|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
February 4, 2002 Posted: 2:25 PM EST (1925 GMT)
Monday, 4 February, 2002, 15:33 GMT
Mugabe evades EU sanctions
The European Union has said it will not impose sanctions on Zimbabwe's leaders after being promised that election observers would be allowed in ahead of the 9-10 March poll.
The EU had warned that unless observers were allowed to deploy over the week-end, sanctions such as a travel ban would be imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his close associates.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said that three of its activists had been murdered and another four abducted in the past week in pre-election violence.
"There has been no attempt to prevent us deploying some of the individuals who will take part in the core team," European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin told a news conference. "So there is no need to take a decision on sanctions."
The EU has not yet sent any observers into the country but hopes to have a small team in place later this week and 150 before the elections.
After earlier saying that no foreign observers would be allowed, Zimbabwe relented and invited representatives from several organisations.
However, Mr Mugabe said that British citizens would not be allowed and both the EU and the Commonwealth have agreed not include any Britons in their teams.
Mr Mugabe says that the former colonial power is trying to remove him from power because of his plans to redistribute land.
Rejecting calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended, secretary general Don McKinnon said that the most important thing was to get observers into the country, to help ensure that the elections would be free and fair.
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said that the latest fatality was Tichaona Katsamudanga who died on Monday after an attack last month.
The man who will contest the March elections against Mr Mugabe on Sunday urged his supporters not to respond to the violence.
"I know there are those among us clamouring for revenge. I want to tell you that we cannot afford that," he said.
"When we come to power we will pursue a policy of reconciliation because that is the only way to build a country."
On Friday, Mr Mugabe opened his campaign, blaming the violence on the opposition.
"We don't condone violence, but I'm not saying you should fold your hands if you are provoked," he said.
Monday, 4 February, 2002, 14:58 GMT
Zanu-PF - more than just Mugabe
Zanu-PF will survive the post-Mugabe era
By BBC News Online's Joseph Winter
People close to President Robert Mugabe say that he is the only person
capable of holding the ruling Zanu-PF party together.
This is because it is not - contrary to what many assume - a homogenous
grouping happy merely to act as a vehicle for Mr Mugabe to stay in power as
long as he wants.
Like political parties throughout the world, it is riven by ideology,
method, ethnicity and, above all, personal ambition.
For at least a decade, Zanu-PF heavyweights have been vying with each other
to take over when the 77-year-old steps down.
But Mr Mugabe has so far managed to play them off against each other and
remain on top.
During the debate on the controversial media bill, some of these internal
tensions came to the fore.
Ruling party MP Eddison Zvobgo said the original bill was "the most
calculated and determined assault on our liberties guaranteed by the
Using his influential position as chairman of the parliamentary legal
committee, this Harvard-educated lawyer succeeded in delaying its passage by
two weeks and wringing some minor concessions from the government.
Unlike others, Mr Zvobgo has never hidden his ambition to succeed Mr Mugabe.
One of his closest allies, Dzikamai Mavhaire, then a Zanu-PF MP, told
parliament in 1997 that "the president should go". He lost his senior
position in the party, as have other Zvobgo allies in his home area of
Mr Zvobgo himself was sacked from the cabinet in 2000 and then also lost his
place in the Zanu-PF politburo.
With the Movement for Democratic Change proving itself to be a credible
challenger, Mr Mugabe felt he had to be able to focus his energies on the
opposition, without being worried about which of his supposed allies might
be stabbing him in the back.
But Mr Zvobgo is not alone.
Just after the 2000 party congress decided that Mr Mugabe would be its
candidate for these elections, I met a depressed Zanu-PF MP complaining of a
missed opportunity to "get rid of the old man".
So why hadn't he spoken up during the congress? "The place was crawling with
war veterans," came the reply.
These so-called "young Turks" do exist but they are not ready to take the
risk of openly defying Mr Mugabe.
They know that doing so at the moment would certainly mean internal
discipline - losing their seats on the political gravy train - and possibly
While some oppose Mr Mugabe on personal grounds or because they feel his
star is waning, others have ideological differences or feel that the use of
violence is wrong.
On several occasions, ministers and even the vice-president have announced
that illegal occupations of white-owned farms would cease, only for the
president to over-rule them.
Mr Mugabe has spent his political life espousing socialism. He is currently
imposing price controls on a variety of staple foods and taking land from
rich whites to give to poor blacks.
But his Finance Minister, Simba Makoni, is a firm believer in the free
He once said that Zimbabwe needs the rest of the world but the rest of the
world does not need Zimbabwe - something his fiercely proud president would
His understanding and belief in the global economy was intended to persuade
international donors to resume their aid, suspended because of concerns over
corruption and the land reform programme.
But they knew that real power was concentrated in Mr Mugabe's hands and that
however amenable and well-meaning his finance minister was, the president
viewed the world through different eyes.
While Mr Makoni is well-respected outside Zanu-PF, the man currently
best-placed to succeed Mr Mugabe is Emmerson Mnangagwa, the speaker of
He was state security minister in the early 1980s, when the army killed
thousands of Mr Mugabe's ethnic Ndebele opponents.
Some see his hand behind the current campaign of violence against opposition
But many Ndebeles with bitter memories of the 1980s, even within Zanu-PF,
would not welcome him becoming president.
When the Mugabe era does finally come to an end, it will not spell the end
But the divisions and personal rivalries which are largely being suppressed
for the moment will come to the fore and it may not be a pretty sight.
U.N. rights investigator slams Zimbabwe press law
GENEVA, Feb. 4 — A U.N. special investigator for press freedom on Monday
accused Zimbabwe of violating international human rights law by imposing
tight restrictions on journalists.
''The provisions infringe on the right to freedom of opinion and expression
as guaranteed in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,''
said United Nations rapporteur Abid Hussain of India.
Hussain, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and
expression, said in a statement that he had written to President Robert
Mugabe's government urging it to repeal the controversial law limiting
foreign reporters' access to the country and imposing tight controls on
Under the legislation approved by Zimbabwe's parliament last week, a
state-appointed commission will license journalists, who could face up to
two years in jail for breaking the regulations.
Hussain warned that the bill would ''give rise to excessive
government control over the media'' and urged the government to agree to his
request, first made in September, to make a fact-finding visit.
Zimbabwe is preparing for elections March 9-10. Britain, the United
States and the European Union are threatening sanctions against Mugabe and
his inner circle if he fails to ensure the voting is fair.
Zimbabwe Opposition Says More Supporters Killed
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's leading opposition party accused President
Robert Mugabe's party on Monday of killing three of its activists and
abducting four in the buildup to March elections.
The EU said Zimbabwe had fended off a threat of sanctions by allowing it to
send in election observers, but confusion surrounded the question. An EU
spokeswoman in Brussels said observers had arrived, but EU diplomats in
Harare said they had not.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the chief opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), launched his campaign on Sunday to sever Mugabe's 22-year hold
on power in presidential elections set for March 9-10.
Tsvangirai appealed for calm from his supporters, despite what he described
as a "campaign of violence" waged by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube said in a statement that ZANU-PF
militants had also tried to violently break up at least four MDC rallies
over the weekend, assaulting opposition supporters in front of police.
"Over the past week, ZANU-PF has murdered three MDC activists," Ncube said,
adding that the latest fatality was Tichaona Katsamudanga, who died on
Monday after an attack last month.
"Yesterday (Sunday) ZANU-PF supporters... abducted four MDC supporters in
Chipinge South," he added. "They are still missing." The ZANU-PF and police
were unavailable for comment.
The MDC says nearly 100 of its supporters have died in political violence
since early 2000, when militants loyal to Mugabe began invading white-owned
"I know there are those among us clamoring for revenge. I want to tell you
that we cannot afford that," Tsvangirai said. "When we come to power we will
pursue a policy of reconciliation because that is the only way to build a
On Friday, Mugabe insisted it was the MDC that was fueling unrest and told
supporters as he launched his own election campaign: "We don't condone
violence, but I'm not saying you should fold your hands if you are
Tsvangirai, 49, is seen as the biggest threat to Mugabe's bid to extend a
presidency that the MDC says has ruined a once-vibrant economy and isolated
the country internationally.
EU foreign ministers agreed last week to impose "smart sanctions" on Mugabe
and 19 top associates if Harare prevented deployment of EU observers by a
In Brussels, a European Commission spokeswoman said a six-strong advance
team had arrived in Zimbabwe. The observers will check on opposition claims
that Mugabe plans to rig the vote.
"There has been no attempt to prevent us deploying some of the individuals
who will take part in the core team," Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin told
a news conference, adding that some had already arrived. "So there is no
need to take a decision on sanctions."
But an official at the EU office in Harare said no observers had yet arrived
"There are no observers in the country. We have not yet received an
invitation from the Zimbabwe government," the official said. He declined to
be named and would not give further details.
International condemnation of Mugabe's government has mounted as Zimbabwe
pushes through parliament laws which opponents say set the stage for a
The latest, on Thursday, was a tough media bill that critics say will stifle
debate in the run-up to the poll by restricting access for foreign reporters
and imposing tight controls on local media.
A United Nations special investigator for media freedom accused Zimbabwe on
Monday of violating article 19 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, which upholds freedom of opinion and expression.
Abid Hussain said he had written to Mugabe's government urging it to repeal
the media law.
Mugabe has remained defiant. On Saturday, he vowed again that his
controversial program of seizures of land from affluent white farmers would
continue, calling the policy "the last Zimbabwe revolution."
At least nine white farmers have been killed and hundreds of workers have
been assaulted in land invasions by pro-government militants since February
Government To Revisit Privatisation Policy?
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
February 3, 2002
IN what could be seen as a policy u-turn, the government has said the
privatisation of public utilities has failed as it has resulted in economic
hardships for consumers.
This was said by industry and international trade minister Herbert Murerwa,
in a speech read on his behalf by his permanent secretary, Stewart
Comberbach, at the First Regional Members' Strategic Meeting for Africa held
in Harare on Monday.
The meeting drew participants from African consumer organisations, as well
as some from Bangladesh.
Said Murerwa: "One such policy that has hit consumers hard is the
privatisation of public utilities which has made it difficult for most
consumers to afford the consequent astronomically high bills. Furthermore,
the opening up of local market to foreign goods has, in some cases, crippled
local industry and resulted in the flooding of the market with inferior and
sometimes dangerous products.
"Some of the negative consequences of theses economic programmes could have
been foreseen and avoided, or at least minimised, if local conditions had
been adequately taken into consideration."
Murerwa said Zimbabweans were experiencing the worst economic climate since
independence, because of the "ever increasing prices of commodities, and the
hostile economic environment".
He said in an attempt to come up with a viable economic recovery programme
for Zimbabwe, the government would welcome input from consumer
organisations, as their objectives were similar to the government's own
"Many development models have been tried in Africa in attempts to lift the
continent out of its economic difficulties, but results so far have not been
very encouraging," the minister said.
Economists interviewed by Standard Business generally agreed with Murerwa's
sentiments, especially in light of the current economic difficulties.
Said Rudo Dhla-ndhlara, an economic consultant: "Privatisation of public
utilities is not a wise move, especially when the economy is at an all time
low, with inflation pegged at 112%. The inflationary environment has also
had negative effects on company production costs for both domestic and
"This reduced the competitiveness of the country's exports, thereby
compounding the current foreign exchange crisis. A lot of people will be
retrenched, worsening the situation in many people's homes. It will all boil
down to subsidies."
Consumer Council executive director, Elizabeth Nerwande, said government
should adopt polices that protected the interests of consumers. "With
privatisation of public utilities making it very difficult for consumers to
afford high prices, the consumer's position will remain weak in the market
place as a result of lack of effective protective mechanisms to safeguard
their interests," said Nerwande.
In a bid to raise money, the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government has either
privatised or commercialised public utilities such as the Post and
Telecommunications Corporation, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
and the Cold Storage Company. The move has resulted in steep price hikes for
services and goods offered by affected organisations.
Other companies ear-marked for privatisation are Air Zimbabwe, part of
National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe and the
Department of Meteorological Services.
High Court ruling exposes election to rigging: Madhuku
2/4/02 12:23:34 PM (GMT +2)
LOVEMORE Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, on
Thursday said allowing people to vote wherever they liked during the 9 and
10 March presidential election would expose the process to massive rigging.
On 25 January, High Court Judge Justice Rita Makarau ordered Tobaiwa Mudede,
the Registrar-General, to allow people to vote anywhere during the
presidential poll. This followed a court challenge by the opposition MDC of
a government order to force people to vote in their constituencies.
People, mostly supporters of the MDC, have fled their rural constituencies
in the face of brutal attacks by Zanu PF supporters ahead of the
presidential election. Madhuku, a constitutional law lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe, said allowing people to vote wherever they wished
would expose the system to massive rigging.
He said: "Yes, people have been displaced but the numbers are not
significant. Let us try to be sober about it. "A more reasonable court
application would be to allow transportation of the displaced people to go
and vote in their constituencies. Allowing people to vote anywhere would be
Madhuku was speaking in Harare at a Zimbabwe Election Support Network public
meeting on "The upcoming tripartite elections in Harare and Chitungwiza". On
23 January the government gazetted a statutory instrument announcing that
the elections for the Harare mayor and councillors, and for the mayor of
Chitungwiza, would be held at the same time as the presidential election.
This was despite a Supreme Court ruling that the elections for Harare be
held on or before 11 February.
The court did not set a date for the Chitungwiza mayoral poll. The statutory
instrument was declared invalid by High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo
last Monday. Mudede on Friday gave notice that the mayoral and council
elections for Harare would go ahead on 11 February as ordered by the courts.
Zanu PF youths raid maize-meal delivery trucks
2/4/02 11:19:01 AM (GMT +2)
From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo
ZANU PF youths were stopping maize-meal delivery vans and taking by force
the scarce staple food in Victoria Falls and demanding Zanu PF membership
cards from residents as a crippling maize-meal shortage took root in
south-western Zimbabwe last week.
Victoria Falls residents equated the activities of the Zanu PF youths to
They said they were being forced to buy Zanu PF cards, now known as the
"internal passport", to enable them to buy maize-meal.
The latest raids follow a similar swoop by the youths on Zambian
cross-border traders two weeks ago. The youths seized an assortment of
goods. Villagers chase Social Welfare officers away From Our Correspondent
Some Zanu PF supporters and villagers in Mhende Ward 3 of Chirumhanzu
District recently forced two officers from the Department of Social Welfare
to flee after they opposed what they said was an irrational distribution of
drought relief funds.
More than 500 Zanu PF supporters gathered at Chirumhanzu Primary School and
Mangoma business centre challenged the two officers to disburse at least $1
000 to each of the 1 500 families in the ward. The villagers said that $500
per family was too little. The government recently announced that each
family would receive at least $1 000 a month for food supplies in the face
of a severe food shortage throughout the country.
Ward Councillor, Phineas Zvenyika noted that most families in Chirumanzu
District were receiving between $1 000 and $2 000 per month. Some villagers
in wards like Chengwena, Chinyuni, Maware and Siyahokwe had been receiving
at least $1 000 a family since the introduction of the scheme in October
Zvenyika said since October, less than 200 families in Mhende Ward 3
actually benefited from the scheme. He said that transparency and fairness
had not been exercised in the distribution of the funds. David Whindizi, the
Zanu PF youth leader in Mhende Ward, openly castigated the government for
delays in the distribution exercise.
He said that about 4 000 people face starvation in Mhende Ward if no
contingent plans are taken to avert the looming disaster.
He stressed that $500 a family was not enough to buy one 50kg bag of maize,
now selling at $750.
A Zanu PF official who declined to be named, said that the drought relief
fund had been hijacked by senior officers who misused the fund at the
expense of the villagers facing starvation.
The official said in some cases the funds could easily be misappropriated
because it was likely that no professional auditing was carried out. A
school teacher, who refused to be named for fear of reprisal, noted that the
rural electorate were now feeling the pinch of the economic hardships.
They were expecting the government to resolve the crisis. However, the
government had failed dismally to provide even basic commodities like bread,
sugar, cooking oil and mealie-meal, the teacher said. The villagers openly
ordered the Department of Social Welfare officers to leave the two venues of
distribution, before they became violent.
The angry villagers openly threatened to burn the truck that was used to
ferry the officials.
At that moment the welfare officers sped off. They were ordered not to
return unless they brought adequate money for distribution to all needy
villagers. About 60 000 people in Chirumanzu District face starvation and
the situation has been worsened by the fast-track land resettlement
exercise, throughout the country.
The national food reserves have drastically declined with at least 500 000
metric tonnes to be imported. Lands and Agriculture Minister, Dr Joseph Made
late last year in December skirted a question on food reserves from the Zanu
PF MP for Makoni West, Gibson Munyoro. Instead of answering the position on
food reserves, Made concentrated on hectrage under cultivation in the
present cropping season.
Thousands won't vote despite renouncing British citizenship
2/4/02 11:23:40 AM (GMT +2)
THOUSANDS of former British citizens in the country who renounced their
British citizenship will not, after all, be able to vote in the March
More than 5 000 former British nationals and other European nationals
renounced their Zimbabwean citizenship and are now permanent residents.
Others renounced their foreign citizenship so that they can vote next month.
Under the new Citizenship Act dual citizenship is illegal.
A standard letter from the office of the Registrar-General dated 25 January,
2002 notified all former British and foreign citizens that they had been
struck off the voters' roll and had been disenfranchised.
The notice of objection reads in part: "You are hereby notified that I have
reason to believe - (a) that you are not entitled to be registered as a
voter in . . . (b) that you are not qualified for registration as a voter in
. . . on the grounds that you have in terms of Schedule 3 section 3 (3) of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe ceased to be a citizen of Zimbabwe and that,
unless you give notice of appeal . . . before the expiration of seven days
from the date of this notice.
"If you give due notice of appeal, the matter will be set down for hearing
before a magistrate of the province in which you reside and the day and
place appointed for such hearing will be notified to you in due course." The
development is likely to affect many people who received the notice after
seven days within which to appeal had expired as a result of delays in the
The move is likely to be seen as a desperate attempt to reduce the number of
voters in urban centres whose political sympathies seem to favour the
opposition. In the June 2000 parliamentary election, Zanu PF lost almost all
"We are spitting blood over this issue," said a Mount Pleasant dweller who
renounced his British citizenship. "We will try to use all routes of appeal
until they are exhausted."
The Daily News was last week inundated with people who were in the same
"I renounced my British citizenship on the understanding that I would be
able to cast my vote in March but now that I am being denied that right I
have to fight it out," said one woman from Chisipite.
Technically, those who renounced either of their citizenships are eligible
to vote in the March poll in which President Mugabe will battle it out with
MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
Other minnows are Shakespeare Maya of the National Alliance for Good
Governance, Paul Siwela, an independent, and Wilson Khumbula, also an
Hunger gnaws Masvingo
2/4/02 11:28:52 AM (GMT +2)
From Energy Bara in Masvingo
MORE than one million people are in desperate need of food aid in Masvingo
as hunger tightens its grip on the province.
Villagers in Masvingo had a poor harvest last year. The situation has
reached critical levels in Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts, where some
families are going for days without food.
Miriam Sengwe, a villager in Chiredzi said: "We are surviving by the grace
of God. We have exhausted all our food reserves and some people are going
for days without food.
We are relying on whatever is edible." The Grain Marketing Board depots have
run out of maize stocks. The province has run out of maize-meal and other
basic food stuffs. In Gutu alone, nearly 100 000 people are in dire need of
Nixon Chingarande of Gutu said: "We are appealing to the government to
urgently send food to starving villagers here. "The situation is so bad that
some people are going to die of hunger unless urgent measures are taken to
avert the situation. Having two meals a day is now impossible." Masvingo
provincial administrator, Alphonse Chikurira, yesterday said the situation
in the province was very serious and more funds are needed to avert the
He said the government had provided $80 million for drought relief.
But judging by the situation on the ground it appears they have not been
able to access the funds. The government's ban on non-governmental
organisations' (NGOs) distribution of food aid has worsened the situation.
Dzikamai Mavhaire, the provincial chairman of the Red Cross Society said
NGOs had either stopped or scaled down their operations following the ban.
NGOs such as the Red Cross Society and Redd Barna are some of the
organisations involved in offering assistance to the hunger-stricken
province. Chidyausiku says court was too lenient in discharging three
American gunmen Court Reporter CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and two
other judges of the Supreme Court, justices Wilson Sandura and the now
retired Nicholas McNally last November ruled that the discharged three
American gunmen should have been sentenced to five years for illegal
possession of arms of war.
The three, Gary George Blanchard, Joseph Wendel Pettijohn and John Lamonte
Dixon were arrested in March 1999 at the Harare International Airport and
charged under the Aircraft Offences Act as read with section 360 of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the Law and Order Maintenance Act
for possessing an assortment of weapons.
In the judgment made available last Friday, the three judges said on the
first count the appellants were each sentenced to six months in prison with
labour. On the second count the three were each sentenced to 21 months in
prison with labour, of which nine months in jail with labour was suspended
for five years, upon certain conditions, and six of the remaining 12 months
of their sentence was ordered to run concurrently, with six months in prison
imposed on the first count was too lenient.
The three appealed against both conviction and sentence in the Supreme
Court. The Americans were released in August 2000. In arriving at the ruling
which was overturned by the Supreme Court, the High Court said the sentence
on the Americans was reduced because they took into account the period they
were at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after their arrest and their
complaints against police brutality.
Chidyausiku said: "In conclusion, I am satisfied that the sentence imposed
in this case was manifestly lenient. A sentence of five years' imprisonment
with labour would have been
appropriate for the offence.
"In the result the appeal against conviction and sentence by the three is
dismissed, while the appeal against sentence by the State is allowed." He
said the back-dating of the sentence was absurd and irregular.
"The learned trial judge did not give any reasons for back-dating the
sentence nor did he cite any authority under which he made the order. The
order of the learned judge in this regard is clearly incompetent,"
The Chief Justice said the possession of materials such as silencers, tear
gas canisters and target selectors was not consistent with or supportive of
the three's contention that the weapons and material were for their own
"In my view, possession of such considerable quantities of offensive weapons
and material was very serious. Indeed, many countries including Zimbabwe,
view illegal possession of firearms and offensive material very seriously,"
He said the sentence of the High Court trivialised the offences committed by
the Americans given that the three had brought into the country offensive
Daily News - Leader Page
This is the Dark Age in the history of democracy
2/4/02 10:41:47 AM (GMT +2)
SOME time in the not-too-distant future, historians will refer to the last
few weeks as The Dark Age of the development of democracy in Zimbabwe. In
Europe, it was the age of unenlightenment, after the fall of the Roman
Empire, when the barbarian Goths, Vandals and the Huns came down on the
continent from the north and the east.
They destroyed much of the enlightenment and knowledge built up by the
Romans. The legislative changes introduced recently have as their naked
purpose the re-election of a president. Not one of them is intended to bring
Enlightenment to the people who still believe independence translates into
freedom from unrepresentative rule - colonialism.
This particular president has grown unpopular because of unwise political
and economic policies. The poverty of a country once admired as an example
of Third World prosperity has been blamed on his administration's
The corruption and arrogance of successive administrations have inhibited
the people's political and economic advancement. Their political rights have
been trampled underfoot. Today, in the second year of the 21st century, they
are brutalised as a warning against voting for anyone except the incumbent
To achieve this goal, the government introduced the General Laws Amendment
Act, the Public Order and Security Act and only last week the obnoxiously
fascist Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill was hurried
To do this, Parliament's age-old Standing Rules and Orders, which give the
august House its reputation as the repository of the fairest forms of
debate, were suspended.
The House was turned, if not into a beerhall, then into a theatrical farce,
with MPs behaving very badly indeed. The Bill roused such intense passion
even erstwhile allies exchanged invective.
All three laws have as their general theme the protection of the President
from criticism and the imposition of massive hurdles in the path of the
opposition parties and critics of the President and the government to
perform their legitimate function of monitoring them.
The last law was so ill-prepared and its objectives so nakedly anti
democratic, even members of the ruling party found it a repulsive invasion
of every tenet of democratic principles which they thought their party
This is at a time when any exposure of their unsatisfactory conduct of the
country's affairs would reduce the chances of the President's re election.
This is at a time when the opposition parties could attract far more crowds
to its rallies than the ruling party, whose popularity has plummeted because
of their use of violence to force people to vote for their candidate.
The government has blamed others for their failure. Among them are the rich
countries of the West, which have denied them economic aid because of a
horrible human rights record.
Included on the "blame list" are a minority community, the progeny of the
settlers who invaded the country in 1890.
The sins of the fathers have been visited upon the sons and daughters, now
blamed for retarding the economic progress of the indigenous people.
One specific charge is that they have monopolised all the prime farming land
in the country. They may have earned the country billions of dollars in
foreign exchange, but the government feels its own land reform programme
will yield even more foreign exchange, which many experts, some in the
government, believe is so much like pie in the sky.
Before the 2000 election, Zanu PF unleashed the so-called war veterans in
the rural constituencies. Bloodied and battered, the voters trudged to the
polls to vote with the Cockerel of Fear perched on their shoulders.
Today, Zanu PF, with the subtlety of the Barbarians who brought the Dark
Ages to Europe, still aims to bring back The Dark Age of the one-party
system to Zimbabwe.
Daily News - Leader Page
This is an edited address given by Moyo to a Press freedom seminar held on 22 January 1993 in Harare and reproduced, with kind permission, from the Zimbabwe Independent.
Dear leader mentality kills Press freedom
2/4/02 10:42:52 AM (GMT +2)
By Jonathan Moyo
FREEDOM of the Press in Zimbabwe is an important topic. The topic is important given the present threat to freedom of the Press in this country coming from all sorts of quarters in and outside the Zanu PF government.
The threat is potentially disastrous for other basic freedoms enshrined in our Bill of Rights, not least because the stability of Zimbabwe's political system appears to be in dire straits due to political corruption and bureaucratic incompetence.
Ruling politicians have become extremely nervous about their precarious hold on power. Empirical evidence from throughout the world shows that when ruling politicians become nervous about the security of their political positions, they target the Press with reckless abandon.
They do this by making preposterous claims about threats to national security. A few months ago, the Minister of State for National Security, Sydney Sekeramayi, claimed that Zimbabwe was facing a serious threat to national security from especially sections of the Press.
Such claims are preposterous not least because they fail to recognise that more often than not, national security is compromised by those in power who are in a position to trade in official secrets to which they have unlimited access. On the basis of this premise, one can analyse considerable public information to show that Zanu PF poses the greatest threat to national security in Zimbabwe today.
The fact that the Press is often the first target of nervous politicians makes freedom of the Press a good barometer of the existence of other freedoms enshrined in our Bill of Rights.
That's why freedom of the Press is the nerve of all human rights, be they individual or collective in nature. Where there is no freedom of the Press, there are no other freedoms. For example, of what use is our constitutional right to form and/or join political parties unless that right is pursued and defended in the Press?
How can that right be enjoyed when those in power make every effort to portray dissenting views in the Press as opposition politics bordering on treason?
Indeed, it is not possible for Zimbabweans to enjoy the full extent of their constitutional rights, and to exercise their commensurate duties, without freedom of the Press.
This is true of the individual right of expression as it is of the right to collective conscience, including the right to group dissent from sectional decisions purporting to represent the majority will such as the 1987 Unity Accord between Zapu and Zanu PF, which has been mischievously paraded as a national agreement when it clearly was not.
One pervasive feature of politics here is that, like elsewhere in Africa, Zimbabwe suffers from a crisis of governance in which some individuals have sought to run away with politics by personalising political power.
As a nation, we have failed to construct a viable system of governance capable of producing a government which can govern with charity towards all and malice toward none. Our system of government does not know much about charity because it is full of malice towards individuals and institutions perceived to be enemies of the ruling party.
However we might want to kid ourselves, the fact is that there can be no freedom of the Press in a country with such politics which are symptomatic of a crisis of governance. Governance is one of those concepts better defined in terms of what it is not.
In the first instance, governance is not equivalent to leadership which, because it suggests that political power is vested with the head of state and government, gives rise to personal rule. A situation of personal rule is not only bad for governance, but it ipso facto becomes a major political constraint of freedom of the Press.
The past 12 years have seen the institutionalisation of a "dear leader" mentality, which has dealt a blow to freedom of the Press. It is a matter of public record that over the years since independence, The Herald, The Chronicle and ZBC, have never criticised President Mugabe. Not even once.
The desired subliminal effect of this miscarriage of journalism is that readers and listeners of these media mouthpieces are supposed to believe that Mugabe is infallible. Of course, that is nonsense. You and I know that everyone makes mistakes and that Mugabe has made a lot of mistakes.
But the mistakes have not been covered by the government-controlled media because of the "dear leader" mentality which has served as a major political impediment to freedom of Press.
Yes, we should credit achievements, but this should not be done to cover up mistakes. Indeed, the fact that Mugabe's mistakes have neither been reported nor analysed in the government-controlled media partly explains why they have not been corrected and why the country has an aloof political leadership which imagines itself to be above accountability.
The tragedy of all this is that some media personnel have unashamedly played a critical role in normalising this abnormal situation and only posterity will tell how such editors will be treated by future generations.
The point here is that personal rule is far removed from governance. A country run under the grip of a "dear leader" mentality cannot have a free Press. This is a result of the mistaken belief that political power resides in leadership. It does not, because there is more to political power than leadership.
Theoretically, the foundation of democratic government is the consent of the people. But in practice, the people only express their consent during elections which, in our part of the world, tend to be fraudulent.
Outside elections, the institution of government closes its doors to the public. Cabinet ministers and civil servants conveniently use the Official Secrets Act to keep the public ignorant of what the government is up to.
The negative attitude towards information disclosure by the government, especially the executive branch, is common throughout the world. What makes our situation unique is that information is hidden from the public in order to protect the President or his ministers.
In other countries which, like us, claim to be constitutional democracies, the government's inclination to secrecy is countervailed by legislative openness. Legislatures in democracies where the separation of powers is more real than apparent, use their independence to hold government accountable to the people. In such countries, the Press is better able to do its job. But not in Zimbabwe.
Our experience is that Parliament has become a bully's pulpit used by the Presidency to intimidate dissenting MPs and citizens, especially the Press, to toe an imaginary party line.
Instead of opening up to the public and playing its constitutional role as expected, our parliament has remained an ugly mirror image of the Rhodesian parliament through the use of the draconian Parliamentary Immunities, Privileges and Powers Act, 1971.
A free Press can only exist in a political environment in which the civic public realm is so organised as to produce independent individuals, organisations which enjoy craft-literacy and craft competence capable of self-organisation, self-management and self-determination without political conditionalities.
Serious shortage of pork, poultry looms
2/4/02 11:07:50 AM (GMT +2)
THERE is likely to be a serious shortage of livestock products such as pigs
and poultry this year because of a decree by the government which allows the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to seize maize from commercial farmers.
Stockfeed manufacturers are already facing problems in procuring maize to
make stockfeed. The GMB is confiscating maize from commercial farmers using
new legislation passed on 28 December 2001, a desperate move expected to
help the parastatal to improve maize stocks which are at critical levels.
Zimbabwe is facing maize shortages because of a poor rainfall season last
year that affected crop yields while a 50 percent reduction in maize
production in the commercial farming sector as a result of the controversy
surrounding the land issue, resulted in reduced output.
Grain farmers are now compelled to deliver maize and grain stocks no later
than 14 days after harvest, a development that has come about at the
gazetting of Statutory Instrument 387 of 28 December 2001.
GMB operations manager, Justine Mutasa was on record as saying the company
had impounded 36 000 tonnes of maize from commercial farmers by
21 January 2002.
The 32 000 tonnes is, however, an insignificant quantity as it can be used
by the country for a week only, provided it is quality maize that does not
require heavy processing, food experts have said.
Zimbabwe needs immediate maize imports of about 150 000 tonnes for use for
the next month. A further 200 000 tonnes is required before the next harvest
Commercial farmers however said most of the stocks being confiscated by the
GMB was D grade maize that was not suitable for human consumption and could
only be used for livestock feeding. The 36 000 tonnes is enough to feed
livestock in Zimbabwe for a month only.
The Farmer Magazine issue of 29 January 2002 said some farmers were
struggling to get adequate supplies of stockfeed because of the maize
seizures. Stockfeed manufacturers have confirmed the shortages.
GMB seals deals with SA firms for supply of maize
2/4/02 11:08:45 AM (GMT +2)
By Takaitei Bote
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB), last week sealed deals with two South
African companies which are going to supply Zimbabwe with 60 000 tonnes of
Zimbabwe is facing a serious food shortage crisis because production last
year was affected by farm occupations which forced commercial farmers to
reduce production by 50 percent, while the communal sector was affected
alternately by poor and excessive rains.
Zimbabwe, which has completely run out of maize, needs 150 000 tonnes
immediately which would be used for the next month. A further 200 000 tonnes
is required for use until the country is able to harvest maize after April.
The 60 000 tonnes which are to be imported into the country soon will only
be able to sustain the country for two weeks. While national consumption is
150 000 tonnes a month, 120 000 tonnes is required for human consumption in
a month, while 30 000 tonnes is for livestock.
The GMB, which is heading an 18-member delegation from Zimbabwe visiting
South Africa to buy maize, had had very little success since the visit two
weeks ago. The GMB signed a contract with Cargill South Africa, which is to
supply Zimbabwe with 50 000 tonnes at a value of US$175,75 (Z$9 666,25) a
Ex-silo means that the GMB will organise its own transport and will incur
more costs to finally land the maize in Zimbabwe. In another contract, the
GMB agreed with the Republic of South Africa Agri (RSA Agri) which will
supply it with 10 000 tonnes of maize delivered to Bulawayo at a cost of
US$221 (Z$12 155) a tonne.
Cargill South Africa managing director Andreas Rickmers, asked if the
company was going to supply maize, said: "Yes, I can not comment on that. We
do not disclose any trade deals to the Press. If the GMB wants to disclose
it, it is up to it."
Last week Rickmers confirmed his company was negotiating with the GMB, but
he refused to give details. RSA Agri director Jonathan Edwards said: "We
have agreed to supply 10 000 tonnes of maize to GMB. Letters of credit are
being organised and hopefully we will be able to start moving the maize next
Sources in the South African maize industry said however, the GMB would need
to fork out another US$32 (Z$1 760) a tonne for the transportation of the 50
000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe and another US$40 (Z$2 200) a tonne for
handling and bagging costs since they agreed GMB would organise its own
One commodity trader in South Africa said: "The GMB could have saved money
if it had signed an agreement to let Cargill deliver the maize into the
country. Now they are having to organise with transporters who will charge
The commodity broker said if Cargill had delivered the maize to Zimbabwe, it
would have cost Zimbabwe about US$230 (Z$12 650) a tonne but it would now
cost the country more than US$250 (Z$13 750) a tonne to involve another
The South African sources said Viamax Logistics, a transport company, was
currently negotiating with GMB to import the 50 000 tonnes of maize into
Viamax managing director, Andrew Lunga refused to give details. He said:
"Procedurally, I am not allowed to talk to the Press. "There is a
confidentiality agreement with our customers and ourselves that we should
not disclose such information."
The sources said it would probably take two weeks for the 50 000 tonnes to
land in Zimbabwe while people here starve. Meanwhile the five Zimbabwean
companies which had won tenders to source maize for the GMB, have allegedly
Sources close to the GMB said last Friday that most of the companies had
allegedly failed to raise a performance fee, which a tender respondent pays
at agreement point.
The respondent of a tender pays a certain percentage of the value of the
contract as a security deposit and if the respondent fails to perform, the
money is taken by the tenderer.
Mugabe Reverting To Strong-Arm Ways
By Samson Mulugeta
February 4, 2002
Harare, Zimbabwe -- An intelligence official who had run one of his era's
dirtiest undercover wars, Ken Flower expected the worst 22 years ago as he
strode toward the office of this country's new leader, a man he had tried to
assassinate several times.
Robert Mugabe laughed when Flower showed a readiness to confirm his agents'
attempts to kill the leader of the liberation struggle. "Yes, but they all
failed, otherwise we would not be here together.
"We were trying to kill each other; that's what the war was about,” Flower
recalled Mugabe saying. "What I am concerned with now is that my public
statement should be believed when I say that I have drawn a line through the
Flower, who commanded the Rhodesian secret service that helped kill
thousands of Mugabe's guerrilla comrades in a decade-long bush war, wrote in
his memoirs that he left Mugabe's office thinking he might have a place in
the newly declared nation of Zimbabwe.
Today, 22 years after Mugabe took office as a conciliator, he has polarized
his country with his struggle to stay in power. In the past decade, as he
and his party have lost support over the declining economy and rampant
corruption, Mugabe and his supporters have defended their positions
increasingly through violence and intimidation, scholars and independent
political analysts say. At 77, Mugabe is seeking a new six-year term as
president in elections next month, and pre-election violence, a fixture of
politics here for many years, is running higher than usual.
Human-rights groups say Mugabe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National
Union,has launched a campaign of intimidation, beatings and murder against
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Independent newspapers
catalog daily attacks against the opposition, and they carry photographs of
opposition members of parliament who have been abducted and beaten by gangs
linked to the ruling party.
The head of the army, a Mugabe ally, has said the military will not support
a victory by anyone who did not fight in the liberation war, a pointed
rejection of Mugabe's opponent, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who officially
launched his campaign yesterday.
For many who have followed Mugabe's career, his transformation from
statesman to strongman is a return to form.
"His style has been very authoritarian since the days of the liberation
struggle,” said John Makumbe, a professor of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe. "All that has been disguised by a democratic
constitution which he went along with as long as he got his way.”
Mugabe was born into a poor village family in 1924, a year after Britain
granted self-governing status to white settlers who had trekked north from
South Africa at the turn of the century under the leadership of mining
magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes. As a youth, he was a loner who didn't
much like sports but loved books. He won a scholarship to the University of
Fort Hare in South Africa, the region's first black university and the alma
mater of South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Returning to Rhodesia as one of the country's few educated blacks, Mugabe
quickly rose to leadership in the black rebellion against the white minority
government, which jailed him for 10 years.
After years of bitter guerrilla war, Mugabe and other black leaders
negotiated a transition to majority rule under the 1979 Lancaster House
agreement brokered by Britain. But he chafed at the compromise.
"Why should we be denied the ultimate joy of having militarily overthrown
the regime?” Mugabe asked at the time, complaining that the leaders of
Zambia and Mozambique, who had harbored his guerrilla fighters, had forced
him to negotiate.
After winning election as prime minister, Mugabe gave many indications of a
commitment to reconciliation. He vowed there would be no retribution against
whites and kept white officials in his cabinet and as head of the army.
Michael Pearce, a white architect who had opposed the Rhodesian government
from exile, said he returned because of Mugabe. "He seemed fantastic,”
Pearce said. "He won the war, did everything. We forgot this man is a
revolutionary, not a democrat.”
Even in those early, relatively conciliatory years in power, Mugabe did not
shy away from using force. In 1983, he sent his army's North Korean-trained
Fifth Brigade to the southern Zimbabwean region of Matabeleland, the home
turf of an ethnic and political rival group. The troops suppressed an
uprising there by veterans of the liberation war -- but they also sowed
terror. According to a 1997 report by Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace, the Fifth Brigade killed at least 2,000 people, including
women, children and elders it suspected of helping or harboring dissidents.
The atrocities were largely ignored by the world, but not by many
Zimbabweans, who still wait for a day of reckoning.
"Mugabe wants to die in office,” Makumbe said. "Otherwise, he knows one day
he will be called upon to account for his actions.”
Still, until recently, Mugabe had retained his reputation as a hero of the
liberation struggle and father of the country. Millions of Zimbabweans
credit Mugabe for advances in education, health and agriculture under his
"I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for him,” said Dr. P.F.
Chimedza, a family practitioner in Harare. "We received first-rate
education, and my friends and I went on to medical school. We now have a
health facility in every district of the country, and Mugabe made that
Mugabe and his party lost support as a generation reached adulthood with no
memory of his role as a liberation leader and as the economy declined
steadily. In 1996, Mugabe won re-election, but his victory was tainted by a
turnout of only 32 percent and by the withdrawal of his rivals, who
complained that the vote was rigged. In 2000, the newly formed MDC won an
unprecedented 57 of 120 elected parliamentary seats.
Increasingly, Mugabe has sought to rally his supporters with the emotional
issue of land. About 4,000 commercial farmers, the descendants of the
original white settlers, own about half of Zimbabwe's land, while millions
of impoverished blacks remain landless.
While Mugabe's government and the white farmers union have promised to
develop a plan for a peaceful redistribution of land to blacks, and Britain
has promised to help fund the necessary land purchases, no consensus was
reached. For the past two years, Mugabe supporters, notably ex-combatants
from the war of liberation, have been seizing land on their own.
The ex-guerrillas have looted property and beaten and murdered farmers and
farm-workers who resisted, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights
watch and Amani Trust, a Zimbabwe-based human-rights organization.
Since 2000, Mugabe and his allies have promulgated decrees and laws
legalizing the expropriation of land, have forced out judges who ruled
against them and introduced legislation making it a crime for the press to
criticize the president.
Last month, President George W. Bush signed legislation that would impose
targeted sanctions against Mugabe and other top government officials if the
State Department rules that the upcoming election is not free and fair.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, heretofore stalwart supporters of
Mugabe, all voted for the bill.
Other one-time admirers have lamented Mugabe's evolution.
"It is a great sadness what has happened to President Mugabe,” South
Africa's former Anglican archbishop, Desmond Tutu, told reporters last
month. "He was one of Africa's best leaders, a bright spark, a debonair,
well-spoken and well-read person.”
Mugabe arrests 'Independent' reporter
Basildon Peta is first international journalist jailed under repressive new
By Leonard Doyle, Foreign Editor
05 February 2002
Basildon Peta, Zimbabwe correspondent of The Independent, was arrested and
charged last night under the country's repressive new Public Order and
Security Act, less than a week after the legislation came into effect.
Mr Peta, who is secretary-general of the Zimbabwean Union of Journalists,
was being held in the central police station in Harare and was expected to
appear in court today. His arrest coincided with claims from Zimbabwe's main
opposition party that forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe have killed
three of its activists and abducted another four in the build-up to next
month's presidential elections.
Mr Peta was charged with failing to notify the authorities about a
demonstration last Wednesday by the journalists' union against the new
legislation. He could spend two years in jail under the charges.
"This is the first high-profile arrest under the new Public Security Act,"
said Lovemore Maduko, a leader of the country's National Constitutional
Assembly. "We are worried about Basildon's safety. It is very possible that
he will be beaten up, and that it will later be claimed that he was attacked
by prisoners or some other such nonsense."
Mr Peta was able to make a brief phone call to his wife, Florence. "He told
me he was fine and not to worry," she said, "but I think he is in low
Mr Peta, a Zimbabwean national, is the first correspondent for the
international media to be arrested under the draconian legislation. The Act
makes it a crime to criticise or ridicule the President, and prescribes a
death sentence or life imprisonment for anyone convicted of "insurgency,
banditry, sabotage or terrorism".
Mr Peta has been regularly harassed by the police and threatened with jail
over articles he has written for The Independent and other media. Last year
his name appeared at the top of a security service hitlist of opposition
figures. Mr Peta and four other journalists were to be "killed or harmed"
before the presidential election.
Before his arrest yesterday Mr Peta was told by police officers that they
were acting on orders from the highest levels of the Mugabe regime. Over the
weekend Mr Peta's house was ransacked by the police, and he was told to go
to the police station yesterday.
Mr Peta was accompanied to the police station by his lawyer, Tawanda
Hondora, chairman of the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights organisation.
Mr Hondora himself was savagely beaten by members of the ruling Zanu-PF
party last year in full view of uniformed police officers.
The latest crackdown came as the European Union balked at the imposition of
sanctions after deciding that President Mugabe was doing nothing to block
the deployment of EU observers before the presidential election on 9 and 10
Last week the foreign ministers threatened a visa ban and freeze on overseas
assets for leading members of the government if election observers were
obstructed or if the international media and the opposition were prevented
Commenting on Mr Peta's arrest, the Labour MEP Glenys Kinnock said: "I urge
the authorities to release him and allow him and his colleagues to report
freely. There is no point in pursuing the idea of an open election if the
opposition cannot hold rallies or if journalists are being taken into
The EU says it is holding off imposing sanctions because it still hopes to
get its team of election observers into Zimbabwe. "The most important thing
is to have observers in the country to help deter harassment," said Emma
Udwin, the spokeswoman for Chris Patten, the European commissioner for
In Brussels and Harare, there were conflicting reports on whether EU
observers had started to arrive. The EU said it expected its advance team of
six to be in place this week.
Desperate Doctors Forge Marriage Certificates to Stay in Town
African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
February 4, 2002
Zimbabwe health officials plan to prosecute 27 newly qualified doctors who
forged marriage certificates to avoid being deployed in rural areas.
The country's attorney general's office on Monday said it was treating the
matter as a serious criminal offence and that the doctors could face three
years in jail if found guilty of forgery.
The 27 were amongst 80 junior doctors who began serving a five-year
internship on Friday.
Interns are generally deployed to the rural areas unless they can present a
legitimate excuse to remain in the city.
The doctors' single status was discovered when authorities at Harare central
hospital noticed a 26-year-old intern had submitted a marriage certificate
dated 1980. This would have made him four years old on his wedding day.
The discovery prompted the authorities to send 30 certificates to the
registrar general for verification where only three were found to be
Hospital superintendent Christopher Tapfumaneyi confirmed the incident.
"The doctors took one marriage certificate and inserted their details before
making photocopies which they had certified by lawyers," he said.
The lawyers are also being investigated by the attorney general's office.
Many doctors shun working in the rural hospitals because of unfavorable
working conditions, drug shortages and lack of accommodation and recreation.
Harare Axes 'Educationals' for Media Journalists
African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
February 4, 2002
Posted to the web February 4, 2002
Zimbabwe's Council for Tourism (ZCT) and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA) have both suspended programmes to bring foreign-based travel
journalists to the country on educational trips.
The programmes, introduced last year, were meant to introduce influential
writers to Zimbabwe's wildlife and adventure tourism industry, and
simultaneously counter growing international concern about political
developments in the country.
"We hoped the journalists would realise that Zimbabwe remains a cheap
destination and is still safe for tourists. But we have been forced to
suspend the programme, because these foreign writers have instead gone home
and written some very negative things," said ZCT president Pedia Moyo.
The educational trips were sponsored by the local travel industry, including
the national carrier Air Zimbabwe, the Department of National Parks, the
United Touring Company, Zimbabwe Sun Hotels, and a series of smaller
"We were very generous. We simply let them go wherever they wanted, and
allowed them to speak to anyone that wanted. We expected positive publicity,
but have instead been flooded with negative articles about everything from
the quality of our tourism product to national politics. The programme
simply never paid off," said Moyo.
Zimbabwe's tourism industry has been in crisis since President Robert Mugabe
sanctioned a controversial land reform programme in 1999, sparking land
invasions and racial violence.
The political turmoil resulted in a 60% drop in tourist arrivals between
2000 and 2001, with tourism earnings plummeting from US$6 billion in 1999 to
just US$1 billion in 2001.