Saturday, 11 October 2002
I've been asked by a number of
media outlets here in Australia to 'cut to
the chase' when providing
information on the 'real' situation in Zimbabwe.
With such a mass of
reporting available to peruse, journalists frankly give
up trying to analyse
events and invariably trot out the same old line
('Redressing the colonial
So, as much as I have been able, I've tried to
summarise matters to this
point in time in the hope it will bring clarity to
a confusing situation.
It will inevitably contain omissions, but a summary
is by necessity
just that. Go well.
in Zimbabwe: the facts
The catastrophic famine looming over Zimbabwe is
entirely man-made. Made
by Robert Gabriel Mugabe - president for life and a
septuagenarian at war
with his own people.
A severe drought grips the
region, but farm dams throughout the country are
full and irrigated crops
could, and should now be growing and nearing
Yet all but a
handful of commercial farmers (95% European and many third
fourth-generation Zimbabweans) have been forced to leave their land, or
awaiting eviction, but in any case, have ceased production of the
staple, maize - and wheat, beef, poultry and dairy products - and
tobacco and flower export crops which earn invaluable foreign
Mugabe's land grab has nothing at all to do with 'giving land
masses' or "taking back what was stolen from us by colonialists".
outrageous lie has largely been accepted by Africa and much of the world
some kind of excuse for his policies which have spawned the almost
the destruction of civil society in Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his
peddle the lie for all it is worth. It a lie for the following
* Approx 350,000 farm workers (many of whom are also third
fourth-generation Zimbabweans, but of Malawian or Mozambiquan
representing one-third of the country's total work force were
commercial farms. In turn they supported an average 5-6 people
farms (wives, children, siblings, other relatives). Total supported
commercial farming activities therefore +/- 2,000,000, or nearly 20% of
population. An unknown number (perhaps as many as a further
people in the cities were in turn supported by the farm workers -
surprising given that employment stands now at 70% across
* Around 80% of all commercial farms were acquired AFTER
1980 AFTER they had first been offered to the government by
requirement, before then being issued a "Certificate of No
other words, the government could have purchased the farms -
(mainly UK) money would have provided the funds to acquire
* In the June, 2000 parliamentary elections, the opposition MDC -
one year earlier - won 57 seats of the 120 in parliament. ZANU PF
62, with one other going to an independent. However, the
slender majority was bolstered by the amended constitution, in
seats are reserved for unelected appointees, including ZANU PF
members, and selected tribal chiefs.
* This astonishingly
close result was because that virtually all farm
workers voted for the MDC as
did as many as 70% of urban dwellers who have
migrated to the cities to
escape grinding poverty in the bush. ZANU PF
popularity in the rural areas,
where most Zimbabweans live, slipped, but
it still got the government over
* Mugabe realised that in order to smash the opposition, he
had firstly to
remove the farm workers from their abodes (no address, no
registration possible). To do this he had to get rid of the white
(seen, correctly as supporting the opposition). Ergo - raise the
topic of 'redistribution of land" which could have been settled
previous 22 years - and systematically rid the country of white
* Simultaneously his secret police, uniformed police, army and
began (and sustain) brutal suppression of urban dwellers. However,
are not sitting ducks like the farm workers, and therefore less able
* At the same time, he cracked down on foreign
journalists (banning BBC,
Telegraph etc) and began hammering the local
independent media (firebombing
presses, torturing editors etc).
Countrywide, Youth Brigades were formed in the guise of National
Thousands of 16-18 year-old youths were indoctrinated and
unleashed in the
rural areas where bestial acts were committed on suspected
'Rape as torture' became widely and effectively used as a
suppression. These "Green Bombers" - mere children - are the
vanguard of the
government's pogrom to undermine the MDC's overwhelming
support among the
youth - the largest and fastest-growing section of the
Teachers, seen as holding moral authority in the community, and
(rightly) of harbouring pro-MDC sentiments were next. Brutalised
expelled from their schools and colleges, their
activities' could no longer be tolerated. Zimbabwe's
Foreign Minister - a
one-time friend and confidant of Britain's Foreign
Minister Jack Straw said
- in a July 2001 meeting with teachers in Masvingo
""You are going to lose
your jobs if you support opposition political parties
in the presidential
election. As civil servants, you have to be loyal to the
government of the
day. You can even be killed for supporting the opposition
and no one would
guarantee your safety."
* However, in those March
2002 presidential elections (Mugabe vs
Tsvangirai) the people overwhelmingly
voted for the MDC but, as the world
knows, the result was stolen by Mugabe
who ensured rural ballot boxes were
not monitored by more than a handful of
foreign observers (ballot-rigging),
city voters were unable to vote even
after queuing for two days, and
managing to finding a further 400,000 votes
on the last night of counting.
* With this 'mandate' and the approval of
the spineless OAU, SADC and
others, he now had carte blanche to carry out the
final solution: remaining
whites on the land forcibly evicted, manipulation
of donated maize (given
only to ZANU PF card holders) and stepped up torture,
imprisonment of MDC supporters.
The end to all this is
nigh: city whites / businesses, then Asians will be
dispossessed and expelled
(remember Amin)? and the recently returned 10,000
Zimbabwe Army personnel
used to crack heads in the cities. With
middle-class black Zimbabweans
streaming from the country by their
thousands, the country will be left with
a tightly-guarded and privileged
tiny minority of 'chefs' and their stooges
in business, the military and
police - and a cowed, starving and dispossessed
Can this living nightmare end without a bloody fight? Some say
it is the
only hope for the masses because Mugabe and his cronies must not
know that a date in the Hague awaits them.
Bungles fuel food crisis
October 12 2002 at 08:04PM
By Caroline Hooper-Box,
Sivuyile Mangxamba, Sapa and Reuters
Red tape and a shortage of funds are
threatening the lives of millions in southern Africa as the number in need of
famine relief rises.
Desperately needed maize has been held up at Durban port
and at Zimbabwean border posts by bureaucratic red tape and a reluctance to
accept genetically modified grain from the United States until it has been
Richard Lee, a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
spokesperson, told The Sunday Independent: "The number of people in need is
increasing every week."
'There are 700 000 to 800 000 orphans here at the
moment'Current United Nations estimates are that 14,4 million people in southern
Africa are threatened with starvation. Half of those in need of food aid are in
Zimbabwe. South Africa has agreed to donate 100 000 tons of maize to the WFP for
emergency food assistance in the region.
The WFP has 40 000 tons of food
stored at Durban's port. Uncertainty and reluctance over accepting US-sourced
maize that has no guarantee of not being genetically modified have led to
lengthy delays in shipping the food to where it is needed most.
Thabo Mbeki said having the food sitting at the port was sending mixed signals.
Whereas the region was seeking food aid, it looked like it did not need it.
South Africa has decided to carry the cost of milling the GM maize currently
stored at South African ports.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique will accept GM maize
only if it has been milled, which averts the risk of contaminating local GM-free
crop strains. Another 81 500 tons of US-sourced maize will be shipped to
southern Africa in the next few months.
The WFP has appealed for
$507-million (about R5-billion) to avert the food crisis, but has received only
36,5 percent of that, Lee said. The WFP is urgently appealing for more
'It's not here yet but it's coming'Tony Hall, a US envoy to the
Food and Agriculture Organisation who is on a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe,
told reporters "all indicators point to a major catastrophe in the making here
and I'm not sure it can be stopped. Half the population are at risk of
"There are 700 000 to 800 000 orphans here at the moment. Added
to that is the Aids problem, the drought, the economy, the government and the
illegal seizures of farms. Put all this together and you've got a
"It's not here yet but it's coming... Drought has not caused this
problem, it has only compounded it."
Hall said food aid to Zimbabwe was
being held up at the borders for more than a week by red tape at times. He
warned that if the Zimbabwean government did not step in quickly, remove the red
tape and allow massive amounts of food imports, it would be assured of a famine.
In South Africa there is no food shortage, but a price crisis. The prices of
maize, bread, potatoes and other basic foods have increased by more than 18
percent in the past few months, prompting the cabinet's announcement this week
of a short-term programme to provide some maize meal at half the current cost.
The departments of social development and agriculture have been tasked to
investigate a system of food vouchers, and social welfare grant increases are
also on the cards.
The main causes of the price increases were the "rapid
depreciation of the rand, oil prices, regional food shortages and a lack of
competition in the supply chain beyond the farm-gate", the cabinet said after a
meeting this week.
Where food imports had been cheaper in the past, the
depreciation of the rand has made them more expensive, the cabinet
Rising food prices were being aggravated by the "hand of the market"
where local farmers were choosing to export most of their produce in a bid to
boost their profit margins, said Wolfgang Thomas, a Western Cape-based
Bongiwe Njobe, the department of agriculture's director-general,
said South Africa had a food surplus, but a pricing structure problem.
government has reached an agreement with Premier Foods to provide a Yiyo
Lena-branded maize meal, which will start selling at a subsidised price of
R25,99 a bag this month. A 12,5kg bag of maize meal currently costs between
R45,75 and R47,39.
The amount supplied will be just a fraction of South
Africa's consumption. According to Johan Pienaar, the director of economics and
trade at Agri SA, the 1 000 tons being distributed per month was "not a lot.
But, for those who do not have any, it is quite substantial", Pienaar
Investigations are being conducted on the re-establishment of strategic
grain reserves, which would act as buffer stocks.
experienced "no discomfort" with the government's plans to bring relief from
food price inflation to the poor, Japie Grobler, the Agri SA president,
Although the reintroduction of strategic grain reserves - announced as
a possibility to be investigated by the government - might have a distorting
effect on the market, it needed not be the case if it was done in the correct
way, Grobler said.
Thoko Didiza, the agriculture minister, said South Africa
would "work towards the introduction of incentives for expanded food production
in the region as well as the lowering of food tariffs within the Southern
African Development Community as part of its free trade agreement".
Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2002 12:37 PM
Subject: Principles The Defence of Fundamental Principles
Over the centuries, man has evolved a set of fundamental principles which
are meant to lay down rules for his communes. God did the same thing at the
beginning of time with the 10 commandments and like those, the modern principles
of governance are meant to be written in stone for universal and time reference
by communities everywhere.
They are not complex, although the out workings are, and they are not many:
1.. The rule of law and equality before the law.
2.. The right to
freedom of expression.
3.. The right of freedom of association.
right to personal safely and protection.
5.. The security of privately owned
6.. Freedom from discrimination based on ethnic, racial or religious
7.. The right to citizenship and democracy within an open
8.. Integrity and transparency in the use of public funds.
Gender equality in society.
10.. The sanctity of marriage and the special
rights of children.
You could add more to this list, but I think that in
essence, these are the very basic things that people all over the globe have
accepted as the "ground rules" for national governance. How are we doing? Well
looking at that list we are clearly in violation of nearly all the above - the
only exceptions perhaps is number 9 and 10 where we have made a start of sorts,
although progress is slow.
The MDC in its turn has decided that it wants to effect changes to this
situation through non-violent, democratic means. We have people in our ranks
that have demanded "action" to change the situation - by this they mean mass
action in the main. In other parts of the world this is accepted as a normal
part of daily political life. Everybody gets to do it at some stage of his or
her lives, not here. If we went onto the streets to demand change we would be
confronted with armed force immediately. The Police and Army would use live
ammunition and special riot control equipment including tear gas that stuns its
targets and high pressure hoses that can carry a variety of most unpleasant
substances. Following such unwarranted reaction, the government would then ban
the MDC and imprison its leadership - setting back the cause of democracy and
good governance in this country for a decade or more.
We thought that if we took the "high road" of moral and political principle
that the international community (including our immediate neighbours who have
most at stake) would back us unreservedly and do whatever was needed to bring
the Mugabe regime into line. We were mistaken in that belief. The South
African Foreign Minister came to Zimbabwe last week, made no statements, did not
meet the MDC and as far as we can discern, did little to stop the outrageous
political and criminal behavior of the Mugabe regime.
The Americans alone
have stood clearly by their principles and made their position clear at every
turn. It was George Bush who first rejected the March 2002 presidential
election results. Listening to the Voice of America editorial "expressing the
views of the American government" the other night drew tears to my eyes as I
realized that someone out there appreciated what we are going through here in
Zimbabwe and felt as strongly as we did about the situation.
Listening to Baroness Amos in the House of Lords or the BBC Africa service,
one does not get that clarity or commitment coming through. A lot of wringing
of hands (or is it a washing of hands?) and a lot of denunciation of what the
Mugabe regime is doing to this country, but little else. We see little or no
sign of effective pressure on South Africa to do the right thing. The Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs in South Africa has said on many occaisions when
asked what they were doing "what do you expect us to do - go to war against
Mugabe?" No one to my knowledge has yet answered his question. The reality is
that South Africa does not have to go to war against Mugabe to bring him into
line - all it has to do is to say to him, very firmly, enough is enough, its
time to go. Zimbabwe has an economy that is 3,6 per cent the size of South
Africa. We depend on South Africa for over
70 per cent of our foreign
trade; foreign trade is over 50 per cent of our GDP. We import 50 per cent of
our electrical energy, 100 per cent of liquid fuels. Like Smith, Mugabe could
no sooner say no to Mbeki than fly to the moon.
South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" is not working and will not work. It
means that when seen in public with Mugabe, Mbeki is seen as being totally at
ease - often even holding hands with him in the African way. It means supplying
electrical energy on extended terms of credit and persuading others to do the
same. It means supporting lines of credit for liquid fuels from South African
refineries. It means allowing Mugabe to violate the investment rights of South
African firms that are invested here without serious intervention on their
behalf. It means supporting Mugabe's use of the platforms of the AU and the
SADC to defend the indefensible. It means standing up against the rest of the
democratic world when they want to sanction the Mugabe regime so as to give
Mugabe more time to wipe out his domestic opponents. Of course such a strategy
is not going to work and the South African government clearly means it not
So where does that leave us? Well the options are narrowing. The US State
Department issued a new foreign policy statement a couple of weeks ago in which
they pledged support for democratic movements who seek change in totalitarian
regimes via peaceful means. What does that mean? Does it mean using the UN to
bring such delinquents to heel - such as they are doing right now with Iraq?
Does it mean the threat of military intervention in all such situations in
defence of the principles of good governance and democracy? The obvious answer
in the case of Zimbabwe is no, it does not mean that because we are too
insignificant to warrant such attention and because Mugabe does not represent a
threat to the security interests of the big powers anywhere.
So the battle to defend these fundamental principles must be fought out in
lonely prison cells and bloody torture chambers, in the defence of democracy by
simple peasant farmers who risk their lives and the lives of their families in
so doing. The pictures last week of piles of food supplied by donors being used
to reward voters who asked to vote "under supervision"
at polling stations.
The cowardly withdrawal of food aid in the Binga district where people
courageously voted in a MDC controlled local government authority in defiance of
threats from the administration that to do so would be to put the food supply in
jeopardy. The South African Minister of Foreign Affairs justified her "softly,
softly" approach by saying "I see no sign of impending violence here" as if that
was the issue at stake. Does she not see that it is the MDC who is maintaining
that situation by restraining its supporters from taking the low road and all
that that would entail?
If the failure of the international and regional community to help us
defend fundamental principles here continues, we will eventually have no choice
in the matter, we have to have change before the country is totally destroyed by
this manic regime.
Eddie Cross Bulawayo, 13th October 2002
Farming in Zimbabwe on its last legs
October 12 2002 at
By Basildon Peta
Only 400 white farmers are now
left in Zimbabwe's once mighty commercial
agriculture sector, out of more
than 4 500 before the advent of President
Robert Mugabe's seizures of white
farms two years ago.
Farming organisations and analysts this week
expressed fears that Zimbabwe's
agricultural sector, the backbone of the
economy, was now headed for its
There were reports this week
that 90 percent of 300 000 supporters of the
ruling Zanu-PF who were
resettled on small plots carved from the seized
farms did not have seed or
implements to work their land, barely two weeks
before the official start of
the rainy season.
All remaining sugar-cane farmers were evicted this week
militants invaded 72 cane farmers and ordered them off their
land in the
Chiredzi area in the lowveld.
Sugar is one of the
commodities that has long disappeared from supermarket
"The Chiredzi farmers were evicted regardless of the status of
Even those who had not been served with eviction notices were
their land," said Dave Hasluck, the director of the Commercial
Jenni Williams, a spokesperson for Justice in
Agriculture, said the Chiredzi
farmers had been evicted on instructions
issued from police and army
"The army and police officials
told farmers that their instructions
superseded any existing high court
rulings," Williams said.
Hasluck and Williams said only about 400 farmers
were left working their
Hasluck said another 400 had left the
country permanently, while more than 3
200 others had left their land to live
in the cities and towns of Zimbabwe.
About 600 others farmers
occassionally visited their land when the situation
permitted but were unable
to farm because of serious disruptions.
"We have only 400 farmers
effectively doing their work with little or no
Analysts said this week that Mugabe's land seizures would be
agricultural output next year.
Hasluck said the tobacco
planting season had begun on September 1 but the
remaining farmers had been
able to plant only 15 percent of the total
hectarage last year.
said the country would be lucky to get 60 million kiolograms of tobacco
2003, compared to the 237 million kilograms produced in 2000 before
Tobacco output has been on the decline, with
farmers producing 200 million
kg in 2001 and 170 million kg in
Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner. It accounts
percent of the country's total export receipts. With the massive
tobacco output expected in the coming year, Zimbabwe's serious
shortages are set to worsen.
Economists have predicted
that total agricultural output next year will
contract by 60
The situation could worsen because of the government's failure
critical back-up resources for the 300 000 blacks who have been
the seized farms.
Zimbabwe's business and financial
newspaper, the Financial Gazette, said
this week that time had run out for 90
percent of the resettled farmers. It
quoted a report by the Famine Early
Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet), which
said 94 percent of the resettled
farmers did not have seeds for the upcoming
season's cereal crop.
report said at least 60 percent of the farmers had no option but to wait
get the inputs from the government.
Seed prices had increased by 375
percent, pushing them out of the reach of
many of the farmers, the report
said. The Fewsnet report said at least
R26-billion was required to adequately
support the resettled communal
farmers with seeds, chemicals, fertilisers,
tillage and extension devices.
However, the Zimbabwe government had
allocated only R1,4 billion in a
supplementary budget for the input support
Apart from lack of tillage services, land preparation was also
hampered by the fact that most resettled farmers did not have the money
invest in capital equipment.
Moreover, most of the resettled
farmers were unlikely to produce cash crops
but would opt to produce food
crops like maize for their subsistence,
raising more fears about the crop
output next year.
Many of the 1 000 large farms acquired by top
government, military and
ruling party officials were already lying idle, with
no prospect of being
farmed by their new owners, most whom visited them only
"There is mounting evidence that we are in no position to
produce a crop for
next year and this is going to be a major disaster," said
John Robertson, an
economic consultant. - Foreign Service
'We will not overthrow
South Africa will not dictate policy to Zimbabwe, neither will it
"dragooned" into overthrowing President Robert Mugabe's
President Thabo Mbeki said this week.
In an interview with
the Sunday Times, Mbeki said the West's suggestion that
"the worst crisis in
the world is Zimbabwe" was not helping to solve the
"You can see that there is a particular agenda that drives that
perception about Zimbabwe. The notion that South Africa can
to Zimbabwe . . . people must abandon that. The notion that
South Africa can
walk across the Limpopo and remove that government, what
[George W] Bush calls regime change, is not going to happen,"
He said the only solution to Zimbabwe's problems was
with everyone concerned.
In line with this, the
Southern African Development Community decided last
week, on invitation by
Mugabe, to send its Ministerial Task Force on
Zimbabwe back to the country to
review developments, particularly the
controversial land redistribution
"President Mugabe, when we were meeting now in Luanda at the
said why doesn't the SADC task force come back to Zimbabwe, look
and everything it wants to . . . so that it can determine for
sort of intervention it should make," said Mbeki.
saying that it is necessary that the region should have its own
reading of what is happening in Zimbabwe so that it makes its
Mbeki also spoke on his battle with the "ultra-left",
which he said was to
be found in Cosatu, the ANC and the SA Communist
He said these people were demanding that the government change its
with regard to the privatisation of state assets, as this process
interpreted as the "implementation of a neo-liberal agenda and
accommodation of globalisation".
"What has to happen, I think, is
that we need better engagement with
everybody concerned. That also includes
engagement with the affiliates, for
instance, of Cosatu, not just with Cosatu
the federation," he said. "I think
that process of engagement - honest, open,
frank - will do something to
educate ourselves about the reality of South
He said he did not think the anti-privatisation protest action
government would have any "material impact", as was evident from
response of workers to last week's general strike.
been saying to Cosatu it's not possible . . . to mobilise workers to
against this government which they elected, to act against the
Politically, it can't be done; they [workers] will not
He said the ANC's forthcoming national conference should deal
with ways to
improve the implementation of government policies. The ANC
should assess the
effectiveness of all government structures, and ANC
discharging their responsibilities.
statement by the ANC Youth League that top positions in the ANC,
such as the
presidency, should not be challenged, Mbeki said all branches
were free to
propose candidates of their choice.
With regard to poverty levels in the
country, Mbeki said the government was
looking at urgent interventions to cut
food prices, make school feeding
schemes operate more efficiently, redesign
the social security system and
improve the distribution of social
Mbeki said Parliament should amend the Constitution to allow
provincial elected representatives to switch to the party of
He said the issues raised by the Constitutional Court last week
judgment on floor-crossing legislation were "distorting the
evolution of this country".
He said a possible ANC takeover
of KwaZulu-Natal, if the amendment was made,
should not affect negatively the
ANC's relations with the IFP. "We clearly
would have to be very careful to
ensure that whatever happens in the
politics of the province doesn't result
in the re-emergence of political
SA should not to change its stance on Zimbabwe
October 13, 2002,
Alec Erwin, trade and industry minister,
featured strongly in the deliberations
Africa should not change its quiet diplomacy in dealing
with Zimbabwe, but
needs to have more urgency in dealing with the matter.
This was the message
of world business leaders at the end of the fourth
meeting of the
International Investment Council in Durban.
Investment Council is concerned about the
effect of Zimbabwe's instability on
the rand, and South Africa's prospects
of attracting foreign investment. The
council has, however, rejected calls
for government to adopt a hard line
approach to Harare. Neil Fitgerald, the
chairperson of Unilever, says: "You
never persuade your neighbour by
shouting over the fence."
Following the recent visit to Zimbabwe by Nkosazana Dlamini-
Foreign Affairs Minister, government says an agreement has been
start bilateral talks with the Zimbabwean government soon.
Mbeki says: "To engage with them on all the matters that
relate to Zimbabwe;
all of them, whether they relate to land or legislation
or general politics
of the country, the economy, the food shortages and so
on, we will do
With regards to the economy, the council believes that
Africa is set to achieve a growth rate above the world average within
next two years. This is based on the economy's strong export performance
government's increased expenditure on the domestic
Government now plans to intensify its international
campaign by selling South Africa as a success story. The
believes it will succeed in getting more investment into
Mbeki won't be 'dragooned'
Johannesburg - Pretoria won't
dictate policy to Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, nor would it be
"dragooned" into overthrowing his government, South
African President Thabo
Mbeki said in an interview published on Sunday.
"When people say: 'Do
something', we say to them: 'Do what?', and nobody
gives an answer because
they know when they say 'do something' what they
mean is march across the
Limpopo and overthrow the government of President
Mugabe, which we are not
going to do," Mbeki told South Africa's Sunday
"You can see
that there is a particular agenda that drives that particular
about Zimbabwe. The notion that South Africa can dictate policy
People must abandon that."
"What (US) President (George W) Bush calls
regime change is not going to
happen," Mbeki said. "The particular focus on
Zimbabwe suggests that
particular agendas are being pursued here. And we are
being dragooned to
play: To come and fulfil and implement other people's
Mbeki said the only solution to Zimbabwe's problems was
with all parties concerned.
Mbeki said the
suggestion by Western governments that Zimbabwe was the worst
crisis in the
world would not help to solve the problems in the country.
Mbeki and his
Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo are pushing for talks
Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
'Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe every day'
Mbeki said the
focus on Zimbabwe as the most grievous problem in the world
that particular agendas were being pursued.
There was not nearly as much
focus on Pakistan, which was also suspended
from the Commonwealth after its
military coup a few years ago.
"When we asked, why is nobody saying
anything about Pakistan, but it is
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe every day? Is
a military coup less of an
offence? Or is a military coup in Pakistan
He said South Africa's position remained the same in that the land
in that country had to be resolved.
"I'm sure the nation
understands when we've said the matter of the land
question in Zimbabwe must
be handled in the context of the law, without any
conflict, in the interest
of both black and white in Zimbabwe.
"We've said that many
A SADC team would return to Zimbabwe, on Mugabe's suggestion, to
own determination of the situation, Mbeki said in the
The South African government has been criticised for its refusal
criticise Mugabe's controversial land reforms and lawlessness in
that has claimed the lives of a dozen white farmers and displaced
thousands of people. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe shrugs off Australia's Mugabe sanctions
Zimbabwe has dismissed
the Federal Government's decision to impose sanctions against President Robert
Zimbabwean officials say the measures will not deter their President.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba says Australia's actions will have
"There is no way they can stop the land reform program and they know that,
and that we are almost close to concluding it, with or without Australian
support or goodwill," he said.
But Tendai Biti, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, says other countries need to follow Australia's lead.
"The international community cannot continue watching, that is completely
unacceptable," he said.
The Federal Government has imposed travel bans and frozen the assets of Mr
Mugabe and his senior officials.
Mugabe threatens to 'regulate' meddling Catholic Justice
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has singled out the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) for meddling in the country's
internal affairs and has said his government will regulate it.
official Herald newspaper says NGOs, trade unions, the private media and
embassies are also among the "Trojan horses" that received money from abroad
"all to be used against us".
But the main object of his ire was the
Catholic Commission, which he said had recently fielded opposition candidates in
a northern rural constituency in local elections.
"This is a gross
interference in our national affairs, disguised as non-governmental work," Mr
Mugabe said to members of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) Central Committee on Friday local time.
Mr Mugabe said
NGOs were not registered to be "hatcheries of political opposition" and said his
government would tighten policies to regulate their work, the Herald
"They should not cry, for they have redefined the rules of
engagement," Mr Mugabe said.
From el Pais
Hitler, the Arab Playboy and the Son
By John Carlin
In order to transport half a million dollars in unlaundered
cash safely from one country to another there are two basic requirements. First,
you must possess a business class ticket, because the weight of half a million
dollars exceeds the hand luggage limit on Economy. Second, you must disembark at
an airport where customs officials may be relied upon not to ask questions.
Harare International Airport has provided precisely such facilities in recent
years; foreign associates of the Zimbabwean government have provided the
business class tickets and the millions in cash. Once inside Zimbabwe, the money
has been employed, among other things, to pay off senior government officials
and others close to President Robert Mugabe; to engage in currency exchange
rackets; and, abetted by the military and other elements in the Zimbabwean state
apparatus, to purchase "blood diamonds" in the war zones of the Congo.
In tracking the trail of the cash, el Pais has obtained dozens
of documents, including three signed affidavits, and spoken to experts on
Zimbabwe in London, Washington and New York. But the investigation has centred
chiefly on the testimony of two individuals who worked closely for more than two
years within an elite clique of Zimbabweans and foreign business people who have
been making big money out of the mayhem of war. The two individuals' story
reveals the corrupt schemings of Robert Mugabe's inner circle and reinforces the
perception - held by the European Union and the United States, among others -
that Mugabe is the leader not so much of a national government as of a small
gang that has spent the last four years getting rich thanks to a war that has
cost more than two million lives in the Congo; that deems its own survival to be
of more pressing urgency than the impending death by famine, as the United
Nations has warned, of six million Zimbabweans.
In conversations el País held in Washington that ranged from
Congress to the State Department to the Pentagon and in London with officials of
the government and members of the House of Lords, the words that kept on
recurring to describe Zimbabwe's ruling elite were "mafia", "pillage" and
"criminal". The consensus, summed up by one congressional staffer in Washington,
was that the Zimbabwean government was "a criminal organisation run for the
benefit of Mugabe and his cronies". "Mugabe always was power-hungry, but not - I
thought - corrupt. I never imagined he would end up presiding over the most
corrupt regime in Africa," said Robin Renwick, one of the chief architects of
the Lancaster House agreement which gave independence to Zimbabwe and, as it
turned out, uninterrupted power to Mugabe and his Zanu PF party for the last 22
years. Lord Renwick, later British ambassador in South Africa and Washington,
has been one of the more vocal proponents of an EU visa ban and assets freeze
imposed this year on Mugabe and 71 of his associates. Russ Feingold, the
Democrat who chairs the US Senate's Sub-Committee on Africa, has pushed for
similar sanctions in Washington. Senator Feingold, who has met with members of
Mugabe's inner circle, said that Zimbabwe's "elites" had "strong incentives to
retain power regardless of the cost to the country as a whole"; that it was
difficult to avoid the conclusion "that public office is being used almost
solely for private gain". Or, as Renwick more bluntly put it, "the Zimbabwean
army has been rented out in the Congo for the benefit of Mugabe and the mafia
Ed Royce, the Republican who heads the House of
Representatives' Africa sub-committee, is outraged by what he calls Mugabe's use
of "food as a weapon", deliberately "starving people" his political opponents.
The judiciary is neutered, the press is gagged (North Korea-style, no foreign
press are allowed in Zimbabwe today) and meanwhile, Royce said, "Mugabe's
cronies live high by pillaging the Democratic Republic of Congo". Walter
Kansteiner, the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, spoke of the
man-made "tragedy" of Zimbabwe when he spoke to el País. Traditionally an
exporter of food, a country with a solid infrastructure and one of the highest
educational standards in Africa, Zimbabwe had been a beacon of light in a dark
continent. It had emerged, in Kansteiner's word, "from a harsh colonial past
into a country that clearly valued democratic tradition". Not any more, said
Kansteiner, who - choosing his words diplomatically - described the business
deals the Mugabe regime now engaged in as a "a little bit murky".
The revelations of the two individuals from inside the
Zimbabwean "mafia" who spoke to el Pais, in conversations held in London and
Marbella, help reveal the depths of the Zimbabwean tragedy and shed new light on
the murk; on a state-sanctioned criminal network whose accomplices and interests
extend from Africa to Europe and the Middle East. The two spoke on condition of
anonymity because they said they feared that if their names were published they,
or their wives and children, might be killed. Because of their very real
concerns, the two sources shall be known in this article as - choosing two names
entirely at random - Ali and Moses. The story they tell has two protagonists,
Emmerson Mnangagwa and Thamer Said Ahmed Al Shanfari, both of whom have been in
the spotlight of a long-standing United Nations investigation into the looting
of the Congo's mineral wealth. Mnangagwa is Mugabe's crony in chief: his closest
confidant, the key man in Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation - the
secret police - ever since independence, and the man with whose blessing almost
any crime may be committed in Zimbabwe with impunity. Al Shanfari, Mnangagawa's
crony, is an Omani entrepreneur described in a secret South African intelligence
document obtained by el País as "the Zimbabweans' most important foreign
business partner". Mnangagwa, known in Zimbabwe as "the Son of God" because of
the general supposition that he is Mugabe's anointed successor, is the man who,
among other things, guarantees the safe passage of illegal cash and diamonds
through Harare Airport. Shanfari, the playboy son of a former Omani oil
minister, is the man who starts the ball rolling by buying the business class
tickets and arranging the transfer of the large sums of cash from Europe on
which the commercial transactions in the Congo depend. Shanfari is the president
and chief executive officer of a company called Oryx Natural Resources that owns
a diamond concession in Mbuji-Mayi, in the Congo, jointly with the governments
of Zimbabwe and the Congo.
Ali, more hands-on in his dealings with Mnangagwa and Shanfari
than Moses, recalls how three different individuals paid by Shanfari would take
it in turns to pick up sums ranging from 500,000 to 750,000 US dollars in cash
from a bank account in London and a bank account in Brussels, both in the Oryx
company name. The money itself did not belong to Oryx (a company whose auditors
are the same as Enron's, Arthur Andersen) but to at least three Arab business
associates of Shanfari's. One of them was a Lebanese diamond dealer; one an
Iraqi arms dealer; one a Sudanese businessman who had been involved in the
bankruptcy scandal of the Abu Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce
International (BCCI) in 1992. Ali and Moses said they knew personally, from
first-hand evidence, of ten such trips, involving a total of around five million
dollars. "But we know there were many more of these missions, even though we
were not directly involved," they said. Shanfari's couriers, ex-soldiers who
could be relied upon to obey and follow orders, would catch a plane at Gatwick
Airport ("there was no problem with the x-ray machine: money just shows up as
ordinary paper"), take their business class seats and fly south to Harare, where
- thanks to Mnangagwa and the complicity of the Zimbabwean military - they would
breeze through customs. "The money would then be distributed in various ways,"
said Ali, who says he saw much of what happened with his own eyes. "Part of it
would go to the PLO Embassy in Harare. The ambassador was a very nice man. As
well as being the longest-serving diplomat in Harare - his car's number plate
was CD1 - he was a foreign exchange dealer. He gave us Zimbabwean dollars in
return for the US, lots of them, in big cardboard boxes." Large chunks of this
money would then go to Emmerson Mnangagwa. "Emmerson would get a cut after very
trip. What would happen would be that Emmerson would come round to Thamer's
house for a barbecue or a dinner – he has a huge ranch house outside Harare --
and while they were eating one of Thamer's trusted people would put two or three
of these cardboard boxes stuffed with money into the boot of Emmerson's
Another of the beneficiaries of Shanfari's largesse was
Mugabe's young wife, Grace, a woman who has acquired a reputation as something
of an African Imelda Marcos on account of her profligate spending down the years
in the shops of London, New York, Madrid and other western capitals which she
has visited in recent years - usually flying Air Zimbabwe, a state airline which
the Mugabes have a habit of commandeering for their own private use. Ali and
Moses said they were aware of boxes of money having been delivered by car to the
First Lady at her home. A third beneficiary was General Vitalis Zvinavashe, head
of the Zimbabwean armed forces, famous for having uttered the following
memorable line last March on the eve of Zimbabwe's flagrantly stolen, "Any
change designed to reverse the gains of this revolution will not be supported."
Another individual who received cash hand-outs from Shanfari was Sydney
Sekeramayi, Mnangagwa's most serious rival to take over as president eventually
from Mugabe. Sekeremayi, today minister of mines and energy, wrote a letter to
Shanfari dated 7 July 2000 when he was Minister of State Security in the
President's Office - meaning head of intelligence - thanking him for monies
received. Elections had just taken place in Zimbabwe and Sekeremayi had retained
his parliamentary seat. The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by el
País, carries an official Zimbabwean government letter head and contains
Sekeremayi's signature at the bottom. It reads: "Dear Mr Thamer Al-Shanfari, I
am writing this letter to express my sincere appreciation for the generous
moral, material and financial assistance you rendered to boost my election
campaign. My re-election as the Member of Parliament for Marondera East was
greatly facilitated by your support. Thank you very much.Dr S:T:
The crucial cogs in the state apparatus having been duly oiled
(Moses calculates that Mugabe's people took between 10 and 20 per cent of the
cash that arrived on the flights from London Gatwick), the remaining money set
off into Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On
planes provided by a company called Avient - of which the Zanu PF treasurer and
close Mugabe associate J.C. Joshi is a director – that also had a side-line
supplying Antonov aircraft and Ukrainian pilots to the Congo military.
Mnangagwa, who did business deals with his Congo counterparts, saw to it that
there would be no awkward questions asked by the customs men at Kinshasa
airport. "The procedure was quite straightfoward," Moses explained. "We'd meet
with a guy called Alphonse in Kinshasa, a Belgian diamond dealer, and we gave
him US dollars for uncut stones that had been extracted in the Congo's big
diamond area Mbuji-Mayi. Then we'd go back to Harare with the diamonds and from
there we'd take them down to South Africa to have them cut. That was the tricky
A couple of individuals who Ali and Moses know very well and
who were employed by Shanfari transported the diamonds to Johannesburg in their
underpants. "Enough diamonds to fill a tea cup," said Moses. "Easily half a
million to a million US worth on each trip." Once the stones had made it through
Johannesburg airport the rest was easy. "We got the diamonds back into Harare -
never a problem because we had the infrastructure of the military to assist us
and of course carte blanche in the airport itself. From there the diamonds,
certified as if they had been extracted legally from a mine owned by Oryx,
travelled on to Antwerp where they were sold legally. The people who put the
money into the system in the first place got the same amount back - but now
certified by the Antwerp diamond buyer as having clean provenance. It was pure
money-laundering. Everybody was happy. Thamer's Arab friends had achieved their
objectives. Thamer took a big cut. Emmerson and the others made easy money."
Sometimes, though, Shanfari tried to get a little too clever,
according to Ali and Moses. "It worked beautifully, until the day that it
didn't." This is what would happen. The US dollars would travel from Harare to
Kinshasa but not, initially, to buy diamonds. To be changed, rather, into
Congolese Francs. At the office of an associate of Shanfari's called Akram that
Ali describes as having been "just full of foreign currencies". Akram was Akram
Moorad, nephew of the Lebanese diamond dealer who was among Shanfari’s cash
suppliers in Europe. "Thamer called the Congolese Francs 'chicken feed',"
recalled Ali. "There was tons of the stuff, loaded inside big silver containers,
that we'd take back to Harare. Later, in the dead of night, we'd load the boxes
onto a Libyan plane - a private plane in from Tripoli - at Harare airport which
would take the money to Kisangani, which was the heart of rebel country in the
Congo war. Here they desperately needed Congolese Francs." Congolese Francs are
the local currency but cash has been hard to obtain. The distance between the
capital Kinshasa and Kisangani is more than 700 miles. In war-time getting from
one place to the other has proved almost impossible. Getting US dollars
presented less of a challenge, because they could be shipped across Congo's
borders with two countries friendly to the Kisangani rebels, Uganda and Rwanda.
"So they bought Thamer's Congolese Francs in US dollars," Ali continued, "but
Thamer got back double the rate he'd sold them at in Kinshasa. Double!"
It was a great business, (though there are suggestions now that some of the
dollars received might have been forged). But it was risky. "Because if either
the Zimbabweans or the Congolese found out the money was going to those they
were actually at war with, there would be hell to pay for Thamer." As far as the
Zimbabwe authorities were concerned, Moses explained, the Libyan plane was
taking the money to Oryx's mine at Mbuji-Mayi, to pay for staff and equipment.
"One day we got nailed at Kinshasa airport," Ali said. "There was a cock-up,
someone wasn't tipped off on time, and they caught us - Congolese military
security - with 750,000 US worth of Congolese Francs on our way back to Harare."
An employee of Shanfari's was jailed, as was Patel the Kenya Airways man.
Shanfari's employee was released after Mnangagwa intervened directly on his
behalf with the Congolese justice minister.
Garfield Todd, former Rhodesian Prime Minister, is dead at 93
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Sir Garfield Todd, the former prime minister of Southern
Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was once known, died after suffering a stroke Sunday. He
Todd died in hospital in the western city of Bulawayo, said his daughter
Judith Todd, a leading Zimbabwean human rights activist.
Prime minister from 1953 to 1958, Todd backed Zimbabwe's independence for two
decades before it was finally granted in 1980. He later became a bitter critic
of President Robert Mugabe and earlier this year was stripped of his passport
and vote under draconian new citizenship laws.
Born in Invercargill, New Zealand, Todd came to Southern Rhodesia in 1934 as
a missionary for the Church of Christ and helped run a school about 250 miles
southwest of the capital Harare, which was called the Dadaya Mission.
The school produced many of the country's black political leaders, who
studied and later taught there. The school was attached to a teachers' training
college, one of just a few institutions in the country that was open to blacks
wanting to further their education.
Todd entered Parliament for the governing white supremacist United Party in
1946. His rugged good looks, fluent oratory and lucid memory smoothed his path
to the premiership in 1953.
In power, Todd deployed white troops to crush striking black mineworkers and
faced mounting unrest over unpopular land reforms.
But he also felt at least some blacks deserved the right to vote and enter
politics, believing compromise would secure the whites' future.
"These were reasonable things, but the whites only saw it as losing their
privilege, and they were right. But it was an artificial privilege," he told The
Associated Press in an interview in 2000.
Todd claimed he was ousted by white reactionaries bent on blocking black
advancement, but colleagues said his autocratic unpredictability triggered his
replacement by Edgar Whitehead.
Out of office, Todd joined African nationalist leaders in 1960 in a call for
British troops to remove Whitehead by force.
His critics accused him of doing little to advance democracy while in power,
and of trying to reinvent himself as a liberal and build a black constituency to
restore his waning political influence.
When Whitehead was himself replaced by Ian Smith, who declared unilateral
independence from Britain in 1965, Todd was restricted to his ranch. He was
twice detained during the 1972-80 independence war.
Nominated a senator after Zimbabwe's 1980 independence, Todd at first
strongly supported Mugabe's policies but later accused him of allowing rampant
corruption to destroy the hopes of a rising black generation.
Early this year, officials denied Todd a vote in presidential elections
because he was born in New Zealand, claiming he had forfeited his Zimbabwean
Todd's wife, Grace, died last year. He is survived by three daughters and two
He was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 1989, with Mugabe's approval,
at the behest of the New Zealand Government.