Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 06:21 GMT
Zimbabwe set to pass media law
Robert Mugabe has come in for mounting criticism
Zimbabwe's parliament is set to approve a new media bill,
which will muzzle the independent media and ban foreign journalists from working
in the country.
The bill stipulates, among other restrictions, that all local reporters must
obtain a one-year licence from a government commission, or face two years in
Zimbabwe police on Monday night dispersed some 25
journalists who gathered outside parliament, intending to hold an overnight
vigil in protest of the media bill.
The Zimbabwe crisis is affecting the region's
Parliament passed two other controversial bills - the security and electoral
bills - last week.
The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions if Zimbabwe refused to
allow foreign observers to monitor the elections in March.
But on Monday President Robert Mugabe promised fellow southern African
leaders that his country's upcoming presidential elections would be "free and
Mr Mugabe made the pledge shortly before the summit of the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community (SADC) issued a closing communique calling on
Zimbabwe to take a range of actions to reduce political tension.
According to the communique, the Zimbabwean leader has also agreed to
investigate political violence in his country and to allow international media
to cover the elections.
Mugabe has come under a barrage of international criticism for the restrictive
laws he has rushed through to ensure his re-election.
SADC's demands from Zimbabwe
Respect freedom of speech and association
Allow election monitors
Let journalists cover elections
Western governments have been pressing SADC to rein Zimbabwe's leader in, but
the summit did not discuss sanctions against the country.
"Let us give Zimbabwe a chance. President Mugabe has assured us that there
will be free and fair elections. So let us wait and see. We hope that what we
have been promised will be adhered to," Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, the
summit host, told a news conference.
Crackdown on opposition
But violence soared in Zimbabwe over the last week, with government-backed
militants forcing 23 white landowners from their homes.
Militants have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms since early 2000.
The Zimbabwean president has justified their actions, saying they were an
understandable response to a legacy of inequitable land ownership left by
Over the weekend, militants, backed by Mr Mugabe's government, beat and
critically wounded several opposition activists and burned down an opposition
There were also reports that police sprayed an opposition rally with tear gas
and that militants from Mr Mugabe's ruling party fired shots at several homes in
Call for sanctions
The Zimbabwean crisis is already having an economic impact on other countries
and there are fears that political instability could spread.
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai told
the BBC that South Africa should impose direct sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Tzvangirai: South Africa should impose sanctions
"The threat to undermine the elections by the military, by Mugabe himself,
should actually send shock waves to South Africa and say, 'under those
circumstances, we are going to cut fuel, we are going to cut transport links',"
South Africa, however, disagrees and believes "quiet diplomacy" and not
sanctions should be used.
The Irish Times
Zimbabwe opposition legislators attacked
Last updated: 15-01-02, 07:13
An opposition legislator
was abducted, knifed and left for dead by suspected ruling party supporters,
amid mounting political violence here, the privately-owned Daily News reported
State television also reported the attack late yesterday, and said Mr
David Mpala, who is the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC's) MP for Lupane,
in southwestern Zimbabwe, was in a stable condition.
The Daily News reported
that Mr Mpala was abducted from Lupane business centre on Sunday afternoon. His
kidnappers drove Mr Mpala away in his own vehicle before dumping him on the side
of a road with a deep gash in his abdomen.
There have been numerous reports
of politically-motivated violence recently by both the MDC and the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) ahead of watershed
presidential elections set for March.
Each party blames the other for the
violence. ZANU-PF has accused the MDC of "terrorism", while the opposition
claims around 90 people, most of them MDC supporters, have been killed in two
years of political tension.
Rand opens weaker, wary of Mugabe
The rand opened weaker on Tuesday and dealers said the market remained
unconvinced by a commitment from President Robert Mugabe that Zimbabwe's March
presidential poll would be free and fair.
The rand traded at 11.53/dlr at
08h20, about 15 cents weaker on late Monday, and was seen trading between 11.40
and 11.60 on the day with the bias towards 11.60.
"To make significant moves either way, we need to break 11.38 or 11.62,"
said one dealer at a major South African bank.
"But the market is mistrustful of Mugabe's comments. If a miracle was to
happen and he was to step down it would be a big boost to the rand," the dealer
Southern African leaders said Mugabe agreed at a summit on Monday to ensure
fair presidential elections in March, including independent observers.
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) issued a
closing communique saying Mugabe had also agreed to investigate political
violence in Zimbabwe and allow international media to cover the elections.
Western governments have been pressing other African states to rein in
Mugabe, whom they accuse of muzzling opposition politicians and independent
media as he seeks to extend his 22-year grip on power in the March 9-10 ballot.
But while the regional leaders expressed concern over an army statement
last week that the security forces would not tolerate an opposition victory,
they issued no ultimatum to Mugabe, who has repeatedly broken similar promises
Zimbabwe's crisis is seen as one of the factors behind the rand's 37
depreciation last year against the dollar.
Bond yields ticked up on the back of the weaker rand, with the yield on the
key R150 bond, due 2005, at 10.52% from 10.40% late on Monday.
The longer-dated R153, due 2010, was bid at 11.22% versus 11.115% late
From News24 (SA), 14 January
White farmers' case postponed
Harare – A magistrate in Zimbabwe Monday postponed a case
against 24 white farmers facing charges of public violence, after the state said
it had lost some evidence and wanted to review the rest. The state alleges the
farmers attacked defenceless blacks resettled on a white-owned farm in Chinhoyi,
northwest of Harare, in August last year. The farmers deny the charges, and
claim they were rescuing a colleague barricaded in his home by marauding land
occupiers. In a highly publicised case, 21 farmers were arrested and jailed for
two weeks in August. Three others were later arrested and charged with the same
crime, bringing the total to 24. State prosecutor Clemence Chimbari said: "The
state is seriously considering the evidence available with the view of
withdrawing charges against some of the accused." Chimbari said the rest of the
state's evidence had been destroyed in a fire early this month that razed the
Chinhoyi Magistrate's Court, where the farmers were initially tried. In granting
the application, magistrate Celestine Mushipe postponed the matter to April
From The Financial Times, 15 January
UK and US move to trace Mugabe's funds abroad
Blantyre/Brussels/London - The British and US governments have
begun a joint effort to identify millions of dollars thought to be salted away
in foreign bank accounts by Robert Mugabe and his inner circle. The move is in
preparation for a potential decision by Washington and the European Union to
impose personal sanctions on the Zimbabwean president and leading members of his
government. They would involve freezing bank accounts and refusing visas so Mr
Mugabe and his circle could not visit western countries. Some estimates put the
sums allegedly looted from the Zimbabwean people at hundreds of millions of
dollars, but the Foreign Office and US State Department have no accurate figure
yet. The move comes amid deep gloom in London and other capitals about the
increasingly violent situation in Zimbabwe ahead of presidential elections in
Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, has called for
Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth at the heads of government summit
in Australia in March if there is no improvement, but it is unclear whether
Britain can win support from the other 53 Commonwealth countries. Mr Mugabe on
Monday shrugged off criticism. On his departure from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) meeting in Malawi, he said: "All issues were well
discussed. We are very, very happy. Come to Zimbabwe and see the election for
yourselves." The SADC on Monday said it was prepared to take Mr Mugabe's word
that he would ensure free and fair elections. In a final communique, the SADC
said it had received assurances from Mr Mugabe that he would allow international
election observers and journalists into Zimbabwe and assure the independence of
the judiciary, and on an electoral commission. Mr Mugabe had also given
commitments to respect human rights and freedom of opinion and association, and
to investigate incidents of political violence.
However, Zimbabwe is passing laws to bar foreign journalists
and international monitors from the election, curb dissent at home and
disenfranchise Zimbabweans that live overseas. Amnesty International, the
UK-based human rights body, had urged the SADC to acknowledge an escalating
human rights crisis in Zimbabwe and warned of political repression precipitating
the possibility of civil war. There were signs on Monday night that the UK
government was bowing to pressure from MPs and moving towards suspending
deportation of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. The Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats said they had been told by David Blunkett, home secretary, that no
more would be sent back until after a new assessment of the risks. After Mr
Blunkett met Oliver Letwin and Simon Hughes, the Tory and Liberal Democrat home
affairs spokesmen, the Home Office would confirm only that it had not returned
any more asylum seekers on Monday.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 15 January
Zanu PF opens campaign with barbed wire
The violence begins as Mugabe supporters strike at
white-owned farms in the tobacco heartland
Harare - The ruling party in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF, has begun its
presidential election campaign using a new torture weapon, barbed wire raked
across the feet of farm workers, commercial farmers said yesterday. "I saw grown
men weeping," said Chris Shepherd, a tobacco farmer, after a day of violence
against scores of farm workers left unable to walk after the soles of their feet
were injured on barbed wire. "It is torture. I have never seen so many men weep
in a day," he said. Mr Shepherd, who farms in Karoi, the tobacco heartland 125
miles north of Harare, spent the previous 36 hours rescuing farmers and workers
from an upsurge in political violence by President Robert Mugabe's supporters.
"We are seeing the start of the election campaign, and it is going to get
worse," he said.
Mr Shepherd and many farmers scattered over Mr Mugabe's
political stronghold, the Mashonaland province, reported that their workers were
forced to attend all-night Maoist "pungwes" - political indoctrination camps.
Farmers say the workers arrived back physically and mentally exhausted and most,
but not all, are too frightened to file official reports of torture at the hands
of Mr Mugabe's militants. Mr Mugabe, 77, faces the toughest challenge to his
22-year rule in seven weeks when he stands against Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader and former trade unionist. Yesterday, in other parts of the
province, Mr Mugabe's militia rampaged across white-owned farms, beating
workers, ransacking thousands of tons of stored maize, seizing cattle and crops.
In the last 24 hours dozens of farmers in Mashonaland have been told to leave
Commercial farm workers are seen by Mr Mugabe as Tsvangirai
supporters, and tens of thousands have been forced from their jobs and homes in
the last three months. Four Zimbabwean human rights activists, hoping to tell
southern African leaders in Malawi about this worsening political violence at
home were arrested in the capital, Blantyre, jailed and deported early
yesterday. The four were arrested, on the orders of Zimbabwean intelligence
agents, before a meeting of the Southern African Development Community, SADC.
"We are outraged that one African country, Malawi, acting on the orders of
another, Zimbabwe, should do this when SADC has signed protocols which
recognises the rights of civil society to contribute to political developments,"
said Kumbirai Hodzi, committee member of the Zimbabwe Crisis Committee, which
represents a broad coalition of non-governmental organisations.
"In the morning we were taken to the airport and declared
prohibited immigrants." He said senior policemen told the four they were acting
on orders sent to Malawi by the Zimbabwe government. "The Malawi police were
embarrassed, as all our papers were in order. We had transgressed no law."
Amnesty International is warning of the threat of civil war in Zimbabwe unless
the Mugabe regime allows the presidential election in March to be free. "The
deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe places in real jeopardy the
possibility of free and fair elections... and raises the spectre of such violent
repression of political opposition degenerating into civil war," its memorandum
said. "The time has come for SADC to send a strong and consistent message that
the situation in Zimbabwe has grown worse; that the Zimbabwean authorities
should not allow human rights to be violated with impunity." Amnesty
International said Zimbabwe human rights organisations had reported about 50
politically-motivated killings since early 2000, some of them during
parliamentary by-elections in 2001. In its latest report, Amnesty said it had
been told of up to 10 people killed by state-sponsored militias in recent
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
Farm Invasions And Security
Monday 14 January 2002
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents
that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication
problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that
happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to
minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN
- MANICALAND - Nyanga – on Glenspey Farm on Friday evening,
11.12.01, settlers broke into the owner’s house and demanded his
firearms. When he refused to hand them over, they beat him unconscious
with a pipe. They ransacked the house and cut the telephone lines. On
regaining consciousness, the owner fixed his phone and called the police, who
reacted well, and deem this a criminal offence.
- MASHONALAND EAST - Beatrice – Alamaine farm - A group
from the Sheriff’s office arrived to enforce a court order allowing removal of
certain assets and were met with a hostile response. Mr Zhou threatened
vehicles would be burnt and the occupants would be “severely dealt
with”. Farming operations appear to be ongoing, but this has become a no
go area. The labour still resident is very intimidated.
- MASVINGO - On Dalcross / Shashe / Felixburg Farms the
owner received a letter from youths, demanding his workers vacate the
compound, as they wished to convert it into a school. The owner spoke with DA
in Gutu who gave him a letter stating the youths could not chase workers out
of their homes. The youths returned later the next evening, stole all the
workers’ keys to their homesteads, and threatened to return and evict anyone
left. This group of youths has also harassed others within the district
making the same demands for sheds / barns for school purposes
Rusape - Various
political meetings held in the area.
Nyanga – on Glenspey
Farm on Friday evening, 11.12.01, settlers broke into the owner’s house and
demanded his firearms. When he refused to hand them over, they beat him
unconscious with a pipe. They ransacked the house and cut the telephone
lines. On regaining consciousness, the owner fixed his phone and called the
police, who reacted well, and deem this a criminal offence.
- Numerous Section 8 Orders still being served , otherwise very
Bindura - Chimberi Farm has a
total work stoppage. Zanu PF youths were stoning vehicles on the Mtepatepa Road
over the weekend.
Mvurwi - the owner's wife from Hariana
Farm was called to a meeting on Saluka Farm. The resident “war vet” with a
delegation of Police and tobacco growers, requested the use of her barns to cure
their tobacco. She was allowed to remove the sorting tables and balers but the
rest of the movable assets had to remain. They gave assurances they would not
harm her and as soon as they were paid they would pay rental for the
barns. The same delegation then went to Mandandindi Farm but the situation there
is not resolved. Campbell Marr who was reported missing last week has been found
in Raffingora. He is well and is said to have been staying with friends. A
peaceful rally was held on Msonedi Farm over the weekend. There was a strong
Horseshoe - On Penrose Farm a rowdy group
of “war vets” and settlers demonstrated outside the workshop security fence,
demanding funds from the manager and foreman. On being notified, the ZRP advised
no extortion should be pandied to and the situation was defused. On
Rungudzi Farm the cattle have been penned in the security area. A crowd of Zanu
PF youths demonstrated outside the security gate of Red Lichen Farm, threatening
to spend the night outside the gates if transport was not provided. The
farmer complied with the demand. The same incident with different youths was
repeated on Casasa Farm, where the owner supplied transport for fear of
Athlone Farm received a Section 8 Order. On Mignon GMB visited and
confiscated all maize the farmer had on farm and said it was to be
delivered to GMB Marondera immediately. The farmer had already applied for
exemption to deliver but GMB ignored this.
– at Pennyfather about 10 people beat up the workers in the village.
Police reacted. At Versailles 10 to 15 men arrived chanting and entered
the security fence whilst the women stayed outside. The police eventually
reacted and the situation was defused. The 'senior' settler on Ngesi, who
also claims he is a debt collector for Chikomba Rural District Council, has
given the owner 24 hours to vacate. He is the same settler who assaulted the
owner in 2001, and caused the noise and pungwe on 8th Jan 2002. The owner
received a Section 8 order last week. Police and DISPOL have been asked to
attend. Workers on Forestdale were evicted from barns that are now
required for curing tobacco grown on the resettlement next door. The owner is
returning to the farm this week.
Wedza - The Lessee on Mt
Arthur received a letter stating all labour had to be off farm by the 6th and
the lessee by the 7th. On Friday the labour was told to move into the barn fence
immediately and the lessee was told to vacate. Army personnel arrived and
resolved things. Later, Support Unit arrived with Insp. William who told the
labour to return to the farm village and spoke to the individual concerned,
advising him that further trouble would result in his arrest. Lot 2 of
Hull received a Section 8. The owner of Rhodesdale had a delegation ask
him to shoot and supply meat for the youth at Mahusekwa. He refused and they
threatened to phone the DA and PA to get permission to hunt. The group went to
neighbouring Sandra Farm, leased by the owner of Rhodesdale taking two cattlemen
with them. Five shots were fired but nothing was hit. The police have been
informed. There was a work stoppage at Iamba as workers were told to
attend a meeting at Leeds. The owner was forced to take the settlers to a
meeting at Wedza. On Bezuidenhout the guard reported a large pack of dogs
chased a Kudu, which broke through the security fence and managed to escape.
Approximately 20 youth were taken from Rapako to Wedza for a training
session. On Fels, the DDF are ploughing. Isolator switches for the
borehole have been stolen.
Beatrice – Alamaine farm had an
illegal cattle auction held, ostensibly to raise funds to pay off workers who
had not received all their gratuities. The last sitrep stated the owner
had paid all workers in full by November as per agreement. There have been
sightings of cattle moved around, some with LIT tags, with most going to
Mondoro. Two Ursus tractors were seen being removed from the farm. A
group from the Sheriff’s office arrived to enforce a court order allowing
removal of certain assets and were met with a hostile response. Mr Zhou
threatened vehicles would be burnt and the occupants would be “severely dealt
with”. Farming operations appear to be ongoing but this has become a no go
area. The labour still resident are very intimidated. The tenant
farmer on Talana Farm had a visit from 6 people who refused to show any
ID. They said they would be taking over the farm and he was to leave
immediately. Wermel Farm had 20-30 communal farmers armed with axes and
sticks, chanting demands for compensation as the farmer had ploughed in their
maize crop 2-3 months ago. The farmer was instructed to do so by local
“war vet” Mavungira. About four Section 7 Notices have been received in
the last week in this area.
Banket - the owner of
Bikleighvale Farm was not evicted. The correct version of events was
a prospective tenant rented a cottage on the farm. The settlers heard he
was either one of the "Chinhoyi 21" or connected to this group. They
demanded the owner have him evicted from the premises. Apparently, this is
the second time the prospective tenant has suffered this type of
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH)
Masvingo East and Central Area –
continued harassment on Dromore Farm. A group of people arrived at the
homestead; one armed with a machete and one with a sjambok. The owner refused to
talk with them until the machete and sjambok had been laid aside. They followed
with demands he pay compensation of $6000, as his cattle had eaten their maize.
The owner took individuals with him to the Police station at Farmers Hall where
the Police told them to stop making demands and behave. The owner asked his
manager to assess any crop damage, of which there was hardly any. The
group visited again and the matter was peacefully resolved with no compensation
paid. Fences that kraal cattle overnight were cut over the
Mwenezi - the environmental destruction continues
unabated. Cattle ostensibly eating crops are an ongoing excuse for the squatters
to harass farmers and their livestock. At Quagga Pan B a staff member
witnessed a 14-year-old youth striking a cow with an axe, severing the spine and
the animal had to be destroyed. The youth was caught and handed over to the
police. Members of the youth's family attacked the compound and attempted to
assault workers, who fled into the bush and to the owner's house. The police
attended but the perpetrators had departed. The attackers returned demanding the
owner instruct the police to release the youth. The police calmed the situation,
but no final resolution has been achieved. On Merrivale the owner found a letter
on the house security fence addressed: "to you Botha" and giving him until the
“9th – 10th” to be off the property with all livestock and his staff, otherwise:
"we will remove you". It is assumed the date given refers to the
elections. There have been several ZANU (PF) rallies in the district over
the weekend. At Turf two drunk individuals, claiming to be Agritex
officials, entered the house and told the farm manager he had until the end of
January to vacate the property. They were aggressive, and said if they wanted a
drink they would just take it. Another vehicle with several occupants, presumed
allocated A2 land on the farm, visited with the same message to vacate by the
end of January. This property is a number of small titles run as a consolidated
unit, and the two titles in receipt of Section 8 Orders do not include the
house. The Mwenezi Post Office has put up a list of properties allocated
for A2 resettlement and dates when “the lucky recipients” should present
themselves at the Agritex office to be shown “their farms". About
fifty 50 kg-sacks of maize were seen at a bus stop. Destination is uncertain and
when questioned, it was said that a communal grower from Chikombedzi was selling
Save Conservancy - Poaching and snaring continue
Chiredzi – there is plenty of movement by settlers on
several properties, but it is thought that most are returning to the communal
lands to plant their crops. On Wasarasara Ranch 60 people arrived
claiming: the owner’s cattle had been eating their maize, they were not being
served in the store and owner’s game guards were shooting their dogs. The owner
compensated by arranging his labour to help fence their maize
Gutu / Chatsworth – the owner on Nyororo Farm was
visited by 40 chanting youths, demanding he pay his domestic workers the same
wages as agricultural staff. Two hours of intimidation resulted in the owner
conceding to demands. The youths ended by reminding the owner they were
the “law” and demanding cokes, buns, money and transport. He refused to
comply. On Dalcross / Shashe / Felixburg Farms the owner received a letter
from the youths, demanding his workers vacate the compound, as they wished to
convert it into a school. The owner spoke with DA in Gutu who gave him a letter
stating the youths could not chase workers out of their homes. The youths
returned later the next evening, stole all the workers’ keys to their homesteads
and threatened to return and evict anyone left. This group of youths has
also harassed others within the district making the same demands for sheds /
barns for school purposes.
The opinions in this message do not
necessarily reflect those of the Commercial Farmers' Union which does not accept
any legal responsibility for them.
January 15, 2002
Deported Zim activists back in Harare as SADC summit
Four human rights activists, all members of the
umbrella Zimbabwe Crisis Group (ZCG), returned safely to Harare on Monday after
being detained overnight in Malawi and deported.
ZimRights director Bidi
Munyaradzi was among the arrested group which consisted of Brian Raftopoulos,
Theresa Mugadza and Kumbirai Hodzi. He told IRIN shortly after arriving in
Harare that he believed the Malawian authorities were acting on information they
received from their Zimbabwean counterparts.
"We had actually gone to
Malawi to meet civil society over human rights issues in Zimbabwe and in the
region, and also to discuss issues surrounding the SADC (Southern African
Development Community) summit. We wanted to make a presentation on behalf of
civil society," Munyaradzi said.
The worsening human rights situation and
deepening political crisis in Zimbabwe were expected to be among main issues
discussed at the SADC summit which ended late on Monday.
that at about 17H30 or 17H35 on Sunday, shortly after booking into the Superior
hotel in Blantyre, three policemen arrived at the hotel.
"One was a
police commissioner with the CID in Malawi. When they came in they introduced
themselves. They were actually asking for specific people, which shows that they
had information in advance. They confiscated our passports and took us to the
police station for interrogation under the assurance it was normal procedure for
foreigners," Munyaradzi said.
"They said they received information that
our presence in Malawi would endanger the security of the Malawian and
Zimbabwean governments," he added. After taking the group back to their hotel at
about 21H00 and searching their luggage, the police arrested them.
said we were prohibited immigrants and called the chief immigration officer, who
made us fill in forms which dictated we were being charged under section 5H of
Malawi's Immigration Act. They refused to divulge the details of the
"We decided to sign the immigration forms and get onto the next
flight. They then took us to the Blantyre central police station where they
actually detained us overnight in a cell in very appalling conditions,"
After spending the night there, the group was taken to
the immigration offices at Lilongwe airport. "They said there were new forms to
fill because the charge had changed to 4.1H of the Immigration Act, which has
something to do with the fact that they were acting in line with information
they got from a diplomatic source. That's what they read to us," he
"It is our belief that there has been close cooperation between
Zimbabwean and Malawian security authorities, particularly because of the
questions and the fact that we were told 'you're the same people causing trouble
in Zimbabwe'," he added.
Munyaradzi said the arrests were a "calculated
move bent on harassing and crippling the endeavours of civil society". "This has
a serious impact on the situation in Zimbabwe and the region since we, as civil
society, now cannot communicate or seek guidance or lobby leaders and other
civil society leaders in the region," he told IRIN.
On the SADC summit,
Munyaradzi said that if the concerns of the general public were ignored, there
would be "no change in the material situation in this country
SADC leaders headed for Malawi under increasing pressure to
show strength in their dealings with President Robert Mugabe and his regime.
They have so far rejected the notion of sanctions, but have been unable to
persuade Mugabe to curb violence and ensure that human rights are respected in
Reports of violence against opposition party supporters and
members, and against human rights activists, have been rife in recent months, as
has been the harassment of journalists.
An AFP report quoted SADC
chairman and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi as saying during his opening
speech at the summit that peace during the run-up to presidential elections set
for 9 and 10 March were as important as having peace on the election
"We are all very hopeful that the elections will be peaceful, free,
fair and transparent. We hope that this will be so by allowing every Zimbabwean
to participate effectively in the elections in the spirit of democratic
principles and value," he said. Muluzi was expected to release a full statement
late on Monday, after the summit ended.
Mugabe in 'fair' polls pledge
January 15, 2002
Mugabe insists his land reform plans will go
BLANTYRE, Malawi -- Elections in Zimbabwe will be "free and fair,"
President Robert Mugabe has pledged amid growing international concern over the
But Mugabe's government has vowed to push on with its controversial land
reform programme, saying it is "irreversible."
On Monday, the Zimbabwe president attended a one-day summit of southern
African leaders in Malawi and, in a declaration issued at the end of the
meeting, said he would agree to allow international monitors and journalists to
observe the elections.
The statement from the 14-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) also said Mugabe would launch impartial investigations of
recent political violence in Zimbabwe and work with the opposition to restore
In Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Monday one
of its offices was torched over the weekend and several of its supporters were
beaten up by ruling party militants.
On Saturday, police fired tear gas to disperse an opposition rally.
Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, who currently chairs SADC, said Zimbabwe
should now be given a chance to act on its pledges.
"President Mugabe has made a commitment to us as SADC -- let's wait and
see," he said.
The summit declaration did not specify which countries would be able to
send election observers, but Mugabe has previously stated that only observers
from "friendly" countries would be allowed in.
Mugabe left the 14-nation summit after seven hours saying: "All is well
that ends well. We are very happy that all the issues were well discussed."
On the land reform issue, Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said: "Any attempt
that Zimbabwe should reverse its land policy is like whistling in a grave yard
(a waste of time)," he said.
"It is irreversible because land is what we fought for and it is what is
just and what is right."
Mugabe and his administration want to redistribute Zimbabwe's most fertile
land -- most of it owned by white commercial farmers -- to the landless black
While there is international controversy over the ambition Mugabe has given
tacit support to -- or at least turned a blind eye to -- landless blacks, who
describe themselves as veterans of the war of independence, occupying white
SADC comprises South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, Angola, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
MP battles for life
1/15/02 8:46:40 AM (GMT +2)
From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo and Pedzisai Ruhanya in Harare
THE Member of Parliament for Lupane David Mpala's life was in danger as of
yesterday after suspected Zanu PF supporters slit his abdomen with knives, a few
hours after abducting him on Sunday afternoon.
The attack on the MDC MP is the latest in a grisly chain of calculated acts
of violence nationwide by Zanu PF in its desperate bid to frighten the
electorate iaway from voting for Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC candidate in March's
His captors, numbering about 20, reportedly knocked his wife unconscious
during the kidnapping incident at about 4pm at Lupane business centre, in full
view of members of the public.
Mpala was on his way to a funeral of an MDC member. His captors drove away
in his white Nissan Hardbody truck after dumping him about 6km from the business
centre, unconscious and bleeding profusely.
The vehicle was recovered in Tsholotsho yesterday morning and 11 suspects
are understood to have been arrested by the police.
The police officer commanding Matabeleland North Province, Senior Assistant
Commissioner Boyathi Ngwenya, confirmed the attempted murder of the legislator,
but could neither confirm nor deny the arrests.
He referred The Daily News to police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena.
After regaining consciousness, Mpala was helped by members of the public to
get to Lupane Police Station before he was rushed to St Luke's Hospital.
Mpala's aides said war veterans held a meeting at Lupane business centre
shortly before his abduction, although it was not immediately clear if the
decision to kidnap him was taken at that meeting.
This gory abduction and other incidents of violence, coming a day after
President Mugabe and his entire Zanu PF leadership were trying to project
themselves as non-violent at a meeting with some carefully selected church
leaders, exposes Zanu PF as a hypocritical party, MDC spokesman, Learnmore
Jongwe, said yesterday.
Mpala, 47, could hardly speak at his hospital bed in Lupane on Sunday night
where the police are providing him with a round-the-clock guard fearing that he
could be harmed further by Zanu PF militia.
"I nearly died," he told The Daily News. "The people who kidnapped me are
war veterans - I can identify some of them,"
Mpala's aides said he had fainted at least four times due to excessive
bleeding. He was expected to be flown to Bulawayo for special medical attention
late yesterday, MDC officials said yesterday.
Political tension has been rising in Lupane since the abduction and murder
of Limukani Luphahla, a member of the ruling Zanu PF. Zanu PF officials have
blamed Luphahla's murder on the MDC, fuelling speculation that the ruling party
was avenging through Sunday's attack.
In a related development, two of the seven MDC followers attacked with axes
and knives by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans at Murambinda Growth Point on
Saturday are fighting for their lives at a hospital in Harare.
The hospital cannot be identified for the safety of the men. In the past,
assailants have pursued their victims into hospitals and clinics to "finish them
off", sources have said.
Zivai Menyani, 22, said yesterday he was stabbed twice in the chest when
more than 70 Zanu PF supporters raided the MDC office at Murambinda and
indiscriminately attacked people at the growth point.
He said: "They accused me of supporting the MDC. One of them pulled out a
knife and stabbed me before he attacked others with the same knife."
Tonderai Muchongwe, 27, said he was stabbed five times in the back and once
on the lip.
"I was busy working at one of the shops at the growth point when people
wearing Zanu PF T-shirts forced their way in and started attacking shoppers and
workers. They accused us of supporting the MDC," Muchongwe said.
The two spoke with difficulty.
Asaniel Magaya, 32, and Daniel Machinga, 29, released from the medical
facility early yesterday, received stitches on their heads following the attacks
while, Bigai Nyika, Rosemary Muveregwi, 29, and Stella Makwarimba, 42, were
discharged from Murambinda Hospital on Sunday afternoon.
The Murambinda police yesterday confirmed the incident, but refused to give
Timothy Mubhawu, the MDC chairman for Manicaland, yesterday condemned the
attacks and called upon the police to arrest the perpetrators.
Mubhawu said: "We want a peaceful presidential campaign and the police
should arrest those who violate the laws of the land."
In Mutorashanga, Patrick Ashton, 53, of Lanfall Farm sustained serious
injuries to his right arm after an attack by a group of 15 land invaders who
used sticks and axes.
According to a neighbouring farmer, Ashton received treatment from a local
nurse soon after the attack which took place just before 9am.
The neighbour, who declined to be named, said in a telephone interview that
Ashton was attacked because of his strong views on the need for a
political dispensation in the redistribution of land.
Ashton's two sons were still on the farm late yesterday, but his wife was
out of danger.