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

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The Guardian

Zimbabwe Opposition Vows To Fight

Saturday January 12, 2002 12:30 AM


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader vowed Friday to put up
a fight in upcoming presidential elections, regardless of recent government
efforts to suppress dissent.

Officials from around the world, meanwhile, criticized legislation
Zimbabwe's ruling party pushed through Parliament a day earlier that put
restrictions on independent election monitors and opposition candidates.

But Morgan Tsvangirai, who is running against President Robert Mugabe, said
he was undeterred.

``We have absolutely no intention of abandoning the people when we have come
to the closing hours of what has been a long and difficult journey toward
democratic change,'' said Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic
Change.

The presidential election has been called for March, amid serious concerns
about fairness.

After 21 years in office, Mugabe is fighting for political survival, and the
opposition has accused his government of ramming the repressive legislative
measures through Parliament and sanctioning violence in a bid to paralyze
his opponents.

On Thursday, the ruling party-dominated Parliament passed legislation that
would require that polling monitors be approved by state election officials,
restrict campaigning and require specific proof of residency.

The last requirement is an apparent shot at the opposition, which is strong
in urban areas where many people rent and don't necessarily have the sort of
residency proof that homeowners have.

Lawmakers from Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union party also are
expected to push through a bill next week aimed at muzzling the media. The
bill would prohibit foreign correspondents from working in Zimbabwe and
require local journalists to apply for licenses.

Thursday's legislation, which also grants police broader search-and-arrest
powers, comes on top of an often-violent campaign by ruling party militants
to seize white-owned land, a program backed by Mugabe and his government.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned what he
called the ``intensifying government-directed intimidation and violence
against the opposition supporters, against the media and against civil
society in Zimbabwe.''

He said the United States believes at least five opposition supporters have
been killed in the past two weeks.

In Brussels, Mugabe's foreign minister was grilled Friday by the European
Union, which is considering withholding development aid to Zimbabwe because
of human rights concerns.

The European Union urged the Zimbabwean delegation to end political
violence, organize free elections and ensure freedom of the press, according
to an EU official who attended the talks.

But Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge delivered a 25-page speech accusing
Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial power, of making promises of aid and
then mobilizing an unfair anti-Zimbabwe campaign so it wouldn't have to
actually pay.

Mudenge also stressed the need for land reform in the southern African
nation, the issue that first sparked political violence in March 2000. Most
of Zimbabwe's commercial farmland is owned by whites who make up less than
half a percent of the population.

He also reiterated official promises to allow independent foreign election
monitors - something the European Union has pressed hard for. However, he
would not say which countries Zimbabwe would accept and what sort of freedom
of movement the monitors would have. It seemed unlikely the European Union
would be satisfied.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Zimbabwe should be
suspended from the Commonwealth - the association of Britain and its former
colonies - for its increasingly dictatorial and abusive regime.

South Africa spoke out against a declaration by Zimbabwe's military chiefs
that they would only back a leader who served in the country's bush war for
independence, which accelerated the end of British colonial rule in 1980.

Mugabe was a political leader during the revolution. Tsvangirai was a young
civilian labor leader.

``The South African government cannot support the army pre-empting the
election outcome,'' said South African President Thabo Mbeki's spokesman
Bheki Khumalo.

In Washington, Boucher said: ``We call upon the government to disavow the
statements made by the military to ensure that elections are free and
fair.''
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BBC
 
Friday, 11 January, 2002, 20:45 GMT
Zimbabwe press debates new bills
Zimbabwe's parliament
Zimbabwe's parliament debates media bill next week
Zimbabwe is facing the threat of EU sanctions, after its parliament passed a security bill criminalising criticism of President Robert Mugabe and giving the police new powers to disperse demonstrations.

Next week the parliament debates another controversial bill - on control over the media. The Zimbabwean press has been debating the issues involved:

The Daily News quotes Edgar Tekere, Mr Mugabe's opponent in the 1990 elections.

"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."


Democracy in this country is no longer in the intensive care unit - democracy is dead

The Daily News
"If we had done something about it then... 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," the paper argues.

"Democracy in this country is no longer in the intensive care unit. Democracy is dead," The Daily News laments.

The general's declaration

The paper sounds the death knell on democracy in Zimbabwe following Wednesday's "blood-curdling declaration" by the armed forces' chief, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, that the security organisations would "only stand in support of those political leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs".

Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe
Zvinavashe: "Disgraceful betrayal"
The paper says 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".

The Zimbabwe Independent describes General Zvinavashe's declaration as a "disgraceful betrayal of his constitutional responsibilities" and "a coup against the democratic process".

"This is governance as bad as it gets."

Mr Mugabe "knows he has lost the nation's trust and could never win a free and fair poll," the Zimbabwe Independent charges.

The Financial Gazette also sounds the alarm.

"Zimbabweans cannot and must not tolerate this organised anarchy, which is clearly meant to intimidate them and perpetuate Mugabe's tyranny of two decades."

It urges Mr Mugabe to "come down from his high pedestal now and order his mobs to rapidly end the violence or risk a bloodbath from an anguished and inflamed nation".

Support for Mugabe

The pro-government The Herald slams Britain and the West.


We find it despicable that the Western world can blatantly assume the high moral ground of standing in judgment over sovereign countries like Zimbabwe

The Herald
"For the first time in its 22-year history, Zimbabwe's sovereignty is in real danger of being usurped by the country's colonial enemy, Britain, which has openly declared war against the country."

"We find it despicable that the Western world can blatantly assume the high moral ground of standing in judgment over sovereign countries like Zimbabwe which had to fight for the human rights of its citizens and the introduction of democracy and the rule of law," The Herald adds.

International community's role

The Zimbabwe Independent calls on Zimbabwe's friends to "stop dancing around the issue of sanctions in the naive hope that a wilful and increasingly unstable dictator like Mugabe will suddenly change his mind and stop terrorising his people".

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
The information minister will decide who can work as a journalist
"This latest example of the prostitution of state power will be a litmus test for the Southern Africa Development Community and Zimbabwe's friends abroad".

The Financial Gazette tells SADC's "hesitant leaders" that it is high time "they took note of the sharply deteriorating events in Zimbabwe and acted with deeds to rein in a wayward colleague".

It urges the international community to "intervene for the sake of sanity".

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Zimbabwe says accepts poll observers on own terms

BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said on Friday
his country would accept international election observers, possibly
including EU representatives, but strictly on its own terms.
Speaking after a day of talks with EU officials on the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe, Mudenge deflected European criticism of his
government's clampdown on media freedom ahead of a March 9-10 presidential
election.
       ''I will issue invitations (to observers)... But there will be no
monitors in Zimbabwe. Nobody monitors Zimbabwe. I'll invite observers in the
coming days,'' Mudenge told a news conference.
       Asked if they might include observers from any of the 15 EU member
states, Mudenge said: ''From the EU? Why not?'' He said requests from
international media to cover the election would be handled by Zimbabwe's
information minister.
       The EU said Zimbabwe appeared ready to go ''some way'' towards
meeting its demands on free elections and media freedom, but added that it
was ''not satisfied that its concerns will be met.'' In response, Mudenge
said: ''This almost makes our consultations worthless. If you don't believe
in us, why do we bother?''
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Zimbabwe Minister Accuses UK Of Interference

Ananova
Saturday January 12, 2002 3:32 AM


Zimbabwe's foreign minister has launched an attack on Britain, accusing Tony
Blair's Government of illegally interfering in his country's internal
affairs.

Stanislaus Mudenge hit out at the end of a day of talks in Brussels between
a delegation of 18 senior Zimbabwe Government ministers and officials and
the European Union.

He was angered by an EU statement which demanded respect for human rights, a
return to a free press and an end to the illegal occupation of property in
Zimbabwe.

Mr Mudenge turned his wrath on the UK accusing the British Government of
attempting to unseat President Robert Mugabe by swamping Zimbabwe with short
wave radio "propaganda" supporting the political opposition MDC party, and
also providing funding.

He said President Mugabe was being pilloried for committing the "sin" of
trying to rectify long-standing injustices over land and property ownership
in Zimbabwe between blacks and whites.

"All we have done is correct injustices in which one per cent of the
population owns 70% of arable land - a situation crying out for correction,"
said Mr Mudenge.

A British Government official pointed out that the talks were between the
15-nation European Union and not with Britain alone. All 15 EU countries
were raising concerns collectively with Zimbabwe, and none was satisfied
with the response it had received.

The Europeans gave the government in Harare a week to say how it will
improve its rights record and stage fair presidential elections set for
March 9 and 10.

EU foreign ministers will now consider whether to push ahead with sanctions
against Zimbabwe if President Mugabe's regime does not reverse its latest
crackdown on freedoms and reassure Europe that it is respecting human
rights.

Trade sanctions and a ban on Zimbabwean nationals travelling to EU countries
are likely to be imposed if there is no break through in continuing
consultations in the next two weeks.
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New York Times
 
January 12, 2002

Moves by Zimbabwe's President Are Criticized in South Africa

By RACHEL L. SWARNS


JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 11 South African officials today denounced Zimbabwe's efforts to restrict and intimidate supporters of its leading oppositionparty as Zimbabwe braced for its most fiercely contested presidential election.

President Thabo Mbeki sharply criticized Zimbabwe's generals, who suggested this week that they would not support the opposition candidate for president because he did not take part in the guerrilla struggle that helped end all-white rule in 1980. In comments relayed by an aide, Mr. Mbeki described
the military leaders' remarks as "unacceptable."

Mr. Mbeki announced his stance on neighboring Zimbabwe a day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a revered leader of the anti-apartheid struggle, warned that the country seemed to be teetering "on the slippery slope toward a dictatorship."

Bheki Khumalo, the spokesman who described Mr. Mbeki's concerns on state radio today, said in an interview: "You can't have security forces pre-empting an election outcome before it takes place. Whether they fought for liberation or didn't fight, all candidates must be allowed to stand."

Mr. Khumalo said Mr. Mbeki was also concerned about the sweeping security and election laws that were passed on Thursday by Zimbabwe's Parliament. The laws allow the government of President Robert Mugabe to clamp down on critics and limit the monitoring of the elections, which will be held in March.

"The situation continues to concern us," Mr. Khumalo said. "The independence of the media, freedom of political activity, those are values that we hold very dearly. These are the values upon which democracy is founded. We see no reason why they can't happen in Zimbabwe. A climate must be created for free and fair elections."

Diplomats in Europe and other African countries are also putting pressure on Mr. Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980. Their concerns include allegations that Mr. Mugabe has supported the intimidation of journalists, opposition party organizers and white farmers.

European Union officials voiced their worries in a meeting with Zimbabwean ministers in Brussels. On Monday, Mr. Mbeki plans to raise the issue again with a group of presidents from southern Africa who will be discussing troubles in the region.

"All the concerns of the European Union were clearly passed to the Zimbabwean delegation," Cristina Gallach, a spokeswoman for the European Union, said in a telephone interview from Brussels. "Today's discussion is the beginning of a process that could end with the suspension of development >aid."

The European Union reduced the annual development aid to Zimbabwe to $4.5 million in 2001, from about $26 million in 1999, because of the worsening political climate, and officials said the $114 million earmarked for 2002 through 2007 could be suspended if Mr. Mugabe refused to respect the rule of law, private property and freedom of the press.

In the past six months, there have been many meetings and many efforts to persuade Mr. Mugabe to reverse course. All have failed to produce substantial results. And with the election only two months away, some supporters of the opposition are beginning to despair.

The laws passed this week will allow the government to ban political rallies and make it difficult for the opposition to hang posters and distribute campaign literature. It will also make it more difficult for people to register to vote.

Zimbabwe's state news agency reported today that senior officials in the governing party supported the generals who suggested that they would not support the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, if he were the elected president.

Elliot Manyika, a senior member of Mr. Mugabe's party, was quoted as saying that the generals were only reiterating shared national values, and he expressed surprise that the opposition party and others seemed worried by such statements.

Leaders in South Africa, however, were certainly worried. In an interview with the BBC, Archbishop Tutu, who is now retired, said he was very concerned about the deteriorating political climate in Zimbabwe. He also indicated his disappointment with Mr. Mugabe, who was once viewed as one of the most promising leaders on the continent.

"I'm deeply, deeply saddened," Mr. Tutu said. "I'm disappointed. I really feel ashamed in many ways because, as I said, he used to be such a splendid leader."
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Another Anthrax Scare Detected in Zimbabwe
 
HARARE, January 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Another letter suspected to
contain anthrax bacilli has been detected at the South African
Airways (SAA) offices housed in the National Security Authority
building in Harare, according to the Herald newspaper on Saturday.
   Police are now investigating the suspected letter, which was
addressed to the general manager of SAA and was detected on
Wednesday .
   The letter has been sent for analysis with the Veterinary
Department at the University of Zimbabwe to determine the contents.
   Chairman of the Bio-terrorism task force Stanley Midzi from the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said the letter originated in
Harare and the envelope had a logo of a local car dealer
apparently the vehicles of airline are serviced by the car dealer.
   Midzi said the secretary to the general manager was treated at
a private hospital after complaining of skin irritation when she
opened the mail. She was reported to be in a stable condition.
   This is the second time an anthrax scare had been detected in
Harare in a week. Last week two envelopes were intercepted at
Causeway Post Office. One of the letters was addressed to Minister
of Sate for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo.
   The bio-terrorism task force has recommended stiffer penalties
for people caught sending hoax contaminated mail. They have
recommended to parliament to review the jail term from the current
seven years to 20 years.
   Midzi said the task force was treating the cases with the
seriousness they deserved.  Enditem
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Business Day
 
EU lays bare Zimbabwe concerns


The European Union has laid bare its concerns about political freedoms, human rights and land reform in Zimbabwe, in what officials called a frank, business-like exchange of views with a posse of ministers from Harare.

Though the 15-nation bloc could move quickly to slap sanctions on President Robert Mugabe's government, the EU was more likely to ask for more consultations before Zimbabweans troop to the polls on March 9-10.

"They won't come to an end today," said a diplomatic source, as Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge responded to the Europeans' concerns at the closed-door meeting in the bunker-like Council of Ministers' headquarters.

The meeting was still underway last night, running later than expected. In his opening remarks, Mudenge accused Britain of hiding behind the European Union to duck its responsibilities for Zimbabwe's post-colonial land reform.

"Britain has used its membership of the EU to gain sympathy for white farmers and to try to evade its colonial responsibilities," he said, according to a text distributed to reporters.

"The worries that other members of the EU have articulated, genuine as they might be, stem directly from the actions and inactions of the United Kingdom," he said.

Calling Zimbabwe "the second longest-running stable multi-party democracy in Africa," Mudenge said the issue of elections in Zimbabwe could not be a subject for dialogue with the EU "as it does not arise."

Diplomatic sources said that Mudenge mentioned that Zimbabwe had no objection to international election observers, but stopped short of saying that an EU team would be welcome.

EU sanctions could include a travel ban on Mugabe and his associates, a freeze on their assets in Europe, and the suspension of development aid which has been running at about E20-million a year.

EU foreign ministers were likely to discuss the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe when they next meet on January 28-29. But European Commission external relations spokesman Gunnar Wiegand refused to speculate Friday on what measures might be taken.

"The commission and the (Spanish EU) presidency will report on the results of those consultations to the (foreign) ministers and the consultations may also take place over a longer period," he said.

"We don't know this yet, so I will not elaborate on any kind of sanctions."

Sapa-AFP

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Grain commandeered from farmers & held under armed guard
 
CFU Press statement: 10 January 2002
 
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers Union)
GRAIN farmers are now compelled to deliver maize and grain stocks no later than 14 days after harvest, a development that has come about at the gazetting of Statutory Instrument 387 in December, 2001. The Commercial Farmers Union criticised that it does not address on-farm use for staff consumption and for livestock feed. The Union further objected that proposals put forward to the ministry to avert the predicted food security situation were spurned. According to figures from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe requires 150 000 tonnes per month. Information to hand indicates that GMB only had 96 000 tonnes at the end of November falling far short of requirements to take Zimbabwe through to harvest peak in May 2002. This situation has led to the current seizures countrywide and it is estimated that as of today Thursday 10th Jan, 5000 tonnes has been commandeered. Reports coming in to the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association (ZGPA) from the 1400 commercial grain producers indicate that the inspectors are seizing as little as 16 tonnes to 300 tonnes from farmers. In Chegutu for example over 200 tonnes was seized and is under armed guard. Statutory Instrument 387 of 2001, was gazetted on 28th December, 2001, the nub of the instrument whose legality is being questioned is that maize and wheat producers, storers, packagers, distributors and millers are compelled to deliver to GMB, any controlled product in their possession. The period of time granted is 14 days after harvest ZGPA are of the view that there is room to appeal for exemption in terms of the Grain Marketing Act. Response has not as yet been forthcoming on this issue from the Grain Marketing Board. Doug Taylor Freeme, CFU Vice President for commodities said representation had been made to the Ministry and to GMB and clarification is expected. He said, "Firstly, I would like to call on farmers who may have a maize surplus to assist and bring it forward for sale to GMB. From a Union perspective, we have been very concerned at the food security forecasts since June last year and have been monitoring the forecasts. This legislation may not redress the situation, as we need to create a more production-orientated environment before the planting season. The disruption of this new legislation is that it will have a domino effect on food security, namely the production of milk, eggs, chicken, pork and beef products." " Secondly, the maize that is in the possession of farmers is retained, legitimately according to the Grain Marketing Act, Section 35C, for farm labourers and their dependants. The commercial farmers employ 300,000 labourers, who in turn support an estimated 1.5 million dependants. The future of their food security is under immediate threat." In the year 2000 commercial maize producers planted 150 000 hectares, this came down to
69 000 hectares in 2001, and currently only 45 000 hectares has been planted - expectations are that 200 000 tonnes will be harvested, just over one months supply for the nation. Farmers have been calling in to express concern that they will be unable to survive or to buy maize back for on-farm use. Taylor-Freeme said, "If Government ignores the laws of the land and go ahead and seize the maize off commercial farms, it will further compromise confidence levels. In some cases livestock flocks and herds that may be slaughtered due to no food, will take years to rebuild to current levels." The Union and ZGPA are unhappy with the current state of affairs, which they described as "regrettable". Various organisations had predicted the current stock out and urged Government to begin importing maize. ZGPA Administrator, Vanessa McKay referred to correspondence addressed to the Ministry of Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and the Ministry of Finance as early as August 2000. " We wrote to warn Government that if maize payments were not effected in good time we could expect a reduction in food production. This particular warning came true when the National Crop Forecasting Committee met in March and May 2001, and forecasted a reduced maize crop and that imports would indeed be required. Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement have representatives on the Crop Forecasting Committee, and that the Minister did not heed the advice and warnings of this Committee is unfortunate." Had Government heeded the warning signals of food shortages and taken steps to import maize in September, there would be no need to order the seizure of maize off commercial farms, and thus jeopardise the livestock and meat industry and Labour force. "There have been Certificates of Seizure issued on farmers for the immediate delivery of maize, and the GMB are moving this where possible. It is too early to say whether GMB will follow up on Certificates of Seizure. " Said McKay. Mrs. McKay added that some direction had been verbally received from the GMB. She said' " We have met an official and are advised that if farmers are prepared to deliver maize into GMB, without receiving any payment, and without paying storage charges, that farmer can draw-down maize from GMB as and when he requires it. We are concerned though that there will be stock outs and farmers may find themselves unable to collect on this concession." Insofar as the food situation in Zimbabwe is concerned the Minister reported the GMB had 96,000 tonnes in stock at the end of November and that Millers accounted for a further 90,000 tonnes, and unofficial estimates of 50,000 tonnes of maize was held by other parties. With a monthly consumption requirement of 150,000 tonnes, these stock figures totaling 226,000 tonnes reported are sufficient to feed the country until mid-February, 2002, if these stock figures are correctly reported. In March and May of last year the National Crop Forecasting Committee met to asses the size of the maize crop, and forecasted a largely reduced maize harvest of 1.47 million tonnes. This forecasted harvest by both large scale and small scale maize producers, together with the maize stock-pile held by the GMB in April last year, was sufficient to meet Zimbabwe's consumption requirements up to mid-February 2002. One can only presume the best information came to the table to give the estimate of 1.47 million tonnes, this is not to say the harvest was actually below the estimate or not. Following the determination of the National Crop Forecasting Committee in May last year, confirmation of these warnings were made to Government, who denied the official crop estimate, and insisted Zimbabwe would not need to import maize. The warnings came from various food security organisations, Famine Early Warning Systems and farming organisations. Government was likewise advised to begin importing and moving maize as early as September, 2001, an early start to the import programme would have ensured that sufficient maize had landed and been well distributed country-wide, particularly in the traditionally food deficit areas such as Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces. As a result of logistical constraints a limited volume of maize of not more than 30,000 tonnes can land in Zimbabwe per month (against a monthly consumption requirement of 150,000 tonnes). In September last year a comprehensive Food Security Plan was submitted to the Ministries of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and Finance. The objective of the Food Security Plan was to turn around food production from a negative to a positive, and including a proposal for Government to contract producers to plant an early irrigated maze crop which could be delivered to the GMB from March onwards, which will have filled the silo's with early crop prior to the traditional harvest from June onwards.
 
Ends
 
10 January 2002
For more info, please contact Jenni Williams
Cell (263) (0) 11 213 885 or 091 300 456
Email jennipr@mweb.co.zw <mailto:jennipr@mweb.co.zw> or
prnews@telconet.co.zw
 
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First hand reports on farm evictions
 
CFU News release: 10th January 2002
(On behalf of Commercial Farmers' Union)
 
TWENTY THREE tobacco farmers in Mashonaland Central were since Thursday 3rd January forced to leave their farms some at a moments notice by marauding groups made up of youths, women and war veterans. Seventeen of these farms are in Centenary, 4 in Mvurwi and two in Glendale. The farms are of a mixed legal status with only five under Section 8 compulsory notice of acquisition and seventeen under a preliminary notice of acquisition. Twenty one of the farmers only own one farm and three were only issued with acquisition notices after the September 6 Abuja Accord.
 
A meeting of the affected farmers was held in Harare on Wednesday 9th Jan and farmers were able to report to CFU President Colin Cloete on the developments. Of the 35 farmers present, most concurred that they were told of the plan apparently hatched at the ZANU PF Congress in Victoria Falls. The plan was to evict farmers who (it was thought) would then pressure the United States to reverse the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill. Indications were that this was one component of a countrywide plan but that Mashonaland Central veterans had jumped the starting pistol and mobilized members of the Youth League bussed in before events unfolded.
 
What followed was bands of mobs some between 50 to 300 strong armed with spears and axes moving from farm to farm insisting that farmers leave. The bands arrived on tractors and trailers commandeered from farmers, would firstly intimidate farm workers and then proceed to the homestead to demand the eviction of the farm owner. Most of the farmers were warned that a second mob would follow to ensure the eviction occurred. It has not as yet been determined how many farm workers were injured as a large number of farmers have been unable to return to determine the extent of intimidation.
 
Events began to unfold on the afternoon of the 3rd January on Goromawkwa Farm in Centenary district, when the owners were told to leave the property immediately. They were beaten on their legs and backs by some female participants with sticks.
 
The Watson's were told that the reason they were being made to leave was because of the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill promulgated in the United States. The couple had had no previous incidents and were living in harmony with settlers on the farm, which was under a Section 8 Notice of Acquisition. Under this Statutory Instrument 338, they are entitled to an eviction notice and a 90-day period restricted to their homestead to wind up their affairs. The family were not even accorded the time to pack an overnight bag and have not been able to return home as yet. A group of the evicting party has set up camp outside the house under the guise of guarding the house for the new owner.
 
The affected farmers met on Wednesday in Harare to examine the developments and most concurred that the activities seemed to be perpetrated by a small clique that for the most part were operating under their own agenda. Farmers were requested to assist Police and lands committee members to curtail the marauding groups' activities which were said to be 'not authorized'. Although the impetus has been curtailed, some farmers who have attempted to return home have been denied access.
 
As Friday dawned, a large group had gathered on Tekwane farm but found that the owner and manager had been tipped off by undisclosed sources and had left the property temporarily.
 
On the following farms, groups arrived, demanded food and drink and compelled the owners to leave.  The farms are Mtuatua, Chipiri, Aranbira, Mtorazeni, Nyadevi, Sulugulo, Muirend, Chipata, Always and Simapira and owners were given until noon today to leave. Some farmers were ordered to leave immediately with others being given longer, seemingly at the discretion of the person in charge of the invading party. Other farms affected were Four Ways, The Palms, Giwonde and Two Jays, Trossocks, Sulugulo, Mtuatua, Clear Morning, and Chidikamwedzi.
 
In some instances a 'pungwe' (an all night vigil) was held with the farmer expected to provide food and drink for all and sundry that chose to participate.
 
Threats issued varied from farm to farm but one message that prevailed was that farmers were responsible for the threat of sanctions on Zimbabwe, with a few farmers being told to "Speak to your Brother George Bush and tell him to drop the sanctions, once this is done you may have your farms back!" One settler told a farmer that the plan to evict the farmers was a way to get the Bill reversed and prevent the implementations of sanctions.
 
In some instances Labour were being encouraged to extort gratuities from their employers as their tenure on the land was now over. On Everton Farm several staff were beaten.
 
A Centenary farmer was visited by a group 350 strong, who chanted, "Chase the white man off". He asked not to be named, and said" After telling me that I had to leave by 10 am the next day, he told me to return in 3 days with gratuities for every worker of $3400 per year worked. Should I not comply with this then every thing on the farm would become the property of the workers. He also said that once I had paid gratuities, there would be no resignations and no dismissals, work would just continue as usual. I contacted Centenary Police to file a report and was advised that they would investigate the matter and come back to me. No report number would be given."
 
Another farmer talked of a ten-hour harrowing and terrifying experience, which began on Sunday. After demanding 200 kgs of mealie meal and a young steer, the group led by a war veteran known to the farmer ordered the family to leave by 10 am Monday.
 
" We were to contact our brothers Bush and Blair to remove sanctions and once done we could return home. They said that as refugees in Britain, CNN and BBC would interview us and that this would put pressure on to remove sanctions. Sanctions had caused the commodity shortages in Zimbabwe and the people were suffering as a result."
 
On Chirobi Farm in Glendale a group of people besieged the farm, gaining access by breaking down the security fence to the homestead. They trashed the swimming pool area, stole tractor batteries etc whilst chanting slogans.
 
In Horseshoe, a farm owner was given a letter giving him 24 hours to leave. Police and the War Veteran leadership however told the owner that this was illegal and that they were to ignore the letter. The next day a rally was called for at Gwakwe School with attendance by managers from Siyalima, Maidevale, Penrose Farms, they were given 24 hours to leave. The District Administrator advised that this was illegal and confirmed that farmers with a section 8 were due 90 days notice period and could negotiate their stay to complete their crops with people at his level, including the Lands committee. This position was further backed up by the Officer in charge who indicated that he had received permission to 'react as strongly as he liked'.
 
However on Chirobi Farm, Chris Thorn and his family opted to remain in their home and were terrorized for two days. Events began on Friday 4th January when the house sitter was alerted to trouble when the staff entered the homestead to seek refuge from a gang of invaders who had broken through the fence and were surrounding the house. They proceeded to terrorise them for the next 10 hours beating on doors and windows. Saturday offered no respite when the Thorn's returned at midday to find the road blocked by a substantial boom with twenty thugs in attendance.
 
Mr Thorn said," We eventually received a message at 17:00 hrs that the Officer in Charge Bindura had resolved the matter. As we arrived we saw an officer in the company of about twenty-five invaders close to the homestead but did not get to speak with him as he drove off leaving the invaders inside the security fence."
 
On Sunday singing and chanting began and a gang of some 50 to 60 invaders cut through the security fence and surrounded the homestead. There would be no electricity on an off until Sunday when the power was restored.
 
"On Sunday at 09.00, I managed to raise Inspector Sandi on his cell phone. I told him that we were under attack by criminal elements that had cut off the water and electricity and cut through the security fence and as we spoke they were busy vandalising our property and shouting death threats and banging on the doors and windows. Although he said he would come he never arrived, resulting in my seeking assistance from my lawyer who had to drive to ZRP Bindura to react to the situation. By then had we wanted to escape, we could not have done so as the air had been let out of our vehicles. The damage to property and loss of goods looted amount to Z$ 845 500." said Thorn
 
Despite assurance at 14.00 hours on Saturday, given by a Superintendent that Bindura would react no officers arrived.
 
"We did however receive a report that a police vehicle had arrived at the barrier and had almost immediately driven away again. Several of our employees where summoned by the invaders and told to tell us that we would all be forced to vacate the property tomorrow and given safe passage by the police to do so."
 
There would still be no resolution by Sunday night although senior police officers had been briefed and appealed to.
 
"A Police detail finally arrived on Monday morning from the Bindura Provincial Headquarters. I explained in detail that there was no comprise to the situation and that I was entitled to the protection of the law and even under the twice amended Land Acquisition Act I was entitled to remain within my homestead area and have unimpeded access to and from the farm. This was acknowledged and arrangements were put in place in radio communication with ZRP Bindura, to remove all felled trees and roadblocks. We were finally granted free access in an out of our home at 17:30 on Monday."
 
Meanwhile the Commercial Farmers Union has through its president, Colin Cloete issued the following guidelines to farmers under legal threat due to Section 8 Notices.
 
Both versions of the Section 8 orders, those served before 9 Nov 2001, and those signed and delivered after that date are still valid and have the same effect on farmers unless deemed to be invalid in a court of law. Members must regard the "delivery date" of the original orders has to be assumed to be the 9 Nov. 2001, the date on which SI 338 was published. In calculating the notice period, exclude 9 Nov. and include the 90th day thereafter, (I .e. Feb. 7).
 
Farmers should expect to receive the notice by hand delivery. It is written on a single sheet of paper with no letterhead, no official stamp, but will be signed by The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Minister Made. The amendment to Section 8 of the Act does not deprive any owner who objected to the acquisition of their property to a court hearing in terms of Sec.7 but under current conditions, it will most likely take place after the occupation of the farm.
 
At the serving of a Section 8 Government have the right to stop your operations at any time thereafter. This is not being demanded immediately in all cases, up to now. If an authority (or settler) demands this must happen, then any attempt to operate contrary to that request could be interpreted as 'interference'. This could lead to your arrest and prosecution leading to a fine and/or imprisonment.
 
Those farmers who have not been closed down and have crops and livestock under management should write to the Minister, with a copy to the Provincial Land Committee, asking for permission to carry on farming for the current season. Your application will probably be considered at the local level, so if circumstances allow, go and talk to them about it. The CFU believes that it is important to write to the Minister and the local land authorities for such permission.
 
But, any investment towards the next winter crop must be regarded as a very high-risk undertaking because the law says that service of a Sec. 8 Order vests ownership of the land in the State, and that land includes "anything permanently attached to or growing on the land". It does not include livestock, plant and equipment, or stocks of fuel, fertilizer, chemicals etc.
 
Long established culture in this country recognizes the right that every man has to reap the crops he has sown. Do not jeopardise your chances of being allowed to reap and sell your crop by being antagonistic. You may have rights to damages and compensation for crops taken from you, but it will take a long time to get any payment.
 
Under the legislation, a farmer is expected to "vacate" his home within 90 days of the Section 8 being served. If the Order was served before 9 Nov.2001, the notice period started on 10 Nov. If you are still in your home at the end of 90 days the Minister then have to get an "eviction order", probably from the High Court. At present it seems the concept of a "homestead" includes adjoining sheds, barns, stores etc.
 
Farmers were further advised to be cautious when dealing with "A2" settlers, some may be very powerful political entities, others more reasonable civil servants or businessmen.  They have a right to occupy the land but not the homestead during the 90-day notice period. Any attempt to evict an owner before the end of the 90-day period will be unlawful. One can only act in the hope that the order will be enforced. The statement said.
 
Ends
 
10th January 2002
 
For more information, please contact
Jenni Williams
Cell 011 213 885 or 091 300 456
Email jennipr@mweb.co.zw <mailto:jennipr@mweb.co.zw> or prnews@telconet.co.zw <mailto:prnews@telconet.co.zw>
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 12 January

Mugabe given EU deadline to accept poll observers

Brussels - The European Union has given Zimbabwe one week to declare in writing that it will accept international observers and news media during the March 9-10 presidential elections. An EU statement said yesterday: "At this stage, the EU is not satisfied that its concerns will be met." The EU insisted on "two immediate actions" - the "invitation and accreditation of international election observers, including from the EU," and "full access to national and international media". The statement said EU foreign ministers would review the situation at their next meeting in Brussels on Jan 28-29. However, it did not mention the previously raised possibility of EU sanctions against Mugabe's regime.

After talks with the EU yesterday, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, said: "We will be responding . . . in due course." EU officials, ending their softly-softly approach, had demanded a halt to human rights abuses, the lifting of press curbs, safeguards for the judiciary, free and fair elections and an end to arbitrary land seizures. Mr Mudenge delivered an hour-long diatribe, claiming that his government was the victim of a smear campaign by the British press and Zimbabwe's former masters in London. He said: "Britain has used its membership of the EU to gain sympathy for white farmers in Zimbabwe and to try to evade its colonial responsibilities." He argued that new measures curbing the press and political freedoms pushed through parliament in Harare this week had been "misunderstood" and said Zimbabwe needed time to sort out a land-reform crisis inherited from the colonial era.

Australia and New Zealand called for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth and South Africa condemned warnings by Zimbabwe's armed forces that a Mugabe victory was the only acceptable outcome of the elections. The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said: "We don't want a country sitting around the table with us, or a president sitting around the table with us, who doesn't stand for the things we stand for." The EU's development projects in Zimbabwe, worth about 75 million over five years, could come under review when its foreign ministers meet later this month, though desperately needed food and medical aid would not be touched. Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP, the Tory foreign affairs spokesman in Brussels, said: "They're just trying to put off the evil day for longer. We have to move ahead with the preparatory steps for smart sanctions anyway, so that Mugabe sees we really mean business." Glenys Kinnock, a Labour MEP and harsh critic of Mr Mugabe, said: "This has to be taken with a very big grain of salt. We've seen all week the laws they have been passing and the political repression getting worse. This is cuckoo-land. I don't think it's progress at all."

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From The Times of India, 12 January

France slams Zimbabwe's deteriorating rights situation

Paris - France said Friday it was concerned by Zimbabwe's deteriorating human rights situation, after the country's parliament passed sweeping new powers clamping down on security and voting rights ahead of March elections. "France is concerned by this attack on the rule of law and Zimbabwe's democratic principles," foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau told reporters after the government of President Robert Mugabe muscled two bills through parliament on Thursday. The European Union opened high-stake consultations with Zimbabwe on Friday that could determine whether the 15-nation bloc imposes sanctions on Mugabe's government. The French comments echo previous statements particularly from Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain. "It is hard to see how free and fair elections can now be held in a country whose government is determined to impose such severe restrictions on the Zimbabwean people's ability to organise, campaign and express their views," foreign office minister Valerie Amos said Thursday.

Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party pushed through two bills designed to stop Mugabe being toppled in the March 9-10 election - the most hotly-contested vote since he came to power 22 years ago. The bills grant sweeping security powers to Zanu PF, make it an offence to criticise the president and authorise police to disperse public gatherings. They also ban independent election monitors and disenfranchise at least a million Zimbabwean voters abroad, many of whom support the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). A bill imposing tight controls on independent and foreign media is expected to be passed soon by the Zanu PF-dominated assembly.

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From The Zimbabwe Independent, 11 January

Zanu PF uses violence to raise poll funds

Zanu PF has resorted to intimidation and brute force as a fundraising tool, with millions of dollars being extracted from teachers and peasants in the rural areas, the Zimbabwe Independent has established. Party secretary David Karimanzira in his annual report to the central committee said the sale of party cards was set to raise $7 million between January and December 2001. Prior to the lavish conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls close to $15 million had been raised. Karimanzira commended Mashonaland Central, a province steeped in death and farm wreckage, for an excellent job after having raised $5 million. Roadblocks have been mounted in most parts of the province and a new-look Zanu PF card could be the thin divide between life and death. The breakdown of the funds raised so far according to the report are as follows: Mashonaland West $651 488, Matabeleland North $253 560, Matabeleland South $518 332, Bulawayo $295 346, Harare $991 534, Manicaland $1 193 791 and Midlands $2 423 451.

Elton Magara, a former teacher in Rushinga, said he was forced to resign from the profession as it had become too dangerous to work in the district. "We were made to pay money for the Unity Day, Heroes Day and even the Independence Day celebrations and yet the money cannot be accounted for," said Magara. "We knew that failure to comply would lead to harassment by the so-called war veterans who have scant regard for international law and human rights. We just had to pay," he said. The Zanu PF card had to be purchased even if one is not a member of the party. "The new-look card is going for $82 and we are being forced to buy it by the Zanu PF authorities," said a visibly shaken old man from Uzumba. "Sometimes one is given a receipt only as demand is outstrippiing supply. One must carry the receipt or the card all the time as failure to do so leads to serious assaults."

Many teachers in the volatile rural areas of Mutoko, Mudzi, Murehwa, Mt Darwin, Rushinga and Shamva are planning to go on leave as the race for the presidency, scheduled for March 9/10, gathers momentum amid an escalation of violence. Bright Moyo, who teaches in Murehwa, accused Education minister Aenius Chigwedere of refusing to protect teachers. "Chigwedere gave the militias the go-ahead to terrorise us when he said he will not protect teachers who engage in opposition politics," said Moyo. "This has caused untold suffering amongst teachers as we are attacked daily on cooked up charges. If you do not attend Zanu PF pungwes then you are labelled an MDC supporter and an attack will be imminent," said Moyo. The police's slow response to the violence has led to intense criticism of its partisan operations. One teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said she was going on leave as she had no confidence in the police. "Militias in Murehwa mount roadblocks near police posts and the police merely turn a blind eye. One is not safe anymore and it is better to go on leave until this madness is over," she said.

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From The Economist (UK), 10 January

Democracy, who needs it?

Zimbabwe's parliament is in the process of passing bills that will make it hard for anybody other than Robert Mugabe to win the March presidential election

With only two months left before the presidential election scheduled for March 9th and 10th, Robert Mugabe is in a hurry. Not, as might be the case in a more normal democracy, to hone his debating skills or coin a catchy slogan. Rather, Mr Mugabe is anxious to make sure that no aspect of the election will be free or fair. Luckily for him, his party enjoys a large enough majority in Zimbabwe's parliament to pass a few helpful laws. He suffered a brief setback on January 8th, when too many ruling-party MPs sloped off home before a vote. Their absence from the chamber allowed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to block amendments to the Electoral Act that would have banned neutral election monitors, and allowed judges to jail dissidents for pinning up posters.

But just as he used to rally his men after setbacks during the war against white colonialism, so Mr Mugabe rallied his troops in the new war against democracy. He ordered his ministers to suspend normal parliamentary procedures in order to pass four tyrannical bills as quickly as they could. Dispensing with most of the usual rituals, his faithful MPs set about a process that will give the president extraordinary powers to bash his opponents. The Public Order and Security Bill, for a start, makes it an offence to "undermine the authority of the president" or "engender hostility" towards him. It also bars Zimbabweans from speaking badly of the police. Some might be tempted to do so, however, if or when officers start using their new powers to disperse any crowd they do not like the look of.

Then there is the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, which bars public bodies from releasing more or less any important information. It also bans pesky foreign journalists from working in Zimbabwe, and subjects the locals to restrictions. They may not "spread rumours that cause alarm and despondency". They may not publish leaked information. They may not publish stories that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion and-wait for it-"political affiliation". Johnathan Moyo, the information minister, must have enjoyed crafting that one. All journalists working for independent papers are obliged to register with Mr Moyo for permission to continue working. Most, if not all, are planning to risk jail by defying him.

An amendment to the Labour Relations Act bans strikes that lack official approval. Given that Zimbabwe's trade unions fervently support the MDC, it is perhaps unlikely that approval will be granted. Mr Mugabe also plans to have another, possibly illegal, go at amending the Electoral Act. Besides the ban on independent monitors, non-governmental organisations are to be barred, for instance, from telling rural voters that the ballot will be secret. Zimbabweans living abroad will no longer be allowed to vote by post, unless they are diplomats or soldiers. All these bills are blatantly unconstitutional, and a number of organisations and individuals plan to challenge them. This could be tricky. Seven top judges have resigned or retired in recent months, some after receiving thinly-disguised death threats from the justice minister. Hacks have been appointed to replace them, who may not look kindly on challenges to Mr Mugabe. They have already ruled his expropriation of white-owned land to be lawful, which it plainly is not.

In the run-up to a parliamentary election in 2000, Mr Mugabe deployed several thousand "war veterans" to beat up opposition supporters, and threaten rural voters with burnt huts, if they failed to support the ruling party. This year, he has decided to muster reinforcements. Hordes of jobless youths from the countryside have been sent to two-week training camps, from which they emerged last month with snappy green uniforms and supple wrists for sjambokking people. This new militia has already been blamed for the deaths of six MDC members. Despite such thorough preparation, Mr Mugabe could still lose. He is widely detested. Thanks to his misrule, inflation is running at more than 100% and basic food is in short supply. Small riots are erupting in shops and markets, as customers scramble for scarce groceries. Mr Mugabe's opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, has given up hope of a fair contest. But he says that Zimbabweans cannot afford to boycott the election: it is probably their only hope of a peaceful change of government

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Sanctions against Zimbabwe may be needed - Tutu 
 
LONDON, Jan. 12 South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Saturday sanctions against Zimbabwe might be the only way to make President Robert Mugabe ''see sense.''
       Tutu told BBC radio's ''Today'' programme by telephone from South Africa Mugabe was ''power mad'' but the threat of sanctions might convince him to curb his actions. 
Zimbabwe's parliament, where Mugabe's ZANU-PF has a comfortable majority, passed laws on Thursday aimed at tightening Mugabe's grip on power ahead of a presidential election in March.
       ''If he (Mugabe) can't be made to see sense...there may be a carrot that you could dangle in front of him to say that if he does certain things then obviously sanctions will not be applied,'' Tutu said.
       ''But if he remains intransigent, as seems to be the case, then we have to say very, very reluctantly that people are going to have to take some very specific and effective action.''
       In the 1980s Tutu campaigned for international sanctions to bring down South Africa's white-minority government.
       Tutu also urged South Africa and the 13 other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to be more forthright in criticising Zimbabwe.
       ''They have got to accept that quiet diplomacy has not done the trick,'' he said.
       Zimbabwe will be on the agenda of a meeting of SADC leaders in Malawi on Monday.
       Tutu's comments came a day after Zimbabwe agreed to accept international observers at its presidential elections -- but on its own terms -- and accused Britain of ''poisoning'' the European Union against it.
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CNN
 
Mugabe opponent: I fight to win

January 12, 2002 Posted: 3:57 AM EST (0857 GMT)
 

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's opposition leader says he will fight hard to win upcoming presidential elections, regardless of recent government efforts to suppress dissent.
 
Officials from around the world, meanwhile, are continuing to criticise legislation that Zimbabwe's ruling party pushed through Parliament on Thursday that put restrictions on independent election monitors and opposition candidates.
 
But Morgan Tsvangirai, who is running against President Robert Mugabe, said on Friday he was undeterred.
 
"We have absolutely no intention of abandoning the people when we have come to the closing hours of what has been a long and difficult journey toward democratic change," Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change, told The Associated Press.
 
The presidential election has been called for March, amid serious concerns about fairness.
 

After 21 years in office, Mugabe is fighting for political survival, and the opposition has accused his government of pushing the repressive legislative measures through Parliament and sanctioning violence in an attempt to paralyse his opponents.
 
On Thursday, the ruling party-dominated Parliament passed legislation that would require that polling observers be approved by state election officials, restrict campaigning and require specific proof of residency.
 
The last requirement is an apparent shot at the opposition, which is strong in urban areas where many people rent and do not necessarily have the sort of residency proof that homeowners have.
 
Lawmakers from Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union party also are expected to push through a bill next week aimed at gagging the media. The bill would prohibit foreign correspondents from working in Zimbabwe and require local journalists to apply for licences.
 
Thursday's legislation, which also grants police broader search-and-arrest powers, comes on top of an often-violent campaign by ruling party militants to seize white-owned land, a programme backed by Mugabe and his government.
 
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned what he called the "intensifying government-directed intimidation and violence against the opposition supporters, against the media and against civil society in Zimbabwe."
 
He said the United States believes at least five opposition supporters have been killed in the past two weeks.
 
Sanctions still possible
The European Union and Zimbabwe failed, meanwhile, to settle their dispute over ending political violence, and the Europeans gave the government in Harare a week to say how it will improve its rights record and stage fair presidential elections.
 
After 10 hours of talks, the EU issued a statement repeating concerns about harassment of opposition politicians, intimidation of the judiciary and widening curbs on press freedoms.
 
The EU mentioned no sanctions but officials said privately that they remained an option
 
The EU statement asked Mugabe to write a letter, within a week, pledging to invite and accredit "international observers, including from the EU" for the March 9-10 presidential elections.
 

Mugabe is seeking sweeping new powers   
It also asked him to ensure "full access to national and international media" to cover the elections. The EU wants observers in place by about February 1 at the latest.
 
Mugabe's foreign minister was grilled by officials of the EU, which is considering withholding development aid to Zimbabwe because of human rights concerns.
 
But Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge delivered a 25-page speech accusing Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial power, of making promises of aid and then mobilising an unfair anti-Zimbabwe campaign so it would not have to actually pay.
 
Mudenge also stressed the need for land reform in the southern African nation, the issue that first sparked political violence in March 2000. Most of Zimbabwe's commercial farmland is owned by whites who make up less than half a percent of the population.
 
He also reiterated official promises to allow independent foreign election observers -- something the European Union has pressed hard for. However, he would not say which countries Zimbabwe would accept and what sort of freedom of movement the observers would have. It seemed unlikely the European Union would be satisfied.
 
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth -- the association of Britain and its former colonies -- for its increasingly dictatorial and abusive regime.
 
South Africa spoke out against a declaration by Zimbabwe's military chiefs that they would only back a leader who served in the country's bush war for independence, which accelerated the end of British colonial rule in 1980.
 
Mugabe was a political leader during the revolution. Tsvangirai was a young civilian labour leader.
 
"The South African government cannot support the army pre-empting the election outcome," said South African President Thabo Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo.
 
In Washington, Boucher said: "We call upon the government to disavow the statements made by the military to ensure that elections are free and fair."
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Dear Family and Friends,
The dates for Presidential elections have been announced and those of us brave enough and still physically in one piece will go to the polls in 56 days time on the 9th and 10th of March. On Tuesday the General Amendments Bill was defeated in Parliament when only 22 ruling party MP's were in the house. On Thursday the Bill was re-introduced even though by law it cannot be heard again in the same session of Parliament. MP's debated until 4.15am and then it and the Public Order and Security Bill were passed.  Public gatherings and political rallies are now restricted as is the distribution of election pamphlets,  the displaying of election posters and the presentation of voter education material - even that produced by Churches. It is illegal to go on strike and police may shoot demonstrators. It is an offence to criticize the President, Government or Police. It is an offence to leave your home without personal identification documents and  the Bill also allows for arbitrary search and seizure. All Zimbabweans who were here prior to 1980 will remember some of these regulations under the Smith government and frankly they send chills down my spine and bring back a lot of memories I thought were consigned to the dustbin of my nightmares. One aspect of arbitrary search and seizure in 1979 used to be called Cordon and Search. A street was sealed top and bottom by Police, their dogs and armoured cars. A whistle would blow and everyone had to stop walking and stand still. Police systematically searched every person in the street, looked in bags and parcels and you had to raise your arms and stand with legs slightly apart as your body was frisked - and God help you if you ran.  I thought that I would never again have to suffer such fear and indignity but now, 21 years later it is all back again.
 Next week the Access to Information Bill will be in front of the house and will no doubt also be passed. This Bill will require all journalists to be Zimbabwean citizens who have to apply for a one year licence issued by the government and apply for a separate licence to make reports to foreign newspapers. Amongst others, it will be an offence to "spread rumours or falsehoods that cause alarm and despondency under the guise of authentic reports. Our hands have been tied, our voices silenced and it brings to mind the three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
In the midst of this dire news came an announcement from the Zimbabwean military chiefs. 11 days after having been given a 100% pay rise, they said: "We would therefore not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our country and our people."
Trying to survive, physically and mentally, meanwhile has become the most important thing for ordinary people. This week in my home town I saw a mob of youths, 60 strong, armed with pieces of furniture going on the rampage. They ran right through the main centre of the little town sending people fleeing in all directions.This week when I went shopping in my home town there was no sugar or maize meal, no cooking oil or chicken. This week in my home town one pair of school shorts,  one shirt, one pair of socks and one tie cost Z$ 2010.00. This week in my home town there is no maize at all in the main grain marketing depot and the situation is reported to be the same in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare. Farmers have now been ordered to surrender all maize within 14 days of its harvest. They may not retain it to feed themselves, their workers, their sheep, chickens or cattle without government permission. 
For 148 days I have been wearing a small yellow ribbon pinned to my shirt. I continue to wear it in support of all Zimbabweans who are suffering, in memory of all who have died and in silent protest at the horror that has become our every day life in Zimbabwe. There are so many people who have endured so much and been so brave that I dedicate my letter to them this week -  and repeat the call of the nightjar that flies over my home: "Good Lord Deliver Us." With love, cathy
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U.S. Condemns Government Actions in Zimbabwe
(People of Zimbabwe are entitled to free and fair elections) (460)
 
The United States has condemned the campaign of intimidation and
violence that the government of Zimbabwe is conducting against the
political opposition, the media, and other independent organizations
in the country.
 
In a press statement issued January 11, the Department of State called
"deeply disturbing" the declaration of the chief of Zimbabwe's defense
forces that the military would withhold support from any elected
President deemed unfit for office.
 
"The United States strongly condemns this intrusion into the
democratic process by Zimbabwean military officers," said spokesman
Richard Boucher.
 
The United States calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to disavow
these statements by the military, to cease its campaign of repression,
and "to move immediately to create conditions for free and fair
elections this March."
 
Following is the text of the press statement issued by the Department
of State on January 11, 2002:
 
(begin text)
 
Press Statement
Department of State
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 11, 2002
 
U.S. Condemns Government Actions in Zimbabwe
 
The United States condemns the intensifying government-directed
intimidation and violence against opposition supporters, the media and
civil society in Zimbabwe. At least five opposition supporters
reportedly have been killed in the past two weeks. Judging from its
past performance, there is little prospect that the government will
investigate or prosecute these crimes. Yesterday, the parliament of
Zimbabwe passed legislation that further restricts political freedom
in Zimbabwe.
 
The Government of Zimbabwe announced this week that presidential
elections would be held March 9-10. In a remarkable and deeply
disturbing statement on January 9, the chief of Zimbabwe's defense
forces declared that Zimbabwe's military and security services will
withhold support from any elected President they deem unfit for
office. The threats contained in this declaration appear to be
directed at Zimbabwean voters generally. The United States strongly
condemns this intrusion into the democratic process by Zimbabwean
military officers.
 
The people of Zimbabwe are entitled to select their leaders through a
free and fair electoral process. Zimbabwe's military must respect and
support the verdict of the electorate. Failure to do so would, under
U.S. law, automatically trigger a range of sanctions, including
economic sanctions, against Zimbabwe.
 
We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to disavow the statements made
by the chief of the defense forces. We also call upon the government
of Zimbabwe to cease its campaign of violence and repression and move
immediately to create conditions for free and fair elections this
March. Regrettably, due to the actions of the Zimbabwe government,
such conditions do not exist in Zimbabwe today.
 
 
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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Mugabe blasts Blair, says "God is on our side"

HARARE, Jan 12 AFP
 
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe today shrugged off mounting international criticism ahead of elections in March, vowing "God is on our side".
 
Mugabe also blasted British Prime Minister Tony Blair, accusing him of lying about the situation in the country, where opposition leaders are complaining of violence at the hands of state forces.
 
"My government has been clear in its condemnation of violence," Mugabe told a prayer meeting of more than 5,000 Christians in the capital, the state news agency Ziana reported.
 
"People should live in peace. We should not fight each other but contest in the ballot," he said.
 
Britain said the March presidential election would not be free and fair, and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has vowed London will push for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth if political unrest worsens.
 
"Mr Blair, don't be a liar, a Bliar," Mugabe said. "God is on our side."
 
The Zimbabwean government has hinted it could allow EU observers to oversee the polling, although the main opposition said today it was skeptical.
 
Mugabe came under heavy fire this week after the passage of tough new electoral and security laws seen as restricting the opposition.
 
Britain agreed last year to support land reform in the country in return for a commitment from its former colony to end the invasions of white-owned farms and end political violence that has wracked the country for close to two years.
 
"God gave each one of us land and wealth," Mugabe said. "He gave us Zimbabwe and no aliens should come and dislodge what is rightfully ours."
 
South Africa's former archbishop Desmond Tutu said today that Mugabe, once respected as a statesman, was placing his country on the "slippery slope of perdition".
 
 
 
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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 19:03 GMT
Tories press for Zimbabwe asylum talks
Stanislaus Mudenge
Zimbabwe's foreign minister has attacked the UK
Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin has written to David Blunkett requesting urgent talks on the fate of asylum seekers from Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe's clampdown on political opposition has sparked fears that those deported from the UK could be victims of violence.

Mr Letwin has expressed concern that British immigration officers have made a number of attempts to deport a man who says he is a member of one of Zimbabwe's opposition parties.


Britain is at war with us... Blair has his own version of colonialism and we will resist that

Robert Mugabe
Those supporting the application say the man, known only as "Paul", was put on a flight out of the country on Friday even though lawyers had successfully applied for an injunction against his immediate removal.

In the end he was taken off the flight by officials.

The UN High Commission for Refugees has asked the government to suspend deportations to Zimbabwe.

The Home Office would not comment on the specific case, but said that they would not deport anyone who had well-founded fears of persecution.

Election monitors

New laws in Zimbabwe have given President Mugabe powers to suppress opposition and activists fear violence and intimidation in the run-up to elections.

The UK has been at the heart of efforts to pressure Zimbabwe to allow election monitors.

Robert Mugabe
Opponents speak of a slide into dictatorship
On Saturday President Mugabe said this and the threat of sanctions amounted to an attempt by Britain to recolonise his country.

"It's just Britain; Britain is at war with us," he said as he arrived in Malawi for a meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community.

"Blair has his own version of colonialism and we will resist that, I can assure you."

Earlier, Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge attacked the British Government, accusing it of trying to unseat President Mugabe.

Mr Mudenge's attack came at the end of a day of fraught talks in Brussels between a delegation of 18 senior Zimbabwe government ministers and officials, and the EU.

He alleged the UK was swamping Zimbabwe with short wave radio "propaganda" supporting the opposition MDC party, and also providing funding.

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Opposition says EU acts too late on Zimbabwe govt  
  
HARARE, Jan. 12 Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said on Saturday the European Union had left it too late to ensure free and fair elections despite an undertaking from the government to accept foreign observers.  
       President Robert Mugabe's government said on Friday it would accept international observers for the March 9-10 presidential election, but strictly on its own terms, and rejected EU criticism of its human rights record.
       The EU said in a statement that Zimbabwe had gone ''some way'' towards answering its concerns over the election and independent media coverage, but expressed doubts whether Mugabe's government would follow words with ''concrete actions.''
       ''Even if there was a full compliance with all international election standards over the next six weeks, it is certainly too late to constitute free and fair elections in Zimbabwe,'' MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube told Reuters.
       ''The state media is still closed to the media for campaigning and thousands of our supporters have been disenfranchised and it is too late to get them back on the voters' roll,'' Ncube said.
       Opposition MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai poses the greatest threat to Mugabe's nearly 22-year-old hold on power at the polls to be held against the background of a political and economic crisis widely blamed on the government.
       Mugabe blames the crisis on sabotage by his opponents, led by former colonial ruler Britain, who he says are working with the opposition to oust him in retaliation for his drive to redistribute white-owned farms in Zimbabwe among landless blacks.
       The often violent seizures have been accompanied by the killing of opposition supporters and intimidation of the judiciary and media.
       The MDC says nearly 100 of its supporters have been killed in political violence since February 2000.
 
PRESSURE FOR SANCTIONS REMAINS
       The EU is under mounting pressure to slap economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and suspend development aid -- worth 128 million euros in the period 2002-2007 -- but fears harming the country's poor and perhaps destabilising the southern Africa region.
       On Saturday, Zimbabwe's outspoken Daily News, the country's sole private-owned daily newspaper, urged the international community to insist on free and fair elections.
       ''If the government cannot give them a solid undertaking that it will observe all the rules binding it as a member of their organisations, then they must take whatever punitive action they deem necessary, including sanctions and expulsion,'' it said.
       Australia and New Zealand called for Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-nation Commonwealth after the country's parliament pushed through the laws handing new powers to the government.
       The laws, passed on Thursday, also ban independent monitors at the poll and deny voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans living abroad.
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