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

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Since Mugabe's campaign of terror, well over 100 members of the opposition
party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) have been targeted and murdered
and probably many more will be in the near future unless the madness is

This image is dedicated to them.

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A Daily Struggle to Make Ends Meet

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

February 8, 2002
Posted to the web February 8, 2002

Inside TM Supermarket along Harare's Nelson Mandela Avenue, Joseph Sengu
picked up a packet of low grade beef and for a while looked hard at the
price tag. Then, shaking his head in apparent dejection, dropped it back
into the display fridge.

Moving over to another section of the shop Sengu selected some vegetables,
salt and bread. But as IRIN watched, he returned to the butchery section and
as if with some new found courage, he grabbed the same packet of meat he
abandoned earlier and threw it into his shopping basket and ambled towards
the tills.

There, Sengu closely monitored the till operator as he punched away the
figures into the machine and then suddenly shouted: "Stop! Can you tell me
how much everything is now minus the meat?"

Told the sub-total, Sengu visibly frustrated, reluctantly removed the packet
of meat from the basket and put it aside as he indicated to the till man to
close the sale. It would be the third night his family would have another
supper of just sadza (maize porridge) and plain vegetables.

Outside the supermarket, Sengu told IRIN: "When I am no longer able to
provide enough food for my children to me it is like I am failing as a
father, it hits my ego very hard."

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has manifested itself in an acute foreign
currency scarcity, fuel and food and shortages. For Sengu and many other
Zimbabweans, survival has become not only a daily challenge but also an
embarrassing and frustrating one.

Inflation hit 112 percent in December for the first time since independence
in 1980. The government-funded consumer rights watchdog, the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) told IRIN that prices of almost all commodities
have in the last four years permanently moved only in one direction -

"Literally everything has gone up in the last four years. An average family
of six now needs Z$23,860 (US $433 at the official rate) for its most basic
needs per month," CCZ spokesman Nick Kanyemba said. In 1999, the same family
required about Z$6,000 for its basic consumption per month.

Moves last October by President Robert Mugabe to arrest the spiralling cost
of living by imposing price controls on basic commodities have, as was
predicted by critics then, failed. Nearly all the controlled goods are now
only available on the black market, and at much higher prices.

"You no longer go to the parallel market only when you need your foreign
currency," independent economic analyst John Robertson told IRIN. "These
days you will also have to go onto the black market for your cooking oil,
soap, sugar - in fact a lot of the basic commodities, but these are often at
more than double the state-sanctioned official prices."

For example, you cannot get cooking oil in the supermarkets where the
government has pegged its price at Z$143 per 750 ml bottle. But Jane
Mashayamombe, in Harare's Kuwadzana low-income residential area is doing a
brisk business selling from her home at Z$250 per 750 ml. And likewise
almost every other basic commodity is readily available on the streets of
Harare, where not only a parallel market but a whole parallel economy seems
to be fast emerging.

According to Kanyemba, the only way to stabilise the economy was the
re-introduction of tripartite negotiations involving labour, consumers and
business. Agreement on a compromise package could then ensure the viability
of business, at the same time ensuring reasonable wages and fair prices of
commodities, he said.

The unions, however, are at the forefront of demands for political change in
Zimbabwe. Protest over the deteriorating economy in the 1990s crystallised
into the formation of a broad based opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Stone carver Jacob Maromo, from the Harare's high-density suburb of Glen
Norah, believes the presidential election due on 9-10 March offers
Zimbabweans a chance to start all over again. Mugabe faces MDC party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the crucial ballot, which many analysts insist he could
easily lose if it was free and fair.

"What we need now is a new man with fresh ideas and above all who has not
antagonised the international community whose support we need so that we
could start rebuilding again," said Maromo, mopping up the sweat and dust
from the black granite stone he was working on.

In October 1999, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) froze financial aid
to Zimbabwe because of differences with Harare over policy and its failure
to meet agreed fiscal targets. Bilateral donors and investors also steered
away from the country as Mugabe's government introduced a controversial land
reform programme and then cracked down on critics.

Maromo, who has a wife and two children at primary school said before
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis drove away tourists, he was making
on average a handsome Z$40,000 per month from sales of his stone carvings.
He told IRIN he has to budget carefully to ensure that the Z$15,000 he is
now making per month is enough to last the family through the month.

Every month end he allocates Z$5,000 to cover what he euphemistically calls
"contractual commitments". These are his family's rent, electricity and
water bills. "Six thousand, which of course is not enough, covers our food
requirements and the remaining 4,000 is reserved for the children's school
fees for the next school term and also sometimes to pay back debts I might
have accrued during the month," Maromo explained.

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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Thursday 07 February 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

The owners of Butcombe and Boutenvale Farms, Bindura, are still unable to return to their farms, although they have been able to resume farming operations. 
A settler and a Z.R.P. constable demanded ZWD 25000-00 “compensation” for damage in settlers’ maize by a steer at Inyondo "A", Beatrice. This was refused.
On Nyambiri Farm, Harare South, a militant group accused the labour of supporting the MDC and demanded any MDC party cards be handed over.  Most of the labour fled, but a night watchman was accosted and beaten up with a chain and iron bars.  He is still in hospital.   The following day, an encounter between the owner and two “war vets”, Jefta (from Seke) and Musanhi (from Imbwa Farm), resulted in the “war vets” assaulting the owner with their fists and a golf club, attempting to handcuff him.  The owner is seeking medical attention for his injuries.
In Norton ZANU (PF) rallies are taking place on many of the farms and labour is forced to attend and harassment by youth is common.  On Tilford and Farnley Farms this was particularly harsh and one pregnant woman lost her baby as a result of an assault by the ZANU (PF) youth. 
On Swanscoe Ranch, Masvingo, 27 head of cattle and 97 goats were moved on to the property. The Government Veterinary Officer, Beitbridge, issued a permit despite the Foot and Mouth restrictions in place.
Chivhu - Six families have had to move off their farms in the last week, and 600 cows in calf have had to be slaughtered over the last two weeks as a result of evictions.
At Halfway Hotel, Gwaai, a group of 30, comprising “war vets” and local teachers, demonstrated outside the hotel, and barricaded in the manageress and her assistant.  A local owner attempted a rescue, and had to fire a few shots in the air to scare the demonstrators to effect his own escape.  A good response from local police and the community defused the situation by midnight with no injuries or meaningful damage to property.  
On Umsweswe River Block 10A, Battlefields, an entire herd of over 100 Sable has been completely decimated by settlers.  There has been no assistance from police. 


Chipinge – at Crocodile Creek, on Saturday night, "war vets" came into the farm village, beat up labour they knew had been wearing MDC t-shirts, then put up political notices on the workshop and store.  There is ploughing and building ongoing at Kenilworth Farm, although the farm has been delisted.
Headlands - Ongoing political meetings.  A woman was assaulted last night by three men, two of whom have been arrested.  A farm owner was advised of a political meeting and asked to tell all the other owners to attend.  He was unable to comply as the radio network was down, and he and his family were then threatened with sabotage.
Other areas generally quiet.

Bindura - A group of 20 Youth League members arrived on Bodele Farm yesterday, claimed their numbers would increase to 70 by the end of the day and demanded they be provided with food.  The owner declined, as he only has enough for his farm labour. The youths were not violent. On Brockley Farm a dispute has occurred between farm labour and the settlers, as the latter demand the owner provide food for them. He has refused. The owners of Butcombe and Boutenvale Farms are still unable to return to their farms. They have, however, been able to resume farming operations and negotiations are under way for their return.
Glendale - The area is relatively quiet. maize seizures are due to take place today. Second Section 8 Notices have been issued. In other instances the second Section 8 Notices were taken back as the owners stated this would give them another 90 days before they could be evicted.
Mvurwi – it was reported officials from the Mazowe Valley District Rural Council are visiting farms and demanding the owners pay "Land Tax".
Centenary - There is a huge build up of youth near Mount Darwin, who are harassing motorists, demanding they produce Zanu (PF) party cards chant political slogans.
Tsatsi - continued harassment from the youth, demanding transport and food etc.
Horseshoe - On Amajuba Farm the farm foreman, in the absence of the owner and the manager, was forced, by 51 militant youths (led by Victor and Kafungura) to transport them to Guruve. This took place in the evening and before they left they ordered him to give each youth a bag of maize. The tractor and youth returned late that night, and the youth demanded they be allowed to move into the grading shed, where they now reside. The owner awaits police response. On Rungudzi Farm, 12 cattle were stolen. Police responded and five cattle recovered.
Beatrice – on Goldilands three labourers were forced by “war vets” to attend an all night meeting at Joyce Mine New Retreat.  A gate valve was opened on the dam and a great deal of water lost.  The advisor on Maasplein was told to attend a meeting to discuss school furniture. The meeting became political.  He was told to
supply transport to move the furniture, the farm is now government property and does not belong to the owner and all equipment must be off the farm in ten days. Present at the meeting were “war vet” Hodzi, the headmaster and deputy headmaster of Karreeboom School and two Z.R.P. constables.  On Enslinsdeel a woman in the farm village was assaulted and the labour forced to attend an all night meeting at Maasplein Farm. Portugal Farm lost a cow and 13 weaners in three nights.  At Inyondo "A" a settler and a Z.R.P. constable demanded ZWD 25000-00 “compensation” for damage in settlers’ maize by a steer. This was refused.
Featherstone – the owner of Ngesi is off the farm and youths are demanding the
homestead keys.  The owner of an unlisted farm did not attend a rally, which has resulted in continual problems from the youth.  Generally the youth is causing problems moving cattle and/or telling the owners to move cattle. There have been many meetings held with the emphasis on "No violence".
Harare South – both Dunluce and Kildonan were visited by youths, but no problems were caused.  On 06.02.02, a lorry arrived with about 70 people on Nyambiri Farm.  The group accused the labour of supporting the MDC and demanded any MDC party cards be handed over.  Most of the labour fled, but a night watchman was accosted and beaten up with a chain and iron bars.  He is still in hospital.   The following day, children of the “war vets” tried to force their dogs under the wheels of a vehicle driven by a member of the owner’s family.  Later on he and the owner were confronted by two “war vets”, Jefta (from Seke) and Musanhi (from Imbwa Farm) who accused them of preventing the children from attending school.  The owner responded this had not happened and raised concerns about dogs which were allowed at the school with small children present.  The two “war vets” assaulted the owner with their fists and a golf club, attempting to handcuff him.  They fled when farm labour came to his assistance, and sought refuge at Harrege Satellite Patrol Base, locking themselves in the charge office.  Although ZRP Beatrice and DISPOL said they would respond, a phone call received later asked the owner to transport the assailants to ZRP Beatrice, as there was no transport.  The owner is seeking medical attention for his injuries, including a suspected cracked jaw.  Police have recovered most of the fertilizer stolen by the settlers in January from Walmer Farm.
Macheke/ Virginia - Twist Farm  reported 50 youths came on to the property,
informed the owner they would be staying until the elections, and demanded firewood and water.  Rufaro Farm reported seven cows and five calves stolen. This was reported to Sgt. Makori, report number OB 476/2002, and the owner told he could collect one police detail to accompany the Security details for the investigation.  There are reports of militant youths obstructing traffic on the main Murewa/Macheke road near to Craiglea Farm, which was reported to the police.  Drylawhill Farm reported all the labour was missing.  It was discovered the labour had been sent to the NSSA in Marondera, as they must become casual labour. At 1800 they had not returned.  On Mignon Farm all the labour has been evicted the previous evening and that the owner told to be off the farm at the end of that day.  The issue was resolved, with the assistance of the D.A. Murewa, OIC Macheke and Paul Nhau.  Rufaro Farm reported another weaner had been slaughtered in addition to another 10 stolen over the weekend. Wedsec and Police Twist are following up on the second case. Both B and K Estates reported cattle from Kournine are herded on to the farms and into the tobacco.  Attempts to return the cattle are not successful. “War vet” Matatsi attended but the outcome is unknown.  Royal Visit reported the “war vet” base commander from Klipspringer Kop, demanding maize.
Marondera North – there is an illegal roadblock manned by youth since the weekend on Nyagambi. They constantly harass the owner, and two labourers have been severely assaulted by war vet Mapfumu. No response from the police to date.  On Dormervale half the labour force is taken daily to the club for “re-education.”   Dormervale Road has had three illegal roadblocks; police dismantled one but it was put up again nearer the club. The youth have moved on to the club polocrosse field.  A dip storeroom was broken into and cleaned out on Cornwall.
Marondera South - on 29.01.02, Igava Farm reported settlers attempted to stop tobacco curing at Edinburough Farm Barns. Police resolved the case.  On Makarara Farm   Agritex are bringing more people to look at the land under the A2 Scheme.  Makara has received no Section 5 or Section 8 Order.  The youths on Igava are pressuring to use an old garage as a youth headquarters. They have implied they would take over Ruzawi Club if they were not given the room and pressure would also be applied by ZANU PF. Negotiations are underway to resolve this matter.
Wedza – on Budley a calf was slashed and a cow and calf are missing.  The centre pivot computer box and MCB's were stolen on Sunday night at Devon farm.  On Chakadenga  all the wiring was ripped out from the coldrooms on Sunday night resulting in over ZWD 1 million worth of losses on the roses.   An irrigation motor was turned off as settlers claim the owner was stealing water.  This was resolved after discussion with “war vet” Kwaipa who gave permission for the owner to use the water. An MCB and starter were stolen from the dip area.  The MCBs and switchgear from five boreholes were stolen on Sunday night at Fels.  At Chirume 200 m of boundary fence was cut at the weekend and cattle herded 3 km into maize on Collace next door, resulting in a demand of ZWD 1,8 million for compensation.   The police met with the settlers and inspected the maize. The owner offered 15 bags of maize as a gesture of good will. The settlers and the police signed for the bags in agreement the matter was closed.  Last week, the owner of Hull Farm sent his assistant to irrigate paprika planted on Devon next door. The assistant was pulled out of his vehicle and manhandled by the settlers, who accuse the owner of stealing the irrigation pump, as well as all the electrical thefts that have taken place!  On Imire four heifers were tied up by settlers who alleged the animals ate their maize.  The animals were later released pending Agritex and police investigation. At Idube a bull was driven into a woman settler’s maize, who was very belligerent and demanded ZWD 50,000-00. The owner refused to
pay. A group of settlers decided all the labour and cattle should be moved off this farm, with only ten labourers allowed to remain. The group barricaded the road, because it claimed the MDC had been coming around at night, as well as the Bridge Road near the farm entrance.
Karoi – on 6.2.02 at Milverton Farm some tobacco was cut down and tobacco theft at night has been experienced.
Banket – on 5.02.02, there was attempted extortion by labour demanding a 14th cheque on Mupandaguta Farm. The labour downed tools just as the flowers move towards St Valentines Day.  The owner had previously given them three by 50 kg of maize each.
Mutorashanga – on 5.02.02 at Nkarakati Farm 20 youths who had just come from a rally at Sutton Mine, stopped the owner’s vehicle, banging on it and demanding food and meat.  When they were met with refusal, they helped themselves in the farm store.  However, they left their names and ID numbers.  It transpires most came from the nearby farms.  The police were informed and the store is now closed.
Ayrshire – on 5.02.02 at Erewhon Farm  the youth gave the owner similar trouble as “she is not changing her attitude quickly enough”.  The situation is resolved.  The same day at Nivana Farm GMB officials accompanied by four armed policemen wished to seize 100 bags of maize.  The owner has filled in the requisite GM4 form (an application for exemption to deliver maize) as the maize is for the domestic and farm labour.  Should this be seized, there will be no access to food for them.
Chinhoyi – poaching is prevalent on Highway Farm.  At Umboe Farm and other places in the area, green mealies are stolen long before they are ready for harvest.  At Portelet Farm  teachers have taken over one of the cottages without permission and now threaten to knock down walls in labourers houses to develop classrooms.
Norton - ZANU (PF) rallies are taking place on many of the farms.  Farm labour is forced to attend and harassment by youth is common.  On Tilford and Farnley Farms this was particularly harsh and one pregnant woman lost her baby as a result of an assault by the ZANU (PF) youth.  A Norton Town Council Mazda pick-up with 22 youth and armed police, has been on farms checking labour have ZANU (PF) cards and can shout ZANU (PF) slogans.  On Sunnyside Reuben Barwe dropped off people to cut down trees.  A new trend in the area has been orchestrated where labour are illegally striking for “production bonuses”. ZANU (PF) officials are visiting farms promising owners that if they pay towards the party, they will be “left alone".  On Maine Farm the DA, DISPOL and twelve senior members from the Government Task Force arrived to pressurise the owner into allowing the "Chef" illegally occupying the property to use the tobacco barns.  The "Chef" concerned planted his tobacco on land the owner spent ZWD 5,2 million in preparing and fertilizing for his late crop.  The owner has told the "Chef" that he can use the barns in a week’s time when he is finished. 
Selous - On Exwick, Wing Commander Mazamban has indicated he wants to move into the second homestead where the foreman resides. 
Chegutu - On Solitude it appears a youth training camp for 150 people is operating.
Kadoma/Battlefields - On Maidavale the owner was forced out of his vehicle and assaulted with sticks and a spanner by about 80 people who are believed to have come from the neighbouring farms of Alabama, Inniskilling etc.  The owner’s wife was also forced out of the vehicle and pulled by the hair.  They were made to chant ZANU (PF) slogans.  Two labourers were assaulted and forced to dig holes with their hands in the hard dry ground.  The owner evacuated the house and the next night the front door was smashed down.  Apart from beer the theft appears to be minimal.  On Coryton people purporting to Zanu (PF) extorted money from the manager.  On Pamene poaching continues with little or no reaction from police, and another cow has been slaughtered.  On Umsweswe River Block 10A it seems the entire herd of over 100 Sable has been completely decimated by settlers.  There has been no assistance from police.  On Twintops the owner offered a building that was previously a school to the Ministry of Education for a new school.  Whilst at a meeting between himself, the CFU Regional Executive and the Chief Education Officer, the settlers decided to make the grain dryer into a school instead, and destroyed walls etc. in preparation.  At the same time the owner’s labour were making the offered building habitable.  In Kadoma district alone there are 26 "schools" set up in owners’ sheds etc. and over seventy teachers have just been "trained".  The haphazard nature of this programme is causing havoc to owners and farm labour, some of whom are evicted from their homes on the property to make way for teachers. 

Masvingo East and Central - “war vets” and ZANU (PF) youth have taken over the Farmers Hall and have occupied it for several months. It is believed that up to 1000 individuals are seen at the hall on various occasions.  The owner of Yettom and Marah Farms was approached by approximately 30 youths on the property, who wanted to know what the owner was doing on the property and why he was taking away movable assets. After an hour of haranguing him, he was left to continue with the removal.  ZANU (PF) youths on the neighbouring farm, have threatened to attack the farm labour on Shallock Park Farm and destroy the houses again.  Greenhills Farm  and Dromore Farm received Section 7 Notices. 
Chiredzi – on Faversham Ranch the farm outbuildings previously occupied by settlers were damaged. Agritex officials from Harare visited after they heard the sugar cane and maize crops were not being tended.  The Trade Union continues to make promises of wages amounting to ZWD 7900. Threats have been made, which include a hostile strike, trashing of properties and burning of cane.  The police have assured that this will not be allowed to happen and know the ringleader.   The owner of Alstar Haven has vacated the property. The Land Committee in Masvingo wish to put in its own staff to look after the empty house and safari camp. The owner wants to pay his own labour to look after the property, but this was denied.  ZESA power has been turned off. Three rounds of automatic fire were heard and it is believed a wildebeest has been killed.  On 01.02.02, approximately 20 people came to Samba Ranch from Zaka to inspect the cane plots. The base commander expressed his displeasure the Zaka people are receiving plots.
Save Conservancy - Situation remains the same.
Gutu / Chatsworth – on Blyth Farm, Department of Education officials chased out labour from their living quarters and have occupied thirteen rooms. They state this is accommodation for teachers. Presently 30 school children, engaged in school activities, occupy the owner’s 60-foot long shed. Approximately 50 female youths, led by one male, arrived singing and shouting in front of the gate. The male forced his way into the yard and removed mangoes from the trees.  Vice President Muzenda approached the owner of Chindito Farm and told him to not sell any irrigation piping and farm equipment, as everything has to “go” with the farm.  On Willand Farm, reports state the owner fenced off a maize field to ensure cattle do not stray into the field. On 5.02.02, youths apparently burnt one settler hut and then maliciously cut the fencing every 3 metres.  At Condor Farm five cattle were stolen on 01.02.02. One was found slaughtered. Police reacted and two suspects apprehended, with one suspect still at large.  On Lauder / Wragley Farm the owner continues to have problems regarding his cattle as gates are left open and fences are damaged.
Mwenezi – at Merrivale Ranch a crowd of people emptied out a dip tank without the owner’s permission, as they argue the farm belongs to them and they can do what they want. Cardboard notices were placed on the gates, addressed to the owner, informing him he had until the 09.02.02 to remove himself and all his belongings or else he would be forcefully removed.  On Nkumi Ranch 25 head of cattle were stolen, with one found slaughtered.  At Quagga Pan Ranch a labourer went to the police to report an incident and was badly beaten up by them.  On Swanscoe Ranch, 27 head of cattle and 97 goats were moved on to the property. The Government Veterinary Officer, Beitbridge, issued a permit despite the Foot and Mouth restrictions in place.
Chivhu - Six families have had to move off their farms in the last week, and 600 cows in calf have had to be slaughtered over the last two weeks as a result of evictions. Farmers are currently very concerned about the drought.
Shurugwi – the Zanu (PF) Youth Brigade has taken over three houses in the farm village on Lancastershire Estate and is using them as a training base. Police are not interested in reacting.
Somabhula/Daisyfield - Three youths approached the owner of Grasslands demanding compensation for crops his cattle had eaten. They threatened him, tried to snatch his car keys and attempted to turn over his car. The owner refused as he said the crops were doomed anyway because of the lack of rain and because the only cattle on his farm were two bulls and a cow.  These animals had broken away when the rest of the herd was forcefully evicted from the farm, and returned through fences cut by settlers.  The youths threatened to “do something drastic”, shaking a catapult at the farmer. Later in the day he was locked out of the security gate of the homestead and they then demanded money to buy roller meal.

Gwaai – at Halfway Hotel, a group of 30, comprising “war vets” and local teachers, demonstrated outside the hotel and were aggressive and intimidating.  The hotel manageress and her assistant were barricaded in one of the lodges while staff locked up the hotel complex.  A local owner, while attempting to rescue the manageress, was almost trapped in the complex by demonstrators closing the back security gate on him.  He fired a few shots in the air to scare them away from the gate to effect his escape.  There was a good response from local police and the community defused the situation by midnight with no injuries or meaningful damage to property.  Negotiations continued the following day, with demands the hotel management be replaced and the owner charged with attempted murder.  Police investigations are ongoing.
Nyamandhlovu – on Redwood Park Farm, pressure continues that the owner must vacate the farm with various threats of retribution for non-compliance.  The dispute over this property has been ongoing for months.  The ostrich, paprika, wheat and game farm were shut down with the owner barred from coming on to the farm.  Sporadic slaughter of ostriches and relocation of breeders has forced the owner to start vacating the property starting 06.02.02.   A showdown is expected when the equipment is removed from the property.  Occupants of a white tipper truck, believed to belong to Obert Mpofu, the Governor, forced labour on Kennelly's farm to attend a ZANU PF rally in Nyamandhlovu.   A foreman on Kennelly's farm was threatened by Japhet Mpofu, a local dairy farmer, for undermining ZANU (PF).  The foreman has since left employment for fear of reprisal.   DDF officials were pegging with steel pegs on Kennelly's farm in the paprika and maize lands.   It is believed maize is being sold at the Nyamandlovu Police Station and at Matambo Farm at a selling price of ZWD 300-00 per bucket and only on production of a ZANU (PF) party card.  It is also believed maize is being sold on Thorn Valley farm, owned by Japhet Mpofu.  On Newcross Farm, 34 cattle were stolen.  With assistance from Nyamandhlovu police, the rustler was arrested and 18 head of cattle recovered.           Visit the CFU Website                    

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The Times


An encounter with silent ranks of hate


THE driver hit the brakes hard and our car skidded noisily on the gravel. We
were instantly conspicuous.
On the main road ahead was a column of about 100 boys and a few girls in
their late teens, jogging tightly in step, in single file and in silence,
except for a deep “Hoo!” uttered with every fourth step.

Recruits, the driver said, to Zimbabwe’s new “youth national service”
militia. They were on their way to the nearest militia base, an abandoned
white farm 12 miles distant, for “re-education”. Luckily, they passed
without showing any interest in us.

Shephard Ngundu, a teacher, was less fortunate. He was murdered on Tuesday
by trained recruits in the Mount Darwin area in the northeast of the
country, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said yesterday. He
was the seventeenth MDC sympathiser to be killed this year. The new militia
can claim responsibility for more of those deaths than any other branch of
President Mugabe’s murderous political machine.It is his contribution to the
tradition of African dictators coercing or bribing unemployed and
under-educated youth into service as instruments of savagery against

“Youth national service” is recognised as a new branch of the country’s
security forces, paid, trained, provisioned and clothed by state finance.
Assertions that they are trained in carpentry and poultry-keeping are

Since the first 1,000 completed their three months’ training in late
November, many youths in crisp olive-green fatigues and caps have been
appearing in MDC strongholds all over the country. They carry out their task
of identifying and brutalising suspected MDC supporters with single-minded

“The strategy is fully ‘militarised’,” a human rights agency official who
asked not to be named said. “The militia secure the area with illegal
roadblocks, and on the inside they go to work with lists of local MDC
organisers.” They came for Bernard X, 41, an MDC official in a communal area
in eastern Zimbabwe, ten days ago. He woke with two petrol bombs exploding
on the floor of his house. He fainted, was dragged out and beaten with metal
rods. His wife had been stabbed in both thighs and beaten, but was alive.

In hospital this week, he has severe burn marks on his ears, lips, nose and
shoulders. On his back are the black criss-crosses of the beating. Despite
her injuries, his wife told him to flee because the militias had threatened
to come back.

Possession of a Zanu (PF) membership card is indispensable. Travellers
alighting at rural bus terminuses are searched for MDC material. At rural
business centres, they keep watch for strangers. Being young and urban is
dangerously conspicuous.

Chisvo Y works in Harare, and has to travel to his rural village south of
the capital every weekend to attend Zanu (PF) rallies. “It is a big
nuisance, but I have to go,” he said. “If I don’t, they will accuse me of
being MDC and attack my family.”

Deserters describe training, by men with military background, in parade
ground drill, party obedience and intimidation techniques. “We don’t know
anything about the numbers,” the human rights worker said. “But when they
are deployed to other areas, their job is also to train local youths. So you
have a massive multiplier effect.

“There seems to be some systematic teaching in torture techniques. Someone
is teaching them how far they can go, otherwise they will end up with
corpses all over the place.”

Norman Z was seized by militiamen in the poor township of Hatcliffe last
week. He had one set of electrodes clamped to his hands and his inner thighs
and the other ends to a car battery while the engine was revved. A doctor
who examined him the next day said: “His hands and his thighs were still in
spasm. They could have killed him.”

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Stop youth brigade, Mugabe told

February 8, 2002 Posted: 10:44 AM EST (1544 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe's opposition leader has challenged
President Mugabe to disband a youth brigade accused of spearheading
pre-election violence.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told
a campaign rally that Mugabe appeared "married to violence."

He challenged Zimbabwe's leader to disband the group to prove his commitment
to free elections.

Tsvangirai, a former union leader, said Mugabe would be dealt a huge defeat
at the ballot box on March 9-10.

Tsvangirai poses the biggest threat to Mugabe's bid to extend his 22 years
in power in an election campaign marred by violence blamed by many on
militants from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

The MDC says more than 100 people have been killed in the last two years and
that despite ZANU-PF pledges to rein its supporters violence had increased
in the past month.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe's "green bombers" -- the nickname given to graduates
of a national youth service which critics say has been turned into a private
party militia -- were still terrorising opposition supporters across the
southern African country.

"If Mugabe wants to prove that he is committed to running a free and fair
election, he must disband these armed bandits," Tsvangirai told about 1,000
people at a rally in an industrial district.

"The truth is that Mugabe appears married to political violence," he said.

Tsvangirai also accused Mugabe -- who says the MDC leader is a puppet of
Western and local minority whites -- of wrecking Zimbabwe's economy,
pointing at rising unemployment, record inflation, looming famine and
company closures.

Mugabe says the Zimbabwean economy has been sabotaged by Western powers and
former white Rhodesians seeking his overthrow over his controversial drive
to seize white-owned farms for blacks.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe had lost the support of the black majority and his
few supporters were "renting and forcing" people to attend his campaign

Mugabe, who turns 78 later this month, has been Zimbabwe's sole ruler since
the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Non-Governmental Organisations Forum said this
week that 16 politically-motivated murders were recorded in January, the
highest monthly toll since it began logging incidents two years ago. The
group said 13 were MDC members.

Rights groups warned of a "climate of fear and terror" ahead of the March
presidential polls. Three MDC parliamentarians said they had been arrested
and beaten by police on Wednesday.

Mugabe has said he will allow foreign observers to the elections, but will
not admit members from former colonial ruler Britain, which he accuses of
backing the opposition.

The Commonwealth, comprising 54 mostly former British colonies, has sent an
advance team. The European Union said it would send half a dozen observers
to prepare for the arrival of its main team.

EU diplomats said on Wednesday they had decided not to impose sanctions
against Mugabe and his inner circle for now, saying there were signs
international pressure was working.

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Swedish head of EU observer team could test Mugabe

BRUSSELS, Feb. 8 — The EU headed for a possible new showdown with Zimbabwe
over election-monitoring on Friday, insisting a Swede would lead its team
despite Harare pointedly not including Sweden in a list of invited

       European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin said former Swedish
government minister Pierre Schori would travel to Zimbabwe on Sunday to head
the 150-EU monitoring team.
       Udwin repeated EU threats of sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and
his inner circle if he blocks deployment of the monitors or if there are
election abuses.
       In the March 9-10 poll, Mugabe faces his stiffest challenge in the 22
years since he led the country to independence. Zimbabwe's opposition
charges that Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party intend to rig the
       Udwin said Mugabe's government earlier this week invited monitors
from nine of the 15 EU countries, but left out Sweden, Denmark, Finland,
Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
       ''We believe it is up to the EU to determine who takes part in its
mission,'' Udwin told Reuters. ''We are continuing all the arrangements to
deploy our observers as planned.''
       Zimbabwe state radio reported last month that Mugabe has invited
foreign observers but would not allow election monitors from former colonial
power Britain.
       Mugabe accuses London of seeking to undermine his rule after disputes
rooted in often-violent seizures of white-controlled land since 2000.

       Udwin said the EU had taken the necessary steps to invoke sanctions
on Zimbabwe as early as next week if Mugabe obstructs the observer mission.
       ''Preparations for sanctions -- should they be needed -- are very
well in hand,'' she said.
       The so-called ''smart sanctions'' unveiled by the EU last month would
freeze the foreign assets of Mugabe's family and inner circle and bar them
from travel.
       The EU would also ban exports of arms and other equipment that could
be used for internal repression.
       Udwin said the sanctions could be invoked if the EU finds a
deterioration of human rights or signs of intensified attacks on the
       She said that sanctions also could be imposed after the elections if
they were found not to be free and fair, or if international media were
prevented from covering the vote.
       ''A decision on Mugabe's actions can be taken at any point,'' Udwin
       The first EU observer from outside Zimbabwe was expected to arrive in
Harare later on Friday.
       ''His name is Fabio Bargiacchi and he will be the coordinator for the
long-term observers,'' Udwin said.
       She said Schori would reach Harare on Sunday. Another 30 long-term
observers were due to arrive around Tuesday.
       Before the election, the observer mission will swell to 150

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The Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe must have free and fair vote, says Blair
By Nigel Morris, Political Correspondent
08 February 2002

Tony Blair made an impassioned plea yesterday for Robert Mugabe's regime to
allow rigorous international scrutiny of the elections in Zimbabwe after
three opposition MPs were arrested in the latest outbreak of pre- electoral

Speaking at a joint press conference in Abuja with Nigeria's President,
Olusegun Obasanjo, on the first full day of a West African tour, Mr Blair
said: "There has to be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. There has to be
the foreign press there. There have to be foreign observers there."

But President Obasanjo, a key mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis, said he was
satisfied that President Mugabe was working towards fair elections and
ending political violence.

"Two weeks ago I went to Zimbabwe. I made it clear to President Mugabe that
the whole world, and indeed Africa, will not agree to him not allowing
foreign observers, not allowing the foreign press and not doing something
about political violence.

"He took this very seriously and started acting on it. I don't know what
else you want. If you want us to wage war on him, Britain has that capacity,
but Nigeria doesn't."

Nigeria, one of the countries that last month blocked British attempts to
have Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth, has privately complained that
Britain wants "Mugabe's head delivered on a platter of gold".

In Harare, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party said three of
its parliamentarians were campaigning in the central town of Nkayi on
Wednesday when gunmen shot at their car. An MDC statement accused the army
of beating up the MPs, who were then held overnight at a police station.

In a speech yesterday to the Nigerian parliament, Mr Blair stressed that no
part of the world was immune from events thousands of miles away, saying
that the "leafy suburbs" of the West were not beyond "the reach of bad
things and bad people".

The Prime Minister said the world could not turn its back on a continent in
which a child died every three seconds.

But, in a counterblast to Tory jibes that he is indulging a growing fondness
for "designer diplomacy", Mr Blair said Africa needed a new partnership with
the developed world "not out of desperation, but out of hope for the

He added: "The cynics, and as ever, there are many of them, say why should
we succeed now where we have failed to make progress before? But that is
what they have said throughout human history. If we had listened to them, we
would still be in the Dark Ages." He added: "There never has been a time
when self-interest and mutual interest were so closely dependent on each

Mr Blair's four-day trip is also taking in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal.

Britain will publish a discussion paper today setting out plans for the West
to work with the continent's leaders to build up the peace-keeping capacity
of African forces.

The UK is not expected to commit large numbers of troops to the region, but
Mr Blair promised assistance in areas such as military training, as it does
in Sierra Leone.

To aid conflict resolution in the region Mr Blair also announced he was
appointing a senior diplomat as a special envoy to strife-torn Sudan.

From Business Day (SA), 8 February

Obasanjo insists Harare should hold a fair election

Abuja - Africa will not accept the results of next month's election in
Zimbabwe if it is not free and fair, President Olusegun Obasanjo told UK
Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday. Obasanjo said he had delivered that
message to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at a meeting in Harare two
weeks ago. "I made it clear to President Mugabe that the world, and indeed
Africa, will not accept him not allowing independent observers, not allowing
foreign press, not doing something about the violence," said Obasanjo. Blair
said the time was right for Africa to lift itself up in partnership with the
wealthy. "This is the best chance in a generation for us to make this
partnership (with Africa) work," he said, citing two reasons, the first
being Nepad, the plan for African economic recovery drawn up by President
Thabo Mbeki and adopted with Obasanjo and Algerian President Abdulaziz
Bouteflika. Nepad was not just about trade, or aid, but also about conflict
resolution, education, good government and openness, said Blair. Second,
there was a generation of leaders ready to take responsibility for moving
move Africa forward. Blair thanked Obasanjo for his support on the
Zimbabwean election, land reform and political violence.

Retired general and former Nigerian head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, who
relinquished power to Obasanjo in May 1999, ending more than 15 years of
military rule, is heading a Commonwealth team that will monitor Zimbabwe's
presidential election. Abubakar, who stewarded the transition from military
to civilian rule in Nigeria in 1999, headed a Commonwealth observer mission
to oversee Zimbabwe's parliamentary election in 2000. He raised concern at
irregularities in the Zambian election at the end of last year as head of
the US-based Carter Centre's mission. Nigeria has sustained a close dialogue
with Harare as its political and economic crisis worsened. Obasanjo
supported international efforts to encourage Harare to hold a free and fair
election, observe human rights and end farm invasions. But he joined other
African leaders last week in rejecting a call by Britain to suspend Zimbabwe
from the Commonwealth. After first resisting international observers, Mugabe
consented to observers from the Commonwealth, the European Union and the
Southern African Development Community. Before meeting Blair yesterday,
Obasanjo warned that violence threatened to engulf Nigeria and derail
democracy in the run-up to the election next year. He denounced four days of
ethnic clashes in Lagos that had left 100 dead and overshadowed Blair's
visit. "We appear to be steadily losing ground to the suffocating influences
of violence and lawlessness in the conduct of our political affairs,"
Obasanjo told political leaders and security chiefs before meeting Blair.

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Moyo Starts Proceedings Against Mbeki

The Herald (Harare)

February 7, 2002
Posted to the web February 7, 2002

Herald Reporter

LAWYERS representing the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, have started legal proceedings against Moeletsi
Mbeki, younger brother of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

This follows recent reports in the South African and local Press alleging
that Professor Jonathan Moyo absconded with millions of rands belonging to

The reports added that the minister owed a United States aid agency and a
South African university some money.

Mr Terrence Hussein, of Hussein Ranchod and Company, said the accusations
against his client were trumped up and the story a "tired old" one.

"It's the same old story that has been repeated countless times before both
in Zimbabwe and South Africa with only one difference every time - change of
figures," Mr Hussein said last night.

"We are going to vigorously descend on the Ford Foundation and we are
confident of winning the case. My client has got nothing to worry about."

The story, repeated by the Daily News yesterday taking cue from the Sunday
Times of South Africa, quotes the younger Mbeki accusing Prof Moyo of
absconding with R100 000 (about $500 000).

It also said the minister owed a United States aid agency, Ford Foundation,
and Witswatersrand University of South Africa substantial amounts of money.

Said Mr Hussein: "Mr Mbeki alleges all sorts of things but isn't it strange
that he waits for four years before making these charges? This is very
curious indeed.

"Why didn't he seek court proceedings and not through newspaper columns?
These charges should have been raised in a court of law.

"Is it because they are not confident of winning their case . . . their
trumped case against my client?"

Mr Hussein said he had liaised with his corresponding attorneys in South
Africa to start the legal proceedings against Mbeki and the South African
newspapers that carried the story.

"Mbeki will have to put his money where his mouth is. As for the Daily News,
we have six or seven cases pending against them, we can add another one."

Mr Hussein said what makes the Mbeki charges curious was the fact that his
client had never heard of them.

According to the story, Prof Moyo received the money from Mbeki's television
production company, Endemol, after invoicing it for a TV documentary.

Mbeki told the South African media that his company was now trying to
recover the money and was considering attaching Prof Moyo's Johannesburg

He, however, said legal proceedings to attach the property had not started.

The stories also alleged that the minister absconded with part of a R100 000
research grant from Wits University.

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From African Eye (SA), 7 February

Radio station reaches listeners by tape

Bulawayo - A street-smart Zimbabwean radio station has found a way around
President Robert Mugabe's crushing broadcasting regulations and is
distributing its show by cassette. Radio Dialogue decided to distribute
thousands of cassettes of their programme called 'Taxi Tunes' around
Bulawayo after the government refused to grant it a license last month.
"What we are doing isn't illegal because the use of cassettes is not
included in the country's broadcasting regulations," project coordinator
Qhubani Moyo said this week. Cassettes will be handed out around the city's
high-density suburbs twice a week and include music, interviews and
discussions on political, social and economic situations and interviews. The
station was refused a licence after information and publicity minister
Jonathan Moyo got wind that they were funded by the Open Society Foundation
of South Africa and the German-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Moyo
dismissed the station's application saying it was 'daydreaming'. Under the
country's new broadcasting act introduced last year, foreigners and
foreign-funded broadcasters can't qualify for a licence. As the March 9 and
10 elections draw nearer many radio stations have opted to broadcast to
Zimbabwe from Britain using short wave. Although the government says it is
putting an end to its broadcasting monopoly new players in the industry have
become frustrated by the requirements and cost of a licence.

News Room

A local independent information service, The News Room, has been established
to gather and disseminate all information relevant to the current situation
in Zimbabwe. The News Room will provide updated information regarding,
violence and intimidation, road blocks and militia movements, voting and
legislative issues, availability of essential commodities, and all aspects
pertaining to the forthcoming elections. Contact: 091 337 694, 091 258 525,
023 405 267 or Only first-hand reports will be accepted and
disseminated – please do not recycle second-hand stories or rumours
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(Not sure about the validity of this article ...... see the last article on this page ........???!.. Karen) From News24 (SA), 7 February

EU invited to Zim elections

Harare - The European Union has received a long-awaited formal invitation to
send observers to March presidential elections - an issue over which the EU
had threatened sanctions, diplomats in Zimbabwe said on Thursday. The
European diplomats said the letter of invitation from the Zimbabwe
government reminded the European Union that their activities had to be
carried out in conjunction with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries
(ACP). In an ongoing row mainly with former colonial power Britain over
political conditions in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the March 9-10 elections,
Harare has ruled out the presence of any British citizens among observers
from the EU or the Commonwealth. Britain has led an international campaign
against President Robert Mugabe, who has waged a crackdown on political
opponents and allowed often violent supporters to run amok on white-owned
farms. The EU has threatened to impose sanctions if Zimbabwe prevents its
observers from "operating effectively", if international media do not have
free access to cover the elections, in case of serious human rights abuses
or attacks on Mugabe's opponents, or if the vote is deemed not to be free
and fair.

Also on Thursday, Zimbabwe started accrediting an advance team of foreign
observers from the Commonwealth, whose members plan to monitor polls
throughout the country. The advance secretariat team will prepare for the
arrival of observers on Friday, said the team's head, Jon Sheppard. Sheppard
told reporters that six out of 33 observers, to be joined by 15 support
staff, would arrive in the next three days. Former Nigerian leader
Abdulsalami Abubakar, who will head the Commonwealth delegation, is expected
to arrive on February 23. Abubakar headed the Commonwealth observer team at
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in June 2000, when the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) swept nearly half the contested seats.
"We have a mixture of people who come from various backgrounds ... among
them members of parliament, some opposition politicians and people from the
civil society," he said. The observers will deploy as soon as they get their
accreditation and will cover all parts of the country, Sheppard said. "The
observers will make their own assessment and decide where they want to
deploy," he said. Sheppard, an Australian, said the six observers expected
over the next three days would be from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada,
Guyana, Kenya and Namibia. Mugabe, who has ruled for 22 years since the
former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain, will seek another six-year
term but faces a tough race against MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

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From News24 (SA), 7 February

Youths kill teacher

Harare - Nine youths have been arrested in connection with the murder of a
teacher in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland Central Province in an incidence of
political violence ahead of presidential elections in March, police said on
Thursday. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said Shepherd Ngundu (28) was
killed on Tuesday over political differences in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland
Central province. The spokesperson said nine people were arrested in
connection with the killing. He declined to reveal the suspects' political
affiliation, but the area is a stronghold of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu
PF. "There was a misunderstanding with a group of youths and we have since
arrested nine. They were supposed to appear in court today," Bvudzijena
said. The murder brings to 16 the number of people killed in political
violence since December 24. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
claims that more than 90 of its supporters have been killed since it came to
prominence ahead of parliamentary elections in June 2000.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Security concerns impeding tourism development efforts

2/8/02 7:16:40 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE, awakening to the parlous state of its foreign currency crisis and
rising unemployment, this week revived its interest in a regional
transfrontier game park, an ambitious project replete with an unparalleled
diversity of wildlife, which could become unrivalled as a tourism
destination on the continent.

Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe have agreed on creating the
Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Trans-frontier National Park, which would become one
huge game reserve, allowing free movement of animals across the borders of
the three countries.

The expectation is that the project could become operational by next year,
but a major impediment has been the security concerns stemming from Zimbabwe
’s political instability.

So concerned were the other members that discussions proceeded while they
watched events unfold in this country. The Minister of Environment and
Tourism, Francis Nhema, this week repeated Zimbabwe’s interest in the

However, he sounds unrealistic in that the basis of his statement seems to
be an assumption that everything is normal.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nhema seems to be a man swimming against a tide unleashed by members of his
own ruling party.

Last year when so-called war veterans and Zanu PF supporters invaded
conservancies in the Save area, he protested at the impact this would have
on foreign investment flows and on the country’s tourism and safari sectors
of the economy.

Even though his advice was valid, it was ignored.

It is incidents such as last year’s that raise questions about whether the
minister is not being naive as he seems to proceed from an assumption that
everything is normal, when clearly things are not.

The trouble with Zimbabwe right now is that a lot is being done and said
without fully appreciating what impact such actions have on the domestic and
international perception of the country.

It has been six months since the 6 September Abuja Agreement, under which
the government undertook to stop further farm invasions.

Instead, farmers in Beatrice and Mutorashanga have been given hours’ notices
to vacate their properties by government supporters.

These are lifetime investments, from which people are now being chased at a
moment’s notice.

As long as this anarchy prevails, it is Utopian to expect any investment to
be made towards Gonarezhou, in the context of the transfrontier game park.

Mozambique and South Africa may have to go ahead, while Zimbabwe sorts out
its political mess.

But it would be a major loss to Zimbabwe if it does not get in from the

It is imperative that it embarks on the development of infrastructure at the
same time as both Mozambique and South Africa.

If it fails to do so Zimbabwe will suffer the same fate it is witnessing in
the Victoria Falls area, where tourists come on a day trip from South Africa
or Botswana and return.

It will mean the country will not realise maximum benefits from the flow of
foreign tourists.

The same will happen to the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou transfrontier game

Tourists will visit Zimbabwe from Mozambique and South Africa.
Yet the project presents an opportunity for investment in infrastructure,
lodges, chalets and the upgrading of Buffalo Range airport to increase its
handling capacity.

That can only mean more jobs for Zimbabweans and supporting industries,
while increased flows of foreign tourists will greatly improve Zimbabwe’s
foreign currency earnings.

Nhema’s intentions maybe noble, but he needs to persuade his cabinet
colleagues to see things the way he does, so that they can be more resolute
in tackling and dealing with lawlessness and instability, if ordinary
Zimbabweans are to benefit from the transfrontier game park project.
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Daily News - Leader Page

Battle for access to information not over yet

2/8/02 7:17:23 AM (GMT +2)

By Sizani Weza

READERS of The Herald and The Sunday Mail might have found the stories
carried by the two newspapers last weekend on the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill fascinating.

The Herald’s story about the “Information Bill facing an uncertain future”,
read: “ . . . One is that the confusion surrounds the last-minute amendments
which were made after the Bill had sailed through the committee stage and
was about to be read for the third time . . . there was a lot of grand
standing for cheap heroism, said another source . . . .”

The next day, The Sunday Mail’s Question and Answer piece headlined “Bill
necessary for advancement of national interests”, said Jonathan Moyo,.

Information and Publicity Minister made the following remarks: “ . . there
are others who want to be overnight heroes by pleasing the gallery in the
vain hope that they will seem to be more reasonable . . .

“Practically speaking, just working on the Bill through the printing process
as passed by Parliament and preparing it for presentation to the President
might take a long time even beyond the election . . .”

Was the similarity between Moyo and “impeccable sources” remarks mere

It appears unclear in the first instance, but it is important to remind
journalists to be cautious of leaks from government officials. It is in the
interests of the state everywhere to get favourable press coverage.

Thus, government officials will leak items to the Press, and they will leak
selectively, particularly to those who will swallow their line without

While qualified privilege - leaks from the authorities - may be a fair
defence, journalists should have enough professionalism to corroborate leaks
from parties whose interests are served by good publicity.

The amendments to the Information Bill made by Parliament have been
portrayed by the Press as victory over evil.

Such an interpretation seems to have its foundation in the Parliamentary
Legal Committee’s assertion that the original draft was “blatantly

It was not surprising to see week after week promises that the Bill would be

While the Bill approved by Parliament recently is far from perfect, it is
clearly a step in the right direction.

In an environment where access to information is so limited, the public has
suddenly become aware of a right that has been suppressed since since the
colonial era.

The original draft of the Information Bill sought to make this condition
even worse.

This awareness cannot be reversed because some minister thinks some people
were made “heroes” out of the amendments.

It is evident that the Minister was given a torrid time over the Bill. His
last weapon is the President withholding assent to the approved law.

In 1998, the President withheld assent to the Public Order and Security Bill
because it did not contain enough provisions for dealing with the media.

It appears, a number of restrictive clauses in the Bill were either amended
or removed.

To argue that some of the amendments to the Bill by Parliament would erode
the “policy thrust” of the Bill is nonsensical.

What policy thrust was going to be served by giving the Media and
Information Commission powers similar to those of the police force and the
Supreme Court?

This Commission, appointed only by the Minister, would even be immune to
legal proceedings, a right only enjoyed by the President in the current
Constitution. Whose interests would such a situation serve?

Certainly not the public’s!

Further, whose interests would be served by dictating to media houses who to
employ and for how long?

This is a serious threat to editorial independence, which is the cornerstone
of a free Press.

The media is a watchdog over those in power for the benefit of the public.

And this role can never be served if those that work for the media owe
allegiance, no matter how narrow, to those in power.

The state chose to interpret “information” in a narrow sense, hence the
attempt to suppress the operations of the media.

To the state, information can only be used for propaganda purposes and
nothing else.

Civic society took a broader view of this important right.
Civic groups demanded that both the state and the private sector provide
information about their activities for citizens to ensure that they act
responsibly, lawfully and meet basic expectations of economic and social

Ideally, an attempt to legislate for access to information should have
started with a purge on the Department of Information and Publicity.
Normally, such ministries are supposed to facilitate public access to

But experience, especially in Zimbabwe, shows that they work against this

Information ministries work to deny the public certain information the
government does not want known.

Access to information would enable the public to access markets, jobs,
education and make use of services. It would also enable the public to make
informed political choices.

The role of the media as channels of information is acknowledged. Curtailing
the operations of the media does not solve the problem of access to
information, but exacerbates it.

To tell us that the MDC celebrated when the Bill was passed is helpless
name-calling that will lead us nowhere.

And to make public statements indicating that submissions from certain
sections of the population were ignored is utterly disgusting and

Is the Professor aware of section 23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe?
If more than 30 changes could be made to the Bill in one day, what makes the
changes recommended by Parliament difficult to implement?

This confirms earlier suspicions that the intentions of the original Bill
are evil.

And Parliament must be commended for a job well done.

The battle is not over yet.

Zimbabweans must continue pressing for genuine right to information.
The mere absence of such a right is a recipe for arrogant governance that
leads to defective decision-making.

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Daily News

Mugabe threatens voters

2/8/02 7:08:50 AM (GMT +2)

From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

President Mugabe yesterday threatened voters in Manicaland with untold
suffering, including visitations by goblins, if they voted for the MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in the 9-10 March presidential election.

Addressing about 7 000 people at Munyarari Primary School in Zimunya near
Mutare, Mugabe said: “If you give the country back to the whites by voting
for the MDC, you will see what will happen.

“The country achieved independence through bloodshed. Who is Morgan
Tsvangirai? He is being used by the whites to destroy the country’s

Mugabe said he would haunt the people of Manicaland if Tsvangirai won.
He said: “Even if I die, I will turn in my grave if the MDC wins the
presidential election. I know that most of you in Manicaland voted for the
MDC in the parliamentary election thinking that Tsvangirai had a better
economic package for this country.

“Now, let me warn you that even goblins will be unleashed on you if he

Last Sunday Tsvangirai attracted 15 000 people at his inaugural rally at
Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.

Mugabe cancelled his rally at that stadium at the last minute.
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Daily News

Villagers starving

2/8/02 6:42:49 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

HUNDREDS of children in rural Matabeleland North have dropped out of school
as starvation stalks the district, with children collapsing due to hunger.

Peter Nyoni, the MP for Hwange East, said one child had died of hunger in
the Lupote area of Jambezi communal area.

Two other children died of hunger in the same area last December after they
had gone for more than a week without a solid meal.

Nyoni said some villagers were going for several days without food.
He said attendance at most schools in the constituency had dropped
considerably because Zanu PF youths were camped at the schools. The youths
have camped at a number of schools in Victoria Falls as well.

“They are depriving children of their right to learn under a conducive
atmosphere,” he said.

Villagers in Binga said they were surviving on wild roots and boiled herbs.

They said most children had stopped going to school because they knew they
would not concentrate as they would be hungry.

At Siachilaba, a number of parents said their children were not attending
school because they spent most of their time looking for maize-meal in the

Jealous Sansole, the MP for Hwange West, said the starvation in his
constituency was “frightening”.

“I don’t know what will happen if the situation does not improve within the
next two weeks,” he said.

He said some of the children who were collapsing from starvation were being
resuscitated with thin porridge.

In Binga, a United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, Save The
Children, last week donated bags of maize-meal to the starving villagers but
this was not enough.

The villagers were given maize-meal in five to 20kg packets, depending on
the size of the family.

This despite a directive that all donated food should be channelled though
the government.

Chris Mcivor, the Save The Children programme director for Zimbabwe, said
they had signed contracts with millers and the local authorities before the
directive was issued.

He said: “We have been in Zimbabwe for nearly 20 years and so far we have
had no problems with the government because we don’t involve ourselves in
party politics.”

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Daily News

Chinotimba remains absent without leave

2/8/02 7:10:51 AM (GMT +2)

By Luke Tamborinyoka Municipal Reporter

JOSEPH Chinotimba, the controversial war veterans and farm invasions leader
who is also a Zanu PF Harare province executive, is conducting party
business at Town House while the council continues to pay him a salary of
about $45 000 a month.

Since he landed his first promotion as a driver last year, Chinotimba has
cost the ratepayers about $350 000 in salary.

The war veterans leader, who was promoted from a security guard to a driver
last April, has yet to assume his duties at the Town House.

Instead he seems to be concentrating on Zanu PF business while using council

At the Town House, Chinotimba enjoys the privilege of an office.
He drives around in plush vehicles and is concentrating on resolving labour
disputes and organising Zanu PF rallies.

Yesterday, Chinotimba was said to be out his office.

Council sources said he is part of the Zanu PF entourage moving around the
country mobilising and coercing people to attend President
Mugabe’s campaign rallies.

“No-one complains about him because of his links to Zanu PF,” said a council
official. “The workers here are not happy that an employee who has absconded
from work has become a sacred cow.”

Chinotimba is facing an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot and
injured an MDC supporter.

Last year, he led a group of war veterans to beat up senior council
officials, including Josephine Ncube, the chamber secretary, accusing them
of nepotism.

Harare town clerk Nomutsa Chideya could not be reached for comment.
The war veterans leader rose to notoriety in 2000 when he absconded from
work and led the seizure of commercial farms throughout the country. The
council has promoted Chinotimba twice while he continues to conduct party
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Daily News

Youths terrorise Chivhu villagers

2/8/02 7:03:44 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Terror has gripped people around Marondamashanu Anglican Church Mission,
13km north-east of Chivhu, where Zanu PF supporters, mainly youths, have set
up a base for their campaign for next month’s presidential election.

Although exact figures could not be ascertained, one source said the youths
come and go, but at any given time they are around 50.

A resident said this week the youths were demanding $25 per family every
week for their upkeep. Anyone suspected of being a supporter of the MDC was

“The youths are also forcing young boys and girls to attend their night-time
meetings and there are fears that there could be an element of sexual
 abuse,” said the resident.

This and the general harassment has forced many pupils to flee the area and
seek refuge with relatives in urban areas until after the election.

Sources said the terror campaign in the Marondamashanu area is spearheaded a
Zanu PF branch chairman, a teacher at the mission’s primary school.

Others linked to the violence include a recent product of the Border Gezi
Youth Training Centre in Mt Darwin.

Beven Karadzandima, the secretary for education for the Anglican Church,
said in Harare he was not aware of the latest developments at the school.

“Normally we receive reports from the schools if anything happens, but so
far we haven’t received anything,” he said.

In September last year, the headmaster of the mission’s secondary school
fled with his family after his wife was severely beaten up by Zanu PF
supporters who accused the couple of being MDC members.

In the same month, the body of Felix Mazava, the headmaster of Mbowe Primary
School in Chivhu, was found in a contour ridge.

He had been abducted from his school by Zanu PF supporters who beat him up
because he belonged to the MDC.

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Daily News

Villagers flee as group unleashes terror in Nkayi

2/8/02 7:04:21 AM (GMT +2)

From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

A GROUP of armed people, some of them known former dissidents of the 1980s
disturbances, have unleashed a reign of terror in Nkayi.

This has forced scores of people, mostly Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) supporters, to flee the area to the relative safety of the city of

The MDC offices in Bulawayo were yesterday thronged by several people who
had run away from the mayhem. The number of victims continues to increase.

Teachers and nurses suspected to be MDC supporters are among those fleeing
from the strife-torn district.

Abednico Bhebhe, the Member of Parliament for the area said the security
situation had deteriorated to alarming proportions because of the armed

“Some of those people are former dissidents and it is worrying why such
people known to have a history of violence are left armed,” he said.

The group, which is armed with AK 47 assault rifles, was allegedly moving in
government trucks.

The police, who refused to comment, were allegedly ignoring the chaos
perpetrated by the armed group.

The former dissidents were given a plot in Nkayi after the ceasefire
agreement between Zanu PF and PF Zapu in December 1987.

The two parties, which were allies during the liberation struggle of the
1970s had strained their relations after the Entumbane disturbances in 1982.

Aleck Nkiwane, the MDC district treasurer, said the armed group attacked his
homestead on Monday and demanded his MDC party card.

He went into his hut pretending to be looking for the card then escaped
through the back window.

The villagers said they had stopped going to their maize fields as they were
being forced to attend Zanu PF campaign meetings. Those who preferred not to
go were assaulted, they said.

Three villagers who were severely assaulted by the former dissidents were
taken to the district hospital where their condition could not be
ascertained on Wednesday.

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Daily News

Soldiers allegedly torture MDC MPs

2/8/02 6:44:22 AM (GMT +2)

From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo and Sam Munyavi in Harare

TWO MDC MPs arrested in Nkayi on Wednesday under the draconian Public Order
and Security Act yesterday said they were tortured and beaten up by

Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi), and Peter Nyoni (Hwange East), and 38 other MDC
supporters were still in police custody at Nkayi police station yesterday.

They were denied medical attention despite John Nkomo, the Minister of Home
Affairs, having visited the police station yesterday.

Nkomo did not meet the two MPs.

The two MPs said they were attacked by the soldiers who arrested them at a
hastily organised roadblock as they went to the police station to report an
illegal roadblock mounted by war veterans and Zanu PF mobs.

They are being charged under the new law for possessing specified weapons
such as knobkerries, axes and machetes. The MPs have disowned the weapons,
alleging they belonged to the war veterans at the illegal roadblocks.

The officer commanding Matabeleland North, Senior Assistant Commissioner
Boyathi Ngwenya, denied the MPs were tortured.

Ngwenya said they had jumped out of moving vehicles when the soldiers opened
fire on their convoy.

MDC lawyers were reportedly frightened of going to Nkayi but were expected
to file an urgent application in the High Court yesterday afternoon for
their clients’ immediate release.

Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said in Harare yesterday the
police had refused to escort the lawyers or guarantee their safety.
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From the Zim. government controlled paper .........

Mugabe Critics Slammed

The Herald (Harare)

February 7, 2002
Posted to the web February 7, 2002

Herald Reporter

SOUTH AFRICA'S President Thabo Mbeki has lashed out at some Western
countries, saying their interest in Zimbabwe is not about democracy, but the
need to control the country.

Responding to questions on developments in Zimbabwe at the just ended World
Economic Forum in New York, the South African president said Africa was not
prepared to accept that only the North knew what was best for the South.

He told the WEF that Sadc understood more than anyone else that the basis of
the civil conflict in Zimbabwe was squarely anchored in its colonial history
and the refusal by Britain to engage into meaningful partnership with the
Government of Zimbabwe in the resolution of the problem.

Mr Mbeki said Sadc was not amused that each time the North was informed that
there had been genuine progress in Zimbabwe, it (the North) called for more
pressure and demands.

"This practice by the North cast Sadc leaders either as not telling the
truth or being incapable of knowing what was good for them," said Mr Mbeki.

He said he was surprised that some Western countries described the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill recently passed by Parliament as
"draconian legislation" which would negate democracy.

"When the Parliament of Zimbabwe passed the media Bill, a South African
cabinet minister was in Zimbabwe and had informed me that the Bill had been
unanimously adopted without dissent.

"The opposition (MDC) had introduced amendments that had been accommodated
in the Bill making it acceptable to all parties and this was no mean
achievement in a democratic process. What do you want Zimbabwe to do? To
invite the North to draft the Bill? If the opposition is happy, your
interest then is not about democracy but the need to control," said Mr

The South African president said Sadc as a sub-region was tired of the
so-called crisis in Zimbabwe, and had informed the North and the European
Union in particular that on the basis of extensive consultations it had
undertaken to address the "crisis", Sadc was convinced that the Zimbabwe
crisis was a problem that could be resolved within the conflict resolution
mechanisms Sadc had put in place.

Mr Mbeki said conflict resolution was one of the pillars upon which Africa's
new development paradigm rested. Several meetings had been held at heads of
state and government level that resulted in the establishment of a task
force on Zimbabwe.

This, said Mr Mbeki, had been followed up by the recently held extraordinary
summit in Blantyre, which noted that tremendous progress had been made by
the Zimbabwe Government in addressing issues raised by "our" partners.

The meeting also registered its concern at the relentless demonisation of
the Zimbabwe Government by the Western media to the extent that Britain and
the Netherlands had set up pirate radio stations for the purpose of
denigrating Zimbabwe.

Mr Mbeki urged the North to conceptualise its relationship in the
horse-rider framework.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Simba Makoni, who led
the Zimbabwean delegation at the WEF dismissed the notion that Zimbabwe's
economy was collapsing as a figment of the imagination of Zimbabwe's

He said Zimbabwe's demise had been predicted regularly during the last four
years, adding that it was strange for delegates to ask about the fate of the
Zimbabwean economy yet they were aware that the economy had been placed
under siege by the North for political reasons for the last three years.

Dr Makoni said he wondered which Third World economy could withstand
undeclared sanctions for three years.

On the issue of land, Dr Makoni said there was no going back on the land
reform programme, which was long overdue.

As to what Zimbabwe could do to placate the international community, Dr
Makoni told the meeting that the only important thing on Zimbabwe's agenda
was to fight to preserve its independence and sovereignty. He promised that
come March 9 and 10, President Mugabe would be given a fresh mandate to lead
the team and "this time we will complete the revolution".

In his contribution to the meeting, Mr Isaac Takawira, a banker based in
Kenya, said Zimbabwe's economy was strong and kicking, especially the
banking sector. He said despite the mudslinging and negative publicity the
country continued to thrive
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(I know this contradicts the article above that says the EU HAVE been invited......... ????? have no idea which is accurate - time will tell.........Karen.)

The Times


EU steps closer to Mugabe sanctions


THE European Union moved a step closer to imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe
yesterday after Harare refused to give unimpeded access to an EU observer
mission for next month’s elections.
Stan Mudenge, the Zimbabwean Foreign Minister, said observers from only nine
of the 15 EU countries would be admitted, and that they should form part of
a joint mission led by the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of

Twelve days ago the EU’s Foreign Ministers unanimously agreed to impose
sanctions on President Mugabe and 20 of his closest associates if Zimbabwe
blocked the work or deployment of the EU observer mission. The same
ministers are meeting in Spain today.

The ministers cannot trigger the sanctions themselves because they are
meeting informally, but sources said they may ask a special meeting of EU
ambassadors in Brussels to do so on Monday.

Another key test of Mr Mugabe’s intentions will come tomorrow when Pierre
Schori, the Swedish head of the EU mission, tries to enter Zimbabwe to begin
his work. Sweden is one of the six EU countries that Zimbabwe deems

In addition to Britain and Sweden, Mr Mudenge identified Denmark, Finland,
Germany and The Netherlands as countries whose observers would not be
welcome. EU diplomats said Zimbabwe wanted to exclude member states who had
been most critical of the Government’s repression.

Next week more than 30 EU observers are due to fly to Zimbabwe, many of whom
are from the blacklisted countries.

Johannesburg: President Mbeki of South Africa appealed to President Mugabe
yesterday to end the violence in Zimbabwe and “let the people speak through
the ballot box”.
Mr Mbeki said it was vital in the interests of Zimbabwe and the southern
African region for the government that emerges after the poll to be
legitimate in the eyes of the people of Zimbabwe.
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