The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Harrassment of Workers


Report of events at Sandown North Farm, Marula, Matabeleland South Province.6-8 February 2002


On Tuesday night our workers compound was attacked by a group of youths (known to our workers to be settlers from around the district), and all our workers were ordered out of the compound. They spent the night in the bush, including women with tiny babies.

We reported this to the police (Figtree) on Weds morning, and within four hours they were here to investigate. They did not come back to us after their "investigations" at the compound.

Last night (Weds evening) at about 9 p.m. there was a lot of noise from the compound, and shortly after that our workers all arrived at the back gate, having been thrown out of their housing again. Upon phoning the police then, we were told the issue was now political, and they (police) would not do anything. They told us to call the DA in Plumtree. We know from past experience that the DA's office in Plumtree is not neutral, and has sided with the "settlers" in the past. I phoned our MP, who contacted the police and got the same response.

We made makeshift housing in our shed for the workers and their families (There are more than 5 babes-in-arms amongst the people being treated in this way), but there was more trouble this morning (Thursday) with three workers claiming to have had money and/or goods stolen from them in the debacle last night. Calls for help to the police met with the usual excuse of "it is political, and we can do nothing".

The hassles continued this morning with our lodge security guard coming up to the homestead at about 9 a.m. to tell us that eight youths had entered the safari camp area, had smashed up some client trophies, and sent us a message to vacate the lodge immediately. They further ordered that we should immediately stop tending our paprika crop, and that if we wanted it we should uproot it and replant it on the other side of their perceived "boundary", the Marula road. They further said that anyone from this location wishing to proceed to the Solusi Road (our usual route to Bulawayo) would from now on require a Zanu PF card to pass that way.

Other workers families have arrived at the homestead during the day, saying they too have been ordered out of their housing. Reports have been coming in all day that the houses are being destroyed, by having the thatch grass pulled from the rooves, and all possessions thrown out into the bush. Again calls to the police (capitalisation purposely omitted) met with the plaintiff cry of "but it is political".

Of note here is that the farm Foreman, and the senior workshop mechanic have been left quite alone. They are both well-built and known in the area for not taking trouble from anyone.

Contact was made with local CFU leadership, who got hold of the Provincial police in Gwanda. We are told that they have ordered Figtree police to react, and arranged for the DA to come here tomorrow to try and defuse the situation.


We have the names of all 9 youths involved, and even the ID number of one of them, as he works for us. This should all come into use later, I'm sure.

The names of the alleged attackers are:

    Japhet Ncube (a former employee)

    Phuthuma Nkomo

    Bongani Samaphahla

    Japhet (surname unknown)

    Petros (Surname unknown)

    Thembinkosi (surname unknown)

    Mbongeni Mpofu

    Phineas Msebelo

    Takura Karonga



Friday Morning, 8 February 2002


Since I wrote this, we have had the DA here, together with the leader of the local WarVets association, Croft Ndlovu. They arrived at 6 p.m. Thursday, despite earlier arrangements they'd come on Friday morning. They were accompanied by the senior War-Vet settler on the property, and Japhet Ncube, one of the perpetratrators of yesterday's terror. The DA and Croft were very evasive about exactly what they were going to do. They blamed the troubles on ourselves "being too political" with our workers, and said the settlers were upset with some of our workers for not taking up their "allocated plots". The strange thing is those specific workers were the ones whose homes were AVOIDED during this attack. We were very confused once they left, as none of our complaints were specifically addressed.

The strangest part of our discussion was the repeated statements that we are all Zimbabweans, and we must work together to solve our problems, and that under the skin we are all the same, and the war vets have great respect for my father for his years of experience, and nobody wants a Rwanda-type situation to develop here. A very different line to that which has spewed from his mouth for the last two years. Perhaps the Day-Glo Orange Capitalised writing on the wall has been read, AND understood.


This morning we have had a couple of new threats. Our lodge has been re-visited, and the workers there told that today is their last day there. We have been informed that the new compound we are building will also be destroyed, as they expect the workers to move into the farm house with us. A report to the DA got a similar confusing response about not dealing with politics, only the "land issue".

If this is now being brushed off as politics, could someone who receives this please pass it on to an Election Observer, as perhaps they are the ones who needs to see/ hear what's going on.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
Future generations to inherit $210 billion debt

2/12/02 7:57:21 AM (GMT +2)
By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

The government’s insatiable appetite for funds has resulted in the country’s
domestic debt escalating to more than $210 billion - a debt the country’s
grandchildren will inherit.

The debt, for the period ending 25 January, stands at $210 036 900 000.

Analysts say the domestic debt will continue to escalate because of the
recent salary increments given to key sectors by the government in a clear
bid to woo their vote for President Mugabe, the Zanu PF candidate in next
month’s presidential election. Mugabe is in real danger of being unseated by
Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.

Civil servants, the army, the secret service, as well as chiefs and headmen
were recently given hefty salary increments.

The government claimed the increases were long overdue.

The presidential election campaign has also been cited as a major
contributor to the escalating domestic debt.

Economists predict that the debt will soar and reach at least $300 billion
by the end of March, when the election campaign ends.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last Friday admitted that the domestic
debt had risen above $210 billion.

The debt is ballooning at an average rate of $8 billion every week as at 18
January, when it overshot the $200 billion mark, reaching $202 210 100 000.

This was the first time that the figure had surpassed the $200 billion mark
since independence in 1980.

Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in his
2002 National Budget Statement to Parliament, told Zimbabweans that the
government needed to begin several cost-cutting measures if it was ever to
wipe out the huge debt.

Makoni said the government had undertook to restructure the domestic debt so
that at least 30 percent became medium to long-term and not more than 70
percent in short-term debt.

He, however, said economic activity would seriously deteriorate this year,
resulting in further hardships on the already suffering electorate.

The RBZ said while lending to banks had increased, lending to the government
had declined.

Economists say as long as the RBZ remains a “government handout machine”,
the domestic debt would continue to soar.

Zimbabwe is also saddled with a foreign debt of at least US$700 million
(Z$38,5 billion) as at December, 2001.

Failure to repay this debt has resulted in major international organisations
such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund withdrawing
crucial balance of payments support.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Zimbabwe bars US senator ahead of polls

2/12/02 7:53:31 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter

THE government has withdrawn United States Senator Russ Feingold’s visa to
travel to Zimbabwe, effectively banning the senator from visiting the
country ahead of next month’s presidential election.

Feingold is a member of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee Africa

He was due to visit Zimbabwe later this month as part of his visit to
southern Africa, but the government revoked his travel permit six days after
it was granted by the Zimbabwean embassy in Washington DC.

In Zimbabwe, Feingold intended to assess the political situation in the
run-up to the presidential election scheduled for 9 and 10 March.

“Clearly, the government of Zimbabwe believes it has something to hide,”
Senator Feingold said in a statement issued in Washington.

“It is certainly disappointing that the government of Zimbabwe has chosen to
revoke my visa and to deny official visitors access to the country during
this critical pre-election period.”

A letter revoking the visa allegedly said the travel permit had been revoked
“because the time of this visit is not suitable.”

The withdrawal of Feingold’s visa comes after President Mugabe barred
observers from Britain from coming to assess next month’s election.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

NCA takes Mugabe to court over draft constitution

2/12/02 7:49:24 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter

THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) on Tuesday last week filed a High
Court application seeking to force President Mugabe and his government to
accept its draft constitution.

Court papers filed in the High Court cited President Mugabe as the first
respondent, and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
Patrick Chinamasa, as the second respondent. In his founding affidavit, NCA
chairman Lovemore Madhuku, says his organisation is seeking an audience with
Mugabe to hand him the draft constitution for consideration by the

Since December, the NCA has unsuccessfully tried to meet Mugabe through
Chinamasa. Madhuku said the government’s refusal to receive the draft
constitution is unconstitutional.

He said: “By denying the NCA, which is working on the instructions of all
stakeholders, an opportunity to meet and hand its draft constitution to the
government through the president, on the pretext that NCA’s ideas are
inimical to the interests of the government, the government is violating
section 23 of the constitution, which prohibits discrimination of anyone on
a plethora of grounds that include political opinion.”

Madhuku said the government’s action was in breach of Section 20 of the
Constitution which safeguards freedom to receive and impart ideas without
State interference.

Meanwhile, the NCA said it would stage peaceful mass processions in Mutare,
Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Gweru on Friday.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Soldiers beat up Zanu PF youths

2/12/02 7:51:24 AM (GMT +2)
From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo

SOLDIERS deployed in strife-torn Nkayi district recently beat up scores of
green-uniformed Zanu PF youths in retaliation for earlier attacks on their

The youths, trained under a contentious national youth service
programme, reportedly beat up off-duty soldiers last week at a popular night
spot in Nkayi business centre, suspecting they were MDC supporters,
witnesses said.

Several soldiers were hospitalised at Nkayi General Hospital after the
assaults, but were later discharged.

The soldiers took their revenge last Saturday, raiding several camping areas
of the youth brigade, who have been campaigning for President Mugabe’s
re-election ahead of the 9-10 March presidential poll, often violently.

The official police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment on the
clashes. But the reports were confirmed by junior police officers in Nkayi
and Hwange, the Matabeleland North police headquarters.

Abednico Bhebhe, the MP for Nkayi, on Sunday confirmed the clashes in his

He said calm had returned to the area, confirming the army action had scared
some of the youths into abandoning their camps. Bhebhe said the army
intervention had put a stop to the systematic repression of Mugabe’s

“In a way, people are grateful to the army because they were being subjected
to routine attacks by these youths who, under the cover of national service,
are now being used as pawns by Zanu PF,” said Bhebhe.

Hundreds of youths camped in the Magazi area, outside Nkayi along the Mvuma
road, fled when soldiers raided the area.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
CIO agents visit MDC mayoral candidate

2/12/02 8:25:43 AM (GMT +2)
Municipal Reporter

THREE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers last week visited the
Seke home of Misheck Shoko, the MDC candidate for the Chitungwiza mayoral
election on 9 to 10 March.

Shoko, a war veteran and senior master at Seke One High School, will contest
the election against incumbent mayor, Joseph Macheka, whose candidature has
been endorsed by the Zanu PF politburo.

On Sunday, Shoko said three CIO agents, driving a white truck, arrived at
his Unit G home and identified themselves.

“They said they wanted my curriculum vitae. They left a number and said I
should phone them,” said Shoko.

“When I phoned them the following day, they said they wanted a copy of my
profile and to ascertain whether I was indeed a Zimbabwean.”

He said the man who answered the phone identified himself as Munemo and said
it was routine procedure to get the details of people running for public

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Press Release: 13 February 2002

Allegations that Tsvangirai plotted to assassinate Mugabe false.

The Movement for Democratic Change has received information that an Australian television station intends to air a documentary in which it claims that the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, plotted to assassinate president Mugabe ahead of the forthcoming presidential election. The documentary in question has not yet been made available to us and we have not seen its exact contents. While the MDC president finds it undesirable to dignify these unfortunate allegations by commenting on them, the point has to be made that the MDC president has no plan, desire or motive to eliminate president Mugabe. The MDC president believes in a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power through the ballot box. It is for this reason that the MDC has nominated him to stand as the party candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. The MDC president does not wish to be diverted from the central objective of seeking to complete the change for a better life for all Zimbabweans though participating in, and winning the forthcoming election. This assassination story is similar to other stories that have been run both inside and outside the country at the instigation, involvement and political machinations of the ruling party. Some of the stories in this category include the allegations that MDC is planning war in Zimbabwe, that MDC has assured the British government that David Coltart, an MDC legislator, will be appointed the country’s vice president if MDC wins the election, that MDC is behind the so called biological warfare against Zanu PF, that MDC was behind South Africa’s biggest bank robbery recently. The list is endless. The people of Zimbabwe are now tired of these baseless stories. The people want to hear political leaders and competitors talk about the looming food shortages, joblessness, the sky rocketing of prices of basic commodities, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, funding of tertiary education and many other key issues of the day worrying the toiling masses. This is where the MDC president will continue to focus his energy and attention during the next few days as the nation draws closer to this make or break election.

Learnmore Jongwe

Secretary, Information and Publicity

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 17:59 GMT
Mugabe 'assassination' tape denied
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai said there was no truth to the allegations

The opposition candidate in Zimbabwe's crucial presidential elections next month has strongly denied allegations made in an Australian television documentary that he discussed a plan to assassinate his rival, President Robert Mugabe.

The film purports to show Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change, talking about the elimination of President Mugabe.

The eight minutes of edited film was part of a one-hour documentary.

The video, which appears to have been filmed secretly, shows four men in a room discussing political scenarios in Zimbabwe.

'Smear campaign'

The SBS Dateline programme said it was a meeting between representatives of a political consultancy in Canada and a man described in the film as, "the MDC's top man".

Robert Mugabe
The MDC claims Mr Mugabe's party is trying to discredit Mr Tsvangirai

However, the black and white film is of poor quality and the identities of the men cannot be seen.

In it, the figure said to be Mr Tsvangirai describes the procedure in the country immediately after "the head of state has been eliminated".

Mr Tsvangirai has reportedly dismissed the charges as a crude smear campaign and says that there is no truth to them.

His MDC party issued a press release saying that this assassination story is similar to numerous other baseless stories put out, it says, at the instigation of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe opposition leader accused of plotting to assassinate Mugabe

An Australian television station has accused Zimbabwe's main opposition leader of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

SBS television's Dateline programme aired a secretly filmed meeting in which the station says Morgan Tsvangirai discussed plans to take power in a coup.

The President of the Movement for Democratic Change says the allegations are contrived.

He has refused to comment further, but opposition spokesman Learnmore Jongwe says Mr Tsvangirai has no plan desire or motive to eliminate President Mugabe.

He said: "The MDC president believes in a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power through the ballot box."

According to the television report, Mr Tsvangirai also discussed plans for a smooth transition in Zimbabwe at the meeting at a political consultancy firm in Montreal, Canada.

The firm says it is working for the Zimbabwean government, according to the report.

The surveillance tape, which Dateline said was shot December 4, shows an aerial view of four men sitting around a boardroom table. However, the black and white picture is grainy and the faces of the men including the one named as Mr Tsvangirai were largely obscured.

According to the report Tsvangirai had previously asked the consultants to assassinate President Mugabe in exchange for money and the promise of future government contracts.

The opposition says the story is part of an ongoing government smear campaign against the party.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Canadian firm accuses Zimbabwe opposition leader of plotting to kill Mugabe


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb. 13 — Zimbabwe's main opposition leader was
involved in a plot to assassinate or overthrow President Robert Mugabe, a
consulting firm with ties to the Zimbabwean government said Wednesday.
       An official at Dicksen & Madson said he secretly taped a meeting with
Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, where they discussed removing Mugabe from power. Tsvangirai was
apparently unaware of the firm's connection to Mugabe.
       The grainy footage was broadcast on Australian television Wednesday
       Tsvangirai told The Associated Press the tape was ''contrived.''
       He refused to comment further, but opposition spokesman Learnmore
Jongwe said Tsvangirai ''has no plan, desire or motive to eliminate
President Mugabe. The MDC president believes in a peaceful and
constitutional transfer of power through the ballot box.''
       A presidential election is scheduled for March 9-10. Tsvangirai poses
the greatest challenge to Mugabe's 22-year rule since Zimbabwe gained
independence from Britain in 1980. Mugabe has become increasingly unpopular
amid the collapse of his country's economy and political violence against
opposition supporters.
       A man representing Tsvangirai's party approached Dicksen & Madson in
November, said Ari Ben-Menashe, the firm's president.
       The opposition officials appeared unaware the firm had done work for
Mugabe's government for ''a few years'' and believed it had connections to
assassins, Ben-Menashe said. It is currently representing the government as
       At two meetings in London, Tsvangirai raised the subject of
assassinating Mugabe and arranging a coup d'etat, said Ben-Menashe, who
attended the meetings. He said he had an audio tape of one of those
       A third meeting was arranged in Montreal with a hidden camera that
secretly taped the proceedings, he said.
       That tape aired Wednesday on SBS television's ''Dateline'' program.
It showed an aerial view of four men sitting around a boardroom table. The
black-and-white picture was grainy and the faces of the men — including the
one identified as Tsvangirai — were largely obscured.
       ''The MDC, represented by the top man who's sitting here right now,
commits to ... the coup d'etat or the elimination of the president,''
Ben-Menashe said on the tape.
       During the meeting, the man identified as Tsvangirai expressed
concern the military might take over if Mugabe was ''eliminated.''
       But he also expressed hope ''the MDC on the one hand and the army on
the other can work together to ensure a smooth transition toward democracy
through the electoral process, even if it means delaying the election.''
       The opposition said the story was part of an ongoing government smear
campaign intended to distract people from the important issues of
joblessness, AIDS and food shortages.
       The Zimbabwean government did not immediately comment on the
accusation. Under security laws passed last month acts of ''insurgency,
banditry, sabotage or terrorism'' carry a penalty of life imprisonment.
       Zimbabwe has been wracked by political violence over the past two
years that human rights workers, opposition officials and international
observers blame mainly on ruling party thugs' efforts to intimidate
opposition supporters in advance of the election.
       Tsvangirai himself has been the target of several violent attacks
blamed on ruling party henchmen.
       (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Bishops call for end to violence

Harare - Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday called for an end to
political violence in the run-up to next month's presidential elections.

"We... strongly call upon our government to use the organs and institutions
of the state to bring about true peace and harmony as we move towards the
presidential and mayoral elections in March 2002," the nine bishops said in
a pastoral letter published on Wednesday.

"We also call upon all parties to refrain from acts of intimidation,
violence or any anti-social activities that diminish peace," the bishops

According to an AFP tally, at least 19 people have been reported killed in
politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe since December 24 as the country
prepares for key presidential polls due on March 9-10.

The MDC claims more than 90 of its supporters have been killed since it came
to prominence ahead of parliamentary elections in June 2000.

Media urged to report objectively

Political violence has surged ahead of the March election, in which
President Robert Mugabe is seeking to extend his 22-year rule.

The bishops also urged the media to report events objectively to "facilitate
national dialogue, tolerance, peace and unity".

They said political leaders must make "a positive contribution to peaceful
free and fair elections by addressing themselves to the real issues of
governance, land redistribution, high cost of living, unemployment,
corruption, health delivery services, education and find proper ways to
strengthen our economy".

The bishops have in the past year denounced lawlessness and the intimidation
of journalists and judges.

Last year they issued one of their harshest criticism of Mugabe's government
during the land reform campaign that was often violent in nature.

Mugabe is Catholic, Jesuit-educated and was married in the Catholic
church. - Sapa-AFP

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 15:03 GMT
Meagre harvest in Zimbabwe
Sign warning intruders off a farm claimed by so-called 'war veterans'
Off limits: Farm takeovers have slashed grain output
After a year in which farms have stopped planting, yields have shrunk, and the land reassignment programme has left thousands of families facing hunger, Zimbabweans could be forgiven for thinking the agricultural outlook could not get much worse.

But new statistics from the Grain Producers' Association suggest that this year's harvest could be even more meagre than expected.

Retail maize prices
GMB official price:
Jan '02 quoted price:
Source: Official exchange rate: Z$55=US$1 Real exchange rate: ca Z$300=US$1
In previous years, Zimbabwe has produced about 2m tonnes of maize, which when milled produces mealie meal - the basis for sadza, a porridge which forms the staple diet for most Zimbabweans.

Broadly speaking, that matched the annual demand.

But in 2001, maize production fell to just 1.4m tonnes, prompting fears - now being realised - that hunger could be on the way.

And according to reports from the UN's IRIN news service, the GPA now believes that the 2002 harvest, due to start at the same time as the presidential election in March - could struggle to top even 1m tonnes.

Empty shelves

The result: shops are starved of mealie meal, and have been for weeks. More than 600,000 Zimbabweans are registered as requiring urgent help from the World Food Programme.

And with inflation topping 100% a year, millions are now finding themselves barely able to buy even the basic staples.

Maize prices have more than doubled since October 2001.

Other commodities such as cooking oil are under government price controls - leading to a thriving black market, but also to factory closures as a rampaging exchange rate combines with inflation to make production uneconomic.

Unnatural selection

According to local experts, there are two main reasons for the poor harvest - one natural, the other man-made.

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe
Watershed elections for President Mugabe will coincide with a poor harvest
On the one hand, the west of Zimbabwe has been experiencing rains well below average, hitting productivity, while torrential downpours in some eastern areas have drowned the crop.

And price controls on fertiliser have led many manufacturers to susend its production, further undermining agricultural output - especially by subsistence farmers.

But even if - despite the poor weather - output climbs to an average of about 1.1 tonnes per hectare, production overall is unlikely to top last year's.

The reason? Wholesale land seizures of white-owned farms over the past few years have slashed commercial maize production, while shifting black workers off those farms has cut into subsistence farming and left their families going hungry.

Subsistence farming by war veterans who have moved onto the land is patchy at best, and in any case results in yields four or five times lower than commercial farming.

National grain reserves are now down to 10,000 tonnes, just two days' consumption, according to government offficials quoted in the state-owned Herald newspaper.


Accusing private - needless to say white - farmers of hoarding grain, the government last year nationalised sales through the state Grain Marketing Board.

Commercial maize planting
1999-2000: 150,000ha
2000-2001: 68,000ha
2001-2002: 40,000ha
The GMB has been importing through commercial tenders, and is hoping to have as much as 4,600 tonnes coming into the country every day.

Meanwhile, it has been raiding farms where it says grain is being hoarded, amid reports in the Herald that white farmers are trying to starve the black majority.

But in the only documented case - at the Forresters Estate in northeast Zimbabwe - claims of hoarding have been proved false.

Forrester is owned by a German company, and officials at the German Embassy in Zimbabwe told BBC News Online that the 6,000 tonnes stored there was entirely legal and, moreover, well known to the GMB.

The estate, the officials said, was covered by a Zimbabwe-Germany investment agreement; the grain was being kept for farm workers, as well as some yellow maize for animal feed; and in any case the GMB was in arrears in paying for the last load it bought.

Outside help

As for the tenders, the government is hoping to bring in 200,000 tonnes by May, according to agriculture minister Joseph Made.

A farmer taking chickens to market
112% inflation is driving up the cost of produce
But the exact requirements will not be known until investigations on the ground are complete, he said, a process which could take three weeks or more.

Transport is proving problematic too. Getting the grain up from the sole South African border crossing at Beit Bridge in the south to Harare, the western town of Bulawayo and beyond is reliant on Zimbabwe's shaky rail network.

In any case, the country is starved of foreign exchange, making brokers unwilling to deal even with the government in anything but hard cash.

Regional shortages

And grain prices in the region are at 10-year highs due to widespread shortages.

South Africa was the only country to turn a modest surplus last year.

And with demand from all its neighbours skyrocketing - Malawi is now warning of children dying from starvation-related illnesses - even South Africa is now importing maize from the US.

"The [Zimbabwean] government have pretty much mismanaged the tendering process," one Harare-based economist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BBC News Online.

"There's very little on the way. For months they denied there was a need to import, and by the time the government changed its tune most of it was allocated."

What is coming into the country is being allocated through government channels.

NGOs including the World Food Programme are trying to help, but the government is reluctant to allow them to operate because control of the food supply is seen as important ahead of the presidential elections in March.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Fleeing Zimbabweans find cold welcome in Britain

LONDON, Feb. 13 — Hundreds of Zimbabweans fleeing to Britain after threats
and beatings by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
are finding themselves whisked back home or into British jails, Zimbabwean
exiles said on Wednesday.

       ''Most people coming from Zimbabwe are ignorant of the asylum
procedures,'' Zimbabwean Brighton Chireka told Reuters. ''They arrive
without visas because they have been told that as Zimbabwe is part of the
Commonwealth they don't need them.
       ''Most are turned down and sent straight back the same day, before
they can get to learn about the asylum procedures, and so the British can
still say they are not sending back people who have applied for asylum,'' he
added. ''This is happening daily.''
       The British government last month suspended deportation of
Zimbabweans who had applied for but failed to be granted asylum because they
risked violence if they were sent back. But those who do not even apply
still risk being sent straight back home.
       A Home Office spokeswoman said on Wednesday there were no recent
details on the numbers of people turned back at the port of entry who had
never entered the asylum process.
       More than 100 people -- mostly black supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- have been killed in two years of
political violence as Mugabe seeks to extend his 22 years in power in
elections next month.
       Most of the attacks and invasions of the country's white- owned
commercial farms have been carried out by self-styled veterans of the former
Rhodesia's war to end white minority rule and win independence from colonial
power Britain.

       Official figures show that at the end of December 106 Zimbabweans
were in detention in Britain, of whom 90 were seeking asylum.
       Bornwell Chitambo, a head teacher and supporter of the MDC, fled to
Britain at the end of July after months of threats and several beatings at
his school in the eastern city of Mutare.
       He was told his application had been rejected because he should have
fled earlier if he was really afraid and in any case should have gone to
neighbouring Mozambique, and because the ''war veterans'' did not pose a
serious threat to him.
       He spent the next three months in detention and was only released at
the end of November on bail arranged for him by the fledgling Zimbabwe
Asylum Seekers Association set up in October and already with 200 cases on
its books.
       Chitambo, who is still waiting for his asylum hearing, said he is
convinced Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation secret police will kill
him if he returns.
       ''The CIO knows where I am. To go back to Zimbabwe now would be to
commit suicide,'' he said.
       Fellow Zimbabwean, musician Blessed Chipatiko, has been held in
Tinsley House immigration detention centre near Gatwick airport since he
arrived in mid-July.
       ''My case was dismissed. They did not give me a reason. I appealed
and got a new lawyer. But on January 11 they took me to the airport to try
to send me back. My lawyer showed them papers proving my MDC membership so
they didn't send me back,'' he said.
       ''They know that if I go back they will kill me. When those guys are
looking for you it is not just to torture you. You will disappear. I cannot
go back,'' said Chipatiko who was beaten for two days in a Harare jail
before fleeing.
       ''When I fled here from Zimbabwe I didn't expect the treatment I have
received. I am shocked at how I have been treated. The only difference is
that here they are not trying to kill me,'' he added.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


S.Africa minister sees Zimbabwe hitting Africa aid

CAPE TOWN, Feb. 13 — A senior South African minister acknowledged on
Wednesday that the country's handling of the political crisis in Zimbabwe
could influence support for an African recovery plan being driven by
President Thabo Mbeki.
        ''It is a top priority for us that...southern Africa and the
continent must be seen to support firmly credible processes of elections,''
Mosiuoa Lekota, minister of defence and chairman of the ruling African
National Congress, told reporters and diplomats in Cape Town.
       Mbeki has been criticised at home and abroad for his moderate
reaction to the political violence in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe is seeking to extend his 22-year rule in March 9-10 elections.
       Lekota said the international community would judge Africa on its
commitment to peace and democracy and would support the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) accordingly.
       ''To the extent that we are seen not to be serious, we will not be
able to inspire countries of the north to contribute to what we are trying
to do,'' he said.
       Although Mbeki has called for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, he
has refused to publicly condemn Mugabe, to discuss the consequences of a
rigged poll or to consider personal sanctions against Mugabe and his inner
       Lekota, one of the most independent-minded members of Mbeki's cabinet
and a potential successor, said the majority view of election observers in
Zimbabwe should determine whether the election is considered free and fair.
       ''The process has to be credible,'' he said, adding this would depend
on ''whether people were allowed to campaign as they should, whether levels
of intimidation...were such that it can be said that voters expressed
       But Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said at the same briefing that
events in Zimbabwe should not affect international support for NEPAD.
       ''We have made it clear that events in Zimbabwe or any other country
cannot be the basis on which people support the NEPAD programme,'' he said.
       Mugabe has condoned the violent seizure by blacks of white-owned
farms and the intimidation of opposition Movement for Democratic Change
supporters ahead of next month's poll.
       Zimbabwe and the European Union were on Wednesday locked in a
diplomatic tussle over the registration of EU election observers after a
Zimbabwean state-controlled newspaper accused the Europeans of arrogance and
       (Parliament newsroom +27-21-4032502, e-mail
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe opposition leader held briefly at airport

HARARE, Feb. 13 — Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was held
briefly at Harare airport on Tuesday after being accused of using false
travel documents, an opposition official said on Wednesday.
       ''Mr Tsvangirai was held for 20 minutes at the airport by state
agents. They said he had lost his passport and was using a false travel
document, but they found that he did have his passport and let him go,''
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore Jongwe told
       Zimbabwe immigration officials said Tsvangirai's passport was only
taken for a few minutes as part of routine immigration control checks.
       ''We simply asked for his passport. If we ask for your passport for
two minutes is that detaining you?'' one official said.
       Although Tsvangirai's detention was brief, it adds to fears that the
government is increasing its harassment of the opposition in efforts to
frustrate Tsvangirai's bid to end President Robert Mugabe's 22-year rule in
presidential elections on March 9-10.
       The incident came a day after the government rejected Swedish
diplomat Pierre Schori as head of a European Union election observer team,
increasing concern in opposition ranks that the electoral process is being
       The MDC says more than 100 people have been killed in the last two
years in violence triggered by the invasion of white-owned farms in February
2000 by militants loyal to Mugabe's government.
       A leading human rights group said last week 16 politically motivated
murders were recorded in January, the highest monthly toll since it began
logging incidents two years ago. The group said 13 were MDC members.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Yahoo News

Zimbabwe daily slams EU "arrogance"
By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's state-controlled daily newspaper has accused
the European Union of arrogance and bullying and vows the government will
never accredit the Swedish head of the EU election observers.
The blistering editorial in the Herald on Wednesday, whose views normally
reflect those of President Robert Mugabe's government, is likely to tighten
the deadlock over leadership of the European team, whose mission is to help
ensure March 9-10 presidential elections are free and fair.
The government rejected Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori as head of the EU
team after his arrival on Monday, feeding fears in opposition ranks that the
electoral process is being rigged.
Schori told Reuters on Wednesday that the row over his accreditation had not
yet been resolved. "It has not changed much. We are still waiting for
clarification on how the government views our mission," he said.
The opposition's concern increased when Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai was accused of using false travel documents and
held briefly at Harare airport on Tuesday, MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe
said on Wednesday.
"Mr Tsvangirai was held for 20 minutes at the airport by state agents. They
said he had lost his passport and was using a false travel document, but
they found that he did have his passport and let him go," Jongwe told
Though brief, his detention adds to fears that the government is increasing
its harassment of the opposition in an effort to frustrate Tsvangirai's bid
to end Mugabe's 22-year rule in the elections.
On Wednesday, the Herald repeated the government line that Schori was
welcome to Zimbabwe as a tourist and should be welcomed like "those tourists
who have a passion to watch elections as those who want to look at
"The self-imposed head of the EU electoral observer team now in Harare will
not be accredited because he was never invited by Zimbabwe," the Herald
The Herald said Zimbabwe had the sovereign right to invite whoever it wanted
to observe the presidential election and the EU had no right to validate or
criticise the poll.
"A big bully with astonishing arrogance is what the European Union has
become to Zimbabweans," the editorial said.
"The EU is so desperate to observe our presidential election that it is not
ashamed to make ridiculous and provocative claims and is also threatening to
impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if we say no to its demands."
But the private Daily News said the government's behaviour suggested it had
something to hide during the elections.
In an editorial headlined "Little to be gained from this strutting and
posturing," the Daily News said the government seemed to be doing its
"damnedest to court the wrath of the international community."
In London, the head of a Commonwealth observer mission to the elections,
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, told Reuters his 40-strong team would have an
impact although it would not reach full strength until two weeks before the
"No matter how many people you get on an observer mission you cannot really
supervise all the polling stations," he said. "But the mere fact that your
presence is known will certainly make an impact."
Mugabe has already banned citizens of former colonial power Britain from the
EU team, which will eventually number about 150 observers.
This week it emerged that Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge had pointedly failed
to invite representatives from five other members of the 15-nation EU --
Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The EU has threatened sanctions and warned it will freeze the assets in EU
member states of Mugabe's family and inner circle and bar them from travel
to the European bloc unless Harare allows the deployment of EU observers.
But in the past six months of increasingly tense relations with the EU,
Mugabe has yet to blink, doling out concessions after ignoring ultimatums.
Diplomats in Harare were watching closely to see how the row over Schori,
Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations and a former minister, would
The signs were that Brussels was ready to avoid confrontation in order to
ensure EU observers were deployed.
In Australia the government-funded Special Broadcasting Service broadcast a
video it said showed Tsvangirai, at a meeting in Montreal in December with a
political consultancy firm, discussing a plot to assassinate Mugabe.
The MDC strongly denied the allegations, made in the programme "Dateline",
and said in a statement issued in Harare "...the MDC president has no plan,
desire or motive to eliminate President Mugabe."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


50 SA observers for Zim poll

Johannesburg - South Africa will not intervene in the ongoing dispute
between the Zimbabwean government and the European Union over the EU's
observer rights in that country's upcoming elections.

Leader of the South African observer mission Sam Motsuenyane on Tuesday said
that relations between Zimbabwe and the EU "is really outside the purview of
our interests".

"We won't intervene in any way at this stage where there is a problem."

He was responding to questions during a media briefing ahead of the
departure by the first group of the 50-member strong delegation to witness
Zimbabwe's preparations for the elections on March 9 and 10.

Motsuenyane said the South Africans believed a free and fair presidential
election was still possible in Zimbabwe.

South Africa would deploy its members at various parts of the country so as
to be in a position to operate in a non-partisan manner but "would not run
the elections there".

Motsuenyane rejected suggestions that the South African mission was being
funded by the EU, saying the funds had come from various South African

He said the South Africans had been invited by Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe to be there as soon as possible.

"Our purpose as an observer mission is to ensure that the proper conditions
exist for Zimbabwe to hold substantially free and fair presidential
elections, despite the problems that country has been experiencing."

It was imperative that Zimbabweans were able to speak through the ballot
box, he added.

According to Motsuenyane, South Africa would use its own election
experiences which showed that even under conditions of extreme turmoil, a
relatively free and fair election could be conducted.

Motsuenyane is among the first batch of 13 observers scheduled to depart on
Wednesday. Two other teams will join them on February 20 and March 3

The mission comprises representatives from various sectors, including trade
unions, business, religious and youth.

In addition, judges Digkang Moseneke and Sisi Kampepe will serve with a
specific judicial observer mission and will report to President Thabo Mbeki
on whether there had been substantial due compliance with the Zimbabwean
Constitution and electoral laws.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Foreign observers sidelined before Zimbabwe poll

HARARE, Feb. 13 — With only 24 days to go before Zimbabwe's presidential
polls, analysts said on Wednesday that the contribution of foreign observers
to making the elections free and fair is likely to be marginal at best.

        Invoking national sovereignty, President Robert Mugabe has spent
much of the past six months resisting pressure to admit large teams of
observers for the March 9-10 vote.
       Britons are banned completely. No Americans are expected, certainly
none who have built expertise during the past 10 years of multi-party
elections in Africa. Danes and Swedes, normally among the first to be
invited as disinterested election observers, have been told they are
       The high-profile absences will put pressure on some 80 South African
observers arriving this week with a mandate from their government to help
ensure the polls in their troubled neighbour are ''free and fair.''
       ''The government has clearly acted in a way to delay the arrival of
international election observers, to limit their number and to ensure that
they move around the country as little and as late as possible,'' a senior
Western diplomatic source told Reuters.
``A lot now hinges on South Africa,'' the source said. BETTER LATE THAN
       Next month's election is set to be the closest since Zimbabwe's
independence from Britain in 1980. Mugabe has been in charge since then but
has no room for complacency against Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
       The MDC says the late admission of selected groups of observers is
part of the ruling ZANU-PF's strategy to grab an unfair victory at the
       In model elections, observers arrive far in advance with unfettered
access to voter rolls and registration. They deploy nationwide to monitor
the integrity of voting and counting and are on hand when results are
       The case of Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori has underlined how far
apart Zimbabwe and the European Union are on the issue.
       ''A big bully with astonishing arrogance is what the European Union
has become to Zimbabweans,'' The Herald newspaper, which reflects
govermnment views, said on Wednesday.
       ''The EU is so desperate to observe our presidential election that it
is not ashamed to make ridiculous and provocative claims and is also
threatening to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if we say no to its demands,''
it said in an editorial.
       The government has refused to accredit Schori as head of the EU
observer team, whose number is due to reach 150 by election day. The EU had
already made concessions to get this far.
       It accepted the exclusion from the observer team of Britons, barred
on the grounds that they personify the former colonial power and Prime
Minister Tony Blair -- accused by Zimbabwe of siding with white farmers and
trying to topple Mugabe.
       Then the EU was told not to pick observers from Denmark, Finland,
Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, five countries which have heavily
criticised Mugabe over human rights issues and the seizure of farmland from
       The Schori stand-off was unresolved on Wednesday and the EU observers
were not due to deploy until Friday.
       African election specialists from the United States, such as the
Carter Centre and the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES),
have not been invited to observe.
       The only U.S. group publicly to receive an invitation from the
government, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP), doesn't do election observation.
       ''As long as observers are hand-picked by Mugabe they might as well
not come here,'' Professor Masipula Sithole, a political scientist at the
University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters.
       ''I welcome the way the EU is handling the Schori case. They should
stand on their principle,'' he said.
       Ironically Britain was also banned by Mugabe from the observer team
sent by the Commonwealth, the 54-nation club composed mainly of former
British colonies. By Wednesday there were only eight Commonwealth observers
in the country.
       The head of what is planned to become a 40-strong mission, former
Nigerian head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said in London his team
would make an impact.
       ''No matter how many people you get on an observer mission you cannot
really supervise all the polling stations,'' he said.
       ''Before you go to any place you have to get an invitation... the
invitation has just been received, and already an advance party of eight
people is in Zimbabwe,'' Abubakar told Reuters.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Citizenship Lobby Group Update #10

February 13, 2002

Dear All
Remember, you have the right to vote if you have been resident in Zimbabwe
since at least December 31, 1985.

Multiple Notices of Objection

Many people have received more than one of these notices. If you have missed
the deadline on your first notice, make sure to get your appeal in on time
using the second one.

Internet access to updates

CLG updates are now available on the civic and human rights website,

They are archived under the Elections sector and can be viewed at the
following address:

A fact sheet for the Citizenship Lobby Group can be viewed at:

kubatana regularly sends out newsletters containing civic and human rights
information. If you would like to be on their mailing list, email

Email support

Please provide the following information when you email

·       your name

·       telephone number

·       date since which you've been permanently resident of Zimbabwe
(should be since at least December 31, 1985)

·       which city/district you reside in

·       when you received your Notice of Objection

-        Date on Notice

-        Postmark on envelope

-        Date on registered slip

-        Date registered slip collected

-        Date Notice collected

Date appeal lodged OR Date appeal refused and reason

·       whether you have received more than one objection notice

Telephone support

Di Mitchell has volunteered to receive information on the receipt of Notices
of Objection by telephone.

She requests that you observe the following points before calling her on

- Only provide details for people who have been resident in Zimbabwe since
at least Dec 31, 1985 and have voted before (ie have a legitimate claim to

- Collect the following information from as many people affected as you
possibly can before calling:

·       your name

·       telephone number

·       date since which you've been a permanent resident of Zimbabwe


Appeals are apparently lodged at Room 12 at the Passport Building .

Unusual incidents

A couple of reports have come in regarding unusual demands made by staff at
Market Square in Harare. Have you experienced anything similar?

·       Demand that the appeal is made by the appellant in person.
This seems highly unusual if one can lodge an appeal by registered mail -
the writer said:

No mention is made on the form that the person in question must present
their objection in person. A member of our company took 2 separate sets of
documents to Market Square, and was given a hard time. They stated that the
objection had to be made in person. He however talked his way around this,
and managed to get the receipts as required.

·       Payment by money order refused
The writer said:

Imagine my anger when this time my messenger was told that they would not
accept my money orders, because they were only taking hard cash. This I
might add when the registered letter from them said that the fifty dollars
had to be paid in the form of a money order.

What to do if you've been refused the opportunity to appeal

Make sure you've submitted your details to either myself on email or Di Mitchell on telephone 494363. Please ensure that you are
eligible to vote before contacting us.

Write to the Registrar-General at Private Bag 7734, Causeway

Copy your complaint to a civil society organisation like

·       Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), P.O. Box BE630, Belvedere,
Harare or

·       Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), P.O. Box 918, Harare

Legal appeals - class actions

These are underway and being handled by Bryant Elliot of Gill, Godlonton &
Gerrans. We will submit your details to him as he requires.
Harare & Chitungwiza Mayoral/Council Elections

To vote in these elections you have to be on the common voters roll. You
should have registered to vote by the date the roll was closed - that was
Jan 10, 2002.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Tsvangirai smear adds to Zimbabwe election turmoil

By Kathy Marks in Sydney and Basildon Peta in Harare

14 February 2002

Details of an alleged plot by the Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to assassinate President Robert Mugabe before next month's election and seize power in a coup assisted by the army were broadcast on Australian television last night.

A documentary aired on SBS featured excerpts from a surveillance video that purportedly showed Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), discussing with British and Canadian associates plans to "eliminate" Mr Mugabe at a meeting in Montreal in December last year. The opposition party dismissed the allegations yesterday.

According to the film maker, Mark Davis, a Canadian firm of political consultants called Dickens and Madson were promised $500,000 (£350,000) and lucrative contracts for killing Mr Mugabe. Documents obtained by Mr Davis allegedly show that down-payments of $147,400 were channelled through a British firm.

In a statement to SBS, Dickens and Madson said they had had no intention of fulfilling the contract and were now co-operating with the Zimbabwean government.

Mr Tsvangirai and an unidentified "fixer" allegedly attended two meetings in London in October and November with a principal of Dickens and Madson at which terms were agreed. The Canadians maintain Mr Tsvangirai personally requested the assassination at the start of their first meeting.

The third meeting in Montreal, which was secretly filmed, is said to have been attended by three employees of the Canadian firm, a mysterious Briton, an unidentified American and Mr Tsvangirai.

In the fuzzy black-and-white video, it is impossible to distinguish the identity of the six participants. The audio quality is also poor. In the footage, the American notes that the Zimbabwean media are predicting a Mugabe victory and adds: "I think we have certainly proved that fact to be wrong today." One of the Canadians rejoins, to general laughter: "Do coffins win elections?" The latter then says: "The MDC, represented by the top man who's sitting here right now, commits to – let's call it whatever you want to call it – the coup d'etat or the elimination of the President."

The American talks about a "a plan of introducing a transitional government through the termination of Mugabe". The Canadians ask Mr Tsvangirai: "OK, Mr Mugabe is eliminated. Now what? Are you in a position to ensure a smooth transition of power?" He replies: "Yes. I've no doubt about it."

The man alleged to be Mr Tsvangirai claims to have the support of a senior figure in the armed forces and says he hopes for a power-sharing arrangement with the army.

The film alleges that an initial payment of $97,400 was made by a British firm to Dickens and Madson for a "general services contract". A second sum of $50,000 was also allegedly advanced. According to the Canadians, the balance was due once Mr Mugabe had been killed. The programme said there was nothing to indicate that the British firm knew what the payments were for.

The MDC said in a statement yesterday: "The MDC president has no plan, desire or motive to eliminate President Mugabe. The MDC president believes in a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power through the ballot box."

Learnmore Jongwe, a spokesman for Mr Tsvangirai, added: "This assassination story is similar to other stories that have been run ... at the instigation ... of the ruling party."

Back to the Top
Back to Index