The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Herald

40 law firms banned

Court Reporter
Forty law firms have been forbidden to practise after they failed to renew
their licences or were denied registration because their applications were

All lawyers or law firms in private practice must be registered and the
annual registration normally involves submission of an audit certificate on
funds held in trust for clients.

In a statement, the newly-elected president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe
Mr Joseph James said the law firms should be closed with immediate effect.

Mr James said that of the 40 firms some had not submitted applications to
renew their practising certificates.

Some, he said, had their applications rejected because the applications were
irregular and did not meet the laid down requirements.

"The said firms and or individuals are therefore not licensed to practise in
2004 and must close their firms immediately until they regularise their
position to the satisfaction of the council," said Mr James.

Mr James was elected the new president of the LSZ while Mr James Mutizwa of
Chihambakwe Mutizwa and Partners was elected vice-president.

The two were elected at a council meeting held on Monday last week and will
be in office for the next two years.

Mr James took over from former president Mr Sternford Moyo, a senior partner
at Scanlen and Holderness.

Mr Wilbert Mapombere who was the secretary-general of LSZ resigned in July
last year and is understood to have gone overseas.

Names of law firms struck off register

Law firm City/Town

1. Muchandibaya and Associates Harare

2. Mahamba Legal Practitioners Victoria Falls

3. Chadyiwa and Associates Harare

4. Chivaura and Associates Harare

5. Desai and Associates Harare

6. Dodo and Associates Harare

7. F. Kaneunyenye and Company Harare

8. Chigadza and Associates Rusape

9.Gwati and Partners Harare

10. Warara and Associates Harare

11. Makanza and Company Harare

12. N. H. Franco and Company Harare

13.Paul Connolly Victoria Falls

14.V. J. Davy Harare

15. Muskwe and Associates Harare

16.V. H. Fitzpatric Harare

17. Machuwaire Legal Practice Harare

18. Tinarwo and Partners Gokwe

19. Kwenda and Partners Harare

20. Chingeya-Mandizira Harare

21. Kosamu Zingoni Legal Practitioners Gokwe

22. Ziweni and Company Harare

23. Marimba and Partners Harare

24. Mutsemi and Associates Harare

25. Tevengerwei and Associates Masvingo

26. Charles Selemani: Herbert Chitepo Law Chambers Harare

27. C. Chinyama and Partners Chitungwiza

28. Chiwanza and Associates Murambinda

29. Shenje and Company Bulawayo

30. Atherstone and Cook Harare

31. Masendeke and Partners Harare

32. Mabulala and Motsi Harare

33. Mkuhlani Chiperesa Harare

34. Magoge and Partners Harare

35. Baera and Company Harare

36. Samp Mlaudzi and Partners Bulawayo

37. Majoko and Majoko Bulawayo

38. Chakanetsa and Associates Kwekwe

39. Christopher Mutsahuni Harare

40. Mandizvidza, Terera and Company Chivhu & Chitungwiza
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The Herald

Passport fees go up

Herald Reporter
THE Registrar-General’s Office is continuing to raise passport fees towards
full cost recovery although there is still a heavy subsidy from the
taxpayers on ordinary passports which can take months to process.

The following table shows the new fees advertised yesterday compared with
the old fees set in September last year.

New fees Old fees

Ordinary passport (adult) $30 000 $5 000

Ordinary passport (under 12 years) $15 000 $2 500

Executive passport 24 hours (adult) $350 000 $110 000

Executive passport 24 hours (under 12 years) $175 000 $40 000

Urgent 3 working days (adult) $300 000 $80 000

Urgent 3 working days (under 12 years) $150 000 $30 000

Urgent 7 working days (adult) $225 000 $60 000

Urgent 14 working days (adult) $110 000 $40 000

Urgent 14 working days (under 12 years) $55 000 $10 000

Emergency travel document $50 000 $2 000

All those applying for passports now have to pay a fee of $5 000 to get the

Several countries have passed laws that legally prevent the taxpayer from
subsidising the cost of a passport, arguing that this is a voluntary
document, not a requirement. Fees, converted at the auction rate, charged
for these full cost recovery passports of other countries are roughly in the
range of the 24 hours to seven days passports Zimbabwe’s Registrar-General’s
Office is now charging.

The RG’s Office has come under criticism for the congestion and its
inability to deal with the backlog that is preventing many ordinary citizens
from getting the travel document. The office has blamed the current backlog
on its inability to raise sufficient funds to meet the ever-increasing costs
of producing passports.

Speaking after the last increases, the Minister of Home Affairs Cde Kembo
Mohadi, said Zimbawbe was moving to the position where people have to pay
the full cost of producing a passport, with no subsidy from the taxpayer.
The minister said charging the full recovery cost should eliminate queues as
additional revenue would help in recruiting more workers and to import the
material needed for the production of the travel documents.

The RGs Office last month indicated that it had managed to clear the backlog
after it extended working days to six, including Saturdays, while an average
of 700 people were reported to be collecting their passports daily.

As an added measure the office had also suspended the issuing of urgent
passports from mid-December to mid last month to allow for the clearing of
the backlog.

Penalties charged on people who lose their passports have been increased
from $5 000 to $50 000 while those with defaced documents will now have to
pay $50 000 from $10 000.

Those who would want to have their children’s names added to their passports
will now pay $5 000 from $2 500, while people who would want to extend the
period for the use of their passports and endorsement will pay $5 000. A
penalty of $100 000 is now being charged for failure to declare a lost or
previous passport.
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New York Times

A Sham Trial in Zimbabwe

Published: February 2, 2004

Last week in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai testified in court to save his
life. The leader of Zimbabwe's democratic opposition, Mr. Tsvangirai is on
trial for treason, a capital crime. His real crime is that he is a political
opponent to President Robert Mugabe. He won 42 percent of the vote when he
ran against him in 2002, in an election marked by fraud and
government-sponsored violence.

Mr. Mugabe is using the courts to disable Mr. Tsvangirai and his party, the
Movement for Democratic Change. Mr. Tsvangirai is accused of plotting to
"eliminate" Mr. Mugabe, the evidence being a grainy, obviously doctored
videotape of a 2001 meeting between Mr. Tsvangirai and Ari Ben-Menashe, a
Montreal political operative the movement had hired as a lobbyist. The tape
shows Mr. Ben-Menashe saying repeatedly that he could "eliminate" Mr.
Mugabe. Mr. Tsvangirai then uses the word, but he has said in court that he
meant eliminate Mr. Mugabe from the 2002 presidential competition.

Mr. Ben-Menashe admitted in court that before the meeting he received a
$700,000 payment from Mr. Mugabe's government. Officials have also admitted
they paid Mr. Ben-Menashe to videotape the session. In other words, the case
looks like a setup. But Zimbabwe's courts are subservient enough that Mr.
Tsvangirai could be convicted.

If he is not, Mr. Tsvangirai has another indictment pending for treason,
based on his leadership of a national strike last year. Of the 57 members of
parliament who are in the Movement for Democratic Change, about 50 have been
charged with crimes. Mr. Mugabe knows he can keep his hold on power only
through intimidation and abuse. Zimbabweans are suffering record inflation
and unemployment, and many are going hungry. International aid donors charge
that the government withholds grain from areas that support the opposition.

In 1964, at the decapitation of South Africa's African National Congress
leadership known as the Rivonia trial, Nelson Mandela was charged with
sabotage. He was sentenced to life in prison and served 27 years, released
only when the apartheid government needed a negotiating partner. His lawyer,
George Bizos, today is lead counsel for Mr. Tsvangirai. The charges against
him, like those against Mr. Mandela, are an indictment not of the prisoner
but of the government that arrested him.
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Farm workers see no way out but Mozambique

Toronto Star (Canada)
published:Sun 1-Feb-2004

"The Mozambican visa is probably one of the most sought visas in Zimbabwe"

Harare - Outside a sculptural building housing the Mozambican embassy, a
small man with a telegenic smile and a pencil moustache uneasily watches the
snaking lineup of Zimbabweans in search of travel visas. The embassy won't
open at least until 8 a.m., but Themba Makosi joined the queue six hours
earlier. Astoundingly, he wasn't the first in line. "Some people have slept
here," he says. "The Mozambican visa is probably one of the most sought
visas in Zimbabwe." The ambition flickering in Makosi's eyes speaks volumes
about his resolve to leave the country. He is not alone. Emmanuel Mangwiro
is a devout Presbyterian who has never needed divine intervention more than
he does today as he takes his place in the queue. Determined to meet his
date with destiny, he is set to lodge his third visa application in two
months, following the rejection of previous submissions. "They told me I
needed an invitation letter from someone in Mozambique," he says. "I don't
have any relatives or friends living in Mozambique and that makes my case a
bit more difficult."

Mangwiro, 39, is hoping a reference letter written by ex-boss Brendan
Easton, a white farmer who taught him to grow and maintain orange
plantations eight years ago, will do the talking for him. Ultimately, a
little luck could well be on his side, since Easton is believed to be among
hundreds of Zimbabwean white farmers who have purchased land in Mozambique's
productive Manica province. "Someone told me he bought a farm in Manica and
I hope to locate him once I am there," says Mangwiro, who hails from
Lomagundi, 160 kilometres west of the capital. "We had a very good working
relationship and I am sure he will be willing to re-engage my services." He
and Makosi have precious little in common apart from their discontent. In a
country where unemployment is now hovering around 80 per cent, both men hope
a ticket to Mozambique will deliver them from a bleak future. Unlike Makosi,
the chain-smoking Mangwiro intends to leave his family behind. He has been
staying with his in-laws ever since self-styled "war veterans" - encouraged
by President Robert Mugabe to take over white-owned farms - invaded Easton's
land two years ago. "It's quite downgrading for me, because I have lived off
my wife's parents for the last two years," Mangwiro explains. "I haven't had
any kind of job since then and that's why I am quite happy to be leaving."

Zimbabwean white farmers have been flocking to Mozambique ever since the
fast-track land-resettlement program was initiated by Mugabe's government in
2000. There have been widespread reports that the farmers are arranging work
permits for their ex-employees, whose experience they dearly need. And says
Cremildo Rundo, deputy head of agriculture and rural development in Manica
province: "We see the Zimbabwean farmers as investors, not as refugees."
Nearly half of Zimbabwe's estimated 400,000 farm workers have been deprived
of their jobs and statistics released by the government show that only about
10 per cent of former farm workers are beneficiaries of the land-reform
program. Recent research by the Southern African Development
Community-affiliated Famine Early Warning Network noted that "even if the
rainfall situation turns out to be good, the critical shortage of inputs
would seriously affect Zimbabwe's 2003-04 agricultural season." The mounting
foreign currency shortages continue to limit the availability of critical
supplies of fuel, fertilizers and spare parts for the repair and maintenance
of agricultural equipment. An official with the Washington-based Refugees
International monitoring organization says a recent fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe found that "many former farm workers have been expelled from
communities in which they have attempted to resettle. Those who have been
lucky to be employed on resettled farms are paid less than $10 a month."

Neither has the road to recognition been uncomplicated for the beneficiaries
of the reform exercise. George Seremwe is not a veteran of the bloody 1970s
war of liberation, but through his government connections, he has managed to
acquire more than 300 hectares of land that once belonged to a white farmer.
Relishing the opportunity to concentrate on his new-found farming career, he
quit his job with a Netherlands-based U.S. consultancy company. But now he's
a worried man. "Last year," he says, "we brought some flowers to Amsterdam
and we were told the doors were closed for Zimbabwean products. The reason
behind the boycott is, of course, the land-reform exercise, which has
angered many market owners in Europe and North America. The boycott is bad
news to most of us because, in my case, I have parted ways with my bosses so
that I can fully participate in the development of agriculture in this
country. But how can you be a farmer without a market?"
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Two-thirds of Zimbabweans in need of food aid

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Monday February 2, 2004
The Guardian

The number of Zimbabweans needing food aid has increased to 7.5m, nearly
two-thirds of its population, according to a joint assessment by UN experts
and Zimbabwean officials published yesterday. It said there had been a
remarkable increase in the number of people going hungry since September,
when 5m were then considered in need of help.
International donors say they are scrambling to provide adequate supplies
and accuse President Robert Mugabe's government of refusing to admit that
the policy of widespread land seizures has reduced food production.

Mr Mugabe's government is withholding food from opposition supporters,
according to human rights groups - an observation confirmed by interviews
with hungry rural people. There are 5m in rural Zimbabwe who are dependent
upon international food aid.

But the new study also shows that hunger is now widespread in the cities as
well. It estimates that 2.5m urban dwellers cannot get enough food.

Urban Zimbabweans are also struggling to cope with an unemployment rate of
70%. Many people are finding it difficult to feed their families because of
food shortages and a 600% inflation rate.

"My pay is not enough to feed my children," a factory worker said. "Prices
go up every week yet my pay stays the same. We can barely afford one meal a
day. We haven't tasted meat for a month."

The price of Zimbabwe's staple, maize meal, has soared.

Last year the state grain monopoly sold a 50kg (nearly 9st) bag of maize for
Z$580 (40p). Now maize is generally available only from illegal traders who
sell a 50kg bag for as much as Z$40,000 (£28).

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is struggling to provide
enough food. According to Zimbabweans and human rights groups the government
routinely withholds supplies to rural people in southern Matabeleland and
many other areas which voted for the opposition in Mr Mugabe's disputed
presidential election in 2002.

But the WFP has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for not taking a
strong line against the political manipulation of food aid. WFP officials
say they have corrected any problems.

"We categorically deny that the government interferes with our food
distribution," its spokesman Richard Lee said.

"We determine who should get our assistance by collaborating with the entire
community and we never rely solely on a beneficiary list given to us by the

WFP's Zimbabwe representative, Kevin Farrell, has been widely criticised for
failing to say that the land seizures are the primary cause of the growing
food shortages.

"What we need are UN representatives who, without losing their diplomacy,
are prepared to tell it like it is," Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe
Independent, wrote in a recent column.

"Dancing around the problems in some misdirected concern for the sensitivity
of their hosts is simply going to compound official complacency and
discourage donors."

Even when nearly two-thirds of Zimbabwe's people are either hungry or
dependent upon international aid, the government has forced through
parliament a law to speed up land seizures and to take big sugar plantations
and more farms.

It has already taken more than 90% of the country's privately owned, mostly
white-owned, farmland.

Now it is preparing to seize the rest, according to agricultural experts.
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Zim Cut Out of C'wealth Training

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

February 1, 2004
Posted to the web February 2, 2004

Our Own Staff

Training opportunities for environmentalists, doctors, scientists and
journalists have been lost to Zimbabwe because of the government's
ill-considered decision to pull the country out of the Commonwealth, The
Standard has established.

Commonwealth Press Union officer Jane Rangeley, said it was no longer
possible for any Zimbabweans to seek scholarships or financial assistance
from the Commonwealth following Zimbabwe's withdrawal from the grouping.

"At the moment, with Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth, the opportunities for
training are not as great as they were for Zimbabweans including
journalists," said Rangeley.

"Much of our funding comes from Commonwealth sources. Let's hope that
Zimbabwe rejoins very shortly so that everyone can benefit again," she said.

Rangeley said it was unfortunate for the country's political leadership to
pullout of the grouping at the expense of the majority who have been
benefiting from the Commonwealth.

President Robert Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the 54-nation group in
December after hearing that Zimbabwe's suspension had been extended at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Sunday Mail (Zim)

      UZ looks beyond borders for staff

      By Morris Mkwate
      THE University of Zimbabwe intends to hire lecturers from some
universities in the Southern African region in order to help alleviate a
critical shortage that has seen Zimbabwe’s largest institute of higher
learning operating with only 580 lecturers out of a normal complement of 1

      In a bid to bring the high standards back, Government has also given
the UZ$12,3 billion to refurbish buildings and equipment that is breaking

      The acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ostin Chivinge, told The Sunday
Mail in an interview last week that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Levi Nyangura,
is already negotiating with universities in South Africa for some of their
lecturers to come and work at the university for a given space of time.

      He said some organisations approached by the university for assistance
had agreed to cover all expenses involved in engaging such lecturers. The
university would, however, be expected to pay professionals’ salaries.

      "We are employing part time lecturers’ assistants and we have gone out
of Zimbabwe to recruit people to come and teach for certain periods.

      "The vice-chancellor is currently negotiating with some universities
in South Africa in order to get lecturers to come to our university.

      "Already there are some Zimbabwean lecturers in the region who have
offered to come and teach, but only for a short while," said Prof Chivinge.

      Prof Chivinge conceded that the shortage of lecturers was adversely
affecting programmes at the university. He attributed the situation to poor
remuneration and working conditions.

      He said this was forcing the lecturers to seek employment out of the
country where the conditions and salaries were better.

      According to Prof Chivinge, there are only 580 lecturers left out of a
total of 1 200 required to run the various departments.

      He said the Department of Medicine was the worst affected. The
university currently has an enrolment of 12 000 students.

      In another interview, UZ Students Executive Council Information and
Publicity Secretary Hilary Kundishora said among a host of other problems
facing the students was the lack of modern books in the library.

      He said those in their final year were the worst affected.

      "If there is a shortage of lecturers in a particular department then
operations are definitely affected. I do not think this situation is
affecting UZ only, but probably other universities as well.

      "It is, however, hoped that more lecturers would be retained and
others will return to the university as the economy improves," said

      Meanwhile, the Government has allocated $12,3 billion to the
university for the refurbishment of its dilapidated infrastructure.

      Prof Chivinge said the rehabilitation programme, which is already
under way, is expected to be complete at the end of this year.

      He said work in the halls of residence is expected to be complete in
time for the new semester, which begins next month.

      "We have sourced funds from the Government for the renovation of all
infrastructure at the university. Work on the halls of residence and
sanitary facilities has already started.

      "We expect to have completed work in the halls by the time the
students come back while the entire exercise is expected to be through by
the end of the year," Prof Chivinge said.
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Sunday Mail (Zim)

      Shortage of labour hits farmers

      Chief Reporter Emilia Zindi
      A CRITICAL shortage of labour, compounded by former farm workers who
are no longer interested in working on the farms, is one of the biggest
problems facing new farmers.

      A survey carried out by The Sunday Mail last week revealed that one of
the major setbacks on new farms was shortage of labour.

      As a result, crops on most of these farms were growing under weed.
Farmers currently harvesting irrigated crops such as tobacco and maize are
also hard hit.

      To counter the problem, some farmers were being forced to travel to
rural areas in search of contract workers, thereby incurring new costs.

      The former farm workers who still live on compounds on the farms but
are not keen to work for the new farmers are surviving on either gold
panning or food aid from non-governmental organisations.

      At Botha Farm in Mhondoro, a new owner said he was getting his labour
from as far as Mvurwi.

      He said although there were more than 200 former workers still living
in the compound, they had refused to work for him.

      He said the former workers use electricity and water whose bills he
met. The workers had told him that they had no reason to work since they got
paid for doing nothing.

      On the other hand the NGOs distributing food gave the former workers
enough monthly rations.

      "They have challenged me as to why they should work when they got
everything. Most of them are into gold panning, forcing me to incur extra
costs by travelling as far as Mvurwi to get labour."

      He said the NGOs' food aid programmes should be revisited as they had
created a dependence syndrome among the former workers.

      The move could be perceived as a deliberate ploy to influence the
workers to shun jobs in the new farms. The director of one of the NGOs, Farm
Community of Zimbabwe, Mr Godfrey Magaramombe, said his organisation
distributed food to the needy on humanitarian grounds.

      He said prior to Government's land reform programme, the organisation
was involved mainly in the rural areas.

      Currently the NGO was distributing food in Mashonaland West, East and
Central provinces and Manicaland.

      Areas covered in Mashonaland West include Makonde, Chegutu, Kadoma and

      In Mashonaland Central the areas include Bindura and Mazowe while in
Manicaland the NGO was covering Mutasa. Mashonaland East had areas like
Goromonzi, parts of Murewa, Seke and Marondera benefiting. Mr Magaramombe
said the food aid programme was in two parts: the general ration and child
supplementary feeding.

      The general ration programme involved the distribution of 10 kg of
maize meal per member of a family, two kg of beans, one bottle of cooking
oil, salt and sugar, among other basics.

      Under the child supplementary feeding programme, children under the
age of five were given porridge from one feeding point.

      He said if the former workers were using the food aid programme as a
shield from working for new farmers, there was need for the new farmers to
identify which people living on the compound were not working with a view to
have them relocated.

      The director of Christian Care, Rev Forbes Matonga, said his
organisation did not single out any group of people when distributing food.

      His organisation catered for, among other needy people, the elderly,
terminally ill, the disabled and those who did not have a good harvest in
the previous seasons.

      He said former farm workers were catered for on the understanding that
they had been left with no jobs after the land redistribution exercise.

      But as it now emerged that they were turning down jobs on the new
farms, the organisation would revisit its programmes in the new farming

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My Constituency office, ie Harare North Parliamentary Constituency
Information Centre (PCIC), is now becoming fully operational at Mount
Pleasant Hall.  The telephone number (due to be installed this week) is
304289.  My assistant, Beauty Mark, is normally available there 8-5 Monday -
Friday, except her lunch hour - but sometimes she has errands to run, so
forgive us if we are not always there when you pass through.

As from this Thursday 5 February, I will normally be available at the office
for private consultation as follows:
Monday 5.00 - 7.00 pm
Tuesday 9.00 - 9.45 am
Thursday 11.00am - 1.30 pm
If you want to make sure you don't waste your journey, telephone first to

Please pass this information on to others in Harare North - print out and
put in a shop window, pop it through a neighbour's letter box, ask your
church to make an announcement/put on notice board, etc.  I am not able to
pay for the extensive publicity this requires, unfortunately!

I will make a report-back at MANDEL Training Centre (Mahacha Rm)
Tuesday 10 February
5.30 - 7.00 pm
ZRP informed

Once again, I request your assistance in spreading this information.
Best wishes

Trudy Stevenson MP
Harare North Constituency
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1: Loss Docs! This has become a phrase that sends shivers up most
people's spines. The thought of sitting down to screeds of paper work is
enough to drive any one crazy. But the reality of it all is, this will be
one of the most important documents you will ever have made. Once done, it
will change your whole outlook to what is happening around you. You will be
able to make decisions more positively knowing that you have an insurance
policy backing you up, ensuring your life's work has not been in vain.

The easiest thing in the world is to find an excuse not to do something.
"Who the hell is going to pay compensation"? - "You're wasting your time,
no-one gives a damn about 4000 white farmers"! And so it goes on, so many
people wallowing in a bath of self pity.  I don't know all the answers, but
there are people doing everything to help us, who do. Contact John Worsley
Worswick of JAG (011 612595), phone him or better still, go and see him.
Contact Allan Higgins (011 201050) or Graham Mullet of the Valuation
Consortium, the two organizations work in tandem, something most people do
not understand. JAG concentrate on the Consequential Losses, whilst
Valuation Consortium do the Fixed Assets. Confusing isn't it!

The hardest part of going for a long run, is putting your tackies on, and
that is exactly what the Loss Docs are about. Making up your mind you're
going to do it, and then thinking of where the hell to start. For a start,
you have to convince yourself that there is going to be compensation paid
and all the work ahead is not in vain, and that you get from the people I
have already mentioned. You then have to get the program from JAG, setting
out the format which every farmer will have to adhere to, thus making this
whole exercise computer manageable. Remember, circumstances are changing in
our lives daily and the details of further losses will have to be recorded
on the individual farmer's data base.

We have our own facilitators here in the Lowveld who have done the Loss Doc
course. In case you are not aware they are:- Steve Schwarrer, Lucy Shaw,
and Cathy Souchon. They will be able to advise how to get going, for a fee
of course, but you will have to do the leg work, so what's wrong with that,
cuttings finished!

Come on Lowveld, let's get out of this rut. Let's show that still have the
guts to fight on.  Stop whingeing about everything from the economy, the
politics, lack of this and that, hoping for miracles, that simply does not
happen, we have to make our own miracles. Just count ourselves lucky that
we still have lawyers, activists, reporters and the majority of citizens of
this country on our side. So let's get on with it.

Eric Harrison
Letter 2
----- Original Message -----
To: Jag ; Ben Freeth ; Chris Shepherd ; Madoda
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 9:21 PM
Subject: Happy Lobbying

Dear Mr. Taylor Freeme and Mr. Hawgood,
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to write to
Matabele farmers specifically.
There are a number of points brought up in your letter that really need
clarification, which Matabele farmers need specific answers to rather than
vague generalities.

*"Much of the criticism is not based on facts."
 - Please could you define the criticism that you refer to.
 -Please could you define the non facts that you are refering to.

*"decisions are being made on rumours, hearsay and misinformation."
- Please could you substantiate this statement with names, and incidents
giving times and dates.

*"For too long now, Matabeleland farmers have not been told the true role
of the CFU."
- Can one safely assume that this is a direct attack on the integrity and
open manner of Mac Crawford, Gavin Conolly and Ben Zietsman?
- Based on your policy to "work with government on the land reform
programme" (Cloete 2002) is it perhaps reasonable for farmers to accept
that CFU's role has been to mislead them into believing that they do have
representation, when in fact Your Council has watched in excess of 85% of
its membership get liquidated on the ground? CFU's role appears to have
been to implement Govt. policy and for its leadership to get high praise
from Mr. Chinotimba and Mr. Mpofu for their co-operation.

*"We believe that we can offer good representation for all farmers, whether
farming or not."
-Please could you give details of exactly how, and what you are going to do.
-Based on this "belief" could you give a detailed account of what you have
achieved over the past forty seven months, when you have both been members
of Council.

*"We wish to meet with small groups of farmers in Matabeleland where better
interactions can occur and the true facts be expressed."
-This the opposite of Alan Burl - where he drew all the farmers to the
Conference Centre to discuss the problems and he had nothing to hide from
anybody. Why not tell the world of these lovely new found words of yours
"TRUE FACTS." - the truth shall set you free.

If the facts are the facts - in a similar sense to the Ten Commandments -
why not publish them. e.g. you shall not steal (the homes & livelihoods of
300 000 agricultural workers and their families?), you shall not kill
(Martin Olds, Terry Ford, David Stevens?), you shalt not give false
testimony against your neighbour ( - Mr.M. Crawford, Mr.B. Zietsman and
Mr.G. Conolly?).

*"If our legal team advises that the Union should defend its members under
the CFU banner, it will do so."
-Who is "our legal team?"
-Do you instruct them?
-Have you sought their advice?

*"Our role is to LOBBY..."
- This is catchy new term like spin for the CFU; how much success is
Council having in the lobbying game?
-Can Council measure lobby successes?
-How correct is Winston Churchill's description of the CFU?
Current data indicates that Council's LOBBYING is trying to protect a very
small industry now. It failed to protect a huge majority. But teach a
parrot to say "LOBBY!" and bingo you have a leader.

*Who "suggested that some of these members get together and choose a
representative to come to Council?"
-Are you supporting a minority group because the democratically elected
leader (G.Conolly Esq.) is not prepared to be a lackey of Council

An answer to these queries could make a start on some true facts for
Matabele farmers.

Yours faithfully,

Letter 3
Dear Family and Friends,
Every day I travel 4 kilometres to take my son to school. Sometimes by car
and other times by bicycle we go along the road which has become a muddy
swamp with more potholes than flat surface as the rainy season progresses.
Richard's junior school is on the outskirts of the town and just beyond it
are smallholdings and plots which range in size from 4 to 22 acres.
According to our Ministry of Agriculture these are known as peri urban
plots and for the last couple of months there has much been much talk about
the government of Zimbabwe acquiring peri urban plots to make yet more land
available. The little smallholdings beyond my son's school are already
largely owned by black Zimbabweans and from these little pieces of land
come fruit, vegetables, chickens, eggs and an array of bagged and bottled
home produce. Every day I see these plots and smallholdings and wonder how
much longer they will be there as the government just goes on and on with
its seizure of land.

This week our parliament pushed through amendments to the land acquisition
act. A legal parliamentary committee had clearly stated that the amendments
were unconstitutional and urged against their adoption. The rights of
Zimbabweans were apparently of no consequence because Zanu PF ignored the
recommendations and adopted the amendments anyway. With President Mugabe's
signature, the amendments will become law. One of the amendments says that
the government no longer has to serve the land owner with a notice of
acquisition, now it just has to state its intention to take the land in the
government gazette. The first that the land owner or smallholder will know
about the loss of their home, livelihood and land will be when the men
arrive at the gate.

This latest amendment to Zimbabwe's land seizures makes the business of
both large and small scale food production absolutely pointless to title
deed holders. It now makes no difference if you have planted a hundred acre
field with tobacco or a ten acre smallholding with fruit trees. Either way
there is no guarantee that you will be there in four months or four years
time to harvest your crop, so why bother. A few months ago many traditional
communal farmers sat idly under trees because they could not afford to
plough their land and plant a crop. Those small farmers said it didn't
matter anyway because when they were hungry the international aid agencies
would come and feed them. Those same international aid organisations are
now saying that the numbers of people needing food in Zimbabwe has risen
from five to seven and a half million - this in a country which only has a
population of 11.5 million.

As every season comes to an end and still we are starving, there is always
someone else to blame. First it was the whites, then the west, then the
banks and now, according to ZBC TV, the fault is with the meteorological
department. This week ZBC reported that new farmers were accusing the Met
Dept of giving inaccurate weather forecasts which had resulted in farmers
growing the wrong varieties of crops. The only blame lies with our
government. Those same laws that they created to stop white Zimbabweans
from growing food, they can use against black farmers and plot holders who
do not support them. Until title deeds are again respected under law there
will be hunger and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. It is easy to apportion
blame and even easier to obey your own constitution Until next week, with
love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 31st January 2004.
Please note that I am currently unable to access mails sent to my Mango
address and have temporarily reverted to
My website address is : and my books on
the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are now available
outside Africa from: ; ; ; in Australia and New
Zealand: ; Africa:

Letter 4

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the highly respected CFU Trustee, John
Meikle, is intending to meet with the 'Matabele leadership' - bringing two
highly respected old men of agriculture with him.

If this is so, it would appear that Zimbabwe is possibly about to witness
its own equivalent of the Hutton report on finding out exactly what
actually happened with the BBC. John Meikle's good reputation goes well
ahead of him. Gavin Conolly's good reputation also goes well ahead of him.
And now, John Meikle's very repuation is to be attached to his findings on
the goings on in the organisation of which he is a Trustee. I respect him.
I can only assume that the deliberations of these three wise men will be
taken against the background of the lives of respected men such as Henry
Elsworth, Alan Dunne, Terry Ford, Charles Anderson, Martin Olds, David
Stevens and more recently Mr. Laing from Aberfoyle, and Peter Siversten of
Kwe Kwe.

With those facts in place it must also be noted that David Conolly is now
back with his children, having left Kay in hospital in South Africa, and
she is getting stronger every day.

The interesting facet to that whole incident is that David has even more
faith and sense of purpose, and there is a vigour and determination in his

If we are to be driven by greed and fear we have no chance. In fact, fear
is the corruption of faith because it means that we have now decided that
what we fear is far greater than our faith. Simple.

In a similar fashion to the Hutton report, hopefully the farmers, and
indeed all Zimbabweans, can be fully briefed by what we might call the
"Second Meikle Commssion" - telling us all what has actually happened at
the CFU. At the First Meikle Commission I did state my case to Meikle and
Hilton Barber and 'the boys' - "farmers regard the CFU as spare wheel - it
is somewhat foolish to be without one" - I said. What the three wise men
will have to decide is if the spare wheel was actually there when we needed
it, or was it flat or stolen, or was it it knowingly given to the devil?
Their findings will mean that their reputation and their faith are on the
line, and we must respect them accordingly.

Old Faithful.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
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