Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria Tuesday
June 15, 2004 The Guardian
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information
minister, denied yesterday that Robert Mugabe intended to nationalise all
farmland, saying the policy only applied to plots seized from whites. His
statement contradicted that of John Nkomo, the land reform and resettlement
minister, who last week said the state would nationalise all agricultural
Mr Nkomo said Mr Mugabe's government would issue 99-year leases for
farmland and 25-year leases for wildlife and conservation
Yesterday Mr Moyo said nationalisation "only applies to land
acquired by the state under land reforms and does not in any way invalidate
or supersede other lawful forms of tenure".
His statement suggests
factions within Mr Mugabe's government are vying with each other over land
In addition to publicly correcting Mr Nkomo, Mr Moyo recently
lost a very public battle with another leading official.
often surrounded Mr Mugabe's land seizures, with the government saying one
thing but doing another.
Only 10% of farmland is in private hands but it
includes large plantations growing tea, timber and sugar. Although Mr Mugabe
declared last year that land seizures had ended, the government has taken
over more than 900 properties this year.
At Easter it took over
Kondozi farm, a large business owned by a prominent black businessman, which
grows and exports vegetables and fruits to British retailers including Tesco
in contracts worth millions of pounds.
State agents invaded the farm,
throwing 4,500 workers out of their homes.
The owner announced last week
that he would move his business to Mozambique and Zambia.
Reporter THE Government has not changed the policy or law on land tenure
and ownership, the Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of
the President and Cabinet said yesterday
The statement followed local
and international media reports that the Government planned a wholesale
nationalisation of all land in the country.
"Following wide-ranging local
and international media reports claiming the Government of Zimbabwe has
decided on wholesale nationalisation of land, the Department of Information
and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet informs all
concerned that there has not been any change of Government policy or law in
respect of land tenure and ownership," the department said.
from existing forms of land tenure which remain in force and legally valid,
land acquired under the fast-track and current phase of land
reforms automatically reverts to the State, with beneficiaries accessing it
under 99-year lease agreements with the State for general agricultural use,
and 25-year lease agreements for conservancies.
"It is emphasised that
this position only applies to land acquired by the State under land reforms,
and does not in any way invalidate or supersede other lawful forms of tenure
which, in any case, are recognised and protected by the laws of the land."
The department said currently the Government's preoccupation was to secure
the ground so far covered on land reforms by ensuring that the gains of the
Third Chimurenga were made legally and politically irreversible, were
consolidated and extended to cover any unmet demand for land.
Minister of Special Affairs Responsible for Lands, Land Reform
and Resettlement, Cde John Nkomo, last week said Government had stepped
up efforts to acquire more land with the sole objective of nationalising
all productive farmland, from crop fields to conservancies.
the State wanted to abolish title deed holdings and replace them with 99-year
leases while land leased out for wildlife and conservancies would be limited
to 25-year leases.
Zimbabwe's churches split in response to Mugabe's threats
and rule of fear
JANE FIELDS IN HARARE
IT IS Sunday morning
and Mitsubishis and BMWs cram the landscaped, baby palm tree-dotted car park
of Harare's flashiest church, the 3,000-seat Celebration Centre in the plush
Borrowdale suburb. Fashionably dressed children eat candy floss around the
outdoor water features. Inside the main auditorium, the band warms up for the
second service of the day.
On the prominently displayed list of those who
made "outstanding" financial contributions or were part of the
"half-a-million brick pledge" are some of Zimbabwe's biggest names -
businessmen, bankers and a mobile phone company owner. The rebel cricketer
Henry Olonga is said to have been a member.
But the Celebration Centre -
the flagship of Pastor Tom Deuschle's Hear the Word Ministries - has been
mired in controversy since it donated a Z$30 million (£3,000) "gift" to
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, earlier this year.
scriptures say that we should honour our leaders," Mr Deuschle was quoted as
saying. Critics said his church was attempting to buy Mr Mugabe's favour
ahead of a promised crackdown on churches that are believed to be sympathetic
to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
has highlighted how Mr Mugabe's draconian regime has divided the church in
About 73 per cent of the population are Christian, according to
figures published recently in state media.
Mr Mugabe is a Roman
Catholic. He married his young secretary Grace in a lavish church ceremony in
1996, and was filmed last weekend taking mass with her at a memorial service
for the late vice-president's wife.
Uncomfortably for the 80-year-old
leader, a local Roman Catholic priest has been one of his biggest critics.
The Most Rev Pius Ncube, an archbishop from the city of Bulawayo, has called
Mr Mugabe a "dictator". On a visit to South Africa in March, Archbishop Ncube
called on Zimbabwe's southern neighbour to impose sanctions.
was not pleased. At Saturday's memorial service, he warned Archbishop Ncube
to "leave politics to the politicians". He has had harsh words for another
archbishop, South Africa's Desmond Tutu, who echoed Ncube' s criticism. Mr
Mugabe told Sky News last month that the Nobel prizewinner was an "angry,
evil and embittered little bishop".
Mr Mugabe has groomed official praise
singers. Rows of white-robed members of the Johane Masowe Apostolic Faith
sect are a familiar sight at ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) rallies.
At least once a week, news bulletins
on state radio feature an item from the previously unheard-of "Destiny of
Africa Christian Broadcasters' Network".
Typically the "founder and
chairman" of the network, the Rev Sam Malunga, uses the airwaves to condemn
white farmers or to urge Zimbabweans "to avoid electing legislators whose
colonial mentality has remained unchanged".
Some believers have not been
a problem. Last month, three Roman Catholic nuns joined the land grab,
according to the Zimbabwe Independent. Aided by ZANU-PF youths, the sisters,
all members of the Little Children of the Blessed Lady order, gave Arthur and
Ansy Swales 24 hours to leave the farm they were leasing in the northern
Threats and fear are used to control churches. Last
week, the state-owned Herald reported that a United Methodist Church in
Bulawayo was being investigated for alleged breaches of exchange control
regulations. Salvation Army officials have also been accused.
ruling party intensifies preparations for general elections next March, the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is believed to have infiltrated
congregations. Ministers watch their words. Prayers for "change" - the MDC's
slogan - are heard less frequently.
Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe's standing is
stronger than ever. His party has snatched back five seats from the
opposition in recent by-elections, edging closer to a constitutional majority
However, recent reports in state media hint at battles
between new politicians and the older ZANU-PF guard over who should succeed
Mr Mugabe, who has said this term in office is likely to be his
But the prospects for the MDC look grim. Its main voice, the Daily
News, has been silenced and last week the state's media licensing body banned
the weekly Tribune, another paper that had hit out at alleged human
rights abuses by the regime.
The government has sacked the MDC mayor
of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, while the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is still
waiting for a verdict on his treason trial. Last week, a judge threw out part
of the MDC's challenge to the 2002 presidential election, dealing a further
blow to hopes of a poll re-run.
"Of course we are disappointed," the
MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, said. "It's obvious that the situation
is extremely difficult."
Analysts say Mr Tsvangirai is not the figurehead
he was four years ago, when the MDC won nearly half of all contested seats in
As MDC leaders mull over a boycott of next
year's poll, frustration levels are rising.
"I worry about Zimbabweans
who seem to think that the MDC is some kind of Messiah," the social
commentator Everjoice Win said. "People don't quite understand the amount of
struggle that is needed."
US Condemns Zimbabwe Officials for Shuttering Newspaper David
Gollust State Department 14 Jun 2004, 23:01 UTC
States Monday condemned Zimbabwe's government for its decision to shut down
one of the country's few remaining independent newspapers. The State
Department said the government of President Robert Mugabe appears intent on
using media laws to silence its critics. The United States is renewing its
criticism of the Mugabe government following the closure of the weekly Harare
newspaper the Tribune, one of a small handful of publications that has
continued critical reporting of the administration in Harare despite a
restrictive media law adopted two years ago.
Media and Information Commission ordered the Tribune shut down for a year
late last week on a seeming technicality, that it had failed to properly
notify authorities of a change in its ownership last March.
two years ago, the Tribune, which has a circulation of 15,000, had been
aggressively reporting on alleged government corruption, even though its new
owner Kindness Paradza is a member of parliament from Mr. Mugabe's own
At a news briefing, State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher condemned the newspaper's closure as the only the latest in a series
of actions aimed at silencing independent journalists. "The action is the
latest in a series of assaults on press freedom and on access to independent
information in Zimbabwe. It follows the government's attempts to tighten
controls on internet use, last year's forced closure of the independent Daily
News and the ongoing intimidation, harassment and prosecution of
independent journalists. In this regard as well, we note with dismay that
the government, last week, began its prosecution of the directors of the
Daily News' parent company under repressive media control laws," he
Mr. Boucher said the Media and Information Commission seems clearly
intent on using that he termed the country's "draconian" media law as a
political tool, to silence voices raising legitimate concerns about
government corruption, human rights violations, economic mismanagement and
abuse of democratic institutions and the rule of law.
owner, Mr. Paradza, told reporters his paper was just reporting "news as
news," and taking Mr. Mugabe up on his expressed wishes that official
corruption in the country be "nipped in the bud."
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, says the closure of the Tribune
will make it harder for Zimbabweans to get objective views in the run-up to
parliamentary elections scheduled for next March.
In another development,
the State Department criticized the Mugabe government's announcement last
week that it will nationalize all farmland and wildlife reserves that it had
not already confiscated under a program of land seizures begun four years
A spokeswoman here called the plan "the latest in a continuum of
economic missteps" that have devastated Zimbabwe's economy and damaged the
quality of life of virtually all the country's people.
She said if
carried out, the abolition of private land ownership would threaten further
economic harm not only to Zimbabwean agriculture, but also to its financial,
tourism, investment and other sectors.
The United States has been a
consistent critic of the Mugabe government's land-reform program, which has
led to the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms and their
nominal hand over to landless blacks. U.S. officials say many prime parcels
have would up in the hands of Mugabe family members and associates.
††††† °°BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe
received China's Approved Destination Status Monday morning with the signing
of an MOU Agreement by Zimbabwe's Minister of Environment and Tourism Francis
Nhema and Sun Gang, deputy director of the China National Tourism
††††††††† "The signing of the Approved Destination Status
MOU Agreement marks a new beginning of tourism exchanges between Zimbabwe and
China," said Nhema at a tourism promotion conference held by the Zimbabwe
embassy to China in Beijing on Monday afternoon.
"Africa's Paradise", Zimbabwe shares a border with SouthAfrica, Mozambique,
Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. The country hasmany attractions including
Victoria Falls, which is well-known as one of the world's seven natural
wonders and rich historical relics. Zimbabwe is also the home to five wild
African animals -- the elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, and
††††††††† Nhema, who is leading a large tourism delegation to
China, saidtourism is a key industry in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe attaches
great importance to the tourism market in China.
††††††††† Nhema said
a special tourism office was set up in the Zimbabwe embassy to China last
August and Zimbabwe is also planning to opena direct air route to China. He
added that more steps like launching Chinese language and cooking training
programs will be followed, which will help promote tourism cooperation
between Zimbabwe and China.
††††††††† According to the minister, about
41,000 Asian tourists visited Zimbabwe last year, including 10,000 Chinese.
Nhema said with the fast expansion of Asian tourism, the number of Asian
tourists to Zimbabwe this year will be increased to 80,000, and those from
China will reach 25,000. Enditem
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union's policy
towards the media appears to be a simple one: "If you repeat a lie often
enough, it becomes accepted as the truth."
In Harare today, Peter
Chingoka faced the media to talk about the ZCU's recent meeting with the ICC
in Dubai. Chingoka is often characterised as the acceptable face of a highly
politicised board, although he is not quite as affable on the safety of his
home turf as he sometimes appears abroad.
He opened by dismissing any
suggestions that Zimbabwe's Test status had been revoked, painting the
decision to suspend the four Tests they were due to play as a virtual ZCU
initiative. It wasn't. Pakistan, who they were scheduled to meet twice, had
already signalled that they were getting cold feet, and England's visit, even
if took place, would have been a political hot potato. The ICC feared
humiliations, and the erosion of Test cricket's "integrity", and so the
compromise was struck.
A fortnight ago Chingoka insisted that "no-one is
going to tell us how we should run our cricket", and now he chose to present
a climbdown as something quite different. But the alternative would have been
a vote at the full ICC executive board meeting later this month which would
probably have formally suspended Zimbabwe.
On the subject of racism,
Chingoka insisted that the accusations were "mischievously levelled against
the board". As so many times before, he seeks to portray the board as the
innocent victims in the whole affair.
The reality is that almost all the
accusations against the board have been that they are politically, not
racially, motivated. To the ZCU, the colour of a man's skin is not as
important as what goes on in his head. There are far more instances of people
being singled out for their views than for their colour, Henry Olonga being
the most public case. It so happens that the majority of whites oppose the
government - so, in fact, does the majority of the population of Zimbabwe.
But in the eyes of the Mugabe government, which now effectively runs the ZCU,
the whites are an easy and clearly identifiable enemy.
But it was when
he was questioned as to why he wouldn't let the ICC mediate in the dispute
that Chingoka opted for the board/government's second tactic: turn nasty when
your argument is weak.
Asked why, if as the ZCU claims it is so sure that
it is properly constituted and above suspicion, it would not allow the ICC to
get involved, Chingoka asked the questioner exactly what was so serious about
"Surely the fact that half the Test side had walked out is serious,"
came the reply from the floor. Chingoka snapped that only four players had
been lost (presumably the four named in the A side which played Sri Lanka),
and then again defended the board's position. So, it seems the ZCU believes
that the many talented players who have left the country in disgust or dismay
in the last few years are not an issue ... let's pretend they and the 15
recent rebels went for reasons other than the way the game was being
And then Chingoka repeated that the board, the staff, and the
academy were fully integrated. The numbers have been quoted before. The board
might contain whites, blacks and Asians, but few doubt that all the power is
held by two or three extremely political, government-appointed puppets. And
the academy situation is interesting. In May's Wisden Cricketer Chingoka
proudly wrote that "the intake of 16 for our academy programme this year
includes seven white cricketers". My investigations have only thrown up one
name. I have asked the board for the names of the other six.
might, as Chingoka also claimed, be doing a fantastic job in promoting
cricket among the population as a whole. We only have his word for that, as
repeated offers by Wisden Cricinfo to the board for it to publicise all the
good it is doing inside Zimbabwe have met with silence. The only things to
consider are that the young players coming through are on the whole not good
enough, and that almost none of the black population turns up to watch, even
when Australia, the world champions, are the opposition. If the ZCU has fired
up enthusiasm in the indigenous community, it's a well-disguised
It seems that the ZCU will continue to peddle the same old
half-truths and political rhetoric. Chingoka concluded by saying that the
rebels would be welcomed back, safe in the knowledge that the make-up of the
board and the politicised selection procedure means that even those who
haven't fled for good almost certainly will not come back to play.
so the ZCU meanders on, taking Zimbabwe cricket further towards
the precipice, and meanwhile it suits the ICC to do almost nothing and
dismiss the whole situation as a little local difficulty. It's hard to see
anyone coming out of this sorry affair with any dignity intact.
Surprise at Zim fighter deal 14/06/2004 21:38† -
Johannesburg - Defence analysts in Pretoria and London were
scratching their heads at a reported decision by Zimbabwe to buy 12 Chinese
FC1 fighter jets, an aircraft still under development.
Movement for Democratic Change MP Giles Mutsekwa said at the weekend that the
Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) had secretly ordered 12 of the fighters and
about 100 military vehicles at a cost estimated at US$200m.
acquisition apparently bypassed the state procurement board.
It was not
clear from the reports, since denied by the ruling Zanu-PF, where the funding
for the planes and vehicles would come from, as the ZDF's budget allocation
was only about Z$815bn(about US$136m or R870m), of which 69% is for
remuneration and the rest for operations.
The Pretoria-based Institute
for Security Studies (ISS) said, if true, the reports made one wonder about
the sustainability and affordability of the aircraft.
"Looking at the
present state of their economy and the value of their monetary unit, one
questions whether it is affordable or how they will pay for it, if it is
true," ISS defence analyst Len le Roux said.
He also questioned the
requirement for the aircraft, saying parties to the Southern African
Development Community's Mutual Defence Pact had an obligation to move towards
buying similar or at least compatible equipment.
On the face of it, this
was a purchase motivated by national rather than regional needs - and the
exact national need was also not clear.
"One also has to question the
sustainability of the purchase. It is one thing to buy an aircraft, it is
another to operate and maintain it," Le Roux said.
aerospace analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic
Studies (IISS) said the FC1, called the "Fierce Dragon" (Xiaolong) by the
Chinese, would only be operational by 2006, belaying reports that the first
six of the dozen aircraft ordered would arrive in Zimbabwe last
"It is a potent, modern fighter. But we are not talking
cutting-edge technology here, rather last generation (Generation
Three) reverse-engineered technology. It's still very good,
"The question again is whether they could fly and maintain them.
They already have some good aircraft and could probably make the
transition," Brookes added.
"Quite a few African countries are
currently buying modern aircraft. Most, however, have to bring in expatriate
Ukrainians to fly and maintain them."
Brookes added that the Chinese and
Pakistanis - who were developing the aircraft - would also want nothing but
hard currency for the deal.
The FC1, called the Joint Fighter 17 (JF-17)
"Thunder" by Pakistan, is a joint venture between the Chengdu Aircraft
Industry Corporation and the Pakistani Aeronautical Complex (PAC).
is scheduled to enter initial production in 2006 when 16 are to be
Russia's Mikoyan Aero-Science Production Group (MASPG) are
providing assistance in some design work as well as its RD-93 turbofan engine
to power the aircraft.
Botswana's Communications Minister Boyse Sebetela promised Harare that he
would investigate a US-sponsored radio station allegedly broadcasting
anti-Zimbabwe bulletins from his country.
Sebetela told reporters he only
found out about the broadcasts by Voice of America Studio 7 after a meeting
with Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Sunday.
will be going back to Botswana to investigate this issue deeper, so that we
get a better understanding of the legal arrangements ... and also to look at
the issue of content because that is the greatest concern to Zimbabwe,"
"Within a week or two we will dig out all the facts around
this very sensitive issue because everything else is secondary. If we can
resolve it a lot of things will fall into place."
Moyo said he was
concerned about the radio station airing anti-Zimbabwe stories on a medium
wave frequency allocated to Botswana.
"It is a station with a subversive
content against ... Zimbabwe, coming to us on a frequency that we believe
should not be used for that purpose," Moyo said at a media
Sebetela said his country would investigate whether it was
legal for VOA Studio 7 to broadcast on the medium wave 909
"We are too small a country to be used as a base for anything,"