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.
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
Harare's mayoral and municipal elections, as ordered
by the Supreme Court in December, will kick off the do-or-die presidential
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 city.
Such a loss, at a time when the presidential election is
a few days away, has a serious psychological effect on candidates and their
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
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
Whoever loses has to wait until 2008 for another
Mugabe is under pressure at home and away.
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
"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
The Sadc summit will be followed by the Commonwealth meeting in
Brisbane and stinging debates in the European parliament, buoyed by the US
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
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 smear.
That will open the way for
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
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.
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
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
A code brings order and self-regulation in political
campaign. It helps a country to avoid unnecessary injury, destruction of
property and loss of life.
Such documents spell out methods of
handling disputes, regulate media access for political parties, campaign
language and general behaviour at political rallies.
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
Parties come and go, so do their leaders.
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.
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
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 (NDI).
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
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
The NDI later sent a team to observe the June 2000 poll. It
produced an unfavourable report. That sealed the fate of the
A code, acceptable to all, is still a necessity.
it, weak parties in power can corrupt the police to condone violence against
their own people - and service charter.
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.
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
The increases are over and above the 55 percent cost of living
adjustments awarded to all civil servants during the collective bargaining
exercise for 2002.
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
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 increments.
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
Efforts to get comment from Home Affairs Minister, John Nkomo
were fruitless yesterday.
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
"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."
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.
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.
application was dismissed on the grounds that council legislation compels a
new mayor to assume office as soon as the result is declared.
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
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.
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
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
The WFP food aid programmes in urban areas would be
probably the first such projects in Zimbabwe in recent times.
populations have over the years been left out of the government food aid
programmes as they were considered better off than the rural people.
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
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 operations.
Already, many Zimbabweans
average only one meal a day, or are going an entire day without
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 invasions.
thousands of dollars was damaged yesterday when Zanu PF militia went on the
rampage, stoning houses in Kuwadzana Extension in
Residents complained that the police stood idly by
while the youths terrorised them for about two-and-a-half hours.
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
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 police.
"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
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
"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
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
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
Most residents refused to be named for fear of
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
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
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
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
Police have not commented on the incidents.
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
"I was coming home from town, when I saw people running, running,"
the witness told AFP news agency, fearing to give his name.
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".
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 redistribution. 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
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 Zimbabweans.
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 re-election.
Ghosts of Matabeleland massacre haunt President Mugabe ahead
1/1/02 8:50:28 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
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.
organisations last week said a conference planned next month will include
churches and international human rights organisations to "audit"
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.
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.
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
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.
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
"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
"We expect the international community to do what it did
with other tyrants like Slobodan Milosevic (former Yugoslav President) for
crimes against humanity."
The CCJP's report on the 1980s atrocities,
Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace, implicates senior officials of
Mugabe's inner circle in the atrocities.
Zimbabwe plunges into
chaos ahead of presidential election
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 measures. 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 telephone. 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.
Zimbabwe faces bleak 2002 as Mugabe seeks new
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 March.
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
ZIMBABWE CRISIS AFFECTING REGION 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 norms.
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
MUGABE DECLARES ''REAL WAR'' ON OPPOSITION
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 poll. 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 elections. ''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
December 31, 2001 Posted to the web December 31,
Staff Writer Bulawayo
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.
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
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 order.
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.
The Insider (Harare) December 31, 2001 Posted to the web December 31,
2001 Staff Writer Bulawayo
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."