The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe Teachers Charge ZANU-PF Youth Militants Setting Up in Schools

By Patience Rusere
16 June 2009

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Tuesday that youth militants
of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have set up bases in rural
schools in a worrisome repeat of activities that occurred during last year's
period of post-election violence.

Sources said there has been no overt violence but noted that ZANU-PF youth
have intruded into a number of school and intimidated teachers over their
political affiliations.

They said such ZANU-PF youth had taken over parts of school buildings to
hold meetings, prominently displaying ZANU-PF banners and other regalia.

PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou told VOA that bases have been set up in
primary and secondary schools in Chikarudzo, Masvingo province, Goromonzi,
Mashonaland East, and in the the towns of Gokwe and Mberengwa in Midlands

VOA was unable immediately to obtain comment from Education Minister David
Coltart on the reports that political pressures are again surfacing in the
school system.

Youth Development Minister Savious Kasukuwere denied any knowledge of such
bases. He said he was tied up in a meeting and could not grant an interview
to studio seven.

Union leader Zhou says youth in ZANU-PF regalia have warned teachers against
supporting any other party but have not committed violence against them.

Jephat Karemba, chairman in Mashonaland West province of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told
reporter Patience Rusere that ZANU-PF youth nave moved into two schools in
the Zvimba West constituency.

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Morgan demands end to seizures

Moses Mudzwiti Published:Jun 17, 2009
ZIMBABWE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has demanded an end to attempts by
US resident Arikana Chihombori to grab a farm in Chegutu belonging to white

Speaking on his weekend visit to the US, Tsvangirai condemned the continuing
illegal disruptions of farming activities as self- defeating and as
tarnishing the country's image.

The US medical doctor told Radio Africa on Wednesday last week that she was
related to Tsvangirai and confirmed that she was "authorised" to "take over"
part of the farm in Chegutu, about 100km south of the capital, Harare.

Tsvangirai said the attempted seizure of the Chegutu farm epitomised the
senselessness of land reform in Zimbabwe.

"This woman has lived in the US for decades, knows nothing about farming,
has a viable business there and wants forcibly to acquire a piece of land
thousands of kilometres away in a country where she no longer lives.

"This selfish and senseless behaviour must be stopped immediately."

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JZ 'friend' in land row?

Article By:
Wed, 17 Jun 2009 08:02
The woman at the centre of a land takeover row in Zimbabwe said she is a
long standing friend of President Jacob Zuma.

Dr Arikana Chihombori is distantly related to Prime Mister Morgan
Tsvangirai's late wife Susan and President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace.

Her attempt to take over a farm in Zimbabwe has caused the MDC some
embarrassment because the party has spoken out against chaotic land

Chihombori told award-winning Zimbabwean journalist Geoffrey Nyarota she met
Zuma at the University of KwaZulu-Natal many years ago.

She said she maintained contact with him and that was why she was invited to
his inauguration in May.

Chihombori is understood to have dropped her attempt to take over the farm
though she said she was trying to take it over for her 63-year-old sister.

Eyewitness News

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Zimbabwe PM visits Norway

Wed, 17-Jun-2009

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will on Wednesday end his
visit to Norway, where he has had talks with Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr
Stoere and other political leaders.
Minister of International Development, Erik Solheim, says Norway will
provide aid to Zimbabwe beyond the NOK 58 million allocated to the African
nation in May.

Solheim says Tsvangirai and his MDC party in the new government have
contributed to a completely different climate in Zimbabwe.

- People are breathing more freely, even though they are still facing
enormous difficulties, as well as a daily fight for democratic rights,
Solheim says.

Tuesday evening, Foreign Minister Stoere hosted a dinner in honour of
Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

(Vaart Land)

Rolleiv Solholm

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Power blackout traced to Zambia fault

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Herald Reporter

ZESA says it has restored normal electricity supplies to all parts of
Zimbabwe, following Monday's blackout which affected large parts of the

In an interview yesterday, Zesa chief executive officer Engineer Ben
Rafemoyo said their initial investigations indicated that the problem
emanated from Zambia.

"The whole country was off supply but we were back to normal by 2 am
(Tuesday). We restored supplies to all parts of Zimbabwe and we are back to
where we were before this incident," he said.

As to what caused the blackout, Eng Rafemoyo said: "We do not want to say a
lot this time around. We hear they (Zambia) experienced a challenge in their

"Initial investigations indicate the problem is emanating outside our
system. We hear they (Zambia) lost a big transformer at one of their

He said Zesa was yet to receive formal communication from the Zambia
Electricity Supply Company.

Yesterday, AFP reported that Zambia had experienced nationwide blackouts
since Monday after Leopard substation, the country's main power supply,

The agency quoted a Zesco spokesperson as saying: "We are yet to ascertain
what caused the collapse in the entire system.

"We are working on normalising the situation and soon some power will be

Two weeks ago Zambia was hit by another major power cut after Zesco shut off
two of its six generators at the Kafue Gorge hydropower station when weeds
blocked the facility's water inlet resulting in reduced flow of water.

Eng Rafemoyo said on Monday Zimbabwe plunged into darkness because Zesa had
lost power supplies from Hwange and Kariba stations.

He said supplies from Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa and the
Zambian power grid had inexplicably gone out and the power utility had
fallen back onto emergency supplies from Eskom of South Africa.

These supplies were enough to power southern parts of the country up to the
Midlands only.

There were fears Zesa could have been cut off by regional suppliers such as
Mozambique's HCB and the Zambia Electricity Company because of a mounting
debt. Zesa owes its regional suppliers over US$57 million.

Eng Rafemoyo yesterday said Monday's electricity outage significantly
affected efforts to bring the Hwange Power station back on line.

He said coal supplies from the Hwange Colliery Company had improved
significantly in the last few days.

Meanwhile, Zesa has said it is unable to determine how much it is owed by
customers because its billing system is down, three days to the deadline it
set to cut off defaulting customers.

Employees at Zesa's Samora Machel offices in Harare said it was not possible
to tell how much a customer owed the company because of the system failure.

"We cannot indicate how much we are owed by a customer because our systems
are down. The Ministry (of Energy and Power Development) is aware of this
and this is the reason why it has directed that customers living in
high-density suburbs should pay flat fees of US$30 and those in low-density
areas US$40 for February, March, April and May," said one of the employees.

But Eng Rafemoyo said the systems "were now up and running".

"The systems are now up and running unless if they were down at a particular
location," he said.

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Zim falls back on Eskom

Wed, 17 Jun 2009 08:26
Zimbabwe had to rely on emergency power supplies from Eskom on Monday after
a near total blackout.

Radio transmission was lost and phone networks went down during the cut.

It comes as Zambia enters its second day without power after a fire gutted a
key transformer on the country's national power grid.

Power was lost from Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe's two main internal
suppliers Hwange Power Station and Kariba.

The state Zesa power utility had to fall back on emergency supplies from

Zesa's chief executive Ben Rafemoyo assured the nation the cut had nothing
to do with the US$57-million Zesa owes its regional suppliers.

Zimbabwe's power cuts have not improved since the new unity government came
in in February.

Many Zesa bills are so high customers have stopped paying.

Commentators nicknamed the previous government of President Robert Mugabe
the 'Candle Wax Regime' and it seems nothing much has changed.

Eyewitness News

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Amnesty official yet to meet Mugabe

by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 17 June 2009

HARARE - World rights watchdog Amnesty International's secretary general
Irene Khan has met top officials of Zimbabwe's unity government and civic
leaders but sources said her appointment with President Robert Mugabe was
yet to be confirmed.

Khan, who arrived in Harare last weekend, on Monday met influential Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and also held talks with Presidential Affairs
Minister met Didymus Mutasa and Education Minister David Coltart.

The Amnesty secretary general, whose visit to Zimbabwe is the first by a top
official of the world rights body in many years, was scheduled to meet
parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo on Tuesday.

Amnesty, among the most outspoken critics of Mugabe's controversial human
rights record, had said in a statement last week that in addition to meeting
government officials and human rights defenders, Khan hoped to meet the
Zimbabwean leader during her trip to Harare.

Zimbabwe has seen an escalation in human rights abuses especially in the
last decade as Mugabe's administration resorted to violence and torture in
an attempt to silence political opponents.

Political violence that followed then opposition MDC party's shock victory
in presidential and parliamentary elections last year is said to have killed
at least 200 opposition supporters and displaced 200 000 others.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe in the first round
election but failed to secure the margin to take power, withdrew from a June
27 run-off poll saying widespread violence against his supporters made a
free and fair vote impossible.

Mugabe went ahead with the presidential run-off poll despite Tsvangirai's
withdrawal but was forced to negotiate a power sharing settlement with the
opposition after his victory received worldwide condemnation, leading to the
formation of a unity government in February.

The new Harare administration has established a national healing ministerial
team that will address the violence that characterised the troubled country
especially in the run-up to last year's run off poll.

Amnesty International has challenged Zimbabwe's inclusive government to
impose the rule of law in the country and that the administration acts
against state agents and government officials who continue to violate human

Amnesty said it was concerned about the apparent lack of political will by
the power-sharing government to create an environment in which human rights
and media workers could freely do their work. - ZimOnline

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MDC accuses state media of bias

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 17 June 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has accused national
broadcaster ZBC and the publicly-owned newspaper stable, Zimpapers, of
violating the agreement that gave birth to Zimbabwe's inclusive government
through biased coverage in favour of ZANU PF.

In two separate letters written to Zimpapers editor-in-chief Pikirayi
Deketeke and ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere, MDC-T director of Information
and Publicity Luke Tamborinyoka accused the two media houses of unfair
coverage and blacking out activities undertaken by the party.

Both letters were written on June 9 after Muchechetere and Deketeke declined
to deploy journalists to accompany Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during
his three-week international tour aimed at re-establishing relations between
Zimbabwe, the United States and the West.

"Your overt bias and disservice to the public has been startlingly revealed
by your complete blackout of the Prime Minister's press conferences
especially on matters to do with the outstanding issues in the global
political agreement (GPA), your biased reporting on the MDC national
conference, your amplification on the ZANU PF position on the outstanding
issue of the RBZ governor Gideon Gono and the Attorney-General Johannes
Tomana, the laughable attempt to suppress the High Court ruling confirming
the Media and Information Commission as a nullity and a host of other cases
where you have simply played megaphone to the ZANU PF position against the
grain of common sense and logic," read Tamborinyoka's letter to Deketeke.

The September 15 GPA, power sharing pact between ZANU PF and the two MDC
formations, states "that the public and private media shall refrain from
using abusive language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and
ethnic hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties and other"

"As a party, we have been perennial victims of unbridled propaganda and hate
speech from your stable. We have borne the brunt of misguided lies
masquerading as journalism," Tamborinyoka wrote. "The good news is that we
have succeeded and won elections despite being at the receiving end of
relentless gutter journalism whose sole purpose has been to perpetually
malign and soil the image of the MDC and its leadership."

Zimpapers which owns the dailies - The Herald and The Chronicle - the MDC
claimed had failed to defend editorial independence by allowing the
newspaper group to be abused by "known mischievous elements in ZANU PF and
in the inclusive government who want to spoil and scuttle the new, exciting
and irreversible times that were brought about by the new political

The MDC claimed that ZBC refused on two occasions to flight television
programmes which involved MDC Senator Obert Gutu earlier this year over
unclear reasons.

"We write to express displeasure at the continued bias, selective reporting
and blackout, our displeasure at the continued bias, selective reporting and
blackout of MDC activities and programmes by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation," read the letter written to Muchechetere.

The MDC also accused the public broadcaster of "overt bias" due to its
failure to cover last month's party conference and alleged refusal by ZBC to
flight programmes involving its leaders in the inclusive government.

Muchechetere and Deketeke were yet to respond to the letters by yesterday. -

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Journos want case referred to Supreme Court

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 17 June 2009

HARARE - A lawyer for two Zimbabwean journalists charged with publishing
falsehoods on Tuesday requested to have the matter referred to the country's
Supreme Court for a determination on the constitutionality of the charges.

Editor of privately owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper Vincent Kahiya and
news editor Constantine Chimakure are accused of publishing falsehoods after
disclosing in a story earlier this year names of state agents who allegedly
abducted and tortured scores of human rights activists and members of the
then opposition MDC party last year.

The state, which has also charged the newspaper's finance director Michael
Curling over the same story, insists the information was false and that by
publishing it the journalists violated the government's Criminal Law (and
Codification) Reform Act.

If convicted of breaching the tough Act the journalist face up to 20 years
in jail.

But the trio's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, yesterday told magistrate Moses
Murendo to halt proceedings against them and instead refer the matter to the
Supreme Court, the country's highest court of law, for a ruling on whether
the charges against the journalist were in accordance with Constitution.

In the application, Chagonda said the criminal charges against the
journalists and their director were unconstitutional and amounted to an
impediment to the practicing of journalism in Zimbabwe by seeking to
criminalise the profession.

The Supreme Court should also make a finding on whether it was
constitutional to sentence someone to 20 years imprisonment for having
merely expressed his or her views or published a story in the public

"The penalty of 20 years imprisonment is an impediment on the journalism
profession. It works as a hindrance to journalists to express their views or
write stories in the public interest," Chagonda argued.

Chagonda also wants the Supreme Court to make a determination on whether it
was proper for the Attorney General - who is complainant in the case against
the journalists - to assume both roles of complainant and prosecutor.

He said: "The other question the Supreme Court should deal with is the
doctrine of separation of powers . . . the Attorney General can't possibly
be impartial. You can't have any interest in a matter you are prosecuting
and remain impartial. It will infringe the accused persons' constitutional
rights to fair trial."

Bruce Tokwe representing the state asked the magistrate's court to postpone
the case to July 9 to allow him time to prepare a response to the points
raised by Chagonda - a request granted by the court.

Charges against the Zimbabwe Independent journalists and director arose on
May 8 after Chimakure claimed in a story that notices for trial serviced on
some of the human rights and MDC activists - who face charges of terrorism
and treason - showed that they were being held by the police and state
secret agents during the period they were reported missing last year.

Among state agents accused of holding the activists were Central
Intelligence Organisation Director External, retired brigadier Asher Walter
Tapfumaneyi, Police Superintendents Reggies Chikwete and Joel Tendere,
Detective Inspectors Elliot Muchada and Joshua Muzangano, CID Homicide
Officer Commanding Crispen Kadenge, Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi and
Senior Assistant Commissioner, Simon Nyathi. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe MP injured, two killed

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 02:27 Editor News

TWO passengers died in a road accident involving three vehicles on Sunday
afternoon along the Gweru-Kwekwe highway, police confirmed yesterday.
Mberengwa North House of Assembly Member Jabulani Mangena, who was driving
one of the cars, sustained injuries.
Two other passengers were injured and are still admitted to hospital.
MP Mangena was driving to Harare when he was involved in the accident at the
241,5 km peg between Gweru and Kwekwe at 2:20pm.
Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Patrick Chademana said the three
parties involved in the accident were all travelling towards Kwekwe from
Gweru when the accident occurred.
"There was a bus in front, followed by a vehicle driven by a Chinese
national and at the rear was MP Mangena's vehicle. On reaching the 241,5 km
peg, the Chinese national started to overtake the bus but immediately saw an
oncoming vehicle and decided to go back to his lane without checking the
position of the bus, which resulted in a side swipe between the two.
"The Chinese national lost control of his vehicle and hit the third vehicle
on the same lane, which was being driven by MP Mangena. The legislator also
lost control of his vehicle, veered off the road and rolled before landing
on its wheels," he said.
Insp Chademana said all the seven passengers in MP Mangena's vehicle escaped
with varying degrees of injuries and were rushed to hospital where two died
upon admission.
MP Mangena was first treated in Kwekwe and was later on the same day
transferred to West End Clinic in Harare where his condition is not yet
Police identified the deceased as Ephraim Chitakunye (32) of number 5 Kelvin
North, Granitesite in Harare and the other one only as a 23-year-old female
from Sogwala area in Lower Gweru. Her next of kin are yet to be informed.
He said two passengers are still admitted to Gweru Central Hospital and they
are Thomas Tagwirei whose condition is said to be critical and Jairos Makara
of Mabvuku in Harare whose condition is said to be stable.Chronicle

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Residents of Harare, Zimbabwe, Billed for Water Service Long Disrupted

By Jonga Kandemiiri
16 June 2009

Some residents of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, complain that the city council
has billed them for water though they have been without it for the past two

Residents of the so-called high-density suburbs of Mabvuku, Tafara and
Hatcliffe said they were shocked to receive bills from the council ordering
them to pay more than US$10 per household for the provision of water that
has not flowed from taps in many months.

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto said bills were sent to households in areas
long without water because they were in the billing system and there was no
way to exclude them.

Chiroto told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the council was reluctant to
ask households to pay for a service that was not provided, but advised them
to make some payment while the city continued to work to restore water
service across the entire system.

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ZCTF Report - June 2009

16th June 2009 
Thanks to the El Paso Rhinos Hockey Team, I was able to deliver 100kg of game cubes to Imire last week for Tatenda. Due to medical problems, I have been unable to travel to South Africa to replenish Tatenda's stocks of milk and game cubes since February and his food has been running low. Fortunately I was able to source the game cubes locally so I bought 100kg to start with just to make sure they agree with him and if they do, I will buy another 400kg here in Zimbabwe.
Tatenda is growing into a magnificent rhino. He is almost the same size as Shanu now, who is almost 5 years old. Tatenda, Shanu and Hogwash the warthog still go everywhere together in the Imire Game Park and Hogwash is now one of the biggest warthogs I've ever seen.
ALMOST THE SAME SIZE AS SHANU                            HOGWASH
                                           GAME CUBES
Our sincere appreciation to the El Paso Rhinos ,who have adopted Tatenda, for assisting with funds for his food.
We would like to congratulate the Zimbabwe Republican Police and game rangers who are risking their lives to try and stamp out rhino poaching. In the past 6 weeks, seven rhino poachers have been shot and killed.
Last month, three poachers were shot and last weekend, another four poachers were shot and killed following a shoot out between the poachers and the police bringing to seven, the number of poachers killed in the Lowveld. It is believed that one of the four was a soldier.
In a separate incident recently, the four poachers who were responsible for the deaths of the three rhinos at Imire were apprehended. One was shot and wounded and all four have been arrested. They were previously arrested about a year ago but then inexplicably released shortly afterwards so hopefully this time they will remain in prison where they belong. We believe they were due to  appear in court yesterday.
Inspector Nyambo of the Zimbabe Republic Police has issued a very strong warning to poachers that the police will not hesitate to shoot them because rhino poaching is on the increase.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline:  263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile:     263 11 603 213

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline:  263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile:     263 11 603 213


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'Let Us Farm, It's Our Job'

By Servaas van den Bosch

WINDHOEK, Jun 16 (IPS) - A regional tribunal in Namibia has referred a
controversial Zimbabwean land case to the next Southern African Development
Community Summit of Heads of State, rejecting a last-minute application for
postponement by Zimbabwe on Jun. 5.

The farmers who brought the case to the tribunal are eager to resume
production amidst continuing farm seizures.

In his ruling, presiding justice Ariranga Pillay from Mauritius referred to
a Nov. 29 judgement in the case of Mike Campbell & Another vs. the
Government of Zimbabwe, which ordered the government to allow 75 white
farmers to stay on their land and compensate three others whose farms were
already expropriated. A day earlier, the court reserved judgement in the
case of Luke Tembani, a black Zimbabwean farmer whose farm was also taken.

That November ruling condemned Zimbabwe's land reform programme as
discriminatory and in breach of the SADC Treaty and held Harare in contempt
of court.

The latest judgement cites the continued violations of the order and
President Robert Mugabe's public statements that the tribunal's decisions
were "nonsense" and of "no consequence".

Since December 2008, 155 farmers have been in the dock Zimbabwe for 'illegal
occupation' of their property.

In what will be a test for the regional organisation, the judges referred
the case to the SADC Summit to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo
in August.

In March, SADC suspended Madagascar from its ranks in reaction to a coup d'etat
by Antananarivo mayor, Andry Rajoelina, but on the topic of Zimbabwe,
Southern African leaders have remained mum.

"The judges are getting fed up and it is an embarrassment for Zimbabwe, but
it is not sure whether SADC will act", says Chris Jarrett, one of the
expropriated farmers and vice-president of the Southern African Commercial
Farmers Alliance (SACFA). "SADC might refer this to a ministerial study
group, never to be heard of again."

Meanwhile production in the region's former breadbasket has halved, while
living standards have dropped 80 percent over the past decade according to
the Zimbabwe Papers, an assessment of the current situation in the country
by nine African think tanks. Unemployment stands at almost 90 percent. More
than half of the population is dependent on food aid.

Commercial farmers, who put their stock in Morgan Tsvangvirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), now complain that the four-month old unity
government has not brought any improvement in the embattled agricultural

They told the court of beatings, arson, intimidation and shootings of farm
workers in recent months, as well as theft of equipment, forging of
expropriation papers and illegal imprisonment.

"MDC is terrified to stick its neck out and back the tribunal," says

Farm invasions have continued and the farmers accuse Tsvangvirai of
downplaying the issue in order not to scare off foreign donors. Zimbabwe's
prime-minister on Jun. 7 embarked on a world tour to garner support from
Western governments.

"The same government that destroys the production goes begging for support
we don't really need," says Deon Theron, vice-president of the Zimbabwe's
Commercial Farmer's Union (CFU). "Put us back on the farms and we will start
producing again."

"We have to get back to good old economics, take something out of the ground
and add value to it," agrees Jarrett.

But the farmers admit this is unlikely. "Ministers will come to your farm
and agree it's scandalous, but nothing will be done," argues Ben Freeth of
Mount Carmel Farm in Chegutu constituency.

According to Theron, the government's '100-day plan' to turn the
agricultural sector around is 'unrealistic'.

"A harvest of 1.6 million tonnes of maize is prescribed, but we will be
lucky if we get 400.000 tonnes. The predicted 100,000 tonnes of wheat should
be closer to 20,000 tonnes and instead of 150 million kilos of dairy
products, we won't produce more than 45 million kilos. The dairy herd has
shrunk from 90,000 head to a third of that.

"We will not be able to feed ourselves and our own government prevents us
from producing food. If SADC does not act now people will die of hunger and
of disease and the region will have blood on its hands".

Of the 4,500 white farmers in Zimbabwe, some 400 are left in the country.
"Farmers usually seek refuge on a relative's land," says Peter Etheredge of
Stockdale farm in Chegutu. "Perhaps 10 percent of the land is actively

Etheredge lost his farm to Edna Madzongwe - chief of the Zimbabwean Senate
and a heavyweight in Zanu-PF - in May. "As a consequence we have not been
able to harvest. Six thousand tonnes of fruit, valued at four million
dollars, are lost. She moved in just before the harvest, to reap what we

Norman Tjombe from the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek helps Zimbabwean
farmers to bring their case before the Tribunal. "Land reform needs to
happen, but it's not just about a legal framework. In Zimbabwe, as well as
in Namibia and South Africa, race is the determining factor and that leads
to an extremely dangerous situation. We need to get back to the drawing

"Between 1980 and 200 only the Zimbabwean elite benefited from land reform.
This led to a popular uprising. Exactly the same patterns are emerging in
Namibia and South Africa where spontaneous invasions are starting to occur."

But Tjombe is sceptical that the court ruling will be upheld. "This is about
Mugabe's political survival, if 78 farmers are allowed to stay or get
restitution, what about the 4,000 that have left?"

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Taking Meetings With a Murderer

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is attempting something rare and
difficult -- sharing power with the man who tried to murder him.

Every Monday morning, Tsvangirai conducts public business across the table
from Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, founder and oppressor. During a
recent interview in Washington, Tsvangirai told me that the 85-year-old
Mugabe "is someone who can be charming when he wants. I am on guard when he
becomes charming. It is when I'm most suspicious of his intentions."
Mugabe has a long history of co-opting his political opponents -- or killing
them. "He has not co-opted me," says Tsvangirai. The killing part is not for
want of trying. In 1997, regime thugs attempted to throw Tsvangirai out of a
10th-story window. In 2002, he was charged with treason and threatened with
a death sentence. In 2007, he was beaten bloody during a protest. And the
presidential election that Tsvangirai won last year was clearly stolen by

Yet Tsvangirai is now part of an unlikely power-sharing agreement with
Mugabe, becoming prime minister in a unity government. It is, he admits, a
"calculated risk."

Tsvangirai describes two calculations. First, he was concerned that
Zimbabweans were too weary to take to the streets to contest a stolen
election. "You don't want people to reach struggle fatigue. People wanted to
try this cohabitation, to ease their economic plight."

Second, Tsvangirai is making the extraordinary calculation that "Mugabe is
part of the solution." While most of the rest of the world insists that
Mugabe must go, Tsvangirai believes his presence is necessary "to create
stability and peace during the transition." The alternative, he fears, could
be a destructive militarization of the conflict. And he hopes that the aging
Mugabe is considering his legacy -- choosing to finish his career as the
founder of his country, not as the villain of his country.

Given Mugabe's history, this smacks of naiveté. But Tsvangirai believes he
has a realistic political approach. "You don't expect people who were
violent yesterday to wake up one morning and become peaceful." So his
strategy is to "build institutions in the course of time" -- particularly
through the process of writing a new constitution, leading to new elections.
Tsvangirai talks again and again of "institutions" and "mechanisms" and
"political architecture" as the methods to make democracy irreversible. His
intention is to fight arbitrary and personal rule with the weapons of
process -- a Madisonian response to a Neronian dictator.

Four months into the unity government, the results are mixed. The prime
minister deserves credit for beginning to stabilize the economy,
particularly controlling Zimbabwe's legendary inflation. In August 2008,
Zimbabwe's central bank revalued its currency by removing 10 zeroes from its
currency; five months later, it removed 12 more. Now the country has
essentially scrapped its currency and moved to an economy based on the
American dollar and the South African rand. While 70 percent of the
population still depends on food aid, goods are back in the stores.

But Mugabe's ruling party remains in charge of the secret police and key
ministries. It continues to harass opponents and confiscate farmland.
Tsvangirai optimistically calls these elements a "dwindling remnant" -- but
it's hard to imagine that they will dwindle without a fight. And Mugabe has
asserted his dominance with the appointment of political cronies in blatant
violation of the power-sharing agreement -- so far with little consequence.

It was this point that Tsvangirai emphasized during his recent U.S. visit,
calling on Mugabe's brutal attorney general and corrupt reserve bank
governor to step down -- and the world to insist upon these outcomes. This
represents a test for South Africa's new president, Jacob Zuma: Will he
abandon the "quiet diplomacy" of his predecessor, which often amounted to
permission for Mugabe's abuses, and insist that the power-sharing agreement
be enforced? It is a test for President Obama: Will he pressure Zuma to do
the right thing? And it is a test for the power-sharing agreement itself. A
stalemate on these appointments, Tsvangirai admits, would "undermine the
credibility of the new dispensation."

Tsvangirai's strategy -- using a power-sharing arrangement with a tyrant to
gradually end a tyrant's power -- has little precedent of success. If
Tsvangirai fails, he will be just another victim of Mugabe's charming
ruthlessness. But if the prime minister succeeds, he will be an exceptional
statesman who set aside his own claims of justice for the peace and progress
of his country. And he would become Zimbabwe's true founder.

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