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

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In the Eye of the Storm

If you have ever been in a real hurricane, the eerie feeling when a sudden silence and quiet descends in the midst of it all can be quite disconcerting. Sometimes it feels a bit like that here. The economy is spiraling downwards (minus 12 per cent this year – the third year in a row of declines in total output), food stocks are zero and we will shortly face famine for the first time in our history. The political crisis intensifies every day with threats and worse from the government against all its perceived enemies – the private press, the opposition, the independent businessperson. Even a death threat against yourself from the military.

If you have had your eyes on the storm all around you, if you suddenly find yourself in the center of it all and there is peace and quiet, its seems unreal. But is it? This past weekend I had to make up a double bunker bed for a grandchild. My son and his wife are expecting their third child and a bedroom had to be vacated to make way for the new baby. The two girls they already have are moving in together and a bed was needed.

I had cut a large Cyprus tree down in the garden a year ago and put that through a local sawmill, dried the timber myself and then had a local co-operative make up several items for the house. The double decked bed was one of those items. The timber was hard and smooth and has made three items for the family that will last a lifetime. We took the bed up to Harare and when there the family went out for a picnic in the local botanical gardens. It was a beautiful day – clear blue skies, cool and the gardens were in prime condition. We romped with the kids and had a wonderful meal together.

There is something very special about a grand daughter. I think these two are the cutest little things this side of Philadelphia. It’s all about family and belonging to each other. Lying on the grass with the two kids astride my chest, you really wonder is this the center of a storm, which will engulf us all in a short while? Or is it a part of the storm that we can all enjoy for a short interlude before we go back into the fight to stay alive and to ensure they have a future free of the fear that we have had to live under for the past three years. Life in Zimbabwe is not all violence and hunger and many of us do live in the center of the storm that rages about us – largely unaffected and enjoying very normal lives with family and friends.

We had some late rain the other day – 110 mm in this part of the world, which is normally very dry. This triggered a flush of late season grass growth, which the cattle and wild life are now enjoying. The impact on the garden was spectacular and the Msasa trees have had an early flush of new leaves. Just after the rains I was driving back to Bulawayo from the Lowveld and the storm was just receding. It was about 5 in the afternoon and the sun shone through the clouds, bathing the whole veld with that very special light at the end of the day in Africa. I thought, this is what it is going to be like when this storm is over – cool, clear skies, a vista where you can see forever across the empty bushveld and the promise of green grass for the winter.

For many living here, sometimes we lose our perspective while the storm rages. All we see is the rushing wind, the trees bending and the rain pouring down. Storms are necessary, or we could not live and grow what we need. They also come to an end and then we have that smell of the freshly watered soil and the promise of better days with sunshine. It is vital we do not lose that perspective, because its always true and we can depend on time delivering that experience to us – just like the joy of having grand children who think its fun to sit on your chest in the sun.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 22 May 2002

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Hi Karen
I wondered whether you could put this transcript of a radio programme that was recently aired on SAFM (radio station in South Africa) on your web site - it is quite long but is very interesting.  The presenter is a person called Patricia Glyn - the programme 'Patricia's People' and in the programme she is interviewing Meryl Harrison from the Zimbabwe SPCAs. 

Transcript of :  "Patricia's People"
Broadcast on SAfm : 16-May-2002 Presented by:  Patricia Glyn Transcript Title :  Transcript of "Patricia's People"
Guests/Reviewers * Meryl Harrison PATRICIA:
Hello from PG.  I'm glad you could join me today because I think you'll find my guest quite awe-inspiring.  Meryl Harrison has been on the programme before, talking about the work she does for the Zimbabwe SPCA, but it was brief and I got many requests for more news of her activities.  Well, she's just been here in Johannesburg to judge a couple of dog competitions, so I spent a morning in her company, hearing about the difficult and dangerous things she does to rescue animals from that country's invaded farms and rural areas.  But before we roll tape, could I ask you please to have pen and paper ready for the end of the programme when I'll give details once again of SAfm's efforts to raise funds for Meryl and her team through the Blue Cross Challenge in August.  We really need your help in this so, as I say, pens to the ready.  But first - the first question I put to Meryl, which was to ask her to please describe the emotional cost of doing what she's been doing for the past two years .  .  .
I must admit I'd be lying if I didn't say I haven't been affected by the work I've been doing.  Last week, before I went to Guruve, I got up, got into my uniform and sat on the end of the bed, and thought, "I cannot face another farm, another day of tense negotiations."
And also for the two black inspectors who come with me, it's taken its toll on them too.  I notice when we...  We've got it down to a fine art now: we know what job we have to do.  On the way out there we're always very quiet.  We don't talk.  But on the way back, when we've got the animals in the back of the truck, we're chatting away and perhaps joking about some of the things that have happened.  But as far as...  Yes, it's taken its toll on me.  I'm sure I'm more intolerant of people; I'm more ratty.  And more tearful, definitely.
You've just had an angina attack.  Is that related to your work?  It must be.
Well, my doctor said t o me the worst thing for tachycardia (sp?) was stress, and I noticed that on my notes she'd put down "Stress +++"
so I think that says it all.  [WITH A LITTLE LAUGH] PATRICIA:
Why are you alone in doing this work for the SPCA up there?
Well, I have to say it's quite a specialised job.
It's something we've only been doing for about 18 months.  It was when I first saw the first footage of those dogs that were beaten at Redulphia (sp?)
Farm over a year ago, and I thought there must be a role for the SPCA somewhere in this nightmare.  And I don't know that any other SPCA has handled this sort of thing, so there were no reference books or manuals on how to rescue animals from a farm that's been invaded.
So we literally flew by the seat of our pants to start with.  We made a few mistakes, I'm sure.  But gradually, with each rescue, I think we're becoming more efficient.  We know the sort of things that will upset the war vets.  We always liaise with the police; we always have an escort - even though they say there's actually no problem there, we still take a police escort.  We always let the war vets on the ground know what we're all about, what we're doing there.  So we set certain parameters as we go along.
And there's no doubt about it: the black inspectors who come with me do get intimidated, and I tend to find myself having to do most of the talking.
But Zimbabwe's quite a big country.  Are you on the road for like eight hours, rescuing pets, driving home and then getting into the car the next day and doing another six hours?  What is a day like for you?
Well, that's roughly how it goes.  We're doing about two to three a week, and most of them - in fact, 99% of them - have been in Mashonaland West, Central and East.  Some of them are getting closer to Harare.  We did one recently on a flower farm which was only 20km from Harare.  But the two that we did the day before were Guruve, which took us over two hours to get there.  Now, once you've got there, you then have to start dealing with the police, and that can take twenty minutes or it can take us over two hours to get a police escort.  Then getting to the farm...  Once you arrive, you have to negotiate with the war vets on the ground.
What does that entail?
First of all, you have to see the base commander, and very often they're not around.  And the others - the war vets and the settlers
- dare not make any decisions about letting you on until the base commander comes.  So invariably you have to - as we did last week - lean on a tractor tyre and while away the hours.  And then, in the case of this particular farm, we had to wait for 'the book' - which is where usually I have to write up what I'm doing there, give my telephone number...  Most of the war vets in Zimbabwe have my cell-phone number now!  [BOTH LAUGH A LITTLE] So one rescue can take the best part of the day.  And in that case we still had another farm to go to for two cats.
Are some of them very scary, these negotiations?  Are you threatened a lot?
Not necessarily during the negotiations.  In one case in particular
- which has been in the press, it was Waltendale Farm, owned by the Cartwright family - initially when we got to the main gate - we had the police with us - we got in on the explanation that we'd come to get the six dogs and two cats which had been at the house for a week.  But once we got up to the son's house and I used the buzzer for his gate to open, then they were very upset.
Where had I got the buzzer from?  - And I said, "Well, the farmer brought it to the SPCA."  And the response was, "Oh, you're a friend of the farmer's."  And this always creates problems.  I was accused that day of being Cartwright's sister.
So it's always tension if we have the keys, and on this particular occasion we got the dogs out.  We had them in the back of the truck and were about to leave and a huge crowd came up the road, which included the Chairman of the Land Committee - we usually have to see them as well - and also the local MP for Marondera West.  And he demanded that I hand over the keys of the house because he wanted to occupy it that day.  I obviously resisted for as long as I could, and then they had locked us in and would not open the gates, and then they had said in Shona - which I didn't understand at the time
- that I would be assaulted if I didn't hand them over.
So you can imagine how I felt driving back to Harare, thinking "How on earth am I going to tell these people I've handed the keys of their house over?"  But they were extremely nice about it.  And, as they said, if they want to get into a house to loot it, they can; they don't have to have the keys.  So keys are always a problem.
Before we get to the kind of thing you've seen on the animal front, it must be very eerie, surely, to go into people's farms and homes which have been long vacated.
It's very eerie and also depressing.  You walk through people's houses and their whole lives are trampled and squashed and smashed on the floor, from squashed Christmas decorations to smashed photographs of graduations or weddings or whatever.
And also the farm compounds are so depressing.  On many farms we've been to they are just eerily quiet.  Maybe just a couple of chickens left behind.  Doors swinging open.  No fires burning.  As you approach the farm very often you will see the farm workers - and in the case of the Careys' farm in Merondera the farm workers were all sitting at the side of the road in the pouring rain, with all their belongings, being kicked off by war veterans, and they have nowhere to go.
And the dogs and the cats?  Have they been left in the houses for weeks on end in some cases?
Yes.  The longest we had was Buddy, a Boerbull cross, and Tokolosh, the 18-year-old cat.  They had been in the house for
18 days.  We went in expecting to find especially the dog dead, and when I got into the house we could hear Buddy barking from the bedroom, and the war vet said to me, "It's a miracle, it's a miracle!"
She'd been drinking from the toilet and had very cleverly also torn a bag of dog-meal open.  So the two of them had survived that way.  But that was the longest.
Have a lot of them been the victims of cruelty and beatings from the war vets?
Yes.  Probably one of the worst was Nandy, who we rescued, a little Australian blue-heeler, a very precious little dog to all of us.  I found her in the shower of a house that had been looted, ransacked and burnt.  She'd been looted along with all the household goods but, being a bright little girl, two days later she made her way back to the house.  And she must have been devastated, because obviously the family had gone, all the possessions had gone, and so she curled herself up in the shower.  I walked into the house and just stuck my head around the shower - there was no door or curtain or anything, and they had lifted up a lot of the tiles - and there was Nandy lying there, absolutely traumatised out of her wits.  Her jaw was broken.  The vet who treated her said there wasn't an inch of her body that hadn't been bruised.  But she's an amazing little dog and she pulled through.
It can't be easy to catch cats when you've got screaming mobs behind you.  Is it?
No, cats are a major problem.  [WITH A LAUGH] One of the funniest incidents was a cat called Tigger who had been on his own without company and without food for about six days.  I thought, "Oh, he'll be so pleased to see me."  And he was sitting up in the rafters, and I called him, and he was kneading away and purring his head off, and he wouldn't come down.  So I stood on a chair and got a fish we'd taken with us and I was waving this at him, and he just carried on purring and kneading away.  And then I put a trail of fish across the floor - up to where I was sitting with the cage - and it took us about an hour to catch him.  But eventually he decided, "Okay, I've had enough", and probably thought it was getting a bit boring!  But cats are a major problem.  And one thing we've learnt is that if there are dogs and cats to get we go in and try and catch the cats first.
We're talking today to Meryl Harrison, Zimbabwe SPCA's amazing animal rescuer.  Meryl, can we talk a little bit about livestock?  I think I'm right in saying your lowest day in the last
18 months has been with livestock and not with domestic animals.
Yes, Patricia, this was the pigs out at Beatrice, and this was a nightmare in so many ways logistically, because we felt so helpless.  For SPCA to try and move in the region of
800 pigs is just impossible.  I did manage to get the farmer to hire two enormous trucks with trailers.  When we got there the war vets were extremely hostile, and the settlers, and refused.  In the end, to cut a long story short, after hours of negotiating with the police, who were very helpful as well, I then paid them out of my own pocket and they agreed that they would load all the sick ones.  And I thought maybe that would be better, because there were some that were so thin.  So we loaded 84 and then suddenly they said, "That's it.  You're not having any more."  And I said, "But you promised us two trucks and two trailers loads," and they said, "That's it - 84 or nothing."  And you've seen the photographs - unfortunately they were just living skeletons.
Eventually a butcher, who'd taken the first lot of pigs, arranged for another truck to go.  Again they were limited, though, so probably about
50-100 were just left to starve.
Is it not so that some of the living were feeding on the carcasses of the dead?
Yes, very much so.  It was absolutely horrific.  In the end I tried dragging out some of the carcasses but they broke up in your hands, so what I did was just left the living pigs out: at least they could forage around on the grass until we could save them.
It was a horrific sight that I shall probably never forget.
What else have you seen?
We've seen cattle hamstrung.  That has been awful.
We've seen, on one of the farms close to Harare, two dairy calves that had been bludgeoned to death with hammers and just thrown onto the compost heap.  It wasn't as if they were beaten because they wanted them for food.  Last week we had a beef calf which was about eight weeks old.  He was axed nine times in the back and had to be destroyed.
These are some of the horrific sights we've seen.
And horses?
Also horses.  I think a lot of people here in South Africa know about little Merlin, a very special little guy.  We've rescued a lot of animals from this particular farm in Featherstone.
The one problem was the horses.  Again, we needed a substantial horse-box.
Eventually the farmer went in under cover of darkness and managed to get five of his horses out which had been confined to an area with very little grazing - and what there was, a lot of it had been burnt.
And with Merlin, I shot round there first thing in the morning, and he was the most pathetic sight - a little chestnut foal, approximately two months old.  He'd been caught in a snare which had obviously broken off but it had gone right through to the spine on one side and the trachea on the other.  His mother had no milk.  He just stood there - his head hanging down - with absolutely no will to live.
The stallion had been shot with a .22 through the nose.  He's recovering.  But little Melin is out with Thoroughbred Trust now, with Jill Munn (sp?).  He was on three bottles of milk a day but his mother's milk has now come back.  He's charging about like a two-year-old.  He's one of our success stories.
Meryl, we've heard a couple of incidents of people barricading themselves in their houses of late.  I think one was a very elderly couple, and there was another one.  Are you involved in those cases?
Yes, we are.  In fact, all the cases that have drawn the attention of the media with farmers, the SPCA has been involved in.  And in the case of the Baileys, the elderly couple, they realised that their little fox terriers who were barricaded in with them...  Every time they let them out, the settlers hit them with catapults, stones and so on.  So they were having a tough time.  So they got a message to us through their relatives to ask if we would go and uplift them.  They kept the little bitch for company.
The war vets accompanied me down to the house and then they were quite clever...  While I went to the front door to speak to Mrs Bailey they actually went and hid.  I think it was to make sure I didn't pass her anything and she didn't pass me anything.  And she opened the door, undid all the bolts, and she said to me, "Would you come in?"  And I replied, "I don't think we'd better, because we're being watched."  And she said then that they'd been there for 35 days.  I said to her, "Everybody sends their love.
We're all rooting for you."
[AT THIS POINT MERYL BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS] It seems such an inadequate thing to say.  Anyway, we got the dogs off.
But then, unfortunately, Mr Bailey had a fall about four days later and broke his femur, so he was uplifted.
And then the other family that had been barricaded there in West Nicholson: they have 11 Boerbulls, which is a lot of dogs to feed.
We were asked to take food in for the dogs only.  I did offer to uplift some of them but the farmer said no, that as a family they were sticking it out, and the dogs were part of the family.  So we strictly only took in food for the dogs, although obviously it was tempting to put something in for the farmer.  I had to negotiate with the police and the base commander that it would be a one-off because otherwise they said SPCA could be seen to be prolonging his stay, and they want him out.
And after I'd got back to Beit Bridge, Mr Wheeler phoned me and asked when I could bring the next lot, and I had to say "Sorry, that was a one-off."  They've since asked me again if I'd take food in for the dogs and I had to say no.  We have to stick by our word if we're to continue doing this job.  We had a very sticky time on that farm because we were allowed in by one of the war vets who hadn't checked with the base commander - and this is typical of what can go wrong.  When we got to the house we started offloading all the dog food, and this particular war vet said, "No, no, that's far too much.  You can't."  Anyway, we talked, and explained that Boerbulls eat a lot, and he accepted that.
We left the farmhouse and going back down the road the two base commanders leapt out and screamed at the police as much as us, and said we hadn't been given permission.  In the end the police explained what we do - our work, that we work with donkeys and the community - and I ended up dishing out medicines for their goats, their donkeys, their dogs, and dog-biscuits and so on.
And so they had a different perspective of our work.  And I know that if I had to go back to uplift the dogs - not to take food - those base commanders would probably allow us to do so.
Well, is this not going to be a lot of your work in the future?
You've got people now on the land with livestock, but they don't know how to care for them.  Is that not what you're going to be actively doing soon?
I couldn't agree with you more, Patricia.  This is why I believe SPCA has to stay focused.  We've got to keep hanging in there.
Because we're going to be needed more than ever.
And, yes, they've used donkeys, sure.  Draught power is used more than anything else in the communal areas.  There's no tractors.  Even if they were donated tractors they don't have the money for the diesel.  So draught power is what rural farmers use.  And we've got to be there to help them.
There's no doubt about that.  There'll be a whole new breed of people using animals that maybe they don't know how to look after.
What's interesting, in talking to one of the vets in Harare last week, she said she gets a new black dog-owner as a client every day of the week - which is great because most of the dogs that we're re-homing now are to black families, and they're eager to learn the right way to look after them.  So there is hope.  But at the moment things are pretty grim.
Well, I understand that where things are very grim is in the wildlife front.  I get various statistics coming through.  I know this isn't your specific field of expertise but can you give us an idea of what's happening, for instance, with the black rhino at Bubiana.
Well, there has been a slight breakthrough.  I know that recently...
I'm not sure whether it's six or eight armed guards were sent down and those were authorised by Vitalis Chidenga (sp?), who is a good guy.  He's Deputy Director of National Parks, and he went down there for three days, and I believe he summed up the situation and has placed some armed guards there.  So that gives everybody a bit of breathing space.  But that's just a temporary solution.
I've also heard from some of the e-mails I've received that people don't feel they're getting the support they deserve from international conservation bodies.  Is that your impression?
Oh, very much so.  The silence is deafening, it really is.  We can't believe that this total decimation of our wildlife is going on.
Where is everybody?  All the big organisations who are involved with wildlife, they must know - with the Internet these days, everybody must be aware of what's going on.  And we're not able to do much ourselves from within Zimbabwe, so we're looking to everybody else out there to help us, to help the animals.
Well, we discussed this last time; I think people feel slightly guilty supporting animals when the human crisis up there is what it is.  But perhaps it bears repeating that you are absolutely alone in supporting the animals in Zim.
We are the only welfare organisation for animals, and after all there are over 700 for people.  I would like to stress that we haven't just rescued white farmers' animals, we've rescued black farmers' animals as well.  One farmer up in Rushinga - a black farmer - had her smallholding padlocked so she couldn't get in to feed her pigs or even her dogs.  And I'll never forget - unfortunately the same situation - some of the pigs had eaten the others.  But out of the 18 we rescued 6, and the joy on her face when she came into Harare's SPCA and saw her 6 pigs - I think it did our morale a lot of good too.
Now, as you know, some of us are going up to do this mad, ludicrous, abominable Blue Cross Challenge to help you raise funds in August, and I've got my listeners waiting to help you, I know.
But I think we need to know whether we're going to be safe doing that race - 500 km from the lowest to the highest point of the country.  Will we be safe?
Yes, Patricia.  I know Colin Anderson and all the organisers wouldn't dream of even letting you cross the border if they didn't think you'd be safe.  I mean, it's not going through any farmlands.
It's beautiful countryside.  I went for the first three days - I went with the walkers last year.  Well, they toddled down the tarmac
- I went ahead and treated donkeys and waited for them to catch up with me.  It's the most beautiful scenery, and the people are very friendly.  You're not going through any of the 'hot' areas, put it that way.  So it's safe.
That was the voice of Meryl Harrison, Zimbabwe SPCA's brave campaigner.  I'm sure, like me, you are humbled to hear of her efforts to save that beleaguered country's animals, and I hope that with the help of SAfm you'll get involved in raising some much needed money for her.
Now, as we've just discussed, and as I've mentioned on the programme before, along with whomever with come with me I'm going to do the Blue Cross Challenge from the Save River Valley to the summit of Mt Nyangani near Troutbeck, between the 4th and the 17th of August.  We walk or run - guess which I'll be doing!  [LAUGHING] - roughly 50km a day for two weeks, with a couple of rest days in between.  You can either do this 500km light or heavy infantry.  Heavy entails carrying your own backpack.  Again, guess which I'll be doing!  You basically camp at the side of the road each night - and, of course, you need someone to come with you for back-up along the road, to give you your water and so on every 10km, but I'm sure we can share our back-up vehicles and personnel.  Then there's a cycle division:
the cyclists leave a week later, that's on 12th August, but they finish on the same day as us, and most people prefer to do the challenge this way - cycling.  I wonder why!  The cyclists have 5 daily stages and the distances vary between 68km and
158km per day.
Now, I'm told - and I have spoken to many people who've done the Blue Cross - that it's a complete blast, and unparalleled for the camaraderie that characterises it.  You will be safe, as you've just heard, and if there's any sign of trouble then the organisers will cancel the race.  But I think it's wonderful that you're walking or cycling in this marvellous scenery and that you'll also be raising money for the Zim SPCA.
So what I need from you, dearly beloved listener, is the following.
If you want to come and do this with me, would you please phone me on (011) 714-4628 this afternoon, or indeed whenever, but I will be at my desk all of this afternoon.  Also if you know how I can disseminate this information to the major cycling and ultra-distance running clubs of South Africa - because I'm not too au fait with them - could you also please ring me on 714-4628?
Because I have now received all the pamphlets and the information, and can distribute it.  I'm thinking, for instance, of those mad but wonderful people who do the Washie race in the Eastern Cape.
But if you have absolutely no intention whatsoever of doing such a ludicrous thing as walking 500km, please - pretty please - would you sponsor me, or us?  SAfm has set up a bank account at First National Bank in Braamfontein into which you may put your donations.  I'm told you don't have to worry about the branch code number because that is built into the account number these days.  And that account number is 62005421128.  Make your cheques payable to SAfm and do not forget - this is important - to put your name and your telephone number on your deposit slip.  Because if you donate more than a thousand Zim dollars - which is about R104 - you'll be entered, at the end of the race, into a draw which has prizes such as white-water rafting, balloon rides, elephant rides, etc.  Of course, I'm not expecting everyone to donate over R100 at all - every rand counts.  If you didn't get any of this down, try and remember my telephone number, and call me this afternoon, okay?
So much for the animals, but I'd like to share with you the reports I'm getting from the human rights organisations up in Zimbabwe.
They make for scary reading, and I'm trying to get someone to speak about them on this programme.  What's emerging is a pattern now of systematic torture with specifically-designed instruments.  Torture that is probably taught through in-service training to the militia, the youth militia, Zanu-PF supporters, the police, the army...  Lots of beatings, particularly on the soles of the feet, electric shocks, burnings and mock drownings, as well as cases of sexual torture - mostly involving women but there's an increase in the number of men involved also.  And age doesn't seem to protect anyone.  There have been cases of people over 80 years of age.  Latest estimates put the number of farm workers displaced at
75 000, displaced rural people at 69 000, and now some
74% of the population - that's about 12,5 million people - are living below the poverty datum line.
I can point you in several directions - as I have done before - if you want to get involved in any way in easing this humanitarian crisis on our borders, so phone me on Johannesburg
714-4628.  I could go on and on but time is running out.  Meryl talked there about the rhino at Bubiana, but those elsewhere are being poached as I speak, as are thousands and thousands of other wildlife species in Zimbabwe's conservancies, so lobby the wildlife body of your choice.
If you want to read some of the painful and inspiring and poignant stories coming out of Zimbabwe then I can highly recommend a book called 'Voices of Zimbabwe'.  I know a lot of you are readers.  It's 'Voices of Zimbabwe', which is a collection of stories simply told in prose and poetry, and everyone gets to tell his or her story, including war vets, farm invaders, then also commercial farmers, of course; there's an environmentalist, a Catholic priest, a young MDC supporter who was beaten up for his affiliations.
It's all there.
Zanu-PF supporters as well.  'Voices of Zimbabwe' is by three authors but just remember the first, which is Glyn Hunter.  And IBS has copies of the book waiting if you telephone them on Johannesburg
888-1407.  I really got a handle on that crisis by reading what black Zimbabweans have to say in this book, so if you'd like to get that handle too, get hold of it through IBS.
More than ever I thank you for listening today and I look forward to your calls and your input, please, on the Blue Cross Challenge with SAfm.  Good-bye for today from Patricia Glyn.

-------------------- TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:
Apologies for any names that might have been spelt incorrectly but, working from an audio cassette, one does not have access to the printed word, and errors may therefore occur.
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Daily News - Letters

      Moyo's intellectual flip-flop will continue

      5/23/02 9:33:36 AM (GMT +2)

      Allow me to share with you and your paper, the following spell-binding
excerpts from a gripping text on the topic:
      "Decentralisation and Civil Society":

      "The concept of civil society has three definitions: civil society as
free association; civil society as self-organisation; and civil society as
political community.

      Civil society as free association presupposes the existence of free
associations such as political parties, trade unions, non-governmental
organisations, community-based organisations and church groups which can
empirically be shown to be free from the control of the state.

      Civil society as self-organisation exists where the public, or
political community as a whole, is able to organise itself and co-ordinate
its activities without the control of the state.

      Civil society as political community is when the political community
is composed of an ensemble of free associations which have the political and
organisational capacities to co-ordinate their activities and also to
determine or influence the type, sequence and development of state policy

      In the final analysis, the author arrives at the inclusive definition
of civil society as
      . . . a political community capable of accommodating a variety of
individual and associational interests within a pluralist, or at least
multi-centric, social framework in search of a greater common (public)

      Imagine my horror when I discovered the originator of these most
inspiring words, namely - Moyo, JN 1996: From Political Liberalisation to
Democratisation: A Governance Program Strategy to Support Civil Society in
Africa, a paper presented at a Workshop on African Initiative held on 17-21
July, at Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel, Entebbe, cited in Apolo Nsibambi (ed);
1998 Decentralisation and Civil Society in Uganda: The Quest for Good
Governance, Fountain Publishers Ltd, Kampala, pp 7)

      Am I right or am I wrong? Is this the Moyo I think it is? Fortunately,
my disbelief quickly turned to optimism. If this really is the work of our
Moyo, then there is hope for the future. Given his dexterity at "moral and
intellectual flip-flops", we can expect another moral/intellectual
flip-flop, when the time comes. Then Moyo will use his razor-sharp grey
matter, only this time in favour of the civil society he now persecutes with
so much vigour.

      Unfortunately, because we have not yet arrived at that point where
"the political community (is) capable of accommodating a variety of
individual and associational interests within a pluralist . . . framework"
(Moyo 1996), I cannot allow my real name to be made public for fear Moyo's
government might develop an unhealthy interest in me.

      Shocking Discovery
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Daily News - Letters

      History is consistent with the fate of dictators

      5/23/02 9:32:31 AM (GMT +2)

      It is with great sadness that we once again had to witness helplessly
a clear denial of the wish of the people of this country to choose their own
President and secure a better future for Zimbabwe.

      The events of 9 and 11 March must go down as one of the darkest
moments in the history of this country.

      We have witnessed some of the most primitive and brutal methods being
employed by a regime determined to rule over a country yearning for a new
dispensation which could have ushered in a free democratic society with the
promise for a prosperous, united and peaceful country.

      The people of this country showed remarkable courage, patience and
great insight in turning out in their thousands to vote for this new

      Unfortunately, this dream of a new Zimbabwe was cynically dashed by a
heartless and ruthless regime, which has the misguided notion that it owns
the people of Zimbabwe and that it alone can decide how far the people can
go in terms of deciding their future.

      Having failed to fool the people by flooding the State electronic
media with cheap jingles about land, constant bleating about Britain wanting
to recolonise the country, the use of specially trained militia and other
State-sponsored terrorists to harass, torture, abduct and kill ordinary
people, this regime finally struck the last blow to any pretensions to
democratic principles by abducting opposition polling agents at some polling
stations in order to ensure that subversion of normal voting went unchecked.

      The question that one must ask is: Why hold the presidential election
if the government does not believe in giving the people of this country a
choice? The answer must lie in the regime's desire to be accepted by the
international community as a modern civilised government with a seemingly
enlightened and learned retinue of ministers.

      Unfortunately for this regime, most of the civilised world has woken
up to the fact that they have always been shown a facade masking a regime
with a Stone Age mentality.
      The pseudo-intellectuals who are constantly waffling in an attempt to
justify the unjustifiable are really doing a great disservice to the
ordinary people of this country and to the real intellectuals who would like
to use their knowledge and skills to build a better country.

      A lot of people are now casting serious doubts about the academic
claims of some of our so-called doctors and professors. For what most of us
have heard from their mouths is nothing but a show-off and an attempt to
trash everyone else who does not agree with them. This is the very opposite
of a genuinely educated person.

      I have had occasion to rub shoulders with intellectual giants and I
tell you their input in any conversation or discussion was always uplifting,
and yet they were humble enough to know that they do not have all the
answers and they respected other people's point of view.

      No genuine intellectual would establish and sustain a public medium
which churns blatant lies and distortions without allowing other people to
make comments or challenge some of those most ridiculous statements
appearing on our screens.

      What's more, no genuine intellectual could fail to see that no sane
person could swallow the trash that is often spewed from the public-funded

      One good thing to come out of this sad set-up is the realisation that
for people to make positive contributions to society, it is not enough for
them to have paper qualifications.

      They must have love and respect for other people. In addition, they
should be individuals who uphold high moral and ethical principles.

      I fail to find any of these attributes among any of our leaders in the
present government. They have the misguided notion that having some paper
qualifications makes them superior beings capable of manipulating people's
thoughts and denying them the rights accorded to every human being by the
Human Rights Charter of the United Nations.

      They have denied the people the right to craft their own constitution,
which would have placed this country among the most enlightened in the
world. They have shamelessly sown seeds of ethnic hatred and manipulated
every government institution to further their own narrow-minded interests,
resulting in paralysis in the health, education and housing sectors.

      The rights of individuals and the delivery of justice have also not
been spared.

      Sadly for this regime, the people's demands are loud and unequivocal.
They want genuine freedom and full human rights, the rights and freedom
enjoyed by all people in the civilised world. They are not interested in
being governed by an illegitimate and paternalistic regime.

      People want a leadership that has the vision to unite our people in
order to ensure peace, so that the energy of the nation can be directed
towards creating a happy and prosperous society.

      No amount of posturing, deceit or repression is going to extinguish
this burning desire to build this new society.

      History has taught us that in the end the people will triumph, and
those who delight in inflicting pain and suffering on other people will not
escape the fate suffered by other dictators and their supporters. In this
regard history has been consistent.

      Mark my words.

      E Tsungai
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Inside Politics

      Is Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet full?

      Sydney Masamvu
      5/23/02 12:55:44 AM (GMT +2)

      I HAVE been down memory lane this weekend, re-living the period
between December 1997 and February 1998 when Zimbabwe virtually came to a
halt as its people exercised their power through well organised and
effective mass protests over the rising cost of living and the general
misrule by the present regime.
      Spontaneous mass action and food protests organised by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) brought the country to its knees.

      Business virtually came to a standstill countrywide whenever the union
called for protest action as people for once refused to accept nonsense from
the government.

      The spirit in operation during that time was that of resilience and
the year 1998 was indeed the Year of People's Power.

      Never before had I seen so many people resolved to say No to any form
of abuse coming from this regime.

      Even attempts to introduce the War Veterans' Levy were abandoned
midstream by the ruling ZANU PF party as people seethed with anger and
showed that they were in no mood to accept this from President Robert Mugabe
's government.

      To me, in 1998 Zimbabweans reached a point of political maturity that
was amply demonstrated by the mass action of ordinary citizens to register
their displeasure.

      Unfortunately, things have not changed for the better since then. In
fact, life has become even more difficult for the man in the street and
Zimbabweans have been subjected to more misrule and abuse of power by the
present government.

      Unlike in 1998, this time we have just folded our hands and pretended
as if it is business as usual.

      To be honest, the nonsense that we have grown to accept from ZANU PF
and its administration now baffles me.

      One wonders whether Zimbabweans have been reduced to walking zombies.
In fact, it is not too cruel to say it appears as if we have not yet
suffered enough.

      Must we continue to live in abject poverty until somebody evokes the
spirit of 1998 for us to once again say enough is enough?

      Mugabe's weekend declaration that he is determined to crush any form
of political protest from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), though, leaves one question that needs an honest answer.

      Is Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet full?

      Given the history of the man's determination to crush his political
opponents and perceived enemies by whatever means, the answer is a definite

      It is clear that Mugabe's cup of iniquity will only be full after
crushing the MDC by whatever means necessary because that is the nature of
the beast.

      His weekend statement sums it up and the atrocities committed in
Matabeleland in the early 1980s, where thousands of innocent lives were lost
just to bring a handful of so-called dissidents to book, bear testimony to
what Mugabe is capable of doing.

      In his address to ZANU PF youths over the weekend, Mugabe said the MDC
should be warned that his party "comprises people who have gone to the
school of war and peace".

      "They (the MDC) will be dealt with effectively and there won't be any
nonsense about that anymore. If called upon by the demands of the situation
to do something, we will do it effectively," he declared.

      An interesting dimension to the speech was that Mugabe took the
opportunity to thank the service chiefs for the first time over their
infamous statement that they would not have saluted opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai if he had won.

      What is more revealing is the timing of the "thank you" to the service
chiefs and the warning to the MDC and its supporters.

      Can one draw any similarities with the Matabeleland atrocities? Is
Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet full? I am afraid I smell more blood.

      But one of my colleagues has always argued that it is doubtful the
army would mow down half a million people if they were to march to Mugabe's
Munhumutapa offices or his residence and camp there until the ZANU PF leader
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      Wheat stocks to run out in July

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:52:15 AM (GMT +2)

      INCREASED bread consumption driven by maize shortages has left
Zimbabwe with only six weeks' worth of wheat stocks, raising fears of flour
and bread shortages from the beginning of July if the government does not
urgently import 200 000 tonnes of wheat, farmers said this week.

      They said although Zimbabwe last year harvested one of the largest
wheat crops in recent history, enough to last until the next harvest is on
the market in November, demand for the crop had risen from 30 000 to 40 000
tonnes a month because of severe maize shortages.

      The shortages have forced many people, especially in urban areas, to
substitute bread for mealie-meal, a staple food for the majority of

      An official with the Cereal Producers Association this week said
meetings between the organisation and the state-controlled Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) had revealed that Zimbabwe's wheat stocks would run out in six

      Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete said: "The
wheat stocks that we have will take us up to July this year and we need to
import more wheat to cover the period between July and October, when the
next harvest is expected."

      He added: "I am not aware whether the government has started to import
anything yet."

      Farming industry officials said the winter crop being planted at
present would be harvested in October but the crop would only be ready for
consumption one month after harvesting because it had to mature in the

      This would mean that between July and October, Zimbabwe would have no
wheat stocks unless the government imports supplies.

      The imports will have to be secured from Argentina and Australia
because wheat from the United States of America, the largest exporter of the
crop, is more expensive.

      It was not possible this week to ascertain from GMB acting chief
executive Joan Mtukwa whether the parastatal has made arrangements for wheat

      However, farmers said looming wheat shortages would be worsened by the
instability in the agricultural sector caused by the land seizures
spearheaded by ruling ZANU PF supporters and by the government's
controversial fast-track land reform programme.

      Disturbances in the commercial farming sector, which produces 90
percent of Zimbabwe's wheat, have made it difficult for 60 percent of
large-scale producers to plant their crop this year.

      Cloete said the farmers' problems were being compounded by amendments
to the Land Acquisition Act, which were rushed through Parliament three
weeks ago and which allow white farmers only 45 days to cease farming

      The farmers, who face imprisonment or fines for flouting this
legislation, will be confined to their houses for another 45 days before
they leave their properties.

      The CFU president said the amendments meant that wheat farmers could
not plant their crop because the 90-day period stipulated in the legislation
would lapse while their crop was still in the ground.

      He said: "If you plant it (winter crop) now, the 90-day period will be
up while the crop is still in the ground and the farmer will lose
everything. My hope is that the government will come up with a statement on
what the farmer can do because you cannot plant a crop and leave it

      The government insists that farmers resettled under its programme will
this year plant 32 000 hectares of winter wheat, only 8 000 tonnes short of
Zimbabwe's annual wheat demand.

      But commercial farmers, who plant 55 000 hectares of wheat every year,
say this is over optimistic. The newly resettled farmers have only prepared
3 000 hectares of land for wheat.

      Cloete said: "We see some people trying to grow (wheat) but we are not
seeing anything in the region of 30 000 hectares. We have seen only 3 000
hectares of land being prepared by the newly resettled farmers."
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FinGaz - Comment

      Have hard lessons finally been learnt?

      5/23/02 12:32:26 AM (GMT +2)

      IT IS ironic that the Zimbabwe government, after two years of
dithering, has finally decided to act against farm invaders and other unruly
elements who took advantage of its suspension of the rule of law to become a
law unto themselves.

      We welcome the belated crackdown, but it is now a case of too little
too late, with the country having paid dearly in both human and material
terms for a senseless war whose scars will take years to heal, if at all.

      Scores of innocents have been brutally murdered or maimed for life,
hundreds made homeless in their own country and many others subjected to
horrifying forms of torture.

      The nationwide seizure of productive farms has left millions of
Zimbabweans facing starvation in a country which once helped feed most of
southern Africa, and the whole fabric of its agriculture, the economic
locomotive, threatened with collapse.

      The international community upon which the country depended for vital
aid has voted with its feet, infuriated by the violence across the land and
the mayhem which accompanied the farm seizures and the government's own land

      Indeed the international community has gone a step further to impose
sanctions on the Zimbabwean leadership, completing Harare's total isolation
from the rest of the world, with signals flashing on the horizon that much
worse is yet to come.

      It is clear that the sanctions, despite the brave face put on by the
government, are beginning to have a sobering effect if Zimbabwe, whose
finances are in a parlous state just when life-saving international food aid
is needed, is to pull through the latest chapter of its man-made crises.

      If this hard lesson has indeed been learnt - better late than never -
the crackdown on lawlessness must be unrelenting and be seen by all to be
just this and not a window-dressing exercise aimed at postponing the
resolution of a long-running problem.

      Judging by the record of some actions of President Robert Mugabe's
administration in the past, Zimbabweans will this time be following the
clampdown on anarchy with more than just passing interest: they want to see
that Mugabe means real business.

      The crackdown must specifically not spare the senior chefs of the
ruling ZANU PF who took advantage of the nation's turmoil to give themselves
farms wherever they wanted, well after such seizures had officially been

      All who committed crimes of any nature under the guise of this or that
government programme, including the so-called Third Chimurenga, must face
the full force of the law, with the state showing as much zeal and
determination in prosecuting the offenders as it is doing against hapless
scribes accused of false reporting.

      While all this is happening, the government must come to terms with
the nation's anger over the disputed March presidential election.

      Instead of threatening the opposition MDC with tough action over the
vote, Mugabe would do well to cobble up a face-saving political deal which
recognises his deeply compromised position, otherwise more turmoil could
revisit the already troubled land.

      No amount of talking down or wishing off the MDC's grievances will
erase them, not least because most of the world also believes the ballot was

      If it will take a re-run of the presidential ballot to ease the
palpable high tension gripping the country, so be it. It is time Mugabe took
bold and painful decisions for the sake of Zimbabwe.
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      War vets, ZANU PF MPs on list of new farmers

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:20:48 AM (GMT +2)

      SOME of the prominent Zimbabweans allocated prime farming land under
the government's model A2 scheme include:

      War veterans' leaders Joseph Chinotimba (part of Pimento Farm,
Mashonaland Central); Patrick Nyaruwata (Nalire, Mazowe); Mike Moyo
(Mayfield, Masvingo); Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede (Ballineethy,
Mashonaland Central); Electoral Supervisory Commission chairman Mariyawanda
Nzuwa (Stella, Mazowe); retired army commander Solomon Mujuru (Elim and
Alamein in Beatrice); former ZANU PF legislator and member of Women's League
Vivian Mwashita (Watakai); Matabelend South Governor Stephen Nkomo (BEA
Ranch, Beit Bridge/Mwenezi); and Deputy Health Minister David Parirenyatwa
(Rudolphia, Mashonaland East).

      Others are David Chapfika, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mutoko
(The Groove, Goromonzi); the three Chief Charumbiras (Mkwasine, Masvingo);
MP Mzarabani Nobbie Dzinzi (Dendere, Centenary); MP Saviour Kasukuwere (part
of Pimento Park, Mashonaland Central) and Deputy Youth Minister Shuvai
Mahofa (Lothian, Gutu).

      Junior members of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
so-called war collaborators, war veterans and government officials in charge
of the land redistribution exercise have also been allocated some of the
prime farming land under the scheme

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      Harare, UK clash over beef imports

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:16:51 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S Department of Veterinary Services this week dismissed
warnings by British authorities that meat from Zimbabwean cattle that are
over 30 months old may pose a slightly higher risk of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE) than other imported beef sold in that country.

      Vet Services director Stuart Hargreaves said the Food Standards Agency
of United Kingdom (UK), which included Polish and South African beef in its
alert, had no basis for its warning.

      He said Zimbabwean beef was "exceedingly" safe from BSE, or mad cow
disease, which the Department of Vet Services has regularly monitored since

      "We have written to the agency expressing our severe concern about the
basis on which the report was made," Hargreaves told the Financial Gazette.
"We sent information to the European Union in June 2000 for BSE assessment
but to date we have no (information on the) outcome of the assessment."

      In a report last week, the UK's Food Standards Agency said: "Meat from
Polish, Zimbabwean and South African cattle that are over 30 months old may
pose a slightly higher BSE risk than any other legally sold beef.

      "No risk assessments have been carried out in South Africa or
Zimbabwe. The agency is asking the EC (European Commission) to expedite risk
assessments for Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is also raising its concerns
about Polish BSE controls with the Commission."

      The EC has already conducted risk assessments and classified Poland as
likely to present a BSE risk after the country's first BSE case was
confirmed on May 2 2002.

      The agency said although the amount of beef imported from Poland,
South Africa and Zimbabwe was very low, major retailers in the UK were
already acting to protect the public after it held discussions with them.

      There have been no UK imports of beef from Zimbabwe since last August
due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Matabeleland. But UK trade
statistics for 2001 indicate that London imported 41 tonnes of beef from
Poland and 29 tonnes from South Africa.

      It was not possible to establish how much of the beef was from cattle
over 30 months old.

      Meanwhile, veterinary officials from Malaysia and Libya are expected
in Zimbabwe next month to assess the country's meat processing facilities
prior to the introduction of long-awaited beef exports to the two countries.

      Hargreaves said veterinary officials from Libya, who were supposed to
have arrived at the beginning of this month, were now expected in June and
exports to that country, which were expected to kick off in May, would now
begin after the officials' visit.

      He said Libya and Malaysia would become the prime destinations for
Zimbabwe's beef because of stringent entry requirements into European

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      Botswana agency calls for Zim vote re-run

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:12:50 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, known as Ditshwanelo,
has recommended a re-run of Zimbabwe's disputed March presidential election
before the end of the year, citing gross irregularities in the manner the
poll was conducted.

      In a report shown to the Financial Gazette this week, the group -
which monitored the election as part of the southern African
non-governmental organisa-tions' delegation - said the poll officially won
by President Robert Mugabe was not free and fair.

      The Gaborone-based organisation said the ruling ZANU PF and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should immediately enter
into meaningful dialogue to address ongoing human rights violations in
Zimbabwe while the regional and international community came up with dates
for a fresh election.

      "Civil society regional institutions such as SADC (Southern Africa
Development Community), OAU (Organisation of African Unity), the
Commonwealth and the European Union (must) explore the possibility of making
substantial contributions towards the holding of repeat presidential polls
before the end of 2002," Ditshwanelo said in its report.

      "We observed 24 polling stations in three constituencies in the
province of Mashonaland. Ditshwanelo noted that all factors necessary to
facilitate a free and fair election were absent, including the effects of
the numerous and unexpected changes to the electoral laws. These changes
caused much confusion among both the voters and the electoral institutions."

      These changes resulted in voters being turned away from polling
stations because they had gone to the wrong constituency and voters being
denied the right to vote because of a reduction in the number of polling
stations and the registrar-general's delay in implementing a court order to
extend voting hours in Harare and Chitungwiza.

      Ditshwanelo said Zimbabwe's presidential poll was not free and fair
because of the failure by law enforcement agents to impartially apply the
law, the government's refusal to allow civic bodies to engage in voter
education, political violence and intimidation, particularly against MDC
supporters, the prevention of the MDC from campaigning freely and delays in
publishing the supplementary voters' roll.

      The group becomes one of several foreign organisations which have
declared the ballot not free and fair and called for a re-run. ZANU PF has
rejected such calls, saying the vote was legitimate

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Uneasy calm returns to Mash Central

By David Masunda Deputy Editor-in-Chief
5/23/02 12:12:06 AM (GMT +2)

MOUNT DARWIN, Mashonaland Central - The illegal road blocks have largely
gone in Mashonaland Central province, home to ZANU PF's notorious "Border
Brigades" blamed for unleashing extreme terror in rural areas during the
hotly contested March presidential election.

The Financial Gazette over the weekend toured parts of the huge and restive
province, one of the most violent places in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the
presidential election, only to find that the road blocks have disappeared.

And gone with them are the rag-tag armies of former guerillas and party
youths who sealed the province off from the opposition and the private media
and made life hell for visitors unfortunate to get caught at the roadblocks.

Villagers pointed out a spot where the war veterans, the ZANU PF youths and
the "chimbwidos' - young female party supporters - had camped for weeks
before and after the election controversially won by President Robert

Besides the tall tree left standing whose leaves must have provided
much-needed shade in this dry and hot region, nothing much is there to show
what might have happened, good or bad, at the secluded spot in this sparsely
populated part of the province.

The only evidence that there was much life here once, apart from the bruised
tree, is the dusty ground obviously cleared for more space as human beings
jostled with the scraggy vegetation that dares to survive even in such a
hostile environment.

Someone with military experience, however, must have planned the camp. It
was strategically located to allow for the perfect ambush because while a
vehicle's approach can be heard miles away, the driver would not suspect any
danger in such seemingly serene environs.

As during our previous visit to the province, at the height of the war of
attrition between supporters of ZANU PF and those of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, we kept our presence secret and our questioning

The reason was twofold: to protect friendly villagers we came across and our
generous hosts, and to steer clear of trouble from extremely suspicious
village party youths who might become irritated by our probing.

Based from previous experience, it was clear that the villagers now talked
more openly and freely if they did not suspect we were from the "vile"
private media.

We had also planned the trip meticulously. Our cover - were we ever to be
confronted but thankfully that never happened - was to pretend to be
well-heeled Harare business executives out for a weekend drive into the

That paid off because many of the villagers opened up and it became clear
that the war veterans and the party youths had deserted the camps because
either their mission had been completed or hunger was creeping in.

One villager remarked that "who was going to continue feeding them at the
camps when the people themselves are struggling to eke out a living in this
drought season?"

Driving to and from Mount Darwin through Bindura and Mazowe, it is clear
though that the situation on the farms remains as desperate as ever, if not

It is easy to see what farm has been taken over by the so-called "new
farmer" through the government's fast-track land reform programme or
violently confiscated from its white owners by the war veterans, the
landless and senior ZANU PF officials.

One way to tell is to check whether there is much activity at the farm.
Minimum activity or the sign of grass burning, as is popular with
subsistence farmers, is a sure sign that the commercial farmer has left the
property and it is now in the hands of the new settlers.

If one were still in doubt, casual inquiries would be met with the answer
that the farm now belonged to this or that "chef", ZANU PF euphemism for a
Cabinet minister or senior party official.

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      No loot found in Swiss banks

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:11:10 AM (GMT +2)

      SWISS banking officials say they have so far failed to locate any
hidden loot that might belong to blacklisted Zimbabwean government
officials, including President Robert Mugabe.

      A senior official in the Swiss government this week told the Financial
Gazette that while it might still be too early to trace some of the
suspected hidden loot, the Swiss banks were finding it difficult to identify
any money or assets that might belong to the listed Zimbabweans.

      Switzerland joined the 15-nation European Union earlier this year to
slap sanctions on Mugabe and 19 senior members of his ruling ZANU PF after
the veteran Zimbabwean leader was accused of stealing the March presidential

      Mugabe says he won the ballot fairly and has repeatedly said he does
not own even "a cent" outside Zimbabwe nor any foreign properties. He has
challenged the EU to freeze any money they might link to him.

      The Swiss official, speaking from Berne, said the banks were also
checking if there had been any suspicious movements of large amounts that
could have been disguised by the Zimbabweans after the ban was announced.

      Besides Mugabe and almost all his service chiefs, those blacklisted
include Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo,
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe's special adviser Charles

      An EU official this week clarified that the ban on the 20 did not
necessarily extend to their children who might be at European schools or
universities because each host country dealt with these separately.

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      Britain to review Zim humanitarian situation

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:10:31 AM (GMT +2)

      THE British government, which has contributed about 10 million pounds
($800 million) to ease Zimbabwe's food crisis, is to review the country's
worsening humanitarian situation, according to Valerie Amos, junior minister
in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

      Responding to questions in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Amos said
Britain had already contributed six million pounds to United Nations'
agencies for Zimbabwe and last September had injected four million pounds
into a supplementary feeding scheme.

      "The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the World Food
Programme are currently assessing the regional food security situation," she
said. "There will be a conference in Johannesburg in June to consider that.

      "We are concerned about the situation of ordinary people in Zimbabwe
and we shall review the humanitarian position."

      Amos said the British government was also concerned about human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe, political violence, the Zimbabwean government's
treatment of journalists, the economic crisis and its impact on ordinary

      "It has been estimated that about seven million Zimbabweans, about 60
percent of the population, may be dependent on food aid by the end of the
year," she added.

      An official in the United States embassy in Harare this week said
Zimbabwe, which has experienced slow donor response to appeals for food aid,
would in the next few weeks receive 7 500 metric tonnes of fortified corn
and 1 000 tonnes of corn-soya bean mix worth US$5 million ($275 million)
from the American government, which has already contributed US$27 million
($675 million) in food.

      Meanwhile, in response to queries about Zimbabwean government
officials and their spouses being allowed to travel to Europe despite a
European Union ban, Amos said the officials' spouses were not covered by the
smart sanctions.

      "The noble Lord (Blaker) was right to suggest that current EU
sanctions do not apply to spouses and children," Amos said. "The General
Affairs Council (of the EU) will clearly wish to return to that. It will
discuss Zimbabwe at its next meeting in June."

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ZANU PF abandons 'Green Bombers'

Staff Reporter
5/23/02 12:08:45 AM (GMT +2)

THE ruling ZANU PF party has abandoned hundreds of youths it trained to help
President Robert Mugabe secure a controversial sixth term by failing to
absorb them into the army and the police force as promised, it was
established this week.

Graduates from the Border Gezi National Service Training Centre in Mount
Darwin, who spoke to the Financial Gazette in Mazowe at the weekend, said
they were now idle after the presidential election and promises from ZANU PF
of jobs in the security services had vanished.

Most of them speaking on condition they are not named for fear of reprisals,
they accused the ruling party of using them to spearhead its violent
campaign and then dumping them after Mugabe had won.

The youths, trained in bursts of three months each in Mount Darwin and other
centres, said only a handful of their fellow recruits were absorbed into the
national police force.

"We were needed in the run-up to the election but now we are just roaming
the streets and we have not been given the jobs that we were promised at the
beginning," said Joshua Chibururu, one of the "Green Bombers", as the youths
are known in high-density suburbs.

Several others interviewed in and around Mazowe backed his claims.

But David Hurungudo, the national youth service deputy director in the
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, denied that
there had ever been an arrangement to get state jobs for the graduates of
the centres.

"There was no arrangement of that sort. The national youth service programme
is not a recruitment ground for jobs in the security service. Normal
procedures have to be followed when individuals seek employment in those
institutions," Hurungudo said.

He said the youths were merely taught the history of Zimbabwe and its
economic problems to inject a sense of patriotism during their training.

More than 5 000 youths undertook the three-month training course conducted
late last year and just before the election under the government's national
youth service.

Graduates were taught military tactics and political lessons on patriotism
as well the history of Zimbabwe with an emphasis on ZANU PF's leading role
in the 1970s independence war.

Their instructors were drawn mainly from serving and retired senior army and
police officers and former freedom fighters.

The youths were mainly deployed in rural areas and high-density suburbs
throughout Zimbabwe, where they spearheaded ZANU PF's violent campaign
against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Most of the youths in Mashonaland Central, home of the government's national
service programme, complained that they were now idle and left to roam
aimlessly in the streets of Mount Darwin and Mazowe.

Other militias have since appealed to the government for preferential
treatment to get land to farm under the fast-track land reform programme.

Zimbabwe, in its fourth year of a grinding economic recession, has
unemployment of more than 60 percent and nearly 80 percent of its population
lives below the poverty line.

It is understood that the government has also shelved its ambitious plans to
open more national service training camps for youths by next month.

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      Top farms grabbed

      By David Masunda Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      5/23/02 12:01:47 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S ruling elite, including the two vice presidents and
relatives of President Robert Mugabe, has taken over most of the top
commercial farms under the government's fast-track land reforms, it was
established this week.

      A list compiled from the government's own advertisements in the state
media and reports from commercial farmers shows that among those who have
benefited from the model A2 scheme meant to create the new commercial farmer
are Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, army commander Constantine Chiwenga,
director of prisons Paradzayi Zimondi and even broadcaster Reuben Barwe.

      Justice Chidyausiku and three others will share the 895-hectare Estees
Park farm in Mazowe/Concession which sources this week said was already
being pegged and demarcated into four parts.

      Barwe, chief correspondent of state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC), was given the 830-ha Sunnyside Farm in Norton.

      Vice President Joseph Msika has been allocated part of Umguza Block in
Nyamandhlovu that belongs to the state's Cold Storage Company while his
counterpart Simon Muzenda is said to have taken over Chindito and Endama
farms in Gutu.

      Muzenda however is understood to be in "cordial negotiations" with the
farmers to compensate them for their assets reputed to be worth more than
$15 million.

      Mugabe's sister -ZANU PF legislator Sabina Mugabe - plus his
brother-in-law Reward Marufu have also benefited from the model A2
resettlement scheme.

      Zvimba Member of Parliament Sabina Mugabe is the owner of Gowrie Farm
in Norton while Marufu, a brother to First Lady Grace Mugabe, has been given
Leopard Vlei in Glendale, Mashonaland Central.

      Others who have also been allocated land on some of the country's top
farms include Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, his deputy Godwin
Matanga and police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena; war veterans' leaders Joseph
Chinotimba, Mike Moyo, Andy Mhlanga and Patrick Nyaruwata, and governors
Obert Mpofu, Peter Chanetsa and Josaya Hungwe.

      Bvudzijena this week said he had applied for Mabubu Farm in Guruve but
turned it down after its allocation to him was announced in the media
because he preferred the 35- ha farm he had acquired in the meantime at
Koodoo Hill in Banket.

      He admitted he was already chopping down trees at Koodoo because he
was preparing for the summer crop.

      "I did not take up the one I was allocated at Mabubu because I had
already been allocated another plot at Koodoo which I am now preparing for
the summer crop," Bvudzijena told the Financial Gazette.

      Several ministers in Mugabe's Cabinet including Samuel Mumbengegwi,
Sydney Sekeramayi, Herbert Murerwa, Swithun Mombeshora, Elliot Manyika and
Nicholas Goche have also been accorded priority in the allocation of the new

      Security Minister Goche is listed as the new owner of Ceres in
Mashonaland Central; Education's Mumbengegwi got Irvine Farm in Gutu;
Mombeshora (Ormeston, Lions' Den); Sekeramayi (Maganga Estate, Marondera);
Murerwa (Rise Holm, Arcturus) and Manyika (Duiker Flats in Mashonaland

      Among those who have benefited from the fast-track exercise criticised
internationally for lack of transparency is television broadcaster Supa
Mandiwanzira, ZBC's Admire Taderera and scores of former ZANU PF
legislators, senior army officers, ministers' wives and their relatives,
permanent secretaries, diplomats and business people sympathetic to ZANU PF.

      Western nations have refused to back Mugabe's land reforms because
they allege the land redistribution exercise is only benefiting supporters
of the veteran Zimbabwean leader.

      The reforms have been blamed for triggering wanton violence on farms
by veterans of the country's 1970s war of independence and land-hungry
supporters of the governing party, as well severe food shortages which have
left millions of Zimbabweans threatened with starvation.

      About 250 white commercial farmers out of about 4 500 have fled
Zimbabwe since the violent seizures, which have largely gone unpunished,
began in earnest in February 2000.

      Another 250 have been chased off the farms since the March
presidential election despite a government directive that they be allowed 90
days to vacate properties listed for resettlement.

      A spokesman for the Commercial Farmers' Union this week said the union
supported the model A2 land reforms as long as they were legal and above

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      Illegal settlers stay put on Mat farms

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:07:51 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) yesterday said no
illegal settlers had been removed from farms seized in Matabeleland despite
government assurances it was forcibly removing those who occupied farms
after March 31 2001.

      "The invaders are still there," said CFU Matabeleland regional
representative Ben Zeitsman. "We have not received word of them being
removed in Matabeleland.

      "We are keeping our eyes and ears open to see and hear if they are
being removed. So far, there's no change in the entire region."

      The government last week ordered all provincial land committees to
remove illegal occupants of farms seized after the March 31 2001 deadline to
allow farmers to carry out their agricultural activities unhindered.

      More than 12 000 illegal settlers are said to have been removed from
farms in Masvingo in the past two weeks, although other local media reports
have suggested that some of the invaders have defied the order.

      Farmers in Matabeleland this week estimated that about 12 000 illegal
settlers were camped on their properties, although they stressed that they
were still to do a proper survey on the number of the invaders.

      They said no illegal settler had been removed from commercial farms,
including those owned by blacks who the government says it wants to empower
through its land reforms.

      Some invaders are insisting that the government should first identify
alternative properties before sending the police to drive them out of the
land they have occupied.

      The invaders warn of serious clashes with law enforcement agents if
they are hurriedly thrown out of the farms. The government has said all
those being removed from unlisted farms will be given alternative farms for
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      90 000 jobs lost as 700 firms close: NGO

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:05:42 AM (GMT +2)

      ABOUT 700 companies closed down in Zimbabwe in the past 18 months,
throwing 90 000 workers out of their jobs, according to the human rights
non-governmental agency Amani Trust.

      The statistics are contained in a report compiled by Amani Trust's
Mashonaland branch titled The Presidential Election and the Post-Election
Period in Zimbabwe, which was issued this week.

      The report examines human rights abuses and political violence before
and after Zimbabwe's March presidential poll.

      It noted that most of the companies which had collapsed under the
strain of Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis - a total of 500 - had
triggered the loss of 10 000 jobs in the past 12 months alone.

      The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has already said that 400
companies closed down in 2000.

      Industries which have shed staff in the past 18 months include
construction, where 5 000 jobs were lost in the past 12 months, and
agriculture, where at least 70 000 have lost their jobs since 2001 because
of the seizure of commercial farms by ruling party supporters.

      Amani Trust said: "The farm invasions have resulted in large numbers
of farm workers being put out of work and made homeless. At least 70 000
farm workers have been put out of work over the last 18 months, and together
with their families they have been rendered destitute.

      "If the current land invasions and accompanying displacements
continue, it could result in about one million farm workers and their
families becoming internally-displaced persons."

      The non-governmental agency said political violence and Zimbabwe's
economic crisis had resulted in the exodus of middle level black
professionals, the reduction or suspension of aid by the international
community and had contributed to food shortages.

      It recommended an international investigation of human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe, the reform of the police service to promote accountability and
effectiveness and regional and international action to foster judicial
independence and effectiveness.

      "The Zimbabwean government should review legislation to repeal or
amend those laws that are unconstitutional or violate human rights," Amani
Trust said.

      "The Zimbabwe government should ratify the Convention Against Torture
with alacrity."
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      ZBC workers threaten strike

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:05:10 AM (GMT +2)

      WORKERS at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) have threatened
to go on strike as it emerges that the state broadcaster is broke and
planning to axe several jobs.

      ZBC insiders this week said the workers had given the corporation,
which has been reeling under a severe financial crisis caused by dwindling
advertising revenue, until tomorrow to address their complaints or risk
industrial action.

      Among issues concerning workers is the corporation's failure to submit
medical aid and other monthly contributions collected from its workers.

      Some of the workers have been slapped with hefty interest charges on
their mortgage bonds with building societies after the ZBC continuously
failed to process stop orders for its employees.

      "The corporation is broke after weaning itself off a number of key
advertisers and increasing the size of the workforce," one insider said.

      The ZBC pulled the plug on advertisers earlier this year and has since
then faced a severe financial crisis.

      The government has said advertisers must not be allowed to hijack the
corporation whose duty, it says, is that of serving the interests of the
public, the euphemism for articulating the government's viewpoint.

      No comment could be obtained from ZBC board chairman Gideon Gono or
acting chief executive Jennifer Tanyanyiwa this week.

      But the insiders said a board meeting was held this Monday at which
the issue of the workers' grievances was discussed.

      It is understood that management was taken to task over decisions,
particularly those taken under former chief executive Alum Mpofu, which were
made without the board's approval.

      "The meeting was frosty, with members of management being taken to
task on why, for instance, they went on a recruitment spree at a time the
corporation had no money," said a management source who attended Monday's

      According to the source, speaking on condition of not being named, the
number of ZBC employees has grown from about 600 in August last year to more
than 900 now.

      "The planned job action by the workers could therefore be aimed at
pre-empting the possible job losses," the source noted.

      The corporation, soon to face competition from new players being
introduced by the government, has also been rocked by the resignations of
senior managers.

      The latest resignation is that of the corporation's head of television
services Bright Matonga, who will be leaving the ZBC at the end of the

      It is also understood that the corporation's chief operating officer,
Lovemore Chitapi, and several other senior executives have also resigned.

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      NGOs fear crackdown looms

      By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
      5/23/02 12:18:50 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEAN democracy and human rights non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) fear they may be facing a mounting threat from the government in what
analysts this week said could be part of attempts to clamp down on
dissenting voices in the country.

      Representatives of the NGOs, which act as watchdogs of democracy and
human rights in Zimbabwe, say they are increasingly being portrayed as
"subversive" elements and "anti-government" by government officials and the
state-owned news media.

      Amid a crackdown on journalists and members of the public who have
fallen foul of legislation that discourages criticism of the government, NGO
officials say their organisations have witnessed a resurgence of interest in
their activities by state security agents in the past few weeks.

      Tony Reeler, head of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a grouping
of organisations working in the field of human rights, said: "Before the
(March presidential) election, there was a discussion among organisations
that make up the forum and a very large number of them had had some kind of
harassment from the police, whether as organisations or individuals.

      "This seemed to have disappeared in the post-election period, but it
seems to be returning. We had threats passed on to us from a very credible
source that the Human Rights Forum was about to be raided by the police."

      He said Amani Trust, which is part of the Human Rights Forum and works
with victims of political torture, had already been visited in the past two
weeks by police officers who had not made their agenda known to the

      Some Amani Trust officials have been asked to present themselves to
the police, while others have been visited at their homes.

      The NGO, which has been accused of "working hand in hand" with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has come under fire from
the government for alleging state involvement in political violence prior to
the June 2000 parliamentary election and before and after the disputed
presidential poll.

      Amani Trust and the Human Rights Forum have in the past two years
regularly compiled reports on political violence which they say is
perpetrated mainly by ruling ZANU PF activists against MDC supporters and
has claimed more than 50 lives while displacing at least 20 000 people from
their homes.

      "We are attempting to get some comment from the police as to why they
are doing this, but so far we have been unable to get any understanding as
to why we are getting this kind of attention," Reeler said.

      Meanwhile, an official of Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) in
Bulawayo was last week interviewed by the police about a public meeting held
early this month and executives say this is not the first time they have
been quizzed by state security agents.

      TIZ director Andrew Nongogo said: "What has happened to a large extent
has to do with POSA (Public Order and Security Act) and the public meetings
we hold.

      "Initially, you are required to advise the police that you are holding
a meeting and once you have done that, they can send their security agents
to attend the meeting.

      "We have had situations at TIZ when after public meetings, the
security agents phone and ask what happened at the meeting, I don't know if
they would have forgotten to send someone. We've had calls where they say:
'you're planning a meeting, who's attending that meeting?'"

      However, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena this week said he was not
aware of a police crackdown against NGOs nor of an investigation of Amani

      He told the Financial Gazette: "I'm not aware of a crackdown. We
investigate individuals for having committed an offence and if they are from
NGOs, we don't have anything against them (NGOs).

      "But should a member belonging to any NGO commit an offence, we are
duty bound to investigate these individuals."

      But NGO officials said their main concern were rumours suggesting that
the government was working on legislation that could curb their activities
in the same way legislation has been used to hamper the private Press and
curb freedom of expression and of assembly.

      The fears have been raised by government statements saying many NGOs
had exceeded their mandates and are dabbling in opposition politics.

      Two weeks ago, Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo warned that the
government would crack down on NGOs involved in "subversive activities" and
were "actively involved in undermining the nation's internal security".

      Reeler noted: "The threats have been made time and time again and more
recently by Minister Nkomo, but I don't have any information that this is
anything but rhetoric. I don't know why the government would want to do that
because we have no political position.

      "We deal with human rights issues, irrespective of who is involved. In
the statements that we issue, we have said the government is not doing
enough to prevent human rights violations and we will continue to say that
if we feel enough is not being done. They think that's anti-government but
that's an erroneous view."

      Analysts said if the government was working on legislation to rein in
NGOs, it might seek to establish over all NGOs the kind of controls
enshrined in the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (PVOA).

      Human rights and democracy NGOs, most of which came into being after
1990, were established as trusts and do not fall under the Act, which allows
the government to scrutinise the operations of organisations, their finances
and even deregister them or remove their executives.

      Nongogo, who is also the spokesman for civil society coalition Crisis
in Zimbabwe, said: "I think what the minister is seeking to do is to bring
all those organisations registered as trusts under the Act so that he can
have power over them.

      "He can literally decide at any time that you are not operating under
the rules and shut you down. This would make things impossible, especially
for those who are critical of the government."

      He said this would adversely affect a large number of organisations,
many of which have been responsible for promoting critical discourse in
Zimbabwe, especially at crucial times such as the February 2000 referendum
on a new constitution where the country rejected a flawed draft constitution
after a massive civil society education campaign.

      "What these organi-sations have managed to do is promote a culture of
critical discourse," Nongogo pointed out. "You can't run a country by
silencing critics, you silence critics by doing what is right.

      "Shutting down criticism is being a lot like the king who had no
clothes and people were so afraid to criticise that no one told him he was
naked. This is the sort of situation they (government) are trying to create
in this country."

      University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Elphas Mukonoweshuro
added: "This is part and parcel of the government's comprehensive assault on
dissenting voices or voices that appear to be dissenting from what ZANU PF
considers to be the final truth, which is that it's ZANU PF and ZANU PF
alone that should determine Zimbabwe's future.

      "This is the kind of thing that has been targeted at people at large
in the past two years, which is to smell out all clusters of independent
thought and, if possible, reduce this nation to what may be called ditto
heads, people who always agree with ZANU PF.

      "The problem with this government is not realising that NGOs are
preventing much suffering in areas where it doesn't have the resources. What
it is trying to do is turn this nation into a vast hostile camp against
itself and if it's successful in doing that, no amount of repression will
keep the nation quiet. It will burst at the seams."

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      Air Zim starts paying off debt

      Staff Reporter
      5/23/02 12:09:40 AM (GMT +2)

      AIR Zimbabwe has started paying off a debt of US$28.6 million owed to
an American bank which had threatened to sell off two of the national
airline's aircraft to recover the money, airline sources said this week.

      The sources said Air Zimbabwe two weeks ago made a US$5 million (about
$225 million at the official exchange rate) payment to the Export-Import
Bank of America and is frantically trying to make other payments before the
end of this month.

      The US$5 million payment follows threats by the US-based bank, which
guaranteed the purchase of the airline's two Boeing 767 aircraft in 1989, to
seize the planes after the airline had defaulted on repayments.

      Air Zimbabwe board chairman Livingstone Gwata this week refused to
discuss what arrangements the airline had put in place to clear the debt but
confirmed that something was being done to settle the matter.

      "All we can say now is that the airline is alive and well.
Arrangements for payment are now in place, but as a board, we cannot go into
details about that. I can assure you that no aircraft is going to be sold or
taken away," Gwata told the Financial Gazette.

      The sources said negotiations between the bank and the Zimbabwe
government, the shareholder of Air Zimbabwe, had resulted in the extension
by two months of the debt's clearance deadline and a new payment schedule.

      Details of the new payment schedule were not immediately available,
but the sources said the US$5 million payment was part of this deal.

      Air Zimbabwe had been in default to the Export-Import Bank for almost
18 months since the government passed the debt to the airline to pay off in
December 2000. The government had earlier paid about US$200 million for the

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