Zimbawe's crisis frightens away tourists
Mugabe's state - An industry that accounted for a big slice of the
economy is paralysed in the run-up to the presidential election
By a special
correspondent in Harare
Zimbabwe's draconian press reporting restrictions make it a crime for
unregistered foreign correspondents to report from the country. As a result, our
correspondent cannot be named.
03 February 2002
The young Japanese couple strolling down the streets of Harare were the
first tourists I had spotted in two days. They were the only survivors of a tour
group originally numbering 40 – all the others pulled out in fear of Zimbabwe's
political instability – and were well outnumbered by guards at their smart
"We wanted to see Victoria Falls," said the wife, who did not want to be
named. "It was great, but we find the city dirty. We're glad we're only staying
Gloriously ignorant of local politics, except that it had frightened off
their fellow travellers, they were eager to return to South Africa, the base for
their three-country lightning tour of southern Africa's top spots.
It is difficult to find a tourist in Zimbabwe, even though the government
claims 1.4 million visited last year. "I think there's one staying here," said
the manager of a hotel in the capital, "but I haven't seen him." Another
operator in the collapsing industry was furious with South African colleagues,
exclaiming: "They're bringing people to Victoria Falls without even admitting
it's in Zimbabwe."
Such economy with the facts is understandable in the weeks before next
month's presidential election. Travellers are quizzed at police roadblocks,
foreign cars are monitored and visitors hit by a wildly inflated exchange rate.
There are daily reports of rural lawlessness, political assaults and
Since President Robert Mugabe encouraged militants from his ruling Zanu-PF
party to begin seizing white-owned farms nearly two years ago, thousands of farm
workers have been made homeless and more than 100 people have died. Only nine of
them, however, were white farmers. The overwhelming majority have been
supporters of the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zimbabwe's tourism industry, which at its height accounted for 15 per cent
of the economy, has turned to the regional market in an attempt to stay afloat.
"We only get South Africans these days," said a bed-and-breakfast owner in
Harare. "We used to be packed with Dutch and Germans, and we'd get two or three
big adventure groups a week. We've only had one this year."
Nor is the atmosphere likely to change before the elections on 9 and 10
March. On Friday Mr Mugabe set the tone for his campaign with an opening speech
in which he lambasted the opposition, Zimbabwe's tiny white minority and
Britain, the former colonial power. The day before, the legislature passed a
bill which finally stamps out press freedom and threatens unaccredited
correspondents like myself with two years in jail.
This leaves the field clear for newspapers like the state-owned Herald,
which claimed recently that tourism was "a shining beacon", despite "incessant
negative publicity by the international press". But tourists continued to arrive
from Britain and Ireland, it said in another report – 131,000 in the first nine
months of last year. "Nationals of the UK, which has been at the forefront of
demonising the country and President Mugabe in particular, have ignored the
reports of alleged 'violence and lawlessness'," it claimed.
For the bold, Zimbabwe is still a wonderful place to be, but at the Leopard
Rock hotel in the Vumba mountains, there were more gardeners than players on the
perfectly manicured golf course. The hotel contained only a conference group of
government employees and a farming family ejected from their land.
"Please tell people to come back," said Emmerson Sharwu, a curio seller
near Nyanga. "There's no one passing, and we're starving." With the European
Union having set this weekend as the deadline for the imposition of sanctions
and the Commonwealth also under pressure to take action, it was hard to explain
to him that the tourists were unlikely to return any time soon.
Violence and hunger stalk Zimbabwe poll
By Brian Latham in Harare and Philip Sherwell
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, kicked off his
election campaign to oust President Robert Mugabe yesterday in an impoverished
rural town where government supporters last week attacked women in a food
The Movement for Democratic Change is bracing itself for violent attacks as
Mr Tsvangirai begins a series of rallies at flashpoints across the country. He
abandoned a recent meeting in Bulawayo after his supporters were ambushed by
youth militia deployed by the ruling Zanu-PF party.
He took to the election trail this weekend in Gwanda in southern
Matabeleland. In the same town last week, starving local women had been waiting
patiently for a maize delivery when self-styled war veterans arrived, beat them
up and demanded the food for themselves.
Mr Tsvangirai moves on today to Mutare in the eastern Highlands, a town
where Zanu-PF mobs have been terrorising MDC followers. Mr Mugabe, who faces the
imposition of European Union sanctions this week, launched his campaign on
Friday in typical fiery style, lambasting Britain and damning the MDC as white
Shops have run out of the staple diet of maize meal in recent days as the
food crisis became the latest political battleground ahead of the presidential
poll on March 9 and 10. Cooking oil, milk, margarine and sugar are also
The long-threatened food shortages - the result of Mr Mugabe's land-grab
policy combined with drought and a currency crisis - have brought hunger to a
country once known as Africa's bread basket.
Farmers maintaining stocks of maize to feed workers and livestock have been
raided by the state-owned Grain Marketing Board. Protected by armed police, its
officials have confiscated more than 50,000 tons from farms and
At least 500,000 of the country's 12 million people face starvation unless
maize is imported, according to regional famine forecasters.
Crowds follow maize lorries through Bulawayo, and the infrequent deliveries
to supermarkets end in mini-riots. Indeed, some store owners are refusing to
accept maize deliveries as they cannot control the crowds.
Mr Mugabe's aides blame the shortages on deliberate stockpiling by white
farmers and economic sabotage by their enemies abroad.
The reality is starkly evident on the fertile highveld north of Harare.
Fields in which the maize crop should be chest-high at this time of year are
instead overgrown in grass and weeds as land seized by Mr Mugabe's regime goes
The silos on the outskirts of the farming town of Banket, built to hold
80,000 tons of maize, are less than a tenth full. "As farmers, we're suffering,"
said a white landowner whose farm has been occupied.
"But it's even worse for the black population. Many are already hungry.
Soon they'll be starving."
Mugabe's final, final warning
The Commonwealth's inability to censure Zimbabwe brings the organisation's
purpose into question, argues Sunder Katwala
Sunday February 3, 2002
The Commonwealth's latest final warning to Zimbabwe - just mustering enough
unity to show President Mugabe another yellow card - will have little impact on
the Harare regime's pre-election plans. But it does call into question the
Commonwealth's value in international affairs, as well as the risks run by other
African states in averting their eyes from a crisis which could badly damage the
The case for suspending Zimbabwe is clear-cut. Commonwealth
leaders have spoken proudly of its flagship Harare Declaration, agreed at a
summit in the Zimbabwean capital in 1991. This commits Commonwealth members to
democracy, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
The ministerial action group which met earlier this week is charged with
policing "serious and persistent" breaches of those principles. Has President
Mugabe yet to demonstrate sufficient persistence in his two-year campaign of
suppressing opposition, subverting the rule of law and unleashing a wave of
political violence which has left more than 100 people dead?
Mugabe has, though, been willing throughout to give a series of assurances
of future good behaviour. This strategy has allowed him to approach next month's
presidential elections unscathed. Yet the Commonwealth secretary-general, Don
McKinnon, still wants to play the game; he argues that, had Zimbabwe been
suspended previously, the Commonwealth would lack leverage today.
Speaking after Wednesday's Commonwealth communiqué expressed "deep concern"
that Mugabe's actions are "contrary to the Commonwealth's fundamental political
values", the South African deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, argued that the
question of Zimbabwe's suspension is "premature". This reflects a very
Commonwealth way of doing things, in which the classic response to a crisis is
to prevaricate and delay.
A Zimbabwe suspension would have broken new ground because previous
Commonwealth suspensions - of Abacha's Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and those
currently in place against Pakistan and Fiji - have followed military coups, to
express disapproval of a regime which has already seized power.
A rigged Zimbabwean election could elicit a similar response, but it is a
mistake to wait until ballot boxes have been stuffed and miscounted. Immediate
suspension would have been largely symbolic, but would still have indicated
concerted EU-US-Commonwealth pressure.
Suspension after a fixed election would be almost entirely futile. To
protect democratic freedoms, the Commonwealth needs to act earlier.
A 1999 proposal from the ministerial action group, requesting a more
explicit remit to protect central elements of the democratic process, was
deferred for two years as part of the wholesale review of the Commonwealth's
future role, which is due to report to the Brisbane heads of government meeting
The Commonwealth has always seemed an institution in search of a role: in
the initial flurry of post-cold war optimism, democracy as an animating
principle offered a promising way to build on anti-apartheid campaigning.
Despite many breaches in practice, democratic progress in the 1990s was marked
across the Commonwealth and it was able to claim to be a pioneer among
international organisations - would the United Nations or the various regional
organisations throw members out on democratic grounds?
The Zimbabwe crisis threatens to derail this agenda; there is little point
in the Commonwealth if it is simply a smaller but equally divided version of the
Repairing this rift requires concerted international pressure on Zimbabwe,
with African governments ready to take responsibility for the crisis. It is not
a black versus white issue - though the international media has sometimes fallen
into accepting President Mugabe's "black government against white farmers"
It is primarily a question of political violence against all opposition -
in politics, trade unions, the media, in the cities and on the farms. African
leaders have been privately livid with Zimbabwe. But they have been muted in
their public criticism and actions.
South Africa can bargain with real leverage over the Zimbabwean economy and
the country's electricity supply. And it is the African nations who have most to
lose if they do not intervene. The impact of the crisis threatens to go far
beyond Zimbabwe, not just because of the direct trading and humanitarian impacts
of a collapsing Zimbabwean economy and deepening food crisis. Africa also
suffers from the "CNN factor", where all the world sees is a constant cycle of
war, famine and disaster.
The initial promise of an "African renaissance", made by the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, was an important one. But the claim that Africans can
take the lead in developing solutions for their own continent cannot survive if
Africa's post-colonial elites stick to a "no criticism of despots in public"
line and rely on the behind-the-scenes diplomacy which is failing in
Nobody can confidently predict the final outcome in Zimbabwe. Optimists may
hope that Mugabe can still lose an election, however unfairly fought. African
states may begin to apply pressure at the eleventh hour. But Mugabe has the
army's strong support. If he simply declares himself the winner, domestic
protest and international isolation after the event may have little effect.
Zimbabwe's people are looking to the international community for help in
protecting their democratic rights; they may find we are relying more on luck
than judgement now.
· Sunder Katwala is internet editor of The Observer and author of
Reinventing the Commonwealth (The Foreign Policy Centre).
Bishop Tutu: "I don't know what went wrong" in
NEW YORK, Feb 2 DPA|Published: Sunday February 3, 11:18 AM
South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu professed his bewilderment
today about the attacks and seizures of white-owned farms in neighbouring
"(President) Robert Mugabe was one of the brightest stars in our
firmament," Tutu said of the Zimbabwe leader's role in leading the revolution
against formerly white-ruled Rhodesia.
Mugabe, when he took power, talked about reconciliation of the people, Tutu
said at a World Economic Forum press conference in New York.
Then he added: "I don't know what went wrong there. ... It is
Tutu suggested that pressure might be brought to bear on Mugabe by other
leaders in southern Africa.
"I think we need something more forthright from his peers," he said.
But the archbishop also added some comments to put the international
criticism of Mugabe into perspective, contending, "We still do in a sense live
in a racist society globally ... What happens in one part of Africa reflects
badly on all of Africa."
Tutu argued that, by contrast, when something bad happens in Bosnia, the
world doesn't blame Britain or the United States.
But he concluded his response by saying, "If something can be done to pull
him (Mugabe) back from the brink, then yes".
The pointed language used by Tutu took many forum observers aback,
particularly when contrasted with the cautious and often evasive responses that
President Thabo Mbeki has given to events in Zimbabwe.
At the press conference, Tutu also summarised the advances made in his own
formerly apartheid-ruled country in human and ethnic rights.
He concluded his remarks by saying that if it could happen in South Africa,
then "the hope is that it can and should happen in other parts of the
PAC says all is well in Zimbabwe
Jimmy Seepe and Mpumelelo Mkhabela
The Pan Africanist Congress, once a strong ally of president Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, yesterday came back from a fact-finding mission in
Zimbabwe, giving the process in that country a thumbs-up and labelling reports
of attempts by Mugabe to stifle democracy in the run-up to the elections as
The PAC delegation of its leader Stanley Mogoba, secretary-general Thami ka
Plaatjie and Maxwell Nemadzhivhanani returned to the country yesterday echoing
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad's statement that Mugabe was committed
to ensuring free and fair elections.
The delegation met with Mugabe, other Zanu-PF leaders as well as the leader
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The PAC leadership said they received a commitment from Mugabe and
Tsvangirai that the March election outcome will be respected in an effort to
The PAC visit came shortly after Pahad had told journalists there was no
reason to doubt the March elections would be free and fair in Zimbabwe.
Pahad had said Mugabe had already kept some of the promises he had made to
the Southern African Development Community leaders last month, like allowing
international observers to monitor next month's elections.
This comes at a time when international pressure is mounting against Mugabe
following the passing of a controversial media bill which requires foreign
journalists to get permission to cover elections.
Ka Plaatjie and Nemdzhivhanani said the purpose of the visit was aimed at
getting a first hand account of the situation in Zimbabwe and talking with both
Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Both the MDC and Zanu-PF leaders are said to have blamed each other for the
intimidation, however the two expressed confidence the situation was getting
Both Plaatjie and Nemadzhivhanani said although they were told of
widespread intimidation, they "did not see any sense that the situation is
getting out hand and there was general instability in the country."
Mugabe is said to have repeated his concern at what he saw as growing
interference by foreign countries, especially the European Union and the
Commonwealth, in attempting to influence the election process in the country.
Plaatjie said during their meeting with Tsvangirai, they expressed the
PAC's concern about the MDC's close links with certain parties and agencies in
He however said Tsvangirai assured them the MDC had not sought the
assistance of any South African political party or agency.
"Mugabe expressed concern that there were people either in South Africa,
Britain and other European countries who are currently training MDC members to
try and destabilise the country after the elections."
Anti-Mugabe sanctions a lesson to all despots
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
February 2, 2002
Robert Mugabe is an oddity. The octogenarian politician thinks no one
else is fit to rule Zimbabwe. He is also a racist. He wants to win the next
election by stirring up racial hatred by claiming that blacks are superior to
Mugabe's antiquated political stand is a challenging philosophy on race
relations in Africa. It is coming at a time when Africans seem disinclined to
delve deeply into the divisive issues, particularly ones that might lower the
generosity of donor countries.
Mugabe was a great freedom fighter. When he took over power the world
witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the continuing struggle for equal rights for all
The critical fact of Zimbabwean life was basic integration. The current
hostility against the whites seems to be entirely different from the hopeful
comraderie black and white idealists hoped to establish in a free Zimbabwe. What
Mugabe is establishing in his country is reflecting a failure in his leadership,
a backward step that the world has to see as such. He is a poor nation builder.
One never builds a nation by flexing political muscle and agitating for black
political power and exclusive land ownership rights. Yet Mugabe is doing exactly
that. Not for the sake of Zimbabweans, but for the sake of the perpetuating
As a freedom fighter he led assault against white racism, which cut off the
bottom rungs of the economic ladder for millions of Africans. Then he championed
the cause of the right to earn an honest living for all Zimbabweans.
Today, Mugabe seems to want none of that. All he wants is to take over
"white land stolen" from blacks. And he does not want the world to be told
anything about it, so he muzzles the Press.
The political challenge in Zimbabwe raises questions for journalists. If
they are to hold up their end of democratic dialogue during this crucial time
then they must be allowed to participate in the discourse determining the future
of that country.
If Mugabe does not agree by tomorrow to grant full access for observers and
media during the March 9-10 presidential elections, then he faces sanctions from
the European Union. The punitive measures taken by the 15 members of the
European Union should be a lesson for any other African dictator who plans to
remain in power through election rigging.
Making the announcement in Brussels, the British Foreign Secretary, Jack
Straw, used a no-nonsense language, which asked Mugabe to "call off the thugs
and allow the media to operate freely and let the people of Zimbabwe make a
Mr Straw told Mugabe he and his key ministers would pay the price if they
failed to do so. According to the British Guardian newspaper the sanctions will
involve a travel ban on 20 top individuals, including Mugabe and his family, an
assets freeze; and a ban on export from EU of arms and dual use equipment that
could be used for internal repression.
Apart from that a number of international auditing firms operating in
southern Africa have started investigating Robert Mugabe's assets and those of
Ed Royce, the Chairman of the African Committee of the United States House
of Representatives, says top Zimbabwean politicians and army officers are
sending money to safe heavens in Europe and United States. They are spending
freely abroad while the country's economy is deteriorating. The national
treasury is being looted. Profits from highly expensive minerals from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mugabe has sent an army " to keep peace",
are being siphoned abroad in private and personal bank accounts of Mugabe and
his friends. Britain and United States are believed to have begun a joint effort
to identify the stolen money, which amounts to millions of dollars.
What Mugabe promised to end when he took over power in Zimbabwe was racial
discrimination in employment, housing and other social aspects of life. Today he
says that his government intends to practice racial discrimination in land
ownership with the blacks as the bosses.
It may be true, as it can be verified by history, that the white people of
Zimbabwe have been unfriendly, hostile and even aggressive to black people for a
long time. Ian Smith organised a white political opinion that represented this
hostility and expressed it through what was then known as the Unilateral
Declaration of Independence.
The Ian Smith type of racism was wrong; but to practice it in reverse in
which there is hate campaign against whites is also wrong. Mugabe is doing just
that. Not to help the black people but to retain power.
The methods he is using to achieve his goals are unfair and the people seem
to be incapable of doing anything about it. People feel without their consent,
without their inside knowledge, and certainly against their will, their country
is being turned into what they are cannot accept.
The social grievances, which provoke anti-Mugabe feelings, threaten to be
worse before a solution is found. And Mugabe is planning a racial civil war in
his country. Yet Zimbabweans know they are going to hear a lot more as the
election looms. Incidents of racial violence against whites will multiply.
Two major evils seem to be systematically used to make sure Mugabe will
always rule. First, land settlement has been so politicised and is used to
victimise white Zimbabweans to win Mugabe black votes.
The second evil is the concentration of power in a few hands among people
close to Mugabe. The power is so immense that it gives the group limitless
authority to bring compulsion to bear on ordinary citizens.
The events in Zimbabwe make it especially incumbent on us in this country
to penetrate beyond mere words when we talk of human rights. We have to examine
the assertions made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The threat by EU to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe shows that the democratic
world has a stake in Africa and the future relationship between Africa and the
rest of the world will depend on our interpretation of democracy.
'Mugabe Has Militarised the Election Campaign' Say
February 1, 2002
Charles Cobb Jr. and Akwe Amosu
A "system of semi-military command centers" has been set up at both
national and provincial levels in Zimbabwe in order to ensure victory for
President Robert Mugabe in forthcoming presidential elections next month,
according to Mark Chavanduka, editor of the independent Zimbabwe Standard
He says the structures group representatives from the army, the police, the
Central Intelligence Organization, Zanu-PF Youth and the militias: "Basically
what they are doing is mobilizing, through violence, support for Zanu-PF in the
Zimbabwean political scientist Eliphas Mukonoweshuro agrees and claims
"some 18,000 soldiers in civilian clothes...are campaigning on behalf of the
ruling Zanu-PF party"; he describes the system as "an official infrastructure of
violence that permeates all the corners of Zimbabwe," making free and fair
Mukonoweshuro, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, and
Chavanduka, who was tortured and put on trial for treason in January 1999 for
reporting that military officers were plotting a coup, arrived in the United
States this week to press for increased governmental and non-governmental
pressure on Zimbabwe's government.
President Robert Mugabe faces a challenge on March 9-10 from Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a bitter
political battle which has seen a rising tide of violence and a disastrous
economic collapse. While Zanu-PF sees the battle in terms of an argument over
whether agricultural land should be taken from white farmers and given to black
Zimbabweans, the MDC and other critics say the land issue is being used by
President Mugabe to whip up support and justify dubbing his opponents
Both Chavanduka and Mukonoweshuro were sharply critical of legislation,
passed by the Zimbabwe parliament Thursday, that tightens government control
over media and specifically prohibits criticism of President Robert Mugabe.
"There can't be a fair election where one of the candidates is immune from
criticism," says Chavanduka. "How can any other candidate present his
credentials without attacking what he perceives to be the shortcomings of the
They expressed disappointment with the response of regional governments in
Southern Africa. There has been "mind-boggling solidarity" with the Mugabe
government, said Mukonoweshuro. South Africa in particular has been "a major
Asked why President Mbeki was reluctant to pressure Zimbabwe, Mukonoweshuro
suggested that he might fear a "demonstration effect".
Confronted by a powerful trade union confederation in Cosatu and a former
labour leader with strong grassroots support like Cyril Ramaphosa waiting in the
wings, Mukonoweshuro argues, Mbeki may not want to do anything that would help
the MDC, which is itself headed by a workers' leader with strong union support:
"I think it is in Mbeki's interest that the alternative in the offing in
Zimbabwe is not viable," Mukonoweshuro said.
The failure of Commonwealth foreign ministers meeting in London Wednesday
to suspend Zimbabwe also angers the two men. "I think the Commonwealth is a
toothless bulldog," says Mukonoweshuro. Commonwealth ministers have expressed
the hope that there is still a chance for a valid election. But Mukonoweshuro
says this is wishful thinking.
"We are seeing a militarisation of the election campaign structure," he
says: "What is in place is not civilian structures but military command
structures; for the opposition to penetrate the rural areas, it would have to
meet those structures with similarly militarized structures. And of course you
are describing a civil war if that happens."
So is the MDC preparing to respond that way?
No, he says, it is not. "They don't have the resources and they don't
believe in violent confrontation of that nature. But of course, the patience of
ordinary civilians on the ground is wearing thin. You know, they are beginning
to organize now to resist so that their neighbourhoods are not terrorised by
these state sponsored thugs."
Mukonoweshuro and Chavanduka claim there is considerable dissatisfaction
with Mugabe within his own party. But they believe that it is not the elected
party politicians who are driving policy. "It is the non-elected [directly
appointed] MPs who have been made ministers [without] any democratic credentials
- the minister of information, of agriculture, of justice; those are the people
now with Mugabe's ear," says Mukonoweshuro. "They do not have any other
constituency except Mugabe himself and they remain in power at Mugabe's
But if other elements in the party are not happy with the present course of
events, why aren't they speaking out? Professor Mukonoweshuro believes ministers
in the government are fearful about how they would fare under a new political
dispensation, having enriched themselves in office. "A new government coming to
power might not necessarily pursue these people but that doesn't stop civilians
from seeking justice in the courts."
The army too has "benefited immensely from Mugabe's patronage," adds
Chavanduka, particularly from business dealings in the Democratic Republic of
Congo. But, he believes, they too realize he is a liability. All the army wants,
Chavanduka says, is a guarantee that there will be no retribution against Mugabe
should he lose the election.
Chavanduka and Mukonoweshuro describe the immediate future as
"As long as Mugabe will have stolen the election and declares himself the
president of Zimbabwe it will be a contested legitimacy. We are likely to see
chronic instability, untold suffering, substantial departure of skilled
manpower; we are likely to see the country being reduced to the level of peasant
subsistence." said Mukonoweshuro.
What both men hope is that the U.S. and the international community can
"find appropriate methods of engaging the Zimbabwe government to stop the
catastrophe that is likely to happen in the event of a contested election."
Specifically, they are backing the recently approved "smart sanctions" targeting
high-level Zimbabwe officials. "It is much better than imposing blanket
sanctions on Zimbabwe."
Zanu PF targets Harare’s low density suburbs
By Chengetai Zvauya
ZANU PF has booked hundreds of war veterans into
Harare hotels in preparation for a blitz on the city’s low density suburbs, from
tomorrow, The Standard has learnt.
Investigations by The Standard have revealed that the war veterans were
last week booked into four city hotels in the avenues area.
War veterans secretary-general Andy Mhlanga confirmed that war veterans
were occupying hotels where “they are holding seminars”.
“This is not the first time that war veterans are staying in hotels. We
have been booked into hotels on many occasions for seminars and workshops. We
are getting ready for the elections and we need to educate our members on how to
campaign peacefully, we also need to give them political lessons,” said Mhlanga.
This latest move by Zanu PF is bound to alarm low density residents who
were last week warned of a door to door blitz by war veterans and
government-trained youth militias. Since last month, the terror campaign by Zanu
PF militants has been confined to rural areas and peripheral high density
suburbs, but word is that the campaign is to spread to the low density suburbs
Zanu PF sources last week informed The Standard that they would start
raiding the conservative low density areas from tomorrow, starting with
Marlborough and Mt Pleasant.
Reports also say that Eastlea residents were last week terrorised by ruling
party hooligans who also beat up anyone they found outdoor after 6.30pm.
During their blitz on the low density suburbs, as they have done elsewhere,
the militia and war veterans plan to ask people to produce Zanu PF party cards
and to force them to attend political rallies to be organised in the respective
US and UK name targeted leaders
By Mark Chavunduka in Washington
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe heads an
initial list of 20 Zimbabwean leaders—three of whom have since died—whose assets
the United Kingdom and the United States are seeking to identify and seize under
a process of targeted sanctions, The Standard has confirmed.
Investigators in the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the United States
have begun working to track down assets held by the leaders as part of plans to
introduce ‘smart sanctions’ targeted at individuals and their immediate
families, rather than impose blanket punitive measures which would be hurtful to
The US House of Representatives recently passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and
Economic Recovery Act, which enables the sanctions to be applied specifically to
targeted leaders. The punitive measures will also affect their children in
colleges or schools overseas.
Topping the list of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) issued in the Anti
Money Laundering Guidance Update, Issue 3, of the Joint Financial Crimes Unit,
is Robert Gabriel Mugabe, followed by his two vice-presidents, Simon V Muzenda
and Joseph Msika.
Others are John Nkomo; Patrick Chinamasa; Stan Mudenge; Simba Makoni;
Sydney Sekeramayi; Swithun Mombeshora; Joseph Made; Ignatius Chombo;
Stamps; Herbert Murerwa; Samuel Mumbengegwi; Francis Nhema; Joyce Mujuru; July
Moyo; Nicholas Goche; Jonathan Moyo; Grace Marufu Mugabe; and one W Chikukwa
(listed as assistant defence adviser—Zimbabwe).
Conspicuous by his absence from the list is youth, gender and employment
creation minister, Elliot Manyika, who is in charge of the training of the youth
militias currently terrorising innocent citizens. Shuvai Mahofa, his deputy, was
also not included and neither were the country’s 10 provincial governors.
Although nothing can be done about the three deceased government officials
listed, the punitive measures to be taken will still affect their assets and
families as they are listed as PEPs. These are former defence minister, Moven
Mahachi; former youth development minister Border Gezi and Chenjerai
Hunzvi—listed simply as ‘ally of President Mugabe’. The former minister of
industry and international trade, Dr Nkosana Moyo, is also on the list.
Says the JFSC: “Regulated institutions in both Britain and the United
States are being asked to review their files to determine whether or not they
have any connection with any of the named individuals. They will then wish to
satisfy themselves that they know the customers concerned, including proper
knowledge of the source of funds, and have taken any appropriate action to
address any reputational risks that may arise.
“Should any checks give rise to any suspicion as to the legitimacy of the
funds, the institution should review its relationship with that customer and
make any such suspicious transaction reports to the Joint Financial Crimes Unit
A senior US government official told The Standard on Friday that although
he had no personal knowledge of assets already identified, there were
indications that substantial investments were held by Zimbabwean officials.
Observers say proof of ownership could be difficult to establish as assets could
be hidden several layers beneath ‘shell’ companies.
Independent investigations by The Standard have also revealed that several
of Mugabe’s cabinet ministers have children studying overseas and who are
therefore bound to be affected if smart sanctions are imposed by the US and the
Those with children overseas include: Sekeramayi—UK; Chombo—UK;
Mombeshora—UK; Mudenge—UK; Mumbengegwi—UK; Edward Chind-ori-Chininga—USA;
Mujuru—Switzerland and UK; Manyika—UK; Murerwa—UK; Peter Chanetsa—UK; Josaya
Hungwe—UK; Shuvai Mahofa—UK; Cephas Msipa—USA and David Parirenyatwa—USA.
Discontent in army over pay hikes
By Farai Mutsaka
THERE is simmering discontent within the Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) over government’s decision to restrict the recent 100%
salary hike to infantry soldiers, The Standard has learnt.
Sources within the army told The Standard last week that members from
specialist units such as engineers and doctors were demanding to know why they
had not benefited from the 100% windfall.
Soldiers from specialised units say they were excluded from the huge hike
because they could not be relied on to campaign for the Zanu PF candidate,
“Those awarded the money are the ones who can be relied on to prowl the
streets for MDC supporters and to then beat them up. We cannot do that and
that’s probably why we were left out,” said a specialist in the army.
Added a medical doctor in the force: “We believe we were discriminated
against because we don’t fit into the scheme of the presidential campaign. Guys
in the infantry are being enticed to campaign for Zanu PF by being given these
huge increments. If indeed the increments were genuine, then why were they not
awarded to everyone else? We are very bitter about this discrimination.”
The increments were awarded as a result of a new salary regime called the
Military Salary Concept which seeks to empower general duty soldiers ahead of
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) spokesman, Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni,
dismissed the specialists’ complaints saying the new salary structure had been
under negotiation since 1989. He said the complaints emanated from specialists
who were uncomfortable with earning salaries similar to those of general duty
The recent salary increases had resulted in unskilled soldiers being paid
more than skilled workers, the specialists complained.
“Our understanding all along was that people were paid according to their
brains. Now it appears people are being paid more for their ability to beat up
people on the streets. That is a sad situation,” said a source.
Said Colonel Gatsheni: “It appears here, that the complaint of the so-
called specialised units is not about the absence of salary increments but about
the closeness of salaries now received by a general duties member and a
The ‘specialists’ still enjoy better allowances than the
general duties member and as a result, still earns a more superior salary.
“The complaints raised by certain serving members in the ZDF are a result
of a new salary regime which has been under negotiation since about 1989. In the
interim, the ‘specialists’ have had their increments. In essence, the concept is
meant to remunerate the servicemen according to their ranks and responsibilities
in the forces, first and foremost. In addition, allowances are also paid in
consideration of the nature of duties the incumbent undertakes,” said Gatsheni.
Army settles on Bennett’s farm
By Farai Mutsaka
THE Zimbabwe National Army has permanently stationed a
group of soldiers at MDC MP for Chimanimani Roy Benne-tt’s farm to intimidate
workers and supporters of the opposition in the area, The Standard has learnt.
Bennett confirmed to The Standard on Friday that his workers were now
living in fear because of the soldiers who have mou-nted a terror campaign on
the farm and surrounding areas.
A group of about 50 soldiers have been at the MP’s Charleswood farm since
October last year. They are camped at Charleswood Primary School.
Workers and villagers living in surrounding areas told The Standard that
the soldiers harassed farm workers and villagers suspected to be opposition
members. The soldiers, said the villagers, gave Zanu PF supporters resettled on
part of the farm a free hand to harass opposition supporters.
Despite being a rural area, Chimanimani, like most rural areas in
Manicaland, is an
“I did not invite them (the army). They are arresting my workers, beating
them up and threatening them. The situation is bad. I have reported these things
to the police but they have not done anything,” said Bennett.
Charleswood Farm manager, Rocky Stone, said when the soldiers arrived at
the farm, they claimed they wanted to maintain peace at the farm but were
fanning violence by siding with resettled farmers.
“They pitched up last year and introduced themselves to us saying they were
here to keep the peace, but they have not been doing that. They are now helping
themselves with the fish in our dams and are encouraging the settlers to do the
same. They are harassing anyone wearing MDC t-shirts, but Zanu PF supporters are
free to wear their regalia without any problems. The police are not doing
anything about the situation,” said Stone.
Fireworks at London meeting
By our own Staff
LONDON—Zimbabwe’s high commissioner to Britain,
Simbarashe Mum-bengegwi, has given assurances to the international community
that invitees from the European Union will be allowed to freely observe the
country’s March 9 and 10 presidential election.
He however said no provision had been made for monitors because in terms of
the country’s constitution, that duty was the responsibility of the Electoral
Participating in a highly explosive debate on Zimbabwe at the Royal
Commonwealth Society in London on Monday night, Mumbengegwi fielded a barrage of
questions from international journalists, politicians, and academics who
demanded specific answers on a number of issues ranging from the issue of
observers and monitors, the Zanu PF orchestrated wave of violence prevailing in
the country, and human rights abuses.
The highly emotional high commissioner charged that the MDC was responsible
for the political violence prevailing, while the Zanu PF government was at pains
to implore its supporters not to retaliate to provocation from the opposition.
“President Mugabe has never ever said Zimbabwe does not want election
observers. In 2000 we had parliamentary elections on time and on the dot.
Observers yes, monitors no, because the Electoral Supervisory Act gives
powers to the Commission to monitor the elections.”
Asked about the status of 30 000 independent monitors trained by the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Mumbengegwi said monitors organised by
non-governmental organisations would not be tolerated because they were not
He said only ESC monitors, whose members were appointed by the same process
as court judges, would monitor the elections—an assertion immediately challenged
by prominent businessman, Sam Nkomo, who pointed out that even the ESC chairman,
lawyer Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, had himself conceded that the process of monitoring
was best left in the hands of independent observers.
Asked by Lord Astor of Hever what the consequences were of Zimbabwe
becoming a pariah state if it was isolated by the international community, the
high commissioner replied: “That situation will not arise because the election
will be free and fair, and observers will come to that conclusion.”
Mumbengegwi, who repeatedly took a sharp bashing on a number of issues from
the highly respected Baroness Park of Monmouth, also took an angry swipe at the
evening’s guest speakers, University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Prof
Elphious Mukonowe-shuro, and the editor of The Standard, Mark Chavunduka, whom
he described as “MDC politicians masquerading as independent observers”.
“These are MDC politicians masquerading as something else. They are
insulting the intelligence of people who come and listen when they paint a
picture that MDC is free from violence. This is dishonesty. The MDC security is
run by former Rhodesians Selous Scouts, and the Zanu PF leadership has been
appealing for a peaceful election,” said an angry Mumb-engegwi to loud laughter.
At one point, the meeting came to a brief standstill as Mumbengegwi and
Mukonoweshuro were involved in a heated exchange, following an expletive used by
the UZ professor in response to an answer previously given by the high
In his address, Mukonoweshuro said the international community was
witnessing the gradual installation of a civil-military junta in Zimbabwe.
“On the eve of the presidential poll, we are now actually in the concluding
phase of what is virtually a slow motion coup de tat. The erosion of the
people’s supremacy and therefore civil authority has been going on for some time
now. Therefore, any current speculation about whether or not there will be free
and fair elections in Zimbabwe, is simply idle talk, an excuse for inaction.
Sadc, the Commonwealth, the US, and the international community in general, no
longer have any justifiable reason for not taking drastic action against the
Chavunduka outlined the repressive laws recently passed by Zimbabwe’s Zanu
PF-dominated parliament and aimed at making the work of journalists from the
independent press more difficult, if not impossible.
“The independent press in Zimbabwe has for a long time operated under very
difficult conditions, with a host of restrictive laws carried out from the
colonial era. In the present situation, where we have new laws similar in their
brutal intensity to legislation in apartheid era South Africa, there is no way
that the presidential election can be free and fair,” said Chavunduka.
Soldiers terrorise Sakubva residents
By Farai Mutsaka
MUTARE—Soldiers in this eastern city have embarked on
a serious terror campaign targeted at MDC supporters ahead of next month’s
presidential poll, The Standard has learnt.
The soldiers, manning the Mutare Aerodrome, have become a menace to
residents living in Sakubva High density suburb.
Residents who spoke to The Standard last week said the soldiers demanded
Zanu PF cards from residents who passed through the aerodrome and harassed those
who failed to produce the cards. They are being assisted in their campaign by
militias who recently graduated from the Border Gezi Training Centre and
deployed to Manicaland.
Most residents from the sprawling high density area pass though the
Aerodrome on their way to their maize fields which are situated in its vicinity.
“They demand to see our party cards and when we fail to produce them they
beat us. They make us chant Zanu PF slogans and sing revolutionary songs,” said
The terror campaign comes at a time when the army is trying to convince the
nation that it is non-partisan.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesman, Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni, said the
soldiers were at the aerodrome at the invitation of the police.
“Remember, in peace time the ZDF are always deployed in support of civil
authority, in this case the ZRP. In cases where the ZDF members are found to
have breached the law, the commanders will always let the culprits get
prosecuted according to military law or the law of the land,” said Gatsheni.
By Monique Brogan
WITH universities due to open for 2002, a number of
parents with children studying in South Africa are desperately seeking finance
for the continued education of their children.
Many Zimbabwean parents say these universities afford their children the
opportunity to study specialised courses, such as journalism—for which Rhodes
University in Gra-hamstown is renowned.
“It is also a chance to study in a stable environment without fear of
disturbances like the ones the University of Zimbabwe often experiences and with
the promise of a safe and active campus life,” said the mother of one first year
For Zimbabwean students hoping to return to Rhodes and the University of
Cape Town this year, the cost of tuition—including books—and accommodation will
amount to about 40 000 rands and though this amount, when converted at the
official rate of 4,8 to the rand, does not seem so steep, there is in fact no
money available at this bank rate.
A teller at one commercial bank confirmed that there was no foreign
currency available for those wanting to send their children back to South
This has forced parents to turn to the parallel market where exorbitant
rates are charged. Currently, on this market, the exchange rate to the South
African Rand is at about 38 to 1, meaning that for a full year’s fees for a
student at university, the payer will most likely need in excess of a million
Chenjerai Hove: Local Insight—Education is the next victim
When I think about the current school closures and the
victimisation of teachers by Zanu PF vandals, I cannot avoid suspecting that the
next victim on the line is the education system. That is if it is still there at
A few weeks ago, I remember the president urging urban voters to be like
rural voters. He was in fact glorifying rural folk for voting for his party. At
the same time he was lambasting us the urban people for voting for the
The ruling party, and indeed the president, do not have to hire a
sociologist to advise them on why we have the voting pattern we have now. The
matter is simple: rural people suffer the heaviest levels of illiteracy, and so
have no access to current alternative information except through the government
propaganda machinery. And the rural people are easy to intimidate since their
world is usually limited by their isolation in the village. If the vandals
arrive, they can terrorise each homestead without much intervention from the
other distant villages.
Interestingly, the Zimbabwean government is one of the few in southern
Africa which never ran a serious literacy campaign. The campaign I know of was
run on a voluntary basis by the Zimbabwe Adult Literacy Organisation, and it is
still the case.
My impression is that it was a deliberate plan to ensure that the villagers
continue to be illiterate so the Zanu PF politicians could tell them lies
without risking serious opposition. For example, years back I found some small
political official telling my mother that the drought relief the villagers were
receiving was courtesy of the ruling party. I stopped the man and told my mother
that the maize she was receiving came from her hard-working children in the city
because they were paying drought levy. The official later accused me of fanning
protest in the village.
The ruling party knows that illiteracy in the rural areas is a sure way of
ensuring that the villagers and peasants are excluded from participating in the
political life of the country in a serious and critical way.
Not so with the urban people. There are so many sources of information in
the cities, and the people will have it even if all the newspapers are banned.
Right now, when teachers become refugees in their own country because of
ruling party thugs, all the efforts of the parents to build their own schools
will come to nothing. The roofing, doors, windows, desks and chairs will end up
in some thug’s house.
So, all the basic infrastructure of schools will be gone. That means later
on parents would have to deal with starting all over again, and at the same time
be stuck with children who have lost so many years of education.
Zimbabwe was lucky to inherit a sound education system created mainly by
missionaries. It took decades upon decades to put that system together. But now
it is taking a few months to destroy it without ever thinking what it takes to
put it back in place.
As the buildings collapse and education officials and teachers are rendered
useless for the purpose of political power, teachers will once again start
flooding neighbouring countries like South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and even
Mozambique which is introducing English in schools.
A few years after independence, we discovered that the ruling party hated
educated people. I recall that even the president himself, as chancellor of the
University of Zimbabwe, never had a meeting with student leaders whenever there
were problems. All he did was, I remember, to tell them that he had several
degrees in violence.
The ruling party does not like educated people because it hates people who
think critically about their society and their social and political conditions.
But the leaders’ selective memory is short. Many of them were student political
activists at the university, and some got their fame from there.
Instead of listening to the students and their problems, the government
went on a systematic path of destroying university education. I wonder whether
some of our academic degrees are still recognised in some important parts of the
world. What a shame when every ‘A’ student hopes to go and study outside the
I fear that there is very little the ruling, or ruining, party has not left
untouched in its warpath against the people of Zimbabwe. The past has been
destroyed through a history of lies, and the present is being destroyed by the
use of thugs trained to kill and destroy their own families and social systems.
The future is also gone for those young men and women who will be forced to
live with a guilty conscience for a long time to come. Some of them have already
started getting mad because of their horrendous psychological torture they are
put through in the name of training for community service.
Zimbabwean citizens all over the country are made to feel as if they were
strangers by being forced to buy Zanu PF cards, as if to say to them they are
children who do not know what is good for them. Elliot Manyika (by the way I
went to school with him) should know that the most important political party
card is the conscience of the voter.
Now that Zanu PF has vandalised
education and is keen to vandalise the independent media, I shudder to think
what is on line next. All I know is that by vandalising everyone and anything
which works, the ruling party is actually vandalising itself.
• Chenjerai Hove is a renowned Zimbabwean writer
We want more than just land—youths
By Selina Zigomo and Fungayi Kanyuchi
“It’s our land, our destiny, our
pride,” so go the lyrics to an advert on the controversial land redistribution
programme. The advert is screened on ZTV on a daily basis ad nauseum, and
features a group of teenagers celebrating the acquisition of land.
Emitted from Jonathan Moyo’s propaganda office, this advert appears aimed
at capturing the support of the younger generation which Zanu PF had all along
ignored, ahead of the crucial 9-10 March presidential election. Whether or not
it will work remains to be seen.
Standard Plus recently spoke to a cross section of young Zimbabweans to
find out their opinion on the advert and the land issue in general. It would
appear that the youths have become a favourite target of the ruling party, what
with the opening of the national service training centres, whose products have
unleashed terror on innocent civilians.
Pamela Mawoza, a student at Christian College of Southern Africa had this
to say about the land commercial: “My brother is more interested in the clothes
the young people in the videos are wearing and how they are rapping (singing)
but the content is lost on us. We only identify with the music as it is the type
we listen to.”
Another student who refused to give his name said: “The first time my
father watched the advert he asked: ‘Can those children till the land ? If we
put them in the fields will they know what to do?’”
Anna from the Hara-re Polytechnic says: “It’s just propaganda, the adverts
are trying to get us to be patriotic but that will be difficult as the land
issue is not the only problem with this country.”
Nelson Chamisa, the national youth secretary for the MDC, says that the
campaigns are an indication that the product they are trying to sell is not
really selling and they are targeting the youth. He described the attempt as
“too little too late”.
“The government has had a clear record of abusing the young people and
those adverts are part of the abuse. They are trying to instill a sense of
partisan loyalty by saying that Zanu PF are the custodians of liberation, when
in actual fact the people are. They have tried other ploys such as the National
Youth Service, banking services for youths and even Christianity, but to no
“Young people are very clear about what they want. They want to save their
country, not to be partners with the government in a land reform which is
characterised by violence, lawlessness and corruption,” he said.
He added that young people were very clear about what they wanted and it
was not land.
“They want jobs also. Imagine the many college graduates sitting at home.
Most of these would rather have a job than land.”
Yet another student said: “As for me, I don’t have the capital and nowadays
there are so many choices. I should not be forced to be attached to the land.”