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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Daily News

      Government farm seizures continue

      12/4/2002 8:29:20 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike

      ALTHOUGH the government claims it has stopped acquiring farms, the
listing and gazetting of commercial farms continues, a state of affairs
interpreted by critics to mean continued confusion in the farming sector.

      Only last week on Friday, 36 farms were listed in an Extraordinary
      Government Gazette under General Notices 610 A of 2002 and 610 B of
2002. Circle Cement's farm in the Mazowe area was one of the targeted 36
real estate properties.

      Friday's listing followed a series of two other notices released
earlier in November for the acquisition of a total of 75 farms dotted around
the country.

      55 farms were listed on 8 November under General Notices 574 of 2002
and 575 of 2002 while another 20 farms were, under General Notice 583 A of
2002, listed on 15 November 2002.

      At the end of May this year, Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement said the government was winding up the
land reform programme. He used the phrase, "polishing up the land

      At that time, government officials reported they had availed 10
million hectares of land to "new farmers" under the Model A1 and Model A2
schemes. Numerous applicants, some of whose names had appeared in the
State-controlled Press as successful beneficiaries, however complained that
the promises made to them had not materialised.

      Government went on to make an undertaking that all successful
applicants under the model A2 scheme would receive their letters of offer
before 31 August this year.

      After August, the official message relayed to the world by President
      Mugabe and other members of his government was that the land reform
programme was complete and all that was left was for the newly settled black
farmers to produce bumper harvests and prove they could outclass the
displaced white farmers.

      "The land programme was the platform we operated from towards the
presidential elections, and we can never let the people down. That
      platform was very clear.

      "Also clear were the food security, employment-creation and economic
growth objectives," said Made on 31 May this year.

      The three sub-themes of the Zanu PF campaign message were presented as
by-products of the highly publicised Third Chimurenga.

      The completion of the farm seizures and subsequent redistribution
process did not, however, end in August as claimed by the government.

      The government's principal economic recovery plan through the land
reform programme has often been blasted by farmers, economists, politicians
and land planners, for its chaotic nature.

      A disappointed "successful applicant" who declined to be named
yesterday accused government of misleading the nation and the world that the
agrarian programme was proceeding well when the exercise was in fact all
about the further enrichment of senior Zanu PF officials, at the expense of
the farming industry and food security for the nation.

      He said: "The continued listing long after the deadlines set by the
government itself only goes to show that this Chimurenga series is a scam
executed haphazardly. They may list farms for the next 20 years, if they are
still in power then, but we all now know that the Third Chimurenga is a
self-enrichment project."

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Daily News

      Queues remain in spite of fuel delivery assurances

      12/4/2002 7:51:24 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      MOST service stations in Harare had no fuel for most of yesterday,
contrary to government claims that the situation was improving following the
delivery of thousands of litres of fuel to several service stations between
Friday and Sunday.

      Service stations visited during yesterday's snap survey revealed that
most had run out of fuel on Monday morning.

      Tsitsi Madari, the manager at Engen Service Station in the city, said
they received 15 000 litres of petrol on Sunday and another 15 000 litres of
diesel on Monday evening.

      But by 11 am, they had run out of diesel and were left with very
little petrol. A queue was beginning to emerge.

      Madari said they usually witnessed long queues around 4pm when most
people broke for the next day.

      "They usually refuel in the evening because they fear the next day
would be dry," she said.

      The situation was more severe at Exxor Service Station where there was
a long queue.

      There was no diesel for most part of the day.
      But at Country Petroleum in Msasa, there was diesel but petrol was
only being delivered then.

      Nearby at Total, there was neither diesel nor petrol.
      Fuel attendants there said petrol ran out on Saturday afternoon and
diesel on Monday morning.

      "There is nothing and we are not sure when we will get our next
deliveries," one worker said. "The situation might be getting worse, we are
afraid. Some private suppliers are better positioned to buy their own

      It was established that most service stations that received their fuel
supplies from multinationals Mobil, BP and Shell were without fuel. The
government has called on them to import their own supplies.

      The Herald yesterday quoted Reuben Marumahoko, the Deputy Minister of
Energy and Power Development as saying the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe,
the State-run main importer, had delivered 647 000 litres of petrol on
Friday, 457 000 litres on Saturday and 300 000 litres on Sunday in Harare.

      "The average petrol distribution for Harare is 500 000 litres a day,
so we were expecting that the distribution we made over the weekend would
improve things somewhat," Marumahoko said.

      But the situation appeared to be getting worse.

      Some motorists in a queue at Exor said they were travelling to
Bulawayo and Beitbridge to witness today's solar eclipse and needed to have
enough fuel for the return journey.

      James Makani, 30, of Harare, a commuter omnibus driver, said yesterday
as had been hired by people who wanted to witness the solar eclipse he
wanted the fuel to make the trip.

      "There is no fuel around town. We have been going from one service
station to another, but with no luck," Makani said.
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Daily News - Feature

      Unity must mean peace, goodwill to all people

      12/4/2002 8:37:44 AM (GMT +2)

      GENERALLY speaking, this column is not about doom and gloom. Its
Mission Statement, if I was pompous enough to think we needed one, could be
summed up in one word: hope.

      Never mind the lower case lettering. We don't want to go ga-ga or ape
or dewy-eyed on this hope thing. Zimbabwe is not the land of hope and
promise that it was on 18 April 1980. People have been killed, and some of
that hope has been killed with them.

      As one of the characters in Hill Street Blues - at one time almost
everyone's favourite cops-and-robbers TV series - says: "Be careful out

      For the commentator, the essence of objectivity is to examine both
sides and to be completely dispassionate about it.

      This is a far cry from fence-sitting which suggests a lily-livered
fear of The Unknown, of hoping to benefit from whoever wins the fight.

      Fence-sitting, unlike good old-fashioned balance, is for the

      Yet hope is definitely the theme. For instance, fully 20 days before
the day on which Jesus Christ was born, I am sending everybody my Christmas
greetings. This is not because I have become so fatalistic I believe you and
I may both not be alive on the day itself, although in this country where
people are being bumped off day and night, who would like to bet on it?

      These are hard times and happiness - true happiness, not induced by
liquor and drugs and sex - is at a premium.

      The one dark patch in December in Zimbabwe is that there is National
Unity Day. This day falls on 22 December, three days before Christmas. Many
Christians find this an unconscionable lack of sensitivity on the part of
the government.

      Some non-Christians have suggested Day of Infamy or Bloody Unity.
Others have come up with One-Party Day or Sick Joke Day.

      For those too busy searching for cooking oil, petrol, bread,
maize-meal and a book called The Secret to Long Life in a World of Food
Shortages, the National Unity Day refers to a so-called merger between two
political parties, Zanu PF and PF Zapu.

      The signing itself took place in 1987, a few years after thousands of
people - men, women and children - in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces
were killed by soldiers and PF Zapu dissidents.

      For many, a narration of the events leading up to the Unity Accord
would be painful. So, I will skip that part of it, except to say my
unforgettable memory of the occasion was the rather forced, almost sheepish
smile with which Joshua Nkomo returned Robert Mugabe's embrace, to seal the

      It's almost as if Nkomo was saying: "Let's not overdo it, shall we?
After all, it's only a piece of paper."

      Which is what a lot of people in Matabeleland and Midlands thought it
was, and still do, to this day. A quote from Nkomo is instructive:
      "Comrades, we in Zapu have always said, and I continue on this signing
day and the sealing of the fact that the unity we have attached our names
to, Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, means the real unity of our
people. No going back. The continuance of this unity is essential for the
future of our country. We do not want to leave behind the division of the
people of Zimbabwe. We want to lay the beginning and the foundation of one
people, one nation.

      "I want to stress here for people who will look at this document and
start analysing it to see who has gained and who has not gained, let me say
that what is contained here is the true feeling of both these political
parties. The document may appear to be incomplete - all agreements are that
way. But the important thing is the spirit behind the document and not the
document behind the spirit."

      The Old Man knew he was risking his political career, perhaps even
more dangerously than he did when he agreed to talks with Ian Smith in
Lusaka in the 1970s.

      Opening up old wounds is profitless and may generate a lot of pent-up
fury among a lot of people.

      But the past must be revisited once in a while, if only for people to
poke through the debris for valuable lessons for the future.

      The top honcho - someone called him that the other day - of Zanu PF,
after years of claiming the massacre was "part of the liberation struggle",
eventually owned up: it was a madness never to be repeated.

      But this man of supposed Catholic piety has boasted of his many
degrees in violence.

      The Unity Accord was never about the unity of the people of Zimbabwe,
for they had never been divided into the Shona in Zanu PF and the Ndebele in
PF Zapu.

      It was the unity of two political parties, as Nkomo said. Clearly,
Mugabe thought otherwise. As far as Zanu PF was concerned, it cleared the
final obstacles to the creation of a one-party state.

      We now know this evil plan foundered on the rocks of arrogance,
corruption and self-aggrandisement among Zanu PF leaders.

      Unfortunately, because of the brutality with which the 5 Brigade dealt
with the PF Zapu zealots, people have tended to portray PF Zapu as the
innocent victim. This is not entirely true. PF Zapu can be held as culpable
for the massacre as it can be for the delay in the achievement of
independence as Zanu PF. Its leadership was as feckless as Zanu PF's when it
came to deciding which should come first: independence or independence only
under PF Zapu.

      Some people will say: we know all that. Tell us something new. Well,
here it is: as soon as the accord was signed, everybody in Matabeleland and
the Midlands was expected to owe allegiance only to Zanu PF, even if they
had never owed allegiance to PF Zapu in the first place.

      There were leaders in Zanu PF who boasted openly that soon "all of you
will speak Shona", suggesting the Ndebele would be "Shonalised" in word and

      Zanu PF called it a betrayal of Joshua Nkomo's wishes when people
voted for the MDC in 2000 and 2002: how dare people who had benefited so
much from the magnanimity of Zanu PF in signing the Unity Accord spit in the
face of their benefactors by voting for a party led by a man with no
liberation war pedigree?

      There have been killings in Matabeleland since the MDC came on the
scene in 1999. There has been much torture, including that of the MP for
Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, a diabetic. At one time, while in
the cells, he was denied access to medicine for his condition.

      This may quite easily have shortened his life expectancy, as did the
soldiers' torture to Mark Chavunduka's.

      There has been death and violence in other provinces since the MDC
created this formidable challenge to Zanu PF's hegemony.

      Now, we have the executive mayor of Chegutu, for instance, being
harassed almost every day. He is an MDC member presiding over a town almost
a stone's throw away from Mugabe's village, which could be called the Zanu
PF citadel.

      The inescapable conclusion to the murder and harassment of opposition
members is that it has cramped Zanu PF's grand design of creating a
one-party system.

      For Zanu PF, unity is not goodwill towards all Zimbabweans. It is the
one-party system and God help all who oppose it.
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Daily News - Letter

      Forces' parade a blatant display of brute force

      12/4/2002 (GMT +2)

      On the morning of Saturday 30 November 2002, as I watched the winding
army convoys of our "gallant" warriors returning from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo campaign, I must confess that I did not feel a surge
of patriotism.

      Rather, I was chilled to the bone, for this was not a celebration of
the return of conquering and victorious soldiers. It was nothing but a
blatant show of naked might and brute force designed to cower an already
brutalised and highly disenchanted populace.

      It is now official. Zimbabwe is a police state and overwhelmingly
repressive State machinery is in place, should people dare to speak out and
stand up for their rights and dignity.

      The crunch is beginning.

      Muchadura Muchazvirega

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Daily News

      Mayor slams food distribution

      12/4/2002 8:16:24 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      BULAWAYO'S Executive Mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, is headed for a
showdown with the Matabeleland North Provincial Governor, Obert Mpofu, over
the sidelining of the city council by the Food Task Force committee.

      In an interview yesterday, the mayor said the council wanted to ensure
transparency in the distribution of maize which he alleged had been

      Mpofu leads the task force, which controls the allocation of maize at
the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      Ncube said the distribution of maize at the GMB was riddled with
corruption and rampant profiteering by black marketers.

      He said there was, thus, need for the council to intervene and halt
the rot.

      "We, therefore, as the council have sought to be included in the Food
Task Force committee to ensure that no one is denied food, but the governor'
s position on our request is disappointing," said Ncube.

      He said his office had been inundated with reports of maize being
bought from unauthorised sites such as open grounds where Zanu PF reportedly
sold it only to their supporters.

      Ncube said last week the council met delegates from the task force and
unanimously resolved that there was a food distribution crisis, and that the
council should get involved.

      "We agreed that to ensure fair distribution, the mayor and the town
clerk or council representatives should be members of the task force, and
that councillors be advised or consulted on the distribution of maize in
their respective areas," he said.

      Ncube sent a letter to the governor after the meeting, and Mpofu's
reply was evasive. In his letter, made available to The Daily News, Mpofu
said his office was determined to fight corrupt forces that held the people
to ransom, but did not say whether the council would be included in the task

      Ncube has written another letter to Mpofu, pointing out his request
had not been answered. At the time of writing, the mayor was still waiting
for a reply.

      Mpofu said the council was already represented in the task force
through the Local Government Ministry, and he did not understand Ncube's

      "The council is represented by the provincial administrator,
Livingstone Mashengele, who leads local government in the area," said Mpofu.

      He said the task force was there to ensure fair maize distribution. He
dismissed reports that Zanu PF was denying MDC supporters maize.
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Daily News

      Majongwe says teachers sacrificed for political gain

      12/4/2002 7:55:54 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE government has been accused of sacrificing the teaching profession
for political mileage.

      The accusation was made by Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of
the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), who called a teachers'
strike in October which brought education to a standstill in most urban

      Majongwe who still faces charges under the notorious Pubic Order and
Security Act over the strike, made his comments as the school year ended

      Majongwe said: "The government suspended over 600 teachers for
political expediency. We know their aim was to intimidate the teachers so
that they would not participate in future strikes.

      "Our children's education is being compromised and it is quite clear
that it is the pupils and their parents who will be the greatest losers."

      Teachers nationwide went on strike on 8 October, citing the high cost
of living and demanded better salaries as well as the abolition of grading
discrepancies between them and the rest of the civil service which has
resulted in teachers receiving lower pay than most of their counterparts.

      Aeneas Chigwedere, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture,
reacted by suspending 625 teachers, most of them from Harare and Bulawayo
schools, for three months without pay on allegations of "misconduct" when
they stopped work.

      Majongwe said yesterday: "By not paying the suspended teachers their
allowances for the month of November, the Public Service Commission has
flouted its own regulations whose Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 entails
that where the nature of the allegation of misconduct does not involve
financial prejudice to the government, the member under suspension shall be
entitled to an allowance equal to half his salary."

      At most schools visited by The Daily News yesterday, students admitted
they had not learnt much this term since most of their teachers were
      suspended for nearly three months.

      A fifth form student at Allan Wilson High School, said: "We have not
been learning for some time now, neither have we written any end-of-year
examinations because there was virtually nothing to be tested on.

      "There are not enough teachers here since most of our the staff were
suspended for taking part in the strike."

      At Cranborne Boys' High School the students alleged some of the new
teachers deployed by the government had struggled to provide basic tutorials
to the students.

      One student said: "The teachers are evidently unqualified. They are
even suspected to be youths from the Border Gezi Training Centre.

      "We virtually learnt nothing for the greater part of the term and we
know we are going to struggle when our legitimate teachers return in order
to catch up with the requirements of our syllabuses."

      Both the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) and the Ministry of
Education, Sports and Culture, said they had no idea there were not enough
teachers during the strike.

      Leonard Nkala, the Zimta president and councillor for Ward 9 (Zanu PF)
in Bulawayo's Mpopoma suburb said: "I am not aware that the personnel that
replaced the suspended teachers were not enough. Though it might have been
so the official facts state that the ministry replaced all the teachers."

      Calvin Mazula, the deputy regional director for Education, Sports and
Culture in Harare said: "The PTUZ cannot accuse us of incompetence. They
should know we run the show in the education system of this country.

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Daily News

      Cross hits at Zanu PF for ruining economy

      12/4/2002 8:19:30 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      EDDIE Cross, the MDC economic advisor, has condemned Zanu PF for
ruining the country, describing its supporters as dull people.

      Cross and David Coltart, the Bulawayo South MP, were addressing an MDC
meeting at Bulawayo's Barham Green Hall on Monday evening.

      Cross, an economist, bemoaned the meltdown of a once vibrant economy,
saying the MDC and the rest of the world held President Mugabe and his
government responsible for the lawlessness in the country.

      He said Mugabe was responsible for the starvation which had claimed
lives across the country, especially in areas such as Binga and Kezi in
Matabeleland, where food distribution had been heavily politicised by
      Zanu PF.

      Cross said those in Zanu PF who thought the MDC was fizzling out into
oblivion were merely deluding themselves.

      "Let me assure you that the MDC is stronger now than when it was
formed. Mugabe has exploited every means possible to destroy the country. I
honestly fear for him.

      "As for his supporters, may I say they are just a stupid lot. Mugabe
is just a moving corpse; he is absolutely finished."

      Cross said he condemned Mugabe for his iron fist leadership to oppress
the people he claimed his government had an obligation to protect.

      Cross said: "The MDC has done a commendable job in exposing the fact
that Mugabe is not a democrat. We must not underestimate what we have
achieved in the last three years."

      Coltart echoed Cross' sentiments, saying despite the brutality Zanu PF
was perpetually unleashing on MDC supporters through its infamous youth
brigade, known as the green bombers, the party remained committed to
bringing the country back to normal one day.

      "The party remains committed to democracy and, as you know, we are
challenging the outcome of the March presidential election in the courts.

      "Should we get a partisan judge handling that case, it would be
damning for the battered Mugabe regime to convince the world of its
legitimacy," said Coltart.

      He said the party was bracing for Tsvangirai's treason trial, a charge
he described as ridiculous.

      "We are eagerly waiting for this trial, which is, in effect, a
prosecution brought by a hostile person against his political opponents,"
the MP said.

      Coltart said the MDC adhered to the principle of non-violence and
discouraged youths from any violent behaviour.

      Coltart said former South African president, Nelson Mandela, and the
African National Congress were in full support of the MDC, despite President
Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe. Mbeki was under pressure by the
international community to criticise Mugabe for his chaotic land reform
programme which had destroyed the commercial farming sector, said Coltart.
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Daily News

      Beitbridge runs dry ahead of solar eclipse

      12/4/2002 7:54:11 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      THE Beitbridge Inn had to hastily sink a borehole on Monday after a
serious water crisis hit the border town on Sunday - three days before the
spectacle of the eclipse of the sun today, expected to attract many tourists
to the town.

      A spokesman for the hotel said the decision was taken to ensure that
the visitors would have a constant supply of water.

      The town on Sunday began to welcome visitors for today's rare natural

      Council engineering services sources blamed the crisis on the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZNWA), the government water supply utility.

      ZNWA are reported to have recently installed new high pressure pumping
equipment which has turned out to be too powerful for the small diameter
pipes used to carry water from the purification plant to the reservoirs.

      From the reservoirs the water is fed into the town's reticulation

      The small pipes apparently burst as the water rushed through them at
high speed. A worker who watched that unusual spectacle said it was
embarrassing because the burst pipe was right at the entrance of the border
into South Africa.

      The water authority would not comment yesterday, but at least 10 of
their engineers were reportedly struggling to fix the problem by late

      A council source said: "We have asked them when the town can expect
water, but they have steadfastly refused to make any promises, saying they
are afraid they might not be able to fix the problem for days. Tourists who
started arriving over the weekend are complaining bitterly. It is a very
critical situation."

      He said the council, whose chief executive officer could not be
reached for comment, had added to the confusion by failing to inform the
residents and visitors about the unsatisfactory state of the water supply

      Beitbridge Inn is reported to have hastily drilled a borehole as an
alternative source of water as the hotel filled up with tourists.
      A worker at the hotel confirmed that management had resorted to
sinking the borehole and were in the process of buying piping equipment in

      Another worker, who refused to identify herself, said the hotel had
bought bottled water for its customers.

      "But we are limiting the water to drinking only. Today we had no
choice, but to send all laundry to Bulawayo because we are already rationing
the water. It is pathetic, but we hope ZNWA will be able to fix the problem
before it gets worse."

      According to business circles, South Africans across the border have
already taken advantage of the water crisis and the fuel shortage all over
the Zimbabwe. They are doing brisk business as tourists move across the
Limpopo River to Messina.

      The total eclipse in Messina will end 22 seconds earlier than that in

      A Beitbridge businessman said: "The information we are getting is that
the message has gone as far as Pietersburg, and our South African
competitors are publicising the problems, and it is really working because
they are telling them the raw truth. I have just arrived from Messina and I
saw several tourists turning back upon hearing of all those problems."

      The council was on Monday reported to be hastily building the town's
first public toilet - only two days before the eclipse.

      In October the town ran dry for five days, and the council and ZNWA
were blamed for the crisis.

      The district is still fighting a two-week-old cholera outbreak which,
at its peak, resulted in 25 people being hospitalised.

      Health Minister David Parirenyatwa confirmed the outbreak, but said
the situation would be brought under control before the eclipse date.

      The water crisis comes after a ministerial delegation visited the town
specifically to assess the council's preparedness for the big day.

      Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs and MP for Beitbridge, led
the delegation. The delegation said it was satisfied with the town's
preparedness for the expected flood of tourists.
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Daily News

      Plot to kill Chegutu mayor, says MDC

      12/4/2002 7:49:27 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      THE MDC believes there is a plot to kill the Executive Mayor of
Chegutu, Francis Dhlakama.

      Gabriel Chaibva, the MDC shadow minister of local government and
Member of Parliament for Harare South, yesterday said his party had
tightened security around Dhlakama to avert his possible elimination.

      He said the security around Dhlakama had been tightened after several
attacks on the mayor by alleged Zanu PF youths, including last Friday's
invasion of his office.

      Chaibva said the constant attacks by Zanu PF supporters on Dhlakama,
who had no police protection, indicated there was a plan to kill him or
bring pressure on him to resign or defect to Zanu PF.

      He said: "There is a lot of lawlessness directed against the mayor.
These thugs are targeting his life, but we have put measures to make sure
that he will not be killed."

      About 40 Zanu PF youths damaged property worth thousands of dollars,
including the mayor's office, after accusing Dhlakama of insulting Phineas
Mariyapera, the deputy mayor.

      Mariyapera, a Zanu PF member, has been accused by Dhlakama of usurping
the powers of the mayor.

      But Phillip Chiyangwa, the Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland West
province where Chegutu lies, said yesterday he did not condone violence
against the mayor and promised to help bring political tolerance to the

      Chiyangwa said he had ordered the Zanu PF leadership in the town to
investigate the disturbances in an effort to promote peace in Chegutu.
      Chaibva said his department was compiling a report on Dhlakama's
plight so that the MDC leadership could take further measures to protect his
life and office.

      "It is sad that an elected mayor is chased out of his office, council
property destroyed and his life constantly under threat, but the
      authorities remain silent. This confirms the lawless nature of this
country," he said.

      Dhlakama said he met officials of the Ministry of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing yesterday, who asked him to submit a
comprehensive report on the problems in Chegutu.

      He refused to comment further and referred all questions on his
security to Chaibva.

      Chiyangwa said he had told Chaibva that he wanted the mayor to perform
his duties without any hindrance and would not support any attempts on his

      He said: "Why should we kill that man? He is a nice old man with a
right to his political affiliation. It should be clear that no Zanu PF
supporter has a mandate to kill anyone."

      Chiyangwa said it was the duty of the police to deal with cases of
violence, but as a political leader, he wanted Chegutu to be peaceful.

      "That is where I grew up and for your information, Dhlakama is my
relative. I respect his political opinions," he said.

      Chiyangwa has in the past boasted that "my province" would not
tolerate infiltration by the MDC.
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe to host African Airlines Association meeting

      12/4/2002 8:21:01 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ZIMBABWE will host the 34th annual general assembly of the African
Airlines Association (AFRAA) on 16 and 17 December, as its own airline faces
labour problems which have reportedly raised questions about its aircraft's

      Air Zimbabwe, confronted with a strike by engineers demanding a 100
percent pay rise, fired all of them, replacing some with retired engineers
and sending some of their aircraft to South Africa for vital maintenance.

      Last month, the airline's Boeing 767 failed to make the return flight
to Harare from London on time when it developed a problem with its starter.

      A statement issued this week by Air Zimbabwe's spokesman, David
Mwenga, said the AFRAA assembly, to be held at the Harare International
Conference Centre, would be officially opened by President Mugabe and would
be attended by the 43 member airlines.

      About 200 representatives of AFRAA member airlines, aircraft
manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus Industrie, communications
institutions such as SITA and engine and spares manufacturers such as Pratt
and Whitney and the French company CFM, are expected to attend.

      Air Zimbabwe's managing director, Rambai Chingwena, is AFRAA's

      The International Air Transport Association will be represented by its
director-general and its director for the African Region, former Air
Zimbabwe Engineer Peter Chikumba.

      Established in 1968, AFRAA realised phenomenal growth in the early 60s
as most African countries achieved independence and established their own

      However, a number of them have collapsed due to viability problems.
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The Times


            December 04, 2002

            Zimbabwe crisis
            From Mr Roger M. Bale

            Sir, Reports from Zimbabwe combined with statements from senior
Zimbabwe government officials confirm that food is being withheld from areas
which do not support the ruling party and, in particular, from the Ndebeli
people of Matabeleland (report, November 25).
            The genocide convention passed by the United Nations General
Assembly in 1948 imposed on member states a duty to prevent genocide
wherever it threatened to occur. Genocide by starvation has the same result
as genocide by any other means.

            It is surely time for Britain to put a resolution before the
United Nations - with the twin purpose of a) bringing to an end this
genocide and b) to induce those countries with the power to influence Mugabe
to come off the fence, knowing that if they do not they will be judged
culpable when the full extent of this tragedy is known.

            Yours faithfully,
            ROGER M. BALE,
            Rocque Berg,
            St Clement, Jersey, JE2 6FT.
            December 2.
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Daily News

      Council asks Zambia to help with solar eclipse tourists

      12/4/2002 8:04:15 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

      THE Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) said yesterday it was holding
talks with the Livingstone Transport Operators' Association in Zambia to
facilitate the movement of tourists across the border between Victoria Falls
and the Zambian town.

      Tom Chuma, the ZCT Victoria Falls committee chairman, said in response
to questions from The Daily News, the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls
were shared international resources whose use required dialogue and close
co-operation between the two countries.

      He said most tourists found it cheaper to fly into Livingstone from
Johannesburg to view the Falls than to Zimbabwe.

      He said this was one of the areas that would be looked into. He said
co-operation already existed between Zimbabwe and Zambia through a joint
commission created earlier, but that the co-operation should be increased.

      "It has become apparent that this co-operation needs to be developed
and nurtured by the private sector," said Chuma.

      "Issues of interest include movement of tourists across the border,
tourism development within the World Heritage sites and along the river, and
activities on the river, such as cruises, rafting and
      jet skiing."

      He said despite increased collaboration between Victoria Falls and
Livingstone, there were no immediate plans to twin the two towns.

      Chuma explained that the Four Corners Trans-boundary Natural Resources
Management Area initiative presented opportunities for trans-frontier
conservation and tourism development.

      He said Zambia continued to offer stiff competition to Zimbabwe's
tourism industry and their national park rates were lower than those in

      "There are opportunities for a better co-ordinated private
sector-driven marketing effort for the destination," said Chuma.

      He said another area of concern was the high road levies charged to
transfer operators into Botswana.
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Daily News

      DRC trade deal divides House on party lines

      12/4/2002 8:23:38 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      MDC Members of Parliament have demanded greater transparency in the
activities of Zimbabwe in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before
Parliament can ratify the Zimbabwe-DRC trade agreement.

      Debating the bilateral trade arrangements between Zimbabwe and the DRC
in Parliament last week, nearly a dozen opposition parliamentarians cast
doubt on the propriety of fast-tracking the ratification of the trade
agreement between the two countries amid numerous reports of plunder of
resources in the vast central African country by Zimbabwean government
officials and business people.

      The MPs said a number of contentious issues pertaining to the
agreement had to be ironed out first.

      In October the United Nations published a damning report on the how
senior officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces plundered the DRC's natural
resources under the pretext of arrangements set up to repay Zimbabwe for
military services. The report named several senior officials, among them
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, and the Speaker of Parliment, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, as the being involved in the shady deals.

      On 22 August, the DRC and the Zanu PF governments signed eight
Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), allegedly to facilitate legitimate
bilateral activities between the two countries.

      The MOUs, rolled into a unified trade agreement, came into force on 1
October, to regulate, among other issues, trade practices including
settlement and payment mechanisms, bilateral commercial exchange rates, and
customs and clearance procedures.

      For the trade agreement to be law in Zimbabwe, however, the
Constitution requires that approval on proposed arrangements should be given
by the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

      Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates: "Any
convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or
under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or
governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by

      Without such approval nor subsequent enactment into statute, bilateral
or multi-lateral arrangements shall not form part of the law of Zimbabwe.

      Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, last week moved a motion in Parliament for fulfilment of Section
111B of the Constitution in relation to the trade agreement signed by the
DRC and Zimbabwe.

      Tendai Biti (Harare East, MDC) said Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister
of Industry and International Trade, had failed to give an account of the
activities of Zimbabwean companies in the DRC.

      Mumbengegwi told Parliament three weeks ago that he was ignorant of
the activities of Zimbabwean companies since he was "promoted recently" to
the post of Industry and International Trade Minister.

      Such failure by the minister, compounded by the worrisome reports of
the nefarious activities of Zimbabwean officials and business people in the
DRC, said Biti, made it necessary for MPs to approach the trade agreement
issue with caution.

      "The government owes it to the people of Zimbabwe to disclose fully
the nature of business that has been taking place and whether or not the
people of Zimbabwe have benefited. In the interests of openness, before this
agreement is ratified there must be full and absolute disclosure of all our
activities in the DRC," he said.

      Trudy Stevenson (Harare North), Giles Mutsekwa (Mutare North),
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma),
Ringisai Chirovamhangu (Nyanga), Renson Gasela (Gweru Rural) and Job Sikhala
(St Mary's) (all MDC) all concurred on the position that fast-tracking the
ratification of the agreement would be unwise.

      Gasela said: "This agreement was placed in the pigeonholes two days
ago and it must be approved today. What is the hurry? What has been going on
between 1998 and the time you pulled out? You are attempting to cover up by
this agreement."

      However, a few other MPs supported the motion for the ratification of
the agreement. Walter Mutsauri (Bikita East), Kumbirai Kangai (Buhera South)
and Shadreck Chipanga (Makoni East) pledged their support for the agreement.

      Ignoring all concerns about Zimbabwe's turpitude in DRC operations,
Kangai said: "Members of Parliament who are patriotic and Pan-Africanists,
must support this agreement unless if you are a traitor of Zimbabwe."

      The bilateral agreement is yet to be ratified.
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From The Economist (UK), 28 November

The Zimbabwean model

The pros and cons of opting out of the global economy

Orthodox economists sometimes get it wrong. For example, when a government fixes the prices of various goods below what they cost to produce, and fails to provide the necessary subsidy to fill the gap, orthodox theory predicts that there will be empty shelves in the shops. But in Zimbabwe, this is not how things have turned out. Retailers there have indeed run out of all manner of price-controlled goods. But for some reason they can still get hold of toilet paper. So, instead of empty shelves, Zimbabwean shoppers encounter aisle upon aisle of roll upon roll, where the bread, sugar and oil used to be. Ignore, for a moment, the headlines about murder, torture and election-rigging. For an interesting economic experiment is being conducted in Zimbabwe. To the foes of globalisation, President Robert Mugabe's views are unexceptional. He argues that "runaway market forces" are leading a "vicious, all-out assault on the poor". He decries the modern trend of "banishing the state from the public sphere for the benefit of big business." What sets him apart from other anti-globalisers, however, is that he has been able to put his ideas into practice. In countries where the IMF calls the shots, governments have to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor. Having told the IMF to get stuffed, Mr Mugabe is free not to do this. The official estimate is that Zimbabwe's budget deficit will be about 14% of GDP this year; the government is frantically borrowing and printing money to cover the shortfall. Inflation is now 144%, and it is predicted to top 500% next year.

Mr Mugabe argues that price rises are caused by greedy businessmen. His solution is price controls. For the past year or so, these applied only to everyday essentials, such as bread and maize meal. Shops were ordered to sell such goods at fixed, low prices. Unfortunately, Mr Mugabe was right about those greedy businessmen. Rather than lose money, they stocked their shelves with toilet paper, or tried to dodge price controls by modifying their products. For example, since bread was price-controlled, bakers added raisins to their dough and called it "raisin bread", which was not on the list. Not to be outsmarted, on November 16th the government extended price controls to practically everything, from typewriters to babies' nappies. Some things have to be imported, however, and it is hard to prevent foreigners from profiteering. Mr Mugabe is anxious that petrol, for example, should be affordable; otherwise, people will not be able to get to work. A strong currency should help, so he has frozen the exchange rate for the past two years, and denounced as a "saboteur" anybody who suggests devaluation. Since Zimbabwe's inflation is a tad higher than America's, nobody wishes to surrender hard currency at the official rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one American dollar. The black market rate is several hundreds to one; the government blames speculators. To lay hands on foreign currency, Mr Mugabe has no choice but to rob exporters. Those whose products are bulky and hard to smuggle (tobacco farmers, for instance) must surrender half of their hard-currency proceeds to the government, which repays them in crisp new Zimbabwe dollars, at the official rate.

This is not nearly enough, however, to keep Zimbabwe supplied with petrol (the distribution of which is a state monopoly). So, this month, the finance minister announced a clampdown on the black market: all bureaux de change are to be shut. He also asked expatriate Zimbabweans to remit money home via the central bank, which will confiscate almost all of it. For some reason, they prefer informal channels, such as Internet-based firms that accept cash offshore and issue friends and relatives back in Zimbabwe with local currency or vouchers for supermarkets. For most problems, a coercive solution can be found. The government's debt-servicing costs are too high? Force financial institutions to buy treasury bills that yield far less than the rate of inflation. People are running out of food? Confiscate grain from those who have it ("hoarders") and distribute it at an artificially low price through a state monopoly grain distributor. Ordinarily, this would somewhat dampen commercial farmers' incentive to grow food. But since most of them have been driven off their land, what does it matter?

It would be nice to think that the rest of the world has nothing to learn from Zimbabwe. But Mr Mugabe has many admirers. His fellow Africans cheer his defiance of the old colonial powers. Namibia's government has promised a similar land-grab. South Africa, showing comparable paranoia about currency speculators, recently conducted a pointless investigation into whether banks had conspired to undervalue the rand. Globally, few policymakers favour going the full Mugabe, but many believe that a little bit of price-fixing won't hurt. Price supports for EU farmers, for example, persist because their governments are rich enough to keep subsidising them, and because the costs are spread across the entire population, who are often unaware that they are being fleeced. Influential charities argue that poor countries should also be paid a "fair" price for their products. Oxfam, for example, contends that the price of coffee is "too low" because multinationals manipulate it. The charity is campaigning for it somehow to be raised. It may seem harsh, when faced with the misery of an Ethiopian coffee farmer, to argue that it would be more efficient to let the price mechanism deliver its message ("Grow something else") unmuffled. But greater efficiency leads to greater wealth, and vice versa, as Zimbabwe so harrowingly shows. Nowhere has withdrawn so swiftly from the global economy, nor seen such a thorough reversal of neo-liberal policies. The results - an economy that has contracted by 35% in five years, and half the population in need of food aid - are hard to paper over.

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Zimbabwe court drops charges against journalists

HARARE, Dec. 4 - A privately owned newspaper in Zimbabwe said on Wednesday a
court had dropped charges brought against three of its journalists under
harsh new media laws.
       The three were charged with ''abuse of journalistic privileges by
publishing falsehoods'' under new laws critics say are designed to muzzle
opposition to President Robert Mugabe.

       The weekly Standard newspaper said in a statement that a Harare
magistrate had dropped charges against the three, calling the move a ''major
victory for press freedom in Zimbabwe.''
       The statement said the state had failed to come up with a trial date
during a remand hearing on Wednesday. All three were released on bail after
being charged in May.
       Standard Editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporters Farai Mutsaka and
Fungayi Kanyuchi were charged over a story that said policemen were
demanding sex from prostitutes caught soliciting on the streets and another
report that Mugabe's government had bought armoured vehicles from Israel.
       ''There was never any case at all. It was just sheer political
harassment and a waste of time and money on ourselves, the police and the
state,'' Chakaodza said in a statement.
       A former government spokesman and middle-level executive member of
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, Chakaodza was forced out as editor of the
state-run Herald newspaper in 2000 and became editor of the Standard earlier
this year.
       Last month Zimbabwe's Supreme Court reserved judgment on a challenge
by journalists against sections of the new media act, which they say
infringe their constitutional rights.
       Twelve journalists including the Standard newsmen have been charged
under the act, which critics say aims to curb the opposition in the face of
the worst political and economic crisis since Mugabe took power at
independence from Britain in 1980.
       The government says the law is necessary to restore ethics in the
private media, which it accuses of spreading Western propaganda against
Zimbabwe in retaliation for Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution among landless blacks.
       Under the act, Zimbabwe's information department has refused to renew
the work permit for the French news agency AFP's Harare bureau chief, a
Frenchman, and another American correspondent.

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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 12:09 GMT
Zimbabwe stocks defy crisis
Graph of Zimbabwe's stock market bubble
Zimbabwe's key stock market index has risen almost 15% so far this week, defying the country's wider political and economic chaos.

The Zimbabwe Industrial Index has been defying gravity this year, rising more than 100% between May and November.

"There are strategic stocks which are gaining progressively every single day on the basis that there is nothing else to buy," Geoffrey Mhlanga, chairman of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, told the BBC's World Business Report.

Shares and property have become almost the only viable investment option with the money markets a non-starter, he explained.

With annual inflation running at nearly 150%, and with interest rates fixed at well below this level, investors are left with few other choices of where to put their money.


In addition, some of the country's biggest companies are performing well, despite the fact that Zimbabwe is one of the fastest shrinking economies in the world.

The top 20 industrial firms have recently reported that profits are up by an average of 15% in US dollar terms.

Mr Mhlanga said that companies were managing to grow because consumer demand was strong, due to the fear of shortages ahead.

The runaway level of inflation also spurred both consumers and companies to buy sooner rather than later.

Budget blues

The only major dent in this year's stockmarket rally came after the November Budget.

The prospect of more tightly controlled markets caused stocks to plunge 30% in 10 trading days.

But this week has seen the rally re-emerge and start to win back the ground lost following the budget.

Despite the dramatic rises, the stock market is only keeping in line with inflation, meaning there are few real gains for people living in Zimbabwe

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04 Dec 2002
      We need corn, beans and medicine!
      Heinz Bitsch

      HELP - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V. - Germany
      Regions: Africa, Zimbabwe

      "The situation is getting worse every day", says Wolfgang Nierwetberg,
      Daily other help seeking people arrive at the mission. Totally
exhausted mothers with babys who are entirely emaciated. "Most of the babies
are even unable to cry anymore. They only whimper yet." "I haven't got milk
to give anymore", a mother worries. "The harvest was poor, we even had to
eat our seeds. In our village everyone is hungry."

      Mother and child - only two of 14 million people in the south of
Africa being threatened by famine. Empty grain depots, bleak fields, haggard
people. It is the most devastating disaster afflicting the region ever. Crop
failure aroused by torrential rain and followed by ongoing aridity is to
blame. The foot and mouth disease appearing last year and the violent
banishment of white farmers aggravated the situation dramatically. Only
until the end of the year 700.000 tons of urgent supplies are necessary for
the starving people in Zimbabwe to survive. On every day, worldwide, 18.000
girls and boys under the age of five die, because of hunger and
undernourishment. Also in Zimbabwe there is threatening a famine. Yet, the
starving have to eat roots and leafs. Of course that is not enough, but it
fills the stomach at least. Right now HELP is catering for about 3000
families distributing food and seeds. But there are so many more hungry
people waiting for urgent help.

      We want to extend our help to 10.000 families. With a donation of 50
Euros we are able to cater for five families during one month with corn,
beans and edible oil.
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe's missing millions

      Angus Shaw | Harare

      04 December 2002 14:35

An official population census counted 11,6-million people in Zimbabwe and
estimated nearly 3-million Zimbabweans are living outside the troubled
southern African nation, state radio reported on Wednesday.

Announcing what it called preliminary results of the August 17-27 census,
the radio said the population in the last census 10 years ago was
10,4-million people, when the population growth rate was 3,1% a year.

It quoted the state Central Statistical Office saying the new figure only
included people in the country during the 10-day count.

"Taking into consideration the number of people living outside the country,
the total population is estimated at about 14,5-million," the CSO said.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980. At least 6,7-million Zimbabweans face hunger in coming
weeks because of a sharp drop in farming production blamed on a drought and
the government's chaotic seizures of thousand of white-owned commercial
farms for handing over to black

Economic hardships, acute food and gasoline shortages and spiraling
unemployment and inflation, political violence and the farm seizures have
forced an exodus of Zimbabweans in the past 30 months.

At least 1-million are estimated to be living in neighbouring South Africa,
about 600 000 in Britain and many more are working or studying in Africa,
Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.

About half the nation's 60 000 whites in 2000 are estimated to have
emigrated. State radio said of the total population recorded in August,
about 6-million were female. Of all eight districts, the capital of
Harare had the largest population of 1,8-million.

About 676 000 people live in the second city of Bulawayo. Food and gas
shortages have left long lines outside shops and gas stations. At one
suburban shopping centre on Tuesday women protesters beat
cooking pots with spoons and corn meal porridge stirring sticks and yelled
slogans demanding the government improve food supplies for their hungry

Last week, the World Food Program said Zimbabwe needed to sharply increase
food imports and warned the country's humanitarian crisis was deteriorating
at "a dangerously rapid pace."

It said it failed to raise enough donor funds for food and faced a shortfall
of about 200 000 tons of cereals needed between now and March.

Government imports were also inadequate, it said. A shortage of hard
currency has crippled the government's ability to import food and buy the
fuel needed to distribute it.

With inflation expected to reach 200% by the end of the year and stores
depleted of corn, bread, milk and sugar, even Zimbabwean wage earners were
struggling to feed their families.

Wage earners do not qualify for food aid.

Unemployment has reached 60%. Tens of thousands of black farm workers and
their family members have lost their livelihood in farm seizures. In its
latest food security bulletin, the 14 nation Southern African Development
Community said Zimbabwe was among nations in the region facing shortages of
seeds, fertilisers and tractors and other drought power for ploughing.

It said Zimbabwe, once a regional bread basket, produced 500 000 tons of
corn this year, down from 1,8-million tons that more than met average
consumption in previous seasons.

The government so far imported 452 000 tons of grain this year and the WFP
had received about half the donor funds it appealed for.

For immediate needs, "an uncovered gap of 330 000 tons of maize remains to
be addressed," the bulletin said. - Sapa-AP

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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 16:58 GMT
Zimbabwe ends telecoms monopoly

TelOne will face competition for the first time

Zimbabwe's government has broken open its telecoms monopoly by granting a
licence to a second fixed line telephone company, TeleAccess.
"This comes as a great relief and gives us the opportunity to demonstrate
our ability to offer services to subscribers," TeleAccess chief executive
Daniel Shumba told BBC News Online.

State-owned TelOne has previously been the only supplier of fixed-line
services, but has been unable to keep up with demand.

More than 1 million people are thought to be on TelOne's waiting list, with
many people waiting for several months to be connected.

Only 2-2.5% of Zimbabwe's population have a connection to a fixed line
phone, and Mr Shumba said he hoped to raise this proportion significantly
within two years.

'Painful wait'

TeleAccess has been waiting more than a year to gain its licence from the

The granting of a licence also gives the green light to the creation of a
regional broadband network across 22 African countries, called Comesa.

TeleAccess won a tender to build the regional network, but had to first
prove that it was providing telecoms services within its home market.

Mr Shumba said that, after a painful wait, the regional network should be
rolled out by the middle of next year.

Mr Shumba is one of Zimbabwe's most flamboyant businessmen, entering the
telecoms market after retiring as an army officer in 1990.

Turnaround hopes

Zimbabwe's economy is one of the fastest shrinking in the world, and is
expected to contract by 10% this year.

The government is trying to sell-off 30% of state-owned TelOne in order to
raise cash, as part of a wider series of privatisations.

Despite the difficulties, Mr Shumba believes the firm will be able to make
money and has enough knowledge of the local market to compete with any
foreign firms that gain access through the state sell-off.

"We believe this economy will turn around and the businesses that are here
will reap a lot of positive results, irregardless of the fatigue we are
suffering now," he said.
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ZIMBABWE: Focus on women's lack of access to land

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 4 December (IRIN) - Sheila Makumbo, a former soldier popularly known as "Yondo Sister" counts herself among the lucky few women who have benefited from Zimbabwe's land reform programme.

She hit the headlines in local newspapers earlier this year when she had a bumper tobacco harvest, by small-scale commercial farming standards. She was allocated a 40 acre plot at Lifordia farm, 17-km west of the capital Harare, and has so far harvested 10 bales of burley tobacco.

However, Makumbo is frustrated that more women have not been given the opportunity. According to official figures, only about 16 percent of land redistributed by the government has gone to women.

President Robert Mugabe in 2000 promised that women, particularly those in female-headed households, would be given 20 percent of the total land identified for resettlement under the land reform programme.

"We had lobbied government to allocate us 35 percent but the figure was reduced and we eventually settled for the 20 percent," Abby Mgugu, director of the lobby group, Women and Land in Zimbabwe, told IRIN. "A policy document was crafted but it is painful that women did not get their quota."

She added: "Women operate in an extremely hostile policy framework and they are treated as secondary citizens in a country where they play a very vital role."

A study by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation found that, like in other developing countries, women in Zimbabwe do most of the agricultural work and tend to be more dependent on farming.

Approximately 80 percent of Zimbabwean women live in communal areas, where they constitute 61 percent of the farmers. Most are unpaid family workers and spend an average of 16 hours a day tending fields. Over half are the head of the household.

Their work includes preparing the land, planting, fertilising, weeding, harvesting, and marketing, in addition to household chores like fetching and preparing food, and caring for children.

In 1998, when Vice President Joseph Msika was a senior minister in charge of resettlement, he rejected women's demands that land permits be automatically registered in both spouses' names, and for land earmarked for redistribution to be offered to women heads of households and single unmarried women.

He said such moves would lead to the break up of families since they would accord women too much freedom.

Mgugu said the government's position has been disappointing given that it was a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

According to Article 14(g) of CEDAW: "State parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that women have equal treatment in agrarian reform as well as in land redistribution schemes."

The government was also a signatory to the Beijing Platform of Action, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Declaration and the African Charter on People's Rights, all upholding the status of women.

Mgugu said the conventions and declarations were merely morally rather than legally binding, leaving the government free to enact laws and policies contrary to the provisions of international agreements.

The Land Reform and Resettlement Implementation Plan provided for under the 16th amendment to the Constitution in 2000, did not make specific reference to gender in its call for land to be distributed equally among all Zimbabweans.

Analysts blame the lack of gender sensitivity on the government's preoccupation with ensuring its political survival at a time when Mugabe's grip on power was being challenged by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Critics have argued that proper policy formulation over land reform suffered as a result of the politicisation of the programme.

Mgugu bemoaned the government's lack of monitoring and enforcement strategies, and the lack of statistics on how women's land needs should be addressed. In addition, an audit being conducted by the Minister of Land Reform Flora Buka, has not paid any particular attention to women.

Instead, the government has maintained that women's rights lobbyists should have provided the information themselves.

"How could we go to collect data on farms that were deeply mired in violence, where most of that violence was against women?" Mgugu responded.

She said the violence that has accompanied the government's fast-track reforms - aimed at expropriating commercial farms for the benefit of landless Zimbabweans - was one factor that has frustrated women's efforts to acquire plots.

Because of the violence, many potential female beneficiaries of the redistribution programme have been afraid to apply or take up land in the few instances where they had been lucky enough to be approved for resettlement, Mgugu said. She also pointed out that the police have appeared unwilling to help.

"We received many reports of rape. Women were asked for sexual favours while at the same time, naturally, they could not stay in places where there were no sanitary facilities," Mgugu said. 

Activists have also noted the discriminiation against women contained in existing laws.

The civic organisation Kubatana said anti-women colonial land tenure arrangements have been perpetuated through the Communal Lands Act of 1982 and the Traditional Leaders Act of 2000. Under these laws, women in communal areas - where most rural Zimbabweans live - are still expected to depend on men for land, denying them tenure rights.

Even though Section 16 of the constitution stipulates that every citizen has an equal right to the ownership of property, another constitutional provision, Section 23, has allowed for discrimination against women under customary law.

It placed emphasis on customary considerations in the inheritance of land. In traditional Zimbabwean custom, when a husband died, the land he owned was supposed to be passed on to paternal descendants rather the wife of the deceased.

"Section 23 of the constitution should be amended to disallow discrimination against women. There should also be clear criteria for the allocation of land to women," Mgugu said.
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