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

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Zimbabwe hunt for British journalists

Zimbabwe security forces are hunting for British journalists said to have entered the country on tourist visas.

The reporters, from British and South African publications, were staying in local hotels, or in safe houses run by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, a government newspaper said.

The Government has not stated what it intends to do with the journalists it arrests.

Government spokesman George Charamba said: "Our net is closing in on them, and we should be able to account for all of them before the close of the day."

The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said several foreign reporters had entered the country on tourist visas in recent days, violating Zimbabwean law.

Officials from the government and the ruling ZANU-PF party have accused foreign journalists and local independent reporters of aiding opposition officials, whom the government calls "terrorists."

The hunt was only the latest crackdown on independent reporting in Zimbabwe, which has descended into violence, chaos and economic collapse as part of a ruling party campaign to suppress the opposition in advance of presidential elections scheduled for March.

Parliament in Harare was today scheduled to debate a harsh media bill that free press groups said would destroy Zimbabwe's independent media.

Under current media regulations, all foreign journalists need to be accredited by the government before entering the violence-wracked country.

When those regulations were adopted last year, local officials said the accreditation process would simply be a formality. But Zimbabwe has refused nearly all applications from foreign journalists in recent months.

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For those wondering what the Section notifications some farmers are receiving .......... "Sections" explained :
Section 5 - notice from government stating that the farm has been identified
for compulsory acquisition and that it will be taken over at a future date.
Section 7 - notice from government that compulsory acquisition is now in
Section 8 - notice from government that owner must vacate.
In all of the above section letters the area of land to be taken is stated -
i.e. part of ,section of, all. (These areas are not being adhered to in most
cases and settlers & gvt officials take as much as they desire)
By law all of the above notices may be contested by the farm owner and are
governed by dates (These laws are never followed)
Under the governments "fast track" plan - once a farm is seized (mostly
before nowadays) it is divided into plots for either  PU,A1, A2 or large
scale resettlement. PU = peri urban plot. A1 = small plot (under 10
hectares); A2= medium sized plot (not clear what size) and large scale =
commercial (250 hectares)

While all of the above sounds very well planned and organised on paper, it is
a complete muddle on the ground - both for the farmers and the newly settled
people and is largely taking place while legal actions contesting
designations are still underway and before farmers have left their land.
In short - absolute chaos on the ground so far.
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Trigger-happy cops ignite orgy of violence in Byo

Njabulo Ncube
1/24/02 1:27:24 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO — It was a little before 10 am last Sunday when the police fired
the first salvo of foul-smelling teargas to disperse about 10 000 supporters
of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) surrounding the
White City Stadium here.

"We have official orders to send you away," shouted a riot policeman to MDC
national executive members, who included the party’s vice president Gibson
Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and elections director Paul Themba

"Can you move!" bellowed the policeman as the crowd surged ahead,
threatening to pull down the perimeter fence surrounding the stadium in
which a rag-tag band of 300 ZANU PF militia were gyrating to songs
denigrating the MDC and its leaders.

Their T-shirts were emblazoned with President Robert Mugabe’s face, as they
sang revolutionary songs that castigated MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
squares off against Mugabe in the March 9 and 10 presidential election.

"Please, can you remove these ZANU PF people from the stadium?" pleaded
Ncube, the MDC legislator for Bulawayo North, who also doubles up as the
party’s shadow minister for home affairs.

"We booked the venue last week. We have every right to be here. Remove these
trespassers because they just want to cause trouble for us," said Ncube to
the police officers, who looked uninterested but determined to prevent the
MDC from staging its campaign rally in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, an
MDC stronghold.

About 1 000 riot police formed a tight cordon in and around the stadium,
effectively sealing off all major routes leading to the venue where
Tsvangirai was due to hold his last campaign rally here.

"I will repeat this once, Move! Move, we have orders to leave these guys
alone," said the menacing-looking police officer, pointing a finger at the
ZANU PF supporters, who witnesses said had been bused in from outside
Matabeleland to disrupt the rally.

The ZANU PF supporters had spent Saturday night camped at the stadium.

The police officer said: "The order states clearly that we should move with
speed and remove you (the MDC supporters)."

"Move now and make it fast!" he bellowed at the MDC officials, whose
contingent of about 10 000 supporters were threatening to take the law into
their own hands if the police did not remove the ZANU PF militia.

The ZANU PF supporters brandished an assortment of homemade weapons,
including catapults, metal batons and knobkerries, taunting the MDC
supporters, who promptly collected rocks, bricks and stones to fight back if

Then suddenly, missiles started flying from all directions. Stones were
thrown at the police, accused by the MDC supporters of working in cahoots
with ZANU PF to thwart the labour-backed party from campaigning peacefully
around the country.

The police continuously hurled teargas at fleeing crowds, while other
officers lashed out with baton sticks at youths who pelted them with all
kinds of missiles.

"Fire, fire!" shouted the police as its riot squad continued to teargas the
MDC supporters, who now seemed determined to lynch the ZANU PF militia.

The teargas triggered 10 hours of street battles between the police, ZANU PF
and opposition supporters.

Teargas smoke filled the air, sending tearful MDC supporters scurrying for
cover in the neighbouring high-density suburbs of Mabutweni, Iminyela,
Njube, Pela-ndaba and Mpopoma.

In the ensuing stampede, several members of the public and police officers
were injured as political violence rocked this otherwise quiet city.

Some teargas canisters were thrown into houses in the surrounding
high-density suburbs, angering residents, some of whom had property looted
by marauding gangs.

"The violence moved from the stadium to our homes," said a visibly angry
Gibbs Dube.

"ZANU PF youths came to my house and took away my property. They accused me
of supporting the MDC. I am very bitter."

Milton Gwetu, the elderly MDC legislator for Mpopoma constituency,
temporarily lost conscience as the teargas smoke threatened to choke him.

It was the swift reaction of some youths that saved the veteran trade
unionist from certain death.

Police this week dismissed widespread rumours that about four people died
when the violence erupted outside the White City Stadium, but Bulawayo
police spokesman Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo said they had arrested 25 youths.

"They will appear in court soon, facing charges of public violence," said
Manzini-Moyo, adding that four policemen were badly injured in the
disturbances that lasted up to about 9 pm that Sunday, spilling over to
other high-density suburbs several kilometres away.

Nearly 100 people suffered varying degrees of injury and the MDC said this
week that about 11 of its supporters were unaccounted for.

"We fear they could have been abducted by ZANU PF militia because some of
our youths were kidnapped at the stadium by ZANU PF supporters during the
stampede and taken to Solusi farming area, where they were assaulted and
made to eat sand," said an MDC activist.

The total value of property damaged in the melee could not be ascertained
this week, but a twin-cab allegedly belonging to a passer-by was burnt
beyond repair while other cars whose drivers dared pass near the suburbs
surrounding the White City Stadium were stoned.

The latest orgy of violence is the second to rock Bulawayo in the last few
months, following an incident in November when MDC and ZANU PF supporters
torched each other’s property following the death of two ruling party

The MDC’s Welshman Ncube said the violence, which erupted ahead of a visit
by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, indicated that Mugabe’s promise of
free and fair elections was meaningless.

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Millions forced to buy ZANU PF cards

By Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
1/24/02 1:07:01 AM (GMT +2)

WENDY Maodzwa, the Financial Gazette’s salaries administrator, was with
other members of her family on their way to Harare from a funeral in rural
Rusape when they decided to stop at Goto growth point to refuel.

Suddenly, a gang of youths approached and menacingly demanded that they
produce membership cards of the ruling ZANU PF party or else they were in

Their salvation only came from an old man who happened to know some members
of the gang from their previous farm invasion escapades.

As soon as she arrived in Harare, Maodzwa had to buy the card for her own
safety, although she says she does not need it.

This was not the end of her problems because, a day after buying the card,
the people who sold her the card followed her up to tell her that she had to
attend their meetings without fail or else.

This is the plight of millions of Zimbabweans as President Robert Mugabe’s
party , sensing his defeat in the March 9 and 10 presidential election,
strikes terror in the hearts of citizens, demanding that they buy costly
ZANU PF membership cards.

The campaign, which is targeting supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has forced many Zimbabweans to cancel trips to
remote rural areas where most of the harassment and torture are taking

Senior MDC officials have had to tell their sympathisers to acquire the
cards for their own safety in the face of mounting violence and police
inaction to stamp it down.

"This is a clear case of extortion, forcing people to buy cards which they
do not need," said David Jamali, programmes coordinator of Zimbabwe’s
leading human rights watchdog ZimRights.

"We strongly condemn this practice and urge members of political parties to
desist from doing it. Instead of forcing people to buy their cards, they
should sell policies that are acceptable to the people and people will
support them," Jamali said.

ZANU PF recently boasted that it had raised more than $500 million from the
sale of its cards in the past three months.

At the current price of $82 per card, this means that about 6.1 million
Zimbabweans — about half the country’s population — have been forced to buy
the cards for their personal security.

Despite nationwide complaints from members of the public that they are being
harassed by ZANU PF youths and their war veterans over the party’s cards,
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena this week denied that any such thing was

This is despite the fact that virtually on a daily basis, buses plying the
Harare-Bindura route are being stopped by these gangsters at illegal
roadblocks to demand the party’s cards from passengers.

"No one is being asked to produce any party cards as far as we know. Police
at roadblocks are only checking for things like weapons and dangerous items,
apart from the usual traffic requirements," Bvudzijena said.

He said that some plainclothes police officers — members of the Criminal
Investigations Department — could also be found at roadblocks looking for

But ZANU PF’s national commissar Elliot Manyika was last week forced to go
public on the issue, ordering party supporters to stop demanding ZANU PF
cards from members of the public.

Security Minister Nicholas Goche this week also called on ZANU PF supporters
to stop demanding party cards, saying culprits arrested by the police would
receive no legal assistance from the ruling party.

Tawanda Hondora, a member of the human rights group Lawyers for Human
Rights, said it was criminal for ZANU PF members to extort money from the
public under the guise of party cards.

"The demand is unconstitutional and unlawful because it restricts the free
movement of people. It is like the demand that people should carry identity
cards, which was declared unlawful in a constitutional case of Elliot versus
the Commissioner of Police and another in 1997," he said.

Hondora said if the victims are able to positively identify those police
officers and ZANU PF thugs who are involved in the practice, they would be
able to seek redress through the courts.

Jamali urged all Zimbabweans who have bought ZANU PF cards under duress or
fear to register at any ZimRights office in the country because the human
rights body is compiling a list of people from whom money has been extorted
in order to prepare action against the ruling party.

Jamali said the list could also be used to challenge the presidential
election, which experts says is likely to be won by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai but could be rigged in Mugabe’s favour.

The ZANU PF party cards scam follows raids on companies and factories last
year by the same mobs under the guise that they were resolving labour
disputes. Several firms were forced to close down by the raids while some
senior company executives were assaulted willy-nilly.

Earlier in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections, the same youths
invaded hundreds of commercial farms across the nation, where they are still
camped, in the name of land hunger.

At least nine farmers and nearly 40 MDC supporters were killed in the
accompanying violence, which sealed off farms and the vast rural areas from
the opposition.

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Is there peace after Bob?

Reg T Gola
1/24/02 1:20:13 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe turns 78 next month. After a 21-year stint of bad
governance, Mugabe has imposed himself on his party and government yet again
for another term in office.

Zimbabweans are visibly sick and tired of the tyrant’s continued
misgovernance, however he may use the tools of repression at his disposal.

Zimbabweans have an inalienable right to good governance and this right is
not negotiable, hence the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) — a protestant youthful party comprising frustrated former ZANU PF and
PF ZAPU supporters.

The MDC has caused so much agitation within the corridors of power in
Zimbabwe that Mugabe, in response, has stepped up the use of terror by his

State terrorism is once again so much in evidence. Opposition supporters are
picked up by ZANU PF and government thugs to either disappear forever, get
murdered or to be maimed permanently.

For Mugabe and his cronies, this is the best formula to enforce public
compliance and public acceptance of his tyranny and the rule of his
government which he operates in a manner not different from the way one
would operate one’s personal tuckshop.

Mugabe has successfully surrounded himself with highly rewarded bootlickers
in his party’s central committee, Politburo, the Cabinet and in the country’
s security institutions. He has surrounded himself with true robots.

These praise singers have sung so well over the years to the extent of
referring to their tyrant boss as "another Jesus Christ of our times" in
return for presidential handouts.

But now with the tide of state terrorism rising daily, innocent people being
abducted at funerals, weddings, churches, political rallies and homes all in
the spirit of keeping the over-aged Mugabe in power, the desire for urgent
change has become the most critical need for the majority of Zimbabweans.

Every Zimbabwean who goes into a supermarket comes out a very angry man with
an increased desire for change due to the hourly price increases of basic
commodities arising from Mugabe’s mismanagement of the economy.

But if Mugabe fails to rig the presidential election in March, mayhem may be
expected. The current ZANU PF systems are designed to make Zimbabwe
ungovernable for the next president.

One wonders how a new president would govern with some ZANU PF sympathisers
in the high offices of the judiciary, with a police force that has
successfully purged all professional, apolitical and opposition
sympathisers. The same goes for the army and the prison service, not to
mention the spy Central Intelligence Organisation which has always been
wholly ZANU PF owned since inception.

Police chief Augustine Chihuri, a supposedly career civil servant, has
openly declared that he is a ZANU PF member, while Zimbabwe National Army
head Vitalis Zvinavashe is reported to have been desperately trying to play
the role of peace broker between rival ZANU PF camps in Masvingo, hoping to
boost Mugabe’s presidential election campaign.

ZANU PF’s Youth Brigade, formerly designed to suppress PF ZAPU, the only
formidable post-independence force that threatened Mugabe’s ruling party in
the early 1980s, has re-emerged in time for the presidential election, this
time under the guise of a national youth service. It had collapsed following
the unity accord between PF ZANU and ZANU PF in 1987 as it no longer served
a purpose.

I believe the youth brigades are recruited from ZANU PF party cells and
thoroughly trained in the art of battering opposition members.

Now that a new, more formidable political force has emerged in the form of
the MDC, the notorious youths, equivalent to Malawi’s Young Pioneers during
the reign of its declared life president Hastings Kamuzu Banda, have
suddenly re-emerged as a matter of urgency. Life has once again become
"brutish, nasty and short" for Zimbabweans.

The ZANU PF youth brigades now have a well-established permanent camp in
Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central.

The heavy milita-risation of all strategic establishments, including the
ruling ZANU PF’s election nerve centre — the rural areas — also suggests
some strategic positioning for a possible coup if the party loses. ZANU PF
has deteriorated into a rural party surviving on rural idiocy.

The army, the militia of war veterans and the youth brigades have been
deployed well ahead of the election to impose an iron curtain barring all
opposition political parties from the rural areas over the campaign period
to ensure that Mugabe returns to power at all costs.

Mugabe and his thugs have made it no secret that another war is in the
making in the event that the MDC wins a free and fair election.

Mugabe’s argument is that the MDC is a white man’s party out to resuscitate
colonialism. The idea is to incite Zimbabweans to rise against the MDC.

But this only shows that Mugabe does not respect the electorate. The people
who know the depth of his misgovernance and the cost of his continued rule.

If Mugabe were to stand against Ian Smith in March, there is no doubt that
he would not make it.

Elections are not about skin pigmentation — they are about good governance,
democracy, the rule of law, protection of lives and property, freedom of
speech and association, people empowerment, women’s rights, child rights,
good health and education, sound economic policy, poverty alleviation,
freedom from hunger, among many other things.

The people do not feed on liberation war credentials. The military must stay
at the barracks and keep away from politics.

The whites in this country are Zimbabweans, they are investors, they have
got interests which require political representation. If the people of
Zimbabwe democratically choose to work with their fellow oppressed
Zimbabwean whites or investors towards a high-quality life, that would truly
symbolise successful reconciliation — the rainbow nation. If the people of
Zimbabwe democratically elect a white president to serve their interests,
then that would be freedom of choice and democracy at play.

For Mugabe, the whites are good people, patriotic and committed to
development only if they subscribe to ZANU PF’s lawlessness.

Mugabe and ZANU PF have failed to deliver. They have dismally failed to
address the needs of the people of Zimbabwe. They have failed to protect the
people from hunger, disease, strife, lawlessness and poverty.

Mugabe’s revolution is a revolution that lost its cause. There is urgent
need for another revolution — hence the emergence of the MDC from within the
ruling ZANU PF.

Reginald T Gola is a legislative consultant and political commentator.

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From ZWNEWS, 25 January

Food shortages could eclipse all other election issues

By Michael Hartnack

As Zimbabwe slides toward widespread famine, the supply of staple food could
now eclipse all other issues in presidential elections. Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai declared Wednesday, in his starkest warning yet, that
"hunger and starvation now loom for millions", and agricultural sources said
the country would run out of maize next month since it was now impossible to
import sufficient to meet the monthly national requirement of 150 000
tonnes. Only the government denied there is a crisis. "There is so much
maize in the country, and we may not even need to import if we manage to
impound all maize from commercial farmers," said Justice Mutasa, spokeswoman
for the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board. Even by the propaganda
standards of President Robert Mugabe's government, the claim was
astonishing. The government maintained this week it had seized 36, 000
tonnes of maize from white commercial farmers, but there are doubts about
the truth of this announcement. Meanwhile, supermarket shelves are virtually
denuded of supplies of mealie meal, the staple diet; farming sources
reported last week that only 40 000 tonnes of maize were left; the Catholic
Church and the United Nations Development Programme say that 500 000
Zimbabweans already in urgent need of relief in the western Matabeleland and
central Midlands areas.

In trademark fashion, Mugabe's officials and the state-controlled media
accuse commercial farmers of hoarding maize to destabilize the government,
and scatter the rest of the blame on milling companies and patchy rainfall.
The statistics tell a different story: production has slumped drastically
because of invasions of white-owned farms by government supporters. In the
2000 season, commercial farmers planted 150 000 hectares to maize, in 2001,
69 000, and currently only 45 000 is planted with an expected yield of 200
000 tonnes -- just over a month's supply for the nation. Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made, who until September repeatedly denied there would be
any shortfall in food production, now says that 98 000 tonnes of maize have
been requested from the World Food Programme. Made also maintains that next
month will see a bumper 3-million ton maize harvest from black farmers,
including 300 000 people settled on recently acquired white-owned land. This
claim is contradicted by government appeals for U.S.$60 million in donor
assistance. The United States responded with an initial 8 000-tonne

Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, said substitute
foods for Zimbabwe's 13 million people were at least twice as expensive and
in short supply, partly as a result of the farm invasions, and maize was
irreplaceable as stockfeed. He appealed to voluntary organisations and
foreign governments to make ready for a relief operation, if need be after
"the induction of a new MDC government in April." Maize supplies have also
been hit by current political violence. A senior policeman was allegedly
implicated in looting by militants of 45 tonnes of maize from a farm in the
Raffingora area earlier this month. A recent check on all supermarkets on
the road from Mutare to Harare indicated bare shelves. In the capital, the
OK Bazaars First Street Branch had only 20kg bags (at Z$491) and 5kg bags of
super refined meal at Z$194 - far beyond the pockets of 80 percent of
Zimbabweans who are living below the bread line. (The official exchange rate
is Z$80 = £1, the "parallel" rate is as high as Z$600 = £1).

Relief agencies have apparently fended off initial demands by the Mugabe
government that it distribute all food aid. Officials of the UN Development
Programme and the World Food Programme confirmed this week they had had
discussions with the Zimbabwe government and received assurances they would,
now be allowed to distribute relief supplies. But the MDC and other
government critics say that those distributing relief are being closely
monitored by the ruling Zanu PF party and Central Intelligence Organisation.
During the calamitous 1993-94 drought Zanu PF insisted all relief, even that
donated by charity, go out under the aegis and propaganda stamp of the
ruling party.


Violence threatens food aid

Staff Reporter
1/24/02 1:41:02 AM (GMT +2)

THE United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said this week it could be
forced to suspend a US$60 million food aid programme for Zimbabwe if the
safety of relief workers is compromised by political violence sweeping the

The organisation’s warning comes in the wake of violent attacks by a gang of
ruling ZANU PF party youths last week on relief workers attached to
Christian Care Zimbabwe, one of the implementing partners of the WFP’s food

The relief workers failed to produce membership cards of Zimbabwe’s ruling
ZANU PF party, as demanded by the gang, upon which they were attacked

"As in many other countries where WFP works under very difficult
circumstances, we would do everything possible to keep the (food) operation
going," WFP programme officer Anna Shotto told the Financial Gazette.

"However, if WFP’s ability to distribute food into the hands of the intended
beneficiaries and the safety of WFP staff, its implementing partners’ staff
or the beneficiaries themselves becomes seriously compromised, then WFP
would be forced to temporarily suspend food distributions and negotiate on
how to resume," she warned.

She said under the letter of understanding signed between the WFP and the
government of Zimbabwe in December 2001, the safety of WFP’s implementing
partners and their assets were the responsibility of the government.

Shotto said her organisation and its implementing partners were in the
process of consulting both central and local government officials in order
to come up with safety procedures to be used when implementing the WFP’s
emergency food operation.

As well as the relief workers, hundreds of opposition supporters nationwide
have been attacked by ZANU PF supporters in the past few months as
campaigning for the presidential election on March 9 and 10 hots up.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says about 10 of its
supporters have been killed since January this year, taking the toll of the
dead in the past two years to more than 100.

ZANU PF has also reported that at least five of its supporters have been
murdered by MDC members since Christmas.

Brian Raftopolous, a leading political analyst, this week said the
government was not interested in reining in its marauding supporters because
its strategy ahead of the election is to instil fear in donor agencies so it
can control the supply of food aid.

Credible reports this week already spoke of plans by ZANU PF to distribute
state food only to villagers who it believed would support Mugabe in the

Until late last year, the government had denied it needed international
assistance to import urgent food aid, saying it had enough reserves of the
staple maize.

Once the magnitude of the looming crisis became clear, the government then
refused to allow non-governmental agencies in Zimbabwe to distribute the
food aid, claiming that they would give it to supporters of MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who threatens to unseat President Robert Mugabe in the
March ballot.

The government only backed down towards the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the WFP is expected to receive clearance tomorrow from the
government to bring into Zimbabwe its first consignment of 8 470 tonnes of
maize from Tanzania, where a Zimbabwean technical team has been dispatched
to ascertain its suitability.

"Government inspectors are already in Tanzania to check whether the maize is
bacteria-free or not before it can be transported to Zimbabwe," said an
official at the Harare office of the United Nations Development Programme.

If cleared, the maize will arrive in Zimbabwe next week and is the first
tranche of 116 000 tonnes expected in the country under the aid programme,
which will assist an estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans who have applied for
food handouts.

Zimbabwe faces a serious humanitarian crisis if international donor agencies
do not provide food relief in the next few weeks, especially in the rural
areas where harvests of the staple maize crop were below expectation last
year and are not expected to improve this year.

The food shortages have been triggered by the government’s seizure of
commercial farms and the accompanying violence by its supporters against
farmers, nine of whom have been killed in the past two years.

The farm seizures and the violence have disrupted farming and forced scores
of farmers to flee the country, worsening an already low output of maize and
wheat crops caused by a poor rainfall season.

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Farmers ordered to hand over guns

1/24/02 1:41:46 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S white commercial farmers this week said they had been instructed
to hand over all their firearms to the police in a move they said had
sinister implications.

Commercial Farmers’ Union president Colin Cloete said farmers had
unsuccessfully sought clarification on the issue from Deputy Commissioner of
Police Griffith Mpofu but he had refused to discuss it.

"We have been told to hand over our weapons to the police," Cloete told the
Financial Gazette. "I think this was meant to be a routine weapons-checking
exercise, but this has a rather sinister tone to it.

"It has a political undertone to it. This is not the usual case (where)
police go around commercial farming areas interviewing and asking farmers to
produce their firearms and licences."

But police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the exercise was not targeting
commercial farmers only but also ruling ZANU PF party supporters and their
militant so-called war veterans in a bid to curb the escalation of
politically motivated violence in the country ahead of the March 9 and 10
presidential election.

"We are carrying out this exercise in light of the many cases of violence
being reported," he said, admitting that the security forces could not
guarantee that all firearms would be surrendered.

Commercial farming areas have been the epicentre of violent clashes between
ZANU PF supporters, most of them armed, and the farmers and their black

ZANU PF accuses the farmers and their workers of backing the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai poses
the deadliest threat to President Robert Mugabe in the election already
marred by unprecedented violence.

At least nine white farmers and more than 100 blacks, virtually all of them
MDC supporters, have died in violence that has swept the country since
before the June 2000 parliamentary elections, which were narrowly won by

But Bvudzijena yesterday could not say whether the police now had enough
manpower, which in the past they said they did not have, to protect farmers
and their workers after the surrender of the fire arms.

"There is no police force in the world that can manage to operate on its
own. Where there is a will by the public, we will be able to deal with the
situation," he said.

"Having a weapon does not guarantee one any security but we hope that they
(the owners of the firearms) will cooperate and bring them in." — Staff

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Blair set to visit Africa on anti-Zim campaign

Herald (Zim. government controlled paper) Reporter
BRITISH Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, is scheduled to visit several African
countries soon to drum-up support for his campaign for the expulsion of
Zimbabwe from the Common-wealth and the imposition of sanctions against the

Well-placed sources said Mr Blair was now desperately trying to mobilise
some key African countries ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Heads of State
and Government summit to be held in Australia.

It is understood that Mr Blair will first visit Nigeria and then South
Africa, two countries regarded as key to any successful campaign against

Reports from Lagos, Nigeria confirmed Mr Blair’s visit to Nigeria next month
for talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo on Zimbabwe.

A spokesperson for the British High Commis-sion in Zimbabwe, Ms Sophie
Honie, also confirmed Mr Blair’s plans to visit some African countries but
would not mention any names.

"The Prime Minister has said he would like to visit Africa but his office
has not confirmed any travel plans,’’ she said last night.

However, diplomatic sources said the campaign could only succeed in dividing
the Commonwealth between blacks and whites as the African Union has pledged
to stand by Zimbabwe, while several members of the European Union have
openly called for the suspension of the country from the grouping of mostly
former British colonies.

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki last week categorically stated that his
country would not desert Zimbabwe on its hour of need.

Nigeria’s President Obasanjo told the Zimbabwean Government, during his
one-day meeting with President Mugabe on Sunday night in Harare, that he
would not sit at a conference where an African country will be booted out
for reasons, which were not serious.

The Sadc region has also thrown its weight behind Zimbabwe and admonished Br
itain for hosting pirate radio stations that were transmitting propaganda
aimed at heightening tension and creating ethnic hatred in the country.

It is understood that some leading members of the Commonwealth, including
Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, have said there were no reasons for placing
Zimbabwe on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s agenda.

CMAG recommends the banning of member countries from the Commonwealth.

"What Blair will find a problem when he visits Africa is that Africa now
understands Zimbabwe and that Britain is using its colonial position to try
and beat Zimbabwe into submission.

"As far as Nigeria is concerned the attempts to 'CMAG' Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth are designed to derail the Abuja agreement, which clearly state
that the core problem in Zimbabwe is land.

"All these other things, which are now being brought in by the European
Union and the United States such as election monitors and Press freedoms do
not recognise this," said an African diplomat who declined to be named.

He said Nigeria wanted the Abuja agreement to succeed. "But it can only
succeed if everyone keeps their promises."

President Obasanjo told journalists in Harare that the Abuja accord should
not be allowed to collapse.

"We must never allow Abuja to become a dead letter. So the reason why I have
come is to ensure that Abuja remains on course," he said.

Some political commentators said Mr Blair was now acting like the United
States’ secretary of state, judging by the increasing number of errands he
was undertaking on behalf of the American government since the tragic events
of the September 11 attack in New York.

His foreign visits have triggered an uproar in Britain as the prime minister
was spending most of his time outside the United Kingdom than at home.

This comes at a time when the British economy has been taking a major knock
with a collapsing transport and health delivery service.

"He has allowed the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Zimbabwe to
confuse and derail him," said one commentator.

British journalists, however, called on Mr Blair to visit Zimbabwe and study
the situation on the ground rather than rely on distorted information from
the media.
Also from the Herald ........
IDs now mandatory

Herald Reporter
ALL Zimbabweans above the age of 16 are now required to carry their identity
documents when in public places following the gazetting of the Public Order
and Security Act yesterday.

The Bill was passed by Parliament early this month and has now been assented
to by President Mugabe.

It replaces the colonial Law and Order (Maintenance) Act and gives the
police power to effectively deal with the current wave of political
violence, which has seen political hooligans and thugs using petrol bombs to
attack opponents.

Under the new law, which was passed after Parliament sat for a record time
after independence of 15 hours, a police officer may at any time require a
person in a public place to produce an identity document.

An identity document is defined as a document issued to a person under the
National Registration Act, a passport, or a driver’s licence issued by or on
behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.

Any visitor’s entry certificate or other certificate or permit issued to a
person in terms of the Immigration Act or in terms of any law relating to
refugees, or any passport, ID or driver’s licence issued by a foreign
government is also defined as an identity document.

Failure to produce an identity document on request by a police officer who
will be acting in good faith in the course of investigating an offence,
within a police cordon, at a roadblock, at a public gathering or a public
meeting of a political nature or in the vicinity of any area protected in
terms of the Defence Act, the Protected Places and Areas Act and the Parks
and Wildlife Act, shall be guilty of an offence.

He/she will be liable to a fine not exceeding $5 000 or to imprisonment for
a period not exceeding six months or both.

However, any person found without an identity document on his person in
circumstances other than those specified above shall be afforded an
opportunity, within seven days, to produce the ID at a specified police

A police officer of or above the rank of inspector may establish a cordon
round any area if he considers it reasonably necessary to contain any public
disorder or public violence within the area or to protect the area from any
public disorder or public violence.

A police officer may stop and, without a warrant, search any person, vehicle
or vessel entering or leaving Zimbabwe and any person in or upon such
vehicle or vessel, and seize anything which he has reasonable grounds would
afford evidence as to the commission of an offence under any law.

The law sets stiffer penalties for people who cause disaffection among
members of the police or defence forces.

The possession of dangerous weapons, publishing or communicating false
statements prejudicial to the State or undermining the authority or
insulting to the President also attracts heavy penalties.

Public violence will attract a fine not exceeding $100 000 or imprisonment
for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.

Organisers of public gatherings shall give at least four days written notice
to the regulating authority for the area in which the gathering is to be

Failure to do so will attract a fine not exceeding $10 000 or imprisonment
for a period not exceeding six months, or both.

Any person who organises or sets up or suggests the setting up of a group or
body with the view of overthrowing the Government by unconstitutional means,
or supports such a group, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to
imprisonment for not more than 20 years without the option of a fine.

Acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism will attract a death
sentence or life imprisonment.

A person shall report the presence of insurgents, saboteurs or terrorists to
the authorities within 72 hours of becoming aware of them, failure of which
he/she shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding $50
000 or to imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

Any person who forcibly disturbs the peace, security or order of the public
or any section of the public, or invades the rights of other people shall be
guilty of public violence and liable to a fine not exceeding $100 000 or
imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both.

The sentence will be stiffer if during the public violence, there is an
attack on the police or other persons in lawful authority, there is bodily
injury or damage to property.

A person who throws, propels or prepares to throw any missile, article or
thing likely to cause damage or injury to another person, motor vehicle,
boat, aircraft or building, overturns or attempts to overturn any motor
vehicle, boat or aircraft, leaves or places on or over any road anything to
obstruct such road or endanger persons using it shall be guilty of an

He/she will be liable to a fine not exceeding $100 000 or imprisonment for
not more 10 years, or to both.

MDC MPs strongly opposed the introduction of the Act during debate in
Parliament early this month, but the Government said the legislation was
necessary to give the police more powers to deal with acts of terrorism and
public violence.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Cde John Nkomo, who steered the law through
Parliament, said there was nothing sinister about the Act as most countries
in the world had enacted similar legislation after the September 11 2001
terrorist attacks in the United States.

"The need to guarantee the security of our people cannot be overemphasised …
and as Minister of Home Affairs it is my responsibility to ensure that
people can go about their business without being terrorised and that those
who are talking of elections in March can go ahead to campaign peacefully.

"We need legislation that will enable the police to move swiftly so that
people can campaign freely."

The Public Order and Security Act, he said, was better than the Public Order
Act of Britain, which also required that any public procession should be
cleared by the authorities.
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International Herald Tribune

Mbeki and Mugabe
    Thursday, January 24, 2002
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has an obligation to acknowledge that
his quiet diplomacy has not worked and to mobilize the Southern African
Development Community to lean heavily on President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe, who has violated pledges of good governance, the rule of law,
human rights and democracy made directly to SADC. South Africa, with an
economy 20 times that of Zimbabwe, cannot support the mass flow of refugees
and economic devastation that further instability in Zimbabwe will likely
cause. The other countries of the region, which would feel the repercussions
even more severely, need South Africa to use its leadership within SADC.
South Africa faces the challenge of developing a regional consensus on
setting out specific conditions for recognition of a legitimate election,
establishing the penalties for not achieving those conditions, and taking
initial steps that demonstrate credible intent. Only then will President
Mugabe take SADC seriously and perhaps reverse his disastrous course.
- From an Africa briefing by the International Crisis Group

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Daily News

Lies won’t rescue Zanu PF

1/24/02 9:27:11 AM (GMT +2)

The individual voter has a legitimate right to be left alone to decide his
or her party. It is beastly to threaten him in any way whatsoever for a
political or whatever reason. Nkomo dealt, of course, with policy matters
and not with the physical operations of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

But he should surely be deeply worried that political violence is increasing
in spite of the police. In Bulawayo on Sunday, for example, the police
turned their batons on those who had called them – the MDC – for protection
instead of Zanu PF functionaries who had been sent obviously to disrupt a
scheduled MDC rally at White City Stadium.

Rioting erupted and many people, including some members of the police force,
were injured. It was quite unpardonable that the situation was allowed by
the partisan police to get to that violent stage.

One wonders whether Zanu PF leaders are aware that some civil wars started
because of unjust treatment of some underprivileged citizens by sections of
state agents, and that it is much easier to start a war than to stop it.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has a bounden duty to ensure that the police
force serves everybody in Zimbabwe fairly and efficiently irrespective of
their political affiliation, tribe, race or gender.

If this is not done, the country will get to a dangerous stage when each
political party, each tribe, each race or, at best, each residential
community or locality will have its own vigilante groups. Is that what the
authorities want?

The minister should avert that tragic situation from occurring by acting
decisively. If he is fed lies by his officials about what is actually taking
place, then this nation is in a very tragic situation.

Lies, however, cannot save Zanu PF from more electoral defeats. Lies can
mislead some people some of the time, but never all the people all the time.

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Daily News

Fraudulent election result faces rejection

1/24/02 9:15:46 AM (GMT +2)

By Conrad Nyamutata

Gareth Evans, president of the Belgium-based International Crisis Group,
says President Mugabe has carried out unfair practices before the March
presidential election, making it difficult for the international community
to accept his victory.

Evans said Mugabe was on track to win the election by the “foulest” means.
He said two years ago, Mugabe began a campaign of violent intimidation,
cynical and corrupt exploitation of the land reform issue, and unscrupulous
and excessive abuse of power.

“International attention has at last been engaged but action, despite
repeated calls by organisations like mine for targeted sanctions, has so far
been lamentably weak,” said Evans.

“Time is running out, with just six weeks left before the poll.” He said the
rigid controls the government sought to impose on the independent media
indicated that the ruling party was already rigging electoral rolls and
preparing to stuff ballot boxes.

Restrictive electoral laws had also been imposed. Evans said under the
circumstances, it was difficult to accept a win by Mugabe. “If Mugabe does
win the presidential election, the first question for the international
community must be whether the result should be recognised,” he said.

“By accepting the result of a corrupt election process, the international
community would be, in effect, condoning illegal land grabs, the demolition
of democratic principles and the independence of the judiciary, the
co-opting of the police and army for political ends and economic vandalism.

“This won’t help the effort elsewhere in Africa to achieve greater
democratisation and economic progress.” He said the occupation of farms by
Zanu PF supporters and subsequent displacement of farm workers was central
to the ruling party’s election strategy.

Driven from their homes, many thousands of presumed opposition supporters
will be disqualified from voting. Evans noted that five supporters of the
MDC had been killed recently and MDC MP David Mpala was abducted and

He said seven people had died in politically-related killings in December
and if nothing changed the incidence of murder, torture, unlawful detention
and arrest seemed certain to rise as the poll approached.

“The police protect the abusers, rarely investigating attacks on opposition
supporters and doing nothing to stop violent farm invasions, sometimes
actively supporting the invaders,” he said.

Evans expressed his displeasure at the stance taken by the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) leaders.

“The Sadc has urged Mugabe to uphold regionally agreed principles on
elections. But no one has taken any action that will have a direct impact on
the leadership,” he said. “Mugabe has continued to walk away from meetings
promising to uphold the rule of law and allow free and fair elections, but
delivering on none of his pledges.

“To provide the best chance for a relatively fair election, meaningful
personal sanctions should be applied right now to Mugabe and those closest
to him, to be lifted only if the voting process proves acceptable.”

He said even if Zimbabwe admitted election monitors and foreign journalists,
and instructed the police to arrest those who commit acts of violence, there
was every chance that standards would slip as the polling days approached.

The imposition of travel bans by the European Union, the United States and
the Commonwealth countries on the Zanu PF leadership at this late stage
would be largely symbolic but useful, he said. A provisional freeze on
access to foreign-held bank accounts and assets would hurt more, said Evans.

“Action of almost any kind by Zimbabwe’s southern African neighbours would
hurt most of all,” he said. “These are the countries that have the most to
lose from Zimbabwe’s slide, and the only ones with a chance of exerting
personal influence on its President.

“Mugabe and his cronies are reported to have sizable financial interests in
South Africa and any restrictions on access to that property and funds would
certainly sting. Even if Mugabe is beyond influence, targeted sanctions
would certainly affect the calculations of other ruling party officials now
weighing their personal interests against those of the country.”

Unfortunately, he said, Sadc members, on all the evidence to date, were the
least likely to take action against Mugabe.

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Daily News

Mugabe signs Public Order Bill

1/24/02 9:19:38 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

THE draconian Public Order and Security Bill has now been signed into law by
President Mugabe and it is now a criminal offence to “cause disaffection
among the police and defence forces”, publish or communicate false
statements, say or write “insulting and false” statements concerning the
office or person of the President.

John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, yesterday told Parliament the
Public Order and Security Act, more repressive than the colonial Law and
Order (Maintenance) Act it has replaced, “was somewhat long overdue” which
had “arrived at the correct time”.

He said the June to December 2001 period had seen an upsurge in politically
motivated violence with a total of 288 cases being reported ranging from
murder, kidnapping, arson, malicious injury to property, assault and theft.

“These were done by both political parties with the MDC topping the list
with 118 counts, while Zanu PF was involved in the commission of 77 cases. A
total 428 arrests were made of which 67 were whites,” said Nkomo.

A list he submitted on political violence showed 496 offenders had been
arrested of whom 429 were blacks and 67 whites.

The Act criminalises “acts in agitation for the removal or change of
government through violent means” and “insurgency, banditry, sabotage and
terrorism” and bans public gatherings, among other things.
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‘New ID law targets opposition’

1/24/02 1:47:23 AM (GMT +2)

NEW legislation compelling Zimbabweans to carry identity cards (IDs) at all
times will disenfranchise large numbers of opposition supporters who are
being forced to surrender their IDs at illegal roadblocks set up by militia
of the ruling ZANU PF party, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said yesterday.

"The militias have instructions to confiscate these identity cards from MDC
supporters and the registrar-general has instructions not to issue new
identity documents until after the presidential election," MDC spokesman
Learnmore Jongwe said.

He said even before the gazetting on Tuesday of the new Public Order and
Security Act, the MDC had "received hundreds of reports" from supporters
whose identity documents had been confiscated by ZANU PF supporters at
illegal roadblocks.

The MDC this week also reported that
2 500 of its members had been forced to flee political violence in Rusape
and Buhera in the past two months while three houses belonging to party
members in Marondera’s Dombotombo suburb were damaged by suspected ZANU PF
youths at the weekend.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union yesterday also reported an upsurge in the
number of farm workers being forced to attend ZANU PF’s "re-education
camps", but police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said calm had returned to
commercial farming areas.

— Staff Reporter

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Embassies make contingency plans

1/24/02 1:45:37 AM (GMT +2)

INTERNATIONAL embassies in Harare this week said they had contingency plans
in case of political upheaval in the run-up to Zimbabwe’s March presidential
election, but had no immediate plans to evacuate their nationals from the

"The Australian government will do all it can to provide assistance to
Australians in Zimbabwe should the situation deteriorate and the government
has got in place a range of contingency plans for what might occur,"
Australian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Jonathan Brown said.

"But we are not evacuating Australians. We had plans in place during the
legislative elections in June 2000, but we didn’t evacuate Australians," he
told the Financial Gazette.

The American embassy and the British High Commission said they had
contingency plans for their diplomatic missions worldwide, but had no
immediate plans to evacuate their nationals from Harare.

A British High Commission spokeswoman said weekend reports that her country
was planning to evacuate 25 000 British passport holders resident in
Zimbabwe were "wholly inaccurate".

Meanwhile German embassy counsellor Werner Koehler said the Germans were
still assessing the situation.

"We are trying to assess the situation and see what risks are there," he
said. "There are contingency plans worldwide, but we are trying to see what
needs to be done."

An estimated 1 500 Germans, 1 250 Americans and 900 Australians are resident
in Zimbabwe, which has seen hundreds of locals and foreigners leaving the
country in the last few months in anticipation of escalating violence in the
run-up to the poll.

Opposition parliamentarians in Austria this week protested against a deal in
which an Austrian firm sold 66 vehicles to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

Reports from Austria said the opposition legislators were worried that the
vehicles were being used to transport youth militias and war veterans
spearheading President Robert Mugabe’s campaign for re-election on March 9
and 10.

The Green Party, an Austrian opposition party, has since demanded that the
Austrian government tightens a law that regulates Austrian trade in military

The law forbids Austrian firms from selling military equipment to countries
involved in war or to places where the likelihood of war breaking out is

But the reports from Austria said the Steyr vehicles, which were delivered
to the ZNA over a month ago, were not covered by this law because they were
not fitted with guns and other special devices. They were largely considered
to be mere transport vehicles.

This was why Steyr Special Vehicles (Pvt) Limited, the firm that sold the
vehicles, did not need special permission from Austria’s Foreign and
Internal Affairs Ministry before entering the deal with the Zimbabwe

But the Green Party this week said the Austrian government should widen the
law to include the vehicles sold to Zimbabwe.

— Staff Reporter

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Troubled CSC closes head office

Staff Reporter
1/24/02 1:46:19 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO — The Cold Storage Company (CSC) headquarters in Bulawa-yo has been
forced to close indefinitely following the seizure of its movable assets
estimated at $1 billion because of debts owed to two financial houses, it
was established yesterday.

The meat processor’s assets were seized over a $232 million debt owed to
Genesis Bank, formerly the Trade and Investment Bank. Kingdom Financial
Holdings also recently secured a High Court order to attach CSC’s property
over a debt of about $1 billion.

Workers at the CSC’s Bulawayo branch which houses the company’s world-class
abattoir were sent on forced leave last week after the messenger of court
swooped on the country’s biggest meat processor, seizing its office
furniture, computers, chairs, fans, tables, filing cabinets, processing
machinery and equipment.

The closure of the abattoir will hit the firm’s projected exports to the
regional market, especially to South Africa, which re-opened its market only
recently after months of suspension following the discovery of
foot-and-mouth disease in Matabeleland.

It also emerged yesterday that the firm had failed to pay its workers this
month’s salaries on time. The workers’ pay was due on Monday this week but
had not been paid by yesterday. Management has pledged to pay the workers

Management was yesterday not available for comment but a source at the
messenger of court here confirmed that the CSC was in deep financial

A member of the workers’ committee added: "Even the acting chief executive’s
computer and chair were taken away. What the closure means is that we are
not able to supply our exports to the regional market, including South
Africa. Meat for the regional market is processed and dispatched from

"In fact, everything is at a standstill because the general administration
of the company is run from here."
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Farmers left with only 16 days to go

By MacDonald Dzirutwe Staff Reporter
1/24/02 1:42:45 AM (GMT +2)

NINETY commercial farmers are facing eviction from their properties next
month as Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party intensifies a campaign to drive out
white farmers and whip up support ahead of March’s landmark presidential

The farmers face eviction on February 9 after being served almost three
months ago with 90-day notices to quit their properties under Section 8 of
the government’s Land Acquisition Act, which has already been wielded up
against 1 200 commercial farmers in the past two months.

Farmers this week said of the 90 property owners, 20 were in Mashonaland
East, 40 in Mashonaland West and 30 in Mashonaland Central.

The evictions come at a time when ruling party supporters have stepped up
efforts to establish campaign bases and re-education camps on commercial
farms in anticipation of a possible onslaught against the opposition.

Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete this week admitted
that there was a systematic and calculated drive to push owners off their
land, and expressed deep concern about the security of white farmers.

"There seems to be a systematic drive to force farmers off their land," he
told the Financial Gazette. "There is a marked decline in the security of
commercial farmers."

Cloete said more than 40 farmers had been expelled from their properties in
the past one-and-a-half weeks, seven of them last week alone.

Cases of harassment, intimidation and work stoppages in most parts of the
country except Matabeleland were also on the rise, he said.

Most incidents of harassment of farmers were in Mashonaland Central areas of
Mvurwi, Arcturus and Mutorashanga and the Mashonaland West areas of
Raffingora, Kadoma and Chegutu, as well as in Macheke in Manicaland.

Cloete said in some instances, white farmers were able to return and work on
their properties, but most had sought refuge in towns and cities.

As Zimbabwe heads towards a presidential election in which President Robert
Mugabe squares off against Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), ruling party militia are
also said to be forcibly recruiting youths from farms for the "national
service" introduced last year.

Patrick Ashton, the owner of Landfall Farm in Mutorashanga, this week said
ZANU PF supporters were on the rampage there, harassing villagers and
forcibly recruiting youths for national service.

"On Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January 2002, the youth were collected from
farms in my farming area on the orders of the local ZANU PF leadership,
supposedly for training in national service," he told the Financial Gazette.

"They encamped at a local primary school and over the weekend set up illegal
roadblocks, harassing motorists and pedestrians along the Mutorashanga/Van
Ad Road."

Analysts said ZANU PF militia were targeting white farmers because of their
open support for the labour-backed MDC during the 2000 parliamentary

Farming sources said there was a general consensus within government circles
that white farmers could influence their workers to vote for the MDC.

Long suspected of supporting and funding the MDC, white farmers have been at
the receiving end of intimidation from government-backed thugs who have
terrorised them since February 2000.

Suspected war veterans have killed nine white farmers since then, and in the
past year 250 of the CFU’s 3 500 members have also been forced off their
farms and in some cases out of the country.

Of the remaining members, at least 1 200 have been seriously affected by
work stoppages.

"It seems that the idea to evict white farmers is well calculated to make
sure war veterans will have a free reign on the farms and intimidate
opposition supporters before the presidential elections," a senior CFU
official said.

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Youths confess training is military

Staff Reporter
1/24/02 1:50:04 AM (GMT +2)

CONTRARY to claims by ZANU PF that its national service youths are not
receiving military training, the Financial Gazette this week spoke to some
of the graduates of the training programme who all confirmed that military
tactics and political indoctrination were the key components of the course
run by the Border Gezi Centre in Mount Darwin.

The youths said they had been promised jobs in the army and the police force
in exchange for spearheading President Robert Mugabe’s violent campaign to
win re-election on March 9 and 10.

But the five youths interviewed on condition of anonymity for their own
security said most of them were not happy with the promises of job offers
after the presidential poll.

They said they would have been happier if they had been given the jobs now.

Youth Development and Employment Minister Elliot Manyika last week said the
national service youths were not receiving military training because
Zimbabwe was not at war and there was absolutely no need for such training.

He said the army was well placed to defend Zimbabwe.

The government has said the youths are being trained in courses such as
carpentry, agriculture, craftsmanship, bricklaying and other technical

But the youths told the Financial Gazette that it was not possible to have
effective training in these disciplines within the short periods the courses
were being run. The courses last between one and three weeks.

During the training, the youths said they were divided into groups of about
50 to create psychological bonds that would enable them to act as a group
once deployed in the field.

A substantial amount of time was spent on fitness exercises, followed by
gun-handling and shooting lessons. Those who demonstrated political
awareness in favour of the ruling ZANU PF were made the group leaders, who
regularly interacted with uniformed officers to develop their leadership

The youths said they were also given political lessons on patriotism and
Zimbabwean history, with emphasis being placed on how ZANU PF helped
liberate Zimbabwe.

The youths denied that Russian mercenaries, who once helped Zimbabwe in its
war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been re-hired to conduct
the training.

"To be honest, I have not seen any white man at the centre — not even Health
Minister Timothy Stamps," one youth said.

"All the military aspects of the training have been conducted by officials
from the army and the police."

The youths also emphasised that the military training was not offered to
everyone. Those suspected of being followers of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and those who failed to demonstrate sufficient support for
the ruling party were withdrawn from the centre.

"Although the idea of national youth service is a noble one, everything that
is being done now is for the election. Maybe proper national youth service
will start after the election," another youth said.

The youths said their occasional deployment to do cleaning services in urban
areas was an attempt to hoodwink the public about their real mission.
"Nobody needs training to be a sweeper," one of the youths said.

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Daily News

Sadc mistaken to turn blind eye on Zimbabwe

1/24/02 8:51:36 AM (GMT +2)

By Topper Whitehead

THE people of Zimbabwe are in a desperate situation. The leaders of the
defence forces have decided to be partisan against the wishes of the masses
and are instilling fear into the minds of the people.

The most oppressive laws since the apartheid regime are being rushed through
Parliament and the free Press is being silenced. The National Youth Service
draftees, whom Parliament forbids us to call terrorists, are terrorising
urban and rural areas.

Without so much as a knock on the door they break in, steal anything of
value and beat up inhabitants – a totally unacceptable service in any
civilised country. In rural areas they have been busy rounding up families
for indoctrination and worse.

When local people hear them coming they barricade themselves in their homes
to escape the pain and humiliation of being made to jump from high trees and
chant pro-Zanu PF songs and slogans.

The civilised world calls this an invasion of property and privacy.
Commercial farm workers have been dispossessed and now squat in peri-urban

The Crisis Centre recently found families who had not eaten for days and
were literally starving. They have also found farm workers being kept
prisoner by war veterans, on commercial farms obliged to jump to attention,
act unquestioningly on orders and farm the land for a small bowl of sadza
(boiled maize-meal) instead of wages. The civilised world calls this a
concentration camp.

When Zimbabweans are suspected of being involved in criminal activities in
South Africa, The Herald brands them MDC supporters. If Zimpapers’ reporters
know so much about these criminals, perhaps they might like to pass their
names and addresses to the South African authorities so that the allegations
can be investigated?

After all, if you know someone’s political orientation you certainly know
their job, their name and where they live. The civilised world calls this
obstruction of justice. I am aghast at what South Africa and the other
Southern African Development Community nations will permit to happen in
Zimbabwe under the guise of the argument that “they are a sovereign state so
leave them alone”.

It is barbaric to do nothing while your neighbour rapes his own children for
self satisfaction, especially when because of the situation next door your
children start to suffer.

If this country were a family, the scenario would be one man inheriting a
household with abundant resources and some children. To help the new
household and children, the leader receives many contributions and the
household thrives.

Some of the children suggest that the household be run democratically but
they are killed and their followers terrorised into submission. Instead of
sharing the contributions, the father starts to distribute them among his
chosen children and, before long, there is a situation within the household
where the leader and his chosen few are tremendously rich while the bulk of
the children in the house are suffering.

To satisfy the father’s personal desires, he starts systematically to rape
his young children which gives him great personal pleasure so he allows his
favourites to rape the young children too.

Some of the younger children who try to stop this rape are involved in
unexplained accidents. Of course, unfettered rape results in more children,
but the father doesn’t spend anything on providing them with beds, chairs or
even food. All the money is for him and his select circle.

While the father and the senior children indulge in rape and enrichment,
money is embezzled from the household coffers and all the children starve.

There is no money to go to the clinic, so they die. And no money for
education, so they know not what to do and they cannot find jobs. Because
nothing is being done to maintain it, the house crumbles, except for the
rooms that the chosen few inhabit. There is no food, no water, no clothes.

But there is electricity and transport, useless to the starving, but
necessary for the fat cats because the even richer neighbour admires our
father and thinks that corruption, rape, abuse, torture and killings are
just the way to run a country. Indeed, when family members went next door
for that family’s 90th anniversary, our family received a standing ovation.

All seven of the people in the neighbourhood are members of the mutual
admiration society. After all, they inherited their homes from injustice and
this creates a bond which must not, at any price, be broken.

“We may be pariahs, mad dogs, to the rest of the world, but here we are
perfection itself” seems to be the catch phrase. Unfortunately, the rest of
the world does not agree.
The rest of the world is civilised, you see.

And when the time comes to choose a place to invest, cheap labour and
sunshine are not attractive when allied to no property rights, an underfed
and ill-educated work force suffering from numerous diseases, many of which
only require minimal medical facilities to cure and proximity to a father
who, if he were not so rich that he could buy his freedom, would be locked
up as a hardened criminal and child abuser.

The moral of this story is that it is both wrong and damaging to your
self-interests to turn a blind eye to any form of human rights abuse under
any circumstances. If your neighbour is raping his children he should be
stopped, even if he was your senior at school.

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Daily News

ZCTU urges workers to resist harsh laws

1/24/02 9:21:55 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

WORKERS have a battle on their hands because of the government’s attempts to
pass the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU), told the general council of the labour umbrella body in Harare
yesterday: “At this stage we are alerting all workers that we have a battle
on our hands. All workers should be ready for a fight. We are consulting our
lawyers over the constitutionality of this Bill.”

Matombo said the Bill was “closer to the Masters and Servants Act of the
1930s under Sir Godfrey Huggins. If it is passed we will have gone back to

The Bill would effectively outlaw stayaways and strikes. Matombo called on
all Members of Parliament, regardless of political affiliation, to throw out
the Bill in the interests of the workers.

The ZCTU, he said, also condemned the passing of the Public Order and
Security Bill.
He said: “It disenfranchises the workers. If they want to hold a meeting
they are required to apply to the police. Knowing the police as we do
nowadays, they will turn down the request.

“If read with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, they both criminalise
stayaways and strikes and most trade union leaders are likely to go to jail
for 20 years without the option of a fine.

“With strikes and stayaways prohibited, we will have a docile labour force.”
The general council, the ZCTU’s supreme policy-making body, condemned what
it called Zanu PF-sponsored political violence ahead of the 9-10 March
presidential election.

Matombo said yesterday: “Some schools in the districts have been closed by
Zanu PF supporters and workers have been beaten. When they report to the
police, they are told to go and resolve their problems with the
perpetrators, which does not make sense.

“Beatings are also taking place in the towns. For example, we received
reports of people being beaten up by uniformed police in Budiriro at the
weekend. Yet people expect the police to protect them. We term this
State-sponsored violence.”

Matombo called on workers not to fight each other. He said: “If anyone wants
to fight, let them do it through the ballot boxes on 9 and 10 March.”

Matombo said the ZCTU condemned the Public Order and Security Bill, which
Parliament passed last week, and the draconian Labour Relations Amendment
Bill and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill.

He said the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill would
curtail information from the independent media to the workers. He noted that
about 80 percent of the independent media’s market were the workers.

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Govt lays ground for tougher blitz on MDC

By Abel Mutsakani Assistant News Editor
1/24/02 1:48:51 AM (GMT +2)

EVEN if the day’s weather was bad, Zimbabwe’s besieged government is likely
to blame it on its chief rival, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

With six weeks before the critical presidential election in March, the
government has intensified a propaganda blitz against the MDC, accusing the
opposition party of recruiting youths for military training, of sending
anthrax-laced mail to senior government officials and of masterminding
robberies in neighbouring countries.

But analysts this week said that beyond merely politicking ahead of a tricky
election, the government was criminalising the MDC.

It could thus be psyching the nation for a tougher crackdown that could see
the jailing and sentencing to death of opposition activists under a new and
tough security law now awaiting President Robert Mugabe’s signature.

"It is much more ominous in that it (the anti-MDC propaganda) is happening
while Mugabe’s pen is dangling over the Public Order and Security Bill
(POSB)," University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst Elphas Mukonoweshuro

"Obviously the government is preparing a criminal profile of the MDC to
justify the use in future of the POSB against the opposition party," he

The draconian POSB, bulldozed by the ruling ZANU PF party through Parliament
two weeks ago and expected to be signed by Mugabe any time, prescribes life
imprisonment or death for a variety of loosely defined security offences.

For example, one could be imprisoned for life or hanged for receiving or
imparting military training to Zimbabweans, or for acts of terrorism and
economic sabotage — in short just the sort of crimes the state-run Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and its allied newspapers have accused the
MDC of committing.

The ZBC is the country’s only radio and television station. The government
also controls the country’s largest newspaper publishing stable, Zimbabwe
Newspapers, although a small but vibrant independent media also exists.

Jailing or hanging MDC activists could knock out the labour-backed
opposition party, which has weathered political violence that has killed
more than 100 of its activists since February 2000 to become the deadliest
threat yet to Mugabe and his ZANU PF’s 21-year stranglehold on power.

Earlier attempts by the government to jail Tsvangirai using the colonial Law
and Order Maintenance Act, now being replaced by the POSB, flopped in
December when the Supreme Court ruled he had not committed treason when he
told a political rally Mugabe should resign peacefully or be violently
removed from office.

The MDC lost the June 2000 parliamentary poll by a narrow four seats to ZANU

Political analysts and observers say Tsvangirai could ride on swelling
public discontent over worsening hardships and poverty blamed on Mugabe’s
economic mismanagement to easily defeat the 77-year-old president, who has
ruled the southern African nation since it became independent from British
colonial rule in 1980.

Stepping up the propaganda campaign, the government’s flagship daily Herald
opened this week with a front-page story in its Monday edition alleging that
the MDC had planned to sabotage the Morton Jaffray water treatment plant
just outside Harare.

The water plant serves the metropolitan capital, its two satellites of
Chitungwiza city and Norton town and Ruwa and Epworth settlements.

Only the quick intervention of the police saved the day, according to the
Herald, although the paper says none of the 22 Harare municipal workers it
claims wanted to sabotage the plant on behalf of the MDC were arrested.

Four days earlier, the same newspaper claimed it had unearthed a network of
"killer houses" in Harare’s residential suburbs which it said were run by
the MDC.

It alleged that runaway criminals and murderers were being kept at these
houses to commit political violence and to stage demonstrations against the

Earlier in the month, the Herald and other state-owned media claimed without
providing any evidence that the MDC had masterminded South Africa’s biggest
robbery yet when R117 million was stolen from Johannesburg international

A gang of South African and Zimbabwean thieves stole the money but state
media claimed the Zimbabweans were MDC members out to raise money to fund
Tsvangirai’s presidential run following a ban on political parties from
receiving funds from foreign donors.

Again this month, state media claimed that the main opposition party had
sent letters laced with the deadly anthrax bacteria to government officials,
among them chief propagandist Jonathan Moyo.

Medical evidence later discounted the alleged existence of anthrax-laced

State media reports of the MDC masterminding political violence or sending
its youth to Uganda for military training have virtually become a weekly

Despite the crimes the MDC is said to have committed, no arrests or
prosecution of the opposition party’s activists in connection with the
alleged crimes have taken place.

Kenneth Makamure, communications officer of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’
Conference, said the government’s branding of the opposition as criminal
reflected its desperation to win the hearts of the electorate ahead of an
election it is seen losing.

"This is an attempt to divert attention from the economic and political
crisis but unfortunately for the government the violence its militant
supporters are committing on innocent citizens speaks much louder than all
the propaganda," he said.

stant justice, including being assaulted, tortured and even being killed.

The youths, most of them trained in military tactics using public funds on
the so-called national youth service, ironically stepped up their terror
campaign immediately after Mugabe assured both the European Union and the
Southern Africa Development Community three weeks ago that the March ballot
would be fair and that he was going to act to end violence.

The former chairman of Zimbabwe’s elections watchdog, the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC), Peter Hatendi who left the elections body
because Mugabe would not give it more powers and make it independent,
described the government’s latest media blitz against the opposition as a
crude attempt to hoodwink voters.

"It represents a total lack of respect for the sovereignty of the voter. It
is an attempt to reduce voters to pawns by feeding them incorrect
information," the retired Anglican Church bishop said.

Hatendi said he had during his tenure at the ESC tried unsuccessfully to
initiate a code of conduct to govern how journalists working for both the
independent and state media would cover elections in order to avoid such
misinformation and propaganda.

Mukonoweshuro said the propaganda blitz, which besides demonising the MDC
has also attempted to portray ZANU PF’s support as rising on the back of
chaotic land reforms, could be used to justify a rigged election result.

But the respected analyst insisted the government wanted to be able to crush
the MDC using the POSB and then tell Zimbabweans and the world that "we knew
the MDC was a movement of criminals, only that we did not have appropriate
legislation to act against them".
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