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The Age
On a bush track in Zimbabwe, a struggle for life

January 11 2003

Peter Stafford.

Murdered backpacker Peter Stafford fended off knife blows in vain. Martin Daly and Wayne Miller report.

The battle for life was long and painful. There were bloodstains a fair distance from where the knife fight took place and broken twigs and branches. On the ground lay a shirt and hat drenched in blood, two cameras and a wrist watch. Not far away lay the body of Australian backpacker Peter Stafford, 27. He had been stabbed 11 times after encountering his assailant on an isolated rainforest track in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls National Park.

The attack occurred last Saturday, only hours after Mr Stafford arrived from South Africa to visit the waterfalls on the Zambezi River. He had booked to leave for neighbouring Zambia the next day.

Peter Stafford was a quiet, friendly man who loved to travel. He was known to avoid trouble or confrontation. But forensic analysis of the crime scene shows he wasn't afraid to defend himself when faced with extreme danger.

The stab wounds to his hands, cheeks and stomach show he fended off the knife blows many times. But they kept coming until he was too weak to go on fighting.

"He wasn't frightened by his attacker," said Zimbabwe's Chief Superintendent of Police, Bothwell Mugariri. "If you look at the number of stab wounds, I think he realised he could withstand the attack. Peter appeared to be saying 'I think I can defend myself'.

"From the hands you can see he was trying to block or resist the attack . . . There was a protracted struggle - broken twigs and so on. It was far, far away from anywhere. It was right in the rainforest area, and it's noisy there from the falling water."

A motive for the murder has not been established, although robbery is considered the most likely reason.

Supt Mugariri thinks Mr Stafford might have decided to fight his attacker when he saw he did not have a firearm. There were no witnesses.

"Nobody heard anything," said Australia's high commissioner to Zimbabwe, Jonathan Brown, who described the attack as "vicious".

He has sent Australian high commission staff to Victoria Falls to monitor the police investigation.

The fallout from the attack has been widespread. It occurred at a time when Australian and British governments had urged the cancellation of World Cup cricket matches scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe.

There has been speculation that the killer or killers may have come from neighbouring Zambia.

One Zimbabwean Government minister even suggested the murder could have been organised to discredit the nation and its President, Robert Mugabe.

Extreme poverty and starvation in Zimbabwe have led to a rise in crime at Victoria Falls recently. However, the town and the falls area are considered relatively safe.

The murder - the first at the falls - has shocked the town's population of 200,000. Locals have opened a book of condolences to be sent to the Stafford family in Naracoorte.

Mr Stafford's death has led to an intense police investigation. More than 200 people have been detained. Tracker dogs and teams of detectives have combed the area for clues. People are being taken into custody from the streets on the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. Pubs are raided at night by police who grill patrons on the murder. "I have never seen anything like it," says Mags Varley, who runs the Backpackers Bazaar and was one of the last people to see Mr Stafford alive.

"The authorities are pulling out all stops," adds Dennis Bean, the owner of the Victoria Falls Backpackers Lodge. "Everybody that could be a suspect is being questioned. There are special forces and police around the streets everywhere. It has really affected the town. "

Mr Stafford was such a quiet person that even some of his near neighbours in Naracoorte admit they know little about him. He was, they say, a decent kind of guy with a big smile.

"Peter had great plans for future work and travel, both in Australia and overseas," his family said in a statement this week. He was an experienced traveller. He had backpacked extensively in South and North America for a year and also in Europe and Asia.

Between 1997 and February last year, he had worked for the construction company Agility, a branch of IGL, as a mechanical engineer specialising in gas pipe construction. He then left the job to travel. Since August he has been working in England.

On December 29, Mr Stafford left Adelaide for a two-month holiday in southern Africa, having spent the previous four weeks with his family.

He arrived in Victoria Falls last Saturday by train from South Africa about 7am. He went to Shoestring Backpackers in West Drive in the town centre, about a 20-minute walk from the falls.

He checked in his valuables, including cash and traveller's cheques, and asked if it was safe to visit the falls. He was assured by staff member Etty Varley that it was.

Mr Stafford walked to the nearby Backpackers Bazaar in Park Way, where he booked a trip to Zambia for the next day.

Mrs Varley and her staff thought him a confident, experienced traveller, who knew what he was doing. "He was a very organised, precise, unassuming sort of guy," she says.

Mr Stafford walked to the National Park to view the falls about 3pm.

About an hour later, someone noticed blood on a park trail. Searchers followed the blood and found the body, which had been moved into the bush.

Police believe the bloodstained shirt and hat belong to the killer, who did not take Mr Stafford's watch and cameras because they could be easily identified. His wallet has not been found.

Chief Superintendent Mugariri has no doubts the killer will be caught. "We will definitely arrest the suspect in this particular case," he says. "We will leave no stone unturned, I can assure you of that."

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Daily News


      Bulawayo residents take to walking to work as fuel crisis bites

      1/10/2003 3:17:14 PM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      THE jingle of bicycle bells and the whirr of a lone motor vehicle
engine behind a factory yard wall blending with the hum of people walking in
various directions along pavements in Bulawayo's industrial area are
characteristic of the morning rush hour in the City of Kings.

      Like other cities in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo is part of history in the
making. The voices blend from hundreds of residents streaming over the Khami
Road by-pass bridge to their jobs in the city centre and industrial sites.

      Some of the people trudge from as far as Old Pumula and Pumula South
residential areas, about 14km from the city centre.

      Those from Entumbane, Mpopoma, Tshabalala, Matshobana and Sizinda
consider themselves lucky because they have to walk only 5km into the city.
      The crowds look like an invasion column. The only difference is that
in place of firearms, they carry with them umbrellas and raincoats ­ in case
it rains.
      "This is the first time I have had to walk to work,"says 44-year-old
Philimon Sigauke, a bakery employee. "I can't remember precisely when I last
walked such a long distance, but I have no choice. There is no fuel and
there is absolutely no transport to and from Pumula where I live."

      The few minibuses on the road charge $300 for a trip to Mpopoma and
$300 more to town. "I can't afford that,"says Sigauke.

      Like most of the workers trekking across town to their places of work,
Sigauke found himself in these daunting circumstances because of the
grinding fuel crisis.

      The fuel crisis, which worsened towards Christmas and as the year drew
to an end, has just about taken all the public transport vehicles off the
      Cars stand idle in long, winding queues snaking for up to 2km at
Pumula, Magwegwe, Nkulumane, Mpopoma South and Tshabalala service stations.

      Some of the queues have become a common feature for the past three
weeks, and are getting longer every day.

      Faced with the crisis, very few workers can afford to use taxis whose
fares are out of their reach anyway.
      But even the taxis have become as scarce as the commuter omnibuses as
the fuel crisis bites deeper.
      And for the average worker, on a salary of no more than $15 000 a
month in the heavy industrial sites, there is no alternative, but to walk.

      Some walk briskly, others slowly, as they make their way into the city
centre from places as distant as Robert Sinyoka and St Peters villages on
the city's western fringes, and Cowdray Park in the north-east.
      It is a testing journey that demands as much of commitment to get to
work as the energy needed to duck under bridges, dodge the reckless cyclist
and scramble across the road ahead of a charging haulage truck, as often

      The former Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni,
was perhaps the only man in the Zanu PF government who in 2001 foresaw a
time when bicycles would return to rule the road when he announced the
removal of import duty on the two-wheelers.

      His projection was uncannily accurate: the bicycle has made a
spectacular come-back, and is now the most reliable means of affordable
transport in Zimbabwe.
      Hundreds of cyclists, formerly the butt of cruel jokes by fellow
travellers on minibuses, are having the last laugh as the fuel crisis elbows
the fancy commuter omnibuses off the road and out of business.

      "What is the point of possessing a car that cannot move?"suggests a
cyclist preferring to be referred to only as Makwarimba. "All that my
bicycle needs is pressure and that is available without charge at every
service station. And we do not need to spend weeks in queues for that.
People should simply sell their cars and buy bicycles."

      Although there is no empirical evidence, the large number of bicycles
on the roads could have been brought about by Makoni's cyclist-friendly 2001

      People like Sigauke who did not take advantage of Makoni's foresight
are having to drag their old Humbers and Raleighs out of the roof-racks, and
spruce them up for a return to the track.

      Many may not do so because, as Samuel Msebele, a sales assistant at a
city cycle spare parts shop put it, spare parts even for the latest mountain
bike models are hard to come by.

      "We handle a large number of enquiries by owners of old models who
have been reminded of their bicycles by the fuel crisis. But there are no
spares, even for newer models of mountain bikes. They are imported and
suppliers want hard currency for those parts.
      "The company has been struggling since April to secure foreign
currency to buy spares.

      "Banks have no foreign currency, and my employer has refused to buy
hard currency from the black market. We are not taking any fresh orders from
prospective buyers because there is no hope that we will be able to
supply,"he says.

      But the walking public is emphatic that the blunders and lack of
forward planning by the Zanu PF government is responsible for their
      The fuel shortage that scuttled many people's Christmas holiday plans,
threatens to turn Zimbabwe into a nation of reluctant walkers and cyclists.
      Hard-pressed commuters scoff at suggestions that the fuel crisis is a
result of the activities of the United States and British imperialist lobby,
as President Mugabe would like people to believe.

      Mugabe rants about the US and the British governments seeking to
avenge the perceived success of the fast-track land resettlement programme
by throttling fuel supplies.

      A manager at one service station, who refused to be named, said the
fuel crisis was the result of Zanu PF bungling, corruption and inefficiency.

      He objected to State media suggestions that fuel companies were
worsening the crisis by hoarding the little that trickles into the country,
in anticipation of a price hike early this year.

      "Whichever way the government wants us to see this, it is clear that
corruption, incompetence and falsehoods are endemic in Zanu PF. There was a
time when Mugabe and his State media wanted the country to believe that
British navy vessels were intercepting Zimbabwe-bound oil tankers in the
high seas and off the coast of Mozambique and buying all the fuel they would
be carrying.

      "That was just as absurd as his recent suggestion that he would
nationalise the fuel companies. Zanu PF has failed the country, but I do not
know why the people seem to be enjoying it,"he said.

      Bleary-eyed motorists still in fuel queues after long, uncomfortable
nights around the city, blamed the fuel crisis on Zanu PF cronyism which led
to the mismanagement and plunder of the State-owned National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim).
      "Bob (Mugabe) made a big joke when he said Zimbabwe would never be a
colony again,"retorted one motorist. "Is it not a virtual colony of Libya
since Libya calls the shots here now?"

      The Libyans' reported walkout from a meeting with Noczim last month
was long overdue, and their demand for a controlling stake in Noczim meant
they had realised Zimbabwe was not creditworthy. They wanted deals based on
property such as land and assets such as shares in government companies. It
was their involvement and promises that gave some Zimbabweans a sense of
false security about fuel supplies.

      "They are in the same Oaxis of evil' with Zanu PF,"said Keith Duncan,
a motorist.

      Duncan said he had been queuing for three days at a Bulawayo service

      Sentiments from the fuel queues and the walking public suggest a
nation fed up with queuing for everything.
      The crisis is in marked contrast with Mugabe's most recent pledge to
solve the country's fuel problems. He told his supporters who had gathered
in Chinhoyi for his party's annual conference in December that he would
solve the problem urgently. People in the queues don't believe him.

      "Zimbabwe is now a queue country. We queue for fuel, bread, salt,
sugar, maize-meal, cooking oil, soft drinks, and other commodities which are
fast running out,"a motorist in a fuel queue lamented.
      The grave economic situation, compounded by the worsening fuel crisis,
is a subject of discussion in the queues, be it at service stations or at
      Perhaps Mugabe was guided by a better factor than sheer ignorance
about the long list of basic commodities that can no longer be found on
supermarket shelves when he encouraged Zimbabweans to buy gifts for their
mothers and toys for their children in his closing remarks at the Zanu PF
conference in Chinhoyi last month.

      But as the people now declare in commuter omnibuses and the unending
queues, he seems to have run out of ideas to solve the crises he promised
the country he was working diligently to end.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      The ordeal of seeking refugee status in Canada

      1/10/2003 12:53:48 PM (GMT +2)

      By Ninebomu Negwenu

      I would like to share with you some of the hardships I have to endure
as a refugee claimant in Canada. I hope that my story will help to ease the
hardships/potential hardships faced by others in the same boat.

      In 2000 I was an active member of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe, charged with circulating campaign
materials to the rural people. A few months before the parliamentary
election, the Zanu PF government resorted to a very violent campaign to
crush the opposition in Mashonaland Central.

      The area I operated in was declared a "no-go area" for the opposition
and any known MDC officials and active members were apprehended by the Zanu
PF youth militia and detained and tortured. Some died, others are still
missing and only a few remained to tell their horror stories.

      I was one of the few people who managed to escape from a torture camp
and went to Harare. We were soon to find out that the ruling Zanu PF branch
in Mashonaland Central had ordered the youth militia to hunt us down and
bring us back to the torture camps in Mashonaland Central.

      I found myself with no option but to leave the country. Fortunately,
my brother could afford to buy me a ticket to fly to Canada where I would
claim refugee status.

      I flew into Toronto, Canada, on 5 June 2000 where I narrated my story
and claimed refugee status. I was allocated a lawyer to take care of my case
and help me complete the formal refugee claimant forms.

      A social worker was also provided to assist me with such issues as
accommodation and fitting into the Canadian society. After a couple of weeks
      some documents were processed so that I could get a C$520 (Z$18 720)
monthly allowance C$395 for rent and the remainder for all other necessities
of life.

      Although it was almost impossible to live on the allowances, I
remained strong with the hope that I would at least get a student
authorisation and work my way through college and make the best use of my
stay in Canada.

      I have a Cambridge General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level,
with A's in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Shona. I thought I would
study for an Electrical Engineering degree at one of the top institutions in
Toronto, even if it meant working 40 hours a day in addition to going to
school. I even started contacting colleges and universities for entrance in
September 2000.

      My hopes of going to school in September 2000 were shattered when my
social worker told me that I would not be allowed a student authorisation to
attend a regular college/university until I became a bona fide refugee. I
could only attend certain community schools approved by the refugee board.

      I tried a few of these schools and gave up when I realised that most
of the tutors were less qualified than I am and I had already covered most
of their curriculum in high school back in Zimbabwe. I would hang in there
and wait for the hearing and then start college in September 2001 so I
thought. I appeared before the refugee board in November 2000 and was told
that the decision would be communicated to me in less than two weeks.

      Up to now I have not heard anything from the refugee board. Of the
more than 50 occasions that I attempted to get hold of my state-appointed
lawyer to find out what was happening with my case, only three led to direct
contact with him.
      On each of the occasions, he told me he was going to look into the
      My medical coverage has since run out and many attempts to complete
and mail renewal forms as advised have failed. I have to pay for any
medical, dental and pharmaceutical charges from the meagre C$520 monthly

      What is even more confusing is that fellow Zimbabweans who came to
Canada about two years after me under similar circumstances have already
been granted refugee status. The refugee board might have decided not to
grant me refugee status but at the same time they cannot deport me to
Zimbabwe because of the precarious situation in that country.

      They may be waiting for such a time when the situation in Zimbabwe
improves and then they would communicate their decision to deport me. Is
such treatment of human beings in accordance with the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees guidelines or the Geneva convention on refugees?
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Politicisation of police force has killed professionalism

      1/10/2003 12:52:36 PM (GMT +2)

      Without political interference Zimbabwe would have one of the best
police forces in the region.

      If the police were not politicised and dejected, the culprits who
callously murdered the Australian tourist in Victoria Falls last week would
have been brought to book by now.

      Our police officers, especially the lower level ranks, are generally
demoralised. They do not have adequate accommodation. They live in absolute
squalor in the many police camps dotted around the country with no hope of
any improvement whatsoever in the near future.

      A man without job satisfaction and security cannot be expected to
perform to the best of their ability. They do not have adequate transport at
their disposal to effectively carry out their duties. Their remuneration is
among the lowest in the region. Nobody cares whether or not they have enough
uniforms to make them proud of the job at hand, which is hard enough without
the many impediments that have been placed in their way.

      Lack of job security tends to expose men to all sorts of vices, hence
it has become common for our police officers to solicit for bribes from
members of the public. They are poorly paid, therefore, they try to augment
their meagre income in this shameful and unethical way.

      Many police officers have been hauled before the courts for bribery,
and in some cases robbery and corruption. Some among them justify these
malpractices by citing their superiors who accept even bigger bribes and are
involved in deep-rooted corruption which they cannot question, let alone
investigate for fear of losing their jobs and being labelled anti-Zanu PF.

      The culture within Zanu PF is that the chefs cannot be questioned by
juniors. Take , for instance, the Mugabe succession issue. Nobody within the
ruling party's elite dares raise the issue. Those who have done so were
quickly kicked out of the party. The likes of veteran politician and former
party secretary-general, Edgar Tekere, who helped Robert Mugabe to slip into
neighbouring Mozambique to lead the liberation struggle, and Welshman
Mabhena, the former governor of Matabeleland North Province, were
unceremoniously kicked out of the party for questioning the leadership.

      The same kind of fear and uncertainty prevails in the police force
      The police officers will not bring to book any Zanu PF youths who in
their "line of duty" assault, rape, maim, murder or destroy property of
members of the opposition.

      Zanu PF, its leaders, its youth movement and women's league are above
the law. They are, in fact, a law unto themselves, hence the anarchy
prevailing in our God-forsaken country.

      The government ensured that the police lost its effectiveness by
polarising it through politicisation.

      To start the ball rolling, they ensured that the so-called war
veterans were incorporated into the force whether they were qualified or
not. Their promotion was accelerated because of their contribution to the
liberation of the country.
      The current police commissioner was appointed on a political ticket.
His allegiance to Zanu PF ensured that he got the job and the more he
politicised the force, the more secure his position became. His term of
office has been extended more than four times, because he is a proud
card-carrying member of the ruling party. To bring back sanity,
professionalism and effectiveness that once made this nation proud of its
police, there is need to uproot the rot that has set in and depoliticise the
police force and let them carry out their duties to the best of their
abilities and capabilities. They need a moral injection.

      For a start the recycled top brass must be retired and a new vibrant
team appointed. The new top brass should be apolitical and professional,
selected on merit, not partisanship. Once that is in place, the rest of the
force should not be difficult to streamline.
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Daily News - The Mole

      A vital lesson on how to unseat unpopular leaders

      1/10/2003 2:50:37 PM (GMT +2)

      Almost immediately after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)
Board unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in their former chairman,
Leo Mugabe, a campaign was set in motion by his image makers at Zimpapers to
save the scalp of President Mugabe's nephew, so to speak.

      Not only has Leo Mugabe presided over the rapid decline of soccer
standards in Zimbabwe, thus consigning the country's once formidable senior
national team to the continent's scrap heap of African soccer, but the man's
constant meddling in the affairs of Dynamos Football Club has also almost
killed Harare's most popular team. But that is somewhat beside the point.

      The point is that word of his removal had hardly reached our ears when
editorial comments, opinion columns and letters began to appear in
newspapers at Herald House in his defence. Leo was being judged too harshly,
we were told, and if he should go at all, then the entire board must go, it
was suggested. It is pertinent to observe here that no similar letters were
sent to the independent Press and that all writers of letters to that
section of the media on that particular subject were jubilant that Leo had
at long last been shown the door.

      There were even what looked suspiciously like fake "surveys" to make
it appear the campaign had popular support among the soccer-loving public
and justify the writing of screaming headlines such as "Zifa board must go
      Strangely, however, until that vote of no confidence was passed on
him, none of those who were now calling for the whole board to go because
they were "all tired and useless", to quote one of the columnists had seen
anything wrong with any of its members.

      To be fair, it could be said that one or two such opinions by his
defenders, like the one saying the board ought to have waited for Mugabe's
return from Nigeria before taking the vote, did have some merit although
some of those who raised that objection went too far in suggesting that his
long-time ally, Vincent Pamire, had done the Brutus on him!

      The way The Mole sees it, ousting him in his absence was a brilliant
strategy which has been used in most of the successful bloodless political
coups in the world, including the ousting of Milton Obote by Idi Amin in
Uganda and that of James Mancham by Albert Rene in the Seychelles.

      If the board had waited for his return, no one would have dared lift a
finger against him in his presence and Zifa would still be stuck with Leo as
chairman to this day and for a very long time to come. We all know how it is
with his uncle, of course. Before his arrival at each and every Cabinet,
politburo or central committee meeting, the place is often abuzz with
indignant and animated talk of the need to tell him to step down for the
good of both the party and the country because, so they will be saying, he
is too old and something worse.
      But the moment he walks in, either a deathly silence engulfs the room
or the place erupts in deafening applause, with almost everyone grinning
ear-to-ear in the manner of imbeciles.

      Two jokes are doing the rounds in Zimbabwe these days. One is: "Kanu
is gone, next is Zanu!" The other is: "One Mugabe down, one more to go!"

      It's all very well to joke about these landmark changes but, on a more
serious note, The Mole thinks Zifa has shown Zimbabweans how to effectively
remove unpopular leaders who have overstayed their welcome: from within the

      Which means the surest way of removing the senior Mugabe from power is
through a vote of no confidence taken within Zanu PF itself in either the
Cabinet, politburo, central committee or in all three in the man's absence,
of course!
      That certainly can be done if the men in Zanu PF are amadoda sibili
(real mean) as Mugabe says and not full of "Mugabe's wives" as Margaret
Dongo claims.
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JAG Press Statement January 10, 2003

Justice for Agriculture, January 9th 2002

On Wednesday Joseph Made, Minister of Lands and Agriculture, issued a statement asking all commercial farmers to sell the few remaining assets the possess on moral grounds. It seems the hypocrisy of the ZANU(PF) government knows know bounds. There is very little that the government has done over the last few years that could be interpreted as being in any way moral. They have stolen elections, embarked on a systematic and unconstitutional process of land theft, and have been party to the breakdown of the rule of law across the country. State agents have been extensively implicated in human rights abuse and torture, giving Zimbabwe one of the worst human rights records in the world, and at the same time the government has failed completely to tackle the issue of AIDS education and prevention, in a nation that is facing the death of over a third of its population through the virulent disease in the next couple of decades. And finally, the actions of the government are largely responsible for the current famine in the country through the "fast track" resettlement programme. Are we reasonably expected to believe in the moral authority of a government whose own former speaker for parliament, Didymus Mutasa, said: "We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people"?
So where do we stand at the beginning of 2003? The critical grain shortage that has already resulted in deaths through starvation in certain remote areas is not likely to end any time soon, due to the failed tillage of the commercial farmland. It is true that historically 50 to 60% of the grain came from rural areas (less in drought periods such as now), but this production is not likely to achieve the necessary levels in the current crisis. Shortage of seed due to the occupation of seed-producing farms, fertilizer shortage due to improper fund management from the government, and late tilling as a result of the diversion of DDF infrastructure will all heavily impact rural production. Furthermore, the predicted early end to the rains, combined with late planting (less than forty percent of cops were in the ground by the critical date of the second week of November), may well spell disaster for these crops. It seems ridiculous that the Made believes mechanization will help the situation, when there is a shortage of basics such as seed and fertilizer.
The small winter wheat harvest is likely to be finished by the end of February, since although the government claims to have imported the usual quota, the demand for bread at the moment is peaking due to the shortage of maize meal. Likewise a large amount of horticultural market production has been shut down and production curtailed, which means that once the rainy season is over, many vegetables will become unavailable. Some irrigation can still be carried out, and since the state has declared all resettled land as State Land, the water rights even on small farm dams are controlled entirely by the state. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that the responsibility for utilization of such water reserves falls upon the state.
The livestock industry has also been heavily impacted by the land reform progress. The commercial cattle herd has been hugely culled due to the diminishing of grazing area, dropping from some 1,2 million head in 1999 to well below 200 000 today (estimates from the Cattle Producers Association). Normally, ten percent of the commercial herd is made available for market, whilst only one percent of the rural herd (which is kept as status symbols and wealth investment rater than as a commodity) is butchered. In 2002, some thousands of tonnes of beef was shipped to Libya as part of the bilateral trade agreement for fuel and foreign currency. However, this means that the commercial herd this year is decidedly decreased - the CPA estimate that only 130 000 cows will be bulled this year. Since the majority of the females must be kept for restocking purposes, that leaves only 65 000 steers for the market.
Sam Cawood (75) used to run the largest pedigree Brahman herd in the country.  In October, settlers locked up calving cows in pens and refused to allow them food or water. They only allowed the cattle out to go for slaughter, and Cawood had no option but to order the new season's calves to be killed as well.  Cawood was then arrested into custody for `stoning the animals', although these charges were later dropped.
The Cawoods have been left with 150 cattle which they have had to pen in Bulawayo, since all of the farms in the Bubi area have been invaded by settler's cattle. Poaching has killed off most of the game and what was once prime productive farmland has now become overgrazed and overcrowded, leading to massive environmental degradation.  Most of the water points in the area have not been maintained, and settlers are left congregating around existing water pumps. Settlers desperate for grazing for their starving animals have now effectively stopped commercial cattle production, grazing in these areas is almost exhausted, and disaster is imminent. Already extensive cattle deaths have been observed in the southern regions of Zimbabwe, where rainfall is well below normal. Furthermore, the unregulated influx of these cattle has led to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, anthrax and tick-borne diseases, further accelerating the deaths.
Apart from the shortages of meat, grain and vegetables, milk is already hard to find. The dairy production in Zimbabwe has crumbled completely. Last week, a farm with over 1000 milking cattle which produced 40% of Harare's milk was closed down, and the farmer is under threat of eviction. With the rocketing costs of stockfeed, coupled with the fixed price of milk, farmers cannot continue dairy farming in any case. Zimbabwe may not have sufficient milk for years to come, and will be relegated to the state of Moçambique, which imports all its dairy products from South Africa. The impact of stockfeeding prices and farm closures has similarly hit the pig production - the recent glut of pork in the market is a direct result of farm evictions, but other than that, there is likely to be a shortage of pork this year.
It is hard to imagine what exactly the government is planning for people to eat this coming year, with the engineered shortages of almost every product. Price regulation is supposedly a measure to ensure that produce stays affordable to the man in the street, but as any economist will tell you, it does this at the cost of the producers. When the cost of production is greater than the potential earnings, nobody can afford to sell, and will turn to exporting instead. Of course, this would benefit the country in terms of foreign currency earnings, but would do little for the majority of the population, who will merely experience further shortages. And the foreign currency earnings will be eaten away steadily by the increased imports required to meet those areas of agricultural production that have been destroyed, ignored, or diverted into cash crop production (such as tobacco).
It is hard to believe that a government that has achieved so much destruction and national trauma in such a short time feels itself able to appeal to the moral nature of anyone (although, we note, not without accusing the farmers of engineering thefts of their own produce and belongings, and coordinating their own assaults in order to give the war veterans a bad name!) In reality, many farmers are forced to sell their equipment where they can find someone who is able to pay for it. However, considering the losses that the agricultural community has already suffered (including theft of equipment and moveable assets), it is ridiculous to assume or ask those same people to sell for anything less than the absolute worth of the equipment. The only body likely to possess the money to buy such equipment in bulk is the government itself, and nobody has any faith in their intention or ability to pay anything, considering the paltry number of farmers who have received any sort of compensation for the improvements on farms that the government undertook to pay at the outset. Furthermore, the expertise to operate this equipment does not in general exist outside of commercial farmers and farm workers (who have been largely excluded from the resettlement process). Many center pivot and sprinkler irrigation schemes and tractors now lie idle after having been abused, vandalized, or just driven into the ground - valuable equipment that could well have been used to dig Zimbabwe out of its agricultural pit.
Minister Made, having been one of the prime instruments of the destruction of ARDA and now commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe, is now searching for someone else to blame for the situation, and as usual has picked on everyone's favourite demons - the commercial farmers.



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Daily News

      Mliswa accused of beating up farmer's wife, children

      1/10/2003 1:57:18 PM (GMT +2)

      By Haru Mutasa

      POLICE in Karoi have confirmed receiving a report that controversial
sports personality Themba Mliswa, who is vying for the Zimbabwe Football
Association chairmanship, allegedly beat up Jenny Parsons and her two
children at Spring Farm in Karoi yesterday.

      Jenny, the wife of Karoi Farmers' Association chairman Alan Parsons,
and her two children had returned to their farm to feed their horses and
collect personal belongings when they were confronted by Mliswa.

      The family moved out of the farmhouse last year for security reasons.
The farm has not been listed for compulsory acquisition.

      Parsons said: "When I arrived at the farm I was approached by Mliswa,
who had changed the locks to the house and some farming equipment had been
stolen. He asked what I was doing on the farm." When Parsons refused to
leave, Mliswa allegedly pulled her out of her car before beating her up. Her
daughter, Rebecca, 12, and her son Andrew, 17, were also assaulted. She
said: "Mliswa threw me and the kids onto the ground and started kicking us."

      Parsons said Mliswa then took her into the farmhouse where he grilled
her for political information. He is alleged to have called her a racist and
"white bitch".

      Mliswa could not be reached for comment. Wynand Hart, Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) director, told The Daily News yesterday: "Farmers are
being maliciously victimised by people who employ illegal tactics to get
what they want. The situation is becoming more and more difficult to

      JAG is an independent body that represents the rights of commercial
farmers in the country.

      In December last year, Mliswa and seven suspected members of the youth
brigade were charged with public violence following clashes in Hurungwe
between youths and settlers at Hesketh Park Farm. The settlers were
allegedly trying to wrest farm equipment worth over $65 million from Mliswa.
They accused him of being used as a front by the farm's former owner, John

      In an unrelated incident, Dereck and Michael Cain from Edinborough
Farm in Marondera were arrested and charged with allegedly insulting
President Mugabe on Wednesday.

      The two, who were asked to surrender their travel documents, are out
on $20 000 bail each.
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JAG Environment & Conservation Committee Update
Farmers & Conservancies

So much has happened in the latter half of 2002, with the arrests and
evictions, that we got ourselves a little sidetracked, but with the New
year in full swing we would like to get back on track, so therefore are
requesting the following information from you.

1/ Pictures of any form of land destruction.
2/ Pictures of animals killed by any form of poaching.
3/ Personal reports of animals being found.  Depicting your feelings and
those of the animals.  Reports of animals being found and treated.
4/ Statistics of animals killed, both domestic and wildlife.

We are in the process of producing an updated document to release to various
press and conservation groups worldwide and need your input.  This is vital
and time is short.

Contact us for a drop off point, or if possible email the info to or

Please forward this email onto neighbours who don't have this means of

We need to continue in making "the outside world" aware of the atrocities
and barbaric killing methods used.  It seems very bleak at the moment but we
must persevere for the betterment of our ecosystem.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

May the best of 2002 be your worst in 2003.

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White Farmer: Judge Seized Zimbabwe Farm
High Court Judge Has Seized a Farm in Zimbabwe for Himself, White Farmer

The Associated Press

      HARARE, Zimbabwe Jan. 10 -
      A High Court judge ignored an order by his own court barring him from
moving onto a farm confiscated from a white family, the owner of the
disputed land said Friday.

      According to the white farmer, Vernon Nicolle, Judge Ben Hlatshwayo
told him he was allocated the land by the government under its land reform
program encouraging commercial farming by blacks.

      The controversial land reform program, which the government says is a
tool to correct colonial era injustices by giving farms to poor, landless
blacks, has come under fire for giving many of the prime farms instead to
confidantes of longtime President Robert Mugabe.

      Nicolle obtained a High Court order in September freezing a government
eviction notice on his property in Banket, 60 miles northwest of Harare on
grounds there were errors in the notice.

      That order suspended Nicolle's eviction until the government revised
the notice. It has not been reissued.

      Accompanied by a police escort, Hlatshwayo moved onto the 900-acre
farm last month. He also moved equipment and workers there, according to
correspondence to the judge by Nicolle's lawyers.

      Nicolle, one of the biggest grain producers in the district, is living
in his farmhouse on an adjacent 192 acres.

      "This has seriously affected my operations. The eviction was declared
invalid and as a judge he should know how the legal system in Zimbabwe
works," Nicolle said Friday.

      "I'm going to take him to the High Court. We won't stop until we reach
the end," he said.

      Hlatshwayo was not immediately available for comment. Nicolle said
when he confronted Hlatshwayo, the judge said he had been allocated the land
by the state.

      The government has confiscated more than 90 percent of land owned by
about 4,000 white farmers under a plans to redistribute it to blacks to

      At least 6.7 million people, more than half the population, face
starvation blamed on erratic rainfall and agricultural disruptions caused by
the chaotic land confiscations.

      Zimbabwe has been wracked by political and economic turmoil for nearly
three years that began with violent farm seizures by ruling party militants.

      The country is suffering its worst ever economic crisis. Hard currency
shortages have caused gas stations to run dry. Corn meal, the staple food,
bread, milk, sugar and other commodities are scarce and long lines have
become commonplace.

      Justice for Agriculture reported violent incidents and intimidation
have continued against white farmers still on their land or visiting
abandoned properties to collect belongings and equipment.

      It said a woman and her two children were assaulted in northwestern
Zimbabwe on Thursday at their farm.

      Her husband, Alan Parsons, reported to police the identity of the
assailant as Themba Mliswa, a ruling party activist and prominent soccer
coach who apparently took over the family's farmhouse after they left last
year, fearing for their safety.

      The farm, in the troubled Karoi district 120 miles northwest of
Harare, had not been targeted for confiscation.

      "When I arrived at the farm, I was approached by Mliswa, who had
changed the locks to the house. ... He asked what I was doing on the farm,"
Parsons said.
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Zim Independent


Chombo: Get your hands off Harare

Never in the history of independent Zimbabwe has government been so deeply
involved in the affairs of local authorities. Not until, that is, MDC
executive mayors were popularly elected in Harare and Bulawayo after beating
Zanu PF candidates. Never known to take defeat graciously, government has
been predictable: make life as difficult as possible for the opposition
mayors. If possible, make it impossible for them to function effectively.

This seems to be the task given to Local Government minister Ignatius
Chombo. Harare, for instance, long ago lost its lustre as the Sunshine City.
Rubbish was not collected from street corners while streetkids and vagrants
made shopping in the CBD all but impossible. Burst water pipes became a
common sight while burst sewers and uncollected garbage in the townships
became a normal part of the urban landscape.

Now all that is being blamed on the new MDC mayors who must be supervised by
governors appointed by President Mugabe in complete disregard of residents'
express wishes.

The Zimbabwe Independent revealed on December 13 that Chombo was planning to
appoint governors for Harare and Bulawayo.

Just before the end of the year Chombo accused Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri of
being arrogant. He said the mayor was working against government policy in
trying to implement MDC policies in the running of the city. The cause of
Chombo's fury was Mudzuri's apparent refusal to work with some obscure
ministerial committee on the so-called turnaround plan for the city. Mudzuri
was also accused of causing Harare's water crisis two weeks ago, something
not so new to the residents of the capital. He was also cynically criticised
for "wasting" money repairing potholes on the city's roads instead of using
it to buy water treatment chemicals.

Of course in all this hullabaloo Chombo was seeking to divert people's
attention from government's total failure to provide the country with fuel
during the festive season. But most strange was Chombo's assertion that
Mudzuri should implement Zanu PF policies since it was the government in
power. Curiously, Chombo doesn't seem to realise there is a contradiction
between this demand and people's choice of an MDC mayor and councillors.
Surely if people were happy with Zanu PF policies there would have been no
need to elect MDC councillors in the first place? People have said no to
Zanu PF in a big way because, among other things, it has failed to resolve
Harare's housing crisis, currently with a backlog of over 500 000.

The city's infrastructure has virtually collapsed while health services are
almost non-existent. By contrast, within the short period of its harried
life Mudzuri's council has resurfaced most of the city's roads and erected
footbridges in high-density suburbs. It has also constructed a major traffic
roundabout at the intersection of Bulawayo and Westlea roads.

These are considerable efforts which have eclipsed Zanu PF's performance
over the past 22 years. Obviously Zanu does not want to tolerate a party
that seems to perform better than they have done because that exposes their
own ineptitude and failure. Harare residents should not view the clash
between Mudzuri and Chombo as a clash of just two personalities. What we are
witnessing is the whole ugly personality of the Zanu PF party trying to
impose itself against the wishes of tens of thousands of Harare residents
who overwhelmingly voted for the MDC in the March election.

The so-called anomaly about Harare and Bulawayo going without governors for
22 years is Zanu PF's attempt to vitiate the powers of executive mayors and
impose its own pernicious policies on residents of MDC-controlled cities.
That includes maintaining in office council officials appointed under
Chanakira for their ruling-party sympathies. In any case, a government that
can go for over two decades without noticing any such fundamental "anomaly"
must be a thoroughly incompetent government which doesn't deserve to direct
the affairs of the two cities.

Why should a serious government spend so much of its time harassing a mayor
over civic affairs - a provenance of ratepayers - when the nation is mired
in a deep economic and political crisis? What solutions has Zanu PF offered
in the national domain that it thinks entitles it to interfere in the

Harare residents need to wake up and challenge Chombo's attempts to subvert
their clearly-expressed will. Democracy is being openly abused. If city
residents are not happy with Mudzuri it is for them to say so, not a
discredited government which has presided over the erosion of basic
infrastructure, collapse of services and shortages of virtually all basic
food commodities. Where is Zanu PF and government's own national economic
recovery plan? They don't seem to have one. In the meantime Chombo should be
told in unambiguous terms: Get your dirty hands off Harare.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Economic chickens coming home to roost
IN 1997, undoubtedly because of a fear of such a great loss of voter support
that even intimidation and electoral gyrations could not contain, government
embarked upon a programme of land acquisition, redistribution and
resettlement, of currying favour with war veterans, and of intensified state
regulation and control of the economy. It sought to window-dress that which
it was doing as being solely in order to benefit and empower economically
Zimbabwe's masses and right past wrongs. In practice, the reverse was the
case. It has become more and more evident, over the passage of time, that in
fact the only genuine motivation was to enhance its own power and entrench
its rulership.

The consequences of the ill-considered, self-centred, destructive policies
that have been introduced over the last five years have been to reduce
almost all Zimbabweans to the threshold of starvation, to render
increasingly inoperable much of the Zimbabwean infrastructure, to make the
Zimbabwean economy one of the worst in the world, to denude Zimbabwe of many
of its skilled professionals, technicians and others essential for a virile
economy and a healthy populace, and to alienate almost all of Zimbabwe's
genuine friends.

In pursuing this destructive path, government has rejected or ignored all
advice which was at variance with its determinations. Its attitude was very
simply one of: "Agree with us and we welcome your advice; disagree with us
and not only will we not heed you, but we will strive to revile and
denigrate you." To make sure that it received only that advice that it
wished for, it cultivated puppets who would, with great resonance in the
media and public fora, promote the merits (alleged but mythical) of the
state's policies, and used its Minister of Fiction, Fable and Myth to
disseminate distorted and misrepresentative facts and to vilify any,
including the independent press, who dared to state any facts or express any
opinions which were at variance with those enunciated by the state.

As a concurrent strategy, whensoever it was evident that government's
policies and actions were not attaining the declared objectives, it would
unhesitatingly attribute fault and blame to others in order to divert
attention from its own complicity in reducing almost all Zimbabweans to
near-penury. Foremost targets for government's self-defensive accusations of
others were many of the international community, and especially the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Britain, white commercial farmers,
white industrialists, white retailers and the political opposition. Led by
the president himself, the greatest vitriol was directed at the white
minority in contemptuous disregard for constitutional provisions against
racism. The only occasion for favourable comment upon any white was when
that white had died!

Steadily, from late 1997 onwards, the economy declined to ever more lows.
The mainstay of the economy for a century was agriculture, and it was
brought to its knees. A viable land reform programme was long overdue. There
was a great need for one which would ensure that the prolonged barriers
against indigenous land ownership be permanently removed, and that many be
enabled to become successful farmers. But what was needed was a programme
that was just, constructive, facilitative of those with requisite skills and
resources, or access to them, founded upon tenure, and which would result in
growth of the agricultural sector, instead of its near demise.

Within two months of embarking upon the heavy-handed, inequitable,
racially-based land programme, with its concomitant prejudice to the economy
as a whole, government allowed itself to be virtually blackmailed into
lumpsum payments and continued pensions to war veterans (real and pseudo)
far beyond the means of the exchequer, thereby accelerating economic

With each further economic downward slide, government increased its blame of
others, and concurrently resorted to treating the symptoms of the ailing
economy, instead of the underlying causes. Thus, progressively it resisted
currency devaluation despite the need therefore to restore viability to
exporters and thereby generate much needed foreign exchange. It intensified
exchange controls, chasing away potential investors, and usually achieving
the reverse of the objectives of those controls. (A prime example is the
recent forced closure of bureaux de change which, instead of yielding the
projected increased availability of foreign exchange, has substantially
reduced it.) Government imposed draconian price controls and price freezes,
the stated intent being to contain inflation. Instead, inflation has soared
to an all-time high of 175,5% and essential commodities are in short supply
and usually only available on the black market.

But there is a limit to the length of time that a population can be
hoodwinked. Eventually even the most voluble propaganda, protestations of
non-culpability, promises of a future Utopia and the like cease to delude
people and keep them quiescent. It was Abraham Lincoln who said: "You can
fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time,
but you cannot fool all the people all of the time." Unfortunately, when it
comes to Zimbabwean economic issues, government clearly believes otherwise.

This has rarely been so blatantly evident as over the last month in relation
to the immense shortages of fuel which has brought the economy to a near
standstill. First, President Mugabe said that he could not understand why
there was a fuel crisis as he had personally negotiated a contract for a
year's supply with his dear friend, Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. Then he
suggested that the onus was upon multinational petroleum companies to
source, with their own funding, Zimbabwe's fuel requirements. For decades
that is exactly what they wanted to do, but were not allowed to. Now they
were graciously being given consent, when they could no longer source
foreign exchange within Zimbabwe to repay that provided by their holding
companies, and even if they were fortunate enough to operate at a profit,
they would also be unable to remit that profit.

Then the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Amos Midzi, said that the
scarcity of fuel was due to the incompetence of Noczim, alleging that Noczim
had tried to set up supply deals alternative to those already negotiated,
and had been unsuccessful. Then the minister changed his position. Lack of
fuel was due to a Noczim-created breakdown in talks with Libya. A little
later the theme changed again, and the interruption in fuel supplies was
stated to be because Libya now required payment in hard currency as its
treasure chest of Zimbabwe dollars was overflowing, for it had not been
given all the promised opportunities of investment that had previously been
dangled before it.

Finally, on the last day of 2002, the minister faced reality, acknowledging
that the insufficiency of fuel was due to lack of foreign exchange. His
honest, if belated, recognition and admission of fact went further when he
said: "The problem of foreign currency will continue to be with us for
sometime to come, until the economy improves," thereby implicitly also
admitting that for the foreseeable future the fuel shortages will be the
norm of Zimbabwean life. There is no sign of any improvement in the economy.
The economy must unavoidably continue into ever greater deterioration until
government is prepared to "bite the bullet", accept that its economic
policies have failed, and that others (proven elsewhere to be successful) be

Government's chickens are fast coming home to roost. The tens of thousands
of Zimbabweans who "celebrated" Christmas and New Year in endless queues are
no longer prepared to be hoodwinked. Neither are the millions, especially in
the rural areas, who are starving.

Those faced with imminent unemployment, and all experiencing
inflation-driven lowering of living standards and declining wellbeing are
similarly no longer receptive to propaganda and deception. Eventually, "the
truth will out", and that is fast materialising in Zimbabwe, after years to
the contrary.
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Zim Independent - Editor's Memo

Get a grip Amani

I HAVE been reading with interest reports from Kenya on the political
changes taking place there. President Mwai Kibaki's inauguration speech was
particularly illuminating for people in this part of Africa and I quote a
segment below for those who have not seen what he said.

"We want to bring back the culture of due process, accountability and
transparency in public office. The era of 'anything goes' is now gone
forever. Government will no longer be run on the whims of individuals. The
era of roadside policy declarations is gone.

My government's decisions will be guided by teamwork and consultations. The
authority of parliament and the independence of the judiciary will be
restored and enhanced as part of the democratic process and culture that we
have undertaken to bring and to foster.

"I am inheriting a country which has been badly ravaged by years of misrule
and ineptitude. There has been a wide disconnection between the people and
government, between people's aspirations and the government's attitude
toward them. I believe that government exists to serve the people and not
the people to serve the government. I believe that government exists to
chart a common path and create an enabling environment for its citizens and
residents to fulfil themselves in life.

Government is not supposed to be a burden on the people, it is not supposed
to intrude on every aspect of life. It is not supposed to mount roadblocks
in every direction we turn to in life. The true purpose of government is to
make laws and policies for the general good of the people, maintain law and
order, provide social services that can enhance the quality of life, defend
the country against internal and external aggression and generally ensure
that peace and stability prevail.

"These will be the aims and objectives of the government under my
leadership. It will adhere to the principles and practice of the rule of law
in a modern society. Corruption will now cease to be a way of life in Kenya
and I am calling upon all of you to come out and fight corruption and agree
to support the government in fighting corruption as our first priority."

Several things stand out in Kibaki's speech: The fight against corruption,
adherence to the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, and an enabling
environment for business..

These aims run directly counter to the lawless and archaic policies being
applied in Zimbabwe where government interferes with disastrous results in
all facets of national life. Every principle of a modern society has been
overturned as the political dinosaurs dig into their bunkers. While the
government's propaganda machine has been working overtime to demonstrate
that Kenya's new rulers are no different from the old, Kibaki's speech
indicates a dramatic break with the political culture of the past.

The 16th amendment to our constitution provided specifically for an
anti-corruption commission. Why President Mugabe's government has made no
move to set it up can only be guessed at. Corruption has become endemic in
recent years. And the shortages spawned by Zanu PF's economically illiterate
policies have given the disease a major boost in the national system. At
least in Kenya there is a political commitment to tackle it. We don't even
have that.

Meanwhile, our business leaders are naively attempting to get the president
and his ministers to see how disastrous their policies - particularly price
controls - are for business. I don't see much hope for those talks. The CZI
doesn't seem to understand that Mugabe has set his face against reform of
any sort, including economic.

There will be no respite in the president's private war against the world.
Business, unless in the hands of a favoured few, is seen as the enemy -
along with civil society, the independent press, much of the judiciary
(despite sustained interference in that quarter), and most of the outside

The solidarity that Mugabe detected in the Africa/Asia region is now proving
less solid. We reported recently that the much-touted Malaysian commodity
deal had fallen through. Botswana, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal have
never been part of Mugabe's orbit. The DRC has been drifting. Now Kenya,
with East Africa's largest economy, has been won by a party committed to
constitutional reforms which will lessen the powers of the presidency and
enshrine civil rights. In addition Kibaki heads a government that has made a
commitment to restructuring of the sort Zimbabwe has spurned. It remains to
be seen whether election pledges become realities. But a start has been

One of the factors aiding the victory of Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition
was a robust civil society. Zimbabwe's civil society has taken a hammering
over the past year. All sorts of bogus NGOs have appeared under Zanu PF's
tutelage while authentic ones have been systematically subverted.

One of the worst examples of state repression has been the treatment of
Amani Trust, set up to provide assistance to the victims of torture and
other human rights abuses. Most of its staff are professionals in the field
of trauma treatment and psychology.

First the government media propagated the lie that Amani provided refuge to
"MDC marauders". Then it threatened it with deregistration under the terms
of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act. Instead of standing up to this
bullying and asserting its rights in law, Amani threw in the towel. It
succumbed not to pressure but to the threat of pressure.

Its director, Tony Reeler, relocated to South Africa on the pretext of
setting up a regional organisation there. The medical director, Frances
Lovemore, was left to face the music here, including fall-out from British
press reports.

This is a job she has done remarkably well in the circumstances. But it was
a mistake by the Amani board to close down their offices and hide. The trust
needs to be active documenting human rights abuses and making authoritative
statements on the deteriorating situation.

Organisations that play a leading role in civil society need to show that
they are prepared to resist threats. If they become the victims of Zanu PF's
hoodlums - including the ministerial variety - they must be seen to be
standing their ground.

The board meets today. It must decide to exercise its authority and not act
as an instrument of an expatriate director. If he wants to be taken
seriously Tony Reeler should get back to Harare immediately and carry out
the mandate which he was appointed to fulfil. He should be at the head of
his organisation, providing an example of leadership and resolve to others
who do not have the option of a more comfortable life down south when the
heat is on here. Amani - board and directors - need to get a grip. This is
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Independent (UK)

Mr Mugabe has won this game of propaganda
10 January 2003

Sport matters. We saw that in the campaign against sporting links with
apartheid South Africa - part of the pressure that was brought to bear
successfully on the regime.

The decision about whether England should play its cricket World Cup match
in Zimbabwe next month is not, therefore, a trivial one. A refusal to travel
there would not bring down Robert Mugabe, but it would probably have as much
effect on world opinion as last year's suspension of Zimbabwe from the

The England team should not go. If the International Cricket Council will
not move the match to South Africa, the team should forfeit the game. That
would be a sacrifice worth making. It would be wrong to impose economic
sanctions on Mr Mugabe's shattered country, but cultural and diplomatic
isolation of his discredited regime might help to weaken his hold.

It was possible for the Government to have a view on this question in July
last year, when the tournament was planned. Yet ministers from Tony Blair
down spent six months saying it was a matter for the team and the cricketing
authorities to decide. It was only just before Christmas that Mike O'Brien,
the Foreign Office minister, said that he thought the team should not go.

The Prime Minister this week pretended this had been the policy all along.
"We have made it quite clear to the cricket authorities that we believe that
it is wrong that they should go, and I hope that they take account of that
advice." It may be rather late to offer this advice, but it is now up to the
team and the England and Wales Cricket Board to decide whether or not to act
upon it.

The Prime Minister's feeble dithering has handed a propaganda victory to Mr
Mugabe before even a ball is bowled. But now it is time to move beyond the
bickering about side issues of compensation and who said what when.

Nasser Hussain, the captain, said last weekend it was unfair to expect him
to decide. He effectively asked the Government decide for him. It may have
been late, and hedged about with weasel words, but Mr Blair has now obliged.
The cricket authorities should now take the advice they have been offered,
and tell their team not to go.
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Batting for Mugabe
(Filed: 10/01/2003)

It is now all but certain that England's cricketers will go to Zimbabwe to
play in the World Cup, despite pressure from the Government to boycott the
Mugabe regime. Many will sympathise with the England and Wales Cricket
Board, which was yesterday told by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, that
there was no question of compensation for the costs of cancellation,
including a £1 million fine.

Mrs Jowell claims that the ECB was warned last July, but no minister met the
ECB until yesterday. The truth is that Tony Blair showed no interest in the
tour until after Christmas, by which time press and Opposition protests had
made it impossible to ignore.

When the ECB meets next week, however, it should reconsider its decision.
The evidence is overwhelming that Robert Mugabe and his henchmen are not
only dismantling the last vestiges of democracy, but are also depriving
anybody who is not a Zanu-PF supporter of food and sustenance.

To hand Mr Mugabe the propaganda coup of participation in a major sporting
event in Zimbabwe would be disastrous. Cricket-lovers may well feel let down
by Mr Blair and Mrs Jowell, but they must not lose sight of the harm that
would be done to this country if its team appeared to turn a blind eye to
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Daily Record

BOB SHIELDS Jan 11 2003

This unseemly stand-off over Zimbabwe
is just not cricket

      Bob Shields

THERE'S this very bad man who's in charge of a foreign country. He clings to
power through manipulated elections and intimidating political opposition.

He has deliberately killed many of his own people and has complete authority
over his armed forces, his police, the law courts and the Press.

So, as 1500 British reservists are called up, 20,000 troops are on alert and
a fully armed HMS Ark Royal prepares to sail, we must ask ourselves one big
question - do we play this country at cricket or not?

England's proposed World Cup tie in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe has turned into
a farce. At one point last week, it was suggested the match should go ahead
as long as the England captain didn't have to shake hands with the country's

So, that's the human rights problem sorted then.

There's a rule in cricket that an illegal delivery can be declared a "no
ball" by the umpire. I don't know if anyone is umpiring this current spat
between the batty boys and the Government, but "no balls" would be a fairly
accurate shout.

The Government don't want the game to go ahead, but they don't want to
enforce it. The England And Wales Cricket Board position is that they want
the game to go ahead, but they don't want to be seen to be condoning Mugabe.

And at the root of it all is, of course, money. If England don't play in
Harare, they'll get chucked out of the World Cup and sued for millions by
the sponsors. And the Government won't pick up the tab.

You can understand why the boys in blazers want to go. After three months of
G&Ts in Australia, it's a bit chilly back in Blighty. Another month taking
tiffin in the pavilions of South Africa would be rather jolly, thank you.

And any fear over the player's safety is just a joke. Mugabe will have his
troops everywhere except the batting crease.

But the biggest offender here is the Government. A ban on the match might
cost millions in compensation, but what is the price of self- respect? As
Burns said "when you feel your honour grip, let that aye be your border".
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The Times

            England's players given right to choose on boycott
            From Richard Hobson in Hobart

            THE most senior figure in English cricket has opened the way for
individual players to boycott the World Cup match in Harare next month.
David Morgan, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, said that
the board "would be sympathetic" to anybody who does not want to go to
Zimbabwe on moral grounds in protest against the regime of President Robert
            It followed a hint from Malcolm Gray, the president of the
International Cricket Council (ICC), that players wanting to withdraw could
be replaced in the squad for that one game. Asked whether they should be
entitled to pull out without facing sanctions, Gray said: "That is a matter
between him and the employer board, but it seems more than reasonable for a
player to have his own individual rights."

            However, Richard Bevan, the Professional Cricketers' Association
managing director, predicted that the matter could be taken out of the hands
of the squad, with food riots in the capital city likely to force the ICC to
reconsider its view that the safety and security of players will not be

            Bevan, who was part of the ECB delegation to meet Government
ministers on Thursday, last night e-mailed Nasser Hussain, the captain, and
the rest of the England players in Australia for the VB Series to confirm an
ECB instruction that there will be "no photo calls or ceremony or
hand-shaking" with Mugabe or his colleagues.

            Hussain had already said at a press conference in Hobart that he
intends to tell his players to "look at what they think about Zimbabwe, read
all of the information in the newspapers and try to get as much information
as they can on board". He added: "If any of them have a problem, they can
chat to the ECB or me about it."

            So far, none of the players has intimated that he might withdraw
and Bevan said: "I honestly do not think you will find any England player,
or any player from another country, taking that option. Because the ECB know
that, it is quite easy for them to say they would be sympathetic. If a
player did have strong views, then the ECB would be crazy not to say 'fine -
if you don't feel comfortable then don't play'."

            The game, on February 13, is one of six allocated to Zimbabwe.
Contingency plans have long been in place to move it to a ground in South
Africa already being used for the tournament, possibly Port Elizabeth. Gray
said that the competition organisers would need "several days at least" to
be able to switch to an alternative venue.

            Morgan met Gray and Bob Merriman, the chairman of the Australian
Cricket Board (ACB), in Hobart yesterday to discuss the situation. A
campaign for Australia to pull out of their fixture against Zimbabwe in
Bulawayo on February 24 appears to have died down. John Howard, the Prime
Minister, has called for a boycott of all the countries due to play in
Zimbabwe - the others are India, Pakistan, Namibia and Holland - rather than
action from one or two.

            The alliances within cricket's murky political corridors mean
that India and Pakistan will not heed such a call. Morgan has twice spoken
to Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the ECB, since the meeting with the
Government and, while he intends to stay in Australia until the end of the
one-day matches, he will help Lamb and Mike Soper, the vice-chairman of the
ECB, to draw up a report to the board's management group at Lord's on
Tuesday. A decision on whether to withdraw is likely to be made at that

            Morgan presented an apocalyptic vision of the consequences of
England's failing to play in Harare. "There would be a major divide between
the major Test-playing countries if England and Australia, or England alone,
refused to go to Zimbabwe," he said. "It could bring about the long-feared
split (broadly between white and non-white countries) in this one decision,
and one decision alone. From what I have learnt from the former chairman of
the board (Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth), I certainly think it would have an
ongoing and long-term damaging effect."

            Questioned on what those effects might be, Morgan said: "I will
leave that to your imagination." But he did respond to a suggestion that
England might struggle to find opponents by saying: "That could be one
effect, yes."

            Some may think Morgan is being unduly alarmist. While India is
by far the largest worldwide player in terms of television revenue, the
Asian bloc cannot underestimate the attraction of England as opposition.
Pakistan, desperate for income while opponents refuse to tour because of
safety fears, would be tempted by the offer of a short series in England if
Zimbabwe withdraw next summer in retaliation for England's refusal to go to

            The ICC has long held that political factors will not be
considered in its own decision-making process and it passed Zimbabwe safe to
hold the matches after studying the report from a delegation, including
Lamb, which recently visited Harare and Bulawayo. However, a Foreign Office
spokesman said yesterday that "the general situation in Zimbabwe, including
the humanitarian situation, is likely to deteriorate in the coming weeks".

            Bevan, who believes that the Government should have given an
earlier and more decisive lead, said that he now rates the prospects for the
game going ahead in Harare at 60 per cent, rather than 99 per cent before
the meeting with ministers two days ago. "I expect the ICC will have to
revisit the safety issue next week," he said.
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The Times


                        January 11, 2003

                        Protesters fear World Cup riots in Zimbabwe
                        By John Goodbody

                        THE leading Zimbabwean multiracial protest
organisation yesterday condemned plans to stage six cricket World Cup
matches in the country and said that the inspection report on safety and
security was seriously flawed.
                        The Organised Resistance Group (ORG), which includes
many leading opposition politicians, gave warning that it was "highly likely
that political pressure groups will take full advantage of the perceived
protection of the press during the World Cup and use the event to highlight
the human rights issue in Zimbabwe". It said that "there is mounting local
and international consensus regarding the fact that internal rioting will
take place during the World Cup".

                        In its report, published last month, the
International Cricket Council (ICC) said it was satisfied with the safety
and security procedures for the tournament. However, in a letter to Jack
Straw, the Foreign Secretary, the ORG said that the ICC had failed to spend
enough time in the country or speak to a "broad cross- section" of

                        The Executive Mayor of Harare, for instance, was not
consulted, the ORG said, pointing out that he was a well-known opposition
supporter and therefore "highly likely to offer an alternative view of the
security situation in Zimbabwe".

                        On the other hand, the ICC had received assurances
on security from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Army, the very
organisations carrying out beatings and harassment.

                        It added that the Presidential Guards had killed at
least three unarmed, innocent people who had inadvertently used roads
outside President Robert Mugabe's residence during night curfew. "These
heavily armed guards operate within 200 metres of where the wickets will be
during the World Cup matches in Harare," the ORG said.

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ECB give go-ahead for Zimbabwe trip
By Nick Hoult  (Filed: 11/01/2003)

David Morgan, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has
confirmed that England will fulfil their World Cup commitment in Zimbabwe,
fearing a split in the world game if they were to pull out of next month's

Morgan, who succeeded Lord MacLaurin on New Year's Day, has warned of the
dire consequences to England's relations with other cricketing nations if
they acceded to demands to boycott their opening World Cup fixture in Harare
on Feb 13.

The ECB are fearful that pulling out would lead to a divide in the world
game which could shift the power base to the subcontinent.

India are unlikely to pull out of their match in Harare on Feb 19 and the
ECB are worried that Jagmohan Dalmiya, the president of the Indian cricket
board, would use a boycott by England as a weapon in future power struggles
within the International Cricket Council. England could be isolated, thus
eroding the ECB's influence in the world game.

Morgan said: "Subject to deliberations of the management committee next week
and there being no worsening of safety and security, it's my opinion that we
must keep our commitments to cricket and the World Cup.

"It's part of the ECB responsibility to consider the health of cricket
worldwide. If England fail to make it to Zimbabwe we would do a great deal
of harm to the unity of cricket. England alone would be damaging the family
of cricket. Two World Cup points are insignificant compared to that damage.
There would be a major divide between many Test-playing countries if England
did not play and it could bring about the split we have feared for a long

The ECB met Government ministers on Thursday and were told they would not be
compensated for pulling out of the match. Tim Lamb, the chief executive of
the ECB, is compiling a dossier as a result of the meeting and Morgan will
be involved in drafting the board's response.

"I've had lengthy consultations with Tim Lamb and I think we're of like
mind," Morgan said. "There's no intention to provide succour for the Robert
Mugabe regime and to make sure that doesn't happen we will be having
discussions with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. I don't think we can guarantee
the safety and security of supporters. Zimbabwe is clearly suffering
problems many of us aren't happy about."

The ICC made representations yesterday to the World Cup organisers to ensure
the tournament was not used as a political tool by any of the host

The ICC are sending a delegation to Nairobi to inspect security arrangements
following terrorist attacks in Kenya six weeks ago. Two games, both
involving Kenya, are to be played at Nairobi's Gymkhana Club - against New
Zealand on Feb 21 and Sri Lanka on Feb 24.
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Zim Independent, 10 January 2003


Cricket debate reveals hypocrisy

THE current debate about the ICC World Cup being played in Zimbabwe
has brought me to some interesting observations.

The greatest of these observations is the hypocrisy displayed by those
within and without Zimbabwe. I am referring to the British, Australian
and New Zealand governments; groups such as Zim-Activism, et al, the
MDC, members of the press and ordinary Zimbabweans.

Why are these groups hypocrites? Well, it's simple really. Cricket has
been elevated to a superior sport. Events and tournaments sanctioned
by the ITF, Fifa, Cosafa, the IRB, the ICC, et al have taken place in
Zimbabwe over the last 12 months.

We have had Rugby World Cup qualifiers, Soccer World Cup qualifiers,
Cosafa Cup, Davis Cup tennis, and Fifa youths tournaments to name a

Not once in these past 12 months have we heard a squeak from all these
so-called parties that have Zimbabwe's interest at heart.

The only time I can recall was the gutless withdrawal by the
Australian cricket team of a tour to Zimbabwe.

So why now, why all the brouhaha and exhortations from various
constituencies? Is cricket the world's most popular game? I think not.
Has a lot changed in Zimbabwe? I think not. So what can it be?

Dare I say it; the game of cricket involves England and Australia, two
parties who have been at the forefront of Zimbabwe's ostracisation in
the international world.

The decision to have Zimbabwe host these games was taken a long time
ago. The campaign against Zimbabwe was only taken up over the last
couple of months.

It seems there are people who want Zimbabwe to be embarrassed with a
last-minute withdrawal of the games. Or some parties are looking for a
cause celebre to highlight their own profiles.

Furthermore, let us not forget the hypocrisy of these countries that
continue to have missions here and continue to actively trade with
Zimbabwe. We have been told that sports and politics are inextricably
linked, what more business and sports?

With luck, there will be no last- minute cancellation of the World Cup
and those of us who want to watch the World Cup at home will be able
to watch it at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo and Harare Sports Club.

To the hypocrites, please get off your high horses and allow our
economy to benefit briefly from the injection of much-needed forex,
increased hotel occupancies, increased food and alcohol consumption,

See you at the games.

Rufaro J Zindoga, Chisipite.

Human rights abuses are just as unacceptable in Zim

THERE is an element of serious hypocrisy in the debate on whether or
not World Cup Cricket matches should be played in Zimbabwe on the
basis that the topics of politics and sport should not be mixed.

The moral issue is simple - World Cup Cricket matches should not be
played in Zimbabwe while there are human rights abuses and bad

South Africa was ostracised in the 1970s and for international
sporting relations were banned. That was very much a case of using
sport to influence politics.

Why is the situation in Zimbabwe any different? South Africa was not
allowed to play international sport because of the human rights abuses
caused by apartheid policies. The people of Zimbabwe are being
subjected to human rights abuses by their government's policies.

Are human rights abuses any different when people of one colour abuse
people of another colour to when people of the same colour abuse each
other's human rights?

Why are the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe any less important than
those that occurred in South Africa under apartheid? At least South
Africa under apartheid never starved its people. Surely starving your
political opposition is far worse a crime against humanity?

The world ignored the plight of the Jews before and during the Second
World War. More recently, the world has ignored human rights abuses in
Africa. So six million people dying of starvation in Zimbabwe can be
ignored just as happily?

There is something wrong when people can play a game of cricket while
ignoring that they are doing this amid six million starving people and
amid human rights abuses while the players are fed sumptuous meals
that will each cost more than many people in Zimbabwe earn each month.
Each meal may well be more than what many people eat each month.

There is a basic lack of understanding by people that Mugabe will see
World Cup Cricket played in Zimbabwe as a victory and an endorsement
that his policies, which have led to the starvation of six million,
are being accepted by the world as right and just, rather than abuse
of human rights.

This is not a discussion about 4 500 white farmers losing their land,
but about a government that is willing to see its people die from
starvation because of its political viewpoint.

It is about a government that no longer applies the rule of law
according to the constitution. It is about a government that
suppresses freedom of speech and the rights of its people.

Mugabe embodies everything that people have fought against over many
years around the worldas they protect freedom and human rights. To
allow World Cup Cricket matches to be played in Zimbabwe is just not

Learnmore Ndlovu, Harare.

Why is Mugabe still patron of ZCU?

HOW dare Peter Chingoka, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU), say that the ZCU has a right to get a return on their
investment of $400 million for the World Cup Cricket?

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have lost everything, including
their lives, as a result of the murderous policies of the ZCU patron,
Robert Mugabe. No returns on their investments in Zimbabwe!

Please tell us, loud and clear, Mr Chingoka, why Mugabe was ever
proposed as patron of Zimbabwean cricket? By electing him, you chose
to mix sport with politics. We need to know why?

The many sponsors of the ZCU must have been aware that Mugabe has been
re-elected annually since 1996. If their sponsorship continued,
presumably they support his patronage. How refreshing it would have
been to hear that they had quietly withdrawn their sponsorship in
peaceful but meaningful protest at the ZCU's action.

Zimbabweans need democracy, food and jobs, not runs, wickets and
possible glory for a couple of days for a handful of players and
followers of a game which, for years, has stood for all that is fair
in sport.

The following is an extract from the ZCU chairman's annual report
dated July 17, 2002:

"I do not believe that negative values such as selfishness, racism,
tribalism and ethnicism should be allowed to exist in our sport. It is
therefore incumbent on us to ensure that those negative values do not
have a place in our society."

At the AGM of the ZCU, held on July 27, 2002: "The president (Mr
Chingoka) proposed that the head of state should continue as patron of
cricket in Zimbabwe. With no objections to this proposal, the head of
state was unanimously elected. Proposed by M Ebrahim and A Esat."

Howzat for hypocrisy?


Ban England team

I DON'T understand why we are welcoming international cricketteams
into the country next month when the Sunday Telegraph in Britain
reported that Britishministers will tell the Englandteam they can come
to Zimbabwe but must not shake President Robert Mugabe's hand.

What sort of respect is this to show to the leader of a host country?
How can we tolerate it?

It is obvious that these teamswill come with their securityand their
journalists and justtake advantage of Zimbabwe'shospitality but, in
the meantime, they will continue to report their lies.

Really, when teams want to come but not be civil to the President, how
can we let that happen? I advocate for a banning of these cricket

If you want to join me to make this happen please email freddy

Freddy Jaravaza, Glen View.

Bowl Mugabe out of World Cup Cricket

DAVID Coltart's article on the World Cup makes some telling points:
("The Dilemma of a Cricket Boycott", Zimbabwe Independent, January 3).

Unfortunately, his belief that a "white" boycott would be a victory
for Mugabe is flawed, as is his advice to the International Cricket
Council (ICC). We know, and Mugabe himself knows that the struggle in
Zimbabwe is not about race, but about his brutal grip on power.

If Mugabe proclaimed that a boycott by "white" cricket playing nations
was proof of racism, his ranting would be roundly dismissed by any
sane person with the contempt it deserves. Even those countries -
South Africa and Namibia in particular - that have already chosen to
turn a blind eye to Mugabe's tyranny will want to distance themselves
from his racist diatribe.

On the other hand, a boycott by any cricketing nation - be it white,
brown or black - will send a powerful, principled and unequivocal
message to Mugabe and the world that they deplore his despotism.

The main difficulty with Coltart's "all in" or "all out" proposal is
that there is little, if any chance of South Africa and Namibia
allowing Zimbabwe to be dropped from co-hosting the World Cup. His
argument therefore leads to the unacceptable conclusion that no nation
should boycott matches scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe. Even more
regrettably, Australian Prime Minister John Howard seems to have taken
up this argument.

Having failed to convince South Africa and Nigeria to impose stronger
Commonwealth sanctions against Zimbabwe, he still seems to believe
that he can persuade Commonwealth cricketing nations - some of whom
have embraced Mugabe and his party - not to play in Zimbabwe. Is this
delusional, or am I missing something?

Coltart, having correctly pointed out that the ICC made the mistake of
believing that sport could be separated from politics, then calls on
the ICC to do just that - separate sport and politics by seeking
assurances that Mugabe will not make political capital out of hosting
the matches.

Surely, in the first instance, Coltart must know that assurances given
by Mugabe are absolutely worthless. Second, "political" gestures such
as preventing Mugabe opening matches or being introduced to cricket
players completely miss the point Coltart himself makes, namely that
the Mugabe regime would still be co-hosting the World Cup in order to
present a facade of normality to the rest of the world. Coltart only
rescues the idea of a boycott by insisting that the Zimbabwe
government must give the ICC an undertaking that journalists will have
unfettered access to the entire country. Without such an undertaking -
which the Zimbabwe government cannot and will not give - Coltart says
the ICC must move Zimbabwe's matches to South Africa.

Fine. But Coltart, as a senior member of the MDC, could have been more
unequivocal. There may be arguments why the matches should go ahead,
but they are hardly "compelling". There is no dilemma regarding a
cricket boycott: Mugabe must be stopped from using an international
sporting event to sanitise and flaunt his dictatorship as Hitler did
in 1936 in order to disguise the horrifying reality that is Zimbabwe

The disappointments that cricket-lovers have to endure in order to
isolate a grotesque regime will be amply recompensed when Zimbabwe is
once again free - when politics no longer spoils sport.

Dale Doré, Harare

Editor's Memo

Friday, 10 January 2003

Cricket will bring in much needed forex

Dear Editor, It is somewhat startling to learn that the United Kingdom
government and the MDC among others in Zimbabwe, believe that Mugabe
will use the upcoming World Cup Cricket tournament to legitimise his
rule over Zimbabwe. Hence their boycott.

To the opposition, I ask, does this not amount to economic sabotage to
an economy that is imploding? Does the country not require, and will
it not benefit from the consequential foreign currency inflows,
however meagre?

Do people not realise that Rhodesians under sanctions after UDI came
together and engaged in sanctions busting for the "economic good" of
their country? Has England ever shied away from playing in Pakistan, a
country in which Musharaf is a dictator? It is such simplistic
politicking by the opposition that puts it in the same camp as that of
Jonathan Moyo and Zanu PF.

Most of the time, they all use such disturbingly infantile rhetoric
when what is needed is a realistic alternative to Zanu PF and ideas
that reflect the primacy of the welfare of Zimbabweans. Mugabe is not
Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe is not Mugabe. When will we learn to separate
the two?

Let us not participate in the destruction of our economy just to get
rid of Mugabe. Poverty will merely entrench his hegemony over the

Cricket should go on, and let the world see how resolute we are even
under the utmost oppression.


Zimbabwe Independent:
      News Editor
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Good evening, Shane has asked me to forward his latest epistle as his computer is not operational. This is an un-abridged version and from a brief observation you will note the initial serious tone soon reverts to the well known character of his reports.
Enough is Enough
It is essential that the true nature of the situation is passed to all concerned parties including those who wish to visit our country for sporting purposes. Is our situation any different to that of apartheid? A simple question - Can you the ICC support this kind of regime and pretend indifference.  And once you have played,  will you be happy to have participted in a country devoid of basic human rights, democracy and the rule of law.   The following account is just one instance of the oppression being experienced in Zimbabwe.
Would Journalists please note that Shane Kidd has indicated that whilst stated facts may be used, should anyone wish to run the full story to please contact him direct.Or in this instance myself
Mike lander
6 January 2003

At about 10am the MDC Chairman David Munnegu was having a meeting with his staff in the MDC office also present was Mrs Matengabadza Chair woman of Chikakwa ward, and Mrs Tiengange, Pardon, Tia, Chomonorwa, Myotcha and Lovemore Mbiri. Warvets lead by Seda (about 34 off them) stormed into the office through the back door and demanded to search the office they were brandishing sticks iron bars and panga’s, David asked who they were and they identified themselves as war vets and ZANU (PF) youths. They were waving banners with MDC IS BANNED FROM CHIMANIMANI. THIS IS WARVET BUSINESS. POLICE STAY AWAY. David left the building to go and phone Inspector Chagugudza, Chimanimani ZRP. Inspector Chagugudza informed him that he would come just now. Which in Chimanimani is police slang for NEVER.

The Warvets then seized the MDC files and started to burn and destroy them as well as turning over and damaging fridge’s causing damage worth $2.500.000. They then went outside the building and started to attack the walls, chipping away the plaster to remove the MDC signs and scrawling ZANU (PF) signs on the walls with the embers of the fire.

Birgit was informed of the incident at about 10.15 am and immediately called me. I phoned the police at 10.20am to report the attack and then we left for the MDC office. The report was for official reasons only. In Chimanimani the police are pathetic beyond belief, a total waste of oxygen and held under the sway of Mawle and Chagugudza, both ZANU (PF) appointees. In Chimanimani you can’t expect the police to protect your constitutional rights.  Arriving at the MDC office we found Kumbirai in the midst of a large group of warvet’s shouting the odds so we got out to join the fray

When I demanded to know why they had defaced the office, the warvets told me that the property did not belong to me. That it belonged to the government they then started to threaten Birgit and me. Working on the principle attack is they best form of defense, the three of us got into their faces shouting insults and daring them attack us and insulting them with the numerous adjectives that come to mind in tenses situations. Birgit took pictures with her camera, one war vet tried to threaten Birgit because she was taking pictures of them, telling her that he would beat her with his stick, so she took the stick away from him, then she got in his face and responded with “come try it and see what happens” he backed down with his tail between his legs, much to the delight of the appreciative audience who had now gathered. Included in the audience where Sgt. Zulu Constable Gondo and Makamba ZRP, and Toaenezwa from PISI (ZRP) all trying desperately not to be seen, as I said earlier they’re a complete waste of oxygen. When Birgit got into the car with the camera one of them reached through the window grabbed it and threw it on the ground destroying it. I caught him and slapped him around a few times before he escaped. Eventually the laughter of the crowd sent the whole group scurrying across the village green to perch in the shade of one of the large trees. They obviously didn’t think that odds of 34 to 3 were sufficiently in their favor.

The 3 of us then left for the police station to report the incident and get a docket number. At the ZRP we were taken through to see Assistant Inspector Mupfurirwa, I know who he is from my previous run ins, but when I officially asked him to identify himself he refused but eventually gave in and did so, what’s he scared of.  We then laid charges of MIP (miscellaneous injury to) against the following; Thomas Bhajikiti, Bertha Sithole, Muchacha, Mavunduse Chipoko, Perkins, Sedar, Shadrick Chinya and Wellum Chipembere of Charter Estate. 

Mupfurirwa reluctantly took the statement but refused to put the names of the accused on the charge sheet. The docket number is 36 and the report forms looked official although there was no duplicate and the whole thing was in a very unofficial looking loose leaf blue folder. I suppose that easier to remove forms from it at a later date for destruction. I tried to insist that they all be charged under POSA  (Public Order and Security Act) believe me I’ve been charged under that enough times to know its in and out of it. But off course one would not dream of charging ZANU (PF) warvets under that law, it’s the exclusive domain of MDC.

Mupfurirwa told me that he would take down the accused names when he came down to take our statements so we left. About twenty minutes later Mupfurirwa arrives in the police land rover and parks on the other side of the village square beyond the warvets and there he sits like a retard for another 20 minutes. We eventually go up to him and ask him if he is going to come down and investigate and take statements.  “Yes he says I am coming now” (I always thought you had to have balls to come). Anyway by the time we get back to the office’s he’s jumped in this land rover and hastily departs back to he police station for another conference with Chagugudza.  When I phone him up and ask when he coming back down he tells me. 

“Ah I can do nothing I have inspected the damage from 100meteres and it is all political.”   “Listen if you are afraid of the war vets I’ll offer you protection” is my response.  People have to understand that the police of Chimanimani are such blatant puppets of ZANU (PF) that the only thing they are good for is baiting. Its also doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the whole situation was engineered by Mabunda the head of DISPOL Chipinge, Mwale and Chagugudza.

The rest of the day is spent cleaning up the offices and facing down war vets when they occasionally work up sufficient courage to come down from under the tree and try scrawl ZANU (PF) graffiti on the walls. We leave at about 4.00pm.


Inspector Chagugudza and Mwale Head of CIO have just been down to the office and assaulted 4 MDC members Tia, Pardon Maguta, Lovemore Mbiri, and Kumbirai the police then took them into detention at the police station and they are currently being held without charge.

8.30pm 6th January 2003

At about 4.10pm Mwale (CIO) and Inspector Chagugudza came down to the MDC offices (both were armed), as the guys were locking up there were also some warvets outside. Mwale told Kumbria Chikukwa, who assisted me in the morning, to sit on the floor like a dog. Kumbria refused were upon Mwale viciously attacked him with the butt of his AK47 rifle. They then took Kumbria, 6 MDC members and 6 warvets up to the police camp claiming that they wanted to mediate between the two parties. Mwale and Chagugudza both claim that the MDC office is illegal and this is the cause of friction amongst the warvets.

Birgit and I arrived at the police station at about 5.30pm to find out what was going on. As we arrived all 7 Kumbria included were walking out of the charge office, Kumbria was limping and in a lot of pain he got into the car with Birgit so she could take him to the Clinic I stared to walk out the gate with the other 6. Mwale and Mpofu one of his CIO sidekicks comes out of the police station waving his AK 47 demanding that we stop the car and Kumbria, Birgit and myself go back into the police station. When we entered the charge office Kumbria was told to sit behind the charge desk on the floor, we were then taken through to Chagugudza’s office were he, Mwale and Mpofu are also present. Chagugudza wanted to know why we had come to the police station. We told them we had come to find out what had happened to the MDC people and then asked why Kumbria was now under arrest? Chagugudza claimed that it was for failing to complete a court sentence off community service this is a lie Kumbirai has completed his sentence. Mwale then accused me of trying to interfere in police investigations and causing trouble. I told him that if he had a case he should arrest me, that’s why I came prepared for the cells and dressed in prison cloths. If he was looking for troublemakers, where were the people who attacked the MDC office threatened Birgit and me and stole and smashed her camera? Mwale then looked at me and said he would find and fix troublemakers. When I asked if he was threatening me, he said yes he was. Chagugudza became upset when we refused to bow to their threats and ordered us to leave his office and the police station. Kumbria was still being detained so we went off to sort out lawyers for him tomorrow.

About 8.00pm I got a call from a friend at the police station to tell me that Kumbirai had been released and was in a bad way could we collect him. When we found him at the side of the road out side the police camp he could barely stand. He had been beaten and tortured with rifle butts, chains and sticks by Mwale, Chagugudza, 4 other policemen and 2 soldiers. We’ve taken Kumbirai down to Heaven for the night and we will get him threw the doctor and Mutare tomorrow. So end another pleasant day in the paradise of Chimanimani. Tomorrow we start to repaint the MDC offices with new MDC signs that will really get up their noses.

Tuesday 7th January

So begin another day in a free and progressive Zimbabwean paradise. Update on the current local situation.  I’m down to my last 20km of petrol; there have been no fuel deliveries to the village since the 20th of December. Mealy meal in Ngangu now costs $7000 per bucket (20kgs) the average working man earns $10.000 per month and needs 4 buckets per month to feed the average family.  Of course in you are strategically placed in ZANU (PF) you can buy at the official price of $600 per 20kgs from the Grain Marketing Board and make an absolute killing on the black market exploiting those who have nothing. Isn’t it a joy to see Africans democracy at work?

Shopping is an absolute delight for any man who has ever stood behind a trolley waiting for his better half to decide which brand of shampoo is environmentally friendly and which food product is the healthiest. Your choices are only limited by the absence of goods on the shelves and money in your pocket. On the weather front, the skies are clear and sunny with not a rain cloud to be seen nature benevolently smiles on us as we get set for probably the worst drought in 20 years.

I spent most of today repairing and painting the MDC office and giving the cheerful finger to passing policeman and CIO officers. Chagugudza and Mwale drove past and were most distraught at our progress. Some good news is that another contingent of war vet went down to Roy’s farm to claim land and surprise surprise they were met by an angry contingent of his labor force who unceremoniously chased them off the farm. Fairly successful day managed to repaint the front wall complete with MDC signs and repaired plaster damage to the sidewalls, but that will need a sign writer. I’m okay at doing things like letters but hopeless at emblems. MDC has promised extra security tonight


At about 8.30pm there’s frantic calls from the gate. There are three MDC guards standing outside, telling me that they have been beaten by Mpofu of the CIO, who is armed and has attacked the office with a group of offer CIO officers. They are shit scared and it takes me 10 minutes to get them into the car with me to go down and investigate. When we get there the new signs have been painted over and the plate glass windows in front have all been smashed. They are all too scared to stay there the night so I take them down to Heaven. Allen is doing a roaring trade with all the refugees we are bringing him.

At heaven the full story comes out. First of all they haven’t organized the extra security that they were told too and they leave the back door of the office open and instead of being on guard they are sitting in the back of the office listening to the radio. Mpofu, who is drunk, climbs over the back wall and comes into the office. He tells them that he is armed (but there is no gun in evidence) and that they are not allowed to be there and instructs them to open the back gate and let in his equally drunken accomplice. The 2 drunken CIO officers then start beating the 3 guards. They then escort the guards outside and tell them to paint over the MDC signs that I’ve just completed that day,.  The guards then decide that because they are outside it’s a good opportunity to run away, as they run away, Mpofu and his mate pick up rocks and throw them threw the plate glass windows smashing them to pieces. So guess who has to start again tomorrow.

Wednesday 8th.

Had a thoroughly delightful morning, picked up the 3 guards from Heaven and made them repaint the signs that hey obliterated last night? Then saw Chagugudza at the petrol station who gave me his normal surly look so I went up to him and told him that I would be up an official complaint later. Birgit then spent some time painting her own sign on the wall. MDC OFFICE. NOTHING ILLEGAL REGISTARED PLITICAL PARTY

At about 11am Birgit and I go up to the police station to lay charges against Mpofu and CIO. We are sent through to see Chagugudza who is arrogant and dismissive but we insist on filing charges, so its back to the charge office to do the paper work. He then comes through and says he will arrest all the witnesses and I make a contemptuous comment about him and Zimbabwe justice then ignore him. Birgit continues to talk to him and after about 5minutess we are asked to go back to his office. We then have a fascinating 45 minutes interview. He’s very conciliatory all he wants in Chimanimani, is peace and good will he’s upset by hearing his name used o disparagingly over the international air waves (Radio Short Wave Africa based in London has taken up my diaries and serialized them). All he wants in life is respect and for his children to be proud of him (he’s 25years old and the youngest head off station in Zimbabwe) we get told about the pressures from above that he is working under etc. I tell him that I’m not going to go away and when people push me I push back as hard as I can. I make him understand that I will continue to make trouble for him as long as he makes trouble for me and my friends. I will not back down to him or Mwale or anyone else. We leave the office a positive note and he tells the constable to take a full and accurate report and he will deal with the matter. If any one believes that, I’d like to sell them Nelson’s Column. Any way there is a marked increase in respect for us from the lower ranks.

Analyzing the interview one would think that he had either seen the light or found God, but bear in mind that this was the man who helped Mwale torture Kumbrai for 2 hours for light entertainment on Monday evening. I did leave with 2 distinct impressions.

1)      He’s a worried man with instructions from his superiors to put a lid on Chimanimani. This he’s going to find very difficult to do, for the last year he’s been Mwale’s puppet and now Mwale and him have different objectives. So he’s been held accountable for people he cannot control (CIO and warvets) and Mwale’s on his own mission to make himself king of Chimanimani. There’s been a marked increase in tension country wide since Xmas as the fuel and food shortages take there toll on people, food riots are occurring more frequently and there’s a lovely story of Mugabe in Harare last week. There was a huge fuel queue down Samora Mechele Av. when Bob and the wailers went by and people from 500 cars all got out and booed and gave him the finger. On the farm there has still been no reaction to the workers chasing off the war vets last year the police and army would have been there the same day. Last year we were a country with hypothetically 50 flash points, so the government had sufficient resources to mobilize the police CIO and army to quell disturbances. This year there’s a 1000 flash points insufficient manpower and no fuel. Somebody up there is worried and his minions are scared.

2)      Chagugudza is getting the feeling that I’m more trouble than I am worth. Every times he’s dealt with me in his official capacity he’s come off second best. Yes I’ve been to jail, but he’s the one who’s been made to look like a fool in the eyes of the media, that radio station is very popular not to mention Amnesty International, lawyers and other things that have embarrassed him with his superiors. As the trails come up things are going to get even worse. He admitted in front of us in his office that I never assaulted him and that trail is set for the 20th of January. In Zimbabwe appearances are everything and as man who is made to look like a fool is a fool. In the last couple of months I’ve challenged him to arrest me on 3 occasions and he’s turned me down every time. So for the moment I’m safe from official retribution. On the unofficial side who knows?


I’m meant to be painting signs this afternoon on the office walls, but bugger it I’m still pissed of with them so I’m of to play golf.


Thursday 9th

Yet another interesting day in Chimanimani, played a shabby game of golf against Mike and Hennie yesterday and was deservedly beaten, then settled down to get drunk in the evening. At about 7.00pm Doug phones me up at the club and asks if I want a game of bridge, so I leave for his place. At 8.30 I get a call from Queenie at the club. Can I get hold of Birgit and get her to do her phoning /publicity routine. Mike has been ambushed as he left the club and is severely injured. They think there might be more warvets lurking in the bushes outside, they are concerned and need to evacuate Mike who is bleeding profusely to Chipinge for treatment. Phoned Birgit gave her the details and Doug and I left for the club immediately in his Land Cruiser which has a big bull bar, if we are lucky we can drive over some warvets. We arrived just after Charter security who had been called first.


Mike and Queenie decided to call it a night at about 8.10pm. They where in 2 cars, Mike left 1st. Queenie was still in the car park. As Mike drove out of the car park to the road he was confronted by 6 people barring his way and being aggressive. He stopped and tried to reverse to get back to Queenie but the attackers smashed his windows with stones, he tried to get out the car and defend himself and was beaten severely with clubs and stones.  Queenie saw what was happening and shouted for help from the club. People came outside and dragged Mike who was unconscious back inside. Tending his wounds as best they could and then they called for help. When we arrived, Mike was bleeding like a stuck pig. He briefly described what happened, then Queenie took him up to Tempe for additional 1st aid and then rushed him too Chipinge.


It doesn’t take a genius to join the dots. At lunchtime, for the 2nd day in a row I file charges against CIO. I then go down to play golf, unfortunately I leave early at last light for a game of bridge so they took whoever came next in full darkness. I guess that answer’s the question of unofficial retribution. Doug and I then went up to the ZRP to lay charges. The duty officer refused to allow us to see Chagugudza and then tried to bugger us around with the report. Unfortunately for him I probably know more about writing those things than he does. I also named CIO and the war vats as the assailants.


Called Queenie this morning it took Dr Petra until mid night to sort out Mike. The one wound is not sever but requires stitches, the other wound is serious, went into the skull and also damaged an artery which would account for the copious mounts of blood. He will be kept in the clinic until tomorrow for observation.


I then headed up to the police station to chase Chagugudza.  The police truck waved me down on the way and it was him, I was given 2 details to go and do the investigating with. We both know it was Mpofu but I doubt he has the balls to do anything about it.   On a slightly lighter note, Chimanimani has a major problem with foot and mouth in the communal areas so the movement of cattle is restricted except for the war vets who do what they want. There’s an African running around Cashel at the moment with a syringe, needle and what we assume is a bottle of water, charging the communal farmers $250 /head to inoculate their cattle against foot and mouth.  He’s making an absolute killing and gaily spreading the disease wherever he goes. Forward the Zimbabwean entrepreneurial sprite. That accounts for my boring week so far what have you been doing.


Friday 10th

Latest up date. At 8.30mlast night the security guard was approached at the club by a white truck with 6 to 8 people in it and they asked him to what happened on Wednesday night he thought they were official although they didn’t identify themselves and described the incident. He actually managed to hit a couple of the assailants and can identify them, although I didn’t tell the police that for obvious reasons. They then told him to get in the truck with them. The security guard displaying some intelligence decided to do a runner and was chased down to the old location where he lost them. I’m about to go off to the police to find out if this was an official line of enquiry.


Mike has been transferred to Mutare he’s having trouble with one of his eyes and they think there might be pressure on the brain. We’ve had confirmation from 2 source’s  that Mwale’s brother who is Rob Sacco body guard is behind this with a gang of thugs from Kwiri and in cahoots with Mpofu of CIO.


On the cheerful front one of Dougs workers was beaten up by the Charleswood workers for being a ZANU (PF) sell out SHAME!!.


Shane Kidd



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