SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON
Comment: John Humphrys
It’s only because Zimbabwe is black that we don’t
This is what happens when a five-year-old child goes hungry. He
needs 1,400 calories a day and should weigh about 2st 12lb. If his weight falls
by more than 9lb he loses his resistance to disease. He may get measles and go
blind. Or worse. He will be in severe pain. He stops playing. If sanitation is
poor his stomach will be full of worms - sometimes enough to fill a large bowl.
If it continues he will die. If he survives his mental health will be damaged.
This is a form of torture just as foul as anything that happens
in the darkest of dungeons in any police state. It is happening today in
Zimbabwe. Yet surely torture is a human perversion and famine a result of
perverse nature. Well, the rains have been poor in southern Africa and the crops
have suffered. But that has happened before and people have not starved.
Rhodesia was the breadbasket of the region and produced more than enough food
for its own people even in lean years. Now it is a basket case because of the
incompetence, greed, corruption and cruelty of Robert Mugabe and his henchmen.
They are as responsible for the suffering of the hungry as if
they had hung them from a hook and beaten them with a club. It is monstrous
oppression by a tyrannical regime. And we are allowing it to happen.
Mugabe should be turfed out of power by force if necessary and
his whole rotten crew with him. That is an easy sentence to write. Yet any
half-competent diplomat can come up with a string of reasons why it cannot be
accomplished. Let me list some of them.
For a white, former colonial power to depose a black leader
would be unthinkable. It would risk rallying the entire black population against
the attackers. There might be riots on the streets — not just of Zimbabwe but of
South Africa and other black African nations. The neighbouring states just would
not wear it. It would create turmoil in a region that has quite enough problems
already. Who knows what terrorism might be inspired by such action? There would
be real military problems in mounting an attack. Zimbabwe is landlocked and
South Africa and Zambia would never allow their territory to be used to stage an
invasion. And anyway you can’t invade another nation just because you don’t like
the nature of its rulers. Regime change is not a legitimate reason for military
intervention. International law does not allow it.
Now where have I heard all this before? Ah yes, Iraq. So let’s
take another look at that little list in the light of what has happened in the
Britain was once, in effect, the colonial power in Iraq, too,
but that did not stop us setting ourselves up as the liberators. There have been
no riots on the streets of Arab cities to protest against the invasion. So far
as it is possible to judge, most other Arab leaders are perfectly happy to see
the back of Saddam Hussein even if they cannot say so publicly. True, there has
been some resistance to the military occupation in parts of Iraq, but British
and American occupiers tell us that it is no more than expected and easily
containable. Mostly, they insist, they have been welcomed as liberators.
Certainly there has been no popular uprising against the
removal of Saddam. Nor has there been any obvious increase in terrorist
activity. Neighbouring states are not up in arms and nor is the region in any
greater turmoil than usual. Militarily, the invasion went as smoothly as could
reasonably have been expected, even though Turkey refused to allow its territory
to be used. As for international law . . . why worry? The second United Nations
resolution turned out not to be necessary and the government’s lawyers said it
was okay. So that’s fine.
The diplomatic repercussions looked pretty serious at one
stage, but things are already beginning to settle down. Yes, Saddam was an
unelected dictator and Mugabe has democratic credentials. But does he really?
The last elections were blatantly rigged, as even the South Africans and
Nigerians now acknowledge. When the people try to use their democratic right to
protest in the streets or stay away from work, as they did earlier this month,
they are terrorised by Mugabe’s bully boys.
By now the list of objections is beginning to look a bit thin.
Take the colonial point. If Britain were to intervene it could not possibly be
seen as an attempt to recolonise. We would be in and out faster than Mugabe’s
ministers can steal another farm. Iraq has no history of democracy. Zimbabwe
does. There is even a reasonable party structure with a viable opposition.
Riots in the streets? To anyone who knows Zimbabwe at all, that
idea is simply risible. Nor is there the slightest risk that military action
would increase any potential terrorist threat. By toppling Mugabe we would
simply be restoring democracy. Not even the most fanciful could interpret that
as a crusade against a religion or an ideology. South Africa could probably end
Mugabe’s rule simply by cutting off his energy supplies. It won’t do it because
President Mbeki does not want to be seen to be turning on his old comrade in
arms and having to take the moral responsibility for his actions.
He would tut-tut a little if someone else did the deed but
would secretly be relieved to be rid of his troublesome neighbour. Mbeki’s own
brother has told me he wants to see him thrown out. Mugabe’s rule costs him more
than political embarrassment. A vast number of penniless Zimbabweans have fled
across the border to seek sanctuary in South Africa. The collapse of Zimbabwe’s
economy has caused enormous disruption in the region and, according to the
Zimbabwe Research Institute, cost the area $2.5 billion (£1.5 billion). That’s a
lot of money for a poor region.
As for creating turmoil in the region, the opposite would
happen. The economic regeneration of Zimbabwe would be the key to unlocking much
greater western investment in the region, especially from the United States.
Would intervention create military problems? Hardly. Mugabe’s army makes
Saddam’s look like a Nazi panzer division. Many of his senior officers are
already said to be near revolt. It could be just the opportunity they want to
throw him out.
So we come to the legal situation. Certainly there would be
outrage at the UN. So what? There was outrage over Iraq and it was brushed
aside. Nor was there a UN mandate for the action taken by Nato over Kosovo. It
was justified on humanitarian grounds. The suffering inflicted by Mugabe on
Zimbabwe is worse than anything Slobodan Milosevic managed in Kosovo. The latest
reason offered by ministers to justify the war on Iraq is the mass graves
uncovered since the invasion. Doesn’t it count if the graves are dug in the
brown earth of Africa? No, if there were a will to intervene it could be done.
But there is not. It may simply be a question of double standards. To put it
brutally, for all our talk of the brotherhood of man and the scar of Africa on
our conscience, we simply do not care as much when black people kill each other.
That’s what they’re always doing, isn’t it? And it’s not as if we are watching
the suffering of Zimbabwe on our television screens every night. Mugabe has seen
to that by the simple expedient of keeping out the cameras and reporters.
Or it might be that the whole humanitarian thing is a bit of a
cover story. What matters are strategic and "security" interests. The sad thing
for the people of Zimbabwe is that Mugabe has not been mad enough to set up a
few laboratories and manufacture the odd drum of ricin. Not to mention the
absence of oil. Or a neighbour like Israel.
But this is all academic. There will be no intervention. The
people of Zimbabwe will be left to their fate. Excellent organisations such as
Save the Children will do what they can to feed the hungry — to "stabilise"
them, in the jargon. Britain and others will fork out a few million here and
there to ship in some aid while Mugabe’s henchmen steal what little grain is
still being harvested to get even richer and use it as a political weapon to
hold onto power.
Mugabe’s wife will pop over to Paris occasionally with her
husband to do a little shopping. And the West will sigh deeply and do nothing.
Enjoy your lunch.
Few Have But Most Have Not in Harare
June 22, 2003
Posted to the web June 22,
THE living is easy in the
Zimbabwean capital, Harare - as long as you are a
foreigner earning US
dollars or another strong currency.
In the past year, the cost of living
for Harare's foreign visitors has
plummeted, with the city going from being
the 26th most-expensive in the
world to second cheapest, according to an
international cost of living
But for most Zimbabwean
consumers - and for domestic businesses - this has
not put a dab more butter
on their bread.
Using New York as its benchmark, the 2003 survey by
Mercer Human Resources
Consulting, released this week, reported that Harare
had recorded the
"biggest drop in the rankings this year, falling from
position 26 to 143".
Only the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, was cheaper.
cheapest city last year, became only the ninth
The survey attributed Zimbabwe's free-fall "to the drastic
its currency", , which plunged from Z65 to the dollar in
March 2002 to Z824
to the dollar this March .
But James Jowa, chief
economist at the Zimbabwean National Chamber of
Commerce, said the collapse
of the Zimbabwean dollar, a result of the
unstable political climate, had
caused private companies to lose
international lines of credit, making them
un able to export and earn
much-needed foreign exchange. Many had moved at
least part of their
operations to neighbouring countries, while others had
scaled down to the
extent that the country was
And Elizabeth Nerwande, executive director of the
Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe, said ordinary Zimbabweans were starving as
prices rocketed out of
" We only have two classes. There is
no more middle class; you either have
it or you don't."
that with an inflation rate of 300% - dramatically up from
less than 150% a
year ago - many workers could not afford even the average
Z30 000 monthly bus
fare needed to get to work. And if they did make it to
work, they often
worked hungry, unable to meet the Z141 000 a month the
average family of six
needed to buy basic commodities.
Zimbabwe's problems are so deep Afro-optimism can't
dent them in a
June 22, 2003
The late, great
Douglas Adams was once quoted as saying that he loved
deadlines. "I like the
whooshing sound they make as they fly by," he said.
And this, I
fear, is how President Thabo Mbeki will feel next June
when his predicted
political and economic solution to the Zimbabwean crisis
Mbeki made his bold statement to rapturous applause at the
Economic Forum's Africa summit earlier this month.
Mbeki's eagerness that the mess north of the Limpopo be
cleared up sharpish,
but unreasonable optimism will help no one. Rather, it
will diminish the
scale of the problem and underemphasise the difficulty of
undoing the damage
of several years of lunatic economics.
If Zimbabwe's problems were
purely political I would have more faith
in Mbeki's timetable, but all the
Afro-optimism in the world cannot drag
down inflation from over 300
Research put out this week by Isaac Matshego of Standard
economics unit shows clearly the extent of the problem.
The data and economic forecasts that follow are gleaned from
Inflation has breached 300 percent. By the fourth
quarter of this year
it will have breached 500 percent as output continues
expansion remains at obscene levels and fuel prices increase
sharply. It is
expected to peak at around 600 percent in the first quarter of
it back below 100 percent - the government's stated aim - seems
Businesses struggling to stay afloat have
to contend with interest
rates of more than 75 percent. This seems high, but
real interest rates
remain negative and this will make fighting inflation a
Prime lending rates are expected to
move towards 100 percent by the
end of 2003.
On to what is
supposed to be the productive side of the economy. Its
lifeblood - tobacco - has failed to come to the party,
with auctions hampered
by low volumes and prices.
Agricultural output will fall 7.5
percent this year after plunging 25
percent in 2002, reflecting the impact of
drought and instability in farming
Mining, the other
major contributor to foreign exchange earnings, is
And yes, there's more.
The manufacturing sector shrank 17.2 percent
in 2002 and is expected
to fall another 15 percent this year on falling
exports and sluggish
Threats to seize companies
deemed sympathetic to the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change do not
encourage investment and will worsen
Tourism will continue dwindling and output from the transport
communications sectors is expected to decline 15 percent.
The only sector expected to project positive growth this year is the
and insurance industry.
Even this piece of good news is muted by
the fact that this growth
will be a mere 0.5 percent as expansion is
constrained by the shortage of
currency and the buoyant parallel
So gross domestic product fell an estimated 13.7 percent in
is expected to contract a further 13 percent this year.
Any steps the government might take are hampered by the fact that
parallel market is the mainstay of what's left of the Zimbabwean
Government-set prices do not cover the costs of doing
people with cash wanting essential consumer goods have no
choice but to go
underground. And then they pay big time.
severe foreign currency shortage is showing no signs of being
resolved in the
short term and efforts to clear up the problem fall
comfortably into the too
little, too late category.
In February, the government devalued the
exporters' official exchange
rate from Z$55/$US1 to Z$824/US$1. The
government continues to deal with the
Reserve Bank at Z$55/US$1. Because the
parallel market trades at about Z$2
500/US$1, the market remains massively
Pressure will be kept on the currency following reports
state-owned fuel and power corporations will have to go to the
And escalating inflation, artificially low
interest rates and no
significant capital inflows will keep pressure on the
What Zimbabwe's leadership seems to have lost sight of is
problems are so enormous that they can be dealt with only once
norms return, especially those governing the role of the
relations with multilateral agencies and developed countries
Billions of dollars will have to be pumped into the
economic and political exiles will have to return home, and
agricultural and manufacturing capacity rebuilt.
solutions can be found that will not make life even harder over the
term for a people already struggling to survive.
rests on a political solution being found. And, from
the sound of the
rhetoric emanating from Harare, even this is more than a
The Speech That Caused All the Trouble
June 22, 2003
Posted to the web June 22,
ANTJIE Krog once wrote:
"Reconciliation is not only a process. It is a cycle
that will be repeated
What all South Africans wish to avoid is a cycle that
becomes a downward
spiral in which smouldering resentment is fanned into
On June 5, President Thabo Mbeki issued a warning
in Parliament: "I'd like
to advise those who find it politically and
strategically expedient to
perpetuate the negative stereotype of the African
which we inherited from
our past to take the greatest care that they do not
start a fire they cannot
But it is on President Mbeki's
watch that South Africa has moved from the
politics of the rainbow nation and
reconciliation to the politics of race-
President Mbeki must start to lead by example. For when the
leader of this
country uses racism to silence his political opponents, he
fires of hatred and despair that South Africa has worked so
Let us consider an acute case.
President recently said: "The reason Zimbabwe is such a preoccupation
in the UK, in the US and in Sweden is because white people died, and
people were deprived of their property all they say is Zimbabwe,
It is certainly true that some people, both black and white,
events in Zimbabwe through a racist lens. But if that explains
people are making a noise, it does not tell us why the President
Why is he quiet about Africans, black and white,
who are being dispossessed
of their property? Why is he quiet about the black
leader of the opposition
in Zimbabwe who is deprived of his liberty? Why is
he so quiet when it is
reported in the latest edition of Africa Confidential
that your minister of
foreign affairs said of [MDC leader] Morgan Tsvangirai,
"Let him take his
Last week in Parliament, the Hon Graham
McIntosh, MP of the Democratic
Alliance, was chastised by the minister of
defence for raising the issue of
Zimbabwe. The minister relied on a stock
response, making sure he mentioned
the "white government" of South Africa, in
an attempt to discredit the Hon
McIntosh. But what are the realities of the
In 1977, the Hon McIntosh, then representing Pinetown and the
Federal Party, performed one of the boldest protests ever
undertaken by an
elected representative in South Africa, before or
The Hon McIntosh went on an eight-day hunger strike, starving
the same amount of time that Black Consciousness leader Steve
Biko had been
in police hands. He and his wife, who joined his protest,
demonstrate that Biko could not have died of starvation, as claimed
former Justice Minister Jimmy Kruger of the National Party.
protest carried a high political cost. A few weeks later, at the
election, the Hon McIntosh lost his seat to the National
In the same year, 1977, [Justice] Minister [Jimmy] Kruger's
defender was his son Eitel, a man who used to persecute anyone at
that held even mildly progressive views. That same man is today a
member of the ANC in Pretoria.
The Hon McIntosh remains
committed to the democratic cause. Yet the ANC
swore in John Gogotya MP, a
black politician who took money from the
apartheid Department of Military
Intelligence to go to the US to denounce
the cause of black majority
So where does this race-based politics take us? What does it mean?
not tell us the truth about South Africa. It rekindles fear and does
advance democracy or the well-being of ordinary South Africans. It has
place in a modern, democratic country that has committed itself
But, again and again, the President has used race
to deflect legitimate
He has tried to turn HIV/Aids from a
medical issue into a racial one. In May
last year, Professor [Malegapuru]
Makgoba, president of the Medical Research
Council, said President Mbeki's
office had waged a campaign of vilification
against him for challenging the
President's views on HIV/Aids.
According to Professor Makgoba, President
Mbeki's office appealed "to a very
basic instinct: that I am an African like
them and therefore I should be in
their camp, and if I'm not, I'm a stooge of
whites, I'm less of an African."
Yet HIV/Aids should not be an issue of
black and white. It is a matter of
life and death. Thirty-five thousand South
African children died in 2001
because President Mbeki refused to give them
the nevirapine that would have
saved their lives at the cost of a few
The President does not simply "play the race card". Nor does he
accuse his opponents of racism.
He goes even further and uses a
tactic called "flaming", especially in cases
where he has been criticised
directly. On the Internet, "flaming" is when
someone uses a barrage of
inflammatory, hostile or derogatory messages to
President Mbeki has brought this Internet phenomenon into the
He "flames" his critics to attack and silence
President Mbeki's "flames" follow a consistent pattern. He
most grotesque stereotypes of African people that he can
conjure in his
imagination. And then he presents them to the South African
us that these grisly ideas are the things his critics
Recently, in a letter to ANC Today, President Mbeki "flamed"
questioned the ANC government's corrupt arms deal and his
involvement in editing the Auditor-General's report.
than addressing the evidence directly, President Mbeki claimed that
have questioned the government's conduct are "determined to prove
in the anti-African stereotype".
In classic "flaming" fashion, President
Mbeki then expanded on the racist
stereotype of Africans in elaborate detail.
His critics, he charged, "sought
to portray Africans as a people that is
[sic] corrupt, given to telling
lies, prone to theft and self-enrichment by
immoral means, a people that is
[sic] otherwise contemptible in the eyes of
the 'civilised' " . . .
The President says that those who stand up
against government corruption are
merely "fishers of corrupt men". But the
President insists on fishing for
racism in the minds and hearts of his
opponents . . .
If we want South Africa to be a real democracy, we are
going to have to face
the real issues: poverty, joblessness, crime, HIV/Aids
We need to get out of the cul-de-sac of racism and return
to the inspiring
vision of a rainbow nation.
This is an edited version
of a speech given to Parliament by the opposition
leader this week
SPEECH BY TONY LEON MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
PARLIAMENT - CAPE TOWN - 18 JUNE 2003 -
"We need to get out of the cul de sac of racism and return
to the inspiring vision of a rainbow nation"
once wrote: "Reconciliation is not only a process. It is a cycle that will be
repeated many times."
What all South Africans wish to avoid
is a cycle that becomes a downward
spiral in which smouldering
resentment is fanned into burning anger.
On 5 June 2003,
President Thabo Mbeki issued a warning in Parliament:
to advise those who find it politically and strategically
perpetuate the negative stereotype of the African which we
from our past, to take the greatest care that they do not start a
they cannot put out."
But it is on President Mbeki's watch that
South Africa has moved from the
politics of the rainbow nation and
reconciliation to the politics of
President Mbeki must start to lead by example. For
when the leader of this
country uses racism in order to silence his
political opponents, he
re-ignites the fires of hatred and despair that
South Africa has worked so
hard to extinguish.
consider an acute case.
The President recently said: "The reason
Zimbabwe is such a preoccupation
here, in the UK, in the US and in
Sweden is because white people died, and
white people were deprived of
their property...all they say is Zimbabwe,
It is certainly true that some people, both black
and white, have viewed
events in Zimbabwe through a racist
But if that explains why some people are making a noise,
it does not tell us
why the President himself is so
Why is he quiet about Africans, black and white, who are
of their property? Why is he quiet about the black
leader of the opposition
in Zimbabwe who is deprived of his liberty? Why
is he so quiet when it is
reported in the latest edition of Africa
Confidential that your Minister of
Foreign Affairs said of Morgan
Tsvangirai, "Let him take his medicine"?
Last week in
Parliament, the Hon Graham McIntosh MP of the Democratic
chastised by the Minister of Defence for raising the issue of
The Minister relied on a stock response, making sure he mentioned
"white government" of South Africa, in an attempt to discredit the Hon
But what are the realities of the
In 1977, the Hon McIntosh, then representing Pinetown
and the Progressive
Federal Party, performed one of the boldest protests
ever undertaken by an
elected representative in South Africa, before or
The Hon McIntosh went on an eight-day hunger strike,
starving himself for
the same amount of time that Black Consciousness
leader Steve Biko had been
in police hands. He and his wife, who joined
his protest, wanted to
demonstrate that Biko could not have died of
starvation, as claimed by
former Justice Minister Jimmy Kruger of the
This protest carried a high political cost. A
few weeks later, at the next
election, the Hon McIntosh lost his seat to
a member of the National
In the same year, 1977,
Minister Kruger's staunchest defender was his son
Eitel, a man who used
to persecute anyone at university that held even
views. That same man is today a leading member of the ANC
The Hon McIntosh remains committed to the democratic
cause. Yet the ANC
swore in John Gogotya MP, a black politician who took
money from the
apartheid Department of Military Intelligence in order to
go to the United
States to denounce the cause of black majority
So where does this race-based politics take us? What does
it mean? It does
not tell us the truth about South Africa. It re-kindles
fear and does not
advance democracy or the well-being of ordinary South
Africans. It has no
place in a modern, democratic country that has
committed itself to
But again and again,
the President has used race to deflect legitimate
He has tried to turn HIV/AIDS from a medical issue
into a racial one. In May
last year, Professor Makgoba, president of the
Medical Research Council,
said that President Mbeki's office had waged a
campaign of vilification
against him for challenging the President's
views on HIV/AIDS.
According to Prof Magkoba, President Mbeki's
office appealed "to a very
basic instinct: that I am an African like
them and therefore I should be in
their camp, and it I'm not, I'm a
stooge of whites, I'm less of an
should not be an issue of black and white. It is a matter of
death. 35 000 South African children died in 2001 because President
Mbeki refused to give them the nevirapine that would have saved their
at the cost of a few rand.
The President does
not simply "play the race card." Nor does he merely
accuse his opponents
He goes even further and uses a tactic called
"flaming," especially in cases
where he has been criticised
On the Internet, "flaming" is when someone uses a
barrage of inflammatory,
hostile, or derogatory messages in order to
provoke or intimidate another
has brought this Internet phenomenon into the real world.
He "flames" his
critics in order to attack and silence dissent.
Mbeki's "flames" follow a consistent pattern. He describes the
grotesque stereotypes of African people that he can conjure in his
imagination. And then he presents these to the South African public,
us that these grisly ideas are the things his critics embrace
Recently, in a letter to ANC Today, President Mbeki
"flamed" those who
questioned the ANC government's corrupt arms deal and
involvement in editing the Auditor-General's
Rather than addressing the evidence directly, President
Mbeki claimed that
those who have questioned the government's conduct
are "determined to prove
everything in the anti-African
In classic "flaming" fashion, President Mbeki then
expanded on the racist
stereotype of Africans in elaborate detail. His
critics, he charged, "sought
to portray Africans as a people that is
corrupt, given to telling lies,
prone to theft and self-enrichment by
immoral means, a people that is
otherwise contemptible in the eyes of
The very next week, he addressed this House
and used the occasion to
describe the same awful stereotypes in more
The President says that those who stand up
against government corruption are
merely "fishers of corrupt men." But
the President insists on fishing for
racism in the minds and hearts of
In this regard, to borrow a phrase from the
President's own words, "the
truth does not matter." If no evidence of
racism can be found, the President
himself will conjure up racist images
anyway and use them to "flame" anyone
who disagrees with him or
questions his judgment.
Today, there is no other politician in
this House or in the rest of the
country who would refer to such
horrible stereotypes, who would revert to
such degrading and retrograde
Indeed, the most alarming suggestion made by President
Mbeki is that we, as
Africans, should make use of these stereotypes in
measuring our progress.
We "must constantly assess our behaviour
critically," he told this House,
"to determine whether, in fact, we are
not acting in a manner that confirms
the stereotype of the African, as
described by those who denied us our
should Africa be defined by the worst images of its detractors? Why
should we, as Africans, live forever in the shadow of "those who denied
The New Partnership for Africa's
Development states Africa's pledge "to
promote peace and stability,
democracy, sound management and people-centered
development, and to hold
each other accountable in terms of the agreements
outlined in the
Those are the forward-looking standards by which we
must judge ourselves,
not by the racist hysteria of the
If we want South Africa to be a real democracy, then we
are going to have to
face the real issues: poverty, joblessness, crime,
HIV/AIDS, and Zimbabwe.
We need to have a dialogue about the questions
that matter most.
That dialogue must be a two-way street. As the
Hon Dr Frene Ginwala said
last week, we must embrace unity and
But if the President insists on making all
questions into matters of race
then we are going to find ourselves in a
We need to get out of the cul de sac of racism
and return to the inspiring
vision of a rainbow nation.
We can light a candle of hope, or we can fan the flames of fear. The
It is time for the President to abandon
the politics of race and undertake a
serious dialogue about the
fundamental changes that South Africa needs as it
begins its second
decade of democracy.
Harare vows to force firms to fire
June 22, 2003
Harare - After earlier
threatening to close companies for
participating in strikes, the Zimbabwe
government said this week it would
force employers to fire workers who go on
Kenneth Manyonda, the deputy minister of industry and
trade, said that even if the government did not close
companies, it would
make it mandatory for employers to dismiss employees who
shunned work "in
pursuit of political objectives".
working with the ministry of labour to effect this," he told
Economists said this would be a blatant assault
on the constitutional
rights of Zimbabwean workers to freedom of expression
"The simple message is that if you are not a member
Robert] Mugabe's ruling party, then you have to forfeit every
right you are
entitled to under the constitution," said prominent consultant
John Robertson in an interview.
"For anyone to be
entitled to the protection of the law, they have to
be Mugabe's friends. It's
Samuel Mumbengegwi, the minister of industry and trade,
last week as saying six companies, which failed to open during the
strike called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
month, would have their licences withdrawn once the government
He said many "indigenous"
Zimbabweans were ready to take over the
companies and keep them
At the time of going to press, though, no companies had been
shut down for closing their doors during the strike.
Zimbabwe's two main industry bodies, the Zimbabwe National Chamber
Commerce and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), said they
not received any official communication on the closure of any
State radio announced on Thursday
that the government would withdraw
the operating licences of transport
companies that shut during the strike.
The unattributed report said 44
transport companies had already had their
licences withdrawn or were in the
process of losing them.
But a CZI official said no company had been
closed by Friday.
"So far no one has come to us saying they have
been ordered to shut
down. As far as we are concerned these are just
but nothing has happened on the ground," said the
Threats to close companies and to force employers to fire
workers would "only make an already bad situation
Transport companies would be easy targets if the government
with threats to seize firms. He said they needed permits to
and would be unable to operate without them.
said it would, however, be illegal to withdraw licences as most
operated under the provisions of the Companies Act.
The CZI was of
the view that the government should concentrate on
addressing the grievances
that caused people to strike, he said.
Robertson agreed it would be
illegal for the government to withdraw
the licences of even specialised
companies, such as banks and pharmacies,
that did need licences.
"There is no operating licence which prohibits workers from exercising
constitutional rights to free expression by striking.
illegally seize companies as they did with the farms, that
would be the worst
thing ever to happen to Zimbabwe. Even the mere threats
to close companies
have caused irreparable damage," he said. - Independent
Is Mugabe trying to buy time?
June 22 2003 at
By Basildon Peta
President Robert Mugabe will step down as leader of the ruling
at its annual congress in six months' time as the first step
retirement, if he keeps a promise he has made to President
The 79-year-old Zimbabwean leader will, however, remain
head of state to
allow his successor to consolidate his power in Zanu-PF
before the successor
takes over the country, probably within another six
Despite a denial from Mugabe's office and a vague response from
office, the Independent Foreign Service has established that Mugabe
Mbeki indeed spoke just before Mbeki attended the World Economic Forum
summit in Durban. Mbeki confidently predicted at the summit that
Zimbabwean crisis - and several others on the continent - would be
within a year. According to impeccable sources, Mbeki, who has been
international pressure to take a firmer public stance on Zimbabwe,
Mugabe that the situation in Zimbabwe was becoming
Since his efforts and those of other African leaders to broker
between Zanu-PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
had stalled, Mbeki asked Mugabe for his own programme of action.
Mbeki he would relinquish the leadership of Zanu-PF in December
and allow a
successor, possibly Emmerson Mnangagwa, the speaker of
parliament, to take
over. Mnangagwa would consolidate his power base, pending
his taking over of
the full running of Zimbabwe within another six months
It was on the basis of this discussion that Mbeki told the
WEF that a
settlement would be found in Zimbabwe within a year, the sources
said. If by
mid next year, Zanu-PF still does not command a two-thirds
majority to allow it to change the constitution and allow
to take over as president without a requisite new election
in 90 days,
Mugabe will still call for an election because he is sure his
win. Zanu-PF is four seats shy of the necessary two-thirds
are, however, three by-elections coming up soon and chances
of more in the
The Zimbabwean sources said that despite
Mugabe's promises, Mbeki was being
a little "naive" in making his bold
prediction of a settlement of the
Zimbabwe crisis in 12 months. They said
Mbeki had probably not yet fully
understood Mugabe's shrewdness. They said he
could very well relinquish the
leadership of Zanu-PF in December but still
try to hang on to the presidency
until 2005, when he could call for a
presidential election to run
concurrently with parliamentary
"Despite all the criticisms against Mbeki... he has kept
pressure on Mugabe
to try to get a settlement... But it is also likely that
Mugabe is making
these promises to buy time and deflect the pressure," one
source said. Mbeki
is believed to be in favour of any move that will see
Mugabe out of office
but Zanu-PF remaining in power with a new
The sources said Mbeki had also raised his concern with Mugabe
arrest of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Mbeki had said the arrest
lead to more chaos. - Foreign Service
Tsvangirai rejects Lekota's Zim talks claims
2003 at 09:41AM
By Brian Latham and Peter Fabricius
and Johannesburg - Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on Satureday rejected
claims by Mosiuoa
Lekota, South Africa's defence minister, that he was
scuttling talks with President Robert Mugabe's government
President Thabo Mbeki.
He called Lekota's claim "ridiculous" and insisted
that the MDC wanted a
peaceful resolution to Zimbabwe's crisis. "We have not
abandoned talks. If
anything, talks have been scuttled by Zanu-PF," he said
at a press
conference in Harare.
Lekota was reported as telling the
Cape Town Press Club this week that the
MDC's mass action campaign had upset
efforts by Mbeki and other African
leaders to broker peace talks between
Mugabe's government and the MDC.
'If anything, talks have been
scuttled by Zanu-PF'
Tsvangirai was released on bail on Friday after spending
two weeks in
Harare's squalid Remand Prison on a treason charge for allegedly
his followers to overthrow Mugabe in a mass action
Legal experts believe Judge Susan Mavingira's ruling granting
bail indicates that she believed the government had charged
treason merely to silence him.
"The present charge
seems to arise when attempts to silence the applicant,
his co-accuseds and
the MDC fail," she wrote at one point, noting that the
previously tried to alter Tsvangirai's bail conditions on
charge to prevent him from making statements calling for
Mugabe to be removed
Mavingira continued: "Of further significance is the fact
that state counsel
did not specifically respond to the applicant's counsel's
the present allegations were only an afterthought conceived
after the state
had failed in its application for variation of bail
conditions and that if
such variation had been granted, the present
allegations would impliedly not
Mavingira noted that it
was possible to balance the state's concerns without
depriving Tsvangirai of
She granted Tsvangirai bail on condition that he did not
advocating or inciting his followers to remove the president
government from office "by violence or other unlawful
Tsvangirai also revealed at the press conference on Saturday that
written to Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
President Bakili Muluzi after the three heads of state visited
month to try to broker peace talks between the MDC and
"What we did was send a follow-up letter to the African
Mugabe embarked on an uncontrolled and brutal campaign
against the people.
We wanted to know 'where we are now'," Tsvangirai
"Nothing can be more ridiculous than saying I have abandoned the
said, referring to Lekota's reported criticism.
position is unchanged. We want dialogue and the mass action was
pressure Zanu-PF to the negotiating table. I think the press
reports are an
expression of the South African government's frustration
rather than the
reality on the ground."
Tsvangirai said he had never encouraged his
millions of supporters to
overthrow the Zimbabwean government. "We have gone
to the high court to
challenge Mugabe's electoral victory, not to overthrow
him," he said.
"That's why Mugabe has reacted with paranoia, closing the
roads to State
The MDC leader said that jail had hardened his
resolve: "I'll continue with
my political work and we'll continue to exert as
much pressure as we can on
this regime until it sees sense." However, he
said, further mass action
needed "more thought". - Foreign Service
Zimbabwe may return land to SA farmers
June 21 2003 at
By Kenneth Chikanga
South African farmers who lost
land under Zimbabwe's controversial land
acquisition policy could get some of
their land back as soon as President
Robert Mugabe's government has finished
a land audit of the land
the Zanu-PF spokesperson for South Africa, confirmed
this week that some
seized farms, or at least part of them, would be
returned to affected farmers
as soon as the audit was completed.
Last month Mugabe ordered an audit of
the land reform programme to assess
progress in Zimbabwe's controversial land
Preliminary results for the audit are expected by
the end of next month.
'Our government is applying the one man, one
"Our government is applying the one man, one farm policy. Those
had very large farms will get portions of their land back, or
for their improvements. The rest of the land will be shared out
landless peasants," Chirumhanzu said.
All farmers whose land had
been expropriated were free to contact government
officials in the affected
regions to discuss permissible farm sizes per
person, and how they could go
about resuming their operations, he said.
Last year the Democratic
Alliance compiled a list of 75 South African
farmers in Zimbabwe whose land
was overrun by settlers led by veterans from
Zimbabwe's liberation war. Many
of them were still South African citizens,
but some had renounced their South
African citizenship in an attempt to
protect their farms, and to be allowed
to remain in Zimbabwe.
A Zimbabwean weekly newspaper, the Financial
Gazette, published excerpts
from a letter that Aziz Pahad, the deputy
minister of foreign affairs had
written to affected farmers saying Harare had
agreed to return land seized
from South African citizens.
the letter, the concession was made in terms of the Bilateral
Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) signed by the
Pahad's letter, dated March 10 2003, reads in part:
"The listed farms under
the land reform programme owned by nationals from
SADC member states and
countries with the Bippa agreement would be delisted
in accordance with laws
and regulations of Zimbabwe."
the DA's spokesperson on rural safety, said a DA delegation
to Harare had
recently received an undertaking from Jerry Ndou, the South
commissioner in Zimbabwe, that the South African government had
agreement with Zimbabwe to enable South African farmers who had
from their properties to go back to their land and
Andries Botha, the DA's spokesperson for agriculture,
expressed doubts last
week that the government of Zimbabwe would stick to the
Bippa accord. During
a DA fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe recently, the
that the bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and South
Africa that Pahad
spoke about had not been signed and was therefore not yet
"The Zimbabwe Vice-President Joseph Msika told us that all
African farmers willing to come back and farm in Zimbabwe would
to do so. Afterwards, Zimbabwe's minister of agriculture said the
11 000 hectares that the South African farmers had lost was not
the delegation said.
One of the affected South African
farmers, rancher and tobacco farmer
Crawford von Abbo, told The Sunday
Independent that unless the rule of law
was re-established in Zimbabwe, it
would be difficult to believe statements
coming from Harare.
all maintained that land reform is necessary, as long it is done in
transparent, legal manner. It is one thing to read stories in the media,
the situation on the ground in the farming districts is very different,"
Von Abbo said the South African government had done very little to
its citizens who lost land and property in Zimbabwe. His former
from Germany, Britain and Portugal had all got their properties
their governments had made representations to the government of
Zimbabwe Sunday Mirror
War vets, white farmers stash away farm
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole Deputy Editor
SOME members of the
war veterans fraternity have made millions of dollars in
assisting white farmers in clandestinely transporting farm
equipment off the
farms to safe warehouses in Harare and across the border
Zambia, the Sunday Mirror has established.
Working in elaborately
organised groups, the war veterans would first
stage-manage farm invasions
using groups of youths to intimidate the white
farm owners into vacating
their farms before they offered to help the
concerned farmers salvage their
movable property from designated farms.
The Sunday Mirror learnt of the
scheme through a prominent government
minister whom we had approached for
comment on his alleged involvement in a
dispute over the ownership of certain
“Most of the farm equipment that now remains on the occupied
farms is only a
remnant of the original inventory as the most sophisticated
been removed by white farmers in this way,” said the minister,
who cannot be
“Not only have the war veterans involved in this
scheme helped transport
farm equipment, but they have also become middlemen
for those farmers they
assisted, who are now selling off the equipment,” he
The minister, who is also a farmer, explained that the sentiment
white farmers during the initial stages of the countrywide land
was that they would be imminently reinstated to their farms,
desire to retain the equipment.“The majority of the best farm
right now stashed away in warehouses in the Workington
particularly along Coventry Road,” he
Producing documents showing purchases of farm equipment
amounting to over
$15 million which he had made through the war vets
“middlemen”, the minister
offered to take this reporter to a garage in
Harare’s Bluffhill suburb,
where a war veteran identified only as Comrade
Longchase took us on a tour
of the facility.
John Deere tractors, whose prices ranged between $14
million and $30 million,
were parked in the garage. Longchase revealed how
he and a group of his
associates had helped Mashonaland West commercial
farmer, Vernon Nicolle
transport some of his farm equipment across the
border into neighbouring
“In the early stages of jambanja (farm invasions) it was very
move equipment across the border and we actually assisted Nicolle
other farmers relocating to Zambia,” he said.
acts as middleman for a number of former commercial farmers,
some of whom he
said had migrated to distant countries such as Australia and
said he charged his principals 10 percent of the sales he made.
former Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president and one of Zimbabwe
largest tobacco farmers, Peter MacSporran and Graham Rae from Bindura
formed two companies to assist white commercial farmers with relocation
neighbouring Zambia. The companies, Agric Africa and Agricultural
International, help identify suitable properties for their members
as well as establish sponsors to finance their move. So far, the
have helped 100 farmers get started in Zambia. In the March 14
of the South African Farmers’ Weekly magazine, the farmers
conceded that the
virtual lack of any farming equipment, spares and inputs
in their host
country has dogged their operations.
Nicolle’s role in the partnership is
to source equipment in bulk for the
partnership and other farmers. He could
not be reached for comment at the
time of going to press, as he was yet to
arrive back into the country from
Zambia at the weekend.The government has
barred evicted white farmers from
removing their equipment from the farms,
saying it should be given the
opportunity to buy the implements for use by
newly resettled farmers. In the
current national budget, the government also
set aside $4 billion for the
purpose of compensating the farmers for both
movable and immovable property
left on the farms.
generally chaotic environment that prevailed during the farm
actually provided an opportunity for some enterprising
commandeering the process to make a quick buck from the hapless
farmers. The police have in the past made arrests of rogue elements
the land occupation exercise to extort “protection fees” from
They have also impounded truckloads of irrigation
pipes, among other farm
equipment, headed for unknown destinations. Neither
Joseph Made, the
Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, nor
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could be reached
for comment on this
latest revelation as their mobile phones were out of
reach at the weekend.
Media Monitoring Project
June 9th -June
2. POST STRIKE
3. ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL
THE week saw Parliament pass
two laws that have a bearing on the free flow of information; the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Bill and the Broadcasting
Services Amendment Bill.
Sadly, the private
media inexplicably remained silent on the proposed amendments to these laws. It
was only from the government-controlled media (ZBC, 11/6 and The Herald
12/6) that the public learnt of the developments.
In their reports,
ZBC and The Herald noted that the two Bills sailed through “with no
objections”. However, they did not adequately inform their audiences
about the content of the amendments or the debate surrounding the changes made
to the original law. Neither did they explain the effects of the amendments to
the public’s right to receive and impart information
Herald (14/5) initially
reported that the text of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Amendment Bill had been altered following the Parliamentary Legal Committee’s
reservations “on clauses 3,7, 10, 11, 19, 20, and 25”. But the
paper did not state what exactly those clauses stipulated, save to say the Bill
“is aimed at improving and correcting certain anomalies and errors that
came to light since the law was promulgated last
In its subsequent
report (23/5), the paper reported that the debate on the law had been adjourned
to June 10 “to give legislators time to go through the new text of the
Bill”. Still, the report generalized on the proposed
Up until the passage
of the Bill, this week, none of the media has made any attempt to fully inform
the public about the amendments. Neither have they investigated the irregular
passage of the AIPPA amendments, especially the unusual withdrawal of the
original amendment Bill and its replacement by another one and the obscure role
of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. And where was the PLC’s report objecting
to the seven clauses? The whole process was devoid of transparency and the media
did nothing to help.
Similarly, the media
paid lip service to the amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act. Apart from
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo’s hint in The Herald (13/03) that the
amendment would see community broadcasters being granted licences of up to 10
years, the public is in the dark on the actual amendments to the law.
MMPZ notes that
The Financial Gazette appears to have dropped the socio-political context
to its coverage of news since a new editorial team took over, preferring to
carry narrowly defined business and financial news instead. Admittedly, the
paper’s new owners have the right to redirect its editorial focus to that of
their choice. But this should not mean the paper abdicates its responsibility to
inform its audiences of this vital context to the activities of Zimbabwean
society. It would be disappointing if the paper’s new publishers assumed that
readers of The Financial Gazette rely on other publications for this
important perspective of society because financial and business activity are
greatly influenced by political and social developments. It is to be hoped that
the paper’s editor-in-chief, Sunsleey Chamunorwa, will fulfill the assurances he
gave his readers soon after he stepped in to fill the breach created by the
exodus of senior staff in May (22/5).
Although the media
should keep their audiences informed of political developments in the country,
they should not become the tool of any political persuasion, especially those
owned by the state or the government on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. But on
Saturday (14/6) The Herald inexplicably featured as its front-page lead
news story a ‘no-news’ promotional profile on the life of the Speaker of
Parliament and ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Apart
from quoting Mnangagwa repeating his denial of media speculation that he has
“aspirations” to the presidency, the article was more conspicuous for its
attempt to portray Mnangagwa as a forgiving and principled liberation war hero,
who is “as soft as wool”.
The “story”, along with its placement, clearly demonstrated the total
control the ruling party holds over the editorial content of the paper and
evidently introduced its readers to the suggestion that Mnangagwa is indeed the
“approved” official successor to President Mugabe. But the big question this
article did not answer was, “why now?” particularly in light of Mugabe’s most
recent defiant statements declaring that he has no intention of retiring while
the nation remains divided. Who is in control at ZANU PF was an even more
intriguing puzzle created by the story itself.
2. Post strike
THE arrest and detention of
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai following the opposition organized mass action, was
by no means the only form of government’s retribution against perceived
opponents during the week. Government officials also threatened to punish
farmers, businesses, teachers and even some diplomats for allegedly supporting
the MDC protest.
government-controlled media unquestioningly regurgitated the authorities’
inflammatory statements, exposing themselves to be the unbridled conduits of
hate speech and willing tools of incitement, the private media condemned such
threats and analyzed their underlying implications.
When the week
opened, ZBC (09/6, 8pm) quoted Information Minister Jonathan Moyo defending
Tsvangirai’s arrest and misrepresenting the MDC’s democratic right to
demonstrate peacefully by claiming that the opposition wanted to topple the
government “through incitement to violence and lawlessness”.
No effort was made
to clarify this deliberate distortion of the MDC’s agenda, which also rubbed off
on the government-controlled Press. For example, The Herald (9/6), which openly mocked and celebrated
Tsvangirai’s detention, castigated him for thinking that he was “above the law” by “instigating the overthrow of a
legitimately elected Government”. It observed that his arrest “will reassure Zimbabweans that the
justice system is alive and well in the country”. This was hardly surprising as the paper led
the campaign for Tsvangirai’s arrest before and during the MDC organized
Tsvangirai’s lawyer George Bizos referred to this media coverage during
Tsvangirai’s bail application when he noted that the State had based its case
against the MDC leader on “editorialized allegations from newspaper
cuttings”, The Daily
Herald (12/6) quoted Bizos as having told the High Court that the paper
“purported to give directions to the
judiciary as to how it should deal with Tsvangirai”.
It was only the
private media that viewed the arrest as vindictive and a violation of the
opposition’s democratic right to peaceful protest. The Standard (15/6)
for example, described the arrest as
“callous and cruel” adding that
Tsvangirai did not call for “ the unconstitutional removal of President
Mugabe” as the
government and the media it controls claimed.
that Tsvangirai had not called for the violent ouster of government, The
Daily News on Sunday carried a transcript of Tsvangirai’s speech upon which
the State based their case. Nowhere in the transcript did he call for the
“unconstitutional” removal of
President Mugabe. Earlier, its sister paper, The Daily News (13/6)
reported that Tsvangirai’s lawyers also produced in court video evidence of him
calling on his supporters to shun violence during the proposed demonstrations.
The Herald of the same day also revealed this, but still continued to
give the impression that he was guilty.
President Mugabe made it abundantly clear while addressing a rally in Nyanga on
June 12 that Tsvangirai’s arrest was indeed a fulfillment of his government’s
threat, that it would teach the MDC a “lesson”. ZBC (12/6,
8pm) quoted Mugabe as saying
“…We hope they have learnt their lesson. If they haven’t they will learn
it the harder way. Harder than it has been so far”. He mockingly
equated remand prison where Tsvangirai is being detained to State House. Mugabe
made similar threats while addressing another rally in Nyamandlovu, ZBC (13/6,
8pm) and The Herald (14/6).
During the Nyanga
rally Mugabe also declared that government would crack down on the MDC and its
perceived sympathizers, corroborating The Daily News story (9/6),
Mugabe cracks whip. ZTV (12/06, 8pm) quoted him
accusing British High Commissioner, Sir Brian Donnelly, of supporting the MDC
and threatened to “kick him out of this country” if he
continued to do so.
As has become the
norm in the public media, Mugabe’s accusations against Britain and its High
Commissioner were simply taken as fact as illustrated by editorials in The
Herald (14/6) and The
Sunday News (15/6). The
Herald, Writing on the wall for Donnelly, passively agreed with Mugabe,
saying the British government believed that “in Donnelly, they have found a man of
equal stamina to plot and topple President Mugabe and his
No evidence was
provided to support these serious allegations and no comment was sought from the
High Commission. Its response was only accessed by The Daily News (14/6)
and The Standard (15/6).
ZBC (12/6, 8pm)
also quoted Mugabe threatening
to seize farms still owned by white commercial farmers, whom he accused of
supporting the MDC. He singled out MDC MP Roy Bennet as one of the targets:
“The likes of Bennett, De Klerk are not deserving cases in
regard to allocation of land because they are destabilizing our society, they
are for illegality, they are supporting a party in its programme of pursuing an
illegal course to power… If they have that land, that land will be taken from
them and given to more loyal citizens… They must go from here”
These vindictive and
racist outbursts belied Mugabe’s claims at international fora that his land
reforms were merely a correction of colonial injustice and that political
affiliation had no place in the process. However, this escaped ZBC’s analytical
capacity.Neither did the
government-controlled Press highlight this contradiction of policy. The
Herald and the Chronicle (13/6) simply recorded Mugabe’s speech
without any scrutiny.
Standard (15/6) deplored Mugabe’s remarks saying they were tantamount to
“gross abuse of power”. The paper also
observed that such statements vindicate those who “attach a racist” label to
The Daily News on
Sunday noted that
Mugabe’s remarks would trigger fresh farm invasions and quoted MDC shadow
Agriculture Minister Renson Gasela as saying they would further “cripple the agriculture
against white farmers, diplomats and the MDC, ZBC (ZTV, 9/6,8pm) also revealed
that “six companies risk losing their operating licences for not opening
business last week as government takes stern measures against companies that
defied a directive to trade”. According to Trade and Industry Minister,
Samuel Mumbengegwi, government had identified 14 companies that closed during
the stayaway and that of these six were “totally uncooperative” in
providing reasons why they had done so, while the remaining “eight were
Without naming the
companies, Mumbengegwi said the six businesses would “be taken over either
by indigenous entrepreneurs” or by “government through its arm,
the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)”.
The minister did not
elaborate about how such takeovers would take place. ZBC did not seek any legal
opinion on the issue, or the implications of taking such measures.
broadcaster called for punitive measures against teachers and transport
operators. For example, ZTV (11/6,7am) claimed: “Most people said the
punitive action should also be applied to schools, transport operators and other
essential service providers who supported illegal demonstrations by withdrawing
service… Some transport operators were allegedly paid a week’s earnings by the
opposition to withdraw their vehicles from service resulting in many workers
failing to report for duty…”
Not a shred of
evidence was provided to support these claims.
The next day,
The Daily News (12/6) reported that teachers, who were suspected of
supporting the mass action, were already facing the brunt of ZANU PF
intolerance. The Daily
News, its Sunday
sister and the Weekend Tribune carried 12 incidents of physical assaults
and intimidation of perceived MDC activists by alleged ZANU-PF supporters. None
appeared in the government-controlled media.
Economic and Agricultural decline
INDICATORS of the country’s
increasingly desperate economic state continued to emerge, mostly in the private
media, during the week. The government-controlled media smothered such reports
and substituted them with positive news on the economy.
For example, ZBC
(ZTV, 12/6, 8pm) tried to give the impression that the country’s economy was
improving claiming that Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa had increased by 15
percent between 1999 and 2002 earning the country more than R2billion in foreign
currency last year. The broadcaster then accused exporters of “starving
the country of foreign currency” saying they were “…being
insincere” and externalizing their earnings or “diverting”
them “to the illegal parallel
carried such “positive” news pieces in its business section. And in stories
where it did report the problems affecting some sections of industry, the paper
gave a narrow analysis of the causes. For example, it reported that the fertilizer industry was
operating at 65 percent capacity (11/6 & 12/6) because of “serious
viability problems due to the shortage of foreign currency to source inputs and
industrial spares needed to boost production”. It noted that as a result, one of the
companies, Windmill, had closed one of its two plants.
paper failed to see the problems bedeviling the fertilizer industry as
reflective of broader economic policies.
News (13/6) did. It
blamed government saying, “the relentless pursuit of dogmatic policies
which antagonise the private sector” had kept
investors away from Zimbabwe.
The private media
also revealed that the worst was still to come, contrary to the impression
largely given by the government-controlled media.
Tribune (12/6) warned
that government’s decision to increase salaries of civil servants, announced on
ZBC (12/6,8pm) and Zimpapers
(13/6), would give the economy another
“serious knock” and accelerate the inflation rate because
they had not been budgeted for.
The paper also
reported that Zimbabwe’s financial services sector, which had remained
resilient, was now collapsing because it could no longer sustain the pressure.
Tribune and The
Financial Gazette (12/6), The Daily News (11/6) and The Zimbabwe
Independent (13/6) predicted a further economic meltdown due to Zimbabwe’s
suspension from the IMF and ballooning inflation, among other factors.
Independent provided some
context to The Herald’s fertilizer stories when it reported that food
production would be affected by the declining output of agricultural input
News (13/6) revealed
that government had appealed to the World Food Programme to extend its aid
programme as this year’s harvest was expected to feed the nation for only four
months. The report was completely ignored by the government-controlled media.
Herald (11/6) and ZBC (ZTV,
11/6,7am; Radio Zimbabwe, 11/6,8pm; 3FM, 11/6,1pm) merely quoted Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
Mudenge as having said Zimbabwe intended to import maize from Zambia, “following that country’s bumper
harvest”. The Herald
also reported that milling companies were receiving “insignificant” maize supplies from the Grain Marketing
Board “despite prospects of a
good harvest this season”.
But there was no
explanation why Zimbabwe needed to import maize from Zambia if the country was
expecting a good harvest.
News (12/6) viewed
this as an admission by government that “the violent and chaotic seizure of
productive farms” has been a
The MEDIA UPDATE was
produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie
Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 4:54 AM
Subject: [zimbabwenews] Fw: rollover
Email from someone still there...
Well the season rolls over
to a new start with the solstice. It has been overcast and really cold, and
because we are not allowed to get SATV, we dont know what is happening on the
weather front down South, which is really frustrating. I just have to presume
its snowing somewhere.
There is the perennial
question, why haven't you left? Well we havent been thrown out - yet. Life,
somehow, goes on. I went to a Womens Institute Meeting in Somabhula this week.
W.I. has survived the war, the peace, the invasions, and the uncertainty. It is
foundering on the fuel shortages, which are really bad now. But we decided that
we need the meetings, and have reduced them to three monthly for now. And then
we got on with a good meal and get together. And we just can't allow "them" to
The money shortage is a
real pain, and we are getting more and more of these wads of 100s. Who's got the
500s? The money changers I guess. Even the ransom, sorry, the bail for morga'n
had to be paid in boxes of 50s! But even with the money, you get the most
bizarre happenings. Like AJ, shopping in the new revamped Town and Country
supermarket (which nearly got trashed first day because they put flour on the
shelves) was accosted by a young black guy who said "are you paying cash for
your shopping?" - she said yes, and he asked if he could pay her bill with his
credit card, and he would take her money, as he needed cash to get to
And meanwhile these darned
zims keep making a plan. A young farming couple locally started to grow
vegetables, selling in baskets of mixed bags like I do, but MUCH more
intelligent. They grow more, charge the proper price, its printed out, and they
are getting 3500 for what I "sell" at 500! They are doing so well that they are
starting a shop (tired of dragging these bags all over town) and when last seen,
were going to start a bank account for the planned coffee shop and crafts outlet
they are starting. Talk about a Town Like Alice!
Another young guy near here
is progressing to a rose project - have no idea how many millions it is, but at
80% interest in inflation of 300%, this should be a winner. I hear he sleeps
badly, but who worries about zwds?
Even we are expanding - did
flowers this season, and now are going into a joint venture with the
man-next-door, who has the water and no land, and we have the land but no
water. A marriage made in heaven. The irony is of course that ten years ago we
took him to court for nicking water, and got totally ostracised by the community
for being so cruel. He went on to start this huge flower project, is a
multimillionaire, with real stuff too, and is way beyond us. So it isnt all
bad, our relationships have improved, we have got a lot more "with-it" and
hopefully when things get better, will be fine. But just working is an immense
privilege these days, and we are grateful for it. Making money from exports even
more of a privilege.
The H'on P'res has
threatened to list more farms, and accordingly put a whole pile in the paper
same day, but some people seem to be ignoring them, and get away with it. But
just as often, they get thrown out - yes, those are still happening. One
diplomat from Spain is taking over burg's place in Maronder'a, not for the farm,
just as a country residence, my dear. How that accords with the 100-year-old
stolen land, I dont know, but he is on the valuation consortium, so guess he
will be paid first.
Kariba is the same, the
fishing last week was awful, but C was busy putting up a tank at a Lodge we are
taking over by default, (nobody else wants it) so the fishing wasnt an issue.
We're getting ready for the new fishing season though, moving another boat there
soon! I hope I can get a shopping trip in to SA first, it hurts like hell to
pay 1000/1 for the rand at the local revamped supermarket, when the rand is
actually "only" 240/1. Thats for chocs, and zim-favourite anchovy paste and
marmite! I hear that mussels and oysters are 9000 per tin.
All for now, I see the sun
is out, no wind, just another wonderful day in an amazing country. Amazing in
every sense of the word.
Best wishes, A
'Mugabe is paranoid about UK coup plot'
By David Harrison
A day after
being released from jail, Zimbabwe's opposition leader yesterday accused
President Robert Mugabe of "paranoia" over Britain's role in the former
Morgan Tsvangirai, who spent 10 days in prison on treason charges for
allegedly plotting to overthrow Mr Mugabe, said that the president, who claimed
that Britain was funding the opposition party and trying to recolonise Zimbabwe
had resorted to "cheap propaganda".
Speaking in an exclusive interview with
The Telegraph, Mr Tsvangirai said: "It is propaganda that Mr Mugabe's regime has
created. The reality is that the opposition in this country enjoys the support
of a majority of Zimbabweans and we will prove that in free and fair
"We do not need Britain to tell us that unemployment is high,
that people are starving and suffering brutality under Mugabe's rule."
Mugabe has repeatedly accused Britain of backing Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change in attacks that have become increasingly strident in the past
Last week he threatened to expel Sir Brian Donnelly, the British
High Commissioner in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, for interfering in the
country's politics by helping the MDC to fund and stage week- long protests
against Mr Mugabe's rule. Sir Brian rejected the charges.
Mr Tsvangirai said
that the allegations against Sir Brian were nonsense. Speaking in the garden of
his home in Harare, he said: "I hope Sir Brian will take no notice of this
personal vitriol. I have had my share of tantrums from the old man. It is
something we have to live with until he goes."
Mr Tsvangirai, whose party
poses the most serious challenge that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF has faced, said that
Britain was playing "a positive role" in opposing Mr Mugabe because the
historical links meant that Britain knew Zimbabwe well.
"But they are giving
us broad support with the rest of the European Union, America and other
democratic countries because we are a democratic party," he added.
opposition leader said he had asked Britain to keep a low profile in Zimbabwe to
avoid "playing into Mugabe's hands and giving him an excuse to launch more
He accused Mr Mugabe of trying to build a country on a
policy of racial and ethnic hatred that failed even to recognise the role of the
Sir Brian declined to comment on Mr Tsvangira's release but
western diplomats said it was "a welcome development".
One said: "It's good
that the opposition leader has been released but there are many who feel he
should never have been arrested or held in custody in the first place."
Tsvangirai reacted to reports that Mr Mugabe had told the South African
Government that he would step down within a year by saying that 12 months was
too long for the people of Zimbabwe who were suffering repression, brutality and
death at the hands of his regime.
Zimbabwe, a once-prosperous nation known as
the "jewel of Africa" is in its worst ever economic crisis with inflation
running at 300 per cent, unemployment at 80 per cent and serious shortages of
fuel, foreign currency and basic foods.
Mr Tsvangirai pledged that his party
would not be intimidated by the ruling Zanu-PF's party's brutality and that his
time in jail had made him "more determined than ever to campaign peacefully but
forcefully to defeat Mr Mugabe's party in free and fair elections".
he was treated with respect in the Harare remand prison but conditions inside
were "appalling" and prisoners were dying almost every day. "The food was very
bad and there are no medicines. It is terrible."
Mr Tsvangirai was released
on record bail of 10 million Zimbabwe dollars (about £7,700 at the official
exchange rate). He was also ordered to hand over property deeds and rights to
other assets worth 100 million Zimbabwe dollars (£77,000).
The High Court
judge, Justice Susan Mavangira, rejected arguments from state lawyers that he
would continue to urge his supporters to revolt against Mr Mugabe if
Mr Tsvangirai said he had only ever advocated peaceful protest and
that more "mass actions" were possible in an effort to persuade Mr Mugabe, 79,
to discuss the political and economic crisis and his possible retirement after
23 years in power.
The anti-government strikes and protests called by Mr
Tsvangirai earlier this month shut down much of the fragile economy but planned
street marches were crushed by police and Zanu-PF militia before they could
Mr Tsvangirai and two opposition officials are already on trial on
treason charges for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mr Mugabe two years ago.
The three say they were framed by the government. - Telegraph (UK)
Cracks are appearing
Something we have been expecting for many years happened
last week - and it was not the authorities' parading opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai before a sniggering mob of paramilitary guards in prison clothes,
manacled and leg-ironed.
Last Wednesday was chilly and overcast, and
Tsvangirai looked grey with cold as he hobbled out of the prison van, clad in a
worn-out short-sleeved shirt, baggy shorts and sandals.
attempt to dehumanise and degrade the veteran trade unionist backfired on the
authorities when he was brought up the narrow stairs into the high court dock,
and the public and press galleries stood up in an unprecedented show of
Such a gesture towards an accused person has never occurred before
in the entire history of this country's courts - not for Ndabaningi Sithole
(founder of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party), "General" Lookout Masuku,
Dumiso Dabengwa (later, Mugabe's Minister of Home Affairs) or a young Zapu
guerrilla, Emmerson Mnangagwa (now parliamentary speaker and administrative head
of the ruling party).
Ignoring the warders, Tsvangirai turned to the silent,
grim-faced spectators and quipped: "This isn't a funeral."
There was an
explosion of laughter.
After a withering protest to Judge Susan Mavangira
from defence councel George Bizos, who 40 years ago represented Nelson Mandela
on similar treason charges, Tsvangirai was allowed to don a grey suit and blue
shirt. When he re-emerged, the public stood and clapped.
His spirit obviously
unbroken, he remonstrated with a smile: "You will get me sent back to
The predicted event, however, was not Tsvangirai's trial on fresh
charges of treason: it was the front page of Saturday's government-owned
We knew it was going to happen, we just didn't know when or to
When it became clear Mugabe would spare no effort to prevent a new
national leadership being selected through free elections, we knew sooner or
later we would get omens of change in the form of attempts in the state media to
create a new national messiah.
The Herald's giant photograph of Mnangagwa
does not signify that Mugabe is about to hand over to him, or has approved
Mnangagwa as his heir, but that the "Mnangagwa faction" feel bold enough to
stage this advertising promotion for their presidential candidate.
factions, perhaps even Mugabe himself, will have been gravely discomfited by the
Herald edition. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo must have had his devious
hand in it. If anything were to "happen" to Moyo, it would show the Mnangagwa
faction has overplayed its hand, or got Moyo into a trap.
The courageous Dr
John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe long ago discerned the ground rules
Mugabe set up for the pattern of fiefdoms by which he first subdued and then
went on to bankrupt Zimbabwe. Mugabe's lieutenants were encouraged (in the name
of encouraging indigenous entrepreneurship) to develop business empires, staffed
by their relatives and henchmen in what were designated to be "their"
While they kept these areas loyal to Mugabe, they were spared all
manner of irritations such as loan repayments, income tax, licence and planning
inspectors (As their business empires grew, they and their extended families
thus became hostages to Mugabe through their ever-lengthening records of shady
If they stepped outside their designated fiefdoms by, say,
convening rallies in other parts of the country, the party machine would ensure
no one turned up.
The significant point is that the Mnangagwa faction now
feel they can aim for a national constituency, although in the June 2000
parliamentary elections Mnangagwa was ignominiously stripped of his Kwekwe seat
by a candidate for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
personality cult of Mnangagwa is focused, as expected, on an imaginative attempt
to present him as a hero, second only to Mugabe, in the fight to overthrow white
rule in former Rhodesia. It also aims to rid him of the image he acquired as
head of the Central Intelligence Organisation during the 1982-1987 Matabeleland
atrocities when up to 20 000 people died, according to human rights lawyers and
Roman Catholic churchmen.
If we had an equivalent to Private Eye here it
would surely produce a spoof version of the Herald report, headed: "Meet your
friendly neighbourhood human rights violator."
We are told that Mnangagwa
"strongly opposed the death penalty", yet as justice minister he rushed through
a constitutional amendment to forestall attempts to outlaw executions. The
Herald tells us nothing of the dozens of hangings that took place when he was
minister, 13 of them in secret because the Pope was about to make an ill-advised
"I've seen a lot of death in my life. I don't want to kill. War
is not nice," said Mnangagwa.
The Herald article will be kept on file by
those who, like George Orwell's hero Winston Smith in 1984, want to see how a
propaganda machine re-writes history and constantly reinvents the "Big Brother"
Mnangagwa is (surprise, surprise) of the "royal family of Mapanzure
His youthful flirtation with Joshua Nkomo's Zapu is glossed over,
perhaps because it reveals irrefutable evidence Zapu launched its war at least
three years before Zanu's much-f?ted April 1966 "Battle of Chinhoyi".
Herald also skates around Mnangagwa's Zambian roots, which led the Rhodesian
authorities to deport him after serving his sentence for sabotaging a rail line
Mnangagwa's protests - "I have no aspirations to (the) presidency at
all" will be viewed with scepticism by those who last year saw him, as
parliamentary speaker, flout Standing Orders to declare the General Laws
Amendment Bill duly passed into law, when it had been quashed.
"My only wish
is to continue serving the country," Mnangagwa "confided" to the Herald. "I'm of
above average intelligence [but] how do you aspire for a position where there is
Mugabe may find this dangerously ambiguous statement
Others, however, will remember how the late Malawian dictator
Hastings Banda crushed his finance minister, Aleke Banda, once speculation
started that Aleke might be the next "life president".
"You appoint someone
as your heir and the next thing he overthrows you," said the canny old
Business elements previously linked to the reformist element in
Zanu-PF are in the meanwhile raising voices, in private, against
Desperate for relief from current financial strains, they are
urging Tsvangirai to offer concessions and find someone he can work with - if
not Mnangagwa, then someone else acceptable to Mugabe. They have leaked reports
of secret talks between Zanu (PF) and Tsvangirai's MDC involving the churches -
when all the churches have done is solicit uncompromising views from both
What South Africans need to note is that just when Tsvangirai looks at
his most vulnerable, in a prison cell, with a second hanging offence against
him, the Zanu (PF) monolith is trembling and cracking. There may be a long
process of subterranean strain as invisible pressures build up. Or there may be
a sudden landslide.
But, as they say in earthquake zones, "The Big One" is
Michael Hartnack is a Zimbabwean columnist and journalist. - Natal
Who will hang the hangmen?
By Mthulisi Mathuthu
When they had brought the
condemned prisoner before the gallows the hangman readied himself. Well-fed
corpulent prison guards stood yonder giggling and hoping for the end of the
hanging party so they could go and imbibe beer.
As the hangman - draped in a
black tunic and a white head gear - drew closer, the tiny wiry condemned man
clad in red prison garb began talking in a mourning voice. Touched, the hangman
“Who are you sir? I remember a few years ago one Emmerson Mnangagwa
telling the nation that the post of the hangman was vacant. When were you
recruited? Will I be wrong to assume, that given this ruling aristocracy’s
penchant for evil conduct and greediness you are one of their number? I suspect
that you are a member of this “locust class” because if you were part of the
common people you would not be willing to commit murder effecting death warrants
signed by people who are murderers themselves.
I am not a murderer. Neither
am I one to wish others unfair death. I am a simple man who drove a spear into a
man’s chest to avert murder. Do you people really feel that I should have
allowed that man to tress-pass in my home wielding an axe threatening to kill me
claiming that I was against the so-called Third Chimurenga and I was a supporter
of the white minority?
That man was about to commit murder and I made a
pre-emptive dash. Yet here I am now being called a murderer. Say now Mr hangman
what moral ground do you have for hanging me effecting a death warrant signed by
a violent and illegitimate tyrant who stole an election? A tyrant who should be
facing the gallows himself for sanctioning murder and sustaining his rule
through terror and deceit?
Isn’t it that your duty underpinned by the
society’s desire for a civil life free from immoral and inhuman conduct? If so
how do you justify your closing that noose around a neck of a man regarded by
society at large as a hero and loathed by a few looters as a thorn in the
The people who deserve to be hanged are in the offices. They are in
the cathedrals anointing and blessing murderers. They are not in the prisons
today. Now and then they are flying out on shopping trips to South Africa,
Singapore and so on.
Hanging Chidumo, Chauke and so on will not clean the
obvious blot on your copybook - a reminder to the world that this is, whether in
hell or heaven, a regime that will be remembered for creating more graves than
houses it has built for its purported people since 1980.
Who, in a civilised
society is more dangerous between a leader whose rule is kept on by
bloodletting, terror and murder; and one whose misdeeds feed mainly from the
unfortunate painful conditions created by that rule?
How ironic it is to
stand before the reality that a pathetic peripheral commoner in the village will
be the symbol of resistance to a vast machinery of repression that pulverised
thousands in the name of a revolution. It is for that reason that I see you as a
man ready to commit murder for a few shekels of silver. It is a regime ready to
rape, kill, and maim spread ignorance and deceit that is paying you. You will, I
fear, have to hang the whole society because this whole horrendous act is
supported by a few and abhorred by all.”
The prisoner concluded with a
weeping hoarse voice. Disgusting white spume had begun collecting at the folds
of his mouth. The hangman stood there dumbstruck. Already the prison guard and
the priest and the director of prisons were roaming around him grumbling why he
was taking time to put this yapping wretched murderer to final his sleep.
once he stepped on the pedal and the chains rolled downwards and up. There was a
distant heavy thud as the stone dead body fell into a deep pit lined with
shining silver coated metal. The fat prison guards rushed forward whistling and
dragging the body out.
They threw it into big and long zinc bowl so
recklessly that it made a sound that might have done as far as their residence.
The director of prisons, heavy with flesh lit his cigarette and beckoned the
undertakers to prepare it for burial in some sordid God-forsaken place. All this
was done with gusto. The Hangman wept.
He wept for the day when his country
would return to the rule of law. He wept for the day when un-elected and
malevolent ministers will not be allowed to personally draft fundamentally
flawed laws aimed at criminalising the criticism of unlimited power and at
brutalising negligence. A day when there will be few academics concocting
eulogies for the ruling elite under the pretext of political analysis.
their car turned into the tarmac leading them to their dwellings he began soul
searching. For the first time it dawned on him that he was an employee of the
villains hanging the weak and the hated instead of the guilty.
The idea of
hanging others is built on falsification and bears within it elements of its own
decay, he thought to himself borrowing from Leon Trotsky.
Men in leg-irons can't negotiate
Former President Nelson Mandela,
while still serving time on Robben Island, famously told his captors and the
world that only free men could negotiate.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is no Nelson Mandela, but the same principle should be applied in his
South Africa's much-criticised "quiet diplomacy" with Zimbabwe has
hinged on manoeuvring Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe into a
corner where they are left with no choice but to negotiate with one another.
But just as there were signals that this was about to take place, the carpet
was pulled from under the feet of the would-be negotiators.
himself in shackles before a court, answering to charges of treason for
organising a mass stayaway.
From such a position, it is difficult to see how
Zimbabwe's leaders will ever find themselves engaged in serious talks.
lamentable situation has been compounded by ill- considered remarks by South
African leaders who appear insensitive to the plight of those opposing Mugabe's
tyranny in Zimbabwe.
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota told Parliament this
week that Tsvangirai should not have scuppered talks to lead mass action against
This is a startling statement from a man who was at the forefront of
South Africa's mass-action movement, which aimed to pressure the apartheid
government into making real concessions at the negotiating table.
should know better than most that the use of state power to oppress a people
cannot go unopposed by those seeking a democratic society.
At best, Lekota's
statement is a signal of the frustration that our government is feeling at the
failure of "quiet diplomacy" to show results.
At worst, it is an indication
that he and his principals would prefer to see an emasculated opposition at the
negotiating table in order to ensure an outcome that is skewed in Mugabe's
There have been enough signals of misplaced struggle loyalty to
Mugabe in the recent past to suggest that there may be some truth in the latter
The notion that power might somehow be shared equally between
Tsvangirai and Mugabe or - God forbid - that the opposition should emerge
triumphant clearly gives Lekota sleepless nights.
The spectre of a
liberation movement packing its boxes to make way for an opposition movement
must be haunting, even though there is not the remotest prospect of this taking
place in South Africa in the near future.
Although it is entitled to hold
this sentiment, the government should not allow its judgment to be clouded.
Zimbabwe will not be saved from self-destruction by talks in which one party
is in leg-irons.
If Lekota wants South Africa to be an honest broker, he
should sheathe the rhetoric and get on with the realpolitik. - Sunday Times
Chaotic land reform backfiring
The haphazard and politically motivated land
reform programme introduced by the government to lure Zimbabweans into
supporting Zanu PF is now backfiring, and it will not be long before Zimbabweans
realise that it was only a ploy to retain confidence in the ruling party before
the June 2000 parliamentary election and the March 2002 presidential poll.
local daily newspaper recently reported that Zimbabwe would import maize from
Zambia and South Africa. However, the reasons given by President Robert Mugabe’s
regime for low output in the past agricultural season was the drought.
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia were similarly affected by the drought
conditions which swept across the Southern Africa region.
good number of farmers displaced by the Mugabe regime have settled in Zambia,
and for the first time, Zambian agriculture is doing well.
I am not implying
that land should have been left in the hands of the white commercial farmers.
Equitable distribution of land which takes into account production potential is
something that all Zimbabweans – black and white alike – have always yearned
However, Mugabe’s land reform programme was politically motivated and
aimed at giving Zimbabweans false hope that by getting land alone, they would
prosper in their agricultural activities, even the lazy ones, who have turned
some of the farms into kachasu-brewing premises.
What Mugabe should have done
is identify people qualified to farm. This includes those qualifying through
experience, and those who have the appropriate academic credentials, who would
apply that knowledge on the farms.
Hundreds of young Zimbabweans graduate
from the country’s agricultural colleges but to Mugabe, any person who is
educated and is not a Zanu PF activist is labelled MDC, hence he thought to give
land to professional agriculturalists would not buy him and his party votes in
The situation will be worsened this year by the unavailability
of the much needed foreign currency, which our agriculture cannot do
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s statement in The Herald of 12
June 2003 –“We would want that plant to operate” – referring to the plant that
has been closed by a local fertiliser manufacturer, is the biggest agricultural
joke of the year.
Made knows fully well the reasons behind the closure, and
instead of politicising the matter, should simply acquire foreign currency for
the company and the company will resume operations.
His headache will be how
to prioritise whatever foreign currency he gets between fuel, a major input in
the agricultural industry, equipment, spare parts or chemicals needed to
The lot who are determined to retain power at all
costs are obviously the architects for all our suffering, which is worsening by
Benjamin Chitate - Harare
Sunday Times (SA)
We won't stop now, vows MDC
Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday vowed
unrepentantly to "apply more
pressure" on the Zimbabwean government "until
it sees sense".
his two-week detention on a treason charge following the MDC's
action campaign, and stringent bail conditions, Tsvangirai
continue efforts to break President Robert Mugabe's stranglehold
MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube said his
party's campaign to
force change in Zimbabwe would "not be affected by the
number of times we
"When we engaged in mass action,
it was clear what would happen. For a week,
we brought this country to a
standstill," Ncube said.
"No opposition party on this continent has
ever managed to shut down a
country for a week. It was a demonstration of
what we can do - and we will
not stop now."
He said Tsvangirai had
been detained in "subhuman conditions" that were
"Zimbabwean prisons and police cells are the worst that
mankind could ever
have invented . . . It was as if he walked into hell,"
The prisons are said to be overcrowded, and food
shortages in the country
have made jail conditions worse. Despite that,
Tsvangirai had kept up his
spirits, he said.
"I have just left his
house. He is actually quite well under the
circumstances. He is upbeat and
happy to be home," Ncube said.
Tsvangirai was on Friday granted bail
of Z10-million ( R100 000 at the
official rate). Immediately after his
release, he was taken to another
courtroom where he, Ncube and another MDC
official, Renson Gasela, are on
trial for plotting to kill
MDC officials earlier carried four cardboard boxes stuffed
with money to the
court to pay Tsvangirai's bail.
"We have drained
the coffers of the party. But we also receive offer after
offer from ordinary
Zimbabweans from all walks of life.
"This is reassuring to us as to
where people stand. They are willing to
cushion us from the attempt by the
state to bankrupt us," said Ncube.
Judge Susan Mavangira also ordered
Tsvangirai to lodge title deeds for
property worth Z100-million (R1-million).
Ncube said the MDC put up the
deeds of its Harare head
Mavangira barred Tsvangirai from making "any statement that
removal of the government or the state president by
Ncube said the objective of his party was not to overthrow
Mugabe but to
force Zanu-PF into negotiations unconditionally. Mugabe has
said he is not
prepared to talk to the MDC unless it recognises him as the
leader of Zimbabwe and withdraws its court challenge to last
No animal spared in Zimbabwe massacre
By David Harrison in
the Save Valley, Zimbabwe
The message fixed to
a tree in the game reserve is stark: "Farm No 31," it
reads, "Dealers in
Death." It was put there by Zimbabwe's so-called war
veterans to intimidate
white landowners on the 850,000-acre Save Valley
Conservancy, near the border
The war veterans - unleashed by President Robert Mugabe
to seize white-owned
farms - are not, however, killing only people: they are
on an unprecedented scale.
Already they have
forced out the owners and poached every animal on at least
three of the 22
huge ranches that make up the conservancy. Now they are
pouring on to
neighbouring ranches and repeating the process.
The poaching is
indiscriminate and no animal is spared. The main targets are
wildebeest and zebra, but lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo
have all been killed by the poachers and their snares.
authorities say that unless urgent action is taken to stop the
conservancy's entire stock of wildlife will be destroyed
The pattern is being repeated on game reserves across the country
wildlife losses of more than 70 per cent reported in many areas. In
neighbouring Bubiana conservancy, four of the 10 ranches have been
and cleared of wildlife.
Barberton Lodge, has lost more than
400 animals to poachers in the past
three years, including 71 zebra, 63 kudu
antelope and four giraffe. Fourteen
black rhino, a critically endangered
species, have been caught in snares,
each requiring extensive surgery to save
The state-owned national parks have also been targeted by
rhino have been killed in Hwange national park. Nationally, an
black rhino have been slaughtered for their horns - which can
fetch up to
Â£60,000 - in the past three years.
Johnny Rodrigues, the
chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, an
umbrella group of
wildlife charities, said: "If it carries on at this rate,
within 10 years
there will be no wildlife left anywhere in Zimbabwe."
As I travelled
through the Save Valley last week there was an eerie quiet.
"You used to see
lions and leopards around here," one landowner told me.
"And you could always
hear them." No more. The lion and leopard have been
ranch I was shown row after row of skeletons - kept for research
that belonged to animals killed by the poachers' snares.
owned commercial reserves are being hit hardest. Invaders
seize the land,
which is largely unsuitable for farming. Desperate for food,
the veterans lay
metal traps to catch animals to eat or to sell to others.
Mike Clark, the
chairman of the Commercial Farmers' Union in Masvingo
province, said: "A
couple of years ago this area was teeming with wildlife.
Now you can walk
around all day and not see a single animal."
Another ranch-owner, who
declined to be named, said: "They see wildlife as
meat on legs. We know there
are food shortages but they are using the
land-reform programme as an excuse
for out-and-out theft and they won't
leave until there is nothing
The poachers are ruthless and wardens on the conservancy face
attacks if they intervene. Two weeks ago poachers forced the chief
the Humani reserve to lie on his stomach while they beat him
sticks, breaking the bones in his feet.
reserve borders the three Save Valley ranches that have been
and is under severe pressure from the "settlers". Hundreds
have poured in
recently, building villages of small wooden huts.
Roger Whittall, 60,
whose family has owned the reserve for more than 80
years, is unwilling to
talk about the settlers for fear of a backlash. He
will talk only about "the
poachers" and says his biggest concern is that the
penalties are too
"The police have made more efforts recently but the courts give
rap over the knuckles and they are back poaching the next day," he
The penalty for killing wildlife is usually a fine of 5,000
(less than £4) or "community service", which can mean
weeding the court's
garden or washing the magistrate's car.
upheaval in Zimbabwe has caused a near-collapse of the tourism
particularly of safaris, which were hugely popular until the land
began three years ago.
Game hunting - in which mostly
American, European and South African hunters
pay to shoot an officially
approved quota of animals - is managing to stay
afloat, although numbers are
down by almost 50 per cent.
Mr Whittall, whose son Guy and nephew Andy
are former Zimbabwe international
cricketers, said his hunting business was
down by "30 to 40 per cent". His
wife, Anne, admits that times are
"difficult" but says they have no plans to
leave "unless it becomes really
impossible. We have to hang on and hope".
Mr Rodrigues accused President
Mugabe's government of doing nothing to
prevent the tragedy. He said: "They
are sitting back while our wildlife
heritage is being wiped out and
businesses are being destroyed."
Sunday Times (SA)
Mugabe threatened by debating pupils
Times Foreign Desk
An annual regional high school debating event,
held in Bulawayo since 2000,
has proven to be a security threat to Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe.
On Friday morning, between 30 and 40 uniformed
riot policemen, along with 10
plain-clothes cops and several members of the
Organisation, swooped on the Bulawayo Theatre, where
some 300 pupils were
gathered to discuss an issue of some importance
regarding their future.
"The topic was overcoming the stigma of
HIV/Aids; the dilemma for African
youth and the strategies and challenges for
the future," said Batsani Kimba,
a spokesman for the Bulawayo Dialogue
Institute, the event organisers.
"There was chaos here today," Kimba
told the Sunday Times. "The children
were running around in terror as the
police told them to leave the theatre."
When one of the adjudicators,
Qhubani Moyo, approached the police to inquire
about the raid, he was
promptly arrested. Police then arrested nine other
adjudicators and officials
at the event.
"You see, Mugabe is coming to Bulawayo tomorrow
[Thursday], so all public
meetings have been banned," Kimba
"Whenever Mugabe goes anywhere, the CIO move in about two weeks
to make sure that there are no protests or meetings. But this was
political. This was an event for scholars."
Moyo is chairman
of the Bulawayo Dialogue Institute. Another adjudicator
Sinamane, is the institute's president and a
Although no official comment was available,
the Sunday Times has spoken to a
witness who confirmed the raid took
The witness said there was some concern about those arrested:
have not been able to see them, and can't get them food. We,
in hiding now."