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December is normally a glorious month in Zimbabwe: everything is green, the skies are spectacular, the rivers start to flow and the Christmas spirit lifts everyone. However as I write this things are far from glorious at the end of this very trying year. Yesterday a colleague of mine, a human rights stalwart. burst into tears half way through our meeting. Her tension and anxiety is felt by thousands of Zimbabweans who feel absolutely desperate about what is going on. This week we have seen the cold blooded politically motivated murder of yet another Zimbabwean who dared support the MDC. Far from showing sympathy, never mind remorse, President Mugabe yesterday made the brazen statement that "Our party (ZANU) must continue to strike fear in the hearts of the white man, our real enemy" thus signalling to his thugs that their actions are approved of and part of his policy and his party's policy.
In August this year I spoke of the fact that what was being waged in Zimbabwe was a psychological battle, a battle of the minds, and the question was who was going to break first. Mugabe's statement yesterday confirms my view: namely that ZANU(PF) has embarked on a deliberate campaign of, primarily, psychological warfare to break the MDC to in turn avoid defeat in the forthcoming Presidential elections. ZANU(PF) know that they are in deep trouble in the run up to the Presidential election. It is after all a first past the post election and they know that Morgan Tsvangirai only has to get one  vote more countrywide than Mugabe to win. ZANU(PF) know that Mugabe, or anyone else they put up as candidate for that matter, will battle to get any votes at all in the cities and Matabeleland; and that he will struggle to get a majority of votes in Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland. He is only assured of  some support in rural Mashonaland and even that has waned. Not even ZANU(PF)'s recent by-election win in Marondera West will comfort them because they know that that was won by a greatly reduced margin after concentrated and excessive violence, violence that simply cannot be replicated countrywide in the Presidential election. It is patently clear to Mugabe and ZANU(PF) that unless they crush the MDC quickly the Presidential campaign is lost.
And so that is why the violence and intimidation did not end after the election as many thought it would. That is why there has been such seemingly senseless tactics employed since the election : rampant poaching of game, the burning of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land, the dramatic increase in the number of farms designated, the weekly lists of new highly productive farms designated for acquisition. the throwing of grenades at the MDC offices, the searches of the MDC offices and of MDC members' homes, the beatings of MDC members, the amnesty for all those guilty of politically motivated crimes and the racist hate speech. All are designed to break the MDC by frightening those who have provided financial and logistical support to the MDC and by undermining the operations of the MDC. In so doing the hope is that the MDC will simply not have the organisational capacity it had in the general election which got the vote out and prevented rampant rigging. The battle had to be primarily psychological because Mugabe and ZANU(PF) simply could not afford to alienate support in the region by conducting an overtly violent campaign. The thinking was undoubtedly that the spirit of those opposed to tyranny could be broken.
The big question was, and still is : "who will break first - Mugabe and his cohorts or those struggling to bring about a democratic order?" Given the depression which pervades Zimbabwe today most may well be thinking that Mugabe is winning. I beg to differ, indeed I think that the appalling events of the last few weeks are a sure sign that Mugabe is cracking. Furthermore I believe that last few months have provided us  with indications that all is not well in Mugabe's camp. It started on the 11th August when Mugabe addressed the faithful at Hero's acre: he asked his own whether they with him or against him. That plea was followed by an uncontraverted report in the Daily News that Mugabe's sister after the speech went to Sally Mugabe's grave to invoke her spirit and to question her why she was so angry with Robert. A sister knows her brother and she would not have said that had she not been aware of the pressure he was under. Then there was the fall a few weeks ago in Malaysia quickly followed by the visit to Zimbabwe by Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki when the riot act was read to Mugabe. Everyone who saw Mugabe on television the night Obasanjo told him in his own house that he must obey Zimbabwe's laws testify to the bleak expression on Mugabe's face.
And there is plenty for him to be glum about. Whilst we are all struggling with the disastrous state of the economy Mugabe is feeling it more than everyone. Because not only is he responsible for  its parlous state but more importantly it is starting to bite some of Mugabe's key constituencies such as the so called young Turks in the party. The Chiyangwas, Leo Mugabes and the Maweres who have borrowed so heavily over the last few years are bleeding to death from high interest rates. The war in the Congo is not going well : he can't afford to pay his soldiers the perks they have become accustomed to and are becoming increasingly restless (the Defence committee in Parliament was told of such last week). More seriously there does not appear to be an end in sight to the war and the other side are troublesome (evidenced by the "retreat" into Zambia last week of some 300 of our troops - no soldier likes that humiliation). And not even the previously compliant farmers have behaved. They have had the audacity to take him to court and in so doing have shattered the myth that ZANU(PF) was acting in accordance with the law. And to cap it all the MDC if anything has been growing stronger in Parliament.
Mugabe has reacted as he only knows how to, by lashing out at all and sundry. This is why suddenly the Courts have come under such a sustained attack by Mugabe and his appointees such as Patrick Chinamasa and Jonathan Moyo. The Courts are proving to be extremely troublesome and so must be crushed. This thinking of course is irrational and further alienates him from the international community, but in his desperation is absolutely necessary. This is why he last week used and abused his powers in terms of the Electoral Act to quash the electoral challenges instituted by the MDC against some winning ZANU(PF) MPs. Once again whilst Mugabe knew his actions would cause outrage in the international community he felt he simply could not afford the risk of having a series of by-elections next year in the run up to the Presidential election, never mind having the full glare of the international media focussed again in court on the horrors of the general election  campaign waged by ZANU(PF) thugs. And sadly this is precisely why this week another farmer lost his life and why that murder was followed by the exhortation to the party faithful to "continue to strike fear in the hearts..of the enemy". Mugabe is intelligent enough to know that such racist hate speech will further destroy his international reputation: but the point is he knows he doesn't have any choice. He has been cornered and there is no other way out for him, at least in his mind that is. He has to up the ante and so the shooting starts again, the racist rhetoric is notched up a level and the veterans start the call for all white held land to be taken.
As horrifying and depressing all these events are nevertheless they are a clear indication that all is not going to plan for Mugabe and ZANU(PF).  In other words the psychological battle being waged by Mugabe has not succeeded yet in breaking the morale of his opponents. The battle is by no means won or lost yet. Whilst Mugabe is desperate and increasingly irrational the truth is that most Zimbabweans are also drained and some are ready to capitulate.
It is in this context that the critical question of what the MDC is doing, to win the battle, must be answered. The MDC has been subjected to some criticism recently that it is not doing anything, or enough. Some of that criticism is justified, most of it is not. The MDC, it must be stated at the outset, is absolutely committed to winning this battle using non violent, peaceful, democratic and constitutional means to win. That position, in purely Machiavellian terms, puts the MDC at a considerable disadvantage especially when one considers that ZANU(PF) controls the broadcasting media and the MDC does not control any of the print media. However it is my firm belief that it is primarily because of the MDC's strategies that Mugabe and ZANU(PF) are becoming increasingly desperate. What are these strategies?
Parliamentary Pressure
Many supporters of the MDC were depressed after the election believing that because the MDC did not have a majority, or even close to a majority, it would not be effective in Parliament. And ZANU(PF) from day one tried its utmost to discourage the MDC caucus. Mnangagwa was elected speaker, he allocated only 8 out of 36 offices to the MDC, he allocated a poky office stuck up on the 4th floor to Gibson Sibanda, the leader of the opposition, he went against the Westminster tradition by cramming the MDC into the back left corner of the house (instead of allowing us to occupy the entire left hand benches), and has often ruled in a biased way in Parliamentary debates. But it hasn't worked. The MDC caucus has proved to be one of the most exhilarating group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The depth of knowledge, the thoroughness in preparation, the unanimity of thought and the superb debating skills displayed by the MDC Parliamentarians have enthralled me and appalled ZANU(PF). Anyone who takes the time to read Hansard will confirm that the debates are dominated by the MDC and whilst we are routinely outvoted by ZANU(PF) - who have to force geriatric guest appearances to secure a majority - ZANU(PF) is finding the entire experience depressing. Last week when we were in the course of tearing Simba Makoni's flawed budget to pieces (and positively providing the answers to our financial woes) it became apparent that the entire exercise was just to much for ZANU(PF) and by Thursday afternoon only some five ZANU(PF) MPs could muster sufficient courage to listen.
Other aspects of Parliament have provided me with a deeply encouraging insight into the future of Zimbabwe. One of the tactics employed by ZANU(PF) has been to resort to racist abuse during Parliamentary debates which, for some reason, has been specifically targeted at me. Every time I stand to speak I am faced with a torrent of abuse, or at least that is what has been happening up until recently. I have just ignored the abuse but I think that was has been most disheartening to the racists on the other side of the bench has been the roar which comes from my black colleagues in support of me. I am the first to admit that we have a long way to go in this country to deal with the sins of our past and we have a long way to go in achieving meaningful reconciliation; but what is so encouraging is that the MDC has produced a batch of MPs who are not racists and who genuinely desire the creation of a non racist Zimbabwe. I have never felt more accepted than I have in the last few months and that gives me such hope for the future.
But we have achieved much more than just my sense of belonging in Parliament. We are using the Constitution and Parliamentary procedure to the full. This is shown in the Impeachment proceedings and in some of the motions we have brought successfully (for example Learnmore Jongwe's motion to expose possible corruption at the hands of Mrs Mujuru has unsettled many on the ZANU(PF) benches). In itself what we are achieving in Parliament does not add up to much. But taken in conjunction with other activities of the MDC Parliament is proving to be a major source of irritation to Mugabe and as a result a major contributor to the pressure he is under. This was most aptly shown when he threw all his toys out the cot on the afternoon the impeachment motion was filed. He felt compelled to lash out at the entire white community, made empty threats of prosecution and ZANU(PF) organized a pathetic demonstration outside Parliament performed by only a few hundred people. It comes down to one word: "pressure", and that is what the MDC is creating very effectively in Parliament.
International Pressure
The MDC recognises that just as the RF and Ian Smith was ultimately susceptible to international pressure, so too is ZANU(PF) and Mugabe. Zimbabwe is land locked and deeply reliant on the goodwill of its neighbours for its survival. It is for that reason that the MDC leadership has been focussed on engaging the international community especially our neighbours. Morgan Tsvangirai's recent visits to Botswana and Mozambique (which are to be followed shortly by other visits in the region) have been very effective in applying pressure on Mugabe. Likewise his meeting with Nelson Mandela has helped convey the message that all is not well in Zimbabwe and that if what is happening is allowed to continue the effects on the region could be catastrophic. We understand full well that South Africa in particular has the power to dramatically change the course of events as happened to Rhodesia in 1976. And whilst we certainly cannot take credit for President Mbeki's visit with President Obasanjo to Zimbabwe a few weeks ago, the fact remains that the MDC has been pushing the right buttons in South Africa and elsewhere which has contributed to the better understanding of what is actually going on, which has in turn influenced the likes of President Mbeki to apply pressure on Mugabe.
If our regional successes are relatively obscure at present the same cannot be said for our efforts overseas. Over the last few months we have had highly successful visits to Europe and America. A fact that is not readily appreciated by Zimbabweans is how important a role the Presidency of the European Union is. The President at present is France and without putting too fine a point on
it suffice it to say that France has never been at the forefront in the fight for democracy in Africa; it has been more interested in extending its influence especially when it comes to upstaging the British and Mugabe's attack on the Brits this year has been fertile ground for the French to make short term headway in Zimbabwe. As a result the French have ensured that there has not been too strident an approach adopted by the EU this year. That all changes on the 1st of January 2001 when the Swedish take over the Presidency. Mugabe of course has already blotted his copy book with the Swedish by threatening death on his opponents at the opening of the Swedish sponsored Pungwe River Project in the presence of the Swedish Ambassador in March. That situation was compounded when Mugabe's thugs butchered David Stevens a few weeks later. David Steven's widow, Maria, a wonderfully courageous woman, happens to be Swedish. David was an active MDC supporter and in recent months Maria has been in Sweden highlighting the human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe and his henchmen this year. Morgan Tsvangirai recently completed a highly successful visit to Sweden. In short what this all means is that when the Swedes take over the Presidency in two weeks time we can expect more pressure to be placed on Mugabe than has been the case under the French.
Likewise the recent trips to Washington by several different MDC delegations has severely undermined ZANU(PF)'s propaganda drive being spearheaded by a Washington based lobby firm. In the most recent visit, which I participated in, we managed to speak to President Clinton' s most senior National Security Authority's advisor for Africa, the Chairperson of the Black Caucus (which has traditionally supported Mugabe), senior people in the State Department and those responsible for the formulation of the USA's foreign policy in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The seriousness of the situation and who was responsible was conveyed forcefully and was well received. The Americans are particularly anxious about what is happening in Zimbabwe, not because of Zimbabwe itself, but because of the effect it is having on South Africa. Since President Clinton came to power in 1992 much has happened in South Africa and much of what has happened is a result of the enormous effort made by the Americans in securing the peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa. All of that is now being placed in jeopardy by the insane actions of Mugabe and the Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, are deeply concerned. It has to be said though that the scales have only just fallen from the eyes of some who have until recently entertained nostalgic thoughts about Mugabe and, in this state of denial, could not get their minds around the thought that he was a tyrant. All that has changed and the MDC has contributed greatly to that change, a fact acknowledged ironically by ZANU(PF) who have been almost paranoid in their post-USA-visit attacks on the MDC.  And there is further positive news. Many may think that Bush's victory will not be good for Zimbabwe because of the perception that he is not interested in Africa. Whilst I cannot comment on his overall policy towards Africa I think that we can all expect his administration to take a particular interest in Zimbabwe. That is partly because of the general concern about Zimbabwe's adverse impact on the region, but mainly because it is very likely that his administration will include people who know and love Zimbabwe and who have been following the events of this year very closely. More pressure is likely to be placed on Mugabe from this quarter, to put it mildly.
Legal Pressure
As stated above the MDC is totally committed to working within the law and to using the law at every turn to achieve its objectives and at the same time to increase the pressure on Mugabe and ZANU(PF). Accordingly rather than take to the streets to protest an obviously flawed general election in June we decided instead to act responsibly by using the electoral law and the Courts to enforce our rights. In so doing we won many friends internationally and maintained the moral high ground we enjoyed during the election itself. Money was raised and some 41 cases were instituted by losing MDC candidates against winning ZANU(PF) MPs who we believe only won by contravening the Electoral Act either by using violence or fraud. In August this year I predicted that the cases would cause considerable consternation within the ZANU(PF)'s ranks and the events of the past week have proved that to be so.
The President's action in seeking to prevent the High Court from voiding  elections in those constituencies challenged not only further damaged his reputation (if he has any left) internationally but also amounted to an admission that ZANU(PF) won the election illegally, for if his candidates had not used illegal means what would they have to fear in Court? His action puts the very legitimacy of his government in question, a point readily appreciated by most democratic governments internationally. But more than that he has simply added more pressure to his life because, without pre empting the Supreme Court's decision, it is hard to see how the MDC can lose its challenge to Mugabe's action such is the seriousness and brazenness of the violation by Mugabe of the Constitution. If the MDC wins then not only will Mugabe have to deal with the original problem of having by-elections but also the already existing constitution crisis created by him will be exacerbated. More pressure will undoubtedly be piled on him.
And it does not end there because MDC members who have been victims of violence initiated and orchestrated by Mugabe have sued him in the USA. Typically Jonathan Moyo denied that legal process had ever been served on Mugabe and as a result a catch 22 situation has been created for Mugabe. For in lying about the reality of the litigation Mugabe has not been able to defend himself as vigorously as he should have and as a result faces a very real prospect of having a large amount of damages awarded against him in default. Once again whilst this does not in itself mean much to the man or woman in the street in Zimbabwe it does add enormous pressure on Mugabe, evidenced by the attacks on MP Evelyn Masaiti (one of the plaintiffs) by the inappropriately named Justice Minister appointed by Mugabe. Not only will Mugabe face the possible humiliation of having a judgement entered against him, but he will also have to think twice about going to New York on shopping trips with Grace in future. Knowing his penchant for foreign travel this in itself adds enormous pressure to his already stressful life. In sum, litigation instituted both within Zimbabwe and externally is playing a decisive role in this battle of the minds. 
People Pressure
One of the principal weapons in the MDC's arsenal has been the fact that it enjoys support from an overwhelming majority of Zimbabwe's workers and for that reason many have felt that the MDC should exploit this advantage. After the election there was much talk of employing mass action to force positive change and this talk encouraged many to believe that change was just round the corner. Accordingly when the MDC announced a few weeks ago that it was postponing mass action many were critical and disappointed. I have no doubt that the correct decision was taken as will be apparent when the reasons for the decision are explained. Essentially there were three reasons why this decision was taken. Firstly it became apparent to us that mass action was the very thing that Mugabe and ZANU(PF) wanted. Not only would it give them an excuse to massacre thousands of MDC supporters (and possibly crush the party as a bonus) but also it would give them the excuse of imposing a state of emergency and also the useful excuse that other factors were responsible for the collapse of the economy. There was absolutely no point in playing into the hands of Mugabe. Secondly, when we embarked on our process of consultation with the people we said that we wanted to be sure of a nationwide consensus and after that period of consultation it was clear that there simply was not that consensus. Many said that December was not a good month; for example some said that businesses tottering on the brink of collapse would be dealt a fatal blow if they lost the ability to trade in the crucially important weeks prior to Christmas. Thirdly, the international community pleaded with us to hold off on the use of mass action, promising at the same time that if we backed off, they would do all they could to increase pressure on Mugabe. And so the decision was taken and it has been shown to be correct because if anything pressure has continued to mount against Mugabe and ZANU(PF) and the MDC has maintained its moral high ground and won new respect.
All of this is not to say that lawful mass action will not be used in future. It is important to stress however that the timing and conditions must be right. Furthermore mass action means many different things and the MDC is in the process of considering lawful measures which will minimise ZANU(PF)'s opportunities to brutalize the Zimbabwean public.
The Way Ahead
When I last wrote a similar letter to Zimbabweans in April I said that we faced a long and rocky road that would extend beyond the elections. Sadly that has proved to be true and realistically no one can predict any improvement in Zimbabwe prior to the Presidential elections which must be held in the first quarter of 2002. Many tell me that they cannot survive until 2002 and I understand why that is so. But it is important for us all to mentally tune ourselves in to the fact that, barring Mugabe's impeachment or resignation, we will have him around until 2002. It may well happen of course that the pressure is too much for him and that he goes prior to that but it is not useful for us to dwell on that hope.
What we must do is recognise the nature of the battle, that it is primarily psychological, and that if anything Mugabe and ZANU(PF) are under far more pressure than we are. It is critically important that we ensure that as many businesses survive this period and that will require a collective effort. Black and white, rich and poor must work together to ensure there is a solid core left at the end of this time of madness. When we get through, and I stress the word "when" because we will, there is such a tremendous amount of goodwill externally and such a depth of talent and resourcefulness within Zimbabwe, that we will be able to turn Zimbabwe around very quickly so that it assumes its rightful position as the jewel of Africa.
This year has been very hard for many people but two of the three hurdles necessary for us to overcome on the way to true democracy (and consequently economic progress) have been cleared: namely the defeat of the constitutional referendum and the securing of the constitutional blocking mechanism by having more than 50 MDC MPs. The third hurdle, the Presidential election, is now in sight and is ours for the taking. If we hold our nerve and trust in the wisdom of doing what is right then victory will be ours. If you don't believe this is possible think of history, the fate of all tyrants and the application of Psalms 7 and 37:
        "He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.
         He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.
        The trouble he causes recoils on himself;
        his violence comes down on his own head."  
        "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
         for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
        Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
        do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
        when they carry out their wicked schemes.
        For evil men will be cut off,
        but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
        A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
        though you look for them, they will not be found."
I hope that you will take encouragement from these verses. My prayer is that you all have a very happy Christmas and that 2001 will see the abovementioned promises become a reality in our beloved Nation. God bless you all.
16th December 2000
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  Monday 18th December 2000



No reports were received from Mashonaland West (North) and Matabelelend.



Mashonaland Central
Most areas were reasonably quiet over the weekend, although illegal movement of livestock, planting and work stoppages are ongoing on some properties.  An influx of invaders has been noticed and it is expected that numbers may increase during the Christmas shut-down period.
Centenary - Mutorazeni, Mutuatua, Sharon and Dunbarton were fast-tracked over the weekend.  The local security base at Dunbarton has been shut down as a result.
Mvurwi - Mondyne, which is not listed, was fast tracked over the weekend.
Mashonaland East
Bromley/Ruwa - Invaders have deliberately ploughed across a farm road on Masun Farm.  Another tractor started ploughing on a fourth katambora pasture on this farm.   An illegal road block was set up on Lincoln Farm causing farm traffic to take a 20 km diversion.
Enterprise - There is an increase in numbers of squatters on Atlanta Farm.  A meeting is expected to take place with the DA today to clarify the land programme.
Harare South - About 20 invaders and the DA arrived on Gilston Farm with the intention of resettling 94 families on the farm. The group led by war Felix Gutura threatened to burn all the tractors when a farm guard refused entry.  After the group failed to see the owner, they started pegging.  Ploughing continues on Dunluce Farm.
Marondera  - War vet Maphosa strengthened his threat against the owner of Wenimbe Farm by telling the farm workers that he would shoot the owner at night when nobody was around.  He extended this threat to the tenant/partner and manager  as well. OIC Marondera police Informed the owner that no offence had been committed.
Macheke/Virginia - On Saturday the police, DA and others went out to Welcome Home where invader Matsatsi told the owner and another farmer present that they were going to be killed. The farmers were informed that the farm belonged to them and that the farmers were not welcome.  Matsatsi informed the police that they had no role to play and went on to threaten another "Dave Stephens" incident.
Wedza - On Saturday Chigwadere, a ZANU (PF) vehicle and about 15 others arrived Lifton Farm and did a lot of ploughing and planting.  There was a report of house - breaking and theft on Torre.  A new group of invaders arrived on Ashlyns Farm yesterday and pegged out their land. They are expected back today to plant.
Mashonaland West (South)
Chegutu - Cattle were deliberately driven into the fenced off area planted by invaders on Exwick Farm as an excuse to drive the cattle onto the main road.  War vet Makoni, who wishes to occupy a farm homestead along with Wing Commander Mazambani, issued death threats as the house was still occupied.  Police have still not responded to the anthrax situation previously reported.
Chipinge - The owner of Groonvlei Farm was stopped by 8 soldiers and 4 police as they suspected he was going to try to stop the DDF tractors from ploughing.  Once the DDF tractors ran low on diesel, they left the farm. Over the weekend, a cow was found with a spear in it and over 200 snares were recovered.  There has been no reaction from the police.
Burma Valley - The owner of Maonza Farm was informed by people in an army lorry that the farm was going to be taken over as a dairy / coffee co-operative.
Masvingo East and Central - Illegal settlers on Beauly Farm have cut fences and are pushing cattle onto the main road.  The owner of Ballinahone Farm has been told to move all his cattle off and threats have been made that his tractors will be burnt if he attempts to plant. Seven people in an army lorry approached the owner of Dromore Farm with a request to lease his tractor to illegally plough on his farm.  A section 7 notice has been served on Pitlochrie Farm.
Chiredzi Area - The Triangle ranching area has been split into two by invaders, with half being taken by people from the Zaka and Bikita communal areas and the other half by people from the Chiredzi communal areas.  Poaching on Bangala has virtually wiped out all the game.  Invaders and civil servants have ignored letters from lawyers with certification from the High Court that the section 8 notices had expired. Their farms have subsequently been subdivided into 6ha plots.  Management personnel at Triangle and Hippo have been actively involved in the transporting invaders, and some also have allocated themselves plots.  Veterinary roadblocks on the boundary with Zaka and Chivi communal areas, ostensibly to stop illegal cattle movement into the commercial area, are ineffective as they only operate during working hours and the illegal movements take place far away from the roadblocks.  82 hunting dogs have been shot on Mkwasine Ranch over the past three months. War vet leader Makaya has ordered a meeting between war vets and scouts on Mkwasi, tomorrow.  In the Runde South area grazing is critically short on Stelmarco as only 400 ha have been left unburned and an extra 400 cattle are illegally grazing on the ranch. The entire fence along the communal boundary on BJB and Stelmarco has been stolen. The threats over the pumped water continue and the situation is untenable.  Plot holders from irrigation schemes and genuine resettlement areas are also being forced to plough on commercial farms, under threats of losing their plots. In addition to game and cattle, four horses have been snared.  Numbers of squatters have increased on Crown Ranch as squatters are moved off some other properties.  Triangle employees are reported to be squatting on the South Runde cattle section.  On Buffalo Range, war vets fired 2 shots at a group of sable whilst a foreign client was lining up a shot. A hippo has also been shot.  Support Unit has reacted.  War vets have come onto Chiredzi A Farm with hunting rifles.
Mwenezi Area - 100 illegal squatters are being moved off Wentzelhof Ranch, which has been classified agro-industrial,  onto Klipdrift Ranch which was conceded to government.  There is extensive tree-cutting on Kyalami Ranch.  About 100 invaders protested against the owner of Solomon Ranch who has confiscated axes due to the extensive cutting down of trees.  There has been some success on Klipdrift Ranch where more cattle have been recovered and 10 arrests have been made. 8 have been convicted and sentenced to periods ranging from 2 to 9 years. War vet Masoja threatened the manager to get out of his house. The farm has been conceded to government and the owner is awaiting payment. The cattle have been moved off the ranch, but a large commercial piggery is still in operation.  A section 7 notice was served on Welkom Ranch.
Save Conservancy Area - 3 rhino had to be captured for treatment of snare wounds and a baby elephant died in a snare.  The Conservancy is still affected by continual poaching and general lawlessness but the activities are now confined to targeted properties. Ploughing continues on Humani irrigation area. 

Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects). Harare 309800-18.


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In this issue :
  • Harare riots - Star
  • White ally scorned by Mugabe - Observer
  • Zvobgo ousted - Star
  • 'No one can fire me' - ZStd
  • Black brain drain - UKInd
  • DRC meeting - PANA

From The Star (SA), 16 December

Harare riots after stray shot slays vendor

Harare - Rioters set fire to cars and shattered windows in a city mall on Saturday after a street vendor was killed by a stray gunshot from a policeman, police said. Dozens of police fired teargas and several people were injured as officers battled to control about 200 people who had attacked police in Harare's old city district after the accidental shooting. Calm was later restored to the area. But police confirmed that the vendor had been killed by a stray shot in the neck after an officer fired on a commuter minibus that had defied an order to stop at a roadblock. "We are investigating the case ... but obviously we are very sorry for what happened," police said, declining to give more details.

The incident was the second in as many months and is a sign of the increasing tension in Zimbabwe, where people are becoming angrier and more volatile as the result of a deepening economic crisis blamed on President Robert Mugabe. The southern African country is struggling with a severe fuel shortage, and government statistics show that poverty afflicts 75 percent of the 12.5 million population - from 40 percent 10 years ago. Zimbabwe has suffered several riots in the past three years in response to food prices, wages and taxes. Last month a municipal policeman in Zimbabwe's eastern border city of Mutare triggered a riot after accidentally shooting dead a baby strapped to the back of her mother at the town's main bus terminus. Mugabe, who has been in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain 20 years ago, was endorsed as the ruling Zanu-PF leaders at a party congress on Friday.

From The Observer (UK), 17 December

White ally scorned by Mugabe

Harare - Clouds of tear gas blanketed central Harare yesterday as police tried to disperse crowds of angry shoppers protesting against the accidental killing of a woman. The seething unrest and fury in the Zimbabwean capital over heavy-handed policing is matched by destructive havoc in rural areas, where nine people have died in an anthrax outbreak as a result of the massive disruptions caused by President Robert Mugabe's land seizures. The widespread dissatisfaction is a response to an extraordinary congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party last week, which reaffirmed its support for Mugabe.

'We have rioting and tear gas in the streets today, and that is an indication of what is to come as a result of this congress,' said Zimbabwean political scientist John Makumbe yesterday. 'Mugabe offered fear and intimidation as his policies. His speech was pure venom, encouraging hatred and racism, and a call for violence.' The President's single-minded pursuit of seizures of white-owned land will speed up the disintegration of the national economy and hasten the demise of his party, said Makumbe.

Not even Mugabe's most sycophantic white supporter, the British property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, has escaped the anti-white fury. One of Zimbabwe's largest landowners, van Hoogstraten thought he would be feted as a guest of honour at the convention. Ever eager for publicity, he negotiated with the BBC to send a crew to film him arm-in-arm with Mugabe, waving to the cheering crowds. Instead he skulked away from Harare last week with his dreams of acclaim in tatters and his property empire overrun by thousands of Mugabe's violent war veterans. He was not even a delegate to the congress, let alone a guest of honour, according to party officials.

Mugabe launched his most bitter attack yet on white landowners, calling them 'white devils'. He specifically denounced British and other foreigners among them, vowing to take all they own. 'Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man. They must tremble,' Mugabe told an 8,000-strong audience last Thursday. 'They think because they are white they have a divine right to our resources. Not here. The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans.' The last person he wanted to be seen with was van Hoogstraten, one of Britain's wealthiest men, whose land in Zimbabwe is worth £32m following his purchase of the Lonrho holdings here.

Van Hoogstraten, who is building himself a mansion in Sussex, apparently reckoned that by publicly praising Mugabe his vast estates would be untouched while the farms of other whites were seized. As further insurance, he donated tens of thousands of pounds to Zanu-PF. 'I'm in bed with his party,' he boasted a few months ago. 'Comrade Mugabe has kept the country peaceful and relatively wealthy for 20 years. I entirely agree with what Mugabe has said and done.' He denounced farmers who protested against the land seizures as 'white trash'.

That was before 'Comrade Mugabe' seized three of van Hoogstraten's prime properties and sent supporters on to his fourth, and largest, estate. Van Hoogstraten then found that his much-vaunted connections came to nothing. Far from basking in the limelight at the Zanu-PF congress, he was bitterly surveying his losses in Zimbabwe last week. After his outspoken remarks on Zimbabwe, van Hoogstraten found he had few friends in Zimbabwe to turn to for support or consolation. 'We steer clear of him,' said an official of the CFU. 'He made it clear he didn't care what happened to other farmers, so why should we care what happens to his properties? He's not very pleasant.'

The largest of van Hoogstraten's farms, Central Estates, encompasses 326,000 acres in the Mvuma area of Midlands province. It has not been designated for seizure, but suffered severe damage as it was invaded by an estimated 5,000 of Mugabe's supporters. They have put up homes, ploughed new fields and thoroughly disrupted the work of the vast ranch, say neighbouring farmers. Central Estate has also seen bitter fighting between peasants, who resettled themselves there, and war veterans, who claim they control the land. Another of van Hoogstraten's properties, Eastdale Estate, has been taken over by about 140 families in the past few weeks. Three other large farms have been officially designated for seizure. Van Hoogstraten bought the Zimbabwean farms from Lonrho. It appears he tried to mimic the legendary Lonrho chief 'Tiny' Rowland by trying to befriend Mugabe.

In a bid to regain control of his properties, van Hoogstraten offered Mugabe's government 12,000 acres for re-settlement in return for removal of squatters on the rest of his land. Cephas Msipa, governor of the Midlands province, confirmed that 'Nick' had made an offer, but so far the government has made no decision. More than 2,000 farms have been listed for seizure and a further 1,700 are already overrun by illegal squatters. Many of the occupiers are armed and have assaulted and threatened the white owners. Police have taken no action despite Supreme Court orders for them to enforce the law. Mugabe has told the police to ignore the court rulings.

Last week Henry Elsworth, 70, a prominent farmer whom Mugabe had directly threatened, was ambushed and shot dead on his farm in the Redcliff area of Midlands province. Elsworth, who was on crutches, died trying to protect his 20-year-old son from the attackers' gunfire. The son, Ian, survived with nine bullet wounds and identified his attackers as war veterans. 'The entire farming community is in mourning over that killing,' said Robert Vaughn-Evans. 'It was a very sinister, premeditated murder. It was a chilling message to all other farmers.' War veterans' leader Chenjerai 'Hitler' Hunzvi pressed home their message at the opening of the congress. 'We are now fighting for our land and whosoever is killed, it's tough luck,' said Hunzvi. 'In fact it is now going to be very hard for commercial farmers. They may not even reap or harvest the crops they have planted. We have finished negotiating with them. What is now left is confrontation.'

That confrontation - historic and of tragic proportions - now looms, so it is hardly surprising that van Hoogstraten's self-serving friendship with Mugabe has collapsed.

From The Star (SA), 16 December

Mugabe ousts challenger to his throne

Harare - President Robert Mugabe has dropped one of Zimbabwe's most powerful politicians from the country's top decision-making body, according to state media reports on Saturday. The former justice minister, Eddison Zvobgo, who reportedly wanted the ruling party to discuss a timetable for Mugabe to step down, was not included in the new politburo Mugabe announced late on Friday after a party congress. Others dropped included the former information minister, Chen Chimutengwende, and Welshman Mabhena - who had been fired as a regional governor following the ruling party's poor showing in his area in parliamentary elections in June.

"You did your best and you got us to this stage," Mugabe reportedly told the old Politburo during a closed session before the 6 000 party delegates. "We are now going through a combative stage," Mugabe was quoted as saying by the state-controlled daily, The Herald. The new politburo has expanded to 30 people from 24, with new members noted for their loyalty to the 76-year-old president. New recruits include the information minister, Jonathan Moyo, and the finance minister, Simba Makoni.

Zvobgo, 65, was the architect of the 1987-1990 constitutional amendments that created Mugabe's powerful presidency. But when delegates were accredited for the party congress on Wednesday, fist fights reportedly broke out between supporters of Mugabe and of Zvobgo, who demanded the party discuss when Mugabe should step down and who would be his successor. Zvobgo, once considered a likely successor to Mugabe, had no comment on Saturday. Mabhena refused to attend the congress, saying he feared assault. Dzikamai Mavhaire, Zvobgo's closest associate in his southeastern home area, was last year expelled from party councils for telling parliament: "The president must go."…

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 17 December

Fired Politburo Chefs speak out

'No one can fire me from the party,' says Zvobgo 'It's the President's prerogative,' says Chen

Masvingo South MP, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, dismissed from the politburo on Friday, has said he is unconcerned about the move, saying no one can chase him from Zanu PF. The sidelining of Zvobgo is a culmination of what political observers say is a deliberate move to silence him, following his open declaration that he would be interested in standing for the presidency. Zvobgo has in the last few years been dropped from being a substantive minister to one without a portfolio. Then he lost his cabinet post altogether, and finally has been dismissed from the politburo, Zanu PF's highest organ. He has been replaced by the minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, as the party's secretary for legal affairs. Asked whether he was being victimised, a joyous Zvobgo said: "It's all nonsense. I am still a Zanu PF member. No one can chase me away from the party."

Chen Chimutengwende, who also lost his post in the politburo announced by President Mugabe, told The Standard that he did not harbour any bitterness over the developments. "I accept the decision of the president to change the structure of the politburo. It's his prerogative under the constitution of the party. I accept the changes he has made. They will strengthen the party and personally I will continue to work for the party as a member of the central committee and as MP for Mazowe East," Chimutengwende said. He said it was natural for the politburo to undergo changes from time to time, adding that once one was appointed to the politburo he or she should not expect to stay there forever. Chimutengwende lost his deputy secretary for publicity post to Jonathan Moyo, who also took over his ministerial position after the June elections.

Meanwhile, dissent arose among delegates to the congress over the booting out of Zvobgo, Chimutengwende and Welshman Mabhena. Delegates from Masvingo were disappointed that Zvobgo had been kicked out of the politburo saying he was being victimised by the presidency for his outspokenness. They said Zvobgo had attracted Mugabe's wrath by going public with statements that he would contest for the presidency in the event that Mugabe resigns. Delegates complained to The Standard at the close of the congress that the succession issue had not been given any time. Mugabe has been at the helm of the party since 1976.

War veterans complained bitterly that they did not have any of their representatives included in the new politburo. "We are now used to fighting for our rights, as the party's executive seems intent to leave us in the cold all the time. Apart from the politburo, we expected Cde Mugabe to appoint some members of our association to the cabinet. But this did not happen. Varikuda kuti tirambe tichiita hondo here? (Do they want us to keep on fighting?)" said one angry war veteran.

On the succession issue, the dissenting voices accused vice president Simon Muzenda of stifling debate on the matter when he ruled that President Mugabe would stay in office until the land issue was resolved. However, Chinhoyi MP, Philip Chiyangwa, dismissed the complaints made on the succession debate, saying delegates had only themselves to blame if the issue was not raised. "The question is who prepares the agenda of the congress. People have only themselves to blame if they wanted change. The provinces should have ensured that this item was on the agenda. If the matter was never raised as a serious matter on the agenda or on the floor, then they should not complain," Chiyangwa, who himself did not attend the congress because of business commitments, said. "It's a political power game."

Another complaint by some members of the central committee was that their power was being usurped by the politburo, which is the higher organ of the party. The politburo, the sources said, had become all powerful, acting as if it was the party's supreme decision making body yet the central committee was third in hierarchy after the people's national congress and the people's national conference. The congress sits every five years, except in extraordinary cases, while the conference meets annually. When the two are not in session, the central committee assumes the supreme role. "We have been reduced to 'yes men' of the politburo, a body that we are supposed to direct. They pass decisions and expect us to rubber stamp everything they say. That is unconstitutional and should be stopped," said one central committee source.

Some central committee members were particularly irked by the suspension of party provincial executives in Manicaland, Masvingo and Harare. They said the suspensions should have been discussed by the central committee first. The issue was raised at the closed meeting on Wednesday but the sources said politburo members present appeared not to take it seriously, preferring to discuss other issues. "The congress did not solve much of our problems and queries. The major problem being that people are good at talking without implementing anything. Some central committee members are vocal outside but develop cold feet when they come face to face with the party's top hierarchy. There is growing tension between the politburo and the central committee and if that continues then it spells doom for the party."

From The Independent (UK), 17 December

Black brain drain hits Zimbabwe

Harare - Zimbabwe is losing thousands of talented professionals crucial to its future, as President Robert Mugabe's reckless policies send thousands of "born-frees'' - the black elite educated after the beginning of majority rule in 1980 - into exile, principally in Britain. The black brain drain drawing professionals in their twenties to Britain, the US, South Africa and Australia is far more serious for Zimbabwe than the widely reported exodus of white farmers, say economists. Those leaving, at an estimated rate of five a day, include doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and journalists.

Given that former teacher Mr Mugabe gave Zimbabwe's 12.7 million population some of the best education in Africa in his first 10 years in power, the exodus is a disaster for the southern African country. Record Aids rates mean it needs its 14,000 nurses more than ever, but they are clamouring to leave. The prospect of a job in Britain - any job - is tantalising in a country where trained nurses with families can no longer make ends meet on their monthly salaries of up to Z$10,000 (about £120).

At Beverlino's pizzeria in Harare, Brian, Ruben, Remi and Flossie, all black professionals in their twenties, spend another evening swapping stories about friends who have left. "The new way to do it is via Egypt," says Brian, an accountant. "It is easier to fly through a transit point than to arrive in London on the direct flight.'' He tells of a friend who got to Montreal before immigration authorities turned her back for not having enough funds for the six-month holiday she claimed she was planning. "As soon as you have a 'deported' stamp in your passport, you've blown it,'' Remi says, "because there is a three-year waiting list for passports here.'' On the other hand, adds Flossie, it takes a good three years to save up the air fare. Ruben, who works at the reserve bank, said he would leave as soon as he had raised the money. "One friend, who is in London now, sold everything - television, table, chairs - leaving only a mattress on the floor for his wife to sleep on. We really have nothing to lose. The idea is not to leave for ever. You go as a tourist, disappear into the woodwork, work for two or three years and send money home, then come back and buy a house.''

In last week's Sunday Mail, a pro-government newspaper, columnist Garikai Mazara wrote of a trip from north London to Victoria station: "We were talking in Shona and forgot to check the name of the station as we approached it. Assuming the black woman next to us was English-speaking, we asked her in English for help and, to our surprise and joy, she answered in Shona. London can aptly be described as Little Harare. The presence of Zimbabweans becomes more pronounced in Brixton, the Mbare of London.'' Mbare is a poor township on the outskirts of Harare which provided much of the capital's labour before unemployment hit 40 per cent and inflation its present level of 56 per cent.

Though the emigration trend is clear and all urban professionals know someone who has decided to leave since the MDC failed to unseat the ruling Zanu-PF party in the recent elections, the extent of the exodus is only now being revealed. Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office shows registered emigrants doubled in the first six months of this year to 3,299, compared to the similar period in 1999. But most people who leave, white or black, do not register their departure, to escape currency controls and leave their options open. Thousands are leaving, and the Daily Telegraph last week said MDC supporters in Britain are being harassed and followed by agents of Zanu-PF. Strive Masiyiwa, the 39-year-old millionaire, who brought an independent mobile-phone service, Econet, to Zimbabwe, has moved to South Africa because he fears for his safety and considers his home country's business climate too uncertain. And the celebrated singer Thomas Mapfumo moved to the US after his songs were banned and "guys in dark glasses'' began lining the back row at his concerts.

From Pan African News Agency, 16 December

Central African Leaders Meet On DR Congo Conflict

Leaders of countries in Central Africa have agreed to hold a summit Sunday in Libreville to discuss the crisis in the DRC, official sources said Saturday in the Gabonese capital. The sources said Gabonese President Oumar Bongo would chair the summit. The heads of state of Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, DRC, and representatives of some movements opposed to the government of Laurent-Desire Kabila, confirmed their participation in the meeting, according to the sources. However, some armed groups of the rebellion have turned down the invitation, preferring to stick to the Lusaka accords.

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Zimbabwe this Week.

On Tuesday two men died – one, Ndabanigi Sithole was an early Nationalists and at one time the leader of Zanu – now the governing party under Robert Mugabe, the other was a farmer, Henry Elsworth who was gunned down in a carefully planned political execution. Ndabanigi was a man of some considerable intellect and he died in an American Clinic of congenital heart disease. The other was a relatively simple man with clear convictions who had represented his community in Parliament for over 25 years and he died in the arms of his son outside his home in the midlands.

I have warm recollections of both men. When Ndaba came out of prison in 1974 he first had to be persuaded that it was not a trick by that canny Ian Smith. He insisted that he would only leave jail if an emissary from Kenneth Kaunda came down to Wha Wha prison and escorted him to safety. When this was done they drove direct to the Airport in Harare where a small jet was waiting to fly him to Lusaka to see Kaunda. On entering the plane he discovered that the crew was entirely black – and promptly asked to go to Lusaka by road! Again Kaunda’s personal emissary persuaded him that there was no risk – that the crew was very experienced and were used to flying the State President in Zambia. At Lusaka airport a helicopter took him to State House where he met Kaunda and spent several hours discussing the way forward. He then returned to Harare by the same means.

A few day later a group of us in the Christian Council (I was the only white person there) met Ndaba who was a Minister of Religion among other things, and held a detailed discussion with him on the next step. He told us the above story at his own expense – all of us laughing at his concern that black people could not do complex things like fly an airplane. One old Minister in the meeting asked Ndaba, "what qualifications does a young man have to have in order to fly an airplane?" Ndaba thought for a moment and then carefully replied "independence". I will never forget that response with its brilliance and incisive spirit. What he said was true – we, the whites in control at the time, would never allow the full development of the black population and they had to take power to find opportunity. Unbeknown to us at the time, Ndaba was already a spent force and Mugabe was taking over the reins of leadership of Zanu and Ndaba would never again enjoy national support.

Henry was a tall quiet man who gained the respect of all who knew him – he was of a generation who grew up in Rhodesia and like many of us at the time thought we did a good job of running the country. He loved his farm and worked hard for the local community. He represented the Rhodesian Front up to independence and then sat in the first parliament of independent Zimbabwe. During this time he gained the respect and friendship of many on the governments side of the fence.

Henry’s farm was one of those invaded at the beginning of the year when government launched its illegal land grab and because of his record he was made a bit of a target. He struggled for the whole year with the conflict and helped hold the community together under dire circumstances. He and his son were driving back to the homestead at dusk, the gate was shut and Henry got out to open the gate (he was an elderly 70 years old and used a cane). As soon as he did so 5 guns opened fire at close range and Ian got out of his side of the vehicle and went around to help his dad. Despite being hit 9 times – once in the stomach, Ian still carried his father to shelter from the fire and his father died in his arms. His last words were directed at his attackers "please leave us alone, we will be gone tomorrow". Ian survived and is in hospital and Henry will be buried by his family and his community over the weekend. The weapons used were a mixture of AK 47’s and the FN rifle used by the Rhodesian army 20 years ago and now on issue to the ZNA and the Police.

Just a few weeks before I had received a letter from Henry encouraging us in the MDC to carry the torch and saying he was trying to do what he could. They had no money but were using what influence they had to support the cause of democracy in the Midlands. I wrote back thanking him for the letter and encouraging him to stand firm. It cost him his life.

Both men were migrants to Zimbabwe – Ndaba came from the Ndau group who live in the Chipinge area and who arrived in the country in the early part of the century, Henry came into the country about the same time. One was white, the other black, both were Nationalists in the best sense of the word – they loved their country. Both served the political interests that have governed the country during the past 50 years and in a sense they represent the suffering through which we are all going. They were from a bygone era and both will be missed.

The Zanu PF Congress has come and gone – Mugabe excelled himself again. The real tragedy was to watch 6 000 cheering delegates treat him as if he was sane and they were operating in a normal situation instead of an asylum for the mentally deranged. Then to hear otherwise intelligent and competent people like Olivier Muchena and Cephas Msipa support the strategies for suicide as if it was the only way forward was equally distressing. What is wrong with these people – can they not see that the king has no clothes on?

So now we know the worst – Mugabe will be the candidate for the 2002 elections, we the people of Zimbabwe will be subjected to 15 months of violence and intimidation funded by the state at our expense. The media are going to be tightly controlled and the MDC are a "bunch of ignoramuses who are simply a front for the whites". We were also told that Africa is for the Africans and Zimbabwe for the Zimbabweans, the Zanu party was to threaten the white community to encourage them to leave the country and abandon their assets. The illegal land grab was to be extended to include commercial and industrial assets and assets in the mining industry. It could not be worse, essentially the president and the ruling party have declared war on the people of this country, and in particular the white community.

The outlook for the next year is frightening – the IMF have formally stated that the Zimbabwe economy could decline by 10 per cent next year with inflation doubling to 155 per cent. We face huge food shortages and if the campaign to occupy the commercial farms is successful we will have at least 2 million internally displaced refugees. Job losses will spiral and hundreds of firms will close or leave the country. There will be no investment, very little foreign exchange for essential imports, the health and education systems will face collapse. This will spill over into all our neighbours – reducing growth and inhibiting investment. Cross border migration will grow into a flood damaging the stability of Botswana and South Africa. Mugabe has been told to get his house in order – if Mbeki did not understand what was Mugabe’s reply a week ago, he must understand now. The question is what can anyone do about this situation?

On the legal front our challenges go on – the Courts will hear our preliminary arguments on the 6th of January and three Judges will then start hearing the cases challenging the election of 39 Zanu PF members of Parliament. The Courts will shortly rule on the constitutional validity of the Presidential Powers Act and are almost certain to say it is not constitutional. That will open the way to private radio and TV and will also affect the legality of the farm acquisitions. The fact that the government has already said they ignore these rulings will not change the fact that the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has ruled them out of court. In the USA the case for compensation brought by the widows of men killed in the elections, goes to the next stage, which is to determine the level of compensation. When this is agreed the lawyers can then get down to the business of finding Mugabe’s overseas assets and liquidating them to pay compensation. We are now considering if we should go the International Court in the Hague to determine if our basic human rights as citizens are being abused and what can be done about it. Perhaps we can prosecute these irresponsible political leaders in an international court and thereby gain some justice and legal protection.

A small aside – I was astonished to learn the other day that a team from Zimbabwe has been given visa’s to travel to the USA to buy riot equipment! I was equally astonished to note that Z$270 million has been set aside in the budget for the Presidents office (the CIO) to buy electronic equipment to monitor local communications. The source is reported to be the US and the agent here one of our white Zanu PF intermediaries who are trading arms and other equipment to anyone with hard currency. Surely this will not be tolerated by the incoming US administration and I am sure that if the outgoing knew what was going on they also would be outraged.

Eddie Cross

16th 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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Cop stabbed to death

Zimbabwe Daily News - 12/18/00 3:21:53 PM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter

A plainclothes policeman was stabbed to death on Saturday night in Harare at the same spot where a vegetable vendor was shot dead by a police officer.

Tendai Nembire, the police spokesperson, confirmed the incident and said the deceased officer was a member of the Police Internal Security Section.
He was stabbed in the chest by unknown assailants and bled to death at the corner of Cameroon and Albion Streets.
Nembire said: "We're told that one of the rank marshals identified the two officers who were in civilian clothes and said'Aya mapurisa' (these are policemen) resulting in one of them being stabbed as they waited for transport to their homes."
Earlier, Harare streets resembled battle zones as riot police sought to control rampaging crowds angered by the death of Loveness Muringagomo, a vendor accidentally shot to death by a policeman.
The policeman was trying to stop a fleeing commuter bus driver.
The commuter bus also hit a blind man from Chitungwiza as he was crossing Albion Street.
Rioters smashed windows on a shop close to the scene of the shooting. They accused the shop owner of harbouring the offending police officer.
Windows were also smashed on Cleveland House, which houses the City of Harare's department of works.
It took the police more than two hours to remove the body of Muringagomo, which lay in a pool of blood.
"We don't want to see anybody who works for government anywhere close to her body. We are prepared to avenge this killing," said one of the protesters when The Daily News arrived at the scene.
Police fired teargas canisters and warning shots into the air to disperse the vengeful mob.
A police vehicle, a Mazda 323, was set on fire.
The police, however, managed to foil attempts to set on fire a Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus.
Calm only returned to the city well after 3:00pm, but enough damage had already been caused as several police vehicles were stoned.
Rosca Chakarova, the deceased's sister said: "I am shocked by the behaviour of the police. They are riotous."
Simon Sekete, 34, the blindman from Chitungwiza who was knocked down by the commuter bus, yesterday blamed the police for the ensuing mayhem.
He said: "I was trying to cross Albion Street when I was hit and fell. One of the rank marshals said I should have died and I started quarrelling with him.
"Onlookers then pleaded with two policemen to rescue me from the rank marshals who wanted to beat me up. The police then fired one warning shot.
It is at that stage, so I am told, that the driver of commuter bus decided to flee."

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From the Daily News:

Hunzvi threatens police

12/18/00 3:20:17 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

CHENJERAI Hunzvi, leader of a faction of the war veterans, last week
threatened to deal severely with members of the police derailing the
government's fast track resettlement programme.

He singled out the Officer-in-Charge of Waterfalls police station as one of
those targeted by the former freedom fighters.
Hunzvi told John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, and delegates
attending the special Zanu PF congress which ended on Friday, that the
former freedom fighters would deal with all police officers disrupting the
land reform exercise. Hunzvi accused Inspector Katenaire of Waterfalls,
charging that he was against the land reform programme.
Addressing Nkomo, who was chairing the session, Hunzvi charged that most
senior police officers, were members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
He said the officers were interfering with the efforts of the war veterans
to reclaim land from the minority white commercial farmers.
Nkomo did not respond to Hunzvi's allegations and threats. The Daily News
failed to obtain comment from the minister who is also Zanu PF's national
chairman. Efforts to get comment from Inspector Katenaire were equally
fruitless as he was said to be attending a police course.
War veterans have in the past had their way over civil servants when they
caused the transfer of the Provincial Administrator of Matabeleland South,
Angelous Dube, alleging she supported the MDC.
Hunzvi was speaking on behalf of the war veterans after the party’s
provincial chairmen had endorsed the fast-track land reform programme.
Hunzvi said: “We, as war veterans, want to tell you that most senior police
officers belong to the MDC and they are stifling progress on most of the
farms occupied by former fighters. But we want to tell you that we are not
going to sit and watch. We will deal with them.”
Vice President Joseph Msika, the chairman of the land acquisition committee,
told the congress that having achieved “significant strides” in the
fast -track programme, his committee was now considering indigenising the
commercial farming sector. He said: “Let me also mention comrades with
appreciation that our leader, Comrade Mugabe, as the symbol of our national
unity, has a responsibility to see this empowerment programme through to its
logical conclusion."

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CIO agents deployed to UK

Zimbabwe Daily News - 12/18/00 3:19:10 PM (GMT +2)

ABOUT 40 Zimbabwean agents are spying on government opponents and white farmers who have taken refuge in Britain, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said.

The group includes blacks, whites and Asians, many of them are women.
Some are said to use diplomatic passports and their presence in Britain has brought fear to both black and white Zimbabwean exiles.
The Telegraph says it has obtained evidence that telephone calls between Britain and Zimbabwe are routinely monitored and that e-mails and fax messages are intercepted. Complaints about surveillance have been received by at least two police stations.
Albert Weidemann, 43, a Zimbabwean exile who is deputy chairman of the Manchester branch of the MDC, said that he feared for his life.
He showed The Telegraph a letter from the Zimbabwe High Commission in London saying his messages home were being monitored.
Munyaradzi Hwengwere, a government spokesman, said: “I am surprised any peace-loving Zimbabwean would be worried about the authorities knowing what they are doing. As long as they are doing nothing unlawful, they have nothing to worry about.”
A letter from the Zimbabwe High Commission arrived “like a bolt out of the blue” to Weidemann and his wife, Kathy, at their home in North Yorkshire.
Their surname was misspelt and the grammar was imperfect but the message was clear: their correspondence to Zimbabwe was being monitored and the government objected to the political sentiments they were expressing.
The letter, signed by T Tachiveyi, a CIO operative at the High Commission, and dated 22 November, states:
“We have followed your messages on Zimbabwe to various personalities and establishments with interest. Whereas you are entitled to your own opinion as regards the situation in Zimbabwe, it is, however, our view that such opinion of yours is virtually based on perceptions created by the Press and that the difference of such perception and the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe is being missed by some dear friends of Zimbabwe like yourself.”
Tachiveyi advises him to read an enclosed “fact sheet” on the Zimbabwe land issue and to update himself on policies by studying the official Zimbabwe government website.
Weidemann, an avowed opponent of President Mugabe, said:
“This concerns me greatly. I now fear for the safety of my family and myself.
“I have reported my fears to the police.”
The couple fear that their telephone calls, faxes and e-mail are being intercepted.
North Yorkshire Police confirmed last week that it received a complaint from Weidemann on 7 December - three days before he attended an Amnesty International demonstration in London.
The incident was part of a growing campaign of intimidation being reported by black and white Zimbabwean exiles in Britain.
Jennings Rukani, chairman of the MDC’s Manchester branch, told The Daily Telegraph: “There are operatives who have been given diplomatic passports so that they can come and go as they please.”
He described how he and Duran Rapozo, secretary of the Manchester MDC group, noticed in September that they were being followed in the city by black Zimbabwean agents.
He said: “The police were very helpful. As far as we can tell they are not following us now, but they may be using other methods.”
Derek Arlett-Johnson said: “We are aware of the Zimbabwe operatives and that some people working for Mugabe are white.”
Arlett-Johnson, who formerly owned a 3 500 acre estate (about 1 400 hectares) employing 65 people in Zimbabwe, lost everything after death threats forced him to flee the country with his wife and daughter.
He now works as a lorry driver. He is a trustee of the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Trust Fund, a charity set up to help farmers and their families forced to flee their homeland.

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Government steps up propaganda campaign against whites

The Zimbabwe government has stepped up its propaganda campaign against the nation's white farmers, accusing them of training hit squads to retaliate against ruling-party militants who have seized their land.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper also accuses an expelled white colonial-era army general of slipping into the country to raise funds for the opposition.

Farmer Melville Hubbard, 35, has received a written death threat that referred to a neighbour, Martin Olds, who was shot dead on the anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, April 18.

"Your friend Martin was our breakfast for Independence Day. So you are going to be our breakfast for Christmas," the note says.

"We are coming to destroy your home. With your wife. We will fix you."

Opposition MP Mike Auret says it is "a very dangerous time" for whites.

The Herald, an official mouthpiece of the government, says authorities are investigating reports that white-led hit squads are being formed.

The Commercial Farmers Union, representing the nation's 4,000 white farmers, denies farmers are preparing armed retaliation.

Retired General Peter Walls, meanwhile, dismisses The Herald report that he visited northwestern Zimbabwe earlier this month as "total and utter rubbish".

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As the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers’ Association I would like to make one final appeal to all growers to take this last planting opportunity to maximise on their hectarage grown to maize. As I have continually stated in previous correspondence to all members that this season’s crop will be short and the market strong.

The on-going land invasions and work stoppages have resulted in many maize producers being unable to plant, exacerbating the future of food security in Zimbabwe, and, making a "bad situation even worse". Viability problems caused by high inflation and poor producer prices have also reduced the maize hectarage. In addition to this, many farmers cannot borrow from their banks because they are listed for acquisition of their farms.

Secondly, the ZBC recently carried a story that maize producers in the Mashonaland West (North) areas were deliberately switching from maize production to commodities such as soya’s and paprika. The ZBC suggested a plot of some nature by these farmers, which can only be described as mischievous journalism, and I wish to set the record straight. The large scale commercial producer has always felt a moral sense of responsibility to food security of Zimbabwe. The ZGPA, representing 1600 large scale commercial maize producers, for the past 35 years, has, in the opening words of the Associations’ Constitution, set the simple objective of promoting maize production in Zimbabwe.




20th December 2000

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