'Occupied' Zim farms lie... unoccupied
October 26 2002
By Basildon Peta
Only about half of the eight
million hectares of land seized from Zimbabwe's
white farmers has been
occupied by new black owners, prompting fears of a
drastic decline in
agricultural output next year.
Most of the land seized from farmers under
Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's controversial policies of confiscating
white farms for resettling
blacks is now lying fallow, much of it abandoned
by new owners who were not
given the resources to farm.
So bad is the
situation that the government has threatened to re-confiscate
land from the
new black owners and transfer it to others. Reports said in
some areas the
government had already started reconfiscating the land.
should be on their farms before the end of the rainy season'
province, which had some of the country's most productive
biggest tobacco farms, was the worst affected. David
province's governor and resident minister, admitted that
only half of the
seized land in the province had been occupied, close to a
month after the
expiry of the first deadline for the new black farmers to
"We have given the new settlers a deadline of up to the end of
failing which the land will be given to other applicants,"
the state-owned Herald newspaper.
The deadline is
the second issued to the new settlers in as many months.
production on the farms and people should be on their farms before
the end of
the rainy season," said Karimanzira.
In Matabeleland North Province,
authorities had already started
reconfiscating land. Obert Mpofu, the
province's governor, was also quoted
recently by the Herald as saying his
officials had already started
re-possessing "plots which have not been taken
up by the beneficiaries and
allocating them to applicants who have been on
the waiting list".
'This is not a land reform programme'
who were allocated land were given until August 31 as the deadline
the farms but there are some who still have not done so. We cannot
lying idle when there are people who are prepared to work them,"
quoted as saying.
"New farmers should understand that they now have an
important role to play.
That is feeding the nation and they can only do so
when they utilise their
farms," he said.
Observers said the fact that
the Herald, which routinely parrots the
government's propaganda, was prepared
to quote the officials was proof of
the chaotic nature of the land reform
Gerry Davidson, a director of the Commercial Farmers Union,
said the real
rate of occupation on all seized farms was likely to be far
less than half.
Local farmers' associations still operating around the
country "would not
even put the figure as high as half", he was quoted as
Some of the farms designated for compulsory seizure were
small plots for redistribution to their new black owners. One
demarcated into as many as 61 plots, but only four people had been
Davidson was quoted by the Zimbabwe News, a website
newspaper covering news
from that country, as saying the end result of
subdivision was to decrease
"A lot of them did not realise
the implications of what it means to start
Most were unable to raise money to begin cropping or keep
many were reluctant to move on to their new plots without a
home. Others were allocated land unsuitable for
"If there had been a properly scheduled take-over, this
trough in production
could have been avoided," Davidson said.
it demonstrates that this is not a land reform programme. It was
there was an election coming."
Only about 400 white farmers remain on
their land in Zimbabwe against a
figure of more than 4 000 six months ago.
The Farm Community Trust estimates
that 250 000 farm workers have been left
jobless and without any roofs over
their heads by the indiscriminate land
Many white farmers, who had not been served with eviction
notices, have been
forcibly removed from their properties by rampaging war
The problem of lack of occupancy on the seized farms stems from
the lack of
clear criteria for the selection of settlers. Although many
donors agree on
the need for land reform in Zimbabwe, they have frozen their
of the lack of definition about who qualifies for
Many deserving landless peasants were left in the cold in
favour of war
veterans and supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
output is now expected to decline by at least 60 percent next
Zimbabwe's agony as Mugabe avoids
MOURNERS at a recent funeral at
Hills cemetery were startled by the arrival of a high-speed
of about 100 Mercedes, BMWs and 4x4 behemoths in the latest
livery, many of
them displaying large flower-bedecked photographs of the man
As the white rococo coffin sank
into the grave,
three dudes in sharp suits and wraparound shades pulled guns
pockets and fired a salute to the 32-year-old tycoon who had died
in a car
accident. There were mutterings among the comrade swells about
local and hard currency notes that had vanished from the boot of
man's car about the time of the
The week's other egregious exhibition
among Zimbabwe's Kompressor class (after the favoured model of
came from Phillip Chiyangwa, tycoon MP, member of President
circle and former policeman. The lifestyle section of the
Herald reported a tour of Chiyangwa's new mansion in Harare:
18 bedrooms, 18
lounges, two saunas, whirlpool, steam and spa baths, 15
garages and three
his communal village 50 miles west of
Harare, Chiyangwa has built another
home, the newspaper said. This one has
Never has the country seen such
affluence, nor the
famine and poverty that simultaneously afflict Zimbabwe's
13 million people
who live outside this tiny ostentatious class. The
combination of these
contradictions is a classic consequence of an economy in
has engineered probably the fastest
decline of any comparably robust, diverse
economy in modern history, without
war or natural calamity. In less than
three years he has inflicted a
spoliation that other African countries took
20 years to do after their
February 2000 the loss of a referendum on
constitutional change presaged
defeat for his ruling Zanu (PF) party in
parliamentary elections due in four
months. To avert it, Mugabe went to war
against the nation. He propelled the
bloody and lawless campaigns of
invasions of white land and the elimination
In the 32 months since then, GDP has
fallen 24 per
cent, official inflation has gone up to 135 per cent, the value
currency has dropped 96 per cent, and arrears on foreign debt of
billion (£2.2 billion) have risen from 2 per cent of GDP to 30 per
Agriculture, the engine of the economy, has
throttled by Mugabe's land grab, tourism earnings have fallen 80 per
annual gold production has been halved to 14tonnes and more than
a formal workforce of 1.3 million have lost their jobs. Half the
living in famine and 35 per cent of all adults are afflicted by
The hard currency black market has become
country's biggest growth industry. This month it has been paying Z$1,100
$1, against the official rate, pegged in July 2001, of Z$55 to
Similarly, price controls on basic commodities have emptied supermarkets
all controlled goods. Bread, maizemeal (Zimbabweans' staple), sugar and
can be had in township lean-to stalls at triple the controlled price,
they reappear in supermarkets in slightly altered form - sesame
sprinkled on a loaf of bread - at prices hugely increased, but at
allowing the manufacturer a profit.
2001 the Government reversed its IMF-prescribed
policy of positive interest
rates and pegged them at 35 per cent. The excuse
was that the black
affirmative action Kompressor business class was being
oppressed. In reality,
it allowed the Government to double its borrowings
and simultaneously halve
its interest bill. It also introduced
hyperinflation and real negative
interest rates now of minus 110 per cent
that have flattened the country's
The policies are doubly ruinous when
they work in
tandem. The state-owned fuel monopoly pays for fuel imports with
currency for just under $1 a litre. Price controls allow motorists to
for the equivalent of 8 US cents.
Conventional business practice is turned on its
head. "Rule number one is you
convert all your cash into hard currency and
remit it abroad on a weekly
basis," the chief executive of a middle-sized
"Deal in cash and don't keep your money in
institutions. Borrow as much as you can locally (at 35 per cent),
for cash, keep selling as hard as you can, and reprice at least
For local investment, he buys air
tickets in local
currency from the state-owned airline for destinations
abroad, and imported
luxury cars - made cheap by a customs import duty rate
charged against the
official exchange rate.
Keep out of property, he says: "I have a property
portfolio and it's a noose
around my neck. There's always the threat
Planning has become almost
impossible. "For my
business, short-term means a day, a week is medium-term
and a month is
long-term. It is a command economy in chaos and it is full of
As the Kompressor class has
discovered. The key to
the new wealth is the gulf between the official and
black market exchange
rates. You can't get hard currency at the bank, unless
you have a ruling
party connection. It will secure you a directive from the
central bank to
commercial banks to issue you with forex. You buy it at Z$55
to the US
dollar, and sell it at Z$1,100 to the
Another source is the Zimbabwean
estimated two million people. My neighbour runs a small
but this month she put a 70-yard brick wall around her
property and embarked
on substantial renovations to her house. It was
financed by black market
deals on cash sent to her by her son and daughter in
For tens of thousands, a relative
working abroad is
the only way to escape starvation. Support for people back
home also comes
by e-commerce. Via www.sadza.com, a Zimbabwean in Luton can order
for his relatives' groceries in
Economists estimate that up to £20
million a week in
hard currency goes home this way, and that it is now by far
source of foreign exchange. Nearly all of it goes straight out
Even Mugabe's central bank gave warning
that the bubbles created by the distortions in the economy
unsustainable. Inflation of 1,000 per cent, a halving of GDP and
Malthusian die-off of thousands of people through starvation and Aids
the next two years are probabilities.
"The Government has precious few options left," Tony
Hawkins, a Zimbabwean
economist, says. "You get the sense that we are
approaching some sort of
crunch. It's around the corner, but the corner is
taking a long time to
The "crunch" theory, that society will
explode and remove Mugabe, is in doubt. After three years of
defiance of the
laws of economics, the loathing of most Zimbabweans and the
the rest of the world, Mugabe remains in power, stronger and
healthier than ever. As Chenjerai Hove, the Zimbabwean novelist,
"African governments are never bankrupt until the pantry in the
Zimbabwe bishop stays silent on harassment of
A Zimbabwean bishop has defended his silence on the harassment
of a priest
in his diocese, saying that speaking out "would put many lives in
Irish-born Fr Patrick Kelly, 60, is in hiding in Zimbabwe after
his life when members of President Robert Mugabe's militia of
veterans" drove him out of his parish in Mutare Diocese in
"We are investigating the matter, but it is a very
sensitive issue, and one
has to be very careful in matters of this nature,
otherwise you are putting
many lives in danger," said Bishop Alexio
Muchabaiwa of Mutarei.
Fr Kelly from Tubbercurry went to Zimbabwe in 1998
after spending the
previous 27 years as a missionary in southern Kenya for
Missionary Society, based in Ireland's County
Before the group of seven thugs arrived at Fr Kelly's home in
the village of
Nyanga on 17 August, he was interrogated three times, by
agents of Mugabe's
secret police. Fr Kelly said then that he was accused of
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
International said Zimbabwe's "war veterans" are backed by the
army and are able to act with impunity.
In the last year, white farmers
have been forced off their land by "war
veterans" as part of Mugabe's land
Poverty Greatest Challenge
The Herald (Harare)
October 26, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002
Parliament faces a 2003 "war budget" on November 14, with its enemy number
one being poverty.
The budget comes soon after the appointment of the "war Cabinet" by
President Mugabe in August that included several new development-oriented
The House will face its toughest challenge in history when it receives the
budget at a time when the country faces pressing needs in almost every
The country is waiting for the budget with great expectations and
apprehension. The House will therefore be confronted with a highly demanding and
tough balancing act.
The MPs will have to shun their petty political arguments and ensure that
they give the nation what it deserves by comprehensively debating the budget to
solve problems it faces.
But judging by the long and winding debates that characterised the budget
motion last year, this year's budget is also likely to witness members engaging
in a fierce debate as they disagree on some of the votes.
The budget will be used by many to measure how the "war Cabinet" will live
up to the expectations of the majority.
The major priority of the budget will definitely be the eradication of
poverty and empowering the majority to fight poverty.
That poverty has affected the lives of the majority is evidently clear as
people struggle to irk a living on a daily basis.
So for many, the budget must be seen to address issues of poverty to
empower them to stand on their own so that they are able to provide for their
The tone of the budget has already been set by the creation on new
ministries that are development-oriented by Cde Mugabe.
These ministries need enough resources if they are to be successful in
ensuring there is real development in the country.
But for the budget to work, the MPs will have to debate it with open minds
regardless of their political affiliations.
They have to know that the budget is a very crucial instrument for the
attainment of democratic ideals such as equity, involvement and participation by
society, gender sensitivity, national integrity, transparency and good
Enough resources have to be allocated to the pressing needs such as the
land reform programme, and the shortages of basic commodities.
Resources also have to be allocated to areas such as capital expenditure
and the health, education and social welfare sectors.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says more than 500 companies
closed last year, leaving thousands of workers without jobs.
This calls for more resources to be allocated to votes such as the Industry
and International Trade and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development to
ensure some of the companies are revived.
In other words, the budget has to target each sector in turn inorder to
provide enough resources to revive them.
The most important sectors in the country such as mining, agriculture,
manufacturing and tourism are at their lowest at the moment and they need to be
Speaker of Parliament, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, has already indicated that
the major priority for the budget must be the land reform programme.
Cde Mnangagwa told legislators at a budget review workshop in Nyanga this
week that the role of agriculture in empowerment and poverty alleviation could
not be over-emphasised.
"There is need for both public and private sector support in the provision
of inputs and tillage as well as provision of infrastructure in the resettlement
areas," said Cde Mnangagwa.
As a result, the budget is expected to set the tone in terms of the
financial and other material needs for the newly resettled farmers.
Health delivery must also be another top priority for the budget design,
mainly because of the Aids pandemic that has caused a lot of suffering in
society and in the spheres of industry and commerce.
There is, therefore, need for a healthy labour force if the agrarian
reforms are to succeed.
The Health and Child Welfare Ministry is already biding for an allocation
of at least $98 billion in the budget to arrest further deterioration of
facilities and counter the Aids pandemic.
The ministry was allocated $22 billion in last year's budget and received a
further supplementary allocation of $5 billion, but the funds were still
Chairman of the portfolio committee on Health and Child Welfare, Mr
Blessing Chebundo, said the situation has been worsened by the withdrawal of
funding by key development partners.
"The ability of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to provide
comprehensive and high quality services depends on the level of resources made
available by the government,' said Mr Chebundo.
"In real terms, the figure we are asking for is even lower than last year's
figures given the rising inflation rate."
The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) is
already lobbying for more resources to be allocated towards child-related issues
in the budget.
Nango research and advocacy officer Tirivanhu Juru said the organisation
wanted spending on social services sectors such as health, education and social
welfare to be increased.
"Under health, we recommend adequate funding for primary health care so as
to enable efficient delivery of services such as immunisation and endemic
disease prevention," said Juru.
"Maternity care, screening of children, integrated management of childhood
illnesses, child health care and youth health services must get enough
The organisations involved in the lobby include the Child Protection
Society, Farm Community Trust, Poverty Reduction Forum, Zimbabwe Human Rights
Trust of Southern Africa and the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Cde Herbert Murerwa, said
the budget will focus on productive sectors, particularly the agrarian
"The small-scale farmers have proved their capabilities so we will support
them," said Cde Murerwa.
"We also need to support the large-scale farmers whose production is also
critical for the economy particularly in terms of exports."
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has already
indicated it needs at least $30 billion in the budget to finance agricultural
Agricultural inputs had an allocation of $6,5 billion in this year's
Against a backdrop of these critical demands, the budget promises to be a
tight process as most votes would demand more resources.
But it remains to be seen how the legislators will live up to the
expectations of the people as they debate the budget.
Many people will be looking up to the budget as a way of kick-starting the
revival of the economy that has been at its lowest in the last three
Private Sector's Help Vital - Minister
The Herald (Harare)
October 26, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002
THE private sector should help in the fight against HIV/Aids, which is
slowly depleting the country's workforce, the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa said yesterday.
He said with about 25 percent of the country's population feared to be
HIV-positive and about 2 500 people dying every week of Aids related diseases,
companies would do well to educate their workers about the dangers of
He was speaking at the
opening of the British American Tobacco Zimbabwe's staff clinic in Harare.
"These are frightening statistics if you consider that most of the people
dying are in the productive age of our nation. Our workforce is, therefore,
steadily getting depleted thus affecting the economic viability of our
"It is in view of this fact that British American Tobacco Zimbabwe should
be commended for focusing on the health and well being of its employees," he
Recently, the private sector launched the Zimbabwe Business Council on Aids
forum through which it would mobilise for greater involvement of business in the
fight against HIV/Aids.
The scourge has emerged as one of the greatest challenges to industry and
Costs attributed to HIV/Aids include absenteeism from work due to illness
and workers attending funerals.
A medical doctor will visit the BAT staff clinic twice a week. The company
will be responsible for paying for all the drugs dispensed through the clinic
and it makes a 100 percent contribution towards their employees' medical
Dr Parirenyatwa hailed the arrangement but noted that although tobacco was
a major foreign currency earner, his ministry's stance was that it was harmful
to good health. "From the notice on your cigarette packs which says 'smoking may
be harzadous to health, I say it should now read 'smoking is harzadous to
health," Dr Parirenyatwa said.
Stress management, awareness campaigns on the dangers of alcohol abuse and
the deadly HIV and Aids are some of the conditions that the clinic will deal
Sister Angelica Ganya, who is in charge of the clinic said she would also
be training peer educators to educate workmates on the dangers of HIV and
"We have always had a clinic here because in the industrial area, injuries
are common and instead of our workers leaving work when they fall ill they are
just treated internally," she said.
The opening of the BAT staff clinic coincided with the presentation of long
service awards to workers.
Aids Worker Hits At Political Meddling
The Daily News
October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28,
Correspondent in Bulawayo
POLITICS has infiltrated the
National Aids Council (NAC) structures and new
ways must be found for all
intended beneficiaries to benefit from the
National Aids Trust Fund, says a
Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN) spokesperson.
Edith Masunda, the ZAN
chairperson, told the network's annual general
meeting in Beitbridge this
week the country's political situation was
impeding the network's efforts to
conduct advocacy activities.
She said: 'The political situation in the
country has made it necessary to
follow a cautious path in advocacy. We
believe it is more conducive at
present to network and build alliances with
other stakeholders, than to
confront the government head-on as this could
backfire on ZAN.'
Masunda said the ZAN had so far disbursed Z$3,186
million in all provinces
except the Midlands and Matabeleland North, which
have not been able to get
access to their allocations.
to Manicaland have also been withheld until the province
accounted for the
Other provinces received sums ranging between $160
000 and $450 000.
'Overall progress on the utilisation of Aids funds had
generally not been
impressive, considering that only $3 million out of the
$10 million has been
drawn. It is hoped that with the coming of provincial
the situation will improve.'
The ZAN intends to
recruit provincial level co-ordinators to strengthen its
advocacy activities at provincial and district levels. The
the heavy politicisation of NAC follows other complaints
that the body was
systematically edging non-governmental organisations out
of the Aids field,
despite the fact that they were already fighting the
before the creation of the NAC.
Some members of anti-Aids NGOs and church
organisations told The Daily News
that by creating structures down to village
level, the NAC had created a
constituency it could not service because it did
not have enough funds.
One delegate said: 'The NAC is a monster which
purports to be fighting
another monster but is, in fact, there to slowly edge
organisations out of the Aids field.
'It is so
politicised that we fear care and support for Aids patients will
along political lines. Besides, if you take the $5 million allocated
district Aids action committee and split it between ward Aids
committees and the village Aids action committees, some communities
little as $20 000. Clearly that is nothing compared to the
required to fight the escalating Aids problem.'
were also raised about the secrecy surrounding the NAC
programmes, and the
fact that it has somehow turned all NGOs in the Aids
'The structure of the NAC takes in whole communities, but it
for them. So it is now disbursing funds through us and making
to it. That is its smart way of making it compulsory for NGOs
affiliated and accountable to it.'
Daily News - Leader Page
Plantation devastation an extension of
10/25/02 12:45:00 AM (GMT +2)
devastation of the timber plantations in Chimanimani, caused by
the past fortnight, serves to highlight the argument of many
opposed to the
manner in which the government has allowed ³implementation²
of its so-called
agrarian reform programme to proceed.
More than 14 000 hectares
of pine and gum plantations were lost after
fires started by illegal settlers
swept through the plantations.
There was no need for such
devastation to take place in the name of
land reform. There just is no
justification for what has been happening in
Chimanimani, especially as it
has two very negative effects: It is most
likely that innocent workers will
find themselves being laid off, while the
country has lost enormous amounts
of foreign currency, which under the
present circumstances it
But that such activities can be allowed to disrupt export
raises questions about how ill-thought-out the land reform programme
What most critics of the programme do not like about the
agrarian revolution is that it is not founded on consultations
If this had been, the government would
be better informed about the
consequences of any given course of action, even
though it has the
propensity to believe such advice is motivated by a desire
to see its
But the programme is doomed to fail
unless there is a more serious
approach to its implementation. Even at this
early stage, the government
needs to undertake an evaluation of the impact of
the land reform programme
on the economy, the environment, on the people and
What has been happening
in Chimanimani is anarchy. It is an extension
of what has been happening on
the farms during the past 30 months. This
country cannot build on the basis
of destroying what it has achieved in the
past. What is happening in this
country only finds parallels in China during
reason why the government might not show concern would be
because it wants to
drive out the timber companies, so that government and
party sharks take over
the pine and gum plantations.
This has already happened in
agriculture and the horticultural sector.
The Daily News reported this week
that Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the
Commander of the Zimbabwe National
Army, had sold about $750 million of
produce from Chakoma Estate in Goromonzi
to a major British supermarket
It must be
the same motive that is propelling the government into
inaction over the
timber plantations in Chimanimani. But it would be folly
for those in the
government and the ruling party to believe they can amass
and enjoy such
obscene wealth, while surrounded by a sea of extreme poverty
disgruntlement. They are encouraging crime. Soon criminal elements will
targeting them. So, they are fooling themselves by thinking they can all
it their way.
In order to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, senior
ruling party officials need to ensure that more and new
opportunities are created so that people can hold regular
How the devastation of the timber plantations and the illegal
can be justified in the name of the so-called agrarian revolution
For the next decade or so the capacity of
the timber plantations to
contribute significantly to foreign currency
earnings will be curtailed.
This is the region's major producer of
On the one hand, the government makes such a fuss about the
eclipse, which is a one-off foreign currency generating event, while on
other hand it condones destruction of a regular source of hard
Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis can only get worse.
Poorest Pay 10% More for Food
October 27, 2002
Posted to the web October 28,
FOOD prices rose by more than 30% in the rural
areas of the Eastern Cape
this year, leaving the poorest South Africans with
a burden 10% worse than
most of the nation.
And it happened as a
direct result of the chaos in Zimbabwe.
A table buried in Statistics
South Africa's vast Consumer Price Index,
published this month, reveals that
food prices rocketed 31.2% in the Eastern
Cape region outside its two
metropolitan areas - a full 5% worse than the
next highest, which was rural
KwaZulu-Natal, with 26%.
The national average for food price rises
between September 2001 and 2002
And it's getting worse for
the Eastern Cape - in just the last month of
measurement, prices leapt 4.5%,
which was roughly double the second-highest
Deputy Director-General of Stats SA, said the former
Transkei and northern
Eastern Cape had been hit hardest because people there
spent the greatest
proportion of their income on maize products.
"The poorest people spend
57% of their income on food, and the biggest item
in that is maize," said
She said maize had ballooned in price as a direct result of
"In South Africa, there's been a big window of
opportunity for export
because Zimbabwe can't export anymore.
price paid for exported maize is so much higher, and the local market
compete." - Rowan Philp
Seizing the land nettle
the Zimbabwean crisis intensifies, the need to speed up land reform in
Africa is becoming more urgent by the day. What is happening in
threatens to ignite emotions in this country over the slow pace of
reform south of the Limpopo. MPs on the land and agriculture
committee of the South African Parliament are proposing a
review, with the role of the provincial governments coming
As ANC MP Manie Schoeman has argued, unless there is such a
Africa is heading for a disaster.
As reported last week, the
provinces are not supplying the agricultural
support needed for accelerated
land reform, resulting in bottlenecks and
failure to meet targets. Although
the new programme of Land Distribution for
Agricultural Development (LRAD) is
in place, aiming at a more integrated
approach between the national
government and the provinces, the provincial
governments are not coming up to
scratch. They have not even made budgetary
provision for the
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's descent into national disaster continues
promises to plumb even further depths of misery and atrocity
career of the cruel despot at its head has finally run its
As President Robert Mugabe is an old man, approaching 80, we may hope
his departure from the scene will not be too long delayed. There seems
little that any outsider can do to influence him to change course. In
of Commonwealth representations and South Africa's quiet diplomacy,
damage Mugabe has already inflicted on his country's agriculture, its
fabric and economy has been frightful and will take years to
Why, people continue to ask, does President Thabo Mbeki fail to
decisively and head off a catastrophe? Short of military invasion
occupation, however, or punitive sanctions which would hit the
famine-ridden citizens of Zimbabwe very hard, what can Mbeki do? He
least condemn Mugabe's unbridled onslaught on human rights and the
law, some will argue, and he could do so in strong, outspoken terms,
it clear that Mugabe's peers see him as a pariah who has betrayed
hopes and aspirations. This, at least, would make it clear to the
South Africa is not Zimbabwe.
Mbeki is not going to condemn
Mugabe in this fashion. The reasons he will
not do so are complex and
historical but can be summed up in a single
sentence. On the question of
Mugabe, public opinion is starkly polarised in
South Africa, as elsewhere in
southern Africa, between black and white.
The unpalatable truth is that many
blacks do not see Mugabe as a
power-obsessed tyrant. Black public opinion
here believes that Mugabe is
righting an historic wrong, no matter how brutal
and destructive his
methods, which South African blacks by and large do not
approve. But they
respond to the emotional cry that Africa's land is coming
back to Africans.
This underlying sympathy for Mugabe and his seizure of
land is a political reality that no political leader who
is dependent on a
black constituency will lightly disregard. To expect Mbeki
Mugabe's brutal sway in vigorous terms is to be
'The mass of poverty-stricken blacks in this country are not
At question time in Parliament recently,
Mbeki was at pains to address the
highly-emotive Zimbabwe crisis in sober,
considered terms, arguing that the
Commonwealth had suspended Zimbabwe for 12
months and that this period had
to run its course before a new mandate could
be sought for any further
action against Zimbabwe. Meanwhile "engagement"
with Mugabe would continue.
Mbeki believes, it appears, that Zimbabwe is a
crisis for whites in this
country because they fear that something similar
could happen in South
Africa. They want to see the ANC government "doing
something" about Zimbabwe
to demonstrate that their assurances that it cannot
happen here are serious.
Certainly, there are fears here and abroad that the
Zimbabwe crisis could be
re-played in South Africa. But there is more to it
than that. People are
outraged by Mugabe's atrocities and his flouting of the
judiciary and the
rule of law. And there are strong bonds of kith and kin
Africans and Zimbabweans.
Mbeki is aware, we may assume,
that the land issue in this country, if
mishandled, is potentially explosive.
It is ripe for exploitation at the
expense of the ANC by hostile populist
politicians with radical agendas.
But the situation south of the Limpopo is
rather different in all sorts of
ways. The mass of poverty-stricken blacks in
this country are not clamouring
to become farmers. They are streaming to the
cities. It is around the cities
where their need for land - for housing, not
farming - is most acute, as a
visit to any of our burgeoning shanty-towns
In the rural areas, there are situations where there are
disputes over land
between tribal authorities and white farmers, as in the
Kranskop area of
KwaZulu-Natal. And it is in such places that the ANC
government has an
opportunity to demonstrate that the administration of its
land policy is in
good working order and that land grabs and harassment of
farmers will not be
tolerated. This is a crucial test of the ANC's political
will and ability to
carry out its land reform policies.
What will convince
the doubters would be a demonstration by Mbeki and his
government that the
rule of law is upheld on the ground in all such cases
and that farmers are
secure in their property and safe from depredations.
The South African
farming community is entitled to expect that the
Constitution and their
rights of property will be respected and, if
necessary, protected against
It is essential that the police are seen to be enforcing the law.
essential that orderly legal procedures are followed in all cases of
dispute. In the Kranskop area, it appears, farmers have felt unable to
on the police and have called in the assistance of security
Tensions at times have been running high. Fortunately, discussions
begun between the parties, convened by KwaZulu-Natal's MECs for Safety
Security and Agriculture, and threats against white farmers and
have been retracted. An investigation of the roots of the dispute is
Where tribal lands and white farmlands border on one another
as a result of
a history of conquest and settlement, there are bound to be
over land ownership in the post-colonial era. If orderly land
procedures are not rapidly effective and the state is perceived to
dragging its feet, the consequences could be serious, with local
getting out of hand and attracting national, and ultimately,
attention. So the current initiatives to speed up South African
and ensure orderly development are critically important. If they
succeed, the consequences will be incalculable.
Shaw is a retired deputy editor of the Cape Times.
Insiza yearns for peace 10/28/02
Story by By Cynthia Mahwite
BULAWAYO-Voting began yesterday in the Insiza constituency which has been
engulfed by intimidation and violence in the past month.
Traumatised villagers who have had to bear the brunt of violence
perpetrated by war veterans and Zanu PF militias over the past few weeks, said
they hoped their lives would return to normal after the election.
"It has been tough for us. Staying with strange people with a strong
appetite for violence has been a nightmare. We are pleased that election day has
finally arrived," said Nkululeko Mpofu, a resident of Insiza.
Despite all the violence, the MDC, which enjoys widespread support in
Matabeleland, is confident of retaining the seat left vacant through the death
of legislator, George Ndlovu.
MDC spokesman, Paul Temba Nyathi, told The Standard that the party has a
90% chance of winning the election this weekend as the campaign of violence by
Zanu PF had weakened the chances of the ruling party.
He however, said MDC agents had been barred from polling stations.
"In several contituencies the Presiding Officers refused to accredit MDC
polling agents despite the fact that their names had been published in the press
as required by law. The MDC did not have polling agents in Geabyi, and Siyazama.
They were forced to stand outside the 100 metre radius despite producing
evidence of their registration," said Nyathi.
He, however, admitted that the ruling party had succeeded in shutting the
MDC out of the constituency with the assistance of state security agents who had
mounted roadblocks on nearly all the roads leading to Insiza.
"MDC officials have been denied entry into Insiza, including the candidate
for the area who was turned away at a roadblock, whilst Zanu PF has hosted
almost the entire cabinet and provincial governors in the constituency," he
About 23 MDC activists, including the party's campaign manager, Charles
Mpofu, have been arrested in Insiza in the last two weeks. Seven of those
arrested are said to be seriously injured.
The 15 released from custody, have been ordered to stay out of the
constituency by the courts and have thus been denied the chance of voting. The
other seven remain in police custody.
Jongwe's mother speaks out 10/28/02
Story by By Vimbai
EMILIA Jongwe, mother of the late MDC spokesman and Kuwadzana MP, Learnmore
Jongwe, says she holds the Zanu PF government responsible for the death of her
Speaking at her son's Ridgeview home where relatives and friends were
gathered last week, Mbuya Jongwe said it was highly irresponsible for anyone to
suggest that her departed son had been poisoned by her relatives.
Weeping bitterly, she said government had insinuated that Jongwe had been
poisoned by relatives who brought him meals at the remand prison.
"The meal was prepared by Learnmore's sister in my presence. Whom among us
would have ever contemplated poisoning him when we loved him so dearly?," said
She said it was usual for Learnmore to share his meals with other inmates
and they too should have died if the food had indeed been poisoned.
"Chikafu chataibikira Learnmore chaive chevanhu four. Mazuva ese
taiendesera iye neshamwari dzake saka hataimboda kuuraya vatorwa vaaidya navo.
Ko dai chikafu change chiine poison seyi vamwe vake vari vapenyu?" (The food we
cooked for Learnmore was enough for four. Everyday we would send him enough food
to share with his friends. Why would we have wanted to kill them?) she asked.
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union
who shared the same cell with Learnmore for 72 hours was one of the inmates who
ate the food on the fateful day.
Majongwe, who was freed on Monday afternoon, a few hours before Jongwe died
in controversial circumstances, told The Standard that he had eaten the lunch
which comprised sadza, stew and vegetables with Learnmore and two other inmates
whom he identified.
Said Majongwe: Myself, Mushonga, Justin and Learnmore ate the meal which we
enjoyed and it puzzles me when some people try to suggest that it may have been
poisoned. In fact, we shared whatever meal came from our relatives. If it had
been poisoned, I doubt I would be here talking to you right now."
He added: "When I left the cell on Monday, Learnmore actually encouraged me
to continue the struggle to emancipate teachers from the shackles of Zimta and
the government. His exact words were: 'Mukoma, don't give up but don't forget to
bring me Mazoe and tissues when you visit me."
Majongwe, who said he had been inspired by the young lawyer's advice, said
he had been devastated when he heard about Learnmore's death.
"I am devastated and I cannot believe he was sick when I left him in high
spirits. I dismiss that suggestion with the contempt it deserves. In most of the
discussions we had, Jongwe offered me legal advice on my case, I could tell this
was a young man who was not contemplating anything like suicide. He was just
looking forward to many things in life," he said.
Jongwe had been in prison awaiting trial on a murder charge.
The manner in which Learnmore died, said Mbuya Jongwe, had shown gross
negligence and an unwillingness on the part of government to help the young
"Vakatadza kubata mwana wangu zvakanaka ndosaka zvakazosvika pazvave apa.
Dai vakamuisawo kechemu mumakumbo vomuendesa kuchipatara. Inga vamwe vasungwa
tinovaona vaine cheni asi vachirapwa. Ko iyewo akaita sei anorwara kubva na 2am
kusvika azofe kwoyedza asina kana kumborapwa," said a grieving Mbuya Jongwe.
(They did not treat him well, that is why this happened. Why didn't they chain
him and then render medical assistance to him while he was chained? After all we
see other prisoners receiving assistance while in chains. Why was his case
different? How can one be sick from 2am until his death at dawn without any
attempt being made to help him?)
Lamenting the tragedy that befell her son, Mbuya Jongwe said her son could
have survived had it not been for his undying love for Rutendo.
"If it had not been for his consuming love for Rutendo, my son could have
been alive today. If he had left Rutendo alone, he would have fought divorce
battles only in the courts," she said.
Right from the wedding day, she said, her son's relationship with Rutendo
had been dogged with problems.
"A day before their wedding, the two quarreled over a man who was allegedly
in a relationship with Rutendo. Learnmore cancelled the wedding and had to be
persuaded to continue with proceedings by family elders."
She said the marriage was thereafter rocked with constant clashes between
On one occasion, she said Learnmore divided the family furniture and
ordered Rutendo to leave the house because she was denying him his conjugal
rights but then tried again to work things out in a bid to save his marriage.
"Muroora aive asisade kuti Learnmore avate mumagumbeze ake, asi iye haana
kuudza kana vana sekuru vake. Takatozoudzwa nemunin'ina wake aive pano mazuva
iwayo," she said.
Jongwe kept his marital problems from both family and friends and this, the
mother suspects, contributed to his emotional damage until the fateful day when
the couple fought at their Ridgeview home.
The mother said she deplored the violent tragedy but could not understand
how her "loving and gentle son" could have acted in such a manner.
Mbuya Jongwe said she appreciated the Muusha family coming to mourn with
the Jongwes but regretted the delay in the families coming together.
"Dai vakatibatsira kuti mukuwasha wavo apiwe bail akwanise kuvaripa mhosva
yaakapara zvimwe dai asina kufa." (If only they had helped us to achieve bail so
that he could have paid restitution for his crime, maybe this would not have
The MDC has, meanwhile, announced that it will hold a church service and
body viewing ceremony at the City Sports Centre today.
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangurai earlier in the week blamed President
Mugabe's regime for Jongwe's death. Jongwe will be buried at the family
homestead on Tuesday.
Mourners Flee As Police Storm Jongwe's Home
The Daily News
October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28,
Pedzisai Ruhanya And Chris Gande
POLICE from the law and
order section, led by an officer named only as Dowa,
yesterday drew out their
pistols and threatened to shoot mourners and two
reporters at the Ridgeview
house of Learnmore Jongwe after they attempted to
ransack the property,
ostensibly in search of 'two suspected fugitives'.
Dowa and four others
out of more than 15 State security agents around the
former MDC spokesman's
house drew their weapons after angry mourners charged
towards them, denying
them entry into the house.
The commotion occurred as Jongwe's family and
the rest of the country waited
with bated breath for the results of two
post-mortems, one conducted by the
government in the presence of a
pathologist representing the Jongwe family,
and another conducted by an
independent South African pathologist.
When this reporter and Blessing
Zulu from The Zimbabwe Independent arrived
at the scene, Dowa and his
colleagues were threatening MDC youths, together
with Paul Madzore, the MP
for Glen View whom they accused of failing to
It was at that point that one of Dowa's colleagues, who was
driving a Mazda
pick-up vehicle told the two reporters to stop writing
anything or risk
arrest and shooting.
'Are you reporters? Do not write
anything. If you do so, we will arrest you
and shoot you thereafter,' he said
before they drove off.
Dowa too was driving a Mazda pick-up vehicle. Each
of the two vehicles
carried at least seven officers while another police
vehicle drove around
with other security agents.
an MDC supporter who witnessed the earlier commotion
said that Dowa led a
group of four agents into the yard, saying they were
looking for Itai
Mudzingwa and another man they named only as Kitsiyatota
whom they alleged
'They forced their way into the yard and said they wanted
to search the
house,' Kufandiripo said. 'When we refused them entry into the
pulled out their pistols and threatened to shoot the mourners.
People had to
run for cover.'
He said the security agents said they
would only produce a search warrant
after they had completed their
'We refused them entry because we suspected they might plant
later implicate the family in Learnmore's death,' another youth
'People suspected that they could plant drugs in the
Simon, Jongwe's elder brother, said he struggled to calm their
Emilia, who threatened to throw herself into the fire after the
'Our mother felt that it was not proper for the police to
search the house
while we are mourning Learnmore.'
It was alleged two
suspected Zanu PF supporters were beaten up by MDC youths
after it was
discovered they had infiltrated the gathering.
'The police want to
provoke us so that they can arrest more MDC supporters
and torture them,'
said Samson Moyo, a mourner and MDC youth. 'This is very
when we are mourning our hero, Learnmore.'
At Harare Central hospital
where the government conducted its post-mortem in
the presence of Dr Charles
Gwatidzo, Simon Jongwe, the family representative
said State security agents
denied the family an opportunity to view the body
before it was
The government team was led by a Dr Mapunda who last year
carried out the
post-mortem of the body of Bulawayo war veteran leader Cain
There was a heavy presence of plain clothes security agents at the
when the Durban-based pathologist, who would not disclose his name,
to conduct an independent post-mortem.
It is understood the
pathologist will take his samples and complete the
process in South
The results will be announced later, a source close to the
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president and other civic
blamed the government for Jongwe's
Meanwhile, in Bulawayo, a number of prison officials have
'irregular' the circumstances in which Jongwe
Frankie Meki, the Zimbabwe Prison Services spokesman yesterday
a tablet and a bottle allegedly found in Jongwe's cell could
only have been
smuggled into the prison.
'The normal procedure is that
ill prisoners take their medication in the
presence of dispensing officers.
There is no way that a prisoner could take
tablets later in his cell unless
they had been smuggled in,' he said.
Two former senior prison officials
in Bulawayo, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said since Jongwe was
facing a murder charge he was not supposed
to be among other
According to police reports Jongwe died in a cell where there
were 80 other
But Meki said although the prisoners were
classified according to the
gravity of their crimes, while on remand they
were all placed in the same
cell. Prisoners are classified from Class A,
those who have demonstrated
good behaviour, to those in Class D, who are
facing serious charges such as
murder and armed robbery.
prison official said: 'Murder suspects are classified as D and
separate from other criminals. It is interesting that Jongwe was
He said murder suspects were checked in their cells at
20 minute intervals,
24 hours a day.
The former prison officials
wondered how Jongwe could have started coughing
at midnight and die at
He could have been rushed to the hospital by the guards who would
aware of his alleged deteriorating condition.
admitting that prison guards made routine cell checks after
every 20 minutes,
said the prison guards could not have saved Jongwe because
they were not
allowed to open the cells at night for security reasons.
officers-in-charge can open the cells at night, he said.
Mourners drive out riot police
9:53:12 PM (GMT +2)
By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief
ANGRY MDC youths on Saturday drove out more than 10 riot
two plainclothes security agents after they sought to harass
mourners at the
Ridgeview home of the late MDC spokesperson and Kuwadzana MP,
The police claimed they were looking for
suspects who had allegedly
attacked Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
The incensed MDC youths accused the police of failing to
late MP and his family.
After they were chased, the
riot police began monitoring the situation
from near the Harare Institute of
Technology College, about 400 metres away.
Wilson Sithole, one of
the youths, said: "Two plainclothes officers
from the law and order section
came here escorting the riot police. They
accused us of assaulting ZBC
reporters on Friday, but we denied the
Chamisa, the MDC national youth chairperson, yesterday said the
of assaults against ZBC reporters were baseless because his
strict instructions not to harass anyone, including reporters
He said: "The MDC leadership has instructed us to be
anyone who wants to mourn Jongwe. Our
supporters never assaulted
reporters from the ZBC."
Thursday more than 15 officers from the law and order section
Central Police Stationed attempted to raidthe house for allegedly
two "suspected fugitives".
Jongwe, who died under unclear
circumstances at Harare Remand Prison,
will be buried tomorrow in Zhombe, his
Chamisa, a close ally of the late MP, said plans for a
at the City Sports Centre this morning to mourn Jongwe were
at an advanced
"We want the people of Zimbabwe, his
friends and party supporters to
say goodbye to their hero before he is laid
to rest in Zhombe," Chamisa
He said the body would be
taken from the City Sports Centre to
Kuwadzana at mid-day on its way to
Meanwhile, Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, who shared the same cell with Jongwe
hours, told The Standard newspaper that it was false to insinuate
Jongwe was poisoned through food brought by the family.
Majongwe, who was released last Monday a day before the late MP died,
had lunch of sadza, stew and vegetables with Jongwe and two
He said: "Me, Mushonga, Justin and Learnmore ate
the meal which we
enjoyed and it puzzles me when someone suggests that the
food might have
"In fact, we shared whatever meal
came from our relatives.
"If it had been laced with poison, I doubt
if I would be here talking
to you right now."
awaiting trial in the High Court on 25 November for
allegedly killing his
wife, Rutendo, in July.
He is survived by an 11-month-old daughter,
MDC accuses Zanu PF, Herald of racism
10/28/02 10:08:46 PM (GMT +2)
MDC on Friday accused Zanu PF and The Herald of racism following a
alleging that the opposition party was engaging non-blacks in handling
case of Learnmore Jongwe, the Kuwadzana MP who died in remand prison
The Herald on Friday reported that "eyebrows" were raised
when the MDC
hired a white lawyer, Bryant Elliot and why a white driver from
Funeral Services was ferrying Jongwe's body.
also said the South African pathologist hired by the MDC
was of Asian
Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, said the story
Zanu PF was a racist regime by bringing issues of race in a
"How the State apparatus can say that
'eyebrows were raised' and not
tell us who did the eyebrow raising is
mind-boggling and exposes the regime
and its propaganda machinery for the
racists they are," he said.
"Zanu PF and the State media must
realise that the MDC knows no race,
colour nor creed but recognises people on
the basis of qualifications and
"The pathologist from
South Africa was chosen for his expertise and
not for his colour.
"What The Herald should have questioned is who owns Doves Funeral
which sent a white driver," he said
Councillors Reject Water Rationing Bid
The Daily News
October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28,
THE Harare City Council has unanimously
rejected recommendations by Vumisani
Sithole, the director of works, to
introduce water rationing to boost water
reservoirs but has instead, tasked
him to correct the situation by next
The resolutions came at a
full council meeting held on Tuesday.
The council took the decision
amidst an erratic supply of water to most
parts of the city, especially the
northern suburbs of Chisipite, Greendale,
Glen Lorne, Letombo Park, Mabvuku,
Hatcliffe, Highlands and Tafara.
Cuthbert Rwazemba, the council
spokesperson said yesterday: 'The council
recommendations by the director of works to introduce
measures to boost water levels in the reservoirs.
'The council argued
that Lake Chivero and Manyame Dam still have sufficient
water to supply
Harare and its satellite settlements and therefore punitive
measures could not be justifiably imposed on ratepayers,'
'They identified the problem as that of the department of works'
to match water supply and demand, especially during this very hot
The council noted that the power cuts by the Zimbabwe
Authority contributed to the city's failure to supply
adequate water in the
past few days.
A water task force committee of
five councillors led by Tapfumaneyi Jaja of
Kuwadzana was set up.
will monitor the developments and report to council on progress. 'It
resolved that Zesa officials be invited to make a presentation of
reaction to allegations of power cuts levelled against them,' said
There have been fears that the current water shortages are
are an attempt to sabotage the MDC-dominated council which is
led by Mayor
Rwazemba urged residents to use water
sparingly so that water levels could
rise. He said since last Wednesday
several reservoirs had risen to
reasonable levels 'following implementation
of water demand management
strategies by the Council'.
council has started consultations in preparation for its 2003
Catholic-sourced maize lies idle
By Euphracia Mahenga
A CONSIGNMENT of 1 000 metric tonnes of maize sourced by the Catholic Fund
For Oversees Development (Cafod) is lying idle in South Africa as the Zanu PF
regime has prohibited the organisation from bringing it into the famine ravaged
country, The Standard has learnt.
A church official who spoke to The Standard revealed that they had been
told by government officials that they could not bring the maize until they
registered as a welfare organisation.
"Cafod bought 1 000 metric tonnes of maize from South Africa for the
Bulawayo Diocese. However, we have failed to bring the grain because the
government has insisted on an import permit in order for the grain to be brought
into the country," said the official.
She added: "We applied for the permit to the ministry of lands, agriculture
and rural resettlement a-week-and-a half ago but we were told to register with
the social welfare department first, before applying for the permit. We have not
been registered yet and as it stands, we don't know when the maize will be in
As paranoia spreads in the Zanu PF government, non governmental
organisations and churches have been forbidden from bringing food into the
Only two weeks ago, the World Food Programme pulled out of Insiza after
seeing that the food was being distributed to people on the basis of political
Some members of the public who spoke to The Standard said the Zanu PF
government was insensitive to the plight of the people.
"We expect government to be human enough not to impose stringent conditions
on people who want to bring in food. This is a national crisis and almost
everyone who has got the potential to import maize should do so," said Munoda
Tafirei of Chitungwiza.
Thomas Chuma of Tafara said that the government seemed to be interested
more in impounding maize than ensuring that more food is brought into the
"There are quite a number of cases where GMB is said to have impounded
maize belonging to certain individuals. Our government should be more focused on
the importation of food and not be a stumbling block by imposing unreasonable
importing restrictions," he said.
Last month the ministry of public service, labour and social welfare
instructed all NGOs not registered under the ministry to do so in terms of
Section 9 of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act.
A2 plots: No confirmation letters received
By Chengetai Zvauya
THE majority of the people whose names appeared in the government owned
press as beneficiaries of plots under the A2 model scheme have not yet received
their confirmation letters, raising fears that the publicity exercise could have
been a mere election gimmick.
Information reaching The Standard indicates that many people who saw their
names in the state-owned media were yet to be formally notified about their
The government publicised the names of over 50 000 purporting that they had
been allocated land. However, the timing of the publication of the names was
suspicious considering that it occurred a few weeks before Zimbabweans went to
the hotly contested presidential election.
At the time, President Robert Mugabe was facing a stiff challenge from MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai and all indicators were pointing a defeat for the
But over six months after the election, the majority of the people have not
yet received confirmation letters.
Some of those affected told The Standard that they had already forgotten
about the offer, which they described as an election gimmick.
"Zanu PF is good at that. They only needed our votes and that is all," said
a Harare man who applied for a plot in January.
Government officials, although not openly admitting that people had not
received their letters, have conceded that the A2 plots have not been taken up.
Only last week, David Karimanzira, the governor of Mashonaland East
province, said half the people offered land in his province had not taken up the
Investigations by The Standard revealed that in all the 10 administrative
provinces countrywide, most of the people had failed to take land allocated to
them, rendering the A2 programme a failure.
War veterans information and publicity secretary, Peace Kiliwane, confirmed
that even excombatants who were the main people listed for acquisition in the
press had not received confirmation letters.
"There is a problem with this land reform programme. Many people have not
received their letters and we are wondering what is happening. We know that
there is a lot of chaos over these issues. The technocrats are not doing
anything to resolve the problem,'' he said.
Kiliwane, who is also a member of the national task force on land, said he
had toured many provinces in the country and discovered that many people had not
received their letters.
"The people have not yet moved onto the farms because they have not
received their confirmation letters about their land possession status and we
want government to look into that issue, otherwise the land programme will not
succeed,'' he said.
According to government officials, over 100 000 farmers have been
beneficiaries of the A1 scheme, while 54 000 have successfully applied for land
under the A2 model.
Contacted for comment, minister for the land reform programme in the
president's office, Flora Buka, refused to discuss the matter.
"It is not my ministry which deals with land acquisition and allocation
issues. You can speak to minister (Joseph) Made over these issues.''
Asked about the land audit committee which is visiting the provinces to
establish the actual number of people who have so far taken up their allocated
land, Buka said: "I have not yet finished the land audit reports, so I am not
going to comment on a matter that we are still working on.''
Two weeks ago Made, who is the minister of lands agriculture and rural
resettlement confirmed that some of the land officers were sitting on the offer
letters of those who applied for land.
"Some officers have delayed sending letters to the beneficiaries resulting
in some people having their farms repossessed,'' said Made.
Zhombe member of parliament, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube who is the chairman of
the lands, agriculture and rural resettlement committee, said there had been
reports that people had not received their letters.
Mbeki under pressure
By our own Staff
A SERIES of demonstrations kick off on Tuesday in Johannesburg as
Zimbabweans based in South Africa try to pressure President Thabo Mbeki to get
tough with Harare.
"Our families are starving back home and we can no longer keep quiet,"
protest organiser, Jay Jay Sibanda, told The Standard last night.
"We have formed an organisation here called Concerned Foreign Based
Zimbabwe Nationals, and our aim is to bring to South Africa the full extent of
the tragedy north of the Limpopo," he said.
At the end of September, the first protest was held in the plush
Johanessburg suburb of Sandton when several black Zimbabweans drew media
attention with placards reading, "Mugabe Go Now" and "Mbeki Act on Zim".
By our own Staff
VICE-PRESIDENT Simon Vengesai Muzenda collapsed while officiating at a
ground-breaking ceremony at Buffalo Range airport in Chiredzi last Saturday, The
Standard has learnt.
Witnesses told this paper that Muzenda had to be whisked away by an army
helicopter to Colin Saunders private hospital in the Triangle sugar estates.
Muzenda, who arrived in the company of the minister of transport and
communications, Witness Mangwende, and his deputy, Christopher Mushowe, had
appeared far removed from his usual jovial self.
"He was not the witty Muzenda we know. He appeared sick and tired. When he
read his speech, he did so with difficulty," said one of the witnesses.
He added: "When he was about to finish his prepared speech, the VP
unexpectedly collapsed and had to be helped up by his assistants and some
The Standard understands that Muzenda was admitted to Colin Saunders
hospital where he was attended to by a doctor identified only as Morar.
Staff at the private hospital told The Standard that a whole ward had to be
cleared out to make way for the vice president.
Contacted for comment at his rural home in Gutu, Muzenda denied that he had
"Thanks very much for taking your time to get my comment. I am on three
week's sick leave, but I never collapsed as you were made to believe," he said.
The celebrations were to mark the first phase of the upgrading of Buffalo
Range into an internationally recognised airport.
The multi-million dollar project will be completed in 2004.
Local residents have, meanwhile, applauded the development saying it will
turn the Lowveld into an international destination.
Beginning of the end for Zanu PF
I WOULD like to applaud The Standard in its endeavours to enlighten the
nation on the government's shoddy deals and ill-treatment of its citizens.
To The Standard and the independent press, I would like to say, strive on.
Do not be intimidated by the dastardly acts of a rogue government. The Standard
has proved beyond doubt that we are living in an environment reminiscent of the
Zanu PF, brought to victory in 1980 through the blood, sweat and tears of
the masses, ought to hang its head in shame because of the crisis currently
bedevilling our country. Price increases, high interest rates, leaders fattening
themselves with tax-payers' money, shortage of basic commodities, run-away
inflation, unemployment, rigging of elections, corruption, land seizures,
company closures...the list is endless!
The government is trying to hoodwink people into believing that everything
is under control.
All this is a sign of the beginning of the end for Zanu PF. Mugabe is
'fiddling while Rome burns'. The entire nation should condemn the trends set by
Mugabe and his cronies. It is apparent that some citizens are more equal than
I would also like to warn Mugabe to stop blaming all and sundry. At
present, the whites, MDC, Tony Blair and George Bush are being blamed for
destabilising the economy. Why? Who unleashed the so-called war veterans on the
commercial farms? Was it the MDC, Blair or Bush?
Sekuru Handiende, you should stop behaving like a spoiled child. Leave that
kind of behaviour to Chatunga. For how long do you think you can hold our
freedom to ransom? How many more years do you believe you have?
Since independence, Zanu PF has persecuted and gagged its opponents. It
doesn't believe in free and fair anything. Mugabe's time is up. He must go. His
long stay in power has earned him a place on the long list of African despots,
the likes of Idi Amin, Kamuzu Banda and Mobutu Sese Seko.
We will wake up one day and say, enough is enough. We can't wish this
oppression away. Let's not be fooled, even if there are good rains, they will
not wash away our economic problems.
MDC headman kicked out
By Vimbai Kandemiri
A JUNIOR policeman, identified only as Seargent Mangirazi, ordered headman
Bernard Gandanhamo, out of his village in Shamva for defecting to the MDC from
Mangirazi also threatened Gandanhamo with death if he failed to surrender
MDC literature, party cards and other material in his posession.
The incident, which has been confirmed by Mangirazi's superiors, happened
after the police sergent spotted Gandanhamo in the company of MDC candidates at
the nomination for the recently held local government elections.
Narrating his ordeal to The Standard last week, Gandanhamo said Mangirazi
had told him that he would burn down the headman's homestead and slaughter his
cattle if he defied the order to move out of the village.
Mangirazi also barred the headman from engaging in any farming activity
Gandanhamo said he is seeking his reinstatement as headman through the
"This man has been terrorising me, day and night. The first time he
confronted me was when he sent two of his juniors to summon me to a roadbloack.
He said I was unwelcome in the village as I was associating with the enemy and
ordered me to leave.
I found it strange that a policeman would order me out of the village where
I am headman. But I later realised that his threats were serious when he
continued to harass me. I am now left with no other choice but to seek the
intervention of the courts.
The officer in charge at Madziwa police station, Inspector Musekiwa,
confirmed the issue and said Mangirazi's behaviour was unbecoming of a
Musekiwa said he had at one time presided over a round table discussion
with Mangirazi and Gandanhamo in a bid to iron out their differences.
Musekiwa said Mangirazi had acted outside of police protocol as he had not
consulted with superiors before talking to Gandanhamo.
"It is not part of the police charter to have the force involved in
political affairs and I do not understand why Mangirazi chose to do what he
Mangirazi denied any knowledge of the allegations.
"I never spoke to the said complainant. Actually, I first met him when he
came with the report of his alleged harrassment by fellow warders from Zanu PF."
He went on to pass deregatory remarks about Gandanhamo: "Wakamuona here
zvaakaita hutano hwake? Kuno kune vane mabusiness woti tinganetse munhu anenge
Gandanhamo. Aneyi?" (Have you seen that he is not in good health. I have no time
to deal with the poor as there are plenty of rich people here.)
Daily News - Leader Page
Obasanjo's political foes lack new
10/25/02 12:46:12 AM (GMT +2)
THE Bakassi Peninsula judgment against Nigeria
provided a temporary
respite, which is now subsiding, from the dominant issue
political scene for now and which will remain so for more weeks
Should President Olusegun Obasanjo contest or not contest the
presidential elections scheduled for sometime not later than April/May
There are many who will argue that the issue
goes beyond one person.
They will suggest that it is whether most of the
so-called elected leaders
from local government, from state up to federal
level, should have the
effrontery to ask for any votes from Nigerians, after
the circus of the past
The president has already
indicated his willingness (in response to
³God's words² and ³the wishes of
the people²) to offer himself for
renomination by his party, the People's
Democratic Party (otherwise known as
People Deceiving People).
Despite being the sitting president and in spite of the awesome powers
incumbency combining both heavy-duty carrots with iron-fisted rule,
nomination is not guaranteed.
Both his supporters and
opponents in the party are very busy
mobilising for their cause just as the
other two main parties (Alliance for
Democracy, also known as Allied to
Destruction, AD and All-Nigeria People's
Party or Abacha People's Party), are
scheming among and against themselves.
Three new political parties
were registered a few months ago but most
Nigerians will agree that they were
registered just for their nuisance
value. They are not genuine parties that
will wrest power from the three
parties decreed by the military, in their
hurried retreat from the political
scene soon after Abacha's ignoble
The issue is not really whether Obasanjo contests or not.
conditions the list of various acts of omission or commission
committed by the president, as detailed by the National Assembly,
constitute impeachable indictments, if or when proven.
However, the integrity of the constitutional process has been
public perception that the legislators are doing this not for
the defence of
democracy or to protect the interest of good governance in
general belief is that they are outraged by the president's
understand² or more popularly ³settle them².
It is a case of the
kettle calling the pot black and a game in which
the masses are the losers
and victims. These same legislators who are
championing the impeachment of
Obasanjo cannot point to any body of laws,
reports or even ordinary motions
that they have passed since they were
elected in 1999 which benefited those
who voted them in. It is common
knowledge that a lot of palm-greasing,
arm-twisting and naked blackmail have
been employed to get bills
Many Nigerians believe that once Aso Rock releases a few
into the strategic pockets of many of ³the honourables² the
holier-than-thou crusade about the president's unconstitutional acts
sanctity of the ³oversight role² of the legislature, will die a
And one can see that the initial determination
and consensus is
beginning to wane, as the legislators ³begin to see sense².
Some of them are
already saying that the speaker has gone too far because
impeachment was a
tactical manoeuvre but he seemed to have turned it into a
objective. They wanted to put the fear of God in Obasanjo and they
that he has already got the message, as he has appeared to be
conciliatory and even remorseful these days.
whether Obasanjo stands or not is immaterial to the
facing Nigeria's attempt at civilianisation before
embarking on genuine
The first of these is the general militarisation
of the society, its
institutions and popular psyche. It is clear that
Obasanjo and the rest of
the political players behave as though Nigeria is
still under military rule.
The general populace also demands ³swift² or
³decisive² action in a
clear case of suffering withdrawal symptoms from
Democracy is a slow process, potentially
inducive of conflicts, and it
does not automatically solve all problems. But
it could provide a framework
for peaceful negotiations, compromises and
The second is the inability of the limited
democratisation since 1999
to address the absolute poverty faced by the
majority of the people.
There has not been a prosperity dividend
for the masses, causing a
relapse into the dangerous and undemocratic
political conclusion derived
from the popular saying: ³Na demokrazy we go
(ie Are we going to eat democracy?). We may not be able to
democracy but whatever nourishment has been available under the
regimes of the past has not been sustainable in the
In any case Nigerians have paid too dearly for lack of
that democracy no matter how truncated it may be at the moment
cannot in any
way be said to be worse. The third issue which is related to
one, has to be the general insecurity across the country. If
get electricity, water, their daily bread, and cannot enjoy
it erodes the legitimacy of any government. Finally, the
essence of rule of
law is impacting negatively on any attempt at advancing
These issues go beyond the ambitions of one man. And the
that even Obasanjo's worst political foes among the recycled elite
giving Nigerians any new visions or policies.
This Mugabe fellow has to go
EVENTS taking place each day, make one shudder to think where our beloved
country is going.
Everyday, we hear of green bombers, war vets and ministers interfering with
, harassing and bungling every aspect of our lives. And the man who is supposed
to lead us is even worse. His degrees in violence are of no use to the country
and worse still, he contends that no one could have run the economy better than
he. My foot in a jam tin!
Just to quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "These growing feathers
plucked from Caesar's wing will make him fly an ordinary pitch. Who else would
soar above the lion of man and keep us all in servile fearfulness."
This is typical of the most equal of all comrades!
Tired of paying for sins of our forefathers
MY parents were issued with a 24-hour eviction notice at our farm in
eastern Zimbabwe on 16 October. This meant they had 24 hours to pack up and
leave a legacy that they have spent over 15 years building.
Our next door neighbours-an elderly woman and her daughter (who have run a
famous racehorse stud for decades)-were also given 24 hours to pack up and
Because they did not move fast enough, they were severely assaulted the
night before. What a victory for these brave 'war veterans'. How noble it is to
acquire land by beating up women and the elderly.
Our farm was purchased by my grandfather in 1984 (after Zimbabwe's
independence) when a 'Certificate of No Interest' in the land was issued by the
Zimbabwean government. It is the only property we own, and it provides
employment to approximately 150 workers and their families.
The farm has a clinic and a school-both of them built and run by the farm.
The farm workers are supplied with free housing, electricity and water, and with
subsidised maize meal, milk, eggs and vegetables. This operation, along with
almost all others in the district, has now been completely sabotaged.
Most farmers nearby have now evacuated, closing the door on their whole
livelihood and leaving with nothing. They leave behind untilled soils and any
chance of helping a prospective six million people from starving this year.
Our story is not unique, and it follows the pattern of a chaotic and
violent exercise paraded as land reform by the Mugabe regime.
The acquisition notice for our farm was overturned by the courts, and yet
an eviction has now been enforced. Violence and intimidation have been the
preferred modus operandi in most cases.
Acquired land is being given to government cronies, and not the people who
deserve to benefit from land redistribution. Our house and farm yard are to be
given to a wealthy businessman who drives a luxury vehicle.
In instances where settlers have been given land, they are given no support
or infrastructure to make use of the land given to them. The 16 settlers who
have been on our farm have received no seed, fertiliser or any government
Farm workers are being evicted along with their employers, and no provision
is being made for them. The 300 people to be moved off our farm are to be
replaced by fewer than 60.
What is South Africa's role in this? Unfortunately the South African
government currently demonstrates unbelievable political immaturity. It is still
trapped in the political dichotomies of black/white, rich/poor, first
world/third world, and this has paralysed it into indecision.
Mr Mbeki and his bevy of ministers in foreign affairs have settled for an
indecisive, non-committal, spineless and unforgivable middle of the road
approach-otherwise known as 'quiet diplomacy'. This diplomacy is so quiet in
fact, that nobody can hear it.
Mugabe's racialisation of the land issue serves him well, because under
this cover he knows he can gain sympathy (especially in the Sadc region) and
literally get away with murder and yet he is single-handedly responsible for the
collapse of Zimbabwe and the starvation of half the country's population. It is
hard to see what else he needs to do to galvanise the world against him.
We are not second-class citizens, and we are tired of paying for the sins
of our forefathers and tired of being the scapegoats for the failures of African
South Africa carries a lot of sway in the world arena, and they could
achieve so much if they used it responsibly. At the moment I can only hope that
Nepad is a catastrophic failure and is treated with the contempt it deserves.
Until the time comes that the far broader and more important issues in
Zimbabwe are recognised, it should be consigned to the rubbish heap just as the
Zimbabwean people have been by their so-called leader.