Sekai Holland said on the ABC
yesterday, and in answer to the question, why is Mugabe saying we are all acting
like colonialists "he is playing the colonial guilt card to the hilt - never
mind what our real problems are ..."
You have all been
deceived by evil. Before it is too late and we have yet another disaster in
Africa, stand up for what is right. This man is murdering and has murdered
tens of thousands of people - just because he is black does he get away with it
? I wept for the agony on Sekai Holland's face ... their bravery in the face
of what has gone on in the last two years is something most New Zealanders and
Australians cannot even conceive.
When a tiger becomes
toothless - it usually means its demise is imminent. Zimbabwe has plucked the
Commonwealth's last remaining teeth.
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION Farm Invasions And Security Report Monday 4
This report does not purport to cover all the
incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication
problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that
happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise
the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF · On
Versailles, Featherstone, the owner returned to collect personal effects.
"Settlers" and Zanu (PF) youth surrounded the house demanding "retrenchment"
packages for farm labour. Two details from Featherstone Police reacted and
defused the tense situation. The labour returned to work but the group of
agitators said they would enlist the support of "war vet" Padera. ·
The owner of Igudu, Wedza, was given two hours to leave the farm at midday on
02.03.02. Two observers spoke to the settlers saying any violence or
intimidation would not look good for the country. The police eventually arrived
and decided the Lands Committee would have to make a final decision on
04.03.02. The owner is not allowed to leave the farm and no one is able to
visit him. · On Lot 1A of The Grove, Chegutu, ZW$ 7.7 million worth of
cut flowers are currently sitting on a compost heap as the owner and his foreman
are still not allowed back to the farm by Zanu (PF), a result of the owner’s
support for "change". · Testwood Farm, Masvingo, had 1500 acres burnt
out over the weekend. · In Nyamandlovu, a group of people believed to
be from Redwood Park, assaulted four labourers on Causton Block and three on
Mcobeni farm. The labour does not want to report the attack, or the severity,
for fear of retaliation.
General Laws Amendment Act On Wednesday 27
February 2001, the Supreme Court nullified the General Laws Amendment Act on
grounds that Government had not followed the proper procedure when placing it
before the parliament. Many people have been asking whether this also
nullifies the new Section 8 Compulsory Acquisition Orders promulgated in
Statutory Instrument 338 of 2001, using the Presidential Powers Temporary
Measures Act. In other words, do all Section 8 Compulsory Acquisition Orders
revert to those provided in the Land Acquisition Act as amended by Act No 15 of
2000. The Union is advised they do not. This is because SI 338, by which
the new Section 8 Compulsory Acquisition Orders were promulgated, is still
valid, having a life of 180 days from 9th November 2001. Therefore the
State must now either reintroduce the General Laws Amendment Bill following the
correct procedure or promulgate the provisions of SI 338 in a new Land
Acquisition Amendment Bill before 8 May 2002, failing which the law concerning
compulsory acquisition of commercial farms will revert to that in force before
SI 338. David W Hasluck CFU Director
NEWS MANICALAND Rusape – there were plenty of meetings held over the
weekend. A tractor was commandeered on a farm and the Support Unit had to be
called in to get it back. On Chitora farm labour were beaten up and forced to
march about 9 km to a Zanu (PF) rally site, which was to be held the next day.
When told to go back to their homes, they were reminded to attend the rally the
following day. They did. Two farms had work stoppages on 04.03.02 because
labour was forced to attend rallies. General – all other areas suspiciously
quiet. MASHONALAND CENTRAL Mvurwi – three work stoppages occurred on
Chigudu, Umsengesi and Forrester J. This was because labour was working on a
Sunday to make up for lost time attending a Zanu (PF) presidential rally on
28.02.02. On Forrester, a cow was axed and recovered by tracker dogs in
Chiweshe. MASHONALAND EAST Beatrice – "war vet" Chiramba arrived at New
Retreat demanding the reason for maize being reaped and threatening to fetch
reinforcements from Joyce Mine. The police and GMB officials arrived and the
owner told to deliver 30 tonnes of shelled maize to the GMB by 05.03.02. The
maize is still too wet to shell. Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa – plenty of meetings
ongoing. The farm village at Chinyika was raided; windows and doors were broken
and ten people needed medical attention. Featherstone – the owner of Dunkirk
was instructed by a delegation of local settlers to move all dairy cattle off
the property by 23.02.02. At Perseverance a local "settler" told the owner to
pay off three labourers and was not permitted to move personal property until
then. The Zanu (PF) Youth supervised the loading of property and the owner has
vacated. The local "settler" says he is now responsible for homestead and
ZESA. At Beach Farms "war vet" Padera told the labour they must be paid off and
vacate the property. He still refuses to speak to the farm manager. The owner
of Wildebeestlaagte has paid off the labour. Charles Gumbo with Zanu (PF) youth
has told the labour to vacate by this weekend. The situation on Gelukverwacht
remains difficult. Most of the labour is paid off. There are roadblocks,
manned by Zanu (PF) youth at the entrance to the homestead and all vehicles and
individuals are being searched. On Versailles the owner returned to collect
personal effects. "Settlers" and Zanu (PF) youth surrounded the house demanding
"retrenchment" packages for farm labour. Two details from Featherstone Police
reacted and defused the tense situation. The labour returned to work but the
group of agitators said they would enlist the support of "war vet" Padera. On
Kuruman 'A' the Zanu (PF) Women’s League held a meeting on how to vote, with
labour told to put their X by Zanu (PF) and when leaving the polling booth, they
must give the closed fist salute. Party will know how everyone has voted
because ballot papers have serial numbers. The owner was told to enlist police
support to vote, and told by Zanu (PF) youth leader Josie to leave the farm for
safety. "War vet" Padera arrived at Jakkalsdraai (F Viviers) – an unlisted farm
- asking labour why it has not been pegged. He sad they must be paid off and if
they are not paid off he will bring Minister Chinotimba to physically evict
them. At Leeufontein - unlisted farm – labour was evicted from the farm village
and now live in the bush. The labour have been told by "war vet" Padera they
are not allowed to work for commercial farmers. DA Chagwiza is aggressively
pursuing "resettling" this farm. On Calais the Umtegesa resettlement Zanu (PF)
Chairman, Mr Dehwa, told labour to stop farming operations by 01.03.02. The
owner of Oasis was told to pay off labour with retrenchment packages. His bank
supplied a letter stating funds are not available. On 02.03.02, he was told he
was part of MDC as he had been to CFU for advice. On 27.02.02, an aggressive
mob arrived at Ashton armed with sticks and one had an iron bar. The owner was
forced to collect the cattle labour from another farm where he leases grazing.
The mob demanded he pay off all labour, left, only to return later in a more
belligerent mood. They broke through the fence and surrounded the homestead.
Police failed to arrive. The owner, fearing for his safety, fired a shot into
the roof to keep the advancing mob back. He then made his escape with his wife
and daughter, leaving their pets behind and the house open. On Hazeldene– an
unlisted farm – the owner was warned a group would come to "sort out" his labour
and retrenchment packages on 2/3/02. This was after a work stoppage on
28.02.02, when the owner refused to pay retrenchment packages. Most labour is
absent from the farm and are said to have each contributed "bus fare" for one
person to collect "war vet" Padera from Chivhu. NOTE: 1) On Pennyfather,
Leeufontein, De La Quellerie and Ashton – the dogs, cattle and horses have not
been removed, fed or dipped. National SPCA has said they will try and assist.
2) Commonwealth Observers visited the area on 02.03.02. Further visits
during working hours to DA, DISPOL and police officials commanding stations are
imperative. Harare South – at Marirangwe farm village about 30 people
destroyed a house and assaulted the occupant who they suspected belonged to
MDC. The Houmoed manager had the security fence cut in three places and the
dogs poisoned but nothing was taken. At Red Dane Dairy five drunken men in a
yellow Datsun sedan arrived, and tried to threaten the owner into repairing a
puncture and providing transport to a rally. The owner said he would try and
assist. At Monderwa a group of 20 men and women arrived. Eight distracted the
owner by demanding food, whilst the rest broke into the storeroom to steal
maize. Some farmers and the police arrived and the group absconded. The house
at Ripplemead was broken into. Thieves stole a microwave and food and poisoned
the dogs. Zanu (PF) youth arrived at Albion on a tractor and trailer, abducting
the foreman and telling his wife to not to expect him back. Marondera Urban
– Daily v iolence in the high-density suburbs. An MDC rally scheduled to take
place was aborted because of the prospect of violence. Youths and ZANU (PF)
supporters occupied, and barricaded the road past, the venue. People perceived
to be opposition supporters were beaten up and opposition organisers returning
to Harare were stoned near the Goromonzi turn-off. Marondera South – the
owner of Monte Cristo informed police that he believed the ongoing theft of
maize on farm is by settlers from the neighbouring Chipesa base camp. There was
no response. On 03.03.02, the suspects were caught red-handed and reacted by
angrily stating, as there is a drought no one should dare stop them trying to
feed themselves! One of the handcuffed thieves nicked his ear crossing a fence,
and tried to claim he was assaulted with sticks. The group refused to be
transported to the police station. When the police arrived, the accused had
vanished. At Eldorado a cow and a weaner were slaughtered on 01.03.02, bringing
the total killed in three months to six. At Makarara Zanu (PF) youth were
harassing the owner, wanting to take over the bar and build a store in the farm
village. When met with refusal, they threatened to return with the ‘masses’. A
proposed ZANU (PF) rally at Igava farm was cancelled as Zanu (PF) started
beating up labour as they arrived. The labour responded by leaving the meeting
immediately. Marondera North – at Rocklands tractors and labour were held
hostage by settlers demanding an exorbitant compensation. The police and
Support Unit reacted and the tractors and labour released. At Nyamwera the
foreman was abducted and accused of being MDC supporter. There were widespread
Zanu (PF) youth meetings over the weekend and requests for assistance for the
Zanu (PF) star rally in Marondera on 05.03.02. Macheke-Virginia –on Mignon
Farm seven labourers were told to not report for work until after the
elections. Reported to Police RN 25/2002. A roadblock set up by Zanu (PF)
youth on Barrymore Farm was dismantled by the time police arrived. At
Drylawhill 15 youths demanded the owner dismisses a labourer for having no ID.
The owner refused, called the police, and the youths left, threatening to return
with larger numbers to "fix the farmer". The policeman attending the scene
refused to give out an RRB number. On Fault Farm youths forced entry into the
security fence, demanding maize from the owner’s daughter. She radioed her
father for help. He managed to get the youths to disperse and said he would not
give them any maize. The Nyagadzi Farm gate was padlocked by a settler, and a
log put across the road. The case was reported to a Constable Manyika, who said
that the only way to solve the issue was to cut off the padlock, and refused to
come out. On Salama Farm the guards were chased out of maize land by about
twelve Zanu (PF) youth. This was reported to Cst Chanakira. The police refused
to attend, as there was no real evidence of maize theft. An official from
Agritex Murehwa, a Mr. Matipano came to the farm for A2 resettlement,
approximately 18 plots of 70-80 hectares, driving a white Toyota, reg. number
GPR 1731. A 200-strong but peaceful gathering took place at Craigielea A
high-powered delegation from Murehwa arrived at Bimi Farm and demanded a shed
for their tobacco. The owner conceded, fearing violence. Longridge Farm
received a Section 7. Medlar Farm reported a large gathering took place at
the farm crèche, reputedly a Zanu (PF) meeting. At Salama Farm the MP for UMP
area north of Murehwa, Mr. Mutiwekuziwa, arrived with his entourage to inspect
“his farm” for A2 resettlement. Whilst the owner of Waterloo Farm was away for
the weekend, "war vets" and Zanu (PF) youths arrived and said this was now a
training farm. They accused the owner of having an arms cache and they would be
back to search for weapons. Wedza – the owner of Igudu went to see the DA
after being told to get off the farm. He was passed on to the Governor's office
and told, "your 90 days is up so go". The police did not resolve the situation
as the settlers refused to listen to them. At midday on 02.03.02 he was given
two hours to leave the farm. Two observers spoke to the settlers saying any
violence or intimidation would not look good for the country. The police
eventually arrived and decided the Lands Committee would have to make a final
decision on 04.03.02. The owner is not allowed to leave the farm and no one is
able to visit him. Agritex arrived on 27.02.02 Exeter asking for information on
hectrage under cultivation and farm equipment. They pegged the following day.
Agritex delivered several people to Liliefontein for A2 resettlement. On
02.03.02 a truckload of people arrived at the owner's gate at night and hooted.
The owner refused to come out, they spoke to the new settlers. On 03.03.02, the
owner met with them. They said the 90 days were up on the Section 8 served, the
cattle must be moved and compensation paid for damage to a house by the cattle.
At Mimi domestic staff and the few labourers left were told they could not work
from 01.03.02. The owner's wife said they had no intention of leaving when
asked for a date. "War vet" Philip William from next door told the owner's
son-in-law the Zanu (PF) youth complained he had restricted their water. He
explained this was because the youth had broken the tap and had to ask the
guards to turn on the water for them. "War vet" Philip said he would tell them
to replace the tap and the owner must report any further trouble to him. Inoro
(Swanson) received a Section 7 on 3.3.02, which was signed by the Minister on
the 15.2.02. At Plymtree 20 cattle went missing from the farm next door where
they were grazing and two animals were found slashed. The culprits were
apprehended and 15 cattle recovered, one slaughtered and four remain missing.
Two of the ringleaders were taken to the police. A bull belonging to the owner
of the next-door farm was slashed in the same incident. On Devon a starter was
stolen and the MCB broken from a borehole. At Leaplear 10 weaners went missing
from Bally David, with one found slashed. The Rapako owner received a threat
they would be closed down in 24 hours. The threat came from an underling with
no authority and nothing happened. The Skoonveld owner was abducted on his
son's farm, Bickleigh, at 0500 hrs by "war vet" Murewa and 30 settlers headed by
Maisiri. He suffered verbal abuse from Murewa, who indicated he needed the keys
for the Bickleigh homestead, as he was moving in. Murewa pressured the owner
into signing over 25% of the tobacco on farm before releasing him at 0900 hrs.
Maisiri has told his family in Harare to join him on Bickleigh. Theft of MCB
and starters is ongoing. MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH) Ayrshire - A rally was
held at Katawa Farm over the weekend but the guest speaker did not turn up.
Voters are being taught to line up behind foremen voting
captains. Trelawney/Darwendale – the ZFTU is causing problems assisted by the
Zanu (PF) youth. One farmer left his farm and the rose cultivation as the
agitators said there was an insufficient supply of protective clothing. Zanu
(PF) intervened on behalf of the labour and the situation is quiet. Banket -
Political activity intensified dramatically. Persudade Nyulube, the Zvimba
North constituency MDC co-ordinator, was assaulted by 25 Zanu (PF) youth on
02.03.02. Although he suffers continuous bleeding from the right eye, he is
unable to visit the local hospital as his assailants’ superiors work there. The
police made no attempt to arrest the perpetrators. A farmer was arrested and
put in the remand cells at Banket for making a false report, when he was trying
to protect his labour, who had been badly beaten. A Sgt. Mperakedzwa threatened
the farmer when he wrote down the Sergeant’s name, and had to hand back the
piece of paper during verbal abuse. Nyabira - All quiet over the weekend.
Lilfordia School was subjected to harassment over their annual "Three Woods"
Cross Country Meeting. A group comprising police, army, CIO and War Veterans
Association personnel visited, alleging MDC youths were seen running in to the
school grounds during the event; and spectators at the event were making MDC
signs with their hands as they passed Zanu (PF) supporters on their way home.
They insisted these incidents proved beyond reasonable doubt the Cross-Country
Meeting had been an elaborate cover for a political rally and the cricket and
tennis matches were also a ploy to disguise another such meeting. They finally
left after issuing stern warnings the local police must be forewarned of any
functions taking place at Lilfordia likely to attract an adult attendance, and
all visitors to the school must be specifically directed not to wave to people
on the roadside with open hands during the course of their journey. The woman
representing the War Veterans stated everyone must be advised the route to the
school via the old Kadoma road and past what was previously Mr Levy's estate is
now a total "no-go" area. Doma - One farmer cannot get back to his farm The
Mhangura Butcheries opened again on 02.03.02. Although plenty of on farm
rallies are taking place, often the guest speaker does not arrive. All meetings
are quiet. The Chipungu Farm owner was assaulted by the Zanu (PF) youth on
04.03.02 as he is supposed to have refused to hand over transport to go and
register to vote. Umboe - Food supply is poor. Labour face beatings and
intimidation. There are three known Zanu (PF) youth camps in the area.
Settlers planned retaliation for Talfourd Farm labour for not attending a
meeting, stealing a tractor and forcing the driver to take them to Dichwe Farm
and others climbing over the fence at the Talfourd workshop area to harass
labour. Chinhoyi - Maize meal virtually unobtainable, oil and sugar is very
short. It has been quiet over the weekend. The registration office has
mobilised voter education on the farms. Karoi - Maize meal is short due to
GMB confiscations. There have been some political assaults and MDC supporters
were abducted at several places including Magunje and Grand Parade Farm. No
arrests made. A man was very badly beaten by Rex Jesus in Chikanjwe Township.
The police now have an RR Book, which they have been without for over a
month. Tengwe - Fairly quiet. The Rambleholm Farm house was broken into and
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH) Norton - New youth bases appear
to have sprung up, particularly along the Tilford Road, where roadblocks are
common and motorists are forced to chant Zanu (PF) slogans on a daily basis.
Although nobody has been physically assaulted some vehicles have been stoned.
There is also a roadblock at the Zimbo Store at the end of the Sid Mine Road.
On the Lydiate Road Zanu (PF) youth smashed the windscreens of two vehicles and
commandeered a tractor from Roscommon from where five youth were forced to join
the Zanu (PF) youth brigade. On Kilvington two people were assaulted by Zanu
(PF) youth and tractors commandeered for a rally, which caused a work stoppage.
It is thought there is a new Zanu (PF) youth base at Jenkinstown. At Shingwiri
Zanu (PF) youth from Dorton (owned by Minister Chombo) and "war vet" Don Carlos,
are currently evicting the farm manager from the homestead. They have been on
the lawn the whole night of 03.03.02 and confiscated three weapons and some
ammunition. Police have retrieved the weapons but not the ammunition, and are
doing nothing to stop the illegal eviction. Don Carlos says that the DA, Mr
Shumba, has ordered the eviction. On Serui Source there are 20 Zanu (PF) youth
living in the foreman's house after the foreman was evicted a few weeks ago.
The owner is still not allowed to go back to his farm from over 6 months ago and
his son is only able to get back once a week with a police escort. Selous -
On Mount Carmel Farm Stanley Majiri, the campaign manager for Zanu (PF) in
Chegutu constituency, threatened to send a hit squad. Subsequently a group of
Zanu (PF) people led by "war vet" Vangani came to the next-door farm and
demanded mealie meal, which was given to them under duress. They then accosted
the owner of Mount Carmel's son, threatening he would be barricaded into his
house for a week if he did not shoot them an impala. A lack of police reaction
resulted in the impala being shot, and the group also got away with stealing two
boxes of mangoes and 20 litres of diesel. On Carskey Farm which is unlisted,
two fires were started by settlers to clear land by the Safari Lodge.
Suri-Suri - On Thistle Farm there was a Zanu (PF) rally, and three Air Force
vehicles full of armed Air Force personnel arrived to intimidate the workers as
well. At Chanton there is a Zanu (PF) youth base where the youth are tasked
with ensuring no MDC campaigning takes place. Chegutu - On Bougainvillea
cattle were driven into the garden by settlers. On Lot 1A of The Grove ZW$ 7.7
million worth of cut flowers are currently sitting on a compost heap as the
owner and his foreman are still not allowed back to the farm by Zanu (PF), a
result of the owner’s support for "change". On De Rus Farm impromptu and
illegal Zanu (PF) rallies have caused considerable losses as the rallies take
place during working hours, and up to 02.00 on many nights since the invasion of
Lot 1A of The Grove next door. Kadoma - On Glenview the homestead was broken
into and ZW$ 100 000.00 worth of goods stolen. The roof was stolen off the pump
house. Battlefields - On Railway Farm 4 labour were forced to attend a Zanu
(PF) rally during working hours. General – during the campaign period, there
has been no MDC rallies held on any farms in Mashonaland West. There have been
no reports of visits by MDC officials to any of the farms, as a farm becomes a
target of violent disruptions if MDC is thought to have gone there.
MASVINGO Masvingo East and Central - Testwood Farm had 1500 acres
burnt out over the weekend. Chiredzi - Fairly quiet, with plenty of Zanu (PF)
youth activity. There is movement of people on farms. As the days go by this
is marked by voter education taking place and more hungry people. All of the
cane farms have now received Section 8 Orders. Mwenezi – on Limburgia
Ranch30 of the owner’s cattle were kraaled by the main settler for allegedly
eating their crops. A huge fire was reported over the weekend on Nuanetsi
Ranch. At Quagga Pan Ranch five more cattle have been axed and the owner’s
safari camp vandalized. Gutu / Chatsworth – the Irvine A owner was told by
Zanu (PF) youths all his cattle must be off the property by a certain
date. Save Conservancy - No reports have come in from this
area. MIDLANDS No report received. MATABELELAND Inyathi - On
Waterfalls Farm, a house near the work shop was broken into by three men from
Bulawayo driving a cream coloured Cressida: Mr. Perrezo Moyo, Mr Sibanda and Mr.
Moyo. They smashed the lock of the gun cupboard, stole a weapon, but left
behind the magazine and firearms certificate. They proceeded to destroy
furniture in the house, stole food and then went to the Inyathi Police station
and handed in the weapon. This was thought to be in retribution for the arrest
of some poachers two days previously. Nyamandlovu – on 02.03.02 three "war
vets" in a white Mazda pick-up, reg. Number 490-902N, arrived at Thandanani
Farm. They enquired why the labour had certified copies of their IDs and why
the owner of the farm was keeping the originals. After explaining the owners
had the originals for safe keeping, secured in a safe in Bulawayo, the "war
vets" pressured the owner to go to Bulawayo, followed by the "war vet", vehicle
to retrieve the IDs. At the 30 km peg on the main Victoria Falls road, the "war
vets" fired six shots at them. The owners managed to lose the "war vets” and
made it to the residence of a partner, who holds an influential position in Zanu
(PF). The owners were escorted to Nyamandlovu Police Station where the OIC,
Inspector Ncube, refused to provide an RRB number. He instructed they were to
bring the labour’s IDs to him, - the owner refused. On 02.03.02, the OIC
arrived with seven police details and took all certified copies of IDs away from
the workers. Legal advice was sought and clarification given that a person is
allowed to carry and use certified copies of IDs. The owner was told he had to
make an appointment to see the OIC to hand over the original Ids, which the
owner refused to do. A group of people believed to be from Redwood Park,
assaulted four labourers on Causton Block and three on Mcobeni farm. The labour
do not want to report the attack, or the severity, for fear of retaliation. In
general, political activity seems to be increasing throughout the district.
Information received states voters are still being registered in some parts of
the District as people complained they had not obtained IDs or did not have
photo's on their IDs during the last registration
Visit the CFU Website www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
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JOHANNESBURG, 5 March (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's neighbours have moved
to strengthen security on their borders, fearing the worsening political and
humanitarian crisis in that country will result in an influx of
Mozambique has followed South Africa's example and deployed
extra security force personnel on its border with Zimbabwe. An analyst with the
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) told IRIN it was clear the neighbours "fear
a possible spillover (of refugees into their countries) during and in the
aftermath of the election".
At least 26 people have been killed in
political violence in the run-up to the presidential elections on 9-10 March.
President Robert Mugabe is up against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the biggest fight of his political life.
is also in the grips of a serious food crisis. Chris Maroleng, a researcher with
the African Security Analysis Programme of the ISS, told IRIN it was more likely
that hunger, and not political violence, would force Zimbabweans to flee to
South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota has
said his troops are standing by to contain any exodus from Zimbabwe to South
Africa. He is reported to have said: "Today there is no food in Zimbabwe. Now
its people are coming across to South Africa. They (the Zimbabwe government) did
not have the sense to manage the problem."
AFP reported on Tuesday that
Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi told journalists at his weekly briefing that "we
have decided to reinforce control along the border to put an end to smuggling of
various products, particularly sugar".
However, Radio Mozambique reported
that the deployment of troops along the border was aimed at preventing possible
Zimbabwean refugees from slipping into Mozambique.
"There's definitely an escalation in the security presence on the border with
Zimbabwe. The neighbouring countries fear possible spillover in the aftermath
and during the election period because of possible violence. Especially on the
South African side, where (so far) there has not been the huge influx of
refugees that they had expected."
South Africa has turned a former
military base in the border town of Messina into a refugee camp. "They
estimated, and have been planning for, 50 000 refugees coming across. So far
though it's been the normal economic refugee situation - with Zimbabweans
crossing over for work and crossing back to provide for their families," said
"But," he added, "a large number of Zimbabweans can be expected
to leave the country in search of food ... predictions are of a deficit of 500
000 mt of maize. Yet South Africa only has the capacity to ship in 50 000 mt a
month. So one of the worries of Zimbabwe's neighbours is that they already have
their own problems and when faced with an influx of refugees seeking
humanitarian assistance, will they have the capacity (to assist
According to Maroleng, the plan is "to stop the refugees from
coming into your own country and try and stabilise the situation in Zimbabwe
Malawi is experiencing its own humanitarian crisis, with 70
percent of the population in danger of starvation, so it's unlikely they would
have an influx of Zimbabwean refugees. "One might expect a flow out of Malawi
rather than into it," Maroleng told IRIN. Zimbabwe's crisis had already damaged
South Africa's economy, impacting on trade and "scaring-off potential investors
in the region and worsening the influx of immigrants".
Mugabe has faced
mounting international condemnation for the continued violence and intimidation
of MDC supporters in Zimbabwe.
The European Union recently imposed
sanctions on the 78-year-old and 19 of his close associates. The independent
Harare newspaper the Daily News reported on Monday that Mugabe was said to have
sent more than US $14,234 million (Z$800 million at the official rate or Z$4,5
billion on the parallel market) through the Channel Islands in the past three
The paper claimed the transfer of the millions was seen as a hint
that Mugabe may flee the country if he loses the poll. It said British
newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, had revealed that most of the money was moved
through financial institutions without their knowledge and had ended up in
"These reports came as the Swiss government announced it would
freeze more than US $ 78,287 million (Z$4,4 billion at the official rate or
Z$24,75 billion on the parallel market) of Mugabe's money stashed away in Swiss
bank accounts if ZANU-PF rigged its way to victory in the presidential
election," the Daily News said.
George Charamba, Zimbabwe's Secretary for
Information and Publicity, dismissed the allegations that Mugabe had seeded away
millions in foreign bank accounts. [ENDS]
HARARE (Reuters) -
President Robert Mugabe has hit the hustings around Harare, promising to
deliver a knockout blow to popular opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai in
independent Zimbabwe's closest-ever presidential election.
22 years in office, Mugabe takes on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
two days of voting at the weekend which the opposition says will not be free
Electoral officials have not yet released key details such
as the number of registered voters and polling stations, fuelling fears that
Mugabe is trying to fix the election.
The March 9-10 polls are
expected to be the closest and most bitter since independence from Britain in
"This fist is 78 years old and has 78 horsepower that could
send Mr Tsvangirai to the ground if we were to get into the ring," Mugabe
told a rally of his ruling ZANU-PF on Monday.
Speaking in the town
of Gokwe, Mugabe said ZANU-PF's complacency had allowed Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to make big gains in the 2000 parliamentary
"But now we are wide awake. We won't let MDC win in the
presidential election," he said in a speech quoted by the state-owned Herald
newspaper on Tuesday.
Mugabe was scheduled to address at least
three provincial rallies on Tuesday.
ELECTION WORRIES, FOOD
Tsvangirai has repeatedly urged his supporters to flood the
polls, saying a large turnout would make it difficult for ZANU-PF to fix the
election. Voter turnout in the 2000 poll was 48.2 percent of the 5.3 million
A spokesman for the Electoral Supervisory
Commission said on Tuesday information on the elections would be given to
observers and the media on Wednesday.
The elections are run by a
commission whose members are appointed by Mugabe, and for this election the
commission abandoned its old practice of drawing some of the officials from
Over the last two years Mugabe has
filled key positions in his administration with former army officers. The ESC
is chaired by Sobuza Gula-Nbebele, a lawyer and a retired colonel while the
chief electoral officer is a former brigadier.
The government has
rejected allegations that it is trying to fix the polls, and blamed
pre-election violence on the MDC.
The MDC said on Monday that 34 of
its supporters had been killed in a wave of state-sponsored violence since
The alleged death toll is almost impossible to verify
independently but the United States and Britain have led international
protests against violence and intimidation, blaming ZANU-PF supporters in and
out of government.
The United States' annual Human Rights Report
released in Washington on Monday blasted the Zimbabwe government for what it
said were a string of abuses leading up to the 2000 elections, interim
by-elections and this year's presidential poll.
The election comes
at a time of severe food shortages caused by drought and the state-sanctioned
invasions of white-owned farms which have slashed
Under the gaze of riot police in Chitungwiza, some
3,000 people queued at a supermarket on Tuesday to buy staple maize meal, the
erratic supply of which looms over Mugabe's prospects at the
BATTLE OF BRISBANE
Mugabe's camp claimed a major
diplomatic victory on Monday when the 54-member Commonwealth decided not to
slap sanctions against him. African states blocked pressure from Britain,
Australia and New Zealand to do so.
Tuesday's Herald headlined one
story "Why UK lost Battle of Brisbane".
ZANU-PF is campaigning on the
platform that the MDC and Tsvangirai are mere stooges of Britain and
Zimbabwe's tiny white minority of around 70,000 in a population of 13
While Mugabe's harsh message has rattled Zimbabwe's
embattled whites, analysts say it is unlikely to affect generally cordial
relations or force the whites out if he wins the election.
think many (white) people here are used to Mugabe's language and I don't see
anybody getting too worried over it...," said law lecturer
Tsvangirai's campaign faces a host of
On Monday, police halted a meeting with 30 foreign
diplomats that he was addressing in a five-star Harare hotel.
also faces treason charges linked to a video purporting to show
him discussing Mugabe's assassination with security consultants in Canada.
He denies the charges.
Police and soldiers in Zimbabwe say they are being forced to
vote for President Robert Mugabe in secret votes ahead of this weekend's
Members of the security forces say they are being ordered by their superiors
to vote by postal ballots and they have no choice who to select - a charge which
Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party denies.
That's just disinformation. They haven't voted
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi
"We are busy
casting our votes. The ballot papers were sent to individuals in envelopes and
our bosses were presiding officers," a policeman in Masvingo Province, who
wished to remain anonymous, told BBC News Online.
The revelations came as the Commonwealth wound up its biennial heads of
government summit in Australia, having postponed action on Zimbabwe until after
the 9-10 March election.
Some members had wanted Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth, arguing
that President Mugabe is using intimidation, violence and rigging to win the
Police officers were presented with envelopes with their names on and the
serial number of the ballot paper inside, said the Masvingo policeman.
This means it would be easy to find out how they had voted.
This man had initials MDC carved into his
The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Morgan Tsvangirai, presents the sternest electoral challenge to Mr Mugabe since
independence in 1980.
But he is "bound" to lose the election because of "victimisation and
rigging", another disgruntled policeman, from Gweru in Midlands Province, told
BBC News Online.
He went on to detail how the officers' ballots were being miscast.
"All members of the police force here are being forced to vote using the
postal ballot box now before the election date.
"The voting is done in the office of the officer-in-charge who checks on whom
you have voted for before you are allowed to go out.
"After that we are asked to fill in forms to indicate that we shall be posted
outside our constituencies during election time."
On Monday, Zimbabwean Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi said it was not
true that police and army members had already voted.
Zimbabwe opposition vows to fight Mugabe win By Emelia
Sithole and Nicholas Kotch
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition
says President Robert Mugabe can only win this weekend's election by stealing
it and is vowing to fight a Mugabe victory in the courts.
and his opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai campaigned hard on Tuesday ahead
of the March 9-10 poll -- the closest and most bitter election
since independence from Britain in 1980.
Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has accused Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party of waging a
campaign of terror in which 107 MDC supporters have died since
"Despite all of these obstacles, despite the fact that this is
not going to be a free and fair election we are still confident that we can
win," MDC legal affairs secretary David Coltart told Reuters in an
"The only way that Robert Mugabe can win this election is
if he steals it," he added.
The MDC, which is hoping to turn
public anger over a crumbling economy and severe food shortages into victory
at the polls, accuses ZANU-PF of using a militia disguised as a youth
training service to terrorise the opposition ahead of the
Mugabe and his party have denied orchestrating a campaign of
intimidation against the opposition.
Coltart said the MDC was
building a case to show that the poll was not free and fair and illegal under
the country's laws.
"Our first course (if Mugabe wins) will be to go
to the courts to set aside an election result. We will call on the
international community to play its role," Coltart said.
The 78-year-old Mugabe hit the campaign trail on Tuesday,
focusing on the two themes of his campaign -- defending the state seizure of
white-old farmland and accusing Britain of meddling in African
Tsvangirai used the backdrop of a Harare hospital to blame a
crumbling health care system on Mugabe's mismanagement.
no drugs and patients have to buy their own drugs...and there is severe
malnutrition, especially among children, because there is no
food," Tsvangirai said.
Zimbabweans go to the polls at a time of
severe food shortages caused by drought and the state-sanctioned invasions of
white-owned farms which have slashed maize output.
Under the gaze
of riot police, some 3,000 Zimbabweans queued at a supermarket in the town of
Chitungwiza on Tuesday to buy vital maize meal, the erratic supply of which
looms over Mugabe's election prospects.
"It looks like some people
slept in the queue. People are always here, waiting for the mealie meal
because we can get deliveries at any time," said an assistant at the shop 35
km southwest of Harare.
Mugabe insists that his government will not
let anyone starve to death, but tensions are rising as people queue for food
in a country that can normally feed itself.
Election officials said on Tuesday the country's defence forces
and police had begun voting in advance polls.
privately-owned Daily News quoted unnamed army and police personnel on
Tuesday as saying they had been forced to vote for Mugabe in the presence of
"If the newspaper report is true, the soldiers and
police officers in question should come forward and identify themselves,"
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede said in remarks broadcast on state
Mudede said 5.5 million Zimbabweans were registered to
vote at 4,000 polling stations around the country.
repeatedly urged his supporters to flood the polls, saying a large turnout
would make it difficult for ZANU-PF to fix the election. Voter turnout in the
2000 poll was 48.2 percent of the 5.3 million eligible voters.
elections are run by a commission whose members are appointed by Mugabe, and
for this election the commission abandoned its old practice of drawing some
of the officials from non-governmental organisations.
Over the last
two years Mugabe has filled key positions in his administration with former
army officers. The ESC is chaired by Sobuza Gula-Nbebele, a lawyer and a
retired colonel and the chief electoral officer is a former
Mugabe's camp claimed a major diplomatic victory on Monday
when the 54-member Commonwealth decided not to slap sanctions against him.
African states blocked pressure from Britain, Australia and New Zealand to do
ZANU-PF is campaigning on the platform that the MDC and
Tsvangirai are mere stooges of Britain and Zimbabwe's tiny white minority of
around 70,000 in a population of 13 million.
message has rattled Zimbabwe's embattled whites, but analysts say it is
unlikely to affect generally cordial relations or force them out if he
World Council of Churches to observe Zimbabwe
GENEVA, March 5 — The World Council of Churches (WCC) and
the All African Conference of Churches said on Tuesday they would send a
joint 86-member team to observe Zimbabwe's elections at the invitation of the
government. ''We are going to Zimbabwe...to be in solidarity with the
churches and the people of Zimbabwe, to assess with them the whole process of
the elections,'' said WCC international relations official Melaku
Kifle. Following the decision of the government of President Robert
Mugabe not to admit election observers from the European Union, the WCC and
the AACC said they had decided to staff their team with a majority of
observers from other African countries. After 22 years in office,
Mugabe takes on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a March 9-10
presidential election that the opposition says will not be free and fair. The
vote is expected to be the closest and most bitter since independence from
Britain in 1980. The campaigning has been marred by incidents of
violence and intimidation that have sparked international protests, with
Britain and the United States blaming supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF
party. The church groups noted that, as observers rather than
election monitors, they would have no powers to intervene in the electoral
process. ''It would have been more helpful and useful to be monitors
rather than observers, but we have to abide by the policy of the
Zimbabwean government,'' Kifle said. The WCC, which represents most
leading churches with the exception of the Roman Catholic Church, noted in
its statement that it had a long tradition of monitoring elections in Africa
and other regions. In 2000, the WCC participated in the monitoring of
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections.
Contents 1. Electronic report for 3 March 2002 2. Print media
report for 4 March 2002 3. From our subscribers 1. ELECTRONIC REPORT
FOR MARCH 3RD 2002 CONSPIRACIES: The most remarkable news about the output of
the electronic media during the day was ZBC television's documentary following
up the Australian SBS broadcast that claimed to be revealing an MDC plot to
assassinate President Mugabe and seize power with the assistance of sections of
The documentary, Inside The Plot To Kill Mugabe, broadcast what it said was
more revelations of MDC's complicity in the plot and revealed that the identity
of a man obscured as "XXXX" in Mark Davis' original SBS documentary was Airforce
Commander Perence Shiri. Questions about why Davis masked Shiri's identity
remain unanswered. According to the transcript of the original documentary,
it is not clear who brought Shiri's name into the discussion during Tsvangirai's
Montreal meeting with officials of the political consultancy, Dickens and
Madson. However, the ZTV documentary made it look as if it was Tsvangirai by
screening new footage of the security video showing the MDC leader responding to
an unheard question saying he intended to take Shiri aboard. To support claims
that the MDC intended to use Shiri, the ZTV documentary alleged that, as a
follow-up to the Montreal meeting two MDC MPs, Job Sikhala and Tafadzwa
Musekiwa, approached Perence Shiri to "entice him to cross the floor" and asked
him to pacify the army. However, ZTV's use of this expression to suggest some
kind of defection by Shiri added a dimension that even Shiri himself did not
suggest. In fact, he was quoted as saying the two MDC MPs met him to discuss
his possible role in pacifying the army in the event that the MDC won the
presidential election. Given previous statements by the uniformed forces, this
was not a surprising development. Snippets of a poorly recorded audiotape of
this discussion was included in the ZTV documentary to establish the veracity of
Shiri's claim to have met the MDC MPs. Perhaps the most important claim to
emerge from the documentary was Shiri's allegations that Sikhala and Musekiwa
had said the MDC executive was prepared to pay him a fee of Z$10 million for his
assistance in pacifying the army in the event of an MDC victory. This offer,
he said, was made as they were leaving his residence where the meeting took
place and presumably, this was why viewers were not offered audio proof of the
allegation However, he also claimed that the two MPs had begged him to take the
money anyway and give them $2 million each while the party's deputy
secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, "had gone to the gents". This was the
first time viewers were told that Chimanikire had apparently attended the
meeting as well and was especially confusing as Shiri had only referred to that
meeting as being with the two MPs.
Themba Mliswa, the Zimbabwean fitness trainer based in London, was also
quoted in the documentary alleging that Musekiwa and Sikhala had visited in
London and told him about plans they had to form another political party. He
said the two also revealed that some white people had approached them to arrange
Mugabe's assassination. Mliswa added that he had evidence to prove his claims
and that he was prepared to testify in a court of law. But he provided no
evidence to connect his claim to Tsvangirai's meeting in Montreal. Nor was he
asked if the two MPs had told him whether they had accepted or rejected the
During the programme Musekiwa denied Mliswa's allegations and refused to
respond to other questions about his meeting with Shiri. While the title of
the documentary promised viewers the inside story of an alleged plot to
assassinate Mr. Mugabe, it failed to do this beyond airing the hearsay evidence
from Mliswa. And Shiri's contribution to the documentary was only linked via
the heavily edited surveillance video. MMPZ finds that the most worrying
aspect of this documentary is the "trial by television" of a man who is facing
charges (or is likely to) of treason.
CAMPAIGNS: ZTV covered three presidential candidates during the day
(Sunday). These were ZANU PF, MDC and National Alliance for Good Governance
(NAGG). However, ZBC continued to allocate far more time to ZANU PF than to
other parties. Also, the little airtime that MDC was allocated was used to
denigrate the party. ZTV, in its 8pm news bulletin, allocated 15 minutes to
ZANU PF, one minute 25 seconds to a negative report about the MDC and one minute
20 seconds to a pro-NAGG report. ZTV carried 14 campaign related stories
during the day. Eight (57%) of them were campaign pieces for ZANU PF while four
(29%) were about the MDC and two (14%) were pro-NAGG. Radio Zimbabwe had
seven reports on campaigns. Five of the reports were pro-ZANU PF while two
reports on MDC were negative qualifications of the party's policies. 3FM had
14 (82%) pro-ZANU PF reports out of 17 that were reported during the day. Three
(18%) of the reports were negative analyses of Tsvangirai's campaign
POLITICAL VIOLENCE: There were no reports of incidents of political
violence on ZBC.
2. DAILY PRINT REPORT - MONDAY 4TH MARCH 2002 While The Herald gave
front-page prominence to President Mugabe's campaign rally, it completely
ignored MDC rallies held over the weekend. In contrast, The Daily News
juxtaposed reports of the ZANU PF and MDC rallies on Sunday.
The Daily News article "Mugabe appeals for support" gave the impression
that Mr. Mugabe's three campaign rallies were unsuccessful and poorly
attended. The newspaper noted that all three rallies yielded only "about 20 000
supporters". But it then cast its own crowd assessment abilities into doubt
with its story, "50 000 attend Tsvangirai rally," which wildly exaggerated the
size of the crowd at the MDC rally and reinforced this with an unsubstantiated
claim that it was ". the biggest campaign rally ever since launching his
(Tsvangirai) bid to dislodge President Mugabe from power". Significantly, The
Herald ignored attendance figures, but concentrated on President Mugabe's
vilification of the MDC and British Premier, Tony Blair. The newspaper also
unquestioningly quoted government officials promising "maize deliveries" and
Discussions over Zimbabwe's fate at the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Australia featured in both The Herald and The Daily News. The Herald
front-page article misleadingly headlined "African leaders attack Blair over
Zim" welcomed statements by Presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Sam Nujoma. But it
only reported them calling for the adoption of a wait-and-see approach until
after the election and instead, only quoted Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo,
at length lashing out at Blair, talking about a cover-up of possible British
complicity in an alleged plot to assassinate Mr. Mugabe. The Daily News in its
articles "African nations block calls for Zimbabwe's suspension" and "Moyo
accuses UK of colonial designs, tells Blair to shut up" also highlighted the
pro-Zimbabwe stance of African leaders at the summit. In another article,
however, The Daily News quoted the Commonwealth Business Council as saying "the
international focus on Zimbabwe in recent months is hampering international
investor interest in neighbouring African countries".
The Daily News borrowed a story from The Sunday Telegraph claiming that
Mr. Mugabe had transferred more than 10 million pounds to Malaysia and used it
to insinuate that the move ".is seen as a hint that Mugabe may flee the country
if he loses the poll." but only quotes one unnamed Zimbabwean based financial
investigator to support this view. The Daily News carried a report of police
brutality in Manicaland. The newspaper reported that armed police had raided
MDC offices seizing maize meal meant to feed about 8 000 people displaced by
political violence, and 828 cans of spray paint. South African and Norwegian
election observers reportedly witnessed the incident and were ". at a loss for
words at the police action" The Herald continued to report election
observers' comments supportive of the electoral process. The newspaper carried
an article "Conditions for free poll prevail" quoted the South African head of
observers, Dr Samuel Motsuenyane as saying ". conditions for elections that
reflect the true will of the people of Zimbabwe prevail". But The Herald
ignored part of Motsuenyane's statement which also noted " . the situation is
far from ideal". The Daily News, like The Herald, also quoted Motsuenyane
welcoming a statement by Emmerson Mnangagwa saying ZANU PF would accept the
election result. The Daily News comment attacked the leader of Commonwealth
Observer mission Abdulsalami Abubakar for a statement ZBC reported him making
that the magnitude of political violence was being exaggerated. The Daily
News carried three articles on the food situation in Zimbabwe. An article
headlined, "Maize deliveries grossly inadequate" quoted economic consultant John
Robertson as saying ". statistics being regularly released by the state media
about maize deliveries" were far below the country's needs. A Reuters news
agency story in the paper noted that for many villagers, the search for food was
now taking precedence over interest in the presidential election and went on to
report the World Food Programme's efforts to alleviate starvation.
POLITICAL VIOLENCE: The Press recorded 40 incidents of political violence,
including two deaths during the week. The public Press (Zimpapers) reported
just seven incidents, including one death, all blamed on the MDC. The private
Press reported 33 incidents. ZANU PF was implicated in 29 of them, war veterans
(four), the army (two) the CIO (one) and the MDC (one). Victims were reported
to be mostly MDC supporters, but also included teachers and SADC observers. One
death of an MDC member was recorded.
3. FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS FRAUDULENT PHONE- IN PROGRAMME I was disappointed
to see that you did not report the fraudulent "live" Face the Nation more fully
since 1. The programme questions were not live but recorded - listen
carefully to the first question and when the presenter cuts in, you can hear the
tape being rewound and then the identical question is repeated 2m 25 s
later! 2. The RG claimed that there are 40 to 50 polling stations per
constituency - this is a lie, for example the count for polling stations per
constituency is given below: CONSTITUENCY Total Budiriro 7 Dsivarasekwa 9
Glen Norah 8 Glen View 7 Harare Central 10 Harare East 11 Harare North 9 Harare
South 13 3. Ward 1 has 10 polling stations whereas several wards only
appear to have one - of course this may change from day to day e.t.c.
From MMPZ: Further details on the number of polling stations per
constituency can be accessed at http://www.kubatana.net/ Ends
- Commonwealth leaders vowed today to stamp out terrorism at the end of
talks, but failed to take a tough stand on Zimbabwe, triggering charges the
54-nation body is little more than a talking-shop. In a strongly-worded
seven-page communique, the leaders said: "There is no justification for
"While terrorist activities are unconscionable and should be
eradicated forthwith, the challenge is to understand the root cause of those
despicable acts and deal with them appropriately."
But the tough
position, reiterated in a separate Coolum Declaration, contrasted with a
watered-down statement on Zimbabwe which deferred a decision on whether to
impose sanctions until after the weekend presidential polls.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, backed by Australia and New Zealand, had led calls
to suspend Zimbabwe immediately from the Commonwealth in protest at the
political violence there.
But following stiff opposition from African
nations, Britain was forced to bow to a plan to defer the decision to a panel
of three leaders, who will decide what to do in the light of a Commonwealth
observers report after the elections.
The decision stunned the
Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), especially as the
panel will comprise the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria, who had led the
African opposition, as well as Australia.
MDC spokeswoman, Sekai
Holland, said the Commonwealth had become "a talking-shop, a club for leaders
She said they had failed to apply their own principles after
being bamboozled by African nations whom she accused of being the
"public relations front" of President Robert Mugabe.
"We're going to
win the elections, but the question is whether now that the Commonwealth has
endorsed Mugabe he is going to feel compelled to give up power," she told
Blair admitted to the BBC he was disappointed with the compromise
that he termed "the lowest common denominator". "But we've at least the
possibility of a mechanism there in place to suspend Zimbabwe, to take really
tough action, if Mugabe ends up the victor in a rigged election through
violence and intimidation."
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
also slammed the decision, saying: "I think the Commonwealth has to get its
act together for the future. It has failed to wrestle effectively with
The row overshadowed the four-day summit, which was originally
to be held in Brisbane in October, but was moved 100 kilometres (60 miles)
north to the tiny resort of Coolum after the September 11 attacks.
costly and tight security blanket was thrown over the area to protect the 51
national delegations. Pakistan was absent as it remains suspended following
the 1999 military coup, but Fiji was readmitted.
Canadian Prime Minister
Jean Chretien said one of the reasons why it took so long to agree a stand on
Zimbabwe was because everyone wanted to have their say.
the Commonwealth against the charges of irrelevance saying: "Talking is very
important in politics. Talking to each other is very important to resolve
problems. Isolation is the worse disease to have problems in the
But some leaders felt their concerns were put on a back-burner as
the African nations and Blair's backers tussled over Zimbabwe.
told AFP many of the smaller nations also perceived global warming to be a
significantly greater danger than terrorism.
"We should consider global
warming as terrorising our futures," one delegate asking to remain
The four-page Coolum Declaration did express "concern about
the consequences of global warming and climate change, especially for
vulnerable small island states and other low-lying areas".
highlighted moves to pull down barriers and forge new opportunities in trade,
investment and private sector development to ensure more of
the Commonwealth's 1.7 billion people benefit from globalisation.
leaders also pledged to work to combat AIDS, which is pandemic in
many African nations, and sought to address the reforms needed to meet
the challenges of the 21st century.
Soldiers, police 'ordered' to vote for Mugabe:
report HARARE, March 5 AFP|Published: Tuesday March 5, 9:21
Soldiers and police have been ordered to cast their postal
ballots for President Robert Mugabe against their will, the independent Daily
News alleged today in a report strongly denied by the government.
report said several soldiers and police officers approached the paper, which
is openly sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
and said that they had been ordered to vote for Mugabe in the presence of
Zimbabwe's presidential election, four days away, will
pit Mugabe against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the first real threat to the
president's 22-year grip on power.
The Daily News quoted a soldier as
saying: "I honestly feel this matter should be investigated as it could lead
to rigging of the elections."
The soldier, in Zimbabwe's second largest
city, Bulawayo, said he was made to cast his ballot in the presence of his
A soldier in Harare also said he did not support the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) but was ordered to
vote for Mugabe, the paper reported.
Two policemen in the capital also
said they had voted for Mugabe against their will.
Mugabe's spokesman, told AFP: "That's absolute gibberish and they're aware of
it. They're now trying to prepare the world for the defeat of the
The registrar general of elections, Tobaiwa Mudede, said: "It's not
John Gambanga, news editor at the Daily News who signed the
article along with Sandra Nyaira, stood by the story. "Members of the police
have come here personally and told us," he said. "It's not like we initiated
He added that the paper had received about 10 calls this
morning "from soldiers who are very happy about that story," because they
wanted the alleged practice exposed. "I stand by that story," Gambanga
Thomas Bvuma, spokesman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Supervisory
Commission, said: "I've heard the allegation. We're in the process of trying
to get some information on that."
As for the MDC, Tendai Biti, the
party's shadow foreign minister, said: "The fact of the matter is they're
going to cheat. They can't win a free and fair election in
Last week the Supreme Court threw out amendments that would
have allowed the government to handpick civil servants to observe polling to
the exclusion of any independent observers.
South Africa will not commit to suspend
Zimbabwe BRISBANE, March 5 AAP|Published: Tuesday March 5, 7:16
South African President Thabo Mbeki today said he could not
make any promises to take action against Zimbabwe.
Mr Mbeki, one of
three leaders who will decide Zimbabwe's future in the Commonwealth after
this weekend's election, said he could not make a decision until the
committee received recommendations from the secretary-general and observers
in the troubled country.
"I think it would be incorrect for me as a
member of that committee to prejudge what might come from the observers in
the first place and in that context prejudge what the committee might
decide," Mr Mbeki said in Brisbane.
"I don't think it would be
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week
decided to take no action against Zimbabwe until after the
Instead, CHOGM issued a statement of deep concern about the
pre-election violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe by forces loyal to
President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's future in the Commonwealth now
rests on the report of about 60 observers sent to the country to monitor the
Mr Mbeki took time to meet with Queensland Premier Peter
Beattie today to discuss trade opportunities.
In his address to
special guests at state parliament, Mr Mbeki said he believed Australia and
South Africa could have a "partnership of prosperity".
congratulated Australia on a successful CHOGM saying the attendance was
"We are pleased with how the meeting was conducted and the
way Prime Minister John Howard led us in the processes of the
Mugabe confident of election victory despite admitting vote
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe says his party has lost ground
to the opposition through complacency, but will win this weekend's
He told a campaign rally the opposition party
is "a donkey being controlled by the British."
The fledgling Movement
for Democratic Change won 57 of 120 elected seats in June 2000 parliamentary
elections as Mugabe's popularity plunged amid economic chaos.
the rally: "We are now wide awake. "We won't let the (Movement for Democratic
The President also thanked African leaders for refusing to
buckle to pressure to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth of Britain and
its former territories at a summit of the 54-nation grouping in
He said the decision to defer the possible suspension until
Commonwealth observers report back on the election was "a victory against
Britain's attempts to introduce a new form of apartheid" to serve Western
interests in developing countries.
Tendai Biti, the MDC's foreign
affairs spokesman, said President Mugabe was trying to hide his policies of
violence and intimidation behind his rift with Britain.
"It is not a
Zimbabwe-Britain crisis. Our people are being brutalized by fellow black
Zimbabweans. This is the issue we would want our African brothers to have
understood," he said.
HARARE, March 5 —
President Robert Mugabe has rattled Zimbabwe's embattled white community with
a warning that he has withdrawn the hand of
But political analysts say Mugabe's
harsh message is unlikely to affect generally cordial race relations in the
southern Africa country or force the whites out if he wins this weekend's
presidential election. Two recent opinion polls said that Mugabe -- in
charge since the former white-ruled Rhodesia gained independence from Britain
22 years ago and became Zimbabwe -- would lose the March 9-10 poll to his
main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe told an election rally
on Saturday that his worst mistake on assuming power in 1980 was to extend
the hand of reconciliation to ''die-hard racists'' who oppose him.
''We made a mistake when we showed mercy to those who are hard-hearted,
permanently hard-hearted,'' he said in the southern city
of Bulawayo. ''When you show non-racialism to die-hard racists,
when you show a people with...a false culture of superiority based on their
skin and you do nothing to get them to change their personalities and their
perception and their mind, you are acting as a fool,'' he said to loud
cheers. Mugabe said it had been a mistake to leave the economy and
land in the hands of the white minority, who number about 70,000 out of a
population of 13 million people. ''We are wiser now. There's been a
lesson. The lesson that we made a mistake,'' he said of his policy of
reconciliation which he adopted after leading a seven-year bush war for
TOUGH CAMPAIGN Mugabe has waged a tough campaign
against the whites including the seizure of many of their farms. His
justification is that the wrongs of the colonial past must be
righted. But critics allege the land seizure is a smokescreen to
deflect attention from a collapsing economy, which many blame on
mismanagement by his ZANU-PF government. ''I think many (white)
people here are used to Mugabe's language and I don't see anybody getting too
worried over it or his threat affecting the generally good race relations now
or after the elections,'' said Emmanuel Magade, a law lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe. ''Mugabe has always employed threats...and I
think those who have been here will look at this as an electioneering threat
aimed at cowing whites out of active politics,'' he told Reuters.
''But I don't see Mugabe following up on his threat if he remains
in power.'' Mugabe accuses whites in farming and business of
bankrolling his main challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The 78-year-old Zimbabwean
leader dismisses his younger rival, who turns 50 on March 10, of being a
''shameless puppet'' of former colonial power Britain and white ''Rhodies''
hankering for the old order when they were in charge. Tsvangirai
says Mugabe -- who calls the MDC leader a ''tea boy'' -- has perfected the
art of name-calling because he has no programme for the economic crisis he
plunged Zimbabwe into.
WHITES UNPERTURBED Eddie Cross, a
leading white opposition figure and the MDC's economic secretary, said
Mugabe's comments in Bulawayo reflected his political frustrations.
''But I don't see how they will have an impact on the general
race relations... much more so when he loses the election,'' he
said. Dozens of whites have been attending Tsvangirai's MDC rallies
but hardly any turn up at ZANU-PF's meetings, where Mugabe routinely
attacks whites for ''racism'' and Britain for alleged interference in
Zimbabwe's affairs. One white, who attended Tsvangirai's rally on
Sunday, said that many voters did not agree with Mugabe that Zimbabwe's main
problem is whites and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. ''Mugabe's
biggest problem is that he's educated everybody. He's done a very good job
and so people can't be hoodwinked,'' the man said. He did not wish to be
identified. On Mugabe's comments on the pointlessness of his
reconciliation efforts since 1980, another white in a group at the rally told
Reuters: ''At the beginning, we didn't necessarily agree with his socialism
but we thought he was doing a good job.'' ''But we've been excluded
from participating in debates on meaningful issues.'' But all but
one of the group of six said they would stay in Zimbabwe even if Mugabe was
re-elected. ''We are resilient people,'' said one. One said the whites
would prefer the MDC to ZANU-PF because it has a programme to revive an
economy in its fourth year of recession. ''We all realise that the
only future we've got here is with an MDC government,'' he said.
Mutare - The police in Mutare last Wednesday night stormed the
MDC offices and seized property worth thousands of dollars. MDC officials,
including Pishai Muchauraya, the party spokesman in Manicaland, were placed
under house arrest for more than 15 hours. The property seized included 210kg
bag of maize-meal meant to feed about 8 000 people displaced by political
violence, and 828 cans of spray paint. Earlier this month, the police raided the
same offices, saying they were searching for arms of war. On Wednesday night six
armed policemen surrounded the MDC offices. Muchauraya said upon seeing them,
the MDC officials locked themselves in one of the offices. Five policemen, two
of them armed with AK47 rifles, were standing guard in front of the offices when
The Daily News crew arrived at the scene. Election observers from South Africa
and Norway were at a loss for words at the police action. The MDC members only
opened the doors after journalists and the international observers arrived. On
Thursday, reinforcements, including Central Intelligence Organisation officers,
were deployed at the offices, this time armed with a search warrant. They
confiscated a camera. A policeman, who identified himself as Assistant Inspector
Nyamukova, said: "All we want is Muchauraya’s camera because he took pictures of
us yesterday and today."
We need further volunteers to: be polling agents from 8 – 11
March; to drive polling agents; to feed polling agents; to donate fuel and the
use of vehicles; to assist with administration, telephone support, radio
networks, computers, etc.
The polling agents will need to be available from 8 –11 March,
and be present at the polling station throughout this period for 24 hours a day,
as well as making sure the box is delivered intact to the counting station. The
polling agent’s role is to observe, report back to the central teams whether
there are any irregularities, to physically follow the ballot box to the
counting centres and to wait with the box until it is opened so that s/he can
verify that there has been no rigging of the vote. Since the recent changes to
the Electoral Act prevent polling agents and monitors from travelling with the
ballot boxes, we also need to assist polling agents and monitors to get to and
from all polling stations throughout the country.
During the last election there was no violence at all during
the voting period, and no comeback on volunteers in any areas. We do not expect
any violence during the voting period this year. If you feel unsafe in your
area, please volunteer to go to another area. Volunteers will be linked to a
central support system with access to international observers, the press and
there will be a reaction team in each constituency.
When the history of the first 22 years of Zimbabwean
independence comes to be written, one explanation – the failure of governance –
will dominate. Lesser themes – the naivete and incompetence of the donor
community, its willingness to reward failure and venality, and the
short-sightedness and greed of many in the private sector – will not be ignored.
But the overriding message is that governance – or in Zimbabwe’s case,
misgovernance – trumps all.
In 20 years to 2000, Zimbabwe received net inflows of some
US$5.9 billion of foreign aid. In current dollars, this inflow, offset
marginally by US$300 million in net outflows of private capital, was associated
with a US$500 million increase in Zimbabwe’s GDP. In current dollars, over a 20
year period, US$11 of foreign aid was needed to increase GDP by just US$1. It is
easy to say that these numbers show that aid does not work. But they show
something much more fundamental too – namely that the payoff from aid and
investment, domestic as well as foreign, is undermined when governance goes
awry. Not that this is a lesson confined to Zimbabwe. Countries with richer
natural resource endowments than Zimbabwe – Angola, Nigeria, Zambia and the DRC
– all fit the same mould, where misgovernance overwhelmed economics.Hopefully,
this lesson will not be lost on voters when they go to the polls on March 9/10.
There can have been few elections in which the issues were more clear-cut.
On one side is the MDC with policies designed to restore the
rule of law, return the country to international respectability and revive the
economy, through the efficient implementation of essentially orthodox, economic
policies. Provided it gets governance right, the MDC can deliver access to the
foreign aid, investment and debt restructuring, without which there can be no
sustained economic recovery. On the other is Zanu PF – with a 22-year track
record of sustained failure. Per capita incomes today are no higher than 30
years ago and 25 percent below their peak. Inflation at 116.7 percent is the
highest in Africa, barring the DRC. The UNDP-compiled Human Development Index is
lower than in 1985. Real spending per head on education and health has declined.
Life expectancy has fallen precipitously to only 40 years, largely due to the
country’s exceptionally high adult infection rate of HIV-AIDS – the second
highest in the world.
That a presidential candidate with a track record of such
comprehensive failure is seeking a further six years at the helm to complete the
immiserization of Zimbabweans highlights Zanu PF’s policy and moral bankruptcy.
Socially and economically, the party has nothing to offer. The Mugabe manifesto
is a voyage into a discredited past- bereft of any understanding of what is
needed to confront the crises that he and his party have created. What failed
before will fail again - the command economy, state ownership, price controls,
and a growth path reliant upon technologically backward, small-scale
agriculture. The same government that abandoned free health and education a
decade ago, when it found it could not pay, is again promising to deliver these
lofty goals. A million new homes will be provided by the same politicians who
promised "housing for all by 2000".
Arguably, the challenge facing the next administration will be
even more taxing than that of the first post-independence government in 1980.
Then, the world was a less complicated place. The donors – and foreign investors
– were more gullible, willing to support governments whose policies had no
chance of success. How else does one explain the IMF, World Bank and donor
determination to throw good money after bad in Zambia under Kaunda, the DRC
under Mobutu and Tanzania under Nyerere?. Today, that has changed – replaced by
a broad consensus that unless governments are prepared to don the Golden
Straitjacket of economic orthodoxy and good governance, aid and investment will
be wasted. Remarkably, the rules of the game that are taken pretty much for
granted worldwide – low levels of government borrowing, positive real interest
rates, competitive exchange rates, privatisation, respect for the rule of law
and property rights, openness to foreign trade and investment - are seen even by
many Zimbabwean businesspeople, as well as the governing elite, as some kind of
Where else in the world do businessmen and politicians
seriously argue that interest rates 85 percent blow the inflation rate are good
for the economy? Who believes –as does Zanu-PF – that price controls will
increase the supply of goods on the shelves? Where else do policymakers claim
that an official exchange rate, pegged for 17 months at Z$55 to the US dollar,
during which time consumer prices have more than doubled, is in the national
interest? Why do so many in business, especially the accountancy profession, as
well as in government, prefer taxbreaks, investment incentives, and assorted
handouts, to macroeconomic stability and a level playing field? The sorry answer
to such questions is that such policies are tailor-made for those well
positioned to exploit the situation. Zanu PF economic mismanagement has opened
the door to hundreds of sweetheart deals, conducted in the most opaque of
markets. Open, transparent, competitive markets and good governance are anathema
to the crony businesses and banks who daily exploit the poor and the
marginalised, while vociferously pointing the finger of "economic sabotage" at
The day of reckoning cannot now be long delayed. A vote for Mr
Mugabe is a vote for an economic – and social – cul-de-sac that would guarantee
economic implosion, international pariah status, and an acceleration of the 23
percent decline in per capita incomes that Zanu PF has engineered since 1998. A
Mugabe victory would accelerate the return to a subsistence economy, the exodus
of skills and capital and the expansion of the informal sector, which the
president and his entourage see as some kind of economic utopia. A vote for Mr
Tsvangirai offers the prospect of a return to soundly-based economic growth;
exploiting, not exporting, the country’s skills and capital. It offers the
chance of bringing in the foreign capital so necessary to exploit country’s
resources – in agriculture, mining, tourism, industry, services and above all,
in the hundreds of thousands of people people left in limbo and poverty by 22
years of Zanu PF misrule. Today, fewer than one person in ten has a job in the
formal economy – little more than half the figure of 20 years ago. Governance is
the critical element in the development mix. Our candidate is tried and tested,
claims Zanu PF. Indeed, - tried, tested and found wanting on almost every count.
It is time for change.