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

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Save Zimbabwe" Campaign News Release

Zimbabwe MP attacked in Gaol

Zimbabwe Opposition Member of Parliament, Roy Bennett MP, said today that he
had been attacked in his prison cell by Government security operatives
his arrest at the weekend. One of the two colleagues arrested with him was
savagely beaten.

Mr Bennett said that soldiers entered his cell under the supervision of
Mwale, Head of the Central Intelligence Organisation for the area. Mwale
he was acting under direct orders from President Robert Mugabe.

First, Mr Bennett was told that the soldiers had come to kill him. Then he
stripped and held on the floor, while booted soldiers stamped on his feet
then on his legs. This continued for a period of nearly half an hour. Mr
is nowe receiving medical attention for damage to his legs. An associate of
Bennett's, Mike Magwaza received even worse treatment, with savage beatings
a period of days. Mr Bennett said that he and his wife witnessed the first
these beatings, and described Mr Magwaza, who has now also been released, as
being in "very bad shape".

Mr Bennett said that he had been denied food or water for more than a day
a half after his arrest. However, others being held in the same gaol cells
suffered even worse, he said. In all, Mr Bennett was moved between three
cells, and in each he found groups of arouind a dozen young men who were
held without trial or access to lawyers, and had received violent beatings.
Bennett said moist of these prisoners had been without food for at least

In one gaol, armed soldiers yelled instructions through the window to other
in the same cell as Mr Bennett, ordering them to attack him or they would be
shot. Mr Bennett said the response was "inspiring". "These brave, unarmed
men shouted abuse at the soldiers. They yelled that I was their MP and
was going to harm me. They dared the soldiers enter the cell to see what
happen to them". Mr Bennett said that although this had been a "very rough"
the treatment being experienced by many black members of the community, and
particular by opposition supporters was even worse. When Mr Bennett told
Mwale that his actions were unlawful, he was told "There is no law in
other than Robert Mugabe"

Mr Bennett also reported that Opposition MDC voters in his area had been
at their homes in the run up to last weekend's local elections, and had been
told that, when the came to vote, they must line up in the queue for people
to write, and their ballot paper would be marked for them. If they did not,
said, they were told they would be killed.

Mr Bennett was elected by a constituency of 50,000 black and just eleven
voters. He said that the support of his community through this terrible time
had been "an encouragement and an inspiration", adding that the growing
of extreme violence showed "just how desperate this regime is growing".
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Blessed Or Benighted Leadership? Facing Challenges in Zimbabwe And the Ivory

Accra Mail (Accra)

October 2, 2002
Posted to the web October 2, 2002

E. Ablorh-Odjidja

After the Troika meeting at Abuja, September 23, 2002, the verdict seemed to
be that the AU would rather have Zimbabwe explode than solve the problem

Considering other complex issues facing Africa today, one would have thought
that the Zimbabwe matter was one the AU could have found easy to solve. But,
it seems ludicrous now to have supposed that such optimism was possible in
African affairs in the first place.

Now the AU should get ready for the next conflagration; translation, next
stop, the Ivory Coast.

The Abuja meeting took place in the capital of Nigeria, under the auspices
of the Commonwealth and the AU; with Australia, South Africa and Nigeria as
the Troika members to consider disciplinary sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The mission leading to the meeting was clear: The Troika was to bring back
Zimbabwe from the brink. Presidents Mbeki of South Africa and Obasanjo of
Nigeria were there as representatives of the AU and they failed to do that.

Mbeki and Obasanjo spent the good part of this year trumpeting the merits of
the AU and NEPAD and the new found strength in "good governance through peer
review". The cynics among us responded, "Yeah right!" And the dupes snapped
back "shut up, this is a new day for Africa!" And now look. Mbeki and
Obasanjo had a chance to make the call for "good governance" and they
promptly lost their nerves at their very first encounter with a despot!

So the situation in Zimbabwe continues. We have a stolen election, an aging
dictator who is bent on going down with the ship, a mounting internal and
external disaffection with matters in Zimbabwe, a worsening economic and
political situation in the country, a threat to good governance as defined
by NEPAD, and failure to extend common courtesy to the AU, and Obasanjo and
Mbeki found reasons to let Mugabe off the hook!

You can bet that the AU is off to a very bad start with this failure. What
explains this disappointment?

Nothing! It is the same old OAU. The OAU did not morph into an AU with a
real bite. It showed up at the Troika meeting as the same tired fraternity
of presidents under a different guise. So the hope that was invested in
Mbeki and Obasanjo to bring sense to the situation in Zimbabwe came back
defeated, swept away like a wet paper towel in the path of a deluge.

Unfortunately, there is still more trouble to come out of Africa. There is
the Ivory Coast gaining notoriety daily, and others yet to surface that
would make the problems of Zimbabwe look like a leaking faucet compared to
the cascade at Victoria Falls.

The major portion of the troubles engulfing Africa is impersonal and
impermeable to reason. Obviously, one cannot approach AIDS, the disease, to
talk reason. Neither can one talk logic to the half wit who is intent on
ruling a country because he found himself in charge of an army. But all this
is small matter if one cannot talk sense to Mugabe, a well educated African,
and a liberator who has governed a country for 22 years.

But that was exactly what happened at Abuja. Mugabe didn't even show up to
listen to anybody talk sense.

When asked about the failure to sanction, John Howard, the Australian Prime
Minister, who together with Mbeki and Obasanjo chaired the Troika meeting,
was so diplomatic.

"Australia" he said "was of the opinion that Zimbabwe should be fully
suspended from the Commonwealth with immediate effect. The other two members
of the committee are of the opinion that the progress of Zimbabwe should
continue to be monitored over the next six months."

Really a nice answer for what should have been a charge for dereliction of
duty against Mbeki and Obasanjo.

Not even the snobbery at the invitation to come to Abuja could goad Mbeki
and Obasanjo to take action against Mugabe. Before the meeting, the
impression was that Mugabe, by failing to appear at Abuja, had risked the
anger of the Troika and therefore had invited the wrath and certain
sanctions of the AU and the Commonwealth. How mistaken was the prediction!

As strange as things always are in Africa, the attempt to sanction Zimbabwe
fell apart because South Africa sided with Nigeria against Australia, some
said, along racial lines.

But knowing what has transpired in Zimbabwe for the past year or two,
Australia can be excused from charges of racism. A racist, to be honest,
would have preferred the confusion to continue.

The decision by Mbeki and Obasanjo, however, is another matter and should be
suspect. Sanctions against African leaders by their brethren are rare. This
is how past scripts of the OAU always read.

Still, Mugabe of all people should know that he has fought long and hard to
make gains for his people. Nobody expects him to solve all the problems in
his life time. And no one is asking for issue change.

No African, including Tsvangirai, the opposition leader of Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), is plotting for the land issue to die. All that is
being asked for is a new approach, a fresh start and a fair chance to choose
a leader for the same country known as Zimbabwe. On this latter issue,
Mugabe is seriously flawed.

Tsvangirai, has called the last election a "coup d'etat", and is asking for
a re-run under international supervision. He has warned of a gathering
"people's storm" that would do battle with what he called President Robert
Mugabe's "civil-military junta". Do we blame him? Can the Ivory Coast serve
as a lesson?

What started in the Ivory Coast as an attempt to steal an election lead to a
coup in year 2000. Once one of the most stable countries in Africa, the
Ivory Coast has become a tottering political mess. The insurrection is on,
and the end is not in sight yet. The AU is also yet to respond with
meaningful action.

Earlier this year, the same AU instructed Mugabe to halt the political
violence in Zimbabwe, to stop harassing the press, political opponents, and
to seek to redress election and human rights abuses.

Mugabe's rebuff of the Abuja Troika, and the subsequent victory handed him
mean that he is not likely to listen to the AU; at least not within the six
months charitably bestowed on him by Mbeki and Obasanjo.

After the talks in Abuja failed, Australia declared that she might go it
alone and impose sanctions against Zimbabwe. But what will the AU do after
six months?

The AU needs to draw a parallel between Zimbabwe and the Ivory Coast, and to
add to that the possibility that the whole middle portion of coastal West
Africa is in danger of a spreading war.

This war in the era of the AU, NEPAD and the much touted renaissance for
Africa that one assumed reason and courage would guide the affairs of the
continent. So how did Africa fail with the champions of "good governance"
Mbeki and Obasanjo at the helm?

The decision not to suspend Zimbabwe is a setback for progress in Africa.
Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo's "No serious person expected us
(Zimbabwe) to be part of that kind of circus (in Abuja),"

notwithstanding, Abuja should have been the proper venue to have brought
sanity to Zimbabwean affairs.

So once again we are forced to look at the AU like an intrepid reporter did
once at the League of Nations after Italy invaded Ethiopia: "On the surface,
very little is happening. Beneath the surface nothing is happening," he was
reported to have said.

You may say same about AU deliberations. Africa is under invasion by forces
of the most unreasonable sorts. The continent is burning, but our leaders
have turned cheerleaders for the arsonists. Now ask why Africa is so
blessed. But first ask why we have leaders who so much want to lead, yet are
unwilling or incapable of making those calls that leadership requires of
them - to save the continent.
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SA, UK At Loggerheads Over Zimbabwe

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

September 29, 2002
Posted to the web October 2, 2002

Ranjeni Munusamy

<i>'If it is not diplomacy we pursue in dealing with Zimbabwe, then it is

SOUTH Africa and other African countries will not bow to pressure to
"declare war" on Zimbabwe, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said this

In the South African government's strongest defence of its approach to the
crisis in Zimbabwe and a rare broadside against a Western power, Pahad said
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw should come up with "concrete
proposals" on how to resolve the situation.

"We don't believe that their megaphone diplomacy and screaming from the
rooftops has helped anyway . . . If it is not diplomacy we pursue in dealing
with Zimbabwe, then it is war. We will not go to war with Zimbabwe," Pahad

"We do not need to be lectured to about democracy, respect for the rule of
law and human rights.

"Southern African states are conscious of our responsibility and of the
economic and political impact of the situation in Zimbabwe. But we cannot be
like people far away who keep shouting about Zimbabwe."

Pahad's comments were in response to Straw's disappointment at the outcome
of a meeting on Monday of the Commonwealth troika, made up of President
Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, which failed to reach consensus on further punitive action against

The two African leaders opposed Howard's attempts to impose full
Commonwealth suspension and sanctions on Zimbabwe, in addition to the
year-long suspension already in place. Full suspension would entail
Commonwealth member states ceasing trade with Zimbabwe, breaking all
sporting links and isolating the country diplomatically.

Straw said this week that he shared Howard's "acute disappointment" about
the failure of the troika to agree on tougher measures against Zimbabwe.

"We would wish to see particularly the Southern African governments exerting
greater pressure on the [President Robert] Mugabe regime," he said.

Pahad said Straw's criticism of the outcome of the meeting was a "hint at
our heads of state that they have a lack of commitment to deal with the

"What are they proposing we should be doing? Jack Straw and others must tell
us what they expect the Southern African Development Community to do."

The leader of Zimbabwe's Opposition Movement for Democracy, Morgan
Tsvangirai, also slammed the outcome of the troika meeting as a "great
disappointment". He said the troika was supposed to "pursue the issue of
Mugabe's illegitimacy".

"Instead they have sought to divert from that critical issue and follow an
agenda that expresses solidarity with and protects Mugabe. They have totally
abdicated their responsibility to discharge their functions as mandated by
the Commonwealth," Tsvangirai said.

"They have abandoned Zimbabweans at their greatest hour of need. It is
increasingly futile for the troika to continue to profess concern and
sympathy for the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans have been
left to face their own fate."

The statements by Pahad and Tsvangirai come ahead of the annual summit of
the SADC in Angola this week, where the region's heads of state will be
under international pressure to rebuke Mugabe over the disputed election and
the seizure of white-owned land in Zimbabwe.

Pahad said while the Zimbabwe issue was not on the summit's formal agenda,
it was likely to come up in the secretary-general's report on the state of
the region and could even be raised by the Zimbabwean government.

The troika is only to consider the Zimbabwean issue again at the end of the
suspension period in March. However, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don
McKinnon has been asked to resume efforts to engage with the Mugabe
government on the developments in the country, Commonwealth spokesman Joel
Kibazo said.

"The secretary-general was mandated by heads of government and the troika to
talk to the Zimbabwean government and seek clarification on a number of
issues. It is important that dialogue starts. So far there has been little
or no response from the Zimbabwean government towards achieving that
dialogue," Kibazo said.
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Agency urges Zimbabwe govt to free maize trade

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE, Oct 2 (Reuters) - A U.S.-based famine unit has warned Zimbabwe's
food crisis is deepening and millions more people face starvation unless
they receive urgent aid and the government eases its monopoly on grain

Drought, political turmoil and mismanagement have created a food shortage
threatening more than 14 million people in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique,
Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

In its latest monthly update on Zimbabwe, Famine Early Warning Systems
Network (FEWSNET) said on Wednesday a food security assessment showed 6.7
million people would need food aid between December and March 2003, up from
4.5 million between September and November.

Some 486,000 tonnes of emergency food aid would be needed from September to
March next year "to avert countrywide starvation", FEWSNET said.

Mugabe's government, which has accused aid agencies of promoting the
interests of the main opposition party, has put in place legislation that
gives the state Grain Marketing Board a monopoly on all trade in the staple

"The maize marketing system needs to be reviewed to allow more private
sector participation in the marketing and distribution of maize to increase
supplies, lower prices, and make maize accessible to starving people," it

More than 90 percent of farmers had no maize seed, it added. Small-scale
black farmers account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's annual maize output.

"Without a timely and urgent distribution of maize seeds, many of Zimbabwe's
farmers will not be able to plant. The consequences of a drop in maize
production would be staggering."

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said customs officials had
impounded some 2,000 bags of maize the party had imported from neighbouring
South Africa, citing the lack of an import licence.

The MDC vowed earlier this week to keep importing maize.

"The regime simply is failing to feed the people of Zimbabwe. It is only
natural that resources and efforts from everyone should be harnessed to
bring in food to feed starving children," MDC Information Secretary Paul
Themba Nyathi said.

Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now needs food aid
because of a sharply lower maize output, which aid agencies partly blame on
Mugabe's controversial seizure of land from minority whites for
redistribution to landless blacks.

The government says the shortage is due solely to a drought that has hit
small-scale black farmers who account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's annual
maize output.
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MDC Protests Clampdown

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

October 2, 2002
Posted to the web October 2, 2002


Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has protested the
arrest of two members of parliament this week and accused the government of
continued violence against its supporters.

MDC parliamentarians confronted police on Wednesday when they tried to
present a protest petition over the arrests that followed local council
elections at the weekend, which human rights group Amnesty International
said were marred by state-sponsored violence and intimidation.

MDC MP Tichaona Munyanyi was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the
recent murder of a ruling party supporter. He was expected to appear in
court on Thursday.

On Sunday, MDC MP Roy Bennett, his bodyguard and a South African
accompanying them, were arrested at a roadblock in Chimanimani, in the east
of the country, for allegedly taking pictures at a polling booth.

The MDC's legal affairs secretary David Coltart told IRIN that opposition
MPs had attempted to hand a signed petition to the speaker of parliament,
protesting the arrest of their colleagues and alleged intimidation and
torture of MDC supporters.

"Our chief whip was denied permission to hand it [the petition] to the
speaker and was then thrown out of parliament, we all [MDC MPs] left
parliament and walked across to police headquarters in an effort to hand it
over to the police commissioner," he said.

However, the police refused to receive the petition. MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube told IRIN that the police were "very hostile" towards the MPs
and were allegedly "issued an instruction that they should actually assault
us, fortunately the police at the gate refused to carry out that
instruction, instead they negotiated with us".

The MPs were told that in terms of protocol the petition should be handed to
the minister of home affairs, to whom it was later delivered.

"The petition sets out our concern about the breakdown of the rule of law,
the selective application of the law, the arrest of opposition MPs and
activists, the torture inflicted upon opposition activists and demands that
the police apply the law impartially and desist from harassing the
opposition," Coltart said.

Amnesty International has "strongly condemned" what it described as
state-sponsored violence, torture, arrests and intimidation of opposition
candidates and supporters during the local council elections held on 28 and
29 September.

"Once again, government authorities have failed to ensure that elections
take place in a climate free from harassment and intimidation. All
allegations of human rights violations, including torture, against ... MDC
officials and supporters during the local elections must be effectively
investigated," the rights group said in a statement.
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JAG SITREP 2nd October 2002

Yesterday, four farmers were arrested for remaining on their farms despite
having set aside their Section 8 orders, or having them overturned in
administrative courts. Three are from the Marla farming area: J Rosenthals,
E. Rosenthals and R Rosenthals (the last of whom was later released last
night).  The fourth, Mrs Leefie Cahill, who is in her late 50's, farms in
the Shangani area. Three of them are still in custody, and no court date
was set as of four this afternoon. Furthermore, ultimatums have been
delivered to some 27 other farmers in various areas of Matabeleland,
demanding that they vacate their properties within 24 to 48 hours. It
remains to be seen whether action will be taken on these farmers, many of
whom are legally resident on their farms.

The Woods have been chased off their property by a large group of war
veterans, who have since settled in the workshop area of the security
fence. They were advised that any property that they have not removed from
the farm by tomorrow morning would be considered the property of the state,
and would be auctioned off as such.

Roy Bennett, Stewart Girvin and Manson Magwaza were released yesterday from
Chipinge police station. They had been taken into custody about 50km
outside of Chimanimani by several police officers and CIO agents, including
Joseph Mwale. They were arrested at gunpoint, and threatened, before being
taken off to Chimanimani police station. Bennett, an MP, was charged with
contravening Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act, although he was later
charged in court with contravention of the Electoral Act. All three were
beaten in custody, and Magwaza was so badly beaten that his shirt, which
was torn and bloody, had to be replaced before he was taken to court. The
trio have been released on bail.

The following two letters by Ray Passaportis, one of JAG's chief legal
advisers, have been included because of their relevance to the farming
community. The first in particular, regarding the surrendering of title
deeds, should be read and forwarded to as many people as possible. The
second has bearing on the actions of police, and outlines how individual
police officers can be held responsible for their actions. Bearing this in
mind, we may be able to influence police into behaving in a law-abiding
manner by bringing action against certain individuals.


I have recently had occasion to give an opinion on whether or not farm
owners should release to Government Officials title deeds to their farms.

The provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, Chapter 20:10, do not
require a farmer to hand over title deeds at any time while the
acquisition process is in progress.   Even if a farmer has submitted an
LA3 Form for the subdivision of a property and this is accepted by
Government, original title deeds should not be released.

In many cases, farm owners have subdivided pieces of land or offered
land in substitution for another.   Original title deeds should always
be retained by the owner until full compensation has been paid and
until, in the case of a subdivided piece of land, the property has been
properly subdivided.

Where land has been offered and accepted by Government or where there has
been a subdivision, Section 10 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act obliges the
State to notify the Registrar of Deeds.   The State lodges with the
Registrar of Deeds confirmation of acceptance by the State of the land in
question (presumably by lodging a copy of Form LA1 or LA3, as the case may

In the case of a subdivision the State must also lodge a diagram signed
by a land surveyor showing the extent of the land acquired by
Government.   The Registrar of Deeds will then endorse the title deeds
in the Registry with the acquisition.   When the owners copy become
available, the Registrar will make a similar endorsement on it.   In my
view, the owner should only make available the original title deeds in
the circumstances mentioned above i.e. once full compensation has been
paid and, in the case of a subdivision, once the land has been surveyed
and a diagram deed prepared and passed by the Surveyor-General's office.

Yours sincerely
R M Passaportis

2. The Legal Principle Of Vicarious Responsibility

Vicarious liability is a legal principle in terms of which an employer may
be held liable for the acts or omissions of his employee.

In many land cases which I have dealt with, illegal acts have been
committed by police officers.   By virtue of the principle of vicarious
liability, the Commissioner of Police can be held responsible for these
wrongful acts.

However, it is important to remember that individuals who act outside
the law can also be held personally responsible for their conduct.   In
the example given above, it would be usual to cite the Commissioner of
Police as the one defendant and the police officer as a co-defendant.

I have already expressed the strong view that the current legislation
relating to Section 8 and Section 9 Orders is invalid, principally
because it offends several provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. 
These legal issues are to be decided in the Quinnell case.

There are many instances of arrests of farmers and even farm managers in
circumstances where such arrests are clearly unwarranted and indeed
unlawful.   Farm managers cannot be arrested because they are not owners
and neither are they occupiers within the meaning of Land Acquisition
Act. They are not subject to Section 8 Orders.  Farmers have been
arrested within the 90 day period allowed by a Section 8 Order and
forcibly evicted from their farms.   Farmers have been arrested without
having even received a Section 8 Order.  Farmers have been arrested when
demonstrably Section 8 Orders are invalid by operation of law or by
order or a superior court.    These are some of the instances in which
policemen, army officers and others have acted unlawfully.

A clear message must be sent to them that they will be held personally
accountable for their actions.   Writing letters to them seems to have
little impact.   A court action citing the individuals as defendants will
get across the message quickly and forcefully.   It is also important that
the litigation be pursued as quickly as possible to finality.

Yours sincerely
R M Passaportis
Honey & Blanckenberg


JAG now has a Housing and Job Procurement subcommittee, which, although in
its infancy, has already found homes and jobs for a number of people. For
those farmers currently relocating into Harare, housing is a major issue,
and we do have a number of places available currently. Please don't
hesitate to contact us - we may not be able to help, but we will certainly
do our best.


Hotlines: (091) 317 264    If you are in trouble or need advice,
     (011) 205 374    please don't hesitate to contact us -
     (011) 863 354    we're here to help
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Zimbabwe Farmers near Botswana Border Ordered Out
Peta Thornycroft
2 Oct 2002 18:16 UTC

Dozens of ranchers in southern Zimbabwe have been ordered to leave their
homesteads or be arrested. At least three ranchers were held Tuesday in
police cells near the Botswana border, while others are expecting to be

Commercial Farmers Union spokesman Mac Crawford said at least 40 farmers in
the dry Matabeleland Province were ordered to leave their homes immediately.

He said some of the affected farmers had eviction notices they had defied,
others had court orders allowing them to remain, and several had not
received notice their properties were to be nationalized.

While 90 percent of commercial farmers in central Zimbabwe were forced to
leave their land in the past few weeks, those in Matabeleland Province had
been least affected. Despite several murders of both ranchers and farm
workers since President Robert Mugabe ordered invasions of white-owned land
31 months ago, about 300 farmers in the province remained.

Farmers in Matabeleland run huge dairies and produce most of Zimbabwe's

Mr. Crawford said following police raids a few ranchers had quit for good.
He said others are expecting to be arrested and are preparing a court

Farmer and opposition Member of Parliament Roy Bennet was released from
detention in eastern Zimbabwe, just hours before he marched with his fellow
parliamentarians to police headquarters.

Limping badly from wounds he said he suffered while in police cells, Mr.
Bennet and fellow opposition parliamentarians took a petition to the police
to protest torture.

They said increasing numbers of officials and ordinary members of opposition
groups, including youngsters, are being routinely tortured in police
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 2 October

Mbeki's gamble

By Michael Hartnack

At the recent meeting of the Commonwealth Troika in Abuja, Nigeria, the
South African government appears to have taken a foreign policy gamble in
blocking Australia's attempt to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. The
thinking behind the gamble is that in six months' time, when the
Commonwealth is next due to consider Zimbabwe, what remains of the country's
white community will be politically dead and buried with the completion of
Robert Mugabe's programme of seizing 11 million hectares of white-owned farm
land; stripped of financial support, the Movement for Democratic Change will
then recede from the African diplomatic landscape, like Renamo in Mozambique
or Unita in Angola; and South African President Thabo Mbeki's African
National Congress will be rewarded for its "quiet diplomacy" by having a
grateful Zanu PF administration in power in Zimbabwe well beyond the
peaceful retirement of Mugabe.

Mugabe first used the expression "the game is up" for Zimbabwe's whites in
August, when he said his "fast track land reform" would be successfully
completed by the end of the month, with 300 000 black Zimbabweans settled,
ready to plant crops. British journalist Max Hastings, writing in London's
Daily Mail, commented: "Africa is reverting to a dark continent...The
remaining whites will be driven out of Zimbabwe. The wise ones will go while
they still have the skin on their backs. I would go further and suggest the
game is up for the white man throughout Africa." Underlining Mugabe's game'
s-up declaration, his Agriculture Minister Joseph Made taunted the MDC when
the Land Acquisition Act was steamrollered through Parliament, saying that
the Act's annulment of all victories won by commercial farmers in court
meant the party had failed to deliver promised reversal of land seizures to
its white masters, and would wither away. But Mbeki's gamble may be based on
a false comparison between the MDC and Mozambique's Renamo and Angola's
Unita rebels, both of which had backing from former white colonists. Renamo
had support from former "non-assimilados" ("unassimilated" rural
Mozambicans) against the urban black establishment, and Unita had a tribal
base. In election after election, however, the MDC has shown itself above
tribe and race. Its urban support is among Zimbabweans earning perhaps Z$10
000 - 50 000 a month, who may employ domestic help and own a television but
cannot afford a car, let alone the BMWs and cell phones of Mugabe's black

Also, Mugabe's boycott of Abuja revealed his inherent weakness. Just as
independent journalists have been excluded from his press conferences for
the past ten years because he does not like their questions, Mugabe dared
not face questions from Australian Prime Minister John Howard. As his
wartime companion Edgar Tekere avers, Mugabe loses his nerve when unable to
play the bully. In contrast, given a clear road as at the Johannesburg Earth
Summit, or surrounded by his goons with machine guns and rocket launchers,
or met by some stammering diplomatic nonentity, he revels in the role of
hectoring headmaster. As well as the reluctance of African leaders to
criticise each other publicly, Mbeki's policy toward Zimbabwe is motivated
partly by an obsession among some ANC luminaries with what they see as
blacks regaining ownership of South Africa's resources. Many in the ANC may
have sympathy for the likes of Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of Zimbabwe's army
commander, who told a farmer whose land she has appropriated that she "had
not tasted white blood since 1980, and missed the experience, and that she
just needed the slightest excuse to kill somebody". Offered a compromise
over farm usage, Jocelyn Chiwenga said (according to papers lodged at the
High Court last week) that she "had no intention of shaking hands with a
white pig."

There could be no greater contrast to this than the treatment fellow inmates
accorded recently-retired High Court Judge Fergus Blackie when he was
detained on September 13 on spurious charges of misconduct. Blackie, 65,
could not be brought food and medication when thrown in filthy cells in
Harare's worst slum area, Matapi Hostels, since his whereabouts were kept
secret from his family and lawyers for 27 hours. His seven cellmates, some
of whom may have seen him before from the dock, willingly shared their
humble provisions with him. The light at the end of the Zimbabwean tunnel
can be seen clearly from the Matapi police cells, by those who know where to
look. Morgan Tsvangirai, asked about the ANC's gamble, reminded South Africa
that ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity that never succeeds: some
of the intended victims always survive, even when confronted with enemies of
vastly greater efficiency than Mugabe's Zanu PF. "This movement was not
created by the white community," said Tsvangirai. "This movement was created
out of the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. You cannot destroy the MDC
because you chase away the whites - and some of them will not be chased
away. We represent the future, Zanu PF the past." At Abuja, added
Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean people "had been abandoned in their hour of
greatest need," but they would face their fate and liberate themselves.
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      President's Office owes $380m

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      10/3/02 2:28:03 AM (GMT +2)

      STATE auditor and Comptroller-General Eric Harid this week issued a
damning report on the government's finances and said Treasury is owed more
than $575 million by civil servants, including more than $380 million by the
President's Office, in outstanding travel allowances and other advances.

      The report, which also highlighted gross negligence in the
administration of the fiscus and covered the financial year ended December
31 1999, revealed that most government ministries and departments ignored
Treasury instructions with impunity and exceeded their allocations for block
advances grants.

      The advances relate to monies given to civil servants as travelling
and subsistence allowances during domestic and foreign trips.

      Some of the funds advanced to the public servants have been
outstanding since 1991, raising concern that the money will not be recovered
because the individuals involved could have left the civil service or died.

      The President's Office, which was the main culprit, exceeded its
advances limit for all the 12 months during the period under review.

      According to statistics accompanying the report, President Robert
Mugabe's office exceeded its allocation by an average $20 million a month in
1999 against a budget of only $8 million.

      Mugabe, well known for his frequent trips abroad, has been known to
gobble billions of dollars of taxpayers' money each year through his foreign

      The foreign excursions have however been limited to a few countries
since the start of this year after Mugabe and his ruling elite were slapped
with travel bans by the European Union, the United States and other Western
countries in protest against his disputed re-election in March.

      Other major culprits that did not account for their spending on
travelling and subsistence included the ministries of public service,
education, local government and home affairs, which accounted for a combined
$150 million.

      The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, which was
then run by Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia Florence Chitauro, did not
account for $48.03 million, followed by the Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture with advances worth $41.8 million outstanding.

      The Local Government Ministry had outstanding advances amounting to
$30.1 million, although $15.2 million of that amount related to the variance
between balances on returns submitted for audit and balances on computer

      Civil servants in the Ministry of Home Affairs owed Treasury $30
million as at December 31 1999, with the Zimbabwe Republic Police accounting
for more than $25 million of that money.

      Harid noted in his report, whose release was delayed by the late
submission of financial statements by several government ministries, that
the advances were either not cleared immediately after the trip or were not
accounted at all.

      "This would appear that advances were being used as soft loans... In
some cases, officers were being given advances before clearing previous
ones, contrary to laid down Treasury instructions," Harid noted.

      Treasury Instruction 1505 stipulates that no civil servant should be
given an advance in respect of travelling and transport expenses unless he
or she has cleared advances made previously.

      According to the Treasury instruction, the respective permanent
secretaries for the various ministries must deduct the outstanding amounts
from the salaries of their officers who fail to account for their travel

      Meanwhile, the Comptroller and Auditor-General report also revealed
that the government exceeded the limit on the amount the Treasury is allowed
to borrow from the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) by more than $20.3
billion in 1999.

      The net government overdraft at the RBZ stood at $30.2 billion on
December 31 1999 against a limit of $9.9 billion.

      "The overdraft limit of $9.889 224 000 allowable by section 9(2)(a) of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 22:10) was exceeded by $20 350 818
474," Harid said.

      Under the RBZ Act, the government can only borrow up to 20 percent of
revenue earned in the previous year.

      Since October 1999, the government has relied heavily on borrowing
from the RBZ and the domestic banking sector to finance recurrent
expenditure after Western donors cut off aid in protest against its
controversial policies, including the seizure of private farms.
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      Fresh scandal rocks troubled NOCZIM

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe
      10/3/02 2:42:55 AM (GMT +2)

      SENIOR staff at the government-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(NOCZIM) this week stood accused of colluding with drivers of private oil
firms in siphoning scarce fuel from NOCZIM depots for resale mostly in
Harare in a racket that is costing the state firm millions of dollars.

      The alleged racket, if proved, could be the second to hit the
scandal-troubled NOCZIM in three years.

      High-level oil industry officials this week said more than two million
litres of fuel, mostly diesel worth over $140 million at current pump
prices, had been diverted by the racketeers to illegal selling points in the
past year.

      Zimbabwe, in the throes of an on-off fuel crisis which erupted two
years ago, needs 60 million litres of fuel a month or 720 million litres
annually. It imports most of the fuel from Libya.

      The oil industry officials, preferring not to be named, told the
Financial Gazette that several NOCZIM managers were colluding with drivers
of some private fuel companies to pull off the scam.

      The drivers acted as middlemen and were used to divert the fuel to the
illegal selling points.

      Most of the fuel is from the Mabvuku and Msasa depots in Harare, where
senior officials would authorise the drivers to have additional fuel pumped
into their tankers, which they would then take to these outlets, the
officials alleged.

      The racket is believed to going on at all NOCZIM fuel depots.

      "We believe that up to two million litres of fuel is finding its way
to these outlets not only in Harare but across the country and it seems
everything is well coordinated with the drivers acting as the middlemen,"
one official said.

      But NOCZIM's managing director Webster Muriritirwa this week said he
found it hard to believe that fuel could be illegally siphoned out of the
company's depots because pumping of the fuel was done automatically.

      "In theory that will not happen because everything is done
automatically and there are reconciliation statements at the end of each
day," he said. "You can come to Msasa next week and see how the system

      The oil industry officials however argued that because individuals
operated the system, it could be beaten.

      They said at no point had oil companies which receive fuel from their
drivers complained that they were short, indicating that the fuel at illegal
selling points was over and above that allocated to these firms.

      "So you need to ask yourself now where all this fuel is coming from if
the oil companies are not losing their fuel," another official said.

      NOCZIM has been ridden by scandals over years. In 1999, at the height
of the worst fuel crisis, investigations by this newspaper revealed that
billions of dollars had been lost through shady deals conducted by senior
officials, some of whom were later sacked.

      The company's debt peaked at a staggering $22 billion two years ago.

      On Tuesday this week, a Financial Gazette news crew visited one of the
illegal fuel outlets in Harare's Graniteside industrial area, where three
young men kept a vigil on the site.

      One of the three said the fuel they were selling came from NOCZIM and
was transported by tankers belonging to private oil companies.

      A tanker, which had made a diesel delivery, had just left when this
newspaper's news crew arrived.

      "The tankers bring it direct from NOCZIM," one of the young man said.

      "We can supply up to 1 000 litres as long as you bring your drums but
you have to phone me first to confirm your order."

      The oil industry officials said because most of the tankers were
rarely filled to maximum capacity, this allowed additional fuel to be pumped
into the tankers.

      A single tanker can carry up to 30 000 litres of diesel or petrol.

      Depending on the available space in the tankers, up to 5 000 litres of
additional fuel could be siphoned at a time.

      For their part in the deal, the drivers get a handsome kickback while
the operators of the illegal fuel points in turn pay the NOCZIM officials.

      The fuel is sold at inflated prices mostly to transport operators,
including owners of commuter buses, in 200-litre drums.

      It is believed that local businesspeople run the illegal fuel depots
but sources said there could be links between the operators and the NOCZIM
officials, or the latter even owned some of the illegal outlets.
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      Chombo ups political stakes for Harare, other cities

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      10/3/02 2:30:34 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF party is using the back door to reclaim control of
Harare and is employing similar strong-arm tactics to wrestle other urban
local authorities from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
analysts said this week.

      The ruling party, using the name and authority of Local Government
minister Ignatius Chombo, this week appointed a five-member commission which
will virtually usurp some of the powers of the elected MDC-dominated Harare
City Council.

      The commission comprises human resources experts Benjamin Madzivire
and Patrick Chingoka, University of Zimbabwe accountancy lecturer Timely
Chitate, banker Isaac Mhaka and accountant Daniel Mangwanjana.

      The commission, handpicked by Chombo and the second in three years to
be appointed to run Harare, is expected to produce a blueprint for the
so-called turnaround of the capital, a task overwhelmingly given by the
city's residents to MDC mayor Elias Mudzuri and his colleagues seven months

      Chombo accused the city council of lacking "depth" and "clarity of
vision," as well as failing to steer Harare out of the doldrums - vague
accusations which analysts rejected as masking the minister's political
high-handedness and real intentions.

      The analysts said ZANU PF, which has lost control of Zimbabwe's two
major cities in a rout by the MDC but continues to garner support in the
less influential rural councils, was manipulating the Urban Councils Act to
regain control of Harare.

      "The latest move is intended to gain control of Harare and undermine
the MDC-led council," political analyst Brian Raftopolous told the Financial

      Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said it was illegal for Chombo
to appoint a commission that would operate simultaneously with an elected

      "It is outside the terms of the Urban Councils Act for the minister to
do something like that because it is tantamount to usurping the powers of a
democratically elected council," Madhuku said.

      Mudzuri said his council would meet today to decide the course of
action to take but hinted that he would not recognise the commission.

      He told the Financial Gazette that unlike the Solomon Tawengwa-led
council, the present local authority had not failed to deliver in the
six-month period since its election despite constant interference and
obstruction by Chombo, whose ministry administers councils.

      "What the minister has done confirms media allegations that he was
determined to remove the MDC-led council to safeguard his own personal and
partisan interests," Mudzuri said.

      Tawengwa's ZANU PF-dominated council was fired in September 1999 by
then local government minister John Nkomo for incompetence.

      Mudzuri has in just seven months however managed to deliver better
services to the city, including the rehabilitation of Harare's crumbling
road network and improvement of refuse collection.

      He said Harare residents should be allowed to decide whether the
present council was delivering on promises made during the March ballot.

      "However one thing for sure, according to the council's perception, is
that the move appears to be a strategic stride towards not only tarnishing
the image of council, but also removing it from office through unorthodox
backdoor political manoeuvres," the mayor said.

      Mudzuri, who has repeatedly refused to budge to a plethora of
directives from the government, was last month summoned to appear before a
high-powered ZANU PF delegation that included Chombo, Home Affairs minister
Kembo Mohadi, State Security minister Nicholas Goche and Youth Development
minister Elliot Manyika.

      The purpose of the meeting was to force him to toe ZANU PF's line and
stop the dismissal of individuals irregularly appointed during the Elijah
Chanakira-led commission which was handpicked by Chombo's predecessor Nkomo.

      "Minister Chombo should unequivocally tell the nation and the world
tactfully that he is dissolving the democratically elected council of
Harare," the mayor said.

      The analysts said the action by Chombo and ZANU PF would not end with
the Harare City Council but spread to Bulawayo and Masvingo, two other
cities where the MDC dominates the local authority.

      "My suspicion is that this is a step-by-step testing of the mood of
the people and if the residents don't move fast enough to stop this, then
the minister is going to move on to fire Mudzuri and other councils where
the MDC is dominant," Madhuku said, echoing the views of most analysts and
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      Tough talk, no action on Zim at SADC summit

      By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
      10/3/02 2:40:49 AM (GMT +2)

      AN annual summit of southern African leaders this week talked tough on
resolving Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, but regional analysts
said the group would be hamstrung by its ambivalence to tackling a blot
weighing down members' economies.

      The three-day summit of the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) kicked off in Angola's capital Luanda on Monday with an unprecedented
public chastising of Zimbabwe's failure to end its crisis, but the analysts
said that was probably all that the divided meeting would achieve.

      Officially Zimbabwe was not on the conference's agenda, but some SADC
trade and foreign ministers publicly made known that the time had come for
Zimbabwe to shape up, indicating that they would vigorously convey this
message in their closed-door talks.

      "Clearly we have to resolve the governance issues in the region,"
Mauritian Foreign Minister Anil Gayan said at the start of the meeting.

      "We cannot be punished for the mistakes of one country - Zimbabwe. We
shall be asking that they shape up," he said in a rare condemnation of a
crisis that has crippled Zimbabwe, triggered the fall of South Africa's
currency and hit crucial tourism across the region.

      According to Angola's state-run Angop news agency, the situation in
Zimbabwe was among the issues discussed at the opening of the ministerial
meetings on Monday, but the agency gave no details.

      The SADC ministers indicated that they would use the closed-door
sessions to tell the Zimbabwe delegation it was time to resolve the
country's crisis, which stems directly from President Robert Mugabe's
disputed re-election in March and use of strong-arm tactics to crush
political dissent.

      "It's better than nothing," South Africa Institute of International
Affairs research fellow Ross Herbert told the Financial Gazette.

      "With Angola as chairman of SADC, I wouldn't expect any
confrontational stance, but we can expect some behind-the-scenes pushing."

      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political science lecturer Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro said: "It might not be the heads of state who are saying that
they will reprimand Zimbabwe at the moment, but you must remember that the
foreign ministers who are gathered in Angola have no individual brief.

      "They would have to be speaking on behalf of their presidents. In
terms of diplomacy, much is achieved at that level because that's where
issues are thrashed out. So what's being expressed there are the positions
of various heads of states of the region. Zimbabwe might not be on the
agenda, but it is still being discussed."

      But the analysts said although SADC ministers might take the Zimbabwe
delegation to task on behalf of their heads of state, the regional bloc's
continued public support for Mugabe's administration would weaken any tough
talking in private.

      The region's leaders have publicly thrown their weight behind Mugabe,
refusing to condemn alleged electoral fraud as well as the government's
alleged involvement in political violence and human rights abuses.

      Recently, SADC states are reported to have threatened to boycott a
SADC-European Union (EU) foreign ministers' meeting scheduled for early next
month in Copenhagen.

      Militant European parliamentarians say the Copenhagen meeting will be
a test of the EU's seriousness in assisting in the resolution of the
Zimbabwe crisis through smart sanctions, which have been slapped against
Mugabe and his top hierarchy and would prevent Zimbabwe from sending a
delegation to the talks.

      Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge, is among 79 senior
government officials barred from travelling to EU member states as part of
the smart sanctions.

      European Union foreign ministers were on Monday expected to call off
the Copenhagen meeting because of "deteriorating relations with Zimbabwe".

      But after a brief discussion on Monday, the ministers "tasked the
permanent representatives committee to remain seized of this matter".

      An EU official told the Financial Gazette: "What I think this means is
that the officials should prepare the meeting, but they don't want to say in
advance if Zimbabwe will attend because they might be aware of (SADC)

      In addition, regional powerhouse South Africa, widely expected to take
the lead in assisting in the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis, has refused
to adopt a tough stance towards Mugabe, last week opposing Zimbabwe's full
suspension from the 54-nation Commonwealth of Britain and its former

      Then, in what has been billed as South Africa's strongest defence of
its policy, deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said at the weekend that
South Africa and other southern African countries would not declare war on

      He said: "If it is not diplomacy we pursue in dealing with Zimbabwe,
then it is war. We will not go to war with Zimbabwe. We do not need to be
lectured to about democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights.

      "Southern African states are conscious of our responsibility and of
the economic and political impact of the situation in Zimbabwe. But we
cannot be like people far away who keep shouting about Zimbabwe. What are
they proposing we should be doing? (British Foreign Minister) Jack Straw and
others must tell us what they expect the Southern African Development
Community to do."

      Mukonoweshuro said: "This is the kind of problem we have at the moment
within SADC: there is a kind of ambivalence on how best to resolve the
Zimbabwe crisis.

      "On the one hand, as a region they should be seen to present a united
external front. But if you then look at the discordant voices of countries
like Mauritius, there is an indication that behind the veneer of solidarity,
there is real concern about Zimbabwe."

      He said as long as public concern was not being expressed by countries
like Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, the Zimbabwe government
would continue with its policies, turning a deaf ear to whatever fears were
being raised in private.

      Herbert noted: "Mauritius and the Seychelles don't really count much,
Botswana and Mozambique won't say anything because of possible economic
fallout, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Angola are allies of
Zimbabwe and Malawi and Swaziland have problems of their own and don't want
anyone to bother them.

      "Doing the mathematics state by state, you're not going to find anyone
willing to stand up and take a confrontational stance."

      The commentators said SADC ministers' plans to tell Zimbabwe to "shape
up" were likely to boil down to window dressing, with regional leaders
trying to show the world that they were attempting to rein in Mugabe's

      "I think to some extent there are elements of reaction because they
want to be seen to be doing something," one regional analyst said.

      "The (Zimbabwe) question invariably comes up from journalists and the
answer is 'we are going to have behind-the-scenes meetings', but nothing
really comes of it."
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      Bankers unveil new demands on farm loans

      Staff Reporter
      10/3/02 2:43:11 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S bankers, who are hesitant to fund President Robert Mugabe's
controversial agrarian reforms, have demanded to be taken around the country
to assess the viability of newly resettled farmers, the Financial Gazette
learnt yesterday.

      Sources said the bankers have asked the government to organise visits
to Zimbabwe's eight provinces to get first-hand information on the situation
on the ground before agreeing to fund the new farmers.

      "We have suggested that banking is a business and we can only fund the
new farmers after carefully assessing our chances of getting the money
back," one bank chief executive, who is also an executive member of the
Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ), told the Financial Gazette.

      No comment was available from the BAZ or Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa yesterday.

      The sources said besides the need for the government to guarantee the
loans to the new farmers, the banks want to ascertain that the new farmers
have actually settled on the land and the numbers involved because of fear
that the money being sought could end up funding other government and ruling
ZANU PF party activities.

      The government, which needs more than $160 billion to fund its
reforms, has since July been pressing local financial institutions to
finance the programme under which the state is seizing farms owned by whites
to give to landless blacks.

      The bank chiefs, who meet the government under the auspices of the
BAZ, have refused to budge, insisting on a guarantee that Treasury will pick
up the tab if any of the more than 300 000 new farmers default on their

      They also want Mugabe to use the proceeds of a levy slapped earlier
this year on financial institutions to fund the reforms. The government says
the levy will be used in a separate programme to economically empower

      The sources said the government has not responded to the bankers'
request for site visits since the meeting was held about six weeks ago.

      "The next thing we heard was that there is going to be an agricultural
bond and we now don't know whether the silence is a sign that there is
really no order on the ground as far as the government's resettlement
programme is concerned," another banker said.

      The government plans to raise $30 billion through the issue of
five-year agribonds, which will target insurance companies and pension

      Zimbabwean banks are already sitting on debts of more than $12 billion
owed by white farmers, most of whom are being expelled from their properties
by the government
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      ZANU PF's victory may be shortlived

      By Abel Mutsakani News Editor
      10/3/02 2:31:16 AM (GMT +2)

      VICTORY by the government in council elections at the weekend
confirmed President Robert Mugabe's upperhand over his political foes, but
analysts warn that the use of violence to smoother opponents could spell a
tumultuous end to his political career.

      The analysts said Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political crisis
remained unchanged by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party's win in the local
government vote which observers and Amnesty International, the human rights
watchdog, and the United States said was marred by pre-voting violence and

      South Africa Institute for International Affairs senior researcher
Ross Herbert said Mugabe's Achilles' Heel remained the economic crisis which
has manifested itself in runaway inflation of 135.1 percent and acute
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food.

      "He is leading the country towards a situation where there will be
less and less money (hard cash), more company closures, more poverty and
more food shortages," he said.

      "Eventually, he will be unable to buy off even the army, the police
and secret service and that will be it."

      A tough-to-beat political fox in his heyday, the 78-year-old Mugabe
has cunningly projected the rag-tag mob of self-styled veterans of
Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war and at times even the starving masses in
the countryside as the bedrock of his political career.

      But critics say it is the well-fed army generals, the police and the
spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) which form the iron fist that
has kept multitudes of disgruntled Zimbabweans from erupting into a popular
uprising against Mugabe, who founded Zimbabwe in 1980 out of the ashes of
the former British colony of Rhodesia.

      All top commanding officers in the security agencies either served
under Mugabe's ZANLA guerrilla army or that of his rival and later
vice-president Joshua Nkomo's ZIPRA army during the independence war.

      A week before a tricky presidential election earlier this year,
Zimbabwe army commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, police head Augustine Chihuri,
then CIO boss Elisha Muzonzini and prison service director Paradzai Zimondi
issued a statement declaring they would never salute a president who did not
fight in the independence war.

      Observers said the statement was a clear reference to opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai who, unlike
Mugabe, did not participate in the war.

      The security chiefs deny the statement was aimed at Tsvangirai or his

      The opposition MDC accuses the police of taking sides and routinely
harassing its leaders and activists on trumped-up charges.

      Police boss Chihuri, himself a self-proclaimed ZANU PF follower,
denies charges that the law enforcement agency is partisan.

      ZANU PF won 700 of the council seats unopposed because MDC candidates
in the respective wards had either been denied registration or had fled
violence unleashed on the party's leadership by ruling party militants.

      The MDC, which in just nine months nearly unseated ZANU PF in a
parliamentary poll it lost in June 2000 by five seats, says in some cases
its candidates were assaulted and chased away from registration centres
while police stood by watching helplessly.

      One MDC supporter, Nikoniari Chibvamudeve, was reportedly killed by
ZANU PF militants while several hundreds were allegedly beaten up and
tortured by ruling party militias.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, an umbrella body for the country's
major human rights and pro-democracy groups, says 58 people and most of them
MDC supporters have been killed in political violence between January to
August this year.

      ZANU PF vehemently denies charges it is using violence to cow the
opposition and instead accuses the MDC of terrorising and murdering its

      In addition to violence, critics say Mugabe and ZANU PF have used
their majority in Parliament to take away the rights of Zimbabweans and
close off the democratic space to the opposition and all perceived

      "ZANU PF operates like Zimbabwe is a one-party state," said Tarcey
Zimbiti, the acting head of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace

      Zimbiti, whose organsiation had obsevers deployed in many parts of the
country to monitor the just-ended council ballot, said opposition candidates
and their supporters in many rural areas were chased away from their homes.

      "This was one election that had nothing to do with democracy," Zimbiti
said, adding that the CCJP had, for example, been unable to send observers
into the ZANU PF stronghold of Mashonaland Central province because it would
have been "suicidal" to do so.

      Herbert said Mugabe and his government could continue using force to
hold down the seething public discontent even for a longer period, just as
much as Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko did.

      But he said with the economy's backbone of the agriculture sector
falling apart because of Mugabe's drive to seize land from white commercial
farmers and the international community stepping up the ostracization of the
regime, there would be worsening food shortages and poverty and the long
patience of Zimbabweans would snap up.

      "Whenever that is, is anybody's guess," Herbert observed.

      "But clearly if Mugabe continues on this path, then he is ensuring his
career will end not through the ballot but through the barrel of the gun."
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      War veterans seek Mugabe's intervention over pension rise

      Staff Reporter
      10/3/02 2:43:49 AM (GMT +2)

      VETERANS of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war are seeking President
Robert Mugabe's intervention after the cash-strapped Ministry of Finance
threw out their demands for an immediate 150 percent hike of their pensions
and allowances.

      Andy Mhlanga, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association, said this week members of his organisation were
unable to make ends meet and had no choice but to demand Mugabe's
intervention in the matter.

      He said the high cost of living in Zimbabwe, shown out by record high
inflation of 135.1 percent, required that the Ministry of Defence reviews
war veterans' pensions, which he described as meagre.

      As well as the high inflation, most basic foodstuffs including the
staple maize meal are in short supply because of a devastating drought last
season and government land reforms which have crippled agriculture, the
mainstay of the economy.

      The few available foodstuffs are found on the parallel market, which
levies exorbitant prices beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.

      Mhlanga told the Financial Gazette: "We are now demanding to meet our
patron, President Robert Mugabe, because the majority of war veterans are
suffering and yet nothing is being done to address their plight.

      "Life has become difficult for all of us. We all buy from the same
shops and we are suffering like any other person in Zimbabwe. War veterans
are suffering and any review of their meagre pensions will help."

      The war veterans wrote to Defence Minister Sydney Sekeremayi in April,
requesting that their allowances be increased and that a medical aid
facility be set up for them by the government.

      Lack of action from the defence ministry prompted the war vets to seek
an audience with Mugabe, but they were told to follow official channels.

      The war veterans want their monthly pensions raised from $7 890 to $20
000, school fees allowances hiked from $20 000 per term per child to $35 000
and a special government-subsidised medical aid scheme for members launched.

      Mhlanga said since the enactment of the War Veterans' Act in 1997,
none of Zimbabwe's freedom fighters had benefited from a facility that
allows them to secure soft loans of between $250 000 and $500 000 as
stipulated by the Act.

      The war veterans in 1997 forced Mugabe to pay them more than $4
billion in unbudgeted expenditure after staging a series of protests against
what they said was the government's neglect of their welfare.

      Each war veteran was subsequently paid a once-off gratuity of $50 00
in a move that triggered Zimbabwe's present economic meltdown, causing a
crash in the country's financial markets.

      The veterans also led the violent seizure of commercial farms in
February 2000 and spearheaded a campaign for Mugabe's disputed re-election
in March.

      The war veterans were allocated more than $15 million to campaign for
the ZANU PF leader. They have also been promised 20 percent of all the land
that is seized for resettlement under the government 's controversial
agrarian reforms.
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      Govt physically evicts defiant farmers

      Staff Reporter
      10/3/02 2:30:47 AM (GMT +2)

      A GOVERNMENT task force assisted by police this week began physically
evicting white farmers in a move seen as the government's last push to
remove the farmers from their land before the start of the rainy season next

      The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) chairman for Matabeleland, Mark
Crawford, said about 40 farmers had been evicted in Matabeleland province
alone between Monday and yesterday.

      The task force, which includes provincial and district land
committees, moved to Matabeleland South yesterday after touring farms in
Matabeleland North on Monday and Tuesday and evicting the farmers.

      "About 40 farmers were forcibly and physically evicted from their
farms by the police between Monday and today (Wednesday)," Crawford told the
Financial Gazette.

      "This government task force is going around with the police, and when
they leave a particular farm, police members remain on the farm to evict the
farmers by giving them between one hour and 36-hour notices."

      Crawford said most of the farmers being evicted had contested the
government's eviction orders in court and were awaiting judgment on their
cases. Most of them have however left for safe havens in Bulawayo, he said.

      The task force is expected to start touring farms in other provinces
next week.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday denied knowledge of the
forcible eviction of the farmers by the police.

      CFU president Colin Cloete said the government was continuing with its
onslaught on the farmers, adding that efforts by CFU members to subdivide
their farms and share them with black farmers were not being recognised.

      He said a sizeable number of farmers would be forced off their
properties today after the expiry of their Section 8 eviction notices, but
he was not able to indicate exactly how many farmers would be affected.

      Some agricultural industry sources said more than 300 farmers would be
evicted between today and November 8 when their Section 8 orders expire.

      More than 360 farmers have been arrested since August 10 for defying a
government order to vacate their properties after the lapse of the 90-day
period they were given by the government to wind up their operations.

      "A batch of farmers will have to leave the farms tomorrow (today) when
their Section 8 orders expire but I am not too sure of the number," Cloete

      "This will go on until the middle of November when most of the farmers
will have left."

      More than 2 500 farmers whose Section 8 orders expired last month are
still on their properties, but Cloete said with the amendment of the Land
Acquisition Act last month, most would be evicted by the middle of November.
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      Grain loan records missing

      10/3/02 2:30:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has no records on the utilisation of its Grain Loan
Scheme, according to a report released this week by Auditor-General and
Comptroller Eric Harid.

      According to the report, no records exist showing how many people
received grain under the scheme, the quantities involved and how much was

      In the report, Harid slams the lack of guidelines to govern the
operation of the scheme.

      "Consequently, records of quantity of grain lent, grain recovered and
grain outstanding were not made available for audit examination and there
was no list of beneficiaries produced," he says.

      According to reports in the state-controlled media, the government
loaned out 161 581 tonnes of grain worth $390 million to drought-prone
Masvingo's seven districts at the inception of the scheme in the 1995-96
agricultural season.

      Most of the grain was never repaid. There are no statistics available
on other provinces.

      Most of the beneficiaries of the scheme complained of increasingly
poor yields in the years beyond 1996 as an excuse for not repaying the grain
and the government suspended the facility in 1999.

      It has since been re-activated in the face of Zimbabwe's worst food
crisis that has been triggered by another severe drought and the
government's chaotic land reforms which have disrupted farming, cutting food
output in the key sector by at least 60 per cent last season.

      Harid's report also accuses the Ministry of Local Government and
National Housing of delaying the handover of $1 923 524 to the National
Drought Fund, which had been recovered from Grain Loan Scheme recipients.

      The money was reportedly held in the ministry's temporary deposits

      lAbout $96 million was disbursed from the National AIDS Fund to the
Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+) without control
mechanisms to ensure the money reached the intended beneficiaries, Harid's
report said.

      It said an audit was not able to establish if all the beneficiaries
receiving money were genuine.

      "The ZNNP+ membership is supposed to be made up of people living with
HIV/AIDS who in particular have tested positive or who may have spouses or
minor children who tested positive. No such evidence was availed in some
cases," the report said.

      The report said that some members of the organisation belonged to two
or more groups and some were allegedly involved in the embezzlement of

      "For instance, the payments made to the ZNNP+ office in Masvingo
province and during the group's sixth millennium congress were not made on
the strength of adequate supporting documents, thereby raising concern as to
whether the money was used for its intended purpose," it noted.

      "About $936 266 was issued by the Masvingo office as loan advances to
Masvingo-Fact, an organisation that had already received $4 490 800 from NAC
(National AIDS Council). There was no evidence that the money was repaid and
channelled towards the intended purpose identified in the budget submitted
by ZNNP+ to NAC when it applied for funding."

      The National AIDS Council is responsible for mobilising and managing
financial resources in support of a national response to the HIV/AIDS

      On average, the council collects $793 903 645 annually from workers.
As at December 31 2000, NAC's total fixed assets were valued at $3 781 509
and net current assets were $7 058 662.

      Since the establishment of the AIDS levy fund in 2000, questions have
been raised about the transparency of its disbursement. There was a major
outcry recently when the Ministry of Information tried to pressure NAC to
direct more than $30 million towards the staging of the controversial Miss
Malaika beauty pageant.

      More than 2 000 Zimbabweans die every week from HIV/AIDS and it is
estimated that about a quarter of the more than 13 million Zimbabwean
population is HIV-positive.

      - Staff Reporter
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      US$85m food fund blocked

      Staff Reporter
      10/3/02 2:29:38 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe government has blocked efforts by international donors to
set up a US$85 million basket fund that would have allowed the private
sector to import 400 000 tonnes of food into the famine-hit country, the
Financial Gazette established yesterday.

      International aid agency sources yesterday said discussions on setting
up the fund between the government and the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), which had dragged on for more than four months, had all
but broken down.

      The UNDP was going to coordinate the basket fund that was also going
to be used to finance other humanitarian imports such as essential

      "As we speak, there are no more discussions taking place on the
setting up of the fund," a senior officer with one food aid agency told the
Financial Gazette.

      Social Welfare Minister July Moyo could not be reached for comment on
why there had been no agreement with donors on a fund seen as vital in a
country that has seven million people, or half the population, facing
starvation because of drought and policy failures.

      United Nations coordinator and UNDP resident representative in
Zimbabwe Victor Angelo refused to discuss the issue, saying only: "The offer
is still on the table."

      International donors, most of them reluctant to release money directly
to the Harare authorities, had been on standby for the launch of the fund,
the sources said.

      More funds were expected to be released in addition to the US$85
million that was expected to kick-start the fund, with local private
companies without foreign currency allowed to borrow cheaply from the fund
to pay for food imports.

      But the government, which has banned companies other than its Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) from trading in the two staples maize and wheat, is
said to have objected to the fund saying private sector involvement in food
importation would push up prices.

      The prices of milled maize and bread - as indeed those of virtually
all other basic food commodities - are controlled by the government.

      But critics say the government fears that allowing too many players to
bring food into the country could dilute the political mileage it is getting
from food distribution, particularly in rural areas where in some cases its
GMB is the only source of food.

      While no deaths from hunger have been officially reported so far, the
UN says Zimbabwe's food crisis is deteriorating fast, with 600 000
children - or 30 percent of under fives out of two million - already
vulnerable to nutritional problems.

      Poor rains last season have caused food shortages across southern
Africa, but in Zimbabwe - the epicentre of the food crisis - the
government's chaotic and often violent drive to seize land from large-scale
producers has destabilised the key agricultural sector.
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      Subversion of the people's mandate

      10/3/02 2:20:51 AM (GMT +2)

      LOCAL Government Minister Ignatius Chombo this week took the first
step towards sacking the democratically elected Harare City Council, openly
subverting the voters' mandate and daring them to act against his decree.

      His appointment of a government panel to virtually run the city's
affairs had long been coming. This was because Chombo and his ruling ZANU PF
party could simply not come to terms with, let alone countenance, seeing the
opposition MDC in charge of Zimbabwe's capital.

      Thus, the plot to oust the MDC council kicked off as soon as the
council took office a short seven months ago.

      The plot's script, faithfully implemented by Chombo so far, reads as
follows: frustrate the council by giving it impossible directives such as
the mayor cannot hire or fire anyone within the council and no development
project can go ahead without the government's nod.

      Deprived of financial resources to implement its plans and harassed by
ZANU PF mobs employed before the March elections to precipitate instability
within the council, it was only a matter of time before mayor Elias Mudzuri'
s team came to a dead end - and so it has.

      But let it be stated for the record that Mudzuri's council, hamstrung
as it was by official shackles, went on to deliver better services and
carried out more development work in the seven months it was in charge than
any ZANU PF council ever did in two decades.

      By concrete example, Mudzuri's team showed that much work could be
done even with limited resources. Hence for the first time, Harare's
crumbling road network was rehabilitated, the city's dilapidated water
systems, drainage and sewerage vastly improved and its notoriously poor
rubbish collection network completely overhauled.

      Chombo's action and its timing are clearly meant to add insult to
injury to the MDC in a week when ZANU PF militants have wreaked havoc across
the country to help their party sweep the just-ended local government

      Chombo's tentative steps to sack the Harare Council and the violence
by ZANU PF's militants, which forced many MDC poll candidates to pull out of
the ballot, show a new determination by the ruling party to shut all voices
of dissent by whatever means.

      Clearly alarmed by the MDC's growing political support in the past two
national elections, ZANU PF has decided to fight back with all the resources
it has, chiefly brute force and the ruthless state apparatus, to reclaim
what it lost through a popular vote.

      All Zimbabweans, even those benefiting from a party which prides
itself in having degrees in violence against foes, must ask themselves: how
far will this madness be allowed to go on?

      When a father or mother is forced to turn against his or her own
children for the sake of a revolution gone awry, a brother has to turn
against a brother and a sister against her own, who will be next and who
will be safe?

      No doubt, the answer is sobering.

      And yet Zimbabwe's governance crisis - it is the same crisis which has
triggered allied crises that threaten the economy and the wellbeing of all
in the land - is deepening on an hourly basis.

      The longer Zimbabweans seem to accept their stark misrule, the bolder
the government has become to literally tell them, as Chombo has just done:
we will do whatever we like because we are in charge of central government.

      It is this unbridled arrogance and the belief that might is always
right and will triumph which have brought Zimbabwe to its knees. The country
will remain in semi-permanent crisis until its citizens wake up from their
long slumber to reclaim their full sovereignty.
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      Can we come back to our senses within six months?

      Masipula Sithole
      10/3/02 2:22:37 AM (GMT +2)

      LAST week I said that those who would have wanted me to write about
"Abuja Two" would have to wait another day. But suffice it to say, I saw in
Abuja Two a long rope with which to hang ourselves.

      As if we were not already hanging ourselves, we had been given six
more months to continue doing so. Whether our impressionistic minds saw it
or not, I alleged that we had been set up for another six months.

      The question was: can we come to our senses within the next six

      I intimated that my son Chandi "thinks we can", but said "later for
the Chandi thesis".

      Last Saturday on our way to the Harare International Airport, I asked
Chandi to repeat the argument he had made the other day.

      "But I thought that by saying 'later for the Chandi thesis' you were
being dismissive; you didn't think much of what I was saying," he replied,
sounding somewhat humiliated.

      "I was setting myself up," I said. "A set-up for my readers to
anticipate a subsequent contribution on the 'Chandi thesis', if I understood
correctly what you were saying the other day when we were speculating about
what President Robert Mugabe's grand strategy could be."

      "If you wouldn't want me to write about it or couldn't remember what
your argument was, then 'later for the Chandi thesis'," I explained.

      It's a familiar argument, though with a Chandi twist to it. It goes
like this:

      Sometime ago the regime realised it had lost substantial ground in
terms of popular support. This had been shown during its campaign for a
"yes" vote which it lost to the opposition in the February 2000 referendum
on the constitution.

      With parliamentary elections coming up only four months thereafter (in
June 2000) and then the highly prized presidential election two years
thereafter (in March 2002), something tantamount to a "survival" plan would
have to be improvised and adopted very quickly.

      Hence the "fast-track" land resettlement programme, pronounced as
such, "fast track".

      The regime could have continued to "slow-track" resettling people as
it had been doing for the past 20 years. But all of a sudden, the regime
decided to "fast-track" it.

      Why pick on land resettlement? Land is an emotive issue historically
in all colonial situations, more so where the British were involved - it had
to sell.

      Why use force, even on blacks, the intended beneficiaries?

      "Those who don't want to be free shall be forced to be free," a
concept from Jean Jack Roussau.

      Then the Chandi twist: "It's not that the regime is not sensitive to
the harsh (if ruthless) methods and the attendant international revulsion.
But the power imperatives, at least for the moment, dictate that such
ruthless and crude methods are employed. 'Moreover, we can always explain to
the people and international community later. For the end justifies the

      "So, now that they are securely in power (it doesn't matter by foul or
fair means) the next move is to concentrate on the less important issues in
power consolidation: governance issues. Six months is long enough to do it.

      "'Moreover, we don't have to do it all at once. All we have to do is
be seen to be doing something towards 'good' governance, 'rule of law' and
'human rights', all things which are easy to do when you are securely in

      "I don't believe anyone in ZANU PF believes they can permanently fight
against popular domestic and international opinion and win. Everybody knows
we need the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank money to get
their economies together.

      "But for the time being, the imperatives of power must dictate
priorities, no matter how temporary.

      "'What about the people who are suffering as the country collapses
into economic ruin? Don't our leaders care any more?

      'But those are moral issues and not issues of power.'"

      Essentially, that is Chandi's argument, as I understand it. Not that
he necessarily believes in its amorality, but in its rationality.

      I find this argument plausible in its appreciation of Niccolo
Machiavelli's thesis in The Prince.

      In essence, this is saying: when the power imperatives suggest that
they heed domestic and international pressure, the ZANU PF leadership,
especially Mugabe, will presumably come to their senses within the six

      Prospects for this happening are good given that nothing has changed
in Zimbabwe's worsening economic fortunes since the "great" speech at the
Earth Summit in Johannesburg; since another "spectacular" performance at the
UN General Assembly in New York recently; and after "yet another diplomatic
success" in Abuja only two weeks ago. In fact, the situation seems to have
worsened at every turn.

      This is why we suspect that it would not make any difference anymore
whether the regime changes its ways even within six months.

      There is a certain threshold of being offensive to both the domestic
and international environments beyond which a regime must not pass if it
hopes to be still listened to. Zimbabwe may have exhausted this threshold.

      Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
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      Diversity in the post-election era

      Isaya Sithole
      10/3/02 2:13:04 AM (GMT +2)

      THE question of the way forward and the modus operandi has been the
subject of intense debate in post-election Zimbabwe.

      The debate, regrettably, takes place in a charged atmosphere
characterised by polarisation and intolerance.

      In fact, distancing and confrontational attitudes have been the
dominant feature of Zimbabwean politics from the time of the historic
referendum of February 2000.

      The ensuing June 2000 Parlimentary and March 2002 Presidential
elections were marred by massive pre-election violence, and now there is an
impasse crystallised by the failure of the South African and Nigerian
brokered talks between ZANU PF and the MDC.

      The failure of these talks, which could have been more than a placebo
but not a panacea to the Zimbabwean situation, has shifted the focus of the
debate to a question of whether what Zimbabwe needs is an election re-run or
a new constitution, "especially in light of the Mac's court challenge of the
results of the Presidential elections.

      However, these seemingly divergent positions have not been clearly
articulated. In the opinion of this author, it would appear that leading
opinions have failed to expose the necessary truth that these alternatives
are not necessarily incompatible or in tension but are in fact
complementary. I will discuss these alternatives in a future contribution
and try to suggest a way forward.

      It is necessary to articulate a position that is predicated upon a
thorough grasp of the issues at hand. An informed understanding of
Zimbabwe's problems should provide the framework within which to debate
options and map a way forward. It is high time we become brutally honest
with ourselves and start implementing some of the ideas which we have come
to take for granted.

      The progressive forces of Zimbabwe risk becoming irrelevant, if not
retrogressive, if they fail to re-constitute, reorganise, re-strategise and
come up with an agenda that cuts across and appeals to a broad spectrum of
various sectional interests regardless of the diverse peculiarities of race,
tribe, religion, conscience or political party affiliation.

      A functional democracy requires a vibrant and discerning civil
society, independent media; viable political parties, a tolerant political
culture and transparency. This entails a new social and political value
system which can only be developed through social mobilisation, civic
education, participation, effective information dissemination, new education
curricula and economic empowerment.

      A major constitutive part of the Zimbabwean debate on democracy is the
structure of the debate itself, which is characterised by racism, ethnicism
and the politics of difference. In other words, a major part of the problem
consists precisely in viewing diversity as a problem rather than a source of
mutual enrichment. This is what the opposition tends to share with the
ruling party.

      A widespread consensus on the status of diversity as a problem gives
rise to some of the most efficient forms of discrimination, subtly veiled
from sight by rhetoric of tolerance that radiates the best of intentions.
There has developed in Zimbabwe systematic distancing and confrontational
attitudes based on the concept of "us" versus "them". Group relations are
arbitrarily formations created by our perception of ourselves vis-a-vis

      One's religion, mother tongue, culture, also one's education, class,
sex, skin colour, even one's height, age and family situation are all
potentially unifying factors. Each factor can be ignored in the formation of
an "us." The role which each individual parameter plays in determining group
identity depends fully on group internal and group external perceptions and
conceptualisations which are historically and socio-culturally shaped.

      Group identities do not only determine our opinions and discourses
about others but also other forms of behaviour towards them. The
intensification of contacts between two groups increases the otherness of
the other group as more differences are being discovered. At the same time,
the discovery of more similarities (which necessarily goes hand in hand with
noticing differences) is not deemed very relevant, as they are a source of
agreement and not of conflict!

      The inventory of real or imagined differences between "us" and "them"
is growing continuously in Zimbabwe and this "management paradigm" creates
the impression of insuperable barriers, and minor details hardly important
in daily life turn into pegs on which to hang supposedly fundamental
ideological and intercultural misunderstandings. The more the "other"
becomes different, the more he or she is problematised and construed as a
source of potential conflicts.

      In that process discourses are created and new ways of speaking about
ourselves and others emerge. If only our affairs were more wisely ordered
and if we were clearer-sighted than we are now in seeing our own interests,
it could be that this diversity could be used as a resource for mutual
enrichment, strengthening our feelings of community towards the building of
a common social consciousness.

      By placing the "problematic" people outside our own temporal space,
they lose every chance of doing something about their situation.

      No doubt the time has come to stop flattering ourselves and to start
questioning the ideas which we now take for granted about the management of
intergroup relations.

      Management is always in the hands of the powerful and the management
of diversity is no exception. Despite an overtly professed democratic
attitude, the "managed" have little say in all this.

      Therefore the debate is really about the "other" viewed from the
perspective of the majority.

      More often than not, we pay less attention to true characteristics
than to what the "other" might represent in our socio-psychological and
moral frame of reference. We construct the other in terms of our own
categories, expectations, habits and our own reality fits these categories
and expectations and norms.

      However, not everything in our own reality fits these categories and
expectations and not all of our behaviour corresponds to these habits and
norms. But the deviation, the "abnormality" is attributed to tile the
"other" as an essential trait.

      Full awareness of these seemingly trivial processes is crucial for an
understanding of our thinking about ourselves as well as "others". In the
case of discourse about "others", there are additional complications on top
of the tendency to be led by stereotypes, implicit norms and patterns of

      The debate is essentially based on a distancing and confrontational
view of "us" versus "them'' captured in (often implicit) terms or normality"
versus "abnormality".

      The tendency to abnormalise the other combines with the assumption
underlying the "management paradigm" that diversity itself is somehow
abnormal and problematic. This double problematisation has been the major
ingredient of the current political impasse that we are experiencing in
Zimbabwe - a deadlock.

      This infection has also crept surreptitiously into the progressive
forces of this country. Apart from the effect of the recently enacted
repressive laws like POSA, the paralysis that grips civil society is also a
result of failure on their part to articulate a pragmatic programme that is
characterised by tolerance of diversity and a wide mass base and induce,
rally and harness all the pent-up forces behind such a programme, without
any political party or organisation trying to monopolise the "other" as an
essential trait.

      Civil society must utilise its capacity to create an atmosphere where
there is celebration of difference. Chenjerai Hove (a talented Zimbabwean
writer who now lives in self-exile - a victim of intolerance!) in his
article, "Violence without conscience" (Palaver Finish pp 79) wrote that:

      "Difference is a great thing. Imagine that the Gods had created us all
the same. Thinking the same, walking, talking the same. Our ideas and the
way we present them would be the same. Can you imagine a whole village of
people nodding at the same time to the same idea expressed in the same way.

      What a boring world it would be!"

        a.. Isaya M Sithole is a newly qualified legal practitioner
practising in Harare
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      CAR offers lifeline to Zim farmers

      Staff Reporter
      10/3/02 2:07:04 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Central African Republic (CAR) has become the latest African
country to offer refuge to Zimbabwean white farmers chased off their land
under the government's agrarian reforms.

      CAR Prime Minister Martin Ziguele last week said his country was ready
to receive Zimbabwean farmers displaced by the chaotic land redistribution
programme pursued by President Robert Mugabe since 2000.

      Ziguele, who also doubles as his country's finance minister, told
journalists at the end of a meeting of African ministers at the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington last week that
the CAR had large tracts of rich farmland that the Zimbabwean farmers could

      "The Central African Republic wants to contribute to the resolution of
the Zimbabwean problem in its own way because, as I have said during my
mission, we are ready to receive Zimbabwean farmers and let them live in our
country to develop our farmland because we have 620 000 square kilometres
but we are only a few hundred thousand inhabitants," Ziguele said.

      About 75 percent of the CAR is made up of forests and woodlands, with
only three percent of land being presently utilised.

      The central African country borders Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

      "We would like to have contact with organisations for Zimbabwean
farmers so that we can concretely see what might be done," said Ziguele.

      Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a militant grouping that broke away
from the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) this year and whose members have
vowed to fight the government over the land grab policy, this week said
similar offers had been received from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and

      JAG spokeswoman Jenni Williams could however not say how many farmers
had taken up the offers.

      No comment was available from the CFU, although farming industry
sources said it was difficult to determine how many farmers had so far left
the country since the exodus was not coordinated.

      "There are no figures relating to how many farmers have so far taken
up the offers to go and farm in neighbouring countries because this is being
done individually and there is no way of knowing who has left the country,"
one farmer said.

      Mugabe says Zimbabwe's drive to reform land ownership is a belated
righting of the wrongs of more than a century of colonial rule that left
about 4 500 white farmers in charge of more than 80 percent of the country's
arable land.

      At least 2 900 white farmers have been ordered to leave their
properties to make way for landless blacks.
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