|Expelled election observer warns of Zimbabwe
Europe's top election observer has arrived in Britain after he was expelled
from Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe's regime.
Pierre Schori, who was heading an EU mission to observe next month's
presidential elections, denied the Zimbabwean governments claims he was guilty
of "political arrogance".
Mr Schori insisted he had been "bipartisan and professional".
He dismissed the Government's claims as "fabrications" and said he was
"surprised" when his visa was revoked yesterday in the capital, Harare.
But he also warned imposing sanctions against Mr Mugabe - widely expected at
tomorrow's European Union meeting of foreign affairs ministers - was a "worst
British MEP Glenys Kinnock said Mr Schori's expulsion would "almost
certainly" lead to EU sanctions against Zimbabwe, which could include freezing
the financial assets of Mr Mugabe and his supporters.
Mrs Kinnock, co-president of the EU-African Caribbean Pacific joint assembly,
said: "In my view it's time to draw a line under our efforts to work with the
Mugabe regime. It seems that we will have to trigger sanctions on Monday.
"It is very regrettable because I think we will see even more of a despotic
regime ... If we put on sanctions on Monday then all of them (the observers)
will be kicked out."
The election campaign has already been marred by serious violence.
More than 20 people - all but three of whom were opposition supporters - are
believed to have been killed since the beginning of the year.
Story filed: 11:35 Sunday 17th February 2002
I have just received a report that four priests/pastors and some
others have been arrested following a Prayer Walk between four churches within
Bulawayo this morning.
Like, the Chinhoyi incident,
it seems those who have tried to help the priests/pastors have been arrested
too. The wives of these men are in a position where they do not know what is
happening to their husbands, but have told clearly to steer clear of the police
Please, anybody out there who receives this
mail today - can you pass it on and get people praying. I have no doubt in my
mind that God will be victorious in this situation, but we must all join in
I thank you all for your time,
16th February 2002
Dear Praying Friends, The "Joint Walk and Pray for Zimbabwe" held by the combined Hillside Churches in Bulawayo was interrupted by the police to-day. A letter had been sent to the organisers saying that the (walking)procession would be too inflammatory in the volatile situation.
However, the services at the various churches continued as arranged, in 4 of the Hillside Churches. The participants, who came from at least 10 churches in the area, drove from church to church for the shared prayer and worship.
At the Anglican Church of the Ascension, the police came in to speak to Fr Noel Scott during the service, while he was standing up in the pulpit. At the end of the service they came and said that they wished to detain him for questioning. The pastors and leading laymen of the participating churches argued that it was a joint responsibility, and 11 of the organizers went down to the Hillside Police Station with the officers.
After a short while, only Fr Noel was kept inside for questioning, and the other men were sent to sit outside. After about an hour they were told to go, as Noel was being taken to the Central Police Station Bulawayo, for further questioning. He was taken in a blue police truck.
The other men have chosen to go to Central too, in their own vehicles, and Noel's lawyer is also there. Significant people have been alerted to the situation, as well as his physician. His medicines have also been taken to him.
At present all we are all praying for Noel's peace of mind, and that he will be treated with respect. As far as we know, the officers were very respectful towards him. We all pray that he will be released soon. We have been told that they will probably take time to release him, however.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 16
Thousands left starving by Mugabe
For the first time in more than 100 years the vast stone
edifice of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, deep in the bush of Matabeleland,
Zimbabwe's most arid region, can no longer offer sanctuary to pilgrims. "We have
nothing left, no food, nothing," Fr Thomas Tshabalala said from the cool of
Empandeni mission station's cloistered corridors. "If people arrive we have
nothing for them. Starvation is the main problem for all the people from this
community and many are on the point of dying." The people of Matabeleland have
often suffered food shortages but, in most years, the fertile areas of Zimbabwe
have grown more than enough maize to tide them over. The country often did even
better and exported food to the rest of southern Africa. The invasion of
white-owned farms by militant supporters of President Mugabe and their wholesale
seizure by his government has ended all this. For the first time since a
devastating drought 10 years ago, Zimbabwe has been forced to seek help from the
World Food Programme, which estimates that the country has a maize deficit of
around 500,000 tons and more than 550,000 people need emergency supplies.
St Francis Xavier, Zimbabwe's oldest Catholic church, towers
like a beacon in the bush, and can be reached only by a dusty, rutted track
reaching 18 miles from the nearest tarred road. Before he began his career, Mr
Mugabe taught at Empandeni mission school in the 1950s, and it still attracts
1,100 immaculately turned-out pupils, who trudge for miles through the bush to
receive an education begun by the first Jesuit missionaries in 1887. But the
mission's brick-built bakery, powered by rusty, riveted boilers, has been forced
to cut production. The mission's farm manager said the water in the nearby
reservoir was a fraction of what was needed to stop maize fields from turning
into arid wastelands. "Our livestock is dying and so will we soon," the manager
said. At a nearby hamlet Anton, a toothless shepherd sat outside two shops where
the shelves were empty. "We are hungry, we are hungry," he lamented, seeking
solace in a plastic container of strong African beer. Back at Empandeni, some of
the schoolchildren, wearing green, starched uniforms, sat in puddles of shade
yesterday singing harmonies to while away the scorching midday hours. Other
schools in the area have had to cancel afternoon sport because children have
begun fainting through lack of food. "In the surrounding area, I would say that
90 per cent of families have been left by at least one family member going to
look for work or money in Botswana or South Africa," Fr Thomas said. "They have
nothing to keep them here and they know that if they stay they will die."
In the run-up to next month's presidential election, Fr
Thomas's beloved Church is all too aware that, under famine conditions, food has
become a sensitive political issue. Catholic aid agencies have agreed to pay for
food to be distributed but Mr Mugabe's regime has attacked them for being
"lackeys of the white" and "agents of MI6". Despite being educated by the
Jesuits and spending years as a teacher in mission schools, Mr Mugabe has fallen
out with the Church. This week, the Jesuits accused the president of acting as
brutally as Hitler. "We do not have enough food for everyone and in those
circumstances we cannot deliver food where we would have to say 'yes' to some
people and 'no' to others," Fr Thomas said. His predecessor fled for his life
from Empandeni before the 2000 general election when Mr Mugabe's militant
supporters stormed the church. They accused him of supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change after he pinned up posters advising local people
on election procedure. "So far they have left me alone but it is only a matter
of time," the priest said.
The scale of the food crisis in Zimbabwe can be seen all over
the country. At the Grain Marketing Board depot in the second city, Bulawayo,
where the socialist planners of Mr Mugabe's government try to control the meagre
flow of maize meal, hundreds of woman have begun a daily picket. They sit hour
after hour, day after day, hoping to somehow glean a bag of maize from the
lorries that now deliver only a fraction of the city's daily requirement. One
local black farmer said he had been advised not to send a lorry to pick up a
supply of stock-feed maize from the plant because of the danger of a riot. But
as millions go hungry, Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party has launched a risky
political strategy, rationing maize shipments only to those villages and headmen
who promise to vote for him in the election. "This a high-risk strategy because
in a time of hunger do you really want to be seen to be denying food to some and
giving it to others?" one observer said. At a recent campaign rally, a wizened,
elderly tribal chief who had sat through a long tirade from Mr Mugabe dared to
stand up and ask him where the food was coming from. "If you do not come here
with food then we are not interested in anything else you have to say," the
tribal chief said. Outside the Empandeni mission station there was a sign
proudly recognising the community for giving more blood donations than any other
in south Matabeleland in 1999. With the threat of starvation and political
violence hanging over the area, there is a risk that in 2002 the area may see
blood spilled less innocently.
Zimbabwean police arrest 10 at peace prayer
HARARE, Feb 16 DPA|Published: Sunday February 17, 7:43
Police arrested 10 people, including four clergymen, at meeting today to pray
for peace in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections next month in the
western city of Bulawayo, a lawyer said.
All were detained at Bulawayo central police station, said David Coltart, an
MP in the city who represents the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). Coltart is also a human-rights lawyer.
Among those arrested at the Presbyterian church in the affluent suburb of
Hillside was Anglican priest Noel Scott, Coltart said. Scott has been charged
under draconian security laws with "disobeying the command of a police officer,"
which carries a maximum penalty of five years' in jail.
The other nine were arrested after they followed police to the station and
began praying outside, Coltart said. They were said to have been "forcibly
disturbing the peace" and were likely to spend the weekend in jail, he said.
Among those arrested were two Catholic priests, Father David Maroleng and
Father Kevin O'Doherty, a Methodist minister, the Reverend Graham Shaw, and a
Presbyterian elder, Ron Marillier.
Coltart said he had telephoned police when a mob of of about 30 youths of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF) party had gone around beating people
up during the day at a nearby shopping centre but the police did nothing.
"ZANU(PF) thugs can rampage and terrorise people, but nine people praying
outside a police station get locked up," he said.
The country's mainstream churches have been outspoken in their criticism of
repression by Mugabe's regime in the run-up to the presidential elections on
March 9-10. Over the past month there has seen a string of arrests of opposition
MPs while hundreds of people have been detained, often for days without charge.
Frequently they are assaulted.
More than 20 people have been murdered in political violence since the
beginning of the year, at least 17 of them supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
Urgent news for prayer
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002 7:59 PM
11 Christians were detained in Bulawayo this afternoon, and charged under the new Public Order and Security Act.
Their names are:
Graham Shaw (Methodist)
Peter Botwright (Methodist)
Ron Marillier (Presbyterian)
Trevor Leonard (Anglican)
Palany Rajah (Pentecostal)
David Maroleng (Anglican)
Barry Dickinson (Roman Catholic)
John and Joan Stakesby Lewis (Methodist)
Father Kevin O'Doherty (Roman Catholic)
Noel Scott (Anglican)
There was a prayer march this morning (Saturday 16-02) to various churches in the suburb of Hillside. The police refused permission for us to march, so we drove instead. Afterwards, they arrested Noel Scott, who had organized the march. The other 10 people went to the Central Police Station to give him support. As they arrived, they gathered outside the Police Station to pray. They were immediately arrested, and charged with obstruction, an offence that carries a penalty of 2 years in prison or a fine of $50 000. So all they did was gather on the pavement for a moment's prayer!
I went with some other pastors to visit them this afternoon. We had no difficulty in gaining access to them, and they had been well treated and were in good heart. They are proud of going to prison for the name of Jesus Christ. They have been detained until Monday, when they will apply for bail.
Please keep them continually in your prayers - and especially Joan, the only woman.
Yours in Jesus Christ Chris (Hingley)
Dear all, Just a little added note from me: apparently the first ten people are all held at the Central Police Station, but the whereabouts of Noel Scott, the priest of the Church of Ascension, are not known at this moment in time.
He was taken to Sauerstown Police Station, and seems to have been taken to Entumbane afterwards, but he was not there this morning.
A group of people went to Central today, Sunday, and managed to stand in the courtyard of the station, where they could be seen by their relatives from their cells. They were able to pass some food, clean clothes and toilettries (loo paper!) on to their loved ones through a helpful policeman. They were still in very good spirits. The men are all in one or two cells together, but Joan Stakesby-Lewis is in another cell, together with some more women.
In the list of people arrested their church affiliation is mentioned, which I didn't think necessary, as we are all Christians, and according to my spokesperson, all this has brought the four churches together in a very special way. God is at work!
Please feel free to forward this message, there is no copyright on it!
Proverbs 29 Mt. 10:28 Ineke God is good, all the time!
From Business Day (SA), 16
UN slams Zim land
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said Zimbabwe's
controversial land reform programme was the cause of much of the economic,
political and social instability in the country, UN news agency IRIN reported on
Friday. "In the medium term, however, as greater equality takes root, there
could be less political grievances over past injustices and less reason for
conflict over land and economic control," a UNDP report released earlier this
week said. The report, based on a UNDP mission to Zimbabwe from November 13 to
December 5, was called for in the Abuja Agreement on land reform signed by the
Zimbabwean government in September last year. Under the agreement, brokered by
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Zimbabwe agreed to uphold the rule of law
and end violence on farms and government-backed farm occupations.
The overall assessment of the UNDP team was that the political
philosophy and socio-economic rationale of the fast-track land reform and
resettlement programme remained sound. But the current scope was not sustainable
and represented an over-reach of the original objectives that was not the
consequence of debated and clear government policy "but rather the aggregation
of a series of once-off executive actions". The report mentioned that under the
original land reform programme, five million hectares of land were ear-marked
for resettlement. This, however, increased to about 9.2-million, under the
government's accelerated reform programme. The report noted that since the
inception of the fast-track programme in June 2000, up to 6,481 farms were
listed for acquisition. Of these, 918 were deleted because they were counted
twice and 689 were de-listed. This reduced the total number of farms to
The UNDP mission found that the scale of the land acquisition
programme was "staggering, as were the difficulties that it has had to confront
in the past year". It also noted that most resettled farmers were not
well-prepared for farming because the infrastructure development in most cases
were totally inadequate. Since social and agricultural support services were
weak, it was extremely difficult for new farmers to address fundamental problems
of successfully settling into a new environment. The report said the gross
domestic product (GDP) was expected to achieve a negative growth of 5.3% this
year, with tobacco exports falling by an estimated 10%. Tobacco is the country's
largest source of foreign exchange. "The inevitable conclusion is that the land
reform programme has not contributed to increasing GDP from agriculture or to an
increase in the export of agricultural commodities," it said.
The team noted that the fast-track programme had created disadvantaged
communities and that humanitarian interventions might be required to support
those adversely affected. It said an estimated 30000 families were displaced.
The report said many farm workers were suffering from "heightened levels of
depression" because of the high levels of violence they were exposed to since
Zimbabwe monitor's expulsion
Schori: Mugabe is "tightening the
The head of the EU's election observer mission to Zimbabwe
has described his expulsion as "absurd" - but appeared to play down the prospect
of immediate sanctions against President Mugabe's government.
Pierre Schori, who flew into London on Sunday after his visa was cancelled,
said he had been ejected on "false grounds".
I don't know what they want to hide but evidently they don't
like some of us to be there
He leaves behind him a team of 30 EU monitors planning to cover the
Zimbabwean presidential election on 9-10 March, amid reports of violence and
intimidation against Mr Mugabe's political opponents.
As the EU prepares to discuss what action to take against Zimbabwe on Monday,
Mr Mugabe is set to defend his position at talks with other African leaders.
Mugabe is accused of using his power to suppress
Mr Schori said he had been accused by the Zimbabwean authorities of political
bias and of abusing his status as a tourist despite stating all along that he
was in the country as part of the EU observer mission.
"I think they are trying to fabricate a bad case on semi-legal grounds but
the whole thing is absurd," he said.
With the EU due to meet on Monday to discuss its reaction, its mission chief
said he was "not in the sanctions business" although it was up to the EU's
ministers to decide.
Possible EU sanctions
Travel ban on Mr Mugabe and about 20 close associates
Freeze on any assets they hold in EU states
"At the very far end there might be sanctions or there might be agreements or
whatever," he said.
"But the election observation stands on its own feet and it's up to the
ministers to see whether these tracks go together or not."
The spokesman for the EU observer team, Stefan Amer, confirmed that
preparations for covering the election were still under way.
Mugabe in talks
Mr Mugabe himself is expected to discuss the Schori expulsion on Sunday
during a visit to Mozambique, a Zimbabwean government official told Reuters news
Mugabe has enlisted SADC support in the
As well as President Joaquim Chissano, the Zimbabwean leader will meet
President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, who chairs the South African Development
The Zimbabwean official quoted by Reuters said he was sure Mr Mugabe would
raise "the problems the EU has been trying to create with Schori" at the talks.
The SADC is on Monday expected to start sending election observers but
analysts say the organisation lacks the political will to enforce Mr Mugabe's
assertions that the poll will be free and fair.
Zimbabwe's Government says it will not be bullied into accepting observers
from countries deemed hostile to Mr Mugabe.
The government has already said that six European countries are not allowed
to send observers.
The government accuses Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands
and Sweden of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is set to pose the toughest challenge yet to
Mr Mugabe's 22-year hold on power in the March election.
Zimbabwe seeks Africa support in standoff with EU
HARARE, Feb. 17 — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe arrived in Mozambique on Sunday to brief African leaders on the political crisis in his country, a day after expelling the head of an EU mission sent to monitor next month's election.
Mugabe is meeting Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and the current
chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malawian
President Bakili Muluzi, in the coastal town of Beira.
''It was a
scheduled meeting, planned well before the latest problem with the EU observer
mission, for His Excellency to brief his colleagues on developments here as we
move closer to the presidential elections,'' a senior Zimbabwe government
A standoff between Zimbabwe and the European Union
deepened on Saturday after Harare, risking EU sanctions, ordered out Swedish
diplomat Pierre Schori, who was leading a 30-strong team sent to observe the
Chissano told reporters before the meeting that
Mugabe had been invited to clarify the current situation in his country.
''What is important is to know what's really happening. That's why we have
invited him: to be clear about the situation,'' Radio Mozambique reported.
Mugabe, facing the toughest electoral challenge in his 22 years of power,
is looking to his neighbours for support in the row that comes just three weeks
before the March 9-10 elections.
In public, the SADC has stood with
Mugabe in the face of foreign criticism, but regional analysts say the group has
been trying to persuade him privately to end a violent drive against opponents
and a controversial land seizure programme involving white farmers.
In Zimbabwe's dispute with the EU over Schori's accreditation, regional
powerhouse South Africa urged the EU not to press the point but to concentrate
on observing the election process.
SANCTIONS TO BE DISCUSSED
The SADC opposes any sanctions
against Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained
independence from Britain in 1980.
Foreign ministers of the EU, which
has threatened to impose sanctions on Mugabe if its observer mission is
hampered, will discuss Zimbabwe when they meet in Brussels on Monday.
Despite the warnings, Zimbabwe expelled Swedish Schori late on Saturday because
he started his political work after entering the country on a tourist visa.
A Zimbabwean official said Schori had breached his visa conditions.
''He is guilty of political arrogance and insulting behaviour.''
least three Swedish journalists were informed on Sunday that their application
to cover the elections had been turned down. No reason for the refusal was given
even though SADC leaders said last month that Mugabe had told them he would
allow international media to cover the elections.
Mugabe has rejected
European criticism of his human rights record and accusations of dirty tricks
and intimidation in the election campaign.
Sweden and former colonial
power Britain are among six EU countries Zimbabwe has pointedly refused to
invite to observe an election which is being held against a backdrop of
deepening economic crisis and political violence.
'SA Must Help to Topple Mugabe'
February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 16, 2002
Expect the rand to plummet to R15 to the US dollar if
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is not ousted in that country's general
elections next month.
That's the prediction of visiting US economist David Hale,
who told finance professionals and institutional investors in Cape Town today
that Zimbabwe's political situation could have "profound" implications for the
South African financial markets.
Mugabe is the biggest factor threatening the economies of
the Southern African Development Countries region. Until he goes ? whether it's
through peaceful or violent means ? South Africa is going to struggle to attract
foreign direct investment, Hale said today.
More worrying than the rand's devaluation against the US
dollar is its decline in relation to the Australian dollar. This, said Hale, is
a clear sign that the rand's woes are closely linked to the troubles in
Hale said that even though South African president Thabo
Mbeki had been more "vocal" of late about problems in Zimbabwe, this was not
enough for foreign investors. "He's been more vocal now than 12 months ago but
he's still reluctant to be decisive."
Other countries have been outspoken about Zimbabwe and are
threatening sanctions, but there's a limit to what they can do. Mbeki, on the
other hand, has the ability to cut power supplies to Zimbabwe and bring that
country to a grinding halt within a few days, Hale said.
The US government wants Mbeki to include specific details to
tackle the problem of Zimbabwe in his plans to revive the African continent (New
Partnership for Africa's Development ? also called Nepad), but Mbeki has told
the US government "he wants to keep Zimbabwe separate from Nepad". "It's hard to
take Mbeki's millennium plans seriously if he's not willing to tackle the
Zimbabwean problem directly."
Zimbabwe over the last 12 to 18 months has "cast a very,
very dark shadow" over the region, sparking fears that the "theft of property"
and other similar problems would be emulated in neighbouring countries.
If Mugabe stays in power, either through rigging the votes
or with military back up, the consequences will be dire for South Africa. The
rand will come under "severe selling pressure", said Hale.
Mugabe is a "festering sore" and a "cancer" in the region.
"It's essential for Mugabe to go, whether it's peaceful or violent."
South Africa, on the whole, has enjoyed good macro-economic
and good micro-economic policies over the last six years.
But without it's fair share of foreign direct investment, it
will struggle to improve economic growth and boost employment rates, Hale said.
Currently South Africa has attracted about US$17 billion in foreign direct
investment, but this should be closer to US$100 billion, he pointed out.
"If we can get rid of Mugabe, there's no reason why South
Africa can't change its image," Hale added.
* Hale, the winner of prestigious economics awards, is chief
economist for the Zurich Kemper Group in Chicago. He's also an adviser to the
Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and a number of
other government and private sector economic policy research groups around the
He was invited to speak at an ipac breakfast.
'Africa's mining could collapse if Mugabe
2002 at 07:54AM
Cape Town - Never before has the link between politics and economics been so
clear as this week's warning by the foreign investment community that Africa's
mining industry could collapse in the wake of another Robert Mugabe regime.
"Mugabe's presence is like a shadow over the African continent," said
David Hale, the global chief economist of the Zurich Insurance Group.
warned that the African mining industry, which already carried a phenomenally
high risk profile, would be among the sectors hardest hit by international
sanctions and the withdrawal of investment.
"There has been a definite
trend towards cutting exploration and development spending on the African
continent," Hale said.
With less money being put into new mines and
depressed commodity prices threatening to close existing operations, Africa's
mining industry was already suffering from foreign direct investment (FDI)
A recent study by Goldman Sachs revealed that Africa's $17
billion FDI was at the same level in 2000 as in 1980.
president for more than two decades, is seeking to retain power but reports of
human rights abuses against his political opponents have scared outsiders, who
fear the country's March election will be far from free and fair.
financial capitals of the world understand what Mugabe is up to and will not
tolerate it. What is crucial is what South Africa will do," Hale stressed.
South Africa has been pivotal in the quest to promote development of the
African continent and has received the credit for being the birthplace of the
New Partnership for African Development (Nepad).
Nepad is a wish list
drawn up by African leaders for the continent's recovery and is being used to
persuade the world's richer nations to invest on the continent.
unfolding political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe threatened to "erode
confidence in Nepad's power to bring peace to a strife-torn Africa and in Mbeki,
the face behind the initiative.
"Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe is similar
to his silence on HIV/Aids. [It] erodes confidence in what he has to say about
Nepad," said Ross Herbert, a senior researcher at the SA Institute of
James Bond, the World Bank's director of global
mining, said it was becoming harder for Africa to compete for capital.
Already there were warnings from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised
countries that the $64 billion Africa hoped to attract through Nepad was
G8 representatives, who were in Cape Town last week to
meet Nepad's implementation committee, said African countries would have to be
willing to exert a type of "peer pressure" on their continental fellows before
they would consider spending a cent.
Mugabe sees conspiracy all around
Zimbabwe countdown » As the presidential election nears, the ruling party
flails at enemies real - and imagined - on all sides
Karen MacGregor in Durban
17 February 2002
This was the week that the topsy-turvy world of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe was
finally turned on its head.
Three weeks before the presidential poll, the respected leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, was accused on a
reputable Australian TV programme of plotting to "eliminate" his rival. The
Independent's correspondent in Harare, Basildon Peta, was hounded out of
the country, having been denounced on state television for causing a fall in the
South African rand and the collapse of tourism in Zimbabwe after The
Times accused him of admitting to lying about details of his arrest. And the
head of the EU election observer mission, Pierre Shori, was told he was only a
"tourist" and should leave Zimbabwe after being refused accreditation.
But for ordinary Zimbabweans, fighting to preserve their tattered democracy,
day-to-day reality is even more grim. Take the Spicer family of Harare, for
example. Over five days, the home of film-maker Edwina Spicer was searched by
police, her 17-year-old opposition-activist son, Tom, was arrested, and her
husband, Newton, was detained for 32 hours in a police cell without access to
"We are fortunate – four of my son's friends are dead. We are being harassed,
but lots of other stories end in horror and tragedy. The only difference between
my husband's story and that of others in the police cell is the colour of his
skin, and that he was not beaten up. Some of my son's black friends are still
The Spicers have suffered greatly from intimidation and smear campaigns which
the ruling Zanu-PF has intensified ahead of an election that Mr Mugabe, in power
for 21 years, has vowed to win. Violence is also rapidly on the rise.
The documentary that alleged that Mr Tsvangirai was plotting with a
discredited shadowy former Israeli intelligence agent to murder Mr Mugabe was a
major distraction for the MDC leader at a crucial point in his campaign. Police
are investigating the claims, which Mr Tsvangirai vehemently denies. He may yet
be arrested, even though it has emerged that the documentary was part of a
dirty-tricks campaign orchestrated by a Canadian political consultancy linked to
Zimbabwe's state media also seized on misreporting in Britain about the
number of hours that Mr Peta was held in Harare Central Police Station on 4 and
5 February after taking part in a protest against new draconian media laws. The
state-controlled media used the controversy to attack Zimbabwe's leading
independent journalist and he fled his country last Thursday night, fearing for
A Harare journalist who has been arrested and harassed over the past year and
did not want to be named said that smear campaigns were perilous for Zimbabwe
and especially their targets: "They sow fear and confusion, which is the desired
effect of the propaganda being poured out by an increasingly desperate ruling
party. They also give the government the opportunity to act against its
opponents. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr Tsvangirai is arrested on the basis of
what we have shown to be a Zanu-PF set-up – but such an event would spark civil
strife across the land."
Opposition offices were trashed (again) last week and more opposition
supporters were assaulted. Two Irish tourists were arrested at Lake Kariba after
two Zimbabweans they were with waved at children – open-handed waves are read by
the police as support for the MDC – and yelling "Chinja!" (change).
On Friday, riot police sealed off the offices of the National Constitutional
Assembly in Harare to thwart a protest amid news that Mr Shori would not be
The respected Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe called on journalists to
think of the consequences of rushing into print. They should stop making
"unsubstantiated allegations and restore to their newsrooms internationally
accepted standards of ethical journalistic practice", the watchdog said, in
remarks pointed as much at foreign correspondents as locals.
Every day, Zimbabweans – most of whom have access only to the state media on
radio and television – are fed a horrendously biased menu of news and
"analysis". On TV news recently, Zanu-PF's John Nkomo used a studio interview to
launch a lengthy vitriolic attack on the MDC and its leaders.
The flurry of conspiracy stories in the state-owned media continued all week.
The Herald alleged that the MDC had sought British military intervention if it
lost the March poll; another in the Sunday Mail claimed that thousands of
Zimbabweans were receiving secret military training in the UK and hordes of
British spies disguised as "tourists and arts promoters" were luring Zimbabweans
into the British Army; and the Chronicle blamed Britain for maize shortages
because "she wants to remove the present government and impose a puppet
At the Spicers' home, police arrived to search for "arms of war,
security-force uniforms, and subversive films and materials". They found and
removed only a few movies and documentaries. On Monday, Tom and four friends
were arrested while pasting up MDC election posters. They were held for 48 hours
and taken to court, where a charge of having dangerous weapons was dismissed.
Newton Spicer was arrested that day in Marondera and put in a tiny cell crammed
with 25 people. He witnessed police assaulting detainees. Mr Spicer and two of
five companions arrested with him were released next day, but the three others
are still inside.
This is the story of one week. There are three more to go before Zimbabweans
choose their next president. People hope, but not with great conviction, that
life will return to normality after that.
Thousands in desperate flight to South Africa
By Caroline Hooper-Box in
17 February 2002
The number of Zimbabweans feeling economic collapse and Robert Mugabe's
repression is soaring. South Africa has arrested some 7,000 illegal migrants
attempting to slip into the country from Zimbabwe in the past six weeks. The
number attempting to flee poverty, hunger and repression in the whole of last
year totalled about 20,000. Many more get through undetected.
Silungisani Sibanda, 28, who was captured at the Beit Bridge border post,
told The Independent on Sunday: "We're starving. We don't have mealie [maize].
We're trying to find jobs."
She sat disconsolately waiting for her paperwork to be processed before she
is repatriated. The previous night she had tried to swim across the Limpopo, but
the water was too high. She spent the night on the bank and then tried to cross
the Beit Bridge in the morning.
She had been living on bread and tea, she said. She had left her
10-year-old son with her mother and hoped to find work so she could educate him.
"But now I don't know what I will do with him."
Victor Tshuma, 20, his sad eyes staring across the rocky scrub towards the
border line, said he too wanted a job.
"Political parties are fighting each other. That's why I decided to come to
Johannesburg. In Bulawayo I saw war veterans beating people, taking
"Food prices are going up daily. Right now there is no mealie in Zimbabwe.
I don't think I'm going to have a future in Zimbabwe."
Swedish journalists say turned down by Zimbabwe
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 17 — Zimbabwe has turned down applications from three Swedish journalists based in South Africa to cover next month's election, one of the reporters said on Sunday.
The letter refusing to accredit the journalists arrived less than 24 hours after
Zimbabwe expelled the Swedish head of a European Union mission sent to observe
the March 9-10 presidential poll. The letter gave no reason for the decision.
Gorrel Espelund, a South Africa-based correspondent for the
Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper, said she received a faxed letter from Zimbabwe's
Department of Information on Sunday morning informing her that her application
had been turned down.
''Two other journalists working for different
papers also received the same letter,'' Espelund told Reuters.
and former colonial power Britain are among six EU countries that Zimbabwe has
pointedly refused to invite to observe the election, which approaches against
the backdrop of a deepening economic crisis and political violence.
Scores of journalists applying for accreditation to cover events in Zimbabwe
have been turned down by authorities in the past six months. The BBC has been
banned from the country for the past year for alleged bias.
Zimbabwe's parliament passed a tough new media bill two weeks ago that
restricts access for foreign reporters and imposes tight controls on the local
media in the run-up to the poll.
Basildon Peta, a reporter for
Britain's Independent newspaper said on Friday he had fled Zimbabwe to South
Africa in fear for his life. Peta had organised a demonstration against the
media bill and was briefly detained by police earlier this month.
Sunday Times Book Review
Review: Cover book: Mugabe by Martin Meredith
MUGABE: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe by Martin Meredith
At Zimbabwean independence in 1980,
President Nyerere of Tanzania famously
advised Robert Mugabe, “You have
inherited a jewel. Keep it that way.” The
reality was the opposite. Mugabe’s
long reign could hardly have begun
better, with racial reconciliation and 24%
growth in two years, but it is
now ending not just badly but dreadfully: not
only have living standards
been brought way below the 1980 starting point,
but millions now face a
government-induced famine. Zimbabwe, which began with
borrowings, now has a vast and unpayable debt. Worst of all,
well-educated and articulate people have suffered horribly at the hands
the man in whom they placed their confidence: political oppression,
beatings, organised tortures and rapes, and murders without number. In
Matabeleland massacres of the mid-1980s, at least
10,000 died at
Mugabe’s express behest and today those who dare oppose him
suffer a toll of beatings, torture and murder.
Martin Meredith’s book is
not so much a biography as a brief gallop through
the unfolding moral fable
of independent Zimbabwe to the present day. As
such it is a useful short
guide, if bereft of necessary dates and
footnotes — when he quotes someone we
have to take his word, because he
never mentions his source. This is a little
worrying when one finds he hasn’
t got his facts right. Thus, as he tells it,
when in 1998 seven men invaded
the 10th-storey office of Mugabe’s leading
opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, they
beat him senseless. Shortly after that
event, I sat in that office and
Tsvangirai told me how his attackers had
tried to throw him out of the
window: they did not beat him senseless, though
not long after, a similar
group, using iron bars, did just that to his
deputy, Gibson Sibanda.
But Meredith is quite right in insisting that
Mugabe’s political thuggery
has been consistent. In 1980 there was no doubt
that his supporters were
guilty of the lion’s share of electoral violence and
intimidation, and that
this took place because Mugabe wanted it to. In
effect, Governor Christopher
Soames decided to look hard the other way and
declare him the free and fair
winner simply because Britain was desperate to
end the Rhodesian imbroglio.
As Meredith shows, Mugabe has used similar
violence against anyone who dared
to oppose him. At each stage it has suited
the world to overlook the matter,
so that after each new bout of savagery he
has been welcomed to the
Commonwealth conference, applauded at the UN and so
on. No wonder he
believes he can get away with it again now. After all, the
conference had no difficulty about accepting him, despite
the fact that he
had, by then, taken openly to boasting that he had “a degree
What Meredith should also have pointed out is that the IMF,
World Bank and
above all the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have
been just as
bad, slapping Mugabe on the wrist when he tears up his
agreements with them,
but happily turning the aid tap back on again soon
after. In January 2000,
Carlos Lopez, the head of the UNDP in Harare, openly
campaigned for a yes
vote in Mugabe’s referendum to give the president
absolute power. Happily, a
large majority of Zimbabweans said no, but this
hasn’t stopped Mugabe, South
Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Tony Blair all
insisting that the UNDP must be the
key referee of land reform and conduit of
aid in Zimbabwe — despite the
anguished protests of locals who regard the
UNDP as part of the Zanu-PF
How did Mugabe manage to ruin what
began so well? The one-word answer is
paranoia. In 1980, foreign investors
stood poised to pour money into
Zimbabwe: it had more or less everything
(gold mines, chrome, booming
agriculture, wonderful tourist potential, good
human resources, no debts)
and now peace. But Mugabe was suspicious, erected
an investment code as a
barrier, made slighting references to whites (and,
later, to gays and Jews),
made no secret of his wish to have a one-party
state — and generally
frightened away investors. So there were no jobs for
all the educated young
Zimbabweans who began to pour out of schools and
universities and the
direction of change was soon downwards. As discontent
grew so did Mugabe’s
Meredith is quite right, however, to
emphasise that a large, corrupt elite
stands behind Mugabe and, in that
sense, one can’t just blame one man.
Unfortunately, Meredith never asks how
Mugabe fits into a wider pattern of
African leadership — and let there be no
doubt, when donors talk
despairingly about “problems of governance” in
Africa, what they really mean
is its appalling leadership. Meredith shows
how, in the run-up to
independence, Mugabe was endlessly chivvied not just by
Nyerere but by
Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda and Mozambique’s Samora Machel. It
might have been
pointed out that, while Mugabe has ruined his country, so did
all of these
other three — and that only Machel seems to have woken up to the
his errors by the end, begging Mugabe, whatever else he did, not
a white exodus.
In a way, the most telling anecdote in this
book is not about Mugabe but his
alter ego, Joshua Nkomo. When the 1980
election results came in, giving
Nkomo only 20 seats, he was close to tears:
“I am the Father of Zimbabwe;
what have they done to me? You give them
one-man one-vote and look what they
do with it! It has all come apart. It has
all finished.” Thus the authentic
spirit of African leadership: the leader
has “given” the people their rights
and they have an obligation, no less, to
bestow on him complete power.
Nobody need feel sorry for Nkomo, who became
famously rich and corrupt, sold
his Ndebele people down the river and ended
up accusing whites of
deliberately inventing Aids to kill Africans. As one
looks at that career it
is difficult to believe Nkomo would have been a much
better president than
Mugabe — and Mugabe has certainly been worse than Ian
Smith. This, indeed,
is the true challenge that men such as Tsvangirai face.
Tsvangirai has been
hugely courageous in the face of Mugabe’s tyranny — but
then so was Mugabe
in the face of Smith’s.
What Africa wants and needs
is leaders who pass the tests of peacetime, men
who don’t lead their nations
into the heart of darkness (such as Mobutu or
Mugabe), don’t try
singlehandedly to defy medical science (such as Mbeki or
Nujoma) or to be
philosopher kings (such as Nyerere or Kaunda). All such men
enormous harm on their countries in their royal folly, in
their desire to be
Louis XIV or Churchill. What Africa actually needs is
incorruptible men who work hard, do their best and go
voted out. Funny that Attlee was thought so boring and
ordinary in his time.
In Africa he sounds like a paragon.
Mugabe sets up grain task forces as Zimbabwe faces food
February 14 2002 at 03:38PM
Harare - Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe Thursday announced the
establishment of "task forces"
in all districts "to ensure grain reached
every needy family in the rural
areas", in response to a serious food crisis
and reports of
Agriculture Ministry officials, local government chiefs and
members of the
Central Intelligence Organization would make up the task
forces, state radio
Relief organizations say 560,000 people are
already starving with children
dying of malnutrition in the western
Matabeleland region. Those distributing
grain were reported to be demanding
party cards proving membership of
Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF).
is facing the worst food crisis in its modern history. Sylvester
head of a union representing 200,000 farming families in the
farmed by peasant farmers, said 60
per cent of their maize crop had been
destroyed by a four-week dry spell and
the remainder would only revive if
good rain fell in the next few days.
On Thursday, Mugabe told a campaign
rally at Mataga, 450
kilometres southeast of Harare, distribution of maize
would take priority,
with some development work being suspended as a result,
according to state
"We are going to hold some projects, such as
building of roads, dams and so
forth and feed our people first," he
Riot police have repeatedly had to control mobs fighting for
supplies of maize meal, the staple diet for most of the
Justin Mutasa, manager of the state-run Grain Marketing
Board, this week
indicated current imports by road and rail from South Africa
30,000 to 40,000 tonnes a month. National monthly consumption is
A week ago, Mutasa said Zimbabwe might not need any
imports if grain
secretly hoarded by white commercial farmers was
The largely white Commercial Farmers Union on Thursday accused
government of "careless disregard for national food security" and
warnings of the need to begin imports last September.
country's 5,000 commercial farmers, who are the focus of two years
politically inspired violence, were forced to cut back early plantings
to invasion of their land.
In the latest incident, Clive Thomas, a
seed maize producer at Mhangura, 150
kilometres north of Harare, was told on
Wednesday his farm was being seized
with immediate effect because he had
burnt 60,000 tons of maize "in order to
worsten the food
The CFU said in fact Thomas had been forced to destroy three
to four tons of
seed left over from last season to comply with stringent crop
regulations. Squatters had prevented planting of the
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made accused Thomas of "a clear case
sabotage", adding the incident indicated the need to
In December Made predicted a three
million ton bumper maize harvest would
start being reaped in February by
newly resettled land recipients. -
Zimbabwe-EU Standoff Deepens; Mugabe Seeks
February 16, 2002 06:33 PM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - A
standoff between Zimbabwe and the European Union
deepened at the weekend
after Harare, risking EU sanctions, threw out the
head of an EU mission sent
to observe next month's presidential poll.
President Robert Mugabe,
facing the toughest electoral challenge in his 22
years of power, is looking
to his neighbors for support in the row with the
EU and travels to Mozambique
on Sunday for talks on the March 9-10 election.
Foreign ministers of the
EU, which has threatened to impose sanctions on
Mugabe if its monitoring
mission is hampered, will discuss Zimbabwe when
they meet in Brussels on
Despite the warnings, Zimbabwe expelled Swedish diplomat Pierre
on Saturday after he started his political work after entering
on a tourist visa.
"Leaving Harare today my feelings are
more of sorrow than of anger," he said
before boarding his flight out of the
A Zimbabwean official said Schori had breached his visa
conditions. "He is
guilty of political arrogance and insulting
Mugabe has rejected European criticism of his human rights
accusations of dirty tricks and intimidation in the campaign for
Sweden and former colonial power Britain are
among six EU countries Zimbabwe
has pointedly refused to invite to observe
the presidential election, which
approaches against a backdrop of deepening
economic crisis and political
State television reported late
on Saturday that Mugabe would meet Malawian
President Bakili Muluzi, chairman
of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC), and
Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano on
The three would discuss
the elections and "the situation in the country,"
state TV said.
analysts say the SADC, which did not consider calls for sanctions
Zimbabwe at its January summit, lacks the collective political will
enforce commitments from Mugabe that the elections will be free and
They say a tradition of solidarity in the face of Western criticism
undermined the bloc's influence.
OAU Chief Fires Salvo at Western
LUSAKA, February 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Secretary
General of the
Organization of African Unity (OAU) Amara Essy fired salvo
western monitors on Saturday, saying that they should stop
elections in African countries.
"African elections are an internal African
affair," said Essy
when referring to a dispute between Zimbabwe and the
Union (EU) over election monitors.
"It is shameful that
foreigners should come to Africa to check
on elections," he told journalists
after ending a two-day visit in
Essy arrived here Friday
morning from Madagascar where he had
gone to intervene in the political
controversy where the
opposition were claiming to have won an election held
He was in Zambia to brief President Levy Mwanawasa, who
the rotating OAU chairmanship, on the progress made on
widespread internal conflicts on the continent and on strides made
the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
"I am not happy to
see foreigners come to look at what we are
doing. They do not ask us to go to
Europe and the United States to
monitor elections," Essy said.
not have foreign observers for the time being," he
secretary general said the current situation undermined
the sovereign law of
the African countries.
"It took 200 years for democracy to be attained in
Africa should achieve it in less than 40 years?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe sternly warned the head of the EU team to
March 9-10 presidential poll in Zimbabwe to refrain
from making political
statements or risk ejection from the country.
The Zimbabwean government
refused to accredit Swedish diplomat
Pierre Schori as an election observer on
grounds his country is
among six EU states Harare has barred from taking part
in the poll
because of their alleged bias in favor of opposition
But the EU is insisting on the official's
resulting in a week-long diplomatic standoff between the two
over the issue.
The Zimbabwean government accused Schori,
to the U.N., of issuing political statements to the media
Zimbabwe's electoral process in breach of the tourist visa he
granted, and threatened to ask him out of the country.
Zimbabwean government has banned Britain, Sweden, Germany,
and the Netherlands from sending election
observers to scrutinize the poll
because of their alleged bias
against President Robert Mugabe.
has said it will impose sanctions against the Zimbabwean
government if its
monitors are not allowed to observe the
White activist, 17, draws ire of Mugabe regime
'He's one of us': Shuns
privileged life for the fight to topple Zimbabwe's
Tom "Tawanda" Spicer
JOHANNESBURG - At
age 17, Tom Spicer has faced many nights in decrepit
Zimbabwe jails, endured
police harassment and suffered a 14-hour ordeal that
left his shirt soaked
To anyone who knows Zimbabwe it comes as no surprise. Tom
Spicer is just the
sort of person Robert Mugabe hates: a young white man
born into the kind of
privilege of which most blacks can only dream, one of
those colonials who is
actively campaigning to oust the President from power
in next month's
Mr. Spicer's mother is a British
filmmaker, his father an environmentalist.
His home is nestled in the
country's most affluent suburb. His family has so
much history in this town
there is even a street in the Spicer name
He could leave Zimbabwe's chaos
for a comfortable life in Britain any time
he wanted. At the very least, he
could ignore the political turmoil tearing
at the country, finish his final
year of high school and continue partying
at hip-hop dance clubs with his
But instead he has become a high-profile member of the Movement
Democratic Change (MDC), the official opposition, and Mr. Mugabe's
doing all it can to paint him as a demon -- including charging him
murder and denouncing him in the state press.
The smear campaign
is not working. Instead, Mr. Spicer has attracted
increasing attention and
support in the black townships of Harare.
Called "Tawanda" by his
friends, he speaks fluent Shona and has delivered
impassioned speeches at
MDC rallies. Crowds of up to 45,000 people have
cheered him on.
defies the perception Mugabe has tried to create, that whites are all
arrogant, unpatriotic, racist parasites," said Tendai Biti, a black
opposition MP and lawyer who has represented the teenager in court. "He's
one of us."
Mr. Spicer first became politically active in the prelude
elections in June, 2000. He attended a neighbourhood rally
ruling-party supporters chanted "Down with whites" and, as his father
recalled, "Tom became incensed in the way that only a teenager
At 15, he joined the MDC and later became the only white to be
the party's youth wing. Despite his colour, Mr. Spicer strikes
a chord with
the impoverished black masses who have suffered most under Mr.
"People give him huge ovations, not because
of the colour of his skin, but
because of what he is saying," Mr. Tendai
said. "He is a genuine
revolutionary. Because of that, [people in power]
hate his guts. And they
are going for him with all they've got."
worst moment came on Jan. 18, when Mr. Spicer was electioneering with
MDC youth in a government stronghold 75 kilometres outside Harare.
car broke down. Then a dozen ruling-party militiamen appeared on the
horizon. Mr. Spicer told his comrades to run, choosing to face the men
alone. He thought he could pass himself off as a hapless farmer's son, but
the plan flopped.
The gang dragged him to a base for the ruling
Zimbabwean African National
Unity -- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), handcuffed
him to window bars and then
spent 14 hours hurling abuse.
point, there were 30 of them," he recalled. "I was tied up all night
beaten. Someone stabbed me with something metallic in the face. There
lot of blood. My shirt was soaked.... I really thought I was going to
had accepted it."
But he survived and in the morning the attackers hauled
Mr. Spicer on to the
street at knifepoint, demanding he chant ZANU-PF
slogans. "I refused."
Word of the public spectacle soon made its way to
police and officers
arrived on the scene. But, rather than charging his
attackers, the police
charged Mr. Spicer with kidnapping and locked him up
for six nights.
It was just one in a string of trumped-up charges against
Mr. Spicer --
accusations that make his lawyer laugh.
Last year, Mr.
Spicer was accused of assaulting a police officer, but the
charge was thrown
out by a magistrate, who said police had blatantly
More recently, the police charged him with attempted murder.
Stories in the
state press accuse him of fuel-bombing houses, but the case
has yet to make
its way to trial.
Last weekend, Mr. Spicer was
arrested yet again, this time for possession of
a dangerous weapon. He had
been distributing MDC posters when police stopped
his car and found a stick
beneath the car seat.
He spent another two nights in decrepit cells at
Central Harare Police
"There were 35 of us in a six-man
cell," he said following his release.
"There is only one window, and it gets
very hot.... Some of the cells have a
lot of vermin. Cockroaches, that kind
of thing. The food is inedible."
In all, he has spent 17 nights in
detention. He talks of beatings and
imprisonment in very adult,
matter-of-fact tones, like a hardened veteran of
war. There is no doubt he
is brave. Once, he came out of prison and went to
an MDC rally three hours
But, when pushed, the teenager reluctantly conceded: "I have been
Edwina and Newton Spicer, his parents, are
often sick with worry. In
December, they forbade him from camping out with
MDC activists who were
engaged in a running battle with ZANU-PF youth. "He
didn't talk to us for
three weeks," said his father.
In January, the
Spicers became so fearful they whisked their son away to
England for five
weeks. They considered tearing up his return ticket but
then decided he
would have found his own way back.
"He feels it is what he has to do and
I admire his strength in the face of
this onslaught," Newton Spicer
These days, Mr. and Mrs. Spicer are also targets of the
this week police barged into their home to conduct an
for weapons and, on Wednesday, Mr. Spicer was taken into
police custody just
moments before he was set to appear in court on his
son's behalf. No charges
have been laid.
"It's just all part of the
harassment," said his exasperated wife.
Still, both Tom and his parents
insist they will not be intimidated.
"I've caught attention because of my
skin colour," Tom said. "But much worse
has happened to others. Four of my
friends have been killed. I saw a guy [in
jail] who had 19 stitches in his
head.... I have to fight, because what is
happening to me is in no way
Zimbabwe exiles in Britain urge end to Mugabe rule
16 — Several hundred exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside
their embassy in
central London on Saturday, accusing President Robert
Mugabe of mass murder
and urging his defeat in elections just three weeks
''Our country has been robbed from us. Our leader is killing our
is up to us to stand up for our rights and force him out,''
organiser Washington Ali told the crowd of about 300
Zimbabweans, both black
The crowd sang freedom songs in front of banners reading,
world, Zimbabwe is dying,'' and a poster of Mugabe above a list of
of opposition supporters killed in the past two years with the
slogan, ''Wanted...for Murder.''
''Mugabe could not win a
free and fair election,'' exiled opposition
activist Taurayi Chamboko told
Reuters. ''If he wins there is going to be
chaos. There will be an
At least 100 supporters of the opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) have been killed in two years of political
accompanying the state-sponsored invasion of hundreds of
Mugabe, seeking to extend his 22-year
grip on power in the former
Rhodesia, and his ruling ZANU-PF party have
justified the land grab as a
belated righting of the wrongs of a century of
British colonial misrule.
But the backbone of the agrarian-based
economy has snapped in the
process with inflation at 112 percent and rising,
conservatively put at more than 60 percent and widespread famine
The international community has tried ineffectually several
rein in Mugabe but each time he has made vague promises and
He has outlawed criticism of his rule,
imposed major restrictions on
foreign reporters and thrown up serious
barriers to international election
observers. At the same time the violent
land grab continues unabated.
The European Union has threatened
targeted sanctions against Mugabe
and his inner circle, but most observers
see any action now as too little,
far too late.
Commonwealth discussed sanctions last month but settled
instead for a mild
verbal rebuke, given that even Mugabe's neighbours could
not agree a course
of action despite their economic suffering because of the
Zimbabwe is likely to be on the agenda for the Commonwealth
Government Meeting in Brisbane just days before the elections on
March 9 and
10, but little is expected to emerge.
rights activist Peter Tatchell, who made citizens arrests
on Mugabe in London
in October 1999 and in Brussels in March 2001, told
the Australian government should arrest Mugabe for
murder at the Brisbane
Tatchell told Reuters he would not be attempting a third
arrest because he had been barred from entering Australia on the
was a threat to civil law and
Zimbabwe opposition says convoy
hit by militants
HARARE, Feb. 16 — Zimbabwe's main opposition
said a convoy of its top
officials was attacked by militants from President
Robert Mugabe's ruling
party on Saturday on its way to a campaign
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore
Reuters that dozens of youths from the governing ZANU-PF had
failed to block
the convoy of five vehicles but had smashed the windows of
four trucks with
clubs and stones and injured some MDC supporters.
Jongwe said senior officials in the convoy, including MDC
Welshman Ncube and three members of parliament, were not
injured in the
attack which occurred around 1:30 pm (1130 GMT) in Binga
''If they had not been speeding many people
would have been hurt,''
Police said they had not yet
received a report from the MDC, but a
spokesman said they would still
investigate the issue.
The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters
have been killed in
political violence in the past two years, which many
blame largely on
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
denies the charges or that it is trying to win Mugabe, who
will 78 next week,
another six years in office through political violence.
presidential polls on March 9-10.
US and UK name targeted leaders
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe heads an
initial list of 20 Zimbabwean leaders—three of whom have since died—whose assets
the United Kingdom and the United States are seeking to identify and seize under
a process of targeted sanctions, The Standard has confirmed.
Investigators in the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the United
States have begun working to track down assets held by the leaders as part of
plans to introduce ‘smart sanctions’ targeted at individuals and their immediate
families, rather than impose blanket punitive measures which would be hurtful to
The US House of Representatives recently passed
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which enables the sanctions to
be applied specifically to targeted leaders. The punitive measures will also
affect their children in colleges or schools overseas.
Topping the list
of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) issued in the Anti Money Laundering
Guidance Update, Issue 3, of the Joint Financial Crimes Unit, is Robert Gabriel
Mugabe, followed by his two vice-presidents, Simon V Muzenda and Joseph Msika.
Others are John Nkomo; Patrick Chinamasa; Stan Mudenge; Simba Makoni;
Sydney Sekeramayi; Swithun Mombeshora; Joseph Made; Ignatius Chombo;
Stamps; Herbert Murerwa; Samuel Mumbengegwi; Francis Nhema; Joyce Mujuru; July
Moyo; Nicholas Goche; Jonathan Moyo; Grace Marufu Mugabe; and one W Chikukwa
(listed as assistant defence adviser—Zimbabwe).
Conspicuous by his
absence from the list is youth, gender and employment creation minister, Elliot
Manyika, who is in charge of the training of the youth militias currently
terrorising innocent citizens. Shuvai Mahofa, his deputy, was also not included
and neither were the country’s 10 provincial governors.
can be done about the three deceased government officials listed, the punitive
measures to be taken will still affect their assets and families as they are
listed as PEPs. These are former defence minister, Moven Mahachi; former youth
development minister Border Gezi and Chenjerai Hunzvi—listed simply as ‘ally of
President Mugabe’. The former minister of industry and international trade, Dr
Nkosana Moyo, is also on the list.
Says the JFSC: “Regulated
institutions in both Britain and the United States are being asked to review
their files to determine whether or not they have any connection with any of the
named individuals. They will then wish to satisfy themselves that they know the
customers concerned, including proper knowledge of the source of funds, and have
taken any appropriate action to address any reputational risks that may arise.
“Should any checks give rise to any suspicion as to the legitimacy of
the funds, the institution should review its relationship with that customer and
make any such suspicious transaction reports to the Joint Financial Crimes Unit
A senior US government official told The Standard on
Friday that although he had no personal knowledge of assets already identified,
there were indications that substantial investments were held by Zimbabwean
officials. Observers say proof of ownership could be difficult to establish as
assets could be hidden several layers beneath ‘shell’ companies.
Independent investigations by The Standard have also revealed that
several of Mugabe’s cabinet ministers have children studying overseas and who
are therefore bound to be affected if smart sanctions are imposed by the US and
the European Union.
Those with children overseas include: Sekeramayi—UK;
Chombo—UK; Mombeshora—UK; Mudenge—UK; Mumbengegwi—UK; Edward
Chind-ori-Chininga—USA; Mujuru—Switzerland and UK; Manyika—UK; Murerwa—UK; Peter
Chanetsa—UK; Josaya Hungwe—UK; Shuvai Mahofa—UK; Cephas Msipa—USA and David
Zanu PF targets Harare’s low density suburbs
ZANU PF has booked hundreds of war
veterans into Harare hotels in preparation for a blitz on the city’s low density
suburbs, from tomorrow, The Standard has learnt.
Investigations by The
Standard have revealed that the war veterans were last week booked into four
city hotels in the avenues area.
War veterans secretary-general Andy
Mhlanga confirmed that war veterans were occupying hotels where “they are
“This is not the first time that war veterans are
staying in hotels. We have been booked into hotels on many occasions for
seminars and workshops. We are getting ready for the elections and we need to
educate our members on how to campaign peacefully, we also need to give them
political lessons,” said Mhlanga.
This latest move by Zanu PF is bound
to alarm low density residents who were last week warned of a door to door blitz
by war veterans and government-trained youth militias. Since last month, the
terror campaign by Zanu PF militants has been confined to rural areas and
peripheral high density suburbs, but word is that the campaign is to spread to
the low density suburbs this week.
Zanu PF sources last week informed
The Standard that they would start raiding the conservative low density areas
from tomorrow, starting with Marlborough and Mt Pleasant.
say that Eastlea residents were last week terrorised by ruling party hooligans
who also beat up anyone they found outdoor after 6.30pm.
blitz on the low density suburbs, as they have done elsewhere, the militia and
war veterans plan to ask people to produce Zanu PF party cards and to force them
to attend political rallies to be organised in the respective suburbs.