Mail and Guardian
Zimbabwe farmers continue to fight for their
18 October 2002 08:07
of Zimbabwean farmers have quit production, but continue their
land grabs. Justice for Agriculture (JAG) representative John
on Thursday that only about 200 commercial farmers were still
trying to keep
producing this season although about 600 commercial farmers
were still on
"Many farmers are no longer able to farm and thousands
of their employees
are unemployed, homeless and destitute and over six
million Zimbabweans face
starvation," JAG representative Jenni Williams
So far approximately 500 of the 2 900 commercial farmers issued
eviction orders have successfully challenged their validity and more
are pending. JAG would also launch a court challenge on the basis
unconstitutionality once President Robert Mugabe promulgated
amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, making it easier for the
to seize farms.
"Most farmers are committed to a
depoliticised agrarian reform programme
based on sound economic principles
and where commercial production is not
compromised. Many who have left would
not need more than one invitation to
return to rebuild an integrated farming
sector," Williams said.
This week the Harare High Court nullified 11 more
eviction orders issued to
white commercial farmers in Mashonaland because
they were not properly
served and last week the Bulawayo High Court issued a
provisional order that
all Matabeleland farmers forcibly and illegally
evicted by the Zimbabwe
Republic Police be allowed to return.
Commercial Farmers Union members brought the urgent court
application on the
basis the evictions were unlawful because some of the
white farmers removed
from their farms had not been issued with eviction
notices although the ZRP
had allegedly forcibly evicted about 90% of white
farmers in the province by
the end of last week.
The High Court gave the two most senior police
officers in Matabeleland 10
days to file opposing papers if they wished to
contest the order. Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa has been quoted in
Zimbabwean media as saying his
annual budget next month would concentrate
resources on helping the
300 000 blacks being resettled on the confiscated
But Oliver Gawe, representative for the Zimbabwe Tobacco
presented a paper to parliament last week in which he said the
redistribution program was badly damaging the tobacco industry. The
used to account for 30% of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange.
rejected government claims that the 300 000 black Zimbabweans to be
on the land could speedily restore production levels.
experience dealing with smallholder farmers, it takes five to six
a farmer to master the crop and get the quality right," he
said. - Sapa
Waterford News and Star (Ireland)
Waterford Woman Continues To Stand Firm
Against Zimbabwe Eviction Order
By Jennifer Long
woman who has defied orders by tyrannical Zimbabwe
President, Robert Mugabe,
to hand over her farm and home to his authorities,
is continuing to stand
firm against the eviction order.
In recent weeks two of Kathy Martin's home
helpers, who have been working
with her family for years, have left their
jobs - with the Martin's
convinced that it was under duress from Mugabe's
authorities. According to
Kathy's brother, Willie O'Keeffe, who still lives
in Portlaw, the loss of
the two men has "devastated" his sister who looked
upon them as part of her
Last month, the Waterford News
& Star reported that Kathy - who has lived in
Zimbabwe for nearly 30
years - and her South African husband, Denis, were
barricaded into their
homes after they refused to obey an edict to hand over
their 3,000 acres near
the district of Mutorashanga.
Their son, Sean, had also endured a severe
beating some time earlier with
sandbelts and chains forcing him to "up ship"
for Botswana. In the
subsequent newspaper report, Kathy's brother, Willie,
had said her family in
Waterford feared for their sister's safety and wanted
her to come home.
"She is still refusing to get out and knowing Kathy,
she will stay that
way," said Willie O'Keeffe last week. "I think the fact
that she is a nurse
is probably helping her. She is acting as a nurse,
midwife and even vet in
her area and is vitally needed."
contact with Kathy was still minimal but his brother Paul, who also
Portlaw, had undertaken to ring his sister every Friday in a bid to
what was happening.
"The fact that Richard, their kitchen helper, and
Anderson, who worked out
on the land, have left is a major blow to them now,
which has not been
helped by the fact that a close elderly friend of Kathy's
died," said Willie.
"They can't get anybody to work for
them because of the safety fears and are
absolutely convinced their two
helpers were forced by Mugabe's people to
leave their jobs or else."
Zim Independent - Comment
Time the CFU woke up to the national mood
any doubts remained that the Commercial Farmers Union was a confused
misdirected body events this week will have removed them.
President Thabo Mbe-ki, desperately seeking to be let off the hook
responsibility for the Zimbabwe crisis, was thrown a lifeline by
directors who he said had urged him to oppose sanctions.
from a group supposedly hostile to President Mugabe's land grab, this
unexpected manna from heaven for the South African leader which he used
justify his do-nothing policy. The land issue was entirely a matter
Britain and Zimbabwe he claimed ignoring the implications for the
violence and lawlessness across the Limpopo.
Then CFU director David
Hasluck, addressing a delega-tion of African
American politicians brought
here at taxpayers' expense to eulogise the
Mugabe regime and camouflage its
appalling human rights record, blamed the
Blair government for its failure to
"The British government has absolutely rejected that
there will be
compensation for land based on our history," Hasluck
The government already has a lengthy list of apologists. Why
it needs another one is anybody's guess. But the CFU has a
record of being
unable to adopt clear and principled positions on the land
preferring instead to cultivate politicians and then claim they
to involve themselves in politics. That they are unable to see
connection between politics and economic policies or understand the
right of all Zimbabweans to participate in the political process
volumes of their civic failings.
Hasluck knows perfectly well
that Britain has pledged £36 million for land
reform. The EU, the United
States, and other donors are prepared to pitch
in. But they won't fund a
violent campaign of land theft that sabotages
production, places land in the
hands of President Mugabe's cronies, and
"historical background" that Hasluck claims Tony Blair is ignoring
£44 million lost before 1993 on acquired land that now lies barren
occupied by chefs.
What does Hasluck think he is doing repeating Mugabe's
facile mantras for
the benefit of African American politicians who are being
paid to pretend
that the murder of farmers and opposition supporters, the
to their killers, the outright theft of land in clear
contempt of legal
procedures, and the eviction of tens of thousands of
workers, is part of an
historic process aimed at empowering the
The masses of course face starvation as a result. The reason
Agriculture broke away from the CFU was because the CFU was
unable to stand
up for the legal rights of its members, choosing instead to
deals with a lawless regime. As a result solemn undertakings
given by the
most senior people in government to farmers' leaders where
offers had been
made of land, resources and training, were abandoned without
The CFU has nothing to show for its unprincipled collaboration
avaricious political class.
If the visiting American
delegation noticed nothing else, it must surely
have been Mugabe's open
contempt for the people of Zimbabwe's cities.
Because they are sceptical of
his claims to be leading a genuine rural
revolution they are dismissed as
"cosmopolitan wage-earners" whose future
more clearly expose Mugabe's pretensions to be a national
leader. Railing at
the forces of change from the isolation of Zimbabwe
House, Mugabe denounced
urban workers, falsely claiming the MDC wanted to be
included in his
Nobody in their right mind would want to be contaminated by
contact with his
Hasluck and CFU president Colin Cloete
who accompanied him at the meeting
need to get a life. The people of Zimbabwe
in every democratic test have
rejected Mugabe's damaging land seizures and
said instead they want a
coherent programme of land reform that guarantees
alleviates poverty, the position spelt out by donors and the
UNDP at the
Harare land conference of 1998.
Instead of pandering to a
repressive regime in the hope of securing respite
for themselves the CFU
leaders should listen to the people and for once do
the right thing. That
means at the very least not repeating foolish remarks
that expose a complete
ignorance of the popular mood.
Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002 10:35 AM
Subject: JAG and CFU Meetings.
G. A. Whitehead
Chiredzi Support Group
17th October 2002
Most of you have now listened to JAG and CFU, and with over
thirty months of experiencing the worsening situation are, I am sure, now able
to conclude the following:
Mugabe's agenda. To
totally destroy all opposition to ZANU PF and ridding Zimbabwe of all white
farmers and business men. He even told us that whites would leave Zimbabwe with
a suitcase only.
This is a very short term option knowing Mugabe's agenda.
How can you dialogue with
someone who is murdering your own people anyway, this would be very
dishonorable. Imagine if you had been murdered and now are a spirit, watching
your friends make deals with the very people who murdered you. I think that I
would be very disapointed and angry. How do you think GOD would feel.
Dialogue will destroy all the work that the activists have, at great
risk, done exposing the evil and getting the international
community on our side.
At the very
least, if we are forced to leave with our suitcase, we must go with our heads
up, knowing that we fought well and acted honorably.
CFU. There is something wrong here, how can Cloete look us in the eyes and
tell us that he has the members mandate to act in the way that he has done in
the past three months. We are in a very serious situation now and before too
much harm is done, the CFU must prove that they have the support of the farmers.
We can and must force them to do this , we are the
JAG. This group is a God fearing, decent
bunch who will fight for us within the law and I am sure, that we all now know,
that this is the only honorable option left to us. Let the international
community see us prove through the courts whats happened to law and
the JAG team describe what is happening as an evil train and our only option was
to all do our best to derail it. If one comprehends Mugabe's agenda we would
know that we have only two options, run or attempt to derail
this evil train. Let us all be bold and work hard together and derail
this evil train for the sake of our country and its people. We
are right, God is on our side and so is the international community, what else
do we want.
The JAG team excepting for one person are
funding all their travelling expenses themselves, all donations are used for
I know that you are all aware of the
above, What I am actually asking for is for all of us to keep funding
JAG, this can be done through my
Another blow to Mugabe in Luanda
IN what analysts see as a further shot across President Mugabe's
has emerged that the Southern African Development Community (Sadc),
Botswana, suspended the signing of a Mutual Defence Pact proposing
intervention in conflict resolution at the just-ended Luanda summit
Sources said Botswana objected to a provision in the
pact making it
mandatory for Sadc member states to intervene militarily in
the event of one
of its members being attacked, leading to the suspension of
the signing of
Diplomats this week said this was a blow
to Mugabe, accused of trying to
smuggle an adventurist licence through the
In August 1998, he persuaded Angola and Namibia to join him
in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the banner of the
Sadc Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security.
Sources said this
was a setback for Zimbabwean foreign policy as Gaborone
had adopted South
Africa's position in favouring dialogue and regional
consensus, rather than
military action, as the best means of settling
President Festus Mogae is reported to have steadfastly
refused to sign the
pact protesting that the provision was calculated to
countries' sovereignty and their right to make
Diplomats told the Zimbabwe Independent this
week that the leaders had also
sidelined Mugabe within the Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security by
re-electing Mozambique's Joaquim Chissano for another
This, they said was part of a wider plan to deny the
Zimbabwean ruler the
opportunity of holding any key positions within Sadc for
compromising the region's relations with international
In a move to appease the European Union, which is
increasingly concerned at
Mugabe's behaviour, the leaders have already
successfully barred Mugabe from
taking over as the Sadc deputy
Botswana was also driven by fear that Namibia, as an ally of
be allowed to hold on to disputed territory in the Caprivi
Strip which is a
bone of contention between Gaborone and
The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security has been
operating in a vacuum
since South Africa's refusal to sign its 1996 protocol
citing fears that it
would give the then organ chair, Mugabe, too
During his tenure as the ad hoc chair, Mugabe was accused
of abusing the
organ to fulfil regional 'Napoleonic
This led to a standoff between Harare and Pretoria until
last year when
Chissano took over as the chair in a bid by the leaders to
prise the organ
Only last month, the Sadc troika,
comprising Zimbabwe, Mozambique and
Tanzania, met in Harare to spruce up a
document setting up the defence pact.
Visitors allege harassment in Zim
In what seems a
tit-for-tat measure after Botswana's criticism of President
reform programme, Batswana who recently visited Zimbabwe have
harassment by police at roadblocks between the Ramokgwebana
Phase Four Customary Court president, Paul Motshwane, said they
at the way the police had handled them.
at the roadblocks there is a clear form of discrimination.
Despite driving an
immaculate car you are simply signalled off the road and
subjected to a
thorough check whilst Zimbabwean vehicles are given the green
proceed," he protested. After producing all the necessary
police reportedly move around the vehicle looking for
something to charge the
"I was charged $500 for a cracked vehicle wheel stud
which I paid on the
spot. I was not given a receipt. Given the police
hostility we encountered,
we decided not to wait to demand one," he
At another roadblock, Motshwane and his companions were
to produce foreign exchange declaration forms and the
declaration for all
the goods they had in their possession.
the police demands were simply a repetition of the point of
procedures," Motshwane said.
He asserted that the behaviour
of the Zimbabweans was a clear sign of
remarks they made whilst they were seeing to us were really
worrying but we
gave them a deaf ear because we were not there for
asserted. He stated that he had been to Zimbabwe several
times before, but
the treatment he encountered on his last visit on
September 29 was
Motshwane said they incurred more hostility at the Bulawayo
"We entered the hotel talking amongst ourselves in our own language
boisterous and rather negative Shona-speaking man turned on us and
'You Batswana, you should leave us alone. And as for the South
will soon demand visas from them. You Batswana, you think you
are smart and
can simply come into our country and buy Zim dollars when you
Motshwane said they were told.
The man went on to
pronounce himself a Zanu PF man who would die as such.
experience on his way home the following day at the roadblocks
was not any
better. His advice to Batswana who enjoy their shopping in
Bulawayo is to
"act with a lot of caution".
Police officer Goitsemodimo Mogale who
accompanied Motshwane on the visit
was shocked that a neighbour and fellow
Sadc country could mistreat innocent
generally peace-loving people who also respects the rule of
law. It seems
those officers were really looking for us," he said.
Officer Commanding Francistown Police District, Senior
Boikhutso Dintwa, has expressed ignorance about the
ill-treatment of Batswana
in Zimbabwe. He indicated that the Botswana Police
and their Zimbabwean
counterparts were working well together.
"The relationship between us
and our Zimbabwean counterparts remains
cordial," Dintwa said. - Mmegi
18 Oct 2002 16:00
Africa meeting switched so
COPENHAGEN, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The European Union has accepted
offer to host a meeting between the EU and a group of poor
countries, which would enable Zimbabwe President Robert
The ministerial-level meeting between the EU, a bloc of 15
West European countries, and the 14-nation Southern African
Community (SADC) had been scheduled to take place in
Denmark is among many nations that imposed a travel ban
controversial Zimbabwean leader after what the West and
opposition say was Mugabe's fraudulent victory in the March
The meeting will now be held on November
7-8 in Maputo, Mozambique's
capital, the Danish EU presidency said in a
statement. Mozambique has not
joined the ban on Mugabe.
important that the meeting should take place and that the
the EU and the countries in southern Africa continue,"
Minister Per Stig Moeller said.
"The EU member states have been an
important partner for many years
and are contributing considerable
assistance, not least in the current food
crisis," he said in the statement,
referring to the shortages of food that
threaten millions of people in
The EU, together with the United States, Canada,
New Zealand and
Australia, all ban Mugabe.
Zimbabwe belongs to
the SADC, but in a signal that Mugabe is losing
regional support, the body
decided at its meeting two weeks ago to deny
Zimbabwe its deputy
chairmanship, which would have lined Mugabe's country up
to lead the SADC in
Diplomats said at the time the EU had been involved in
block Harare's chances of taking charge of the SADC by indicating
Western donors might withdraw aid in protest.
Governors on payroll despite expiry of tenure
Maththu /Blessing Zulu
THE government is paying full salaries and benefits to
six governors and
resident ministers whose terms of office expired over four
A government source told the Zimbabwe Independent this week
Obert Mpofu, Stephen Nkomo of Matabeleland North and South,
of Manicaland, Josiah Hungwe of Masvingo, Peter Chanetsa of
West, and David Karimanzira of Mashonaland East had been
office when their terms expired in June.
should have had their terms extended in June to justify their
service," said a source. Mpofu was due for renewal in August.
governors this week refused to comment on the issue referring all
to the Office of the President and to the cabinet. Both Hungwe and
said they couldn't remember when they were appointed, that only the
"My friend, I don't know what you are talking about because my
duty is to
work," said Chanetsa yesterday. "The president is the one who
knows what he
is doing. Why not ask him?"
Hungwe said: "I didn't
appoint myself so I do not see why you are asking me
Mpofu switched off his phone when the question was put to
him while the
other governors were not reachable.
lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, said while the appointment of the
governors was the
president's constitutional right, he still had to announce
the appointment or
extension of office of his appointees.
"The president has to issue a
Government Gazette to announce the extension
of a governor's term or the
appointment of another. If that doesn't happen,
then the whole thing becomes
illegal," Madhuku said.
According to the Provincial Districts Act, a
governor's term should not
exceed two years.
The secretary for the
president and the cabinet, Charles Utete, was said to
be out of his office
until next Monday.
A governor earns an annual salary of $1,12 million
with an annual general
allowance of $56 004 and a housing allowance of $142
104. Governors in
Zimbabwe are generally seen as part of President Mugabe's
as they have few individual powers to run their
Govt accounts in shambles
GOVERNMENT-controlled funds amounting to at least $2 billion have not
audited - some for as long as seven years - as accounting systems for
funds continue to degenerate, the Zimbabwe Independent established
Portfolio ministries which administer the funds
have failed to present
accounts for auditing resulting in the Comptroller and
department failing to incorporate them in its latest audit
Monies in these funds are derived from Treasury and grants by
while some are held in trust by government.
accounting methods and outright disregard of Treasury instructions
resulted in the veracity of figures being sent to the Auditor-General
auditing being questionable.
The late remission of accounts by
accounting officers in various ministries
has become endemic in government
and parliament has failed to censure guilty
Auditor-General's report was due for tabling in parliament in September
but was only tabled two weeks ago as its preparation was delayed owing
late submission of accounts.
Information made available to the
Independent this week by the
Auditor-General's office show that the Ministry
of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs has since 1995 failed to avail
for audit the
Guardian's Fund which is administered by the Master of the High
In March 1995 the fund had $143 million and with the
Aids-related deaths, officials at the Ministry of Finance this
there should be at least $500 million in the kitty.
fund pools together deceased persons' monies held in trust by the Master
the High Court pending disbursement to beneficiaries who include
minors or disabled persons.
Other large sums of money,
which have not been audited, include the Parks
and Wildlife Fund which had
$269 million in December 1999. The last time the
fund was audited in 1996, it
had $90 million.
The Ministry of Rural Resources and Water
Development did not submit for
audit accounts for the Rural Development Fund,
which had $334 million
dollars in 2000.
The Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare also did not remit for auditing
accounts for the Health
Services Fund which in the 10 months ended June
1997, had $48 million and
$154 million as of December 31, 1998.
The District Development Fund,
with $59 million as of December 1999, was
also not audited.
Govt 'criminalising democrats'
GROWING list of Movement for Democratic Change leaders and supporters are
a "hit-list" as government steps up its crackdown on the opposition
using defective and controversial laws.
MDC spokesperson Paul
Temba Nyathi is the latest addition to the growing
list of party MPs facing
charges ranging from treason to defaming President
Nyathi was last week summoned to Gwanda Police Station for
utterances in Nkwidze in Gwanda four months ago.
date about 18 MDC MPs and their president, Morgan Tsvangirai have
Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube
and Renson Gasela are
facing treason charges arising from allegations that
they plotted to
assassinate President Mugabe.
Facing charges under
the Public Order and Security Act for causing alarm and
despondency are party
vice president Gibson Sibanda, Job Sikhala on six
occasions, and Abedinicho
Bhebhe and Thokozani Khupe on two occasions.
Tafadzwa Musekiwa has
been arraigned before the courts for allegedly making
abusive phone calls to
Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo. Moses Mzila
Ndlovu has been arrested
on two occasions.
There is also a list of those accused of firing
shots or beating up Zanu PF
supporters and these include secretary for legal
affairs David Coltart,
arrested on two occasions for allegedly keeping
broadcasting equipment and
having fired a pistol at Zanu PF
Bennie Tumbare-Mutasa and Paul Madzore have also been
arrested on charges of
violence while Jealous Sansole and Peter Nyoni have
been arrested twice on
the same charge.
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube has
been charged in connection with the murder of
Bulawayo war veterans leader
Cain Nkala. Tichaona Munyanyi, MP Mbare East,
was last month arrested over
the death of Ali Khan Manjengwa, a Zanu PF
activist who was shot by unknown
assailants in Mbare.
Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett was arrested for
"practising journalism" without
activist Brian Kagoro said what the Mugabe regime was doing was
"The Mugabe regime is criminalising democrats
using concocted charges and
the law is being used for purely political
reasons and it then becomes easy
to pounce on these MPs," said Kagoro.
Chinamasa accused of protecting Mnangagwa over damning
10/18/02 10:24:16 AM (GMT +2)
PATRICK Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Affairs is sitting on a report on his predecessor, Emmerson
conduct, following his illegal release of a hard-core armed
The report is the result of
a probe ordered by the High Court last
Three weeks after the
Attorney-General, Andrew Chigovera, said he had
submitted his report to
Chinamasa on how Mnangagwa released Chikanga, the
minister has still not
commented on the contents.
Since last week, Chinamasa has been
promising to comment on the
results of the investigations after he
acknowledged he had seen the report
but, because of his busy schedule, had
not read it.
Last week on Thursday he promised to make public the
report on Monday
this week but when contacted on that day, Chinamasa promised
to call The
after he had read the report.
November last year, retired Justice David Bartlett ruled that
unlawfully released Chikanga in March 2000.
Mnangagwa is the Speaker of
Parliament and the Zanu PF secretary for
Chigovera said then: "I have completed that report and handed it to
ministry and it is up to the ministry to see what it can do with it.
will not comment on the details of the report until I hear from
Bartlett said Chigovera should investigate all
the files related to
the release of prisoners during Mnangagwa's tenure, to
such releases were handled properly.
affidavit during Chikanga's trial, Mnangagwa admitted Chikanga'
s release was
an error but attributed the anomaly to his then permanent
Augustine Chikumira, who died in January last year, and his
assistant, a Mr Nyathi, also deceased.
In his ruling, Bartlett said
he had a high regard for Chikumira and
from the evidence, was satisfied he
was not linked to Chikanga's release.
During the trial, Bartlett
established that Chikanga was previously
convicted and sentenced to 35 years
in prison on a number of counts
of armed robbery but only served nine
The court then heard that Chikanga was released early because he
purportedly suffering from hypertension.
But a medical
examination ordered by Bartlett showed that Chikanga did
not suffer from
hypertension. He was redetained and is still to be tried in
involving a $7 million armed robbery.
Suspend listing of conservancies, says
10/18/02 10:27:45 AM (GMT +2)
THE government has been urged to suspend the
listing of conservancies
under the land reform programme to stop the
disruption of the habitat of
was made by the Parliament Portfolio Committee on
Mines, Energy Environment
The 11-member committee, chaired by Joel Gabbuza, the
MDC MP for Binga
and the party's shadow minister for tourism and mines, made
recommendations after investigating the causes of the sharp decline
tourism since 1999.
The committee said there was need for
legislation on the conservancies
to accord full control over them and develop
them into a healthy and
The comments came
after the discovery that most conservancies had been
listed for compulsory
For example, 99 percent of the Gwayi Valley Conservancy
and 90 percent of the safari operators in the area were served
"The committee is concerned with the ad hoc
shift in decisions as it
creates a dilemma for wild life in those farms,"
said Gabbuza. "There was a
notable case of a farmer who was raising
crocodiles and had been served with
a Section 8 form. The farmer could not
just stop feeding the crocodiles and
he did not know where he could transfer
them to." There has been massive
deforestation and poaching in the
conservancies as poor hungry people
capitalise on the chaotic land reform
World Food Program suspends relief effort in Zimbabwean town after
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct.
18 - The World Food Program said Friday it suspended
hunger relief efforts
indefinitely in a Zimbabwean town after ruling party
activists threatened aid
workers and seized donated grain.
The action marked the first time the
WFP halted food distributions in
Zimbabwe, whose government has been accused
of using food as a political
tool against the opposition.
estimated 6.7 million Zimbabweans, more than half the population,
danger of starvation in the coming months.
Workers for the
Organization of Rural Associations for Progress were
distributing WFP corn to
hungry families Thursday at Insiza, 350 miles
southwest of Harare, when
ruling party militants threatened them and seized
more than three tons of the
grain, the WFP said.
The militants then distributed the aid to
''people who may not be
intended beneficiaries,'' the U.N. agency
Insiza, the site of an upcoming by-election, has been racked
political violence in recent weeks.
''Relief food distributions
are not the place for any kind of
political activity,'' said Kevin Farrell,
WFP's country director in
''WFP standing policy is to not
tolerate the misuse of its resources
for political ends,'' he said, adding
that the U.N. agency was seeking
''urgent assurances from the government'' it
will not happen again.
Government and ruling party officials did not
respond to requests for
Welshman Ncube, secretary-general
of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, said food aid had been used
against the opposition for
the past two weeks.
with compliance of aid workers, deliberately
arranged food distributions near
MDC rallies to lure away starving voters,
he said. The opposition supporters
were then forced to chant ruling party
slogans and surrender their opposition
party cards before being given food.
Human rights workers have
reported similar incidents in recent months
as hunger spreads throughout the
Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food
Agriculture Organization, said last week that people across Zimbabwe
him the government had refused to sell grain in some areas
hotbeds of opposition support.
The WFP has blamed the
hunger in Zimbabwe on a devastating drought
combined with the government's
policy of seizing land from white commercial
farmers and giving it to blacks,
a policy that has badly damaged agriculture
officials deny allegations their land redistribution plan
has worsened the
Police spokesman Bothwell Mugariri said a complaint about the
food seizure had been lodged and authorities had ''increased their
and were ready to deal with any violence.''
No arrests had
been made over the incident.
WFP concerned about mounting food needs
10/18/02 10:40:15 AM (GMT +2)
THE World Food Programme
(WFP) has expressed deep concern about its
inability to respond fully to the
ever mounting hunger crises, despite
assistance from donor
The concern was made ahead of the World Food Day, on
16th of October.
Zimbabwe is among the six
countries in southern Africa which has
benefited from WFP food donations
since February this year following poor
harvests in the past two seasons and
a reduction in commercial plantings due
to the land reform
While the WFP and the Grain Marketing Board, have since
year imported food, the supply situation remains
According to Southern African Development Community,
planned imports as of August stood at 1,29 million tonnes and they
left an import gap of about 1,06 million tonnes for which more food
pledges were required.
Current projections in Zimbabwe indicate
a maize deficit of 1,98
million tonnes for the 2002/2003 marketing year,
inclusive of 500 000 tonnes
minimum strategic grain reserve
"This disturbing new phenomenon is not simply a lack of cash,
funding for humanitarian emergencies is never easy to secure," said
executive director, James Morris. "The main challenge comes from a surge
new needs, driven primarily by weather-related disasters and
In Zimbabwe, the WFP initially identified about 558 000
being in urgent need of food aid. Following its second survey
the WFP realised that more than six million people in Zimbabwe
Morris said: "Extreme weather has intensified
the WFP role in current
crises. In southern Africa, drought is the prime
cause of hunger which is
now threatening an estimated 14,4 million people,
according to a recent
"At the same time, another
serious drought is looming over the Horn of
Africa where the figure of those
at risk in Ethiopia alone has unexpectedly
shot to between 10-14 million
confronting the international community with a
new and enormous
Zimbabwe is the worst affected by food shortages in the
African region. While food shortages in Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho
Swaziland were caused by poor rains in the past season, Zimbabwe's
situation has been compounded by the land reform programme which has
some farmers reducing food production.
Morris said the WFP
has to assist in Ivory Coast where civil unrest
would affect up to four
million people. In Mauritania, drought is already
causing serious hardships
and is spreading to five neighbouring countries,
affecting up to 1,5 million
people according to the WFP.
In Central America, about 1,5 million
people have seen their food
supplies wither because of drought, he
Across the ocean, Asia is battling with floods. In
years of drought and conflict are still wreaking havoc on
the lives of
almost 10 million people.
"The combined need of
roughly 50 million people cannot be shrugged
off. Nor can the needs of 300
million hungry children, who either go to
school and do not get a meal or do
not go to school at all," Morris said.
ZIMBABWE: Unified action needed to resolve crisis
October (IRIN) - Deep divisions between African countries and the West over how
to deal with the current crisis in Zimbabwe was hampering efforts to help break
the political impasse in the country, an international think-tank said this
In its latest report titled 'Zimbabwe, The Politics of National
Liberation and International Division', the International Crisis Group (ICG)
said the lack of a unified response had allowed President Robert Mugabe "to
believe that he can exploit the policy fissures between the West and
The Brussels-based group also pointed to the foreign media's
skewed emphasis on forced land evictions, saying that by focusing on the plight
of white commercial farmers, the media had inadvertently given Mugabe's
liberation rhetoric greater resonance in many African countries.
medias' emphasis on the plight of white farmers reinforces the erroneous but
widespread belief in Africa that the West is concerned about Zimbabwe only
because white property interests have been harmed," the report
Instead, the ICG suggested more should be made of allegations of
human rights abuses, the dismantling of democratic institutions, and the
destruction of the rule of law.
Zimbabwe's current crisis of governance
was because of it poor economic performance in recent years and the current food
shortages, the crisis group said.
Almost six million Zimbabweans face
critical food shortages, mainly due to drought and the government's land
The report echoed concerns that the escalating economic
crisis could further destabilise the region, particularly South Africa, by
driving tens of thousands more refugees out of Zimbabwe and into neighbouring
"South Africa does not yet appear to be sufficiently convinced of
the imminence of the threat to its own stability with sufficient energy,
especially as it seems to fear the impact of Mugabe's charges that it is in
collusion with the West," the report said.
This week, South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki said his government would continue engaging all sectors of
Zimbabwean society. However, he pointed out that Zimbabwe's troubles and the
concomitant media attention it had received had served as a "smokescreen for
those who did not want to address Africa's other problems".
month Zimbabwe was replaced as deputy chair of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC) in what diplomats considered a sign of the region's
displeasure with Mugabe's policies.
But the regional body has opposed
sanctions, which have been imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and European
The crisis group called on South Africa and Nigeria to revive
efforts to negotiate an inter-party solution between the ruling ZANU-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Also, it recommended broader
African pressure to ensure that the ruling ZANU-PF restore the rule of law and
establish conditions for free and fair elections.
Furthermore, the ICG
said the international response to the crisis was still characterised by "too
much bark and too little bite".
The report suggested a much more nuanced
two-track diplomatic strategy for the United States and the European Union "of
strong and public actions to isolate the regime while quietly applying pressure
on key African states to encourage more resolute action".
measures recommended by the ICG were targeted sanctions that are better enforced
and extended beyond ZANU-PF's leadership to include the regime's commercial
supporters and bankers and family members, particularly those studying in the
The ICG also accused the government of blatantly using emergency
food aid as a political weapon against opposition supporters.
recommended that food donors shine the spotlight on the politicisation of food
aid and make all food relief conditional on ensuring that everyone receives
assistance regardless of political affiliation.
To access the
International Division Plays Into Mugabe's Hands
Crisis Group (Brussels)
October 17, 2002
the web October 17, 2002
Deep divisions in the
international community about the response to Zimbabwe
's crisis are playing
into President Robert Mugabe's hands. Foreign media
emphasis on the plight of
white farmers also helps the regime's liberation'
rhetoric reinforcing the
erroneous but widespread belief in Africa that the
West is concerned about
Zimbabwe only because white property interests have
report from the International Crisis Group, Zimbabwe: The Politics
National Liberation and International Division, a copy of which is
says that the split between broadly Africa and the West has
international efforts to help break the political impasse in
it results in widespread deadly violence or possible state
has damaged perceptions of Africa and weakens the New
Partnership for Africa
's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union
The report seeks to emphasise the very real problems in Zimbabwe
the risks to southern African stability and rising humanitarian
costs of the
crisis. Zimbabwean human rights groups are now reporting torture
are among the highest in the world while government policies have
drought into a food emergency, and the regime is blatantly using
food as a
political weapon against opposition supporters. One ZANU-PF
quoted in the report, saying "We would be better off with only
people, with our own people.We don't want all these extra
Malnutrition rates are rising sharply and more than 6.7 million
are expected to need food aid by the end of the year.
Prendergast, Co-Director of ICG's Africa Program, said: "The policy
between the West and Africa has emboldened the ruling party and
the international response to the crisis in Zimbabwe. The skewed
much of the international media on the plight of the white
farmers has also
given Mugabe's revolutionary rhetoric greater resonance in
quarters, rather than putting a spotlight on the egregious
abuses, the dismantling of democratic institutions, the use of
food as a
weapon, the destruction of the rule of law and the lack of
Among the measures recommended by ICG are targeted
sanctions that are better
enforced and extended beyond ZANU-PF's leadership
to include the regime's
commercial supporters and bankers and family members,
studying in the West.
The report also details a
much more nuanced two-track diplomatic strategy
for the United States and the
European Union of strong and public actions to
isolate the regime while
quietly engaging with and applying back-stage
pressure on key African states
and SADC to encourage more resolute action.
Reckoning with Zimbabwe's painful past
Rachel L. Swarns
The New York
Tuesday, October 15, 2002 BULAWAYO, Every year after the dry, hungry
winters, old women pray for the spring rains to cleanse the earth and revive
parched fields. The first rains, known as gukurahundi in the Shona language, are
usually hailed as a symbol of life, fertility and prosperity. But here the term
is also a symbol of blood and violence.
Gukurahundi is the name given to
the killings that began a few years after white rule ended in 1980. Just as
blacks were beginning to enjoy their newfound freedoms, their newly elected
leader, Robert Mugabe, sent soldiers to cleanse the land of rival black
insurgents. By 1988, thousands of people had been killed here in the province of
Matabeleland. The years of terror left many people traumatized, fearful and
silenced. Public discussion of the violence is still taboo in many places, which
is why Yvonne Vera's new novel, "The Stone Virgins," has created a
One of Zimbabwe's most prominent writers, Vera describes the
violence through two sisters whose lives are shattered by the battle between
soldiers and dissidents. Thenjiwe is decapitated by a black insurgent. Nonceba
survives, but the attacker slices off her lips. Her struggle to heal reflects,
in many ways, this nation's struggle to acknowledge and come to terms with its
raw, self-inflicted wounds.
Government officials often chronicle the
suffering endured by blacks during decades of white oppression, but they speak
little of the blood spilled by black soldiers and guerrillas. No one knows how
many people died in Matabeleland. Some say more than 3,000; others say more than
10,000. And some book critics here are already comparing the troubles of the
1980s as depicted in Vera's novel to the political violence that batters this
country today. In the past two and a half years, Mugabe's supporters have killed
scores of black opposition party members, human rights groups say. Journalists,
writers and artists who have criticized his government have been harassed,
arrested and jailed.
Vera, 38, who runs the National Art Gallery here,
is not a political activist, and her novel is not a political tract. She loves
Zimbabwe, she says, and spends her time nurturing young artists and huddling
over her computer, constructing the haunting imagery, dense narratives and
lyrical language that characterize her novels. But she could not ignore the
violence swirling across the country. She was frightened at times that the
government might take action against her. But she wrote the novel anyway,
believing that Zimbabweans must confront the troubled past to move forward. "I
asked some friends and they said, 'Don't write it,'" Vera said as she sat in her
gallery, describing the warnings she heard whenever she discussed the violence
of the 1980s.
"It has been a silenced subject," she said. "There has
been an absolute fear of even talking about it. For two years I did not write
it. But it was not possible for me to have that self-censorship. I wanted to
say, This is how it was. Just that. These destructive people were created, and
they roamed the land. I cannot pretend to have been unaware of the relevance
now. We weren't past this violence; we have remained in that."
confronting the troubles of the past and acknowledging their continuing
relevance, Vera is following one of Zimbabwe's most striking literary
Black writers here have written eloquently about black suffering
under the white government and the jubilation that followed Mugabe's election in
1980. But since the late 1980s many writers who were in their twenties when
white rule ended have focused on the damage and disillusionment experienced by
blacks during and immediately after the struggle for
In "Shadows," Chenjerai Hove, 46, describes how some
black guerrillas commandeered homes from their supporters and abandoned the
children they fathered in rural villages. In "Harvest of Thorns," Shimmer
Chinodya, who is also in his mid-forties, depicts the brutal public killings of
blacks who were viewed as collaborators with the white government. In her
collection of poems, "On the Road Again," Freedom Nyamubaya, a poet and a former
guerrilla, describes how many female fighters, including herself, were raped by
And Vera - in her first published work, "Why Don't You
Carve Other Animals?," a collection of short stories released in 1992 -
describes how Chido, a female fighter, returns from the war and finds herself
jobless and misunderstood as the country celebrates its new
Irene Staunton, who has edited and published many of these
books, including "The Stone Virgins," calls them Zimbabwe's unofficial truth
commission. Eva Hunter, an associate professor of English at the University of
the Western Cape in South Africa, agrees. "Yvonne Vera is very concerned about
recapturing some of the truth of the liberation struggle, the truth of the
past," Hunter said. "Her emphasis is on the communal suffering, what happens to
the people who are not in uniform. She sees recapturing that past as important
for individual and national healing."
Vera, who grew up here and earned
a doctorate in literature at York University in Downsview, Ontario, has never
shied away from controversial subjects in her novels. "Without a Name,"
published in 1994, tackles infanticide. "Under the Tongue," published in 1996,
deals with incest. "Butterfly Burning," published in 1998, deals with abortion.
The liberation struggle, the constant backdrop, sometimes spills into the lives
of her main characters, mostly women on the sidelines of battle. The man who
rapes his daughter, for instance, has just returned home from fighting the white
In "The Stone Virgins," the people of Kezi are celebrating
the end of the war and the arrival of the country's first black government.
Triumphant guerrillas gather with their supporters at Thandabantu Store.
Villagers are giddily envisioning the day when the government will bring running
water to their community. But a few years later, violence explodes across the
land. Thenjiwe is killed by a black dissident. The shopkeeper is tortured and
burned to death by soldiers. The hospitals are full of silenced, broken people
with psychological wounds that may never heal.
It would be easy to
demonize Thenjiwe's killer, but Vera chooses not to. She steps inside his mind
and finds an ordinary man, like many of the sons, brothers and neighbors who
went to war hopeful and returned numb, damaged, forgotten. In her novel, killers
and victims alike are battered by war. Sibaso, the insurgent who kills Thenjiwe,
complains that people have forgotten the sacrifices that guerrillas made to win
the country's freedom. "They remember nothing," he says of his countrymen. "They
never speak of it now, at least I do not hear of it."
Hope and despair
intermingle throughout the novel. Mutilated and battered, Nonceba tries to
rebuild her life in a country where officials move steadily to expand access to
education, health care and jobs to blacks even as they send soldiers to the
battles that terrorize the countryside. Amid the violence, there is still some
sense of progress.
Vera was determined to describe that kind of damage
and healing, but she also seemed careful to avoid language that might outrage
the government. Her violent character is a dissident, not a soldier. She does
not apportion blame to either side in the conflict, even though most people
attribute the majority of killings to the government. The explosive word
gukurahundi, which evokes such emotion and anger here, never appears in "The
The novel was published here in May and Vera has had no
trouble so far. But she still admits to a lingering sense of unease. Some
artists and journalists who have criticized the government, including the
musician Thomas Mapfumo, have left the country after reporting threats by
government supporters. She wonders, sometimes, whether she will be
"I shouldn't panic, but I panic," Vera said. "The subject is
taboo. Am I seen as a government critic? I don't know. I don't want to be
embroiled in politics."
"One thing is for sure: I don't want to leave
Zimbabwe," she continued. "But I don't want limits, barriers to my creative
energy. What I like is to make someone witness what is occurring in my work. If
they can do that, it's a big step in breaking silences."