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Cracks Emerge In Zimbabwe Opposition Camp

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)

February 19, 2001
Posted to the web February 19, 2001

Rangarirai Shoko
Harare, Zimbabwe

The top hierarchy of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) was locked up in delicate talks at the weekend to find ways of
mending widening cracks in the party over policy differences. The party
convened its 30-member national executive - the highest decision making
organ - ostensibly to agree what punishment to give to parliamentarian
Munyaradzi Gwisai over his public criticism of the MDC's land policy, but
sources said a wider soul-searching agenda was on the table. Officials who
attended the meeting said it was heated, but declined to give details.

Gwisai, a University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, has earned the wrath of the
MDC's leadership by praising President Robert Mugabe's controversial land
reform programme and criticising his own party for advancing foreign
interests, a charge the ruling party has always levelled against it.

The MP threw the MDC into political turmoil on 15 February by breaking ranks
with other party legislators in parliament, and said the ruling ZANU-PF
party's land reform programme was imperatively necessary.

He added that white farmers whose farms were being repossessed to resettle
landless peasants should not be compensated. "We want land to go to the
children of Zimbabwe. The only problem is that this ZANU-PF government has
taken 20 years to address the issue.

[The worker is starving because the government has not given land to the
people," he told parliament, amid applause from ruling party MPs, while MDC
legislators were stunned in disbelief. "Besides, what does the 6 billion
Zimbabwean-dollar compensation mean? What is it for? That money should
rather be channelled to the more than 450,000 commercial farm workers
affected by the land re-distribution exercise," he added.

The opposition party immediately responded by calling an urgent weekend
meeting of its national executive to reprimand Gwisai, as well as find ways
to mend cracks emerging in the MDC over policy differences which have
recently led to a spate of resignations and defections of members to the
ruling party. Gwisai said a growing number of MDC supporters and members
were being disillusioned by the party's close links to white commercial
farmers, Western governments and pressure groups, and local big businesses
opposed to the government's land reform programme.

Several MDC members, including some in senior positions, have defected to
ZANU-PF in recent days, citing unbearably strong foreign influence in the
party's policies, especially on land reform, which it opposes.

But the MDC's decision to censure Gwisai and others openly opposed to its
policies, whose criticism of their own party has sent the ruling party
jumping in jubilation, has further divided the labour-backed opposition
party, as it begins to prepare for next year's presidential elections.

While some senior party members have said the outspoken Gwisai should not be
punished because he had merely exercised his democratic right to freedom of
expression, others demanded he be punished for publicly rebuking his own
party. "Munyaradzi (Gwisai) is entitled to his own views. The MDC is a
democratic party which tolerates dissenting voices. Instead of hauling
Gwasai before a disciplinary committee, we should actually look at what he
said more critically, and consolidate our position as the official
opposition," MP Job Sikhala who is member of the party's national executive,

But a hard-line member of the body, who asked for anonymity, said the party
should strongly and publicly rebuke the outspoken parliamentarian and other
rebels to build confidence and restore coherence. "The public out there is
getting confused, and ZANU-PF is benefiting from the confusion that people
like Gwisai are causing. We should set an example by taking strong action
against them," he emphasised.

Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who last year threatened to call a
bye-election in Gwisai's constituency after he made similar remarks, refused
to comment on the matter. "I cannot say anything now as Gwisai's issue will
be discussed by the executive...among other issues," he added. The ruling
party, which is facing a strong electoral challenge from the MDC, did not
waste time to jump in jubilation at the policy differences in the opposition
party, which it accuses of fronting imperialist interests.

"This...shows that Gwisai is himself a politician who desperately needs a
home. The issues he is raising are in the ZANU-PF manifesto and the time has
come for the ZANU-PF wing in the MDC to come back home," said Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, who also holds the same portfolio in the ruling
party. Political analysts said if the MDC mishandled its conflicts over
policy, it could spell the beginning of the opposition party's unravelling.
"He (Gwisai) reflecting the general frustration within his party to
deliver. Nevertheless, they cannot do that besides making an impact in
parliament," Solomon Nkiwane, of the University of Zimbabwe, suggested. "I
will bet my last dollar that the man (Gwisai) is in the wrong party. The MDC
will not, in the long term, deliver what he expects.

Gwisai is hoping that the workers will steer the party and determine its
policy. "My own assessment is that that scenario is far-fetched," newspaper
columnist Pathisa Nyathi argues. "For a party to survive the stormy waters,
it needs a fair degree of ideological purity which will guide party policy,"
he Nyathi adds.

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Feb 21, 2001 - 08:21 PM

Mugabe Blames Whites, Foreigners for Economic Woes
in Zimbabwe
By Angus Shaw
Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - President Robert Mugabe, marking his 77th birthday
Wednesday, launched an outspoken attack on the nation's whites, Britain and
foreign-owned oil companies, blaming them for crippling the economy. The
60,000-strong white community living among 12.5 million blacks still
believe in the colonial-era concept that "they are the rider and we are the
horse," Mugabe said in a national television broadcast celebrating his
birthday. Mugabe, who has ruled since the end of the harsh colonial era
nearly 21 years ago, accused the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, of being a front for whites and said foreign oil
companies made excessive profits on gasoline, leading to acute fuel
shortages because there wasn't enough hard currency to pay them for it. He
alleged Britain, the former colonial power, pressured its Gulf ally and
former protectorate, Kuwait, not to sell gasoline to Zimbabwe and demanded
Western donors cut aid to punish his government. "Some resources that used
to come our way from Europe are being withheld because they want to pleaqe
Britain," Mugabe charged. Zimbabwe is suffering it worst economic crisis
since independence. Political violence and lawlessness linked to the
illegal occupation of white-owned farms by ruling party militants has
scared off donors and foreign investors. The International Monetary Fund,
the World Bank and other foreign institutions have frozen loans that
accounted for more than half the country's hard currency revenue. Violent
land seizures and a "fast track" program to confiscate 3,000 white-owned
farms have disrupted production of tobacco, the main export. Foreign
tourism has also declined by more than 80 percent. In a defiant mood,
Mugabe said the white descendants of British settlers were opposing his
government "because we are going for the heart of their economic strength,
the land." The government has ignored six court rulings declaring land
seizures illegal as they did not follow the government's own land
redistribution laws. The government also has accuqed white farm leaders of
pursuing a political agenda financed from abroad and has threatened to
break off dialogue with them. The Commercial Farmers Union, which
represents 4,000 white farmers, said Wednesday the threats were aimed at
weakening opposition to Mugabe's land redistribution program by fueling
divisions among white farmers. The main opposition won 57 seats in
elections in June, leaving Mugabe with a slim majority of elected seats in
the Parliament. He had controlled all but three seats in the previous
Parliament. He called the opposition "shadows of the white man ... the ones
licking the boots of the white man." He dismissed reports his health was
ailing and said he did not intend to retire until "the economic carpet the
whites stand on has been removed and becomes our carpet." "Our revolution
did not deal a death blow to imperialism and settlerism. Those were are
fighting are the same we fought in the bush" in the guerrilla war that
swept him to power in April, 1980, ending British rule. He said he saw
economic hardships easing once blacks had seized white land. "Once we have
land with us, we'll be home and dry," Mugabe. In a related development,
Zimbabwe accepted "in principle" a visit by a small team from the British
Commonwealth to discuss land rights, but no dates have been confirmed,
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said Wednesday in London.

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Don't do Deals with the Devil !

From: Calgary
Dear Friends   
                    It appears that there is a split appearing in the ranks of the CFU.  As I understand the matter, there is one faction that is in favour of maintaining the firm line and standing our ground, and another faction in favour of softening and re-opening negotiations with government.
    My feeling is that CFU has already pursued the avenue of dialogue to its logical conclusion.  It has already made offers and concessions in good faith well beyond what could be described as fair and reasonable.  The government has not even abided by its own laws, over which it has had unfettered control for twenty years.  Their negotiators have at no time been fair and reasonable, and have not even kept the agreements that they have made at the negotiating table.  Government's aims are purely political, and the land is simply a tool in their evil schemes.  It is obvious that, if they were truly concerned about landless peasants, they would have settled them on land they have already in their possession - this has still not happened.
    Our position is this: we are being picked on by a devious and evil bunch of gangsters.  If we do what is right we shall be persecuted; if we do what is wrong we shall be persecuted.  Let us be persecuted for doing what is right!
    It is an old trick of evil organisations to fight simultaneously using two different approaches: the hard approach and the soft approach.  When interrogating an opponent, first one side comes in and beats the daylights out of him.  Then the "nice guys" come in, offer the mutilated victim a cup of coffee and a cigarette, talk nicely to him, gently try to persuade him of the error of his ways, or the hopelessness of his cause, and get information out of him that way. If the victim doesn't respond then he is threatened with the "bad guys" again... 
    The other tactic, which goes hand in hand with this, is to split the opposition into "nice guys" and "bad guys".  Obviously more concessions can be ground out of weak leaders than out of strong leaders.  So now the tactic goes, "Well listen, these leaders of yours are completely unreasonable and intractable.  If you would elect some decent guys we can talk to, then of course we can help you fix your problem."  The aim is simple - to get more concessions from weaker leaders!
    It doesn't take much intelligence to understand that all these tactics proceed from the same mind. The objective is to break and split the opposition using this lethal combination of tactics.
    My feeling is that we should not fall into either of these traps.  What is being done to us is wrong - there is no doubt about that.  If we agree to what we know is wrong, then we shall be wrong too.  If we stick to what we believe is right, then we can expect some help from the Almighty.  Scripture has a passage to the effect: "When you have done all, stand fast."  That I believe is where we are
If we break now we will not only lose everything, but deserve to lose everything.
If a person compromises his principles to gain his objectives,
he does not deserve either, and he may lose both.
One man and God is an awesome majority!
Love and blessings
                              David Wheeler.
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letter to the Editor - Financial Gazette
Minister of injustice

Miffed, Harare.
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).

Minister of supposed justice. How dare he speak of democracy when, with immediate and particular reference to his current war on the judiciary, every word he speaks, his every attempted action, flagrantly counters any tenet of democracy?

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Monday 12th February to Sunday 18th 2001

All media appeared oblivious to the implications of government's
deportation of two foreign journalists, and its threats to withdraw
passports from "unpatriotic citizens" on various rights to freedom of
expression and freedom of movement and association. On ZBC
and Zimpapers, the ruling party' s continued onslaught against its
opponents was given piecemeal coverage with relevant background
and context missing.
ZBC appeared to have a hand in trying to control reports that would
put the government in a bad light. Joy TV cut out the report which
showed Winter, his wife and his child under siege from police prior
to the deportation in its BBC news bulletin (19/02). 
This week, like in the previous week, the private press ignored
critical developments which included Vice President Msika's
declaration that government would not abide by any court verdict on
land, the deportation of correspondent Mercedes Sayagues and the
threat to withdraw passports to individuals perceived to be
unpatriotic by the government.

The deportation of Mail and Guardian correspondent Mercedes
Sayagues never made it to either the ZBC or the private press.
Zimpapers' dailies broke the story but did not go beyond the
merely repeating what various unnamed sources said. A
department of immigration official was quoted saying that: "after
careful consideration it had been decided that no further
extension of the permit would be allowed (15/02).
Part of the article read:
    "Foreign journalists wanting an extension to their
    temporary employment permits should first get a
    letter from the Department of Information and
    Publicity. Without this letter no extension can be
    allowed. The Department of Information has in the
    meantime frozen the issuing of permits until a new
    accreditation system has been put in place."
In addition the dailies merely quoted  Department of Information
and Publicity officials who said that the department was working on
new rules and regulations of the new accreditation exercise. The
fact that non-existent regulations could be used to deny foreign
correspondents work permits was not explored.

Reports that BBC correspondent Joseph Winter had been deported
also at the behest of the Department of Information appeared on
ZBC (17/2), The Sunday Mail and The Standard. All media reported
the immigration departments reasons for Winter's deportation
namely that there had been irregularities in acquiring an extension
to his work permit. They also quoted Mr. Winter dismissing the

The Sunday Mail and The Standard failed to link this and
Sayagues' deportation to the ruling party's clamp down on media
freedom. The Sunday Mail (18/02) report was veiled in justifications.
The report referred to two unrelated issues, the alleged deportation
of Zimbabwean disc jockey Tich Matambanadzo from South Africa,
and Newton Kanhema whose permit was allegedly cancelled in the
United States.

The Standard report on the other hand quoted an unnamed source
formerly from the ministry of information, who had been involved in
the processing Winter's application, who said that Winter's papers
were in order.
None of the media questioned the potential conflict of interest
presented by the new accreditation process. The department of
information, which is tasked with articulating the government's
point of view, is directly and solely responsible for deciding which
journalists can and cannot practice. This point was highlighted in a
MISA report with the department of information's Geroge
Charamba, He [Charamba]  however indicated that although the
government was not closing down foreign news agencies
based in Zimbabwe, but that the news agencies must employ
Zimbabwean journalists to do their work in Zimbabwe. . .
Charamba was quoted saying: "The rules governing the
awarding of a work permit to an expatriate are that the person
must justify to the government that their skills are critical and
of absolute necessity to the country. We have a lot of
journalists who are unemployed in Zimbabwe and BBC and
other agencies can take advantage of them. If the foreign
journalists cannot justify their importance to us then they must

Confusion surrounds the true nature of recent amendments to the
Broadcasting Regulations. ZBC Radio (17/2 6am, 8am, 6pm, 8pm
& ZBCTV-Nhau/Indaba) Zimpapers dailies (17/02) carried a Ziana
report, which said that the Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Broadcasting) Regulations, 2000 had been given a
"new lease of life" after government gazetted that the regulations be
effective from January 1, 2001 as opposed to October 2000 when
they were promulgated.
The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News (18/02) however quoted
Minister Moyo, denying the report. Moyo said that Government had
merely  extended the deadline by which those wishing to apply for
a broadcasting service licence by three months. The reporter failed
to verify this by referring to the actual statutory instrument. The
Standard (18/02) ignored this critical development.

Zanu PF government's threat to curtail movement of it opponents
received scant media coverage. It was covered only on ZBCTV and
Radio (15/2) bulletins and Zimpapers dailies 16/2. ZBCTV reported
that  "Government will withdraw passports from unpatriotic
citizens" without criticizing the government's notion of "patriotic
citizens". In both the state-owned electronic and print media, the
sole source of information was Jonathan Moyo's. Moyo was quoted
as saying that if MDC officials persisted in asking the international
community to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, the government
would revoke their passports adding that a citizens' right to a
passport was solely the responsibility of the government. 
ZIMPAPERS dailies quoted MDC secretary general denying
Minister Moyo's charges that an MDC official had said South Africa
should stop fuel supplies to Zimbabwe.

The MDC challenge to the June 2000 election results began this
week and they received widespread coverage in the media.
Zimpapers coverage of the MDC election petition hearings provided
an account of both MDC and ZANU PF positions although this was
characterised by an attempt to ridicule submissions by MDC
candidates. For instance, part of the Herald (16/02) article More
witness testify in MDC election petition hearings read:
    Mr Silas Matamisa, challenging the Chinhoyi
    parliamentary seat he lost to businessman Cde
    Phillip Chiyangwa, is an aggressive and seemingly
    short-tempered man as evidenced by remarks he
    gave under cross examination.
The article concentrated more on the personality of Matamisa as
opposed to the merit of the case. In another article Judge threaten
to throw out witness - MDC official told not to be cheeky, the
Herald (16/02) evaded the merits of the MDC case concentrating
rather on the persons giving evidence. The opposite was true in the
private press. The private press highlighted the irregularities that
occurred in the run-up to the elections. The Daily News (15/2)
reported Silas Matamisa's key witness had withdrawn and was
because of harassment and death threats from the CIO.
ZBC did not provide such details and relegated the court reports to
the end of the bulletins. For example, the story was one of the last
two items on ZBCTV's Nhau- Indaba on 12/2 and elevated to the
third item in the 8pm bulletin. Similarly Radio reports were belated
and the case was only reported in the following morning's bulletins.

ZBC initially gave much coverage to the ruling party's response to
Tsvangirai's pre-parliamentary election statement that if President
Mugabe did not resign he would be removed violently from office.
However, the news that Tsvangirai had appeared in court to answer
to charges over this statement was ignored on ZBC in the bulletins
Although the case was reported in The Daily News (16/02) and the
ZIMPAPERS dailies (16/02) only the Standard (18/02) quoted
Tsvangirai reflecting the double standards in the application of the
    "I don't know where this court action comes from
    because there has 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 a law that is
    applied selectively, but as I far as I am concerned
    there is nothing treasonable about the statement I

Coverage of the stand-off between the Judiciary and Executive was
typically polarized, with the private media supporting the judiciary
and the state media supporting the government. Although
Zimpapers'  provided a variety of viewpoints including UN Special
Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Dato
Param Cumaraswamy's criticism of Government's clampdown on
the judiciary (Herald 12/2) and Justice  MacNally's letter defending
the justice system (Zimpapers' dailies 15/02), and Inyika's
response to MacNally, The Sunday Mail editorial stance (18/02)
was unequivocal in its support for government. The comment stated
that the judges must step down gracefully and read:
    Some mischievous people have viewed the events
    as Government's determination to have friendly
    courts, which are full of yes men. Besides being an
    insult to the intelligence of said judges, it shows a
    clear lack of understanding of what needs to be
    done to correct past injustices and the way forward.
The private press followed up the onslaught on the judiciary. The
Daily News (14/02) quoted lawyers associations in Zambia and
South Africa and the General Council of the Bar of South Africa
condemning the attack on the judiciary in Zimbabwe, saying the
unprecedented assault could have very serious spill over effects on
SADC member states democratic processes. The Financial
Gazette (15/02), quoted unnamed sources who alleged that
Godfrey Chidyausiku had indicated to Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa he did not want to become chief justice while the other
four supreme judges remain in their positions, as he would always
lose in any voting process. The Zimbabwe Independent (16/02)
reported that Supreme Court judges Justices Wilson Sandura and
Simbarashe Muchechetere refused to meet Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa insisting that the minister put forward a clearly
set out agenda. The paper said this had brought to a temporary
halt for the time being, the government's strong-arm tactics against
the judiciary.
ZBC (16/2 Radio 6pm and 8pm) and Zimpapers presented different
information altogether. It quoted the department of information
saying the two judges would meet Chinamasa in the following

This report was produced and distributed by the Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 734207,
733486, E-mail:, Web: Send all queries and comments to
the Project Coordinator. Also, please feel free to circulate this

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Mugabe: I will defeat white enemies

BBC: Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 23:50 GMT
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe says he will retire when, as he put it, his old white opponents had been "thoroughly beaten".

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 Zimbabwe.

Growing concern

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.

'I'll go when whites are gone'

Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who turned 77 on Wednesday,
said he would retire only when his old white opponents had been "thoroughly

In an interview broadcast on state television, 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.

Asked whether he wished to retire after two decades in power, Mugabe, who
has always been ambivalent on his retirement plans, 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," he said.

"The political struggle and the political victory alone. No. We need
economic victory as well and that is why we must take the land," Mugabe

There is speculation that the ex-guerrilla fighter - who led the former
British colony of Rhodesia to independence in 1980 - may step down in favour
of speaker of parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa and bring forward presidential
elections due in April 2002.

Mugabe's recent assault on critics, the media and the courts has led some
analysts to speculate that he may call a snap vote in August or September.

Mugabe has embarked on a drive to seize at least five million hectares of
the 12 million hectares owned by 4 500 white farmers for blacks.

He has vowed not to pay compensation for the land on the grounds that the
land was "stolen" from blacks when Britain colonised the southern African
country in the 1890s.

Mugabe said his government was not to blame for a severe economic crisis
that has fuelled opposition to his rule. He said the economy was suffering
from low commodity prices, a squeeze on foreign aid, and sabotage by white

"They (critics) are saying that because we are going for the heart of the
economic strength of the whites - land.

"Once we have the land and are producing all that can be produced, we are
home and dry," he added.

Mugabe criticised the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for
cutting aid to his country, and vowed that he would not compromise on his
political policies.

Foreign donors - worried about the government's land policy and an expensive
war in the Democratic Republic of Congo - have withheld badly needed aid to

"When you are fighting a just cause, you must be prepared to suffer for it.
Even to die for it," he said. - Reuters

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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.

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From Xinhua

British Diplomat in Zimbabwe Summoned to Explain Action
2001.02.22 15:18:53

   HARARE, February 22 (Xinhuanet) -- British diplomat Roger  Hazelwood,
accused of interfering with security officers who  wanted to serve
deportation papers on BBC correspondent Joseph  Winter, has been summoned by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of  Zimbabwe to explain his actions, "The
Herald" newspaper reported  on Thursday.
   This followed a formal complaint made by the police to the  Department of
Protocol in the ministry that Hazelwood, who is the  First Secretary at the
British High Commission in Zimbabwe, had  committed common assault after he
manhandled a police officer at  Winter's Harare residence last Saturday.
   Diplomatic sources said that Hazelwood spent more than 30  minutes
Wednesday at the ministry's office answering questions on  his involvement
in helping Winter evade deportation.
   Hazelwood refused to comment on the matter, saying "I have no  comment.
It is not right for me to comment."
   Foreign Affairs officials wanted to know whether it was true  that the
diplomat had aided Winter avoid deportation and if he had committed an act
of common assault.
   There is, however, little that can happen to Hazelwood since he has
diplomatic immunity.
   Winter was last week asked to leave the country after it was  discovered
that his work permit extended unlawfully. He and his  family left Harare on
Monday for London.
   Another foreign journalist Mercedes Sayagues of the Mail and  Guardian of
South Africa was also deported last week following the expiry of her
temporary work permit.  Enditem

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Zimbabwe Going Broke
Friday, Feb. 23, 2001
Zimbabwe, to put it mildly, is a crumbling mess, sinking into an economic
and political abyss, says the prestigious Janes intelligence service.
The former Rhodesia, says Janes, "is in the grip of an escalating economic
and fiscal crisis."

An incredible 1 million Zimbabweans have died of AIDS in the past six years,
there was a nationwide shortage of fuel last year because suppliers had not
been paid, the nation’s currency has been devalued, and the food supply has
been imperiled by the violent seizure of white-owned farms by former

Says Janes: "The security of the country's small, but productive and
influential, white farming community has been jeopardized by escalating
armed occupations of farmland by former ZANU freedom fighters, commonly
referred to as 'war veterans'.

"Occupation of empty office buildings has also occurred. More than 20 people
of all races were killed and many more wounded, most of them black farm
workers and members of opposition parties, during the occupations and
violent election campaign of 2000."

As a result, Zimbabwe faces a 35 percent shortage of the nation’s food
staple, maize, thanks to the continuing disruption of agriculture caused by
government-backed farm invasions.

Last October there were riots over food prices driven up by the farm

In addition to a worsening economic recession, Janes reported that Zimbabwe
has been "plunged into a political and security crisis" made worse by
"President Mugabe's responses to the swelling opposition to his government
which have damaged not only the country's democratic institutions but also
its economic and social fabric."

In concluding its gloomy report, Janes noted that "it was recently announced
that Zimbabwe had lost one million people to AIDS in six years, and it was
estimated that 25 percent of all Zimbabweans were infected with the HIV
virus. The incidence of AIDS is among the highest in the world."

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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 22 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.
The owner of Milverton Estates in Kadoma, who has already offered over 75% of his land holdings to Government,  has lost 600 cattle since the beginning of the farm invasions.  The business has been reduced from one of the biggest beef exporters in the country, with 8000 head, down to 850. 
A group of approximately 200 invaders broke through security fence and partially occupied the main homestead at Samba Ranch in Chiredzi.  The farm manager and his family had to vacate for safety reasons and war veterans have demanded that farming operations cease.
In Chakari, the owner of Montana Farm discovered that three tyres had been slashed after he left a vehicle which had become stuck.
There is continued ploughing on Barrymore in Macheke/Virginia despite instructions from police and war vet leadership to stop. On the 15th February, a group of illegal occupiers threatened to burn the owners tractors if he continued to plough.
There were no reports from Mashonaland West (North) and Matabeleland.
Mashonaland Central: There have been no serious incidents, however the situation on the ground remains unchanged.
Mashonaland East 
Enterprise - A Section 7 was received on Chibvuti for an Admin Court hearing on the 6th March 2001.
Featherstone  - Two Section 8 Orders were received last week.
Macheke/Virginia - There is continued ploughing on Barrymore despite instructions from police and war vet leadership to stop. On the 15th February, a group of illegal occupiers threatened to burn the owners tractors if he continued to plough.  Illegal occupiers on Paradise demanded compensation for damaged maize otherwise they threatened to push all of the farmers cattle into his own maize. The farmer offered to fence off their maize but they refused this offer. The squatters then demanded to be reimbursed with seed.  The owner of Bimi Farm reported that a speared cow had died of its injuries.
Macheke/Virginia - 5 war vets with about 100 supporters claimed Camdale and demanded accommodation in the tobacco barns which was denied as the barns were in use.  Three cattle were axed on a farm - one died, one is missing the other had to be destroyed.
Mashonaland West (South)
Norton - There has been a new invasion on Outspan. On Tilford Farm where there is a satellite police station, illegal occupiers Zvarimba and Pottipher continue to sleep and eat with the policemen manning the station. 
Chakari - On Montana Farm the owner left a vehicle in the lands after having got stuck and walked back to get assistance.  When he returned he discovered that three tyres had been slashed.
Kadoma - On Milverton Estates the owner reports that he has lost 600 cattle since the invasions began, and has now, as one of the biggest beef exporters in the country, had to reduce his herd from a high of approximately 8000 head down to 850.  His whole labour force has also been put on a three day week as there are no funds to pay them.  The owner has offered more than 75% of his landholding to Government but this has not made the situation any better for him at all. 
Chegutu - On Exwick Farm which Wing Commander Mazambani and war veteran Makoni have taken, over another cow was slaughtered last night. 
Masvingo East & Central - Theft of wire continues on Chidza Farm and DDF Tractors continue to plough. Sources claim that Government is ploughing one hectare plots for illegal occupiers and giving plot owners 10kg of maize each for free.
Mashava Area - War Veterans have occupied a vacant homestead on Springspruit Farm. They have moved the owner’s cattle into one paddock and have taken over the rest of the farm.
Mwenezi Area - On Sunday 18th February a crowd of people were shouting at the gate at Lumbergia Ranch. They had picked up a youth with knapsack that had been previously been stolen. He was taken to the ZRP. War veterans then proceeded to demand compensation of $15000 per day for their youth that was in ZRP custody. They later reduced it to $800 per day. The owner told illegal occupiers that he would only talk about compensation through the Police. The owner has had to go through seven roadblocks to get to his homestead.
Chiredzi Area - A group of approximately 200 invaders broke through security fence and partially occupied the main homestead at Samba Ranch.  The farm manager and his family moved to a neighbour’s house for safety reasons. War veterans demanded that the farming operations be brought to a standstill within the next two days. There were further demands for the farm manager to vacate the homestead within two days.
Mutare District - The Governor, Oprah Muchinguri, fast-tracked Cynara Farm today.
Midlands - There have been no reports of any unusual activity since Monday
Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects) 04 309800-18
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The Zimbabwean government has stepped up a purge on the nation's judiciary.

President Robert Mugabe's administration has announced it will begin moves to fire judges it accuses of bias.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo says the president will use a provision in the law allowing him to convene a special tribunal to hear complaints of misconduct.

The announcement follows recent refusals by two judges to take early retirement despite pressure from the government.

Mr Moyo says authorities have approached judges asking them to resign as a mere courtesy. "We are determined to invoke legal and constitutional provisions in order to deal with this matter," Mr Moyo said in an announcement published in the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Mr Mugabe, who appoints and swears in the nation's judges, cannot fire them. However, he can form a tribunal of civic leaders and law professionals with powers to recommend dismissal to the Public Service Commission, the state employment body.

The justice ministry says Judge Ahmed Ibrahim refused to resign after being told the government had lost confidence in him.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa visited Judge Ibrahim and Judge Nick McNally earlier this month and warned them the government could not guarantee their safety after ruling party militants had threatened violence against them, accusing them of bias.

Judge McNally, 69, refused to quit. Judge Ibrahim, 63, asked for time to consult with his family. He then wrote to Chinamasa saying he believed he still had a role to play in service of the courts.

In an onslaught against the judiciary earlier this month, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, 68, agreed to retire under similar threats. The government has in recent months harshly criticised judges for alleged bias in favour of white landowners after the Supreme Court ruled land seizures illegal and unconstitutional.
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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 Harare.

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.

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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.

Brian Latham
Editor- The Farmer

Fuel crunch as state, importers quibble
New insecticide launched
Help for farm violence victims
Art Farm hosts Nuffield scholar's field day

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.

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Perfecting democracy

SOUTH Africa has the political, economic and moral clout to influence
democratic change in Zimbabwe -- or at least to discourage President
Mugabe from pursuing his dangerous and undemocratic course.

We have the moral clout by virtue of our working democracy, our
Constitution and our respect for the rule of law. We have the political
clout because of our position as a leader in Africa. And we have the
economic clout because we are the powerhouse of southern Africa and
Zimbabwe's biggest African trading partner.

We lead in everything and offer no leadership. We have left democracy
in Zimbabwe in the lurch. Having shed our apartheid stench, we are no
longer the polecat of the world. Instead we are the world's bat -- able
to turn blind eyes to almost anything.

Foreign Affairs director-general Sipho Pityana says he believes the
Zimbabwean government when it says it "respects the importance of a free
press as part of building a democratic culture". He believes President
Mugabe's information hack Jonathan Moyo when he says expelling Mail &
Guardian journalist Mercedes Sayagues and the BBC's Joseph Winter had
"nothing to do with a breach of press freedom".

In Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, a character
comments: "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory
against forgetting."

How quickly we have forgotten.

Moyo's claims are as believable as the National Party's 1980s boast
that "South Africa has the freest press in Africa". Never mind that
journalists and editors were harassed, banned, beaten, detained and
forced to flee the country, or that there were more than 100 laws
obstructing the publication of news. Nothing said by the ANC, PAC and
SACP could be quoted. Pretoria chief propagandist Dave Steward spoke of
"perfecting the free flow of information".

Moyo does not deserve to be believed either. Direct evidence tells us
he is lying. Freedom of speech barely exists in Zimbabwe.

While London and Washington are criticising the expulsion of
journalists from Harare, South Africa champions Moyo's cause -- simply
by claiming to believe his outlandish claims. We have forgotten what we
owe to pressure from other states.

The US State Department has hinted at sanctions. It spoke about
consulting international organisations, donor states and "concerned
countries" to find ways to promote respect for the rule of law and human
rights in Zimbabwe. One can only hope we count among the "concerned

If one is to believe Zimbabwe has a free press, or that foreign
journalists are being expelled because of work permit problems, then one
might just as well believe the country's judiciary is protected and
independent, there is respect for the rule of law, security of land
tenure and ownership, and that the bombing of the Daily News had nothing
to do with its criticisms of Mugabe.

At the height of apartheid some really did believe South Africa had the
freest press in Africa.

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