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

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'Occupied' Zim farms lie... unoccupied

      October 26 2002 at 07:07PM

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.

      'People should be on their farms before the end of the rainy season'
Mashonaland East province, which had some of the country's most productive
farmland and biggest tobacco farms, was the worst affected. David
Karimanzira, the 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
move there.

"We have given the new settlers a deadline of up to the end of this month,
failing which the land will be given to other applicants," Kariomanzira told
the state-owned Herald newspaper.

The deadline is the second issued to the new settlers in as many months.

"We want 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'
"People who were allocated land were given until August 31 as the deadline
to occupy the farms but there are some who still have not done so. We cannot
have farms lying idle when there are people who are prepared to work them,"
Mpofu was 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 programme.

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 saying.

Some of the farms designated for compulsory seizure were demarcated into
small plots for redistribution to their new black owners. One farm was
demarcated into as many as 61 plots, but only four people had been resettled

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
farming," Davidson said.

Most were unable to raise money to begin cropping or keep livestock, while
many were reluctant to move on to their new plots without a ready-built
home. Others were allocated land unsuitable for agriculture.

"If there had been a properly scheduled take-over, this trough in production
could have been avoided," Davidson said.

"Clearly it demonstrates that this is not a land reform programme. It was
done because 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 seizures.

Many white farmers, who had not been served with eviction notices, have been
forcibly removed from their properties by rampaging war veterans.

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 funding because
of the lack of definition about who qualifies for settlement.

Many deserving landless peasants were left in the cold in favour of war
veterans and supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. Agricultural
output is now expected to decline by at least 60 percent next year.
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The Times


                        October 28, 2002

                        Zimbabwe's agony as Mugabe avoids crunch
                        by Jan Raath

                        MOURNERS at a recent funeral at Harare's Warren
Hills cemetery were startled by the arrival of a high-speed funeral cortege
of about 100 Mercedes, BMWs and 4x4 behemoths in the latest livery, many of
them displaying large flower-bedecked photographs of the man they were
                        As the white rococo coffin sank into the grave,
three dudes in sharp suits and wraparound shades pulled guns from their
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 £20,000 in
local and hard currency notes that had vanished from the boot of the dead
man's car about the time of the accident.

                        The week's other egregious exhibition of wealth
among Zimbabwe's Kompressor class (after the favoured model of Mercedes)
came from Phillip Chiyangwa, tycoon MP, member of President Mugabe's inner
circle and former policeman. The lifestyle section of the state-controlled
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
rooftop helipads.

                        Back in his communal village 50 miles west of
Harare, Chiyangwa has built another home, the newspaper said. This one has
51 bedrooms.

                        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 collapse and

                        President Mugabe 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

                        In 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 of dissent.

                        In the 32 months since then, GDP has fallen 24 per
cent, official inflation has gone up to 135 per cent, the value of the
currency has dropped 96 per cent, and arrears on foreign debt of US$3.4
billion (£2.2 billion) have risen from 2 per cent of GDP to 30 per cent.

                        Agriculture, the engine of the economy, has been
throttled by Mugabe's land grab, tourism earnings have fallen 80 per cent,
annual gold production has been halved to 14tonnes and more than 300,000 of
a formal workforce of 1.3 million have lost their jobs. Half the people are
living in famine and 35 per cent of all adults are afflicted by Aids.

                        The hard currency black market has become the
country's biggest growth industry. This month it has been paying Z$1,100 to
$1, against the official rate, pegged in July 2001, of Z$55 to $1.
Similarly, price controls on basic commodities have emptied supermarkets of
all controlled goods. Bread, maizemeal (Zimbabweans' staple), sugar and oil
can be had in township lean-to stalls at triple the controlled price, or
they reappear in supermarkets in slightly altered form - sesame seeds
sprinkled on a loaf of bread - at prices hugely increased, but at least
allowing the manufacturer a profit.

                        In 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 savings.

                        The policies are doubly ruinous when they work in
tandem. The state-owned fuel monopoly pays for fuel imports with hard
currency for just under $1 a litre. Price controls allow motorists to buy it
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
trading company says.

                        "Deal in cash and don't keep your money in financial
institutions. Borrow as much as you can locally (at 35 per cent), buy stock
for cash, keep selling as hard as you can, and reprice at least weekly."

                        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 of

                        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 opportunity."

                        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 dollar.

                        Another source is the Zimbabwean diaspora, an
estimated two million people. My neighbour runs a small hairdressing salon,
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 Britain.

                        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, a Zimbabwean in Luton can order and pay
for his relatives' groceries in Bulawayo.

                        Economists estimate that up to £20 million a week in
hard currency goes home this way, and that it is now by far the biggest
source of foreign exchange. Nearly all of it goes straight out again.

                        Even Mugabe's central bank gave warning this month
that the bubbles created by the distortions in the economy are
unsustainable. Inflation of 1,000 per cent, a halving of GDP and a
Malthusian die-off of thousands of people through starvation and Aids within
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 come."

                        The "crunch" theory, that society will implode or
explode and remove Mugabe, is in doubt. After three years of defiance of the
laws of economics, the loathing of most Zimbabweans and the opprobrium of
the rest of the world, Mugabe remains in power, stronger and apparently
healthier than ever. As Chenjerai Hove, the Zimbabwean novelist, puts it:
"African governments are never bankrupt until the pantry in the state house
is empty."
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Catholic News

Zimbabwe bishop stays silent on harassment of priest

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 danger".

Irish-born Fr Patrick Kelly, 60, is in hiding in Zimbabwe after fleeing for
his life when members of President Robert Mugabe's militia of so-called "war
veterans" drove him out of his parish in Mutare Diocese in eastern Zimbabwe.

"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 St. Patrick's
Missionary Society, based in Ireland's County Wicklow.

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 supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Amnesty International said Zimbabwe's "war veterans" are backed by the
police and 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 reform program.
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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 ministries.
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 sector.
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 families.
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 governance.
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 revived.
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 inadequate.
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 resources."
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 Children.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Cde Herbert Murerwa, said the budget will focus on productive sectors, particularly the agrarian reform.
"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 inputs.
Agricultural inputs had an allocation of $6,5 billion in this year's budget.
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 years.
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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 HIV/Aids.
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 nation.
"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 said.
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 commerce.
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 aid.
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 with.
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 Aids.
"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 (Harare)

October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002

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.

Disbursements to Manicaland have also been withheld until the province
accounted for the first disbursement.

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 level co-ordinators,
the situation will improve.'

The ZAN intends to recruit provincial level co-ordinators to strengthen its
networking and advocacy activities at provincial and district levels. The
complaint against 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
scourge independently 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 non-governmental
organisations out of the Aids field.

'It is so politicised that we fear care and support for Aids patients will
soon be along political lines. Besides, if you take the $5 million allocated
to each district Aids action committee and split it between ward Aids action
committees and the village Aids action committees, some communities get as
little as $20 000. Clearly that is nothing compared to the resources
required to fight the escalating Aids problem.'

Complaints were also raised about the secrecy surrounding the NAC
programmes, and the fact that it has somehow turned all NGOs in the Aids
sector to affiliates.

'The structure of the NAC takes in whole communities, but it cannot provide
for them. So it is now disbursing funds through us and making us accountable
to it. That is its smart way of making it compulsory for NGOs to be
affiliated and accountable to it.'
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Plantation devastation an extension of land chaos

      10/25/02 12:45:00 AM (GMT +2)

      THE devastation of the timber plantations in Chimanimani, caused by
fire during 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 cannot.

      But that such activities can be allowed to disrupt export sectors
raises questions about how ill-thought-out the land reform programme is.

      What most critics of the programme do not like about the so-called
agrarian revolution is that it is not founded on consultations among key

      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
programme fail.

      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 agricultural production,
among others.

      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
the 1950s.

      The only 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
chain, Sainsbury's.

      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
and disgruntlement. They are encouraging crime. Soon criminal elements will
be targeting them. So, they are fooling themselves by thinking they can all
have it their way.

      In order to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, senior government and
ruling party officials need to ensure that more and new employment
opportunities are created so that people can hold regular jobs.

      How the devastation of the timber plantations and the illegal settlers
can be justified in the name of the so-called agrarian revolution is

      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 timber.

      On the one hand, the government makes such a fuss about the solar
eclipse, which is a one-off foreign currency generating event, while on the
other hand it condones destruction of a regular source of hard currency.
Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis can only get worse.
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Poorest Pay 10% More for Food

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

October 27, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002


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
was 20%.

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

Ros Hirschowitz, 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 Hirschowitz.

She said maize had ballooned in price as a direct result of the Zimbabwe

"In South Africa, there's been a big window of opportunity for export
because Zimbabwe can't export anymore.

"The price paid for exported maize is so much higher, and the local market
can't compete." - Rowan Philp
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Natal Witness

Seizing the land nettle

Land redistribution


As the Zimbabwean crisis intensifies, the need to speed up land reform in
South Africa is becoming more urgent by the day. What is happening in
Zimbabwe threatens to ignite emotions in this country over the slow pace of
land reform south of the Limpopo. MPs on the land and agriculture portfolio
committee of the South African Parliament are proposing a constitutional
review, with the role of the provincial governments coming under scrutiny.
As ANC MP Manie Schoeman has argued, unless there is such a review, South
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 programme.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's descent into national disaster continues unchecked and
promises to plumb even further depths of misery and atrocity until the
career of the cruel despot at its head has finally run its course.
As President Robert Mugabe is an old man, approaching 80, we may hope that
his departure from the scene will not be too long delayed. There seems to be
little that any outsider can do to influence him to change course. In spite
of Commonwealth representations and South Africa's quiet diplomacy, the
damage Mugabe has already inflicted on his country's agriculture, its social
fabric and economy has been frightful and will take years to repair.
Why, people continue to ask, does President Thabo Mbeki fail to intervene
decisively and head off a catastrophe? Short of military invasion and
occupation, however, or punitive sanctions which would hit the already
famine-ridden citizens of Zimbabwe very hard, what can Mbeki do? He could at
least condemn Mugabe's unbridled onslaught on human rights and the rule of
law, some will argue, and he could do so in strong, outspoken terms, making
it clear that Mugabe's peers see him as a pariah who has betrayed Africa's
hopes and aspirations. This, at least, would make it clear to the world that
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 white-owned farming
land is a political reality that no political leader who is dependent on a
black constituency will lightly disregard. To expect Mbeki to condemn
Mugabe's brutal sway in vigorous terms is to be disappointed.
'The mass of poverty-stricken blacks in this country are not clamouring to
become farmers.'
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 between South
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 would suggest.
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 invasion.
It is essential that the police are seen to be enforcing the law. It is
essential that orderly legal procedures are followed in all cases of land
dispute. In the Kranskop area, it appears, farmers have felt unable to rely
on the police and have called in the assistance of security companies.
Tensions at times have been running high. Fortunately, discussions have
begun between the parties, convened by KwaZulu-Natal's MECs for Safety and
Security and Agriculture, and threats against white farmers and tourists
have been retracted. An investigation of the roots of the dispute is in
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 some disputes
over land ownership in the post-colonial era. If orderly land claims
procedures are not rapidly effective and the state is perceived to be
dragging its feet, the consequences could be serious, with local disputes
getting out of hand and attracting national, and ultimately, international
attention. So the current initiatives to speed up South African land reform
and ensure orderly development are critically important. If they do not
succeed, the consequences will be incalculable.

a.. Gerald Shaw is a retired deputy editor of the Cape Times.
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Zim Std
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 said.
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.
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Zim Std
Jongwe's mother speaks out  10/28/02
Story by By Vimbai Kandemiri
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 son.
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 Mbuya Jongwe.
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 legislator.
"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 the two.
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 happened.)
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 (Harare)

October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002

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
control his supporters.

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.

Mathias Kufandiripo, 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 were fugitives.

'They forced their way into the yard and said they wanted to search the
house,' Kufandiripo said. 'When we refused them entry into the house they
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 mission.

'We refused them entry because we suspected they might plant something and
later implicate the family in Learnmore's death,' another youth said.
'People suspected that they could plant drugs in the house.'

Simon, Jongwe's elder brother, said he struggled to calm their mother,
Emilia, who threatened to throw herself into the fire after the incident.

'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
unfair, especially 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 examined.

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 Nkala.

There was a heavy presence of plain clothes security agents at the mortuary
when the Durban-based pathologist, who would not disclose his name, arrived
to conduct an independent post-mortem.

It is understood the pathologist will take his samples and complete the
process in South Africa.

The results will be announced later, a source close to the process said.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president and other civic organisations have
blamed the government for Jongwe's death.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo, a number of prison officials have described as
'irregular' the circumstances in which Jongwe died.

Frankie Meki, the Zimbabwe Prison Services spokesman yesterday admitted that
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 criminals.

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.

One senior prison official said: 'Murder suspects are classified as D and
are kept separate from other criminals. It is interesting that Jongwe was
placed among common criminals.'

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 4am.

He could have been rushed to the hospital by the guards who would have been
aware of his alleged deteriorating condition.

Meki, although 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.

Only officers-in-charge can open the cells at night, he said.

Daily News

      Mourners drive out riot police

      10/28/02 9:53:12 PM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      ANGRY MDC youths on Saturday drove out more than 10 riot policemen and
two plainclothes security agents after they sought to harass mourners at the
Ridgeview home of the late MDC spokesperson and Kuwadzana MP, Learnmore

      The police claimed they were looking for suspects who had allegedly
attacked Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reporters.

      The incensed MDC youths accused the police of failing to respect the
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

      Nelson Chamisa, the MDC national youth chairperson, yesterday said the
allegations of assaults against ZBC reporters were baseless because his
supporters had strict instructions not to harass anyone, including reporters
covering the funeral.

      He said: "The MDC leadership has instructed us to be peaceful and
      anyone who wants to mourn Jongwe. Our supporters never assaulted
reporters from the ZBC."

      Last Thursday more than 15 officers from the law and order section
atHarare Central Police Stationed attempted to raidthe house for allegedly
harbouring two "suspected fugitives".

      Jongwe, who died under unclear circumstances at Harare Remand Prison,
will be buried tomorrow in Zhombe, his rural home.

      Chamisa, a close ally of the late MP, said plans for a public ceremony
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 Zhombe.

      Meanwhile, Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, who shared the same cell with Jongwe for 72
hours, told The Standard newspaper that it was false to insinuate that
Jongwe was poisoned through food brought by the family.

      Majongwe, who was released last Monday a day before the late MP died,
said he had lunch of sadza, stew and vegetables with Jongwe and two other

      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
been poisoned.
      "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."

      Jongwe was 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, Tawananyasha.

Daily News

      MDC accuses Zanu PF, Herald of racism

      10/28/02 10:08:46 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE MDC on Friday accused Zanu PF and The Herald of racism following a
story alleging that the opposition party was engaging non-blacks in handling
the case of Learnmore Jongwe, the Kuwadzana MP who died in remand prison
early on Tuesday.

      The Herald on Friday reported that "eyebrows" were raised when the MDC
hired a white lawyer, Bryant Elliot and why a white driver from Doves
Funeral Services was ferrying Jongwe's body.

      The newspaper also said the South African pathologist hired by the MDC
was of Asian origin.

      Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, said the story confirmed that
Zanu PF was a racist regime by bringing issues of race in a funeral

      "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
Services which sent a white driver," he said

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Councillors Reject Water Rationing Bid

The Daily News (Harare)

October 25, 2002
Posted to the web October 28, 2002

Columbus Mavhunga

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
unanimously rejected recommendations by the director of works to introduce
water rationing 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
water rationing measures could not be justifiably imposed on ratepayers,'
Rwazemba said.

'They identified the problem as that of the department of works' inability
to match water supply and demand, especially during this very hot season.'

The council noted that the power cuts by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
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.

It will monitor the developments and report to council on progress. 'It was
resolved that Zesa officials be invited to make a presentation of their
reaction to allegations of power cuts levelled against them,' said Rwazemba.
There have been fears that the current water shortages are artificial and
are an attempt to sabotage the MDC-dominated council which is led by Mayor
Elias Mudzuri.

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'.

Meanwhile, the council has started consultations in preparation for its 2003
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Zim Std
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 the country."
As paranoia spreads in the Zanu PF government, non governmental organisations and churches have been forbidden from bringing food into the country.
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 affiliation.
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 country.
"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.
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Zim Standard
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 plots.
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 veteran leader.
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 offer.
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.
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Zim Standard
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".
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Zim Standard
Muzenda collapses  
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 officials."
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 collapsed.
"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.
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Zim Standard
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 Gestapo era.
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 others.
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.
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Zim Standard
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 Zanu PF.
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 this season.
Gandanhamo said he is seeking his reinstatement as headman through the courts.
"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 policeman.
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 did."
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.)
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Obasanjo's political foes lack new visions

      10/25/02 12:46:12 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tajudeen Abdul Raheem

      THE Bakassi Peninsula judgment against Nigeria provided a temporary
respite, which is now subsiding, from the dominant issue on Nigeria's
political scene for now and which will remain so for more weeks to come:
Should President Olusegun Obasanjo contest or not contest the next
presidential elections scheduled for sometime not later than April/May next

      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
three years.

      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
of incumbency combining both heavy-duty carrots with iron-fisted rule, his
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 demise.

      The issue is not really whether Obasanjo contests or not. Under normal
conditions the list of various acts of omission or commission allegedly
committed by the president, as detailed by the National Assembly, may
constitute impeachable indictments, if or when proven.

      However, the integrity of the constitutional process has been
compromised by public perception that the legislators are doing this not for
the defence of democracy or to protect the interest of good governance in
Nigeria. The general belief is that they are outraged by the president's
refusal ³to 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 passed.

      Many Nigerians believe that once Aso Rock releases a few million naira
into the strategic pockets of many of ³the honourables² the whole
holier-than-thou crusade about the president's unconstitutional acts and the
sanctity of the ³oversight role² of the legislature, will die a natural

      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 strategic
objective. They wanted to put the fear of God in Obasanjo and they believe
that he has already got the message, as he has appeared to be more
conciliatory and even remorseful these days.

      However, whether Obasanjo stands or not is immaterial to the
fundamental challenges facing Nigeria's attempt at civilianisation before
embarking on genuine democratisation.

      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 military whiplashes.

      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 resolution.

      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 chop?²

      (ie Are we going to eat democracy?). We may not be able to eat
democracy but whatever nourishment has been available under the autocratic
regimes of the past has not been sustainable in the end.

      In any case Nigerians have paid too dearly for lack of democracy, so
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 the previous
one, has to be the general insecurity across the country. If people cannot
get electricity, water, their daily bread, and cannot enjoy minimum peace,
it erodes the legitimacy of any government. Finally, the essence of rule of
law is impacting negatively on any attempt at advancing democracy.

      These issues go beyond the ambitions of one man. And the tragedy is
that even Obasanjo's worst political foes among the recycled elite are not
giving Nigerians any new visions or policies.

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Zimbabwe Standard
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!

Kumbirai Dunduru
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Zim Standard
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 leave.
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 assistance.
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 governance.
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.

Paul Carter
South Africa
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