Zimbabwe Opposition Vows To
Saturday January 12, 2002 12:30 AM
Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader vowed Friday to put up
in upcoming presidential elections, regardless of recent government
to suppress dissent.
Officials from around the world, meanwhile,
Zimbabwe's ruling party pushed through Parliament a
day earlier that put
restrictions on independent election monitors and
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
said Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic
presidential election has been called for March, amid serious concerns
After 21 years in office, Mugabe is fighting for political
survival, and the
opposition has accused his government of ramming the
measures through Parliament and sanctioning violence
in a bid to paralyze
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
Lawmakers from Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union party also
expected to push through a bill next week aimed at muzzling the media.
bill would prohibit foreign correspondents from working in Zimbabwe
require local journalists to apply for licenses.
legislation, which also grants police broader search-and-arrest
on top of an often-violent campaign by ruling party militants
white-owned land, a program backed by Mugabe and his government.
Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned what
called the ``intensifying government-directed intimidation and
against the opposition supporters, against the media and against
society in Zimbabwe.''
He said the United States believes at
least five opposition supporters have
been killed in the past two
In Brussels, Mugabe's foreign minister was grilled Friday by the
Union, which is considering withholding development aid to Zimbabwe
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
But Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge delivered a 25-page speech
Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial power, of making promises of aid
then mobilizing an unfair anti-Zimbabwe campaign so it wouldn't have
Mudenge also stressed the need for land reform in the
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
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Zimbabwe
suspended from the Commonwealth - the association of Britain and
colonies - for its increasingly dictatorial and abusive
South Africa spoke out against a declaration by Zimbabwe's
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.
African government cannot support the army pre-empting the
outcome,'' said South African President Thabo Mbeki's spokesman
In Washington, Boucher said: ``We call upon the government to
statements made by the military to ensure that elections are free
Friday, 11 January, 2002, 20:45 GMT
Zimbabwe press debates new bills
Zimbabwe's parliament debates media bill next
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
"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
"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
Democracy in this country is no longer in the intensive
care unit - democracy is dead
The Daily News
"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
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
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
Support for Mugabe
The pro-government The Herald slams Britain and the West.
"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
"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
"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 information minister will decide who can
work as a
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".
Zimbabwe says accepts poll observers on own
BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 — Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan
Mudenge said on Friday
his country would accept international election
including EU representatives, but strictly on its own
Speaking after a day of talks with EU officials on the human
situation in Zimbabwe, Mudenge deflected European criticism of
government's clampdown on media freedom ahead of a March 9-10
''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
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
Zimbabwe Minister Accuses UK Of
Saturday January 12, 2002 3:32
Zimbabwe's foreign minister has launched an attack on Britain,
Blair's Government of illegally interfering in his country's
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
Mudenge turned his wrath on the UK accusing the British Government
attempting to unseat President Robert Mugabe by swamping Zimbabwe with
wave radio "propaganda" supporting the political opposition MDC party,
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
"All we have done is correct injustices in which one per cent of
population owns 70% of arable land - a situation crying out for
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
The Europeans gave the government in Harare a week to say how
improve its rights record and stage fair presidential elections set
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
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
New York Times
January 12, 2002Moves by Zimbabwe's President Are
Criticized in South Africa
By RACHEL L.
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
"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
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
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
"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."
Another Anthrax Scare Detected in Zimbabwe
HARARE, January 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Another letter suspected to
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
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
Harare and the envelope had a logo of a local car dealer
apparently the vehicles of airline are serviced by the car
Midzi said the secretary to the general manager was
a private hospital after complaining of skin irritation when she
opened the mail. She was reported to be in a stable
This is the second time an anthrax scare had been
Harare in a week. Last week two envelopes were intercepted at
Causeway Post Office. One of the letters was addressed to Minister
Sate for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo.
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
Midzi said the task force was treating the cases with the
seriousness they deserved. Enditem
EU lays bare Zimbabwe
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,"
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
"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."
Grain commandeered from
farmers & held under armed guard
CFU Press statement: 10 January 2002
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers
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.
10 January 2002
For more info, please contact Jenni
Cell (263) (0) 11 213 885 or 091 300 456
First hand reports on farm
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
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
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
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
"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."
Despite assurance at 14.00 hours on
Saturday, given by a Superintendent that Bindura would react no officers
"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
10th January 2002
For more information, please contact
Cell 011 213 885 or 091 300 456
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 12 January
Mugabe given EU deadline to accept poll
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
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."
From The Times of India, 12 January
France slams Zimbabwe's deteriorating
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
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 11
Zanu PF uses violence to raise poll
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,"
From The Economist (UK), 10 January
Democracy, who needs
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
In the 1980s Tutu
campaigned for international sanctions to bring down South Africa's
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Mugabe's foreign minister was grilled by officials of the EU, which is
considering withholding development aid to Zimbabwe because of human rights
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
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
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
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."
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
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
violence that the government of Zimbabwe is conducting against
political opposition, the media, and other independent
in the country.
In a press statement issued January 11, the Department of State
"deeply disturbing" the declaration of the chief of Zimbabwe's
forces that the military would withhold support from any
President deemed unfit for office.
"The United States strongly condemns this intrusion into the
process by Zimbabwean military officers," said spokesman
The United States calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to disavow
statements by the military, to cease its campaign of repression,
and "to move
immediately to create conditions for free and fair
Following is the text of the press statement issued by the Department
State on January 11, 2002:
Department of State
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
January 11, 2002
U.S. Condemns Government Actions in Zimbabwe
The United States condemns the intensifying
intimidation and violence against opposition supporters,
the media and
civil society in Zimbabwe. At least five opposition
reportedly have been killed in the past two weeks. Judging from
past performance, there is little prospect that the government
investigate or prosecute these crimes. Yesterday, the parliament
Zimbabwe passed legislation that further restricts political freedom
The Government of Zimbabwe announced this week that
elections would be held March 9-10. In a remarkable and
disturbing statement on January 9, the chief of Zimbabwe's
forces declared that Zimbabwe's military and security services
withhold support from any elected President they deem unfit
office. The threats contained in this declaration appear to
directed at Zimbabwean voters generally. The United States
condemns this intrusion into the democratic process by
The people of Zimbabwe are entitled to select their leaders through
free and fair electoral process. Zimbabwe's military must respect
support the verdict of the electorate. Failure to do so would,
U.S. law, automatically trigger a range of sanctions,
economic sanctions, against Zimbabwe.
We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to disavow the statements
by the chief of the defense forces. We also call upon the
of Zimbabwe to cease its campaign of violence and repression and
immediately to create conditions for free and fair elections
March. Regrettably, due to the actions of the Zimbabwe
such conditions do not exist in Zimbabwe today.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs,
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov
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
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
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
"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