set up residence there.  The owner of Dunaverty
is still attempting to plant amidst sporadic work stoppages.

Mazowe / Concession -  A large group has gathered at Duncombe farm and have
threatened farm labour with death if any work is carried out.  The situation
is tense but stable at the moment.

Shamva -  Total work stoppages continue at Dawmill and Woodlands A, where
owners have not been allowed to plant at all and invaders are proceeding
with ploughing and planting.

Harare West / Nyabira -  Planting by invaders continues on several farms.
The owner of Mayfield spent the night off the property yesterday after a
tense situation developed when invaders barricaded the farm road.  An
attempted hijacking took place on the Old Mazowe Road yesterday when the
owner of Sigaro was returning from the airport.  Two shots were fired at the
vehicle, but fortunately neither of the occupants were injured and the
driver managed to evade the pursuing vehicle and drove to a police road
block nearby.

Mashonaland East

Beatrice -  Section 8 Orders were served on Victory, Elim and Silver Oak
farms this morning.  17 head of cattle were brought onto Gwalia farm by a
witchdoctor who has been squatting on one of the mountains for about a year
now.  The labour on Goldilands passed on a death threat from the invaders to
the farm owners son.  The invaders were supposed to be back on Wednesday
afternoon "to sort him out" but they did not return.  A white pick up was
driving around Dunrobin "inspecting their ploughing".  The saga with
harrowing and planting on Nengwa and Goldilands continues.

Bromley / Ruwa -  There was a new arrival on Glen Avon with the committee
established by the DA Goromonzi.

Enterprise - Section 8 Orders have been served on Melrose farm and Colga.

Featherstone - Some cattle were illegally moved onto Vlakfontein.  The
police reacted but nothing was done.  The fence on Collais farm was cut and
cattle were illegally brought onto the farm for ploughing.  The police
reacted but nothing was achieved.

Harare South -  A DDF tractor is waiting to start ploughing on Albion.  On
Wednesday afternoon some invaders arrived with oxen and started ploughing on
Marirangwe (Keliff) in a rhodes grass pasture.

Marondera - Yesterday the DA, Officer in Charge in Marondera, war vet Abel
Marimo and 5-6 others visited Mushangwe farm.  A meeting was held with some
farmers.  The DA said that farmers should form a committee to decide which
land illegal occupiers could use.  The impression was that a Section 8 Order
would follow if this was not negotiated.  The farmers replied that they did
not have the mandate to identify farms.  One of the farmers asked the DA
what the position was with cattle illegally on his farm.  The DA answered
that unless the farmer was prepared to assist with ploughing, the squatters
had no other means to do the job and it therefore followed that their cattle
had to stay on the farm.

Marondera North -  Another 37 arrived on Cambridge farm.  As a result of the
increased number of people on the farm there is an outbreak of diarrhoea.
The 37 were resettled there under instruction of the UMP.  The DA Marondera
was not aware that the individuals were to be put there.  Ploughing and
planting continue on Rakata  and Seaton.

Macheke / Viriginia -  The invaders told the manager on Paradise farm that
he had to move the cattle to the other side of the farm as they wanted to
start building and planting.  2 ha of tobacco and a number of other crops
have been illegally planted on Longridge farm.  The police caught cattle
rustlers with 13 head along the Macheke road.  They then went to Rufaro farm
where the rustlers had been living.  They caught another rustler there
having fired three warning shots but one escaped.  The DA and police visited
Welcome Home. The DA conceded that the process was unlawful, but told
farmers that they should learn to co-exist with the illegal occupiers.  In a
similar case on Soft farm, the DA and police suggested that a deal be made
with the illegal occupiers.  A cattle stockman was assaulted by four
invaders last night on Nyagadzi farm. One invader was beaten up during the
confrontation. The invaders damaged the house - breaking windows and doors.
Police arrested the four attackers, who were expected to appear in court
today.  About  6ha of katambora rhodes grass has been ploughed up on
Fairview using a tractor belonging to a headmaster (Mshanyinga) from outside
the area.

Wedza -   War vet Chigwadere went with a  large delegation to hold meetings
on Bristol and Nelson farms.  After the meetings, the  illegal occupiers
took their belongings and left to unknown destinations. A cattle  stockman
was severely assaulted and held hostage at Chakadenga.   When a security
firm reaction team responded, the assailants retreated to get
re-enforcements and surrounded them. The assailants later justified their
actions to the police by falsely accusing the stockman of driving cattle
into the area where they had planted maize. A fence was cut on Fair
Adventure and the cattle ventured into Bath resettlement and  damaged some
maize.   The security firm reaction team responded after the resettlement
group then cut one of the cows with a panga.  The resettlement group also
became aggravated with the police who responded later and surrounded the
police vehicle, banging on the windows with fists.  There is a report of
house break  in and theft on Plymtree farm.

Mashonaland West (North)

Chinhoyi -  An illegal road block was set up on the Crescent Road  on
Wednesday. Invaders manning the roadblock smashed a vehicle windscreen and
wing mirror after a farmer  drove around the illegal road block .

Raffingora -   Following community assistance,  the full maize crop has been
planted on Cornrise.   The community also assisted in land preparation for
the owner of Raffingora Estates but during Wednesday night, a crowd of
people slashed  1.5 hectares of tobacco  on a section of the farm. Police
were sympathetic but needed to catch someone red-handed before any arrests
could be made.

Mashonaland West (South)

Norton -  On Parklands the owner tried to plant crops yesterday on the 400
ha that has still not been planted (210 ha of which is a maize seed crop).
Mrs Rusike with war vet Zuda beat up the assistant manager James Kayira and
also put a weapon to his head.  Police took several hours to arrive and in
the meantime a death threat was issued to the manager as well as a threat to
burn all the tractors.  On Serui Source the DA Chegutu tried to coerce
co-existence.  It was explained to him that it was already fully productive
with 300 people deriving their livelihood from the production on the farm.
On Shingwiri   Chief Chibero and war vets came to tell the manager that they
would be moving people on to the property which they "rightfully own".  On
Tilford the war vets resettled on Beverley farm by the DA Chegutu have said
that they will remove themselves to Tilford because the DA made a mistake as
Beverley is a black owned farm and the owner has now come back to the farm.

Chegutu - On Exwick farm planting continues with stumping also taking place.
All the lands prepared by the owner have been planted by war vets.  Despite
the anthrax outbreak there is still no movement by the police at time of
writing to move illegal cattle  from several commercial farms back to where
they came from.

Kadoma -  On Normandy North the tractor driver was stopped from planting
and police said that they needed to confer with the DA Kadoma before sorting
the problem out.


Chimanimani -  The Messenger of Court has issued eviction notices to illegal
occupiers on Hanganyi.   40-60 invaders  moved on to Jantia farm after the
property was served with a section 8  order .

Headlands -  The owner of Masori Ranch, where illegal  occupiers have spread
over the whole property rather than the allocated portion, has held meeting
with the MP and a  fragile agreement has been reached. The  farm owner and
a Section Manager   were stopped on the Mayo Road by a large group of people
welding sticks  and axes, who demanded an immediate meeting.

Chipinge -  Chipinge FA has submitted a practical proposal to the DA and
Land Committee on how the authorities and farmers can work together, within
the framework of the law, to implement a meaningful land reform programme at
a local level.

Middle Save - Three suspects of recent robberies in the general area were
arrested in a dramatic combined operation between the community and the

Mutare -  Invaders on En Avant farm threatened to beat the farmer after
police removed them for illegal ploughing.  The  farm workers are becoming
very agitated.


Masvingo East and Central -  Midrivers; Southwill; Springfields; Sanangwe;
Elandskop and Brakspruit farms have been fast-tracked, with plots allocated
to a total of 150 people.  The DA has informed the owner of Dromore; Wepenar
and Bon Domi Farms (Pat Potgieter)  to choose which property he wants, so
that the they can take the rest. Governor is due to arrive today and hand
out plots.  14 teachers from Capoto Mission for the blind, who state they
are landless, have illegally settled on Waterfall.   Blind people from
the same Mission are also claiming to be landless and are illegally settling
on Riverside Farm.  Employed people from Masvingo town, some with luxury
vehicles, also claim that they are landless and are claiming plots on Beauly
Farm.  Illegal occupiers appear to be moving off Richmond Farm, which is not
listed for compulsory acquisition.  The owner of Lothian Farm tried to plant
his maize on 6th December, but  was prevented after   war veterans
threatened to burn the tractor.   War vet "Muzenda" (not Kid Muzenda) has
instructed illegal occupiers on Wondedza Farm (Lewis Hartley)  to chase the
owners' cattle onto the roads.

Gutu / Chatsworth -   Two sergeants and one constable, in full uniform,
from Chatsworth Police Station claimed Chilly Farm, with one of the
sergeants claiming the homestead.  They face a conflict with war vet,
"Comrade Lion" has also claimed the entire farm with all  assets.

Save Conservancy -   Problems continue on Chigwete Ranch despite  the
official delisting.  War veterans have set up another roadblock, thus
preventing transport of sugar cane to the north.  Several people, including
two farmers, an ARDA representative and a hunter have been accosted at this
roadblock by invaders wielding axes and pangas.  Police were slow to
respond, but the roadblock has been removed.   The owner of Mkwasine Ranch
has removed all their cattle since they are being fast tracked.   Illegal
occupiers on Angus Ranch have cut aluminum pipes thus interrupting water


General  -  The Region is relatively quiet with few incidents being

Shurugwi -  The owner of Outward  Bound Farm reports continuing aggravation
with fences being cut and gates left open which is seriously interfering
with management of cattle, especially calving cows. Relief is being sought
through the District Task Force and the Shurugwi Police but with limited
success so far.

Kwekwe -  Woodcrest Farm   is having the same problem with trees and fences
being cut and gates left open. This has been referred to the District Task
Force who are looking into the matter.

Somabhula -  Copies of an application by  government to the Admin Court for
confirmation of the acquisition his farm were served on a Somabhula farmer
yesterday. The date for the hearing is yet to be set down by the Court.
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Dear All
The situation is out of control and I fear for the well being of our motorists.  51 hi-jackings occurred in Harare in Nov, up to 8.0am this morning (Mon).  330 hi-jackings have been reported to the Trust so far this year.
This past week has seen 1 woman stabbed 6 times after she refused to let her car go, it went anyway.  (Belvedere)
Another lady fought back and was hit and BITTEN by the gang.  She was also threatened with rape, and physically abused.  (Marlborough)
An old man was hit in the face with a brick and relieved of his bicycle in Strathaven.
Another lady did NOT fight back, was uninjured, and was relieved of her Opel Astra on Sunday midday at a Sports Club I have asked for questions to be tabled in Parliament concerning this serious upsurge in hi-jackings.  We need TV commercials, street posters (billboards) and everyone to inundate the Press with irate complaints.
I am organising a major press release for all newspapers hopefully this week.
It is time to be alarmed, not paranoid, just very, very aware.
Mary van Heerden.
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Zimbabwe this Week.

What motivates a leader to destroy his countries economy in order to hold onto power? A number of countries have had to face up to this question in the past 30 or so years. The best known example was the red revolution in China. Launched by Mao and using the enthusiasm and commitment of millions of young Chinese, Mao set out to destroy the existing economy and the elite that ran it – whatever their political and ideological persuasion. In the subsequent purge, millions were displaced and many killed or maimed for life. I recall a few years ago seeing the film "From Mao to Mozart" and the one story that remains with me was where a tall, quiet Chinese Professor of Classical music had he hands crushed by young revolutionaries and then was kept in a cupboard for 15 years. His crime – the love of violin and classical music of western origin.

This was followed by the example of Pol Pot in Cambodia – in a massive exercise, the young cadre’s loyal to Pol Pot butchered an entire generation of educated and experienced Cambodians. They emptied hospitals and schools and drove people out of the cities into the rural areas. The reason given at the time was that the cities were corrupt and that ideologically only the rural peasantry were reliable. Cambodia will take a hundred years to recover. In Africa we have numerous examples – Idi Amin in Uganda, the kleptocratic regime of Mabuto in the Congo, Bokassa and several others. Now Mugabe is seemingly prepared to sacrifice everything he has achieved over the past 20 years in order to hold onto power, destroying the economy of Zimbabwe and deliberately driving away key elements of the population which stand in the way of his goals.

The question is why do they do it? One of the most insightful pieces of journalism I have ever read was an article in Time magazine following the disclosure of what Pol Pot was doing to Cambodia. The author traced the intellectual origins of the Khymer revolutionaries and concluded that they truly believed in what they were doing. They rejected the basis on which modern societies are built and managed and attempted to establish an environment in which people would have more simple, subsistence life styles. There was nothing like that in the case of the African despots – they simply wanted power and the opportunity to enrich themselves and their cohorts.

Mugabe is slightly different, he is an intellectual of some considerable capacity, and he is also a committed Marxist and a lifelong Catholic. In his every day life style he is not known for excesses in any way and has been reasonably monogamous in his marital relations even though his present marriage was a product of an affair with a married woman while his previous wife was terminally ill. A fitness fanatic he works out on a regular basis at home and despite his 76 years looks fit and well. The question is why this aberrant behavior?

In 1974 when the South African State President and the President of Zambia launched a reconciliation exercise in southern Africa, the main leaders of the two nationalist parties in Zimbabwe at the time (Zanu and Zapu) were released from prison. A colleague and I decided we would interview the main players one by one and try to assess what they stood for in economic and ideological terms. One of the six leaders we chose was Robert Mugabe. At the time he was young and relatively unknown to the white community. Even the security people of the day did not know that this was the de facto leader of the Zanla army then fighting to overthrow the Rhodesian government. 10 days after our lunch in a top class hotel, Mugabe left the country by walking out over the mountains in the Eastern Highlands into Mozambique where he was greeted as a hero.

For Tom and I this interview was one of the more worrying of the interviews we did at that time – there were few surprises with people like Ndabaningi Sithole and Joshua Nkomo, who were the assumed main players at the time. Mugabe worried us because he was dispassionately committed to a revolution which would see the whites eliminated from the country, the modern, urban economy reduced to marginal importance and the emergence of a simple, subsistence community that would be self sufficient and would not need the outside world. We were familiar with the theories of Marxism, but it would be a year before we saw the Khymer sweep through Cambodia with such devastating effect. At the time a chill went through me as I recalled that conversation with Mugabe 14 months earlier.

When he came home at the end of the war we all wondered what kind of leadership he would provide. Our fears were assuaged when he promised reconciliation and the creation of a state in which we could all find a place in the sun. The first few years were good and then came the period from 1983 to 1987 when he systematically tried to eliminate Ndebele opposition to his rule. In an effort to ensure their self-preservation, the leadership of Zapu eventually caved in and signed the unity accord. An uneasy calm was restored but it was the peace of fear in a prison camp. So long as they did not hinder Mugabe’s grip on power, the Ndebele people and the whites were allowed to participate in the economy and the fiction of reconciliation was maintained on the surface.

But all the while Mugabe did not like the situation he had inherited at independence. He did not control the armed forces – they were loyal to the state, but he wanted personal loyalty. He did not want an outward looking, export led economy but he was forced to accept an economy that was over 50 per cent dependent on foreign trade and which needed that trade and the inflow of resources to maintain its life blood. Because of the circumstances under which he came to power – engineered by the USA and Britain, Mugabe was essentially a prisoner of circumstance in the first decade of Zimbabwe’s independence. He also lost ground in Zanu itself as the conservative, traditional forces in the country rapidly took control at the expense of the young revolutionaries who had been at the forefront of the armed struggle. However the campaign against Zapu and the Ndebele in the early 80’s showed us a side of his character that we were less familiar with at the time. This was a ruthless streak that would not shirk at ignoring world opinion in order to obtain what he regarded as being an essential goal.

Somewhere along the way he also lost his commitment to honesty in financial matters as far as his own personal affairs were concerned and those of his key henchmen. Corruption became more and more widespread and is now endemic in all activities of government. It’s a small step from this to ignoring the rule of law and decisions by the courts – and then wholesale abuse of basic human rights. So long as he felt secure he did not bother with the remnants of the white minority who had remained in the country. They remained stubbornly influential in economic terms and against all the odds began to slowly expand their population again. This all changed when the labor movement – long a thorn in his side, committed itself to forming a political party and challenging the hold of Zanu on government. When this became a threat, the real Mugabe stood up and took out his original ideas for the state and sharpened up his ruthless streak.

So here we are, fighting for our country and our lives against a ruthless African dictator who is prepared to sacrifice the economy of his country. Not just for the pursuit of personal power, but also because this is where his heart has been since he was in prison in the 60’s and early 70’s. He never was fully committed to reconciliation with either the Ndebele or the white African population. What we have to keep in mind is that time and history are on our side – he cannot win this struggle. We must also realize that it is possible that, just as in China where the very struggle to overcome the internal conflicts of the red revolution, laid the foundations for Chinese economic growth and recovery, so may it be in Zimbabwe. Largely in reaction to Mugabe’s excesses, we have in the MDC a new generation of political leadership genuinely committed to a social market economy and democracy. A movement in which we as minorities (Ndebele or white African) are fully accepted as ordinary Zimbabweans. Perhaps also we are at last laying the foundations for a period of economic growth that will reveal the potential of this great little country. It’s a vision worth working and waiting for.

Eddie Cross

7th December 2000.

Please note that this note is personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Movement for Democratic Change.

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MEDIA UPDATE # 2000/46
Monday 27th November to Sunday 3rd December 2000


Issues arising from government's land reform programme
dominated the media this week.
·   The visit by the South African and Nigerian heads of state
    was portrayed in Zimpapers and ZBC as a visit to endorse
    the fast track reforms, while the private Press gave a more
    credible account of the visit, describing it as an indication
    of continued international pressure for land reform to be
    conducted according to Zimbabwe's "existing" laws.

·   The judiciary was also in the news again with the state
    media reporting attacks on it by government officials and
    war veterans following the Supreme Court's reaffirmation
    order directing that illegal settlers on commercial farms be
    evicted, while the private Press carried news of government
    and public reaction.

·   Only the state owned media had the opportunity to report
    what appears to be the most concerted threat to muzzle
    the media since independence. They reported plans by
    government, as expounded by information minister,
    Jonathan Moyo, to "protect freedom of information" by
    introducing a law that will only allow "registered" media
    institutions and "licensed" journalists to operate, and will
    also provide the legal force to have offending organizations
    and individuals banned. The renewed vigour with which
    Minister Moyo appears to be pursuing media "reform"
    seems to have been sparked by a story in The Daily News
    linking the President to a corruption scandal over the
    tender to design and build Harare's new international
    airport terminal.

ZBC and Zimpapers portrayed the purpose of the visit to Zimbabwe
by Nigeria's president Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki
as an expression of African solidarity for government's land reform.
ZBC (30/11) said it was a meeting to discuss political and
economic problems affecting the region, including the DRC. In their
coverage of the talks on the land issue, ZBC highlighted
Obasanjo's offer to mediate between Britain and Zimbabwe and his
comments that land reform should be carried out in a way that
would benefit the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.
But while TV's 8pm news carried footage of Obasanjo saying:
    What I think Zimbabwe itself should do is to strictly
    follow the law that is already in place for the resolution
    of this problem, it made no reference to this advice at all
    (in its introduction), or to the fact that in his call on the
    international community to support efforts to resolve the
    land reform controversy, he also said that "compensation,
    which is also part of the law, should be paid."
Zimpapers' coverage of the event the next day (1/12) wasn't any
better. They portrayed the meeting with President Mugabe in
similar vein, quoting extensively Obasanjo's support for land reform
and misrepresenting his call on the international community by
implying that he had called on their support for "Zimbabwe's
ongoing land reform programme".
His advice that reform should be conducted "in accordance with
existing laws", was only indirectly quoted and had the gratuitous
lie, "as the government had been following" tacked onto the
end of the sentence. The Herald's story also carried a gratuitous
and misleading comment from Minister Moyo saying:
    The meeting shows beyond any doubt that.the
    campaign by the MDC and its foreign backers to
    isolate Zimbabwe has failed."
A more credible assessment of the meeting was provided by The
Daily News and The Zimbabwe Independent (1/12). They
highlighted Obasanjo's call for the restoration of the rule of law and
an orderly solution to the land crisis and quoted him directly.

The Independent interpreted Obasanjo's statement as
representative of the mounting international pressure on Mugabe to
resolve the deteriorating land and economic malaise currently
plaguing the country. The story, headlined, Pressure mounts on
Mugabe, also quoted the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan
Mudenge saying government was committed to a legal land reform
process which is exactly what it was doing. The story failed to
probe beyond this rhetoric by asking why government had ignored
the Supreme Court ruling ordering it to remove illegal settlers.
The Financial Gazette (30/11) saw the UNDP administrator's
visit to Zimbabwe hard on the heels of the visit by the African
leaders as a "last chance" for President Mugabe to win
back international support. And at the end of his visit,
Zimpapers' dailies (2/12) gave front-page coverage to Malloch-
Brown's comments on the need for the government and the
farmers to reach a compromise on the land issue - a view
reflected in The Zimbabwe Independent's comment which
also criticized commercial farmers for ignoring the land
ZBC bulletins (2/12) featured President Mugabe delivering a
belligerent warning to white commercial farmers to drop their legal
challenge to the government's land reform exercise. The television
report quoted Mugabe telling the farmers  "to stop the nonsense
of wanting to fight us in court or elsewhere. This will not work;
it only serves to make us more angry. If this nonsense
continues and we come to the conclusion that they can never
be a harmonious part of our population, then we will take
more. Then we will wish them a harmonious departure from
our land."
The Sunday Mail added a new dimension to the ambiguous
reference to "our land" when it construed the remark to mean that
the farmers would be asked to leave Zimbabwe and quoted Mugabe
directly as saying so: "If they are not prepared to be part of us,
then we will ask them to leave our country harmoniously."
It would have been useful if the state media had clarified this
point and perhaps put his entire statement in the context of
his meetings with the UNDP administrator and the two
African leaders. Was this Mugabe's response to their
Meanwhile, The Standard  (3/12) continued to expose the
disorderly nature of land reform. The paper's report quoted a senior
officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Resettlement refuting a
claim by his minister, Joseph Made, that government had enough
surveyors to meet the demands of fast-track resettlement.  Another
story in The Zimbabwe Independent claimed that resettled farmers
were now deserting the farms due to lack of supportive
infrastructure. The Herald too (29/11), carried a story from
Parliament reporting that the parliamentary committee on the
budget, finance and economic development believed the Budget's
$1.6bn allocation for land reform was "grossly inadequate".
In an article highlighting division within the CFU, ZIMPAPERS
dailies (30/11) reported that some commercial farmers had offered
72 000ha for resettlement because they "believed . the CFU,
had politicized the whole issue and had failed to accept the
fact that the process could not be reversed and the only way to
avoid conflict was through dialogue".
Some unnamed farmers were quoted. CFU president reportedly
welcomed the offer but said he was unaware of it. He was also
quoted as saying:
    This country has very good laws. All we are saying
    is they should be followed. Lawlessness does not
    only affect commercial farmers. It affects

ZBC and Zimpapers featured responses by chiefs and communal
farmers to the Supreme Court's re-affirmation of its ruling that
illegal settlers must leave the farms they invaded. This included a
report in The Herald (29/11) that settlers had petitioned Mugabe
vowing to resist eviction by commercial farmers and that they were
even prepared to kill despite the Supreme Court order. No
alternative opinion was sought.
The Herald (1/12) reported a story that first appeared on ZBC's
bulletins the day before, that the Council of Chiefs was considering
court action against the CFU for the reluctance of its members to
relinquish land. No clarification of the CFU position was provided.
Complimenting this report, Radio 1/3's morning bulletins (1/12)
reported that the chiefs had decided to call CFU members to its
traditional courts for looting the land and dispossessing the
majority of blacks.

Follow-up stories in the privately owned weekly papers
concentrated on the response to the ruling from government
officials. The Financial Gazette (30/11) quoted Minister Moyo
    "The Supreme Court order is not an eviction order. It
    is not a blanket order to get the police to move on the
    farms to remove resettled peasants."
The paper noted that: "The government's interpretation of the
Supreme Court ruling dashes hopes by commercial farmers
for a quick removal of illegal settlers to allow for an orderly
resettlement exercise."
In a different and informative story analyzing the effects of the
order, The Financial Gazette reported presidential spokesman,
George Charamba, saying that the ruling did not affect everybody
resettled under the land reform programme:
    "It affected only those resettled outside the procedure
    and regulations of the Land Acquisition Act and it was
    not up to the government to determine who these
    people were, he said."
    "It was up to anyone's interpretation who is settled
    unlawfully on the commercial farms," The Financial
    Gazette quoted Charamba as saying.
The story also accessed comment from a legal expert who said
that although the court order again put the onus on the government
to respect the rule of law, it "cannot do a U-turn on this because
politically these invasions serve a purpose." The reporter
however, did not ask him exactly what that purpose was.

The attack on senior members of the judiciary by Justice Minister
Chinamasa received lead status in ZIMPAPERS. According to The
Herald (29/11):
    Comrade Chinamasa wondered how some of the
    judges, whom he said had served the Ian Smith
    regime, could cooperate with the Government.
Following this up the next day, the paper reported that judges had
declined to comment on the issue. Chinamasa was also quoted as
saying judges have to be criticized to make them accountable to
the people and such criticism should not be misconstrued to mean
the bench has been undermined (1/12).
The Daily News (30/11) Comment criticized Chinamasa for being
racist and said it was neither true nor objective to say that because
the judges once worked for the Smith regime, they were inimical to
post-independence interests of the majority.
ZBC's coverage of the debate surrounding the judiciary has not
progressed beyond reporting attacks on the institution by the ruling
party and its supporters. Following up its story of the chiefs'
decision to put commercial farmers on trial in traditional courts,
ZBC television's 8pm bulletin (1/12) reported a war veterans official
accusing the judges of racism by passing judgments that do not
serve the interests of the black majority. He added that the judges
should immediately resign before they are forced to do so by the
people. Two days later (3/12) ZBC radio's 1pm bulletins and
ZBCTV's 8pm quoted war veteran Endy Mhlanga saying that war
veterans would not move off the farms until all land was
redistributed equitably. The fact that they continue to defy the law
has been given no coverage or analysis.

A series of stories in The Daily News claiming that President
Mugabe was linked to a scandal over irregular commissions paid
for the award of a tender to design and build Harare's new
international airport terminal, appeared to spark government's
renewed assault on the private press and Zimbabwean's
constitutional right to freedom of information and expression.
ZBCTV's 8 pm (28/11) aired an unedited press statement from the
President's Office denying the allegations contained in that day's
edition of The Daily News, which relied entirely on the contents of a
letter allegedly written to the President from the head of the
company that won the airport tender. The statement also accused
The Daily News of practicing malicious journalism.
This was followed up the next day in The Herald (29/11), which
quoted Minister Moyo criticizing The Daily News:
    Unprofessional and unethical journalism should be
    brought to book and consigned to history in the
    interest of good journalism and public interest.

Zimpapers' titles (2/12) were the first to report that government was
planning to introduce a Freedom of Information Bill to Parliament
providing for legislation to ban media organizations that secured
information unethically and published unbalanced and inaccurate
stories. The Zimpapers' story said the Bill would "protect the
people from abuse by malicious newspapers".
The story quoted Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo as saying
that the Bill "affirmed government's commitment to freedom of
expression" and reported him singling out The Daily News stories
as "irresponsible journalism at its worst and that it needed to
be curtailed".
In addition to providing the necessary legislation to ban media
organizations, the Zimpapers' story said the Bill would also require
that newspapers and journalists be "registered", with their previous
conduct determining whether they are registered or banned. It also
noted that the frequency at which a media organization is sued
over false and malicious stories would have a direct bearing on its
continued existence.
ZBC's radio and television bulletins (2/12) carried Moyo's
comments attacking the privately owned daily throughout the day,
with ZBCTV's 8pm bulletin carrying a more detailed version of the
minister's attack on Press freedom that appeared in Zimpapers'
titles that morning.
Saturday evening's television bulletin first carried criticism of The
Daily News stories describing them as examples of irresponsible
journalism together with a statement by Moyo saying:
No constitutional democracy should be expected to allow
newspapers and other media houses to make money from the
public by selling unfair, incomplete, inaccurate and
unbalanced information organized by partisan political
interests under the false cover of news. Consequently, the time
has come for the people of Zimbabwe to put a stop to the
media rot typified by The Daily News and other papers like it
through their elected representatives in Parliament.

Accepting this statement as fact, ZBC chose not to question Moyo
except to ask: What is government doing about it? in its
following Question-and-Answer segment.
ZBCTV then carried footage of the minister accusing The Daily
News of publishing malicious and criminally defamatory stories,
although he failed to provide information rebutting the main thrust of
the paper's claims. And in his efforts to explain why government
needed new laws to muzzle the media, he turned the concept of
freedom of information on its head by saying:
No person or institution is above the law. There is a myth in
recent years that the press should be above the law. We do not
subscribe to that myth. In any case, freedom of expression is
for individuals. The press in general and newspapers in
particular are businesses, there is something repugnant about
a business claiming a constitutional status above other
persons and other institutions when that business makes
money. we are currently working on a draft Bill. which will
affirm first and foremost our commitment to freedom of
information but doing so on the basis that this freedom should
be enjoyed by individuals by people and not by certain
interest groups and certainly not organized opinion. There is a
difference between your opinion as an individual and
organized opinions of some groups and so forth. Newspapers
as a fourth estate have become a problem to society, it's big
business, it's big industry; that's why modern societies say no
person, no institution is above the law, no person, no
parliament, no judiciary no newspaper should be above the
law. We find ourselves as a country without the necessary
laws, which are necessary to govern the conduct of what is
very clearly a powerful institution, which, if left alone,
becomes a danger not only to individuals, but to the public
and to the republic. It is a fact that there is no statutory body in
this country which can be reached by an ordinary person who
has been treated badly by a newspaper or radio station or a TV
station, none whatsoever.
None of the issues raised by this outburst was questioned by ZTV
either. Assertions that newspapers are seen to be above the law;
that they claim a special constitutional status; that freedom of
information does not apply to interest groups or organized opinion;
and that there are no laws governing the conduct of the media,
were never challenged. To "illustrate" Moyo's claims, ZBCTV used
footage of headlines of stories on corruption from The Financial
Gazette and The Zimbabwe Independent.
The Sunday Mail carried more details of Moyo's attack on The
Daily News the next day concentrating on discrediting the paper's
claim that irregular commissions were used to build one of the
President's homes.
In another development, The Herald (1/12) reported that The Daily
News had been found guilty of contempt of Parliament for
publishing the contents of the MDC's impeachment submission
which had been embargoed by the Speaker of Parliament. In the
same issue, The Herald reported that Minister Moyo was suing
The Daily News for republishing an article he wrote in a local
magazine some years ago without his approval.

ZIMPAPERS' reports of a meeting between MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai and Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama (1/12), lacked
substance and were loaded with innuendo. The story linked the
meeting to an alleged covert agenda in conjunction with whites to
topple a legitimate government and was repeated by ZBC in its
bulletins later in the day. Quoting The Herald, ZBC said the
meeting was worrying for security agents in South Africa without
seeking to elaborate what these concerns were (ZBCTV 1/12 8pm
and radio 1pm).  Furthermore all reports mysteriously stressed that
the meeting had been held in a "white" area of South Africa and
that it had been organised by the MDC's new security chief who
had been an operative during the Smith regime of the Special
Branch, an organization which had helped set up Renamo.
The Chronicle (2/12) carried a front-page article Local students in
Britain attack MDC, quoting only three students dismissing the
MDC as a front for white and British interests. (The Herald carried
this story the following week)

Send all queries and comments to The Project Coordinator, Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe,
Tel/fax: 263 4 734207, 733486, E-mail:
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