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

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Village Voice

Nat Hentoff
U.S. Black Leaders Confront Mugabe
Policemen's Feet on Demonstrators' Heads
June 13th, 2003 5:30 PM

Police in Harare [forced] about 50 people, some of them women, to lie on the
street while they beat them with batons and whips. . . . Police stopped
thousands of University of Zimbabwe students from marching into the city.
They then stormed the campus, forced some students to lie on the grass and
pavements, and beat them with whips. —Zimbabwe's The Independent newspaper,
June 3, reporting on a week of protests to oust President Mugabe


Having written of the silence of most American black leaders about the
oppression of Zimbabwe's black citizens by President Robert Mugabe, I can
now report on a powerful, insistent message sent to that dictator on June 3
by one of this country's leading labor union figures, William Lucy,
international secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees (the other influential signers are named

"We have strong historical ties to the liberation movements in Zimbabwe,
which included material and political support, as well as opposition to U.S.
government policies that supported minority [white] rule. . . .

"At the same time our progressive ties have grown with institutions of civil
society, especially the labor movement, women's organizations, faith
communities, human rights organizations, students, the independent media,
and progressive intellectuals. . . . We stand in solidarity with those
feeling the pain and suffering caused by the abuse of their rights [and] the
increasingly intolerant, repressive, and violent policies of your government
over the past three years, [and] the devastating consequences of those
policies." (Emphasis added.)

Among many recent illustrations of those violent abuses, there is the report
in the June 7 Economist of demonstrators lying on the pavement "with
policemen's feet on their heads. . . . Police even burst into a private
hospital to drag out injured protesters. According to the Movement for
Democratic Change [the opposition party], one of its activists, Tichaona
Kaguru, died after being tortured by the security forces."

The letter from American black leaders to the brutal source of this
devastation speaks of the famine in Zimbabwe "triggered by the recent
southern African drought and exacerbated by the economic policies and food
distribution practices of your government. . . . Land redistribution in
Zimbabwe [should] be used to fight the poverty of the majority and not to
promote the narrow interests of another minority"—the cronies and other
supporters of Mugabe who have taken over the farms and badly mismanaged

Moreover, the new Amnesty International Report 2003 points to "widespread
reports . . . [of] the deliberate denial of food aid by [Mugabe's] ZANU-PF
officials to Movement for Democratic Change members and supporters. Youth
militia stationed outside long queues to buy grain reportedly targeted MDC
supporters for assaults and intimidation to prevent them from getting food."

The letter to Mugabe by William Lucy and his fellow signers tells Mugabe:
"We have communicated clearly [to Mugabe's representative in Washington]
that we view the political repression underway in Zimbabwe as intolerable
and in complete contradiction of the values and principles that were both
the foundation of your liberation struggle and of our solidarity with that
struggle." (Emphasis added.)

In addition to being secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees, William Lucy is president of an
international body, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. The other
signers of this urgent letter to Mugabe—which I doubt will get much, if any,
coverage in the mainstream American media—include:

Willie Baker, executive vice president, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists;
Salih Booker, executive director, Africa Action; Bill Fletcher Jr., presiden
t, TransAfrica Forum; Horace G. Dawson Jr., director, Ralph J. Bunche
International Affairs Center, Howard University; Patricia Ann Ford,
executive vice president, Service Employees International Union (SEIU);
Julianne Malveaux, TransAfrica Forum board member; Reverend Justus Y.
Reeves, executive director, Missions Ministry, Progressive National Baptists
Convention; the Coordinating Committee of the Black Radical Congress.

In their letter, they ask Mugabe to "initiate an unconditional dialogue with
the political opposition in Zimbabwe and representatives of civil society. .
. . We call upon you to seek the diplomatic intervention of appropriately
concerned African states and institutions, particularly South Africa and
Nigeria . . . and the African Union."

The problem with that approach—as the new Amnesty International report
points out—is that "efforts to promote Zimbabwe as a potential test case for
the efficacy of the newly launched African Union and the New Partnership for
Africa's Development failed, following reluctance by most African leaders to
condemn the Zimbabwean government's human rights record. The UN Commission
on Human Rights passed a 'no-action' motion on a resolution criticizing

Zimbabwe, believe it or not, is a member of the United Nations Human Rights
Commission! And have you heard anything lately from Nobel laureate Kofi
Annan about state terrorism in Zimbabwe?

What hope is there for the black citizens of Zimbabwe? In the June 3 issue
of The Independent, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, Paul Themba Nyathi, told the newspaper—as resistance to Mugabe rises
at grave peril to the resisters—"We are humbled by the strength and
resilience of our people in the face of this naked brutality."

And an editorial in another Zimbabwean independent newspaper, The Daily
News, roared, "Freedom is coming tomorrow." These are brave people, but what
is to become of them?

At the end of his widely lauded book, Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and
the Tragedy of Zimbabwe (Public Affairs), Martin Meredith writes that
Mugabe's "sole purpose has become to hold on to power. Whatever the cost,
his regime was dedicated towards that end. Violence had paid off in the
past; he expected it to secure the future."

The future will become much bloodier. As The Economist (June 7) foresees,
"Larger [demonstrations] may follow. As people get hungrier, they may feel
that they have nothing to lose by confronting the regime."

Will any of the corpses be shown on American television?
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Our man in Zimbabwe shrugs off Mugabe slur
By Peta Thornycroft, in Harare, and David Blair
(Filed: 14/06/2003)

For months, Britain's High Commission in Harare has been churning out weary
denials about "plots" being hatched by the High Commissioner, Sir Brian

Yesterday, it tried again to dampen the flames after President Robert Mugabe
made further inflamatory allegations and threatened to expel the British

The High Commission said Sir Brian had no role in "funding or organising"
last week's general strike, contrary to Mr Mugabe's allegations at a party

Sir Brian, branded a "super spy" by Zimbabwe's state media, is routinely
accused of plotting Mr Mugabe's violent overthrow.

Over the past two years, increasingly fevered reports have pictured him as
planning a British invasion, burning down white-owned farms to discredit the
regime and trying to starve Mr Mugabe's supporters.

Sir Brian, knighted in the New Year honours list, appears to shrug it off.

Some white farmers believe that he has given them short shrift. He
infuriated many when he pointed out that Britain has no obligation to pay
compensation for Mr Mugabe's land seizures.

Diplomats in Harare sympathise with Sir Brian's predicament and view him
with genuine respect. He is a "steady pair of hands" in a "very unusual
posting", said one.

Before arriving in Zimbabwe in July 2001, Sir Brian was British ambassador
in Yugoslavia and witnessed the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic. To The
Herald, Zimbabwe's official daily, this was proof that he was "brought to
Zimbabwe to do a Milosevic to President Mugabe".

During his two years of service in Mr Mugabe's shambolic domain, our man in
Harare has put up with some of the most implausible allegations endured by a
British envoy.

Barely six weeks after his arrival, he was blamed for a vicious outbreak of
rural anarchy: in August 2001, mobs from the ruling Zanu-PF party raided and
looted 30 white-owned farms in Mhangura, north of Harare, burning three to
the ground.

This was all Sir Brian's fault, said The Herald. He "stage-managed the
looting" in order to spread a "false impression of mass victimisation of

By early 2002, Sir Brian was apparently becoming more aggressive. In
February, the Sunday Mail, an official weekly, reported that he was
organising "military training" in Britain for "thousands of Zimbabweans".

This force would be used to devastating effect. The Herald predicted "waves
of violence" from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The paper
added: "Mr Brian Donnelly is masterminding the plan."

But it was Zimbabwe's presidential election last March which brought
accusations to fever pitch.

Sir Brian's office issued one statement after another: No, Sir Brian was not
sponsoring an "insurgency in Matabeleland"; no, he was not planning a "major
military offensive"; no, he had not ordered Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
leader, to "appoint a white man as his deputy".

By last June, The Herald said the regime had lost patience with Sir Brian.
It called him a "high profile intelligence officer" and announced that he
was under "24-hour surveillance". The regime appeared not to have noticed
that Sir Brian was on holiday in Britain at the time. His office churned out
another denial.

One month later The Herald claimed that Sir Brian had hosted more
clandestine meetings to overthrow Mr Mugabe during a "flurry of activity" at
the High Commission. The paper had not noticed that the Queen's Golden
Jubilee had coincided with the "flurry" and the High Commission was closed.

Undeterred, the paper claimed that Sir Brian was "interfering with the
distribution of food aid" and was ordering aid agencies to "sideline Zanu-PF
supporters in favour of MDC followers".

In fact, Britain provided £80 million of humanitarian aid to help Zimbabwe
to survive a desperate food shortage largely caused by Mr Mugabe's seizure
of white-owned farms.

Sir Brian has also endured physical thuggery. Three months ago, he was
forced to cancel the opening of a British-funded water project because
Zanu-PF thugs, allowed to run wild by the police, prevented him from

While it vilifies Sir Brian, the regime is also proffering the begging bowl
for British aid. The World Food Programme says Zimbabwe's food production
has dropped by about 50 per cent on last year.

Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia all increased food production in the last
season but Zimbabwe produced only 30 per cent of its needs.

Britain's pilloried High Commissioner will be handing out yet more
assistance to Zimbabwe's much-abused people.
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Intimidation and inflation
Police crackdown on a protest in Harare
Police crackdown on a protest in Harare

Until the late 1990s Zimbabwe appeared to be a model African nation: a stable economy, thriving agriculture, and an excellent education system. It also had a Western-style parliament and judiciary.

Panorama went into Zimbabwe undercover in May, during the Zimbabwe/England cricket test at Lords. We found people living in terror and an economy on its knees.

President Robert Mugabe has instigated a brutal regime. Anybody who challenges the president or his government risks being seized and tortured by the police, government militia or the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation.

There is an opposition party but it faces constant harassment.

Opposition MP Job Sikhala who we followed for the 'Five Days in May' programme was horrifically tortured earlier this year. Panorama reporter Fergal Keane interviewed him at his bedside after the ordeal.

A nation that queues

Fuel queues in Zimbabwe
Motorists queue for days to get fuel
Meanwhile the people of Zimbabwe face soaring inflation. The largest bank note - 500 Zimbabwean dollars - is now worth 10p. It costs 800 dollars to manufacture, meaning it actually costs more to make the money than it is worth.

Mugabe's government has also failed to pay the bills and now Libya, which supplies Zimbabwe with fuel, has cut it off, plunging the country into a crisis.

People wait in queues for days for alternative supplies. The poor are forced to sleep in their cars overnight. Those with money employ people to sit in the queue for them or buy off the black market.

Zimbabwe also has 80 per cent unemployment. There is no state money for those without work, so the majority of Zimbabweans are reliant on relatives who do have jobs or on small, make-shift economies such as selling tomatoes at the side of the road.

As many as seven million people are reliant on food aid, with the rural areas being particularly badly hit.

Gagging the press

Andrew Meldrum
Guardian journalist Andrew Meldrum was thrown out of the country
If you want to complain about the situation in Zimbabwe, you may find yourself in jail. The new Public Order bill has made it illegal to insult the president.

Criticising Mugabe can now land you with a year's jail sentence or a 20,000 dollar fine. Zimbabwe state television and radio are tightly controlled by the government and opposition figures such as the Mayor of Harare are not given airtime.

A number of independent newspapers still survive. But all journalists - national and foreign - risk being imprisoned for "engendering feelings of hostility towards the President".

The Guardian's Andrew Meldrum, interviewed for Panorama's 'Five Days in May', fell foul of the public order bill and was ejected from the country on May 16 2003. The BBC is particularly hated by Mugabe's government and BBC television is banned.

Is this cricket?

Andy Flower
Andy Flower's protest highlighted the torture of an MP
The situation in Zimbabwe may appear to have nothing to do with the gentleman's game.

But it was the torture of MP Job Sikhala that prompted Zimbabwe's cricket players Henry Olonga and Andy Flower to wear black armbands during the World Cup in January 2003.

Both men are now living in the UK. The Zimbabwe team that arrived at Lords in May had been politically cleansed of opposition voices.

Henry and Andy's stance brought Zimbabwe's suffering to the world stage. It also sparked the debate about whether sports people can ignore politics as has often been the case.

Despite considerable personal cost to them selves, Henry and Andy don't regret making a stand.

The final push

While Panorama was in Zimbabwe, the opposition party, Movement For Democratic Change was organising mass demonstrations.

Many people were talking about "the final push" - the idea being to forcibly oust President Mugabe from power.

Subsequent strikes and demonstrations at the beginning of June were met by tear gas, beatings, the death of an opposition activist, and the closure of businesses that dared join the strike.

Government brutality, fear and ineffective leadership from the opposition meant mass action was largely ineffective. The "final push" became a "tentative prod".

What can be done?

It is widely believed that Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa is the only nation which can resolve the current crisis. They control Zimbabwe's electricity supply and provide the country with large quantities of food aid.

Yet President Mbeki and South Africa's ANC party seem reluctant to meet the challenge head on - preferring instead, quiet, very quiet diplomacy.

Reporter Fergal Keane spoke to a number of South African figures to find out why South Africa is stalling on the question of Zimbabwe.

Panorama: Five days in May will be broadcast at 22:15 BST on Sunday, 15 June 2003 on BBC One.

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New York Times

      Despite rich harvests, Africans face famine
         Lydia Polgreen NYT  Saturday, June 14, 2003

JOHANNESBURG Despite a bumper crop of grain and plentiful rains this harvest
season, food shortages remain a serious problem in large pockets of southern
Africa, a UN agency has reported.
While the shortages are not as severe as they were in several countries last
harvest season, when floods and drought severely damaged crops, aid workers
said many nations in southern Africa would be unable to feed their people,
even with the best possible weather conditions and with much international
"This year's production is better than last year," said Henri Josserand of
the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, who has been monitoring the
harvests in several countries that faced famine last year. "But it is not
exceptional by any means."
As desperate as conditions are becoming in the south, they are dwarfed by
food shortages in the northeastern countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia. In
Eritrea, war and drought have left more than two million people - over 60
percent of the population - without enough food, according to UN officials,
who issued the report on Thursday. In Ethiopia, they added, up to 12 million
people need food.
The six countries in southern Africa that officials are watching closely -
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland - have managed
to produce two-thirds of the food they need, a marked improvement over last
year, the report found. But poor infrastructure and the continued
devastation wrought by AIDS means that there are large areas that will go
In northern Mozambique, for example, there is a surplus of grain, and
because that region's neighbors, Zambia and Malawi, also had good harvests,
there is only a limited market for the surplus, driving prices down,
Josserand said. Yet within its own borders Mozambique faces hunger among
nearly one million people in the central and southern regions, the report
found, because with few passable roads and no rail or water links, getting
food to the south is prohibitively expensive.
In Zimbabwe, where large, white-owned farms have been taken over by
squatters, production of grain has plummeted. The country now grows half of
what it grew five years ago, the report said, and as a result 7.2 million
people, half of the country's population, will need help getting food.
"We continue to grapple with a very dependent society reliant on rain-fed
agriculture," said Judith Lewis, the World Food Program's regional director
for southern Africa.
She said there were 4 million orphans in southern Africa, which means many
households are headed by a child or an elderly grandparent. In places where
subsistence agriculture is the only viable way of life, the loss of a
healthy adult can mean starvation or worse for an entire family.
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Saturday, June 14, 2003
Tsvangirai bail bid postponed again

HARARE -- State prosecutors opposed bail yesterday for the jailed Zimbabwe
opposition leader on new treason charges, saying they believed he would
commit other offences of treason if freed.

Judge Susan Mavangira said she needed more time to consider Tsvangirai's
bail application and would make a ruling, possibly next week.

In the meantime, Morgan Tsvangirai would continue being held in a local

Tsvangirai, the government's most vocal critic and a former presidential
candidate, called for anti-government strikes and demonstrations last week,
that shut down most of Zimbabwe's already shattered economy.

He was arrested last Friday at the end of the week-long protests, accused of
urging supporters to take to the streets in protests declared illegal by the
government to oust President Robert Mugabe.

He denies the charges.

The opposition, however, has vowed to hold more anti-government protests.

They blame Mugabe and his government for bringing political chaos, economic
ruin, and a food crisis to the southern African country.

Foreign aid, investment and loans have largely dried up amid political
violence, state-orchestrated human rights abuses and the seizure of
thousands of white-owned farms.

The state Herald newspaper said Mugabe accused Britain, the former colonial
power here, of backing the anti-government demonstrations and said its high
commissioner in Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, helped organise them.

"If he continues doing it, we will kick him out of this country," Mugabe

No immediate comment was available from Donnelly's office in Zimbabwe.

Britain along with the US are by far the largest donors of humanitarian aid
that has helped avert an even greater food crisis here.

Together they have given more than $ 200 million (about R1,6 billion) to
food aid in the past 18 months.

After last week's protests, Mugabe accused both Britain and the US of
backing the demonstrations and said their diplomats were "acting illegally
on our soil".

At Tsvangirai's bail hearing in the high court yesterday, state prosecutor
Morgen Nemadire argued that the opposition leader would commit similar
offences to those in the charges that led to his arrest if he was released.

Mugabe, meanwhile, said his government would not tolerate further opposition

"Enough is enough. We hope they have learned their lesson. If they haven't
they will learn it the hard way," he was quoted as telling supporters at a
ruling party rally in Nyanga.

Last week's anti-government protests and strikes spurred a massive crackdown
by security forces.

Street marches were crushed before they could start. At least 600 people
were arrested.

At yesterday's hearing, Nemadire said the state had "reasonable suspicion"
that Tsvangirai planned demonstrations to unconstitutionally remove the
president from office. He acknowledged Tsvangirai had called for peaceful

"High treason does not have to be violent, it does not have to be
revolutionary. It could be peaceful but it remains high treason ... it is
still an overt act with hostile intent," he said.

Tsvangirai's lawyer, George Bizos, told the court on Thursday that the state
prosecutors opposing bail wanted to remove his client from the country's
political scene.

He argued the state case against Tsvangirai was weak and that there was no
evidence showing he had called for the violent overthrow of Mugabe and his

Treason charges carry a possible death sentence.

Tsvangirai and two other opposition officials are already on trial in a
separate treason case.

The government alleges they plotted to assassinate Mugabe two years ago.

All the defendants deny the charges and say they were framed by the
government. -- Sapa
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Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2003 5:34 PM
Subject: Alice in Wonderland

Dear Family and Friends,
Don't wear red ! This week in Zimbabwe everyone is whispering to their friends and neighbours not to wear red clothes because if you do you will be beaten by government supporters. It's happening in the capital city and the little towns and this week in Marondera workers at a prominent butchery in the town were beaten by unknown men for wearing red clothes because this is a colour associated with the opposition. In fact Marondera has been like a town out of Alice in Wonderland this week. Aside from people being beaten for wearing red clothes, scores of others have had their windows broken and been pulled out of their houses at night and been beaten for being opposition supporters. For two weeks we've not had a single independent newspaper in the town. The vendors have been threatened, the papers seized and on one ludicrous occasion people seen reading the Daily News were forced to stuff pieces of the paper into their mouths and eat it. Our one and only sports club, which offers golf, tennis, squash and hockey to people of all colours, ages and sexes has been taken over by militant youths. The boom over the road has been closed off and no one is allowed in, the youths guarding the gate say we may no longer go there as it is now their club. They have undoubtedly got their inspiration from the almost daily pronouncements by Zimbabwe's President as he has toured around the country addressing rally's and threatening everyone and everything.
There is no doubt that the ruling party got a very rude awakening with the recent attempts by the opposition to hold protests and demonstrations around the country and the only way to silence a nation is by massive intimidation. This week the President has said that companies which closed down during the strike will be taken away from the owners and given to the workers. He has said that expatriate company owners will have their work permits withdrawn and will be deported. He has said that the British High Commissioner will be expelled from the country because he believes Mr Donnelly is supporting the opposition.  And while all the threatening and intimidation has gone on, nothing has changed and our daily lives continue to deteriorate.
This week, for the first time in six months, I had to go to Harare for medical reasons and was utterly devastated at what I saw. Using preciously saved petrol and driving slowly to conserve fuel, the view from the window was a nightmare. Three years after farms were seized by our government, there is still nothing to see. On a 70 kilometre journey there is still only one farm along the road with a small crop of perhaps 10 hectares. Aside from this one little patch of green, there is nothing to see. Every now and again there are a few cows but nothing else, no fruit, vegetables, wheat or winter crops. Vast fields lie empty, huge trees being felled and sold for firewood on the edge of the road. Arriving in the capital itself the commonest two sights are police and army road blocks and stationary petrol queues which double and triple back on themselves. With such sights it is hard to find hope but buying my first newspaper in a fortnight I was suddenly reduced to tears of humility as I read the words of the wife of imprisoned opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. She said: "He says there is no surrender and that he is paying the price for the struggle. He says there is no gain without pain and that he is ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of Zimbabweans." Without the bravery and determination of our unstoppable opposition party, I believe Zimbabwe would indeed be doomed but they continue to give us hope. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 14th June 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in Europe, America and Canada from: ; in Australia and New Zealand from: and in Africa from and
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From The Times (UK), 14 June

Mugabe putting millions in aid at risk

From Michael Hartnack in Harare

Zimbabwe risks losing millions of pounds in humanitarian aid after President
Mugabe threatened to expel British and American diplomats from Harare. Mr
Mugabe has accused Britain and America of fomenting social unrest in an
attempt to win support for opponents to his 23-year rule. In his latest
outburst, Mr Mugabe, 79, accused Sir Brian Donnelly, the British High
Commissioner, of helping the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to
mount a national strike earlier this month to press demands for fresh
presidential elections. "If he continues doing it we will kick him out of
this country," Mr Mugabe said. Mr Mugabe last week accused the US and
British embassies of "acting illegally on our soil" by instigating the
protests, "and I warn their instigation cannot be tolerated forever by my
Government". At the same time Zimbabwe has renewed its appeal for an
increase in humanitarian aid to alleviate a famine which, UN agencies say,
threatens to engulf up to 8 million people. But sources said yesterday that
the withdrawal of official British and American representatives would put at
risk existing humanitarian aid programmes worth more than £150 million.
Sources said that America may rapidly scale down representation in Harare in
protest at abuses of human rights and at the re-arrest on new treason
charges of Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader.
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Mugabe says rival Tsvangirai deserves jail

HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe has mocked detained opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a puppet of the West, saying he deserves to be
jailed for calling mass protests intended to oust the president.
State media reported on Saturday that Mugabe told a rally of his ruling
ZANU-PF party on Friday Tsvangirai had been ill-advised in organising

"Tsvangirai is a really hopeless and pathetic puppet," he said in the Shona
language, in remarks carried by Zimbabwean state television.

Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested
on June 6 and charged with treason -- for a second time -- after the MDC
organised a week of protests as a "final push" against Mugabe.

"They said by (June 6) the MDC would be in power, and Tsvangirai would be at
State House. I am glad he is at state house (prison) now. That's the State
House he wanted," Mugabe said.

The protests -- described by Mugabe as an attempt to spark a coup d'etat --
faltered in the face of a tough response by police, who dispersed protesters
with tear gas, water cannon and rifle butts. The MDC said hundreds of people
were arrested.

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, vowed
Tsvangirai and the MDC would be taught "a lesson they will never forget".

A court ordered Tsvangirai to be held in jail until July 10, unless granted
bail by the high court. A judge is to rule on a bail application next week.

Tsvangirai, 51, already faces a possible death sentence in a separate
treason trial for an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe in 2002 -- a charge
he denies.

The fiery former trade union leader says he is a victim of political
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Mail and Guardian

'We can run Zimbabwe without the whites'


      14 June 2003 11:16

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Friday attacked whites in the country for
refusing reconciliation and vowed his government would not tolerate any more
protests from the opposition, state television reported.

"They (whites) never accepted our rule, black rule," Mugabe told a rally in
Nyamandlovu in southwestern Zimbabwe.

"They never accepted Zimbabwe was independent, they continued to live in
Rhodesia in their imagination," he said in reference to the country when it
still under white minority rule.

"We can run this country without the whites," he added.

Relations between the government and minority whites in Zimbabwe have been
strained since Mugabe launched a controversial land reform programme three
years ago. The programme has seen a fast track process of handing over
white-owned land to blacks.

Mugabe accuses whites of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), which last week organised five days of strikes and protests to
protest alleged misgovernance.

"That (mass action) will never happen again," Mugabe told cheering crowds,
adding he was pleased opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was now in police

He said opposition backers believed that by last Friday "the MDC will be in
government and Tsvangirai will be in State House (Mugabe's official

"I'm glad he's in State House now," he said, as crowds guffawed.

Tsvangirai was arrested last Friday and has spent the past week in custody.
Charged with treason, the opposition leader is still awaiting a ruling on a
bail application and was Friday set to spend another weekend in jail.

He is one among hundreds of opposition supporters arrested during the
strikes and protests. The MDC blames the government for severe economic and
social hardships in the country.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe needed peace.

"We need peace in the country, we need very much peace," he said. - Sapa-AFP
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Mugabe Threatens Zimbabwe Opposition
Peta Thornycroft
14 Jun 2003, 15:10 UTC

Hopes by the opposition that Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe might step
down have been dashed. Mr. Mugabe has appeared at political rallies in his
rural strongholds, threatening to come down even harder on the opposition.

The man said to have been selected by Mr. Mugabe as his successor,
parliamentary speaker Emerson Mnangagwa, said Saturday he has no ambition to
be the next president of Zimbabwe.

At the same time, Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the Movement for
Democratic Change, confirmed that there have been no negotiations between
the MDC and the ruling Zanu-PF about a way out of the political impasse.

He said there had been uncoordinated approaches from many organizations,
including church groups, but nothing had so far materialized.

Mr. Mugabe, who is 79, has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence 23 years
ago. He told supporters at a political rally in the southwestern town of
Nyamandlovu that he would not tolerate any more demonstrations by the MDC.
Hundreds of MDC supporters were arrested during nationwide strikes and
protests organized last week.

The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was also arrested and charged with
treason. He has spent the past week in jail. His lawyers say they hope he
will be granted bail Monday.

On Thursday Mr. Mugabe upped the political stakes by lashing out at
Britain's High Commissioner, Sir Brian Donnelly, accusing him of supporting
the opposition's general strike and protests which continued for five days.

In the rally in Matabeleland province, Mr. Mugabe accused whites of refusing
to accept black rule. His government launched a controversial land reform
program three years ago, forcing many white farmers off their land and
handing the farms over to blacks.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Dear Sirs


What does that have to do with anything?  Surely those few farmers on the
ground still deserve some recognition for work they have done, especially
considering they are doing this under appalling conditions?  And do
Nominees have to be actually farming?  I can think of quite a number of
members of our community, who are not farming (obviously through no fault
of their own), but are still contributing enormously to the welfare of the
rest of the district.

As for the CFU not having much support - this is a shame.  These people
(mostly volunteers) have worked tirelessly, under extremely difficult
circumstances, for the farmers of Zimbabwe.  Just this week, I have heard
that the CFU have generously donated a substantial sum of money towards the
medical treatment of an "ex-farmer". I personally feel that the criticism
towards them has been harsh and generally unfair.


Letter 2:

Dear Sir,

I am sure you are aware that Zimbabwe continues to suffer from a lack of
law and order, which is systematically destroying the fabric of the lives
of the majority of its citizens. This is because of the tyrannical greed
and power-grabbing attitude of the political party in power.

I would like to draw your attention to something that seems to have added a
new aspect to the saga. Our little town of Marondera had one source of
relaxation and recreation this is the Country Club. The members of this
Club are a majority of non-white citizens and have played sport, enjoyed
different facilities including a successful golf club which has contributed
to many local community enterprises, fund raising for schools, charities
etc. They have always encouraged the youth of the area to develop their
talents and be involved in healthy activities. Likewise the tennis section
holds championships for local young players as well.

In today's stressful conditions, with a constant struggle to keep
day-to-day business going the club is a central point, which keeps
Marondera alive. Without it the certain dissolution of the entire community
will occur.

For ten days the gates of the club have been sealed by a hostile group of
Youths on the orders of Zanu (PF).  A lot of members have valuable personal
property inside the buildings, which they have not been allowed to remove.
Any attempt to negotiate, or enter these private premises has resulted in
intimidation and victimization. No reason has formally been given to the
committee for these actions. It is reliably reported that a higher
authority who wishes to "grab" the club for his personal gain.

There is no way this can be called part of the infamous "land grab", it is
just yet another example of the total lack of law and order in Zimbabwe. Do
we just stand by feeling angry and helpless? The Police Force is powerless
or reluctant to take any action, so who then will maintain LAW AND ORDER?
What is next? Businesses and private houses? Government has said that
businesses, and the club is a business as well, must remain open. Now THEIR
party is closing it. Where is the logic?

Can we ask that you use the influence you might have to at least make this
public and try to get some reaction, any reaction, to help save Marondera
Country Club from a greedy illegal act totally against human rights and
laws of any country in the world.

Thank you,
Have to sign my self,
A Marondera Citizen.


Letter 3: Ben Freeth

Squatters but not farm workers supported by West

I recently went to a commercial farm that is still operating.  Such farms
are becoming fewer and fewer in number.  Apart from the lawlessness,
intimidation and violence that farmers and their workers have had to put up
with at the hands of the squatters over the last 3 years they are also
facing huge viability problems, fixed prices and fixed exchange rates
prevail for their produce and very fluid prices and fluid exchange rates
for all their black-market inputs.  Without ruling party connections, it's
impossible to get the inputs any other way but on the black-market.

The commercial farm I went to is limping along at perhaps a third capacity
while still trying to support all its workers.  The workers were all busy
grading tobacco on no more than a survival wage when I saw them.

Just outside the grading shed there was a group of several hundred people.
They were being dished out food aid.  Amongst them were the squatters from
all the surrounding farms that had successfully kicked the owners off and
deprived the farm workers of their jobs (and their homes in many cases).
The squatters were being given food because "they did not have jobs".

I asked about the farm workers "they have jobs" was the reply, "They are
not entitled.  That is donors policy".

Each household was receiving 50kg maize as their monthly ration and this in
May at the height of the maize harvest in productive natural region 2a.
Most of the squatters, I knew, had been settled for about 2 years already -
and they were reliant on food aid from the West on once very productive

I did some sums.  On the black-market maize goes for between $2000 to $3000
per bucket.  There's a bit over 5 buckets per 50kg bag.  If they sold their
monthly ration of maize to the farm workers they would be getting more
money per month than a farm worker.  In many cases farm workers don't have
access to maize any other way


Letter 4:

The Director,

My dear Hendrick,

I have just read a letter from the President of Matabeleland CFU bringing
JAG 'into line' with regards the Policy Statement put out by yourselves,
and the subsequent criticism of it on a JAG Legal and PR Communiqué. The
Chairman of JAG has apologized and given further explanation on JAG's Open
Letter Forum.

Please could you enunciate fully to your Council that this is actually a
wonderful event - to see a man with determination stand up for what is
right, and then defend his stand - outright. This is what any individual
representative, or representative body should do when challenged over a
matter of principle.

Unfortunately there is quite a bit of historic baggage, regarding "not
standing up," that will take quite some shedding by your Council. It is
possible that you need some men, or ladies, of very strong character to
emulate the Matabeleland President (rather than just tag along on his apron
strings) Once there is a complete determination to make right what is
wrong, then and only then, can there be "complete confidence and success" -
so aptly put by Humphrey Gibbs in 1942.

Yours faithfully,
J.L. Robinson.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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