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

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Defying Mugabe

The Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent, Andrew Meldrum, came under personal
attack today in the government-owned Herald newspaper. Here, he responds and
tells of the looming threats to the independent press. Journalists face two
years' imprisonment from next week if they defy new laws aimed at muzzling
freedom of expression.

Journalists are supposed to write news, not be the news. So it was with
dismay that I picked up the state-owned Herald newspaper today and saw a
lengthy story about me. The story consisted of a diatribe against me by the
minister of information, Jonathan Moyo. He called me a liar and suggested I
was a saboteur and a security risk to Zimbabwe.

The charges are ludicrous and without foundation. Professor Moyo has
similarly attacked a few other Zimbabwean journalists and editors. All my
journalistic colleagues say it is a badge of honour to be singled out by
Moyo for such criticism.

I would like to say that I have shrugged off his attack, but in fact I have
had a headache all day. Moyo is one of the most powerful men in the
government and there is an increasingly repressive climate against the press
in Zimbabwe. Next week Zimbabwe's parliament is expected to pass a highly
repressive law, the access to information and protection of privacy bill,
which will make it impossible for foreign journalists to work in Zimbabwe
and extremely difficult for Zimbabwean journalists to work.

The bill states that all journalists working in Zimbabwe must have licences
issued by the minister of information, the same Jonathan Moyo who attacked
me in today's Herald. Only Zimbabweans are eligible to apply for the
licences. Those who do get the licences will have to operate under extremely
restrictive conditions. They will not be able to criticise the president or
the police. They will not be able to quote the Herald newspaper, which
frequently enunciates government policy, without written permission from the
paper's management. The list of restrictions goes on and on for 44 pages.

Yesterday I attended a meeting held by the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA) to discuss the press crisis here. It was attended by the
leaders of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ), the Foreign Correspondents Association and
the Federation of African Media Women-Zimbabwe. We are all friends and joked
about the situation. Someone asked who would be the first to be thrown in
jail and we all looked at each other and the mood became more sombre.

The bill will be passed and signed into law next week by President Mugabe
but it is not clear how quickly it will be implemented. There are many vague
areas of the bill that leave a great deal to the discretion of the minister.
For instance, the bill speaks of a three-month registration period where
journalists can apply for the government licence, but everyone thought Mr
Moyo would want to apply the bill's restrictions on journalists before that
time elapsed so they would be in force for the presidential elections, which
are scheduled for March 9-10.

There is a particular question mark over the few remaining foreign
journalists, since we are not entitled to apply for the government licence.

We agreed that all the organisations would launch legal challenges against
the government press bill as soon as it becomes law. We also issued a
statement denouncing the bill as "patently illegal and designed to deprive
the media of its constitutional right to freedom of expression". We also
agreed that the media should "defy this undemocratic law by calling for a
boycott of the registration process which is arbitrarily controlled by the
minister of information". There are plans for meetings, demonstrations and
T-shirts which say "I defy the access to information bill".

But the consequences for such a stand will be high. The bill calls for jail
sentences of up to two years for journalists who do not obey and fines of
Z$100,000 (US$1,800). No wonder this normally jovial and fun bunch of
journalists becomes serious when we consider what the future holds for
journalists in Zimbabwe.

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Independent (UK)

Fergal Keane: Mr Mugabe has declared war on his fellow Africans

'He bears responsibility for bringing Zimbabwe down the last fateful mile on
the road towards fascism'
12 January 2002

Does anybody out there remember the African renaissance? It's nearly a
decade now since we first heard murmurings about a new Africa in which
democracy and the rule of law would replace tribalism, corruption and the
rule of the Big Men. We were urged to look at the example of countries such
as Uganda and Zambia where "new" kinds of African leaders were emerging. And
after years of blood and thievery, much of it encouraged and enabled by the
West, we rushed to believe in the renaissance. At last some good news out of

When President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa pronounced solemnly "I am an
African" and went on to outline his vision of a renaissance that would sweep
the continent from the Cape to the shores of the Mediterranean, only a few
commentators dared interpose some awkward questions (for example: how
committed were these new leaders to democracy and human rights, and why did
the founding father of the renaissance, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, allow his
army to plunder the neighbouring Congo?)

When Thabo Mbeki travelled to Zimbabwe and rode the inaugural journey of the
luxurious Blue Train from Victoria Falls, he posed cheerfully for
photographs with his counterpart, Robert Mugabe, and both men spoke of a
"new" Africa, at a time when Mugabe's thugs were busy intimidating the
political opposition and planning a campaign of terror aimed at white
farmers and the thousands of workers who depend on them for a livelihood.

But African solidarity, or rather the unity of rulers, was more important
than facing painful facts. The leaders spoke the language of the new Big
Men. It was an artful rhetoric – Mr Mbeki is a master of the poetic turn of
phrase – but it didn't fool the people. If you really wanted to know what
was going on in Africa you read the independent press – newspapers such as
the Daily News in Zimbabwe – and spoke with human rights activists. There
was a renaissance in Africa but it wasn't the state-sponsored circus of
Mbeki or Museveni; it belonged to the men and women who were busy creating a
civil society across the continent and who faced imprisonment, torture and
death for their efforts.

This week Mr Mugabe declared total war on these people. He disenfranchised
hundreds of thousands by decreeing that Zimbabweans who lived abroad could
not vote in the presidential elections due in March; he made it a crime to
criticise the president and gave the police and army sweeping new powers; he
made it impossible for foreign correspondents to work in the country and
introduced licensing for local reporters; and he banned independent election
monitors from overseeing the elections.

I say "he" because these laws came from the President himself. His lackeys
on the government benches in parliament voted them into law, but Robert
Mugabe bears ultimate responsibility for bringing Zimbabwe down the last
fateful mile towards fascism.

As if all that weren't enough, the head of the army issued a statement which
in any sane country would be regarded as treason. General Vitalis Zvinashe
said the army would not support any leader who threatened to reverse the
gains of liberation. In the case of Zimbabwe's military top brass, the gains
of liberation have been quite spectacular. Senior officers have been
rewarded with land (much of it seized from white farmers) and have been
allowed to plunder the wealth of the Congo, where Mr Mugabe has sent troops
to assist the Kabila regime in Kinshasa.

The international reaction to this week's events typically has been lacking
in energy. There has been grumbling, but President Bush still has to sign
into law the package of sanctions agreed in Congress. He needs to do it
fast. The British Government is urging the Commonwealth to take decisive
action. But what a pathetic body the Commonwealth has proved itself.
Confronted with this gravest of challenges to human rights it has blundered
and stumbled, failing at every turn to confront Mugabe. He has treated the
Commonwealth with contempt.

Now at last, with an election imminent, the Commonwealth gets around to
talking about suspending Zimbabwe. Perhaps it could answer a simple
question: how much innocent blood must be spilled, how many people
terrorised and disenfranchised, before a country is suspended? If the
Commonwealth cannot take decisive action now, it should disband in shame. It
will have failed the people of Zimbabwe and made a mockery of the principles
of good governance that it has sworn to promote.

The same can be said of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
the main forum for governments in the region. The rulers of South Africa,
Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique and Swaziland could
see what was happening in Zimbabwe but opted for "quiet diplomacy" with
Mugabe. This was the tactic championed by Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe loved him
for it. It was quiet because Mr Mbeki didn't want to be seen to lecture
another African leader about dumping whites off their land.

The cause of white farmers is not a popular one in the new Africa, and
Mugabe successfully presented the crisis as a battle against colonialism. He
never fooled his own people, but there were SADC leaders such as Namibia's
President Sam Nujoma who lapped it up.

Mr Mbeki has of late abandoned his "quiet diplomacy"; that is, he now speaks
with a growl rather than a whisper. But there are limits to what he can do:
sending South African troops across the border is not a feasible option, nor
would the sealing of his country's borders have much effect. But he can
state publicly that South Africa will refuse to recognise or deal with any
government that comes to power in a rigged election. Mr Mugabe can continue
in power even if the EU and the US isolate him, but he cannot do so if South
Africa refuses to play along.

Such a stand might well cause a split in the SADC, but South Africa's
interests are bigger than those of a useless regional talking shop. The
country's currency has been experiencing a devastating collapse. There has
been talk in Johannesburg of speculators undermining the currency. Perhaps.
But one of the more likely causes is the deep unease felt by local business
and foreign investors over Mr Mbeki's handling of the Zimbabwe crisis. There
have been large outflows of cash from South Africa, as wealthy locals look
north and wonder to themselves whether the chaos could happen in South

I believe there are sound reasons why South Africa will succeed – not least
the power of civil society – but there is no denying the extreme nervousness
the Zimbabwe crisis has created. It does not take great powers of prophecy
to recognise a disaster looming for Zimbabwe and Africa. The rest of the
world can and should take firm action but this is Mr Mbeki's hour of

If he lets it be known that a rigged election will not be recognised, then
the days of tyranny in Zimbabwe are numbered. Only in that circumstance
would it be possible for Mr Mbeki to speak of an African renaissance without
hearing the hollow laughter of his oppressed fellow Africans.

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Friday January 11, 05:25 PM

 Yahoo! News

Zimbabwe accepts plea for poll observers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has accepted a European Union request to allow
independent observers and media to monitor its March 9-10 presidential
election, an official who attended talks between the EU and the African
state said.

"(Zimbabwe) have no problem accepting independent election observers," said
Hegel Goutier of Haiti, spokesman for African, Caribbean and Pacific states,
after talks in Brussels prompted by EU concerns over Zimbabwe's human rights

The 15-nation EU is considering imposing sanctions unless Zimbabwe halts
political violence, removes curbs on the media and allows free and fair
elections. This week, Zimbabwe's parliament adopted bills which ban
independent poll monitors and give the government sweeping security powers.

Goutier told reporters the EU had pressed for observers to be allowed into
Zimbabwe at least six weeks before the election, but added Zimbabwean
Foreign Minister Stanley Mudenge had spoken merely of letting them in "on

He said Mudenge had also accepted an EU request for a "code of conduct" for
both media and political parties in the run-up to the poll, but gave no
details about how this might work. He quoted Mudenge as saying there had
been a misunderstanding about the discussions in parliament on the new

Sky News

Zimbabwe Bows To EU Pressure

Zimbabwe has accepted a request from the European Union to allow
international observers and media at its presidential election in March.
The move comes after an EU meeting in Brussels prompted by rising concerns
over the country's human rights record.

European nations are considering imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe unless it
halts political violence, stops curbs on the media and holds free and fair

'Long diatribe'

This week the country's parliament adopted bills which banned independent
poll monitors and gave the government sweeping security powers, amid fears
President Robert Mugabe is trying to tighten an authoritarian grip on power.

However Hegel Goutier of Haiti, the spokesman for African, Caribbean and
Pacific states, said: "Zimbabwe has no problem accepting independent
election observers."

At the meeting five ministers from the African country heard a list of EU
complaints before Zimbabwean Foreign Minister delivered what one EU diplomat
described as "a long diatribe about a British-backed plot, fanned by the

Zimbabwe also faces possible suspension from the Commonwealth and sanctions
from the US.

Last Updated: 18:00 UK, Friday January 11, 2002

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US condemns Zimbabwe's violence against opponents

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 — The United States condemned Zimbabwe's government on
Friday for violence against opponents, and called for the repudiation of a
military statement that it would withhold support for any elected president
deemed unfit.
''We condemn the intensifying government-directed intimidation and violence
against the opposition supporters, against the media, against civil society
in Zimbabwe,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at a
       With elections in two months, Zimbabwe's ruling party pushed measures
through parliament on Thursday giving sweeping security powers to the
government of President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power 22 years.
       This came one day after Zimbabwe's defense forces commander Gen.
Vitalis Zvinavache issued a statement that security organizations would only
back political leaders who fought in the liberation wars against white rule.
       Mugabe's chief challenger in March elections, opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, did not fight in the liberation wars and has been branded
a traitor by Mugabe.
       ''We think that Zimbabwe's military should respect and support the
verdict of the electorate, and the people of Zimbabwe are entitled to a free
and fair electoral process,'' Boucher said. ''We call upon the government to
disavow the statements made by the military to ensure that elections are
free and fair.''
       Asked whether there was any chance of a free and fair election,
Boucher said, ''Clearly if you have the kind of preparations for an unfair
election that seem to be taking place and the kind of statements being made
by the military that they might not accept the results -- a lot of this has
to be reversed if we are to have the prospect of observing any kind of free
and fair election.''
       Boucher said five opposition supporters in Zimbabwe were believed
killed in the past two weeks but added there was little chance the
government would investigate.

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News release

(On behalf of Commercial Farmers' Union)

At 9 am on Wednesday 9 January this year, a mob of 100 people, who described
themselves as war veterans but also claimed to be farm employees, stormed
the offices of Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans, a firm of Harare lawyers
representing Guy Watson Smith, a Mashonaland East Farmer.

The mob manhandled and assaulted six practitioners; among them Raymond
Barreto (39) and a senior partner at the law firm. After the violent and
chaotic 35-minute invasion they left, threatening to return. Many of the
persons in the crowd were chanting in Shona (local dialect) making it
extremely difficult to reason with the mob. Guy Watson-Smith, who farmed in
the Beatrice area until he was ordered to leave under threats of further
violence, has already paid salaries to workers. It is believed that the same
mob had earlier gone to the Law Society offices to press for their

Mr Barreto said, "The leaders of the group did not introduce or identify
themselves. They just made unclear demands for money they claimed was due to
them. They were not prepared to listen to reason or dialogue with us."

Watson-Smith obtained a court order on 28th December 2001 against retired
General Solomon Mujuru, two cabinet ministers and a local war veteran
leader, Comrade Zhou for the return of equipment and property from his farm,
from which Zhou and Mujuru had evicted him. Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans act
as legal counsel for Watson-Smith.

The riot squad were summoned during the invasion but had not arrived by the
time the mob departed. Police details arrived and reports were made and
assurances given that riot squad would be on alert to attend should the mob

Speaking from South Africa, where he fled before making a successful
application to the High Court, Guy Watson-Smith expressed his dismay at the
actions of the mob and further voiced concern and empathy for his previous
employees. He added that he believes the demonstration was orchestrated to
get out of hand, to intimidate, and to preclude the removal of his property
from the farm.

"It is a move by the "chefs" to deflect the blame for the delay and the
blatant attempt to derail the high court order, onto paid stooges
masquerading as farm Labour, who can not easily be identified or sued. In
fact information that has come to my attention is that staff have already
received December salaries from the new management."

The Watson-Smith family was summarily evicted off their farm on 18th
September 2001 and then ordered to remove all their personal assets on 17
November by Zhou. He told the family, "We are taking over". That is all the
notice Watson Smith was accorded. There was no civilized withdrawal or the
according of the required 90-day eviction notice period under current
government statute. No movable assets have as yet been recovered through the
offices of the Deputy Sheriff.

When Watson Smith queried who would meet farm-running expenses, General
Mujuru replied, "Zhou has told me that he will pay from the 9th November".

"On the 5th of December General Mujuru demanded that I accompany him and
Zhou to the farm to address staff, my only visit to the farm since 18th
Sept. His instructions were for me to advise my staff that they would be
working for a new establishment now, and that they must work well as they
had before and that I would pay them everything they were due whilst in my
employ. I was advised that I would only be allowed to move my assets once I
had done this - I have since complied through the offices of my lawyer. The
entire salary computation owed to the workers; leave days, etc up to the end
of November was paid to staff by a security company who have since provided
evidence of receipt of the money by staff." Said Watson Smith.

General Mujuru (previously known by his war name Rex Nhongo) led Mugabe's
ZANLA forces during the independence war. He then headed the post
independence army and later became Zimbabwe's defence minister. He already
owns a clutch of commercial farms, but remains in Mugabe's inner circle as a
senior member of the ruling Zanu PF politburo and central committee.


10th January 2002

For more information, please contact Jenni Williams ell 011 213 885 or 091
300 456
Email or

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January 10th 2002

MMPZ condemns outright the alarming and unconstitutional threats against the
state and the media made by the commander of the armed forces, General
Vitalis Zvinavashe, on Wednesday. His blatant declaration that Zimbabwe's
uniformed forces would refuse to accept a democratically elected President
who had not participated in the liberation war constituted a clearly
implicit threat of a coup against the opposition MDC candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, if he wins the presidential election in March. His remarks
demonstrate a shocking and abhorrent disdain for the country's constitution
that demands the uniformed forces conduct their activities professionally
and impartially in support of the government of the day. This repugnant
assault on the fundamental instruments of democratic governance by the
commanders of the uniformed forces threatens to plunge Zimbabwe into a state
of anarchy and serves to intimidate the electorate to vote for the candidate
of the ruling party, Robert Mugabe if they want to avoid untold suffering.
General Zvinavashe's remarks constitute an unacceptable attempt to influence
the result of the impending presidential election, and MMPZ calls upon the
commanders of the uniformed forces to withdraw them immediately and
rededicate themselves to the provisions of the constitution if the election
is not to be considered a pointless exercise.

Also of grave concern to MMPZ are General Zvinavashe's unprecedented threats
against the independent Press in Zimbabwe. He declared that the Press should
not write stories that "invite security organizations to be involved".
Zimbabwe aspires to be a democratic nation run by a civilian government that
makes laws that deal with all aspects of the country's governance.
Zimbabwe's statute books already contain more than adequate legislation
protecting individuals and organizations from malicious media coverage. The
armed forces have no place in unilaterally declaring unspecified
intervention in the civilian activities of Zimbabwean life. His threat
therefore constitutes a gross infringement of Zimbabweans' freedom of
expression and of their rights to be informed and amounts to blatant
intimidation of media workers and publishing organizations. MMPZ calls upon
the government to reassert its supremacy over the armed forces and to
reassure the nation that these organizations have no right to interfere in
any way in the civilian affairs of the country. MMPZ believes these measures
must be urgently undertaken as a minimum necessity to allay growing fears
within Zimbabwe and the international community that Zimbabwe is becoming a
military dictatorship.

For more information, please contact The Project Coordinator,
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra
Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:, Web:

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Zimbabwe condemns 'malicious' Guardian

Lisa O'Carroll
Friday January 11, 2002

The Zimbabwe government today condemned Guardian journalists and "those
controlling the paper" as "either malicious or ignorant or both".

The minister for information, Professor Jonathan Moyo, launched an
excoriating attack on the paper's Zimbabwe correspondent, Andrew Meldrum,
and the opposition spokesman of justice, David Coltart, who said the
government was attempting to bring in some of the most repressive
legislation in Robert Mugabe's 22-year reign.

Writing in the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mr Moyo says journalists are
"foolish" to go ahead with their planned legal challenge against the laws
designed to curb freedom of the press.

"Somebody should have told these do-gooders that everybody can now see that
they have no clue about the rule of law because they would have been the
first to know that a bill in parliament cannot be challenged in a court of
law," he says.

"Parliament is a constitutional body based on the well-established principle
of the separation of powers."

The minister goes on to describe Meldrum's story in Thursday's Guardian as

And he adds: "All those foreign correspondents that were not prepared to
stand Zimbabwe's values and laws were free to leave the country."

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Mugabe declares war on dissent

Repressive laws passed yesterday open Zimbabwe's election battle

Chris McGreal and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
The Guardian : Friday January 11, 2002

Zimbabwe's presidential election campaign kicked off yesterday as Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party used its parliamentary majority to pass two controversial bills designed to stifle dissent.

The general laws amendment bill bans independent election monitors and denies voting rights to millions of citizens abroad. The public order and security bill criminalises criticism of Mr Mugabe and gives the government sweeping new security powers. Both were passed by a majority of 62 votes to 49.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change immediately announced a legal challenge. The MDC foreign affairs secretary, Tendai Biti, said: "We are going to challenge this package of fascist rules in the courts. They are trying to clothe fascism with this whole set of bills."

The laws are the first step in an election campaign which Mr Mugabe will portray as a "war" between true black liberation and an opposition under the control of white farmers and British neo-colonialism.

The MDC, which is widely tipped to win the vote in the unlikely event of the election being free and fair, derided Mr Mugabe for using land and race issues as a cover for a violent campaign to terrorise voters and rig the outcome.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC presidential candidate who Mr Mugabe said last month would "never, ever" come to power, called on voters yesterday not to be swayed by intimidation.

"Zimbabweans are under siege," he said. "The government is creating a climate of terror and hardship. I call upon all patriots to refuse to be cowed into submission by tyranny and a dictator whose time has come.

"Those draconian measures being imposed by the present regime would not be necessary if they believed they had the confidence and the support of the people of Zimbabwe."

The election on March 9 and 10 is the culmination of a two-year strategy by Mr Mugabe to cling to power in the face of rising unpopularity.

It began with the seizure of white farms but has evolved into a broad and violent campaign against the opposition. The MDC says the assault has killed 88 of its supporters and driven its campaign largely underground.

It has ruled out election rallies in many areas for fear of violence.

Unfortunately for the opposition, Mr Mugabe has been been warned twice about the true strength of feeling against his government.

In the past year he has lost a referendum on constitutional reform and Zanu-PF achieved only a narrow victory in the parliamentary elections despite widespread intimidation.

But the two ballots gave the government notice that extraordinary measures would be required if it was to hang on to power. It has sought to manipulate the law to keep the opposition at bay.

Zanu-PF has revived its youth brigade as a paramilitary force which is being deployed in towns, at times sealing off whole areas in "recruitment drives", while the self-styled war veterans who led the occupation of white-owned farms intimidate rural voters.

At least five opposition supporters have been murdered in the past month, and the MDC expects the violence to grow.

The army and police have been moulded into highly partisan forces in the past year. The police routinely refuse to stop violence against the opposition.

While government supporters act with impunity, Mr Mugabe uses the law against his opponents. Since the September 11 attacks in the US, he has taken to calling his opponents and journalists "terrorists" and said they would be dealt with as such.

Eddie Cross, the MDC economic spokesman, said the campaign would be difficult. "We are in for a tough electoral battle," he said. "Zanu has already declared war. They have deployed their troops, many in uniform paid by the state, and are prepared to do anything to win".

Last week Mr Mugabe tried to shore up support by redistributing formerly white-owned farmland to more than 1,000 families. The move was part of his strategy to try to keep attention on the issues of land and race.

One Zanu-PF election advertisement portrays Mr Mugabe as an African nationalist confronting an opposition stooge for whites and the British.

But many ordinary Zimbabweans are more preoccupied with the consequences of Mr Mugabe's policies, which have resulted in surging unemployment, nearly 100% inflation and shortages of food staples such as maize.

The military hierarchy has added to the climate of intimidation by warning that it will not serve a president who does not "support the objectives of the liberation struggle". That has been widely interpreted in Zimbabwe either as a thinly veiled threat to refuse to recognise an opposition election victory or a warning to Mr Tsvangirai is he does take power not to interfere with the military.

There has been talk of putting senior officers on trial for corruption and for the role of some of them in the Matabeleland massacres 20 years ago. The MDC responded by accusing the armed forces commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, of treason and a "pre-emptive military coup".

But there are reasons to doubt that the bulk of the army would back a coup.

Most soldiers are too young to be wedded to the liberation struggle, their families are suffering the same economic deprivation as many others, and there is unhappiness at Zimbabwe's role in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Mugabe promised to double the police and military pay. He tried the same tactic with a 60% pay increase before the constitutional referendum. That did not stop soldiers voting overwhelming against him on that occasion.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Army is attempting to blackmail voters

1/11/02 9:41:35 AM (GMT +2)

EDGAR Tekere made the famous remark that "democracy is in the intensive care
unit", more than 10 years ago, when referring to President Mugabe's
increasingly autocratic tendencies.

His detractors laughed off the observation as the rantings of a rebellious
maverick politician in a fit of pique after being sidelined by his erstwhile
comrades-in-arms.Others took no notice at all.

And, unfortunately, most of those who took notice of how true his words
were, chose to do absolutely nothing about it.

For, if we had done something about it then by, for example, changing the
guard shortly afterwards at the 1990 elections where Tekere himself stood as
a presidential candidate, the sorry political and economic mess we are
presently in and the horrifying prospects the country is now facing would
most probably have been averted altogether.

Instead, however, complacent as we have always been, we chose to let pass
that wonderful opportunity that had come our way to change the dangerous
political direction the country was already taking by electing to keep our
distance from the polling booths.

It is not being alarmist to suggest that, probably for the rest of our lives
we shall live to regret not having done the logical thing and put that
opportunity to best use, thereby forestalling, once and for all, the tragedy
now unfolding.

For, make no mistake, following Wednesday's blood-curdling declarations by
the army generals, democracy in this country is no longer in the intensive
care unit.
Democracy is dead.

Add to that the Public Order and Security Bill and the Access to Information
Bill which, through the government's use of bullying tactics, are both set
to become law by next week, and it becomes clear there are no more civil
liberties or a Bill of Rights to talk about in this country.

We shall pointedly ignore Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General
Vitalis Zvinavashe's declaration about the country's security organisations
being prepared to "only stand in support of those political leaders that
will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for which thousands of
lives were lost in pursuit of Zimbabwe's hard-worn independence".

We dismiss that with the contempt it deserves.

Of worrying pertinence to all Zimbabweans at this point in time is the
following declaration by Zvinavashe, and we quote: "To this end, let it be
known that the highest office in the land is a 'straitjacket' whose occupant
is expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle.

"We will, therefore, not accept, let alone support or salute anyone with a
different agenda that threatens the very existence of of our sovereignty .

The army chiefs, and indeed Zanu PF leaders, seem to have sensed a crushing
defeat for Mugabe at the coming presidential election.

What Zvinavashe and the rest of the service chiefs are, therefore, telling
the electorate in plain language is that they will not accept a Morgan
Tsvangirai victory.

It is a thinly-veiled threat that if you vote for Tsvangirai, you will be
inviting the army to seize power.

In short, they are trying to blackmail the electorate into voting for Mugabe
"or else!".

But the voters must not be intimidated. We should call the army's bluff by
going to vote in our millions according to our political conviction.

The short-term implication of the army's move, however, is that the country
is now effectively under military rule with Mugabe merely a nominal Head of
State as all power now rests with the generals.

It is a virtual coup, albeit a stage-managed one in that it was probably
instigated by Mugabe himself.
As such, it makes Zimbabwe automatically a candidate for suspension from the

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Daily News

MDC MPs plead for divine intervention

1/11/02 9:37:14 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

MDC Members of Parliament dropped to their knees in prayer as Zanu PF
bulldozed into law the draconian Public Order and Security and the General
Laws Amendment Bills in Parliament yesterday.

The MPs implored God to intervene in the way business was being conducted in
the House. The MDC was beaten 62-47 by Zanu PF when the House divided to
rescind an earlier decision by Parliament to throw out the Electoral Act
amendments, brought in through the General Laws Amendment Bill.

After that, the MDC MPs left their seats, formed a circle and knelt down to
pray with their hands in the air. Zanu PF MPs, meanwhile, celebrated noisily
and chided their opponents for being childish. The Sergeant at Arms tried to
restrain the praying MPs, but they remained on their knees until they
finished. Led by Nomalanga Khumalo (Umzingwane), the MPs prayed: “Almighty
God, we are here in this House to make just laws for the good of everyone,
including those we don’t like and those we regard as our opponents. God, we
all know that You hate dishonest and unfaithful leaders, who in their
decisions end up oppressing the minority and those of the opposing view.”

The prayer said they were representing the majority of the people but were
being denied the right to do so by Zanu PF.
“We, therefore, appeal for Your divine intervention and the Holy Spirit to
be in the heart of every adult to realise that this is all the devil’s
 work.” God, the MPs said, should enter the hearts of all MPs. The House was
divided twice yesterday with Zanu PF using its slim parliamentary majority
to bring the General Laws Amendment Bill and eventually allow it to pass,
but only after heated debate. Soon afterwards, Patrick Chinamasa, the Leader
of the House, steered the Bill through.

The Public Order and Security Bill makes it criminal for anyone, including
the Press, to criticise President Mugabe, among other provisions. Gibson
Sibanda, the MDC Leader in the House, and Chinamasa traded accusations over
an alleged deal between the two parties to allow the free passage of the
General Laws Amendment Bill.

Chinamasa accused the MDC of being insincere while Sibanda said he had never
struck a deal. Sibanda described the rescinding of Parliament’s decision to
throw out the Bill as a “blatant contravention of the Constitution”. He said
unlawful action contravened the standard practice followed throughout the
Commonwealth that once a Bill was rejected it should not be reintroduced in
the same session.

The electoral amendments bar civil society from monitoring elections, with
all authority being vested into the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC).
They criminalise voter education by any other body except the ESC and
prevent millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora from casting postal votes.
The remaining Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will be
discussed next week.

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Daily News

Army stance shocks nation

1/11/02 9:35:43 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira and Conrad Nyamutata

CIVIC organisations and individuals have joined the MDC in reacting with
outrage to a statement issued by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) on
Wednesday that they would not accept a President without a credible
liberation war record.

They described the ZDF’s declaration as treasonous, dangerous and
unfortunate. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) threatened to
mobilise workers to protest against what it described as “acts of treason”.
Most Zimbabweans were shocked when General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the ZDF
Commander, told journalists they would not allow any person without credible
liberation war credentials to rule the country.

The statement was apparently referring to Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
president who is running against President Mugabe in the presidential
election on 9 and 10 March and is the front-runner. Learnmore Jongwe, the
spokesman for the MDC, said the security chiefs’ statement was an admission
that Zanu PF would not win the election. “If Zanu PF was confident of
winning, then there would be no need for it to use security chiefs to make
the statement they made,” he said. Several people called The Daily News to
say the statement was meant to frighten the people from voting freely.

One caller said: “These commanders are from Zipra and Zanla. They did not
transform into professional soldiers after independence. They are still
guerrillas.” The MDC said Zanu PF could never suppress the people’s wishes.
“We have familiarised ourselves with the Constitution and nowhere does it
have a provision that requires Zimbabweans to elect only those with
liberation war history,” Jongwe said.

He said if Tsvangirai won, the MDC trusted that the security forces, being
professionals by every standard, would uphold the Constitution. Workers and
students condemned Zvinavashe’s statement. Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU
secretary-general, said: “The careless utterances undoubtedly mean that the
army has thrown the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the supreme law of the land,
out of the window. “It is our strong belief that every Zimbabwean has a
right to choose a leader of their own choice without being coerced. The ZCTU
will not hesitate to mobilise its members to protest against these acts of

The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) said students were shocked by
Zvinavashe’s statement. Phillip Pasirayi, the Zinasu secretary for
information and publicity, said people should interpret the statement as the
threat of a military coup if Tsvangirai wins the election. “If Zimbabwe is a
constitutional democracy, as Zanu PF continues to claim, then it is
incumbent upon every citizen, including Zvinavashe, to salute and respect
any candidate who wins . . . Morgan Tsvangirai, Wilson Kumbula or Robert

Professor Masipula Sithole, a political scientist at the University of
Zimbabwe, said Zvinavashe should have ended his Press briefing by
emphasising the need for tolerance and a peaceful, clean campaign, instead
of telling voters who should lead them.
“The people will decide whether they prefer a candidate with liberation war
credentials or one without. Mugabe and Tsvangirai have their credentials,
known to the people and the people will make their decision in the knowledge
of those credentials.”

Sithole questioned the logic of an election if the army was not going to
accept the people’s verdict. He said Zvinavashe should withdraw his
statement. “Otherwise they will behave like a personal army and not a
national army,” Sithole warned.
Colonel Martin Rupiya, director of the Centre for Defence and Strategic
Studies at the UZ, would not comment on Zvinavashe’s declaration. “I will
reserve my comment,” he said.

Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 21:45 GMT
How loyal is Zimbabwe's army?
General Vitalis Zvinavashe
The defence chief 'will not accept' Mugabe's main rival
By Michael Quintana, editor of the Africa Defence Journal

President Robert Mugabe came to power following a long and bitter guerrilla war, and 22 years later he is relying on the military to keep the keys to State House and power.

Mr Mugabe would be wise not to rely too heavily on the army to keep him in power if Zimbabweżs voters want him to go

The commander of Zimbabwe's defence forces, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, said on Wednesday that the military will only obey a political leader who participated in the 1970s war of independence.

"We will... not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda," he said, flanked by the commanders of the army, air force, prisons and the much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation chief, all former comrades-in-arms of Mr Mugabe.

The statement was significant because Mr Mugabe's main challenger in March's presidential election is Morgan Tsvangirai, a trade-union leader with broad political support, especially among urban Zimbabweans, but a man who used his free time when younger to further his studies rather than join the liberation movements.


But while the military top brass are Mugabe loyalists, he cannot necessarily count on the support of the rank-and-file.

The Zimbabwe National Army was formed at independence in 1980 by fusing the army of white-ruled Rhodesia with the two liberation movements - Joshua Nkomo's Zipra and Robert Mugabe's Zanla.

Mr Mugabe's policy of awarding the best jobs in the new army to favoured Zanla personnel meant that discontent has always simmered among former members of Zipra and the former-Rhodesian army.

Before a proper integration process had even begun, Mr Nkomo's troops rebelled and marched on Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, in an attempted coup.

Luckily, a few hundred black and white former Rhodesian soldiers stood in their way and, together with the air force, managed to defeat the 5,000-strong rebellion and prevent the new state from plunging into open civil war.

Unsure of his grip on power, Mr Mugabe privately commissioned the creation of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, under the command of Perence Shiri.

In the early 1980s, they became notorious for their cruelty when they were deployed in the largely ethnic Ndebele areas of the country, to put down a suspected Ndebele and Zipra insurrection against Mr Mugabe.

Within two years these "political warriors" had laid bare an area representing one-third of the country with scorched-earth policies, where thousands were killed, crops destroyed and homesteads burned.

Insufficient reward

More recently, as living standards have plummeted, urban areas have erupted into occasional bouts of anti-government violence.

Zimbabwe troops in DR Congo
The army's corruption in DR Congo was exposed
The army has been used on several occasions to stamp out the unrest and has been accused of using excessive force.

In 1998, the army was sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo in support of Mr Mugabe's close ally, the then President Laurent Kabila.

In the DR Congo, the graft, corruption, mismanagement and ill-discipline among Zimbabwe's soldiers was exposed by their involvement in diamond deals and lucrative joint ventures.

There have also been many reported discipline problems among the soldiers, with secret court-martials for those unhappy at being sent to the DR Congo.

Since 1993, pay and living arrangements have deteriorated, with up to 40% of personnel having to live outside barracks because of a lack of proper accommodation and funds to feed them.

Pay of all security forces was doubled from the start of this year, though some soldiers may see through this attempt to buy their loyalty ahead of elections.

If the military commanders did order their troops to move against a political leader who they did not approve of, many of those soldiers without decent accommodation, or who still bear a grudge from the divisions of the war of independence, would be reluctant to obey.

Equally, if Mr Mugabe tried to rig the election results, this would quite likely lead to widespread unrest in the urban areas, where support for his opponent, Mr Tsvangirai is overwhelming.

Mr Mugabe would be wise not to rely too heavily on the army to keep him in power if Zimbabwe's voters want him to go.

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Daily News

I will not run away from Zimbabwe yet

1/11/02 9:42:38 AM (GMT +2)

By Chimurenga Dzimbahwe

I am sick and tired of President Mugabe and his cronies, but I am not giving
up just yet.

I have the strength and confidence to help secure change.
I will not succumb to the Zanu PF terror tactics in the name of land,
freedom and the people.

Deep in my heart, I know that the hyenas in sheep's clothing will pay for
their manipulation, suppression and repression of the people.

If not by men, then by God. No evil lasts forever.

Transgression only breeds its own deathbed.Corrupt power sows the seeds of
its own demise.

Real power is shared, not imposed. Real power lies in the hands of the
people, and if truth be told, the people will overcome the madness that has
been sown in the soul of the motherland.

Unlike Zanu PF, the people know that freedom has to be constantly redefined
and fought for.

Freedom is never a static phenomenon. Stagnant freedom brings suffering to
the people.

The people will not fall prey to violence sweetened by false generosity and
pretentious claims of black emancipation.

The Zanu PF political hyenas will not stay in sheep's clothing forever.

After all, Mugabe is not superhuman.

He is just a human being like all of us, but the difference is he is a very
paranoid mortal who has hijacked the unfulfilled black cause to suit his
selfish political ends.

Of course, he has surrounded himself with razor wires and greyhounds, but
his downfall is just around the corner.

In fact, he has secured himself a place in the dustbin of history. And for
that I will not leave Zimbabwe.

I will not leave Zimbabwe in this darkness because that will be a dishonour
to the ancestors, the newly born and all the future generations.

My New Year resolution is that I am sticking around Zimbabwe until all hell
breaks loose because Zimbabwe is the only home I have.

I will stay around here until good old sense prevails, once again. Only then
will I make a conscious decision to go and survey the world.

I was born and raised in this country. I have a right to this place as much
as anybody else who claims to be

I will not run away because of a bunch of mad thugs-cum-leaders who think
they are destined to live and lead the people forever.

Zimbabwe is not anyone's monopoly. It is for all the sons and daughters of
the soil.

Zanu PF may be armed with shotguns, teargas canisters, shields and batons,
but they will not destroy the spirit of the people.

The spirit of the people will not bow down to man-made weapons of

I will not leave Zimbabwe because I believe in the power of the people.

The people's power is slowly awakening to the predicament that lies ahead of
our beloved nation.

The power of the people will triumph over the madness that is keeping this
nation under lock and key.

We will fight to the last sane man or woman in Zimbabwe until Zanu PF idiocy
becomes a thing of the past.

We will fight until we uncover the man-made darkness that has descended on
our beautiful land.

We will fight until we are freed of the strife that is surrounding us.

I am not afraid of anything, not even death. The human body is only a shell
that shelters the spirit.

They can kill my body, but they will not destroy my spirit.
My spirit will stay here. It will find space in new hearts.

I realise that the current system is one that thrives on instilling fear
into the hearts of the people.

If we succumb to their strategy of instilling fear in our hearts, then we
are doing a great disservice to the future generations.

The time has come for good Zimbabweans to exhibit courage in the face of

As they say evil festers in the absence of good. We have to prepare our
hearts for the good fight of making Zimbabwe the proud nation that it once

It is our duty. In spite of all the international solidarity that is being
directed towards us, the penultimate solution lies with the citizens of this
bloodied nation.

We cannot afford to continue running away, otherwise we will find this place
in ruins.

Ordinary citizens who continuously and persistently demand what is just and
right found nations; not cowards who run away or have perfected the art to
human bondage.

None but ourselves is going to emancipate us from the bondage that surrounds
us like a septic tank.
I will stick around because the fight in Zimbabwe has now assumed divine

God and His people - and not Zanu PF - will have the last say and laugh too.

I will stick around to experience the last kicks of dying tyranny. The
struggle for Zimbabwe continues.

The people's power shall prevail. The people's ability to think, to want,
and to know will not be surfeited by old, haggard power-mongers.

The people's power is divine, and shall conquer.
God will not tolerate this "organised disorder" for much longer.

Let it all change. We need a new dream because the dream that Zanu PF is
promising Zimbabwe is festered like a
septic wound.

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Former US Official Says SA Will Lose If It Does Not Tackle Mugabe

Business Day (Johannesburg)

January 11, 2002
Posted to the web January 11, 2002

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

A FORMER US state department official who held the most senior post dealing
with African affairs during the 1980s has said SA has an enormous amount to
lose if it does not come to grips with the situation in Zimbabwe.

Chester Crocker said: "The time has come to start planning for life after
(Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe.

"If SA ducks the challenge on Zimbabwe, there will enormous costs," he said.
"Knowing how deeply the SA president cares about the African renaissance,"
something had to be done.

Crocker said: "African leaders have been playing the game that he is one of
us and has to be protected."

He said an exit strategy that could be offered to Mugabe needed to be found
to ease the transition. "The current status quo cannot continue. The
elections are a farce, if one cannot have observers," Crocker said.

He said Mugabe's legitimacy was now the issue and it was a matter for the
promotion of the African renaissance that pressure be brought to bear on

Crocker, who held the post of US assistant secretary for African affairs
between 1981 and 1989, said the issue of Zimbabwe was by far the most
important foreign policy challenge SA faced.

Developments in Zimbabwe had "the capacity to change the region and do grave
damage to (it)", he said in an interview.

Crocker was the architect of the policy of "constructive engagement" toward
SA during the 1980s. The contentious policy was aimed at bringing about the
withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola, and Namibian independence, by
dialogue with Pretoria.

Crocker is now a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and also
chairman of the board of the US Institute of Peace, which, among its other
activities, promotes research into mediation of conflicts.

"Engagement is not an act of charity it is to pursue interests and choice,"
he said.

Crocker said that it was not a matter of whether SA should engage in "quiet
diplomacy" or strident criticism as a great deal could be done in private.

He said there were many things SA could be doing through a policy of
engagement behind the scenes. Pretoria, Crocker said, was well-placed to
pile pressure on and offer incentives to Harare to change its ways.

Crocker said that SA should start talking behind the scenes "to a range of
voices" in Harare to "test the waters" to see how people viewed things "to
express interest and concern" about the situation.

This, he said, would signal that "the free ride" for Mugabe was over.

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Minister Deploys Youth Brigade to Evict Farm Rival

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 11, 2002
Posted to the web January 11, 2002

Augustine Mukaro

YOUTH Development, Gender and Employment Creation deputy minister Shuvai
Mahofa tightened her grip on Lothian Farm in the rich Roy farming area of
Gutu South this week, using National Youth Service trainees to assault and
evict a local war veterans leader from the farm.

The war veterans leader, Maseva, who moved onto the farm last month in
defiance of Mahofa's expressed interest in the property, was on Monday
seriously assaulted by the youths and was this week fighting for his life at
Ndanga General Hospital. He had been living in the farmhouse.

Staffers at the hospital's male surgical ward confirmed that they were
treating Maseva for multi-fractural injuries.

"He sustained injuries all over his body which shows that he was brutally
assaulted," the staffer said.

War veterans' secretary-general Endy Mhlanga confirmed the attack and was
quick to condemn it.

"I received the information from the leadership in Masvingo province whom we
have asked to compile a report on the attack," said Mhlanga.

"As war veterans we are going to stamp our authority on whoever instigates
violence on any of our members. We have written a circular to all provinces
that if people are involved in any violent activities, the law will take its
course," he said.

Sources in the constituency said the row between Mahofa and the local war
veterans dates back to July when police violently evicted invaders from the
property despite the fact the farm was listed.

"Local war veterans had indicated that they would challenge Mahofa's moves
to occupy the farm and they had done so with Maseva moving in to occupy the
farm," a source said.

War veterans in Gutu South said they were challenging Mahofa's interest in
Lothian Farm because she had other farms in the province and could not be
allowed to occupy more before land-hungry people.

At Lothian Farm invaders were continuously raided and violently evicted with
police burning down the structures the settlers had built.

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Zimbabwe journalists say will defy new media bill

 HARARE, Jan. 11 — Media organisations in Zimbabwe said on Friday they would
defy a bill due to be pushed through parliament next week that they fear
will severely restrict press freedoms ahead of a presidential election.

       The five news groups said they would challenge the Access to
Information and Privacy Bill in the courts once, as expected, it is approved
by parliament and signed into law.
       President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party is expected to put the
bill to a vote in parliament, where it has a voting majority, on Tuesday.
       The media bill will ban foreign journalists from operating during
March 9-10 elections at which 77-year-old Mugabe faces the biggest challenge
to his power since leading the country to independence from Britain in 1980.
       ''It is patently illegal and designed to deprive the media of its
constitutional right to freedom of expression,'' the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Independent
Journalists' Association, the Foreign Correspondents' Association (FCA) and
the Federation of African Media Women-Zimbabwe said in a joint statement.
       ''In the meantime, the unions agreed that journalists must continue
with their work and ignore the bill.''
       The statement comes a day after the government succeeded in pushing
new measures through parliament which give sweeping security powers to the
government, including laws that criminalise criticism of Mugabe.
       The new bills, once signed into law by Mugabe, will ban independent
election monitors and deny voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
       The proposed media bill sets up a state-appointed commission vested
with powers to license, investigate and restrict journalists in Zimbabwe.
The five organisations said they would urge journalists not to register with
the commission.
       They face harsh fines or imprisonment if they are found guilty of
offences that range from causing ''disaffection against the president'' or
spreading ''alarm and despondency.''
       Government officials have accused journalists of fanning a deliberate
campaign of misinformation and propaganda in their coverage of the country's
political and economic crisis.
Several journalists have been expelled from the country.

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Zim Independent - Comment

Zvinavashe conducts coup against democracy

IN a disgraceful betrayal of his constitutional responsibilities General
Vitalis Zvinavashe declared on Wednesday the armed forces will only support
leaders who fought in the liberation war. In other words they will refuse to
support the verdict of the Zimbabwean people if it goes against President
Mugabe in the March poll.

By stating that the armed forces will not "support or salute anyone with a
different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our
country and our people", Zvinavashe has in effect carried out a coup against
the democratic process, subscribing to the facile pretence that the Movement
for Democratic Change is somehow a threat to national sovereignty.

This is of course the ruling party's creed and Zvinavashe - together with
those officers who lined up with him - have not only revealed an appalling
ignorance of their public duty to uphold the constitution and the law, but
have openly sided with Zanu PF in its brutal campaign to suppress the
country's hard-won freedoms. They have pledged to defend a corrupt
liberation aristocracy that has impoverished the country through greed and
abuse of power, ignoring a democratically expressed need for reform.

Anybody following the election campaign will not have failed to note the
growing tone of desperation in government statements.

Zvinavashe's remarks came in the same week that parliament has been
rail-roaded into passing laws that violate constitutional rights
by subjecting the press and indeed the country at large to Mugabe's
increasingly perverse will.
With regard to the press Bill the views of the parliamentary portfolio
committee on communications don't appear to have been taken into account,
nor has the legal committee been given an opportunity to comment. In the
case of all measures this week, the House of Assembly's rules of procedure
have been suspended as all semblance of parliamentary democracy is

Elsewhere in the country, anybody suspected of being aligned to the
opposition is being bludgeoned by Zanu PF thugs with impunity.
In the circumstances Glenys Kinnock's appeal for the Zimbabwe government to
step back from the brink before the patience of the European Union is
exhausted comes a tad late. Foreign minister Stan Mudenge will plead for
more time in Brussels today.

He should not be indulged. He is the representative of a government that has
torn up all its commitments to regional principles of electoral conduct,
employed violence to subdue opposition, violated the
constitutionally-enshrined rights of its citizens, attempted to muzzle the
press, and suborned the armed forces leadership to endorse its criminal

We note Zvinavashe's threats against the media. In 1999 the army abducted,
detained and tortured two journalists from the Standard and have
subsequently blocked a court-ordered police investigation into that crime.

This is governance as bad as it gets. Friends of Zimbabwe should stop
dancing around the issue of sanctions in the naďve hope that a wilful and
increasingly unstable dictator like Mugabe will suddenly change his mind and
stop terrorising his people. He is allowing violence to persist because he
knows he has lost the nation's trust and could never win a free and fair

Partisan statements by the police commissioner and the refusal of the police
to do their duty have sadly discredited the force. Now the army cannot be
trusted to honour a democratic outcome in the March poll.

While it is difficult to measure degrees of misrule, Zvinavashe's comments
clearly mark another milestone in the country's descent into tyranny. A
military command that openly tells the people of Zimbabwe that it will not
honour their democratically-expressed wishes is one that immediately
forfeits their confidence. It is up to Zimbabweans to define their "values,
traditions and beliefs" in line with their democratic rights, not for
military leaders to instruct them.

This latest example of the prostitution of state power will be a litmus test
for Sadc and Zimbabwe's friends abroad. They must not continue to indulge a
regime that holds the will of its people in such contempt in the name of a
revolution it long ago betrayed.

Zim Independent

Zvinavashe’s ‘treason’ slammed

Dumisani Muleya/Jacob Mutambara
ZIMBABWE Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe yesterday came
under a barrage of fire for his implicit threat of a coup if the forthcoming
presidential election is won by a candidate other than President Mugabe.

He said the armed forces would resist a leader who did not reflect the
values of the liberation war, a clear reference to opposition Movement for
Democratic Change candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

“General Zvinavashe’s unfortunate statement is a serious threat to the
democratic institutions created by our consitution,” said Andrew Mugandiwa,
a Harare-based lawyer.

“It is a serious breach of the laws of the country which the general in
taking his oath of office undertook to uphold. The statement is an indicator
of the grave erosion of the rule of law Zimbabwe has experienced in the
recent past.”

He said given Tsvangirai’s background there would not be much point in
holding a presidential election in March if the institutions created for the
purpose of defending law and order did not accept the election of a
candidate who holds “values” different to theirs.

“The defence forces have no right to stand in the way of the people of
Zimbabwe,” Mugandiwa said. “The people have a right to chart their own
destiny and the defence forces should be subject to the will of the people.
Legality and morality demand that.”

Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said the army’s threats were
reprehensible and hazardous.

“Those threats are clearly outrageous and unconstitutional,” Madhuku said.
“They are totally unconstitutional because the army has a legal obligation
to respect the government of the day.”

According to the Defence Act, the army is obliged to support the elected

The ZCTU said Zvinavashe’s remarks were “treasonous and careless”.
“The ZCTU strongly condemns the position announced by the defence forces who
have issued political statements that are likely to throw the country into
chaos,” the trade union body said. “The ZCTU will not hesitate to mobilise
its members to protest against these acts of treason.”

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) said Zvinavashe’s remarks
insinuated a coup.

“Students received with shock such irresponsible utterances from a person
whom we believe is supposed to execute his duties in a non-partisan and
professional manner,” Zinasu said.

MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said: “In the event of an MDC victory we
expect and hope the army, which by all standards is professional, to uphold
and defend the constitution.”

Sources said the MDC had established that Zvinavashe and colleagues were
forced into making the remarks, which coincided with Zanu PF statements
after a politburo meeting on Wednesday.

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF extorts millions from firms

Barnabas Thondhlana
ZANU PF has resuscitated its companies extortion programme of last year and
has been sending agents to firms seeking “donations” for the presidential

Corporates, banks and individuals have all been targeted. This week, two
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed companies donated $12 million and $5 million
to the party. More were this week lining up to make payments after it was
suggested it was in their interests to do so.

Executives who spoke on condition of anonymity said the exercise was nothing
but extortion.

“We see this as protection fees,” one executive said.
Of concern to executives contacted by the Zimbabwe Independent was that the
approaches for “donations” were ensconced in thinly-veiled threats of
unspecified reprisals as most were accused of being sympathetic to the
Movement for Democratic Change.

“Most companies have been accused of donating millions to the MDC campaign
and are asked to meet or better those donations. But most of these
accusations are nothing but lies,” another executive said.

This week the Independent learnt of one company which donated $6 million
only to be informed that this was not sufficient as “it is known you have
donated $15 million to the MDC”.

“Another unfortunate thing is that the requests for funding are coming from
all provinces,” said one leading businessman. “We wonder if all the money we
are parting with is reaching its desired destination. Somewhere some of this
money is being creamed off.”

Executives said their companies may now face difficulties explaining to
shareholders where the money went.

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Zim Independent

10 000 children denied an education

Augustine Mukaro
1/10/02 10:23:33 PM
 OVER 10 000 primary school children will be denied education as a result of
farm school closures caused by the fast track resettlement scheme which has
brought business at commercial farms to a standstill. The General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said the
number of children to be thrown out of schools on farms was bound to
increase because of the disturbances.

"Farm invasions have displaced farm workers and their children, leaving more
than half of farm schools without adequate numbers of children to open this

"In the event of an invaded farm closing down operations or forced to scale
down, a school is forced to close because the parents - formerly farm
workers - would be displaced by the invaders or may not be in a position to
pay the school fees," the union said.

The union said about three farm schools in the Mvurwi area might not open
this term because teachers did not want to risk their lives in
politically-volatile areas.

"The political situation on the farms can also drive away teachers just as
it is driving away farm workers," Gapwuz said. "In Mvurwi two schools could
not complete (the syllabus) last year because teachers had deserted the

"Other factors such as infrastructure and shelter which were being provided
by the commercial farmers can also drive away teachers once the farming
activities come to a standstill and the farmer deserts the farm," Gapwuz

Commercial farms have more than 200 schools with an average enrolment of
around 300 pupils each which translates to about 60 000 pupils
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Zimbabwe's bishops say they will avoid party politics

Zimbabwe's bishops said they will stay out of party politics in the weeks
leading to the March presidential elections.

"Our church stands to defend the people's political right to choose freely
and belong to any party of their choice, just as it campaigns for the
protection of all their other human rights and freedoms," the Zimbabwe
bishops' conference said in an early January statement.

Tensions between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change have resulted in killings and other violence,
with Mugabe vowing to crack down on the opposition, labeling them

Mugabe has ruled the southern African country of 12.5 million people since
it won independence from Britain in 1980.

"We appeal to the political leadership to publicly denounce violence and
replace it with dialogue," the bishops' statement said.

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Zimbabwe facing international isolation

Zimbabwe is heading for international isolation after parliament passed laws giving President Robert Mugabe dictatorial powers.

Both the EU and the US have threatened President Mugabe with sanctions if he continues to dismantle democracy within Zimbabwe.

New Zealand has demanded Zimbabwe be expelled from the Commonwealth.

A high-powered Zimbabwe delegation is expected to be given a rough ride at a meeting with EU officials in Brussels.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw seems certain to carry out his threat to demand Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-member Commonwealth.

South Africa says it is "unacceptable" for Zimbabwe's army chiefs to say they would only accept a Mugabe presidential election victory.

Critics say the two controversial laws are designed to stifle dissent ahead of the presidential election on March 9-10.

New Zealand foreign minister Phil Goff said the legislation further restricts the rights and freedom of the press and clearly shows that the election will not be free or fair.

The case against allowing Zimbabwe to remain in the Commonwealth "is overwhelming", Mr Goff said.

"There is documented evidence of harassment, arbitrary arrests, assaults, torture and killing of those who oppose the regime," he added.

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