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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Climbing Mountains

I went into a local business to do some buying and saw the MD standing in
the yard supervising some work. I walked over to him and we stood talking
for a few minutes while we watched a mobile crane lift some containers. "I
have never been so low" he remarked " I just cannot see any way forward. Am
I stupid to still be here, or is there some hope?"

What can one say to a guy like that - young professional with small
children - a life time ahead of him, building up a career and assets in a
country which to him, has no future. It's not that his business is going
down the tubes - on the contrary he said it was doing fine, it's just that
there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

This conversation has been in my mind for two days now and I thought, is
there anything we can say which might help someone in that position? The
Bible says that where "a nation has no vision, it will perish". It's like
mountain climbing - every ridge ahead of you seems to be the end of the
climb, only when you get there, there ahead of you is yet another ridge,
just as high as the one you have just overcome. Every new ridge is at a
higher altitude; the air is thinner and its tougher going. It might even be
colder. The one thing that the climber must keep in his mind at that point
is a vision of what it will be like to get to the top and to then be able to
enjoy the sense of achievement and to be able to see the world from the top.
There are no easy options - moving sideways just postpones the agony of the
climb. It would also be futile to change the route you have selected from an
earlier survey, unless serious new unforeseen obstacles stand in your way.

We as a nation thought that the recent presidential election would see us
over the top and into new territory from where it would be downward all the
way home. It was not to be, we got there just to see that the next ridge
looked higher than the one we had just climbed, furthermore it is in cloud
and we cannot see the detail of what lies ahead.

What can we think at this point in the countries history? I want to suggest
a few positive thoughts for all of us: -

  1.. We have come a long way together since we started climbing this
mountain three years ago. When we set out we knew it was not going to be
easy. Most of us had no climbing experience and we had no resources. In fact
when we look back we can see that we have climbed most of the way we set out
at the beginning. We have survived; we are fitter than before, know a lot
more about this mountain and have achieved much more than anyone gave us
credit for at the beginning.
  2.. We are certainly closer to the top of this mountain than we were in
the beginning. The mountain knows that and it is scared stiff. This mountain
knows that there is not much ground to traverse and when we have got our
wind back it will only be a matter of time before we get to the summit.
  3.. We know what waits for us when we get there - our reconnaissance has
clearly shown this and is one of the main reasons why we climb. We know
there is a beautiful country out there, with wonderful people and its rich
with potential of all kinds. We know that once we get to the summit of this
mountain our feet will hurt but the rest can be fixed quite quickly and we
will get lots of help to do so.
If you were the mountain what would you do to discourage the team climbing
up to the summit of defeat? Certainly the weather would be one thing you
would use - cloud, rain, cold and wind would all be employed. The thin
atmosphere would also help as would the exhaustion of the climbers and their
worn boots and sore feet. Discouragement would be your main asset and you
would do everything to dampen the climber's sense of the future and their
ignorance of the real distance to the top.

I think that the mountain is doing a pretty good job of this exercise right
now. Is it right or is this just a big sham? I recall a time when my son
wanted to go to Europe on holiday in 1989. He wanted to visit Berlin and
asked the East German Embassy in Harare for a visa. The Embassy denied him
the visa and Gary went off to Europe and ended up in West Berlin with a
local German friend. Shortly after they arrived other young people saying
that there is "something" happening at the "wall" called them. They went
there and were in time to see the famous Berlin Wall come down and they
walked through to East Berlin. That was six weeks after he had been denied a
visa to visit the East. I was there a few months later and the East German
Ambassador from Harare was working in a fast food outlet in Berlin.

We tend to forget that change when it comes is often sudden and traumatic.
It's most often unexpected, like breaking out of the mist to find we are on
the top. Mugabe and his cohorts know we are close to the top and they also
know that oblivion awaits them if we get there. The one thing we cannot
afford so close to the top, is to loose heart.

Shortly we will go into a room with Zanu PF to start negotiations on the
future of this country. A country that is teetering on the edge of anarchy -
food shortages, rampant inflation and lawlessness in every corner. A
country, which, like East Germany in 1989, is an empty shell living a lie.
Zanu PF is almost completely isolated, they are broke, and their internal
support is draining away every day as they fail to deliver anything but more
hardship to the people.

If the talks fail, we will not be the looser - we will just come out of the
hut and start to prepare for the final assault on the summit of this
mountain. We are tough, more seasoned than we were two years ago and we have
a vision for the country which keeps us going. Do we have what it takes to
win this final battle - you bet! This is not the time to walk away and down
the mountain. To do so is to give up all the ground we have won and to admit
defeat. We have not failed - we got to where we are by putting one foot in
front of the other and by encouraging each other to keep going. Victory is
sure, if we just keep on doing this until we get to the top.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 4th May 2002.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Dear Family and Friends,
This week I would like to speak out for those who cannot. The world seems to have forgotten us. There is almost no international coverage of Zimbabwe now, there are no foreign journalists left in Zimbabwe and because they have taken their pens and cameras away, we are again alone.Our local journalists and writers continue to expose the horrors but the arrests, interrogation and trumped up charges continue. Zimbabwe is now one of the 10 most dangerous places to be in the world if you are a wordsmith. But the suffering continues and so does the work -mostly by people who do not and cannot get recognition, who often work for free and under the most dangerous of conditions. There are many people in Zimbabwe who could speak out if they wanted, but they choose not to.There are thousands though who cannot do or say anything and it is for them I speak today. There are thousands of children in Zimbabwe who are so hungry that they walk around in rags, take food out of dustbins, hang around at the back of restaurants begging for slops and scraps and sleep under cardboard boxes in alleyways and on pavements. There are thousands of other children in Zimbabwe who are tolerating being touched, taunted and raped by men who get away with their crimes by calling themselves government supporters. There are thousands of children who have watched their homes being burnt to the ground by people who call themselves war veterans. Children who have fled from and for their lives in the middle of the night because of their parents' political beliefs. There are over one million Aids orphans in Zimbabwe and those who lived with families on farms are now completely destitute as the farms are taken over by men calling themselves war veterans. There are thousands of children who have lists of emergency numbers in their suitcases of who to phone if a parent is arrested. There are thousands of children who are cold, hungry and frightened of being in their own country and yet President Mugabe this week addressed the UN Special Congress on Children in America. The President, targeted with travel bans by the American government, took his wife and at least one of his children with him and no doubt they have slept on clean linen in warm beds and eaten at 5 star restaurants. We are a nation disgusted at the UN and at President Bush. Where are their principles and convictions, do they not have children of their own? Is there anyone in the UN whose 13 year old daughter has been raped; whose child is too scared to go to school; whose son has to find food in a dutsbin; who has to tell his 10 year old what to do if his parent is arrested for telling the truth?
Zimbabwe's children are not the only ones who cannot speak for themselves. What is happening to animals in Zimbabwe now is absolutely horrific. Wild animals, farm animals and domestic pets are suffering the most horrific and agonising abuses, deprivations and death at the hands of men calling themselves war veterans. My webmaster, who wishes to remain anonymous, has spent hundreds of hours putting together the most incredible reports and photographs on this gorry horror. This week on the African Tears website, we are both proud and humbled to introduce two extra-ordinary women. One is Meryl Harrison of the Zimbabwe SPCA and the other is Jenny Sharman. Deatils of  Meryl's work in rescuing animals on invaded farms and of the Zimbabwe Pet Rescue Project and Appeal have been loaded onto the website along with horrific photographs which are not for the feint hearted. Meryl tells of rescuing pigs on a Banket farm whose owners had been evicted by war veterans. "There were scores of rotting carcasses and the desperate surviving animals were feeding on them." She tells of live cows  with axe heads embedded in their flesh; of domestic dogs being spiked and hung alive from barbed wire fences and of unmilked dairy cows dying in agony. Jenny Sharman's report is of the situation in three wildlife conservancies in South Eastern Zimbabwe - Bubiana, Save and Chiredzi. Jenny's report is horrific and the pictures had me in angry tears this morning. Jenny herself conducted interviews with farmers, managers, game scouts, war veterans, poachers and land invaders. Jenny's report is accurate and factual and tells of the poachers political paradise now ravaging our beautiful country, destroying the environment and raping the heritage we should have been giving to our children. What brave, brave women - I take my hat off to you both. In closing this week I must thank all the people who continue to offer support and encouragement, send parcels of both essentials and little treats and have offered and given financial support too. I could not carry on without you all and I'm sorry if I don't always have the time to reply to the hundreds of mails that come into my system every week. Until next time, with love cathy.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

LAND (The non issue)

As a white African - my family having lived in the southern part of Africa since the early seventeenth century - I find myself endorsing the remarks in the article below.  I expect the easy thing to do in the present climate of racial intolerance is to leave the continent; but there is a profound bond that comes from living for generations in Africa - a deep love of all things African.

It is sadly a reality that Africa's best - from all backgrounds - all too often end up leaving and contributing to the more advanced economies in the global village; and in the process leaving those that remain in Africa the poorer. 

Whether we speak of nurses leaving to work in California or England, or teachers who can no longer tolerate the violent abuse, or the many talented, and skilled farmers who have over generations built up a intimate knowledge of the soil types, rainfall patterns, seasonal vagaries, insect pests, weeds and the measures to control them on the land they have often cultivated from virgin bush; each one that leaves is sorely missed by those who remain. 

The countries they go and settle in, and raise their children in, will never be African - but will enjoy the contribution they make.

Racial and ethnic diversity has been a blessing in Africa - not the curse it is presently claimed to be by those with self serving autocratic tendencies.  The evidence abounds - simply look back apon the past forty years at those African countries which have expelled peoples of different ethnic backgrounds and form your own opinion.  Which among them became resounding successes after expelling those with the "wrong" ethnic backgrounds?

May we all become more tolerant and recognise that we need one another.
LAND (The non issue)
April 2000
Comment prior to the parliamentary elections
The so-called land issue really should not even be considered as an issue as it is a by-product of the negative implications of non-existent economic policy.  By going back to basics, we can see a clear vision of what our Country's problems really are.  Land has been made an emotional issue through twenty years of brow beating to the extent that bonafide citizens of this Country have been classified as criminals and are even beginning to believe it.
The Helen Suzman Foundation clearly has shown, through its opinion polls, that well over 80% of rural people do not consider land as a major issue. Yet, how many of us are convinced otherwise including policy makers and campaign strategists of the MDC.  We are falling into a trap that has been set by Zanu!  We know that 90+% of rural high school leavers have no intention of remaining with their parents but intend to seek employment in the cities.  Their very education, and quality of it, adds to this conviction.  As we know the youth are the future and are also most certainly are the present, in that they are probably the single most important group in terms of giving Zanu the boot in the forth-coming elections.
As an African and being from the plaas, l hope that l qualify in some way in presenting this argument.  Points to consider:
1. As l argued successfully with two UZ professors who produced a book essentially claiming that this Country belongs exclusively to the Shona speaking people, we are all guests in this Country.  The San people are the only group who can claim originality in this part of Africa. The Bantu moved here from the Twelfth Century onwards and subsequently the Amandeble just prior to the white man and the Cape coloureds.  If we really split hairs, the Portuguese came here in 1580 and so it goes on.
2. When sophisticated farming came to this country, it found the heavy soils largely unattended, as they were hard to work.  They happened to be the more fertile.  The vast mass of this country was unoccupied but, where agriculture existed and developed in subsistence areas, they gravitated to the light sandy soils, which were easy to cultivate. The wealthiest soils in Zimbabwe are the poorest!! These are suitable for tobacco.
3. Everywhere in the world it is an absolute minority of people that farm the land on a professional sophisticated basis.  This is simply the case because overseas, the owner does the farming plus handful of labourers if he is lucky.  Only 14% of Australians "live on the land" - owners, their workers and families.  In Africa (Zimbabwe) this is vastly different.  The owners are very small in number but they, their workers and families constitute over 20% of the country's population.
4. As regards land area, the sophisticated farmer in this country owns only 20.6% of the total land area and, whilst the majority may be "white" there are many coloureds, Asians and also blacks not to mention the seven thousand Bantu people who farm commercially on a smaller scale basis. They are large scale farmers and can only succeed economically by having large operations.
5. The land mass of this country is never to increase and it is a finite resource.  We cannot go on indefinitely reclaiming commercial land for peasant agriculture based on the fallacy of believing that population pressure will demand it.  Firstly we know that land is not the issue but the economy and the jobs and wealth that it should provide. Secondly Zimbabwe probably has one and a half million people less than officially acknowledged and next year we are believed to reach a negative population growth rate due to the scourge of Aids.
6. One hectare of roses employs thirty people and Zimbabwe now has more green housing than Holland.  Does a one-hectare or twenty hectares "rose factory" constitute a farm?  Where is the dividing line between factory production and farming production?  What about dairies as milk factories?  When does a peri-urban plot become a farm and vulnerable to acquisition? Do these very points not illustrate the fallacy yet again of this land issue argument?
7. It should be noted at this point that the average farm worker earns three times the income of a communal farmer.
8. For some peculiar reason, foreign landholders almost head the queue when it comes to seeking areas for resettlement! The Dutch have invested millions in our horticultural industry and have lent us technology that has employed tens of thousands of Zimbabweans and which earns us huge amounts of forex (10 - 16 billion a year).  In addition, we have those that have invested in hunting and safari operations, which very easily merge into the hospitality industry (lodges).  Where is the dividing line to give justification to those who wish to take land?  Will we not be taking from those who are employed in these labour intensive industries and giving to those who really constitute people of middle age who actually have traditional land in communal areas.  Zanu's existing policy actually encourages economic migrants and investors in our agriculture.  These people strongly support democracy and are some of the most generous donors towards bringing the reality to fruition.
9. Foreign investment is encouraged in all industries but is it to be outlawed or be discouraged in industries that happen to bear the unfortunate label of "farming".  Is this not hypocrisy?
10. Are we not witnessing the targeting of a group of productive professional people who, in actual fact, are the front line in defending a viable economy and a prosperous people, as well as a front line in confronting the onslaught of an evil and greedy regime?
11. More than 70% of all commercial farms have changed hands since 1980 and not only that, but under the hostile and racist gaze of a Government.  This is surely, under these extraordinary circumstances, one of the most profound gestures of commitment to and patriotism for our Country.  These new owners are often university educated and have made a new start in what they thought was a new country excepting that their investment and dedication would be within the constraints of a nationalist mentality Government
12. When l worked for the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, our members were devoted, along with ADF, Conex and others, to promoting wise land use with the peasants.  This country proudly was heralded as the best conserved in the world and any flight over the former TTLs would vindicate this by the mass of contoured lands.  Master Farmers abounded and productivity rose.  Irrigation schemes were set up in each tribal area with a view to feeding the whole population in the event of drought.  Farmers and ADF arranged the use of pedigree bulls and technical extension was on the increase from groundnuts to beef and maize.  The point here is that land mass is not an issue either, but productivity.
13. If you were to read the notes of the NC's (Native Commissioners),  land that was allocated to protect tribal people from the incessant advance of development by miners and farmers. They (NC's) would often ride for hours on horseback to move from one group of huts to the next, running the gauntlet of elephant, buffalo and lion.  The vast percentage of land was not utilised.
14. I participated as one of two surveyors in the very first land settlement scheme (Soti Source, just North of Gutu) and l was witness to the hypocrisy of Zanu right at the very beginning.  We surveyed electricity, water, school sites, arable land etc. and the PC's and Mujiba, along with Gutu Zanu business people, ended up with the land and turned it into a desert in a very short time.  At most, a Badza and a small packet of seed was issued and no infrastructure was ever put in place.
15a. 9 million hectares of land has been acquired (legally) since 1980.  Only 20% has been settled - most in a haphazard way.
15b. 900 commercial farms have been "acquired" and sold or leased under dubious terms to Zanu officials and their friends.  Most farms are now derelict and less than 10% are believed to be even productive.
15c. There are other large areas of State land particularly in the West of the country, which are under utilised.
15d. We have available the vast areas owned by the Cold Storage (CSC) and also ARDA.
15e. Van Hoogenstraten (Zanu supporter) owns nearly one percent of Zimbabwe's land.
Why do we need land for the "landless"(jobless)?
16. Between 45 and 50% of all forex is earned by 20% of our    landmass - large-scale commercial farming.  This same business is the largest single employer in the country.
17. We ask why all of the above and really it boils down to the fact that if you are a "white" African and are not associated with the ruling regime, you have no legitimacy!  It is largely racial and a question of the greedy endeavouring to get their hands on one of the most efficient and productive agricultural economies in the world.
They are simply either using the wealth that they hope to grab as their reason or politically promote the issue as the "haves" and "haves not" in an attempt to lure votes from the povo.

To answer on the land policy:
1. Every country in the world has a land utilisation policy to enable it to build roads, cities etc.
2. The MDC will acquire land for various uses such as irrigation schemes, eco tourism development (cross border wildlife area/RSA, Zim and Moz) as well as specific agricultural developmental areas.  They will develop commercial agriculture out of peasant subsistence and additional land may be required for that.  This should be together with education and extension to ensure that productivity does not suffer.  All sectors of society, irrespective of race, must b encouraged to take up farming as a business.
3. The MDC will adopt land title as a corner stone of its policy which will at the same time depoliticise land altogether.  Title will ensure that intensive development will take place in the over 23 million hectares of communal and resettlement land.  Ncube or Chikwayi will be able to borrow three hundred thousand dollars, put down a borehole and install a small irrigation scheme and employ labour as a result.  In the local business centre he will require the services of a light engineering works, electricians, plumbers, suppliers of seed and fertilizer and so on.  This will create wealth on a wide scale and ensure that this vast swathe of land becomes productive to the point where it no longer subsists, but a cash economy flourishes that earns forex and employs others in the area.  These two gentlemen can then purchase other title deeds and expand.  They in turn will attract investment from established commercial farmers and outside interests and so on.
The original commercial farming sector will be encouraged to expand their contact with previously communal farmers, extend the field days and extension work and, as a result, community relations will improve not to mention race/tribal relations - Wealth creation not land occupation
In other words, it is not about land mass and land area, but about productivity and wealth creation.  The present population density of the communal areas is only 30 souls per square kilometre vs. 20 per square kilometre in commercial farms!
Can you imagine highly organised structures (kibbutz like) where neat and tidy community centres are built with infrastructure alongside irrigation schemes, designated arable lands and fenced grazing areas. Will there be a need for more land?  NO.  We have the means and the capacity to create wealth amongst those that remain rural probably largely as traditional homes and then industrialize for the educated majority.
4. With industrialization for which this country has enormous potential when we look at the incredible mineral, agricultural and human resources the urban drift will be accommodated.  Just look at agriculture and you have tanneries, meat works, jam factories, textile mills, shoe manufactures, cigarette manufactures and tobacco processing and so on and so on.  This is before we even begin to consider the enormity of the potential in other industrial areas.  The excess "labour pool" emanating from rural schools and institutions will be accommodated.  This is a fantastic resource being wasted.  Go back to the Rhodesian days when there was no "land pressure" as at Christmas time the Foreman would ask his workers to please bring their brothers and cousins as we are short of workers.  We had to cross our borders and ended up with hundreds of thousands of Malawians and Mozambiqueans most of whom have been treated as second-class citizens in the country they call their home.
5. If we set guidelines and tax on the basis of productivity (very positive) will not the new commercial farmer fall victim to this policy as he may not have the productive capacity to exonerate himself from this additional tax.
In essence a business is being mad a scapegoat and used as a political football.  We must not fall into the trap of putting these frontline troops in the trenches only to subject them to a firing squad when the battle is won.  These people are a community themselves, they earn 35% of all the country's foreign currency and 40% of GDP and are some of the world's most sophisticated and productive farmers producing the world's finest cotton, tobacco, beef, flowers and vegetables.
They provide employment for around five hundred thousand people; have instituted health education programmes, Aids awareness, technical extension, education, and are a huge buying power for the rest of the economy from coal to machinery and packaging.
No matter what their colour, their farm is their home (they know no other), their profession and their livelihood.
Think about it!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age

Fifth Zimbabwe reporter arrested: report
HARARE, May 11 AFP|Published: Saturday May 11, 6:20 PM

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested another reporter over allegations of
spreading falsehoods, the fifth to be picked up in less than two weeks,
local newspapers reported today.

Brian Mangwende of the independent Daily News was briefly detained yesterday
in the eastern city of Mutare in connection with a story on teachers
allegedly being forced to pay protection fees to war veterans, the Herald

The state-controlled newspaper said that according to Assistant Police
Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena the story was "false and mischievous".

Last week, two Daily News reporters and an American reporter for Britain's
Guardian newspaper were detained over a false story, first published in the
Daily News, in which it was alleged that a woman had been beheaded by
ZANU-PF supporters.

A columnist for the Daily News was also picked up earlier this week in
connection with the same story.

Under recently introduced media laws, the spreading of falsehoods is
punishable by up to two years' imprisonment.

The Daily News said that police had not charged Mangwende.

Several international media organisations this week also carried stories on
the alleged harassment of thousands of teachers by pro-government war
veterans in the run-up to a bitterly contested presidential election in

The story was based on figures provided by a teachers' union in Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Weekly Media Update No.14
April 29th - May 5th 2002

In the week the world media community commemorated World
Press Freedom Day, the event in Zimbabwe was marred by
government's continuing persecution of the privately owned
Press using repressive new legislation designed to silence its
 But it was not just the arrest and detention of three journalists
under the already notorious Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act that contributed to undermining the
free expression ideals of the United Nations-sponsored event.
Equally serious was government's manipulation of a false story
published by The Daily News the previous week (see MMPZ's
weekly update No.13) to discredit the opposition MDC (The
Herald 29/4) and its defence of the restrictive media law
through the selective recollections of Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo (The Herald 4/5) without reference to the
persistent professional misconduct of the media he controls.
The minister's bias and intolerance, and the state media's
subsequent manipulation of the facts, erode the nation's right to
access fair and accurate information and discourage the practice
of professional journalism.
Indeed, it is the public media's slavish dissemination of
inflammatory government propaganda at the expense of any
alternative opinion that has exacerbated hostility and intolerance
within Zimbabwean society and has now poisoned the media
community itself.
It is to be regretted that the greatest casualty of government's
increasingly authoritarian campaign to silence alternative sources
of news and opinion has been the country's media workers -
and the fundamental concept that freedom of expression is an
essential component of a democratic society.

In its news report of World Press Freedom Day, The Herald
(4/5) ignored the public commemoration of the event in favour of
exclusively reproducing the comments of Information Minister,
Jonathan Moyo, from ZTV's Face the Nation programme the
previous evening. Demonstrating its own capacity for lifting
comments from other sources, the paper reported him as saying
"the government believed in a diverse media but would act
against newspapers that peddle falsehoods, insults and
sensationalism". He was also allowed to attack the private
media by accusing it - without challenge - of behaving in a way
that protected "British imperial interests and those of the
The limit to government's tolerance was more clearly spelt out in
the "analysis" section of the same paper where Moyo was again
given exclusive access to denigrate The Daily News and its
editor. He was reported as saying that "Zimbabwe requires a
responsible Press which.should be deployed in the
service and defence of the national agenda," a comment
extracted from the minister's statement published the previous
day. But he was not asked who had set this agenda or what it
might include. Far from being an analysis of media freedom, the
article, headlined Zimbabwe Marks World Press Freedom
Day, was an excuse for the minister to attack the privately
owned daily.
But at least ZTV's main evening news bulletin (3/5 8pm) made
the effort to quote a selection of journalists from across the
political divide agreeing that "there is some degree of Press
freedom" in the country.
The same story also inadvertently revealed the extent of that
divide when it quoted Herald editor, Pikirai Deketeke saying:
"We have no real problem with the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Bill. Our journalists exist and
respect the laws of the country and we have had no
problems with the law in terms of our journalists being
picked up for fabricating stories and I think there is more
good to the Act than people would want to portray."
His comments revealed how difficult it would be for
Zimbabwean journalists to speak with one voice in matters that
affect their profession.
Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM also carried reports (3/5, 8pm) in
which it was claimed that there was Press freedom in Zimbabwe.

But it was the state media's preoccupation with The Daily
News' story and the arrest of its journalists that dominated the
ZTV carried about eight stories in its 8pm bulletins discrediting
the Daily News. In one of them ZTV and 3FM (30/04, 8pm)
claimed "Newsnet investigations have revealed shocking
connivance between MDC and the privately owned Daily
News". ZBC then allowed diplomatic correspondent Judith
Makwanya to provide the evidence herself when she concluded:
"The Daily News instead chose to rely on information
supplied by the opposition MDC thereby confirming the
strong connection between the two in their quest to
discredit the Zimbabwean government and enhance a
foreign agenda."
The arrests of The Daily News journalists were mentioned at
the tail-end of the report giving the impression that the state was
justified in arresting the scribes. Radio Zimbabwe carried a
similar report the following day (1/05, 7am).
Radio Zimbabwe (30/04) reported the journalists' arrests as the
last item in its 8pm Shona/Ndebele bulletins. The arrest of
Andrew Meldrum was reported on all ZBC stations (1/05, 1pm,
6 and 8pm). 
ZBC's denigration of the privately owned daily extended to
ZTV's current affairs programmes, Media Watch (29/04, 9pm)
and Behind the Camera (1/05, 9pm), billed as an investigative
programme, but which in this case, merely reinforced
Makwanya's claims by comparing The Daily News with ZANU
PF's mouthpiece, The People's Voice, a point reiterated by
Moyo during ZTV's Face the Nation (3/05, 6.30 pm).
Minister Moyo described the arrested journalists as "fiction
journalists" (ZTV, 1/05, 8pm) and went on to justify their
arrest by convicting them.
"This is really police doing their work in the usual
manner - cracking down on criminals not on journalists.
Whether they call themselves journalists, whether they are
editors, reporters, Americans or anyone else, they will be
held accountable. That is what the rule of law means. We
have to crack down on lawlessness" Moyo said unchallenged.
Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM (1/05, 8pm) also carried the report.

At the beginning of the week, The Daily News (29/4) carried a
comment hailing a Chegutu magistrate's decision to jail a ZANU
PF supporter for burning copies of The Daily News, The
Financial Gazette, The Sunday Times and The Zimbabwe
Independent, describing it as a blow in defence of Press
freedom. The paper noted that numerous other cases, in which
the private Press' publications had been illegally 'banned' over
the last two years, had gone unpunished.
But the world is watching. The Daily News (4/5) and The
Standard (5/5) published a statement issued by the US-based
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) describing Zimbabwe as
one of the "world's worst places to be a journalist."
According to the report, government has detained more than 50
journalists in the last two years.
SW Radio Africa (03/05) quoted international organizations, the
World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the New York
based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) who both raised
concerns over the media situation in Zimbabwe.
The Standard also quoted the Media Institute of Southern
Africa as saying Zimbabwe leads in the number of media alerts
in the countries where it operates; an indication of the level of
media intolerance and persecution by the authorities.
Since the beginning of the year 18 media workers have been
arrested, mainly for allegedly contravening the new media law or
the equally repressive Public Order and Security Act, all of them
from the independent media community.
According to The Zimbabwe Independent (3/5), a lawyer
representing the local correspondent for the London based
Guardian newspaper, Andrew Meldrum, employed
government's selective application of the Access to Information
Act as a defence outline.
MMPZ notes that not a single journalist from the state media has
been arrested under the two laws despite the fact that they have
also been guilty of disseminating damaging and unsubstantiated
allegations in the form of fact.
For example, the day before The Daily News published its false
story about the murdered woman, The Chronicle (22/4)
published extremely serious but unsubstantiated allegations that
Rwandan trained MDC "terrorists" were planning a major
bombing offensive in Harare and Bulawayo "to invoke civil
unrest and pave the way for military intervention by
Britain and the United States". There was no comment from
the British or the Americans, and although The Chronicle
reported a denial from the MDC the following day, the paper
followed up its claims with more unsubstantiated allegations
implicating the head of the European Union's election observer
mission. The Herald (29/4) reported that the MDC's lawyers
had asked the police commissioner to investigate whether The
Chronicle's editor had committed a criminal offence under the
new media law "for publishing what they alleged to be a false
story". The story reported that the police were investigating, but
no arrests have been reported, and in an opinion piece later in
the week (2/5), the paper ridiculed the MDC for seeking
redress through a law it had condemned.
The Herald (29/4) also carried a story that the Commonwealth
was considering instituting an inquiry into the conduct of its
election observer mission team. But the story relied solely on the
comments of the director of a political consultancy who also
claimed that the leader of the observer group, General
Abdulsalami Abubakar, had admitted that the final report had
been "doctored". No comment was sought from the
Commonwealth itself, and it was left to The Zimbabwe
Independent to get one. According to the paper, the
Commonwealth's director of communications and public affairs,
Joel Kibazo, specifically dismissed The Herald report as "yet
another false allegation".
Prior to the presidential election the public press ran a series of
unproven and alarmist anthrax conspiracy stories implicating the
MDC. But no anthrax was ever found and no evidence was ever
provided linking them to the MDC. Other entirely
unsubstantiated stories linked the MDC to military training in
Uganda and a major heist in South Africa. Despite the lack of
evidence and the inflammatory nature of the reports, the state
media have made no effort to correct what can only be
described as deliberate attempts to misinform their audiences.

During the week the media reported a new dimension to
government's persecution of The Daily News. This time
Minister Moyo was quoted in The Herald (29/4) ordering
parastatals not to advertise in The Daily News as a result of its
false story. He also promised to amend the Access to
Information Act to prevent them from doing so if necessary. In
The Herald story, Moyo was quoted saying, "As
Government, we cannot continue to allow a situation
whereby the taxpayers' money is used to subsidize endless
attacks on our country. If the parastatals do not stop the
rot on their own, we will ensure that the law assists
them". The Herald report did not question why ZANU PF had
advertised in the same paper during the presidential election
campaign. The minister was afforded an opportunity to mask the
fact that parastatals are accountable to the public and that
advertising is a business decision, not a political one.
In another report on the same issue Moyo threatened to invoke
the Access to Information Act "to bring sanity in the
advertising industry." He said advertisers would not be
accorded special attention at ZBC because the corporation
collected much of its revenue from licence fees rather than from
As has become the norm, ZBC (all stations 29/04, 8pm)
reinforced The Herald story and quoted Moyo questioning why
parastatals were advertising in the private press, particularly The
Daily News. On ZTV he asked: ".Is it acceptable for them
to use funds of the state on a paper that is seeking to
undermine that very same state? .I believe fair-minded,
decent, law abiding Zimbabweans will now say enough is
Just like The Herald, ZBC failed to subject Moyo's remarks to
critical analysis. It was during ZTV's Face the Nation towards
the end of the week that Moyo was asked to explain what he
meant. Moyo reiterated his remarks and stated that they were
not however, a directive as presented by the media.
Moyo also threatened ZBC workers (all stations, 29/04, 8pm)
who refused to toe the line with expulsion.
Separately, The Standard (5/5) reported that a private
television station, Joy TV, ceased operations following the
expiry of its licence and reports of government pressure to drop
the BBC news slot.

A fresh round of increases in the price of basic commodities also
hogged the limelight during the week.
The Daily News (29/4) broke the news of a "new wave" of
price increases, while the public Press delayed reporting the
details until the next day, but provided no explanation or
analysis. That only came later in the week when The Herald
(1/5) tried to blame the increases on "unscrupulous traders,
economic terrorists and others who want to manufacture
economic hardships for political purposes." The publication
also allowed Minister Moyo space to attack the private press
for reporting the hikes instead of using the opportunity to explain
why they were necessary. He was quoted saying, "at no time
has the Government or the ruling party for that matter,
ever advocated a price freeze."
It appeared to be a response to an earlier Daily News story
(29/4) quoting Paddington Japajapa, president of the Zimbabwe
Indigenous Economic Empowerment Organization saying price
controls were only an election campaign gimmick: "Now we
have to face the consequences of some false promises and
those who voted for Zanu PF will concur that they were
dining with masters of deceit".
ZBC failed to announce the latest increases and merely
concentrated on commuter transport fare hikes, a story The
Daily News and The Herald broke in their Tuesday editions.
In its coverage of the fare hikes throughout the week ZBC (like
the public press) quoted the government saying the increases
were illegal. The voice of the operators was initially ignored and
only accorded space on Friday (ZTV, 8pm 3/5 bulletins) after
their meeting with Housing and Local Government Minister
Chombo. There were no clear-cut reasons given for the
increases except piecemeal information solicited from omnibus
Saturday's Herald (4/5) claimed that omnibus operators had
backed down in its lead story, but then contradicted itself by
saying ".a new fare structure for the city would be agreed
on by Monday."

The Media Update is produced and circulated by the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, MMPZ, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra
Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:
Previous reports can be accessed at
Address all correspondence to the Project Coordinator.
Please feel free to circulate this message.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Saturday Star (SA), 11 May

‘Silent diplomacy failed in Zimbabwe’

The government has, for the first time, admitted that its "silent diplomacy" approach to the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe was a failure. Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, addressing a Diakonia Council of Churches breakfast in Durban on Friday, spoke frankly about strong behind-the-scenes attempts to prevail on the Zimbabwean government to stop violence and looting. "We failed. The government of Zimbabwe would not listen to us. We asked them to do something to stop the looting of farms and not to follow the route of lawlessness, but we failed," he said. Lekota disclosed that in spite of undertakings made during several talks between South Africa and Zimbabwe at the height of the crisis, chaos was allowed to reign and the crisis to spiral out of control.

Lekota added that Zimbabwe-style land grabs and lawlessness would not be allowed in this country. "I can assure you that what is happening in Zimbabwe will never happen in this country. We will make sure that it does not happen." "We could have invaded Zimbabwe as some people suggested - but what would that have achieved? Apart from the fact that Zimbabwe is a sovereign country, you must remember what happened to us (at the Commonwealth meeting) in Australia (in 1998)," said Lekota. During the Commonwealth meeting, former president Nelson Mandela condemned what was to be the execution of Ogoni activist and internationally celebrated author Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria by the military government of Sani Abacha. "We suddenly found that we were the only ones who condemned the planned hanging. As a result, we learnt a valuable lesson that, especially in Africa, you cannot act alone because you will find yourself isolated and in a position similar to that of the apartheid government."

"We have now persuaded the government of Zimbabwe to adopt the approach that we did in this country, and have asked them to talk to the opposition. We have also suggested the formation of a government of national unity like we did (following the 1994 elections)," said Lekota. Soon after Lekota's disclosures, ongoing peace talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change all but collapsed after Zanu PF, unhappy with the MDC's claims that the presidential election had been rigged, terminated the talks. SA and Nigeria are still trying to broker peace between them.


S.Africa minister admits Zimbabwe policy failed

JOHANNESBURG, May 11 - South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said
Pretoria's bid to halt neighbouring Zimbabwe's escalating crisis had been a
failure, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported on Saturday.

       ''We failed. The government of Zimbabwe would not listen to us. We
asked them to stop the looting of farms and not to follow the route of
lawlessness, but we failed,'' Lekota was quoted as saying.
       Lekota made the remarks on Friday while addressing church leaders in
the Indian Ocean port city of Durban. Lekota's spokesman, Sam Mkhwanazi,
confirmed the remarks to Reuters.
       South Africa has been criticised for its quiet, backroom handling of
Zimbabwe, which was plunged into crisis more than two years ago with the
invasion of white-owned farms by pro-government supporters.
       President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks and his government's crackdown on the
opposition and media have drawn sharp criticism from the West, which accuses
him of stealing an election two months ago.
       South Africa has not publicly condemned Zimbabwe's government in
strong terms but has instead opted for so-called ''quiet diplomacy'' in an
attempt to resolve the country's crisis, which has dented investor
confidence in the whole region

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe reign of terror extends to animals
Zimbabwe victims include four-legged residents of white farms

Posted: May 11, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Anthony C. LoBaido
© 2002

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Human beings aren't the only victims of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe's famine-inducing policy of land theft and murder. Farm animals also are being terrorized and abused by state-sanctioned bands of henchmen.

Mugabe's men are locking horses in corrals and lighting them on fire, slaughtering rhinos and cutting off one leg of every cow they find and then eating the cattle alive, according to eyewitness reports inside Zimbabwe.

According to these reports, domestic and farm animals are dying horrific deaths because the so-called "war veterans" are using the abuse to warn farmers not to return to their farms after being evicted. Dogs reportedly are being hung alive on hooks from farm gates, and children's pet ponies are having one hoof chopped off to serve as proof of what would happen to the white farmers themselves.

In many cases, farmers have under an hour to leave their properties, thus domestic and farm animals most often are left on the farms in the hope that they can be rescued later. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. Domestic animals are sometimes locked up in the farmhouses, drinking from the toilets and shower drains, and suffering a slow death from starvation. Livestock are left without water and food, and the cows remain unmilked, causing a dreadful, slow death. When the fields are burned, animals are left inside the paddocks, and horses, cows and sheep die in the flames, or worse, suffer terrible burn wounds.

One animal-protection official – who asked that his name not be used because of Mugabe's retribution against those who oppose his tactics – told WorldNetDaily, "Our group became involved in April last year when [Mugabe's] 'squatters' or 'war vets' took over farms. At that stage, we had no idea that the attacks on animals, farmers and their workers would be a regular occurrence," the official explained.

"There were six animals involved in the first farm attack. They were all beaten brutally. A Great Dane bitch and a Ridgeback male did not survive. Mini, a Labrador, and Minstrel, a Ridgeback, made good recoveries, but Bonzo, a Lab, had an eye removed. Black Jack, a Great Dane, suffered the most. He had a fractured skull, perforated ears, eyes and a fractured tibia. He had a 12-inch gash on top of his head. He made remarkable recovery but will be blind for life. This was all recorded by local TV camera people on the scene."

Continued the official, "The attacks began in August. A great number of farmhouses were totally ransacked, destroyed or burnt. The people perpetrating these atrocities have no farming knowledge and no feelings for animals. It is not just domestic animals but horses, sheep, pigs and cattle that are suffering. Many dogs have been abducted, beaten or shot – all very traumatized!"

John Redfern of the Flame Lily Foundation is coordinating the acceptance of donations to help Zimbabwe's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals care for the animals amid the growing crisis in Zimbabwe.

Thus far, the Zimbabwe Pet Rescue Project is seeking to pay vet and fuel bills and buy medical supplies through a company in Zimbabwe that distributes these supplies to the rescue operators.

One South African professional active in the field of animal cruelty told WorldNetDaily, "We have a stupendous amount of animal cruelty, and we have ground to a halt with the ability to raise funds."

Said another South African animal advocate: "We avoid at all costs any political stand, as this would jeopardize our project, so all we can do is ask the media to help publicize what we do in the hope that the community can support us in our endeavor."

Farm animals aren't the only type in jeopardy due to terror in Zimbabwe.

Forty black rhinos are at risk of poaching on Gourlays Ranch, which is a part of the official national strategy for black rhino conservation. Ten black rhinos arrived on Gourlays Ranch in 1987 in a Zimbabwe government attempt to halt the extinction of the species. The animals quickly adapted to their new home on 42,000 acres of natural habitat. They bred at the highest rate of any rhino project on private game farms in the nation.

From 1987 to 2001, only one rhino died – and that was of old age. The herd is rated by some as the best in the country. Zoologists from the Center of Endangered Species at the San Diego Zoo repeatedly visit the ranch to study the animals and to donate funds for their protection.

According to eyewitnesses inside Zimbabwe, in February 2000, supposed Mugabe war veterans invaded the Gourlays Ranch and many other farm properties across the country. They built their huts where they pleased, and the territorial rhinos were forced to live in smaller areas. The reduced habitat causes fighting between the territorial bulls. A bull rhino recently died due to the stressed conditions.

Last week, the war veterans invaded and barricaded the ranch and demanded the eviction of the family who has owned the land for 15 years. They threatened to kill the family and all the employees and burn the buildings unless the owners vacate the property within a week. Over the weekend, they intensified their demands, and the family was forced to move on Saturday.

The residents that remain, the black rhinos, now face death by poaching. The loss of the rhinos on one property, it is thought, would push the species close to extinction status. The gene pool will be extinguished, it is predicted, and as much as 10 percent of the black rhinos in Zimbabwe will die. This after 15 years of conservationists working to get the numbers up to a reasonable level.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Statement by Professor Welshman Ncube, the leader of the MDC delegation to
the Inter-party dialogue
May 10, 2002

The MDC interprets the Zanu PF action as a clear and complete Zanu PF pull
out from the talks. The MDC will meet shortly to work out an appropriate
position and response to this latest development.

For the record, we dismiss as hypocritical nonsense the four reasons
tendered by Zanu PF for their pull out from the talks, which pull out is
surely an insult to Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki whom the
Zanu PF leadership gave its word that they would engage in the dialogue.

Allegation that MDC lawsuit impeded the talks
Zanu PF's allegation that the talks have been impeded by the MDC action of
going to court over the stolen election is hypocritical in two respects.
Firstly, Zanu PF's propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo had the following to say
in the Herald's lead story of 8th of April:
  ".we are ready to dialogue with them (MDC) or anyone else. But if they
have a problem with the election, they know what to do. They should go to
the courts."

This is precisely what we have done and we do not know what Zanu PF's
complaint now is.

Secondly, the leader of the Zanu PF delegation to the inter-party talks,
Patrick Chinamasa said in his opening remarks that Zanu PF treats "the
result of the Presidential election as non-reversible and non-negotiable".
If MDC has gone to court over an issue, that to Zanu PF, is neither
negotiable nor reversible through the talks, in what sense then does the MDC
action affect the talks?

Allegation of inflammatory newspaper advertisements
The newspaper advertisement we placed in the press was not inflammatory at
all as alleged by Zanu Pf. The advertisement merely restated MDC's position
as presented at the opening of the talks and as published in full by Zanu PF
's own propaganda broadsheet, the Herald on April 9. Zanu PF does not
explain precisely what it is that was inflammatory about the MDC
It is in fact Zanu PF that is guilty of violating article 4.2 of the rules
of procedure governing inter-party dialogue, which enjoins participants to
respect the confidentiality of the deliberations. It is a matter of public
knowledge that on 10 April 2002, Zanu PF propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo
appeared on the 8 o'clock television news bulletin, and in clear violation
of the rules of confidentiality, not only divulged confidential information,
but also got carried away and started peddling falsehoods to the effect that
Zanu PF had proposed all but one of the items on the agenda of the talks.

Allegation that the MDC is using the British Government in the dialogue
This is errant nonsense and we have no time for Zanu PF's usual nonsense of
its imaginary MDC/UK relationship. We are not responsible for what the
British Ambassador says. Just as much as we do not consult the British on
our decisions and actions, they also do not consult us on their actions,
decisions and statements. Nothing more need be said of this attempt to
clutch at straws.

Allegation of planting false stories in the media alleging Zanu PF violence
This allegation is without substance. Zanu PF should not seek to
over-exploit the Tadyanemhandu saga as a way of covering up the party's
violent character and its continued incitement of violence and terror
against the people of Zimbabwe lawfully opposed to it.
Here are the statistics. Since January 2002, Zanu PF has slaughtered 47 MDC
supporters and members of the public perceived as such by Zanu PF. Out of
the 47 people that have died at the hands of Zanu PF since January 2002, 15
have been slain in post election retributive violence by Zanu PF militias.

Since the run up to the presidential election we have recorded the
displacement of over 71 000 MDC supporters. The most affected province has
been Mashonaland West which has recorded 26 000 displacements, followed by
Masvingo with 22 000. All the displaced people are now internal refugees in
the land of their birth. Some of the displaced people have had their homes
destroyed completely. Zanu PF militias have destroyed 160 homes since the
staging of the presidential election in March this year. Mashonaland
Central, with 119 destroyed homes, leads in retributive violence that takes
the form of arson.

MDC members of parliament have also not been spared this madness. Sine the
advent of Zanu PF terror, 27 MDC members of parliament, about 48% of the
total MDC population in parliament, have either been kidnapped, assaulted,
tortured, routinely arrested as way of harrassment or have had their homes
or those of their immediate families destroyed.

Violence is therefore on the increase and Zanu Pf should not seek to hide
behind the Tadyanemhandu episode when evidence at hand show that their
militia who are still being kept in terror bases all over the country have
gone berserk against the people.

Professor Welshman Ncube
MDC Secretary General
Back to the Top
Back to Index

National Disaster is Man Made.

Joseph Made is in theory, our Minister of Agriculture. In any sane society
he would be responsible for representing the interests of the farming
industry to his colleagues in the Cabinet and defending the industry to the
general public. Instead he has presided over the wholesale destruction of
the industry which now lies in a shambles and Zimbabwe has gone from being a
net food exporter to the situation today where Mugabe has been forced to
declare a national disaster in an effort to stave off mass starvation.

In the 2000/2001 season Made the Minister declared that he had flown over
the countryside and that in his view there would be a record maize crop. He
went with the president to Malaysia where they duly signed a contract to
supply 2,5 million tonnes of maize over the next three years. Mugabe
trumpeted when they got home that they had sold Malaysia US$800 million
worth of new exports. The actual crop was 1,4 million tonnes - 500 000
tonnes less than consumption. Stocks carried us through and the scene was
set for the next season.

In the 2001/2002 season Made again declared that the new settlers would grow
a record crop - the State pumped Z$15 billion into inputs and new tractors
to plough land for settlers. Made declared there would be no shortages of
key foodstuffs. Experts estimated the crop at just over 1 million tonnes in
a normal season and when the rains simply stopped in December, the maize
crop collapsed and is now estimated at about 400 000 tonnes or 20 per cent
of demand. The problem this time was that when we ran out of maize on the
farms there were no stocks available to cover any shortfall. Because of Made
's statements and the continued denial of any looming problems, no action
was taken to cover the shortfall. The GMB ran out of stock in mid January

Eventually Made was forced to announce that a small import would be
permitted to cover the countries needs until the new crop was reaped - he
estimated 200 000 tonnes were required and the GMB was "instructed" to
import the product. They could not even do that properly - corruption got in
the way and decisions were delayed, the price doubled and when they finally
awarded the tenders there was no foreign exchange. When they partly overcame
that problem maize dribbled into the country at a rate that would only meet
20 per cent of demand. Zanu loudly blamed the resulting shortages on farmers
and businessmen who were "hoarding" maize. The State controlled press played
great attention to "discoveries" of small quantities of maize on farms and
in factories. Even maize purchased from the GMB for normal operations were
"seized" and held up to demonstrate the dastardly acts of economic

The MDC said a year ago that this disaster was coming and urged everyone to
start working on the problem. We pointed out that stocks were dangerously
low and that crop levels were inadequate. We also focused on the logistics
problem if we left it too late and were forced to try and import massive
quantities of food over a run down railway system and an inadequate road
system. We also warned that, as we would not have the foreign exchange to
meet our needs, that we would have to turn to the international community
and as this would take time we should start now (February 2001).

The government ignored our advice. Foreign donors met and decided that the
UNDP would co-ordinate their response but they warned that they needed
government to start saying they needed help. Furthermore, there was little
support for a programme that would be used to entrench Zanu PF in power by
meeting basic needs through Zanu dominated supply channels. Government
refused to play ball and in fact went in the opposite direction - they
banned the NGO's from undertaking humanitarian activities and imposed a
monopoly on the market for wheat and maize and all their derivatives. From
there on all sales of wheat and maize and in theory, the derivatives, had to
go through the state controlled Grain Marketing Board. The objective was
obvious - use food as a political weapon to punish those who were
democratically opposed to Zanu PF and to reward those who supported Zanu PF.
It would also be a means of providing for patronage to key players and there
might even be a chance to make a bob or two on the side.

Now today Mugabe (not Made) has to make a humiliating announcement - we are
out of food and must declare a food emergency. He also said that up to 7
million people urgently needed food aid and 5 million children needed
supplementary feeding to prevent malnutrition and to meet their basic needs.
The early warning system, into which the foreign donor community has poured
money in an effort to avoid just a crisis, has either been silent or has
consistently downplayed the extent of the problem. So has the UNDP and the
World Food Programme. It's a total shambles and the worst thing about this
is that it is too late to prevent a disaster with no clearly defined limits.

It comes at a moment when South Africa has only an adequate crop for its own
needs and some normal exports. But more seriously it comes at a time when we
have to feed a high proportion of the populations of all the countries of
southern Africa on donor funded food imports. This could not have been
predicted but the Zimbabwe situation was totally predictable - not it's full
extent but certainly its timing and the scope of the problem.

It gives us no satisfaction that we were the first to start warning of this
crisis. Now we must work on solutions. What concerns us is that in doing so
the danger is that everyone will go off in a different direction. We need to
ensure that donors work together and set out straight away the ground
rules - what the government has to do to qualify for the truly massive
resources now required (US$500 million in the next 15 months). We need to
pull in the combined resources of the private sector and to use all our
combined capacities to overcome constraints.

Then we need to keep an eye on the horizon - lets not forget the failure of
this government to meet its obligations under the 1998 Land Conference or
the subsequent agreements with agencies of the United Nations and then the
Nigerian brokered Abuja Agreement on the land issue. As a result we have
total chaos in the farming industry, deliberately fostered and driven by a
delinquent administration. As a consequence the winter crops that should be
going into the ground in the next two weeks will in fact not be planted.
Desperate efforts by new "farmers" using looted resources stolen from their
rightful owners cannot be expected to grow these crops successfully. The
land preparations for the 2002/2003-tobacco crop are now so delayed that the
whole crop is under threat. We are laying the foundations of a food crisis
that will run for years rather than a short-term crisis based on failed
weather. Then what about milk, eggs, fruit and oilseeds - all vital parts of
the needs for well balanced diets in a society. All are under threat.

Lets face facts, this crisis is Man Made - by a crazy administration which
if it is left to its devices is going to totally destabilize the whole of
southern Africa - if it has not already done so. If South Africa cannot get
food to its neighbours; the people here will go to South Africa.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 30th April 2002
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Times, South Africa

Poaching crisis in Zimbabwe

Silas Dube: Bulawayo

Hungry supporters of President Robert Mugabe have resorted to poaching
animals in national parks and wildlife conservancies where they have
resettled themselves.

As Zimbabwe's food situation deteriorates because of drought and chaotic
land reform, game ranchers warned that more than Z40-billion (about
R2.2-billion at official rates) in hunting revenue will be lost because of
the chaos in the national parks and game reserves.

High-ranking government officials and army and police personnel have been
implicated in the poaching.

A Conservation Taskforce spokes-man said there had been an alarming increase
in poaching in the main national parks of Hwange and Kariba.

This week animal rights activists started a lobby to isolate the government
in the forthcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(Cites) meeting in November. The activists say their campaign is as a result
of cruel methods, such as wire snares and spears, that are being used to
kill animals such as the endangered black rhino and elephant.

Ranchers said thousands of wild animals were slaughtered for meat during the
independence celebrations last month.

Wally Herbst, chairman of the Wildlife Producers' Association in
Nyamandlovu, said there was a dramatic increase in poaching where vehicles
were used.

He said animals like sable were being killed for meat when they could fetch
up to US3 000 (about Z540 000) in the market. Game ranchers in the region
said up to 70% of their animals had been killed.

Bubiyana conservancy in Matabeleland South has lost close to 30 black
rhinos - some of which were killed for meat and others for their horns.

Wildlife farmers warned that if the situation continued, species such as the
painted dog and the Tsessebe, imported from Namibia, would be extinct by the
end of the year.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Shooting ends Aussie dream
By Chantal Rumble

CHERYL Jones, the 46-year-old Australian shot on her farm in Zimbabwe on Sunday, remained in a critical but stable condition yesterday in hospital in Harare.

Shot in the arm and the abdomen at her farm gates by an unknown assailant wielding a .303 rifle, Ms Jones managed to drive 5km to her homestead where her friend and her 13-year-old son Callum were waiting.

She was immediately taken to hospital and placed on a respirator in intensive care.

For Ms Jones, the shooting represented the brutal end of her African dream.

Former English teacher and co-ordinator of Victoria's Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Ms Jones moved to Zambia, Africa, almost 10 years ago with her former husband and children Sally, now 21, and Callum.

According to her younger brother, Ian Stone, she was "unable to sit still" so she set up a financial services company despite having no prior experience in finance.

She moved to Zimbabwe after the failure of her marriage and bought a property at Headland, 150km east of Harare, and made it her home.

Mr Stone described his sister as "a passionate and powerful woman". Ms Jones built her homestead and single-handedly set up a thriving farm, employing dozens of locals to whom she also provided health and education services.

Early last year, however, Ms Jones and her daughter -- who lived in London -- were confronted on the property by a group of men carrying machetes, but managed to escape unscathed.

Despite the danger, she was determined to stay in Zimbabwe, but late last year she was told her property would be seized under President Robert Mugabe's controversial land ownership policy.

The Australian

Back to the Top
Back to Index

My night in Mugabe's stinking jail

Andrew Meldrum, The Observer's correspondent in Harare, tells of his fear and revulsion after he was arrested for being a journalist

Observer Worldview

Sunday May 12, 2002
The Observer

My stomach lurched as the jail guard ordered: 'Take off your shoes and socks, your belt and watch. Take off your shirt or your jersey because you are only allowed one top item of clothing in the cells.'

Soon the bars clanked behind me and I numbly entered the chilly jail cells of Harare Central, Zimbabwe, barefoot and shirtless, but with my sweater.

Harare Central's cells are small, with three concrete bunks on one side. A few guys sat as far as possible from the stinking hole in the floor that was our toilet. It was unimaginably smelly, cramped and miserable.

'Psssst! Come over here,' said a lively young man. It was Collin Chiwanza, a Daily News reporter who had been jailed the day before. I was delighted to see him and fellow journalist Lloyd Mudiwa. They showed me the ropes and shared the food supporters had brought.

'We've got a blanket which can keep us all warm,' Collin said. I looked at the dirty rag and smelt urine. Lloyd said it had bugs and showed little bites on his body. I vowed never to use that blanket, but before long I had my freezing feet stuck into it. By that night I had snuggled under it.

We huddled together and talked about our arrests, what would happen to us, journalism in Zimbabwe and, as the hours drew on, everything under the sun.

Outgoing and chatty, Collin told us how he worked as a teacher then began writing articles for newspapers. He described his wife and baby daughter. Lloyd and I also told stories and we made silly jokes. Our camaraderie helped to pass the time and lifted our spirits.

Night was the most difficult time. It was cold and I couldn't sleep. I went to the 'toilet' and cringed as my feet felt the sticky floor. The walls, the dark and the stench made me claustrophobic. I wanted to shout: 'Let me out!' But I pulled myself together, realising I could drive myself crazy but it wouldn't help matters. I just had to endure it. I clambered back under the blanket with Collin and Lloyd and tried to sleep.

In the morning the guards told us to come with them. We excitedly pulled on our socks and shoes and put on our watches and all our clothes. We became giddy at the thought of climbing the stairs and seeing blue sky through a window.

But our happiness was dashed when we arrived at the magistrates' court and were taken to basement cells. We each had to wear a single handcuff, and, with nearly 30 other prisoners, were ordered on to a narrow, steep staircase. The doors, behind us and at the bottom of the stairs, were locked. We waited for two hours to appear in court. One prisoner relieved himself at the top of the stairs. I concentrated on the little sliver of window and could hear a bird chirping.

Lloyd began acting as a jailhouse lawyer, advising inmates on what they should do. Many had been arrested for stealing food, some were charged with swindling money in a real estate scam. Several guys were in for burglaries. I asked a burly fellow what he was in for and he said the police were waiting for the post-mortem. I gulped.

Big graffiti scrawled on the walls asked: 'Where is our CONSTITUTION?'

Eventually we appeared in court. The charges against Collin were dropped as he had not written a word of the story in question. Lloyd and I were released without bail pending trial.

Eight journalists have been charged with criminal offences since the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act became law in March.

'This is police doing their work in the usual manner - cracking down on criminals, not on journalists,' said Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, commenting on our arrests on state television. 'Whether they call themselves journalists, whether they are editors, reporters, Americans or anyone else, they will be held accountable. That is what the rule of law means. We have to crack down on lawlessness.'

Since my release I have revelled in my new-found freedom. I have had several hot baths. I love looking up at the sky and walking outside. But long after the smell and dirt of jail have faded, I still have a sense of unease. Zimbabwe no longer seems like a land of liberation to me. It feels like a jail.

Back to the Top
Back to Index