Zimbabwe opposition leader summoned by police over 'plot'
By Angus Shaw, AP Writer
25 February 2002
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he had been ordered to
report to police later today for questioning on allegations he plotted to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, who is running against Mugabe in presidential elections scheduled
for March 910, denies the allegations.
"Of course this is intended to divert people ... there is no case to answer.
It is a conspiracy. My campaign will go on," he told reporters.
Tsvangirai is the main threat to Mugabe's almost 22year hold on power.
Mugabe, 78, has dismissed opposition claims that the government is trying to
frame Tsvangirai ahead of the election.
The government claims Tsvangirai met with members a Canadianbased political
consulting firm last year to arrange for the "elimination" of Mugabe.
Ten days ago the firm released a secretly recorded video tape of a December 4
meeting in Montreal which they said incriminated Tsvangirai.
"If a crime was committed in December, why wait until three weeks before the
election?" Tsvangirai said.
The state media has given wide coverage to the allegations by Ari
BenMenashe, who heads the Canadian consulting firm Dickens and Madson.
BenMenashe left Harare on Sunday after meeting with police and members of
the Central Intelligence Organization.
On Friday, the staterun Herald newspaper, often used as a platform for
publicizing official comment, reported that Tsvangirai claimed he would receive
the support of the United States and other governments to head a transitional
government following an assassination of Mugabe.
Mugabe has told supporters at campaign rallies he knew of the alleged
assassination plot last year but did nothing to have Tsvangirai arrested "for
fear of plunging the country into chaos" ahead of the presidential vote.
Denying the assassination claims, Tsvangirai said he met four times with the
Canadian consulting firm about possible publicity it could offer his party
abroad. He said his recorded remarks were taken out of context.
A video timing clock was not erased from a grainy copy of the recording aired
by Zimbabwe state television and showed the original secret tape had been
heavily edited and even "rearranged," the independent Mass Media Project of
Zimbabwe, an independent media monitoring group, said.
The Mass Media Project of Zimbabwe also said that state television devoted 35
minutes of its nightly news over the first four nights to the alleged
conspiracy. The opposition's official denial received 15 seconds of air time on
the same news program in the same period.
February 25, 2002
Mugabe may attend summit
Charter, Chief Political Correspondent
A TEAM from the
Commonwealth has arrived in Zimbabwe to observe the country’
election as the organisation’s Secretary-General said that
may yet attend its biennial conference this weekend.
Don McKinnon said that,
as a democratically elected head of state, Mr Mugabe
would be welcome at the
meeting of the 54 Commonwealth heads in Coolum on
Australia’s Sunshine Coast,
which will include Tony Blair.
Mr McKinnon said that a multinational
group of 30 to 40 observers from the
Commonwealth had arrived in Harare. It
does not include any British members.
The Secretary-General said that the
Commonwealth was reviewing how it dealt
with member states such as Zimbabwe
when deep concerns arose over the
treatment of its citizens.
McKinnon told BBC’s Breakfast with Frost: “We have remained engaged
Zimbabwe). We have tried to influence. It has not been very
He admitted that 40 observers would not be able to cover the
polling booths, but added: “The total number of observers
from all other
organisations could amount to 400 . . . but you are still only
provide a snapshot. But even the last time we were there in June
snapshot said the effect of the violence, the intimidation, did
bearing on the outcome. So we have always given a pretty honest
Britain has lobbied for Zimbabwe to be suspended, but the
which has never expelled a member state, is unlikely to suspend
it while its
own team is observing the election.
the leader of the Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and Mr
Mugabe’s election opponent, said that he did not
want the country to be
suspended while the election process was under way.
Violence Likely to Rise as Zimbabwe Election
By Stella Mapenzauswa
(Reuters) - A wave of political violence in Zimbabwe, underscored by
attack on people leaving an opposition rally, is expected to intensify in
final two weeks of a bitter presidential election campaign.
followers of President Robert Mugabe ambushed the opposition
the gathering in his hometown of Chinhoyi on Sunday, where
Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to end a "reign of terror" if he
The incident capped a week in which police shot at Tsvangirai's
convoy, militants attacked an opposition office, and self-style
war veterans forced a white farmer and his family to flee their
Tsvangirai poses the strongest challenge to Mugabe's bid to extend
years in power in the March 9-10 election.
"The violence is
likely to continue right up until the day before
elections," said Lovemore
Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, a coalition of
On Sunday, Tsvangirai had already left the stadium in
Chinhoyi when more
than 500 supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
swarmed around the
They attacked sympathizers of Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) with sticks and stones as they headed
home, a Reuters correspondent
said from the scene.
He saw no serious
injuries but the attack took place in full view of foreign
observers who are
in the southern African country to try to ensure that the
election is free
OBSERVERS' CAR HIT
The leader of the southern African
observer mission, which includes members
from Zimbabwe's neighbors, said a
car carrying some of his team was hit but
no one was injured.
Lefhoko said they would report the incident to police, but critics
demanding a tougher response from observers.
"The only way the
violence could go down was if the observers, especially
the South Africans,
issued a strong critical statement," Madhuku told
A car used
by a member of the Commonwealth monitor team was also targeted
rally, said mission chief General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former
Last week, two South Africans were trapped in an MDC office by
pro-government militants armed with stones and iron bars in the
incident involving election observers.
They were not hurt, but
the MDC said five of its supporters were injured in
the same attack and that
more than 100 have been killed since February 2000.
Mugabe of intimidation and planning to rig the vote,
criticisms echoed by the
United States and European Union, which have
imposed personal sanctions on
Mugabe and his inner circle.
The EU pulled out its election monitors last
week, saying they were not
being allowed to work freely. A mission from the
Commonwealth, which groups
mainly Britain and its former colonies, began its
monitoring program in
earnest on Sunday.
Commonwealth mission chief
Abubakar said he would be sending 20 teams of two
observers throughout the
country from next week.
"Our concern will be purely with the electoral
environment and the process
rather than the outcome," he told
A visibly angry Tsvangirai said on Sunday ZANU-PF was acting
animals" and Mugabe "wants to be the only choice and he wants to
that...through his reign of terror.
"We are going to inherit a
country in a mess, a country that has been raped
Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of Harare, was hit by fighting
last August when
Mugabe's supporters forcibly seized white-owned farms as
part of the
president's controversial land reform program.
In a rally
on Saturday, the 78-year-old Mugabe defended his land reform
accused Britain of backtracking on a promise to help
redistribute land in its
former colony, where he says the white minority
still owns the greater part
of the land.
Just to let you know what has been going on in Byo
- this is a letter from the Baptist Pastor in Gweru
- please keep praying for Zimbabwe!!!
A message from Zim. Please join us in praying for the Christians
Dear praying friends, What a priviledge it was for me to share today
with the brave christians arrested in Bulawayo over the weekend! There is no
doubt in my mind: this is now a dreadful form of religious persecution. I
travelled through to Bulawayo from our town of Gweru to visit the 11 christians
in jail. I asked the Lord to perform a miracle of his grace so that I would be
given permission to speak with each one.
As I sat in the fifth office I had
been sent to, suddenly 10 of the believers were ushered into the same room! We
hugged and laughed together.
Some are personal friends, others were complete
strangers to me, yet we were bound together in a sacred moment of shared
joy.Their real crime was that they dared to pray and worship when the powers
that be had refused them permission to hold a prayer walk. The organiser of the
prayer walk Father Noel Scott had been arrested and 10 sympathetic christians
had gone to pray with him at the Central Police Station. They too were detained
for two nights. Ten men and one lady,they represent the christians of
They are from several denominations, they are black, white and
coloured and their crime is praying for peace, justice, law and order and
freedom of speech.
In the same building was another man being questioned by
the police.Dave Coltart, my friend and brave member of parliment, had been
picked up and was facing arrest on false charges. He too is a committed
christian and his real crime is that he belongs to the political oppostion here
in Zimbabwe. As I write this e mail, I am so glad to tell you that God has
intervened and ALL have been released, some on bail and Dave perhaps facing
I have told them how incredibly proud we all are of their
stand for Christ and for good.They were not at all afraid and I saw no tears,
just smiles and christian joy.
Please pray for our nation. Pray that all
charges against the 11 and Dave will be dropped. Pray for a return to peace and
justice. Pray for the miracle of free and fair elections to take place in 18
days ( Mar 9-10 ).
Pray for God's man to lead this nation. Pray for the
downfall of injustice and corruption. Pray for the miracle of non-violence,
both before and after elections.
Whatever you do... don't feel sorry for
us! The line has been drawn in the sand and good will prevail. The people of
Zimbabwe are determined. A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD!
Pastor Chris Anderson.
Dear friends and relatives, It's Sunday morning and before we go to
church I felt I must collect my thoughts on the momentus events taking place in
the country at this time. The weather is hot and rather too dry for this time
of year but all eyes are transfixed by the politics.With 3 weeks to go to the
presidential election, it is really not clear who will win between Morgan
Tsvangirai, trade unionist, MDC opposition leader and Robert Mugabe, the ageing
The campaign has been very strange. There seems to be ZANU PF posters
everywhere with Bob shaking his fist in a defiant gesture. Opposition posters
are very scarce basically because it appears to be an offence to put
unauthorised posters up.
The independent press carries details of opposition
rallies but to date 60 rallies have been cancelled largely as a result of
police, army or youth militia harrassment. Vikki saved Morgan Tsvangirai's
opening MDC rally in Mutare when she organised public liability insurance which
government insisted on at the last minute. Most MDC MPs have apparently had
their houses torched and suffered threats and abuse to themselves and their
families. The ruling party is concentrating its efforts in rural areas where
rallies are compulsory and those who do not attend are punished. A common
tactic is to send a group of party youth, part trained in military camps, into
an area and make villagers dance, march and sing revolutionary songs. It is
difficlt to say whether this is working but many are desperately frightened and
many killed.16 MDC party members were killed in January alone and many deaths
are not reported for fear of beatings while making the report.I get constant
accounts of this as I give folk lifts on my travels. Those found without party
cards are dealt with. David and Laurie now both have ZANU PF membership cards
as a result. The state media is full of 1980 political footage, films on
slavery, anti British, American rhetoric.
There has been a huge reduction in
foreign TV programmes eg soaps, disco music and the like and suddenly much more
local drama and music which I like. (Vikki and the boys don't.)
Security is an issue. The police force is no longer independent and the
head of police has instructed all officers to vote for the ruling party. MDC
members reporting crimes such as assault, destruction of property, arson etc are
themselves arrested. Police fold their arms and look on as ZANU PF militias
beat people and destroy and loot their homes. A 10 year old child had two teeth
knocked out because she didn't utter the mandatory slogans with sufficient
conviction. The heads of the army have said they will only serve a head of
state with war experience so both sections have avoided their constitutional
responsibilities. There are many road blocks all over Mutare and on main roads,
some manned by police, some by newly trained militias. ID must be carried at
all times. It is not advised to travel at night so some school functions at
Hillcrest have been affected. One MDC activist was shot and killed at the Fern
Valley road block recently and there have been beatings at the Christmas Pass
one. The searches are thorough but usually polite.
Food is scarce especially for the poor. Maize meal is virtually non
existent in Manicaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo Provinces.Any surplus has been
sent to the political heartland of Mashonaland. Queues are everywhere with
people waiting for up to 3 days patiently to get something, often in vain.
Sugar and cooking oil is not available on the shelves.
Government has put
controlled prices on these products and manufacturers have pleaded that the
price is uneconomic.
Farms with stocks for staff have been raided and food
taken away. Now the the war vets have burned the grass so farmers are
slaughtering their animals because there is no stock feed for them. Maize meal
is ready to be shipped in but Government insists on distributing it and the NGOs
have refused this.
The country needs 150 000 tons of maize per month and
there is next to nothing here although government continues to make promises on
availability which it finds difficult to keep. We need a 30 ton truck loaded
every 7 minuites coming in to the country to feed the place. We can't see it
happening. Certain areas like Chimanimani have a food blockade and no food is
allowed in because they elected an MDC MP at the last election. The people
there have been starving for weeks.
Gordon Hodnett, a local transporter,
managed to take 5 tons there recently and is now in jail for his trouble. I am
seeing a South African election monitor about this today.
Schooling is affected. 36 schools in Masvingo province have been closed to
date because of beatings,rapes of staff and general harrassment. All of our
children are affected after 2 years of this but discussion of politics is banned
on campuses. Hillcrest is full and we have taken many children from Mashonaland
as boarders since the violence is so much worse there.
Although our economic growth rate is the worst in the world behind
Argentina at -4%, the biggest growth industry in Mutare is border jumping.
Hundreds of people line the border day and night waiting for jobs taking goods
on a 2 hour walk over to Mozambique and back. In an extraordinary game of hide
and seek, police chase these people all over the place with guns and batons.
Our local surgeon, Rolf Kitkat, complains about the grenade and shooting
injuries he has to treat.
Every now and again the border area is tear gassed
but still people carry on in desperation to feed their families. The standard
bribe is $100 Zim to get goods past a border policeman and the "green route"
thrives while the Customs arrea at Forbes Border post is like a ghost town in
comparison. Mozambique has the 5th fastest growing economy in the world so you
can imagine the distortions of trade between the 2 countries. The official rate
of exchange is $55 Zim to $1 US, but the market parallel rate is $320 Zim to
Exports are processed at the former rate so official trade is terribly
Despite the problems,we are quietly optimistic. Although the international
community has failed to act with any backbone or courage, we feel that the
patience of our people will be suitably rewarded. All communities wish to rid
themselves of this tyrant and his bullying followers. Our determination will be
rewarded. We know that there is much prayer going on all over the world and it
really is incredibly exciting. If we have a good result, there will be the
biggest parties you have ever seen but if we lose, the country will continue its
melt down with those who can, leaving.
Think of us.
Thousands defy intimidation to attend MDC rally in
2/25/02 8:16:19 AM (GMT +2)
From Energy Bara in
ABOUT 20 000 people defied threats from Zanu PF supporters to
attend one of
the biggest rallies addressed by the MDC leader, Morgan
Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo on Saturday.
rally, war veterans and other Zanu PF supporters had threatened
the meeting. They mounted roadblocks demanding identity cards,
but the MDC
supporters turned up to listen to their leader.
The riot police patrolled
the streets of Masvingo before and after the rally
and there were no reports
Addressing the crowd, Tsvangirai said the government must be
the ballot box. He said Zanu PF had failed to address bread
issues and should step down. Tsvangirai said an MDC government
disband the army, police or the Central Intelligence
“But we don’t need the green bombers, the Zanu PF youths
being trained under
the guise of national service. These youths are similar
to Bishop Abel
Muzorewa’s auxiliary forces who killed many people during the
war,” Tsvangirai said.
He said President Mugabe and his
Cabinet had destroyed the economy through
wrong policies and
Zanu PF plans to slash urban votes
AM (GMT +2)
By John Gambanga News Editor
THE MDC yesterday
said the government was planning to reduce polling
stations in opposition
party’s strongholds during next month’s presidential
increasing the numbers in areas where the ruling Zanu PF
Many Zimbabweans, the opposition said, will be disenfranchised
Registrar-General’s decision on the number of polling stations.
election, pitting President Mugabe against Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader, will be held on 9 and 10 March.
In a statement yesterday,
the MDC information and publicity secretary,
Learnmore Jongwe, said the
strategy “is carefully designed to produce long
queues in MDC strongholds,
slow down the voting process and frustrate the
people in these areas so that
they will not all vote.”
In Harare and Chitungwiza, both MDC strongholds,
the number of polling
stations have been reduced by 30 percent from 240 in
the June 2000
parliamentary election to 167 in next month’s
For example, in Harare East constituency, the number of polling
fallen from 21 to 11.
In Harare North, the polling
stations have been slashed by nearly half from
17 to nine, while the Zengeza
constituency now has seven polling stations
compared to 12 in the June 2000
In Bulawayo, which has eight constituencies, the polling
stations have been
reduced by 18 percent from 164 to 134. Bulawayo North has
lost eight polling
For Gweru, the number of polling stations
has been reduced by 34 percent
from 44 to 29. In Kwekwe, the polling stations
are down to 13 from 17 during
the last election.
Jongwe said the
government has not given any explanation
for the reduction of polling
stations in these urban areas.
“While the urban constituencies have lost
polling stations, rural areas,
which are erroneously perceived by the ruling
party as its strongholds, have
made significant gains. In rural Midlands for
instance, the number of
polling stations has increased by 34 percent from 497
to 699. The major
beneficiaries are the Gokwe constituencies which have
gained 124 new polling
stations,” Jongwe said.
Tobaiwa Mudede, was unavailable for comment
yesterday, but the chief
elections officer, Retired Brigadier Douglas
Nyikayaramba, said the Electoral
Supervisory Commission had not yet been
presented with the full list of
polling stations by the Registrar-General.
“We are having a meeting on 28
February with the Registrar-General when we
will know the exact figure of the
polling stations,” he said.
Daily News - Leader
Ben-Menashe should be exposed to all the
2/25/02 8:31:16 AM (GMT +2)
IT IS difficult to
believe the government when it says that the man behind
the video on the
alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe, Ari
Ben-Menashe, is here solely
to give evidence to the government, when daily
he is giving interviews to the
It is possible that Ben-Menashe is, in fact, here to
bolster Zanu PF’s
presidential campaign. If he is not, he should be
accessible to all the
media in the country.
The suspicion is that he
has come to help direct Zanu PF’s campaign during
these last two crucial
weeks because Zanu PF has seen the writing on the
Zanu PF has
been bussing villagers to campaign rallies being addressed by
throughout the country, and ordering people to don on T-shirts
so-called Third Chimurenga.
The idea is to overwhelm Mugabe with the
“public” show of support.
In reality, maize is being distributed to areas
Mugabe is due to address
rallies. This is why the recurrent theme at all of
Mugabe’s rallies is that
the government will not abandon the people to
The people are being promised maize distribution after the
rallies and this,
coupled with people being bussed to the rallies, explains
But it is also public knowledge that in all the places
Zanu PF has held its
campaign rallies, the villagers have been left stranded,
transport is being provided to take them back to their
How Zanu PF expects the support of the voters in the rural areas
when it is
treating people like this at this critical juncture, only Zanu PF
What it is aware of is that defeat could be staring it in the
And it is for this reason that it is flouting an agreement not to
supporters from outside the areas where rallies are being
Zanu PF has a correct reading of the electoral mood and this
presence of Ben-Menashe, the head of the Canadian political
firm, Dickens and Madson.
But where a critical assessment
of Ben-Menashe is required, the State-run
media have been falling over each
other to portray the head of Dickens and
Madson as a solid
Yet reports of his work, particularly in Zambia, would suggest
Zanu PF tread with extreme caution.
The Herald celebrated
his arrival on Friday proclaiming: Ben-Menashe
Tsvangirai, while The Sunday Mail, not to be outdone,
suggested, Ben-Menashe: Man of indisputable credibility.
It must be the
first time in the history of investigations that witnesses
have been feted in
And the question that must be asked is: why? In fact,
intelligence officials have travelled to Montreal to
Seen against this background, is Ben-Menashe
here as a witness or is he here
to ensure he collects his fee?
utterances he is making would appear, in all fairness, to be the kind
evidence he might be expected to lead during a court hearing on the
But if indeed his evidence was privy to the government last year,
the government not moved in and arrested the leader of the MDC,
Why were investigations not instituted
The timing of the disclosure of the allegations, unfortunately,
to believe that this whole affair is being carefully orchestrated,
public outrage against the MDC’s presidential candidate.
strategy could be to give the government an upper hand, by forcing the
focus its energies, during the next two weeks, to defending its
That way, the government would be dictating the pace of
If Ben-Menashe wants to address a Press conference he
must do so to all the
media based in this country and not these selective
Zanu PF entices the hungry to Mugabe’s rallies with
2/25/02 8:15:23 AM (GMT +2)
From Chris Gande in
ZANU PF has been giving out free food and money to mobilise
Matabeleland to attend rallies addressed by President
The Daily News confirmed this in Umzingwane District where people
attended one of the rallies told the newspaper in separate interviews
they attended the rallies because they wanted food.
shortage of maizemeal throughout the country, particularly in
there was a lot of food supplied to the people during Mugabe’s
according to the villagers.
All the rallies in Matabeleland South were
attended by an average of 10 000
hungry people who scrambled for food during
the gatherings. They received
sadza and cooked beef.
Some villagers at
Umzingwane said they were given cooking oil, another
scarce commodity, and
undisclosed sums of money to entice them to attend the
country received more than 12 000 tonnes of maize imported from South
in the past two weeks but the situation has remained desperate in
long queues have become the order of the day.
War veterans have taken
over the distribution of maize at the Bulawayo depot
of the Grain Marketing
Some of the maize is understood to be distributed at the rallies,
is being sent to Zanu PF youth camps throughout the
Millers are only receiving a fraction of the
One of the villagers at Umzingwane, an MDC stronghold, said:
these people you see here came for food.
“We were told that we
were going to get food and with the hunger that has
gripped the country, no
one could resist the temptation of having a proper
meal after going for
several days without any solid meal.”
However, because of the large
number of people who attended the rally, the
villager was one of the people
who did not benefit.
Nine-year-old Themba Ncube, who was part of the
hundreds of school pupils
bussed in from a school at Gwanda, said they were
told to attend the rally
in order to get food.
Other villagers from
the surrounding areas said they had been told that if
they did not attend the
rallies they would be punished.
This reporter was barred from getting
inside Sezhube Stadium at Umzingwane,
where the President addressed the
A television crew from the United Kingdom-based Channel Four was
party youths and were only allowed into the stadium after the
of a senior officer from the President’s Office.
observers from South Africa were told of the ordeal of
Mugabe attacked Britain for “trying to recolonise
Zimbabwe”. He also spoke
about the Aids scourge and the need for people to be
Daily News - Leader
African leaders become anti-imperialist when under
2/25/02 8:32:16 AM (GMT +2)
THE withdrawal of the European Union (EU) observers to the
presidential election in Zimbabwe and the imposition of “smart
President Mugabe and his henchmen were both predictable and,
surprising. The United States has followed Europe’s lead and
sanctions. However, I am quite sure that no African country
sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leadership or break up diplomatic
relations at this
The EU actions are merely symbolic and will
have no impact on the conduct of
the election at all. It is a very flawed
assumption that because European
and American governments, multilateral
institutions and non-governmental
organisation (NGO) election tourists are
present in a particular country’s
election they can minimise electoral
malpractice, publicise them or serve as
the conscience of the world and maybe
internationally discredit any results
from a flawed poll.
assumption has never been borne out by any election in the last few
that election monitoring has grown into a multi-million
What did the presence of
monitors in Zambia’s recent elections do to stop
Frederick Chiluba and the
Movement for Multiparty Democracy from stealing
their discrediting of the poll lead to any government in the region
internationally imposing sanctions on the new administration? Has
government refused to recognise it?
Zimbabweans do not need the
presence of the EU, United Nations, US,
Commonwealth, or even the African
Union, Southern African Development
Community (Sadc), Economic Community of
West African States, etc in order to
hold free and fair elections. There were
very few international observers to
the constitutional referendum of February
2000 and yet the opposition won
the “no” campaign against the government.
There were a number of obstacles,
manipulation, intimidation, tricks and
manoeuvres by the government.
However, the opposition refused to be
intimidated and their supporters
remained steadfast against all odds. Even
the subsequent parliamentary
election, in spite of the rude shock of the
referendum to the government,
was won by Mugabe’s Zanu PF by a whisker. They
had to rely on official
skulduggery and surprise of all surprises the
Lancaster House colonialist
constitution negotiated with the
I would have expected the President who claims that he is
fighting off the
last vestiges of colonialism to have refused, on principle,
to continue to
benefit from unfair advantages brought about by the “evil”
That really is part of the many contradictions of Uncle
Bob. He is not
opposed to using the Lancaster House Constitution to entrench
office and will implement it against the wishes of his people
powerlessness), but when it does not serve his interest he can
and become the firebrand revolutionary.
It is very amazing
how African leaders suddenly become anti-imperialist, Pan
radical when they are under siege. It is a shame though that
they argue for
sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, equality
and all the
familiar concepts only when it comes to their “right” to
continue to oppress
their people. They do not assert this right when it
comes to building
schools, hospitals, roads and promoting the social and
economic progress of
their people. They are prepared to let the
International Monetary Fund/World
Bank, World Trade Organisation, Western
NGOs and development agencies to have
free hands on these issues, but
discover sovereignty when their power is
Many of them do not mind hiding their ill-gotten wealth
in the same Western
banks and tax-free enclaves. That is why the West can
threaten them with
“smart” sanctions, which include tracing their wealth, and
impounding it. If you do not have ill-gotten money stashed
away in Europe
and America, why should you fear exposure?
aspect of the sanctions is restricting the movement of the leading
the regime. Why do they have to be travelling to Europe all the
In most of the cases the trips have nothing to do with the state
valid national interest. Maybe restricting them to their country
actually help them to confront the problems at home!
withdrawal may be of no practical consequence, but if the limited
help to reveal the kleptocracy of the Zanu PF regime it may serve
interests of accountability and transparency in the long run.
hypocrisy of the West in promoting “smart” sanctions, or any type
sanctions for that matter, continues to undermine it. When the interests
its big corporations and geopolitical strategic interests are at
sanctions are not used. Rather “softly softly” diplomacy is the slogan.
when African states like South Africa, Nigeria and Sadc countries say
same about Mugabe they are criticised as not being courageous and
enough. The kettle cannot call the pot black because African states
behaving the way European states behave when the matter is closer to
hearts and their pockets.
A country like South Africa, probably
the one with the largest room for
influence as Zimbabwe’s biggest regional
trading partner, has the added
problem of having similar historical problems
with Zimbabwe. President Thabo
Mbeki must be reading (with great interest)
reports of opinion polls in
South Africa that show Mugabe as being more
popular among black South
Africans than even among blacks in Zimbabwe on the
At the ideological and propaganda level Mugabe has a big
advantage helped by
the contradictory interests allied in his main
opposition, the MDC, but it
is a pyrrhic advantage because land reform is not
the only problem facing
Zimbabwe: irresponsible and unaccountable leadership
are part of it. That
cannot be blamed on Boers, settlers or imperialism, but
Mugabe and the Zanu
How did they turn a moral right into a
How did they turn a widely shared dream (that inspired an
album by the great
Bob Marley) into a nightmare?
Daily News - Feature
The choking and sickening daily lies
8:23:05 AM (GMT +2)
THE truth shall set us
free. We need to be freed. We are reeling under the
heavy shackles of lies
and deception. I want to be free. I want the truth. I
am sure you all want to
I am particularly getting tired of being a slave of lies. I do
living in lies’ bondage. The lies I am subjected to every day have
made me a
prisoner of conscience. I want to be set free. I need to hear the
that I can be set free.
I am sure I am speaking for many who
are under the spell of lies. Lies, lies
everywhere! Where can one hide from
this incessant barrage of lies?
There are great lies we have to live
with. We are made to believe that
everything around is all right. We are made
to sing loud and long that there
are no problems in the country. We are made
to praise the presence of the
rule of law as we nurse our wounds.
do not have to mention the word violence. There are no shortages of
commodities. The looming shortage of maize-meal has to be thrown out of
window with the contempt it deserves.
We have to grudgingly accept
that there are no criminals in the land. We are
informed that any crime that
is committed is a politically motivated stint
by the opposition. We have
grown to accept that the opposition party has
bred criminals of the lowest
We have to contend with unbelievable junk that the opposition has
ability to stage multi-million dollar heists in foreign lands.
party’s daylight robbery of the people’s hard-won cash is not
People are losing a lot of their scarce cash paying a
protection fee to the
To survive this world of lies,
one is required to lie that he belongs to the
party by buying the party’s
membership card. Information on the plunder of
the people’s meagre cash is
withheld. The truth about the forced acquisition
of party cards is withheld.
Withholding information is akin to telling a
lie. That is lying by default.
We are tired of the great lies.
We are forced to live with a negative
truth with regards to the state of
siege. We have no enemies, so we are told.
We are told that the only enemy
who is failing dismally to create more
enemies for us is the tiny blighter
who blares regularly to amuse himself at
the expense of our sovereignty.
We are told that Tony Blair, the British
Prime Minister, has an agenda
against us. We are lied to that “the gay
gangster” Blair is a liar. The
truth is that Blair has seen something amiss.
He is merely reaching out to
expose the lies we are forced to live
Maybe a lot of Zimbabweans do not realise the level of lies we have
contend with. I am not an alarmist. All I ask is to be correctly informed.
hate lies. I hate liars. It is even more painful to hear an
lie. There is no point for priests, preachers, deacons, bishops,
others of a religious calling to lie to the people.
does not only expect His followers to be honest to Him alone. He expects
to be truthful to everyone. It is a lie for a bishop to say that the
is at peace with itself when the signs of internal strife are all
over. It is
a lie for a bishop to proclaim that God guides those who have
hands full of
It is a great lie for ministers of the Cabinet to craftily
proclaim that the
situation we are in is due to the making of the British. I
do not have blind
respect for the colonisers.
All I want to know is
how the British have managed to create so much strife
for us 22 years after
our independence. What I thought to be the truth was
that the British seem to
be sailing through their problems with flying
colours. They had
foot-and-mouth and they never blamed it on anyone.
We have been lied to
about the United States sanctions bill against
President Mugabe and his top
government ministers. We have been openly told
that it is meant to hurt us
Zimbabweans in our totality. Those who crafted
it said it would be applied
clinically on those who matter.
Those who matter keep on hammering us with
lies to the contrary. They say
the bill is going to hurt us all. I think it
is a lie to mention that we can
be hurt more than we have been hurt. It is a
lie that human beings of this
century can endure more hardships than
What democracy is there when people cannot openly support political
of their choice as long as those parties are not “the party”? It is a
are bombarded with that we live in a democracy. A democratic
tolerant of other people’s beliefs. I hate to be lied to that
democracy when you are forced to belong to “the party” even if you
reservations about it.
The truth will set us very free. We are
prisoners to perennial lies. We need
the truth to set us free. Someone needs
to remove this choking blanket of
lies so that we may have several views of
the same story.
The flow of the truth should not be censored. The truth
naturally like water downstream. It is only natural that people
favourably to the truth.
The truth is refreshing and
Tobacco Selling Season to Ease Foreign Currency
The Daily News (Harare)
February 25, 2002
Posted to the web February 25, 2002
ZIMBABWE's foreign currency woes are expected to ease from
May when earnings from flue-cured tobacco, the country's major foreign currency
earner, start being received.
Stanley Mtepfa, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board
general manager, said the flue-cured tobacco marketing season would begin on 14
May, about three weeks late compared with last year. Last year, flue-cured
tobacco auctions opened on 24 April.
About 40 percent of the total earnings of foreign currency
in Zimbabwe are from tobacco exports. Mtepfa said: "We are opening late this
year because of the slow start to the beginning of the season last year."
The tobacco marketing season began on a slow note last year
because farmers withheld their crop in anticipation of devaluation of the
Zimbabwean dollar, which has been fixed at the same level since 2000.
Burley Marketing Zimbabwe, which accounts for 20 percent of
flue-cured tobacco market in the country, was last year closed on the second day
of sales after farmers refused to book in their crop because the dollar had not
The government has refused to devalue the the local
currency, which remains fixed at $55 to the United States dollars. Its argument
is that this move would negatively affect the ordinary person in the street.
Other reasons for the slow start to the season last year
were that farmers delayed in grading their tobacco because they had sent workers
on holiday, while others said they failed to bring their crop to the floors
because of disturbances on commercial farms caused by farm invasions.
Mtepfa said the auction floors would this year open when the
Easter and school holidays would be over and there would not be any
interruptions to the flow of the crop. He said the burley tobacco auction floors
would open a couple of days after 14 May.
A date for the beginning of the burley tobacco marketing
season has, however, not been set. Mtepfa said a flue-cured tobacco crop of
between 160 to 170 million kilogrammes was expected to go through the floors
this year, while about 4,4 million kg of burley tobacco would be auctioned.
Last year about 200 million kg of flue-cured tobacco were
auctioned, realising about $34 billion while about 4,6 million kg of burley
tobacco worth $423,3 million were sold.
Commercial farmers this year reduced tobacco production by
54 percent due to uncertainties caused by the land issue, while others reduced
plantings because they were prevented from working by farm invaders.
Invaders have been on the farms since February 2000, when a
government-sponsored draft constitution with a clause on compulsory acquisition
of farms was rejected in a referendum.
Zimbabwe: Statement by Jack
Commenting on the decision
by Harare police to charge Morgan Tsvangirai with high treason, Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw said:
"This is a disturbing development. Coming just days before the
Presidential elections, it looks like yet another attempt by the Mugabe regime
to obstruct the conduct of the election and the ability of the people of
Zimbabwe to choose, freely and fairly, who should lead them."
"I will be discussing the harassment of the opposition in Zimbabwe
with Commonwealth colleagues at the meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial
Action Group on Friday".
|Straw condemns Mugabe over treason plot
Jack Straw has voiced concern over the treason charge levelled against
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Tsvangirai could face execution if found guilty of plotting to kill
President Robert Mugabe.
The charge appears to be President Mugabe's latest attempt to cling to power,
the Foreign Secretary said.
But officials still do not expect the Commonwealth to heed his call for
Zimbabwe's suspension when the group meets in Australia this weekend.
Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was questioned
by police for two hours in the capital Harare before being charged. He was later
released and told he would be summoned at a later date. Mr Tsvangirai denied the
"This whole thing is contrived to damage me politically. The timing is
obvious," he said. "This was all along ZANU-PF's (the ruling party) strategy to
eliminate me from the race."
Mr Straw, whose call for the ban was rejected by the Ministerial Action Group
last month, called the charge "a disturbing development".
"Coming just days before the Presidential elections, it looks like yet
another attempt by the Mugabe regime to obstruct the conduct of the election and
the ability of the people of Zimbabwe to choose, freely and fairly, who should
lead them," he said.
A Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Straw would reiterate his view that there
should be no place in the Commonwealth for a country flouting its standards.
However, the UK was just one of over 50 member states and Zimbabwe was unlikely
to be thrown out after accepting Commonwealth observers, he said.
President Mugabe said last week that he would not have Mr Tsvangirai,
arrested ahead of the election despite allegations of the assassination plot. He
told supporters he knew of the alleged plot last year.
Story filed: 19:50 Monday 25th February 2002
Mr Mugabe's smears are a sign of desperation
26 February 2002
than two weeks before the voters of Zimbabwe go to the polls, it appears to be
dawning on President Robert Mugabe that brutal intimidation, censorship of the
media and rabid "anti-imperialist" bombast may not be sufficient to guarantee
him re-election. This is one inference – perhaps the most hopeful one – that can
be drawn from the arrest yesterday of the country's main opposition leader,
Mr Tsvangirai was detained and questioned for two hours, before emerging
from the police station to say that he had been charged with treason – a crime
which attracts the death penalty. That Mr Tsvangirai was released and may well
not be summoned to face the charges until after the election, if then, shows
that this was yet another example of the political harassment in which Mr
Mugabe's regime specialises. If the opposition leader is really such a threat to
the country's security as to warrant trial for treason, then it stands to reason
that his place is in prison, rather than out campaigning for election.
The evidence on which the charges are based seems equally spurious. It is
contained in a mysterious video broadcast on Australian television, which
purports to show Mr Tsvangirai in talks to arrange the "elimination" of Mr
Mugabe. The video, which bore all the hallmarks of having been heavily edited,
if not doctored, has been extensively replayed and reported in the
state-controlled Zimbabwe media. Again, the aim appears to be not to prevent Mr
Tsvangirai from competing for the presidency, but to discredit him with the
voters; to do everything to render the opposition unelectable, while still going
through the motions of an election.
Even this, however, may not be enough. According to unconfirmed reports
seeping out through unidentified "diplomatic sources", Mr Mugabe's internal
polling shows that despite all his precautions, he could yet lose on 9-10 March.
Anticipating this possibility, he is supposedly seeking refuge abroad. Such
information seepage could be deliberate disinformation – designed to scare
wavering voters who might have something to fear from a change of regime.
If genuine, though, these reportstestify to mounting desperation. The
glimmer of hope in Zimbabwe's pervasive political gloom is that the voters may
be courageous enough to scorn the coercion. The more desperate the actions of Mr
Mugabe, the more brightly that hope shines through.
Mugabe rival on treason charge
The head of Zimbabwe's opposition party faces charges of high treason, an
offence punishable by death, his lawyer said today.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
was questioned today by police over allegations that he plotted to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe ahead of the March presidential elections.
He was questioned for two hours in Harare before being told charges would be
pressed. He was then released and told he would be summoned at a later date, his
lawyer said. The arrest was widely seen as a move to frustrate the election
Tsvangirai has been leading Mugabe by at least 60 per cent in opinion polls
ahead of the elections, amid violence and widespread hunger caused by the policy
of stripping 4,500 white farmers of their land.
Police opened an investigation this month over video footage that was alleged
to show Tsvangirai engaged in a discussion about a possible "elimination" of
U.S. Labels Zimbabwe Treason Charges 'Intimidation'
February 25, 2002; 2:24 PM
WASHINGTON, Feb 25—The United States said on Monday that treason
charges against Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to be
government intimidation before presidential elections on March 9 and 10.
Tsvangirai, who has launched the toughest challenge to President Robert
Mugabe's 22-year rule of the former British colony, said police had charged him
with treason but that he still expected to run in the elections.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "This falls against a
backdrop of a well-documented campaign of violence and intimidation against the
"We are aware of no convincing evidence that there is any basis for these
"It appears to be another tragic example of President Mugabe's increasingly
authoritarian rule, his government's apparent determination to intimidate and
repress the opposition as we approach the ... presidential election," he
On Friday, the United States imposed a ban on U.S. travel by Mugabe and his
inner circle to protest an election campaign it called "marred by political
violence and intimidation."
President George W. Bush suspended entry into the United States of Mugabe
and senior members of his government and their families, and people who through
their business dealings benefit from the policies of the Zimbabwean
Zimbabwe votes: Mashonaland
The three rural Mashonaland provinces are strongholds of President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.
Here, Mr Mugabe's promise to distribute land to the landless is a vote-winner
as black subsistence farmers gaze across at the lush, lucrative farms of their
Main towns: Chinhoyi; Kariba; Bindura; Marondera
31/34 MPs from Zanu-PF
Mugabe's strongest area, he was born in Zvimba, near Chinhoyi
Centre of tobacco industry - big export earner
Bindura has been one of the most violent areas
Registered voters in 2000: 1.4million
Mashonaland Central leads the way in both support for Mr Mugabe and violence
against opposition activists.
The province hosts the notorious Border Gezi National Youth Training Centre
where unemployed youths from all over the country undergo three months of
training and later terrorise ordinary folk suspected of not supporting Zanu PF.
Zanu PF has been the aggressor in most incidences of violence but of late the
MDC has started fighting back.
Members of the public travelling in these provinces have resorted to
unwillingly buying Zanu PF membership cards to ensure their personal safety at
illegal road blocks mounted by supporters of Mr Mugabe.
They have also barred independent newspapers like The Daily News, The
Financial Gazette, and The Independent from rural Mashonaland.
Anyone seen reading these papers is automatically labelled an MDC supporter
and can pay dearly.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has demanded the
resignation of Archbishop Pius Ncube, for refusing to co-operate with the
government in upgrading a mission hospital - the missionary news service (MISNA)
During a rally on Thursday, Mugabe said the archbishop should
declare his political affiliation and stop frustrating government
Church commentators said the archbishop had not co-operated with
the government by upgrading Lupane mission hospital using church money, in the
run-up to the elections, as the credit for this would be claimed by the
Archbishop Ncube has fallen out with Mugabe by accusing the
government of corruption and abuse of power. MISNA said: "in his fight for
social justice, the Archbishop has been a towering figure in defending the
rights of the poor."
The Zanu-PF party is very unpopular in the
Matabeleland region, where Archbishop Ncube is head of the Bulawayo Diocese. It
lost almost all seats there during the 2000 parliamentary elections. At the time
Mugabe blamed the archbishop for the defeat.
Warning of unspecified
action against the archbishop if he made further political comments, the
Jesuit-educated president said: "We do not want to create trouble with men of
God but I think Archbishop Ncube has gone too far. If he continues with his
political stance we will challenge him as a politician."