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Zimbabwe censured on reporter ban

BBC: Monday, 19 February, 2001, 22:50 GMT
The UK Government has condemned Zimbabwe for its expulsion of a BBC journalist at the weekend.

The Foreign Office summoned the Zimbabwean High Commissioner in London, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, to express its concerns about the expulsion of Joseph Winter.

On Saturday, Mr Winter was threatened by a gang and given 24 hours to leave the country, as part of a media crackdown ahead of presidential elections expected by next year.

Foreign Office minister Brian Wilson warned that Britain, along with the rest of the international community, was "extremely concerned" about the treatment meted out to journalists, particularly the BBC correspondent.

Another foreign journalist, Mercedes Sayagues, who reported for a South Africa-based weekly newspaper has also been expelled.

Voicing concerns

Mr Wilson said on Monday: "I reminded the High Commissioner that scenes like this do Zimbabwe no favours in the eyes of the world.

"A free press is essential in any democracy and the government of Zimbabwe cannot prevent the world from seeing what is happening there."

He said he had sought assurances that there would be no further removals from Zimbabwe.

The minister also used the meeting to voice concerns over government harassment of the judiciary and a bomb attack on the country's leading independent paper the Daily News.

President Robert Mugabe, who faces a re-election campaign by next year, is said to have been intensifying the pressure on dissent.

His government accused Mr Winter, who has worked for the corporation's African Service for four years, of having his work permit extended fraudulently - a charged the BBC journalist had denied.

A BBC spokesman later said Mr Winter's work permit was renewed three weeks ago, and is valid until February 2002.

Court order

Mr Winter obtained a court order allowing him to stay until Friday, but decided to leave at once after a group of men called at his home in the middle of the night.

"We were terrified, and we thought they were going to kill us," said Mr Winter, whose wife and small daughter were in the flat at the time of the incident.

On Sunday, a lawyer representing Mr Winter obtained a ruling from a court in Harare delaying the expulsion order for five days and preventing the journalist from further harassment.

But government officials, including the Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo and Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi, said they would not abide by the order.

"Court orders and what judges say in Zimbabwe these days count for increasingly little," said Mr Winter from Johannesburg.

"But with people breaking in to my house and apparently armed people looking for me, I thought it was just best to leave the country."

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, told the BBC that the government was intent on doing everything possible to ensure President Mugabe emerged victorious in elections.

"They are preparing ground for an early presidential election and therefore they are creating conditions of isolation of the international community to know what's happening here," he said.

There has been a history of bitter exchanges between the British and Zimbabwean governments.

In his latest remarks, Mr Mugabe said the image of rampant violence and instability in Zimbabwe which was "peddled" in Britain was completely false.

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Why I left Zimbabwe

Monday, 19 February, 2001, 15:10 GMT

Joseph and his wife Anne Marie and daughter Anenti flee
Joseph, his wife Anne Marie and daughter Anenti flee
By Harare correspondent Joseph Winter in South Africa

I felt an enormous sense of relief flowing through my body as the doors closed on the plane taking my family and I to South Africa.

We were now safely out of the reach of the state security agents who had been trying to get hold of us since the early hours of Sunday morning.

The last I heard was that six or seven men, both police officers and others from the secret service, some armed with machine guns, were waiting for us inside our house.

It was obvious that there was very little to gain by trying to stay in Zimbabwe and a great deal to lose.


Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told our lawyers that he would not be bound by a court order which gave us until next Friday to wind up our affairs in a country where we had spent the last four years.

The so-called 'security' officers had a similarly low esteem for what the judges and the government's own lawyers had decided.

It remains to be seen whether all foreign journalists based in Zimbabwe will go through a similar ordeal, or whether this was only aimed at myself and Mercedes Sayagues, of the South African Mail and Guardian.

But it does come after the bombing of a local newspaper, the intimidation of judges and the indictment of senior figures in the opposition.

What is certain is that the period leading up to presidential elections next year, will not be an easy one for the many Zimbabweans not seen as 'politically correct' in the eyes of the government.

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From the Financial Times, UK
middle east and africa

Bleeding Zimbabwe dry
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: February 18 2001 20:43GMT | Last Updated: February 18 2001 20:48GMT

Mugabe image

Almost by the day Zimbabwe's crisis deepens. What began three years ago as a dispute over land ownership, and the government's "fast track" resettlement of landless members of the black population on white-owned land, has brought the economy to its knees.

At the heart of the crisis lies the determination of President Robert Mugabe's government to hang on to power at any cost.

After coming perilously close to losing last June's parliamentary elections, the ruling Zanu-PF party embarked on a systematic campaign of rooting out all opposition and, indeed, any independent voices.

In recent weeks, attacks on the judiciary led to the forced resignation of Tony Gubbay, the chief justice, and the demand that two other judges also step down.

The ruling party's parliamentary caucus has also passed a no-confidence vote in the supreme court and demanded the replacement of its judges.

Meanwhile, three senior members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), including its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and his deputy, Gibson Sibanda, have been arrested and charged with inciting violence. The information minister, Jonathan Moyo, has since threatened to withdraw the passports of anyone who advocates sanctions against the Mugabe government, a reference to an alleged statement in Johannesburg last week by an opposition MP, Tendayi Biti.

Last month, the printing press at the main independent newspaper, the Daily News, was destroyed by a bomb, not long after a government minister had vowed to close the newspaper. No arrests have yet been made. In the last few days two foreign journalists including a BBC correspondent in Harare, Joseph Winter, have been ordered to leave the country on the grounds that their work permits were not in order. When Mr Winter obtained a court order on Sunday giving him five days in the country to contest the decision, the police, immigration department and information minister all refused to recognise the order.

Intimidation is working better than the government could ever have hoped.

In two by-elections in recent months, Zanu-PF has won easily - though only, opposition activists say, because of intense and vicious intimidation. The MDC's legal challenge of the results in 37 constituencies in last June's elections is in tatters as its witnesses either change their evidence or fail to turn up in court. d3 Last week it was the turn of the Commercial Farmers Union. At a council meeting, a group of white farmers demanded the resignation of the union's leadership and their replacement by men prepared to "work with the government". This "rebel" faction appears to believe that by withdrawing all court actions against the illegal occupation of farms by war veterans and their supporters and the compulsory acquisition orders, they will "unlock" millions of dollars of foreign aid.

Whatever the success of this strategy, the long-term outlook is dire, and becoming more so by the week. Real GDP fell some 5 per cent last year and could fall as much as 10 per cent in 2001, according to the International Monetary Fund. The fund also says the Zimbabwe dollar is more than 50 per cent overvalued. Inflation is 55 per cent and rising and since the new year the government has been forced by the country's escalating domestic debt to force down short-term interest rates to the point where they are some 40 percentage points below inflation.

All this is justified by Mr Mugabe's ambition to be written up in the history books as the man who gave black Zimbabweans their land back.

It is beginning to look as if Mr Mugabe, who turns 77 this week, will succeed - though whether their inheritance will improve the lives and prosperity of future generations is another matter.

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From the Guardian

Mugabe steps up assault on press and opposition leaders

Special report: Zimbabwe

Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Chris McGreal
Monday February 19, 2001
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean government has intensified its assault on opposition and
dissent with moves to bar the leading challenger to Robert Mugabe from the
next presidential election, new threats to kill white farmers and the
expulsion of two foreign journalists, including the BBC's correspondent.
The ruling Zanu-PF party is trying to block the popular opposition leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, from running for president next year by bringing criminal
charges designed to bar him from office. It is also packing the courts with
compliant judges, unlikely to overturn any sentencing on appeal.

While Mr Tsvangirai's disqualification would be a blow to his party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it could also prove highly
destabilising, given the government's deep unpopularity and Zimbabwe's
burgeoning economic crisis; economists warn that it will face a shortage of
staple foods within six months.

Harare is also trying to limit the damage to its image overseas.

The information minister, Jonathon Moyo, said the government felt no
obligation to abide by a Harare high court decision yesterday blocking the
authorities from expelling Joseph Winter of the BBC, and Mercedes Sayagues,
who works for the Guardian's sister paper in Johannesburg, the Mail and

On another front, Zanu-PF is trying to force the leaders of the
overwhelmingly white Commercial Farmers Union to resign, warning that more
farmers will die if they do not side with the government.

The ruling party's main target, however, is Mr Tsvangirai. Last week he was
belatedly charged with incitement to violence - five months after a speech
in which he warned Mr Mugabe that if he did not go peaceably he could be
removed by force.

The government claims that the MDC leader was advocating revolution. Mr
Tsvangirai says he was just warning of the likely consequences of an
increasingly unpopular president trying to cling on to power at all costs.

The MDC believes that the government waited to charge its leader because it
was manipulating the courts to ensure that a conviction would be upheld on

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe's justice minister told the country's
independent supreme court judges that their safety could not be guaranteed
unless they resigned immediately. The chief justice bowed to the pressure
and quit, but four other judges have refused to step down.

The MDC's legal affairs chief, David Coultard, sees a pattern in the recent
events. "It's quite clearly part of a coordinated plan to make sure
[Tsvangirai] is convicted and cannot run for president," he said. "If that
happens Mugabe will go for an early election."

Intimidation has not been restricted to those in the courts and opposition
figures, however. A group of men arrived on the doorstep of Mr Winter, the
BBC reporter, at 2am yesterday, demanding to be allowed into his flat.

Other journalists arrived and scared them away and Mr Winter, his wife and
child were given shelter by the British high commission, but their house was
later ransacked.

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From the Age, Melbourne


Zimbabwe braced for more attacks on freedom

Monday 19 February 2001

Zimbabwe is braced for more attacks on the judiciary, press and opposition
after a white judge sentenced a ruling party militant to death for the
murder of a policeman last year.

Observers in Harare say that the ruling is likely to further provoke
President Robert Mugabe's regime. The regime is already trying to force the
resignation of judges who have ruled against it in cases about its support
for attacks on political opponents and illegal invasion of white-owned

A ferocious crackdown has been launched against Mr Mugabe's opponents, real
or imagined. The appearance of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, in a Harare magistrate's court marked the most serious
escalation of this campaign.

Fears of more press clampdowns were underlined on Saturday when a BBC
correspondent, ordered by the government to leave Zimbabwe within 24 hours,
took refuge at the British high commission in Harare after a gang tried to
break into his flat.

Joseph Winter said the men climbed a wall around his garden and banged on
doors, shouting for him to open up. "We were terrified, and we thought they
were going to kill us. We don't know who these people were," said Mr Winter,
who was with his wife and young daughter in the flat. British high
commission officials whisked the family away in a car soon after.

Mercedes Sayagues, the Zimbabwe correspondent for the South African-based
Mail Guardian newspaper, was also ordered on Saturday to leave Zimbabwe.

Two weeks ago the government forced Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay to resign.
It has since repeatedly called for the resignation of the other four Supreme
Court judges, accusing them of pursuing a "Rhodesian" agenda.

In Harare's High Court on Friday Judge George Smith sentenced Givemore Muoni
Katsande, 41, a veteran of the pre-1980 liberation struggle and a retired
army general, to death for the murder of 25-year-old police officer Tinashe
Chakwenya at Marondera last April.

Judge Smith said the law left him no option but to impose the death penalty
in cases of murder with no extenuating circumstances. Officer Chakwenya had
gone to a farm near the town to investigate the beating of a white farmer by
a gang of so-called "war veterans".

Witnesses said that Katsande, the veterans' leader, had shot the unarmed
policeman after he put his hands up.

The ruling came on the day that government prosecutors charged Opposition
Leader Morgan Tsvangirai with incitement to violence for making a speech
last year in which he warned that Mr Mugabe could be removed from power with
force if he did not respect democracy.

While Mr Mugabe has moved to pardon ruling party supporters for their roles
in attacks on whites and opposition supporters, including the deaths of more
than 30 people in election violence last year, three senior leaders of the
Movement for Democratic Change now face charges under colonial-era public
order legislation.

Last month the printing press of the independent Daily News was destroyed by
government-issue limpet mines in an attack blamed on the army.

The attacks on the press, the judiciary and opposition were criticised by
the United States State Department, which said on Friday that it was
considering new ways to promote human rights in the southern African state.

Spokesman Philip Reeker said the government was using its powers to harass
the judiciary and others while

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From the Daily News

Deportation stayed

2/19/01 8:19:09 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE High Court yesterday granted Joseph Winter, the BBC correspondent given
24 hours to leave the country on Saturday, his application to stay until
next Friday.

Winter, who has worked in Zimbabwe for four years, had been declared persona
non grata on Saturday after his work permit was cancelled.
The order, granted by Justice Esmael Chatikobo, was made with the consent of
the government. Mercedes Sayagues, the Zimbabwe correspondent of the Mail &
Guardian newspaper in South Africa, was granted a similar order.
She had been ordered to leave on Saturday, but was allowed back to fetch her
nine-year-old daughter.
The orders restrain State officials from “harassing or interfering in any
way whatsoever” with the two and their property, and allows them to apply
for an extension of the period to the relevant authorities.
But Winter and Sayagues are barred from working.
Immigration officials, acting on the orders of the Department of Information
and Publicity in the President’s Office, cancelled Winter’s work permit
which was valid until February next year.
It was issued about three weeks ago.
The Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s
Office, Jonathan Moyo, was quoted by The Sunday Mail as saying Winter’s
deportation was merely an application of the rule of law.
But this is not the first time that Winter has had a brush with Moyo.
In December last year Moyo summoned Winter and ordered him out of the Zanu
PF special congress at the City Sports
Centre in Harare, accusing him of disseminating “falsehoods” about Zimbabwe.
On Friday, Immigration officials failed to find Winter and when he called at
their offices on Saturday, they told him the procedure for accrediting
foreign journalists had changed and he had to return to Britain and reapply
from there.
His deportation was stayed when he asked for time to make travel
In the early hours of yesterday, about six men in civilian clothes
reportedly tried to break into Winter’s flat in central Harare.
The BBC journalist telephoned his lawyer, British High Commission officials
and journalists. The men fled in a waiting car when the journalists arrived.
Winter, his wife and young daughter were taken away by British officials.
Winter said to journalists at the scene: “We were terrified, and we thought
they were going to kill us. We don’t know who these people were

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British Ministers have lodged a formal complaint with Zimbabwean diplomats over their expulsion of a BBC reporter.

The High Commissioner to Britain was called in by Foreign Office Minister Brian Wilson.

The protest came after Joseph Winter, of the Corporation's Africa Service, was threatened by a gang and given 24 hours to quit the country.

President Robert Mugabe has clamped down on the media amid growing opposition to his rule. A High Court judge ruled Mr Winter could stay provided he did not work yesterday.

The reporter and his family had to seek refuge with British diplomats when a group of men tried to raid his house in the middle of the night.

No-one was hurt but they were said to be shocked and nervous following the incident, which came after the order to leave.

Judge Ishmael Chatikobo yesterday also banned Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Chief Immigration Officer Elasto-Marvellous Mugwadi from "harassing" him until his departure.

Mr Wilson warned that Britain, along with the rest of the international community, was "extremely concerned" about the treatment meted out to journalists, particularly the BBC correspondent.

Mr Wilson also used the meeting to voice concerns over government harassment of the judiciary and a bomb attack on the country's leading independent paper the Daily News.

A BBC spokesman said Joseph Winter has worked for the corporation's African Service for four years. He was ordered to leave despite having a valid work permit, according to the spokesman.
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From the BBC

Monday, 19 February, 2001, 21:18 GMT
Britain berates Zimbabwe for expelling journalist

The British government has summoned the Zimbabwean High Commissioner in
London, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, to voice its concern at his country's
expulsion of a BBC journalist.

The Foreign Office told the commissioner it was concerned at both the
Zimbabwean government's failure to respect the freedom of the media and its
harrassment of the judiciary.

The Harare government had accused the BBC journalist, Joseph Winter, of
obtaining his work permit fraudulently, a charge he denied.

Mr Winter obtained a court order allowing him to stay until Friday; but he
decided to leave at once for South Africa after a group of men called at his
home in the middle of the night.

The Foreign Office said incidents like this did Zimbabwe no favour in the
eyes of the world. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe
said the government had embarked on a campaign to silence all critics ahead
of next year's presidential election.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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South Africa's Coming Race Wars

By Jan Lamprecht

This is a MUST-READ for South Africans. Take the time, and read it to the
end - the kicker is right at the end. If any of you get the chance to talk
to any blacks, you must please try and question them about this - and please
let me know what you hear. I would like to encourage you ALL to do some
digging. I want to try to establish how widespread this is and how long it
has been going on.

I was stunned today when my mother told me of a discussion she had with the
gardener who works for us. He's a nice old black guy. We never talk politics
with him.

However, Mum told me that she was talking to him the other day when he
mentioned that on the African radio stations they have been hearing them
saying this:

"A time is coming when the blacks will take the white's furniture, their
houses and their cars."

The gardener told Mum that the blacks were talking among themselves about
this, and they were saying they don't know how this is going to happen, but
they believe that the Government knows better and they will wait to see what
the Government does...

That sent chills down my spine. That's just like what that old prophet Van
Rensburg spoke of.

In fact, what I'm now going to do is try to see if I can get more
information out of blacks everywhere regarding this. There have long been
suspicions that the news the blacks hear, in their native language, is
different to what we hear. They are told other things.

There have been rumours of this for a long time, but, it looks like this
really is going to happen to us. This is chilling stuff... please let me
know what you find out.

South Africa's Coming Race Wars

By Jan Lamprecht

Many people are fooled by words. It is ironic that words, which are normally
used to communicate with, can also be used to deceive and fool people or to
convey subtle messages. Most people are completely surprised by this because
most people are, for the most part, straight-forward and honest. Lawyers,
for example, are a group of people who are very skilled at this misuse of
language. Many lawyers then go on to become politicians where they excel at
this abuse!

But, words can be used as weapons. The military use of propaganda is both an
art and a science of the highest order. A great deal of work has gone into
this. Words can be used to excite one group of people to foment hatred and
anger while cowing another group of people down and lulling them into a
false sense of security. This is the art of Psychological Warfare and

Here in Southern Africa, all the "Liberation Movements" which were sponsored
by the Russians and Chinese have gone on to become the Governments of the
day. These Liberation Movements have all been schooled in the art of
propaganda and psychological warfare. They know how to say things and also
how not to say things.

In fact, even the word "Liberation" is an example of propaganda. These
people are portrayed as "Freedom Fighters" and "Liberators" when in fact
their aims are to feed everyone, black and white alike, a good dose of
socialism and centralised control. Overtly they claim to be in favour of
freedom but, covertly, the opposite is true.

These people are skilled at portraying themselves to the world as reasonable
men, when in fact, they have much blood on their hands and won't hesitate to
murder their own or their enemies at the drop of a hat. It may seem ironic,
but these "Liberators" killed more black people than the whites ever did.

Bit by bit people outside Africa are starting to realise that this new
generation of Black Liberators are not sincere people. Slowly, people in
Western countries are realising that something is amiss. One day they will
realise that they've been lied to.

The Black Leaders talk of creating a prosperous multiracial society when in
fact they have no interest in such a thing. On the quiet they tell their
supporters to murder the whites, make things hot for them and encourage them
to flee the country. At a Governmental level, the Government turns a blind
eye to crime and in fact makes rules which will cause crime to increase.
These Marxists would never DARE say so in public, but they are sick of the
whites and want them to leave the country.

When leaders such as Thabo Mbeki speak of the "transformation" of society -
what does he really mean?

Let me quote from the book: "PROPAGANDA & PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE", written by
T. H. Qualter of the University of Waterloo. On page 106 we read this: "In
its actual operation Russian propaganda has been characterised by a
distinctive use of language described with fair accuracy as 'semantic
warfare'. The language of Communism... is not so much a means of explaining
to the unbeliever what Communism means, BUT AN ARMOURY OF WEAPONS AND TOOLS
TO PRODUCE." (My emphasis)

Qualter continues:- "In addition to their characteristic 'special'
vocabulary... Communists also use familiar words and phrases, but they use
them in a particular way, often distorting their reference to confuse both
home and foreign opinion. 'Peaceful Coexistence', for example, carries to
western minds the connotation of toleration and mutual respect, an attitude
one Communist parties met in Moscow in December 1960, they publicly
announced that 'Peaceful Coexistence' meant "THE INTENSIFICATION OF THE
than "the conciliation of bourgeois ideologies'." (My Emphasis).

The above simple example should show that the Marxist definition of "peace",
for example, is not peace in the terms in which we think. "Peace", in their
view, can only occur when they defeat us. It is in this manner that one must
take a closer look at Marxist pupils, such as Mugabe, and Mbeki (who used to
be a card carrying member of the South African Communist Party). These
people are highly skilled at "Communist speak". They use words in a very
deliberate, and yet misleading way. Only their true followers understand
exactly what they are getting at. These are not sincere people.

A word that is over-used in South Africa, Africa and indeed the world is
"democracy." Everyone believes that "democracy" is good and must be striven
for. All countries, it is felt, should aspire to "democracy." Only
"democracy" is good. Everything else is bad. "Democracy" is the buzz-word of
today, and yet, Qualter had this to write about the propagandistic use of
the word "democracy" by Marxists:-

"Again, 'democracy' is a prestige word; so the Soviet satellites become
'democracies', but 'People's Democracies' to distinguish them from the
'decadent bourgeois democracies' of the West."

He continues:- "When the Soviet Union advocates democracy, it is advocating

From the above, it should be obvious that "democracy" in the terms of our
"National Liberators", like Mugabe, and Mbeki, EXCLUDES WHITES WHO HAVE
CAPITALIST VALUES AND ASPIRATIONS. "Democracy", in the Marxist view, is more
than just voting. It is a whole new society. Note, in the above, the mention
of Colonialism and how it too is capitalist - and therefore there is no
place for it.

Just because the ANC has never murdered us in our beds does not mean it will
never happen. Until last year, whites in Zimbabwe had not been driven off
their land by masses of black thugs - and yet, it happened out of the blue.
As far as Mugabe is concerned, its not over yet. He wants to drive all the
whites off the farms even if it means national starvation and suicide.
Remember, South Africa's history has a number of parallels and similarities
to that of Zimbabwe. The two countries have a lot of things in common.
Things that have happened in Zimbabwe have yet to happen in South Africa.
People used to say South Africa would never be ruled by blacks, and yet it
is now ruled by Marxist blacks. One should never say the blacks will not
attack us. The only reason they probably have not is because too many of us
are armed and they aren't strong enough - but give them time. They keep on
changing the gun laws and are working overtime to disarm us. The key issue
is to discern whether the leadership of this country is hell-bent on
engaging in attempted white genocide at some point in the future. Are they
hostile enough towards us to try that?

When the ANC uses soft words like the "transformation of society" then we
should beware - these words sound soft, but they mean something else
completely different. These words really mean: "We must continue moving
towards a black-dominated Marxist/Socialist system."

It has long been the view in South Africa, across the spectrum of black and
white public opinion, that Nelson Mandela is more trustworthy than Thabo
Mbeki. Indeed, when Mbeki was still the Vice President, there were many
rumours that he was something of a dark horse, and that in fact he was a
dangerous man with a hidden hostility to whites.

A biography of him written some time ago stated that even within the ANC he
was ruthless and that he had climbed to his present position by knifing
others in the back.

My personal opinion of Mbeki was formed many years ago when the ANC was
first unbanned. I watched with great fascination when he first appeared in
an SABC TV interview. I was very impressed with Mbeki's smoothness. The
honey was dripping from his lips as he described a wonderful future for
blacks and whites under ANC rule. His descriptions were so flowery and
beautiful that I felt he was describing heaven on Earth for all of us. In
fact, the ANC has continued with this view by campaigning under the slogan:
"A better life for ALL." They always keep telling us that the better life is
not just for the blacks, but in fact also for the whites too!!

However, underneath this facade of friendliness, lies something else. Mbeki
is a man who says one thing, but does another. If one looks closely at him,
there is indeed a hidden hostility to the whites which I personally find
very frightening.

Take for example Robert Mugabe's campaign against the white farmers in
Zimbabwe in 2000. While the world was condemning Mugabe, Mbeki's ANC was
strangely quiet. In fact, he even went to Zimbabwe to open a Trade Fair
there during that time. He never criticised Mugabe and was in fact seen
being very friendly to Mugabe. Not only that, but Mbeki praised him saying
that the most important thing he learnt from Mugabe was how crucial BLACK
UNITY was. In this one cannot fault either of the two. Both Mugabe and Mbeki
have worked hard over the years to unite the blacks under them, by hook or
by crook. They have used both the carrot and the stick. At times they have
used force, murder and terror, but at other times they have also given the
blacks who oppose them important positions in government.

For example, Dr Buthelezi, the leader of the Zulus, used to be aligned with
the whites. Buthelezi was pro-Western, and supported the whites, as well as
having many whites in the ranks of his political party. Buthelezi used to be
a critic of the ANC. However, as a conciliatory gesture, he was sworn in as
the Acting State President one time when the President was not in the
country. He was also given a token position inside the Government. These
gestures have softened Buthelezi. Nowadays he tows the line quite happily. I
have also noticed that a number of ANC "defectors" have entered Buthelezi's
political party where they have made themselves at home and are slowly
transforming his political party into something more acceptable to the ANC.

Similarly, a black man from the small, radical, AZAPO party was given a
ministerial position recently, even though this is actually illegal. This
should be seen for what it is: the ANC making a magnanimous gesture towards
other blacks.

What nobody in South Africa has noticed is how the ANC is moving to bring
ALL the blacks under their wing while excluding the whites. Here we see
sheer racism in action.

The ANC's biggest political opposition is the Democratic Alliance which is
white-dominated. The DA does not get the same magnanimous treatment which
the black parties get, even though, constitutionally and legally it is
entitled to such. In fact, the DA should be the first in line for such
actions since it is the official opposition.

Mugabe did a similar thing in Zimbabwe. He tried to crush his black
political opposition. When murdering entire villages and throwing people
down wells did not work, he gave them a carrot. He made their leader, Joshua
Nkomo, the vice president. In this way Mugabe finally achieved the black
unity he sought.

Mbeki and Mugabe are out to form a front against a "common enemy" - the
white man.

Let it be said that the average black person in the street, in both Zimbabwe
and in South Africa, does not truly comprehend the evil intentions of the
Marxists they have chosen as their leaders. The average blacks are, for the
most part, not filled with intense hatred or bitterness. However, their
leaders spend much time sowing the seeds of race hatred among them. These
common people do not realise the crimes to which they are being led by the
leaders they have chosen and trust.

In a WorldNetDaily article some months ago, I recorded how Mbeki tried to
use the AIDS situation in South Africa as a means of trying to foment new
race hatred. Mbeki came out and supported Professor Duesberg's controversial
theories and then immediately used this as a pretext to say that the reason
AIDS was so prevalent in South Africa was because of the terrible treatment
the blacks had received at the hands of the whites! Mbeki's embarrassing
foray into the world of AIDS and the science behind it had nothing to do
with a desire to find the truth. Behind the facade science lurked a desire
to promote race hatred and to find ever more reasons to blame the whites for
all the ills of the blacks.

Mugabe has been on a similar kick for the last 20+ years. Even after handing
over power to him, and in spite of experiencing heinous taxes, the whites
nevertheless keep the country afloat. The whites manage, against great odds,
to keep the country going even though Mugabe is a Marxist who is trying to
destroy them at every opportunity. It therefore came as a great
embarrassment to him when the whites began winning credibility among the
black populace. Most blacks in Zimbabwe state openly that Mugabe must not
blame the whites for the ills of the country because it is a lie.

Here in South Africa, one never hears the end of the word "Apartheid" even
though it disappeared more than 10 years ago. These people never miss an
opportunity to blame the whites for something. They keep referring to 400
years of development as 400 years of "destruction." This is nonsense as any
casual glance at a history book will show.

Prince Charles, in England, once referred to "Political Correctness" as
"Intellectual Communism" - which is what it really is. In the PC world, it
is completely frowned upon to call a black man "racist". And yet, if one
looks at Mugabe, he must indeed be the most racist black man on the planet.
Mbeki, very grudgingly, says a few things to placate the whites, but one can
see that he does it only out of sheer necessity and nothing else.

In his opening of parliament speech the other day, Mbeki said that the
whites still have too many jobs and the blacks too few. The whites owned too
much and the blacks too little. This "imbalance" would have to be
"corrected". Clearly, Marxism and socialism lies at the heart of his
economic policies.

That Mbeki has no real interest in the economic progress of South Africa is
evidenced by his remarks at an economic congress at Davos in Switzerland
recently. This was Mbeki's big chance to produce a "blue print" for saving
Africa. Yet, when he got there he had nothing concrete to propose. He merely
stated that peace and "democracy" (a code word for Marxism) first had to be
brought to Africa. Only then, once the political system had been stabilised,
could there be economic development. These were strange words for a major
leader in a continent which is a virtual cesspool of crime, corruption,
poverty, etc. Mbeki, and the leaders of other Marxist states, like Tanzania,
had no real interest in the economic welfare of their own people. All they
are really concerned about is that their Marxist buddies, like Kabila and
Mugabe, are firmly entrenched in power.

One would have expected these leaders to be falling over themselves begging
for investment from the West and making new rules so that investment in
Africa could occur more easily. And yet, the leaders of this continental
cess-pool only paid lip-service to this.

Why don't these leaders care? What's going on?

Its class warfare pure and simple. Take a look at Mugabe. Mugabe prefers to
murder the successful white farmers and to force them off their farms. He
encourages and whips up hatred against them and encourages vandals to
destroy their property, rape their wives and murder them. When Mugabe
addresses black crowds in their native African languages he PRAISES these
criminals and ENCOURAGES them. But, when TV cameras are focussed on him and
the world waits to hear what he has to say, he speaks in English and
CONDEMNS these people. As a native of Africa, I have OFTEN heard that these
black Marxist leaders say one thing to the international community and to
journalists, but, when they address their own people in their own language,
they say something completely different. To the world at large, they pretend
to be reasonable, peaceful people, but, to their own followers they say
something else. Obviously, they are lying to someone - but to whom?

Mbeki and the ANC officials do exactly the same here in South Africa. ANC
officials have long told the black people that white South Africans invented
AIDS so as to murder them! Many, if not most blacks actually believe this.
The ANC constantly puts out a stream of anti-white propaganda. ANC officials
have said some dreadful things but these things NEVER reach the
international media. It was once mentioned, by the journalist, Jani Allen,
that an ANC official told blacks to kill the whites. Not long ago, the ANC
Secretary General, gave a speech wherein he told the blacks to prepare for
the struggle against CAPITALISM!

For decades now, I have heard that the blacks have been instructed to IGNORE
what their leaders say in English, but to follow whatever they tell them in
their own language...

Just as Mugabe was holding news conferences condemning the violence and
murder of white farmers, the Zimbabwe Army was loading truck-loads full of
thugs and transporting them to farms to start more violence! Such is the

Mbeki is a close friend of Mugabe, and I believe he supports him 100% in
what he did against the white farmers. When the Europeans sent election
monitors to monitor the Zimbabwean elections they found extensive
intimidation and many irregularities. The Europeans believed the election
was stolen. But then Mbeki sent a South African team and they came back and
declared (after some wrangling) that the Zimbabwean elections were free and
fair! Thus we can see how Mbeki props up and helps Mugabe where he can.
There was another instance, in 2000 where Mbeki "gave" Mugabe money. It was
done in a strange way. South Africa "ordered" a great deal of produce from
Zimbabwe. South Africa paid over tens of millions. Then, suddenly, the order
was "cancelled" but Zimbabwe kept the money - and nothing further was said
about it.

An ANC official then declared that there would not be the same problems with
farmers here in South Africa because all the white farmers would be DEAD by

There is an ongoing and clandestine war against farmers in South Africa on a
scale that is unbelievable. I have never obtained the exact statistics but
thousands of farmers and their wives have been murdered - often in horrific
ways. The international media say nothing about it - but its been going on
ever since the ANC came into power and it keeps on getting worse.

It is common knowledge that South Africa's crime rate is the highest in the
world. But then a year ago, the ANC suddenly put a moratorium on the public
release of all crime statistics. Mbeki falsely claimed recently that crime
had gone down. It turns out that only the murder rate has dropped slightly.
All other crimes have exploded by anything from 20% upwards. To date, no new
statistics have been released. It was announced that soon, new statistics
would indeed be made available. However, the ANC stated that the manner in
which these statistics were compiled was "wrong" and that now they would be
counting them "correctly!" So it would seem that we are about to have newer,
Government fudged figures... Smells like a rat doesn't it?

Well, there are lots of such things going on these days in the ANC dominated
Government. Ministers tell outright lies, and this includes Mbeki himself.
When Judge Heath obtained information that high-level government officials
were involved in massive corruption in South Africa's huge arms purchase,
Mbeki went on TV and told the nation that he had fired Heath. Apparently,
his action was illegal because Judge Heath had been appointed for a certain
period of time. Furthermore, it turns out that a diagram, used by Mbeki,
which he claimed originated from Heath, had actually been drawn by a
journalist. The journalist owned up to this afterwards. The ANC has been
engaging in a massive cover-up of corruption over this questionable arms
deal totalling R43 billion - the biggest arms purchase in South African
history. No one knows why the ANC has spent this tremendous amount of money
on arms we have no need for. What does the ANC know that we do not?

These Marxists, Mugabe & Mbeki, are making long-term preparations for a race
war which they intend winning.

I do not believe that either of them were ever truly interested in a
multiracial society unless the whites just kept their mouths shut. I believe
that both Mbeki and Mugabe are irked by the ongoing white criticism of their
(incompetent and corrupt) rule. The whites, being capitalist and westernised
by nature, are constantly resisting black moves towards socialism and
communism. This is irritating to these leaders. They are tiring of the

I believe that the whites have also proven to be tougher than they ever
believed. I believe these Marxists HOPED that the whites would flee the
continent en masse when the blacks took over. But the whites did not. Many
whites remain in spite of tremendous taxes and the most intrusive laws in
the world. For example, all banks, stock brokers, employers, etc MUST report
all payments of salaries, dividends, etc directly to the Revenue Service. If
you have a bank account and earn interest on it, and do not declare it, then
the Revenue Service will know about it and take legal steps against you. The
Revenue Service has also begun monitoring EVERYTHING we own. If we buy a car
or a house, they know about it. They are coming after us to strip us of what
little we have.

I believe that the Government has deliberately created lax laws to encourage
crime and to make it "hot" for the whites so that they would flee. They have
succeeded to a great extent because whites have been fleeing from Africa
since the 1960's and these black leaders seem to have little interest in
reversing the trend. I believe it is because they actually want the whites
to leave. They would never dare admit this publicly, but I believe they
quietly rejoice at this.

It has come to light that now South Africa is one of the foremost stop-overs
for drug-trafficking in the world. Billions of rands worth of drugs pass
through South Africa to North America and other destinations.

It has been said that white South Africans have the FASTEST FALLING STANDARD
OF LIVING IN THE WORLD. This is because these Marxists are coming after us
to strip us of all that we own.

Clearly, these Marxists, Mugabe and Mbeki have no idea how to actually fix
the economy or to encourage investment so that black and white may live and
prosper together. (This is also true of Sam Nujoma in Namibia). Their failed
ideologies therefore leave them with only one option - to play the role of
the Red Robin Hood. Since they are incapable of producing anything new they
must therefore steal from the "rich" to give to the poor.

Land has been redistributed to blacks on big scale in both South Africa and
Zimbabwe, and land claims are processed regularly. Whites have been fired
from their jobs and racial quotas instituted. Companies pay huge fines if
they do not have the right racial quota. Experienced people are sacked to
make way for the inexperienced or even the downright incompetent merely
because of racial quotas.

Nowadays in South Africa one finds whites sitting on street corners begging.
Such is the lot we are heading for. Our hard times are coming.

This week I heard something else that really struck home to me. My Mother
and I were chatting and she remarked that she heard something interesting
from the old black man who helps in the garden from time to time. My Mother
never discusses politics with him. However, last week he remarked that
blacks have been hearing on the radio that the time is coming when the
blacks will be able to take all the whites' furniture, their houses and
their cars! He remarked that the blacks have been talking among themselves
and wondering how this is going to be achieved. He says that they are not
exactly sure how it is going to happen, but they have faith that the
Government knows what its doing.

Having heard of this, I will continue digging into it to try to find out how
long the blacks have been told this. This is clearly happening on the black
radio stations which are in their native languages. It seems as if Mbeki is
sowing the seeds and preparing them for the big "Redistribution of White
Wealth" - when, as before, the Red Robin Hood comes to steal from us to
"give to the poor."

As a final, and chilling thought, some months ago I wrote an article for
WorldNetDaily describing the prophecies of the old Boer prophet, Van
Rensburg. Van Rensburg died in 1926, but he predicted that the day would
come when the blacks would rule South Africa. He predicted that all the
whites would be driven out of Zimbabwe and they would flee to South Africa.
He also predicted that the blacks in South Africa would eventually take
EVERYTHING from us and try to kill us all. But, Van Rensburg predicted that
they would not succeed and that we, the whites, would eventually take
complete control of South Africa. According to him all these events will
happen in an election year. The next election year in South Africa is: 2004.

Its all food for thought...


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Ian Smith offers to advise Mugabe

Paul Nyakazeya
Zimbabwe Standard, 18 February 2001

FORMER Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Douglas Smith, has offered to advise
the embattled President Robert Mugabe on how to manage the national economy
which has virtually collapsed.

Speaking to The Standard on Friday, Smith whose regime successfully managed
the Rhodesian economy despite international sanctions imposed on his rebel
government following UDI in 1965-said he could advise on how to run the
economy in a way that will see most Zimbabweans affording basic commodities.

When Mugabe took power in 1980, one Zimbabwe dollar equalled £1, and
US$1,50. Today, £1 trades at $100 and US$75.

Said Smith: I am not after power. I have had my days. Zimbabwe is my home. I
know no other home besides Zimbabwe. We cannot watch while the ordinary man
is suffering. A lot of people I meet in the streets have been telling me how
the economy was better during my rule. All I want is to restore sanity in
the country.

Smith said the current lawlessness prevailing in Zimbabwe today made it
impossible for any sane person to invest in the country.

Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of southern Africa, but today the
inflation rate continues to rise, said Smith. The former prime minister,
said the last time he talked to Mugabe was in 1982, when he used to advise
the new government, before Mugabe started experimenting with socialism.

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South Africa to evict farmer from land claimed by blacks

By Jane Flanagan in Mpumalanga
Sunday telegraph, 18 February 2001

SOUTH AFRICA is to confiscate a white farmer's land in the first
Zimbabwe-style property "redistribution" amid fears that the country is
starting down President Robert Mugabe's road to lawlessness.

While the South African government said it was following the full letter of
the law by preparing a seizure order for the 3,100-acre farm owned by Willem
Pretorius, the local farmers' union accused it of fermenting "Zimbabwe-style
unrest". Mr Pretorius now faces an uncertain future. He has been offered
£76,000 compensation by the government but claims this is "completely

Although the government followed the legal procedure set up after the end of
apartheid to allow black communities to reclaim land seized from them in the
1960s and 1970s, some white farmers in South Africa have only agreed to move
after a barrage of death threats.

President Mbeki has said he will not tolerate land invasions in South
Africa, but it is thought that the government is preparing for action in a
number of similar cases where farmers are refusing to sell land for
redistribution to black communities. More than 40,000 claims have been made
to farms across South Africa by those who were evicted during the apartheid

According to investigations by the Land Claims Commission, the Dinkwanyane
community of 60 families bought Boomplaats farm in 1906 and farmed it
successfully until the late 1950s when it was forced to give it up by the
apartheid government.

For the next 20 years, the land was state-owned and rented to a number of
white farmers until it was bought by Mr Pretorius in 1980. "When I arrived
there was nothing here," he said. "Not two bricks on top of one another, not
one fence, no trees, nothing."

He spent the next 16 years building up his cattle herd and growing fields of
maize, until a letter arrived from the commission informing him that the
Dinkwanyane community had registered a claim. Mr Pretorius, 50, "gave up
farming" believing he would be off the land within months.

He said he did not object to the government's policy of returning land to
the black communities from whom it was taken, but believes fair prices are
not being offered to white farmers. He said: "I will sell if they offer me a
reasonable price. But there is no way that I will buy any more farmland in
this country the way things are going. My biggest regret is that I will have
nothing to pass on to my sons who were born here and only ever wanted to
continue the work I started."

He said his situation had angered many other farmers around Lydenburg. "All
those I speak to are very fretful," he said. "They see this as the beginning
of the end for white farmers in this country."

Pheo Wassenaar, from the Transvaal agricultural union, said the way the
government was treating the white farmers was "a threat to the economy and
democracy of South Africa". He added: "The state is using the law to do
exactly what has been done in Zimbabwe. If the right to own private property
comes under threat then it will be the end of the economy and democracy."

Mr Pretorius' neighbours, Kallie and Marietjie Joubert signed the papers to
sell their 2,500-acre farm for £87,000 two months ago after they received
death threats and their farm equipment was sabotaged.Mrs Joubert, 64, said:
"One late night call said they would carry us out dead if we refused to go,.
My husband is 81 and we don't have that many years left, and so even though
we didn't think the price was fair, we have decided to sell just for a
peaceful life."

Kwape Mmela, the commission's project officer in charge of the Dinkwanyane's
claim, said he was "not interested in whether the white farmers have enough
money to buy another farm". He said:"Why should that be my concern? 'The
point of compensation is so we can have their land. It is not my concern if
they think the market value's not enough."


Violence a well-kept secret in South Africa

The Age, 16 February 2001

The fear of violent crime pervades South Africa, but nobody knows exactly
how dangerous the country is, because the government is keeping crime
statistics a closely guarded secret.

A moratorium on their release, imposed last July, has led to heightened
fears, and the constant retelling of horror stories.

President Thabo Mbeki told parliament last week the moratorium would end in
June after the police resolved "serious problems about the integrity and
reliability of the statistics".

Those problems had made it "very difficult to design accurate and optimal
plans to fight crime", he said.

Mbeki said 6,000 police men and women had been given special training on
crime statistics and another 600 recruited to collate the figures.

Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi justified the moratorium on the grounds of
the huge disparity between police stations across the country - from those
with local area computer networks to those where the police write their
reports by hand.

The qualifications of the police also vary hugely, with 25 percent rated as
functionally illiterate.

Lack of rigour in the treatment of statistics had led to some weird
classifications, such as pickpocketing on a bus coming through as a "cash in
transit heist" - normally used for the hold-up of armoured vans carrying
large amounts of cash.

The figures had also made it appear that the plutocratic and mostly white
Johannesburg suburb of Sandton was more dangerous than the poor black
township of Alexandra, simply because the statistics were better in Sandton.

"If you go into Sandton police station, there are four people sitting with
computers, typing in crime figures. If you go to Alexandra, you see a thick
book ... where someone needs to sit down and write it in by hand," Selebi

Martin Schonteich, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, points
out that even though the work on tidying up the statistics may be justified,
the moratorium does not help public perceptions.

"Crime has increased consistently since 1996 ... placing a moratorium leads
to the perception that it increased so considerably that the police are
trying to cover up," he told AFP.

"The other problem is that when crime statistics are released again ... if
they should indicate an improvement in the picture, I think a lot of members
of the public will not believe those figures."

Media groups and the opposition Democratic Alliance, which has wide white
support, and for whom crime is a favourite whipping horse, want the courts
to rule on the constitutionality of the moratorium.

The alliance says that without the figures, it is impossible to evaluate the
government's performance in fighting crime.

Without overall figures, the media concentrate on spectacular crimes, such
as urban terrorism in Cape Town and a recent spate of armed car-jackings in
Pretoria - a result, the authorities say, of Johannesburg car-jackers moving
60km north after a clamp-down in South Africa's biggest city.

Those are not the most widespread of crimes, nor the most typical, but the
reports perpetuate an image of a country where, as Pretoria Assistant
Commissioner of Police Amon Mashigo noted: "It is justifiable to run a red
light when one's life is threatened".

The reports also make South Africans, especially whites, "more sensitive to
crime than it really warrants", Schonteich says.

"If one looks at violent crime, the vast majority of the victims are black,
beyond their proportion (76 per cent) of the population," he said.

"If one looks at property crime, especially property of some value, then
white South Africans (12 per cent of the population) are disproportionately

In Johannesburg, the murder rate in the run-down black inner-city
neighbourhood of Hillbrow was 364 per 100,000 in 1998; in the affluent white
neighbourhood of Parkview, just ten minutes away by car, it was 16 per

In the black township of Guguletu the reported rape count was 502 per
100,000; in the peaceful Cape Town suburb of Claremont, just 49 per 100,000,
according to ISS studies.

These differences do not show up in the overall national figures, which
still show South Africa to be one of the world's most violent countries:
55.3 murders per 100,000 people in 1999 (a slight lower rate that the
previous year), and 119 rapes per 100,000 (an increase).


Southern Cross Africa News, 12 February 2001

White Natal Witness photographer Clint Zasman (36) was callously shot dead
at the Fox and Hound pub in Perk's Arcade in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday
afternoon by three armed black robbers. One of the three black killers, who
had told Zasman and three other patrons that it was a hold-up, shot him in
the chest when he asked them: "What the hell do you want?"


Early on Friday last week, when in Waterkloof the Smit couple's bodies were
growing cold,  another white couple,  Hans Uys, 53, and his 50-year-old
wife, Louise, were brutally murdered by black killers in another Pretoria
suburb, Capital Park. The blacks ransacked the house and then ran off to
another house nearby, where they shot the white owner in the mouth. An
extensive police search hours afterwards found nothing, as usual.

The double murder has prompted the new ruling black cabal to make some
noises about 'fighting crime' at the pompous inauguration of the new black
mayor at Church Square. Laid on at a cost of millions of Rand, the huge
ceremony only drew about 5000 spectators, most, if not all, blacks bussed in
from elsewhere. Most whites stayed away.


Another elderly white man, a 61-year-old pensioner from Sasolburg in the
Orange Free State, has been attacked by black gunmen. Gordon Alex Visser was
busy changing his car's wheel when he was robbed of his watch, camera and
700 Rand in cash by four blacks. Such robberies have become so common-place
in the New SA, that most whites do not even bother to report them to the
police, if they are lucky enough to be alive afterwards.


In the wake of the latest hate-speech by ANC/Communist politicians, and the
continuing black terror, opponents of the ruling Regime have once again
pointed out that most ANC/Communist politicians and top officials are
protected by special police guards, isolating them from the black terror on
the streets. Apart from the accusation that they are turning a benevolent
blind eye to the ongoing terror, especially the black-on-white one, some
critics have alleged that they are actually orchestrating the terror by some
kind of a third force, through military structures now under their control.

Howard Ballantyne, a farmer from Adelaide in the Eastern Cape,  has said
there is a definite link between  previous attacks and threatening notes
found on the scene of black-on-white attacks on the one side, and the
present climate of black terror and slogans like 'kill the farmer, kill the
Boer' on the other. On returning home to his farm, he saw four black gunmen
clad in military uniform and armed with military-issue R4 semi-automatic
rifles, who at that stage ran off. Ballantyne, like other farmers in the
area, say they are aware of the fact that sooner or later they will be
attacked by these killers.


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The Zimbabwean media in crisis

By Sizani Weza

Since long before independence, the media in Zimbabwe have operated under severe restrictions. A number of laws, put in place by the colonial regime, were maintained after 1980, and used for the same purpose; to tightly control information, and the analysis and comment produced in the media, especially in the publicly owned ZBC, the national news agency, ZIANA, and the largest newspaper chain, Zimpapers.

And perhaps, one of the most damning achievements of the colonial government was the creation of an information department whose major preoccupation was to coordinate its propaganda. This department has been maintained as an instrument of state control over the media in postcolonial Zimbabwe and is now operating under the direct control of the office of the President. The effects are there for all to see. The developments in the media environment point to journalism in crisis.

The new broadcasting regulations (Presidential Powers (Temporary) Measures: Broadcasting Regulations (Statutory Instrument 255A of 2000) were introduced by Presidential decree in October last year. These were introduced soon after ZBC’s monopoly over television and radio broadcasting was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But the new regulations, whose lifespan has been extended up to June, impose impossible operating burdens on aspiring broadcasters and actively discourage the opening up of the broadcast media, at community and national level. They place effective control of new broadcasters in the hands of the Minister, who can change the terms of the broadcasting licences and withdraw them at will. Meanwhile, government’s control over the ZBC remains intact. Key elements in the democratization of the broadcast media in South Africa and elsewhere- including the establishment of truly independent, transparent and representative Broadcasting Authorities- are missing from Zimbabwe’s new laws.

Uncertainty continues at the Mass Media Trust, the body set up by the government in 1981 to take control of Zimpapers and ZIANA, and to protect these media from government political interference. While the Trust failed in its duty, in recent months there have been reports that the body has been dissolved altogether. Yet there has been silence from the main body under its authority, Zimpapers, as to who is now in control of this important national asset.

According to the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, a Freedom of Information Bill is being drafted by the government for presentation to parliament early this year. The Minister has indicated that the Bill will include provisions for the licensing of all journalists and the establishment of a government appointed press complaints council, with powers to punish offending media journalists. If this is the case, it will represent a further, very serious incursion on freedom of expression and access to information.

Already some journalists working for foreign media organizations have been expelled from the country pending the finalization of a new system for accrediting journalists by the information ministry. No deadline for finalizing the new accreditation system has been set.

Recent attacks on privately owned media and journalists give cause for alarm. The bombing of the Daily News printing presses on 28 January 2001 was only the latest and most brutal in a series of events which point to a systematic assault on journalists, and targeted media institutions. In the past two years alone, journalists have been held illegally, tortured, beaten, threatened and otherwise harassed and intimidated, preventing them from carrying out their professional duties. Government has failed to guarantee media workers’ right to security and in some cases; the state itself has been accused of perpetrating these crimes. Leading non-government media have been vilified and threatened by senior government officials. An atmosphere of anxiety has been created.

Recent remarks by senior government officials indicate that any form of foreign investment in the media will be prohibited. These statements seem to be intensifying after concerned individuals began raising contributions towards the recently bombed Daily News printing press.

All these restrictions have denied Zimbabweans their basic rights to freedom of expression and communication, two pillars of real democracy which are enshrined in our constitution. Without adequate information and the right to share and debate in the media and other public fora, the people’s participation in democracy itself is necessarily limited. Without all national voices represented dutifully in the national media, the nation never has the opportunity to engage in an authentic discussion, leading to informed national decision making.

Independent media analyses by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe confirm that the reporting of key national events by the public media has become dangerously distorted. The non-partisan news content that Zimbabweans have a right to expect from their nationally owned media has all but disappeared. These media have become propaganda tools of the state.

Reforms leading to a more democratic media - and a more democratic Zimbabwe - should not be the preserve of government. The right to information and to the basic freedoms of expression and communication are the concern of all Zimbabweans; therefore, all should have a role in protecting them.

To this end, civic organizations should aim to involve a wide range of Zimbabweans in debate about what they expect from their media, and how they would like to see the media structured to enable this to happen. A broad public advocacy campaign should be supported by all, and should aim to educate and inform policy makers and parliamentarians directly on the interests of civil society, concerning the operation and aims of the media.

Public discussion is especially needed in the case of the publicly owned media, notably the ZBC and Mass Media Trust. These are national assets, belonging to all Zimbabweans. Like other public institutions, therefore, they have to be reformed to reflect the views and interests of all their stakeholders in the nation at large. To date, the management, objectives and content of the ZBC have been jealously guarded by government. This must end. Any meaningful reform of our public media must include a wide-ranging discussion on why and how they must be made to meet the needs of all the owners and their audience.

Particular attention needs to be given to broadcasting and freedom of expression regulations, both of which are now in the process of drafting and implementation. Attempts to impose further restrictions on broadcast media and journalists, in the wake of recent assaults by the State, requires a concerted public response.

Meanwhile, debate on the future of the Department of Information is urgently required. It’s role and functions in a democratic Zimbabwe need to be re-examined within the context of the Zimbabwean’s constitutional right to freedom of expression, information and communication. Ends

About the Author: Sizani Weza is a Research Officer with the Media Monitoring Project, Zimbabwe.
Contact details: 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe, Tel/fax: 263 4 734207, 733486, Cell: 263 11716645, E-mail:
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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Monday 19th February 2001
Every attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing activities in relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported due to communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness on the part of farmers.  Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisal.
Section 8 Orders continue to be delivered in Mashonaland Central and Masvingo Provinces.
Disputes over maize affected by grazing animals, both domestic and wild, continue to occur.
A farm owners relative was shot at twice whilst climbing a kopje.  The police response was to authorise the relative to carry a weapon for self defence.
Demands to vacate farms or to remove all cattle off them have been made in Masvingo Province.
Illegal cattle movement into the Save Conservancy continues from all directions.
Ranchers are resorting to penning and guarding cattle at night to counter stock theft.  The grazing-time so lost will seriously affect growth rates and compromise rotational grazing systems.
Reports were not received from Matabeleland.
Mashonaland Central
General - Invader activity is ongoing, although most areas are "quiet" at this time and Section 8 Orders continue to be delivered.
Mvurwi - A group of hostile invaders surrounded the homestead gate at Msonneddi on Friday shouting abuse and threats at the owners.  This incident was reported to the police who were going to respond.  No further updates on the situation have been received.
Mutepatepa - A general build up of numbers of invaders has been reported.
Mashonaland East 
Beatrice - 29 huts have been built on Nebo farm where an elderly widow lives and on Sunday morning two men and a woman arrived at the house gate making a lot of noise and issuing threats.  The trio was upset that their maize had been eaten by the farmers cattle.  The police were informed and they called the DA who is reported to have gone to the farm.  Invaders that were ordered off Colandra farm by the police acting on behalf of the DA returned to the farm on Sunday.  The group have started building huts again.  This was reported to the police and DA.
Harare South - The owner of Kinfauns arrived home yesterday to be informed by an employee that there was a group of invaders at the barns wanting to beat him up because another individual had flown over them in an aeroplane (microlite) and dropped poison on them and one had died.  When the owner  approached them they denied this and said that the pilot had been flying low and hit one of them who was seriously injured (but was there complaining).  They have said that they are going to go and “sort out” the pilots aeroplane.
Marondera North - On Seaton farm, an owner’s relative was shot at twice by poachers, whilst climbing a kopje.    A police detail advised that the relative was now allowed to carry a weapon for self defence but is not allowed to shoot to kill.
Wedza - A threatening letter was received by a farmer stating that as the comrades flag had gone missing, trouble was to be expected.  The group delivering the letter then wanted to claim compensation for maize that the farmers cattle had eaten on Laurel farm but it was pointed out to them that there is a lot of wildlife on the same farm and the invaders left.  There is a lot of cattle movement causing mixing and some cattle missing on Poltimore.   A Renault tractor arrived on Farm Bravo and drove around for about an hour and left.  The remains of the calf bull that went missing on Masasa were found caught in two snares.  Another DDF tractor was seen passing through Collace to the resettlement area.
Mashonaland West (North)
Karoi - Linconfield Farm a work stoppage occurred.  The problem has been resolved although war vets now want to take over the tobacco barns.
Chinhoyi - Dumalan Farm, war vets are taking the owner to court for destroying their crops.   He planted over their crops as his farm has been delisted.
Mashonaland West (South)
General - Threats of new invasions continue but the situation is relatively calm at present. 
Masvingo East and Central - Bon Domi the owner has been given a letter to remove all his cattle from his farm. One brahman has been killed in a snare. Illegal cattle are also occupying his farm.
Mashava - Springfield’s Farm the owner has received a threat to vacate his property within 24 hours. The paprika in the lands war vets claim is their own. They have also taken possession of spare keys for the spare homestead.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Northdale Farm the owner has moved off his property due to threats made for safety reasons. Thornhill / Thornhill Extension, Jacobsdale Farm and Chilly of Beema received Section 8 Orders.
Mwenezi - Lumbergia Ranch the owner shot more dogs and as a result, a group of people arrived at their security gates demanding compensation, (money). Owner has said he will only compensate through the Police.
Save Conservancy Area - Cattle moving into the Conservancy on both eastern and western boundaries. Tourism now desperate.
Chiredzi - Reported to have had a quiet weekend. Eureka Ranch, 9 - 10 houses have been erected. Pegging and planting continue.
Triangle - Poaching, cutting down of trees. Most ranches putting cattle in kraals. Herdsman sleeping in kraals to stop butchering of cattle.
Mutare District - Cynara Farm an army lorry arrived on Saturday with delegation that spoke to the settlers, it is anticipated that Border Gezi will be arriving today to hand out plots.
Nyazura - Geran Farm the invaders were removed from this farm on Friday only to return in increasing numbers on Saturday. 
Headlands - They have apprehended one of the criminals who was involved in the stock theft on Lawrenceville, he is a hardened criminal who is on the Police's wanted list.
Gweru East / Lalapanzi - People who have been allocated plots on one farm are not living on them but have employed other people to work them who are living in a store room and trying to evict farm labour from the house on the property.
Kwe Kwe - Poaching is rife and stock theft on the increase.
Somabhula - 7 people were arrested for poaching and assault on a security guard.
Mberengwa - On one farm, occupants stopped dipping of cattle. Stock theft is ongoing and theft of fencing wire.
Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects) 04 309800-18
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From the MDC - Morgan Tsvangirai will speak at a Presidential Campaign rally on Wednesday 21 February at the Amphitheatre, Centenary Park, Bulawayo, from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
From MDC London - MDC London now holds its weekly Open Forum every Monday evening in the upstairs function room of The George, located in The Strand opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. 7-7.30pm start. All welcome.
In this issue :
  • Court delays expulsion of journalists - CNN
  • Vets to invade judges' homes - ZimStd
  • Ban on dual citizenship to be tightened - Star
  • US Shouldn't rush to protect Mugabe - Chicago Tribune
  • Time for Mugabe to make his exit - Bangkok Post
  • Standing up to Mugabe - DTel
  • Despots are sensitive... - DTel
  • Bob's birthday bash - STel

From CNN, 18 February

Zimbabwe court extends stay for banned journalists

Harare - The Zimbabwe High Court on Sunday ordered President Robert Mugabe's government to extend the stay of two foreign journalists it is expelling from the country and not to harass them before they go, one of the journalists said. BBC correspondent Joseph Winter, who had been given until Tuesday to leave the country, told Reuters that Justice Ishmael Chatikobo had issued a court order saying he could stay until Friday. He said the order also applied to Mercedes Sayagues, correspondent for the South African Mail & Guardian newspaper, after she was told on Saturday she had 24 hours to leave. The order, applied for by the two journalists, was issued with the consent of the government's lawyers. "The order says we are allowed to remain in the country up to Friday...and the state or its agents are restrained from harassing or in any way interfering with my person or property until I depart from Zimbabwe," Winter told Reuters. "The same applies to Mercedes," he added.

A gang of men tried to break into Winter's flat early on Sunday, forcing him and his young family to take refuge in the British High Commission (embassy). Winter said the men climbed a wall around his garden and began banging on doors and shouting for him to open up as a car waited outside with its engine running. Winter phoned his lawyer, British officials and journalists in Harare. A Reuters reporter and other journalists arrived at the scene and saw a half-dozen men in civilian clothes flee from Winter's garden, climb into a Mazda car and drive away. "We were terrified, and we thought they were going to kill us. We don't know who these people were," said Winter, who was with his wife and small daughter in the flat at the time of the incident. The family were whisked away in a car by an official from the British High Commission soon afterwards.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told state television on Saturday that Winter had been ordered out because his work permit was invalid, and that Sayagues' permit had expired. Winter, who has worked in Zimbabwe for four years, called that charge "absolute rubbish." The government has stepped up a campaign against dissent in recent weeks as the country sinks deeper into economic crisis. Political analysts say Mugabe has targeted the media, the judiciary and the opposition in a crackdown ahead of the 2002 presidential elections.

Earlier this year, Moyo's new Department of Information in the President's Office said it would cancel press cards issued to journalists and would announce new requirements. It said the government would favour Zimbabwean journalists over foreigners in accrediting correspondents working for the foreign media. Media organisations have condemned the move to expel the journalists, saying it heralds further repression in the troubled southern African country. In other signs of a clampdown, three leaders of the opposition MDC have recently been charged with incitement. The country's courts are also being purged as the government tries to hand-pick judges who will support its confiscation of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 18 February

Ware vets to raid judges' homes - "Just a publicity stunt by idiots, says Moyo

War veterans have threatened to raid the homes of Zimbabwe's judges to force them out of office, following government's failed bid to secure their resignations. But the government itself has dismissed the threat as a "publicity stunt by idiots".

Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association Harare province deputy chairman, Mike Moyo, told The Standard on Friday that members of his association would soon be descending on the homes of "hostile" judges. "We are going to deal with them. We are now moving to our next strategy and we will occupy their properties. We will only vacate their properties after they have boarded planes back to Britain. All white judges will have their homes occupied. Those black judges who sympathise with whites also need to watch out. Vana Makarau takavapromota kuti vaite maJudge asi hatisikufara nematongere ake. Handizvo zvatakamuisira ipapo. (We didn't promote people like Makarau to be judges so that they can pass judgments that are against us)," he said.

Newly-appointed High Court judge, Rita Makarau, recently ordered Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to evict war veterans and Zanu PF supporters from commercial farms they had forcibly occupied in Hwedza since February last year. Contacted for comment, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the minister of state information and publicity, said the threat was just a cheap shot, adding that no one would be allowed to compromise the security of any citizen. "That is nonsense. What you are describing to me is a crime about to be committed and should be reported to the police. The people who are saying that should have limits. I don't even understand why you are bringing the issue to me. Am I the one to comment on criminal issues? Go to the police. The fact that you are calling the minister of information on a security issue shows that it is just a publicity stunt. A crime is reported to the police, period. Only idiots will go to newspapers and tell them that this is about to happen. Only a malicious person can do that," said Professor Moyo.

But war veterans have already compiled a list of "hostile" judges whom they want to force out by compromising their security. While Zanu PF has made it no secret that it wants all Supreme Court judges out, four High Court judges - George Smith, Michael Gillespie, Fergus Blackie and James Devitte - are also on the list of those to have their properties invaded. A number of black judges have been included on the list, although The Standard failed to confirm their identities. Despite Moyo's assertions, Mike Moyo said war veterans were in the process of mobilising to undertake this "special assignment" which would see them camp outside the judges' residences until their efforts yielded the desired results. He said they were taking to confrontation because the judges had refused to go on their own.

Two weeks ago, Zanu PF MPs tried to force Justice McNally and Justice Ebrahim to quit the bench. This was after the party had passed a vote of no confidence in Supreme Court judges. Justice McNally however, refused to go before the end of his term, while Justice Ebrahim said he would consult his family before making a decision. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay has already resigned from the bench following intense pressure from the government. He is currently on leave pending retirement in June, and Judge President Godfrey Chidyausiku is tipped to succeed Justice Gubbay.

From The Star (SA), 18 February

Zimbabwe tightens ban on dual citizenship

Harare - The Zimbabwean government said on Sunday it would tighten a law against dual citizenship in a move likely to hit thousands of whites of British descent. A government spokesman told state-run radio that an amendment to the Citizenship Act would be tabled in parliament this week to close loopholes being exploited by some people to retain dual citizenship. The move comes after the government said it would withdraw passports from critics who were undermining its image abroad and pushing for international sanctions against it.

The spokesman said the amendment was necessary after the Supreme Court ruled that a law prohibiting dual citizenship was impractical as it did not contain a provision requiring a person to present evidence of having renounced any other citizenship. "The effect of this (new bill) is to amend section 9 so that now a person who wishes to retain Zimbabwean citizenship will have to renounce his foreign citizenship," the spokesman said. The official Ziana news agency also said the government was cutting to five years from seven the time in which a citizen could stay out of the country "without lawful excuse" before losing Zimbabwean citizenship. It quoted a government spokesman as saying President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party - which faces an unprecedented challenge sparked by a severe economic crisis - had been forced to tighten the rules to sideline opponents hiding under dual citizenship.

"There are concerns that those with dual citizenship are behind efforts to discredit the government to use diplomatic and other means to topple the Zanu-PF. Lines of credit, aid and other forms of assistance have been systematically stopped over the last couple of years to pressure the government," added the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper. Government officials estimate that up to 20,000 whites with Zimbabwean passports also hold British passports or can claim British citizenship. Whites make up less than one percent of Zimbabwe's 12,5 million people, but are currently under pressure from the government, which accuses them of bankrolling the main opposition MDC.

Self-styled independence war veterans have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in the past year in support of a programme to seize and reclaim land "stolen" from blacks when the country was colonised by the British in the 1890s. Political analysts say Mugabe and his supporters have embarked on a campaign to intimidate and muzzle the media and opposition ahead of next year's presidential elections. The government has ordered the expulsion of two foreign journalists, one of them a BBC correspondent, but a court on Sunday ruled they could remain in the country until Friday.

Comment from The Chicago Tribune, 19 February

US Shouldn't rush to protect Mugabe

By Henry J. Hyde. US Congressman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) is chairman of the House International Relations Committee

Diplomatic courtesies occasionally conflict with support for basic human freedoms abroad. The State Department must be careful that its desire to support the tradition of reciprocal diplomatic immunity does not lend aid and comfort to a brutal regime's political war on its own citizens. Nowhere is this more true than in the strife-torn African nation of Zimbabwe.

Consider the civil suit of Chiminya vs. Mugabe, filed in New York's US District Court last fall. The State Department, ever alert to protect the prerogatives of the international diplomatic elite, may next week file a letter with the court that would make the US appear shockingly callous to Zimbabweans fighting for political freedom under an increasingly despotic regime. Chiminya Tachiona is the widow of a Zimbabwean activist with the MDC opposition party. While campaigning for parliamentary elections held last June, he was beaten with metal bars, doused with gasoline and set on fire.

The lawsuit alleges that his attackers acted on instructions from President Robert Mugabe and other leaders of the ruling party. It also alleges that on June 3, 2000, Mugabe's defense minister threatened opposition crowds with the words, "We killed Chiminya. What happened to us? Nothing. . . . We have our machines that will see where you voted. After the elections, we will follow all MDC members and kill them." The widow and four other plaintiffs are suing for damages under the 1992 Torture Victim Protection Act, a law that allows foreigners to file civil suits in US courts for injuries suffered in violation of international law.

Although this is a civil matter, some in the State Department regard it as their duty to submit to the district court judge a "suggestion of immunity" that Mugabe may not be sued. In an earlier letter arguing against service of the complaint, State Department Legal Adviser James Thessin expounded on the "particular importance attached by the United States to ensuring the immunity of President Mugabe" and asserted that Mugabe has "complete personal inviolability" and is "immune from the jurisdiction of the US courts."

On the narrow customary international legal grounds of foreign sovereign immunity, Mugabe may have an argument. But the State Department should let him make it for himself. The 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act deliberately transferred these kinds of decisions from the State Department to the courts, and the judge is fully capable of deciding the matter on its merits. The involvement of the State Department is worse than unnecessary, for it will inadvertently reward a corrupt, ruthless regime with a propaganda victory over a struggling democratic opposition.

Last year the US provided $5 million in foreign assistance to Zimbabwe "to increase opportunities for citizens' participation in economic and political decision-making." It is justified because, according to the 2000 budget, our government recognizes that "single party domination and excessive executive control have limited competition in the party system, economy, and society." If the State Department truly wants to support democracy, the rule of law, and better governance in Zimbabwe, then it can best do so at this time by doing nothing: Put away the suggestion of immunity and sit this one out. The first law of diplomacy, as of other fields of endeavor, should be to do no harm.

Editorial from The Bangkok Post, 19 February

Time for Mugabe to make his exit

In every country around the world there are people who choose, or in some cases are forced by circumstances, to rise from everyday obscurity and lead their nation. The vast majority enjoy a modicum of success; a very few win the honour of having their names listed as national heroes in the history books for their exceptional contributions to their countrymen's welfare.

But for every shining success, there are stunning failures who, for whatever reason, bring disaster instead of glory to their nation. And some, like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, abuse their time on the political stage and take their country from a state of economic and social promise to the very brink of catastrophe. Faced with an election next year which he almost certainly will lose if the ballot is held fairly, Mr Mugabe, 77, has tried nearly every dirty trick known. The Zimbabwean president has written new chapters in the book on bankrupt politics, from arresting opposition leaders on trumped-up charges, to loosing his party thugs to harass and intimidate judges, to resorting to presidential decrees when his government's own laws stand in his way.

Last year, after the economy tumbled into the abyss, the avowed Marxist imposed state controls on the price of bread, forcing bakers to produce the staple at below cost. The bakeries, of course, stopped making bread. So then he demanded that flour millers lower their prices, but then wheat suppliers stopped delivering. When the people protested the lack of bread, he threatened them with tear gas and police truncheons. Faced with empty public coffers, he ordered private companies to surrender their foreign currency reserves so he could pay for petrol imports and the salaries of his foreign diplomats.

Under pressure from the opposition's legal challenge to the results of the June 2000 election, which international observers described as one of the worst they had ever seen, he decreed in December that courts could not nullify the polls "even if corrupt or illegal practices were committed". Last month, on the day after a protest march by thugs from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party on Harare's Daily News newspaper that left a reporter beaten, a bomb rendered its printing presses damaged beyond repair. There was little doubt who was behind the attack, since the newspaper had been critical of the Mugabe administration and one of his own ministers called it a "threat to national security".

Recently, two supreme court justices resigned under pressure from the government and the nation's chief justice quit after he was told that his safety could not be guaranteed. When Harare on Saturday suddenly ordered Joseph Winter, a BBC correspondent who has worked in the country for four years, and nine-year Zimbabwe veteran Mercedes Sayagues, of South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper, to get out of Zimbabwe within 24 hours, Mr Mugabe's government showed that it was willing to extend its brazen harassment of local journalists to include the foreign press.

Mr Mugabe has responded to vociferous international condemnation by saying that all of his actions are somehow necessary to weed out the vestiges of decades of oppressive rule by British colonialists, and maintains his local support by promising impoverished black Zimbabweans much-needed land redistribution. Why, after 20 years in power, it has suddenly occurred to him to solve this urgent problem is a mystery. The answer, according to opposition leaders, is that Mr Mugabe is obsessed with staying in power. Should he manage to stay in office after next year's election, very little may be left of his country and, like all despots, his victory will be a Pyrrhic one, leaving a people impoverished, the economy in tatters, and a society beggared and on its knees.

Editorial The Daily Telegraph (UK), 19 February

Standing up to Mugabe

WHAT more does Robert Mugabe have to do to jolt the international community into action? His expulsion of foreign journalists, combined with his repression of the Zimbabwean press, is intended to clear away the last remaining obstacle in the path of totalitarianism. The Zanu-PF regime has already trampled over the judiciary, traduced property rights, flouted international law and brutalised the democratic opposition. Now, by silencing the media, Mr Mugabe is making clear that he will not tolerate criticism, let alone opposition.

Journalists must guard against a certain deformation professionelle when writing about other journalists. The travails of newspapermen are plainly less monstrous than the wanton murders which accompanied last year's land seizures. But Mr Mugabe's latest move is most worrying because of what it presages. It is not an accident that the expulsions should be ordered now. The president is plainly ready to resort to new levels of thuggery in order to remain in office at the next election and he does not want any witnesses around.

That is why it is so important that Britain, and above all South Africa, should act. When, last March, Mr Mugabe ordered the violation of Britain's diplomatic mail, he was not just engaging in anti-colonial posturing; he was also testing our will. On that occasion, the United Kingdom's reaction was limited to some disapproving words; within weeks, Mr Mugabe confidently extended his campaign against the white farmers. It is true that Britain's influence in Zimbabwe is limited; but it is not zero. We are the second largest contributor of international aid, and the only country to provide Zimbabwe with military support. And yet, with the honourable exception of Peter Hain, our Government has responded to every new outrage with milk-and-water protests. At the very least, Britain should by now have withdrawn its military mission and sought Commonwealth support for a policy of calibrated sanctions to be operated according to the behaviour of the Mugabe regime.

In practice, however, South Africa is the only foreign state with real power in Zimbabwe. It was South Africa's withdrawal of support from Ian Smith's regime that effectively brought an end to white rule. Zimbabwe depends on its southern neighbour, not only as a trading partner but also as a source of electricity and other vital supplies. And, of course, criticism from an African government that has gone through its own liberation struggle will worry Mr Mugabe far more than the disapproval of the former imperial power.

Until now, the government in Pretoria has tended to tiptoe around Mr Mugabe's excesses. Indeed, the ANC is pursuing exactly the same policy of "constructive engagement" that it condemned when Margaret Thatcher applied it to South Africa during the 1980s. But Mrs Thatcher was at least clear in her condemnation of apartheid: it is inconceivable that she would have offered political support to the Botha administration. How odd that sanctions that the ANC decried as insufficient then should now be considered excessive.

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 19 February

Despots are notoriously sensitive to criticism

Johannesburg - To those who have covered African affairs for any length of time, the only surprise about President Mugabe's expulsion order against the BBC's Joseph Winter and Mercedes Sayagues, of South Africa's Mail and Guardian, is that it did not happen sooner. Old Africa hands covering the post-independence upheavals and the rise and fall of the continent's despots worked under the maxim: "If they don't throw you out, then they will find any old excuse to throw you in."

Most African leaders in what were known as "emerging" states moved inexorably and swiftly towards some form of autocracy. Despite their excesses, they tended to be thin-skinned when it came to criticism, particularly when it came from journalists from the former colonial power. In Idi Amin's Uganda, I and other correspondents were arrested at gunpoint, roughed up and thrown into his military prison for a week before being deported on the ludicrous charge that we were would-be assassins. In Hastings Banda's Malawi, the former north London general practitioner banned me "for life" from his country but later invited me to return to lecture me on the values of accurate reporting. In Julius Nyerere's Tanzania, I spent a very uncomfortable night in a cell before being put on the first aircraft out of Dar es Salaam. Even in Kenneth Kaunda's Zambia, we were hauled out of our beds in a midnight police raid and locked up for a few days, charged with being "saboteurs".

Mr Mugabe has effectively banned foreign coverage of his country before. In the Eighties, when he first manifested the symptoms of ruthless dictatorship by sending his army on a genocidal mission to Matabeleland, he decreed that foreign correspondents could cover Zimbabwean affairs only if they were based in Harare. White minority governments were often as keen to clamp down on the press. In the "illegal" Rhodesia of the Seventies, Ian Smith banned the entire BBC from entering the country. All foreign correspondents were closely watched, some were barred and Peter Niesewand, one of the best Rhodesian-born foreign correspondents of the era, was tried and jailed on spurious charges of treason. In apartheid South Africa, its newspapers operated under a welter of legal restrictions, often appearing with white spaces, making it as clear as they could to their readers how constricted they were in reporting what was actually happening. Foreign correspondents were subjected to rigorous checks. But there was never an attempt to throw out all correspondents, as Mr Mugabe now appears set on. In such situations, the foreign correspondents are usually the luckier of the journalistic fraternity. In Zimbabwe now, the more courageous of the locally born and bred editors and reporters face jail or torture.

Christopher Munnion was The Daily Telegraph's Africa correspondent from 1968 to 1990.

From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 18 February

Mugabe cult celebrates as Zimbabwe nears collapse

Harare - Robert Mugabe this week initiates a day of unrestrained celebrations to mark his 77th birthday in the hopes that it will distract attention from Zimbabwe's deepening economic woes. The plan is for a carefully marshalled army of the President's youthful followers - called the 21st of February Movement - to descend on the deserted resort of Victoria Falls to celebrate Mr Mugabe's birthday. Aged between four and 14, they will all wear bright red scarves and chant undying loyalty to their "one authentic and consistent leader".

Modelled on the youth brigades who pledged obedience to Kim Il-sung, the late North Korean despot, the 21st of February Movement was formed in 1986 to commemorate Mr Mugabe's birthday. Each year, about 120 children vie for the coveted "Youth of the Year Award". This year's Victoria Falls celebrations, marking the culmination of several days of festivities for his birthday, will serve the purpose of diverting attention from Zimbabwe's spiralling economic crisis. Power cuts last week plunged Harare into darkness, petrol stations across the country have run dry, and bread prices have risen, adding to the hardship of the poorest households.

The signs of collapse are everywhere. Streets in Harare are blocked by cars queuing to fill up at the few forecourts with supplies. Most factories are working a three-day week, buses are stranded, the distribution of food is breaking down and the pavements are filled with beggars and destitute children. A desperate shortage of hard currency to buy imports has brought the economy to its knees. Noczim, the notoriously corrupt state oil company, has no cash to pay suppliers and is sinking under debts of £200 million. Unable to buy vital raw materials, industry is gradually shutting down. Showcase investment projects, such as the Mazda car assembly plant at Willowvale, have closed and at least 100,000 jobs were lost last year, bringing unemployment to 60 per cent.

The government has created the crisis by undermining agriculture, tourism and mining, the three pillars of Zimbabwe's economy. The invasion of white-owned farms by thousands of squatters, repeatedly encouraged by Mr Mugabe, cost tens of thousands of jobs. The wave of accompanying violence and a brutal election campaign that claimed 37 lives caused the number of tourist arrivals to fall by 70 per cent. Without the hard currency to buy crucial equipment, mines were forced to cut production and three closed altogether. By the end of last year, the budget deficit ran at 22 per cent of gross national product, inflation was 56 per cent and inward investment had plummeted by 89 per cent. Although Simba Makoni, the reforming finance minister, has made a genuine effort to address the crisis, a president who appears to have thrown common sense to the winds has continually sabotaged his efforts.

None of this, however, will feature when Mr Mugabe gives his annual birthday interview to state television. On Saturday he will fly to Victoria Falls to join the 21st of February Movement for the final celebration. Opponents have remarked on his choice of venue. Victoria Falls has seen its livelihood wiped out by a 70 per cent fall in the number of tourists following Mr Mugabe's incessant attacks on whites. The resort is in Matabeleland North province, where Zanu-PF does not hold any parliamentary seats and mustered barely 30 per cent of the vote in the last election.

Mr Mugabe will address an adoring audience on the importance of education and self reliance. After traditional dances, which The Herald, the pro-government newspaper, reported "always send the crowd wild", a large birthday cake will appear and Mr Mugabe will present the Youth of the Year Trophy to the most dedicated member of his movement. Mr Mugabe makes few concessions to informality. He dresses for these occasions, as for all others, in a double-breasted suit. He will also receive tributes from Zanu-PF functionaries before climbing into his helicopter and returning to Harare. The national rejoicing will be over for another year.

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The Farm Families Trust, set up last year to help farmers and their families
affected by political violence in Zimbabwe since February 1999, has already
made an impact. One of the five young men abducted when David Stevens was
murdered in Macheke wrote, " I cannot begin to express my gratitude. The
amount and unexpectedness was a complete and welcome surprise. We have had a
terrible year on the farm."

Farmers and their employees have been murdered and dozens attacked.
Incidents have ranged from one young farmer being shot at point blank range
with an AK rifle, and another having his face slashed open with a machete,
to innumerable beatings and humiliations.

The main aim of the Farm Families Trust is to alleviate without delay the
hardships experienced by the farmers, their families and their workers, who
are victims of violence or dispossessed of their homes, farms and

The past year has shown the most immediate needs of the affected families to
be financial; for pressing medical bills, as well as relocation and every
day living expenses for those who have had to leave their farms.

The fund is constituted under the chairmanship of Anthony Swire-Thompson,
himself a farmer, supported by five trustees, an accountant and an

The Farm Families Trust would greatly appreciate any donation. Our grateful
thanks to those who have already helped. If you cannot assist with money,
perhaps you could forward this message to an organization or individual who
would like to help.

In Zimbabwe : Cheques made out to Farm Families Trust and sent to the
Accountant, P.O. Box WGT 390, Westgate, Harare.

Bank transfers: Standard Chartered Bank, Westgate Branch, Harare,
Zimbabwe. - Sort Code 5110, Account Number 0101 727409500.

External : Money transfers or cheques made out to :-

 Zimbabwe Farmers Trust Fund / Families Account and sent to the Bank of
Scotland, Stranraer Branch, Sort Code 80 18 93, Account Number 001335523.
(Please stress "THE FAMILIES ACCOUNT")

Please advise us in Zimbabwe if  external donations are made so we are aware
of them and we can then  acknowledge them accordingly.

For any further information please contact The Chairman, Farm Families Trust
: Anthony Swire-Thompson, 7 Brentford Road, P.O. Chisipite, Harare. E-mail :  OR

The Vice-Chairman, Richard Winkfield, 19 Taormina Avenue, Marlborough,
Harare. E-mail:  OR

The Administrator, Felicity Wood, 4 Lawson Avenue, Milton Park, Harare.
E-mail :

Or in the UK - The Chairman Zimbabwe Farmers Trust Fund,  Mr. David Wolseley
Brinton, Castle Kennedy, Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland DG9 8SL, United
Kingdom. E-mail :

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Mugabe turns on world's press

February 18 2001 at 08:40PM

By Basildon Peta

Harare - All foreign journalists are expected to be expelled from Zimbabwe before the end of the month as the government's crackdown on the media and political opponents intensifies.

And the weekend attack on the Harare home of BBC journalist Joseph Winter was carried out by members of Zimbabwe's feared secret police, sources said last night.

Winter, his wife and young daughter were on Sunday holed up in the British High Commission, to where they were whisked by British officials after the attack on Saturday night.

On Sunday, a court order was issued restraining the government from harassing Winter, as well as another foreign correspondent, Mercedes Sayagues, who writes for the Mail & Guardian. Both had been told by the government to leave the country within 24 hours, but the order from High Court Judge Ishmael Chatikobo allows them to stay until Friday, when a new accreditation system for foreign journalists that will effectively expel them all is expected to be announced.

Winter and his family fled their home after four men, said by sources in Harare to be members of the Central Intelligence Organisation dressed in civilian clothes, scaled a fence before trying to force their way into the house.

The CIO has over the years been used by the government to harass political opponents and activists. Winter, who works for the BBC Africa Service, apparently attracted their ire by contesting his expulsion in court.

The attackers fled when friends and colleagues Winter had telephoned for help began arriving. "We were terrified, and we thought they were going to kill us," he said.

Four hours later, with the Winters safely in the high commission building, the men returned to the house and broke in. They were still in the house late on Sunday, apparently waiting for Winter to return.

Immigration officials had earlier told the two journalists that they were deporting them on the orders of the Department of Information and Publicity in President Robert Mugabe's office. The government said Winter was being deported because his employment permit had expired and a renewal issued last month was invalid.

Sayagues, 47, was initially barred from re-entering the country on Saturday when she returned from a two-day visit to South Africa, but was allowed in after she pleaded that she wanted to collect her daughter, whom she had left behind.

Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo has said his department is putting a new accreditation system in place for all foreign journalists working in Zimbabwe.

He is expected to cancel the work permits of all foreign journalists and deport them from Zimbabwe by the end of the month. The journalists would then be asked to reapply for new work permits in their own countries. Indications are that all of them are unlikely to get their permits back . - The Star Foreign Service

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From The New York Times, 17 February
Gang Besieges Zimbabwe Home of BBC Journalist
Harare - A BBC correspondent ordered by the government to leave Zimbabwe within 24 hours took refuge at the British High Commission in Harare early on Sunday after a gang tried to break into his flat. Joseph Winter said the men climbed a wall around his garden and began banging on doors, shouting for him to open up as a car waited outside with its engine running. Winter phoned his lawyer, British officials and fellow journalists in Harare. A Reuters reporter and other journalists arrived at the scene and saw a half-dozen men in civilian clothes flee from Winter's garden, climb into a Mazda car and drive away.
``We were terrified, and we thought they were going to kill us. We don't know who these people were,'' said Winter, who was with his wife and small daughter in the flat at the time of the incident. The family were whisked away in a car by officials from the British High Commission soon after. Beatrice Mtetwa, Winter's lawyer, said she would launch a court challenge against the expulsion order at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Information minister Jonathan Moyo told state television on Saturday that Winter was being expelled because his work permit had been issued ``fraudulently'' by an officer with no authority. Winter, who has worked in Zimbabwe for four years, called the charge ``absolute rubbish.''
Mercedes Sayagues, the Zimbabwe correspondent for the South African-based Mail & Guardian newspaper, was on Saturday also ordered to leave Zimbabwe. She was allowed to fly back into the country from Johannesburg only to pick up her nine-year-old daughter, but said she too would challenge the expulsion.
From the US State Department, 16 February

US Concern Over Deteriorating Situation


The United States condemns the recent attacks on the independent press, the judiciary, and the political opposition and its supporters in Zimbabwe. In many cases the Government of Zimbabwe itself has harassed the judiciary while tacitly encouraging or condoning violence against its political opponents and the media. The Government of Zimbabwe has ignored court rulings, and security forces have been increasingly responsible for serious human rights abuses. The deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe occurs at a time of increasing economic hardship in the country due largely to policy decisions of the Mugabe government. The United States is consulting with international organizations, donor states and other concerned countries to find ways to promote respect for the rule of law and for basic human rights in Zimbabwe.

Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 18 February

Tsvangirai warns Mugabe again

MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, has reiterated that if President Mugabe clings on to power against mounting criticism from discontented masses, he faces the danger of being removed violently through a popular uprising. "A popular uprising cannot be ruled out because there comes a time when people feel that enough is enough. And this time the uprising can be more ferocious because of the intensity of the current public discontent. Where a government disregards the courts, disregards the laws it has made, then that government is illegitimate. The people of Zimbabwe are determined that this government goes. When the police are helpless, the judiciary under attack, the opposition harassed and the media under attack, what sort of political discourse can you have in such a country that calls itself a democracy?" Tsvangirai told The Standard on Friday.

A defiant Tsvangirai said the state cannot convict him for inciting violence, arguing that court proceedings against him were tantamount to harassment. "I can't recall verbatim what I said then, but I know the context, which is that Mugabe has to accept to go peacefully or else people will violently remove him through an uprising. It was a hypothetical option for the president to think around. I don't know where this court action comes from because there have been numerous utterances by Zanu PF leaders, government officials, war veterans and others, that would be considered treasonous under normal circumstances. But no action has been taken. Here we have the law being applied selectively, but as far as I am concerned there is nothing treasonable about the statement I made. It was not categoric and the state cannot secure a conviction using that kind of law, the Law and Order Maintenance Act," said Tsvangirai.

He said the hauling of various opposition members before the courts over the past few weeks, marked the beginning of a violent presidential campaign which would see the persecution of the opposition. "It is consistent of a Zanu PF that is scared and is panicking, but one has to understand that the MDC, as a party, does not rely on the benevolence of Zanu PF. Come election time we will seek the mandate of the people, which is what elections are all about."

From The Observer (UK), 18 February

'I've been caught up in a hurricane'

Mugabe is ridding his country of its critics to maintain a grip on power. One person who has been forced out is the Observer's correspondent, who tells of her sudden exit

Mercedes Sayagues

My mouth was dry as I walked up to the immigration officer at Harare airport. My future as a journalist in Zimbabwe was hanging on the officer's reaction. He just took a look at the name on my passport and said: 'Go to Line 8'. Then I knew. My valid work permit was revoked and I was denied entry into Zimbabwe. 'My nine-year-old daughter is in the country. How am I going to get her?' I asked. 'I don't know,' replied the officer. 'I have no instructions concerning your daughter. I only have instructions to deny you entry.'

I had been out of Zimbabwe on a two-day business trip to Johannesburg. I learned while there that the Mugabe government had given me 24 hours to leave the country. I was never officially notified by the Immigration department. I only learned of the trouble through the state-owned Herald newspaper. After nine years in Zimbabwe I was ordered to wrap up our lives in a day. Why? No answers have been given but I can only assume it is because of my reporting on the growing lawlessness and gross human rights abuses committed by the Mugabe regime. By the time I was boarding my flight back to Harare, a BBC reporter had also been kicked out. It appears the Zimbabwe government does not want any foreign journalists to record how it turns into a full-fledged dictatorship.

As a journalist in Latin America I lived under military regimes. I've seen the signs in Zimbabwe. The illegal arrests and torture of journalists. The intimidation of the judiciary. The rise of extra-legal militia and the terror they inflict across the country. Gross disregard of rule of law. Gross corruption. The list could go on and on. It pains me to see this. When I first came to this country in 1992 I would say proudly: 'Zimbabwe proves that an African country can work.' I was happy to see Esmeralda, my daughter, grow up in what was a friendly and peaceful country. She had something so special: childhood in Africa.

I am not panicking. During Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections last year, I wrote about ordinary Zimbabweans who had their homes wrecked by the Zanu-PF militias. They were threatened and beaten up. Even while their bruises were still fresh, they were queuing up to be registered as poll monitors to try and ensure that the voting was free from intimidation. They had fewer material possessions and opportunities than I do, but they stood up for their principles and so can I. My daughter will understand. The immigration officer made a couple of phone calls and I was allowed 24 hours to collect Esmeralda and leave. I feel as if I am caught in a hurricane and yet I am strangely calm.

Editorial from The Sunday Times (UK), 18 February

Mugabe raises the stakes

Robert Mugabe's regime has lost no time in stamping its feet at this newspaper's appeal for funds to help Zimbabwe's independent newspaper, The Daily News. That brave paper continues to appear despite the bombing of its presses. But Mr Mugabe loathes a free press and he continues his repression of its few remaining outlets in his sad and bankrupt country. Our fund offends because it offers financial and moral support to a paper determined to report the truth about his rule. He cannot bomb us, although he would doubtless like to try. So he threatens to make it illegal for well-wishers to aid The Daily News. South African investment is also being banned in Zimbabwe's media.

Nor is that all. His propaganda chief talks of making every journalist in Zimbabwe apply for "accreditation" - a weasel word for a licence. Until its introduction, foreign correspondents whose work-permits expire will have to leave the country. Last week, a South African correspondent was barred from working after spending nine years in Zimbabwe. She had reported the bullying of journalists and voters by Mr Mugabe's mobsters.

Mr Mugabe's so-called justice minister tried last week to force two supreme court judges to quit using a tactic long favoured by mafia bosses. He told two of their colleagues on the bench that they should retire because he was worried that harm could come to them. On Friday, the regime said it would withdraw the passports of Zimbabweans who undermined its image abroad. It also charged a third leader of the Movement for Democratic Change with a trumped-up offence against public order. As the opposition party rightly says, Mugabe is pursuing "an evil programme to undermine political rights and gag us" before next year's presidential elections.

South Africa faces a growing problem over its northern neighbour. It fears looking too interventionist but it shirks its regional responsibilities at its own peril. Despite Mugabe's bluster, we shall continue to raise money for The Daily News. Zimbabwe's real freedom fighters need our help more than ever.

The Sunday Times has set up a fund to support The Daily News in its appeal for at least £1m to replace its bombed presses. If you would like to contribute, please send a cheque made out to Daily News Appeal, 3rd floor, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough, PE1 1TN, or contact the Sunday Times foreign desk at 1 Pennington St, London E1 9XW, telephone 020 7782 5700 or send an email to

Alternatively, send a bank transfer to the following account:

Daily News Appeal - NGN Ltd, Account no: 61865773, Sort code: 40-36-15, Bank: HSBC, Branch: Cathedral Square, Peterborough, Swift: MIDL GB 21 08R

From The Star (SA), 18 February

Zim war veteran to hang for land-grab murder

Harare - A Zimbabwean judge has sentenced to death a member of the militant War Veterans Association for killing a policeman during the occupation of a white-owned farm last April. Human rights lawyers believe the sentencing of retired army major Givemore Katsande, 41, by Judge George Smith will up the campaign by militants against the judiciary. Death threats recently issued to a number of judges led to the acceptance of early retirement next month by Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay.

Smith on Friday found no extenuating circumstances for Katsande's fatal shooting of Constable Tinashe Chakwenya, 25, at Montecristo Farm, Marondera, 90km east of Harare. The owner, Ian Kay, was critically injured by members of the officially-recognised "Liberation War Veterans Association". Following President Robert Mugabe's defeat in a constitutional referendum last February, the group vowed to ensure that Mugabe won June's parliamentary elections. It threatened a "return to war" if his ruling Zanu-PF party was ousted by Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC. The veteran's association received official funding for the task. In the wake of the elections, Mugabe gave amnesty to members of the ex-guerrillas' organisation for 8 000 crimes including abduction, assault and arson. None have been prosecuted for the murder of up to 40 opposition supporters and white farmers, although detailed identification evidence has been given.

The shooting of Chakwenya, who had gone to Kay's farm to investigate a report of stock theft, appeared finally to trigger official action in an effort to maintain police morale. "To combat the increase in acts of violence the perpetrators must be brought before the courts and punished for their crimes," said Smith, sentencing Katsande to the gallows. "They must be shown they are not above the law." Human rights lawyers believe Mugabe is certain to invoke his presidential clemency prerogative if Katsande loses an automatic appeal to the Supreme Court, likely to take up to 18 months. At least 30 men have been hanged in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, but no executions have been announced since the last hangman died three years ago.

Smith heard that Katsande shot the police constable dead with a shotgun without giving him a chance to explain himself, and while he had his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, and many commentators allege invasions of white-owned farms and the agitation for land reform have been used as a pretext for intimidation of government opponents.

From The Sunday Times (UK), 18 February

Mugabe blocks foreign aid for media

Zimbabwe's government has reacted to the Sunday Times campaign to help the independent Daily News replace bombed-out presses by announcing legislation to ban foreign investment in the media. President Robert Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said the aim was to shut down any media organisation that "survives on foreign funding". The measure would bar The Daily News from accepting foreign help to buy a new press.

Judith Todd, once a heroine of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and now a director of ANZ, which owns The Daily News, said: "They'll do anything now, absolutely anything. But the campaign for the press mustn't stop. The day is going to come when this nightmare is over, when we have to start all over again - and the press will be needed then." The Sunday Times appeal fund reached £18,000 last Friday, but it will cost at least £1m to buy the press, and the paper's backers say they need substantial donations from anyone concerned to defend the right to free speech in Zimbabwe.

The latest move against The Daily News was only part of a concerted onslaught last week against those perceived as opponents of Mugabe. Jonathan Moyo, the minister of information, announced the government would withdraw passports from Zimbabweans it considered "unpatriotic", and that work permits for foreign journalists would be frozen. Mercedes Sayagues, the Harare correspondent of South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper, had her permit revoked and was given 24 hours to leave the country in which she has lived for nine years. "I'm just the first of many," she said. Joseph Winter, a correspondent with the BBC's Africa service, who has worked in Harare for four years, was also given 24 hours to leave yesterday.

Earlier, pressure had been exerted on supreme court judges, who have upheld their independence, to resign. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced out after a minister told him he "could not see his way clear" to protecting the judges against threats of violence. Most dramatic of all was the decision of the Zimbabwean authorities to charge Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC, with incitement to violence - a crime that carries a sentence of up to 20 years' imprisonment. The moves appeared to be part of a co-ordinated strategy aimed at destroying the opposition's hopes in the coming presidential election.

In the space of three weeks - during which Mugabe has remained out of sight - two MDC MPs, including Tsvangirai's deputy, have been charged with incitement, the Daily News presses have been bombed, and the CFU has been presented with an ultimatum: either its "recalcitrant" leadership must resign or white farmers must face more killings. The charge against Tsvangirai relates to a speech he made before a party rally last September. He warned that so great was the popular discontent caused by the repression and economic misery the ruling Zanu-PF regime had inflicted on the country that Mugabe might well be removed by force if he did not go voluntarily.

"It's quite clear that Morgan was warning about spontaneous popular reactions, not calling on people to act in such a way," said David Coltart, the MDC's legal spokesman. "But the real question is: why charge Morgan now with something that happened five months back?" According to Coltart, Mugabe plans to have hand-picked loyalists from his Zanu-PF party in the high court and supreme court by the time Tsvangirai's case is decided. "Our election law says you can't be a presidential candidate if you have had a jail sentence of six months or more," he said. "The reason they've waited until now to proceed against Morgan is that they needed time to start forcing the judges out."

This is the environment in which the embattled Daily News hangs on. Since the bombing on January 28 its editorial team has managed to print a much-reduced paper on two other presses. The paper was then informed that one of these, run by Natprint - 51% owned by the government - would no longer be available. "What we've managed since January 28 is a sort of daily miracle", said Geoff Nyarota, the editor. "Staff morale remains sky-high but we couldn't bring out the paper in much more difficult circumstances. We know that the government is just waiting to attack us again. We expect things to get tougher."

Many trace the regime's current strategy to Mugabe's declaration to a Zanu-PF congress on December 14 that the party "must continue to strike fear into the heart of the white man, our real enemy". On that day a white farmer, Henry Elsworth, was shot dead. Mugabe, although treated in a British hospital for throat cancer three years ago, is in apparent good health and is expected to hold his usual children's party for the television cameras this Wednesday, his 77th birthday. Usually The Herald publishes photos of the president and his young wife, Grace, surrounded by children and smiling beneficently, but it is not expected that The Daily News will be invited to the party.

The ferocity of attacks on opponents has prompted speculation that Mugabe may call a snap election this year rather than wait until 2002. Observers say the worsening economic situation suggests he might be well-advised not to wait. Not only are petrol, diesel and paraffin queues longer than ever but Harare residents have again been warned of power cuts. Maize production is down by at least 30% and, by October, the country will need to import it. But there is no foreign exchange to pay for it. The economy is in free-fall, job losses mount from week to week, and already many urban poor are close to starving in a country once regarded as the breadbasket of Africa. "Mugabe and Zanu-PF have their backs to the wall," Nyarota said. "They're paranoid and they can feel things slipping away from them."

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