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It was a sad day yesterday in the USA when the State Department decided to support Robert Mugabe in his claim to immunity from prosecution for some of the more egregious episodes of Human Rites Violations carried out in recent times.
The four plaintiffs against Mugabe, ZANU PF and others filed in the USA today faced the press and delivered the statement which followsv.
The plaintiffs have stuck their necks out in an effort to save Zimbabwe from a defacto dictatorship without Rule of Law and an ignored Constitution .
from  Topper Whitehead
Chinja Maitiro - Gugula Izenzo
   MDC Ndizvo

Press Statement No 3 – Zimbabwe citizens v Mugabe ZUNU PF & others

A lawsuit accusing President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF of human rights abuses was filed in US District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday September 6th, on behalf of Evelyn Masaiti, Adella Chiminya, Elliot and Efridah Pfebve and Maria Stevens as victims of Mugabe’s orchestrated political violence in the run-up to last June's Parliamentary elections.

The summons and complaint were served personally on President Robert Mugabe at 9:15pm on the 7th September 2000. Mugabe personally accepted the papers.

The summons and complaint were served on Stan Mudenge at 1:45pm on the following day. Mr. Mudenge did not accept the papers, but the papers were then placed at his feet which constitutes adequate service under the law.

At 2pm on 24th October 2000, two of the Plaintiffs and their lawyers appeared before the judge to whom the case had been assigned, Judge Victor Marrero. President Mugabe did not arrange for legal representation to be present at this hearing and was not represented there in any form. The plaintiffs' lawyers asked Judge Marrero to take formal notice of the defendants' default.

A certificate of Default was therefore signed by the clerk of the court, which is an acknowledgement that President Mugabe and the other Defendants have failed to answer the Complaint, and that the allegations of the Complaints are deemed conceded and taken as factually true, except as to the amount of damages that should be awarded.

In response to a letter from the US Attorney for New York, at 3:30pm on Monday 22nd January 2001, Judge Marrero held a meeting in his chambers with the US Attorney and the Plaintiffs' Attorneys. The representative of the US Attorney stated that Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF had officially requested that the US State Department submit a letter to the Court suggesting immunity on their behalf.

The representative of the US Attorney stated that the State department had indicated to him that since January 22 was the first day of President Bush’s new administration, they were not yet able to state definitively whether they were going to accede to Mugabe’s request or not. The US Attorney was therefore given until February 23rd to submit an immunity letter or to decline to submit such a letter.

In addition, on January 22nd , the plaintiffs' attorneys filed a motion for default judgment asking for over $68 million (US) in compensatory and punitive damages for the atrocities committed by the defendants.


We have been informed by the attorneys in the USA that the State dept has filed a "suggestion of immunity" letter – the plaintiffs have until 23rd March to respond to the State Department letter with a legal brief explaining why the defendants are not immune from this action.

This will be done and we have one of the finest legal firms in the United States gathering the best available team to fight for truth and justice for all.

We quote Henry J Hyde. US Rep – chairman of the House International Relations Committee in his article published in the Chicago Tribune "Diplomatic courtesies occasionally conflict with support for basic human freedoms abroad. The State Department must be careful that its desire to support the tradition of reciprocal diplomatic immunity does not lend aid and comfort to a brutal regime's political war on its own citizens." - "The 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act deliberately transferred these kinds of decisions from the State Department to the courts, and the judge is fully capable of deciding the matter on its merits. The involvement of the State Dept is worse than unnecessary, for it will inadvertently reward a corrupt, ruthless regime with a propaganda victory over a struggling democratic opposition."

Despite the State Department immunity letter, we are optimistic that once the US Court has reviewed all of the legal briefing on the issue, it will NOT bestow immunity from this civil lawsuit onto the perpetrators of some of the more egregious episodes of Human Rights Violations carried out in recent times, Mugabe will then be found guilty and justice will prevail.

This case only deals with a few examples of the state sponsored murder and torture carried out in Zimbabwe at the behest of the current ZANU-PF leadership.

Our initial reaction to the news has been one of absolute disbelief -- we cannot comprehend why the US State Department should support Mugabe by protecting him from a purely civil lawsuit brought by private citizens in a court of law.

Article 27 of the Statute of Rome, which is the international treaty for the creation of an International Criminal Court, states quite clearly that being a head of state shall NOT be grounds for immunity from any crime including Human Rites Violations and Torture. Both Zimbabwe and the United States are signatories to this treaty.

It is well-established that foreign citizens have the right to bring such cases in American courts if they are able to serve the defendants with process while the defendants are physically present in the United States, as demonstrated by recent lawsuits that were successfully brought against Radovan Karadzic of Bosnia, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Prosper Avril of Haiti, and Hector Gramajo, General of the Guatemalan Army during that country's civil war.

These cases have resulted in massive financial judgments against the warlord defendants, and have served to shine an international spotlight of truth on the human rights abuses they committed. Moreover, they send a message of the rule of law continues to exist, at least in some places, and continues to hold wrongdoers accountable. It is extremely distressing that the State Department has chosen to try to stop this one avenue of accountability in this case, where an entire country is being destroyed precisely because its leaders do not respect the rule of law.

We are also absolutely dismayed that the President of Zimbabwe should fear a perfectly legitimate court action and hide behind "head of state immunity." The cloak of immunity only serves to indicate his guilt and his belief that he is above the law.

We absolutely condemn a man and regime that have incited murder, violence, intimidation, rape and plunder so that they may remain in power.

The very fact that Mugabe is trying to prevent the truth from being known by declaring himself above the law and immune even from civil prosecution is despicable and indicates guilt and contempt for law, human rights, and common decency.

We are appalled that immunity is even considered and are horrified at the thought of what will follow in terms of intimidation, violence, rape and murder in the run-up to the Presidential elections with Mugabe being protected by immunity – he will stop at nothing to retain power.

We condemn Robert Mugabe for using valuable diplomatic time and energy in an attempt to get immunity for himself while he abandons the needs of the country, its people and children at a time when the country needs strong leadership and international support. We chastise the United States for supporting Robert Mugabe and violence while the intimidation and rape of a country continues.

In the interim we continue to fight for truth, justice and Law and order in Zimbabwe and pray that justice will prevail and that those in ZANU PF and indeed all Dictators in Africa will see the irony of clinging to power at any cost and at the expense of the very people whom they claim to represent.

We appeal to the world to support Zimbabwe in its fight against dictatorial rule and for the restoration of Law and Order and respect of the countries constitution and judiciary.

We make a special appeal to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who said in his state of the nation address on Friday 9th Feb " no African child should ever walk in fear of guns, tyrants and abuse" please – President Mbeki - put pressure on Robert Mugabe to stop what you have publicly stated you are against and condemn him for the tyrant he is.

A "good neighbour" does not indulge in "quiet diplomacy" while the head of the house next door rapes, beats and starves his children for self satisfaction even if that head of house wears the old school tie.

We stress that it has been necessary to file the case in the United States because of the breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe and further stress that the objectives of the case is to expose the tyranny of the defendants to the world and in so doing help to restore Law and Order in Zimbabwe.

It is now up to the courts to decide on the validity of the immunity claim and we are confident that justice will prevail and the US courts will ensure that no man is immune from Human Rites Violations and Torture.

The plaintiffs have agreed to set up a Trust Fund where by 50% of all monies recovered from the defendants will be used to rehabilitate the victims of the state orchestrated violence in Zimbabwe, protect the witnesses and judiciary and to bring to justice all other perpetrators of Mugabe’s terror campaign.


R W ( Topper ) Whitehead

Spokesperson for the plaintiffs

Harare - Saturday 24th February 2001


Notes for Editors

The facts of the case was initially emphatically denied by Mugabe in the press.

Zimbabwe has submitted letters requesting immunity.

This case is a civil case directed against Robert Mugabe and others and ZANU PF.

This case is instigated by the plaintiffs and is in no way politically motivated nor does it have any connection with any political party.

It has been necessary to file the case in the United States because of the breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe.

The objectives of the case is to expose the tyranny of the defendants to the world and help to restore Law and Order in Zimbabwe.

The fact that the plaintiffs may be MDC members is coincidental and further indicates the Human Rites abuses directed against opposition party members for political gain by ZANU PF.

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From The Times (UK), 24 February

Mugabe rules by fear alone

Harare - The menacing voice on the telephone told 68-year-old Raymond Maganwe he was an enemy of the state and he and his 12 family members should leave their home in Harare while they still had time. No reason was given for his eviction but in Zimbabwe you don't need one. The anonymous caller ended with a warning that Mr Maganwe would die if he ignored the ultimatum. A few hours later a gang of eight turned up at the three-bedroomed bungalow where he has lived for more than 20 years and began stoning windows and doors while he and his family cowered inside. Nobody dared to help the Maganwes because his neighbours, the police and everyone else are scared of these vigilantes who claim to operate in the name of their President, Robert Mugabe. Their seizure of Zimbabwe's white-owned farms is well known but it is their intimidation of black townships that is more sinister.

In places such as Kambuzuma where Mr Maganwe was packing his belongings yesterday, the mob's campaign of terror is spreading. Ask anyone in the busy market near the Maganwe's home what they had done wrong and people hurry away, too frightened to talk. Nobody wants to be seen speaking to outsiders. A man in a shiny, ill-fitting suit makes no secret of copying down our car registration number parked outside the Maganwes' home. Even the children run and hide as the man slips a walkie-talkie radio from his pocket and begins speaking.

This official probably did not know that Mr Maganwe once fought alongside Robert Mugabe in the struggle for independence, which is more than can be said for the men who wrecked his home and who like to call themselves war veterans. The pity for this former factory foreman is that his past cannot save him now. His eyes were red from crying and his hands were shaking uncontrollably as he tried to fathom why he was the latest to suffer in this reign of terror. All he could think of was that a week ago he intervened when he saw a gang of youths in a market trying to push a man of his own age into a car. Mr Maganwe did not know the man and his was just the action of a good Samaritan, but in Zimbabwe such behaviour marks you out as the enemy.

This is the new apartheid. If you are a supporter of President Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party you get jobs, a house or money, but if you are not, government officials use phrases like the need to "neutralise" or "eliminate" you. Bullying Supreme Court judges out of their jobs, expelling journalists and arresting opposition MPs, as has happened this week, get headlines that offer a protection of sorts. It is unlikely anyone will discover what becomes of Mr Maganwe and his family.

The latest public figure to be threatened is David Coltart, a human rights lawyer and the opposition MDC party's shadow justice spokesman, who learnt yesterday that he is top of a "death list". He said that the first warning came on Thursday night from a banker who overheard senior Zanu (PF) figures discussing "taking out" a white MP. Yesterday a contact with close links to Mr Mugabe's much-feared CIO confirmed that he was the intended target for assassination before the end of this month. "This is not the first time I have received death threats but I'm taking this one seriously because the gloves are off now and Mugabe is cornered so who knows what his goons will do to hang on to power," he said. "I can take precautions but I don't have bodyguards and so publicising what this Government wants to do to its enemies is the only defence I have. What is also clear to everyone in the past couple of weeks is that the intimidation is worse than ever. You are not targeted for your colour, only your presumed opposition to the President."

On the same night that Mr Maganwe was being menaced, on the other side of Harare a 71-year-old British-born retired accountant answered the telephone as he was about to go out to visit his wife in hospital for an operation. The man, who was born in Blackpool but has lived in Africa for more than 40 years, said: "It was an African voice who told me they were going to take my home and he put the telephone down." Like most people who face such threats he does not want to be named. "At first I thought it was a cruel joke but a minute later he rang again and this time the same voice said "We are coming to kill you"". The police would not send a patrol to watch the house in a suburb where judges, businessmen, and diplomats are his neighbours, and he refused offers from friends, including one who has a gun, to sit with him through the night. "I didn't want to involve anyone else so I moved out. I'm angry that I have to but what can we do?"

The collective belief is that fear is the last weapon Zanu (PF) has. Some senior party officials concede that it will not be an exodus of white farmers that finishes off this regime but riots in townships such as Mbare where today there is genuine hunger because of food shortages. Families get by on one meal a day. They queue to buy a tin cup full of paraffin and scavenge through discarded piles of maize and corn husks that have already been picked clean by street traders. The city sewers are getting clogged as people use sand to wash dishes because they cannot afford detergent. Poverty is obvious and so is fear. Intimidation is working but, as one local MDC organiser said: "When people are hungry they get desperate and then what do we have to do?"

From The Daily News, 23 February

Police crack down on MDC leaders

Bulawayo - Peter Nyoni, the MDC Member of Parliament for Victoria Falls, and three senior MDC leaders were arrested in the past two days on charges of inciting violence. They appeared before a Victoria Falls magistrate, Jabulani Ndlovu, late yesterday charged under the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act. They were remanded out of custody to 30 March. The MDC provincial chairman, Kenneth Gwabalanda Mathe, youth leader Saviour Sangweni and an executive member, Sibusisiwe Ngwenya, were picked up on Wednesday for statements they allegedly made at an MDC rally on 4 February. At the meeting they kept flashing red plastic cards, deemed to be inflammatory and dangerous to public peace and order.

A number of provincial officials have fled the town to avoid the latest crackdown by the government's security agents on MDC officials. The arrests bring to eight the number of MDC officials so far charged with inciting violence. The party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, the vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, and Nelson Chamisa, the national youth chairman, have appeared in court on similar charges. The MP for St Mary's, Job Sikhala, has already appeared in court on violence-related charges. Police in Victoria Falls said they were eager to interview other executive members in connection with statements allegedly made at the rally on the same day. The arrests come hardly three days before Zanu PF celebrates President Mugabe's 77th birthday in Victoria Falls. "We are terrified because we have been closely followed by CIO officials in recent weeks," said Ben Tessa, an MDC member speaking from hiding. Other members of the executive on the police wanted list who have fled the town are Million Moyo, James Sibanda and Mildred Mangena.

From The Financial Times (UK), 24 February

Little festive feeling over Mugabe's birthday

Harare - As Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, prepares to celebrate his 77th birthday in a lavish ceremony at Victoria Falls on Saturday, the mood among the country's opposition, media and judiciary could hardly be less festive. To his admirers the gala will be an outpouring of adoration for a man who has dared defy western imperialism and taken long overdue steps to end years of colonial injustice. But it coincides with increased harassment of the opposition, the expulsion of two foreign journalists, intimidation of critical domestic media and a campaign to remove judges who do not comply with the ruling Zanu-PF's political agenda.

Friday's Daily News - whose presses were destroyed in an explosion last month - reported the arrest of a Victoria Falls opposition MP, Peter Nyoni, along with three other leaders of the opposition MDC, on charges of inciting violence. Their "crime" included flashing the party's hallmark red plastic cards, deemed to be inflammatory and dangerous to public peace and order. Eight MDC officials have now been charged in recent days. "Our people are being arrested left, right and centre - 1,000 policemen have been dispatched to Victoria Falls," said Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general. "It is clearly a strategy to keep us in disarray."

Journalists await the publication of rules that they fear will curb their activities. There is speculation about the imminent expulsion of a third foreign reporter. Zanu-PF's liberal wing has been smashed and the judiciary is reeling from government efforts to unseat the judges of the Supreme Court - in order that they "come to no harm". The move followed five key rulings against the government since December, including one on land acquisition and challenges to last year's elections. Adrian de Bourbon, chairman of the Bar Association, said the government's actions reflected frustration when last year it lost the parliamentary majority required to make constitutional changes.

Anthony Gubbay, chief justice, did agree to retire, but the other four members of the court have resolved to battle on. Nevertheless, both they and high court judges critical of recent events were unwilling to speak in public. "People are really worried about personal security, and when personal security becomes an issue, it affects your judgment," said one judge. "In issues not detrimental to the government, Zimbabwe has the rule of law, but in cases against it. . .it is a difficult time."

But Patrick Chinamasa, justice minister, this week acknowledged the government had no power to dismiss judges. "We are entitled to convey our lack of confidence in public officers," he told the Financial Times. "But whether they remain in office is up to them. Those who say there is no rule of law are lying: if there were no rule of law the judges would be gone." But Jonathan Moyo - Zimbabwe's powerful information minister, who many say has become Zanu-PF's pre-eminent strategist - said in Friday's state-run Herald newspaper that the government's invitation to judges to resign was "mere courtesy". If they insisted on staying, measures would be taken to ensure they were removed.

Parliament will next week debate a motion endorsing the investigation of judicial misconduct. It is unclear whether the government will attempt to replace Mr Gubbay - who will officially take his leave next week - before he formally retires. But Mr Mugabe, speaking on television on Wednesday, left little doubt as to his mood. "We don't make rules at the instigation of judges," he said.

From The Melbourne Age, 24 February

Zimbabwe's strong men opt for pariah status

Johannesburg - There are a handful of nations that appear content to maintain closed, xenophobic societies, shunned by the free world and feared by their neighbors, where tourists and investors fear to tread and which journalists visit only by subterfuge. The governments of North Korea and Burma have learnt to live quite comfortably with their pariah status. Now it seems that the rulers of Zimbabwe, until recently Africa's most open and attractive society, have opted to join them.

Over the past few weeks President Robert Mugabe's regime has signalled clearly that it is prepared to tolerate no limits on its power, whatever the cost to its image at home and abroad. The independent legal system - one of the last functioning institutions of the state - suffered a major blow at the end of last month when the white chief justice, Anthony Gubbay, was forced to resign because the government refused to protect judges and their families from threatened attacks by its supporters.

Since then the Justice Minister has called on two other non-black Supreme Court judges - one white, one Indian - to quit as well. The judges' chief crime, according to the government, was to oppose the illegal invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms by gangs of self-proclaimed war veterans loyal to Mr Mugabe. In six separate rulings by both black and white judges, the courts have consistently ordered the eviction of squatters so that land reform can be carried out in accordance with laws pushed through parliament by Mr Mugabe only months ago. Acting on government orders, however, the police have refused to act, and have twice allowed war veterans to invade the courts. More recently one senior veteran leader, Mike Moyo, publicly threatened to attack judges in their homes and to harm them and their families.

Elsewhere, threats of force have proved far from hollow. On January 28 an armed gang broke into the printing works of the independent Daily News and blew up its press. Independent experts later determined that the explosives used in the attack were limpet mines of a type issued to the Zimbabwean army. As is now usual when the government's opponents fall victim to violence, no arrests have been made and no leads are being followed.

Then last week the international media also came under attack when Mr Mugabe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, ordered the immediate expulsion of correspondents from the BBC and from South Africa's independent Mail and Guardian newspaper. That night BBC correspondent Joseph Winter and his wife and infant daughter had to be rescued after a group of government agents tried to break into his house at 2am. When Britain made a formal protest, Mr Mugabe responded in characteristic fashion: the British first secretary who had helped rescue Mr Winter and his family was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and accused of abusing his diplomatic status by interfering with the workings of Zimbabwean justice.

Meanwhile, the Information Minister was moving to shut the door on the rest of the international media. Henceforth, he announced this week, all journalists wishing to visit Zimbabwe will have to apply for visas in person from the Zimbabwean embassy in the country of their origin a move to curb visits by African specialists based elsewhere on the continent. On Monday, Mr Mugabe called a meeting with foreign diplomats to denounce them and the international media for having distorted parliamentary elections held last year. ''Zimbabwe ... will never in future brook the phenomenon of dirty, interfering hands in its domestic affairs,'' he said, according to state media.

Analysts in Harare suggest that the government's ultra-hardline stance stems in part from Mr Mugabe's own bruised vanity, in part from political and economic desperation, and in part from shrewd calculation. For the past three years, the former guerrilla leader has been the victim of a downward economic spiral caused largely by his own policies. In particular, Zimbabwe has struggled to cope with his decision to send 11,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Combined with worsening corruption and mismanagement, unemployment, interest rates and food prices have soared. Faced with open hostility on the streets of Harare, Mr Mugabe sought to bolster his support, pointing out that half of the country's developed farmland is still in the hands of only 4500 white commercial farmers: take the land from the farmers, he told his mainly rural and tribal supporters, and you will all be as rich as the whites.

But rural voters had heard it before, and in February last year urban blacks now overwhelmingly hostile to Mr Mugabe turned out in numbers to reject a new constitution that would have given the government more powers, including the legal right to seize land without compensation. Stung by his defeat, Mr Mugabe used his powers of decree to pass the land-grab laws anyway. And within days of the poll, thousands of armed youths, claiming to be war veterans and organised by cadres of his Zimbabwean African National Union and agents of the Central Intelligence Organisation, had begun to invade hundreds of white-owned farms across the country. In the resulting poll, which European Union and Commonwealth observers declined to endorse as free and fair, the ruling party narrowly beat out the brand-new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, to win 62 of the 120 seats on offer.

Mr Mugabe's deliberate effort to radicalise and racialise the state he created appears to have shored up his own power in the short term, but at a high economic and diplomatic price. Internationally, Mr Mugabe's frequent racial outbursts and his clear sponsorship of attacks on whites, opponents, the media and the judiciary have made him a pariah. A proud freedom fighter who spent years in white Rhodesian prisons, who was feted as a leader of the non-aligned movement and an apartheid era champion of African rights, is now commonly mentioned in the same breath as General Pinochet. Politically and economically, the government continues to wallow in deep trouble. Many observers now believe that Mr Mugabe is planning to call a snap presidential election later this year, a year earlier than necessary. In this scenario, his moves against the press and the judiciary are designed to clear the way for even more intimidation than was experienced during last year's bloodstained parliamentary poll.

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Mugabe moves to purge CIO

Brian Hungwe
PRESIDENT Mugabe’s militarisation of key government institutions has backfired, creating bitter divisions in Zimbabwe’s intelligence cir- cles, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.

This follows the proposed removal of retired army brigadiers personally appointed by Mugabe to the helm of the Central Intelligence Organi- sation (CIO) after “serious internal misunderstandings”.

CIO director-general Rtd Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini will be retired at the end of this month with his deputy Rtd Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe who is being reintegrated into the army to take up a new appointment as chief of staff, the Independent understands.

Bonyongwe replaces Major-General Philip Sibanda who is due to take up a diplomatic appointment as the cou- ntry’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), replacing incumbent Chimbidzai Sanyangare who is to be retired.

The CIO director of internal affairs, Maynard Muzariri, is tipped to take over as the deputy director-general. The identity of who is taking over as director-general of the country’s intelligence service is being kept a secret.

Intelligence sources however hinted that Lloyd Gundu, who was the director of administration, had originally been earmarked for the job.
Gundu is due to leave the country to assume a new diplomatic posting as the country’s ambassador to Yugoslavia and sources said that it was highly unlikely that he would be called back to head the organisation.

Mugabe had of late been busy appointing army officers to parastatals and key government positions.

Highly-placed sources within the intelligence service confirmed to the Independent that the recent developments were engineered by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, after complaints were raised by senior intelligence officers over the manner in which Muzonzini and Bonyongwe were appointed in 1998 and the way they subsequently ran the organisation.

Two factions have emerged, it appears, one aligned to Muzariri with another linked to the out-going director, Muzonzini.

The divisions have polarised the organisation to such an extent that officers were “literally no longer working”, the source said.
Last week vehicles belonging to field officers believed to be aligned to Muzariri were withdrawn without explanation, and officers “now did not seem to understand what was going on”.

“They are spying on each other on a daily basis. It is shocking,” one of the officers said.

“When Mugabe was informed of the divisions by Zvinavashe, he was reportedly taken aback and recommended that immediate action be taken to resolve the crisis,” the source said.

Since the appointment of the two ex-officers, sources said, the intelligence service had been increasingly divided with internal squabbles disrupting operations.

The intelligence officers argued that it was not proper to have appointed Muzonzini and Bo-nyongwe to head the intelligence service, sidelining more experienced officers who had been in the service since Independence and were running key divisions.

The two ended up running the intelligence service along military lines, instilling paradeground discipline that irked many officers.

The discontent generated by the two within the service prompted subordinates to deny them sensitive information on operations.

The intelligence sources said that military intelligence, where Muzonzini and Bonyongwe previously worked, was solely based on instilling military discipline and overseeing military-type surveillance operations. This was said to be incompatible with the more sophisticated gathering of crucial data which often involved counter-intelligence surveillance opera- tions, areas where the ex-army officers had little expertise.

After resigning from military intelligence, Muzonzini was emplo- yed at the collapsed Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) platinum mine as the director of security.

He was accused by his detractors of being a threat to state security since he once worked for a mining giant owned by whites who could therefore not be entrusted with the responsibility of running the intelligence service, a claim his adherents dismiss as baseless.

Senior intelligence officials then made representations to the army supremo, Zvinavashe, who held discussions with Mugabe over the matter in mid-January, the Independent is informed.

“The president conceded to that and the promotions and demotions were effected beginning February,” the source said.

Zvinavashe outlined the concerns of the officers and recommended that immediate action be taken with a view to having the service run along professional lines without having to compromise national security by allowing misunderstandings to prosper in the organisation.

Muzonzini and Bonyongwe had been recommended to the president by the former army general, Solomon Mujuru. Sources said the two were Mujuru’s homeboys.

Muzonzini belonged to the Mashonaland East camp of Mujuru and former intelligence minister Sydney Sekeramai. The commissioner of prisons, Rtd major-general Paradzai Zimondi hailed from the same group.
The minister of state for security, Nicholas Goche, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Muzonzini and Bonyongwe were reportedly out of town when the Independent phoned their offices yesterday.

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Agridev achieves $7,6m post-tax profit

Busani Bafana
UPHEAVALS in the agricultural sector linked to the land stand-off between government and commercial farmers have forced Agridev to alter its lending policy to minimise risk as it is currently exposed to the tune of more than $120 million.

Agridev, a division of Century Bank Ltd, produced what its holding company described as commendable results despite the difficult agri- cultural environment. Agridev, which provides working capital finance to the country’s agricultural sector, achieved a post-tax profit of $7,6 million during its second year of operations, according to the share offer prospectus issued by Century Holdings this week.

“Agridev has sought to adjust its lending policy in the light of the current uncertainty pre- vailing in the agricultural sector,” the financial services group said.

As of December 31 2000 Agridev had 73 clients in commercial farming and of these 55 had outstanding loans worth $335,1 million, while 13 of the clients had their farms designated for acquisition or were occupied. As a result, Agridev had a total exposure of $122,3 million on the 13 farms.

“Century is a mortgage bondholder in all cases and is working actively as part of a consortium of bankers negotiating with the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture over compensation,” said the bank.

“The value of security held mainly by way of mortgage bonds is $466,4 million. In the meantime adequate provision have been made against the advances.”

Agridev’s clients had been servicing their loans despite the confusion caused by the land reform process. It had however adopted strategies to minimise new loans.

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Commonwealth to investigate Zim

Forward Maisokwadzo
THE Commonwealth, a grouping of mostly former British colonies, will send a fact-finding team to the country to evaluate the deteriorating political situation in preparation for a report to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group which meets on March 19/20, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said yesterday.

He said he had spoken to Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon and emphasised the importance of such a mission given Zimbabwe’s downward spiral.

“I have watched with mounting concern the pressure being applied to the judiciary and the media by the government of Zimbabwe. The resignation of the Chief Justice and the expulsion of two journalists are cause for alarm. Political violence continues,” said Cook.

“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,” he said.

Cook’s protest comes at a time when the South African National Editors’
Forum (Sanef) resolved at its quarterly council meeting in Cape Town on Monday to send a mission of editors to meet President Robert Mugabe and raise their concerns over the deportation of two journalists — South African Mail & Guardian correspondent Mercedes Sayagues and BBC correspondent Joseph Winter.

Reports from South Africa said the group also planned to register its protest with Southern African Development Community (Sadc) ministers for what it saw as the condoning of Zimbabwe’s abrogation of media freedom. The ministers have been holding a meeting in South Africa.

The reports said Sanef wanted Mugabe censured. Sanef also planned to meet South African Foreign minister Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma to “insist” that the South African government asks Mugabe to stop persecuting the press.

Government spokesman George Charamba yesterday said the South African editors had not been in touch with the Office of the President.
The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) last Friday at a conference in Abuja, Nigeria, condemned the harassment of journalists in Zimbabwe.

“We find it particularly abhorrent that these actions are taking place in Harare where in 1991 the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was launched by heads of government under President Robert Mugabe,” the CJA said.

Charamba said there were no reprisals against foreign correspondents. He said after the deportation of Winter, the gov- ernment had accredited four British TV crews to cover the 21st February Movement celebrations.
“All we are saying is that you do it the lawful way,” said Charamba.

“What we showed disavowal (of) was an attempt to short-circuit the laid-down accreditation rules,” he said.

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War vets spurn Hunzvi

Loughty Dube
WAR veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi last Saturday suffered a major setback in his bid to control Bulawayo province when more than one thousand war veterans blocked his move to dissolve the Bulawayo provincial executive at a meeting which exposed widening rifts among former freedom fighters.

The war veterans countered Hunzvi by resolving that the executive should stay in power until a three-week notice to hold fresh elections has been issued by the province.

The province also spurned Hunzvi by declaring that voting would be through two votes per district, whilst Hunzvi had preferred a mass vote. Bulawayo province has 12 districts in all.

The emotion-charged meeting, which ended in chaos, was also attended by the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association patron, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, national secretary for projects, Andrew Ndlovu, and the entire Bulawayo executive.

The war veterans, who were divided into two distinct camps, traded insults through the meeting.

Dr Ndlovu interjected during the proceedings to call for peace as members shouted each other down.

Immediately after Hunzvi announced that the Bulawayo executive had been dissolved Ndlovu objected saying the notice given was too short.

“If provincial elections are to be held, members should be notified in advance and everything should be done in accordance with the constitution. I have never come across a situation where two minutes notice is given as notice to dissolve the executive,” charged Ndlovu.

Before announcing his decision Hunzvi first took a swipe at some war veterans in the Bulawayo province whom he accused of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

“The advantage with an enemy from outside is that it is easier to deal with than an internal enemy,” Hunzvi told the gathering.

Hunzvi charged during the meeting that Britain and the United States had placed a US$200 million tag on his head.

“They have placed US$200 million on my head so that whoever kills me would get the money from the US and British imperialists,” he said.

However, when Hunzvi announced that the entire Bulawayo executive had been dissolved, members seemed unimpressed.

“These people should be given a chance to first put the house in order before they are ousted,” charged one member.
Another challenged the decision openly when he stepped forward and stood face to face with Hunzvi.

“That should not happen,” he said. “Stanley Donga (the previous chairman) was ousted in a similar manner. The current executive should be left alone until fresh elections are held,” he said.

From then on the meeting degenerated into a free for all as the crowd, now on their feet, started trading accusations.

Ndlovu left in a huff saying he was not going to be part of the skirmish.
“I cannot be part of this noise,” said Ndlovu before driving away.

War veterans who spoke to the Independent said the reversal of Hunzvi’s decision was a serious setback for the national chairman who travelled all the way from Harare to flex his muscle.

“UHunzvi ukhawulile, asibo bafana bakhe thina (Hunzvi has been fixed, we are not his boys),” said one veteran.

“The Bulawayo executive has no problem. Hunzvi is the only one who has a problem by meddling in Bulawayo affairs,” he said.

Meanwhile Hunzvi said the government should give more power to the war veterans

“Why can I not become a minister? he asked.

“Don’t I have the qualifications? I am a doctor. Are they doubting my qualifications? I also have a strong political background like some of these ministers,” he told the meeting.

“As a reserve force we should be given weapons to go with that status,” said Hunzvi.

The war veterans’ leader said that Zanu PF owed its allegiance to the war veterans and without them the party would be finished.

“Zanu PF is weak but the war veterans are more stronger than Zanu PF. If they (Zanu PF) dispute that then they should challenge me and then
we can prove who is stronger,” said Hunzvi.

“Zanu yakawinner ne Jambanja y ma comrade. Pasina macomrades Zanu yayidonha kumaelections (Zanu won the elections through violence of the war veterans. Without the war veterans Zanu could have fallen in the election),”charged Hunzvi.

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Plot to topple Henwood

Vinent Kahiya
FORMER Commercial Farmers Union executive members believed to have links with Zanu PF are pushing for a change of leadership in the farming body — a move they believe would see the government removing war veterans from the land.

Sources this week said a cartel of former executive members had been pressing for a change of leadership in the CFU at a time when the government has said it won’t talk to the farmers union.

Last week, CFU president Tim Henwood announced that the farmers would hold an extraordinary general meeting on March 21 to decide the way forward. Sources said the hidden hand of government had precipitated the meeting, which seeks to refocus the CFU.

The Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that the “gréy hairs” in the closely-knit farming community have been fronting for the government by proposing the ouster of Henwood who is regarded as an obstacle in negotiations between the farmers and the government.

At the beginning of the week chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo threatened to de-register the CFU which he said had become a political grouping bent on frustrating the land reform process. Chombo said the government is not prepared to talk to the CFU but to negotiate with individual farmers.

CFU director David Hasluck yesterday said next month’s meeting would seek to discuss options available to break the deadlock on the land. He said it was important for the CFU to come up with a position whether the government accepted it or not. He, however, declined to state the options available saying this would be made available after the meeting.

The farmers want a guarantee that they can plant their winter wheat without interference. There is also the issue of court actions where the CFU executive has been indecisive.

But the real contentious issue is whether the farmers are prepared to co-exist with the war veterans or not. An attempt to resist the war veterans would be considered to be confrontational thereby increasing the tension between the farmers and the government. There is a section among the farmers which regards this as undesirable and which is keen to seek an accommodation with the government.

The implementation of any one of the resolutions to be carried from the March 21 meeting depends on the government’s willingness to listen to the farmers, hence the school of thought that a new executive might fare better.

Sources said the government had exploited the scenario to sponsor divisionist politics among commercial farmers by spreading alarmist news that there would be a “knight of the long knives” in which commercial farmers would be rounded up and butchered, unless there was a change of leadership. A number of farmers who spoke to the Independent this week confirmed that they had heard the rumour of reprisals but not all were taking the issue seriously.

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DO you really want Elijah Chanakira, chairman of the commission currently running Harare into the ground, using your money to advertise his fawning loyalty to his patron?

He has taken the liberty, on the occasion of President Mugabe’s 77th birthday, of adding to his congratulations those of his staff and residents of the city.

Why does he think the residents of Harare, who have been the victims of Zanu PF’s municipal corruption and misrule, wish to be associated with his message wishing Mugabe “many many more” birthdays?

If consulted, the residents of Harare, strug- gling to survive amidst rate hikes unmatched by service delivery, darkened streets, potholes and uncollected garbage, would tell Chanakira and his sponsor to stop wasting their money. On the last occasion that they were consulted, in the June election, they evicted all Zanu PF MPs in an unambiguous message containing two words normally associated with sex and travel.

Other publicly-owned corporations or companies in which government is a shareholder attempting to endear themselves to the nation’s chief saboteur include the Grain Marketing Board, Zimre,
the Minerals Marketing Corporation, African As- sociated Mines, Zisco-steel, CSC, Zupco, Zimpapers, ZBC, Air Zimbabwe, CAAZ, the PTC, PSMAS, NRZ, and Noczim.

It is perhaps entirely appropriate that a publicly-owned enterprise indelibly associated in the public mind with corruption, mismanagement and fuel shortages should wish to identify itself with President Mugabe’s rule.

At least this year we were spared ZTV coverage of secretaries in the Office of the President “surprising” their boss with a birthday cake. They have managed to “surprise” him every year for 20 years on the same day and it is a pity they couldn’t do it again this year by flying the cake to the Falls. Muckraker would love to have seen him lighting the candles by blowing on the cake!

Last week we pointed out that Inyika Trust, posing as “an organisation representing landless people”, was little more than a Zanu PF front.

The same day that comment appeared, a spokesman for Inyika Trust confirmed our suspicions by taking space on the front page of the Herald to attack Justice Nick McNally who had written to the Herald to say the Supreme Court was impartial in its rulings on the land issue.

What immediately became clear as one read Inyika’s statement was that it came not from the trust itself — if indeed it exists — but from a lawyer representing the trust who was keen to get even with McNally for having blamed Inyika’s attorneys for choosing an incorrect path of appeal.

“It is totally untrue that the legal practitioners representing Samson Mhuriro employed the wrong procedure,” blustered the not-so-anonymous spokesman. “The Supreme Court is now obviously using its position to mispronounce the position of the law in order to justify the immoral eviction order.”

McNally was guilty of a very serious miscarriage of justice, the self- interested spokesman said. “In the result the landless people throughout Zimbabwe will not, cannot accept any orders to which Mr McNally will be party in the future.”

What do we have here? A lawyer, bitter as hell about losing a case in the Supreme Court, masquerading as a civic organiser in order to score points in a legal dispute with the judge who heard the case?
That the Herald should lend itself to this deceit is predictable enough.
But should the Law Society allow a lawyer, falsely claiming to be representing “the landless people of Zimbabwe”, to announce publicly that he will not accept any more rulings from a judge just because he is a sore loser?

Which leads us directly to the next question. Who make up that section of the Asian community who believe Justice Ebrahim should immediately vacate the bench? The Sunday Mail told us that although Ebrahim’s colleagues wanted him to stay, members of his family and a “section of the Asian community” wanted him to go.

“It’s good for him and the Asian community to leave the bench because I think this (staying on) will tarnish the good relations we have with the government,” an unnamed businessman is quoted as saying.

Who is responsible for this abject cowardice, suggesting that good relations between the government and the Asian community depend upon giving in to threats by the state? No doubt the same people photographed with their Puff Daddy clients or seen giving large donations to Zanu PF every time it needs money; who feel good relations with the government depend upon sacrificing an independent judiciary and letting Zanu PF do what it likes, including harassing judges who resist tyranny.

The CFU haven’t been much better. Reports suggest they are planning to displace Tim Henwood, who many of us felt had been less than robust in his dealings with government, and replace him with somebody even more accommodating. The CFU magazine, The Farmer, has meanwhile been told to tone down its editorial line.

What do the farmers hope to gain from this? The government has shown time and again it will confiscate their land regardless of their pleadings. It wants to pose as the agent of revolutionary terror. Comp- liant behaviour by farmers gets in the way of that.

And which foreign government do they think will hand over large sums of money in compensation to farmers when such sums will be used to blackmail those seeking to exercise their rights through the courts? They should stop being utterly naive.

What the farmers’ union needs is stiff resolve and the confidence to do the right thing. That does not mean wringing their hands unctuously in the hope that manna will fall from heaven — or Bredenkamp according to the latest rumour.

All foreign donors have said they will only assist a lawful and transparent programme that involves stakeholders and does not disrupt the economy. Mugabe was told that again in Tanzania this week after Ignatious Chombo said government would not be talking to the CFU.

If none of this makes any impression on those in the CFU who believe that Zanu PF should be allowed to dictate who is permitted to make political statements, perhaps this thought might be salutary: Those farmers proposing to collaborate with this government should expect no mercy from the next — or from Zimbabweans, including farm workers, who have made sacrifices so that evil does not triumph.

The Information department is increasingly using the Herald for its public announcements. Last Thursday it planted a piece in the paper about Mercedes Sayagues being “deported”. In fact Sayagues was the victim of an arbitrary change of rules as Jonathan Moyo sought to advertise his power over foreign correspondents.

But whatever the case, is it right for the Herald to publish a story from the Information department concerning a journalist before the journalist in question has been informed of her fate?

Moyo was on the BBC raving about how the law must be applied. But when informed of the High Court order allowing Sayagues and the BBC’s Joe Winter to stay another week he declared he would not be bound by it!

He spent much of his time attacking one of his own officials for issuing an “irregular and fraudulent” letter extending Winter’s permit. It had suspicious alterations made to it, he claimed. But the copy published in the Herald looked perfectly in order. The only alterations were those made to the letterhead and the signatory’s designation to reflect Moyo’s new status. Moyo even tried to blame Winter for the changes!

How can a minister in all seriousness blame the recipient of a work permit which was issued by a senior official from his ministry in exactly the same way his ministry issued every other permit over a number of years? In this case the official was one of the few in the ministry actually liked and respected by all he dealt with — which is more than can be said for Moyo.

Moyo’s interview with the BBC was not the sort of exchange he should be proud of. Once he loses control of himself and starts shouting, as he often does nowadays, listeners will be quick to assume his views are as unstable as he is.

The arbitrary cancellation by Moyo of permits issued legally and in the normal way to foreign correspondents has simply compounded the negative press this country has been getting abroad as it becomes increasingly obvious that those in power are afraid of the truth.

The attack by government thugs on Winter’s home in the early hours of Sunday morning — their favourite time for striking at targets it would appear — will simply confirm the impression of a terrorist state acting on the orders of a lawless cabal around the president.

How people like the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s Ambassador Amos Midzi, who last weekend was attempting to recruit the press in polishing Zimbabwe’s image, thinks he can make any headway while his friends in power behave this way is anybody’s guess!

ZTV’s Media Watch programme is having to depend increasingly upon state apologists as serious media people decline to be part of the government’s discredited agenda. Recently they had Tafataona Mahoso, posing as a media expert, saying that indepe- ndent press reports that the nation had celebrated Laurent Kabila’s pass- ing reminded him of what happened in Rwanda in 1994 when the media published a similar story over the death in an air crash of President Juvenal Habyarimana. That had led to the genocide in which four million people were killed, he said.

In fact between 500 000 and one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. But figures apart, why hasn’t Maho-so condemned genocide closer to home? We don’t recall him denouncing events in Matabeleland in the 1980s. And those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, including the Interahamwe, are now Zimbabwe’s allies in the Congo.

Mahoso forgot to mention that detail. And Supa forgot to ask him!
During a recent lecture at the Polytech Mahoso was holding forth on civil society. He stopped to ask his class for examples of civil society players.

The National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Teachers Association and Legal Resources Foundation, they replied.

They were asked why they had omitted others such as the National Development Assembly, the Concerned Citizens Coalition and Inyika Trust.

That’s simple, the students said. Those were part of evil society, not civil society.

Amazing how quickly these youngsters learn isn’t it?

A mischievous reader has drawn our attention to a feature in the Zimbabwe Mirror of December 15. Under the banner heading “Fatties take to the ramp”, sub-headed “Winners Galore as Bulawayo hosts unusual beauty contest”, is a picture of Ibbo Mandaza. In fact he is handing out the prizes, not receiving one.

Muckraker was intrigued by the “Graceland wardrobe” which was won by Lovemore Chikahwata of Nyadire Teachers College. Where did that item come from?

On the same occasion Nhlanhla Masuku urged the media to desist from “Mugabe-bashing while ignoring other global factors at play in world politics and economics”.

In other words Zimbabwe is the victim of “exogenous” forces, as the president likes to say, not his own misanthropy and misrule. How convenient! No wonder Masuku has been rewa-rded with the headship of the broadcasting authority. He will be sound- ing just the right note there.

Muckraker was struck by a story in the Herald saying a woman in Dzivarasekwa who had stones thrown at her windows, presumably by opposition supporters, was able to summon the army to defend her.
Is this facility available to the rest of the population? Which nu-mber do we call?

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Mugabe's Excesses Must Be Curbed Before Zimbabwe Collapses

Gareth Evans International Herald Tribune
Saturday, February 24, 2001

Robert Mugabe wants to be remembered as a great post-colonial leader, but is on course to make the list of despots who led their countries to ruin. The news from Zimbabwe grows ever more desolate. The latest series of outrages involve the fire-bombing of a critical newspaper, expulsion of two foreign journalists, forced retirement of the chief justice, and indictment of the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, on charges of inciting violence that could imprison him for 20 years. The most insidious and lasting damage from these events may be the departure of the leader of Zimbabwe's hitherto fiercely independent senior judiciary. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was told by a senior minister that his safety could no longer be guaranteed. This happened after Justice Gubbay's Supreme Court had voided Mr. Mugabe's decree forbidding challenges in 37 parliamentary constituencies where his ruling ZANU-PF party won by questionable means: If 20 court challenges succeed, the opposition will control Parliament. There are not many left now to uphold rule of law in Zimbabwe, whether the issue be illegal land seizures, punishment of government-sponsored thuggery, electoral law challenges, or misuse of criminal process against opposition leaders.
If political events were allowed to take their course, Mr. Mugabe would be in desperate trouble in the 2002 presidential election. Last June the opposition Movement for Democratic Change overcame massive intimidation to win nearly half the parliamentary seats, and the president's stock has deteriorated since. The once robust economy is in shambles - the currency has plunged, the International Monetary Fund has withdrawn support, and investment has virtually disappeared. Zimbabwe cannot pay its bills. There are power blackouts and three-day work weeks, food prices are rising, fuel shortages are acute, and unemployment is 60 per cent. The legitimate cause of land redistribution has become a travesty. By targeting white farmers, Mr. Mugabe's "war veterans" have beaten, destroyed and killed in the name of redistributive justice, forcing many blacks off the land in the process, and producing no fairer a farmland distribution, but rather a production slump likely to generate food shortages.
And while this goes on at home, Zimbabwe continues to fight - at a cost of $30 million monthly - a deeply unpopular war in the Congo.
What can be done to stop a desperate situation becoming even worse? On the face of it, pressure could be applied at three different levels, but each has limitations. Within Zimbabwe, frustration and hostility could easily boil over, particularly if food and fuel prices soar. But the opposition has had to weigh the attractions of mass Serbian-style demonstrations against the huge risk of a bloody response from Mr. Mugabe's security forces, who are likely to remain loyal to him for now.
At the regional level, Mr. Mugabe ought to be susceptible to pressure from his head of state peers. They have plenty at stake, with their energy and other bills not being paid, and their region's stability at risk as Zimbabwe moves closer to chaos and collapse. It is time for Zimbabwe's neighbors to take the lead, encouraging him both to change disastrous domestic policies and play a constructive role in implementing the Lusaka peace process in the Congo.
At the wider international level, there is not a lot more anyone can do except be strongly critical. Quiet persuasion has been manifestly ineffective. Coercive trade and investment sanctions, if they could be enforced, would probably just drive Zimbabwe into an economic hole even worse for its neighbors than the status quo. But maybe it's time for Europeans and North Americans to employ the smarter, selective, visa and bank account personal sanctions that can bite particularly hard on those who like the high life. For Mr. Mugabe to be denied visiting rights - and his wife shopping trips - to the world's more glittering capitals would be painful indeed.
The writer, Australian foreign minister from 1988 to 1996, is president of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.
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ZIMBABWE'S white farmers pride themselves on their pioneer spirit and would once have scorned the idea of counselling sessions.

But a year after mobs of axe-waving squatters began invading their land, landowners are surveying the wreckage and flocking to stress management seminars. Farmers around Mvurwi, 70 miles north of Harare, were among the first to be engulfed by the wave of violent occupations that began on February 23 last year.

Most of the area's white-owned farms are among the 1,700 properties affected by the illegal invasions, which have claimed seven lives and had the public backing of President Robert Mugabe.

Forty landowners gathered in the Mvurwi Country Club for a stress seminar organised by the Commercial Farmers' Union. David Harrison, an industrial psychologist who runs the events, told them that they faced "a uniquely stressful situation".

He said: "A soldier in battle has to deal with stress only in short bursts. But you have to put up with it for months at a time. The natural human response is to fight or run. But because you fear for your homes, your staff and your family, you can do neither."

Squatters invaded Stewart Lindsay's Blighty farm almost a year ago. Death threats forced him to flee and he was unable to return for four months. Countless acts of theft and vandalism have made the normal running of the farm impossible.

Mr Lindsay said: "It upsets me so much. Farming is a lifetime achievement and now it's all finished. The uncertainty is the worst. We can't plan and we don't know when this thing is going to end. We are just trying to survive." Squatters have singled out farmers' wives for harassment. One said nine invaders waving axes accosted her while her husband was away. "They threatened to kill me and my dogs. I was terrified."

The remaining 4,000 white farmers have been left terrorised and bewildered. When four farms in Masvingo province were overrun on February 23 last year, no one believed that almost half of all white farms would be occupied within three months.

No landowner expected Mr Mugabe to back the squatters, still less that his government would organise the invasions. But 900 properties are still occupied and the daily round of assaults and harassment is so commonplace that it goes largely unreported.

Yesterday, Mr Mugabe stepped up his campaign of repression when the government called Zimbabwe's Supreme Court judges "Nazis" and vowed to remove them. At the same time, another MP from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was charged with incitement to violence.

Peter Nyoni, the MP for Hwange East, is facing imprisonment after he allegedly encouraged supporters attending a rally to wave the red cards of a football referee, intended as a message for the president. Eight senior MDC figures, including four MPs and Morgan Tsvangirai, its leader, now face criminal charges.

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