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Daily News - Feature

Welcome to the next 90 days of hell

1/1/02 9:05:52 AM (GMT +2)

Nungu @ large with Tagwirei Bango

AFTER the Christmas and New Year fiesta, welcome to the next 90 days, a
period Zimbabwe will, once again, have a chance to choose the future.

A very dangerous time as well.

Anarchy, political violence, mass psychological terror - on a scale never
seen before - will hit us hard, separating rural and urban areas.
In the past week alone, five innocent people died in political violence.

Harare's mayoral and municipal elections, as ordered by the Supreme Court in
December, will kick off the do-or-die presidential poll.

While it is easy to predict the outcome of Harare elections, many residents
say they are worried about a potential backlash from a Zanu PF loss in the

Such a loss, at a time when the presidential election is a few days away,
has a serious psychological effect on candidates and their voters.

It will swing campaign trails.

The municipal election is a major irritant to Zanu PF.
It is highly likely that President Mugabe will postpone the implementation
of the Supreme Court order to some time after March.

From the June 2001 parliamentary election results, Zanu PF and the MDC are
running neck-and-neck.

That leaves many wondering about what Zimbabwe will look like in April, with
either Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai at State House.

Whoever loses has to wait until 2008 for another chance.

Mugabe is under pressure at home and away.

Pressure from the Commonwealth, from the Democratic Republic of Congo,
United States sanctions and the European Union.

Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads of state meet in an
emergency summit in Blantyre soon to debate a report from the Ministerial
Action Group that was here two weeks ago.

"The Zimbabwean ministers are now accepting that the situation is beyond
their control and that they need help," according to South Africa's Labour
Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, who is part of the report drafting team.

The Sadc summit will be followed by the Commonwealth meeting in Brisbane and
stinging debates in the European parliament, buoyed by the US sanctions Act.

At home, the scarcity economy and food security will drive many to debate
the nation's politics, as individuals struggle to defend themselves from
domestic tension and stress.

Shortages of fuel, soft drinks, cooking oil, maize and other basics are now
beginning to bite.

These issues will expose ordinary voters to irascible behaviour from Mugabe
and Zanu PF.

They will try to deflect their anger and frustration from the international

That will open the way for senseless violence.

Zimbabweans seem to be failing to put in place firm mechanisms to deal with
this scourge.

Human rights monitors said between January and October, 27 633 people were
forcibly displaced by violence.

The majority of the perpetrators are known Zanu PF supporters, war veterans
and the police.

They started violence as a means of gaining and protecting their political
support in February 2000.

That approach exposed the party's weakness and eroded the legitimacy of the
party's June victory in 37 constituencies.

Since February 2000, the public has lost faith in the police because of
their failure to act against violence and anarchy countrywide.

Desperate villagers and poor, unemployed youths, after falling victim to
marauding bands of political bandits, hobble into private newspaper offices
to tell their own stories.

Many don't bother reporting to the police. The feeling is that it is waste
of time to do so.

The conduct of the police makes the entire force unfit and unsuitable to
maintain law and order in the dangerous period leading to March.

In fact, the force, through its inept and clumsy behaviour in the past two
years, has contributed significantly to the massive lawlessness being
experienced countrywide.

In the Sadc region, Zimbabwe has the highest cases of election-related
violence, partly caused by the government's reluctance to initiate and
develop a code of conduct for political parties.

A code brings order and self-regulation in political campaign. It helps a
country to avoid unnecessary injury, destruction of property and loss of

Such documents spell out methods of handling disputes, regulate media access
for political parties, campaign language and general behaviour at political

If the parties are unwilling to volunteer and put such a safety valve in
place, it then becomes the duty of either parliament or the government to
impose a code in the spirit and sovereign duty of avoiding chaos during

Parties come and go, so do their leaders.

But voters, the nation and visitors must remain protected from hooligans,
paid thugs and overzealous party zealots.

Listen to Endy Mhlanga, secretary-general of a dangerous faction of the war
veterans' association:
"We are saying the MDC must not address any rallies in the rural areas . . .
we are going to do what we used to do during the liberation struggle when
rural areas were prohibited zones for the enemy.

"We also know that some of the people from the towns are visiting their
folks in the rural areas.
"Let them be warned that we will be on the look-out for them and will be
monitoring them."

If the police were still interested in Zimbabwe, Mhlanga should have been
arrested for such threatening language.

He was basically inciting any rogue elements in the village, bruised by a
lost liberation war glory, to turn against any person visiting their parents
and relatives in the rural areas.

Their crime: living in an urban area.

Asked for comment on Mhlanga's serious threats, Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu
PF secretary for Information, said: "They are part of us and it is part of
our campaign strategy."

What kind of society are they trying to build?

Between 1998 and the period just before the ill-fated referendum last year,
several multi-party discussions were held with a view to putting in place a
code of conduct.

The meetings which involved the government and civil society were organised
and funded by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

Dumiso Dabengwa, then Minister of Home Affairs, and Archbishop Peter
Hatendi, representing the Electoral Supervisory Commission, were party to
such efforts on the realisation that Zimbabwe was mature enough to allow its
citizens to choose their future in peace.

A draft was worked out.

Unfortunately, the draft constitution was rejected by the majority, setting
in motion a wave of panic and confusion in Zanu PF, a key player in the
violence game.

At the time, Mugabe could not be expected to shake hands with Tsvangirai and
Margaret Dongo after signing that well-intentioned document.

The NDI later sent a team to observe the June 2000 poll. It produced an
unfavourable report. That sealed the fate of the project.

A code, acceptable to all, is still a necessity.

Without it, weak parties in power can corrupt the police to condone violence
against their own people - and service charter.

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Daily News

Hefty salary increment for police and soldiers

1/1/02 8:48:22 AM (GMT +2)

From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo

THE police force has received hefty salary increases of over 100 percent,
seen by observers as Zanu PF's attempt to buy the loyalty of the police
ahead of the presidential election in March.

Sources within the Salary Services Bureau (SSB) said the huge pay hikes
would be effected this month.

The officials said the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) would be removed from
the pool of other civil servants.

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) are also expected to get huge pay increases.

The increases are over and above the 55 percent cost of living adjustments
awarded to all civil servants during the collective bargaining exercise for

The police, who fall under the Home Affairs Ministry received $17 billion in
the 2002 budget announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Dr Simba Makoni, in November.

Leonard Nkala, the President of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta)
said yesterday they had received reports that the government had awarded the
police huge increases, but warned that his members would demand similar

He said: "We have been negotiating with the government and we finally agreed
that all civil servants will get 55 percent. For them to go behind our back
and give exclusive increases to a selected group means they are not
negotiating in good faith. We will demand the same and if we are denied, our
members will draw up the next course of action".

Efforts to get comment from Home Affairs Minister, John Nkomo were fruitless

The MDC shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Professor Welshman Ncube, yesterday
said his party took the latest increases to be part of a widening campaign
by Zanu PF to blindfold the civil service into "trading its professionalism
for commissariat posts in Zanu PF".

"The government has no money to pay these huge salary bills and we are
likely to see them borrowing funds for this bribery project which they have
embarked on," said Ncube. "No amount of bribery will stop the people of
Zimbabwe from determining their destiny. The end is coming and only foolish
people will take these salaries to mean better living because prices of
basic commodities are doubling daily."

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Daily News

High Court orders Zanu PF to lay off

1/1/02 8:45:13 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

HIGH Court judge, Justice Benjamin Paradza, yesterday ordered Zanu PF
leaders and their supporters to immediately stop interfering with the
installation of Francis Dhlakama of the MDC as the elected executive mayor
for Chegutu following his victory in the election held on 8 and 9 December.

Dismissing two applications brought before the court by Stanley Majiri, the
losing Zanu PF candidate, the judge said the order sought by Zanu PF to stop
the swearing-in ceremony of Dhlakama, was not in the spirit of the law.

In his first application, Majiri wanted the court to prohibit Dhlakama from
taking office as mayor and to stop him from executing any of the functions
of a mayor.

The judge dismissed the application on the grounds that the directive sought
by Zanu PF was incompatible with the legislation as provided for by Section
48 of the Urban Councils Act of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The judge threw out an order requested by Zanu PF to prohibit the town clerk
of Chegutu from administering the oath of office on the Chegutu mayor-elect.

The application was dismissed on the grounds that council legislation
compels a new mayor to assume office as soon as the result is declared.

The judge also noted that if the new mayor was barred from executing his
official duties, that could adversely affect the council business of
Chegutu, and prejudice ratepayers of crucial service.

In another unsuccessful application, Zanu PF wanted a court order compelling
the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, to open the sealed ballot boxes used
in the Chegutu mayoral election to enable their candidate to retrieve
evidence of alleged electoral anomalies.

But the judge dismissed the application, saying the matter was not urgent
and should be properly dealt with by the judge who will deal with the
petition already filed by Zanu PF in which it is challenging the result of
the election.

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Daily News

UN food agency to look at urban needs

1/1/02 8:38:19 AM (GMT +2)

Farming Editor

THE United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), which in December made an
urgent appeal for US$54 million (Z$2,970 billion) to feed more than 550 000
rural Zimbabweans faced with severe food shortages, will soon move to urban
areas to find out how many more people require food.

In an interview, WFP deputy regional director for Eastern and Southern
Africa, Nicolas Siwingwa, said the agency would soon begin a food aid survey
in urban areas to find out how many people also required assistance.

Siwingwa said: "We have already lined up a team of experts who will come to
urban areas and we expect to expand the programme to these areas."

The WFP food aid programmes in urban areas would be probably the first such
projects in Zimbabwe in recent times.

Urban populations have over the years been left out of the government food
aid programmes as they were considered better off than the rural people.

"We know there are food shortages in urban areas and food aid programme will
be launched after the survey," Siwingwa said.

He did not say how the urban food aid programmes would be co-ordinated, but
gave details on the rural food projects.

Siwingwa said the WFP would be distributing 93 646 tonnes of cereals, mainly
maize, 12 215 tonnes of pulses, 5 090 tonnes of groundnuts,
3 664 tonnes of con soya blend and 2 036 tonnes of vegetable to the 500 000
rural communities who urgently need food.

The bulk of the food would be imported from the United States of America,
while some of it would come from South Africa.

WFP regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Judith Lewis, said
last month that the agency hoped to secure funding as quickly as possible to
ensure that food distribution was underway this month. She appealed to
donors for cash contributions, saying this would help secure food stocks
rapidly and locally.

"We are in the process now of identifying non-governmental organisations on
the ground who have experience in food aid and distribution. We need
implementing partners who can hit the ground running. We have been planning
on using these organisations as partners so as not to lose time and in the
next few weeks we will have workshops with them," Lewis said.

Lewis dismissed widespread concern among non-governmental organisations in
Zimbabwe that the government would use food aid as a political tool during
the run-up to March's presidential election by providing aid to vulnerable
rural populations only. She said WFP and other assessments indicated that
rural populations were in dire need of food. Further assessments would be
undertaken, she said, with a view to extending the relief operation to urban
centres where poverty and hunger have been deepening.

The government asked for international assistance in October and signed an
agreement with WFP last week, paving the way for the agency to begin

Already, many Zimbabweans average only one meal a day, or are going an
entire day without food.

The hardest-hit populations are spread throughout 22 districts located in
the south, west and extreme north of Zimbabwe, areas where food shortages
and hunger are a chronic problem.

Zimbabwe is facing food shortages because crop production was poor in the
past season due to bad weather patterns, while commercial farmers
drastically reduced planting due to uncertainties caused by the land

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Daily News

Harare terrorised

1/1/02 8:37:18 AM (GMT +2)

By Ray Matikinye and Collin Chiwanza

PROPERTY worth thousands of dollars was damaged yesterday when Zanu PF
militia went on the rampage, stoning houses in Kuwadzana Extension in broad

Residents complained that the police stood idly by while the youths
terrorised them for about two-and-a-half hours.

Armed with sticks, stones and other weapons, they looted grocery shops, flea
markets and vegetable stalls.

They destroyed windows at more than 70 houses and stole clothing.

Initially the hoodlums had overwhelmed the residents until their victims
ganged up against them, resulting in running battles. Police stepped in to
protect the Zanu PF youths, now outnumbered by angry residents.

A member of the militia hiding in a maize patch after looting clothes from
one house was severely assaulted by the residents when he tried to rejoin
his retreating colleagues.

A woman whose food and clothes were looted complained: "The police are
abetting the violence. How else could anyone explain their behaviour when
they are supposed to protect us from these villains?"

The Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo, speaking by telephone from
Bulawayo, said residents whose rights were violated should report to the

"Nobody should break the law and assault another person," he said.

When told of the police inaction and their apparent protection of the
youths, Nkomo said: "If the police were standing by while the youths were
damaging property, then write what you saw."

The youths attacked houses and people at random, leaving many residents
stunned and terrified. They chanted Zanu PF slogans as they stoned cars and
houses, beating up residents who would not join them in shouting their
party's slogans.

A resident walking behind his wife when a smaller group of the youths
approached said they ordered her to shout a slogan.

"She was saved from being beaten up by one of the youths who pleaded with
them not to attack her because she is pregnant," the husband said.

Residents said the youths included recent "graduates" from the Border Gezi
training centre in Mt Darwin. They were transported in five buses to a war
veterans' base at Snake Park from where they launched their attack.

A staffer in the private hire section at ZUPCO confirmed Zanu PF hired five
buses yesterday morning. "The buses were supposed to pick up people at
Fourth Street," he said. Zanu PF Harare province offices are in that street.

Most residents refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

But Lawson Mugadza said he was in the bathroom when he heard a commotion
outside. "I thought the police were raiding my illegal beer outlet. Then I
heard the first window pane shattering and I realised it was not the police.
Four other windows were stoned."

One resident said: "It was like a war situation. We were all scared. Our
children who were playing on the roads ran for cover. They were crying, but
there was nothing we could do."

No action was taken by the police despite numerous calls. Long after the mob
had finished destroying property, the police arrived. But there were no
arrests although the group was still present.

The MP for Kuwadzana, Learnmore Jongwe of the MDC, said in a statement: "It
has become apparent that this so-called national youth service is, in fact,
a Zanu PF party service where the murderous party is recruiting children to
terrorise their own parents. What leaves a bitter taste in the mouth is that
the youths who are causing all this mayhem are doing so under police

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC national youth chairman, has warned his party would
retaliate if Zanu PF militias continue attacking innocent civilians. Chamisa
said although the MDC did not want to pursue an agenda of violence, the
party had been left with no option, except to defend its members. Paddington
Japajapa, the president of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic Empowerment
Organisation, said Zimbabwean youths must not allow themselves to be used by
politicians to unleash violence against political opponents.

Elliot Manyika, the Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, on
Friday denied youths trained for national service were beating up opposition
supporters in both urban and rural areas.


Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 18:12 GMT
Mugabe supporters on rampage

Supporters of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe have rampaged through the
capital Harare beating local residents and looting shops.
The violence began on Monday when an estimated 100 youths descended upon the
townships of Kuwadzana and Mabvuku.

The main opposition party said the young militants attacked people as part
of Mr Mugabe's re-election campaign.

Police have not commented on the incidents.

The violence came after the publication on Monday of the names of 1,000
people who had been allocated land to be seized from white farmers.

A local resident in Kuwadzana said the attackers were supporters of the
governing Zanu-PF party.

"I was coming home from town, when I saw people running, running," the
witness told AFP news agency, fearing to give his name.

"These Zanu-PF people were stealing from the shops, beating people - even in
their houses," he said.

In a statement, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said:
"This group of about 100 youths was beating up people, accusing them of
being MDC supporters."

"[They were] graduates from the Border Gezi Training Camp who, being trained
ostensibly under a national youth service training program ... randomly beat
up and harassed the residents of Kuwadzana," before moving on to the Mabvuku
township, said the MDC's national youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa.

Mr Chamisa said it had become apparent that "this so-called national youth
training service is in fact a Zanu-PF party service where the murderous
Zanu-PF is recruiting children to terrorise their parents".

Land redistribution

On Monday, Zimbabwe's main state-owned newspaper, The Herald, said the first
1,000 names were part of a list to be published in full over the next few
days of 100,000 black Zimbabweans who will benefit from the land
About 1,700 white-owned farms have already been occupied - some violently -
by supporters of President Robert Mugabe in the controversial land reform
programme that is at the heart of the country's political crisis.

The 8.5 million hectares earmarked for seizure in the run-up to presidential
elections next March make up 95% of the land currently owned by white

Correspondents say Mr Mugabe believes that seizing land from white farmers
is a vote-winner and he has made the policy a key part of his campaign for

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Daily News

Ghosts of Matabeleland massacre haunt President Mugabe ahead of polls

1/1/02 8:50:28 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

PRESIDENT Mugabe could face international censure before the Presidential
election next March over atrocities committed by his government in
Matabeleland and Midlands in which over 20 000 people died.

Civic organisations last week said a conference planned next month will
include churches and international human rights organisations to "audit" the

The resolutions of the conference would be passed on to the Commonwealth and
the United Nations for action, which could seriously affect Mugabe's
campaign for an extension of his 21-year rule.

Dr John Makumbe, the chairman of Transparency International, a human rights
watchdog, said several civic organisations, including the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Bulawayo Dialogue, churches and the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) would take part in the conference.

The meeting follows resolutions passed at a crisis conference held in Harare
in October to look at the breakdown of law and order in the country.

It was felt that the atrocities committed by the North Korean-trained 5
Brigade between 1982 and 1987, deserved a special conference.

Makumbe said: "As civic society, we don't believe that anyone can commit
crimes and get away with it. People should account for human rights
violations, even 20 years later."

The 5 Brigade was sent to hunt down dissidents but ended up killing innocent
civilians, mostly supporters of Joshua Nkomo's PF-Zapu. Nkomo had to flee
into self-imposed exile from Mugabe's men.

Makumbe said: "We feel that there is no better time to raise the issue of
the atrocities than now when the same players have embarked on yet another
violent campaign.

"We are in the process of compiling the names of people who are
masterminding the violence today so that when a new democratic order - which
is not far away - is established, we will be able to make them account for
their actions."

Mugabe has accepted responsibility for the atrocities which he described as
"an act of madness" and promised compensation to victims.
But he has failed to stick to his promise.

"We don't believe that someone can kill thousands of people and get away
with it by just saying it was an act of madness," said Bekithemba Sibindi,
the president of the pressure group, Imbovane Yamahlabezulu.

"We expect the international community to do what it did with other tyrants
like Slobodan Milosevic (former Yugoslav President) for crimes against

The CCJP's report on the 1980s atrocities, Breaking the Silence, Building
True Peace, implicates senior officials of Mugabe's inner circle in the

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ABC News

WIRE: 01/01/2002 2:12 pm ET

Zimbabwe plunges into chaos ahead of presidential election

The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) Zimbabwe used to be held up as a model for
Africa, but after nearly two years of chaos and government-sponsored attacks
on white farms and political opponents, the country once known for its
prosperity and stability is hurtling toward anarchy.
Its economy is unhinged, its rural areas are choked by violence, its media,
courts and opposition are under threat and hundreds of thousands of people
are facing starvation
"Four years ago Zimbabwe was a wonderful country," said Tarcisius Zimbiti,
acting director of Zimbabwe's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. "Now we
are in hell."
Human rights workers, opposition leaders and international officials say the
chaos is an orchestrated campaign to ensure the re-election of President
Robert Mugabe, the increasingly unpopular leader who has ruled Zimbabwe
since independence in 1980.
"This is a political game that is being played," Zimbiti said in a telephone
interview. "There is no way we could have free and fair elections because of
the amount of intimidation going on at the moment."
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, did not return repeated calls for
comment from The Associated Press.
The violence began soon after the surprise defeat in February 2000 of a
constitutional referendum that would have further entrenched Mugabe's broad
powers to rule the country.
Acting with tacit government approval, thousands of armed militants led by
veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war began occupying farms owned by white
Zimbabweans, many of whom opposed the referendum and are key supporters of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The militants demanded the farms be seized and distributed to the country's
millions of landless blacks.
Human rights groups said the government was less interested in correcting
Zimbabwe's unfair land allocation than in intimidating opposition supporters
ahead of June 2000 parliamentary elections. The Movement for Democratic
Change won nearly half Parliament's elected seats anyway.
With presidential elections expected in March, the chaos has spread into the
towns and cities and even into the Supreme Court, which declared Mugabe's
plan to seize white-owned land illegal last year.
Hundreds of thugs from Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union
Patriotic Front stormed the court last year, dancing behind the judges'
benches and chanting party slogans. Police made no move to stop them, and no
one was arrested.
Anthony Gubbay, chief justice at the time, has called the court invasion
"disgraceful" and said Mugabe's public repudiations of the courts "show a
blatant and contemptuous disrespect for the constitution."
Earlier this year, the government forced Gubbay to retire, and the court,
with four new judges loyal to Mugabe, ruled the land program legal.
The country's once-thriving independent press has also come under attack.
Police have routinely arrested journalists, authorities have refused entry
to the country to many foreign correspondents, including several from the
AP, and Parliament is considering a harsh new media bill.
The government also has announced plans to ban foreign election monitors.
Ruling party militants have killed scores of opposition supporters. On Nov.
16, the militants firebombed the Movement for Democratic Change office in
Bulawayo, accusing the movement of killing a ruling party militant. Police
arrested the office's administrative staff in the killing, weakening the
movement in the western city that was its stronghold.
"The gloves are completely off," said David Coltart , a spokesman for the
movement. "There is an increasing sense of desperation and paranoia in
government circles."
The ruling party has begun calling the opposition "terrorists," and state
television is labeling the government crackdown a "War on Terror." U.S. Rep.
Ed Royce, a California Republican who sponsored a bill proposing sanctions
on Zimbabwe, called the terrorist accusation "Orwellian" and praised the
opposition for not resorting to violence.
The bill, which has been adopted but most be reconciled with a similar
measure in the U.S. Senate, would freeze loans and debt relief to Zimbabwe
from Western financial institutions. The European Union has proposed similar
But most aid to the economically crippled country has already been frozen.
Unemployment is running at more than 50 percent and inflation is out of
control. The farm violence and bad weather have led to a food shortage that
threatens to leave more than half a million Zimbabweans hungry.
Other leaders in the region, usually reticent to criticize fellow African
leaders, have begun to worry that Zimbabwe's instability could hurt them.
Last month, Botswana President Festus Mogae blamed Mugabe for not ending the
violence, and South African President Thabo Mbeki expressed unhappiness with
the crisis.
"The entire international community is very concerned about the fact that
this is a leader who is literally burning his country down," Royce said by
Certain Mugabe would never leave office without a fight, Zimbiti fears only
his re-election could bring peace.
Coltart disagrees.
"If Mugabe steals this election, there will be almost uncontrollable levels
of anger," he said.

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Zimbabwe faces bleak 2002 as Mugabe seeks new term

HARARE, Jan. 1 Zimbabwe's future in 2002 looks bleak, or uncertain at
best, as President Robert Mugabe wages a ''real war'' to win the greatest
electoral challenge of his career, analysts say.
Analysts say the Southern African state's fortunes will depend largely on
how the increasingly unpredictable Mugabe manages the growing pressure on
his 22-year-old government ahead of presidential elections scheduled for
Besides rising political violence blamed on his supporters, Mugabe
has stepped up the seizure of white-owned farms and is expected to push
through parliament a media bill threatening jail terms for journalists who
violate tough new regulations.
But some analysts believe the former guerrilla leader could still
alter policies which have contributed to Zimbabwe's slide into recession and
put him on a collision course with most of the international community.
''On the facts at hand, the future is looking quite bleak or
uncertain at the very best, but that does not mean that hell is
unavoidable,'' said political analyst Emmanuel Magade.
''Politics is not a mathematical equation, and it's still possible
that Mugabe will realise that his current strategy is not a winning
strategy,'' he told Reuters.
Masipula Sithole, one of Zimbabwe's leading political analysts, says
Mugabe is facing such massive domestic, regional and international
opposition that he would not be able to get away with a violent election
campaign or to cheat.
''It would be suicidal,'' he said. ''But I believe that Mugabe can,
in his own interest, in the interest of his party and in the interest of
Zimbabwe, stop listening to the hawkish advice of young opportunists and
intellectual mercenaries in his court.''

The 14-nation Southern African Development Community has publicly
backed Mugabe's leadership but analysts say there is tough talking behind
the scenes to try to persuade him to comply with regional and international
Zimbabwe's crisis has been blamed for contributing to a slide in
South Africa's currency last month, threatening the continent's biggest
economy with rampant inflation and interest rate hikes.
Zimbabwe's own economy has been crippled by a shortage of fuel and
foreign exchange, while a drop in agricultural output is threatening a food
shortfall. Inflation is at 100 percent and rising, while interest rates are
above 70 percent.
Without international donor support, Mugabe has little chance of
resolving his economic problems, analysts say.
The European Union and the United States have edged closer to
sanctions while the Commonwealth, a grouping of mostly former British
colonies, is threatening to suspend Zimbabwe from the organisation.

Mugabe, who will be 78 next month, launched his bid for re-election
early last month with a fiery declaration of ''real war'' against his
political foes in the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
His government has proposed amendments banning independent observers,
forbidding private voter education and denying voting rights to millions of
Zimbabweans abroad.
The government has also tabled a public order and security bill which
critics say contains sweeping powers to suppress the opposition ahead of the
But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai still poses the strongest challenge
to Mugabe since he won power when the former Rhodesia gained independence
from Britain in 1980.
In an editorial on the eve of the new year, Zimbabwe's
privately-owned Daily News said Zimbabweans could only secure their future
by braving political violence and throwing out Mugabe in the March
''We enter the year 2002, a year which could change the political and
economic fortunes of this beautiful country if the people are courageous in
their choice of leadership,'' it said.

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Food Stocks to Last Until End of January?

The Insider (Harare)

December 31, 2001
Posted to the web December 31, 2001

Staff Writer

Zimbabwe's official maize stocks are at their lowest level in two years.
They are 63 percent below the level at the same time last year, the Famine
Early Warning System says. It says by mid-October, food stocks were
estimated at 200 355 tonnes. It has not yet released figures for November
which would give a clearer picture.

FEWS says stocks at the Grain Marketing Board and the Strategic Grain
Reserve are now decreasing at a faster rate having picked up by 5 000 tonnes
in October from an average of 50 000 tonnes per month. It says that at this
rate, the stocks will be exhausted by the end of January which is too early
for this season's crop.

Even with planned imports of 100 000 tonnes, the country will still have a
deficit until the next harvest in May-June 2002, FEWS says. The government
has assured consumers that the country will not run short of maize. It has
even ordered non-governmental organisations not to distribute food to the
needy fearing they could campaign for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change which is a coalition of labour, civic organisations and academics.
This is despite reports that over 700 000 people will need about 58 000
tonnes of food aid for six months.

FEWS says non-governmental organisations had already started child
supplementary feeding programmes in some districts. Care International was
feeding about 140 000 children in Zvishavane and Mberengwa Districts in the
Midlands; and Mwenezi, Zaka, Chivi and Masvingo Districts in Masvingo. World
Vision was planning to feed 130 000 people under its food-for-work programme
in Mberengwa and Gokwe North Districts of the Midlands; and Matopo, Gwanda,
Beitbridge, and Bulilimamangwe Districts of Matebeleland South. OXFAM was
planning to fund the feeding of 8 500 people in Beitbridge, Masvingo
District, and two informal settlements in Mashonaland West and Central. It
is not clear what happened to these programmes following the government

FEWS also says some 74 998 farm workers and their families who had been
displaced through land occupations required assistance. It says another
group that could easily be ignored is the urban poor. With inflation at just
under 90 percent in September, salaries in real terms had been eroded by 20
percent in 2000, and by more than 70 percent in 2001.

This decline in real wages has occurred despite the 20 to 65 percent salary
increases awarded in much of the formal sector in July 2001. The decline in
salaries in real terms had eroded food security for the lowest paid workers.

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The Insider (Harare)
December 31, 2001
Posted to the web December 31, 2001
Staff Writer

Commercial farmers, who had taken the government to court saying its fast
track resettlement programme was illegal, has changed tack after losing the
case at the Supreme Court.
CFU president Colin Cloete says members may have better luck if they take up
cases at district and provincial levels. "The Union had sought to establish
blanket defences for its members and had expected the declaring of the
current manner in which land acquisition is being implemented to be
generally unlawful. We are informed that individual landowners are not
automatically barred from raising similar defences in respect of the
particular situations that they may face....
"Members are, therefore, advised that given the stark reality on the ground
and in the courts, the most fruitful short-term solutions to immediate
problems are more likely to be achieved through discussion with the
government officials directing the exercise on the ground in their
respective districts. Additionally, we advise that settlements reached in
some recent Administrative Court cases also show that there is still room
for compromise and survival through this route."
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