|Minister of injustice |
2/22/01 6:01:03 PM (GMT +2)
EDITOR — Patrick Chinamasa, minister of injustice, misleader of the House, addressing Movement for Democratic Change MPs appealing for consideration for Gibson Sibanda as leader of the opposition in Parliament:
"As long as you continue to indulge
in practices not practised in other democracies, you cannot engage us on
honouring your leader" (Daily News, February 8).
Mr Mugabe accused the country's white
minority of resisting his efforts to build a non-racial society by refusing to
share the country's wealth, particularly land.
He said that the people needed economic victory as well as the political
victory they had achieved, and that was why the government must take the land.
His comments, in an interview marking his 77th birthday, came as Britain
called for a Commonwealth fact-finding mission to investigate the situation in
Asked whether he wished to retire after two decades in power, Mr Mugabe
replied: "I would like to do that, sure. As long as I am assured that those we
fought yesterday are thoroughly beaten and that the carpet they now stand on,
the economic carpet, has been removed from their feet and it has become our
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence. Political
violence and lawlessness have scared off donors and foreign investors.
But Mr Mugabe said his government was not to blame for the country's severe
economic crisis - he blamed low commodity prices, a squeeze on foreign aid, and
what he called sabotage by white industrialists.
He said: "Once we have the land, and are producing all that can be produced,
we are home and dry."
After discussing the situation with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don
McKinnon, the two men agreed that if a fact-finding team is allowed into
Zimbabwe, it should report back to a Commonwealth ministerial meeting in London
on 19 - 20 March.
BBC correspondent Joseph Winter and his family flew to South Africa on Monday
after he was ordered out of the country at the weekend.
Mr Winter, a BBC correspondent in Harare for four years, and Mercedes
Sayagues, correspondent for the South African Mail & Guardian newspaper,
were ordered to leave on Saturday.
A United Nations human rights investigator, Param Cumaraswamy, has warned
that the rule of law looks in extreme danger in Zimbabwe.
The Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to take early retirement under
pressure from supporters of Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
He said that the people needed economic victory as well as the political victory they had achieved, and that was why the government must take the land.
His comments, in an interview marking his 77th birthday, came as Britain called for a Commonwealth fact-finding mission to investigate the situation in Zimbabwe.
Asked whether he wished to retire after two decades in power, Mr Mugabe replied: "I would like to do that, sure. As long as I am assured that those we fought yesterday are thoroughly beaten and that the carpet they now stand on, the economic carpet, has been removed from their feet and it has become our carpet."
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence. Political violence and lawlessness have scared off donors and foreign investors.
But Mr Mugabe said his government was not to blame for the country's severe economic crisis - he blamed low commodity prices, a squeeze on foreign aid, and what he called sabotage by white industrialists.
He said: "Once we have the land, and are producing all that can be produced, we are home and dry."UK Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, said he had watched with growing concern as the Zimbabwean government put pressure on judges and journalists.
After discussing the situation with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, the two men agreed that if a fact-finding team is allowed into Zimbabwe, it should report back to a Commonwealth ministerial meeting in London on 19 - 20 March.In recent weeks, Mr Mugabe, who faces re-election campaign by April 2002 at the latest, has made it clear that he will not tolerate opposition from members of the judiciary, the local media or foreign correspondents.
BBC correspondent Joseph Winter and his family flew to South Africa on Monday after he was ordered out of the country at the weekend.
Mr Winter, a BBC correspondent in Harare for four years, and Mercedes Sayagues, correspondent for the South African Mail & Guardian newspaper, were ordered to leave on Saturday.
A United Nations human rights investigator, Param Cumaraswamy, has warned that the rule of law looks in extreme danger in Zimbabwe.
The Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to take early retirement under pressure from supporters of Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 22 February
Cook asks for action on Zimbabwe's slide to despotism
Britain yesterday urged the Commonwealth to take action to halt Zimbabwe's slide towards despotism. The Foreign Office said the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, had "agreed on the importance" of sending a fact-finding mission. But the Commonwealth could not confirm yesterday whether such a team would be sent before next month's meeting in London of the ministerial Commonwealth Action Group. Diplomatic sources said Harare was "not keen" on the visit. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, said the forced retirement of Zimbabwe's Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, attempts to unseat two other judges and the expulsion of two foreign journalists were "cause for alarm". British officials said they were trying to maintain a low profile to avoid giving President Mugabe propaganda ammunition but felt it was time to send a "signal" to Zimbabwe. Mr Cook said: "A free media and independent judiciary are fundamental democratic principles. I believe Britain's concern at the situation in Zimbabwe will be widely shared in the Commonwealth."
A UN human rights investigator has made an urgent appeal to Zimbabwe to stop the assault on the rule of law. Param Cumaraswamy, a UN special rapporteur, said: "The rule of law, which is so pivotal for democracy and sustainable development in any country . . . appears to be very much in jeopardy".
From The Times (UK), 22 February
Zimbabwe rebukes British diplomat
Harare - THE strain in Britain's relations with Zimbabwe deepened yesterday when President Mugabe's Government summoned a British diplomat to complain that he had impeded police work when he aided a BBC journalist expelled last weekend. "I was summoned and we stated our position," Roger Hazelwood, First Secretary at the British High Commission in Harare, told reporters. The state news agency Ziana reported that Mr Hazelwood had been called to the Foreign Ministry to "establish whether he had done anything incompatible with his status".
Joseph Winter, a BBC correspondent, and his family flew to South Africa on Monday after he was ordered out of the country. He said that security agents had tried to break into his flat on Sunday, forcing him and his family to take refuge in the High Commission. Zimbabwe state media quoted government sources as saying that British officials had interfered with the security officers' work and accused Mr Hazelwood of manhandling a police constable on guard at Winter's flat. The British High Commission denied that Mr Hazelwood had acted improperly.
President Mugabe last night vowed to deal "a death blow" to all opponents of his Government's illegal land seizures in what he described as a final bid to free the former British colony of all vestiges of "colonialism and settlerism". Speaking on national television to mark his 77th birthday, Mr Mugabe scoffed at international protests that he was undermining the rule of law by seizing white-owned land, insisting that "the rule of law did not apply when our land was taken from us". "At the moment of victory our revolution did not deal a death blow to colonialism and settlerism," Mr Mugabe said, referring to the 1979 election which brought his ruling Zanu (PF) party to power. "Our economy has never been ours," he said. "That is why we are going for what is the heart of the economic strength of whites. We inherited an economy in which the main players were settlers."
Dismissing the economic turmoil that has hit Zimbabwe since thousands of so-called war veterans occupied some 1,700 white-owned commercial farms, Mr Mugabe conceded only that the country was "going through a bad patch". But he insisted that "this year will be the final year of hardship". Denouncing the opposition MDC for opposing his "fast-track land reform programme", Mr Mugabe accused the millions of black people who voted for the MDC during last year's general election of being dupes of the white man.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, claimed yesterday that Mr Mugabe was on the verge of transferring power to his former security chief, who was implicated in the massacres of civilians in the 1980s. Emmerson Munangagwa, the parliamentary Speaker, who headed the country's Central Intelligence Organisation during the repression in the province of Matabeleland, would be appointed Mr Mugabe's successor before elections, Mr Tsvangirai said. "Their strategy will be to beat the blacks and shoot the whites," Mr Tsvangirai told the independent Daily News as its rival, the state-controlled Herald, carried a 12-page supplement congratulating Mr Mugabe on his 77th birthday. Mr Tsvangirai said that Mr Mugabe planned to bring forward presidential elections, not due until April 2002, before final economic collapse overtook Zimbabwe's once-thriving economy. "Everything is indicating an early election in July or August," he said. "They cannot wait until next year because the situation will be untenable by then."
From BBC News, 20 February
Veteran's group challenges Mugabe
Veterans say violence is carried out by a minority
A group of veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence is mounting a challenge to the policies of Robert Mugabe's government and the activities of his supporters. The Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform (ZLP) was formed last year in protest at the anarchy that accompanied the farm invasions which were supposedly led by former freedom fighters. The ZLP questions the credentials of the war veterans, many of whom are far too young to have been in the struggle. They believe the veteran leader, Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, and his supporters, a group of not more than 1,500 ex-combatants, do not speak for the majority of former fighters.
The ZLP also dismisses those veterans as cowards for attacking unarmed civilians during peacetime. "There was a song that we used to sing in the war, that a people's soldier should by no means go out and beat civilians," recalls Bernard Manyadza, who was one of the top commanders of Mr Mugabe's Zanla army during the independence war. "We're surprised that the war vets are being trafficked to suppress political opposition by force,'' he said. ''They've turned from liberators to oppressors of the people they're supposed to have liberated."
The ZLP's opposition to Mr Mugabe and his right to speak for the veterans has its roots in the war of independence. At the time fighters from the Zanu and Zapu liberation movements initiated the formation of a joint Zipa army. They believed the politicians were tired of the war, so they wanted to re-start the armed struggle themselves; and they wanted national unity at all costs, so as to avoid the kind of civil war that followed Angola's independence. They won the backing of the neighbouring frontline states' leaders, especially President Samora Machel of Mozambique who allowed them to fight from his country. But clashes soon occurred in the Zipa camps between cadres of the two liberation movements.
Mr Mhanda and his comrades from Zanu were convinced that their lack of political leadership was contributing to the tensions in the united army. President Machel asked them to draw up a list of 10 names of potential leaders. At the top of their list was Robert Mugabe, who was then under house arrest in Mozambique because Mr Machel was hostile to his anti-unity sentiments. Reluctantly Mr Machel agreed to release Mr Mugabe, and that is how he came to lead Zanu and later Zimbabwe. The fighters soon grew disillusioned with Mr Mugabe, but by then it was too late because he'd secured the backing of Mr Machel. In order to gain control of the army and prepare the way for negotiations with the Rhodesians, Mr Mugabe persuaded Mr Machel to allow him to detain his own men, claiming they were plotting against his leadership.
Mr Manyadza and Wilfrid Mhanda, a senior officer under Mr Mugabe and now the ZLP spokesman, were among the 50 top commanders arrested. Later hundreds more junior soldiers were arrested. The two were kept in cells in terrible conditions for the first six months - packed in the dark, with no toilet. For the last two-and-a-half years of the war they were held in a detention camp. Mr Mhanda recalls the words of a Holocaust survivor to describe their ordeal: "He who has not experienced it cannot believe it; he who has experienced it cannot understand it." The so-called dissidents, who were never charged with any offence, have waited 20 years for the whole truth to come out. "Probably we could have forgiven without forgetting, but the events of the last year forced us to regroup," says Mr Mhanda. "He did it to us but he has no right to do it to the country." "Twenty years after independence, the history of the war hasn't really been told," adds Mr Manyadza. "Are certain people afraid that their names will be found on the wrong side of the struggle?"
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 22 February
Thugs kick off Mugabe re-election campaign
Chitungwiza - By day, the narrow streets between Chitungwiza's ramshackle houses are filled with children playing. After dark, they are roamed by heavily armed soldiers, who have beaten up hundreds of people in a brutal campaign against a Zimbabwean town that dared to oppose President Robert Mugabe. While independent-minded judges and journalists have been particularly singled out for repression, the poorest people are suffering the most. Chitungwiza's 300,000 people are largely jobless and live in overcrowded shacks.
During last year's parliamentary election, they showed their discontent with Mr Mugabe by electing candidates from the opposition MDC in the three local constituencies. Soldiers who arrive in convoys of armoured vehicles are exacting a heavy price for this defiance in preparation for a presidential poll due next year. One young resident, Holly, was dancing in the Mbizi nightclub when the doors were flung open at midnight and 20 soldiers wearing camouflage uniforms and red berets burst in, carrying assault rifles. They ordered everyone to lie on the floor and then set upon them with clubs, whips and sticks. Holly, 22, said: "They shouted, 'We are beating you because you voted MDC!' They poured beer over us while we were on the floor. Then they started beating us. They beat us everywhere: on the back, the legs, the neck."
After systematically assaulting all the patrons for about half an hour, the soldiers ordered them to leave the club and, for good measure, kicked and punched them as they fled. Holly still walks with a limp and is badly bruised more than a week after the attack. She was too afraid to give her real name. She said: "I still think they might come for me. It will take time for me to recover." Soldiers have raided at least six bars and nightclubs during the past three weeks. A pattern has emerged. They arrive in armoured cars, attack everyone in sight and tell their victims that they are being punished for backing the MDC.
Beaula Makoko, a 40-year-old mother of four who was assaulted 10 days ago, shuddered to recall her ordeal. At least 15 soldiers forced their way into the bar near Makoni shopping centre where she was relaxing at 10pm. One planted a foot on the small of her back and hit her with a club repeatedly. She said: "I thought they wanted to kill all of us." Eventually, the soldiers allowed everyone to leave the bar. Four people were so badly beaten that they were taken to hospital. Mrs Makoko said: "These are not soldiers - they're thugs. Soldiers are supposed to protect us. If they beat us, who is going to protect us? They are doing this because they say we support the MDC. The whole of Chitungwiza is angry."
The government sees Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe's third-largest town, 20 miles south of Harare, as a security problem. All but a handful of its young men are jobless and, three years ago, they began the most serious urban riots since independence in 1980. John Nkomo, the Home Affairs Minister, accuses the MDC of planning an insurrection in the townships. The latest military operations show how seriously this belief is held. The residents of Chitungwiza say the army action is punishment for an area that backs the MDC, and shows that Mr Mugabe's presidential election campaign is beginning. Soldiers are increasingly seen as the uniformed wing of the ruling Zanu-PF party, and the military action in the townships indicates that the army will be at the disposal of the drive to guarantee Mr Mugabe's re-election.
Yet the official media presented a very different image of the president yesterday. The Herald, a government daily newspaper, produced a 12-page pull-out special to mark his 77th birthday. "The nation congratulates him for remaining an unswerving nationalist and freedom fighter until such a ripe age under extremely trying times," the gushing prose announced. The people of Chitungwiza were wondering whether his army would be prowling their streets again tonight.
From The Star (SA), 21 February
Dry spell destroys most of Zim's early maize
Harare - The bulk of Zimbabwe's early planted maize crop has been irreparably damaged by a prolonged dry spell across the country in January and early February, said a national crop assessment unit on Tuesday. The department of agricultural, technical and extension services (Agritex)"The early planted maize crop in most provinces is reported to be a total write-off as it was severely affected by the mid-season dry spell at tasselling stage," said in a report. "The recent rains in most parts of the country have greatly improved the general condition of the late-planted crop but with high chances of getting low yields," said the report by Agritex, a department within the lands and agriculture ministry. The dry spell had also affected the leaf size of some of the season's tobacco crop and was likely to cause a fall in yields.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe's major cash crop and rakes in approximately a third of the country's foreign currency earnings. In a recent report, the US-based Famine Early Warning System (Fews) said that while Zimbabwe had adequate maize stocks until the next harvest, output from the 2000/01 (November-March) crop was likely to be down since cash constraints had forced communal farmers to use low-yielding maize seed varieties. Fews said contingency plans should be put in place to deal with a possible shortage of the staple grain.
Communal farmers produce about 60 percent of Zimbabwe's maize. The balance comes from commercial farmers who say output could fall by 50 percent due to financial woes and disturbances caused by war veterans illegally occupying white-owned farms. Zimbabwe's maize output has averaged 1,5 million tons in the past few years against domestic requirements of about 1,8 million tons. The country produced a harvest of 2,1 million tons in the 1999/2000 (November-March) cropping season.
From The Daily News, 21 February
Church retracts on open palm symbol
Bulawayo - The Emakhandeni Church of Christ, which caused a stir after petitioning the government to ban the MDC's open palm symbol, has made an about-turn. Andrew Munkuli, the leader of the church with a membership of about 40 people, said the statements were uttered by his "overzealous" son, Odvianeeth, a preacher in the church. Odvianeeth and another church member, Wonderful Muleya, are currently on a sponsored walk to the Victoria Falls. Munkuli said he apologised to a group of 200 MDC youths who besieged the church on Sunday afternoon to hand over a petition, condemning the church for "meddling in our political business".
The MDC youths, led by the Bulawayo provincial chairman, Khumbulani Nkala, handed Munkuli the petition. Said Munkuli: "This has caused a lot of pain to me. I have not seen or managed to talk to my son in connection with the statements. We are a church and we have always wanted to leave politics to the politicians." The open palm ban proposal was aired on national television and published in government-owned newspapers. Odvianeeth and Muleya have voiced their support for Zanu PF, attacking unnamed foreigners for meddling in Zimbabwean affairs. Munkuli said his church does not support the government's fast-track land resettlement programme, but would want to see a "well-planned process" of resettlement.
Last week, the two youths teamed up with three Zanu PF Members of Parliament, Eliot Chauke of Chiredzi North, Isaac McKenzie of Kariba and Eleck Mnkandla of Gokwe to petition the government to ban the MDC symbol. In the petition, they said the open palm was an "international symbol for parting friends", and said the MDC's use of it as a symbol violated basic human rights.
From BBC News, 21 February
Mobutu troops emerge from bush
Bunia, eastern DRC - About 300 soldiers loyal to former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko have surfaced after spending nearly four years in hiding. The soldiers handed themselves over to Ugandan-backed rebels in north-eastern DRC. Congolese Liberation Front spokesman Dominquie Kanku said that the soldiers retreated to the bush in 1997 when the then rebel, and later President, Laurent Kabila, seized the region from government troops. Mr Kanku said the soldiers had been living like animals - surviving by banditry in and around Ituri Province. Their presence has been causing real problems to traders in the region.
A full battalion of about 700 men originally disappeared, and many of the group who came out earlier this month were armed with AK-47s. They have already been taken to the FLC's training camp in Beni - where rebels say they will be retrained, politicised and then deployed in the rebel army. There are efforts under way to persuade the remainder of the battalion to join their colleagues.
The presence of the ex-Zairean government forces has been known for several years - but this is the first time anyone has been able to persuade them to come out. Mr Kanku said the success was due to the FLC's Defence Secretary, Gideon Kibonge, who was formerly a colonel in President Mobutu's army. During his time as a Mobutu officer, Kibonge had served in north-eastern Congo, and was known to many of the soldiers in hiding who were said to have trusted him absolutely. The FLC, described as a front but in fact a merger of several Ugandan rebel factions with Jean Pierre Bemba at its head, has only operated in this part of Congo for the past month and the decision by the Mobutu forces is something of a feather in their cap. Rebels control approximately half of the country in a war that has sucked in six neighbouring countries' forces.
From The Star (SA), 21 February
Threat to cut Mugabe's aid is on the cards
Brussels - Europe is to take the unprecedented step of delivering a final warning to Zimbabwe about its human rights record in a move which could result in the ending of a multimillion-rand aid package. The action reflects growing international concern about the intimidation of the judiciary, harassment of independent media and last week's expulsion of foreign journalists. Sweden, which holds the European Union presidency, has already halved its R165-million annual bilateral aid budget to Harare amid deteriorating diplomatic relations. Now, the Swedes are planning to take the lead in confronting the Zimbabwean authorities under the terms of a new treaty that governs the relations between the EU and developing countries. A meeting of officials in Brussels on Thursday was expected to finalise the details of how the EU would force a new "dialogue" with Harare about its abuse of human rights.
European ambassadors in Harare were expected to challenge the
Zimbabwean government under article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement (which succeeded
the Lome Convention). This is the final step before considering an end to
European aid under article 96 of the same text. Because the treaty is new, the
article 8 procedure has not been used before, and officials are still unsure
whether it will be invoked formally or whether they will seek dialogue "in the
spirit" of the article. But one senior diplomat described the action as "really
the last attempt" to rein in the regime of President Robert Mugabe. "We are in a
very critical phase and time is of the essence," he added. Another official
argued that this was "the last opportunity to avoid going to article 96", which
would almost certainly lead to a suspension of Europe's aid to
Technically, the Zimbabweans are eligible for a total of about R1-billion in aid and trade concessions from the EU and the European Development Fund this year, although the vast majority of that cash has not yet been committed. Sweden takes a strong line on human rights, and its decision to cut aid was greeted with resentment by the Zimbabwean government. State-owned newspapers suggested that the Swedish ambassador might be expelled, although no formal protest was made. Referring to the recent expulsions of foreign journalists, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, of the MDC, has argued that the government "is 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".
Meanwhile, Sapa-AFP reports that British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on Wednesday announced that the Commonwealth would send a fact-finding team to Zimbabwe to investigate human rights abuses there. Cook said the move was agreed in a conversation with Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon. The Commonwealth delegation will report back to a meeting of ministers scheduled to take place in London on March 19, said Cook.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 23 February
Moyo's $6m fraud saga deepens
More details about the Ford Foundation's lawsuit against Minister of State for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo emerged yesterday with claims that he siphoned US$108 000 (about Z$6 million) from his former employer and used part of the money to buy a property in South Africa. Documents lodged with the Kenyan High Court and in the hands of the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that Moyo is accused of "unlawfully or wrongfully" misappropriating funds from grants made by the Ford Foundation to the Series on Alternative Research in East Africa Trust (Sareat).
Sareat is an organisation established in Kenya under a deed of trust dated November 18 1996. The trust in total received US$414 000 in grants for two research projects on policy and economic issues. The projects were known as the Journal for East African Alternatives and Publication Initiatives. Moyo - who was a programme officer at the Ford Foundation in Nairobi from September 15 1993 to December 31 1997 - is linked to the projects insofar as he facilitated communication between the foundation and Sareat. He was also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the activities of both organisations.
The Ford Foundation is alleging that Moyo, in collusion with Sareat Trustees and an accountant at the international donor agency's Kenyan office, received US$108 000 either in person or through his nominee. Moyo, it is alleged, set up in South Africa a "discretionary" trust called Talunoza Trust which was used for channelling funds from Sareat to the trust for his personal use. The trust is named after his children - Tawanda, Lungile, Nokuthula and Zanele. It is alleged that Moyo received US$10 000 from Sareat directly into his personal bank account through a bank telegraphic transfer dated January 23 1998. On February 4 1998, he was said to have obtained US$58 000 through a "nominated account" in South Africa. On the same date, Moyo also received US$40 000 ($2,2 million) by bank telegraphic transfer.
Moyo, who is being sued in Kenya by Ford Foundation lawyers AH Malik & Co Advocates, is the fifth defendant while Talunoza Trust is cited as the sixth defendant in the case filed in the High Court of Kenya commercial division on January 22 this year. Other defendants are Sareat itself, Dr Mutahi Ngunyi who was Sareat executive director and trustee, Joshua Olewe Nyunya who was a Sareat trustee, and Milka Wanjiru Njuguna-Okiddy, who was an accountant at the foundation. The defendants are said to have helped themselves to donor funds in breach of contract. They had all undertaken in writing not to divert the grant money to personal use or use it for purposes other than those stated in their project proposals…
From Pan African News Agency, 22 February
Judge Refuses To Leave Bench
Harare - Zimbabwean Supreme Court Judge Ahmed Ebrahim on Thursday turned down a government request to take early retirement in order to pave the way for an intended reform of the judiciary. The government, accusing the judiciary of passing anti-government judgments on land reform and elections, among other issues, is cracking down on judges it suspects of being politically partisan.
Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced three weeks ago by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to take early retirement as part of the government's reform of the judiciary. But two Supreme Court judges, including Ebrahim, have turned down the minister's request to take early retirement as well. Zimbabwe's crackdown on the judiciary, which has on three occasions ruled the government's controversial land reform programme illegal, has drawn sharp criticism both at home and abroad.
From The Star (SA), 23 February
Mail & Guardian journo leaves Zim
Harare - The second of two foreign journalists ordered out of Zimbabwe has left the country, calling government accusations against her "absurd and ridiculous". Freelancer Mercedes Sayagues said on her departure by air from Harare that she was challenging an order declaring her a prohibited immigrant. "These allegations are absurd and ridiculous." She and BBC correspondent Joseph Winter were last week ordered to leave the country within 24 hours after their work permits were cancelled, but won a High Court order allowing them to stay until Friday. Winter left the country earlier this week. The government says that both were deported for writing hostile stories about the country. Sayagues has also been accused of supporting the rebel Unita movement of Jonas Savimbi in Angola, which has been fighting the MPLA government.
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From The New York Times, 22 February
UN Council Agrees to Withdraw Troops From Congo
United Nations - Moving with remarkable speed and unanimity to respond to a co-operative new government in Congo, the Security Council agreed today on a step by step plan for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country, the scene of Africa's largest war. The agreement, drafted by France, is expected to be adopted on Thursday as a Security Council resolution at the end of two days of meetings between Council members and representatives of the African countries and Congolese rebel armies involved in the war. The plan follows the outline of an agreement reached by all the warring sides in Harare, Zimbabwe, in December, a pact that has not been acted on. The resolution is intended to put more pressure on all sides to do so.
Under the force of the resolution the parties will jeopardize any further United Nations involvement in settling the war, including the possibility of a peacekeeping mission, if they do not meet the Council's requirements. Although a few final details remain to be settled, the resolution calls for a 14-day period beginning in the middle of March for all foreign troops to complete plans to pull back from battle lines, and a deadline around the middle of May for setting up a timetable for leaving the country, a process diplomats hope can be completed by the fall.
James B. Cunningham, the acting American ambassador, said that the US welcomed the unanimous support for the resolution and the "global approach" the Council was taking. "We're trying to strike a balance so that every participant has a stake in the process," he said in an interview. "I can't say we're optimistic or pessimistic. Just hopeful." The plan calls for a Security Council visit to Congo in May to check on progress. "It's a way to put pressure on them," said Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador. "If they know we are coming on the 15th of May, hopefully disengagement will be over and they will have to focus on the next steps. This mission of the Council will be key."
Rwanda and Uganda, which invaded Congo in 1998, have already promised to begin pulling back as early as next week. Those movements are prerequisite to putting pressure on Congo's allies - Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia - to also begin leaving. The Congo debate began today with a blunt warning to the warring parties by Secretary General Kofi Annan, who said that if it was taking a long time to get a peacekeeping operation on the ground it was because nations in the region had yet to demonstrate that they really wanted to end the war. "We have heard complaints of the slowness of the United Nations to act, or the small size of the forces it plans to deploy," Mr. Annan said. "But governments that contribute troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations are not convinced that they should risk their soldiers' lives in circumstances where those most responsible are not themselves reliably committed. You may wish it otherwise, but these are the facts."
Under the new resolution, the Security Council pledges to
station military monitors with the withdrawing troops as a verification and
confidence-building measure. In a country as vast, dense and undeveloped as
Congo, diplomats say, there should be no question about whether troops are
abiding by their commitments to leave. Mr. Levitte said in an interview today
that the two steps - a pullback to new lines followed by a timetable for
complete withdrawal - had to be linked or Congo risked being "transformed into
Cyprus," with opposing troops holding lines that will be hard to erase later.
Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge of Zimbabwe, the country that did most to prop up the regime of Laurent Kabila, Congo's assassinated president, chided the Council today for taking what he called a "gradualist and minimalist" approach, conveying "the impression of hesitancy and doubt about the peace process." He was referring to a decision last week to scale back the size of the protection force being formed to accompany 550 military monitors to observe the withdrawal of foreign troops.
The head of United Nations peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said last week that a smaller force now seemed workable because a cease-fire seemed to be holding and advance parties of monitors in the country had faced no violence. Moreover, the assassination of Mr. Kabila on Jan. 16 led to an unexpected opportunity when his son and successor, Joseph Kabila, pledged greater co-operation with the United Nations and neighboring countries. "This new president is a kind of miracle," Mr. Levitte said today. "He is taking bold decisions. He is proposing to the warring sides, let's have national reconciliation. On that basis, Rwanda and Uganda feel obliged to reciprocate. So there is a new climate, and our ambition is to build on that."
From IRIN (UN), 22 February
Namibia Has Mine In The DRC - Minister
Nairobi - Namibia's mines minister Jesaya Nyamu has admitted that the country has commercial interests in a diamond mine in the DRC, the Afrikaans daily 'Republikein 2000' reported on Thursday. "The minister of mines and energy, Jesaya Nyamu, admitted that the Namibian mine is being structured and run together with Americans and a front company of the Namibia Defence Force," the paper reported. Nyamu was quoted as saying that he had informed the UN that Namibia and the DRC were running the mine near Tshikapa in the southern DRC together with an American group according to an economic agreement entered into with the late DRC President Laurent Kabila. The report said that the mine covered an area of 25 square km near Maji-Munene, about 45 km from Tshikapa close to the Angolan border.
"Namibia and its partners are not at the mine to plunder; everything is being done within the framework of the legal agreement," Nyamu was quoted as saying. "Work at the mine began a while ago, but has not reached full diamond production yet." Namibia has an estimated 2,000 soldiers stationed alongside troops from Angola and Zimbabwe in the DRC since 1998 to help fight rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda.
CFU to hold special congress
Following an extra ordinary meeting of the full Council of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) on Tuesday 13 February 2001, CFU President, Tim Henwood has announced that the Council unanimously resolved to convene a Special Congress to chart the way forward on the deadlocked land issue and to review CFU national leadership.
In terms of the CFU constitution, a minimum of thirty days notice is required to convene a Special Congress, so the Congress will be held on Wednesday 21 March 2001.
Henwood said: "I recognise that government and the CFU are deadlocked over the land issue to the detriment of the nation. CFU has consistently supported the principle of land reform and I reaffirm our commitment to having dialogue with Government in order to chart the way forward in the national interest. I also confirm, in the strongest possible terms, that the CFU is a politically non-partisan organisation with a mandate to represent the interests of its members and to work with the government of the day.
"I will be encouraging my members to become part of the solution to land reform. We acknowledge the injustices of the past and the need for a well-structured land reform programme for the benefit of Zimbabwe. I urge all stakeholders in this sensitive and emotional issue to urgently come to the table in order to reach common ground so that the nation can move forward," he said.
Editor- The Farmer
Fuel crunch as state, importers quibble
THE government and private oil companies have apparently failed to reach an agreement over the conditions that will give leeway to private companies to import fuel, The Farmer has found.
It has been reported that government had allowed fuel companies to import fuel to alleviate the current shortages but fuel companies were not doing so. There were allegations that the fuel companies were refusing to import fuel and sale it at the gazetted price because it was not economical. The fuel companies were alleged to have demanded to charge economical rates, which the government refused.
An official with a local fuel company this week told The Farmer that the deal for private fuel companies to import fuel directly had not been finalised. He said there were still a number of issues, which needed to be ironed out before both parties could come to an agreement.
"It hasn't been finalised. They are still locked in negotiations with government to come up with a system suitable for both. Government has its own ideals and oil companies have their own," he said.
He said it was not only the issue of pricing that was at the centre of negotiations but there were many others. Pressed to explain specifically what sort of issues needed to be ironed out, the official said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter further.
While the oil companies and government quibble on the details of an agreement, which could ease the fuel situation in the country, the National Oil company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) has also failed to meet the conditions of another deal with South Africa's Bank ABSA, brokered by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe last year.
The deal was meant to provide the state run oil company with US$75 million line of credit. The failure to meet the ABSA conditions was believed to be due to bureaucracy in processing some of the requirements.
The core problem in the supply of fuel to Zimbabwe remains the shortage of foreign currency which unless resolved, fuel shortages would continue to be experienced. Finance and Development minister Dr Simba Makoni, soon after his return form Washington where he met IMF and World Bank officials, told journalists that Zimbabwe's woes would not go away over night and that the current problems over fuel were mainly due to hard currency shortages.
NOCZIM managing director, Eng. Webster Muriritirwa, also said the fuel crisis would continue as long as the country has no foreign currency.
Dr Makoni said as he pointed out in his budget statement, donors who were the lifeline to Zimbabwe's foreign currency requirements, were worried about the rule of law and the country's land saga. He said although there were some donors who had the desire to come to Zimbabwe, they remained concerned about certain environmental issues, the rule of law and the land issue.
As a result of the critical shortage of foreign currency, which has led to the continued fuel and electricity crisis, the government directed all local banks to surrender the foreign currency to the Central Bank and NOCZIM. However the move prompted an outcry in the private sector leading to the reversal of the decision within days.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has re-introduced power rationing. It could not be established by time of going to press as to what extent these rationings were affecting farms' production activities around the country.
In Harare there were long queues, in some cases stretching for kilometres as motorists desperately awaited for fuel to arrive. In some of the cases some of the motorists would take risks by leaving their cars in the queues over night, as they tried to maintain their positions in the queues.
New insecticide launched
A SMALL group of farmers and distributors of agro-chemicals gathered at Andy Miller Hall, Harare Exhibition Park, to witness the launch of Shumba Super, a grain protectant, produced by Ecomark, one of the leading suppliers of pest control products in the country.
Addressing guests at the launch ceremony, Ecomark managing director, Mr David Zinyengere explained the efficacy of the new insecticide, which he said would benefit mostly subsistence and small-scale grain producers.
The powdery insecticide is mixed with stored grain to keep out the pests and prevent losses of grain through insect infestation, Mr Zinyengere said.
The product would be distributed through various wholesale and retail outlets throughout the country. Each pack of Shumba Super carries with it a measuring scoop and disposable plastic gloves with specific application instructions and recommended safety precautions.
The Institute of Agricultural Engineering undertook trials of the new insecticide over a period of one year.
Mr James Chigariro, a representative of the institute, told the launch ceremony that researchers had simulated storage conditions of village granaries, and in some instances, actually introduced insect pests into stored grain in order to test the effectiveness of the insecticide.
Help for farm violence victims
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 were dispossessed of their homes, farms and livelihoods.
According to a statement issued by the Trust, the past year had 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 administrator.
In Zimbabwe, donations to the trust should be addressed to the Accountant, Farm Families Trust, PO Box WGT 390, Westgate, Harare.
Bank transfers should be made to the Standard Chartered Bank, Westgate Branch, Harare, Zimbabwe. - Sort Code 5110, Account Number 0101 727 409 500.
External money transfers or cheques should be 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") .
Art Farm hosts Nuffield scholar's field day
THE Nuffield Scholars Farming Association of Zimbabwe held its field day at ART Farm with director of Art Farm Mr Alan Stidolph making a presentation on the use of computers in farm management.
Mr Stidolph, also a Nuffield scholar in 1999, gave a report of what he learnt during his scholarship programme in Australia and New Zealand. He talked about new technology and how it has assisted these countries.
He said the use of computers in agriculture had helped these countries to solve some of the most common production problems. He said labour in Australia and New Zealand was very costly and computers were helping them do away with the labour element.
Mr Stidolph told fellow scholars and other participants to the field day that it was worthwhile for these countries to adopt this new technology, as it was cost effective for them.
He said it might be helpful to adopt the non-financial production software like that for livestock formulation to bring the costs down. The programmes were said to be very simple and could be used for feed rations, nutrient parameters and others.
Mr Stidolph said there was software to look up information on agricultural inputs and this could make consultancy jobs easy.
He said Art Farm was already in the process of implementing stock recording analysis and the use of soft ware had improved the payment of wages.
Mr Jeff Kockott, who farms in Tengwe in Mashonaland West Province, and who won this year's Nuffield scholarship, attended the field day and was officially presented to other Nuffield scholars.
Chairman of the Nuffield scholars farming Association of Zimbabwe, Mr Jonathan Palmer, said in the future there was hope to have a tobacco scholar who would come back and give feedback to other tobacco growers.
Due to the incessant rains, a tour of field crops was cut short. Guests were shown the maize trials, which indicated that there were frantic efforts by seed houses to move towards breeding Grey Leaf tolerant crops. The seed varieties used in the trials that they were shown were not sprayed so that farmers could see for themselves the best varieties in terms of disease resistance. The trials for maize crops were only kept weed free.
Mr Stidolph took the opportunity during the field tour to explain about the pig unit on which efforts were being made to turn it into an economically viable unit. He said it was originally designed for trials only hence some difficulties in trying to expand it.
There were also four hectares of paprika with 5000 plants per hectare all for export. The crop is marketed through paprika international which exports the product to South Africa.
Participants at the field were shown trials on four different varieties of dry beans. Some of the trial sites for this crop are in Norton and Chegutu.
It came to light during the field day that the Export Flower Growers' Association (EFGAZ) might be taking up three hectares of land at Art Farm to be used for trials on flowers. This would probably entail the use of the drip irrigation system that was installed at the sight but has not been used to full potential in terms of research and trials.
On the winter crops, Mr Stidolph said not much wheat was grown at the farm because water was a limiting factor. The crop rotation at the farm is mainly maize, Soyabeans and Wheat.