Tories call for sanctions on Mugabe Jan 10 2002
SHADOW foreign secretary
Michael Ancram yesterday called for sanctions on
Zimbabwe if its government
forces through laws allowing President Robert
Mugabe to bar international
observers from monitoring upcoming elections.
Foreign Secretary Jack
Straw told the House of Commons on Tuesday he would
push for Zimbabwe to be
suspended from the Commonwealth if the situation in
the central African
But Mr Ancram said this threat would hold little
menace for Mr Mugabe.
Action must be directly targeted at the president and
his associates, he
He told BBC Radio 4's World at One, "I don't
think it is an enormously heavy
threat to wave at all. Fiji and Pakistan are
suspended and I don't think in
either of those places it has been regarded as
an enormous sanction."
Zimbabwe's parliament was yesterday considering
three bills which critics
say are designed to give Mr Mugabe an unfair
advantage in presidential
elections in March.
If passed, they would
ban independent election monitors, make it an of-fence
to criticise the
president and require journalists to obtain
Mr Ancram called for an international
coalition including the UK, US, EU and
African neighbours of Zimbabwe to
prepare "smart sanctions" to freeze Mr
Mugabe's funds and bar him and his
colleagues from travel abroad.
Congo's Kabila to hold talks with Zimbabwe leader
Jan. 10 — Congolese President Joseph Kabila was due in Zimbabwe on
for a day of talks with his counterpart Robert Mugabe, a key ally
country's three-year war, state news agency ZIANA reported
Mugabe in 1998 deployed a quarter of Zimbabwe's 40,000-strong
army in the
Democratic Republic of Congo to help prop up the government, then
Kabila's father Laurent, against a rebellion backed by Uganda and
Monday's visit will be Kabila's fourth to Zimbabwe since
leadership of the vast, war-torn former Zaire after the
assassination of his
father in January 2001.
Kabila is expected to arrive in Harare today for a
one-day official visit.
President Kabila is expected to hold consultative
talks with President
Mugabe,'' the agency said, quoting a statement from
On Wednesday, a South African foreign affairs spokesman said
African presidents meeting in Malawi next Monday would focus on
conflict, including the war in the Congo and the political strife
South Africa is due to host talks later this month
restarting negotiations to bring peace to the Congo.
ABC News Australia
Thu, Jan 10 2002 6:31 PM AEDT
laws fail to get though Zimbabwe's Parliament
The Zimbabwean Government
has failed to pass a package of controversial
security measures during an all
night sitting of Parliament.
The debate continued throughout the night
and finished just after 4am local
But the Zimbabwean Government
was unable to secure passage for its
controversial Public Order and Security
The session is expected to continue later today.
proposed law, opponents of the government could be sentenced to
acts of insurgency and sabotage.
The reforms come as Zimbabwe prepares
for its presidential election.
Government officials have announced the
poll will be held on March 9 and 10.
The military has declared its
support for President Mugabe, regardless of
whether he wins the vote.
Maize-meal shortage hits Bulawayo
1/10/02 7:35:40 AM
From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo
in Bulawayo remain critical with all leading
supermarkets going without
stocks for several days. Regular suppliers,
including Induna and Eagle, are
failing to cope with the demand which has
forced consumers to buy the refined
and more expensive Pearlenta.
A 20kg packet of Pearlenta costs
$715, while a similar size packet of the
coarser roller meal is $419. A
salesperson at an OK Stores branch said
despite the high cost of the more
refined maize-meal, it was running out as
soon as it hit the
A Daily News survey yesterday revealed that all major
without maize-meal with no definite date for the next
deliveries. The Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) in Bulawayo has run out of stocks
claims by the government and some GMB officials that they
The government is trying to acquire 936 000
tonnes, 500 000 tonnes in stock
and the remainder in cash.
But with the
current foreign currency shortage, it might not be able to
raise the US$32
million (Z$1,76 billion) needed to import the maize. The
consumes about 700 tonnes of maize-meal every day. Gwanda,
Victoria Falls have reported critical shortages of the staple
August last year the Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet)
that Zimbabwe needed to import about 200 000 tonnes of maize for
2001/2002 marketing season to avoid food shortages as opposed to
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Joseph Made’s
the country needed to import 100 000 tonnes only. The 200 000
maize imports were expected to last the country up to March,
the Fewsnet report. Zimbabwe also faces a deficit of other
grains to the
tune of another 200 000 tonnes. Made had adamantly denied that
faced food shortages.
Zambia should serve as a lesson for Zimbabwe
7:55:27 AM (GMT +2)
THE recent elections in Zambia, which
catapulted the Movement for
Multi-Party Democracy’s Levy Mwanawasa into
Lusaka’s State House, should
serve as a lesson to
Zambians passionately voted for their preferred candidate
out of 11 who
contested. We did not hear anything about inter-party clashes
of anyone by rival political gangs. There could very well have
violence at some places, but if the way the mass media reported the
event was anything to go by, such violence was very, very
That is as it should be, unlike in Zimbabwe
where some candidates’ election
to municipal councils or Parliament is
littered with dead bodies. It is most
ironic that at the end of such bloody
election campaigns, some of the
victorious culprits organise parties to
celebrate. While they celebrate,
some families would be mourning their loved
ones. One is surely justified to
describe such politics as lacking the human
It is so much out of place for us in Africa to spend vast amounts
on celebrating political events while our hospitals are critically
vital medical supplies and equipment.
Our roads are by and large
in a very deplorable condition, so are most of
our schools and public
housing. Again, one would certainly be forgiven for
referring to such
political behaviour as lacking a human face.
Unfortunately, that is the
general pattern of political behaviour throughout
the African continent.
Talking about Africa brings us to what the new year
might be having in store
for the economically impoverished continent. Are we
going to experience
continued slaughter in Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Burundi, Angola,
the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and
violence against opposition parties in Zimbabwe?
Or will African leaders
realise that their most important responsibility is
not to struggle to
maintain themselves in power at any and all cost, but
rather to do everything
humanly possible to improve the standard of living
Africa, reflecting a human heart, needs political leadership with a
face. The continent is groaning under serious economic hardships
the rapid socio-economic decline most African economies
1980 and 1985.
Factors that caused that decline
were rapid population growth, world
recession, unfavourable weather
conditions characterised by debilitating
droughts, political instability
resulting in civil wars for some countries,
and burdensome indebtedness to
overseas creditors such as the World Bank and
the International Monetary
The Aids pandemic is worsening the situation, especially in
Africa where the incidence of the incurable disease is reported
by the World
Health Organisation to be as alarmingly high as 35 percent in
The future is quite bleak for many African nations,
including Zimbabwe where
the rate of inflation currently stands at 104
percent, and that of
unemployment at 70 percent, with high prospects of
getting worse as the
labour market is about to be flooded with thousands of
high school leavers.
That is the scenario before Zimbabwe as the nation moves
presidential election in March. It would be so much better, so
patriotic, so greatly responsible for all those political parties
candidates to design practicable economic revival programmes to pull
country out of this mess.
This is not the time to point fingers at
rival candidates, accusing them of
being agents of this or that racial
It is high time candidates put their fingers on socio-economic
programmes that will breathe some new life into the national economy.
have not as yet heard how Zanu PF intends to undo what it has been doing
plunge the national economy into this state, which has turned Zimbabwe
a regional laughing stock.
Instead of using sjamboks, batons,
axes, clubs and rocks to recruit
membership, it can improve its own electoral
prospects by spelling out how
it intends to create employment and generate
more wealth for this
economically devastated nation.
The MDC too, has a
duty to state how it will make Zimbabwe’s socio-economic
The mere removal of Zanu PF from governmental power
is certainly not what we
would like to hear. No. We want the MDC to tell us
what it would do with
that power to remove our misery if it were to win the
election. As for the
voters, it is high time we all understood that one’s
vote is one’s
authority. It is indeed power that the voter gives to a
to hold and use until the next election when that power,
reverts to the voter to be given once more to a preferred
The vote is one’s inalienable right. No one has the right to
Zimbabwean citizen or bona fide resident of his or her vote. Any
do so is an offence under the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We should
understand that some candidates will use brutal force to make people
In Zimbabwe, this has been going on now for a long
time, and many people
have been murdered in cold blood by political thugs
sent by people with
“degrees in violence”. They terrorise, maim and rape,
assault and insult,
humiliate and intimidate helpless people in the name of
their party. It
would appear that the main objective of those who dispatch
such thugs is to
get voters to elect them so that they remain in power
forever. We must
understand that elective political positions are neither
Should voters feel dissatisfied with the
performance of those they elected
into office, they have the right to
withdraw their authority and give it to
This withdrawal of
authority cannot be denied the voters. No. It should not
be tampered with
because it is the basis of human equality among all the
adult people of
We should draw relevant lessons from the Zambian elections, and
ourselves to vote wisely and without fear.
The future and freedom
of this country is in our hands.
ALL FARMERS IN POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED PRODUCT
On 28th December, 2001, Statutory Instrument 387 of 2001, was
compelling all producers of controlled products to deliver the maize
in their possession to the GMB, no later than 14 days (after harvest,
publication of the S.I. 387 of 2001).
Producers should be aware
that the Statutory Instrument makes no provision
to seize that which is
exempted in the Grain Marketing Act. Section 35C of
the Act, declares that
producers of a controlled product are exempted from
the Act, if the
controlled product is consumed by himself, his household,
his employees or
In this regard, ALL PRODUCERS IN POSSESION OF MAIZE should
following letter before Friday 11th January, 2002.
Address the letter to the GMB Loss Control Manager, Mr S.B.
2. The content of the letter should read as
I,........................., of ........................
and district), hereby make an application to stay the siezure of
maize in my
possession, as required of me in terms of Statutory Instrument
387 of 2001,
dated 28th December, 2001. The maize in my possession is
delivery to the GMB under the Grain Marketing Act, Section 35
exempts me, as a producer of a controlled product and using such
product for consumption by myself, my employees and my
3. This application letter should be delivered to GMB Head
Harare, to the Loss Control Department, or faxed to GMB fax number
or ZGPA'S offices on fax number 309849, or CFU 309874, before Friday
January, 2002. (zgpa will then hand deliver the faxes, and have them
This deadline applies to the Statutory Instrument 387, of
2001, dated 28th
December, 2001, which gives a 14 day period within which
anyone holding a
controlled product to deliver.
4. It is very
important that farmers retain a form of fax transmission
slip, or any record
of a submission as evidence that he acted within the 14
5. Farmers should not deliver any maize in his possession
GMB's response to their letter stating their exempted status
as per the
Grain Marketing Act.
IMPORTANT : This applies to ALL
FARMERS IN POSSESSION OF MAIZE.
Visit the CFU Website www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
opinions in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the
Farmers' Union which does not accept any legal responsibility for
Forex cover sinks to four days
By Joseph Ngwawi Business
1/10/02 2:14:34 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE’S usable foreign
currency reserves are now equivalent to only four
days of imports at a time
when the country has amassed arrears of more than
US$700 million on its
external debt, according to the International Monetary
The Bretton Woods institution, which was the main backer
economic reforms until it pulled the plug on the country in the
said the Harare authorities have fallen behind by about US$722
their commitments to international multilateral financial
to the acute shortage of hard cash.
include US$81 million owed to the World Bank, US$53.7 million to
the IMF and
US$102 million to the African Development Bank.
"The continued shortage
of foreign exchange — usable reserves are currently
equivalent to only about
four days of imports of goods and services and
non-factor services — and
limited access to foreign financing have also led
to widespread import
scarcities that are crippling economic activity," the
IMF said in a staff
report presented last month at the end of its annual
Zimbabwe has faced severe foreign currency shortages since
the government to introduce a series of measures to plug
leakages of the
scarce commodity from the economy.
authorities last year introduced measures aimed at boosting
exports and the
collection of foreign currency while limiting the growth of
market, where the bulk of the hard cash is traded.
Some of the measures
included a requirement that exporters surrender at
least 40 percent of their
earnings to the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to finance fuel and
electricity imports as well as the tightening of
But the IMF said the new measures were acting as
disincentives to trade,
arguing that Zimbabwe’s recorded international trade
has contracted by about
30 percent since the 1996/97 fiscal year.
main disincentive for exports is the unrealistic official exchange
pegged at 55 Zimbabwe dollars to US$1 while the parallel market rate
as high as 350 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar in 2001," the
The government has also introduced measures to rein in
the parallel market
in hard currency.
These include increased capital
requirements for bureaux de change, more
stringent reporting requirements,
limits on the foreign exchange positions
of banks and bureaux de change and
enhanced supervision by the RBZ.
The report said the IMF team that came
to Harare in September for the
Article IV consultations had recommended that
Zimbabwean authorities devalue
the exchange rate to a more realistic level,
supported by tighter monetary
and fiscal policies, and thereafter to adjust
the value of the local dollar
on the basis of expected inflation
differentials with major trading
"The large gap between the
official and the parallel market exchange rates
gives rise to opportunities
for corruption to anyone with access to foreign
exchange at the official
rate," the report noted.
War on terrorism: US probes Zim generals
Special Projects Editor
1/10/02 2:45:06 AM (GMT +2)
THE United States
government and its European allies have begun
investigating Zimbabwean and
Congolese army generals who are accused of
exploiting Congo’s mineral
resources and selling them to radical Islamic
organisations and terrorist
groups, it was learnt this week.
The influential Washington Post reported
recently that representatives of
the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and men
identified by the US as key operatives
of fugitive Saudi millionaire Osama
bin Laden were buying minerals from
Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC) at a fraction of
their market value.
were then re-sold at a profit to fund the activities of
organisations, it said.
The Financial Gazette’s own diplomatic sources
this week said the activities
of Zimbabwean army generals linked to mining
activities in the DRC were a
key component of these
The activities of two prominent Zimbabwean businessmen
with vast mining
concessions in the DRC were also being probed.
evidence is found against the suspected people, the US would take
tough measures, the sources said, without elaborating.
The measures taken
would be in addition to the usual freezing of assets
wherever these are held
by the affected people as well as imposing travel
sanctions on the
The sources said the two Zimbabwean businessmen would suffer
most in the
event of sanctions as they had vast business interests in Europe,
partner in President George Bush’s anti-terrorism
Sanctions would also be imposed on any politicians found
assisting in the
exploitation of the DRC’s resources in collaboration with
Travel sanctions to the US have already been slapped on
officials under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act signed into
law by Bush last month.
The sources said the
American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) believed
that Africa was a haven
for profitable terrorist enterprises because of its
vast mineral resources,
especially in countries torn by war.
It was very easy for terrorist
organisations to exploit the confusion and
corruption endemic in these
war-hit African states to buy cheap minerals for
resale at huge
"In fact, most of the soldiers who get illicit diamonds and
emeralds in the
DRC just want a quick buck and will sell them to anyone with
a South African-based diplomatic source said.
cannot themselves export and sell these minerals on legitimate
markets, hence their reliance on middlemen. Radical militants
this situation to make huge profits to oil their terrorist
Authorities in Antwerp, the Belgian diamond market where
more than 90
percent of the world’s diamonds are traded, estimate that US$600
worth of diamonds are exported annually from the Congo but only
million worth of the gems are exported legally.
written for the United Nations Security Council by a panel of
was released in April said "exploitation of the natural
resources of the DRC
by foreign armies has become systematic".
It added: "Plundering, looting
and racketeering and the constitution of
criminal cartels are becoming
commonplace. The criminal cartels have
ramifications and connections
worldwide and they represent a serious
security problem in the
The Congolese government has conceded that it does not have the
halt illegal mineral sales in the vast country nor to detect the
"We know Congo is a very fertile territory
for terrorist activities. We have
a huge country with a huge jungle where
people can do anything and we don’t
know anything about it," Congo’s
Information Minister Kikaya Bin Karubi
"So many people bring
dirty money to Congo, and Congo being in its current
state of affairs, we are
The sources emphasised that the CIA’s investigations
were not solely focused
on the activities of army generals from Zimbabwe and
the DRC but would also
cover the mineral sales of rebels who have laid claim
to Congo’s riches.
But the probe on the Zimbabwean and Congolese army
chiefs was a major
component of the investigation because they were in
control of some of the
richest mineral fields in the Congo, they
Bush says he is determined to cut off all channels of funding for
The Post said a man who used the code name
Alpha Zulu was a key middleman in
the purchase of DRC diamonds which were
then passed over to Hezbollah, which
has bombed US targets in Europe in the
past, and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda
It said several Lebanese
diamond dealers were stationed in the DRC.
The newspaper said most of the
DRC diamonds bought by Hezbollah and other
radical terrorist groups were sold
in less regulated diamond markets in
countries where the organisations
operated freely such as Dubai, Mauritius
It said there were
now direct flights to Dubai from some of Congo’s richest
diamond and gold
areas and said these planes filed no flight plans and gave
The sources said any direct or indirect evidence of conspiracy
generals in the DRC and terrorist organisations or their
severely hurt Zimbabwe, whose government is already under
sanctions because of its gross human rights abuses.
ZANU PF, Taliban ranked worst enemies of Press
1/10/02 2:50:51 AM (GMT +2)
GENEVA — The Zimbabwe
government and the ousted Taliban regime of
Afghanistan were ranked as the
worst enemies of Press freedom in 2001 at an
international conference on
"Media in Times of Crisis" held here.
The conference, which discussed the
media in many troubled parts of the
world, drew participants from all the
five continents of the world and was
sponsored by various European
organisations. It focused on the role of the
media in repor-ting terrorism,
war and disaster.
The conference noted that the freedom of the media,
information worldwide had come under renewed threat in the
name of "war
"Autocratic regimes strangle the
little freedoms in their countries even
further under the pretence of
fighting terrorism, in order to seal
themselves from scrutiny by independent
media. Governments in transitional
countries are tempted to put the process
of democratisation on hold," says
part of a resolution passed by the
The conference also chided some democratically elected
introducing draconian security legislation which betrayed
the very values of
democracy they claim to protect. These democracies were
losing credibility in their efforts to promote these values
The conference dwelt at length on the
problems in Zimbabwe and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy
Bill which the government was due to
It noted that it
would become virtually impossible for journalists to
operate if the law was
passed. The conference implored the United Nations,
the Commonwealth and the
European Union to act speedily to avert attacks on
the media in Zimbabwe,
which recorded the highest number of arrests of
journalists and attacks on
scribes by government militias in 2001.
"In future, international media
freedom organisations are called upon to be
more pro-active and make
interventions before the suppression of media
freedom reaches crisis point,"
the conference resolved.
"They should closely monitor and highlight
developments in countries such as
Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to make sure that
the freedom of expression and of
the media are upheld in a meaningful way and
not curtailed for clumsy
Democracy: where has Zim gone wrong?
1/10/02 3:01:13 AM (GMT +2)
IT goes without saying that
democracy in Zimbabwe is in comatose and that
the growth of truly
representative institutions have been halted.
We are now living in a
society where democracy is proving to be elusive and
supreme. Zimbabwe as a nation is in a deep crisis of
Democracy rests upon the principle that government exists to
people, the people do not exist to serve the government. There are
people" in a democratic setup.
The government in Zimbabwe is
not serving its people. It is embodied in its
own realm of political
egocentrism being centered on the person of Robert
Mugabe where only a few
qualify as first class citizens of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has bequeathed to Zimbabwe a legacy of tension and troubles;
PF government has shot down every democratic principle in sight.
Its zeal for
privatisation has not spared the judiciary and the police
force. These sacred
public institutions have been privatised at a brutal
pace by a government
seemingly in love with regulation for its own sake.
All these developments have been an affront to democracy.
faltering at every avenue — the media, the government, the
basic human rights.
Jay Rosen wrote that democracy
requires a free press and free expression is
a truth of that kind. So let us
be clear: the government should not control
what is written or broadcast and
it cannot throw people in jail for their
The most obvious signs
of an undemocratic regime is the violation of these
fundamental rights. The
arrests and torture of Standard journalists Ray
and Mark Chavhunduka
and those of The Daily News’ Geoff Nyarota, Mduduzi
Mathuthu and others are
evidence of this gross violation of the rights to
freedom and free
Freedom of the press in democratic societies is an unchangeable
dogma — it
is essential. There is manipulation of the public media by the
especially the electronic media, which is now being controlled
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who is slowly turning into Zimbabwe’s
Remember Goebbels, the man
tasked by Hitler for the spiritual direction of
the German nation. He was
perhaps the cleverest and most unscrupulous
manipulator of the mass media in
Likewise Jonathan Moyo has been tasked with
responsibility of the spiritual direction of the nation. If you avoid
in the electronic media and elsewhere, you will find them in the
the form of the green-clad youth brigades and their parades.
Everytime people assemble in peaceful protest either as students
society they are ruthlessly dispersed and
Students at colleges have risked (and some lost) their lives
for the love of
the freedom of expression. Recently the National
wanted to have a peaceful march against the proposed
but they were arrested and these wanton arrests also
netted innocent people
who were doing their shopping.
It should be noted that freedom of expression and free speech is
blood of any democracy. Coming together for debate voting, protest,
and to fight injustice — all rely upon the unfettered flow of speech
The Mugabe government is quite aware that a crisis
can result in the
downfall of any government. They have learnt well from
They know quite well of the protests in Iran which ousted a
thousand times stronger than ZANU PF. This fall from grace of the
Iran and that of Surharto in Indonesia and recently that of the
Argentina make them feel uneasy at any type of demonstration,
So they cannot tolerate any
avenue of protest. Freedom of expression to
them is a vile acid which can
handicap their rule.
In Zimbabwe, peaceful protests and demonstrations
will remain an avenue for
showing discontent which will only be made
irrelevant by the presence of
On the issue of elections and rule of law, Zimbabwe has been found
Elections are an indispensable institution of a democratic society
in a democracy the authority of the government derives solely from
consent of the governed.
Opposition candidates should enjoy
freedom of speech and assembly and the
movement necessary to voice their
criticisms of the government openly and to
bring alternative policies. In
Zimbabwe the political highway to power has
few entry lanes for the
opposition. The man in the opposition has been
denied a base on which to
build influence and attain leverage.
are characterised by the barring of the opposition from the
where the opposition’s rallies are disrupted are not
democracy the government should not take advantage of unemployed
vulnerable youths to put them in uniform and turn them into marauding
of gangsters who maim, kill and harass the opposition.
An election held under such conditions is far from being free and
will be a "flee and fear" election since only the resolute will have
courage to go and vote. An election won under such conditions is an
claimed through armed robbery and is clearly a
In matters of the rule of law Zimbabwe is
a disappointing case study. There
is enforced misery and poverty. The right
to equality before the law is
fundamental to any just and democratic society.
The way in which the state
enforces its laws must be public and unequivocally
clear, not secret,
arbitrary or subject to political manipulation by the
In Zimbabwe there is a break down of the rule of
law. In the name of the
state, individuals have been persecuted, tortured
without any legal basis—
no democratic society can tolerate such abuses.
Democracy deficient of the
rule of law is quite unthinkable.
invasions and the subsequent political violence which followed were
dangerous development towards the annihilation of the rule of law. The
has been pushed aside and "mobocracy" has become the order of the day.
mob from the national service has become a law unto themselves,
civilians and the opposition alike. The police have become
spectators of this anarchy.
are now living in one of Zimbabwe’s darkest hours. There is now rule by
and not rule of law — the proposed media bill and the public order
security bill (POSB) are cases in point. These draconian laws are
humiliating capitulation of a government that is trying to halt its
The way they have transformed the game of
politics in Zimbabwe is quite
unfortunate. Politics, I suppose, is
essentially about creating hope for a
better future which implies creating a
substantively better present.
To realise this involves dispelling many
illusions about the purposes and
capacities of political power. For instance
notions that violence is an
effective means of political self-preservation
have to be undermined and
discredited. Political power does not explode out
of the barrel of a gun nor
does it flow from the dripping blade of a knife
but rather it comes into
being when citizens of a country, acting together,
go to the polls to
express their aspirations and
Last March I remember going to the
National Constitutional Assembly’s All
Stakeholders Conference under the
auspices of the Zimbabwe National Students
At this conference
there were widespread battle cries for a constitution
that sponsors the rule
of law and guards jealously against detractors of the
Such a constitution would be the supreme law of the land, unlike the
constitution which has been so repeatedly amended that the amendments
outnumber the original clauses.
and its exercise has fallen to such a low ebb in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
showing scenarios reminiscent of the colonial era. This is a
phenomenon. For without the rule of law Zimbabwe becomes a
power roams freely and caprice becomes the name of the game.
Now we are
left with no democratic life, no democratic learning, no
Tinashe Mundawarara is a student at the University of
Zimbabwe and is the
features editor of Campus magazine
FinGaz - Comment
End violence or face bloodbath
2:33:28 AM (GMT +2)
VIRTUALLY every day since last month, Zimbabweans are
being subjected to
open and increasing terror by President Robert Mugabe’s
militia and its
allied warlords who somehow hope that they can cow the entire
Six opposition supporters have been killed and
many injured in the orgy of
violence, unleashed on the land in the faint hope
that Mugabe will be
re-elected come March.
Zimbabweans cannot and must
not tolerate this organised anarchy, which is
clearly meant to intimidate
them and perpetuate Mugabe’s tyranny of two
Mugabe, for all
his contemptuous attitude towards long-suffering but patient
must come down from his high pedestal now and order his mobs to
the violence or risk a bloodbath from an anguished and
No country anywhere in the world should be treated
like a personal property
or fiefdom, as Mugabe is doing to Zimbabwe, and be
subjected to these
dastardly and base criminal acts on a daily basis without
If Zimbabweans no longer want Mugabe as president, let them
be allowed to
evict him from power in the March election and do so without
compunction, let alone the terror that is being waged on them by
forces of evil and darkness.
If Zimbabweans still support Mugabe
as he claims, why are they being
tortured, raped and murdered in the name of
Why is Mugabe’s militia sealing off rural areas from the
mounting blatantly illegal roadblocks and assaulting and
Zimbabweans whose only crime is not to carry a ZANU PF party
This clearly explains not only Mugabe’s growing fear of losing
is inevitable if the ballot is not a fraud, but his ban on
observers from scrutinising the conditions which exist on the
the presidential ballot.
We must ask, although we know
better: where are the forces of law and order
at this testing moment in the
nation’s life and what action — visible
action — are they taking to stop the
It is not acceptable for police commissioner Augustine Chihuri
threaten that his forces will take action against the perpetrators
We demand real and tough action now and no more words and
pleas. After all,
it is hard-pressed Zimbabweans who are paying the police
and the government
while they themselves can hardly afford a decent meal
because of Mugabe’s
unworkable policies which have killed one of Africa’s
The authors of the terror are known to the
police because many of them are
in military uniform, products of the
so-called Border Gezi National Youth
Service College. Let us not have any
more pretence, any more double
standards in the application of the
We simply cannot allow this chaos to go on. Either Mugabe and the
immediately stop the violence or the nation will do so. The time for
gloves is over and Zimbabweans must protect themselves in whatever way
For the hesitant leaders of the Southern Africa Development
(SADC), time has passed that they took note of the sharply
events in Zimbabwe and acted with deeds to rein in a wayward
If they fail or refuse to act — the difference is really the
same — they
make themselves irrelevant to Zimbabweans, if not that they
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki
particularly bears the gravest
responsibility to stand up and be counted as
the region’s leader who, at a
defining moment, refused to be bullied by a man
long used to resorting to
violence to gain support.
The SADC cannot
hope to prosper with Zimbabwe on fire. Indeed most SADC
already been sapped by the Zimbabwe crisis and, if their
leaders do not act
now, they will be partly responsible for the tragedy that
Indeed the entire international community is duty-bound to
intervene for the
sake of sanity so that a semblance of a free and fair
election can be held,
otherwise these daily acts of terror and madness are a
sure recipe for
bloody civil strife.
God forbid that this comes to
EU to speed up Mugabe sanctions
Abel Mutsakani Acting News
1/10/02 2:43:25 AM (GMT +2)
THE European Union (EU) will tell
the Zimbabwe government in talks in
Brussels tomorrow to let in international
observers for the upcoming
presidential election and uphold human rights and
the rule of law or face
tough sanctions, Western diplomats based in Harare
The diplomats, speaking on condition of not being named,
said the EU looked
certain it would scrap the 60-day period it must allow for
dialogue to take
place before acting.
It was now likely that it would
bring forward punitive sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and his top
officials blamed for worsening
lawlessness in Zimbabwe if no progress was
achieved at tomorrow’s talks at
the headquarters of the 15-nation
The diplomats spoke as an unprecedented international storm mounted
Mugabe and his administration, with the British and Canadian
signalling a possible suspension of the country from the
Mugabe does not end surging political violence and gross
An eight-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group has already put
Zimbabwe on its agenda for action which, according to
procedures, is the first formal step to the possible
suspension of the
southern African country.
"Everyone is losing
patience with Mugabe and the EU will tell Zimbabwe that
it must live by the
Cotonou agreement or face sanctions," one senior
diplomat told the Financial
Under the Cotonou agreement governing relations between the EU
Caribbean and Pacific countries, Zimbabwe must uphold democracy,
rights and the rule of law, which Mugabe refuses to do.
Mugabe, worried about losing the March presidential ballot, has
vowed he will
not allow the EU to observe the polls and has launched the
against the opposition, the independent media and the
judiciary in efforts
analysts say are meant to stifle criticism and steal
Although aware of tomorrow’s crucial meeting, Mugabe’s government
proceeded to bulldoze through Parliament tough new legislation
make it impossible for journalists in the country to operate,
administration on a collision course with the EU.
diplomats said the Cotonou pact actually demanded that Zimbabwe allows
observers to check on the validity of the ballot, which pits Mugabe
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Mugabe has also refused to allow independent Zimbabwean election
except government officials, some of them members of the spy secret
and has issued new rules which bar many voters from registering and
totally banned at least four million Zimbabweans abroad — a third of
population — from voting.
Javier Sandomingo, ambassador of the
current EU president Spain, yesterday
confirmed the organisation would demand
that Zimbabwe abides by Cotonou,
including allowing EU poll observers but
denied the powerful union would
impose immediate sanctions.
we will transmit to the Zimbabwe government that we really think
it will be
good for everybody if the election observers are allowed into the
"We do not want to run the presidential election for them, but
what we want
is that the government must abide by the terms of the Cotonou
which it is a signatory."
Noting that the EU was at the
moment committed to continuing dialogue with
Harare, Sandomingo however
pointed out that in special cases where it was
observed that there were
flagrant violations of human rights and dignity,
the EU could halt dialogue
and take tougher measures immediately.
"Yes, where there is serious and
flagrant violations of human rights,
democracy and the rule of law,
consultations cannot continue because quick
action would need to be taken,"
Zimbabwe has been plunged into chaos by government-trained
militias who have
launched a violent campaign nationwide to ensure Mugabe’s
The militias, which the government claim
are on national service, have in
the past two weeks killed seven MDC
supporters to bring to over 100 the
number of opposition members murdered in
the past two years.
The violence started in February 2000 when militants
of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU
PF seized hundreds of private commercial farms ahead
of the parliamentary
election in June that year, which was narrowly won by
ZANU PF, sealing off
farms and rural areas from the MDC.
then briefly raided and attacked companies and factories and
now have taken
the violence into urban areas, the powerbase of the MDC.
summit meeting of the 14-nation Southern Africa Development
Malawi next week is also expected to discuss the Zimbabwean
negative impact is already crippling the economies of the
ZANU PF campaigners force Mat villagers to buy party
1/10/02 2:52:26 AM (GMT +2)
Supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party in Matabeleland North have
vicious campaign to force villagers to buy party cards and vote
Robert Mugabe in the March presidential election, villagers
They said Mugabe’s storm troopers were also force-marching
attend ZANU PF campaign rallies.
"We were forced to
attend a day-long rally by war veterans at Lutsha Primary
Thenji Ndlovu, a villager from Nkayi district.
"About 5 000 of us were
force-marched to the school by the war veterans. We
were forced to chant ZANU
PF slogans and to denounce our local MP (Abednigo
Bhebhe) and the MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai," she said.
"But there were rumblings from
most of the villagers who made it clear they
will vote the opposition in
Youths in Nkayi were reportedly being forced to attend
Bhebhe, the MDC legislator for Nkayi who also
doubles up as the party’s
deputy chairman for Matabeleland North, described
the unfolding events in
the province as most disturbing.
violence is increasing in the area and it is only a matter of
somebody is killed," he said. "Police are not being helpful as
they don’t act
against the war veterans and other militia who are
Bhebhe, who was assaulted by the veterans while on a
visit to his
constituency last year, said: "Our known activists are being
hunted down and
have fled the area.
"Villagers are being harassed and
forced to attend rallies. Buses are being
stopped at random and passengers
asked to produce ZANU PF cards."
The veterans are said to be using the
rallies to de-campaign the MDC,
Zimbabwe’s main opposition which swept all
contested seats in the province
in the June 2000 parliamentary
This week this newspaper was inundated with calls and visits from
from Matabeleland North complaining about the violence of the
other ZANU PF supporters who have declared several districts of
"It is risky out there to go around
without the ZANU PF card," said Oscar
Ngwenya, a Bulawayo-based worker who
returned from his rural home of Lupane,
not far away from Nkayi, this
"I am looking for the card to save my skin because people are being
up for not possessing it. Most of us in my area support the opposition
we don’t want to be harmed," he said.
Ngwenya said most rural
dwellers in his district were looking for the cards
just to avoid being
"It was the same thing during the Gukurahundi," he said,
referring to the
1980s conflict that rocked Matabeleland and the Midlands as
massacred innocent villagers in a campaign aimed at fighting
rebels in the two provinces.
"History is revisiting us
again but this time round we don’t want to be
caught napping," Ngwenya
Nkayi was reported to be very tense yesterday, with reports that
veterans had rounded up youths and thrown them into "re-education"
that have been established at most schools there.
the MDC MP for Bubi-Umguza, also said violence was worsening
constituency, with villagers constantly being intimidated by
"I am also a wanted man," he noted. "The war veterans
are on the rampage but
people have already made up their minds, they want
ZANU PF out."
Thabane’s homestead was razed down and property worthy $500
000 destroyed by
the veterans in the run-up to the June 2000
But he vowed yesterday: "We will not be intimidated. We want to
change that we started in June 2000 parliamentary
The terror by the veterans in Matabeleland North comes amid a
of armed soldiers in and around the region, especially in
The troops were deployed by Mugabe late last
year after the deaths of two
ZANU PF members which the ruling party blamed on
the MDC. The opposition
party rejects the accusation.
Mugabe’s costly mistakes: Chikerema
1/10/02 2:47:35 AM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is a
bitter man who has refused to change with the
times and is prepared to pull
Zimbabwe’s economy down with him, his close
friend and relative said this
Veteran nationalist James Chikerema, who grew up with Mugabe and is
the pioneers of the country’s 1970s independence war, said the
leader feels betrayed by his people and is prepared to cling to
whatever cost to the country.
Chikerema said Mugabe is
behaving the way he has done since 2000 because he
thinks Zimbabweans are not
grateful for the role he played in liberating the
country but blamed the
septuagenarian and his ZANU PF party for Zimbabwe’s
He said Mugabe’s anger was fuelled by the fact that he could not
that people he helped liberate from the racist Ian Smith regime in
could desert him at a time the rest of the world has also isolated
"That kind of fear has brought the kind of reaction we are seeing in
in which he thinks that after all he has done for the country, the
have now decided to kick him out," Chikerema told the Financial
ZANU PF supporters have since last year unleashed violence on
members of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai poses the stiffest challenge
21-year reign in the 2002 presidential election set for
The campaign by ZANU PF supporters, which has killed more than 40
since 2000, has spawned the collapse of Zimbabwe’s industry, fuelled
currency shortages and dented investor confidence.
said Mugabe was being haunted by the monster he created when he
make himself an executive president, a move seen by analysts as
an attempt by
the ruling party to retain the 1980s policy of a one-party
state in Zimbabwe
after a 1987 unity accord with the then opposition ZAPU
party of black
nationalist icon Joshua Nkomo.
Mugabe and former foe Nkomo joined forces
in 1987 after signing a pact that
ended nearly a decade of insurgency in
southern Matabeleland and its
neighbouring Midlands province.
he went wrong was when he decided to have a de facto one-party state
Zimbabwe because it was then that he connived with his colleagues to
forever," Chikerema said.
"In fact, the MDC came from the wings
of ZANU PF because at that time the
workers were all members of the ruling
party, including Morgan Tsvangirai,"
Another close ally of
Mugabe, George Kahari, said one of the main mistakes
made by the Zimbabwean
leader was that he had tried to use the land issue as
a selling point ahead
of the crucial election while neglecting other
"This is probably where he is failing to appreciate that times
and that it is nearly 30 years after the war of liberation
"To expect the young people of today to
appreciate that his arguments are
still as valid today as 30 years ago is one
of the greatest mistakes he has
made," he said.
He said Mugabe was
failing to understand that Zimbabwe’s young people were
allowed them to think independently.
He said one of the main causes of
the slump in Mugabe’s popularity has been
the attitude of some of his
officials who have hijacked his ideas in order
to peddle personal
"Because his followers know his ideas about land, they have
misinterpreting how the land should be distributed," he said.
the March ballot, Chikerema said whoever wins the volatile southern
and Midlands provinces will become Zimbabwe’s next president.
ZANU PF has solid support only in the three provinces of
East and Central.
"Whoever takes Masvingo and the Midlands wins the
election," Chikerema said.
He dismissed as cheap politics attempts by
ZANU PF to make rural areas no-go
areas for the opposition and said this
would not win Mugabe the election.
ZANU PF has sealed off areas such as
Bindura from the rest of the country to
prevent outsiders from influencing
"Quarantining the rural areas will not work because
these areas are not all
that insular because the people there have relatives
in the towns and will
from time to time have to communicate with
Terror plot exposed
Sydney Masamvu Political
1/10/02 3:01:26 AM (GMT +2)
THE ruling ZANU PF party,
working in conjunction with state security agents,
has launched a plan to
intensify the intimidation of voters by waging a
violent campaign that cows
the entire country to back President Robert
Mugabe in the coming presidential
election, the Financial Gazette
established this week.
sources said apart from youths who are being trained under the
guise of a
national service at the Border Gezi Centre in Mouth Darwin, ZANU
launched a fast-track training programme under which an average 1 000
are being recruited and trained in each constituency to spearhead
Training centres are being opened countrywide in the next
four weeks where
the youth will be trained. The target, according to the
sources privy to the
plan, is to ensure that 80 000 youths are trained
nationwide by the end of
"We are going to open training
centres and we will be training youths in
their constituencies as part of the
national service programme," a member of
ZANU PF’s commissariat department
told the Financial Gazette.
The youths are being recruited with a
promise that they will be given jobs
in the army and the police force in the
event that ZANU PF wins the
Youth Development Minister and
ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika
denies that the youths are being
trained to wage violence and that they are
trained in military activities in
the run-up to the presidential election.
But graduates from the Border
Gezi Centre have in the past two weeks been
unleashed into urban areas and
some rural areas where they have terrorised
supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
members of the public.
sources said kraal heads and headmen are being given weekly allowances
$500 while district administrators (DAs) are being ordered to
traditional chiefs to tell them that they should pass on the message
e MDC has been banned.
Villagers are being forced to buy ZANU
PF cards by the youths graduating
from the training centres.
and violence is rampant in Manicaland, especially in Chimanimani
where one headman told this newspaper this week he had been
ordered to spread
the message that the MDC had been banned.
The same message is being
spread in the Midlands province.
ZANU PF’s all-night pungwes or meetings
and allied re-education meetings,
where each headman is ordered to "bring"
his subjects carrying ZANU PF
cards, will be carried out in rural areas
countrywide by ZANU PF youths who
are graduates from the national service and
the so-called war veterans.
DAs and council chairmen in rural areas have
been also ordered not to give
the MDC facilities to stage rallies, a plan
which the sources said is meant
to seal off these areas from the MDC
The ZANU PF election plan, directed by a task force of
and members of the government’s spy Central Intelligence
focusing on cowing voters generally, how to frustrate urban
casting their ballots and enticing at least one presidential
Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces.
The sources said
officials involved in the plan had ordered a reduction of
polling stations in
urban areas and those perceived to be the strongholds of
the MDC in rural
areas while every primary and secondary school in the ZANU
PF strongholds of
Mashonaland Central, East and West would be turned into a
The sources said ZANU PF is concentrating its efforts in the
and trying to boost the voting numbers there in order to
outcome of an election which opinion polls and analysts
By reducing the number of polling stations
in urban areas, this means that
fewer people will be able to vote in the
two-day election scheduled for the
end of March.
In the ballot, Mugabe
is facing the biggest challenge of his political
career from MDC president
and former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.
Shakespear Maya, a head of
an unknown National Alliance for Good Governance,
has indicated his intention
to stand in the election as well Wilson
Khumbula, the only ZANU (Ndonga)
Member of Parliament.
ZANU (Ndoga) is however divided into three
factions, with the other two
throwing their weight behind
ZAPU president Agrippa Madlela says he will not stand in the
back the MDC candidate so as not to split Matabeleland’s
But his secretary-general Paul Siwela, long suspected of being a
supporter, is struggling to push his candidature to stand for the
Angry Bulawayo soccer lovers nearly lynched Siwela at the
stadium last week, accusing him of being a traitor. He had to
flee for his
Tsvangirai said this week he was aware of ZANU PF’s
frustrate voters and his party from campaigning but said
Mugabe will be
thrown out from power by the voters.
"People want to
vote but Mugabe is busy putting up obstacles and creating
people not do so," he said.
"He can put up all sorts of roadblocks aimed
at hijacking the election but
in the final analysis he will go because the
people of Zimbabwe are more
than ready to reclaim their sovereignty."
Mugabe launches media blitz
1/10/02 2:34:26 AM (GMT
ZIMBABWE’S ruling party has launched a media blitz for President
Mugabe’s re-election bid ahead of the country’s presidential election
The drive also coincides with reports that militants from
Mugabe’s ZANU PF
party have stepped up a violent campaign against the main
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
ZANU PF has been
splashing a series of advertisements in both private and
newspapers, projecting the embattled former guerrilla leader as
threatened by a Western-backed rival.
The adverts as well as dozens of
articles in the government media praise
Mugabe’s social, agricultural and
economic policies and attack his critics
and rivals — mainly MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai who is expected to give the
77-year-old President the
toughest contest of his career.
In its media blitz, ZANU PF mixes attack
and defence almost in equal
measure, calling its black opponents puppets of
former colonial power
Britain and Zimbabwe’s former white rulers.
white opponents are portrayed as racists who hanker for white rule under
former Rhodesia — Zimbabwe’s colonial name.
In one full-page
advertisement entitled "Rhodesians Never Learn", ZANU PF
Robertson, one of Zimbabwe’s top economists, for criticising
seizure policy in a recent newspaper article.
ZANU PF charges that
Robertson is "a public supporter of the treacherous
who is working with former Rhodesian war veterans to
undermine black majority
rule, alleging that "his views are Rhodesian and
reject is the persistence of vestigial attitudes from the
yesteryears, attitudes of a master race, master colour, master
master employer. Our whole struggle was a rejection of such
attitudes and claims to privilege," the advert
Robertson dismissed the charges as a measure of
"I think people will see this kind of propaganda for what it
is — a sign of
desperation," he said.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party has also
stepped up its propaganda on radio and
television, taking up more slots on
the state-owned broadcasting service to
defend Mugabe’s controversial
seizures of white-owned farms.
In the past, the MDC has accused Mugabe
and ZANU PF of relying on slogans
and insults to avoid focusing on policy
issues and their record in office.
The MDC at the weekend accused youths
loyal to Mugabe of attacking one of
its offices and the home of a legislator
as violence rises ahead of the
The MDC says
five of its supporters have been killed in the last two weeks,
secretary-general Welshman Ncube says at least 100 people have been
in the last two years.
ZANU PF narrowly beat the MDC in general
parliamentary elections in June
2000 after a violent campaign that left at
least 31 people dead. — Reuter
Mugabe to Face MDC's
Morgan Tsvangirai in March Presidential Elections
10 Jan 2002 00:30 UTC
President Robert Mugabe has announced
presidential elections will be held in Zimbabwe on March 9 and 10. He made the
announcement Wednesday night. His main opponent will be Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Political analysts say the challenge from
Mr. Tsvangirai is the strongest the 77-year-old president has faced in the 21
years he has been in power.
Mr. Mugabe was appointed executive prime
minister under a ceremonial president when Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, gained
independence from Britain in April 1980, after a bush war against the
Mr. Mugabe became executive president in
1987 when the post of prime minister was abolished.
Human and political rights groups say they
are extremely worried by the increasing political violence and lawlessness
throughout Zimbabwe in the last 18 months.
Among the chief concerns voiced by
activists are the invasions and seizures of mostly white-owned commercial farms.
At least a dozen farmers and workers have been killed in the ensuing violence
and 70,000 workers have been made destitute. The government ignored a Supreme
Court ruling to stop the seizures and invasions.
In the run-up to parliamentary elections
last year, narrowly won by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, at least 40 people were
killed, almost all of them opposition supporters.
A Zimbabwe-based coalition of human rights
organizations, the Human Rights Forum, says that another 45 people have been
killed in the past year.
The government blames the MDC for the
violence, calling the party a "terrorist organization" and is forcing a law
through parliament that provides for extremely tough measures, including the
death penalty, for anti-government acts.
Critics say the law will severely limit
individual and political freedom.
Meanwhile a joint statement issued
Wednesday by the army and police says they will not support any attempt to
change what they call "the gains of the revolution of 1980" and will not support
what they term "anyone with a different agenda that threatens the sovereignty of
The police and army statement called on
everyone in Zimbabwe to campaign peacefully in the presidential
Zimbabwe MPs Adjourn Controversial Security
By Stella Mapenzauswa
(Reuters) - Weary Zimbabwean MPs finished a marathon session early
Thursday on a controversial security bill that critics say is designed
stifle opposition as President Robert Mugabe seeks re-election.
debate came as Zimbabwe's military brass signaled they would not
opposition victory in the crucial poll, which was set on
Wednesday for March
9 and 10.
MPs took more than 12-hours to discuss all 46 clauses of the
bill that has been fast-tracked by the ruling ZANU-PF
Parliament adjourned until 1230 GMT on Thursday when MPs are set
to vote on
the bill after a third reading. The bill, which can criminalize
Mugabe, will likely be passed, as ZANU-PF holds 93 of the 150
Discipline is seen being enforced by party whips
after ZANU-PF failed to
pass a section of legislation on Tuesday when its
members did not turn up in
"You will pass this law
I have no doubt, you have the numbers but we will
resist it," said opposition
MP Paul Thema Nyathi.
Mugabe, aged 77 and in power since 1980, faces the
toughest battle of his
political career in the poll against the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), headed by former trade unionist Morgan
The president has seen his popularity slide amid a collapsing
growing international criticism of his human rights record, and the
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
BILL GIVES STATE SWEEPING POWERS
The legislation under
debate gives the government sweeping powers to
"protect public order and
security and to deal with acts of insurgency,
banditry, sabotage, terrorism,
treason and subversion."
Penalties for these offences -- which analysts
say can be broadly defined to
include any suspicion a person is plotting
against the state -- are life
imprisonment or death.
The bill outlaws
publishing or communicating "false statements prejudicial
to the state or
that incite public disorder, violence, affect defense and
of the country or undermine confidence in security
bars public gatherings "to conduct riots, disorder or intolerance"
it an offence "to undermine the authority of the president by
statements or publishing statements that provoke hostility."
measures will be enforced by the southern African country's security
who pledged their support for Mugabe.
"The security organizations will
only stand in support of those political
leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean
values, traditions and beliefs for
thousands of lives lost in pursuit of
Zimbabwe's hard-won independence,"
defense forces commander General Vitalis
Zvinavashe said in a statement on
He was referring to
Zimbabwe's liberation war in the 1970s against
white-minority rule. Veterans
of that struggle have led the invasions of
white farms and are staunch Mugabe
Mugabe has derided the MDC as a puppet of former colonial
power Britain and
white Zimbabweans, who he says are enemies of the
because of their opposition to his land policies, which
he says are needed
to rectify the legacy of colonialism.
growing international pressure, with Britain pressing for
suspension from the Commonwealth at the group's heads of
in Australia early in March.
Critics say another bill likely to be pushed
through soon targets the media
and will bar foreign correspondents from
working in the crisis-stricken
Zvinavashe also took aim at
the press in his Wednesday statement, saying the
media should "not generate
profits out of false reports that discredit the
leadership and membership of
Zimbabwe's woes have been cited as a factor
behind the 37 percent decline in
the value of neighboring South Africa's rand
against the dollar last year.
Mugabe takes a stride into tyranny
Repressive laws mean Zimbabwe poll can
have just one outcome
Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Chris
Thursday January 10, 2002
Robert Mugabe last
night called a presidential election for early March as
illegally began to force through parliament the most
of his 22 years in power, including draconian new
security laws and curbs on
Just hours before the election date of March 9 and 10 was
Zimbabwe's military chief added to the opposition's woes by
warning that the
army would not accept a president who "reverses the gains of
revolution", a reference to the fact that Zimbabwe's modern-day army
formed from the ruling party's guerrilla wing
But prospects of any
"reverse" grew more distant yesterday as the government
rode roughshod over
the law to begin ramming through a basket of legislation
designed to ensure
that Mr Mugabe extends his rule by whatever means.
The move came after
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won a rare
parliament on Tuesday when too few government MPs turned out to
legislation that would have stripped hundreds of thousands of
people of the
right to vote.
Under Zimbabwe's constitution, once parliament fails to
pass legislation, it
cannot be reintroduced in the same session. But the
Patrick Chinamasa, told parliament that it would be forced
The MDC's shadow minister of justice, David Coltart, said
move was in breach of the law.
"It's illegal. Our law
is quite clear. Once it has been defeated it cannot
be introduced to
parliament in the same session," he said. "It is a clear
indication that we
are a democracy in name only."
The election legislation is part of a
package that includes new security
laws, which give the government and police
even greater powers than the
colonial-era laws used by Ian Smith's white
minority regime and Mr Mugabe
The proposed Public Order and
Security bill carries the death penalty for
acts of "insurgency, banditry,
sabotage and terrorism", as well as the
threat of jail and fines for anyone
who "undermines the authority of the
president" or "engenders hostility"
towards him. Since the September 11
attacks, Mr Mugabe has taken to labelling
his opponents as terrorists.
Parliament is also considering a bill aimed
at silencing the opposition
press by licensing journalists and barring
foreign reporters from working in
The government will be
forcing through amendments to labour legislation
designed to curb strikes and
other protests by the unions at what is widely
expected to be a rigged
After Tuesday's defeat, the government rounded up elected MPs
non-elected members, including chiefs, to push through what the
alleged were illegal changes to parliamentary procedure so that
legislation could be passed in one day's sitting.
press bill is expected to be forced through in much the same way.
are the actions of an absolutely desperate regime," Mr Coltart said.
loves the pretence of legality. They are still determined to have at
the facade of legality so they can turn around and say whatever they
The few opinion polls available suggest Mr Mugabe would lose
heavily in a
free election. His party barely won a majority in last June's
ballot and the government has grown more unpopular amid surging
unemployment, and the growing threat of food shortages.
the new laws, and the unleashing of a wave of violent intimidation
government opponents, suggest the ballot will be anything but
Yesterday, the commander of Zimbabwe's military, General Vitalis
gave an ambiguous warning that the army would not accept a
it did not like.
"The highest office in the land is a
straitjacket whose occupant is expected
to observe the objectives of the
liberation. Any change to reverse the gains
of this revolution will not be
supported," he said.
The government defended the new security legislation
yesterday by accusing
the MDC and whites of being behind an alleged anthrax
attack at Harare's
main post office. On Tuesday, the health ministry claimed
to have found
envelopes containing a suspicious white powder after two postal
ill. One of the envelopes was allegedly addressed to a senior
The state-run Herald newspaper quoted the home
affairs minister, John Nkomo,
as blaming whites. "Those responsible for these
terrorist attacks are people
who formed the MDC and supported it. It is
obvious that former Rhodesians
are involved in these dastardly acts," he
said. But the minister presented
information minister, Jonathan Moyo, condemned the warning by
foreign secretary, Jack Straw, on Tuesday that the UK would
Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth if political
"They are going farther from funding the opposition. They have
Zimbabwe as a sovereign country," he said.
Demand for coalition to freeze Mugabe funds
THE shadow foreign secretary yesterday called for sanctions on
its government prepared to force through draconian new laws which
"dismantle democracy" in favour of Robert Mugabe, the president, ahead
the country's March elections.
Michael Ancram said the threat by Jack
Straw, foreign secretary, to suspend
the central African country from the
Commonwealth was insufficient.
Mr Ancram called for an international
coalition including the UK, US, EU and
African neighbours of Zimbabwe to
prepare "smart sanctions" to freeze Mr
Mugabe's funds and bar him and his
colleagues from travel abroad.
Mr Ancram made the call as election dates were
announced for March 9 and 10,
and the country's opposition party, Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), had its biggest blow so
far with the Zimbabwe
military signalling it would not support the former
trade unionist if he
Mr Mugabe, 77, who has been in power since 1980,
faces the toughest battle
of his political career amid a collapsing economy
and growing international
criticism of his human rights record and the
violent seizure of white-owned
Mr Ancram said suspension from the
Commonwealth would hold little menace for
The shadow minister
said: "I don't think it is an enormously heavy threat to
wave at all. Fiji
and Pakistan are suspended and I don't think in either of
those places it has
been regarded as an enormous sanction.
"We need something much more powerful
here if we are to persuade Mr Mugabe
and his henchmen that the route they are
on is a route to destruction and
they must come off it."
ruling ZANU-PF has suspended regular parliamentary procedures to
pave the way
for an extended sitting to push through the public order and
that would give the government wide ranging powers against
It bans independent election monitors and allows the
government to evict
white farmers as soon as they receive warning their farm
is among the
thousands targeted for redistribution.
controversial bills were also to be discussed. One would make it
to criticise the president, which the MDC said would make their
The other bars foreign journalists from the country and
would require local
journalists to obtain government
Critics have described the laws as worse than any media
apartheid South Africa.
Jonathon Moyo, Zimbabwe's
information minister, said it would stop "lies"
being told about the
Mr Moyo also again accused London of supporting the MDC in an
overthrow Mr Mugabe's government.
He said: "The legislation
going through will dismantle the whole system of
unacceptable to the wider coalition which I hope will bring
pressure to bear."