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Not only are the farmers suffering........
X and I are directors of ZZZ, an irrigation consultancy and supply company, dealing solely with farmers.  We have been operating for nearly 12 years now, and employ 23 people on a permanent basis.  With an average of five dependants per employee, this makes the number of people dependant on Iricon to at least 115.  Occasionally we also employ up to 10 casual workers, depending on our work load, which brings the number of dependants to 165.
Due to an almost 90% reduction in business since February this year, as of 01 December 2000 our company has been forced to go onto a three day week.  This means that we will only be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday each week and that our workers will only be receiving 60% of their monthly salaries.  There will be no bonuses either for our workers. (two of the directors have not received salaries since March 2000!! I.e. X & I)
In the New Year we will re-assess our situation, and if this trend of no business continues, we will have no option but to close down permanently before we get into a position where we are unable to repay all our debts (probably at the end of January).  This will result in these 115 people being without income, and the likelihood of them ever being permanently employed again will be very small (more than likely none-existent).
Our average wage bill is in the region of  Z$280,000.00.  Income tax, levies and payments to social security, etc in the region of Z$60,000.00.  This means that if this ONE company is forced to close down, there will be nearly Z$350,000.00 LESS money, each month, available for spending on the market. This may sound like a small sum of money, but if this figure is extrapolated to each small business which has been forced to close, it will multiply into a huge sum of money. 
It is obvious that our "powers that be" have not given a thought to this negative effect of the farm invasions, as is illustrated below:
Our Vice President, Mr. Msika is a personal friend of an (ex-) employee of a large tractor supplying company in Harare.  He went to this company to visit his friend, only to be told that he had been made redundant, together with 50% of that company's employees.  This minister was astounded, and enquired as to why the company was struggling.  When he was told that it was due to the farm invasion, this learned man asked "but why should happenings on the farms be affecting you people here in Harare?"
I have no idea what X and I will do.  We have signed as co-guarantors on all our loans, bank overdrafts, etc, and stand to lose the whole lot unless things change drastically.  I don't like to be a pessimist, but I am sure it is highly likely that we will have to close.
Things are tough for ALL of us here in Zimbabwe - of course it all starts with the farmers, but the stakes are much higher once the ripple effect has made its way down through the entire economy.
Names removed for protection
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Fuel woes to resurface

Vincent Kahiya
FUEL queues may soon be back to haunt motorists who had enjoyed a period of relative plenty since the New Year.

Noczim debts have continued to mount while the country has not been able to fully utilise the US$75 million Absa facility negotiated at the end of last year, sources said this week.

Industry sources said the current levels of supply were not guaranteed as major supplier Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait was awaiting payment for fuel supplied in December.

The Kuwaiti company is owed a whopping US$40 million. The sour-ces said Noczim owed other fuel suppliers Engen US$26 million and BP US$18 million.
The sources said the current position of normalcy was a result of supplies secured just after Christmas. They said no ship had docked in Beira for over a week now, posing a threat to the current stocks.

“The situation is not looking good at the moment because the foreign currency situation has deteriorated further and there are problems with the Absa facility,” the source said.

He said Zimbabwe had not been able to utilise the loan facility bro- kered last December by Jewel Bank (CBZ), as Absa had demanded payment of collateral which the government could not provide. The Zimbabwe Independent was also told the facility was more expensive by $5 per litre. Sources said the Noczim board was against the signing of the deal but were pushed into it by officials from the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Absa Bank of South Africa, Jewel Bank’s technical partner, signed a line of credit with Noczim to pay for fuel imports.

Noczim had managed to convince IPG to supply US$40 million worth of product but this had not yet been paid for. The sources said the line of credit only worked if government could pay for the product delivered.

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Nkomo attacks war veterans

Busani Bafana
ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo has taken a swipe at war veterans in Matabeleland, describing them as indi-sciplined and insolent after the former fighters closed rural district council and party offices in Plumtree.

Last Wednesday, a group of war veterans stormed offices of the Bulilimamangwe Distri-ct Council and closed them after accusing the employees of supporting the MDC. In addition, the war veterans, who have developed a reputation for purging alleged anti-Zanu PF sympathisers from the party’s ranks, also closed the Zanu PF offices in the border town, 100km south-west of Bulawayo.

“We believe that there are genuine grievances but there is also an element of insolence and indiscipline by some war veterans who probably got carried away,” Nkomo told the Zimbabwe Independent last week.

“I was discussing with the national commissar, Border Gezi, to convene a meeting with the war veterans and the party leadership to address this issue.

“War veterans belo-nged to a political army, be it Zanla or Zipra. So first and foremost the party comes first. Before they can do anything they must refer to us,” he said.

Nkomo said the party had a secretariat and a commissariat to which they could channel their grievances.

“Ministries and civil servants are run under the supervision of a minister
and those are Zanu PF ministers. Why should the war veterans not see the need to work through that (system),” he said.

“We have provincial structures in Matabeleland South and the high- est political office is that of the governor to which they should submit their problems before taking matters into their own hands,” he said.

The war veterans, who had vowed that the offices would remain closed until they had an audience with Matabeleland South governor, Stephen Nkomo, eventually held a meeting with him last week. Nkomo assured them that their grievances would be attended to.

This week, the investigations into the complaints lodged by the war veterans claimed their first victims when eight staffers of the Bulilimamangwe rural district council were suspended for allegedly aligning with the MDC and “using government property to further their party’s propaganda”.

The MDC in response organised a demonstration in Plumtree last Thursday to protest the forcible closure of the Bulilimamangwe District Council offices and disruption of services by a horde of the self-styled liberation fighters.

“We are mobilising to demonstrate against this action,” MDC vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, said.

“We want to restore law and order because what the war veterans are doing
is totally unacceptable.”

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The presidents of Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, all allies of assassinated Congolese president Laurent Kabila, were on Sunday preparing to meet to assess the situation.

All three countries deployed troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support Mr Kabila's presidency after rebels tried to oust him in 1998.

News of the meeting came as Mr Kabila's body lay in state in Lubumbashi, the capital in his home province. The body was due to be flown to Kinshasa for Tuesday's funeral.

The body was returned to Lubumbashi from Harare where officials said the wounded president was taken for treatment shortly after being shot three times by one of his own long-serving bodyguards. Details surrounding the assassination remained unclear but government officials said Mr Kabila was shot while he sat in his office on Tuesday while speaking with his private secretary. The assassin was shot dead by other soldiers after the president's secretary raised the alarm.

Joseph Kabila, the dead president's son, was appointed president shortly after his father's death but opposition groups have said they do not acknowledge him as the nation's leader.

The Congolese government has indicated that it will return to the negotiating table soon after the funeral in a bid to end a two-year old civil war. On Thursday, the justice minister said the government would continue to seek the withdrawal of Rwandan and Ugandan forces which had supported rebels since 1998.

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Academics appointed on ethnic, political lines

Brian Hungwe
ETHNIC and political considerations have taken centre stage in the recruitment and appointment of senior staff at two institutions of higher learning, Bindura University and the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), the Zimbabwe Independent has been told.

Indications were that the government was reluctant to appoint a new vice-chancellor for Bindura University and that it would not renew the term of office of the vice-chancellor at Nust.

Academics who spoke to the Independent said top government officials were sacrificing professionalism on the altar of political patronage. “Homeboy” criteria were being used in the appointment of academics to senior positions at the country’s universities and tertiary institutions.

Nust vice-chancellor Professor Phineas Makhurane, whose term of office expires in May, was not likely to be kept on. The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Michael Mambo, has been tipped to take over.

Academics said that Mambo does not have sufficiently convincing academic credentials to warrant his appointment. They said there were other academics with a track record who have either been overlooked or sacrificed in the process.

They said the route Mambo was taking was similar to that taken by James Chitauro when he was appointed acting vice-chancellor of Bi-ndura University des- pite not having any known academic track record. He had, prior to his appointment, been permanent secretary in the Higher Education ministry.

Makhurane, described as one of the country’s best university administrators, is understood to have declined to apply for an extension of his term of office.

Academics said Makhurane (62) was aware of the government’s reluctance to renew his term of office. He could have gone for another three years as the retirement age is 65.

“There is no one in Zimbabwe who is more experienced in university administration than Makhurane,” the source said.

Makhurane served as the pro-vice-chancellor of the universities of Botswana and Zambia prior to joining the University of Zimbabwe.
Sources said Nust’s pro-vice-chancellor Clever Nyathi’s three-year term of office that had been extended by a year after expiring in 1999, was not going to be renewed despite him being one of the country’s most respected academics and a very experienced administrator.

“What is strange is that we have other pro-vice-chancellors having their terms of office extended, like Professor Levy Nyagura, for no reason,” the source said.

Nyathi, who specialised in bio-chemistry, declined to comment saying he had now left Nust.

“There are strong feelings that the whole issue borders on tribalism,” the source said.

The sources said the position of vice-chancellor at Bindura University would be re-advertised because of political interference in the appointments of the vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor positions last year.

Professor Cowden Chikomba, who had been the pro-vice-chancellor at the university, had been punished for allegedly supporting the appointment of Professor Misheck Matshazi whom he wanted to take over as pro-vice-chancellor.

Sources within government said Matshazi was not the favourite choice of the former Minister of Higher Education, Ignatius Chombo, or Mambo.
Despite having left the Ministry of Higher Education for Local Government, Chombo is believed to be still pulling the strings.

The position of Higher Education minister Herbert Murerwa was not immediately clear but sources said Chikomba was no longer the choice for the vice-chancellorship after siding with Matshazi whom he believed was the only choice suitable for the job.

Academics told the Independent that Chombo wanted to bring in Professor Sam Tswaya, who was his campaign manager when he was contesting the 1995 parliamentary election.

“It is now pay back time. Tswaya is Chombo’s blue-eyed boy and they want to see him there (pro vice chancellor),” the source said.
Murerwa told the Independent that he would be meeting President Robert Mugabe to discuss the shortlisted people for the vice chancellor’s post at Bindura University.

“Recommendations have been made with regard to the applicants for the vice chancellor’s post and I will have to discuss this with the chancellor,” Murerwa said, adding that the pro vice-chancellor’s post had since been advertised.

On the fate of Makhurane, Murerwa said he was waiting for him to make a decision on whether he intended to have his term of office renewed.
Murerwa denied that Mambo was being tipped to take over as vice-chancellor.

“Mambo is happy where he is,” Murerwa said. Murerwa said that Nyathi’s term of office had come to an end and they had since advertised the pro vice-chancellor’s post.

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Govt withdraws disputed land cases from court

Rashweat Mukundu
THE Attorney-General’s Office has begun withdrawing land dispute cases that are before the Administrative Court, raising questions as to whether the government is serious about observing the legal framework.

The government, however, argues that the withdrawals are strictly technical.

It is believed that over 100 land cases are pending before the Administrative Court.

By Wednesday last week the Attorney-General’s Office had withdrawn two cases before they had been heard. According to sources the government has won one case which was not contested and the other was likely to be
withdrawn before being heard.

Last year the government withdrew 108 land cases citing lack of preparedness on its part. At the time it was also argued that procedures such as the delivery of the notices of acquisition had not been followed.

Sources in the legal fraternity have questioned the commitment of the Attorney-General’s Office to the legal process. It is now largely felt that the government is paying lip service to the legal process and at the same time launching attacks on commercial farmers for refusing to share farms with the landless.

The deputy Attorney-General, Bharat Patel, confirmed the Civil Division had withdrawn the cases but argued this was purely on a legal basis since some procedures had not been followed in the initial notices that were given.

Legally, government cannot acquire a farm if the Administrative Court has not deliberated over any objections lodged by the owner. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa would not comment as he said he was on leave.

The Registrar of the Administrative Court, a Mrs Chapwanya, however said that the cases had not been withdrawn but merely set aside.

“The officials from the civil division asked for the cases to be set aside as they are still looking for more information,” said Chapwanya.

She went on to say that other cases were likely to go ahead as planned.
Concern has been raised that every time the government withdraws cases, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees are paid thereby prejudicing the taxpayer unnecessarily.

The January 9 case, pitting government against Koos Erasmus of Smith-field farm in Mvuma, was the first to be withdrawn. The government, which was represented by Ms E Hlonglo of the Attorney- General’s office, said that it was withdrawing the case for unspecified reasons.

Advocate Adrian De Bourbon representing Erasmus however argued that in terms of Sections 5 and 7 (6) of the Land Acquisition Act the confirmation hearings must be heard within 30 days. De Bourbon therefore argued that failure to observe this requirement would remove any protection the farmers had under the laws of Zimbabwe since the government could still go ahead and issue another acquisition order.

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Senior army, police officers join land grab

Dumisani Muleya
SENIOR army and state security officers as well as members of the police are involved in illegal land seizures and cultivation on stolen property alongside villagers, it was learnt this week.

Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent show that members of the uniformed forces and state agents have grabbed plots in the Mount Hampden commercial farming area where they are growing crops.

A visit to the area this week revealed that the soldiers and government workers spent considerable time on the farms conducting personal business.

Information obtained indicated that Lieutenant Colonel Mugwisi, Colonel Max Chinyanganya, deputy Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa, war veterans secretary-general Andy Mhlanga and an assistant police commissioner, Moyo, among others, had been drawn into the chaotic scramble for land.

It was also said that Defence Minister Moven Mahachi’s Doxford Farm located in the Jumbo Mine area and government’s Henderson Research Station near Mazowe Dam which measures about 5 000 acres were seriously undertilised. Invaders have been kept away from the farms. Government has said it is targeting underutilised farms regardless of who owns them.

Sources said Mugwisi, who works in administration at the army headquarters, has a 25-hectare plot of maize at Danbury Park Farm located 15km outside Harare along the Old Mazowe road. The Independent saw the plot during a visit to the farm. Sources said Mugwisi was often seen at the farm in a green Peugeot 306, registration number 36BF00.

However, Mugwisi would not comment on the issue.

“I’m not allowed to talk to you. Phone our public relations department at KGVI,” he said.

Efforts to get comment from the department were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

Colonel Chinyanganya of the Zimbabwe Staff College, sources said, had a seven-hectare maize plot, which he grabbed last November at Selby Farm in the Mount Hampden area. Sources at the farm said he frequented the area in a green Mazda B1800 pick-up truck with registration number 12BB97.

But Chinyanganya denied seizing a plot.

“It’s true I drive a military vehicle. I work for the Staff College,” Chinya-nganya said. “I don’t have a plot. My business in the military is clear and my terms of reference are also clear. People can say what they want but I don’t have a plot,” he said.

Despite Chinyanganya’s denial, farmers insisted that he had a plot at the farm currently occupied by landless villagers and government supporters.

It was said Chinyanganya picked up his employees from Chitungwiza every morning en route to the farm and after work.

Sources confirmed that Chinyanganya last year blocked police from evicting invaders from Selby Farm.

It is understood that the deputy sheriff was as signed police officers at Malborough Police Station to go and evict people who had illegally occupied the farm, but Chinyanganya blocked the move.

A police spokesman at Marlborough confirmed the incident but could not give details of the current status of the case. A Selby Farm spokesman was also reluctant to discuss the issue apparently for fear of reprisal.
At Danbury Park Farm the Independent spoke to people who were working on one plot which they said belonged to Parirenyatwa.

“He was here this morning but he left just before you arrived. He went back to Harare and left his son overseeing operations here,” a worker said on Tuesday.

Parirenyatwa’s employees said they were paid $20 for weeding out a portion of land measuring one metre by 100 metres.

“The money is very little because it is painful to finish weeding out this area,” said another worker as she showed the Independent the tracts of land that she had worked for the day.

Efforts to get comment from Parirenyatwa were unsuccessful. Sources at Mugutu farm confirmed that Mhlanga had a 15-hectare plot on which he had planted a maize crop and beans. Assistant Commissioner Moyo of Morris Depot was also said to have a plot with a crop of maize and beans as well.
A war veterans leader in the area named Msofova and an unidentified headmaster were also cultivating significant portions of the farm.

“There are a number of army officers, CIO members, police officers and senior Zimbabwe Prison Service officers who have plots in this area,” said a farmer who asked not to be named.

“They send their drivers or come here by themselves frequently. A certain colonel based in the Congo was supposed to arrive in the country to check his plot on Wednesday but the situation there prevented him from coming,” the farmer said yesterday.

Some of the vehicles spotted on the commercial farms had the following registration numbers: 424 007D (Toyota Cressida), 875007C (light blue Nissan Sunny), 337007P (green Datsun), 580007R (Nissan Sunny), and a 750000R Land Rover.

“We have also seen a lot of police vehicles here. They don’t come here to do their job because they have not done anything about the crisis. In fact we discovered that they are also farming,” one farm manager said.

Police vehicles seen in Mount Hampden included those with these numbers: ZRP 857D, ZRP 473S, and ZRP 193M. Private vehicles had also been seen there. These included a 441 793J registration truck and a car with foreign registration number B513AEY.

“The car with a foreign number plate is driven by a lady who is always immaculately dressed and she looks like a really big shot,” a source said.
All those involved are in violation of the law and of court orders and therefore liable to prosecution at a future date, the Independent was told.

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Zanu PF’s brute force could backfire in 2002

Dumisani Muleya
POLITICAL analysts say despite regaining Bikita West constituency in last weekend’s by-election, the ruling Zanu PF’s coercive political recovery plan is not sustainable.

Commentators warned that the ruling party’s strategy could backfire in the 2002 presidential poll if it remained underpinned by crude political violence and the unrelenting use of force.

Zanu PF’s Claudius Makova, who lost to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s Amos Mutongi in June last year, pipped the opposition’s Bonnie Pakai in the hotly contested poll by 12 993 votes to 7 001. About 51% of the 40 000 registered voters in the area voted last weekend compared to 35% last year.

Analysts had no doubt that Zanu PF’s scorched earth policy in the run-up to the election contributed significantly to the outcome. It was evident that the poll was not necessarily decided around issues and leadership qualities but largely through intimidation and force.

The election, seen as a barometer of strength between the two main parties in rural areas, put to the test Zanu PF’s elaborate electoral recovery programme conceived last year as a direct response to government’s shock defeat in the constitutional referendum. Violent land seizures are the cornerstone of the strategy now geared for the presidential election.

Traditionally, rural areas are Zanu PF strongholds while the MDC now holds sway in the urban areas. Although most of Zimbabwe’s voters live in rural areas, analysts said the presidential election would be an open race. A by-election in a remote rural constituency co-uld not be an indicator of the possible outcome of a national poll, they said.

Professor Masipula Sithole, a political analyst who witnessed the Bikita voting exercise, said while the poll, by fair means or foul, confirmed Zanu PF’s superiority in rural areas, it also raised the question whether violence was sustainable as an electoral tool.

“Zanu PF’s political recovery strategy prevented the MDC from making inroads in the Bikita countryside,” he said.

“Violence was heavily employed in the process. But one wonders whether that approach will work in the long-run because violence is not sustainable as an election strategy,” he said.

“Issues did not decide the poll. It was like a war zone,” Sithole pointed out. “The presence of the army, police, state security agents, war veterans, partisan militias and warring parties made it like that,” he said.

It is understood that Zanu PF had put in place an elaborate strategy to ensure people voted in large numbers. Chiefs and headmen were tasked to bring to the polling stations people under their leadership who were then instructed who to vote for. War veterans and the ruling party’s youth brigade complemented their efforts by using coercion to ensure people voted.

There were also other tactics employed by Zanu PF which critics said were inimical to the principle of a free and fair election. Analysts said clear cases of treating — giving voters something to influence their voting behaviour, such as the handing out of “money for projects” — as well as bribery influenced the election result. This was also the case in the election last year and that was why the MDC was challenging in the courts results in 39 constituencies.

The opposition was also accused of fanning violence by bringing in youths to the constituency. According to ruling party spokesmen and state media, the youths blocked Zanu PF people from going to vote.

Although the MDC was reported to have been involved in clashes with the ruling party and accused of killing a Zanu PF member, it apparently could not match the state machinery which meted out well-honed acts of brutality against opponents.

“What is significant about it is that the legacy of violence now seems to be the norm rather than the exception,” said Alfred Nhema, a UZ political analyst.

“But it also highlights that the MDC needs to do more work if it wants to dislodge Zanu PF in rural areas,” he said.

Jonathan Moyo, Zanu PF deputy information secretary, claimed the Bikita result depicted the national mood.

“The people of Bikita have spoken and through them the people of Zimbabwe have spoken,” Moyo told the state-controlled Herald.

“This is an indicator of what is going to happen in future by-elections and the presidential election,” he said.

But MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube dismissed Moyo’s assertion saying it was unfortunate that Zanu PF officials found it right to celebrate “the victory of violence”.

“As far as we are concerned the Bikita by- election was decided by violence and manipulation of traditional leaders,” Ncube said.

“We maintained our support base but Zanu PF increased its supporters
through intimidation,” he said.

Analysts said it was important to note that the MDC support base was not really eroded. Last year it got 7 721 votes in the constituency while this time it amassed 7 001 votes. Zanu PF saw its support rise from 7 441 votes to 12 993 thanks to the commitment of state resources and intimidation in the area, critics say.

Said Sithole: “Bikita was a Zanu stronghold before it lost it to the MDC. But what it did now was to re-activate its supporters and as a result regained the seat. The MDC did not really lose supporters,” he said.

MUCKRAKER - Bandits and ballots in Bikita


THOSE who believe Jonathan Moyo has completely lost it will have had their fears confirmed by a statement last weekend that could only have emanated from a deeply disturbed mind.

Moyo said the CFU was guilty of “criminal sabotage” and of transforming itself into an unlawful body by warning the public of the danger of cattle being let loose on rural roads by war veterans.

The CFU was “bent on usurping the power and authority of statutory bodies” like the Zimbabwe Road Traffic Safety Board by issuing such statements, Moyo declared.

Further, by warning of the dangers of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, the farmers’ orga- nisation was creating alarm in international beef markets and there-by sabotaging the eco- nomy. It was being assisted in this by “pockets of mischief among the blatant and mercenary privately-owned media which is colluding with hate campaigners”, he said.

The CFU had crossed the line of acceptable fair comment, Moyo pontificated.

He will presumably define for us where that line lies! After all, President Mugabe established new horizons of hate speech in his address to Zanu PF’s special congress last month. The CFU would have a long way to go in matching that. But to suggest its warning on stray cattle and the threat of foot-and-mouth disease usurps statutory bodies and amounts to economic sabotage is not simply far-fetched, it is patently absurd
and invites public ridicule.

Is there not a clause in the ubiquitous Law and Order (Maintenance) Act about bringing the government into disrepute? Because that’s what he’s doing.

Then he was at it again attacking the SABC for its “unprofessional” coverage of the Bikita West by-election. Despite Moyo’s frantic efforts to get his friend Snuki Zikalala, formerly head of SABC news, to place a more sympathetic spin on events in Zimbabwe, it seems the corporation has declined to cooperate. Moyo accused it of “double standards” and partisan coverage.

“The coverage has exclusively and rather unashamedly relied on partisan views in support of the opposition MDC party which has strong links with Tony Leon’s so-called Democratic Alliance,” Moyo raved.

In particular he objected to the appearance on SABC’s Today in Africa programme of Zimbabweans Hope Zinde, Daniel Makokera and the Independent’s MD Trevor Ncube.

He said the three made “false and inflammatory” remarks about ruling party supporters who they “flippantly” referred to as “thugs”.

Moyo should know there was nothing flippant about that reference. They are thugs. And they are led by a psychotic maniac called Hitler who, when he’s not chucking petrol bombs around, is practising the ripe language acquired during his strawberry-picking days on a Kent farm.

Moyo, in his complaint to SABC, attempted to play on Africanist solidarity by establishing a link between the MDC and Tony Leon. The depiction of Zanu PF supporters as a violent band of marauders was not in keeping with the corporation’s claims to be telling “a true African story”, he suggested.

In other words it can only be a true African story in Moyo’s book if the thuggery is called mobilisation and threats by ministers to “cleanse” a constituency of opposition supporters is portrayed as adopting a bold stance against the imperialist enemy!

Thankfully, despite ANC attempts to pene-trate SABC, those working there, and particularly the new regime in the News department headed by Barney Mthombothi, still have some sense of professional self-respect and are not going to sink to ZBC levels of distortion despite Moyo’s frantic urging.

South Africans will conclude, as Zimbabweans have already done, that Zanu PF is incapable of winning an election unless war veterans have first beaten the living daylights out of voters. Indeed, Border Gezi shamelessly thank-ed the war veterans for the good work they had done in Bikita!
Nathan Shamuyarira was reported as saying that the result was “the beginning of the end for the MDC”. There would be no democracy or change coming from that party, he said.

As there will certainly be none coming from Zanu PF it looks as if our fate is sealed. But just as Zanu PF was celebrating its victory in Bikita West events in Kinshasa Central conspired to put a damper on things. If as reported, Zanu PF has lost its candidate there its whole regional strategy could be facing collapse. No amount of corpulent colonels in the House can stop the rot if that proves to be the case. Shamuyarira gloated too soon!

The worst feature of intimidation in Biki-ta West was a government minister telling villagers that headmen would register people voting and from those registers Zanu PF would be able to tell who voted for which candidate.
“We will not be fool-ed,” Education minister and Zanu PF interim provincial chairman Sam- uel Mumbengegwi was reported as telling people gathered at Mureti School. “We will be able to find out who our enemies are and we will ruthlessly deal with them. We want to cleanse this area of all anti-Zanu PF elements.”

He said government officials would be instructed to issue free seed-maize only to Zanu PF members. Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge, who struts around the chancelleries of Europe claiming Zimbabwe is a democratic state, told the same audience that the government would use its civil service reduction exercise to “fix MDC supporters by retrenching them”.

The new French ambassador’s response to all this was to say his country believes that Zimbabwe’s government is attached to the values of human rights and democracy. He is evidently blind as well as obtuse!

Crude threats directed at illiterate villagers who do not know their vote is secret compounded the climate of coercion spawned by Hunzvi and his mercenary band. The state media has been fulminating against MDC youths who were brought into the area to protect their supporters from intimidation. These were “imports” from Harare, government papers alleged, who were using “dirty tactics to coerce” voters.

“These are the people who have brought violence to Bikita,” the Sunday Mail fatuously claimed.But it omitted to point out that Hunzvi and his gang of thugs were imported first, bringing petrol bombs with them. Indeed the MDC only alerted its youths in response to the depredations of war veterans. And what could be more “coercive” than the thre-ats of Mumbengegwi and Mudenge?

As for dumping MDC supporters in the Gona-rezhou national park, which the Herald thought was a great joke, Mudenge must not complain when foreign papers use headlines like “Mugabe throws opponents to lions”. Far from getting rid of a problem it has simply generated more adverse publicity for Mugabe who is being compared to the Emperor Nero.

Chairman of the Electoral Supervisory Com- mission, Sobhuza Gula-Ndebele, who appears to have awoken from a deep slumber, says he will be proposing a code of conduct for future elections.

“We are very concerned by growing intolerance,” he said last week.
Why is he only now concerned about it? Where has he been since June and what has happened to the report the ESC is supposed to have drawn up on the general election? How long does it take them when this was just about all they had to do? And where are the 1 937 missing ballots in Bikita? A total of 22 564 people had voted by 2pm on Sunday, we were told, but the final figure was 20 627.

Lovemore Mudhuku, who took a hit in this column last week for making “naive and gullible” statements to the Herald regarding a recent BBC survey, now says he was not only misquoted but had words put in his mouth by the government newspaper.

The Herald quoted him as saying that publication of the BBC report by the Standard was “sheer proof that the paper has an agenda against President Mugabe”.

Madhuku says he would never have used such poor English as “sheer proof”. He should have added that the whole country currently has “an agenda against President Mugabe”!

He said it was not the first time the paper had misquoted him.
Muckraker’s question is: at what level were his remarks changed to suit the government’s age-nda? And how often does this happen?

Curiously, the word “sheer” appeared again in Monday’s vacuous Herald editorial saying “we see nothing wrong with the Judge President’s speech”. Of course they don’t. They don’t see anything wrong either with the CIO kidnapping opposition supporters and dumping them in Gonarezhou!

And what of Dr Norman Mlambo of Sarips who claimed the BBC survey was part of a wider “onslaught” by the British which started in 1996 when the government said it was going to start the land acquisition programme.
“The British were adamant and said the land should not be taken from the whites,” Mlambo told the Herald.

Did the British say that, Dr Mlambo? Or did they say “if you want British taxpayers’ money land reform should be properly planned, transparent and aimed at poverty alleviation”? They never said “land should not be taken from whites”.

As Mlambo has not accused the Herald of distorting his remarks we can safely assume his disingenuous assertions represent the views of Sarips which we have long suspected as being part of the problem, especially when its spokes- men support Zimbabwe’s military intervention in the Congo.

Nobody at Sapes/Sarips has ever done a survey to work out how much land could have been acquired and properly distributed legally and peacefully with the money that has instead been siphoned by the government for its operations in the Congo. Why doesn’t the Herald get Ibbo Mandaza, Sam Moyo, Mwesiga Baregu, and the rest of the team to give us some answers on that!

The Zimbabwe Mirror was last week conducting one of its raving Moyo-style attacks on this column for having dared to suggest Ben Hlatshwayo’s editorial role at the pro-Zanu PF weekly should have been disclosed to the paper’s readers. It was none of Muckraker’s business, the author of “Behind the Words” yelled at us from the other side of town.

Fair enough. But what else is the Mirror going to conceal? We are intrigued to know how a paper that carries virtually no advertising apart from in-house ads and has never been remotely self-sufficient, is going to manage the transformation into a daily. We know about the Samdef funding proposal which derives its strength from indulgent Dutch and Scan- dinavian backers. But why is there no attempt to run the paper as a paying business? Have the owners, like their political affiliates, become completely unable to function independently of foreign donors?

We welcome, as all Zimbabweans will, police commissioner Augustine Chihuri’s assura- nce that he will resign as soon as another party comes into power. We would of course rather he went earlier. He has been derelict in his duties by failing to uphold the law or court orders. He has moved with uncharacteristic speed against MDC members accused of trivial offences while ignoring the crimes of the party he says he supports.

He also appears to misunderstand his mandate. It is to behave professionally by upholding the law and the rights of all Zimbabweans, irrespective of their political allegiance. If he can’t understand that he shouldn’t have accepted the job in the first place. We have no doubt that posterity will regard him as an unmitigated disaster as a commissioner. He has become part of the rot which Zanu PF has allowed to erode the fabric of the nation.

Apart of course from his failure to properly investigate election-related killings, journa- lists are also concerned that the commissioner has done next to nothing to identify those responsible for abducting and torturing Mark Chavu-nduka and Ray Choto, as he was ordered to do by a court last year. What has happened to that investigation and how long does it take him to perform elementary police work of this sort? If he is being block- ed by the President’s Office or the army we want to know.

The only reason people had hoped for victory in last Sunday’s soccer match was their contempt for Lesotho. Absolutely nothing to do with Zimbabwe’s destructive prowess.

We all knew things were in disarray in the camp. The players complained about nearly everything, from accommodation to food and measly daily allowances.

No, those who did not accept the $50 daily allowance could leave the team, said Zifa vice-chairman Vincent Pa- mire. He said players should put their country before mammon. The
association didn’t have any money, he claimed.

How could the players deal with this raving madness? They stayed in camp and when the day of reckoning arrived they simply refused to risk their lucrative football careers overseas for a country whose leadership takes their lives for granted.

All over the world companies fight hard to provide sponsorship for football teams. They know that is where they get maximum advertising exposure. Football associations never have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to finance players.

Unfortunately Zimbabwe is not a normal country. Otherwise why would we continue to have people like Leo Mugabe as chairman of Zifa or Pamire telling players in camp for a crucial match to go to hell and get away with it?

What key competencies does Leo have in football apart from sharing a surname with his maternal uncle and presiding over the decline of soccer in Zimbabwe in macabre sympathy with his uncle’s performance on the eco- nomic front?

The reason we lost the match against little Lesotho was not because of “useless skipper” Norman Mapeza. Nor the absence of Peter Ndlovu. It is the Zifa administration that is rotten. And the gangrene is infecting the players.

Meanwhile Muckraker was left wondering just how many children Pamire has. After he was verbally attacked by football fans at Bar-bourfields stadium he told reporters his sons had come to his rescue. He says his sons intervened and beat up those who were abusing him, effectively meaning all the 20 000 people at the stadium. What does he takes us for? The brain-dead Zifa executive?

Zimbabwe is to get a new British High Commissioner. Peter Longworth returns to the UK in June after an eventful tour of duty. The government has chosen to misrepresent British policy on land in order to win votes from its rural constituents.

But Longworth’s forthright defence of Britain’s position and refusal to be mealy-mouthed — as so many diplomats are — has won him many friends in Zimbabwe at a time when the nation as a whole has rejected Mugabe’s crass claims to be benefiting ordinary people.

Longworth’s successor, Brian Donnelly, was formerly British ambassa- dor to Belgrade. London clearly thinks that dealing with one Slobodan qualifies him to deal with another!

Comment - Kabila’s legacy to Zimbabwe lies in Bikita


IT seems they celebrated too soon! Scenes on ZTV of euphoric Zanu PF ministers toasting their victory in Bikita West were followed by a news blackout as the same ministers froze in fear as the news from Kinshasa sunk in.

Nobody was allowed to say anything until President Mugabe had pronounced on the issue. But it certainly wiped the smile off their faces.

One minister, who only the day before was saying Zanu PF would win every seat it fought — even though he seems remarkably reluctant to contest one himself — could not be persuaded to make a comment on the consequences of the reported death of Zanu PF’s friend and ally, Laurent Kabila. The fiction was maintained that Kabila was being attended to by a team of Congolese doctors in Harare right up to yesterday afternoon.

We won’t shed any hypocritical tears here for a corrupt tyrant who lived by the sword and died by it. But his legacy for Zimbabwe was evident in last weekend’s Bikita West by-election. There the culture of violence and brutality which is a by-product of Mugabe’s Congo intervention was all-too-evident.

Bikita West is the graveyard of Zimbabwe’s nascent democracy. And Zanu PF is only too keen to ensure it remains there. Their spokesmen have made it clear that the methods honed there will now be applied across the country.
Supposedly independent bodies such as the Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, by calling on both sides to eschew violence, have added to the impression that the election-related mayhem was the responsibility of all players. But the facts speak for themselves.

Within 24 hours of the conclusion of Zanu PF’s special congress, men facing criminal charges of corruption and violence moved in on Bikita setting up their camps at schools to be used as polling stations. Joseph Chinotimba, still on the Harare municipal payroll, Francis Zimuto, aka “Black Jesus”, and Chenjerai “Hitler” Hunzvi laid the ground for systematic intimidation.

The country expected no less from these thugs whose followers were paid and equipped by the state, marching around in olive-green uniforms tailored specially for the occasion.

But what was even more shocking were reports of ministers telling villagers that Zanu PF would find out which way they voted. Education minister Samuel Mumbengegwi was reported as telling an audience that village headmen would register people who voted and thus be able to tell who Zanu PF’s “enemies” were and “deal ruthlessly with them”. He spoke of “cleansing” the area of all anti-Zanu PF elements.

While Mumbengegwi said seed-maize handouts would be confined to Zanu PF supporters, Foreign minister Stan Mudenge was reported as saying the civil service reduction exercise would be used to retrench MDC supporters. His colleague Border Gezi used taxpayers’ money to reward voters belonging to the ruling party.

The pattern is clear. Headmen and chiefs were made to perform as payback for the hefty salary hikes they received ahead of the June poll. The connection arguably constitutes an electoral bribe. Then illiterate villagers, ignorant of their right to a secret vote, were led to believe that Zanu PF could find out which party they chose. Seed handouts were linked to their performance. Just in case they didn’t get the message, Hunzvi and his gangs were on hand to ram it home.

This they did, going door-to-door in some villages weeding out suspected MDC supporters and subjecting them to beatings. People were forced to attend all-night pungwes, they had their identity cards seized and property damaged.

In one case a petrol bomb was thrown at an MDC vehicle near Nyika growth point. Luckily nobody was injured.

Compounding this and probably directing much of it, CIO officers are alleged to have ferried 13 MDC youths to Gonarezhou and dumped them there.
The police have done absolutely nothing about this or any other case of election-related violence apart from conducting the odd “interview”.

What they did do was helpfully lock up MDC youths brought into the area to counter intimidation by war veterans and Zanu PF bully boys.

It is therefore fatuous for organisations to call on both sides to desist from violence. The source of that violence was evident from the outset beginning with Mugabe’s sinister address to his party’s special congress last month.

This is a foretaste of things to come. The state-sponsored lawlessness stems in part from the Congo intervention where Mugabe’s military and civilian followers have been able to follow their instincts in punishing rebels and plundering resources. That wartime culture of warfare and looting has spread south as we said it would. The illegal abduction and torture of journalists in early 1999 was not a one-off event. It was a precursor of what was to follow as the military took over.

Now Kabila is gone Mugabe’s regional project stands exposed. With the
demise of its wilful ally Zimbabwe’s over-extended position in the Congo has become hazardous.

So has the future of democracy at home. The Congo war has proved our undoing — the symptom of an overweening autocracy gone bad. Zimbabweans now have the unenviable task of confronting a desperate regime, committed to lawlessness and violence as electoral tools, which has suborned the army and police while inflicting untold economic damage on the country.

Court rulings are ignored as all avenues for democratic dissent are closed

By beating up the electorate, threatening villagers with starvation, breaking every single electoral rule and then manipulating the media to make it look as if the other side is at fault, Zanu PF has demonstrated it intends to make full use of Kabila’s legacy.

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Public laughs off ‘three-day mourning’

THE general public yesterday laughed off President Robert Mugabe’s declaration of three days of mourning for the late Democratic Republic of the Congo leader, Laurent Kabila.

Most people interviewed by The Standard in a survey dismissed Mugabe’s declaration, saying he was demeaning the people of Zimbabwe.

What appeared to irk most people was that Mugabe had the nerve to refuse the late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, one of the founding fathers of the liberation struggle, national hero status, and yet had gone overboard by ordering Zimbabweans to mourn Kabila, in whose war Zimbabwe has lost billions of dollars and many soldiers.

The declaration, they said, showed that Mugabe was bent on honouring his personal friends, even those who had done nothing for Zimbabwe and at the same time “despising true Zimbabwean heroes because of petty differences”.

Ironically, Mugabe’s decision to order Zimbabweans to officially mourn Kabila has been countered by a significant number of people publicly rejoicing over the death of the rebel turned president.

Nomatter Phiri of Highfield felt that since the deployment of Zimbabwean soldiers was a unilateral decision, trying to force the three day mourning period down peoples’ throats would not work: “The three days of mourning have no significance to the people of Zimbabwe considering that when Zanu PF made a decision to send our soldiers to DRC it was a party decision, not a peoples’ decision. So why must the public be involved in the mourning of a person whose country has cost us so much against our will?”

Painos Mahari of Mabelreign questioned why the late Kabila is being given special treatment yet some national heroes have died recently and no recognition was given.

Said Mahari: “What part did Kabila play in the liberation of Zimbabwe? Known heroes like Ndabaningi Sithole and Enoch Dumbutshena were totally ignored by Zanu PF, which went on to ignore the public’s disgruntlement over their arrogance to refuse the two national hero status.”

Also not happy with Mugabe’s decision was Nomathemba of Nyameni in Marondera, who said: “Mugabe must explain to the nation what criteria he used to declare this man some sort of national hero. We are now confused.”

Another disgruntled citizen, Sekai Gambe of Mufakose, had no kind words for the President.
Said Gambe: “Mugabe thinks he owns the people of this country, which is why he thinks he can ignore the public’s feelings. That is why he makes these strange unilateral decisions. This three-day mourning period is a worse of time because it does not have the emotional attachment that should come with it. Flags will fly at half mast but deep inside people just do not care.”

Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for foreign affairs, Tendai Biti, said in a statement that although his party regretted the departure of the late DRC President Laurent Kabila, his party has met the announced three days of mourning with outrage and disbelief.

Said Biti: “Kabila was a non-elected dictator who came to power through force. The DRC itself is not in mourning over his death and for Zimbabwe, a democratic nation to mourn Kabila is offensive to the principles of democracy.”

Biti added that president Mugabe’s offensive and repugnant actions are an insult to justice, freedom and to the ideals of democratic presidency that he is supposed to embody.

He said that his party declares these three days a time for the nation to reflect on Zimbabwean troops in the DRC, to mourn the soldiers the country has lost and to pray for the immediate return of Zimbabwean forces home.

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Zimbabwe blackmails IMF

Cornelius Nduna
THE government has told the donor community to provide financial assistance upfront for its land resettlement programme to guarantee the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Responding to issues raised by the International Monetary Fund in its country report on Zimbabwe published this month, government said donor funds were a prerequisite to upholding law in Zimbabwe.
“Government enjoins the local commercial farming, banking and other business sectors, as well as the international community to extend concrete assistance for the various aspects of the programme.
“The extension of support for demonstrably accelerated resolution of the land issue, will also facilitate enforcement of the due process of law,” reads government’s response in the report.
The IMF staff team that assessed Zimbabwe had objected to the current lawlessness in the country in relation to the distribution of land.
Said the team: “The government must implement an orderly land reform programme that is designed to garner domestic, and international support. A speedy return to the rule of law is important in rebuilding the confidence of domestic regional, and international investors and the international donor support.”
In spite of countless court orders barring government from seizing white-owned commercial farms, government has declared that it will proceed with the compulsory acquisition of land.

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