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

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Intimidated, beaten, killed: the cost of defying Mugabe

Chris McGreal in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe
Saturday January 26, 2002
The Guardian

Themba G lives in a "killer house". The 28-year-old father of three small
children fled his home in Magunje shortly before Christmas when a fellow
opposition activist, Milton Chambati, was dragged out of a bar in the small
town and had his throat slit and his head hacked off.
Themba G was beaten with axes and iron bars and left for dead days earlier.
He feared that Robert Mugabe's thugs might be back to finish the job so he
made for the sprawling township of Chitungwiza, eight miles south of Harare.
Nowhere is the government more loathed. There he was taken to a "safe

The building is one of hundreds across the country used by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and human rights groups to shelter
targets of the ruling Zanu-PF's brutal campaign to cling to power in the
presidential elections on March 9 and 10. Some provide a haven for women who
have been raped by so-called war veterans, others take in families burned
from their homes.

But in the Alice in Wonderland world of Zimbabwe's politics, the government
and state media describe safe houses as "killer houses", and allege that
they are funded by the British government to hide murderers and hit squads
recruited to disrupt the election.

"In Magunje, they are still harassing my family to find out where I am,"
said the quietly spoken Themba G. "The only contact I have with them is
through the phone. I cannot go back there, they would kill me.

"I am the one who was almost killed by those men who cut a man's throat in
the street with everyone watching, this government says I am the one who is
beating and murdering. The newspapers and the television say it, too."

Violence and propaganda have intertwined to turn abducted MDC activists into
kidnappers on the front of the morning papers. Opposition supporters beaten
nearly to a pulp by the president's men are charged with assault and accused
with disrupting the election in the state press. The dead are rarely
mentioned at all if they happen to have been murdered by members of the
ruling Zanu-PF.

One recent front page in the Harare Herald - after anthrax was allegedly
sent to Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo - is typical of the
daily fare: MDC terror mounts/Party linked to anthrax mail/Ex-Rhodesians

The next day, the government admitted there had been no anthrax.

The violence and vast misinformation campaign are but two of an array of
strategies employed by Mr Mugabe and his party in an attempt to keep an ever
more popular opposition at bay. According to a Gallup poll in November,
fewer than one in four Zimbabweans want Mr Mugabe to remain as president.

In response, Zanu-PF is pushing through draconian laws which all but ban
political gatherings, free speech and the right to strike. Parliament has
stripped hundreds of thousands of people of their vote, and is making it
difficult for many more to cast their ballots against Mr Mugabe.

There is growing evidence of padded electoral rolls and attempts to permit
the president's supporters to vote more than once. Teachers and other public
employees have been purged from their jobs for supporting the opposition,
and entire villages threatened with vengeance if they do not back Mr Mugabe
at the ballot box.

And then there is the land. The occupation by war veterans of white-owned
farms allows the government to buy support with land, and to ensure that
more than a million farmworkers and their families fell under Zanu-PF's
control or were deprived of the right to vote.

If all else fails, Zimbabwe's military chiefs have threatened a coup to keep
Zanu-PF in power. The police have already made their loyalties clear as they
stand idly by while Mr Mugabe's opponents are beaten and murdered.

It might be thought that in such circumstances, the MDC faced little chance
of victory. But the opposition says Mr Mugabe is so unpopular that he cannot
intimidate the voters or rig the election on a sufficient scale to overcome
the will of the people. Nonetheless, he is trying very hard and there are
still six weeks until the polls.

Three opposition supporters have been murdered this week and the body of a
fourth who disappeared last month was found buried on a farm belonging to
the state security minister, Nicholas Goche, according to Harare's
independent Daily News. Altogether, 13 MDC supporters have been killed over
the past six weeks.

The ruling party's newly revived and trained youth militia is responsible
for much of the violence and several of the killings. It has thrown up
roadblocks around the country at which people are routinely dragged off
buses and out of cars to demands for their Zanu-PF membership cards. Those
who do not have them are at best forced to dance and sing Zanu-PF songs. The
unlucky ones are tied to trees and beaten, or disappear altogether.

Frequently Mr Mugabe's supporters confiscate the identity cards of those
they suspect of backing the opposition, instantly depriving them of the
means to vote.

The escalating violence and intimidation clearly worries some in the ruling
party. Last week its national political commissar, Elliot Manyika, told
hundreds of Zanu-PF youths that it was harming their election campaign.

"You do not win the people's support by beating them up or demanding
membership cards. We do not want to tarnish the image of the party," he

But the violence goes on.

Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe election support network,
an independent organisation that used to work closely with the government's
electoral commission but is now excluded, says the pattern of violence is
similar to that which preceded the parliamentary elections in June 2000. But
he does not believe it will discourage voters.

"The violence in 2000 was unprecedented in an election in Zimbabwe, yet we
had the highest turnout in our history and the opposition came from nowhere
to being very close to winning," he said.

In the meantime swathes of the country are no-go areas for MDC campaigners.

"Our means of campaigning in those areas has become very limited," said
Tendai Biti, an MDC leader. "We tell our supporters in the cities: 'You must
write letters to your rural homes, you must telephone and tell them, if you
feel brave you can go there and talk to people'. But we cannot campaign
under our banners. If we have rallies, people will come and when they leave
they are attacked and raped. You have to say it is better to have that
person voting than dead or in hospital."

Even where there is not overt violence, there is plenty of intimidation.

"In certain rural areas, intimidation comes through the chiefs and headmen,"
said Mr Matchaba-Hove. "People are fairly clear that the vote is secret, but
there is the question of collective punishment. The government's supporters
say: "If your village votes against us we will know and we will sort you
out, and war can come to your village," he said.

One of the government's tactics is to double register those settled on the
seized farms - once at their old home and again on the new land.

While Mr Mugabe is keen to get out the rural vote, his party wants to keep
the overwhelmingly hostile urban population away from the ballot box.

Both Zanu-PF and the opposition believe that the large numbers of first-time
voters - young men and women born after independence 22 years ago - will
have an important impact on the outcome of the election, and that the bulk
of their support will go to the opposition. New electoral laws make it
difficult for young people to register to vote. Those in urban areas need to
produce proof of residence, such as an electricity bill or bank account. Few
have such things, as they either live with their parents or rent a room

The state-owned Herald newspaper has even been encouraging young people to
emigrate to Britain by telling them that with the bar on deportations of
Zimbabweans from the UK until after the election, they can go and get jobs
in London, or Harare North as it is now known.

Legislation also bars Zimbabweans overseas from voting. It removed about
500,000 people - one in 10 potential voters - from the voters roll.

Yet Mr Mugabe still faces an uphill task. The combined opposition vote in
the parliamentary elections came out 77,000 ballots ahead of the government.
And the president's popularity has sunk even deeper since then amid 103%
inflation, soaring unemployment and food shortages.

"The challenge for us is to get out the vote in the millions," said Mr Biti.
"The higher the numbers the bigger the fraud he has to pull off. The
violence won't change how our supporters' vote. The only thing that matters
is that they do vote."

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Dear Family and Friends,
Standing in line at the supermarket this week I was intrigued by the woman in front of me who was buying 36 bottles of spring/mineral water. I smiled at her and asked if she was travelling far. No, she replied, it is for the government meeting in the hotel over the road. Her bill for Z$1860.00 was to ensure pure water for our leaders while their subjects have nothing to eat. A few months ago I wrote a letter called 'You may not grow food' explaining how war veterans were preventing farmers from planting any crops saying that the land was now theirs. The fruits of their labours are now clear for us all to see. There is almost no maize meal in Zimbabwe now. I phoned our local distributor and visited all the supermarkets and wholesalers in Marondera this week to be told there is no maize meal and they did not know when they would next get a delivery. This is a desperate situation which the government is attempting to resolve by seizing all maize stocks still being held by farmers. These stocks were being held back by farmers to feed their employees and their livestock. Thousands more lives have now been put at risk and the implications for the livestock producers and consumers in the coming months is diabolical - eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, beef, pork, lamb etc etc. To make matters worse it has not rained for over 3 weeks in most parts of the country so the few crops in the ground are in a dire condition. Last night even the state run ZBC carried reports on the condition of our crops. Trying to explain why there was so little maize growing and why crops planted by the newly resettled farmers was in such a bad way they said: "Tillage power was inadequate.... water conservation practices were not adhered to ... army worm is rife because the settlers cannot afford is a disturbing situation..." Speaking to agronomists the ZBC reported that crops in parts of Mashonaland East and Central and Manicaland would recover if rains came in the next week but would have greatly reduced yields. In the Midlands and Matabeleland though, the agronomists said that many crops had "passed the permanent wilting stage." ZBC call this a 'disturbing situation', I would say it is gross political negligence. Aid agencies have received the first deliveries of food aid but the World Food Programme are already warning they may have to leave if the violence is not controlled. The Financial Gazette reports that relief workers with Christian Care were this week subjected to violent attacks by a gang of ruling party youths after not being able to produce Zanu pf membership cards. It is now unsafe to travel without a ruling party membership card and in an area near here this week a funeral procession was stopped at an unofficial road block. All the mourners were made to disembark and militants ordered that the coffin be opened saying they were looking for hidden weapons. It seems that nothing is sacred in Zimbabwe anymore.
The Access to Information Bill has still not been heard in the house, having been postponed three days in a row when the parliamentary legal committee continued to say they were not ready to present it. This has again given us another week of newspapers - when you can get them. The Daily News is completely unobtainable in at least a dozen towns now and in some places it is dangerous to be seen with it. Copies are secretly guarded and produced from under skirts and inside trouser legs in many areas making us wonder why we even need an access to information bill. Our independent journalists all deserve world recognition for their work and incredible bravery because when you do find a paper the news is absolutely damning. So too is the nightly 3 hour broadcast from radio Africa on short wave 6145 which has become almost our last life line. Hardly a night goes by now when I don't sit with tears in my eyes listening to the horrors being related by people all over Zimbabwe.
There are only 41 days now until our elections and with no sign of a single election observer yet I wonder if it won't be peace keepers we will end up asking for. I am going to close with a quote from a friend's piece in this week's Financial Gazette in the hope that it may prick a few consciences: " You have children too and if you love your children the way I love mine you would be in the forefront of fighting for a just and democratic society." I apologise for so few letters answered this week and thank you all for your messages of support. Please do have a look at for other reports and information. With love, cathy
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Land: Mugabe's Dictatorship Ploy

Weekly Trust (Kaduna)

January 25, 2002
Posted to the web January 25, 2002

Dr Tajudeen Abdulraheem

My entire secondary school years and first year as a university
undergraduate coincided with rise, rise and the thumping fall of Field
marshal Idi Amin as the life president, conqueror of the British Empire,
former life chairman of the OAU and now refugee in Saudi Arabia.

Thanks to a South African published magazine in those pre-internet and
pre-email days, DRUM, that kept us (even kids in a school in a remote place
like Funtua in north Western Nigeria) abreast of the life and amusing times
of the buffoon known as 'Big Daddy of Twenty Children, Idi Amin Dada!'

When Idi Amin expelled the Asians, we were joyous, believing he was
returning 'Africa to Africans.' All his antics against European residents of
Uganda at that time were to us demonstration of his Pan Africanist
commitments, 'the strong African leader' ready to 'teach the Europeans a
lesson' that Africa and Africans should not be taken for granted anymore.
The icing on the cake was when Idi Amin got Europeans to carry him on a
hammock and forced the then British foreign secretary and later prime
minister, Jim Callaghan, to kneel down for him by a clever ploy of receiving
him in a hut constructed for the occasion!

These were powerful Pan Africanist symbolisms. Black people and Africans are
so used to the indignities of white people lording it over them whether
through slavery or colonialism that it became a welcome reversal of roles to
see 'one of us' humiliating them. Every contrary report about Idi Amin was
treated as 'imperialist,' 'anti African' Bazungu propaganda. Arriving at the
university in 1978 and getting into contact with a number of Ugandan victims
of Idi Amin like Prof. Barongo, Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Okello Oculi did
little to change our views of Idi Amin, as a leader 'dealing with white

All evidence of Idi Amin's atrocities against fellow black Africans was
dismissed as propaganda or exaggeration. When films, documentaries or media
reports about Amin's regime came out, many Africans found them incredible
and chose not to believe them. Even more than two decades after Idi's exit,
some people still do not believe that he did most of the things reported at
the time. Films may have been produced for dramatic effect but the substance
of many of the events were true and there are many Ugandans who can testify
to them today.

The situation in Zimbabwe today bears similarities, in the defensive
approach of many Africans to it, to the Idi Amin experience. Mugabe's
deliberate choice of land reform as an emotive issue to prolong his rule and
obliterate his political opponents has put many Africans in a great dilemma.
To oppose him is to oppose African nationalism and the popular Pan
Africanist demand of 'Africa for the Africans' or the socialist 'land to the

A Zimbabwean comrade of mine who is not sympathetic to Mugabe in any way
expressed this dilemma to me when he wrote to me stating "I do not care how
Mugabe goes about it, but we want our land back." Many Zimbabweans and
Africans and even more of our people in the diaspora share this view.

We should care about the means as much as the goals. It is a very wrong view
and extremely dangerous. It means the end justifies the means. Revolutionary
it may sound but it is a blank cheque for dictatorship and wholesale
endorsement of Mugabe. The current targets may be white Zimbabweans. but who
are the majority of the people who have died in the past two years?

There are so many Africans in the diaspora who are so fundamentalist about
the land issue even though most of them will never return to Africa after we
reclaim these lands. They enjoy their European and American citizenship
while demanding that Africa must be kept pure of all other races. Even when
they travel to the 'homeland' they come with their non-African passports,
sometimes as guests of governments that are oppressing fellow Africans.

I do understand their reaction based upon their experience of racism and
exclusion in Europe and America but I do not accept their collaboration with
leaders and governments that are inflicting pain and destruction on their

It cannot be true that everybody who is opposing Mugabe today is a traitor,
agent of settlers, a front for British neo-colonialism or enemy of African
liberation. Mugabe and ZANU have held absolute power in that country since
independence in 1980, and therefore cannot continue to blame history for
their failures and misgovernment. And if they do that, history must include
the last 22 years that they have been in power.

Mugabe should not be judged only on his stance against whites even if that
one too is purely opportunistic but on his record as an absolute ruler for
more than two decades. Whites are not his only victims. Indeed he did worse
against the people of Matabele land in the 1980s until he forced ZAPU into a
one-party state.

It is so sad that a leader who started so promisingly and so loved has now
become the problem for his own people and not part of the solution anymore.
At 77, who is he fooling about another liberation war? He may look fit
physically, but is he mentally and emotionally? Africans must be consistent
in calling a spade a spade no matter who the joke is on.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Cold war diplomacy haunts Zimbabwe

1/26/02 9:10:00 AM (GMT +2)

DURING the dark days of the Cold War, African diplomacy was childishly
simple. A country was either pro-West or pro-East.

Very few countries could expect to receive aid from either bloc in equal
measure. If the country was pro-West, then neither the Soviet Union nor the
People's Republic of China could be expected to provide it with as much as
the United States, Britain or West Germany. And vice versa.

Today, international relations have been so transformed that enlightened
self-interest must be the guiding principle of a country's foreign policy.

But not so in Zimbabwe, apparently. There is in reality no Eastern bloc to
speak of today, but the government of President Mugabe continues to conduct
its foreign policy as if there was.

Mugabe's attacks on the West over his disastrous land reform programme smack
of Cold War politics. It's as if he expects Russia and the People's Republic
to bolster his attacks with their own fire against their ideological

But both countries, recognising the death of the Cold War with the fall of
the Berlin Wall, tend to react with studied nonchalance to such

The land issue may initially have been confined to Britain and Zimbabwe, but
the government internationalised it with the land conference in 1998,
attended by the British and many other countries Zimbabwe hoped to persuade
to fund the programme.

Moreover, after the murder and mayhem of 2000, triggered by the government's
defiance of the rule of law as so-called war veterans pillaged commercial
farms, killing, maiming and raping, the issue attracted world attention.

Since then the world spotlight has been focused on Zanu PF's every political

Its record of brutality against its opponents, its uncouth handling of the
judiciary, its persecution of the independent Press and its preference of
violence in solving all problems outraged many countries.

Most of these countries, including those in the European Union, were
previously well-disposed towards Zimbabwe, being ready to provide economic
aid and encourage investment by their nationals because of the well-balanced
political and economic policies of the government.

Today, most of them share the alarm of many Zimbabweans at what Zanu PF has
done and continues to do to their country.

This is the point Mugabe and his party refuse to acknowledge in their
dealings with foreign countries and institutions critical of their present

Many Zimbabweans showed some of this disgust during the referendum and the
election in 2000. The truth is that Zanu PF's mandate to govern with the
free will of the people has been challenged.

The countries which criticise Mugabe's policies, including Britain, are not
necessarily motivated by a desire to recolonise the country. They are
basically reflecting the concerns of many Zimbabweans at this tragic turn of

These are Zimbabweans whose relatives have been killed by war veterans, Zanu
PF supporters and the youth brigade.

They love their country and would like it to be returned to them as it was
shortly after 1980 - a dynamic, promising, non-racial democracy with an
economy with the potential to compete with the best in Africa.

It was then a country newly-freed from the scourge of colonialism, its
people walking tall in dignity and freedom.

Today, most of them are frightened of their own children, in their green
uniforms and the coarse behaviour of bullies. Some are frightened of their
own government, of their own soldiers and their own police force, because
they have dared to speak out against the government.

What the foreign countries are saying to Mugabe is simple: even if the land
reform programme is necessary, you don't have to kill your own people, deny
them the right to make their own free choice in a free and fair election.

The Cold War is dead.
Long live the Global Village.
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Daily News

Tsvangirai wins voters' roll case

1/26/02 9:14:56 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

MORGAN Tsvangirai, the MDC president, yesterday won a landmark case when
High Court judge, Justice Rita Makarau, ordered Tobaiwa Mudede, the
Registrar-General, to allow people to vote anywhere in the country and not
necessarily in their constituencies as decreed by the government.

She said Mudede must compile a common voters' roll for the March
presidential election.

Tsvangirai had taken President Mugabe, Mudede and two Cabinet ministers to
court, challenging the constitutionality of the registration process and the
order to have people vote in their constituencies.

Makarau said: "In order to comply with section 28 (2) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, for the presidential election scheduled for 9 and 10 March 2002,
Mudede shall ensure that there is in place a common roll.

"The common roll referred to shall contain the names and such other
information as may be necessary, of all persons who have attained the age of
18, are citizens of Zimbabwe, since 1985, have been regarded by a written
law to be permanent residents in Zimbabwe and who meet the residential
requirements of any particular constituency or have satisfied him that for
reasons related to place, origin, political affiliation or otherwise, it is
appropriate they be registered in a constituency in which they do not

She said that Mudede should restore to the voters' roll of any constituency,
all voters who, on or before 18 January 2002, were refused to be on that
roll who may have lost or renounced their citizenship of Zimbabwe, but who
since 1985 have been regarded by written law to be permanently resident in

Makarau said: "Mudede shall make adequate and reasonable administrative
arrangements for all voters registered on the common roll who will not be in
their constituencies on the polling days, to exercise their vote."

Makarau's ruling comes at a time when the country is being rocked by
political violence spearheaded by Zanu PF vigilantes and militias from the
Border Gezi training centre in Mount Darwin. Many people have been displaced
from their constituencies as a result.

During the hearing last week, Makarau ruled that Mudede was in contempt of
court after he closed the voter registration process in an apparent flagrant
violation of Justice Charles Hungwe's ruling that he should not terminate
the process until the court hears Tsvangirai's case.

It remains to be seen whether Mudede will comply with this latest judgment.

The other respondents in the matter were John Nkomo, the Minister of Home
Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Andrew Chigovera, the Attorney-General, the Electoral Supervisory
Commission, and Pikirayi Deketeke, the Editor of The Herald, a government

In arriving at her decision, Makarau said in terms of the Constitution, the
President of Zimbabwe should be elected by voters on the common roll.

"Therefore in my opinion, all those who are on the common roll have the
right to vote for the President.
"There are no further requirements necessary for one to exercise their right
to vote other than to show that one is on the common roll.
"If the intention of the Legislature were to impose any further
qualifications, it would have specifically made that provision in the

"As such, I am reluctant to add residential qualification to that right. It
is, therefore, my finding that the law provides that all voters registered
on the common roll are entitled to vote and Mudede has to put in place the
administrative machinery to give effect to that law," Makarau ruled.

Makarau said that in her view, the Electoral Act does recognise that it
cannot abrogate what was in effect a constitutional right and has made
provisions for voters who would be legitimately away from their
constituencies on polling dates to vote.

"Mudede is obliged to give effect to the constitutional right of voters by
putting in place an administrative machinery that will enable all voters who
are not within their constituencies on polling dates, to cast their votes,"
she ruled.

Tsvangirai yesterday hailed the ruling, saying: "This judgment is historic
and we welcome it. Its effect is to ensure that all Zimbabweans who are
constitutionally eligible to vote take part in this make-or-break election.

"We trust that all political parties contesting this crucial election will
naturally welcome the judgment as it seeks to grant full suffrage to all
Zimbabweans to elect their next President."

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Harare. January 25, 2002

Zimbabwe’s cycle of starvation

The food shortage was caused by the sharp fall in the maize harvest last
year, initially because of poor rains but compounded by the farm occupations
under Mugabe’s fast-track land redistribution plan


After armed government men burst through the Zimbabwean farmer’s gates and
hauled off the last of the maize he used to feed his livestock, one of them
accused him of trying to starve the country’s black population.
“I told them that the grain is for my stock and the men who work here and
their families,” said the farmer. “I told them that now I’ll have to
slaughter my pigs because I’ve got nothing to feed them, but they took it
just the same. And why not? If you don’t have enough food to feed people,
then it’s better to take it from the animals.”

With just weeks until the presidential election, President Robert Mugabe is
all too aware that people will not vote for him on an empty stomach. The
confiscation of the most productive farms has created a potentially
catastrophic food shortage, and in desperation the government is seizing
animal feed and any other grain it can find.

This year’s harvest will be the second disastrous crop in a row. And the
impact of that catastrophe will be felt at precisely the moment Zimbabwe
goes to the polls.

Many rural areas are already facing serious food shortages.

The government blames white farmers for the crisis, saying they are hoarding
food to bring down Mugabe. The president’s critics say the situation is of
his making because the farm seizures by “war veterans” have left huge tracts
of land fallow. The thousands of small-scale farmers Mugabe said were
desperate to start planting have yet to materialise.

The World Food Programme warns that 500 000 Zimbabweans already face serious
food shortages that could lead to starvation within weeks, and that grain
supplies are sufficient to feed millions more only for another two months.
The government says it needs 150 000 tonnes of maize immediately and a
further 200 000 tonnes by April. And it will need many hundreds of thousands
of tonnes more if the land remains idle.

The food shortage was caused by the sharp fall in the maize harvest last
year, initially because of poor rains but compounded by the farm occupations
under Mugabe’s fast-track land redistribution plan. This year promises to be
more serious, with the harvest in March and April expected to produce less
than half the country’s needs.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union says that large-scale farms will produce only
200 000 tonnes of maize this year — enough to feed the country for just six

On December 28 the government imposed new regulations that gave farmers,
millers and distributors two weeks to deliver all maize and wheat to the
state grain marketing board. After that it began seizing stocks.

The government finally conceded that there was a crisis in the making last
November. It is now looking to foreign governments to bail it out. But
donors are reluctant to give food if it is used by Zanu-PF to buy votes.

After weeks of wrangling, the agreed terms include handing the distribution
of food over to two foreign agencies and a Zimbabwean Christian
organisation. But the government insists that local officials are consulted
during the food distribution, and it is likely that in rural areas they will
be on hand to claim credit for the deliveries.

-- The Mail&Guardian, January 25, 2002.

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From Malaysian National news Agency

Mozambique: Foreign Minister Attacks `Propaganda' Against Zimbabwe

   MAPUTO, Jan 26 (AIM) - Mozambican Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao has
described as "gross interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe" the
existence of radio stations in Europe that broadcast allegedly hostile
propaganda to Zimbabwe, according to a report in Friday's issue of the
Maputo daily "Noticias".

Simao was briefing the diplomatic corps in Maputo on the results of
extraordinary summit of SADC (Southern African Development Community) held
in the Malawian city of Blantyre earlier this month.

The Zimbabwean government has complained about private radio stations
broadcasting from Holland and Britain, and aimed at an audience inside
Zimbabwe. The final communique from the SADC summit echoes this concern.

Simao seemed to believe that western powers have the power to shut these
stations down. He called on the countries to stop the transmissions. Simao
recognised that the situation in Zimbabwe is difficult "but if we don't work
sensitively, we could make things worse". "Please do not bring more violence
to Africa", said Simao.

"Stop these incitements against governments. We have the right, as you have,
to choose our leaders, in accordance with our laws". He warned that any
deterioration in the Zimbabwean situation would have knock-on effects in the
rest of the region, "and once again we Africans will he held responsible for
inability to democratise and to lead the destinies of our countries".

The Zimbabwean station in Britain says that it is simply providing objective
coverage of Zimbabwe. No evidence has been produced that it is inciting
violence. --SNNi/AIM

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Harare. January 25, 2002

Media Bill in the balance

The future of Zimbabwe’s controversial media Bill lies in the hands of
Zanu-PF stalwart Eddison Zvobgo


If, when Zimbabwe’s new media Bill becomes law it is a toothless monster,
thanks will be due to veteran politician Dr Eddison Zvobgo.
Zvobgo has forced the Bill back to the drawing board three times, which has
delayed Parliament’s recess ahead of the presidential election on March 9
and 10.

Parliament was presented with two versions of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill this week — one, the poorly drafted baby of the
Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo; the other a version revised by the
Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa.

But neither version of the Bill made it to the second reading. The House was
told that the parliamentary legal committee, which Zvobgo heads and through
which all legislation must pass, had not finished its report.

Outside the House, however, Zvobgo let it be known for the second time in a
week that the Bill, or any version of it to date, would attract an adverse

Zanu-PF MPs, few of whom regularly attend Parliament, were irritated and
bewildered. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation anchor on the main
television news had announced on Tuesday that all Zanu-PF MPs, Cabinet
ministers and the country’s eight provincial governors who have a vote must
attend Parliament the next day.

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Cracks appear in Mugabe's Zanu-PF January 23, 2002

On Wednesday the side street outside Parliament was lined with 4x4s and
Mercedes-Benzes belonging to the people’s representatives, who have been
forced to the House several times in recent weeks to ram repressive Bills
into law.

Once they got inside the House, however, they realised that something had
gone wrong with the passage of the Bill. Usually, when something significant
is due to happen in Parliament, Deputy President Simon Muzenda (79) lumbers
into the House, sinks into the green leather at the speakers’ end of the
front bench and dozes off. But on Wednesday he was nowhere to be seen.

Someone had clearly tipped him off that the Bill was not going to be

Zvobgo (66), physically frail but mentally robust, also sits on the
government benches. He helped found Zanu-PF in 1963, has given birth to some
diabolical legislation since independence, and was the first member of the
party to apologise for the massacres of civilians in Matabeleland in the

But Zvobgo will not be among those campaigning for Mugabe in the
presidential elections. Nor will he be campaigning for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zvobgo is politically active and holds rallies — which he says are to
celebrate his victory in last June’s general election in Zimbabwe’s most
populace province, Masvingo.

At a recent rally he told an allegorical tale about how a man when he gets
old must pass the baton on to a younger man. His legions of supporters say
they understood his message to be that they should either stay away from the
polls in March or vote for the younger man.

Zvobgo mentions no names, but his supporters know who the older man is.
Mugabe will be 78 next month; Tsvangirai will turn 50 on March 10.

There is no love lost between Zvobgo and Mugabe. Zanu-PF insiders say the
president used Zvobgo’s sharp legal brain and popularity for decades. But
after June’s general election, he dropped Zvobgo from the Cabinet after 21
years and chopped him out of the Zanu-PF politburo.

Mugabe had previously manipulated Zvobgo out of the top provincial party
post in Masvingo. Zanu-PF’s fortunes in that region — everywhere except in
Zvobgo’s constituency that is — have declined ever since.

In his office in a suburban double- storey building, Zvobgo said this week
that his motivation in what turned out to be a singular obstruction to Moyo’
s media Bill was his concern for the Constitution.

“I don’t know whether the legislation is needed — that is decided in
Cabinet, and I am not a member of the executive. So I was not party to the
debate. The parliamentary legal committee must examine legislation to see
that it is constitutional. That’s all.”

Politicians close to Zvobgo say he knows that journalists in the privately
owned domestic media and foreign correspondents will ignore any new media
Bill authored by Moyo or promoted by Chinamasa.

A growing number in the rump of Zanu-PF also now seem to understand that any
further harassment of the press will strain the party even more, and might
even make Southern African Development Community leaders wince.

-- The Mail&Guardian, January 25, 2002.

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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Media Update # 2002/02
January 14th - January 20th 2002

1.  Summary
2.  Tsvangirai's comments
3.  Political Violence
4.  The Campaign
5.  "Confusing" Voter education
6.  Article 19 condemns amendments to Information Bill


The government-controlled media seized the opportunity to feast on
the comments of opposition MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who
suggested that South Africa could introduce sanctions against
Zimbabwe as a response to threats to undermine the presidential
election by the military and President Mugabe himself.
He was commenting to the BBC on the inconclusive SADC summit
in Malawi that discussed the deepening political and economic
crisis in Zimbabwe.
Describing the organization as lacking cohesion and being riddled
with hypocrisy and double standards, Tsvangirai suggested that in
the absence of effective measures from SADC, South Africa had
the strength and influence to unilaterally introduce sanctions that
would discourage government from pursuing measures that are
undermining the democratic process in Zimbabwe.
Typically though, ZBC ignored the context of Tsvangirai's
comments and then used his remarks to source a tidal wave of
criticism portraying him and the MDC as unpatriotic and an
unworthy presidential candidate.
The topic dominated the government-controlled print and electronic
media during the week.

TV's (15/01) 8pm bulletin, which lasted 40 minutes 30 seconds,
was basically an avalanche of propaganda to discredit Tsvangirai
and the MDC. Stories on Tsvangirai's utterances occupied 23
minutes 25 seconds or 58% of the bulletin with other news items
occupying 17 minutes five seconds (42%).
In other developments the electronic media continued to flout its
obligations under the Broadcasting Services Act to give fair political
coverage to competing political parties. TV carried nine election
campaign stories, all of them ZANU PF campaign pieces. In these
stories ZANU PF officials and supporters were quoted 10 times.
There were three alternative voices, all of which were pro-ZANU PF
and publicly endorsed President Mugabe's candidature. Like TV,
Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM also failed to carry a single campaign
story on opposition party candidates.
This is a serious dereliction of duty by the national public
broadcaster and should be condemned as a gross abuse of its
public service obligations to inform the electorate fairly and
accurately. The station has clearly become a platform for the
promotion of ZANU PF propaganda.
ZBC's coverage of political violence in its "Campaign for Peace
Update" carried a similar bias in favour of the ruling party. ZANU
PF's supporters were presented as facing an incessant and
organized onslaught from MDC youths, while its supporters had
only retaliated.
ZBC's coverage of voter education news was heavily interpretative
rather than analytical and only served to confuse voters about the
electoral process. Official statements were presented without
clarification or detail. TV, 3FM and Radio Zimbabwe presented
conflicting statements from the Minister of Justice, Patrick
Chinamasa, and the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, on the
voter registration process for the presidential and Harare and
Chitungwiza mayoral elections and did not establish which version
was accurate.


ZBC (14/01, Nhau/Indaba and 8pm television, and all radio 6am,
1pm and 8pm bulletins) broke the Tsvangirai sanctions story, and
television's 8pm news carried the BBC news interview quoting
Tsvangirai condemning the apparent lack of "cohesion" in SADC's
response to Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis
and speculating on what South Africa could do unilaterally to stop
the Zimbabwe government from further subverting the democratic
process. The MDC leader was seen to say:
"Well there are measures. I mean, for instance, the threat to
undermine the elections by the military, by Mugabe himself,
should actually send shock waves to South Africa and say,
'OK, under those circumstances we are going to cut fuel, we
are going to cut transport links'. Those kinds of measures,
even if they are implemented at a lowly level, send the right
But news presenter Obriel Mpofu made no reference to the SADC
context of the interview, or to the speculative nature of the question
and the answer when he introduced the story. He simply stated
"MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has called on South Africa
to cut official supplies, switch off electricity and sever all
communication links with Zimbabwe in order to speed up
what he called 'change' in the country."
Nowhere in the interview did Tsvangirai 'call' on South Africa to
impose sanctions, nor did he mention anything about 'change', a
word that forms part of an MDC slogan and used in the report to
give the impression that sanctions was part of the MDC's normal
programme for change.
The inaccuracies and distortion contained in this statement were
reinforced by reporter Reuben Barwe's comment introducing the
BBC clip: "Zimbabweans need to know that the desire to take
the reins of power by certain people might see them suffer
more soon." thus giving the impression that Tsvangirai is so
desperate for power he is prepared to inflict suffering on the nation.
The next day (15/1) the government Press (Zimpapers' titles The
Herald and The Chronicle) followed the same line by interpreting
Tsvangirai's statement as a call for sanctions and condemning it as
".a sign of a desperate man who was clearly afraid of
elections." according to unnamed observers. This formed the
basis of the papers' coverage throughout the week.
The private press was reticent, with only The Daily News (15/1)
reporting the story, and The Zimbabwe Mirror subjecting his
comments to critical analysis.
Like the Zimpapers' dailies, The Daily News (15/01) interpreted
Tsvangirai's comments as an appeal to South Africa to impose
sanctions on Zimbabwe. But it noted that his call was made
against a background of mounting violence and intimidation of MDC
supporters ahead the election.

From Tuesday (15/01) through to Saturday (19/01), The Herald
alone ran 11 stories and two cartoons on the issue. No new angles
were offered in the reports, except for sourcing additional critical
All three dailies noted Tsvangirai's comments in the context of
SADC's deliberations in Malawi and quoted his reference to the
military and the President as undermining the democratic process
of the election, but the two state-owned dailies exonerated the
service chiefs.
The Herald (15/01) also attacked Tsvangirai in an editorial and
attempted to sow the idea of division within the MDC by claiming
that "rumours" suggested that significant support within the party
was becoming disillusioned with his leadership.
These "rumours" blossomed in a Sunday Mail (20/01) report, five
days later, entitled, Fresh divisions rock MDC, which quoted
unnamed MDC MPs as saying Tsvangirai's comments had angered
the intellectuals within the party and had "reopened old
wounds". Not a single quoted source was identified in the story.
The Herald carried parliamentary accounts on the issue on
Thursday (17/01) and Saturday (19/01). According to the reports,
also in The Daily News (18/01), ZANU PF and MDC MPs clashed
in Parliament over Tsvangirai's remarks. ZANU PF accused the
opposition of selling out and conniving with the West to impose
sanctions, whilst MDC legislators claimed Tsvangirai was quoted
out of context. MDC's Gibson Sibanda was quoted saying
Tsvangirai's statement "was not a request for sanctions but an
analysis of options not only to South Africa, but to the rest of
the region to persuade the government to stop politically-
motivated violence and to ensure a free and fair presidential
election is held."
The Zimbabwe Mirror (18/01) discussed Tsvangirai's comments in
The Scrutator , which reflected the government media line under
the heading, Morgan's Gaffe, while its Behind the Words column
was more reflective and relevant.
It also placed the MDC leader's comments in the context of
SADC's apparent public procrastination by noting that: "At the
(SADC) meeting President Mugabe made the undertaking that
his government would ensure that the March elections are free
and fair, guarantee freedom of expression and association,
investigate and act upon all cases of political violence, and
accredit national monitors and international observers
These are concessions that could hardly have been extracted
even with a regional threat of sanctions."
The author however, did not assess the likelihood of these
promises ever being translated into reality, given the hard realities
of what is still happening around the country.
But the columnist concluded by observing: "Tsvangirai may see
in sanctions the way to precipitate the collapse of the present
government. But it would help him and his supporters a great
deal to ponder over where such a precipitous fall of the
present government, leading to anarchy and mayhem, would
take this country."

Apart from the live question-and-answer broadcast on television
(15/01, 8pm) quoting the MDC's Learnmore Jongwe and the
indirect comment from Gibson Sibanda, (16/01, 8pm) no other
MDC official was quoted in the coverage of responses to
Tsvangirai's statements.
TV (15/01, 8pm) broke two of ZBC's 10 "Golden Rules" even though
newscaster Obriel Mpofu warned Jongwe and ZANU PF MP David
Chapfika to observe two of the "golden" rules, which state that:
"Name-calling and insulting offices and figures protected by
the Zimbabwean law, national heroes and or any member of
the public will not be accepted; and, use of inflammatory or
defamatory language inciting members of the public to be
violent will be strictly forbidden."
Mpofu allowed Chapfika to break the rules with impunity when he
called MDC officials "stooges" and "traitors" and then highlighted
ZBC's intolerance of opposition views by frequently interrupting
Television and radio (15/01, 8pm) audiences had the rare
opportunity to see and hear other opposition presidential
candidates. But they were only aired to discredit Tsvangirai.
TV's propaganda (16/01, 8pm) also included what Rueben Barwe
called the "twists and turns" in the MDC since its formation.
Describing Tsvangirai's comments as not surprising, television re-
screened old footage of Tsvangirai receiving donations from
commercial farmers; BBC footage of MDC legislator, Fidelis
Mhashu, calling for British help; and ZTV clips of "Talking
Business" debates to illustrate the MDC's collusion with foreigners
and Rhodesians.


Predictably, reports of political violence were grossly polarized. The
state controlled Press focused on violence committed by MDC
supporters, while the privately owned Press exclusively reported on
incidents allegedly committed by ruling party groups. Unusually,
The Herald reported the highest number of incidents of political
violence, closely followed by The Daily News.
Of the 21 incidents of violence reported on television, 11 (52%)
were allegedly perpetrated by the MDC, six (29%) by unknown
assailants, two (10%) did not mention the perpetrators, one (5%)
by UZ students and one (5%) was "ZANU PF's retaliation to MDC
These figures barely do justice to ZBC's continuing propaganda
blitz against the MDC in its coverage of incidents of political
violence in its "Campaign for Peace Update" segment. Coverage of
violence was also accompanied by ZANU PF campaigns quoting
its officials publicly appealing for peace to give the impression that
ZANU PF was a peaceful party.
For example, television (18/01, 8pm) quoted Zanu Ndonga leader
Wilson Kumbula, Paul Siwela of Zapu, National Alliance for Good
Governance (NAGG) leader, Shakespeare Maya, ZANU PF's Elliot
Manyika, and the police all condemning the rising incidence of
politically-motivated violence nationwide. In the same report
however, an MDC official was said to have refused to comment for
fear of being "misquoted".
This appears to have been a deliberate attempt by ZBC to create
the impression that while everyone else was calling for peace, the
MDC was silent and therefore guilty by exception.
Earlier that day (18/1), The Herald reported Manyika's appeal to
ZANU PF youths at a meeting in Bindura, and even noted that it
was ".held as a result of violent demonstrations by ZANU PF
youths against some magistrates at the Bindura courts." who
had been accused of handing down judgments against the ruling
party. That story only appeared in The Daily News two days earlier
(16/1), providing an indication of the extent to which the rule of law
and the dispensation of justice have been undermined - and the
reluctance of the state media to report such incidents.
The warning from international human rights watchdog, Amnesty
International, that Zimbabwe was in danger of descending into civil
war, also only appeared in The Daily News (15/1), as did the
warning about a "human rights crisis" in Zimbabwe from the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights.
ZBC's coverage of the assault on MDC legislator David Mpala in
Lupane (television and radio, 14/01, 8pm) exposed television's
biased coverage of incidents of violence. Insp. Alfred Zvenyika was
quoted as having said, "the motive behind the attack is not
known" but could not rule out political violence. Television reported
that 11 unidentified suspects had been arrested, but 3FM's 8pm
bulletin the same evening actually identified those arrested as
ZANU PF youths. So, was television - and the policeman -
suppressing unpalatable information about the Mpala's attackers?
Even The Herald (16/1) blamed the attack on "suspected war
veterans", although it buried this news at the end of a violence
round-up story which contained news of another murder, this time
in Guruve, of a man who ".had been abducted by ZANU PF
youths", according to initial investigations.
In the television report of Mpala's assault, the reporter shifted
viewers' attention away from this latest assault by gratuitously
referring to the unsubstantiated claim that Limukani Luphahla and
Cain Nkala had been abducted and murdered by MDC youths, as if
to suggest the assault on Mpala was some form of retaliation.
TV's bias was also exposed (19/01, 8pm) in the Banket case
where youths who actually identified themselves as belonging to
ZANU PF assaulted a farm foreman allegedly to settle a labour
dispute, but the TV reporter chose to say the youths belonged to
the MDC without any reasonable proof.
ZBC (14/01, 8pm) did report an incident of violence allegedly
committed by ZANU PF youths, but this was down played as
The Daily News (15/01) quoted Joyce Kazembe, a member of the
government appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC)
blaming political violence on ZANU PF. She was quoted as saying:
"The level of violence depends on the level of access to State
agents and State machinery which the ruling party enjoys,
while the opposition practices hit-and-run raids because of
limited resources."
The same issue reported the abduction and assault on Mpala as
the paper's lead story, quoting Mpala himself accusing war
veterans of being responsible.
Farm invasions also continued to be reported in the privately owned
Press. The Daily News (14/01) reported that 23 farmers had been
ordered off their farms by ZANU PF supporters. The same issue of
the paper reported that two black commercial farmers in Dande had
also fallen victim to violence. According to the paper, the two
cotton farmers had their crop uprooted on allegations of supporting
the MDC.
The Zimbabwe Independent (18/01) reported more farm violence
and observed that, "The invasions also fly in the face of
assurances given by a government delegation which last week
attended an EU/ACP meeting in Brussels."
Much of The Herald's violence round-up feature (14/01), under the
generic headline, MDC's violent campaign intensifies, simply
regurgitated old and unsubstantiated reports accusing MDC
supporters of being responsible for the murder the previous week of
Gibson Masarira, a senior district ZANU PF official in Zaka.

The absence of any election campaign stories about opposition
party candidates on television and radio confirms a deliberate
policy by ZBC to exclude these voices from the electronic media in
the run-up to the election.
It should also be noted that in addition to the nine positive stories
on the ruling party's campaign, ZANU PF is also using live
programmes, recorded documentaries and films as part of its
campaign strategy.
MMPZ notes with concern that ZBC has deliberately and totally
failed to meet its public service obligations. MMPZ believes this is
a worrying development because the national broadcaster is
creating an election campaign environment in the broadcast media
that is unfair and undemocratic. As a result, ZBC's audiences are
being denied their right to access fair and accurate information to
make informed political choices in the election.
Since 2002 began, ZBC TV and radio have not covered a single
rally or campaign statement by any opposition party. MMPZ
condemns this gross abuse of public resources. Television (14/01,
8pm) covered a government-organized "Day of Prayer" meeting
attended by some churches held at the Harare International
Conference Centre where it was said that churches, unlike in the
past, "are in full support of the country's land reform
programme". And in what can only be described as a terrible
embarrassment, one church leader was even quoted as saying
President Mugabe was appointed "by God not by man".
ZANU PF policies were reflected on the placards carried by
delegates and no comment was sought from commentators on the
political nature of the meeting, which sought to invest President
Mugabe with a morally divine status. Neither did ZBC clarify which
churches had attended the so-called prayer meeting.
The other campaign stories were statements from ZANU PF
officials and even ruling party announcements to its MPs and
members masquerading as news items.
Breaks between news segments on television are now also
saturated with ZANU PF advertising.
The absence of opposition advertising, and in particular, MDC
material, should also be taken in the context of statements this
week by the party's Secretary-General Welshman Ncube
(Zimbabwe Independent, 18/01) that "we have stopped bothering
ourselves about advertising in the public media" because of
restrictive procedures including ZBC's 10 Golden Rules.
There are also live and recorded programmes, which are all being
used as platforms for ZANU PF to transmit its campaign
propaganda free of charge. Some of them are:

v   Face the Nation (Friday, 6.30pm),
v   Media Watch
v   Talking Farming,
v   Nhaka Yedu/Our Heritage (Sunday, 8.35pm, repeated
    Monday, 1am),
v   Around Zimbabwe (6.30pm); and
v   National Affairs (propaganda film slot on Thursday &
    Sunday, 9.05pm).

Other propaganda programmes appear on television unscheduled
and some come as repeats by "popular public demand" in what
appears to be an attempt to force people to watch them.
Clearly, ZBC has been reduced to a ZANU PF propaganda

Similarly, the government owned newspapers continue to prove
beyond doubt that they have also been turned into ZANU PF
election campaign platforms.
A curious feature during the week was the use of small opposition
political parties to denounce MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
According to The Herald (18/1) three opposition parties described
Tsvangirai ".as a puppet of the West". The article quoted ZANU,
ZAPU and NAGG, but did not shed any light on those parties'
MMPZ does not condemn Zimpapers for sourcing comments from
these groups on issues of national importance. However, it would
seem they are only quoted when it is in Zanu PF's advantage to do
so. For example, where were the small opposition groups when the
armed forces' Commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, commented about
the "qualifications" of candidates for the presidential office? It
would appear these parties only exist to condemn the MDC when it
is perceived to have blundered. MMPZ condemns such cynical and
unprofessional practice. 
The Chronicle story (17/1) Opposition political parties form
alliance, reported the formation of a third political party to counter
MDC. The newspaper failed to subject the proposed new political
alliance to any examination. It appears the article was meant to
vilify MDC through the voices of little known political parties.

MMPZ notes that The Herald continues to publish names of people
who have "qualified" for land in the ongoing land reform process
and hopes a list of those "allocated" land will also be published.
The Herald (15/1) reported that the MDC had ". acquired ZANU
PF members' cards to weaken the ruling party's stronghold in
the rural areas". The article relied on an unnamed source.
The Herald (18/1) quoted Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
saying thousands of MDC supporters were defecting to ZANU PF,
but provided no evidence for this.
The Daily News story (18/1) Model A2 land list a political gimmick,
reported that "Most people listed as beneficiaries of the A2
model scheme under the resettlement programme have not
been given the land." 
The Sunday Mail (20/1) front-page article, SA police confirm MDC
link to $2bn heist, made preposterous and unfounded allegations
against the MDC. The report also regurgitated the same
unsubstantiated claims that appeared in its first report of the
robbery: ". former Rhodesian and apartheid South Africa
intelligence officers, who are now supporting the MDC, had
perfected the art of using criminal elements to raise funds for
their cause during their days and were now using the same
dirty tricks to raise funds for the opposition party ahead of the
presidential elections". In a display of blatant propaganda, the
article read: "The MDC is using all desperate means to get
funds for the presidential elections because the party never
thought the elections would be held at the beginning of
The Sunday Mail (20/1), claimed the MDC had "hatched
clandestine plans to bring in its own foreign election monitors
and observers into the country ." but again the paper provided
no evidence for its claim.

6. VOTER EDUCATION: Confusing reports on ZBC

There was precious little voter education in any of the media during
the week.
But The Zimbabwe Independent (18/1) reported the chaos
surrounding the forthcoming presidential poll and the Harare and
Chitungwiza mayoral elections. The story noted that the pre-
election conditions, such as political violence, and repressive new
legislation all point to a poorly organized poll. Part of the article
    The whole process of preparation for the polls is not
    transparent and because of the recent amendments to
    the Electoral Act, the Electoral Supervisory
    Commission has not started its work. In addition, the
    training of election monitors is not in place and voter
    education has not started . While the Registrar
    General's office has had problems in running single
    elections, it is going to be near-impossible running a
    three-tier poll.

ZBC (18/01, 8pm) covered comments made by Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede, on the progress made on the voter registration
exercise. He said they were doing the job to make sure that in the
end "we take the necessary action when we are printing our
voters' roll as regards those who are no longer citizens of this
country". He was not pressed for comment to clarify what this
"action" implied.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai's urgent application on the
constitutionality of the voter registration process was also scantily
covered on ZBC compared to the detailed manner in which it was
covered in The Daily News (19/01).
Radio Zimbabwe (17/01, 1pm) carried a confusing report about
which roll would be used in the presidential election. Minister
Chinamasa was quoted as saying the constituency roll would be
used. However, ZTV (18/01, 8pm) contradicted this by saying the
common roll would be used in the presidential elections. The
mayoral and council elections would use the ward roll. As a result
of the remarks there now appears to be no clear information about
the rolls to be used and the procedures to be followed for the dual
elections in Harare and Chitungwiza and viewers and listeners were
left confused and uninformed about these important issues.
ZBC did not analyze the implications of Mudede's contempt of
court by closing voter registration and defying both the High Court
and Supreme Court orders ordering his office to expedite the
holding of mayoral and council elections by February 11, 2002.
A 3FM (20/01, 1pm) report also sent misleading signals on voter
registration. Minister of State in Vice-President Simon Muzenda's
office, Flora Bhuka, was quoted expressing optimism that "more
people in the Gokwe District will get their national identity
cards and be registered as voters soon following the successful
discussions with the Midlands provincial registrar". The
reporter did not explain why registration was continuing in the
Midlands when Mudede had announced that the exercise had been
stopped, or, indeed, what business Muzenda's office had with
registration and why it was holding discussions with officials from
the RG's office. But the report did give the unfortunate impression
that Muzenda's office was a law unto itself - a fairly common
notion of most government activities.


ARTICLE 19 today released a detailed analysis of the
amendments to the Zimbabwean Access to Information and
Privacy Bill1 showing that all our previous concerns remain
and that the Bill still massively restricts freedom of
expression. This analysis updates previous reports on the Bill
by ARTICLE 19 issued on 11 January and 24 January.

ARTICLE 19 acknowledges some positive amendments to the Bill,
tabled in Parliament on 22 January 2002, but condemns them as
falling far short of the meaningful change required.

Despite the amendments, journalists are still required to obtain
licenses and face a possible 2 years' imprisonment for spreading
'false news'. Extensive powers over the media and journalists
continue to be wielded by the Commission, a body firmly under
government control.  Despite its title, the Bill does little to
guarantee the public's right to access information held by public
authorities. The ARTICLE 19 analysis addresses each of these
concerns and illustrates how the Bill systematically undermines
the right to freedom of expression.

These amendments were a response to growing local and
international pressure, and ARTICLE 19 calls upon the international
community to continue to exert pressure on the Zimbabwean
government, lending their voice to the many opposition voices
originating from inside the country, in the hope of bringing about
more fundamental reforms to the Bill.

"The Zimbabwean government is under pressure both as a result of
the upcoming elections and the growing international condemnation
of its undemocratic practices. There is a real opportunity for
change now, but concerted effort is needed."
Copies of the analysis are available on the ARTICLE 19 website, at
Issued by Toby Mendel, Head of Law Programme, on 44 20 7239
1193 (44 20 8552 3437 out of office hours), email:

The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), 15 Duthie Avenue,
Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: Previous copies of MMPZ reports can be
accessed at

We appreciate comments from our subscribers on Zim media
performance. Please make these brief.

Also, please feel free to circulate this report
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Journalists' group confronts Harare government

Jessica Hodgson
Friday January 25, 2002

Reporters Sans Frontiers, the international press freedom pressure group,
has written to the Zimbabwean information minister, Jonathan Moyo, to
express its concern at government threats to foreign journalists.

The RSF secretary general, Robert Menard, says in this letter that
journalists have been forced to enter the country illegally using tourist

"These journalists applied for tourists visas only because they had no other
choice to cover the news," writes Mr Menard.

"We ask the government to give them accreditation and let them work freely",
he said.

"With presidential elections due in March we fear that Zimbabwe is hardening
its stance against the local and international press."

On January 24 the government-controlled daily, the Herald, reported that the
authorities were close to arresting British and South African journalists
who had entered Zimbabwe on tourist visas.

Reporters from the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Economist and the
South African Sunday Times have been singled out by the government.

Today the Sunday Telegraph's correspondent, Philip Sherwell, was reported to
have left the country, while the Guardian's Chris McGreal was believed to be
making his exit.

The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, told the Today programme this
morning it was too dangerous for journalists to operate in a country where
they were treated as "spies and terrorists".

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Zimbabwean War Veterans' National Secretary Arrested

Xinhuanet 2002-01-26 16:15:06

   HARARE, January 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe police have arrested
the war veteran' national secretary Mike Moyo on several criminal
allegations including extortion involving 15 million Zimbabwean
dollars (about 272,273 U.S. dollars), according to the official
Herald newspaper on Saturday.
   Moyo, 40, was brought before Harare magistrate Dominic Muzavazi
on Friday on allegations of extortion, public violence, assault
and armed robbery.
   He was not asked to plead and was remanded out of custody on
bail to March 15.
   As part of his bail conditions, Moyo was ordered not to visit
Mayfield Farm in Mazowe and a service station along Fourth Street
in Harare where two of the offences were allegedly committed.
   Moyo is being jointly charged with Chris Pasipamire, deputy
chairman for Harare province of the ruling  Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), on the extortion and
public violence allegations.
   The two are alleged to have demanded 15 million Zimbabwean
dollars or 50 percent of the profits of the Mayfield farm, from
Arthur Duncan Parkes, the previous owner of the farm, which has
been allocated to Pasipamire under the land redistribution program.
   The two are then alleged to have assaulted the farmer after he
refused to pay.
   On the armed robbery charge, Moyo is alleged to have, on
January 10 this year, gone to a service station along Fourth
Street where he forced a petrol attendant to re-fuel his car and
debit a ZANU-PF account.
   Moyo had also allegedly assaulted the attendant when he refused
to comply.  Enditem

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From ZWNEWS, 26 January

Tories say, don't rule out troops

Conservative Party foreign affairs spokesman Michael Ancram said Wednesday that Britain should not rule out sending troops to Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe ignores international pressure and the situation deteriorates further after presidential elections in March. Ancram spoke during a debate on Zimbabwe in which nine members of Parliament contributed - six Conservatives, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell, the Labour Party government's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign office, Ben Bradshaw, and one other Labour MP, Tony Worthington. The line-up reflected the usual preponderance of Conservatives pressing for action on Zimbabwe. In the latest debate, everyone agreed the situation has continued to deteriorate and said they received constant reminders, including from constituents, of the terror campaign and atrocities under Mugabe. But while Conservatives urged more robust action by Britain, Bradshaw simply repeated the official line that if things get worse, unspecified "action will be taken,'' and refused to elaborate. It was widely acknowledged that the March 9-10 elections will not be fair and free, but the Minister would not speculate on Britain's reaction if a) Mugabe loses and tries to cling to power, or b) Mugabe wins a fraudulent election.

Ancram and Maude said that instead of hiding behind guilt about Britain's colonial past, the government should spend some of the international capital accrued by Prime Minister Tony Blair during the last few months on taking a lead in the Zimbabwe crisis - with action beyond the efforts of the European Union. They called for the immediate suspension, if not expulsion, of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth; targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his 20 or so top lieutenants - in line with proposed action by the United States; and said Britain must not rule out possible direct intervention, including military action, if the situation gets worse after the election. Menzies Campbell expressed concerns over the feasibility of British military intervention, and, for the government, Bradshaw re-iterated remarks by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. "If the situation deteriorates we will take action,'' he said. Bradshaw also said he did not think the efforts of the international community have been too little too late, adding, "We act best when we act together.''

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Daily News - Leader Page

MPs are duty-bound not to pass the Labour Bill

1/26/02 9:12:43 AM (GMT +2)

By Rene Loewenson

YESTERDAY, Tom Ncube had a job. Today he is unemployed.

His 20-year-old son has never had a job, and is worried and angry that he
may never get one.

Unemployment and the rising cost of living are among people's greatest
worries in Zimbabwe today.

Late last year, the Civic Alliance for Social and Economic Progress (Casep)
carried out a survey of community and civic views on economic and social

Casep is a network of membership-based civic organisations operating in key
areas of social and economic activity.

Employment was one of the top priorities raised by people in rural and urban
areas, particularly as new waves of job losses were reported to add to old
problems of finding jobs.

Farm workers were said to have been particularly affected, followed by hotel
and catering sector workers and tour operators, retail workers, factory
workers, mine workers and municipal workers.

Older people were doubly worried - to old concerns that young people had
little chance of finding jobs, they were now worried that they too might
lose their jobs.

Improving employment prospects now adds the challenge of stopping job loss
to that of generating new jobs, especially for youth.

To tackle the problem, people felt it was essential to go to its causes. A
number of these were recent, and linked to violence and political

Farm workers have lost jobs because farm owners have left occupied farms or
workers have themselves fled or been driven out of farms.

There were reports of local council or public sector workers leaving or
being forced out of work by violence in their areas.

Reports of violence have discouraged tourists, leading to hotels scaling
down operations and retrenching workers.

Businesses were reported to have scaled down or closed, leaving workers

There were other, more chronic causes raised.
Economic decline, increasing input costs and increasing poverty has led to
increasing production costs and shrinking markets.

"People are no longer buying goods," said one worker, "so retail workers are
losing jobs."

Fishing workers were said to have lost jobs due to the slump in fish sales.

Despite the gloom and despondency that unemployment can generate, community
and civic voices had many ideas about how to turn the situation around. They
felt that workers and employers could generate ways of dealing with problems
rather than simply closing.

The room for new enterprises and range of local productive resources that
people pointed out was astounding.

The options raised included small livestock keeping, growing and processing
furniture and timber products from indigenous trees, craft production,
welding, running grinding mills, fishing projects, processing, canning,
drying and retailing of fruits and vegetables, cattle fattening, paper
recycling, running tourist lodges and a host more.

"Some people are travelling hundreds of kilometres to major centres to buy
goods that could be produced in their home areas," one person commented. It
was evident that people were keenly aware of the local possibilities for
earning a living.

So what are the obstacles they face? A number were reported.
Many areas lack secure energy supplies to power production.

Transport is expensive and unreliable and roads are sometimes poor. People
have not been able to access adequate reliable start-up capital, and
complain of political bias and obstacles in accessing public funds.

They also say they cannot access or afford commercial loans, due to high
interest rates, or demands for security.

They felt that there was inadequate public investment in management,
financial and production skills for local entrepreneurs and that some
private organisations who used to provide skills or financial inputs now
found it difficult to operate in their areas.

A further cause of job loss was industrial action. A study was carried out
on this issue by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in 2001. It
analysed 51 industrial actions and interviewed 10 unions.

The study found that the existing labour law has created room for mass
dismissal of employees after industrial action, and is highly prejudicial to

The study showed that:
* strike actions are a direct or indirect cause of dismissals;
* the legal protection given to workers unfairly dismissed is very weak; and
* cases involving dismissals take an extremely long time to resolve.

The ZCTU study showed that the current system punishes workers twice.
Firstly, workers often resort to strike action because of the unwieldy and
non-responsive management by employers of industrial relations.

In the study cases, employers had, for example, avoided voluntary
arbitration in favour of the slower process of compulsory arbitration over
disputes, or had not implemented correct bipartite procedures for short-time
work or retrenchment.

Frustrated workers resorted to strike action to speed up the resolution of
their issues.

The same workers were then dismissed in terms of the legal provisions
governing strikes.

They were then further punished with a second slow process of resolving
disputes around their dismissal, while dealing with loss of jobs and income.

The ZCTU has thus objected strongly to provisions in the current Harmonised
Labour Bill that further curtail rights to strike. The labour movement
argues that the Bill should instead be amended to avoid giving open licence
to employers to dismiss employees after collective job action.

In a situation of high unemployment, the fact that the current and proposed
labour law provisions on industrial action further increase unemployment and
poverty does not make sense.

Members of Parliament debating the Harmonised Labour Bill have the
opportunity to make one legal dent in the conditions generating job loss.

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Daily News

MDC accuses police of barring rallies

1/26/02 8:57:33 AM (GMT +2)

From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

THE MDC has suspended rallies in Manicaland after the police allegedly
banned the party from campaigning in the province for this year's crucial
presidential election. The ban comes soon after the police and soldiers
descended on Sakubva residential area and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on

Yesterday, Pishayi Muchauraya, the MDC's spokesman in Manicaland, said: "We
had 10 rallies lined up on 12 January in Buhera. Five were to be held in
Buhera South and the other five in Buhera North. But after we were
approached by the police, who threatened to arrest us if we went ahead with
the rallies, we decided to suspend them for the safety of our supporters."

Francis Mubvuta, the Manicaland police spokesman, immediately denied the

He said: "We have not banned any political party from campaigning. Instead,
what we did was to urge all parties to campaign peacefully. The allegation
that we have banned rallies is not true."

But Muchauraya insisted the police had ordered his party to desist from
holding any rallies in the province. "It's now virtually impossible to hold
rallies in Rusape, Buhera, Nyanga, Chipinge and other areas without police
intervention. Just last week, one of our vehicles was impounded by Zanu PF
youths at a rally in the presence of the police, who just stood by and

Meanwhile, Zanu PF supporters in Rusape have reportedly intensified their
violent campaign in the constituency, assaulting passengers on buses passing
through the town who fail to produce Zanu PF membership cards.

Yesterday, The Daily News received reports from Rusape that the youths were
now asking people to produce their IDs following the passing into law of the
draconian Public Order and Security Bill. The Act makes it mandatory for all
Zimbabweans above the age of 16 to carry on their person identity documents
when in public places.

Failure to produce an ID at the police's request attracts a fine of not more
than $5 000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both.

Under the Act, public violence attracts a fine of not more than $100 000 or
imprisonment of up to 10 years or both. Organisers of public gatherings are
required to give at least four days' written notice of their intentions to
the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, residents of Sakubva said yesterday they were living in fear
after the deployment of armed soldiers and riot police who have imposed a
dusk-to-dawn curfew to curb political violence.

Foster Kazembe, 27, a barber, said the uniformed forces have been patrolling
the suburb since the beginning of January.

Kazembe said: "We are now living in fear. They threaten to shoot us if we
are seen on the streets after 7 pm. Last Saturday, the police fired tear gas
at around 7.15 pm to disperse a church gathering. Now we can't even pray at

Innocent Gonese, the MP for Mutare Central, described the deployment of the
forces as another move by Zanu PF to intimidate the electorate.

He said Zanu PF had not only positioned soldiers and policemen to harass the
people in his constituency but had also sponsored a gang called "Mutape"
from Chipinge to beat them up.

A similar curfew was reported this week in the Zaka district of Masvingo
province, where armed soldiers and policemen have been stationed. Yesterday,
Francis Mubvuta and Colonel Bonis Gatsheni, the army spokesmen, denied any
knowledge of the deployment.

The Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo referred questions to the police
commissioner, Augustine Chihuri who could not be reached on Thursday

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British film maker's son arrested in Zimbabwe

A white teenage opposition activist has been arrested by police in Zimbabwe.

Tom Spicer has been accused of attempted murder, his relatives say.

He is the son of a British film maker.

Spicer, 17, was taken into custody two days after a magistrate ordered him released on bail for separate allegations of kidnapping.

He reported to a Harare police station and was rearrested, says his mother Edwina Spicer, a British television journalist and filmmaker.

Police told Spicer his arrest was in connection with the attempted murder of a supporter of President Robert Mugabe in a Harare township two weeks ago.

Ms Spicer says her son was a victim of police harassment.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena has confirmed Spicer's re-arrest but would not elaborate on why he was being held.

Spicer was arrested last Sunday when he campaigned with other youths from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Marondera when they were attacked by ruling ZANU-PF supporters, his family says.

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Call for War Games At What Cost?

DON'T say I didn't warn you! The Rambo lobby has begun to demand military measures to deal with Robert Mugabe.

The demand, published by The Sunday Independent during the holiday period, came from Norman Reynolds, described as chief economist in Mugabe's government until 1986. The newspaper gave it extraordinary prominence. South Africa, Reynolds wrote, "must play serious war games on Zimbabwe's borders" in order to force division in the Zimbabwe army "and to be ready for intervention".

This importunate demand was slipped into a long list of other "musts": sanctions, refugee camps, food stockpiles, a commission of inquiry to "nail" corruption, and an economic programme to be imposed after the transfer of power "whether democratically or militarily".

This is dangerous ground. I realise that international law was thrown into confusion when the US kidnapped a foreign head of state (Panama's Noriega), but military operations on the borders used to be regarded as an act of war. Heaven knows what might ensue.

The action seems to me as likely to force division in South Africa's cobbledtogether army as in Mugabe's, especially if we blundered into a fight and got another bloody nose as we did in Lesotho.

What would it cost? What effect would it have on the rand? What resources would have to be diverted from our social programmes to the military? Might we need eventually to resume conscription, and how would that affect the emigration of skills?

None of these questions is asked or answered. Instead, we are bombarded with meretricious warnings of what will happen to us if Mugabe survives (as he shows every intention of doing).

The propaganda is blatant. Reynolds, for example, demanded on December 30 the establishment of a $250m strategic stockpile of maize, wheat and other basic foodstuffs to feed Zimbabweans. A fortnight later, in the same newspaper, he asserted astonishingly that the decline in Zimbabwean food production was causing our food prices to soar.

He predicted that most South African families would be impoverished, the real loss to the economy might be R50bn, the rand would be impossible to defend, children would drop out of school, and crime would rise!

Well, which is it to be? Do we face crisis because Zimbabwe cannot feed us, or does there exist, somewhere, a surplus for a stockpile to enable us to feed Zimbabwe?

A year ago I was derided when I predicted that pressure for intervention would move from denunciation to symbolic sanctions, to targeted sanctions, to punitive sanctions, and to direct military intervention. The Rambo lobby feigned innocence.

I was also derided when I argued for constructive engagement, combined with support for international action led by the Great Powers, the United Nations or the Commonwealth. I suggested that we do everything possible to insulate ourselves from the coming turmoil (including preparing refugee camps and calling on the UN Commission for Refugees to provide food aid), but that we refuse absolutely to accept prime responsibility for Britain's left-over colonial mess.

That is roughly what our government has done, albeit not with excessive skill, and we should be grateful: it has perhaps spared us the costs of blundering into disaster. But every step of the way, the Rambo lobby has used Zimbabwe as a stick to beat President Mbeki, recklessly undermining both national confidence and the currency.

Meanwhile, the underlying choices have not changed materially. Mugabe, facing extinction if he loses his grip, cannot yield to exhortation, or insult, or pressure, or to the milder forms of sanctions. To remove him it will be necessary to use force or to impose the sort of sanctions that will collapse the economy. Any more optimistic scenario underrates the determination of the Mugabe clique to survive.

The time has surely come for President Mbeki to emerge from his habitual sulk and confront his critics in Parliament: Do they want to prepare, as Reynolds demands, for military intervention? Do they want to move the army to the border?

Do they want merely to insult Mugabe with useless sanctions, or are they ready to starve Zimbabwean peasants until he surrenders? Will they accept responsibility for the stabilisation and reconstruction of Zimbabwe afterwards?

And will they pay the price? Let's hear it.

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Harare is a Threat to Africa, Says German President


The political instability in Zimbabwe posed a threat to the entire African continent, German President Johannes Rau said in Pretoria on Monday.

"When people in Europe look at Africa and the developments here, they see South Africa but they also see the other countries. They see the developments taking place in a country like Zimbabwe and they hope that the rights of the individual and the rule of law are going to prevail.

"Right now that is not the case. They are very much threatened, and that in itself poses a threat to the African continent as a whole," he told reporters after talks with President Thabo Mbeki.

Rau, who is on a three-day state visit to South Africa, said Germany condemned what was happening in Zimbabwe, but declined to elaborate on possible sanctions against that country.

He stressed one could not draw any parallels between South Africa and its troubled northern neighbour.

Mbeki said the main aim of the southern African region at this stage was to ensure that Zimbabwe's presidential elections in March were free and fair.

"So the region with regard to the question of sanctions is saying: 'No, the task ahead of us is to ensure we have a properly elected president of Zimbabwe, elected freely by the people of Zimbabwe'," he said.

Asked if sanctions would be considered by South Africa should the elections turn out not to be free and fair, Mbeki said the Southern African Development Community would consider that question if the time came.

"The critical challenge is to do whatever needs to be done to ensure free and fair elections ... in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

"The instability has gone on for too long. (Zimbabweans are) unable to solve very urgent economic problems that face them, levels of poverty are increasing in the country, conflict has increased. If you added to that a fraudulent election, worsening the lives of those millions of Zimbabwe --that has to be avoided."

The two leaders also discussed the economic and political ties between their countries.

These relations were very important for South Africa's development, Mbeki said.

"We've got a range of relations with Germany ... which are of critical importance as far as the sort progress we want to make in this country is concerned.

"We spent a bit of time talking about those things, economic co-operation and political co-operation. These matters are important for our success here."

They also discussed issues relating to the development of the continent as a whole.

Rau was accompanied by a delegation of German businessmen and representatives of civil society.

"Our discussions today were very much to the point, very much concerned with practical questions, and questions of common interest. We touched upon them in great detail," the German president said through an interpreter.

He added his country had been closely following developments in South Africa since 1994, and had great hopes and expectations.

"These hopes and expectations are not affected in any negative by one the other critical remark about developments or one or other critical development here," he said.

"I have come here to see with my own eyes, to listen with my own ears, to see the developments taking place here, in the political, economic and cultural fields.

"I return with great hopes and expectations to my own country."

Asked what role his country could play in assisting southern Africa to cope with the difficulties of globalisation, Rau said globalisation was an inescapable development.

"I believe no-one should try to escape it. It is an economic process that is going to fail if it is not accompanied with the social, cultural and humane aspects of development."

Every country would have to find its own way to deal with globalisation, he added.

"We live in one world now. That is the first lesson we have to learn. We are no longer divided along the lines that separate continents. We share problems. We have different answers sometimes to those problems."

Ongoing debate was needed on the topic, Rau said.

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Obasanjo: Mugabe Pledges Fair Elections
Martin Rushmere
VOA News: 21 Jan 2002 19:25 UTC

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has told him that President Robert Mugabe has agreed to make sure there will be free and fair presidential elections in Zimbabwe in March. The Nigerian leader met Mr. Tsvangirai and President Mugabe separately early Monday during a seven-hour stop over in the capital.

The meeting in Harare between Mr. Tsvangirai and President Obasanjo was the first since Nigeria brokered an agreement in Abuja for Zimbabwe to return to the rule of law and stop violence. In return, Britain agreed to help pay compensation to white commercial farmers whose land has been seized by the Zimbabwe government.

Since then many more white-owned farms have been taken over and invaded by militant groups loyal to Mr. Mugabe. There have also been thousands of incidents of violence, and at least 20 people have been killed.

Human rights groups blame the ruling ZANU-PF party for almost all of the incidents.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement that Mr. Tsvangirai had been greatly encouraged by the meeting. The statement said Nigerian President Obasanjo had told the MDC leader that Mr. Mugabe has pledged to allow free and fair elections and to stop violence immediately.

Mr. Tsvangirai replied, however, that "rhetoric was not matched by action," and referred to Zimbabwe police preventing a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday. At least 18 people were injured when police fired tear gas. Police say that four officers were hurt.

The MDC said that Mr. Mugabe also told the Nigerian president that he would abide by the Southern African Development Community declaration that there will not be any restrictions on foreign and domestic monitors at the presidential elections on March 9-10.

The Zimbabwe government says the Nigerian leader fully backed Mr. Mugabe over the seizure of white-owned farms. The government says the Nigerian leader also referred to what the government calls "the slow pace" of the Abuja agreement.

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Editorials and news coverage of Zimbabwe, Mugabe and former Rhodesia

Where are the reporters who covered the Rhodesian elections in the 1980's? – They can't all be retired or dead as it was only several decades ago.

I am stunned at how recent news coverage refers to Zimbabwe's beginnings prior to 1980 but ignores the widely observed fact prior to that year of Robert Mugabe speaking on the BBC about the need to "cull whites". Current coverage ignores the history of vocal warnings by Rhodesians that Marxist-led majority peasant uprisings would lead to ruthless, anarchic dictatorships, (this was true and has remained true not just in Africa). The widespread 1970’s practice of killing European and African missionaries as evidence of the ZANU and ZAPU led guerrillas/terrorists/freedom-fighters' characters were strongly expressed by Rhodesians as sounding a strong warning of things to come which it has in several documented ways in the past 21 years. Current coverage mostly ignores the ongoing international "discussions" by Ian Smith that the country was rich and vital and needed to continue its rapid development economically and socially before making major political change. Those discussions preceded Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in the early 1960s right through to the infamous "Internationally Observed" elections of 1980.

Where are the 1980’s United Nations Observers now, and what do they say? I saw them joyriding in aeroplanes as they behaved worse than the false stereotype of colonials drinking it up without any responsibility, living the high life in the local hotels. The United Nations did not report the intimidation which was violent and widespread, occurring visibly at election polls and also before and after the so-called "victory". The Rhodesian forces were sold out by being told up to the minute to disarm as in all other areas the vote was not fixed by violence, then the announcement of the free and fair election of Mugabe. Those UN observers attending the sell out of Rhodesia to its present corrupt and decayed state will mostly be aged mid-forties to early-fifties. It could only be by a trick of their memory loss or non-observance in 1980 that they could be the least surprised about this latest intimidation, threats, violence and land grab - which is exactly what they stood behind in failing to report intimidation in 1980.

It is distressing and shameful to me to see the fate of Kathy Olds, but a huge win for the old ideologues of Marxism who had a vision of apartheid in Rhodesia (this itself was never Rhodesian law or culture). Those ideologues never did more than lift their university readings and join a few marches to help bring about this ill-advised destruction of one of the most promising and fast-progressing countries of the world prior to their interference. (Many of these ideologues are, I’m sure, now teachers of former Rhodesians’ children, who like mine are being raised in relative physical safety in Australia, Canada, USA and the UK, and share the questionably lucky fate that might be decided for Kathy Olds’ children). The Olds sound like they were a typical Rhodesian farming family. Unfortunately now for Kathy she has had a husband give his life protecting not only their family’s life-style but protecting a place and a living that fed and employed many other people. Most white farmers as far as I could tell worked extremely hard and long hours, often to maintain standards of affluence not much different from welfare supported living in UK or Australia. To see Kathy Olds now forced to seek refugee status from a country that destroyed her home is tragic. How she managed to get out of Zimbabwe or into England is unclear. It is not a simple matter of the door being open for anyone to leave, black or white, as many have no way of leaving and nowhere to go. Personally the story touches me deeply because I believe that she and I demographically are probably similar in our first twenty years of life. However, she did not have outside citizenship and has had to give so much more, and has tried so much harder against all the odds before giving in. I expect the bitterness and confusion for her will be so much worse in begging for a home from the very people who destroyed her chances at birth of massively contributing to her corner of the world.

Current coverage will be much more accurate if it acknowledges that Zimbabwe's tragic present outcome was widely foreseen well before the elections of 1980. It is not a surprise, Mugabe has not changed, and Marxism always did espouse the peasants revolting violently against capitalist owners of production. Some reporters like to mix this up with other issues of Indian land-rights but this does not fairly represent the African issues of the 1980s or of the present day.

Banning Mugabe from this or that, putting selective sanctions on, not sending Aid when it never was used for development or survival, and when Mugabe has already lined his pockets via the Congo and America is another form of standing by. No-one appears to be considering seizing the misappropriated Aid assets and redistributing them in the way they were intended, albeit too late for much hope now. How could journalists think it will make any difference if Zimbabwe does not outlaw foreign journalists and international observers? They did not speak against Mugabe or ZAPU or ZANU in 1980, and they are stunningly quiet now!

Ruth Smith

(A former Southern Rhodesian, Rhodesian, Zimbabwe-Rhodesian and Zimbabwean national and resident, and birth-registered British citizen for 20 years, and subsequently for a further 20 years British resident, Australian resident and present Australian citizen.)

Perth, WA
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National Post Online - Canada

Mugabe rewarding loyalty with farmland, critics say

Zimbabwean white farmers ousted for President's friends

Corinna Schuler
National Post

Sherry Dunn is comforted by brother John Riley, left, and neighbour Guy
Watson-Smith. Mrs. Dunn's husband, Allan, died after government supporters
attacked him on his farm.

JOHANNESBURG - Solomon Mujuru, a retired army general and staunch supporter
of Zimbabwe's ruling party, is a man of wealth with several farms to his
name. But he wanted just one more. Something big.

Robert Mugabe, the President, was happy to oblige.

Three ruling-party thugs drove up to Guy and Vicky Watson-Smith's farmhouse
in rural Beatrice one sunny afternoon, plopped themselves down on the
verandah and ordered the family to leave within the hour.

"We wouldn't want to have another death in this district," one man snarled,
referring to the family's neighbour, one of nine white farmers to be
murdered during two years of violent land seizures in Zimbabwe.

Shaking, the couple and their two teenaged children packed a suitcase and
fled the thriving 1,200-hectare tobacco farm that had been their home for 18

That was in September. Since, strangers have taken control of the
Watson-Smiths' land, their home, two pick-up trucks, eight tractors, corn
supplies, fertilizer stocks and millions of dollars in irrigation equipment.

At first the couple believed the law would prevail and they would be allowed
to return. They were wrong.

Mr. Watson-Smith soon learned the man behind the abrupt eviction is none
other than the famed Mr. Mujuru, alias Rex Nhongo, leader of Mr. Mugabe's
guerrilla force during the 1970s independence war.

He was an army general until 1995 and is now a businessman who sits in the
politburo of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Unity-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF). His wife, Joyce, is the Minister of Water Affairs.

"It just makes me sick," says Mrs. Watson-Smith during a lengthy interview
this week in South Africa. "These land seizures are not about alleviating of
poverty. It is about greed and power, about rewarding [Mr. Mugabe's] loyal

Mr. Mugabe is fighting to survive the toughest re-election campaign of his
22-year rule, and "fast-track" land reform has proved useful for buying
friends. The government maintains it is seizing 6,000 hectares of white
commercial farmland to resettle about 100,000 impoverished blacks and
redress the wrongs inflicted during British colonial rule. Indeed, many
landless peasants have received small plots, seed and enough government
assistance to start farming. But it is increasingly clear Mr. Mujuru is not
the only new landowner who fails to fit the category of "hungry masses."

Tony Gara, a former mayor of Harare who once likened Mr. Mugabe to Jesus
Christ, has seen his political loyalty rewarded with seized farmland. So
have Agripa Gava, an executive member of the war veterans' association,
Augustine Chihuri, the country's police commissioner who vowed to "descend
hard" on opposition "terrorists," Reuben Barwe, chief correspondent at the
fawning Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and several senior journalists at
the state-run Herald newspaper, a dutiful government mouthpiece.

The Commercial Farmers Union notes that others to receive land include the
wealthy owner of a satellite dish company, the manager of a canning factory,
town councillors, a district administrator and a restaurant owner.

"We are not apologetic about our stance at all," Joseph Made, the
Agriculture Minister, declared last month as state-run newspapers published
a list of 1,000 new black farm owners. "No one who wants land will be denied

Brian Raftopoulos, one of the few political scientists in the Zimbabwean
capital, Harare, who still dares to speak openly, says most locals are not

"The land reform program was designed to create a new commercial land-owning
class which is loyal to the regime and will support Mugabe's policies," he
says in a phone interview. "It's a common phenomenon in Africa -- leaders
enrich themselves and those in their circle while the rest of the country
goes deeper into poverty."

There is little the international community can do to stop what is happening
within Zimbabwe, he adds. But the European Union, Britain and the United
States have all begun to investigate the overseas assets of Mr. Mugabe and
his associates. Britain and the United States have both threatened to impose
"smart sanctions" that would selectively punish Zimbabwe's ruling elite with
personal travel bans and investment barriers.

Though Mr. Mugabe has not personally been caught in the kind of corruption
scandals that dog many of his ministers, critics openly question how he can
afford his extravagant lifestyle.

With a reported presidential salary of US$24,000, the President and his
young wife, Grace, have managed to acquire a string of properties in
Zimbabwe, including a US$10-million mansion in a quiet Harare suburb. In the
1990s, Mr. Mugabe was Africa's most traveled president, routinely
commandeering Air Zimbabwe planes to fly to London for shopping sprees at

In South Africa this month, a group of U.S. lawyers accused Mr. Mugabe's
government officials and military officers of looting Zimbabwe's treasury.

"Assets are being transferred out of Zimbabwe by allies and military
officers close to President Mugabe," said Ed Royce, Chairman of the House of
Representatives' Africa Committee.

He said Mr. Mugabe and his allies have recently made a "a wave of
significant deposits" in U.S. banks. European governments are reporting
similar inflows, and Britain's regulatory Financial Services Authority has
demanded banks there comb their client list for likely money launders.

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss the
possibility of freezing Mugabe's overseas assets in order to push for a free
and fair election in March.

Financial analysts say Zimbabwe's ruling class is likely to have established
a sophisticated network of slush funds long ago and it will be difficult to
make Mr. Mugabe feel the pinch.

Mr. Watson-Smith traveled to Britain this week to tell his story and lobby
for action.

"We hope it works," says his wife. "A free election is the only hope we have
that we might be able to return home."

Today, the family lives in exile in Cape Town while, back in Zimbabwe, Mr.
Mujuru reaps a profit from the tobacco crops they planted.

Though the family is just one among more than 2,000 white farmers to lose
land and livelihoods to Mr. Mugabe's regime, their story illustrates a new
level of audacity among the ruling elite.

In December, the family won a landmark High Court ruling that ordered Mr.
Mujuru to return all moveable assets -- from machinery and vehicles to bags
of seed. But when friends went to the farm to collect the goods, they were
chased away by "war veterans." Police did nothing.

Three weeks ago, armed men raided the offices of Mr. Watson-Smith's lawyer,
issuing death threats and physically shoving staff around.

"This week we found out they have sold every head of cattle [430] and
pocketed the money," says Mrs. Watson.

She was eventually permitted to return -- without her husband --to collect
personal possessions from the house. Lady, an ageing pet dog that could not
be moved on short notice, was "put down" with a shot from the neighbour's

"There was no time to get a vet," she says. "It was the most humane thing to
do -- I was in tears. I walked the garden together with my kids, and said
goodbye to our ducks, our swans, our home -- our life in Zimbabwe. My
husband never even had that chance."

"We are powerless," she adds. "They just took everything we worked for. But
Zimbabwe is still our home and we hope that, one day, we can go back."

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