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08 January 2002 09:27

The Final Lap

From the desk of David Coltart

'Its time to complete the change'

**** Please circulate this far and wide ****

 <<THE FINAL LAP.doc>>  


In June 2001 I wrote that the political tide in Zimbabwe had turned and that the process of change was inevitable. Nothing has happened since then to alter my view except that we are now only two months away from a watershed election that will enable Zimbabweans to vote into power a man who has a vision for a new non violent, peaceful, transparent, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. That man is Morgan Tsvangirai. Because of the hardships that virtually all Zimbabweans are experiencing at present there are many who find it hard to believe that Morgan Tsvangirai can become President of Zimbabwe, much as they desire that to happen. Mugabe has, after all, said that Tsvangirai will "never, ever" rule and is doing all in his power to make that prediction a reality.

2001 has been a very tough year for most Zimbabweans. We knew it would be that way, and warned of it. The last few months have been the toughest: rampant inflation, increased violence, politically motivated detentions, selective application of the "law" and the passing of new unjust laws and policies have combined to plunge many into the depths of depression.

Very little that ZANU (PF) has done has come as a surprise to us. The events of this year have not been random or unplanned. On the contrary they have been part of a deliberate campaign by Mugabe and to subdue the Zimbabwean people. Mugabe has used a combination of physical and psychological measures to crush opposition to his tyrannical rule. The physical measures are fairly obvious: bombing the Daily News, threatening the Judiciary, murdering, beating and detaining members of the MDC, forcing farmers off the land, assaulting and displacing thousands of farm workers and raiding businesses and industry.

The psychological measures are less obvious but far more effective in undermining morale. And there have been many; indeed the pervasiveness of all the measures is staggering and requires listing. The passing of the Citizenship Act mid year and its deliberate misinterpretation by the Registrar General ("requiring" people to renounce a mere entitlement to citizenship of another country) has thrown many into a frenzy. The insidious threat of immediate eviction of farmers, and the barring of them from reaping their crops already planted, posed by Statutory Instrument 338 in November caused many farmers to lose all hope. The termination of Radio 1, and its subsequent replacement by first "Sport" and then, ridiculously, "Spot" Radio was deliberately done to depress people who enjoyed their programmes. Then there are all the rumors deliberately fed into the system: "10000 Libyans in the country as part of hit squads", "arms imported to deal with the opposition" and even the pathetic "Coltart evacuates family". All of these are designed to depress and to induce a sense of panic.

One would have thought that, having introduced such a wide array of measures, he would have succeeded in crushing opposition to his rule. However the last few weeks have seen Mugabe’s regime resorting to new, and increasingly desperate, measures. They have murdered their own as a pretext to detain, and brand, the MDC as "terrorists". The Public Order and Security Bill, "POSB", has been introduced in Parliament to prevent criticism of the President, to stifle peaceful forms of protest (such as civil disobedience) and create State of Emergency conditions without actually having to declare a State of Emergency. Likewise the "no" Access to Information Bill has been introduced with the clear intention of silencing independent journalists and the media. Finally, in a complete negation of the liberation struggle cry of "one person one vote", ZANU (PF)’s proposed amendments to the Electoral Act will make it harder for Zimbabweans to register as voters and more difficult for Zimbabwean civil society to observe and monitor the elections. All of these betray Mugabe’s sense of panic – he is are no longer confident that he can win an election even if it is fought in the extremely unfair conditions, which prevailed in the 2000 Parliamentary election. As draconian as these measures are, more than anything else they constitute an admission by ZANU (PF) that their violent and unlawful strategies have failed and they are now in deep trouble in the run up to the Presidential election.

For all the depression felt by many Zimbabweans the fact remains that this regime would not be resorting to such extreme measures if Mugabe were confident of winning the election. If those committed to democracy feel depressed it is nothing compared to the desperation and paranoia prevailing in the Mugabe camp, which is due to three critical factors working against them.

In summary these are: (1) the incredible turn around and support of the international community in the course of 2001, (2) the amazing courage and determination of Zimbabweans to secure change in the face of violence and tyranny and (3) the emergence of a government in waiting, led by a charismatic and competent leader, ready to lead Zimbabwe to a peaceful and prosperous future.


It may seem trite but Zimbabwe cannot survive without the support of the international community. Zimbabwe is relatively weak, landlocked and oil-less. Correspondingly both ZANU (PF) and the MDC cannot survive without the support of the international community. ZANU (PF), because it cannot hope to restore the economy and govern in the long term without that support. The MDC, because it does not have the physical power itself to guarantee a free and fair election. The views of the International Community regarding what is happening in Zimbabwe are therefore equally important to the MDC and ZANU (PF). ZANU (PF) needed the international community to buy its argument that land is the core issue and that it is an innocent actor. The MDC needed the international community to buy its argument that good governance is the core issue.

It was with this in mind that Mugabe selected his cabinet. For example his choice of Jonathan Moyo as Information Minister was not made with Zimbabweans in mind but rather with the international community, and especially SADC, in mind. When ZANU (PF) came within a whisker of losing the June 2000 election they realized then that they would battle to win the first-past-the-post-countrywide Presidential election. To win they would have to implement the fast track land programme and increase levels of intimidation and violence. But it recognized early on that it would have to create elaborate smokescreens because it could not embark on such schemes with impunity unless ZANU (PF) could portray itself as a relatively innocent actor. Mugabe knows that he will still have to govern Zimbabwe after the election and that he will not be able to do so without international assistance. In other words not only did ZANU (PF) have to get the international community to buy its argument as to what the cause of the strife within Zimbabwe was, but also it had to get the international community to turn a blind eye to abuses of human rights so that Mugabe’s government would be recognized and aid would flow after the election. And so Jonathan Moyo’s task has been to convey to the world that ZANU (PF) is merely responding to people pressure for land and that Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC are unreconstructed "terrorists". If the international community, and especially SADC, bought into ZANU (PF)’s argument, ZANU (PF) could subvert the electoral process with impunity. Mugabe cynically calculated that the West would apply a different standard to Zimbabwe ("African elections are violent") and that African nations would be sympathetic to the argument that the land invasions were uncontrollable and that in any event the MDC was just as violent as ZANU (PF). In other words he calculated that he would be able to get away with bludgeoning his way to electoral victory and that the international community would simply forgive and forget after he resumed the presidency.

The MDC has had to counter massive internal and international propaganda of ZANU (PF) that land was the core issue, that the violence was not of ZANU (PF)’s making but part of "spontaneous demonstrations" by landless people and that the MDC was a violent neo-colonial outfit designed to return Zimbabwe to Rhodesia

The MDC has faced a daunting task to overcome this strategy. Not only is Zimbabwe a tiny country with an inconsequential economy on the world’s forgotten continent, but also it had to contend with western skepticism and ignorance. Added to that it was up against a government that was prepared to use millions of taxpayers’ money to employ lobbyists. But the MDC has won this battle.

To demonstrate this it is appropriate to start with the United States of America. Both ZANU (PF) and the MDC recognized that the approach of the USA was critically important, not just because it is so powerful but in particular because it holds so much sway in South Africa. That is why ZANU (PF) employed American lobbyists Cohen and Woods and subsequently Andrew Young to do its bidding in Washington. Cohen and Woods had much fertile ground to work with when they started. Successive MDC delegations to Washington in 2000 found that many influential members of the all-important Congressional Black Caucus still viewed Mugabe as a "liberator". Others had bought into the ZANU (PF) line that the chaos was the result of an unresolved colonial, and racial, legacy.

The tragic events of September 11th initially appeared to make the MDC’s task harder. The international media turned its attention elsewhere and it seemed to many hoping for democratic change in Zimbabwe that Mugabe had the perfect cover. But our fears have not been realized for, far from it going off the radar screen, Zimbabwe has come into sharp focus in the minds of many influential Americans since the 11th September.

The first inkling of this was given when United States District Judge Victor Marrero handed down his 130 page judgment on the 30th October 2001 in the case brought against Mugabe for damages by Adella Chiminya, Maria Stevens and others who have lost loved ones at the hands of Mugabe’s thugs. Judge Marrero found that Tapfuma Chiminya, David Stevens and the other loved ones were, because of their support for the MDC, "extra judicially murdered …by operatives of ZANU (PF) operating in concert with or significantly aided by high-ranking Zimbabwe government officials acting outside the color of state law". However the Judge found that he could not grant judgment against Mugabe because he enjoyed head-of-state immunity. The Judge was clearly pained by this and as he said "the enormity of the atrocities". Accordingly he qualified his judgment by stating:

"resort to head-of-state immunity as a shield for private abuses of the sovereign’s office is wearing thinner in the eyes of the world and waning in the cover of the law. The prevailing trend teaches that the day (will) come to pass when those who violate their public trust are called upon…to render account for the wrongs they inflict on innocents."

Then significantly the Judge, who sits in New York, made a telling link between the case at hand and the events of 11th September by stating:

"Today, events around us bear witness almost daily to the destructive power of individuals whose chosen way of life is to do wrong by inflicting harms of mass proportions. With modern means, the hands of one or a few persons hold the force sufficient to wreak in moments wanton destruction and horror of a magnitude that it once took whole armies to inflict….(t)o iniquity’s purpose of propagating large-scale grief, as evidenced by the case at hand, its capacity for injustice is virtually limitless because it honors none of the self-imposed restraints that contain the conduct of the civilized world within decent bounds."

Having made that link of terror the Judge concluded by calling for the law to "stand ready to adapt as appropriate, to shape, redress and remedy so as to answer measure for measure the particular evil it pursues" and granting judgment against the only entity he could, namely ZANU (PF). I have dwelt on this judgment because it illustrates what informed ordinary apolitical Americans think about what is going on in Zimbabwe, who is responsible for terror in this country and what should be done about it. The judgment also decisively placed Mugabe on the wrong side of President Bush’s fence dividing those who oppose and those who support terrorism throughout the world.

Ironically both Mugabe and Jonathan Moyo have further compounded their predicament since the beginning of November. Mugabe, in an emotional speech given on the 18th November, said that he would not be dictated to by those "in their tall towers" in the West and accused Tony Blair of being involved in acts of terrorism in Zimbabwe. In mid November the ZBC, which falls under Moyo’s command, started mimicking CNN’s by-line "The fight against terrorism" to describe ZANU (PF)’s crack down on the MDC. These actions demean America’s legitimate fight against real terrorists and lost Mugabe any remaining friends he might have still had in America.

The first sign of this loss of support was given in the photograph of Jesse Jackson congratulating Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota (who had just received a press freedom award in Washington) on the 28th November. Jackson, it will be recalled, has been in the past a Mugabe apologist. Jackson’s action in meeting Nyarota was a harbinger of things to come. In early December the House of Representatives was called upon to vote on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill. ZANU (PF) thought that the Congressional Black Caucus would vote against it. But in a truly historic vote the Bill passed by 369 votes to 11. Not a single member of the CBC voted against it and the 369 affirmative votes included every informed and influential member of the CBC. So much for Mugabe’s assertion that this is only a racist Jesse Helms Bill! The action of the CBC in this regard demonstrates the determination of all Americans to fight terrorism in whatever forms it appears and is a damning indictment against Mugabe. The strong language used by highly respected former Chairperson of the CBC, Donald Payne, in supporting the language must have shaken Mugabe and ZANU (PF) to the core.

The signing of the Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Bill (ZIDERA) into law by President Bush just before Christmas completed the transformation, in the minds of Americans, of Mugabe from African statesman to tyrant and marked the beginning of a new chapter. The Act in itself is graphic evidence of the failure of ZANU (PF)’s propaganda campaign and an acceptance that the lack of good governance in Zimbabwe is at the core of Zimbabwe’s crisis. More worrying for Mugabe and his henchmen is the fact that ZIDERA signals America’s determination to assist in the democratization of Zimbabwe. If Mugabe does not hold free and fair elections there will be dramatic consequences for the ZANU (PF) elite in the form of personal sanctions. Gone too is Mugabe’s argument that the Zimbabwe crisis is simply a spat with its former colonial master, Britain. Finally, America’s lead will have, and already has had, a powerful influence over the way the EU, SADC, and the Commonwealth deal with the problem.

The transformation of the EU’s approach to the Zimbabwean crisis over the last year has been equally remarkable. At the beginning of 2001 France, Belgium and, to a lesser extent Spain, were not convinced that the MDC’s version of what lay at the core of Zimbabwe’s problems was correct. That attitude was complicated by the fact that France and Belgium appeared to be reluctant to jeopardize their relationship with Mugabe because of concerns related to Zimbabwe’s involvement in the Congo. Without the support of France and Belgium, forthright action against Zimbabwe in the EU would have been difficult if not impossible. The turn around of France and Belgium on the 29th October, when they voted with the rest of the EU to invoke Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement (the precursor to sanctions against Zimbabwe) surprised many of us in the MDC and was deeply shocking to ZANU (PF) – they just never believed that their erstwhile friends would do such a thing. The depth of their shock was displayed when Mugabe walked out (in a huff) of a meeting with senior EU ambassadors in Harare on the 23rd November. This is the man who used to be able to charm world leaders and who has successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of democratically elected leaders for decades. He finally lost his cool and let his guard down because he realized that the game is up. The bottom line is the EU is now also an avowed enemy of ZANU (PF) and former supporters of the party such as Sweden are vilified. The reason: the EU also has firmly rejected ZANU (PF)’s propaganda line and is demanding that there be free and fair elections and good governance. If there are not Article 96 will be pursued vigorously.

Zimbabweans have been extremely critical, with good cause, of the Commonwealth over the last two years. It all started with Secretary General McKinnon’s disastrous assurance given just before the June 2000 election that Mugabe would act decently. Since then there have been a succession of wishy-washy Commonwealth statements and actions (or more appropriately inactions) that have discredited the organisation. It is not surprising that ZANU (PF) until recently were happy to have the Commonwealth monitor Zimbabwean elections. The strongly worded statement, that the situation constituted a "serious and persistent violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values", emanating from the Commonwealth Ministers’ Action Group (CMAG) on the 20th December would have shocked ZANU (PF). CMAG resolved to review the situation at its next meeting, to be held on the 30th January 2002, and Zimbabwe has been placed on the formal agenda of the meeting, in itself a statement that the Zimbabwean crisis is now sufficiently serious to merit special attention. Not even the Commonwealth now buys into ZANU (PF)’s agenda.

Accordingly by the end of 2001 a broad coalition of the United States, the EU and the Commonwealth emerged. All are determined to ensure that Zimbabwe has free and fair Presidential elections. The only apparent source of comfort to ZANU (PF) was the statement issued by some SADC Ministers on the 12th December welcoming the "improved atmosphere" in Zimbabwe. ZANU (PF) has made much of this statement, which has led many to believe that SADC is going to look the other way and allow ZANU (PF) to abuse the electoral process. Whilst there is no doubt that some SADC countries, which are themselves undemocratic, support ZANU (PF) it would be wrong to assume that the SADC Ministers’ statement represents the views of the most influential countries in the region. It is pertinent to note that Ministers from Angola and Namibia dominated the SADC meeting and that Ministers from South Africa and Botswana left the meeting prior to its conclusion.

Indeed far from SADC looking the other way there are signs that democratic leaders in the region are increasingly concerned about Zimbabwe. Festus Mogae, the President of Botswana, openly criticized Mugabe and his war veterans in an interview in the Sunday Times on the 11th November. During the week commencing the 26th November President Mbeki spoke out against what was happening in Zimbabwe on no less than 3 separate occasions. On the 20th December a high ranking ANC delegation arrived in Harare for talks with ZANU (PF) and prior to its arrival the SABC announced that part of its mission was to secure free and fair elections. It is highly significant that neither party at the conclusion of the talks made any press release and save for one article in the Herald claiming, without any supporting statement from the ANC, that the ANC was in solidarity with ZANU (PF), the ZANU (PF) propaganda machine has been remarkably quiet about the visit. If anything the government controlled media and Jonathan Moyo have spent most of December criticizing South Africa. In the December 18th edition of the Chronicle there was a vicious cartoon portraying Nelson Mandela as a lackey of Bush and Blair. In Parliament on the 18th December Jonathan Moyo said: "Those who see the likes of the BBC, CNN and SABC as voices of democracy are either naïve or plain mad". Subsequently Moyo stated in a press conference that the South African media were still under the control of apartheid forces. Throughout December there was a sustained attack on the ANC in the Herald implying that it was now being influenced by, and had sold out to, the New Nationalist Party. Clearly ZANU (PF) now perceives the ANC as an enemy because it too is insisting on a fair electoral process.

The real test of who is in control of SADC and what the most powerful States in SADC think about the Zimbabwean situation will be shown when the SADC Heads of State meet in Malawi on the 13th January. Whatever happens there however what is now clear is that a very powerful coalition comprising the United States, the European Union, an overwhelming majority of democratic Commonwealth countries and the two most powerful neighbours of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, has emerged during the course of 2001. This coalition is determined to ensure that free and fair elections take place and has come to the conclusion that whilst the land issue is an important unresolved issue, the principal problem is the absence of good governance. The MDC now has the most powerful and influential countries on earth singing from the same hymn sheet as it and this particular hurdle is now firmly overcome. There will be no going back on the international community’s insistence that free and fair elections be held in compliance with the SADC Electoral Norms and Standards as passed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Windhoek in March 20001. ZANU (PF) will only snub that insistence at its peril.

One final thought: once a politician, or a political party for that matter, is marked as a pariah the stain is indelible. There is now nowhere for Mugabe to hide. Either he complies with the international community and holds elections in compliance with the SADC Standards, in which case he will lose by a mile, or he does not, in which case if he manages to win the result will not be recognized by the countries which count in the region and the world in any event.


Of course it doesn’t matter what the international community thinks if an overwhelming majority of people within the country concerned back the policies of its government. History shows us that regimes, which enjoy the backing of a significant majority of its people, can ride the storm of international opprobrium for some time, especially if they have strong economies. Zimbabwe, to put it mildly, does not have a strong economy and so if Mugabe is to fly in the face of world opinion he will need the support of a significant majority, not just to win the election but also to endure the hardship of international isolation.

In the run up to the 2000 Parliamentary election I speculated about three possible scenarios. The first, and most negative from an MDC perspective, was that the MDC would win a majority of seats in the cities but because of intimidation would only win a smattering of rural seats and as a result would only win about 30 seats countrywide. The second was that the MDC would win convincingly in the cities and in certain rural areas that were traditionally anti ZANU (PF) and would garner between 50 and 60 votes. The third was that the MDC would win the cities and all rural areas aside from ZANU (PF)’s heartland and in doing so would win a Parliamentary majority of between 80 and 90 seats. In all my talks given at the time I believed that the second scenario was the most likely. The reason I mention this is that at the time I did not make outlandish predictions. I firmly believed, from the evidence before me at the time that ZANU (PF)’s intimidation of certain areas was still effective and as a result we could not win in those areas. Furthermore it was apparent that ZANU (PF) was still sufficiently unified to retain substantial support in its heartland.

From the evidence before me now I believe that, despite intimidation, electoral fraud and dirty tricks, there could well be a landslide victory in favour of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai. I say so for the following reasons:

  1. The MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai are now known and respected by both Zimbabweans and the international community (including SADC) whereas in 2000 they were not. The MDC came from ground zero to win 57 seats and 46% of the vote. That was achieved without a single elected structure in the party aside from the National Executive. The people of Zimbabwe now know there is a viable alternative government in waiting comprised of a young dynamic leadership committed to non-violence and the establishment of a genuinely democratic order.

  2. The MDC’s overwhelming support in urban areas is rock solid. The 82% majority achieved in the Bulawayo Mayoral election will be repeated in Harare, Gweru and Mutare. The recent victory in the Chegutu Mayoral election (right in ZANU (PF)’s heartland – and it is important to recall that we lost the Parliamentary seat in Chegutu in 2000, so we have gained ground) shows just how extensive our support is in urban areas.

  3. The MDC’s overwhelming support in the rural areas of Matabeleland has grown since the 2000 elections. Matabeleland North Province voted "Yes" (in favour of ZANU (PF) in the February 2000 referendum) and it was somewhat of a surprise when the MDC won every seat in the Province in June 2000. The reason for the surprise is that people in the Province suffered the brunt of the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade’s brutality in the 1980s. It is a Province still traumatized by those horrors. ZANU (PF) threatened a return of the Fifth Brigade in 2000 but it did not work. Since then ZANU (PF) has not been able to carry out its threat. Whilst ZANU (PF) has deployed army in the area to intimidate people they simply cannot afford to replicate the actions of the 5 Brigade because we live in a changed world – and the people living there know it. From information coming in to the MDC the rural people of Matabeleland will vote even more convincingly for President Tsvangirai than they did for individual MDC candidates. Let it not be forgotten as well that they also have far more reason to vote against Mugabe than they did against individual ZANU (PF) candidates. Mugabe after all is perceived by voters in the region as the architect of the 1980 atrocities.

  4. People living in the southern part of Midlands Province have a very similar outlook to those living in rural Matabeleland. That was demonstrated in the June 2000 elections when the MDC won all the Midlands seats south west of Kadoma. That support remains secure. In addition we are greatly encouraged by growing levels of support in the south east of Midlands including Zvishavane and areas bordering Masvingo Province (for reasons which will be explained later). We lost some of these constituencies heavily in 2000 and so the turn around in support has been remarkable. The only part of Midlands which remains problematic is the north west, the Gokwe area which has been heavily intimidated by ZANU (PF). But even there courageous MDC activists are holding the line and we will, at the very least, pick up the same number of votes we did in 2000, even if that is not a majority in those areas.

  5. In June 2000 we won all the seats in Manicaland along the eastern border by comfortable majorities save for Chipinge South, which was won by the ZANU Ndonga party. ZANU Ndonga, which up until his death in December 2000 was led by veteran Nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole, has held the Chipinge South seat with a large majority for over a decade. When Sithole died he should have been buried in Heroes Acre in Harare because of the major role he played in the liberation of Zimbabwe. However because of Mugabe’s vindictive and petty nature he was not and so was buried in the Chipinge district, Mugabe did not, obviously, attend the funeral but MDC President Tsvangirai did. In doing so Mugabe lost a great deal of support to Tsvangirai in this area (the two Chipinge seats have approximately 100,000 eligible voters between them). It is doubtful that ZANU Ndonga will even field a Presidential candidate. The MDC lost the western Manicaland seats by narrow majorities, including of course President Tsvangirai’s Buhera North seat (a loss subsequently set aside by the High Court due to irregularities). Since June 2000 MDC support in most of these areas has grown dramatically and, for example, President Tsvangirai is attracting massive crowds to his rallies in Buhera. In other words it now appears that the known quantity (see paragraph 1 above!) is now overwhelmingly popular. And finally who would criticize a bit of parochialism in these areas if they were to vote for a homeboy for President of Zimbabwe?! Whilst it does not always work – Al Gore lost in Tennessee – all the indications are that Manicaland Province will vote overwhelmingly for a local candidate as Texas did for George Bush.

  6. The three Mashonaland rural Provinces are ZANU (PF)’s heartland as demonstrated by their by-election victories there during 2001. It would be overly optimistic to expect President Tsvangirai to win a majority of votes in these Provinces which combined have a total of some 1,4 million registered voters. However what was significant about the 2001 by elections is that the MDC despite violence, bussing in of ZANU (PF) voters (which cannot be done as successfully in the Presidential elections) and electoral fraud, still managed to secure some 40% of the vote. Simple arithmetic shows that even if this trend continues Mugabe’s 60% of the vote in these areas, say 840000 votes, will almost be set off entirely by Tsvangirai’s vote in Harare alone (80% of the 800000 registered voters = 640000). But there are recent signs that Mugabe cannot even be assured of maintaining the margin enjoyed in 2000. The MDC victory in Chegutu must have stunned Mugabe for Chegutu is in Mashonaland West Province and only some 50 kms from Mugabe’s rural home – one can’t get much closer to the heart than that. The point is that even if Mugabe does secure a majority, even an overwhelming majority, in these areas it is simply not enough to overcome the deficit he faces in other areas.

  7. I have deliberately left the most heavily populated rural Province, Masvingo, until last. In 2000 the MDC won only 2 seats, Masvingo Central, an urban seat, and surprisingly Bikita West, a rural seat, the latter by a whisker. Bikita West was lost by the MDC to ZANU (PF) in a violent and fraudulently run by-election in January 2001 but, importantly, maintained its core support in that by-election. The MDC also won the Masvingo City Mayoral election in mid 2001. However in most of the Masvingo seats contested in 2000 the MDC lost fairly heavily. Things have however changed and once again Mugabe is his own worst enemy. Eddison Zvobgo is a veteran Nationalist politician and a ZANU (PF) stalwart. Prior to 2000 ZANU (PF) used to boast that Masvingo Province was "one party territory" and it would be fair to say that Zvobgo was the linchpin of the Province, if not its "King". Zvobgo to this day remains highly popular throughout Masvingo Province. However Mugabe inexplicably dropped Zvobgo from the cabinet and from the ZANU (PF) politburo in 2000 and since then Zvobgo has been in ZANU (PF)’s political wilderness. Zvobgo has even been ridiculed in the government-controlled press. In the Chronicle dated 7th January 2002 a ZANU (PF) cabinet minister as "an absent child of the party". These actions have clearly angered many people in Masvingo Province and it is doubtful if that they will vote for Mugabe in the same numbers as voted for individual ZANU (PF) members in June 2000. For example Zvobgo alone secured some 14000 votes to secure his Masvingo South Constituency; Mugabe is hardly likely to secure similar support, if any at all, in that Constituency given the way he has treated Zvobgo. But it gets worse for Mugabe. A Gallup poll conducted late last year showed a massive swing in support towards the MDC and Tsvangirai and the results of that poll have been borne out by the superb turn out at rallies in the Province addressed by both MDC President Tsvangirai and Vice President Gibson Sibanda. It must be stressed that this is a Province of some 600,000 registered voters. Even with its support in 2000 ZANU (PF) only secured 48% of the vote countrywide. If Masvingo changes its allegiances even slightly in favour of Tsvangirai that will give him a landslide victory countrywide.

The net result of this painstaking exercise of going through the country Province by Province is that it demonstrates that the MDC and its President Tsvangirai now enjoy majority support in some two thirds of the physical area of Zimbabwe and the support of some three quarters of the population. If one takes a map of Zimbabwe and one draws a line eastwards starting at Lake Kariba, on the north eastern boundary of Binga constituency, continuing up the eastern boundary of Gokwe in a north westerly direction to eventually encircle Harare, continuing in a southerly direction (to exclude Chikomba Constituency) and thereafter northeastwards to end at the Mozambique border north of Nyanga, one will see the extent of MDC’s support. An overwhelming majority of people who live south of that line now supports the MDC and President Tsvangirai. Everything below that line includes all the cities and most the rural areas. North of the line only includes the Gokwe area of Midlands Province and the three rural Mashonaland Provinces.

In the face of this, and only just over two months away from the Presidential election, all ZANU (PF) has to offer the people is violence. ZANU (PF)’s principal campaign platform of land to the people has been exposed for what it is, a sham. During the Christmas recess I have personally witnessed in two entirely separate areas, hundred of kilometers apart, occupiers having moved off land already occupied to plant crops in their communal land fields. Whilst that is obviously not the case countrywide even taking ZANU (PF)’s distorted figures only some 100,000 people have "benefited" from the so-called fast track land programme. Even those have simply been dumped on land without being given title, without the provision of water, schools, clinics and roads. In other words the vast majority of the some 6 million eligible voters have not benefited one iota from what is the nub of ZANU (PF)’s platform, indeed they are struggling more than ever before. In recent weeks it has emerged that many of the best farms have been reserved for Mugabe’s cronies. So much for "land to the people"!

ZANU (PF) has simply not addressed the key issue that is affecting everyone in the country, namely the collapsing economy and increasing poverty. Ironically even the ZANU (PF) campaign advertisements published in the last few days acknowledge this: "Say no to artificial shortages!" – "Vote for price controls!" The advertisements are an admission that under Mugabe’s government there are shortages and high prices which need controlling. Hardly a great reason to vote for the person responsible!

Finally violence is increasingly counter-productive for ZANU (PF). The people of Zimbabwe have simply had enough and their level of anger now far surpasses their level of fear. In short they simply want a change and a new start, not the same old man for another 6 years. And for those who agree with my assessment but who fear that the election will be rigged let me say the following. Rigging the election is undoubtedly part of Mugabe’s plan but can only succeed if the margin is only a few tens of thousand votes. There were strange figures that came out of some of the rural Mashonaland rural constituencies in 2000 where the ZANU (PF) vote appeared to have been bolstered. However even with that rigging ZANU (PF) had a deficit of some 70,000 votes against the combined total of the opposition. We are now two years on and the actual margin of defeat for Mugabe is going to be much more than 70,000 (it will be hundreds of thousands if Masvingo Province votes either for Tsvangirai or simply does not vote at all). A deficit of several hundred thousand votes makes rigging enormously difficult.

A final word is necessary regarding the mood of the Zimbabwean people. The MDC has, in the last few weeks, brought a succession of cases to the High Court to level the playing field. As a result of case we have managed to get the numbers of new prospective voters who have registered. There are some 700,000 new registrations! One of the arguments advanced by the Registrar General’s office for their inability to supply us with a copy of the voters’ roll was because they had only managed to process to date some 80,000 of the these new registrations! Rest assured that the vast majority of these 700,000 new voters are not particularly happy with the present regime and they have not registered for fun. Why else do think government has made it so difficult for people to register? The people are ready.


The people being ready is one thing; having a decent candidate to vote for is another thing entirely. Which leads me to the coup de grace in the form of Morgan Tsvangirai. Whilst I have known MDC President Tsvangirai since 1992 I have only got to know him well since being invited by him to join the MDC in 1999. Getting to know him has been a sheer pleasure. He is a man of great intellect, integrity, courage, compassion and humour. In fact I firmly believe that in Mr. Tsvangirai we have a truly great leader who will become a statesman of world renown. I have consistently impressed by his wisdom in tackling tricky issues and by his commitment to a vision of a non-racist, non-sexist, democratic Zimbabwe.

It is hard to convey why I have so much admiration for Tsvangirai. A few random examples of his character may help. When our child Bethany was born in September Tsvangirai took time off his hectic schedule to phone me to say "makorokoto" (Shona for congratulations). When I was concerned in November by the death threats I had received a meeting with him restored my equilibrium. When some of our younger members went over the top in campaigning for positions last year in Harare, bringing the MDC into disrepute, Tsvangirai dealt with the issue quickly, resolutely but fairly and put the party back on track. When he was ambushed twice last year he remained absolutely calm and focused. He does not have an ounce of racist blood in veins. He is truly a great leader and Zimbabwe will be blessed to have him as President.

Some skeptics may argue that my own experience is all very well but Tsvangirai is not known by the Zimbabwean people and we may well end up like the Zambians, lumped with a President very few people want. After all the people of Zambia were also ready for change. Over 80% of those eligible to vote turned out to vote in the recently held Parliamentary and presidential elections. Over 70% of those who voted, voted against the so-called ruling party candidate, Levy Mwanawasa. The will of the people was denied however because, despite all the opposition’s claims of rigging, even on the Zambian government’s own figures Mwanawasa won with only 28,7% of the vote. The dreaded "Kenya syndrome", namely the inability of the opposition to coalesce around a single candidate, did in the Zambian people. The "Kenya syndrome" is more likely to occur in countries where ethnicity is a major factor or where the opposition is unable to produce a single candidate who stands head and shoulders above the rest of the opposition candidates. The latter problem is exacerbated when a good opposition candidate does not have the backing of a strong party behind him or her.

Fortunately Zimbabwe does not suffer from any of these blights. Ethnicity will not be a factor in our elections as far as the MDC is concerned. The MDC team of President Tsvangirai and Vice President Sibanda attracts support countrywide and in both urban and rural settings. Ndebele people have thronged President Tsvangirai’s meetings in Matabeleland in 2001 and Shona people have done the same for Vice President Sibanda in meetings held recently in, for example, Zaka in Masvingo. If anyone will have a problem attracting support from specific ethnic groups it will be Mugabe whose chickens are coming home to roost. Mugabe will battle to attract support in regions he has alienated such as Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland. Indeed Mugabe was the MDC best candidate ZANU (PF) could have offered because he is so intensely disliked by various ethnic groups throughout the country. We were absolutely delighted that the ZANU (PF) Congress decided to stick with the soon-to-be-78 year old Mugabe. The problem for ZANU (PF) is compounded in Matabeleland in that his only possible Ndebele Vice President running mates, Msika or John Nkomo, did not even dare to contest seats in Matabeleland in the 2000 elections cognizant of their inability to win. Both are deeply unpopular in Matabeleland in stark contrast to Vice President Gibson Sibanda who won his seat with a majority of over 80%.

What then of the prospect of multiple candidates from other parties as happened in Zambia? In the 2000 elections ZANU (PF) secured 48% of the vote, the MDC 46% and the balance went to a variety of small opposition parties, the main one being ZANU Ndonga which secured the only other opposition seat of Chipinge South. There are only three other political parties of any consequence namely, the UANC led by Bishop Muzorewa, ZAPU and the Liberty Party (both regional parties based in Bulawayo). All three attracted minimal votes and many of their candidates lost their deposits in the 2000 elections. ZANU (PF) has been desperately trying to promote candidates from these parties and it has been intriguing to see how, for example, the government controlled Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo has been promoting the fortunes of Paul Siwela, the Secretary General of ZAPU who appears to have desires to contest the Presidential election. His plans to contest were dealt a bit of a blow when the ZAPU Central Committee recently decided that it would not field a candidate in the election. Since that decision was taken the Chronicle has done its utmost to discredit Agrippa Madlela, the ZAPU President who, one would have thought, would be ZAPU’s logical candidate, but who believes that ZAPU should not contest the election.

The same tactic is being employed, with similar lack of success, to get Wilson Khumbula MP to stand as ZANU Ndonga’s Presidential candidate. Khumbula until recently was the President of ZANU Ndonga. He has been suspended from the party and there are strong indications that ZANU Ndonga will not want to field a candidate. So despite ZANU (PF)’s best efforts to split the opposition vote by assisting the campaigns of a multiplicity of opposition candidates they will not succeed. If anything President Tsvangirai will pick up votes from the supporters of these small parties, especially from the largest of them all, ZANU Ndonga. In sum this will in essence be a two horse race. In any event our electoral laws are different to Zambia in that in Zimbabwe the winning candidate has to win a majority of votes cast and if a majority is not achieved in the first ballot then the two top candidates have to contest a second ballot against each other. So at the end of the day this will be a straight contest between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Another important reason why the opposition vote will not be split sufficiently to usher Mugabe back into power by default is because in MDC President Tsvangirai Zimbabwe has got a charismatic candidate the opposition and civil society can coalesce around. Having been a highly successful Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) prior to his election as President of the MDC, Tsvangirai has a very high and positive profile that transcends the ethnic, class, racial and gender divide. My personal experience of Tsvangirai is shared by hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans countrywide. In a word he is Presidential and it is not hard for Zimbabweans to conceive that he would be a good President. Even if other opposition candidates do stand none will have the presence or profile of Tsvangirai.

But it is the backing of an effective party that is the most compelling reason why our election will be different to the Zambian election. The MDC since its formation in September 1999 has been subjected to a literal baptism of fire at the hands of ZANU (PF) and its surrogate police force and CIO. We have now had over 90 of our supporters murdered by ZANU (PF) thugs; virtually every single MDC MP has been either detained, or assaulted, or had his or her house searched, or received death threats. The MDC has been subjected to the most bizarre selective application of the law. Charges have been fabricated against MDC leaders and prosecuted vigorously whereas ZANU (PF) leaders who openly advocate murder are not even arrested. The electronic media is brazenly the mouthpiece of ZANU (PF). And so it goes on. But the reality is that, despite all of this harassment (in fact perhaps because of the harassment) the MDC is now stronger than it was in June 2000. Not only do we now have elected structures countrywide but also we now have the capacity and ability to govern.

Unlike ZANU (PF) which is trapped in its one-track mind of its disastrous "fast track land programme" the MDC has developed comprehensive policies to turn Zimbabwe around. President Tsvangirai has spent the last six months progressively unveiling the MDC’s economic, health, education and labour policies (to mention a few). All these policies have been formulated in consultation with experts from the relevant sectors of Zimbabwean society and have been hailed by serious commentators within Zimbabwe. The MDC has unveiled a three-year recovery plan that President Tsvangirai will start to implement as soon as he has been inaugurated in April.

But the MDC is more than just a body with good structures and policies - most importantly it has spirit! I have just had the pleasure of attending the MDC’s Annual Conference that was held in Gweru on the 22nd December. I have three words to describe the Conference: joyous, hilarious and constructive! There was absolute (and heartfelt) agreement that Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda shall comprise our Presidential team unlike the deep divisions within the ZANU (PF) camp regarding Mugabe’s candidacy. Most of the meeting was devoted to debating and agreeing on key policy issues such as tackling the economy, dealing effectively with the Aids pandemic and restoring the rule of law unlike the ZANU (PF) Congress which only seemed to discuss Mugabe’s declaration of war on the Zimbabwean people. In stark contrast to the tone of the ZANU (PF) meeting prayer and a recommitment to the principle of non-violence marked the MDC Conference. As a white Zimbabwean I felt profoundly privileged to be part of the proceedings of a movement that is non-racist and has a vision for not only a new democratic Zimbabwe but also a new beginning for Africa. I feel excited about the prospect of serving under Morgan Tsvangirai’s Presidency.


I have always said that this battle to bring genuine democracy to Zimbabwe would not be easy and that the more cornered Mugabe and ZANU (PF) felt the more vicious they would become. That holds true now more than ever before and we are under no illusions how tough this final stretch will be. But we are now on the final lap. Before the end of this week Mugabe is obliged, in terms of the Electoral Act, to announce the date of the election. The election has to be held by the 17th March and Mugabe’s present term of office expires, come what may, State of Emergency or none, at midnight on the 31st March. In other words as I write the election is less than 70 days, or 10 weeks away.

Anyone who has run a marathon will tell you that the final few kilometers are the hardest; every joint aches and one cannot believe that one will finish, but finish we will, and that is all we have to do now. The international community now understands clearly what is going on in Zimbabwe and will do all in its power to assist the transition to democracy. The people are ready, silently and patiently waiting to cast their ballots. And finally the next President of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, is ready. All we have to be make sure that we are registered and ready and able to vote in March.

Many people ask in meetings whether Mugabe will allow President Tsvangirai to take office once he wins pointing to Mugabe’s oft repeated statement that the MDC and President Tsvangirai will "never, ever" govern. Not only has Mugabe not learnt from Zimbabwe’s own recent history (Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith said there would "never be majority rule in a thousand years only to be proved wrong a short time after making that statement), but he also commits the terrible mistake of assuming that he is god and able to guide the course of history. History is replete with examples of dictators who believe that they will rule forever. In just the last 60 years Mussolini, Hitler, Idi Amin, Ceuscescu, Mobutu and Milsovic spring to mind. All had grand plans, all were extremely vicious and irrational at the end, but all were swept from power. Mugabe can plan as much as he likes but ultimately he has to deal with the people and God.

I will conclude by quoting verses from my favourite book of the Bible. These verses from Isaiah 40 have sustained me for many years:

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind

sweeps them away like chaff.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

It is not easy being in the middle of a whirlwind as this dictatorship is swept away and I understand fully how many in Zimbabwe, especially those in the farming community, feel completely at the end of their tether. But I believe with all my being that if we remain steadfast, do what is right and trust in the good Lord we will be sustained and our strength will be renewed sufficiently to see us through this transition to democracy. God bless you and keep you all this New Year.

David Coltart MP

7th January 2002.

The views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the MDC.


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ZIMBABWE: ZANU-PF in upset defeat
JOHANNESBURG, 8 January (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's ruling party suffered a shock defeat in parliament on Tuesday when it introduced a controversial electoral amendment bill that critics allege is designed to boost President Robert Mugabe's re-election bid in March.

With a number of ZANU-PF deputies absent from parliament after a three-week break, the governing party lost the vote 22 to 36 but vowed to reintroduce the bill on Wednesday. ZANU-PF holds a 36-seat parliamentary majority.

However, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said that under parliamentary regulations a defeated bill can only be reintroduced in the next session of parliament later in the year. Any attempt to bring it back on Wednesday "is blatantly illegal", and "we would seek urgent judicial intervention", MDC spokesman Leonard Jongwe told IRIN.

"The fact that a majority of ZANU-PF MPs stayed away from today's proceedings is a telling indication that some rational and objective voices in ZANU-PF agree with our position that this bill is a fascist piece of legislation that sort to attack and reverse that which the liberation movement sort to defend - namely the right to vote," he said.

The election regulations bill is part of a package of two other pieces of legislation that critics warn will undermine free and fair presidential elections in March. The electoral amendments do away with a civil society role in election monitoring and voter education, unless at the invitation of the government. "Unless the government finds us favourable, it won't engage us to work with them," a human rights activist, who asked not to be named, told IRIN on Tuesday. 

Election monitoring will be conducted by civil servants, who will also run the polls. But with the alleged politicisation of the civil service after 22 years of ZANU-PF rule, the concern is that "they can't monitor themselves. We are calling for an independent electoral commission," the human rights worker said.

Voter education will be the sole preserve of the Electoral Supervisory Committee, a small four-member body that has no fulltime secretariat. It has so far only managed to place advertisements in national papers rather than the grassroots mobilisation that has been the traditional role of civil society groups, the activist said.

Other legislation due to be presented to parliament include a tough information bill that would allow only government-accredited journalists to work in the country, and a draconian public order bill that gives Mugabe sweeping powers.

The European Council is due to debate the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, a Council official told IRIN. The session comes ahead of a meeting on Friday between the Zimbabwe government and the European Union which will discuss the political crisis and growing violence.

Alarmed at the human rights conditions in the country and threats to the openness of the March election, Brussels has warned that sanctions are on the table.


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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Monday 7 January 2002
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking
place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear
of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers
names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of

Ø      Manicaland - Chimanimani : Some cattle got out of their feed paddock
and went into the illegal occupiers maize lands.  The army was called in,
they took a couple of workers and questioned them and held them for several
hours.  Later on some travellers were passing by, with mattresses and things
on their heads, one ran away as he did not have any identification and was
obviously scared by the fact that the army was stopping them.  They gave
chase, fired shots over his head and once captured they beat him and
released him an hour later.
Ø     Masvingo - Gutu\Chatsworth: The foreman on Berry Springs was beaten up
and told to leave, whilst three other staff houses were broken into and a
lot trashed. Most of the accused are known, but no arrests have been made to
Ø      Mashonaland Central -Glendale: Chirobi Farm - Yesterday a group of
people besieged the farm. They broke down the security fence to the
homestead, trashed the swimming pool area, stole tractor batteries etc
whilst chanting and making a lot of noise. They were very hostile and the
situation was volatile.
Ø      Mashonaland East - Auks Nest- Rocks were thrown onto the house roof.
The owner was called and told to leave straight away on foot. While the
owner was preparing to leave, the gate lock was smashed and the doors and
windows were rattled. Several farmers came in and the illegal settlers
withdrew, and the owner was escorted out.  The police were called and
arrived at 1pm. The police had a meeting with the settlers but nothing
concrete was resolved.
Ø      Mashonaland West (North) - Tengwe : 3 people abducted from Jambo
Farm - Supervisor, Foreman and guard.  They were taken for re-education and
assaulted by war vet Peter Ncupe.  They were released but the  guards shot
gun was kept.   Reported to the police with no reaction.
Ø      Mashonaland West (South)- Chegutu/Suri-Suri - On the 4th January on
Farnham Farm the farmers wife was on her way out of the farm and was stopped
by illegal occupiers and pulled out of her vehicle.  She was made to chant
ZANU (PF) slogans for half an hour whilst on her knees and was hit a number
Chimanimani - Reasonably quiet. Some cattle got out of their feed paddock
and went into the illegal occupiers maize lands.  The army was called in,
they took a couple of workers and questioned them and held them for several
hours.  Later on some travellers were passing by with mattresses and things
on their heads, one ran away he did not have any identification and was
obviously scared by the fact that the army was stopping them.  They gave
chase, fired shots over his head and once captured they beat him and
released him an hour later.
Headlands - On Saturday, Woodlands Farm, had all  labourers evicted from
their compound and taken to Makope.  There was no violence involved.
All other areas generally quiet.

Gutu/Chatsworth - Further Section 8 Orders Received on : Maxwell; Daviot;
Culloden; Malton; Howden; Appin, Ratsphey; Badza; Chatsworth Estate
There has been intimidation and assault of labour on Condor, Willard, Berry
Springs and Chindito. There has been continual harassment, with cattle gates
left open and fencing damaged. The foreman on Berry Springs was beaten up
and told to leave, whilst three other staff houses were broken into and a
lot trashed. Most of the accused are known, but no arrests have been made to
date.                               In the last three weeks the breakdown of
cattle stolen and slaughtered is : 6 Bulls, 19 cows and 2 calves.

Mwenezi - KLEINBEGIN: The owner's wife was approached aggressively by
squatters prompting her to aim her self-defence pepper spray at them and
warn she would discharge it if they came any closer. They backed off. The
following day the Beit Bridge police arrived to investigate the incident in
which she had "pointed a gun" at them. She showed them the "gun" and they
left. The following day they returned and demanded the pepper spray for
investigation. They wanted the box too, which request was declined. She
obtained a receipt for the confiscated spray. Some days later the police
returned to demand the owner's pistol, which they have also confiscated.
They are now asking questions about pistols at Swanscoe with owner's son and
the manager on that property.  LIMBURGIA:  A cow was slaughtered and all the
meat carted away, apparently on foot. No suspects apprehended.     GENERAL:
The situation otherwise continues as before with snaring, fence destruction.
Gates left open, cutting, burning, building and accusations of commercial
cattle eating squatter crops.
Bindura - In the last week there has been a progressive build up in this
area of members of the Youth League and their activities. Dunaverty Farm was
issued with a Section 8 Order over the weekend and Hurlington received a
Section 8 Order on December 22, 2001.
Glendale - Chirobi Farm - Yesterday a group of people besieged the farm.
They broke down the security fence to the homestead, trashed the swimming
pool area, stole tractor batteries etc whilst chanting and making a lot of
noise. They were very hostile and the situation was volatile. The owner
phoned his lawyer who was willing to seek a High Court order, but this was
felt to be the wrong answer. He then contacted Propol Minor who promised to
co-operate and diffuse the situation. Another farmer was given 7 hours to
vacate his property, which he did but he later returned and continued to
work. There have been several work stoppages in the area. Dalnhnagriene Farm
was served with a Section 8 Order on the 27th of December 2001.
Shamva - A serious incident took place on a farm in Shamva (the owner wishes
to remain anonymous) but the owner managed to diffuse the situation. Arcadia
Farm was issued a Section 8 Order on the 24th of December 2001.
Centenary - On Thursday the owners of Goromokwa were ordered to leave. They
were not permitted to pack anything to take with them. At present, the cook
is looking after the house and feeding the dogs. There is a group outside
the house who have said they are guarding the house for the new owner. On
Friday, the owner of Mtuatua Farm was ordered to leave but he has managed to
stay and has continued to farm. The following farms have since been visited
by the same group - Chipiri has left, Aranbira - the owner left today, (Marc
was allowed to return for part of the day to check on the work.) Tekwane -
the owner has been forced off (Johnny was allowed back during the day. There
is a Pungwe at Mtorazeni (the owner is absent) the house sitter was ordered
to leave and then barricaded in. There was a pungwe on Nyadevi Farm last
night. The owner has managed to stay although temporarily. This group has
also targeted Sulugulo, Muirend and Chipata. The owner of Simapira has been
given until noon today to leave. Today the same group visited Four Ways Farm
and gave the owner 5 minutes to leave. The owner of The Palms was given 30
minutes to leave, the owner of Giwonde has been ordered to leave as has the
owner of Trussocks Farm. The group have ordered the owners to co-operate and
threatened that if they did not the whole district would be ordered out.
They also told the farmers to "Speak to your Brother George Bush and tell
him to drop the sanctions, once this is done you may have your farms back!"
These visitations are all concentrated in the Victory Block area. A meeting
took place on Everton Farm today and the labourers were beaten. As at
12:15pm The owners of Sulugulo, Mtuatua and Chidikamwedzi have been moved
off to safety. Chipata and Muirend were visited but the owners have been
allowed to stay on their farms.
Horseshoe - Model A2 farmers have arrived on Tenengi Farm to see their
plots. The manager of Amajuba Farm has been given until the end of today to
leave the farm as he is believed to be an MDC supporter. The black manager
of Siyalima has been forced to leave as have the managers of Maidevale and
Penrose Farms. Dande Farm received a Section 8 Notice on the 17th of
December 2001.
Mazowe - There has been an increase in political activity in this area over
the weekend. The ploughing is continuing. On Danbury Park the settlers have
uprooted all the male lines in the seed maize beds and planted their own
maize. Pearson Farm received a Section 8 Order on the 29th of December 2001.
Tsatsi - There has been continued ploughing and planting in the area as well
as theft and invader activity.

Beatrice - No Report Received
Featherstone - No Report Received
Harare South - Farms have been visited by people inspecting their new plots
Auks Nest - Rocks were thrown onto the house roof. The owner was called and
told to leave straight away on foot. While the owner was preparing to leave,
the gate lock was smashed and the doors and windows were rattled. Several
farmers came in and the illegal settlers withdrew, and  the owner was
escorted out The police were called and arrived at 1pm. The police had a
meeting with the settlers but nothing concrete was resolved.
Marondera North - Kirndean Police were shot at by armed rustlers.  People
inspecting their plots visited other farms.
Marondera South - Farmers are being visited by people inspecting their new
Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa - Several farmers have been presented with letter by
the new owners of the farms. The letters state the new owner has 30 days
take up the position or 90 days if a manager is going to be put on. Some of
the farms only have a section 5.
Over the weekend youths were interfering with the traffic on the main Harare
Mutare road. near the old Jamaica Inn Motel & on the airport road. One
motorist had his windscreen broken. Police were informed and  reacted.
Macheke/Virginia - Maryland & Craigleagh Farms RB 240/01 Labour evicted from
housing. Merrylands Cattle were driven into dip pens with no food or water.
Police visited the farms but did not resolve the situation immediately.
Several days later  the workers were allowed to return to their houses, the
cattle were moved and the illegal settlers are waiting  for the Land Task
Force to resolve their problems
Richmond RRB 945473 - centre pivot vandalised and reported to the police.
Second Chapter New Invasion possibly of an A2 recipient Settler.
Nygadzi Reported 4 DDF tractors ploughing on the farm.
Salama RRB945488 - Cst Mtisi.  Reported 3 Weaners slaughtered and 2 others
missing - not resolved.
Wedza - PLYMTREE - A 35T load of coal (large rounds) arrived on the farm.
These are of no use in the curing system on the farm. The owner of the coal
by the name of Samurwiro, whose father is a chief in Chiota, announced that
he would be using the barns but was willing to pay. The owner refused.
IGUDU - The owner was told on Sunday that any labour left had to be off the
farm by Monday as well as all the cattle and that he should start moving
everything else as time was running out. He was also told that there had
been too many meetings, it is assumed that they are referring to a social
gathering at the dam on New Year's day, and that he must stop driving around
at midnight?? He was also told to produce any photos together with negatives
that he had of various incidents on the farm and hand them over. There have
been two thefts of fertiliser in the past week.
LUSHINGTON -There was a break-in in the workshops in the early hours of
Monday morning. The police responded and said they would send the CID. The
have promised that in the past but the CID have never arrived.
Poaching is ongoing day and night.
Casual labour are leaving to go and work for the illegal settlers who are
paying up to $300 a day.
BRISTOL On Sunday an all day meeting was held with the labour from Bristol
and Fels. The owner received a letter stating: "ZANU PF 2nd Meeting. For not
tarnishing the image of the farm, which made the following demands:
1. The people/workers have said and agreed that they are able to cultivate
20 lines x 36 mt only and not 70.
2.  The people must be given 1 acre of land, ploughed, and helped with seed
and fertiliser.
3.  On Saturdays people must only work until 12noon.
4.  Toilets and good houses for the people.
5.  Overalls and gum shoes to the people."
The writer who is the main warvet from Shaka ended by saying the owner was
to come and see him. She declined. Scotch carts are continually going
through the farm breaking down gates and fences.
CORBY - Received a Section 7 Notice. The owner was told that all the cattle
had to be off the farm and proceeded to move them up the road saying they
could graze along the roadside. They were eventually persuaded to put them
in a paddock at the furthest end of the farm. The cattle have since been
removed from the paddock and are grazing along the road verges. 600 mt of
boundary fencing has been stolen.
BICKLEIGH - The owner took a letter instructing him to vacate, to the police
who warned the illegal settlers that if they caused any trouble the police
would deal with them.
SKOENVELD - Received a Section 7 Notice.
BRENT/BRENTWATER -Lots of people have been driving onto the farm to look at
their plots to see if they are suitable.  RAPAKO -- Wednesday night all the
switch gear from 4 boreholes and one irrigation motor was stolen.   MBIMA -
2hp motor stolen.  BRANTINGHAM - Received a Section 8 Order .Three men in a
Mercedes claimed they were from DDF checking on the DDF pegging.  FAIR
ADVENTURE - Recently pegged for A2 resettlement. About 20 people arrived to
inspect their plots; two of them were teachers from Godfrey Huggins school,
who arrived in the school bus.   FELS - Received a Section 7 Notice
(delivered to the gardener). One of the "landless" arrived in a helicopter
to inspect the plot he had been allocated!!  ULEY -Chairman of the warvets
told all the labour they must leave the farm on Saturday night with the
exception of three who may return, the labour have not left.  COLDSTREAM -
Received a Section 8 Order dated 17.12.01  KINGSWEAR - Received a Section 7
POLTIMORE - Received another Section 8 Order
GENERAL - All labour told they had to attend a meeting this Friday and again
next Friday (11th). The venue was Leeds farm but was changed to Wedza. Road
blocks were put up by the youth on Saturday and Sunday on the Bridge and
Gloucestershire roads, stopping people and asking for their party cards.
These were removed by the police.

Reasonably quiet with trade union activity in the northeast towards Banket.
Some outrageous demands and some strikes.
The trade unionist is trying to make a big deal out of the new farm wages
and extorting a percentage out of the workers.
CHIMWEMWE FARM 20/12/01 another 4.5 Ha gum plantation burnt, bringing the
total of gum plantations burnt to 60 Ha. No farming has been allowed except
for cultivation of the pecan nut trees.
Three farmers were held for 45 minutes because they were accused of
smuggling weapons.  They were helping to move some of
Yomba Farms belongings from the farm house, as they had been ordered by war
vets to remove all  remaining belongings.  Whilst doing so, one cupboard had
a wine cellar built into the floor and the war vets concluded that they were
smuggling weapons, and reported to the police.  CID from Mutorashanga then
came and did an investigation.
Nyabira - Quiet.  A2 resettlement affecting nearly every farm.  Some with
threats of violence.
Banket - Another A2 farmer wants to live in the Mbidzi Farm house while at
Buryhill Farm a settler just came out to look at his 82 acres and went back
to Harare saying he would be back in April when the crops are off.
Ayrshire - Four strikes for back pay.
Doma - Close to the Mhangura Mine on Estelle Farm relatives of the chief war
vet demanded the farm house on New Years Day.
Umboe - Many Section 8 Order  delivered up the Umboe Road.  Exceptions are
Chinhoyi - Kanami Farm lost 4 head of cattle on Xmas eve.  On Uplands Farm
had 5 head of cattle taken out of the cattle kraal at night and driven away
into the Hunyani Range.
On Saturday 5.01.2002 a car stopped at D&R Service Station to refuel and
bought the Daily News, and +- 15 youths attacked the driver and 3
passengers.  They took the fire extinguisher, smashed his windows, and stole
some C.D.'s and cameras.  Mr. Phillip Chiyangwa arrived to refuel, stopped
them, and ordered them to be arrested.  All the stolen goods were recovered,
but the culprits were released later on.
Nyapi Farm Labour taken to be re-educated.
Biri Farm - Someone from the Govrnors. Office started ploughing with DDF
tractor,  for a Government Official and wants to use the guards house for
Tengwe - 3.1.2002 Farmers Association Chairman barricaded into his barn area
today 3.1.02.  A war vet demanded to stay in the Chobeni Farm house.  A war
vet structure was burnt down on the farm.  One person was assaulted in the
compound and everyone was evicted from their houses on Chobeni Farm.  21
families are now living in Songalala Farm barn complex.
In the Police Station the farm owner was told if he paid compensation, the
workers would be allowed back to their houses.  He refused to pay.  (He was
not on the farm when the structure was burnt down).
4.01.2002  All the war vets from the surrounding area had the owner  in the
barn area for 5 hours.
In what amounted to a kangaroo court, the war vets wanted to know what he is
doing on Chobeni Farm (He has only had a Section 5.  He  was threatened with
being locked up, and they are now taking over everything on Chobeni Farm,
unless he pays compensation for the war vet structure that was burnt down on
Saturday 29.12.2001.
The District Administrator finally came to the farm and after a further two
hours told the owner,  they want compensation for the house otherwise none
of the labour will be allowed back to Chobeni Farm (In the meantime the
labour are doubling up in Songalala Farm houses.
The war vets have broken into the barn complex on Chobeni Farm and took the
security lock for the gates there.
The owner says the bottom line is that their houses are so flimsy that they
want an excuse to move into good houses because it is now raining.
Pollux Farm Received Section 8 on 5.01.2002.
Jambo Farm3 people abducted from Jambo Farm - Supervisor, Foreman and guard.
They were taken for re-education and assaulted by war vet Peter Ncupe.  They
were released but kept the guards shot gun.  Reported to the police with no
Salaro Farm Labour disputes because 4 people were laid off.  War vet Peter
Ncupe and crew turned the whole thing into a political rally.
Most farmers in the area have a crop in the ground.  Those having trouble
have only been able to plant half their crop.

Selous - On Carskey Farm illegal occupiers opened the valves at the bottom
of the dam and let most of the water out.
Chegutu/Suri-Suri - On the 4th January on Farnham Farm the farmers wife was
on her way out of the farm and was stopped by illegal occupiers and pulled
out of her vehicle.  She was made to chant ZANU (PF) slogans for half an
hour whilst on her knees and was hit a number of times.  Fortunately, a
passing farmer saw the incident taking place and he managed to temporarily
defuse the situation.  The owner of the farm arrived a little later and was
falsely accused of causing minor disturbances to the occupiers on this
unlisted farm.  Police came out and the owner was assaulted in their
presence.  The situation was defused when he agreed to pay extortion demands
in the presence of police.  The next day they returned with further
extortion demands.  The owner was severely threatened and was abducted for
several hours.  He was beaten with sticks all over his body and had a .9mm
pistol pointed at him repeatedly.  Police eventually arrived and the
situation was "defused" through further extortion demands being met
including the supply of a chicken.  The chicken was too fast for the
gardener and he was assaulted in police presence for "being too slow", and
has not returned since.  The CFU regional executive officer, after visiting
Chegutu Police Station, radioed the member-in-charge to check that
everything was ok on the farm, was also stopped on the farm and assaulted
with sticks, boots and fists all over his body.  He managed to escape.
Later, a passing motorist was also stopped and assaulted, as well as a
tractor driver from La Forte where one of the farm workers was assaulted.
On Concession Hill Farm, the driver has reportedly been assaulted and
hospitalized by the same group.  On Ranwick Farm next door, a barricade was
put across the farm road but the situation has been defused temporarily.  No
arrests have been made throughout these incidents.
Kadoma/Chakari/Battlefields - On Milverton Estate illegal occupiers have
moved into the garden of one of the homesteads.  On Deweras  there was a
large group of illegal occupiers in the owners yard late at night demanding
that the farm mechanic be fired.
No report received.
No report                                       Visit the CFU Website
The opinions in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the
Commercial Farmers' Union which does not accept any legal responsibility for
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Zimbabwean mail sorters ill with suspected anthrax

HARARE, Jan. 8 — Two Zimbabwean mail sorters have fallen ill after handling
envelopes containing suspected anthrax powder, the official Herald newspaper
reported on Tuesday.
 The paper quoted health ministry officials as saying two suspicious-looking
envelopes containing powder were discovered in a post office sorting room
last week and on Monday. One was addressed to a senior government official,
the newspaper said.
       The mail is believed to have originated within Zimbabwe, the Herald
said. It quoted officials as saying they were awaiting results of tests on
the powder.
       Health ministry officials were not available for comment. The paper
said other mail workers had been sent for screening and preventive
       In the United States, five people have died and 13 have been infected
by anthrax attacks since September 11. Since then suspicious letters have
surfaced in mail rooms around the world.
       Less sinister outbreaks of naturally-occurring anthrax sometimes hit
Zimbabwe. In October a boy died of cattle anthrax in the central ranching
district of Kwekwe.
       In December 2000 nine people died and 700 were taken to hospital
after an outbreak in Mhondoro district. The cattle disease is transmitted to
humans through infected meat, bones, hair and excrement.
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The Independent

Mugabe militias seal town for 'recruiting drive'
By Basildon Peta in Harare
09 January 2002

Hundreds of President Robert Mugabe's youth militias sealed off three towns
in Zimbabwe yesterday as political violence grew ahead of the presidential
election in March.

The situation in Bindura town, 50 miles north-east of Harare, was tense
early yesterday afternoon. Residents said the youths, who recently graduated
from a government national youth service training programme, descended on
Sunday night and mounted roadblocks sealing off the town.

In the Matepatepa farming zone near Bindura, about 40 white farmers were
reportedly prevented from leaving the area by militias enforcing illegal

Residents in Bindura said that the youths had moved from door to door in the
town ordering people to produce new membership cards of the ruling Zanu-PF
party, worth one pound each. If they failed to do so, they were beaten.

According to the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper,
hundreds of Bindura residents have since fled to Harare. The newspaper
interviewed some of the townspeople, who vowed not to return because they
feared for their lives.

One of them, Shadreck Mabaudi, showed wounds sustained when he was stopped
at an illegal roadblock and assaulted for failing to produce a Zanu-PF
membership card.

Tapera Macheka, the chairman of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in Mashonaland Central province, pointed out three badly
damaged houses belonging to the opposition party's officials in Bindura. Six
opposition supporters have died in the past two weeks in election-related

Some youths could be seen riding around Bindura town in government
number-plated trucks, wearing green military uniforms marked "Third
Chimurenga", a term used by the ruling party to describe its crusade of
seizing white land for redistribution to blacks.

Reports said the situation was even worse in the other two towns, Chinhoyi
and Karoi in Mashonaland West province, where residents were also prevented
from leaving.

The opposition spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said youths had sealed those towns
and demanded that residents either produce or buy Zanu-PF cards immediately.
Residents were only allowed topass through roadblocks mounted around the
towns if they had a ruling party card.

In Harare's Mbare suburb, six Zanu-PF and MDC supporters were arrested
yesterday after violent political clashes. A police spokesman, Wayne
Bvudzijena, accused MDC supporters of starting the violence after attacking
ruling party supporters.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, who has openly stated that he
supports the ruling party, said he had ordered his officers to have zero
tolerance of any activities that would lead to political violence.

"Political activism by some parties has been criminal in nature resulting in
loss of life, injury and damage to property ... this type of activism should
cease forthwith," hesaid.

Elliot Manyika, the Zanu-PF commissariat secretary and Youth Affairs
Minister, denied suggestions yesterday that the beneficiaries of the youth
programme were receiving military training. Speaking at the handover of
certificates to 974 graduates of the training programme, Mr Manyika said the
youths were being taught in self-help projects.

However, the youths have been seen openly harassing residents in towns. Some
of the youths have confirmed receiving military training in media
interviews. They say they were promised integration into the police force
and the army once President Mugabe is re-elected in the March ballot.

Mr Mugabe has pulled out all the stops to ensure his re-election by barring
foreign electoral monitors, naming government sympathisers as judges,
cracking down on the independent media and intimidating the opposition.

Business Day

Anthrax scare in Zimbabwe


HARARE - The health authorities in Zimbabwe have intercepted envelopes
suspected of containing anthrax and closed down a city post office after two
workers fell ill, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The paper said health ministry officials had discovered two suspcious
envelopes containing powder in the sorting department of the post office.

The paper said one envelope had been addressed to a senior government
official. Both envelopes had been posted from within the country.

Several other postal workers, health officials and an expert in microbiology
from the University of Zimbabwe had been sent for screening and were
receiving drugs after coming into contact with the powder, it said.

The ministry of health had begun fumigating the post office on Monday and
sent the contents of the envelopes for analysis. It was still awaiting the
results, the paper said.

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The Independent

The Mugabe regime needs sanctions, not just words

09 January 2002

The news from Zimbabwe only gets worse. When the parliament convenes again
today, a clampdown on the media will top the agenda. A new bill threatens
jail sentences for reporters who publish news "likely to cause alarm and
despondency" (ie the truth about Robert Mugabe's regime). President Mugabe
has tried to portray all critics of his regime as tools of the old colonial
powers. In reality, the embattled opposition provides a reminder that civil
society has not been cowed.

Correspondents for the BBC and other media organisations have been expelled.
The Independent's Zimbabwe correspondent, Basildon Peta, has received death
threats, including (in a particularly thuggish touch) a packet of bullets on
his doorstep. But he and other courageous reporters – dozens of journalists
have been assaulted and arrested in recent months – make it clear they will
not be intimidated. That civil courage may yet help bring Mr Mugabe down.

The presidential elections are due in March. Morgan Tsvangirai, whose
Movement for Democratic Change came close to ousting Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party in elections in June 2000, is now challenging the 77-year-old Mr
Mugabe as president. The climate of fear and violence means that Mr
Tsvangirai and the MDC still face a difficult task to wrest power.

There are glimmers of good news. Thus, despite Mr Mugabe's best efforts,
some judges have retained their independence; in November, Mr Tsvangirai was
acquitted on trumped-up charges of terrorism (charges which would have made
it impossible for him to stand against Mr Mugabe).

The odds are still, to put it mildly, stacked against Mr Tsvangirai and the
opposition. Thirty opposition supporters were killed in the lead-up to the
elections of June 2000; more than 100 people have died in politically
motivated violence since then. There can be no surprise about Mr Mugabe's
attempts to link the democrats with the old racists. But Mr Mugabe, like
other undemocratic rulers before him, must understand that historic change
cannot be prevented for ever – neither by violence nor by lies.

Meanwhile, despite all the tough words from Jack Straw yesterday, the world
seems ready to stand by and do nothing – except talk about doing something.
The United States has imposed sanctions. Britain has failed to do even that.
The failure is resented by Zimbabwean democrats – rightly so.

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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 16:41 GMT
Zimbabwe's controversial bills
Zimbabwe parliament
The bills propose draconian new laws
President Robert Mugabe's government is seeking to push through two controversial bills on Wednesday in a special session of parliament, ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March. A third bill, the Electoral Amendment Act, was defeated on Tuesday.

Freedom of Information and Right to Privacy Bill

The bill establishes a Statutory Media Commission, which will require all journalists to apply for a one-year renewable licence to be allowed to work.

Licences will only be awarded if a stringent set of requirements are met, and can be revoked at any time for those who breach a planned code of conduct.

Those found guilty of any offence will face a fine of up to Z$100,000 ($1,875) or two years' imprisonment.

  • All journalists must be Zimbabwean citizens, which bars all foreign nationals from reporting in the country.
  • Zimbabwean citizens must apply to the Information Minister for special permission to work for foreign media.
  • It is an offence to "spread rumours or falsehoods that cause alarm and despondency under the guise of authentic reports".
  • Journalists are barred from publishing "unauthorised" reports of cabinet deliberations and policy advice by a head of a public body, as well as information that may be harmful to the law enforcement process and national security.
  • Public bodies are also barred from releasing information that relates to intergovernmental relations or their financial or economic interests.

The Public Order and Security Bill

Constitutional lawyers have warned that the wide-ranging provisions of this bill - which give unprecedented powers to the police - are similar to apartheid-era security legislation in South Africa.

Punishment for breach of the bill ranges from the death penalty to jail terms to heavy fines.

The bill makes it illegal:

  • "To undermine the authority of the president" or "engender hostility" towards him.
  • To make abusive, obscene or false statements against the president.
  • To disturb the peace, security and order of the public, which includes public gatherings "to conduct riots, disorder or intolerance".
  • To perform acts, utter words, distribute or display any writing, sign or other visible representation that is obscene, threatening, abusive, insulting or intended to provoke a breach of peace.
  • The police are given powers to arrest anyone at a public meeting not in possession of an identity card.

Senior police officers will have powers to control and disperse public gatherings and crowds whenever they deem it reasonable to do so.

Electoral Act Amendment Bill

Changes to the Electoral Act would have placed significant obstacles in the way of those registering to vote. After its rejection, it bill cannot go through this session of parliament.

  • In urban areas, they will be required to produce passports and utility bills to prove that they have lived in their constituencies for the last 12 months.
  • In rural areas, local chiefs and village heads, seen as being pro-government, will be required to vouch for anyone registering to vote.
  • Postal votes will be restricted to diplomats and members of the armed forces which will disenfranchise millions of students and workers living abroad.
  • Foreign and independent local monitors will be barred.
  • The use of election posters or pamphlets will be criminalized without prior permission.

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The Age Melbourne

Zimbabwe slams Britain over talk of C'wealth suspension

HARARE, Jan 8 AFP|Published: Wednesday January 9, 5:03 AM
Zimbabwe's government has denounced Britain's talk of possibly suspending
the southern African nation from the Commonwealth, saying today that such a
move could never succeed.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo said he had not yet seen the statement
from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, but "if it is true, it just
proves again that Britain is interested in our political processes as a

"They are going a step farther from funding the opposition," he said,
repeating a long-standing claim that Britain finances the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Britain would never succeed in
suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, because aside from Canada and
Australia, "the rest of the Commonwealth has rallied behind us".

He said Britain wanted to affect the outcome of Zimbabwe's presidential
election in March by threatening the nation with suspension.

"The hope (is) that these threats will sufficiently dissuade people from
voting for the ruling party," he said.

"The British have never treated Zimbabwe as a sovereign country."

Straw in London said Britain will push for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the
Commonwealth if political violence in the African country worsens before the
heads of government meeting in Brisbane, Australia between March 2 and 5.

"If the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, Britain will argue
for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of
Government meeting (CHOGM)," Straw told parliament.

Straw's comments are much stronger than his statement last month after a
meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in London.

Then Britain urged its Commonwealth partners to act over attacks by
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on his political foes and white farmers
ahead of watershed presidential elections due in March.

But Straw acknowledged options that could be taken against Zimbabwe at the
next CMAG conference were limited.

Today, Straw said Mugabe's actions were a "serious and persistent violation"
of the Commonwealth's principles which would be looked at by a CMAG meeting
on January 30.

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Mugabe Faces Commonwealth Suspension Move Says Straw

Tuesday January 8, 2002 5:22 PMBritain will push for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth if the
situation there continues to worsen, says Jack Straw.

The Foreign Secretary says the Government is ready to urge Commonwealth
political leaders to take action when they meet in Australia in March.

Mr Straw was responding after being asked in the Commons when firm measures
would be taken against President Mugabe.

Liberal Democrat Michael Moore (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) said:
"Intimidation, torture and violence against political opponents and the
press have increased substantially.

"In these circumstances, can you tell us exactly what Mugabe has to do
before the Commonwealth will introduce sanctions?"

Mr Straw said Mr Mugabe's actions were a "serious and persistent violation"
of the Commonwealth's principles which would be looked at by the
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on January 30.

"If the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, Britain will argue
for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of
Government meeting in March."

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram accused Mr Straw of failing to take
firm action to tackle the situation.

He said: "Why have you proved so toothless on this? When will you stop
faffing about and start putting together an international coalition that can
bring real pressure to bear ... or are you waiting for the Prime Minister to
take this away from you as well?"

Mr Straw defended his strategy: "What I've been doing is to ensure that it's
Zimbabwe which is isolated for the terrible actions being taken by President
Mugabe and his henchmen, not Britain."
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Bindura sealed off
HUNDREDS of Bindura residents fled to Harare after the Zanu PF youth brigade descended on the town on Sunday night.................
The Age Melbourne

Armed mobs evict white farmers in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Jan 8 AFP|Published: Tuesday January 8, 10:41 PM
More than 26 white farmers in northern Zimbabwe have been forced off their
farms since the weekend by armed mobs of government supporters, a farmer
said today.

The move is increasing tension ahead of March presidential elections.

The farmer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP the farmers and
their families had been forced off their farms in the predominantly
tobacco-growing province of Mashonaland Central, north of Harare.

"Some were told to leave immediately, some were given 24 hours," said the
farmer, who said the evictions had been ongoing since Friday.

He said most of the affected farmers had taken refuge in Harare.

For almost two years, violent farm invasions have accompanied a
government-backed land reform programme, under which President Robert
Mugabe's government is distributing white-owned farms to landless blacks
ahead of a crunch presidential poll due in March.

But the latest report of summary evictions in Mashonaland Central violates a
government law which states that farmers have three months to vacate their
homes once they receive an eviction notice.

The farmer, speaking via telephone from the area, said mobs of spear and
axe-wielding militants were still roaming his district of Mashonaland
Central on tractors and trailers, telling the farmers to leave.

While they expressed support from the government, the mobs he said, were
"operating on their own."

He said at least half the farmers who had been confronted were told that if
they wanted to return to their farms, they had to tell the US government to
reverse sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Last year US President George W Bush signed into law a measure allowing him
to impose sanctions on Mugabe and top aides the US claims are tied to
violence in the country.

Police said today they had received no reports of farmers forced off their
farms in Mashonaland Central but said, in certain cases, intransigent white
farmers were to blame.

"The farmers don't want to accept readily the farm settlement exercise,"
said police spokesman, Tarwireyi Tirivavi. "As a result, conflict is
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The Guardian

Politics and principles

The collapse of the rand means South Africans will pay dearly for their £4bn
worth of arms. But profit may not be Britain's only motive

Chris McGreal
Monday January 7, 2002
The Guardian

Jack Straw heads to Africa later this month hoping that Tony Blair's pledge
to revive the continent will have drawn more attention there than his
decision to permit the sale of expensive British military technology to poor
In South Africa, there is no confusion about Britain's priorities. Thabo
Mbeki's government is under pressure at home to back out of a £4bn arms
deal, including contracts to buy British-made fighters, because of the
collapse of the rand. The government also faces a lawsuit from Economists
Allied for Arms Reduction (Ecaar), which wants the arms deal ruled

In 1999, South Africa signed deals to buy $3.7bn worth of ships, planes and
helicopters over 15-20 years. On top of that was a hidden bill of $2bn, some
of it interest on money borrowed to pay British, German and other European
manufacturers. Among the weapons are 52 Hawk trainer aircraft and Gripen
fighter planes costing $1bn to be supplied by a consortium of BAe in the UK
and Sweden's Saab.

Before the contracts were finalised, South Africa's treasury warned the
government that the purchases would be risky, and would eat up most of the
increase in public spending, the money that could have built new homes,
schools or clinics. The treasury warned that promises that the deal would
bring in foreign investment were unenforceable, and said a collapse in the
rand would have severe implications.

The rand has collapsed, losing 40% of its value against the US dollar. The
total cost of the arms deal, initially put at R30bn, has probably doubled
because the contracts have to be paid in dollars, euros or pounds.

The South African government ignored the warnings and went ahead with the
deal. None of the western governments have proved willing to sacrifice the
profits. Instead presidents and prime ministers have been mobilised to
persuade South Africa, and Britain wheeled out the biggest of its guns - the
Queen - to offer encouragement.

The Germans and French lavished attention on influential ANC MPs. The arms
manufacturers offered sweeteners. BAe donated about £500,000 to an ANC
veterans' association. A German bidder sold luxury cars on the cheap to the
ANC's chief whip in parliament and military officials. But the key tactic
was to convince South Africa that it would make a huge profit from buying
these weapons. Pretoria was persuaded that so-called off-sets and
counter-trade would create 65,000 jobs and bring in R107bn in investment and

That is how the government sold the deal to the public, but it soon had to
backtrack. Not long after the contracts were signed, the number of new
"jobs" was halved and the cost in rand rose almost 50% - before the rand

What the government did not explain to the public was why a poor country
confronting the dire legacy of colonialism and apartheid needed such
advanced weaponry. Mr Mbeki has argued South Africa needs to protect its
waters from giant trawlers that loot fish around Africa's coasts, but he had
repeatedly ignored questions as to why South Africa needs submarines. Who is
going to invade by sea? What need is there for Hawk fighters and other
planes from Britain at a cost of $1bn?

There is instability and war in the region. Angola's conflict shows no signs
of ending. The upheaval in the Congo will continue. But these are not
serious threats to South Africa, which expects not a military invasion from
Zimbabwe but hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence and hunger.
Critics say that South Africa's real security issues are poverty,
unemployment and Aids. Yet Britain and other western governments have
encouraged it to spend several times its housing, health and education
budgets on weapons.

Western governments are usually embarrassed about weapons sales, but
European administrations were key in putting together the "counter-trade"
deals. They leant on them in other ways, too. South Africa's air force
chiefs favoured an Italian firm to supply planes, and the Italians won on
the criteria in the tenders. But Britain persuaded the then defence minister
Joe Modise that there was more at stake than money or performance. He told a
meeting of air force brass that it needed to take a visionary approach by
ignoring costs in favour of promot ing South Africa's desire to be "part of
the global defence market through partnership with major international
defence companies". So BAe Hawks were bought at nearly four times the price
of the Italian planes.

Profit is at the heart of all of this, but there are other motives. The west
is desperate to extricate itself from peacekeeping in Africa. Britain is
locked into Sierra Leone, but that is straight-forward compared to the
crises in Somalia, Rwanda and Congo. Blair said the west could not ignore
another genocide like that which engulfed Rwanda, but western leaders would
rather that African troops were despatched to deal with future problems.
Although only the helicopters will be of any use for peacekeeping, a
military that believes it has world-class weaponry is easier to cajole into

The offsets are of dubious benefit. In November, BAe and Saab made a
much-hyped $60m investment in a Mpumalanga timber mill - but most of the
money came from South Africa's industrial development corporation. Critics
point out that investment already on its way is easily labelled as new or
additional money to give the impressions that it is part of a weapons

The government can get out of some of the deal, when second part comes up in
April - confirmation of the purchase of 31 aircraft. The political
opposition and a leading business newspaper have asked the government to cut
its losses and back out. But it seems unlikely. The government has not
fought off accusations of corruption and mismanagement over its handling of
the deal to surrender meekly to its critics.

Chris McGreal is the Guardian's Africa correspondent
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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 04:12 GMT
Zimbabwe debates controversial bills
Mugabe's government faces the threat of EU sanctions
By the BBC's Alastair Leithead in South Africa

The Zimbabwean parliament is reconvening on Tuesday to consider a package of controversial bills ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March.

Critics say they are aimed at improving President Robert Mugabe's chances of winning the election.

Newspaper billboards
Journalists have condemned the media bill
He is facing the toughest challenge to his presidency since he came to office in 1980.

This comes as the European Union has announced it will hold talks with Zimbabwean ministers in Brussels on Friday.

The three bills which members of parliament have been recalled early to consider include:

  • a media bill banning foreign correspondents from the country
  • a public order bill - which critics say will grant police sweeping powers to clamp down on the opposition
  • and an election regulations bill which proposes a ban on local independent monitors

The media unions in Zimbabwe say the proposed legislation is draconian and have said they will ignore it.


As well as banning foreign journalists, if made law it will only allow local journalists to work if they have government accreditation, renewable every 12 months.

Tough jail terms are threatened, as are hefty fines, for journalists publishing news likely to cause alarm and despondency.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the media bill would stop the lies being told by foreign correspondents about the situation in Zimbabwe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said that the Zanu-PF party is now the most racist and fascist regime.

ABC Australia

Tue, Jan 8 2002 6:20 PM AEDT

Zimbabwean Parliament considers new media laws

Zimbabwe's Parliament will today consider controversial new laws to ban
foreign journalists and crackdown on local reporters.

The Government says its media bill will stop lies about the situation in

Media unions say the measure is draconian and they will ignore it.

It bans foreign journalists from working in the country, and allows local
journalists to work only if they have been given accreditation from a
Government-appointed commission renewable every 12 months.

Jail terms are threatened for those who ignore the tough new rules.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was quoted in state media as saying the
bill would address the problem of lies told by foreign correspondents about
the situation in Zimbabwe.

Other legislation being considered includes a public order and security bill
which critics say will grant police sweeping powers to clamp down on the

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From The Star (SA), 7 January

Mugabe steps up 'propaganda war'

Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling party has launched a media blitz for President Robert Mugabe's re-election bid, with a date for the March poll expected to be announced soon. The weekend drive also coincided with reports that militants from Mugabe's Zanu PF party have stepped up a violent campaign against the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of the elections. Zanu PF has been splashing a series of advertisements in both private and state-owned newspapers, projecting the embattled former guerrilla leader as a nationalist threatened by a Western-backed rival. The adverts, as well as dozens of articles in the government media, praise Mugabe's social, agricultural and economic policies and attack his critics and rivals - mainly MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is expected to give the 77-year-old president the toughest contest of his career.

The government-owned Sunday Mail newspaper said Mugabe - who is determined to extend his 22-year-old hold on power despite a severe economic crisis blamed on his controversial policies - will announce the March polling dates this week. Government officials were not available to comment on the report, which was attributed to highly placed sources. In its media blitz, Zanu PF mixes attack and defence almost in equal measure, calling its black opponents puppets of former colonial power Britain and Zimbabwe's former white rulers. The white opponents are portrayed as racists who hanker for white rule under the former Rhodesia - Zimbabwe's colonial name.

In one full-page advertisement entitled "Rhodesians Never Learn," Zanu PF attacks John Robertson, one of Zimbabwe's top economists, for criticising Mugabe's land seizure policy in a recent newspaper article. Zanu PF charges that Robertson is "a public supporter of the treacherous British-sponsored MDC" who is working with former Rhodesian war veterans to undermine black majority rule, alleging that "his views are Rhodesian and racist". "What we reject is the persistence of vestigial attitudes from the Rhodesian yesteryears, attitudes of a master race, master colour, master owner and master employer. Our whole struggle was a rejection of such imperious attitudes and claims to privilege," the advert said. Robertson dismissed the charges as a measure of desperation. "I think people will see this kind of propaganda for what it is, a sign of desperation," he told reporters.

Zimbabwe's ruling party has also stepped up its propaganda on radio and television, taking up more slots on the state-owned broadcasting service to defend Mugabe's controversial seizures of white-owned farms. In the past, the MDC has accused Mugabe and Zanu PF of relying on slogans and insults to avoid focusing on policy issues, and their record in office. On Saturday, the MDC accused youths loyal to Mugabe of attacking one of its offices and the home of a legislator, as violence rises ahead of the presidential elections. The MDC says five of its supporters have been killed in the last two weeks, and MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube says at least 100 people have been murdered in the last two years. Zanu PF narrowly beat the MDC in general parliamentary elections in June 2000 after a violent campaign that left at least 31 people dead.

From The Sunday Times (UK), 6 January

Mugabe puts security forces on double pay

The embattled president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has doubled the pay of the country’s security forces as part of a campaign for victory in March elections, which he hopes will keep him in power for five more years. All police, soldiers and war veterans received the increases on New Year’s Day, putting their salaries and allowances well ahead of those of other public-sector workers in a crumbling economy, which is effectively bankrolled by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi of Libya, who has given Mugabe a £250m credit for oil imports. As commander-in-chief of the defence forces, Mugabe can do virtually as he pleases with the army and police, all of whose top brass are stalwarts of the ruling Zanu PF party. The war veterans who have helped push white farmers from their land over the past two years are controlled by the defence ministry, which classes them as a strategic reserve force.

Government sources said the decision to allocate the equivalent of another £400m to the defence budget was taken before Christmas at a meeting of commanders chaired by Mugabe, who belies his 77 years with a punishing work schedule. Opponents of the government accused Mugabe of an election "bribe", intended to buy the loyalty of the security forces before ordering them to crack down on critics of Zanu PF during the campaign. It was Mugabe’s insistence on rewarding the war veterans for their unstinting loyalty that prompted a series of economic upheavals that have taken Zimbabwe from self-reliance to basket-case status. Four years ago he gave them lump sums of more than £600 each, along with monthly allowances of £25. Zimbabwe could not afford such blatantly political gestures then, and the economy has shrunk to half the size since, while inflation is galloping away at 104%.

Finance ministry officials said the latest pay rise – almost double the award made to civil servants - was the largest since independence from Britain 21 years ago. "This is a clear move to keep the loyalty of the armed forces ahead of the coming presidential election," said Brian Raftopolous, a researcher at the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies. As another plank of his election preparations, Mugabe is bringing back 8,000 soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they have ostensibly been protecting the government of Joseph Kabila against marauding forces from Uganda and Rwanda. In reality the troops have been guarding diamond mining concessions given to Mugabe by Kabila’s father, Laurent, before he was assassinated last year. Analysts in Harare said they expected many soldiers to be flown back to the Congo if Mugabe wins the elections.

Last week the government published a list of 100,000 blacks selected to receive land seized from white farmers. Yesterday a white farmer, Hennie Bezuidenhout, was badly beaten as four white families were marched off their farms in the northern Centenary province by Zanu PF activists. The local party leader said they would be allowed back if America dropped proposed sanctions against Mugabe’s government. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and the main challenger to Mugabe, has accused the president of bringing the nation to the brink of what he called a "low-intensity civil war". Last year there were rumours that junior army officers were plotting a coup against Mugabe, but in reality there has been little sign of any military revolt against his rule.

Gadaffi’s largesse has helped Mugabe overcome the chronic fuel shortage that threatened to bring the country to a standstill last autumn. Although it is not clear how Gadaffi expects to be repaid, it is understood that Libya has received shares in various state industries. One businessman who had met Libyan delegations in Harare said they had been offered stakes in an oil pipeline, a refinery, farms, railway schemes and hotels at Victoria Falls, the country’s main tourist attraction. Mugabe’s people are nevertheless rapidly running out of food. The agriculture ministry admits it is facing shortages, and a recent internal memo said 150,000 tons of maize had been secretly ordered from neighbouring Zambia. Ironically, Zanu PF has funded a new advertising campaign that depicts empty supermarket shelves under the caption: "Say no to shortages, vote Zanu".

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January 8, 2002
Zimbabwe - militias accused of harassing opposition

from IPS

It began as a noble idea, but already the first batch of 1,000 recruits, who
graduated from the Border Gezi National Training Centre in Bindura about a
month ago, has been accused of harassing opposition supporters.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims that its
official, Trymore Midzi, in Bindura, a town located some 88 kilometres north
of the capital Harare, was murdered after being stabbed by men in
paramilitary uniform, on Dec 26.

But the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has
denied that Midzi was stabbed by the youths.

Eliot Manyika, the minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation, says ZANU-PF is committed to a peaceful presidential elections
scheduled for March.

President Robert Mugabe is facing his stiffest challenge, since independence
in 1980, from Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, in the March presidential

The controversial Training Centre has been named in honour of one of
President Mugabe's ministers, Border Gezi, who died in a car crash in April
last year.

The Centre was ostensibly created to train young Zimbabweans in vocational
courses. At the time of its inception, it was noted that the centre would be
used to instil patriotism and discipline in youth.

So far, the MDC says six of its supporters have been killed in the past two
weeks -- three of them in one week alone -- by suspected youths trained
under the controversial national service scheme.

According to Tsvangirai, in two of the incidents, an MDC official was
beheaded while another was beaten to death. To date, 90 MDC supporters have
been killed over the past year, he claimed.

''They (youths) are operating under the guise of national service, and about
1,000 of them have been let loose to terrorise MDC supporters in the towns
and rural areas,'' said Tsvangirai.

''We are dealing with a government that does not respect the sanctity of
life.  We are dealing with a government that enjoys seeing its own people
suffer,'' said Tsvangirai on Monday.

Last week the government awarded a 100-percent salary increment for all
uniformed forces, to secure their loyalty ahead of March's crucial
presidential elections, according to the MDC.

Local media claims that President Mugabe, who is the commander-in-chief of
Zimbabwe's defence forces, personally sanctioned the increment for all the
uniformed forces.

Some fear the salary hike would turn the military against government
opponents. ''The soldiers have been given a big reason to continue attacking
us in the ghettos,'' said one plumber in Warren Park Township, where
residents have been harassed allegedly by soldiers for supporting the

Zimbabwe's war veterans, who are now part of the reserve force of the
ministry of defence, also have been awarded the increment apparently for
their role in invading 4,000 white-owned commercial farms, for resettling
thousands of land-less black families.

The war veterans have been accused of unleashing violence against opposition
supporters, a charge they have denied.

The MDC has warned it will not watch while its supporters are being
harassed. According to MDC's national youth chairperson, Nelson Chamisa, his
party will repel any such attacks.

''At every ward level, we will have 100 youths to protect our supporters. If
the ZANU-PF youths come to attack us, we will defend ourselves as we have
lost faith in the Police,'' Chamisa told IPS on Monday.

In one incident, in Harare's low-income suburb of Kuwadzana, a woman claims
the police only arrived after the youths had finished beating up residents.

''The police have not done anything to stop the attacks. We are now living
in fear,'' said the woman who declined to give her name for security

But police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena has said they will investigate the

from Misanet/IPS

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Zimbabwe Commonwealth clash looms
HARARE, Jan. 8 — Zimbabwe looked set for a clash with and possible
suspension from the Commonwealth as its embattled government pressed ahead
with controversial legislation analysts say targets the media and
The British government said on Tuesday it would push for Zimbabwe's
suspension from the Commonwealth if it did not tackle political violence and
human rights violations.
       ''If the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, Britain will
argue for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth
Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in March,'' Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
told parliament.
       Mugabe faces growing international pressure over the violent takeover
of white-owned farms but says redistributing farmland to landless blacks is
vital for redressing colonial injustices.
       Zimbabwe's government acted on Tuesday to speed media and security
bills through parliament which critics say are aimed at boosting President
Robert Mugabe's re-election bid in March.
       The parliament is considering a media bill banning foreigners from
working as correspondents in the country and a public order and security
bill that will give the government formidable powers that could be used
against its opponents.
       Heads of government from the 54-nation Commonwealth are due to meet
in Brisbane in early March.

       A defiant Zimbabwean government said on Tuesday London had no support
to make good on its threat to suspend the troubled African nation from the
       At a news conference in Harare, two government ministers also said
Zimbabwe's former colonial power was backing Mugabe's main election
opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
       Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said Britain did not have support
to push his country out of the grouping of mainly former British colonies.
       London had ''miserably failed'' to persuade international opinion
against Zimbabwe, but was still working for victory for the MDC in the March
presidential poll.
       ''The British have never recognised that Zimbabwe is a sovereign
country. They continue to treat this country as their colony, as a country
they can do whatever they want with,'' added Justice Minister Patrick
       Chinamasa said only Canada and Australia supported the suspension bid
and ''the rest of the Commonwealth has rallied behind us.''
       David Kilgour, Canada's secretary of state for Latin America and
Africa, told Reuters there was no sign Harare was paying attention to rising
international concern at the deteriorating internal situation, and it looked
set to be suspended from the Commonwealth.
       The European Union is threatening to impose sanctions over Mugabe's
controversial land seizures, his drive against the media and pre-election
violence by his supporters.
       His popularity at home has also been sliding as the economy collapses
amid a chronic shortage of fuel and hard currency and dwindling food
       The controversial legislation that will bar foreign correspondents
from working in the country is set to be fast-trackedthrough parliament next
       The media bill would allow journalists to work in Zimbabwe only with
a renewable one-year accreditation from a government-appointed commission.
       On Wednesday, the government plans to pass a public order and
security bill that will give Mugabe sweeping powers to clamp down on
       The government says the bill aims at consolidating law and order
legislation and has nothing to do with the March vote.
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Daily News

Chidyausiku tight-lipped over human rights abuses

1/8/02 8:26:38 AM (GMT +2)By Pedzisai Ruhanya

CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku yesterday remained tight-lipped over the
rampant abuse of human rights by Zanu PF militias in which six opposition
supporters have been killed in the past two weeks.
Officially opening the legal year at the High Court in Harare, Chidyausiku
nothing about allegations by the opposition on the alleged selective
application of law by the State.

But Bishop Cephas Mukandi, the head of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe,
giving a prayer at the opening, slammed political violence and urged
Zimbabweans to be peaceful as they prepare for the presidential election in

Mukandi said: "I wish to bring to your attention that as we hear incidents
of citizens of this country fighting or killing one another because of
political differences, our hearts are torn asunder to witness the loss of
life simply because some people have chosen a culture of violence and

"Hear the voice of wisdom which is louder than the culture of gunfire.
Battles have never settled a quarrel, neither will they now. My fellow
Zimbabweans, it is better we cease all hostility among ourselves. Let us
solve our disputes over the table."

Mukandi, urging people to develop a culture of tolerance, said: "I am making
a passionate plea for peace, especially as the presidential election draws

In the absence of peace, there is no development or prosperity to talk
about. Parental love is the greatest gift any child can possess, but many
children have been robbed of this gift, not through HIV and Aids or other
causes, but through political violence."

Mukandi's call was in apparent reference to the rampant violence sweeping
through the country as the militia from the Border Gezi National Training
Centre in Mount Darwin moves around attacking opponents of Zanu PF.

Chidyausiku paid tribute to the late Supreme Court judge, Justice Simbarashe
Muchechetere, who died last month.He said the judge, who died of malaria at the age of 57, was an objective
judge who was fair to both the State and other litigants who appeared before

Chidyausiku said: "It is, however, regrettable that a request for State
assistance for his funeral was not successful, as it is, I am advised, only
available to those conferred with a hero's status."

Chidyausiku thanked Augustine Chihuri, the Police Commissioner, Andrew
Chigovera, the Attorney General, and others involved in the administration
of justice.

Last year Chihuri publicly pronounced himself a Zanu PF supporter but said
his officers should remain apolitical.

Chigovera has repeatedly refused to say whether he has started investigating
the conduct of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament, when he was
the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Chigovera was ordered to investigate Mnangagwa last November by High Court
judge, Justice David Bartlett, after he ruled that Mnangagwa unlawfully and
prematurely released George Tanyanyiwa Chikanga, a hard-core armed robber,
early in March 2000.

Chigovera is also yet to bring to justice Kainos Tom "Kitsiyatota" Zimunya,
a war veteran, and Joseph Mwale, a Central Intelligence Organisation
officer, after High Court judge, Justice James Devittie, ordered him to
prosecute the two for allegedly killing two MDC activists, Tichaona Chiminya
and Talent Mabika, at Murambinda growth point in April 2000.Both Bartlett
and Devittie resigned after passing those judgments.

Meanwhile, Sandra Mujokoro reports from Bulawayo that the Judge President,
Justice Paddington Garwe, said judges should be paid more for their work.

Garwe said the judges' workload had increased over the past 12 months owing
to civil and criminal appeals being determined by the High Court but being
heard by the Supreme Court.

There were election trials as well, arising out of the 2000 parliamentary
poll, with nearly 40 results being challenged by the opposition MDC.

"Clearly this is an area which requires attention as the High Court is
called upon to do a lot more than in the past," said Garwe. "Further
judicial appointments are necessary. I would want to see at least five more
appointments immediately and another five in due course."

He said judges worked late into the night every day and during weekends to
dispense justice and write judgments.

"They do all this notwithstanding the poor conditions of service and
remuneration offered to them. I believe this is an area requiring urgent
attention so that judges can concentrate on their role as judicial
officers," he said.

Garwe said there was a need to computerise judges' chambers to facilitate
accurate and speedy access to relevant information and authorities.

He said unlike in other countries, judges in Zimbabwe still had to go into
the library and flip through thousands of pages of law reports and

The High Court registry, the busiest section, was manned by only two clerks
and one supervisor, as was the criminal registry. Last year, the civil
registry handled 12 113 new cases.

Garwe said the current legal year started with a heavy heart after the loss
of Justice Muchechetere.Muchechetere once served as a judge of the High
Court in Bulawayo. He left Bulawayo on elevation to the Supreme Court.

The function was attended by the Bulawayo Mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube,
Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Catholic Church and prominent city lawyers.

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From News24 (SA), 7 January

Zim, EU to talk this week

Harare - The European Union is to hold critical talks in Brussels on Friday with the Zimbabwe government, which faces the threat of EU sanctions over its human rights record and violent land reforms, a newspaper reported here on Monday. The state-owned daily Herald, quoting a senior government official, said Zimbabwe would send Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, Interior Minister John Nkomo, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Information Jonathan Moyo to Brussels for the talks. Relations have been tense between the European Union and Zimbabwe after the Harare government refused an EU request to allow election observers at presidential elections due in March. In November, the EU invoked Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement which governs relations between the European Union and its African, Caribbean and Pacific partners. Under the agreement, formal consultations with Zimbabwe are to be held, after which the EU can consider punitive action against the southern African nation if no progress is made.

Last month the European Parliament called for economic sanctions against Harare and said assets of President Robert Mugabe and his close associates should be frozen. EU parliamentarians blamed the government for the poor state of the country's economy, and said the deteriorating legal and human rights situation was a "direct consequence of deliberate and reprehensible actions of the Mugabe regime". Zimbabwe has been accused of clamping down on political opponents, independent judges and journalists. It has also been lambasted for allowing pro-government militants to wage a violent campaign on white-owned farms in a bid to speed up land reforms aimed at redressing colonial-era imbalances.

From, 7 January

SA is the key

Harare - If Zimbabweans had hoped that the year 2001 would slow the rapid descent of their country into political and economic chaos, those hopes were soon dashed. In January, by-elections were disrupted by violence, farm invasions escalated, and President Robert Mugabe's efforts to oust members of the judiciary widely viewed as independent were intensified. During the course of the year, Mugabe forced four senior judges to retire or resign. Foremost among them was Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay. Despite criticism from international law associations, Justice Gubbay was quickly replaced by Godfrey Chidyausiku, said by Zimbabwean observers to be a government supporter. Within months Justice Chidyausiku overturned an earlier high court ruling that the government's land resettlement program was unconstitutional. By the year's end the government had identified about 95% of the commercial farmland for its controversial resettlement program. The government says the resettlement program is designed to benefit landless Zimbabweans. But the government program has not halted widespread and often violent farm occupations orchestrated by war veterans and supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party. In an annual review of political developments in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said Mugabe's land policies are not about land reform, but rather about "rampant torture by the state and its proxies designed to bludgeon dissent." The organization said Mugabe's government is determined to remain in power by any means, including harassment, arbitrary arrests, assaults, and killings of anyone who stands in its way.

This view is shared by analysts such as Moeletsi Mbeki, board member of the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, who says those who oppose or are perceived to oppose Mugabe are frequently the subject of attack. "There is a campaign really of violence against the opposition party and especially against the electorate that is likely to vote for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change," he said. Dozens of opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters have disappeared or been killed, and dozens more, including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, have been arrested. While some remain behind bars, the courts have dismissed all the charges against Tsvangirai and several others. Analysts say the attacks on the opposition are part of a campaign being waged by the ruling Zanu PF and Mugabe with the sole aim of maintaining political power. Tendai Dumbuthsena, a Zimbabwe columnist and former journalist, says the current goal is to return Mugabe to power in the presidential election scheduled for March. "Everything that he is doing," he said, "from manipulating the election register, denying perceived supporters of the opposition the vote, making it very difficult for young people in urban areas to register to vote because they are unlikely to vote for him, to amendments to the electoral act preventing the presence of observers not sanctioned by the government, etc., etc., to the violence, to the intimidation. All this is designed to guarantee that there can only be one winner when the election is held."

The Zimbabwe government vehemently denies its policies are aimed at anything other than overcoming the inequalities caused by colonial and minority rule and ensuring that ordinary Zimbabweans have access to arable land. Mugabe and senior government officials reject the charge their supporters engage in violence and accuse their critics of being racist. The international community, including the European Union and the Commonwealth, has condemned events in Zimbabwe. In December, the United States passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. It will allow the United States to impose so-called "smart" economic and travel sanctions against individuals responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law and politically motivated violence. Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the law was aimed at increasing the suffering of Zimbabweans.

But analysts such as Mbeki and Dumbutshena disagree. They support the so-called smart sanctions, but they also say it is the countries of the Southern Africa Development Community, particularly South Africa, that have the real leverage to influence the Zimbabwe government. For Dumbutshena, Zimbabwe's neighbours must make it clear to Mugabe that unless he ensures the presidential election is free and fair by international standards, they will refuse to recognize his government. "I made the point about legitimacy," he said. "If Mugabe realizes that SADC withdraws recognition of his government, he is totally exposed to punitive measures from the rest of the world. If SADC were to reject the outcome of the elections, the African Union would follow suit because it will be guided by what the SADC heads of state say and it will leave him diplomatically exposed."

Both analysts note that Zimbabwe remains highly dependent on South Africa economically. In the early 1980s, at the insistence of the international community, South Africa's apartheid government used economic pressure on the government of then-Prime Minister Ian Smith to force it into negotiations that ultimately ended white-minority rule in Zimbabwe and brought Mugabe's Zanu PF to power. "Well South Africa is the key country," said Dumbutshena. "You will recall that during the years under Smith, it was when the British and the Americans persuaded South Africa to a hard line on Smith, that the tide decisively changed. That relationship still exists - the relationship of Zimbabwe being largely dependent on South Africa for its economic well-being."

Dozens of local journalists have been harassed or beaten by police or by Mugabe's supporters. Presses belonging to the independent Daily News were destroyed in a bomb blast days after war veteran leader Chenjerai Hunzvi declared at a rally the newspaper had been "banned in Zimbabwe." Several foreign journalists were expelled and many others denied visas to report in Zimbabwe. At year end, the government served notice it plans legislation that will impose severe licensing restrictions on journalists in Zimbabwe. The law will go to parliament in early January and makes provision for severe penalties, including lengthy prison terms, for any infractions of the licensing rules. During the year, the Zimbabwe economy went into free fall. Land occupations prevented many commercial farmers from producing tobacco, the country's largest foreign currency earner. The government appropriated what little foreign currency there was to pay for oil and electricity, but this did not prevent frequent fuel shortages and electricity outages. Food crops have also been affected, resulting in severe food shortages and skyrocketing prices. By the end of the year, official inflation was running at 103%. In August Tito Mboweni, South Africa's reserve bank governor said "the wheels had come off" in Zimbabwe in the year 2001. In the year 2002, Zimbabweans will be looking to South Africa and other governments in the region, to help them find ways of moving their country forward again.

Comment from ZWNEWS, 8 January

Zimbabwe is Africa in microcosm

African leaders, generally speaking, want to have their cake and eat it. On the one hand they seek to cling to power as long as possible, to reward their friends and families, to run their nations for their own convenience. On the other they demand the respect accorded to the leaders of liberal democracies and the largesse of the West and will damn as racists anyone who questions their right to either. Nelson Mandela showed it could be different which is why the likes of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, loathes Mandela. The crisis in Zimbabwe has made many African leaders get off the fence and they have come down heavily laden with excuses and justifications on Mugabe’s side: on the side of tyranny, corruption and brutality. Did anybody really think it would be different? Zimbabwe is Africa in microcosm: clever, industrious people; aspirations for multi-party democracy and multi-racial society; leaders from a cartoon book.

In December 2001 a Southern African Development Community (SADC) committee of ministers, meeting in Harare, announced their support for Mugabe’s fast track land reform programme. Not content with this, they then expressed concern about hostile media coverage of Zimbabwe and praised the Zanu PF government’s commitment to democracy. What was surprising about this was that anyone was surprised by it: consider the manoeuvres of African diplomacy since the Zimbabwe parliamentary elections in June 2000:

In July 2000 the government of Zimbabwe announced that it would seize 3,000 farms without compensation; leader of the self-styled war veterans, the late ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi, declared that the war veterans were higher than the law. An OAU summit in Lome declared the parliamentary elections fair and democratic and condemned the USA and the UK for their attitude to Zimbabwe.

In August 2000 Amnesty International noted that over 900 people had been victims of political violence since the elections. In Windhoek in Namibia a SADC mission voted that South Africa and Malawi intercede with the UK to seek funds for Zimbabwe land reform.

In September 2000 ZANU PF supporters first fire-bombed and then attacked and ransacked the MDC offices in Harare. A SADC ministerial conference voted to support the Zimbabwean government in its quest to recover stolen agricultural land.

In October 2000 Mugabe declared an amnesty for all those accused of political crimes during the elections. His police force brutally put down riots in Harare. President Nujoma of Namibia publicly accused the UK of reneging on its agreement to support land reform. Mugabe told a SADC conference in Windhoek that any white farmer who wished to farm would be permitted to do so. The conference believed him.

In November 2000 Mugabe dismissed a Supreme Court order to cease illegal land invasions. So-called war veterans invaded the Supreme Court. Police fired on a crowd and killed an eight-month-old child. In Gaborone SADC ministers warmly applauded the late Security Minister, Nicholas Goche, who claimed that the Zimbabwean government would abide by the 1998 Donors’ Conference guidelines on land redistribution.

In December 2000 Mugabe told the Zanu PF Congress that the party must continue to wage war on the whites who were not indigenous to Africa. Attackers killed 70-year-old farmer Harry Elsworth. Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo visited Harare to put pressure on the UNDP; Obasanjo called for the West to pay for land reform in Zimbabwe.

In January 2001 Zanu PF unleashed wholesale violence during the Bikita East by- election. ‘Hitler Hunzvi’ attacked the Daily News; its presses were later destroyed by army land mines. Vice President Msika said that there would be war if the MDC won an election. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches offered support for the land reform programme and warned white farmers not to go to the courts. South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that South Africa’s duty was to keep Zimbabwe strong.

In February 2001 Zanu PF forced out Chief Justice Gubbay, expelled BBC reporter Joseph Winter, attacked journalists and carried out further violent land invasions. President Mbeki said that his principle task was to support the government of Zimbabwe, the ANC ruled out sanctions, the SADC Council of Ministers ruled out any interference in Zimbabwe.

In March 2001 there were high levels of violence. Zanu PF youths murdered Robson Tinarwo for refusing to renounce the MDC, so-called war veterans invaded properties including a children’s home in Harare. SADC re-elected Mugabe chairman of its defence and security organ. (Mugabe was also, by the way, welcomed to the Elysee Palace by President Chirac.)

In April 2001 so-called war veterans attacked businesses in Harare and MDC supporters, particularly in Muzarabani. Colonel Ghaddafi said that whites should be thrown out of Africa having first paid compensation to black Africans.

In May 2001 Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, publicly backed the Zanu PF campaign against business; aid depots and businesses were ransacked. There were numerous Zanu PF attacks upon farms and schools. The Sudanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe warmly praised Zanu PF for its "bold steps to redress the land imbalance."

In June 2001 the Amani Trust estimated that 200,000 Zimbabweans had been subject to political violence in 2000. Former US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, was quoted by the Zimbabwean state media as saying that all white farmers should burn in hell. President Moi of Kenya accused the UK of failing to honour its obligations to land reform in Zimbabwe.

In July 2001 11 MDC supporters were murdered, many more were arrested; there was much Zanu PF violence at the Bindura by–election. In Lusaka the OAU accused the UK of seeking to vilify Zimbabwe.

In August 2001 invaders murdered a 76-year-old WW2 veteran; police arrested 22 white farmers in Chinhoyi. Mugabe subsequently accused them of disgracing the country. Zanu PF youth went on the rampage in Chinhoyi and surrounding areas, looting and destroying farms. President Joseph Kabila expressed ‘unwavering support’ for the Zimbabwe’s land redistribution which would lead to prosperity. President Chissano opposed direct or indirect sanctions. A SADC conference condemned British interference in the 2000 elections.

In September 2001 Mugabe accused the Jews of shutting down businesses in Zimbabwe; Zanu PF youths went on the rampage in Makoni West and Bulawayo. The Amani Trust attributed 95% of incidents of violence to Zanu PF supporters and government employees. Farmers appealed for food and shelter for thousands of farm workers driven by Zanu PF from Hwedza. The World Conference against Racism applauded Minister of Justice Chinamasa who claimed that Zanu PF was fighting against ‘the extinction of black people.’ In Abuja the Commonwealth agreed that land was at the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis.

In October 2001 the government arrested directors of The Daily News. Zanu PF supporters shut down schools in the Gokwe area and attacked Morgan Tsvangirai; violent land invasions continued. Foreign Minister Mudenge accused the EU of dirty tricks; government media accused Canadian minister Kilgour of ‘fits of racist bigotry.’ In a follow-up visit to Harare the Abuja committee reiterated that land is at the heart of the crisis despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In November 2001 police raided MDC offices and arrested numerous MDC supporters and officials, Zanu PF supporters burned down the MDC offices in Bulawayo, Vice President Msika threatened a bloodbath, Mugabe used presidential powers to legalise the seizure of any farm. The Kenyan High Commissioner accused British minister Peter Hain of discrediting Zimbabwe. The Nigerian High Commissioner in Zimbabwe accused the independent Daily News of producing material that was "an insult to the whole black race."

In December 2001 police arrested Morgan Tsvangirai yet again. New regulations sought to debar potential MDC voters from voting. A packed Supreme Court legalised theft of farms. War veteran leader Andrew Ndlovu said there will be war if the MDC wins the election. More horrendous intimidation in rural areas. Four MDC supporters were murdered; War veterans described the 11th September outrage as the work of ‘the hand of the Almighty’. Mugabe described Prime Minister Blair as a ‘difficult and troublesome little boy.’ In Harare the SADC task force backed Zimbabwe and praised an "improved atmosphere of calm and stability." A SADC meeting in Luanda promised to stand by Zimbabwe against the EU. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Harare said that he could not understand why Britain would not pay for land reform.

It is possible that Mugabe has conned his African counterparts time and time again and made fools of all of them. But surely they can’t be that gullible. Can they?

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