Mugabe report delayed
By Tim Butcher
A DIPLOMATICALLY sensitive United Nations report assessing whether
President Robert Mugabe is acting lawfully in Zimbabwe was delayed from
publication yesterday after the intervention of the UN Secretary-General.
The Telegraph has learned that senior staff in Kofi Annan's office said
they needed to give final approval to the report, prepared by a special team
from the UN Development Programme. "This report is diplomatic dynamite and needs
to be handled very carefully," one diplomat said.
It is understood to be the first time the Secretary-General's office has
demanded final approval for a report arising out of a UNDP field trip.
European Union Must Ensure Mugabe Toes the Line
European Union (Brussels)
January 17, 2002
On Friday - 18/01 - the Spanish Presidency of the EU is due to receive a
letter from the Government of Zimbabwe, detailing the actions it will take in
fulfilment of commitments made to senior EU representatives in Brussels a week
ago by Foreign Minister Mudenge.
Commenting from Strasbourg, where he raised this matter in the European
Parliament this morning (Thurs - 17/1), British Conservative Human Rights
spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP said:
"The EU must be absolutely clear that it will not put up with any more
stalling and false promises from Mugabe. The Zimbabwean Government must provide
detailed, unequivocal and verifiable evidence that it is fulfilling the pledges
made to the EU.
"There must be an immediate end to political violence and intimidation, the
media must be allowed to report freely, foreign journalists must be allowed in,
international observers (including from the EU) must be given free rein to
monitor the elections, and intimidation and harassment of the opposition must
"If these commitments are not forthcoming, or if there is continuing
evidence of abuse, the EU must take the decision at its Foreign Ministers'
meeting on 28 January to impose smart sanctions, in co-operation with the US and
others, on Mugabe and his cronies. The preparatory work for this action must be
carried out now, ready for immediate implementation with effect from 1
"As we know from the speed of action taken in relation to international
terrorism, the international community can act swiftly and decisively if the
political determination is there. Here is a chance to take robust action before
a problem gets completely out of hand."
Mr Van Orden has led the way in introducing emergency resolutions on
Zimbabwe in the European Parliament and bolstering EU political resolve.
His actions have secured cross-party and trans-national support. He
"The international community must make it clear that it will not recognise
a Zimbabwean Dictator - only a President elected freely and fairly who is
responsive to international concerns. Such a benign outcome will attract
substantial financial and practical assistance for Zimbabwe from the EU, the US
and others." ENDS
Mail and Guardian
And Bob is an Honourable Man ...
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
January 18, 2002
The Southern African Development Community declined to get tough with
Zimbabwe, report Wisani wa ka Ngobeni and Drew Forrest.
President Robert Mugabe should be given "the benefit of the doubt" on his
pledge to hold free and fair presidential elections, and the region could not
use sanctions or threats to hold him to his word, a top foreign affairs official
maintained this week.
Department of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Africa Welile
Nhlapo was part of the South African delegation to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) heads of government summit in Blantyre, Malawi,
this week, where Mugabe again assured leaders of his honourable intentions.
Nhlapo told the Mail & Guardian that the international community had no
"genuine reason to believe the Zimbabwean government would renege on its
At the summit, Mugabe undertook to hold free and fair elections, allow
independent observers and journalists and investigate all political violence
Nhlapo's comments follow expressions of deep scepticism by the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) about Mugabe's assurances, and scotched
suggestions that South Africa and the region had toughened their stance in
Botswana's President Festus Mogae also confirmed the region's weak summit
stance. "There is not much we can do If Mugabe reneges we'll tell him we're not
happy. But he may tell us to go to hell," said Mogae, who described Mugabe as
"an honourable man".
Cosatu said the latest promises meant as little as those Mugabe made at the
commonwealth summit in Abuja last September and two subsequent SADC meetings. It
expressed "disappointment" that regional leaders had taken them at face
Cosatu also reacted cautiously to news that a Bill banning trade union
dissent had been delayed this week after the Zimbabwean parliament's legal
committee ruled it might be unconstitutional. "We have to be convinced there's a
real change on the ground," said Cosatu's Patrick Craven.
Nhlapo hit back at the federation, saying the organisation was not present
at the SADC meeting and could not "assume things".
He complained that certain media and analysts had turned the summit into "a
bilateral meeting between South Africa and Zimbabwe People want to assign us a
particular role, while we are part of regional mechanisms. We need to respect
institutions we have created. The SADC is a serious institution."
Nhlapo said: "Putting undue pressure on South Africa, as if we are the
police in the region, is incorrect."
The summit, Nhlapo said, was not called to discuss Zimbabwe. The Democratic
Republic of Congo had asked the SADC for a meeting on its problems and Zimbabwe
asked for a platform to brief regional leaders on its election.
Nhlapo attacked international organisations calling for regional sanctions
if Zimbabwe failed to hold free and fair elections and continued to crack down
on the media and judiciary. The SADC did not believe in threatening member
"What threats can you make to Zimbabwe? We can't build a community with
threats." He said "colonisers" had complicated the land issue. "Now colonisers
are being let off the hook and SADC is blamed."
"We are interacting with the Zimbabwe government and President Thabo Mbeki
communicates directly with Mugabe. If issues in Zimbabwe affect us, we discuss
them with the Zimbabwean government, but some issues are the SADC's
But University of the Witwatersrand foreign affairs specialist John
Stremlau questioned whether South Africa and the region were powerless to
Stremlau said the election was "a forcing moment". While South Africa's
softly-softly approach had past benefits in keeping the region on board, the
costs of delay - for example, in regard to the falling rand - were
"Logic dictated" that regional leaders warn Mugabe they would not recognise
an unfair election. A refusal to endorse the poll would make it impossible for
Zimbabwe to raise the international donor finance essential for post- election
Inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 103% and unemployment at 80%. Stremlau
said 500 Zimbabweans were already thought to be crossing into South Africa
A carrot-and-stick approach was needed to shake Zanu-PF leaders out of
their siege mentality and overwhelming focus on keeping power. South Africa
should mediate between Zimbabwe and the West, conveying the latter's detailed
offers of financial aid if the election was properly conducted.
Institute for Security Studies director Richard Cornwell insisted there was
no chance the region would denounce an unfair poll, as its leaders feared the
precedent could rebound on them. "Zambia's election results are already before
Economic sanctions would merely "accelerate the train smash", and there was
no provision for the expulsion of SADC members.
Complicating the issue were critical food shortages in Zimbabwe,
threatening "a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale", and the need for
Mugabe's co-operation in settling the Congo and Angolan crises, where there was
"light at the end of the tunnel".
South Africa needed Zimbabwe to accept food aid from international agencies
it was attacking for their alleged sympathies with the opposition Movement for
"Smart sanctions" targeting the private wealth of Zanu-PF top dogs should
have been launched earlier. However such measures - and even threats to expose
assets held abroad, in stark contrast with "revolutionary austerity" - could
still have some effect.
Stremlau and Cornwell agree that there are signs of Mugabe's increasing
isolation in Zanu-PF and internal dissidence over the concentration of power in
"Mugabe is consolidating power over all party positions, from the central
committee and polititburo to the provinces, and the party barons don't like
this," Cornwell said. "Any future president could abuse them."
He pointed out that the powerful Zanu-PF figure Eddison Zvogbo chaired the
three-person parliamentary committee that had rejected the trade union
Cornwell suggested Mugabe's apparently worsening health might serve as a
trigger for a party rebellion. "It should be remembered the National Party only
dared move against PW Botha when the Great Crocodile was wounded."
International News Agencies Could Relocate to SA,
Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
INTERNATIONAL news organisations based in Zimbabwe said this week they
have contingency plans to relocate to South Africa and Zambia if the government
approves its draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill and
if planned legal challenges of the new law fail.
Angus Shaw, the Harare bureau chief of America's Associated Press (AP) and
spokesman of the Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA), said most
international news organisations represented by the FCA in Harare would relocate
to either of the two countries because the journalists were opposed to being
licenced by the government.
"We have discussed this problem in the FCA and we are agreed that it will
be better for us to relocate to South Africa or to Zambia if it becomes illegal
for us to work as journalists in Zimbabwe," he told the Financial Gazette.
"If they (the government) demand that we register to work here, we will not
do that. Rather than go to jail, we would rather go to cover Zimbabwe from South
Africa or Zambia because we have an obligation to provide news about Zimbabwe to
our international audiences."
The FCA represents news agencies such as AP, Reuters, Agence French Press
(AFP), the South African Press Association and newspapers like Britain's
Guardian and the Times.
"With the exception of the French (AFP), whose position I don't know, I am
aware that the rest of our members will have no alternative but to relocate from
Zimbabwe and fulfil their obligation to provide news from elsewhere," Shaw
Cris Chinaka, Reuters chief correspondent in Zimbabwe, said he had no
comment on the issue while AFP's Harare bureau chief Stephane Barbier had not
returned from Malawi from a southern African conference at the time of going to
Shaw emphasised that the decision to relocate would only be a last resort
for the FCA members after all the planned legal challenges against the new law
"Right now our focus is on challenging the illegal law once it is passed by
Parliament and signed by the President. We have engaged lawyers and we are in
the process of doing all the necessary groundwork. Once we fail in the legal
challenges, that's when the relocating decision will be effected," he
He gave as an example the British Broadcasting Corporation and several
other news organisations whose reporters have been barred from Zimbabwe by
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo but have relocated to South Africa to cover
Moyo's proposed media law bans foreigners, whose objective reporting of
state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe has irked the minister and his government,
from working as journalists in Zimbabwe.
In fact Moyo, in a story published late last year, said the days of Times'
correspondent in Harare Jaan Raath and other foreign correspondents were
This was in reference to the proposed law that will empower him to deny
operating licences to individual journalists he does not like. Moyo later went
on to label six local journalists who work part-time for the foreign media as
The proposed media law has provoked an outcry in the media sector in
Zimbabwe and internationally.
Journalists have vowed to defy it if passed into law. A planned overnight
vigil at Parliament on Monday was disrupted by police who ordered about 40
journalists present to disperse.
The police gave Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary-general Basildon
Peta and Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe president Abel
Mutsakani an ultimatum to disperse the crowd or risk having the journalists
Apart from requiring journalists to register with the government and be
given one-year operating licences, the new law prescribes two-year jail terms
and hefty fines for scribes who write news which the government does not like
such as criticising President Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile Dingilizwe Ntuli, a Zimbabwean journalist working for South
Africa's Sunday Times from Harare, said he had fled Zimbabwe to seek refuge in
South Africa because of threats against him.
Ntuli said he felt his life was in danger after publishing a story on the
government's deployment of army troops in Matabeleland late last year.
"Rather than be the first victim of fear, alarm and despondency in the new
millennium, I felt it would be better for me to tell Zimbabwe's story from
here," said Ntuli, who is now based in South Africa.
Lawyers reluctant to file NCA constitution case
LAWYERS representing the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in the case
in which the constitution-making body is seeking to force the government to
accept its draft constitution are reluctant to file papers with the High Court,
saying the case has no merit.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said yesterday his organisation had been
surprised when its lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, said they could not file the
case papers with the court because it had no merit.
"They said after senior partners in the law firm had looked at the case,
they decided that it had no merit and therefore they cannot file the papers with
the court," he said.
"We do not see what the problem is because what they should do is simply to
file the papers and not to tell us about the merits of the case. Maybe they are
The NCA wants to take the government to court because of the latter's
refusal to accept the assembly's constitutional draft which was finalised last
The government has vowed not to accept the NCA's draft and the
organisation, which argues that the document broadly reflects the wishes of
Zimbabweans, has decided to use the courts to force the government to accept
Rose Zigomo, the lawyer handling the case, yesterday said through her
secretary that she could not discuss the matter with the Financial
Madhuku said the lawyers had been given until the end of this week to
decide whether or not they are willing to work on the case or another law firm
would be engaged.
This week the case's papers were sent to Advocate Pearson Nherere, who was
looking at them to decide whether the issue could be successfully argued in the
Villagers Flee Violence to the Cities
Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Maria Nyanyiwa, Staff Reporter
AT a crowded "safe house" provided by a good Samaritan in one of
Harare's high- density suburbs, Rodney Chikura, an elderly man of 52,
"We have been condemned to a life of poverty," he says, throwing his arms
into the air in desperation.
Like his 40 other colleagues with whom he and his family now share this
four-roomed house, Chikura has had to watch helplessly the life he had built for
himself and his family in the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) communal lands come
down crashing under the violent wave of political violence engulfing
The unemployed father, who tilled the tired UMP soils to earn a living for
his five children, says when ZANU PF mobs burnt his homestead last month because
of his support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it was
the second time that the ruling party's militants had done so in the past two
But this time round, said Chikura, he feared he might not be able to
recover from the second attack and destruction of his homestead and his
"The terror and torture methods that we thought had gone with Ian Smith
have terribly become a reality in independent Zimbabwe again," Chikura
Smith, premier of the country then known as Rhodesia, was accused of
presiding over the deaths of thousands of Zimbabwean blacks in his 15-year fight
to maintain white supremacy, which ended with independence from Britain in
Two months ahead of a potentially history-drawing presidential election,
militias loyal to President Robert Mugabe have unleashed unprecedented terror
and violence across Zimbabwe, re-igniting in the minds of villagers such as
Chikura memories of the terrible 1970s independence war.
Mugabe faces his deadliest political challenge in the critical ballot from
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who many political analysts tip to make short work
of Mugabe if the plebiscite is free and fair.
But for Chikura or for 60-year-old Amos Makwe, who fled his two wives and
10 children to come and join the growing list of internal refugees who are being
looked after by the Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZimRights) organisation, the road to
the important election is proving a terrible test of endurance.
"Both my wives were forced to divorce me and one of them, who is seven
months pregnant, was severely beaten up and is now being kept under
surveillance," a tearful Makwe said.
The latest spasm of violence is a re-enactment of similar chaos which
marred the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections in 2000, narrowly won
by ZANU PF.
At least 40 MDC supporters were murdered before and during that
Makwe, who also is from UMP, one of the areas worst hit by the latest
violence, claimed that the war veterans and ZANU PF militias had set up torture
bases in his area where villagers suspected of supporting the MDC were routinely
Echoing the dejection and hopelessness of many of the refugees at the
house, Makwe said he had lost hope of ever returning to his rural home or seeing
his family for as long as Mugabe and ZANU PF were in power.
ZimRights national director Munyaradzi Bidi said the number of internal
refugees was swelling and his agency, working with another local aid body Amani
Trust, was now finding it difficult to keep the families well fed and
"We are working with Amani Trust as we do not have the capacity to cater
for the large numbers that are coming to us," he said.
According to an Amani Trust official, the agency which has continued to
receive refugees since the parliamentary polls is now caring for nearly 1 000
displaced people nationwide.
Scores of other aid agencies are doing the same to hundreds of other
Even as Mugabe was assuring the European Union and the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) this week that his government would ensure a
peaceful, free and fair election, more people were fleeing violence by his
militias to seek refugee in Harare and other urban centres.
Bidi said ZimRights, which in some instances has had to seek court orders
to force the police to attend to some of the incidents of violence, was stepping
up its campaign to the international community to pressure Mugabe to end the
violence and human rights abuses.
As a result of the lobbying by ZimRights and other organisations, the
International Federation for Human Rights had written to Mugabe urging him to
uphold the rule of law and human rights.
The World Organisation Against Torture had also contacted Mugabe to tell
him to stop his militant supporters from harassing human rights campaigners and
that he also ensures that the perpetrators of the violence are brought to
MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said his party was also trying to assist
some displaced people, most of whom are its supporters, but said the MDC was
hamstrung by lack funds.
"We are trying to help where we can but the party does not have the
capacity to assist large numbers with basic necessities and accommodation
because of financial constraints. The majority of the victims have now become
destitute," he said.
The MDC would also step up efforts to lobby both the SADC and the rest of
the international community to take tougher measures to force the government to
observe human rights and democracy, Jongwe said.
But whether the hesitant international community eventually moves Mugabe,
its intervention will come too late and be too little for Zimbabweans such as
Chikura, who says being a refugee in his own country will leave him with
"Can you imagine we have to sleep in the same room with our children
against all the cultural taboos? This is an insult to your dignity you can never
forget," he said.
"What is worse, I have children who I now cannot send to school because my
whole livelihood has been destroyed. This constantly hits at my ego and renders
me as a failure as a father."
Mugabe Treading in Idi Amin's Footsteps
New Vision (Kampala)
January 17, 2002
Amin and Mugabe cheered for wrong reasons
MY entire Secondary School years and first year as a university
undergraduate coincided with the rise, rise and the thumping fall of Field
Marshal Idi Amin as the Life President, Conqueror of the British Empire, life
former chairman of the OAU and now temporal refugee in Saudi Arabia.
Thanks to DRUM a South African published magazine in those pre-Internet and
pre-email days that kept us abreast of the life and amusing times of the buffoon
known as "Big Daddy of Twenty Children", Idi Amin ould Dada'! Even as kids in a
school in a remote place like Funtua in north central Nigeria, we got the news.
When Idi Amin expelled the Asians, we were joyous believing he was "returning
Africa to Africans". All his antics against European residents of Uganda at that
time were to us demonstration of his Pan- Africanist commitments, "the strong
African leader" ready to "teach the Europeans a lesson" that Africa and Africans
should not be taken for granted anymore. The icing on the cake was when Idi Amin
got Europeans to carry him in a hammock and forced the then British Foreign
Secretary and later Prime Minister, James Callaghan, to kneel down for him by a
clever ploy of receiving him in a hut constructed for the occasion! These were
powerful Pan-Africanist symbolism. Black people and Africans are so used to the
indignities of White people lording it over them whether through slavery or
colonialism that it became a welcome reversal of roles to see "one of us"
humiliating them. Every contrary report about Idi Amin was treated as
imperialist, anti African Bazungu propaganda.
Arriving at the university in 1978 and getting into contact with a number
of Ugandan victims of Idi Amin like Prof. Barongo, Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and
Okello Oculi did little to change our views of Idi Amin as a leader "dealing
with white people". All evidence of Idi Amin's atrocities against fellow Black
Africans was dismissed as propaganda or exaggeration. When films, documentaries
or media reports about Amin's regime came out, many Africans found them
incredible and chose not to believe them. Even more than two decades after
Amin's exit, some people still do not believe that he did most of the things
reported at the time. Films may have been produced for dramatic effect but the
substance of many of the events were true and there are many Ugandans who can
testify to them today. The situation in Zimbabwe today bears similarities, in
the defensive approach of many Africans to it, to the Idi Amin experience.
Mugabe's deliberate choice of land reform as an emotive issue to prolong his
rule and obliterate his political opponents has put many Africans in a great
dilemma. To oppose him is to oppose African nationalism and the popular Pan-
Africanist demand of "Africa for the Africans" or the socialist "Land to the
tillers". A Zimbabwean comrade of mine who is not sympathetic to Mugabe in any
way expressed this
dilemma to me when he wrote stating "I do not care how Mugabe goes about it
but we want our land back." Many Zimbabweans and Africans and even more of our
people in the Diaspora share this view.
We should care about the means as much as the goals. It is a very wrong
view and extremely dangerous. It means the end justifies the means.
Revolutionary it may sound but it is a blank cheque for dictatorship and
wholesale endorsement of Mugabe. The current targets may be white Zimbabweans
but who are the majority of the people who have died in the past two
There are so many Africans in the Diaspora who are so fundamentalist about
the land issue even though most of them will never return to Africa after we
reclaim these lands. They enjoy their European and American citizenship while
demanding that Africa must be kept pure of all other races. Even when they
travel to the "homeland" they come with their non- African passports, sometimes
as guests of governments that are oppressing fellow Africans. I do understand
their reaction based upon their experience of racism and exclusion in Europe and
America but I do not accept their collaboration with leaders and governments
that are inflicting pain and destruction on their peoples. It cannot be true
that everybody who is opposing Mugabe today is a traitor, agent of settlers, a
front for British neo-colonialism or enemy of African liberation. Mugabe and
ZANU have held absolute power in that country since independence in 1980
therefore cannot continue to blame history for their failures and misgovernment.
And if they do that, history must include the last 22 years that they have been
Mugabe should not be judged only on his stance against whites even if that
one too is purely opportunistic but on his record as an absolute ruler for more
than two decades. Whites are not his only victims. Indeed, he did worse against
the people of Matabeleland in the 1980s until he forced ZAPU into a one-party
state. It is so sad that a leader who started so promisingly and was so loved
has now become the problem to his own people and not part of the solution
anymore. At 77 who is he fooling about another liberation war? He may look fit
physically, is he mentally and emotionally so? Africans must be consistent in
calling a spade a spade no matter who the joke is on.
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers’ Union)
In an ongoing campaign of violence and looting in commercial farms, at
least Z$ 50 million dollars of property has been stolen or lost to marauding
bands operating in Mashonaland West and Central. The areas affected are
Raffingora, Karoi, Victory Block and Guruve. Of the 6 Raffingora Farms affected,
two farms are not listed for compulsory acquisition.
On Cornrise Farm (Raffingora), owner Mike Sandys-Thomas (40) was evicted
from his home on Friday 11 January at a moments notice. A police detail,
accompanied by farmers in the area, was only able to visit the farm on Tuesday
15th January. They found that all household, workshop and office contents had
been looted, a loss of approximately Z$ 6 million. At the time of writing this
release the owner was being escorted to the farm by Police Support Unit to
assess his loss. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has
been asked to come in to secure the safe release of domestic animals.
Another farmer, Bruce Brown from Undercragg Farm in the Victory Block
area said, “A group, armed with sticks and cane knives, arrived on my farm today
(Wednesday 16 January), gaining entry through a security fence. They were mostly
settlers from surrounding villages but were led by a man identified by police
officers as the ZANU PF Youth Chairman. They looted household property valued at
over Z$ 2 million dollars. Some of the items taken were: 4 motor bikes, linen,
curtains, radios, kitchen items, food, tools, a TV decoder, VCR, furniture and
all our clothing.”
Brown was told to leave. He said, “The leader, (name provided but
withheld for fear of reprisal) said I should “get out”. They also told me that
the property no longer belongs to me. I had heard from sympathetic people that a
ZANU PF rally was held over the weekend in the communal land and that supporters
were urged to loot property as this was said to be their ‘last chance to get
rich’! I had been tipped off that 4 farms in my area had been targeted and I was
to be the first. I am fortunate that Police responded swiftly and arrived in
time to stop further theft. They confirmed the identity of the leader and
assured me that they would arrest him as he is a known criminal.”
The farm was operational up to August last year with tobacco and paprika,
both of which are export crops. It is home to 30 permanent members of staff, who
along with their families are being supported despite the inability to work,
under threats from invaders. Brown has pledged to help his staff keep body and
soul together for as long as possible, despite his inability to farm and earn a
living. Brown is a former Rural District Councilor, where he served on the
53 year old Patrick Ashton, owner of unlisted, Landfall Farm in
Mtorashanga, was ambushed by 8 youths, who attacked him with sticks in the
presence of his teenage children. He was able to remain in his car and
consequently escaped with wounds to his arm and throat. His truck was badly
damaged in the attack, as he had to drive away from the ambush as high
Ashton, who has confirmed that his farm is unlisted, has had illegal
invaders for the last 2 years. He has 157 plots on the 1718-hectare farm, of
which only 600 hectares is arable. He grows 40 hectares of tobacco, some maize
for on-farm-use and has a 30-hectare export crop of mangoes. This is his only
farm, which he farms with one of his four sons.
He too received a call from a friend to say that a group of approximately
20 people, led by a ZANU PF Councilor, were heading for the farm.
“I immediately radioed my son to return to the homestead and then
alerted staff to remain in the farm village. I then drove towards my homestead
to be with the children. Before I could arrive there, my son radioed me back to
say that about 20 people had surrounded the house. This was at approximately
8:30 am. I approached the security gate but noticed that my son’s car was
blocking my entry. I was then set upon by about 6 people carrying sticks and
poles. They were in a frenzy and attacked me without saying anything coherent. I
feared for my life and that of the children but knew that if I tried to
penetrate the crowd, they would kill me. I had to reverse at high speed and
drove to a neighbour’s house. We called the Police who went to the farm and
remained there until the children were released unharmed at 7:30 pm or so, some
eleven hours later.”
Two of Ashton’s sons and a girlfriend had to endure singing and
sloganeering, assault on the family pets and the looting of their home. Two
members of staff were also assaulted, one with an iron bar.
“Two of my cattle were shot for lunch, beer was stolen and consumed. All
household bedding was taken along with most of the family clothing, electric
goods, video and photographic equipment, all valued at over Z$ 3 million. In
addition, repairs to my car will cost about Z$ 1.5 million.”
Ashton went to the farm with a police escort the next morning hoping to
return, but within 30 minutes, a message was sent warning of further violence.
He had no option but to leave. Police posted a detail to guard the house
pending Ashton’s safe return.
CFU President, Colin Cloete condemned this criminal activity and
urged police to immediately clamp down on criminal elements to prevent further
escalation of violence and looting.
He said, “These disruptive activities on commercial farms, in
mid-agricultural season, further jeopardise national production at a time where
the Nation faces acute food and foreign exchange shortages.”
17 January 2002
For more information Jenni Williams
Mobile: 011 213 885 / 091 300 456
Uproar in Parliament
1/17/02 8:57:20 AM (GMT +2)
FOR the second time since the June 2000 parliamentary election, MDC and
Zanu PF Members of Parliament last week broke into song, mocking each other over
the handling of controversial Bills.
Shuvai Mahofa, Zanu PF's celebrated cheerleader, led her colleagues in
singing Zimbabwe ndeyeropa, which literally means Zimbabwe was borne of blood,
as the opposition MDC hit back with Zanu yaora (Zanu PF is corrupt and rotten).
Mahofa was celebrating a Zanu PF victory after the House had been divided
in their favour to suspend the Standing Rules and Orders to allow the passage of
Bills deemed critical for Zanu PF's survival.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament, cautioned Mahofa and the
MDC, telling them to compose songs and sing as loud as they can - but in their
respective constituencies and not in Parliament.
As the political temperature rises ahead of the crunch March presidential
election, tension in Parliament is bound to mount.
This time, the House sat for 14 hours as Zanu PF was determined to ensure
it achieved its goal of pushing through legislation to ease President Mugabe's
In another unprecedented move, MDC MPs fell to their knees to pray and seek
divine intervention after Zanu PF had won another vote on the General Laws
Amendment Bill that altered the Electoral Act.
The two parties are fighting for survival and the issues that brought
heated debate in Parliament this week were the controversial and draconian
Public Order and Security, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
and the General Laws Amendment Bills.
The slanging matches in the House prompted Ray Kaukonde (Zanu PF Mudzi) to
make a passionate plea to all MPs to avoid cheap politics and work towards
uplifting the living conditions of the ordinary person.
He said politicians should remember that Zimbabwe as a country will be
there even after the crucial presidential election on 9 and 10 March.
"We must not be bigger than the people, the country must come first. We
must be serious because we are drawing salaries from the taxpayers, although I
know some people here may not have constituencies to report back to," said
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC Glen Norah) criticised Zanu PF for
being arrogant and headstrong in passing legislation that was not in the
interests of the country but was meant to protect "a few power-crazy
The Leader of the House, Patrick Chinamasa, attacked visitors in the
Speaker's Gallery, calling them the MDC's puppet masters who had come to see
whether their money was being put to good use or not.
He attacked officials from the British High Commission and the German
Embassy, saying they had been invited by their puppets to see them performing in
Chinamasa, who confirmed in Parliament he wanted the three Bills to pass in
time for the presidential election, was told the officials had no right of
reply, thus, he should not attack them, but he said he didn't care at all.
Job Sikhala (MDC St Mary's) asked Vice-President Simon Muzenda to tell
Parliament the presidiums' stance on escalating violence in the country ahead of
Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo protected Muzenda from being quizzed by
the MPs saying the Presidency did not take questions in Parliament according to
the House's Standing Rules and Orders.
Sadc leaders' misguided solidarity recipe for ruin
1/17/02 10:56:38 AM (GMT +2)
THE arrest and deportation from Malawi of four members of the Zimbabwe
Crisis Group on Monday, at the behest of Zimbabwean authorities, no doubt, is
It typifies the sort of misguided solidarity among Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) heads of state which, apart from unwittingly
rendering them mutually destructive politically, could lay waste the entire
region economically, unless that policy is abandoned forthwith.
In September last year, as world leaders met in the South African port city
of Durban for the historic world conference on racism, a noisy crowd descended
on the conference venue to protest over something the meeting was completely
powerless to do anything about - land redistribution in Zimbabwe.
The unlikely protesters, nondescript African-Americans calling themselves
the National Black United Front, wore T-shirts emblazoned with the portrait of
an air-punching President Mugabe and the legend: "Mugabe is Right, Free the
Although they were obviously a rented crowd who had never been to Zimbabwe
and probably had only a vague idea of where it is, they were allowed to freely
picket delegates over a matter which wasn't even on that conference's agenda.
In fact, they were demonstrating in support of an aberration for which
Mugabe was - and still is - being condemned the world over.
However, in the true spirit of tolerance of divergent views, they were
allowed to stage that demonstration without let or hindrance.
background, therefore, it is extremely dismaying that authorities in Malawi, the
host country, apparently saw nothing wrong in preventing a small delegation of
only four Zimbabweans from sensitising delegates to the one-day Sadc heads of
state summit on the true situation in their country regarding their government's
horrifying treatment of its citizens.
The actions by Malawian authorities become even more reprehensible when we
take into consideration the fact that, although initially the meeting had
been convened ostensibly to review the situation in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, latest events in this country have so alarmed the region that Zimbabwe
automatically became the main item on the leaders' agenda.
Long-standing international concern over the government's naked sponsorship
of violence against whites and supporters of the opposition MDC, its open
refusal to enforce the rule of law, harassment of the judiciary and the
independent Press and its refusal to level the political playing field to
facilitate the holding of a free and fair election had been heightened by the
recent irresponsible utterances by the military and the enactment of
fast-tracked anti-democracy laws.
The presence at the summit venue of the four ought to have been viewed as a
God-sent opportunity for the leaders to hear first hand, by those directly
affected by the government's human rights excesses, what the true situation in
For, although the State-controlled media mischievously labelled them
"opposition activists", the truth remains that they represented a coalition of
200 non-partisan civic groups whose sole worry is the ever-worsening quality of
However, instead of giving them a warm welcome, the host country
elected to dance to the Zimbabwean government's tune by arresting and
subsequently deporting them on the spurious allegation that they were "a
It was action totally at variance with Malawian President Bakili Muluzi's
tough, no-nonsense stance of a few months ago when, in Harare, he literally told
the Mugabe government to start behaving itself "or else!".
But then that obvious about-face is not wholly inconsistent with the
general prevarication among the region's leaders - born out of that misguided
sense of solidarity - when dealing with our delinquent government.
It has become a pattern: one step forward, then two or more backwards.
Early last month, President Thabo Mbeki took a tough stance against Mugabe only
to see it neutralised on Zimbabwean soil by one of his ministers barely a week
The region's leaders had better be warned: By giving succour to an errant
colleague who is busy destroying his country, they are laying the foundation for
the eventual destruction of theirs.
Violence hits Rusape
1/17/02 8:31:50 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent
ZANU PF supporters have since Monday been assaulting passengers on buses
passing through Rusape who fail to produce ruling party membership cards,
several victims complained yesterday.
The marauders, allegedly led by senior Zanu PF politician, Didymus Mutasa,
last Friday declared Rusape a no-go area for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and its supporters.
The Zanu PF mobs, mostly women and youths barely in their 20s, were
reportedly also targeting for assault anyone seen in the town or on the bus with
a copy of The Daily News, some of the victims said.
"There were about 100 of them at the main bus terminus at Rusape when the
bus I was in arrived," one victim who had travelled from Harare, who asked not
to be identified, told The Daily News in Mutare yesterday.
"They were boarding buses in groups of about 20 and assaulted anyone who
failed to produce a Zanu PF membership card or chant that party's slogan.
"Some passengers had their personal belongings and money snatched from
All this time, police in uniform were standing by idly at the bus
The harassment of passengers came in the wake of an orgy of violence in
Rusape at the weekend, in which militant Zanu PF activists assaulted scores of
MDC supporters and sympathisers and destroyed and looted property worth hundreds
of thousands of dollars.
According to Pishayi Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland, five
members of his party were abducted in the town on Sunday and their whereabouts
were unknown as of yesterday.
Those injured in the Sunday attacks, which took place in the town's Vengere
and Mabvazuwa high density suburbs, were admitted to Rusape General Hospital for
Nation Gwete, the MDC provincial youth organising secretary, singled out
Mutasa, a member of the ruling party politburo, as having spearheaded the
violence that erupted on Sunday, a charge the veteran politician flatly denied.
"That's not true; ask the police where I was on Sunday", Mutasa said when
contacted from Mutare.
"All I did on that day was address a Zanu PF women's meeting at the Makoni
Rural District Council offices and went home after that.
I wasn't involved in any violence, unless the MDC supporters who claim to
have been beaten were in my house," Mutasa said.
But last Friday, Mutasa, who also represents Makoni North in Parliament,
told a crowd of about 40 Zanu PF supporters during a demonstration held in
Rusape, that the town was now a "no-go area" for the MDC.
He also told
supporters he had "banned" the sale of The Daily News and other independent
newspapers in Rusape, accusing them of sowing seeds of discontent ahead of the
presidential election in March
"Yes, our party has agreed we don't want to see papers like The Daily News
and The Financial Gazette in Rusape," Mutasa said.
On Sunday, a group of Zanu PF supporters moved in to disrupt a rally that
was being organised by MDC youths at Vengere shopping centre in Rusape.
The MDC youths fought back, sending the ruling party supporters scurrying
But the Zanu PF supporters later regrouped, this time with reinforcements
trucked in from nearby rural communities.
The supporters immediately went on a rampage, breaking windows and looting
goods from several shops at the centre.
They also carted off loads of produce from fruit and vegetable vendors,
mostly elderly women, and assaulted them in the process.
That night, they went on a door-to-door campaign in Vengere and Mabvazuwa
demanding residents to produce Zanu PF membership cards.
Those who did not comply were severely beaten up by the marauding gangs,
their property looted or destroyed.
Also on Friday, Mutasa led a small group of Zanu PF youths and members of
the women's league through Rusape's business district, protesting alleged bias
in the courts against ruling party members.
Trinos Utawashe, the provincial
magistrate in Rusape, was the apparent target after he denied bail to Zanu PF
members in connection with robbery, kidnapping and assault charges on MDC
Mutasa accused the magistrate of using "political affiliation", not merit,
in denying the Zanu PF suspects bail in the case.
"You court officials here are not trying the cases as they are but are
trying the ruling party,"
Mutasa told the court personnel in the presence of the small group of Zanu
PF supporters that had gathered at the courthouse.
"You are forgetting that you got employed by the same government that is
made by the ruling party.
You will lose your jobs if you continue with your
attitude against us," he said.
Elder statesman Kaunda laments gallant freedom fighter Mugabe's
1/17/02 11:23:43 AM (GMT +2)
By Sandra Nyaira
HE was voted out of power by the opposition Movement for Multiparty
Democracy (MMD) in 1991 and even conceded defeat before all the votes had been
counted - unusual for a man who had spent 27 years at the helm.
Kenneth David Kaunda, regarded by many as the founding father of most
states in the southern African region, is now an ordinary citizen of Zambia.
The Daily News talked to him recently at his retirement home in the leafy
Kabulonga suburb and found Zambia's founding father still a warm personality.
He was dressed in black designer denim jeans, black shoes, socks and black
Kaunda said he was not happy with the way the former trade unionist,
Frederick Chiluba, and his MMD party, had run down the Zambian economy.
He said there were now only two classes in the country - the richest and
Clutching his trademark white handkerchief between his fingers, Kaunda said
he was proud to have laid a solid foundation for the development of Zambia.
Posters and ornaments stuck on the wall depict a house dedicated to God.
One template is emblazoned with Jesus while another is marked "Don't Quit",
which he says gives him strength to persevere when things go wrong.
lives in a former government guest house after the government failed to buy him
a retirement home as stipulated in the Constitution.
He has been shifted from one house to another by the Chiluba government.
Kaunda thinks this is shabby treatment for a former president.
Parked outside his four-bedroomed house was the latest Mercedes Benz series
which had been delivered four days before by the government.
The government, he said, had on the same day told him they would soon be
buying him a house of his own as well as pay for his gardener, cook and other
During the interview, Kaunda would take time to answer calls on his mobile
phone while some chicks and their mother-hen pecked away around the huge
yard and the swimming pool.
When he decided to campaign for three opposition candidates in the recent
tripartite elections in Zambia, he was mobbed by Zambians wherever he went.
He campaigned for his son, Tilyenji, who represented the United National
Independence Party, through which Kaunda ruled in his 27 years in power, Pastor
Nevers Mumba of the National Citizens Coalition and the United Party for
National Development's Anderson Mazoka.
The MMD loathed him, as did some of the opposition parties. The State media
attacked him relentlessly.
His wise advice to the opposition to go into the election as a coalition
was ignored, enabling the MMD's Levy Mwanawasa to carry the day with Mazoka a
Kaunda is now a respected elder statesman, basically because
during the crucial and most trying period of "the hour has come" campaign that
ushered in the Chiluba government, he did not spearhead or fan any political
Kaunda lamented the situation in Zimbabwe, especially Zanu PF's
controversial land programme, saying Zimbabwe was one of the region's major
powerhouses and it was sad to see it crumbling daily.
He gazes into the clouds and thinks aloud: "That Robert Mugabe was a fine
and gallant freedom fighter is a fact - you cannot take that away from him, but
I really don't know how things went wrong in Zimbabwe."
The Commonwealth Summit that signalled the beginning of Zimbabwe's freedom
from Britain was held in Lusaka in 1979.
Kaunda said the Zimbabwean and British governments, on the one hand, and
the white farmers on the other, had until 1990 to tackle the land issue in
"Some of us who were party to this deal were surprised when 1990 came and
there was nothing happening on the ground," he said.
"The Zimbabwean government, as far as I know, didn't make a move, the
British government didn't make a move and some of us thought the issue was over.
"The question we are all asking ourselves is why it took an extra 10 years
after 1990 to address the issue - I'm short of words, really.
I can't understand it all. The Zimbabwean and British governments and the
farmers are all to blame.
That whole triangle is to blame," he said. Pressed further, Kaunda said:
"Of course, Zimbabwe should have made the first move, but they were all part to
the deal at Lancaster House."
Visibly disillusioned over the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe, Kaunda said:
"My daughter, nothing I say will help the situation, so it is not a subject
I would like to discuss.
I can only say how sorry I feel - it's a lost opportunity for the region
for Zimbabwe to be in such a mess. All the three have to work together to
address this tragedy amicably."
Kaunda, who lost power three years before South Africa was freed from the
apartheid regime, said his country played a crucial role in the liberation
struggles of countries in the region.
Asked about the death of Herbert Chitepo, widely believed to have been
killed by his colleagues in Zanu PF at the height of the liberation struggle,
Kaunda said: "The reason I commissioned investigations resulting in the
subsequent writing of the report was to get to the bottom of the
matter - to
find the truth about the terrible tragedy."
"The report is a public document. It's not for me to add anything to it,
but what I know is that we still stand by that report."
The government in Harare has steadfastly dismissed the report of the
commission of inquiry instituted by Kaunda which says Chitepo was killed by his
colleagues when a bomb exploded under his car in the Lusaka high-density suburb
of Chilenje in 1975.
The government insists Chitepo was killed by agents of the Ian Smith
regime. Kaunda seemed uncomfortable discussing the Zimbabwean crisis as he
provided material and space from which both Zanla and Zipra cadres launched
their attacks on the Smith regime.
His daughter and part of the family now live in Zimbabwe. Asked about the
secret behind his white hankie, he said: "State secret, young lady! When I wave
it I'll be saying God Bless You or Peace Be With You and I thought about this
when I was in prison during the colonial era in the then Southern Rhodesia."
The long-time vegetarian, who turns 78 in April, now has over 44
grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Actually, he says he has lost count of the grandchildren, "but it feels
great to be so old and be able to play around with them from time to time".
Whatever he did for the Zambians during his 27 years in power, the old man
has returned to being the darling of the suffering, restive Zambians, most of
whom can hardly afford a decent living.
In the meantime, Kaunda walks the streets of Lusaka a free man.