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

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Mugabe Must Mend His Ways
The Nation (Nairobi)
January 12, 2002

With all the goings on over the past year or so, Zimbabwe, once seen as one of the most promising countries in Africa, appears to be on the brink.
With President Robert Mugabe, already two decades in office, facing crucial elections in March, he appears to be pulling out all stops to ensure that he remains in office by hook or by crook.
The populist, but damaging, seizure of white-owned farms by vigilantes claiming to be independence war veterans ahead of the last Parliamentary elections, served to isolate the country from the community of civilised nations.
As if that was not enough, President Mugabe's Government is now pushing through a series of legislative measures which appear expressly designed to turn back the clock to an era of repressive state machinery - the very kind of laws which provoked the war of independence!
Such laws may well help President Mugabe neutralise the Opposition and ensure his re-election.
The Government proposes to curtail rights to freedom of assembly and association, criminalise criticism of the president, shackle the independent media, stifle trade union and bar independent monitoring of the election process.
With a well entrenched Parliamentary majority the Government will have its day.
But it is a sad day when the constitutionalism and the rule of law is subverted to serve the aims of a political system desperate to cling on to power.
Even more frightening is when the armed forces of a country are primed to come out in open support of a ruling party.
The message is that armed forces would refuse to recognise the will of the people Zimbabwean people were President Mugabe to be voted out of office.
With all the mechanisms being out in place ahead of the elections, President Mugabe may well be re-elected without too much trouble.
But, in his twilight years, he will be presiding over a country in which a once vibrant economy has been systematically destroyed and one facing further isolation.
Already Zimbabwe is facing the threat of expulsion from the Commonwealth and economic sanctions from the European Union. A set of sanctions form the United States are already in place.
President Mugabe will be doing himself, and the people of Zimbabwe, the greatest disservice if he does not mend his ways.
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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 20:18 GMT
Mugabe renews attack on Britain
Robert Mugabe poster at a Harare church
Mugabe hopes to find regional backing in Malawi
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has renewed his attack said Britain, saying that the UK was at war with his country.

He was speaking in Malawi, where he has arrived for a regional conference at which he hopes to rally support in the run-up to elections in March.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) says that another 23 landowners have been forced from their homes in the past week, as a new campaign against white-owned farms begins.

Sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe will survive

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe is under pressure from the European Union and the Commonwealth, as well as the United States, to reverse draconic media and security laws and ensure free and fair elections.

Mr Mugabe will attend a summit meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Malawian capital Blantyre on Monday.

On his arrival, he said: "Britain has a war with us, [Prime Minister Tony] Blair want his own version of colonialism in Zimbabwe and we will resist that."

On Friday the European Union gave Harare a week to accept foreign media and international monitors.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai welcomed EU pressure
But the government said it would allow international observers to witness the elections but not to monitor them.

Speaking after a day of intense talks with representatives of the European Union, Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stanislav Mudenge said he would issue invitations to observers shortly.

But opposition candidate for president, Morgan Tsvangirai, said President Mugabe could not afford to reject the monitors.

"He has no option but to allow an international assessment of the election to give it legitimacy. He needs that legitimacy."

Farm attacks reported

The looting of white-owned farms reported by the CFU took place mainly around Raffingora, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north-east of Harare.

One farmer was given five minutes to leave his property, said Jenni Williams, a CFU spokesperson.

She said that militants had told farmers that they were responsible for sanctions imposed by the United States and threatened by the EU.

Opposition politicians say that the ruling Zanu-PF party has a training camp in the Raffingora area, where it drills unemployed youths into a militia force.

International criticism

EU foreign ministers are due to review progress in Zimbabwe at their next meeting in Brussels in late January, but there has been no mention of the action that might be taken if Harare fails to provide a satisfactory response to concerns about the elections.

Further criticism of Zimbabwe has come from the United States, which said the authorities were trying to intimidate opposition supporters.

President Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe has weathered criticism before
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said five opposition supporters had been killed in the past two weeks, and there was little prospect of the murders being investigated.

And South Africa described as unacceptable an army statement indicating it would not accept an election victory by the opposition.

The Zimbabwean parliament has just approved new legislation banning independent monitors, and is expected next week to push through a bill on control of the media.

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UK asylum rejects 'facing torture in Zimbabwe'
Home Secretary David Blunkett is being urged to take urgent action over claims that Zimbabwean asylum seekers deported by Britain face torture or death.
Asylum seekers with links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change have been arrested or attacked on their return to Zimbabwe, The Observer reported.
Others have disappeared or gone into hiding while President Mugabe's police search for them.
Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: "The Home Office instinctively wants to keep people out.
"There is a real possibility that people's lives are at risk now. The Home Office needs to take immediate and urgent action."
Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin called for an all-party crisis meeting to discuss the issue and for an immediate suspension of deportations until the situation in Zimbabwe was clear.
He said: "The situation has gone from the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous.
"The whole purpose of our asylum system is to protect people in this position. It is a massive bureaucratic muddle."
The newspaper said it had also uncovered evidence that many Zimbabwean asylum seekers are being automatically refused asylum and denied access to proper legal representation.
There is evidence that officers working for President Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation have infiltrated detention centres in Britain where Zimbabwean asylum seekers are held.
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Looting Reported On Zimbabwe Farms
Saturday January 12, 2002 10:10 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Government-backed militants embarked on a fresh looting campaign of white-owned farms last week, forcing 23 landowners from their homes, a farmers' organization said Saturday.
One farmer was given five minutes to vacate his property while another had to barricade himself inside his house, said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers' Union.
Most of the reported incidents were in the Raffingora area, about 62 miles northeast of the capital, Harare, not far from a camp where opposition politicians say the ruling party is training unemployed youths as militia.
In one attack, a group of militants - including a police officer - stole 900 bags of corn and slaughtered five cattle, Williams said.
The victims of the latest round of attacks asked not to be named, saying they feared further violence. Police were unavailable for comment.
Militants have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms since early 2000 with the tacit support of President Robert Mugabe, who called their actions a justified response to the legacy of inequitable land ownership left by colonial rule.
Most of Zimbabwe's commercial farmland is owned by whites who make up less than half a percent of the population.
Human rights groups and opposition parties say Mugabe is using the land issue as a smoke screen to bolster his support and crush dissent ahead of March presidential elections.
Polls indicate Mugabe is in danger of losing power, but the possibility of free elections is considered remote.
Western governments have condemned the violence. America has imposed sanctions, and the European Union has threatened to do the same.
Leaders from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community will discuss Zimbabwe at a special one-day summit in Malawi on Monday.
Ministers attending a preparatory meeting Saturday indicated that Zimbabwe had the support of the regional trading bloc, currently chaired by Malawi.
``Positive signs'' were coming out of Zimbabwe, and the trade group was optimistic the political crisis could be resolved through negotiation, said Lilian Patel, Malawi's foreign minister. ``We will therefore not support any form of sanctions that may be prescribed on Zimbabwe.''
Addressing journalists shortly after arriving in Malawi, Mugabe accused Britain of trying to re-colonize his country and attempting to persuade the European Union to impose sanctions.
``It's just Britain - Britain is at war with us,'' Mugabe said. British Prime Minister Tony Blair ``has his own version of colonialism, and we will resist that, I can assure you.''
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Independent (UK)
I agree with Tutu: Zimbabwe's leaders have gone bonkers

Our correspondent Basildon Peta watches as President Mugabe silences all opposition
13 January 2002
Having taken a well-deserved break outside Zimbabwe, I felt I was back in the lion's den as soon as I returned last week a week in which my country of 13 million people finally lurched into dictatorship.
As the correspondent of The Independent on Sunday and head of Zimbabwe's journalists' union, I was closely involved as President Robert Mugabe pushed through authoritarian laws that will make him virtually untouchable. With the army threatening a coup if Mr Mugabe loses the presidential election in March, I was not the only one wondering whether there will be any point in having one.
The headlines last Sunday were all about increasing political violence. Friends who started calling me as soon as I arrived had mixed feelings. Some were saying I should have stayed away for my own safety. Others felt I should never have gone away at a time when the abominable Access to Information Bill, which will kill independent journalism, was being debated. As someone who has always believed that I should stay in Zimbabwe and remain part of the fight against Mr Mugabe's repression, I had to agree with the latter group.
On Monday I was busy returning a long list of messages from professional colleagues who had tried to get me while I was away. They all wanted to know what I, as leader of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), was going to do to fight the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill. I had tried to convince MPs it would destroy Zimbabwe's nascent democracy, and, though there was little chance of success, I felt this was an effort worth pursuing.
I started out to contact as many MPs of the ruling Zanu PF as possible. The opposition was already on our side. We needed to persuade at least 20 ruling-party MPs to join the 57 from the opposition and block the passage of the Bill. But by the time I spoke to the fourth government MP, it was clear that I was hitting a brick wall.
"Look, my friend, we do disagree with this Bill, but we have to vote for it, because that's the decision of the party and that is the instruction from the President," one MP told me. Another said: "You know what will happen if I vote against a law formulated by the ruling party. Don't ask me to do the impossible."
The same afternoon I went to cover political violence in Bindura. Hundreds of ruling Zanu PF youth militias had sealed off three towns Chinhoyi, Karoi and Bindura in escalating trouble ahead of the March election. Hundreds of residents had fled from ruling party militias who mounted illegal roadblocks and demanded that people produce Zanu PF cards.
On Tuesday I sat silently in the press gallery of Parliament, watching MPs unconstitutionally suspend standing rules and procedures to fast- track the passage of the draconian Bills. I was there the next day, when Parliament passed the draconian Public Order and Security Bill (POSB), which makes any criticism of Mr Mugabe a criminal offence, and the General Laws Amendment Act, which bans private voter education and foreign election monitors.
A colleague who joined me in the gallery said he had just attended a press conference at which army generals threatened to stage a coup if President Mugabe was voted out of power. At first I thought he was joking, but it was in the headlines the same afternoon in the form of a statement from the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Vitalis Zvinavashe.
At this stage I lost all hope for a democratic election in March. Even when the Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, announced the adjournment of Parliament without passing the media law, I felt no sense of relief. The media law will simply be passed on Tuesday this week, when Parliament reconvenes.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy bill will prescribe hefty jail terms and fines for journalists writing stories that spread "alarm, fear and despondency". It puts all journalists on a system of one-year renewable licences, and bans foreign journalists from working in Zimbabwe. The media will be forbidden to write about cabinet meetings or about information held by government departments without the authority of the heads of those departments, among many other undemocratic provisions.
Since Wednesday I have discussed with colleagues what to do after the Bill is passed. We agreed on defiance of the media law and issued a statement to that effect. Many of the calls I have received since then have been to tell me that my days, and those of my other outspoken colleagues, are now virtually numbered.
As I ponder the hopeless future of my country, I can't help but agree with the Nobel prize laureate, Desmond Tutu, that the Zimbabwean political leadership has gone "bonkers in a big way".
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In this mail:
- SADC's Challenge to Defeat Autocracy
- Darkness before light - have courage people of Zimbabwe
- Zanu PF cannot ignore the will of the people and use the army to enforce its objectives
- Yesterday in Parliament - Trudy Stevenson, MP
- As violence intensifies, MDC Women launch major prayer gatherings
SADC's Challenge to Defeat Autocracy
... and build one of the most powerful, proud regions in the world
12 January 2002
African solidarity is a noble cause that should not be abused to give comfort to vestiges of past autocracy that has constituted the bane of Africa's chequered past.
There is a rapidly developing catastrophe in Zimbabwe.
We call on the leaders of the Southern African Development Community who are meeting in Blantyre, Malawi from January 13 to 15 to decide now, and fast, to support the efforts of the Zimbabwean people to experience peaceful, democratic elections.
The massive restrictions already in place - curbs on the media, freedom of expression, on election registration and the voters roll, the capacity of opposition parties to raise money and other measures already ensure the elections cannot be free and fair - but we support the right of our people to continue pressing for a democratic process to take place. A dream all freedom loving peoples of the world share.
We believe that SADC has the authority to warn the Zimbabwean government of the very serious consequences of violence, election rigging and other undemocratic forms of interfering with the electoral process. Even at this late hour we insist that:
* Election observers and monitors from the SADC region and the Commonwealth should be immediately deployed and be guaranteed safe access to all part of Zimbabwe. This will have the effect of partially rolling back state violence and establishing minimum conditions on the ground that are conducive to the expression of free democratic political opinion and choice.
* We condemn the bulldozing through parliament of new repressive and unconstitutional legislation including the General Laws Amendment Bill and the right to unconstitutionally reintroduce amendments to the Electoral Act which if passed will disenfranchise thousands of Zimbabweans (and despite being initially defeated in the Zimbabwean parliament this week - normally a defeated bill must be amended and wait six months before being represented. To enable this ZanuPF suspended parliamentary procedures at Thursday's (10 January) session of parliament, an unconstitutional act). The Public Order and Security Bill was passed which severely restricts and ultimately outlaws democratic political activity, among other measures it outlaws criticism of the president as well as insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism" which carry the death penalty and those who "undermine the authority of the president or engender hostility" toward him face hefty fines or imprisonment.
Waiting in the wings is the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill which will muzzle freedom of expression.
Zimbabweans have remained very patient and committed to peace over the past two years. They have been tortured, brutalized, murdered, raped and generally dehumanised. Four of our members were murdered in December which brings to more than 100, the MDC casualties to political violence since February 2000.
The patience of the civilian population has worn out. We fear that this dangerous situation could degenerate into civil war - a consequence of tyranny that has to be avoided.
We hope that history will not record that SADC fiddled while Zimbabwe burned. If SADC does not take decisive action now then the Zimbabwe crisis is certain to engulf the whole region.
Liberation means permanent freedom - liberation struggles do not end at post independence elections, the quest for liberation and the entrenchment of true democracy is a daily challenge to us in southern Africa and around the world. We can make this one of the proudest, strongest regions of the world - we have the people, we have the resources - let's get to work to change our future from gloom to one of optimism and pride.
Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC President

Darkness before light - have courage people of Zimbabwe to the Southern African and international community to reject Zimbabwean measures against democracy ,
and to the Zimbabwean armed forces to maintain professional integrity - to serve the people, not a political party
Zimbabwe is entering a dark night, but, we say to the people of Zimbabwe: sometimes the hours of greatest darkness come before the light.
Zimbabweans are under siege. The government is creating a climate of terror and hardship. I call upon all patriots to refuse to be cowed into submission by tyranny and a dictator whose time has come.
Yesterday the military and security chiefs said they would only support those who fought in liberation wars against white rule. Zimbabwe defence forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe said in a statement that I, Morgan Tsvangirai, am a traitor and he "would 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."
The statement from the military is a confirmation of an MDC victory.
Those draconian measures being imposed by the present regime would not be necessary if they believed they had the confidence and the support of the people of Zimbabwe.
The international community must realise that the beast they are dealing with has pulled his last card. The implications are that the army has undermined its integrity - armies and the police are not the vehicles of political parties they are there to serve the people.
Over the last month the Zimbabwean government has made it clear that they do not respect the democratic right of the Zimbabwean people to choose who they wish to govern them.
In December, Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge told SADC that "might is right". Later that month President Robert Mugabe told the ZanuPF congress that he saw the elections as "a war." He also said in a statement reminiscent of Ian Smith's UDI vow (that never in a thousand years would black rule come to Zimbabwe) that "never, ever would the MDC nor I, Morgan Tsvangirai govern Zimbabwe."
Yesterday's statement by the military reaffirms that this culture of anti-democracy is beginning to form a powerful thread through Zimbabwean politics. The world and the Southern African Development Community have shown that they will no longer tolerate anti-democratic tendencies in southern Africa or indeed, anywhere in the world.
The armed forces are composed of our brothers, our friends, our fathers. We, in the MDC do not believe that they will act unjustly against their families and friends. We seek no confrontation with the armed forces - we know they will display professional integrity and serve the people of Zimbabwe and not a political party.
We speak for those without voice in Zimbabwe - the electorate, the working people, the patriots of Zimbabwe .
I say to you, the people of Zimbabwe and the world, be confident that despite these obstacles we will proceed. There is no force in the world that can stop change in a society where people are determined to reclaim their power.
The people of Zimbabwe are tired of being used as punch bags all they are interested in is a peaceful life, a nation they can be proud of - and such a nation in turn will attract the investment and tourism that will create jobs and opportunity for our people.
The people of Zimbabwe will not be denied the right to claim their dream of power through a political and democratic process.
*Mhuri Ye Zimbabwe Yave Nguva Yekuzvipira
Simba Reshanduko Rirmumaoko Edu
* The time has come for everyone to be determined to achieve change - the power is in your hands
Morgan Tsvangirai
10 January 2002

Zanu PF cannot ignore the will of the people and use the army to enforce its objectives.
We in the Movement for Democratic Change believe that for an army lawfully constituted in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe to consider overthrowing that constitution by refusing to accept the verdict of the people as to who should be their president(a right, which is exclusively vested in the people of Zimbabwe) is not only dangerous, but is by all intents and purposes a treasonous act.
The MDC unreservedly condemns this calculated act meant to discourage the people from voting in terms of their conscience.
The statement issued yesterday by General Vitalis Zvinavashe is a sign of panic by Zanu PF and exposes once again Mugabe's contempt for the democratic process and the Zimbabwe constitution. This is a desperate attempt at intimidation by an increasingly desperate and despotic regime.
The MDC remains firm in its view that the majority in those who serve in Zimbabwe's army are professional individuals who would not support political moves to turn their guns on their own people in the event of Morgan Tsvangirai winning power in the presidential election.
Zanu PF cannot ignore the will of the people and use the army to enforce its objectives.
The statement correctly refers to the sacrifices made by many of us in Zimbabwe to rid this country of the injustices of white minority rule. To deny the people of Zimbabwe their hard earned democratic right of electing new leaders via the ballot box would be an injustice to those who fought and died in the liberation war.
We urge the people of Zimbabwe to remain resolute and to assert their sovereignty and power to elect a government of their choice. And we further urge the international community, and SADC countries in particular, to unequivocally condemn the statement issued by Zvinavashe and the crude threats by the Mugabe regime to undermine the will of the people through armed force. The region can ill afford a military dictatorship as Africa strives towards establishing good governance across the continent.
It is time for the people of Zimbabwe to decide their future not Mugabe and his supporters in the security forces.
Welshman Ncube,
MDC Secretary General
10 January 2001

Yesterday in Parliament
Yesterday Thursday 10 January 2002 marked the official death of democracy in Zimbabwe. Yesterday saw the passage in Parliament of two draconian Bills, the Public Order and Security Bill and the General Laws Amendment Bill - which includes major amendments to the Electoral Act - so far-reaching that there
is no possibility of a free and fair Presidential election unless we can overturn these new Laws by some miracle. The noble and dedicated efforts over the last 100 years of liberation struggle and various democratic organisations are being thwarted by one of the very parties which armed itself and fought a guerrilla war in the name of democracy.
Both Bills were forced through using the majority created by the provision under the severely mutilated Constitution enabling the President to appoint 8 Governors and 12 Non-Constituency MPs (most of the Ministers, in the present setup) plus indirectly 10 traditional Chiefs through the Council of Chiefs whose president he appoints = 30 out of the 150 Members of Parliament. Were it not for these 30 MPs, MDC would have had a majority at 47 for the General Laws and 49 for the POSB - ZanuPF's score was 62, which without the 30 appointed seats = 32 or 31!
More serious than the score, however, is the fact that ZanuPF deliberately packed the House to ensure that they won on these two draconian Bills both vice-presidents were there! The POSB effectively bans meetings and rallies by the opposition, bans criticism of the President, government, army and police, forces everyone to carry an ID card at all times, allows arbitrary search and seizure, and gives the
police Officer-In-Charge of every police district tremendous power - s/he becomes the new local ruler, in fact. It creates a Police State as severe as anything in history - Rhodesia, Nazi Germany, Communist Soviet Union, China, Cambodia ... We fought against that Bill for 12 hours on Wednesday, from 4.00 pm until 4.00 am! Amendments to the Electoral Act in the General Laws Amendment Bill effectively ban independent monitors and international observers, ban civic organisations including churches from carrying out voter education, and retain control of elections in the hands of the President through his power to appoint the Electoral Supervisory Commission.
The General Laws Amendment Bill was thrown out of Parliament on Tuesday, when MDC found itself in the majority even though the Leader of the House Chinamasa (also Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs) decided unwisely to move for its Third Reading and adoption as soon as our
Leader of the Opposition Gibson Sibanda left for party HQ, having been assured by Chinamasa that no further debate on the Bill would take place that afternoon. As Hon Sibanda stated in the House, "He suddenly saw that it was dark, and decided to use the darkness to carry out his plan." But the plan backfired: ZPF were in a minority, and it was easy for MDC to refuse the Bill at its Third Reading - normally a mere formality! So we celebrated our victory, but realised that they would do everything and ride rough-shod over all rules and regulations to reverse the negative vote, since their victory in the Presidential election depends on these vital extra controls. Sure enough, later in the day ZPF brought in 2 motions on the issue, the first simply to rescind the vote, the second being the suspension of yet another Sanding Order to enable their parliamentary victory to occur. In fact, Standing Order 44 enabling the House to rescind a decision or vote is only in connection to motions, not Bills which are dealt with under SO 127 - that no Bill can be brought to the House in which is similar to a Bill which has already gone through the House in the same session.
When it was obvious that they would go to the vote and that we were in a slight minority (49-62), there was nothing for it but to pray, for our Parliament and our country. We prayed for divine intervention to help our nation, and we believe that God heard our prayer. We believe that God will not allow this evil to continue, and that all those who come to our nation's assistance in any way are God's agents. We welcome you, and we ourselves will do everything in our power to save our beloved Zimbabwe.
Trudy Stevenson
MDC Secretary for Policy and Research & MP Harare North

As violence intensifies, MDC Women launch major prayer gatherings ...
and send an appeal to International Women Leaders from Cherie Blair to Grace Machel
January 16 will be the day when the Movement for Democratic Change Women's Assembly begins the first of nationwide mass prayer services for peace.
At the same time they are launching a personal letter appeal to some of the wives of political leaders in Africa and internationally, and to women leaders in political organisations and womens' movements to do what they can to ensure peace in Zimbabwe.
Among others, appeals will be sent to:
- Ms Zanelle Mbeki, the wife of South African president, Thabo Mbeki;
- Ms Graca Machel wife of Nelson Mandela and a Unicef patron;
- Mrs Cherie Blair, wife of UK premier, Tony Blair;
- Mrs Bush wife of US president, George W Bush;
- Mrs Nujoma wife of Namibian president, Sam Nujoma and others.
Lucia Matibenga, president of the MDC Women's Assembly and first vice president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said: ""we are praying for peace and an end to the use of our children to foment political violence. The ruling political party is breaking up family values by training youth militia to attack and rob their parents and older people.
"In December four MDC members were murdered.
"No political slogans or speeches will be allowed at these prayer meetings, they will be respectful occasions where we pray for justice and peace.
"Without justice and peace we will not get the jobs our citizens so desperately need. Prices are completely unaffordable - the average Zimbabwean worker earns Z$5 000 a month (Z$500 = US$1) before tax, and takes home around Z$3 000.
"We can no longer find cooking oil, sugar, poultry or red meat, mealie meal, washing soap or illuminating paraffin - which most of us use for cooking and light - in our stores. Rice is not an option, as an example, 2kg of rice costs Z$800, that is a third of the take home pay of most people, it is impossible. And ZanuPF thugs have been attacking food aid workers so many people are starving. This cannot go on, we need peace."
The first prayer meetings will take place between 1pm and 3pm in Harare and Chitungwiza.
The text of the letter to an African Woman Leader follows (there are only marginal changes to those to women of other nations):
Lucia Matibenga, Chairperson
Womens' Assembly: Movement for Democratic Change
8 January 2002

January, 2001
Dear Madame,
I write to you as one African sister to another. I write to you as a woman who has fought for peace, who still fights for peace, and who is committed to end the suffering of women and children.
As you know Zimbabwe is preparing for presidential elections.
But, instead of this being part of a celebration of 21 years of independence, many of us feel betrayed by a liberation that has brought our people increasing hardship and little freedom.
Our election process is marked by increasing violence. And please understand we will not ask you to support our political organisation, or any political organisation in Zimbabwe. We seek support for peace.
Young boys have been trained by ZanuPF in camps such as Border Gezi, and these militia have now come home to townships and rural areas where they are beating and stealing us their parents. ZanuPF is destroying African families and traditional African customs of respect. Conflict in Zimbabwe not only hurts us, it hurts the region. These are injuries none can afford. They are wounds we seek to avoid. May I present a few examples?
- People throughout the country are experiencing political intimidation and beatings. On 30 December last year, as an example, I was struck on the head with a machete and beaten up by ZanuPF supporters while trying to canvass support in my constituency.
- Women are being raped and abused. In Mberengwa West during election campaigns a woman MDC supporter, was raped by ZANU-PF officials who also used an iron rod to rape her. The woman's husband was forced to watch and afterward he was killed in front of her. Their crime was signing MDC nomination forms. This resulted in a trial where Judge Ben Hlatshwayo warned the woman if it was found she was lying she would spend seven years in jail. The truth of her testimony was proved.
- Houses, crops and kraals are being burnt. Evelyn Masaiti, who is presently an MDC MP in the Eastern Highlands near the Mozambique border, lived in her parents-in-law home with her husband and five children. During last year's elections ZANU-PF supporters burnt her in-laws home and the homes of 80 other MDC supporters in the area. For a period of more than four months those 81 families shared a single tent, a single tap...
In addition to overt acts of violence, government regulations were recently passed that effectively disenfranchise married women, the unemployed, farm workers, those sharing accommodation such as the rural or urban poor and young people who have never voted before.
Fear is the invisible shawl every woman draws tight around herself in Zimbabawe today. Women and children, as you know, are always the victims of conflict. We humbly ask you to please use whatever means you have to press for peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.
We are honoured that you took the time to read this letter and hope you will consider our request to stand in solidarity for peace with other women in southern Africa.
We have initiated prayer meetings across Zimbabwe and we ask you to join our prayers for peace. God Bless Africa. God Bless Zimbabwe.
Yours sincerely,
Lucia Matibenga
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The Observer
Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth
The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, has said Britain will recommend Zimbabwe is dropped from the Commonwealth if the political crisis there deteriorates further. Sunder Katwala explains
Friday January 11, 2002
How has the crisis developed?
Britain has proposed active sanctions against Zimbabwe for the first time at a crucial juncture in the run-up to March's presidential elections. Critics believe that the new laws being pushed through parliament by the government - which would allow full control of the media and make all criticism of the government or president a public order offence - would make a mockery of the democratic process.
President Mugabe's strategy throughout the two-year crisis has been to blame the country's collapsing economy on a sinister alliance of Britain, white farmers and assorted "traitors" who are conspiring to reverse the country's independence and prevent his tackling the historic injustices of Zimbabwe's highly unequal land distribution.
This strategy has had limited success, escalating Zimbabwe's economic crisis while failing to silence an increasingly vocal opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, which denies the claims of conspiracy and blames the country's plight on the mismanagement and corruption of the Mugabe government.
Why is the Commonwealth involved?
The Commonwealth, an organisation of 54 countries which arose out of the gradual dissolution of the British Empire, prides itself on being one of very few international organisations which is prepared to throw members out for violating democratic norms. Ironically, the Commonwealth's values are contained in the Harare Declaration, agreed in the Zimbabwean capital in 1991, which sets out democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law as the basis of membership.
What can the Commonwealth do?
The Commonwealth has little practical or financial leverage over Zimbabwe. Suspension, or expulsion, would be a largely symbolic move, showing increasing international pressure on the Harare regime. The message that the Zimbabwean government's actions were viewed as illegitimate would make it more difficult for international institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund, and for Zimbabwe to raise money on the international money markets. Commonwealth action could also add to momentum for increased pressure from the European union and the South African development community, and from individual governments.
Does Mugabe care?
The Commonwealth's views are not Mugabe's highest priority, and he will seek to use Commonwealth pressure as part of his strategy of presenting opposition to his regime as a British-organised conspiracy against Zimbabwean independence, claiming that all internal opposition is being paid for and organised by the former colonial power.
That is why Jack Straw has stressed the importance of Britain being part of an international coalition pressuring Zimbabwe. Britain and the European union are hoping that other African governments will help to lead pressure on Zimbabwe.
Along with pressure from opposition and civil society groups within Zimbabwe, the hope is that this will help to legitimise international action and undercut Mugabe's charges of a "new colonialism". Zimbabwe claims that Britain will not win support among other members to suspend it. African Commonwealth members - especially South Africa and Nigeria, who were instrumental in winning assurances of good behaviour from Zimbabwe last autumn - have more political and economic leverage over Zimbabwe.
African countries have begun to shift away from seeking to achieve results through behind-the-scenes diplomatic pressure. Zimbabwe's neighbours are deeply concerned about both the knock-on economic effects of the Zimbabwe crisis, both by directly damaging trade and by decreasing investors' confidence in the region.
President Thabo Mbeki's increasing criticism of Zimbabwe has led to Zimbabwe's state-run newspapers calling the South African president "a traitor" who is "in bed with the architects of apartheid", suggesting that Mugabe is prepared to risk a clash with South Africa despite the potential economic costs to Zimbabwe.
What will happen next?
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group will meet at the end of January, with Zimbabwe top of the agenda. CMAG is an eight-strong committee of Commonwealth foreign ministers charged with policing violations of the Harare Declaration and making recommendations to the full Commonwealth. CMAG was created after the Nigerian crisis in 1995 highlighted how the Commonwealth's size made it very difficult for it to act quickly to protect its values outside of the biennial heads of government summits.
To date, the Commonwealth has only suspended military regimes but CMAG has proposed that it should be given terms of reference which enable it to act earlier on major violations of democratic values, such as the freedom of the media. If Zimbabwe's position does not change - with genuine pledges to restore the rule of law and allow independent election monitors - then it is difficult to see how the Commonwealth could retain any credibility without moving to suspend Zimbabwe.
If CMAG does recommend suspension, that would formally be ratified at the full meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in Brisbane in March. But, with the Zimbabwean crisis escalating, the Commonwealth's ability to play a central role looks limited.
* Sunder Katwala is the editor of and author of Reinventing the Commonwealth (The Foreign Policy Centre)
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How Britain handed me back to Mugabe's men
Gerald Muketiwa, speaking from a secret location in South Africa, thought he would be safe in Britain, but was returned into the hands of Zimbabwe's secret police.
"I am a member of the MDC. My whole family are members. We had a rally to demonstrate against the farm invasions in my home town of Bulawayo. This was the first time I knew that I was in trouble.
I was taken to the police station and shown into a room where they said you want to sell our country to the white man, and they also said we were trying to assassinate the President. They started hitting me, beating me up and torturing me. They made me stand with my feet in a bucket of ice. They wanted names of the people I knew who were also MDC. But they couldn't get anything out of me. They put me back into a cell and later released me.
My parents told me to move to a holiday home away from the city. I then heard that - around the end of 2000 - some ZANU-PF men had come to the family home and were asking for me. They stoned our family home. Soon afterwards, war veterans came for my friend Godwin. They beat him very badly. He was in hospital for weeks and then died from his injuries.
Around this time, my brother left for Canada and my cousins left too. My mum, my stepfather and my youngest brother also left around this time. I don't exactly know where they are. Maybe they are in Canada too. In the end it became too much for me and I decided to leave for Britain.
I arrived in Britain last January. I claimed asylum straightaway. I would really like to go to Canada to join my family but I hoped that I would be safe here. I lived for a time in Wolverhampton.
It was OK until November, when I was told to report to an office at Gatwick Airport. I asked if I was being returned to Zimbabwe, and I was told it was just a routine interview.
But when I got there, I was told that 'our job is to return you. I am detaining you'. I got into an argument and said that I didn't have any family in Zimbabwe any more, because they had all gone to Canada. I was put in a detention room and taken to Harmondsworth detention centre. I had with me only the clothes I was standing in.
They tried to send me back on several occasions. I said I would not get onto the plane to Zimbabwe and so they tried to force me to go. One time, my trousers and clothes were torn and the cabin crew appealed to the captain, who said he couldn't carry me. But finally, on the 17th of December, the British guards managed to get me in to the plane before the passengers arrived. They handcuffed me, dragged me into the place, put me in a choke-hold and pinned me to the seat. When we arrived in Harare, they dragged me off to the Zimbabwe authorities and left me there.
The CIO [the Zimbabwean intelligence service] people said "We've been looking for you, Mr Muketiwa. You have sold out your country and you are going to prison for a long time. What have you been saying in the UK?"
I had to get out of there. I just knew that I had to take my chance. This was the CIO and these people are no joke. I asked to go to the toilet, and snuck out of the window and ran away to the airfield, where somebody gave me a lift into Harare.
Gerald later escaped from Zimbabwe, and spoke to The Observer from a secret location in South Africa.
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The Telegraph
Mugabe trains 100,000 thugs to spread terror

By Brian Latham in Harare
(Filed: 13/01/2002)

UP to 100,000 Zimbabwean youths are being schooled in terror tactics at bush training camps set up by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.
The youths are being used to unleash a wave of violence and intimidation before the March presidential elections.
Gangs of youths are already roaming the country demanding to see the Zanu-PF party membership cards of people they accost. Anyone not able to produce a card is threatened with violence and even rape.
One frightened white woman, who refused to be named for fear of reprisals, encountered such a gang yesterday 60 miles north of Harare, in Mutorashanga.
"I was stopped by a group of youths with crowbars," she said, "They demanded to see a Zanu-PF membership card. When I said I hadn't got one, they said they would come back next week to check again.
"Then they made me chant: 'Forward with Osama Bin Laden, forward with Robert Gabriel Mugabe, down with whites.' It was terrifying. There was a police Land Rover there, but the police just sat and watched."
The youths, many of school age, are being trained at Border Gezi, a tented site named after Mr Mugabe's hardline former youth minister at Mt Darwin, 80 miles north of Harare and at several similar training camps across the country.
The same tactics were on display last week across northern Zimbabwe. Youth brigades sealed off townships in Bindura, Chinhoyi and Karoi, threatening to beat and rape those they found without Zanu-PF party cards when they returned.
One local, Paul Matiyenga, was forced to flee when a brigade besieged his street. He told The Telegraph that he would not allow the intimidation to change his vote.
"Even if we are forced to carry Zanu-PF cards with us at all times," said Mr Matiyenga, "we know in our hearts who we will vote for. Do you think we can vote for people who beat us and then promise to beat us again when they return?"
The anti-Mugabe strongholds of Harare and surrounding townships have not been immune to the growing pre-election violence. When youth brigades recently surrounded the home of Derick Muzira, a Movement for Democratic Change activist from Glen Norah, police refused to respond to his call for help.
Mr Muzira and his wife were beaten and their belongings looted. "It's pure harassment," said Mr Muzira, "a sign that they know they can lose this election."
Roy Bennett, an MDC MP who has monitored developments at the Border Gezi camp, said: "The gangs are being given carte blanche to act as they like because they know they won't be prosecuted."
The Youth Brigades are expected to have little impact in Zimbabwe's urban centres, where the opposition enjoys overwhelming support.
However, in rural Zimbabwe the effect of the armed gangs could be devastating. "They'll have a huge intimidatory effect in the countryside," said Mr Bennett.
"This is a serious terror campaign and they're promising to kill and rape those they think are from the MDC. These people are just like Hitler's Brown Shirts and they're being trained to terrorise."
No information has been released by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party on the number of youths to be deployed in brigades between now and the elections. Opposition observers believe that up to 100,000 could leave the camps over the next two months.
Mr Mugabe shrugged off international criticism and unleashed a new broadside against on Tony Blair. "Mr Blair, don't be a liar, a Bliar," he told a meeting of over 5,000 Christians in Harare. "God is on our side."
Elliot Manyika, Mr Mugabe's minister for youth, has dismissed the allegations of a terror training camp, stating that the Border Gezi youths are being trained to "undertake self-help projects".
The move to train terror gangs comes at a time when Zanu-PF leaders are rushing new laws through parliament in an attempt to cripple the opposition's campaign. It is now illegal to criticise the president, while the media is faced with a raft of reporting restrictions.
As Zimbabwe prepares for the most fraught and dangerous election of recent times, Professor Masipula Sithole, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, believes Mr Mugabe's brigades are a sign of weakness.
He said: "The Border Gezi camp and its brigades simply demonstrate that the president has been unable to force the military to do his dirty work for him this time."
The MDC said that the EU had left it too late to ensure free and fair elections despite an undertaking from Zimbabwe's government to accept foreign observers.
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Daily News
Tsvangirai expresses faith in the integrity of the army 
1/12/02 10:35:54 AM (GMT +2)
By Lloyd Mudiwa
MORGAN Tsvangirai, the MDC president, said yesterday he recognised the values of the liberation struggle, but most important, the right of Zimbabweans to choose their leaders.

He said he had faith that the defence and security forces chiefs would respect the outcome of the presidential election.
"I have full confidence that our nation's security forces have no desire to divorce themselves from these ideals and values that lay at the epicentre of their motivation to take part in the struggle for the rebirth of Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said.
"I strongly believe they are not only sworn to uphold the Constitution, but are also to be loyal to the people of Zimbabwe."
Tsvangirai was responding to a statement by the defence forces chiefs on Wednesday that they would not accept a President without a credible war record. He was addressing journalists at his party's headquarters.
Civic organisations and individuals have reacted with outrage to the statement issued by General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the commander of the defence forces, describing the declaration as an "act of treason".
Zvinavashe said the army would not allow anybody without credible liberation war credentials to lead the country.
Tsvangirai said the MDC respected the defence and security institutions and the professional integrity of the men and women who lead them.
He said the MDC recognised the values, traditions and beliefs of the liberation war, such as the non-negotiability of unity, sovereignty and the prosperity of the people.
Tsvangirai said: "As a nation, we are deeply indebted to them for their sacrifice. I have no doubt in my mind that within their heart of hearts, Zimbabwe's security forces and their leadership fully understand and appreciate that the liberation struggle was initiated and prosecuted on the need to craft and cement the salient concept of One Man One Vote, which is the foundation of universal adulthood suffrage and self-determination."
Tsvangirai said the understanding was that where the people, in the full exercise of their sovereignty, have spoken, no man should seek to subvert their will. The MDC would contest the presidential election and he would stand as its candidate, Tsvangirai said. "We absolutely have no intention of abandoning the people when we have come to the closing hours of what has been a long and difficult journey towards democratic change," he said, insisting the MDC was ready to form the next government.
He said: "We have completed the crucial task of refining every single MDC policy and programme to ensure that upon assumption of office we immediately set on the task of getting Zimbabwe to work again."
Tsvangirai urged all people to remain resolute and peaceful in their desire to complete the change for a better life for themselves and their children.
"Our nation is at a cross-roads and every single Zimbabwean should turn out to vote on the 9th and 10th of March. In the exercise of the right to self-determination, the people's will shall prevail."
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Daily News
Media institutions to contest proposed Information Bill 
1/12/02 10:16:55 AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka
ALL the five media unions operating in the country have agreed to legally challenge the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, while urging journalists to defy it if it becomes law.

The unions, who met in Harare on Thursday, said some sections of the Bill were in contravention of the Constitution.
"The unions agreed to challenge the proposed new law in court once it is signed, saying it was patently illegal and designed to deprive the media of its constitutional right to freedom of expression," the unions said in a joint statement.
"In the meantime, the unions agreed that journalists must continue with their work and ignore the Bill if it is passed into law."
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Independent Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe, the Foreign Correspondents' Association and the Federation of African Media Women in Zimbabwe attended the meeting.
The Bill, expected to be passed by Parliament next week, prescribes renewable licences for journalists and media houses. It makes it a crime for journalists to criticise the person and office of the President.
The Bill is intended to tone down criticism of the President and enhance his re-election prospects in polls scheduled for March.
"The unions will mobilise journalists to defy this undemocratic law by calling for a boycott of the registration process which is arbitrarily controlled by the Minister of Information and Publicity," the statement said.
They also agreed to send a signed petition to Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, stating their grave concerns at the effect of the new law on freedom of expression and the media in Zimbabwe.
A meeting of all journalists to discuss the Bill has been scheduled for Saturday, 19 January.
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Daily News
NCA hammers army over declaration 
1/12/02 10:20:32 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) yesterday denounced as "dangerous and unwarranted" the declaration by the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, that they will not accept the outcome of the March presidential election, unless it is won by a person with a credible liberation war record.

In a statement last night, the NCA said: "In essence, Zvinavashe told the nation that the security forces will decide whether or not a President elected by the people is acceptable to them. This is outrageous and is calculated to intimidate the people of Zimbabwe into voting for a presidential candidate who is acceptable to the army."
The NCA said it had through its chairperson, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, a senior law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, written to Zvinavashe esterday, "making it clear that his statement is unacceptable". It said it wished to call on all Zimbabweans not to be intimidated, because they should exercise their freedom to elect leaders of their choice.
The civic organisation said the struggle for a new constitution would continue and that in the next few weeks it will be back in the streets to push for a new constitution and protest against Zvinavashe's statements. In its condemnation of Zvinavashe's statement, the NCA said: "We are a significant part of the Zimbabwean citizens to whom you addressed your statements . . . These statements were not only unwarranted and dangerous, but also clearly unlawful as an infringement of the current Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Section 96 of the Constitution makes it clear that the 'supreme command of the Defence forces shall vest in the President as Commander-in-Chief and in the exercise of his functions as such, the President shall have power to determine the operational use of the Defence Forces."
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Daily News
Archbishop accuses Zanu PF of hypocrisy 
1/12/02 10:26:42 AM (GMT +2)
From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo
ArchBishop Pius Ncube of the Roman Catholic Church has accused the government of hypocrisy and attempting to cash in on the poverty of the people in Zimbabwe's south-western districts for political expediency.

His church has defied a government order that all donor organisations should stop distributing food aid to over 750 000 people who face imminent starvation in Matabeleland, Masvingo and the Midlands provinces.
"The hunger is caused by the government's hypocrisy," the outspoken Archbishop said.
"It wants to distribute food assistance itself so as to buy votes. It does not care how many people die, as long as it can stay in power."
Announcing the ban on churches and non-governmental organisations from donating food aid in rural areas, the government through its spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, said the move was aimed at preventing foreigners from trying to "smuggle election monitors into Zimbabwe using the guise of food aid".
Opinion surveys for the crunch presidential ballot on 9 and 10 March have predicted that Zanu PF might surrender power to the trade union-backed
MDC which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Among other individuals, Archbishop Ncube has been accused by President Mugabe of campaigning for the opposition.
Mugabe has been galled by Archbishop Ncube's defence of human rights and calls for Mugabe to disband his hegemonic project.
The Catholic Development Commission co-ordinator, Michael Ncube, this week told The Daily News that the situation had become desperate in remote areas of Matabeleland with villagers reported to be surviving on tree roots. "We still continue to help schoolchildren, but our resources are very limited," said Ncube.
"The situation has become desperate out there and food supplies are quickly wiped out soon after arriving." The government which defied local and regional warnings that the country faced starvation until the stark reality of hunger was on the doorstep, has sent an SOS message to the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP).
The WFP will mobilise and parcel out food aid amounting to US$60 million (Z$3,3 billion). Zimbabwe had initially rejected advice from several international donors to swallow its pride and allow for food aid to be distributed in the country.
Although reluctantly, the government effectively climbed down from its earlier stand that it had to be the sole distributor of food aid.
The UN agency will find reputable relief bodies to distribute food aid.
Judith Lewis, the WFP's regional director, last week said they would start delivering food "as fast as possible".
Archbishop Ncube said starvation had taken root in Tsholotsho, Kezi and the Gwayi areas. At least two people have died in Hwange district because of hunger due to the slow government response to the situation.
The Grain Marketing Board, Zimbabwe's sole procurer and seller of grain, has admitted that its grain silos in Bulawayo are empty, ending months of denials by the government of a maize shortfall.
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Daily News
Herald journalists get land in A2 scheme 
1/12/02 10:29:04 AM (GMT +2)
By Lloyd Mudiwa
AT LEAST six journalists with the State-controlled Herald newspaper have been given land in the A2 commercial resettlement scheme.

Reuben Barwe, the ZBC's chief correspondent, and Masimba Musarira, a former ZBC broadcaster, were also given land in Zvimba district and at Munhenga farm in Goromonzi, respectively.
The Herald last week reported that Cephas Chitsaka, its deputy editor, George Chisoko, business editor, Tichaona Chifamba, features editor, Ivy Ncube, health reporter, and senior business reporters Hamandishe Saburi and Charles Mtetwa had been allocated land as well.
The reporters, some as young as 28, were among 58 000 out of 100 119 applicants allocated land. They would receive land in the small, medium, large-scale and peri-urban commercial farming areas. Applicants were required to have
either farming experience or provide proof of availability and/or ability to mobilise adequate resources to support their proposed programme.
The scheme is expected to eventually become the backbone of agriculture in Zimbabwe. It is unclear whether the reporters met the requirements. Abel Mutsakani, the president of the Independent Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe, on Wednesday said: "It is clear journalists cannot, on the one hand, claim to be the voice of conscience, and on the other, still want to benefit from such a controversial programme where people have been murdered.
"At least six farmers and 100 farm workers have been killed, with hundreds of others maimed, and for journalists to say they should ignore this and join the
bandwagon is shocking. "One wonders if this is not a Thank You for a job well-done to the State media which has been doing the government's public relations over the chaotic land reform programme."
But Matthew Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, who works for The Herald's sister paper, The Sunday Mail, said since everybody was getting land, journalists should get land too. "The government has said it is not giving land under the Zanu PF banner and it would be unfair to ask journalists not to receive land," he said.
Magistrates and judges, whose objectivity could easily be compromised because of political affiliation, had received land, he said. "Besides, these journalists won't be journalists forever." The Commercial Farmers' Union, in a presentation to a ministerial delegation of the Southern African Development Community which visited Zimbabwe last month, said land was given to Zanu PF loyalists in accordance with the so-called A2 scheme.
The scheme allows Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made to bypass official procedures by signing a letter granting an applicant land for 99 years with an option to buy. Although The Herald's story said opposition supporters had received land, it named only Paul Madzore, the MP for Glen View, who denied he applied for land.
Zanu PF members on the list included Paul Mangwana, the Deputy Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Joseph Macheka, the executive mayor of Chitungwiza, Marko Madiro, the MP for Hurungwe, Kenneth Manyonda, the MP for Buhera South, and Chegutu MP Webster Shamu, the editor of The People's Voice, Zanu PF's mouthpiece.
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Daily News
Zanu PF youths on rampage 
1/12/02 10:37:12 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter
Hundreds of Zanu PF youths returning from Harare International Airport where they had gone to welcome the visiting Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila on Thursday attacked residents in various suburbs of Harare in an ongoing terror campaign ahead of the 9 and 10 March presidential election.

Residents of Warren Park, Greendale, Tafara, Glen Norah, Glen View, Kuwadzana 5, Kuwadzana Extension and Budiriro said the youths descended at shopping centres in hired Zupco buses and beat up innocent people. In Tafara, they allegedly threatened to return in 10 buses to continue with the beatings.
In Bindura scores of Zanu PF youths attacked guests at the Coach House Inn at about 10pm on Wednesday. Guests fled as the youths, armed with axes, sticks, iron bars, stones and other weapons, descended without warning.
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Daily News -Leader page
Zanu PF takes on world to defy march of time 
1/12/02 11:10:05 AM (GMT +2)

IN the next few days, Zanu PF will find out if the rest of the world believes the rock-strewn path on which it has launched this country has any respectability among the nations of the world.

Yesterday in Brussels, a delegation of President Mugabe's government began talks with the European Union to patch up a rift which could culminate in Zimbabwe facing punishing economic sanctions from that 16-member group.
Their differences stem from the Mugabe government's record on the maintenance of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the harassment of
the opposition and the independent Press.
For more or less the same sins of commission, the government has been punished by the United States government with its Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001. This week, the government added to its lengthening dossier the controversial passage by Parliament of the General Laws Amendment Act, which makes the electoral playing field more uneven than before, and the Public Order and Security Act, which makes the colonial-era Law and Order (Maintenance) Act read like a Boy Scouts' rule book.
There will be questions about the virtual pre-election military coup signalled by the defence forces with their astonishing threat not to recognise an elected President without liberation war credentials. Still to come on Monday, 14 January, will be a crucial meeting of the Southern African Development Community heads of state in Malawi at which the same transgressions are to be ventilated.
The vacillation of this regional group is pathetic. Not one of them could honestly endorse the Mugabe government's human rights performance so far as an example they would enthusiastically emulate. Yet they continue to dither over what is their clear responsibility to the people, rather than the government, of Zimbabwe.
Then in March, the government can expect the Commonwealth, meeting in Australia to discuss its future membership of that multi-racial group, having placed it on the agenda, the prelude to suspension, which could lead to expulsion.
It's for more or less the same sins that the government is being barracked.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, seems confident his government will weather that storm because "most of the members have rallied behind us".
He singles out Britain, Canada and Australia, who belong to the "old" Commonwealth, as the leaders of the anti-Zimbabwe brigade, suggesting the others, including India, South Africa and Nigeria, all applaud the violence and denial of basic human rights of which his government is accused.
We doubt that the 51 other Commonwealth members will go along with the government's contention that all the draconian measures it has taken and intends to take against its real and imagined detractors, including the independent Press, are justified under the laws of a civilised democracy.
For the ordinary people of this country, the political and economic consequences of Zanu PF's defiance of the march of time have been ghastly.
There are very few jobs, few drugs, very little food and the prospects of
improvements during the year look distinctly bleak. Zanu PF is to blame for it is the party driving the government into this dead-end. In another country claiming to be democratic, an election during which the people would give the ruling party their verdict on its performance on their behalf would be entirely free and fair.
The people's verdict would be final and would be respected by all. The international and regional organisations which meet the government in the next few days must insist on this. 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
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Daily News - Leader Page
The most shocking Christmas ever 
1/12/02 11:13:04 AM (GMT +2)
By Cathy Buckle
FOR weeks after the festive period, we were absolutely bombarded by State-owned radio and television reports telling us that this has been the best Christmas for 100 years because Zimbabweans have been given back their land and are expecting "bumper harvests".

To test this assertion, I went away for a few days, travelled a couple of hundred kilometres and saw for myself the state of the crops on Zimbabwean farms. As a result of the tour, I am still in a state of deep shock.
On the entire 220 kilometres of my journey there were less than a dozen fields on the roadside growing a saleable crop. Of these, not one was maize, Zimbabwe's staple food. There were many dozens of little patches, some perhaps not as big as one hectare, where newly resettled farmers have claimed a vast field and managed to plant only a minute fraction of it with food.
Zimbabwe's newly resettled farmers have not planted enough food for themselves, let alone a surplus with which to support 13 million Zimbabweans. Perhaps what struck me most is that we have gone backwards in time. From tractors and pivot
irrigation tending crops for sale to support the nation, the view now is of oxen-pulling hand ploughs in little squares to feed perhaps one man and his wife for three or four months.
Having been all my life in Africa and a farmer for a decade, I find it criminal in the extreme that our prime growing season is going to waste like this and that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made, is sitting in Harare saying that we are in for a bumper harvest.
More criminal is that Francis Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, is doing and saying nothing about the vast environmental degradation that lies there along the roadsides for us all to see.
On countless fields along the roads, dozens of indigenous trees have been hacked down to be replaced by one or two round huts. In the middle of timber plantations hundreds of prime trees, grown for poles and furniture, have been felled to make room for one ramshackle hut. On almost every field, our new farmers have planted maize along the river banks, gullies are visible, chemicals are leaching into our water systems, siltation has started, contours have been ploughed through.
We have gone from being a vastly productive country to one of primitive subsistence and all the highly educated ministers who govern us with their Masters degrees and Doctorates are saying nothing and doing nothing. They have watched in political silence as commercial farmers have been stopped from growing food by "war veterans"; they have taken Zimbabwe back into the dark ages.
For over a year I have been saying that starvation is approaching. This week I saw the reality of it. This has been the best Christmas in 100 years for
a very few Zimbabweans. Four people were murdered in political violence during Christmas week. Trymore Midzi, 24 years old, was brutally assaulted in Bindura by men wielding machetes. He died in a Harare hospital.
Titus Nheya, 56 years old, was stabbed to death in Karoi. Milton Chambati, 45 years old, was attacked by a mob of 50. He was stabbed in the back and then beheaded in Magunje. Laban Chiweta, 24 years old, was beaten to death by armed riot police near Bindura.
My love and condolences go to their wives and lovers, their children, friends and families. On the morning of Christmas Eve a barefoot and barely clothed young woman, perhaps 20, appeared outside my door.
She was suckling an infant at her distended breast and had a toddler at her feet.
She was starving, her eyes were filled with tears and her pleas for help were garbled but desperate. She carried her life, her home and her children's security in a small, blanket-enclosed bundle. This was the face of Zimbabwe in 2001. When I returned home the hate mail again filled my screen.
"Go back to Britain," it said, "there is no place for you here." The writer said that the starvation is the fault of white farmers who are not delivering their produce to the Grain Marketing Board in order to create artificial shortages.
The hate mail author did not seem to be aware of the cold hard fact: there is no produce to sell 21 months after politicians decided to use race and land to secure their re-election.
The educated men and women who govern Zimbabwe, the civil servants and the police who have turned a blind eye for almost two years, must now find ways of feeding us all.
The time for hate and accusations, for greed and jealousy is long gone.
Now we must all work together before it is our mothers and daughters carrying their lives in small bundles begging for help.
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