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

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View from the Pan.

This week Mugabe took himself off to Malaysia for a short break and then on
to Vietnam for an official visit. He was due to go on from Vietnam to
Brisbane but that has been cancelled on security grounds following the
terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Prior to leaving Harare he
sent George W Bush a note of condolences and an offer of help to find the
perpetrators. I wonder in which side of his cheek he held his tongue as he
did that?   Just a week before he had praised Bin Laden in Libya and poured
scorn on the anxiety of the USA about the capacity of this “small man with a

Mugabe must have been delighted with the cancellation of the Brisbane
meeting as he had a real reception waiting for him there.  I heard that the
Australian Unions were going to protest his presence and you can be sure
that the thousands of former Zimbabweans who live in Australia were not
going to throw rose petals in his way.

The new mayors of Masvingo and Bulawayo are just getting down to business in
their respective cities. In the case of Masvingo good progress has been made
in the first two months and this should start being felt on the ground
shortly. In Bulawayo, the second city with a population of over a million
people, the task ahead is intimidating. Just to help the new administration,
the Minister of Local Government drew a line through Bulawayo in a list of
cities that had been proposed by USAID for help from the Agency. In its
place he proposed the third city – Gweru. He must be very dumb if he does
not understand what that sort of thing will achieve – politically and even
in terms of US aid to the City of Kings. It will do nothing to stop aid
reaching the City and may even encourage greater assistance.

The Supreme Court has sat and heard the case for the farmers and we now
await their decision. This is expected shortly and will be closely watched
by everyone concerned as well as the international legal fraternity. If it
goes the way that is expected it will signal the end of Zimbabwe’s proud
record of legal and judicial professionalism. Mugabe will use the outcome to
shamelessly promote his land reform programme.  All you need to judge the
legal position of the government is to ask what would the decision be of the
International Court of Justice in the Hague if they were asked to judge the
legality of the farmers case. Just list a few of the fundamental strengths
of the farmer’s position: -

1. They are bona fide citizens of the country.
2. They are genuine investors holding legal freehold rights to the land they
3. They are protected by international agreements covering investments of
this nature.
4. Over 80 per cent have made their investments since 1980 when this
government came to power.
5. The majority of them have purchased their properties with a legal
certificate of “no interest” issued by the Ministry of Agriculture on behalf
of the government.
6. They owe creditors money against which their land is the main form of
7. The government already controls 80 per cent of all land in Zimbabwe
including over 55 per cent of the “most productive” farm land and has yet to
use productively the majority of the 4 million hectares purchased from
commercial farmers since 1980 using foreign funds donated for this purpose.
8. They have no plans for the proper settlement of these illegally acquired
farms or for the subsequent support of the new farmers.
9. No selection is being applied to the new settlers and they are not being
obliged to accept liability for the assets they are illegally taking over
from the current owners.
10. No satisfactory forms of compensation have been agreed or even the
method by which such compensation will be established and paid.

What do you think a panel of elderly Judges, selected from the best in the
world, would rule in this case. It’s silly even to ask the question.  Should
the Zanu PF selected panel of Judges rule otherwise in the Zimbabwe case,
they will bring themselves and the legal system they represent into total
disrepute. They will not be able to hide behind their political masters when
they are eventually asked to justify their actions. Perhaps they will do the
right thing; we have been surprised before.

Prices and Incomes.

Looking at a list of basic commodities recently I noticed the following
increases since September 2000: -  Bread – 213 per cent, Cooking Oil – 141
per cent, Bar Soap – 262 per cent, Bath Soap – 304 per cent, Toilet Paper –
175 per cent, Margarine – 143 per cent.

Pretty tough on the consumer. The inflation has been especially rapid in the
past two months and is putting impossible pressure on the budgets of low
income and middle income families.
Children are going to school without breakfast, men are sleeping at their
places of work because they do not have the fare to go home at night,
students are resorting to prostitution to pay their fees. Rural families who
in the past have been able to rely on their relatives in the cities to help
support basic needs with money transfers now face requests for food to be
sent to town to help feed families and relatives.  On a very basic level,
this is the face of the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

In the middle of this deteriorating situation, the government is playing
with paper politics. On the 11th September the Secretary for Labour sent out
a letter instructing the Employment Councils to increase wages by over 100
per cent in the private sector and to backdate the increases to the 1st of
July. Then they “reduced the price of fuels” by about 3 per cent in response
to the demands from the Trade Unions and promptly told the private sector
that they expect prices to come down as a result and bus fares to decline.
What they did not say was that international oil prices are down 20 per
cent. The fact that half the pump price in Zimbabwe is made up of corrupt
payments to cronies and suppliers also went unsaid.

Civil Servants are still expected to get by with a 15 per cent increase in
their salaries and government trumpeted that the “budgeted deficit was down
60 per cent” – at whose expense?
The lower budget deficit is at the expense of every person with savings and
every person working for government.  Now they expect, at the stroke of a
pen, to force all private sector employers to pay for their folly and help
them win the presidential election next year.

To cap it all they are now going to monitor price increases – this means
that a group of civil servants and others will sit in judgement on producers
who want to raise their prices when their costs go up. Manufacturers will be
required to submit requests for price increases to this august body who will
then sit on the applications for weeks and months before grudgingly granting
increases when its too late to save the industry concerned. Thousands of
workers will loose their jobs and relocate to the rural areas where they can
be conscripted into the army of unemployed, willing to do anything to
survive, including beating up workers and farmers and looting their property
as a reward.  It’s devilishly simple and effective – just like the attack on
the World Trade Centre in New York, and just as damaging to Zimbabwe and the

M Ngwenya
30th September 2001.
Please note that this note is personal and does not necessarily reflect the
views of the Movement for Democratic Change.
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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 4 October 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
Nyamandhlovu farmer badly burnt in fire and requires hospitalisation
Kromkloof dam (100 megalitre capacity) drained
Food shortage for cattle imminent in Figtree
Figtree -movement of cattle had been denied by Veterinary Services
Chinhoyi - 24 farmers remanded out of custody again until 1st Nov 2001
Selous - homestead and cottage burnt to the ground
Marondera - upsurge in snaring
Cleeve Farm - A war vet' by the name of Nyamziwa stopped work on this farm following an altercation with the foreman. After he had left, work continued but he returned and pulled the irrigation pipes a part. One of the settler houses burnt down last night when a lamp was knocked over by one of the occupants - this was witnessed by the farm guard.
Correction to last Sitrep - In Chipinge the the farm with 20ha of 2yr Coffee plants had some plants pulled up not the entire 20 ha.
Kromkloof Farm - The harvesting of unripe coffee (green) by illegal squatters continues.  Kromkloof dam (100 mega litre capacity) drained by illegal squatters to harvest fish stock. Vaal Koppies -  Illegal squatters continue hut building, land clearing and burning around coffee lands and in workers village. Lot 12A of Newcastle - A DDF tractor ploughing on illegal squatter's plot. There has been continued burning of bush by illegal squatters and continued work stoppage on 15 ha coffee block planting (2 ha were completed, but now wilting).
Chipinge - On Lettiesville which is not listed, the DA has told the owner that they want the farm and all work should be stopped.  The DA told the owner that if he willingly gave up Lettiesville the farmer could keep his other farm.
Middle Save - The evaluators were evaluating farms in the area yesterday.
Rusape - Lionshead Farm had two cattle hacked, one is being treated and the other had to be  destroyed. 
Headlands - On Longfield last week there was a semi work stoppage and the farmer received a death threat, the situation has since been resolved.
Nyanga - The labour problems on Claremont Estates are ongoing.
Nyamandhlovu  Matabeleland Concession Farm  -  In a runaway veld fire suspected to have been started by War Vets burning their lands in preparation for planting, the farmer and one of his assistants and  two farm workers were caught in the fire.  They were in a Land Cruiser and were trapped against the electrified game fence while trying to backburn to stop the fire.  They were forced to drive through the fire and the flames were so high that they came into the passenger cabin where the assistant was scalded and the farmer received severe burns.  He is currently in hospital.  He is awaiting the doctor's decision to do skin grafts or to transfer him to South Africa.  The vehicle was badly damaged.  The two workers were not hurt, except that one's woollen cap melted and fused with his "afro" style hair, necessitating a haircut. On Bonisa Douglas Dube has now claimed the farm for himself and is harassing the elderly owners to leave. He has also put a barbed wire fence across the road leading to the house to deny the owners access. Two further fires were deliberately started.  Cattle are being driven into maize lands reserved for cattle fattening. Pontneywydd Farm - There have been fresh invasions this week.  Settlers were delivered on a DDF truck and they brought chickens with them and have settled next to the ostriches. There is a worry that this may cause an outbreak of Newcastle Disease.On Mindoro/Taradale the poaching and snaring has been horrific.  Tree cutting continues unabated with some 200 Ha of indigenous woodlands having been chopped, stacked and burned.  Building continues unabated with permanent structures being erected. Drysdale has been pegged and settled, now a Mr Makwena from DDF is pegging  Kenelly's for resettlement and would not have his authority questioned by the farm manager, Andy Kemp.
Bubi/Insiza On Meikles Ranches there have been further farm invasions occurring on a daily basis with new settlers arriving on every property in both districts.  On average five or more settlers being added to each property each week. Dysart Farm - The property was listed with a Section 5 notice on 7th Sept.  Miss Siwela is organising  rapid pegging of the property and re-settlement has commenced.  The Police are not getting involved.
Bulalimamangwe On Sandown South a National  Parks officer arrived to evaluate the property.  Officer was very polite.  No explanation could be given as to why a Parks officer was sent.
Insiza - At Fountains a police lady continues to build her bottle store next to the butchery and vegetable outlet, coming out at weekends.  Beer sales commenced this weekend with the sale of scuds which were stored in the public toilets. Although Riverside Estate is not listed, the Lands committee have instructed the owner to remove his cattle with immediate effect as the farm has been Agritex pegged under model A2 scheme and allocated to five recipients getting 500 Ha each.
Umguza -  On Standish Estates  occupations are occurring daily with trees being destroyed. The farm is nearly completely overrun and permanent buildings of brick under asbestos and iron are going up all over the farm.  The intention appears to be to establish a new squatter township in close proximity to town where they can live for free and commute to work.
Inyati Gravesend Farm - The DA has made it clear that the farm has been designated. Agritex has pegged, but settlers have been told not to interfere with current farming activities. Both parties co - operating with access, water supplies etc.  Further resettlement activities will only be allowed when legal procedures have been completed.  However, the following incidents have been reported (culprits well known to ZRP Mbembesi): 4 padlocked gates  and 2 windmill brake cables vandalised; 1 corrugated iron shed stolen; 2 cows missing from camp 5.1; fence cutting and at least 140 snares set from this wire - settlers' and farmer's cattle snared; vast quantities of dead and live wood cut and sold off the property; fencing standards stolen; cattle water point ball valves vandalised; huge areas of winter grazing destroyed by arson (one settler admitted to setting fire to 2800 Ha in 7 camps and land on two neighbouring properties; another settler ran away after setting fire to 2  camps (900 Ha)); gates are being left open to allow free cattle movement in contravention of Veterinary regulations.  Where gates are closed and padlocked they are destroyed.  Gravesend is being used as an access route to Horseshoe farm where numerous reports of illegal cattle movement are being received.  Owner has written letter to the Member in Charge at Mbembesi ZRP asking for assistance.
Figtree - On Woollandale Farm attempts to fight fires on rented NRZ property stopped by settlers who claimed they were burning to clear cultivation lands.  Member in Charge ZRP Figtree reluctant to get involved claiming it is political.  He referred farmer to Kezi DA who was away for an extended period. The farmer's brother was instructed to remove 700 head of cattle, as the land now belonged to the settlers, courtesy of the DA, Agritex and the  Notopos police.  The properties involved have NOT been listed and no notice of intention to acquire the properties has been served.  They are 3km from the nearest Communal Land, the property is being fully utilised, and much of the grazing has been destroyed.  Food shortage for cattle imminent, and movement of cattle had been denied by Veterinary Services.  Settlers have informed owner of their intention to take over irrigation lands that were recently planted with paprika (for export) and tomatoes.
Chinhoyi - 24 farmers were remanded out of custody again until 1st Nov 2001.Longmead Estate -Early in the morning several War Vets came and said their pegs in the compound had been moved so they did not know where their plots were.  They said there was a fine of $1500 for removal of pegs.  The Farmer knew nothing of this. Mid morning there was a work stoppage.  War Vets were threatening to burn the tractor that was trying to ridge.  They said the driver was a good friend of a  neighbour and they wanted to beat him up. During the afternoon 8 war vets told the seedbed workers that they were not allowed to work.  They said that the pump engine and seedbeds were theirs and they were going to plant maize in the seed beds tomorrow. In the early evening War vets started a fire.  On the way to put out the fire the farmer was stopped and told that the land and pegs belonged to Mr Mugabe and that if the fire was put out there was going to be war, they told the farmer to go.  20 ha burnt. The workers are not allowed to fish in the dam. On East Range building continues at a pace.  The farm is not listed, but the farmer cannot plant his crop.  The REO spoke to the DA who said they would go out there.  At Portelet Farm the farmer attempted to go to Lands Committee but as they were not there he was unable to.  His father remains in the ICU and is still in a coma, and in a stable condition.
Karoi - Work stoppages on 34 farms in the area.  This amounts to 1286 ha of tobacco which cannot be planted.  Seed beds have been trashed at Dixie Farm.
Tengwe - 17 farms cannot plant.  An unlisted farm was yesterday settled by the ADA (Chiweshe).  Illegal invaders have moved into the house on Parrondale Farm. Datenda Farm 
has been having trouble with pegging and work stoppages. All the lands were prepared before they were pegged.  Makorokoto has been stopped from ridging and illegal invaders would not allow his tractor back to the farmstead.  Police defused the situation and the tractor was retrieved, however, the illegal invaders now want to use the tractor for their ploughing. Rugare Farm had people at the gate at lunch time making a noise and banging drums.  Threats were made to the farmer to move his cattle off the farm and he was told he had to sell all his cattle. The illegal occupiers wanted to burn the farm and they wanted him to plough for them.  ZRP reacted. Chobeni  Farm - A couple of vehicles were seen driving around in the coffee and when approached by the farmer they drove off.
 Norton - Minister Chombo stated at a meeting at Selous Club on 3 October 2001 that the 48 Grey Scouts in full combat kit with AK47s who are currently stopping farming activities were not military, but were merely people dressed up and that they should not be doing this.  These people are based at Norton Police Station and Tilford Police Post.
Selous - On Exwick Farm which was delisted nearly three months ago, Wing Commander Mazambani together with a lot of other occupiers, continue commercial wood cutting and illegal ploughing as well as building permanent brick structures on the property.  On Garamwe Farm where the owner has had to move off recently, veld fires were started.  Illegal occupiers had intimidated the caretaker into not living in the homestead.  In what looks like an arson case, both the homestead and the cottage were burnt to the ground.  None of the illegal occupiers' houses were burnt in any way.  On Mount Carmel Farm one illegal occupier has threatened to cut the plantation of citrus down.
Chegutu/Suri-Suri - On Farnham Farm which is unlisted, illegal occupiers barricaded the owner in and prevented him from leaving the farm.  Police responded and appear to have resolved the situation.  On Eastbourne Farm Agritex officials have started pegging and have said that the cattle should all be removed otherwise there will be problems.  On Riversdale there is a new work stoppage where the owner is unable to even start a tractor.
Chakari - Farmers are still unable to prepare for any crops in this area.  Even on Chevy Chase Farm which is not listed, planting is not allowed to proceed.
Kadoma/Battlefields - On Alabama Farm intimidation continues despite the owner having taken the decision to stop  the 500 ha cropping programme for this season.  One of the workers, who was chased out of his house by the illegal occupiers previously and is no living in the workshop area, had a large group of illegal occupiers threatening him again. On Inniskillen Farm the owner has reported whole scale thieving of potatoes on 18th, 27th and 30 September and 1 October.  He has also had two cattle axed and one snared.  Assaults have been on-going on his work force and his work force have now been intimidated into not working for the last few days.  The cattle were chased into the yard after the yard fence was cut, they have since been allowed to be moved into a 2 ha paddock where 460 of them have been for the whole week.  The owner has been forced to withdraw charges regarding potato theft as police have told the owner that it is the owner's problem and it is up to him to negotiate.  On Umsweswe Rive Block 10A illegal occupiers are putting in a grinding mill and have stolen a leopard skin belonging to a foreign client who has paid a two thousand US dollar trophy fee for it.
General - At a meeting at the Selous Club at  which Minister Chombo, MP Chiangwa, MP Shamu, MP Sabena Mugabe and the Governor of Mashwest, Mr Chanetsa, the farmers were told that illegal occupiers on unlisted properties would be removed and that anyone that could not plant should be allowed to do so.  The Governor has aid that there will be meetings every Tuesday in Chinhoyi to sort out all work stoppages if these had not been resolved at district level.  Minister Chombo undertook to get back to the farmers in writing regarding Section 5 notices and their implication regarding farming operations.
Beatrice - Work stoppages over the last few days on Alamein, Maasplein, Nengwa. Grading can continue on these farms. Local war veteran Chiramba, who has recently completed community service, together with Maxwell, accompanied valuators when they came to Goldilands. On Altrina an assailant came into the owner’s house at night after he had gone to bed and pointed his pistol at him (pistol had been placed next to the bed). Keys were demanded, which he handed over, and whilst the criminal was trying to rob the safe, the owner got away.  He later returned to the house to find his handset radio and pistol missing.  The police were informed and did a follow up but never made it to the house as they had an accident on the way.  The assailant is suspected to be a thatcher on the farm.  The case has not gone any further.
Enterprise - Farmers have been trying to get their farms delisted but have not had much help from the DA.  They just get sent from one office to another.  In general the situation has not improved.
Featherstone - Kuruman A and De la Quellerie have had their cattle locked up.  They had to negotiate with settlers to release them in order to graze. On the latter farm this was forced by 10 very aggressive individuals. A farmer was called to answer to allegations that he had an arms cache, when in fact the subject of the allegation was a gun safe. He was nevertheless charged for contravening the Firearms Act. 20-30 Hereford-type cattle have been found on Charter Estate, believed to have been stolen, possibly from Wedza.
Harare South - On Auk’s Nest war veterans told workers to demand termination pay from the owner, and leave the farm by 4 October 2001. Workers reacted angrily and told them to leave, which they did. Subsequently people in a white Toyota Hilux arrived at the farm and questioned workers when grading was to be completed. On Walmer war veterans locked the owner’s homestead gate with their own padlock and chain and threatened to put up roadblocks. Police were informed. On Dunottar 5 illegal invaders arrived and told the manager that they had been sent by a soldier and told to resettle the farm.  Settlers demanded electricity be put up in the area that they are settled in.  If their demands were not met they were going to set up more roadblocks on the farm roads. Assistant Inspector Chibanda had a meeting with them and the situation is under control.
Marondera South - General - the widespread work stoppages in the Ruzawi and Wenimbi areas remain. On Arcadia illegal settlers, who have been building huts on a land to be used for a late tobacco crop, stopped land preparation. These would-be settlers had previously been told by the authorities to leave the farm. Wenimbe had 10 workers’ houses occupied by illegal settlers after the Abuja talks and they remain occupied in spite of repeated calls to authorities to address the problem.
Marondera North -  On Chiparawe they have had an upsurge in snaring the police have been very helpful. Chinwiri had two cows killed , one was shot in the leg , the other one slaughtered.  The police reacted. Lekkerwater had an all night pungwe with farm labourers being forced to join them.  As of yesterday they are still waiting for police and DA to react.
Bindura - On the morning of the 3rd of October the owner of Bourtonvale Farm was prevented from leaving his home when the gates to his homestead were locked after a dispute with illegal settlers. The DA was called but he only arrived late in the afternoon of the same day. The owner of Duiker Flats was forced to cease all operations on his farm after an altercation with illegal settlers who had demanded that he grow and supply them with maize.  On Ledbury Farm the labourers have been prevented from working with the tobacco.  More illegal settlers have arrived on Guittingwood Farm and the owner feels that the dry land crop is now in jeopardy. The work stoppage on Chivuri and Condwalani Farms  is continuing. The DA has been notified but the outcome of the subsequent meeting held on these farms is unknown.
Centenary -  The owner of Kenilworth Farm was locked in his office by his labourers who were demanding that they be paid gratuities. The Police were called and the situation was resolved.
Glendale -  There have been reports of attempted extortion by the labourers of Hermiston Farm who have demanded that vast sums of money be  paid to them in the form of gratuities.  The illegal settlers on Duncan Flats have demanded that all farming operations cease and there have been several instances of harassment from the labourers demanding to be paid gratuities.
Horseshoe - The illegal settlers and 8 labourers from Ternanog Farm have made aggressive demands for gratuities before they would be willing to negotiate with the owner to allow farming operations to begin again. The labourers of Mangondo Farm who have been retrenched, have made aggressive demands for compensation from the owner of the farm. Seventeen farms in the area have now been affected by work stoppages, whilst the building of houses by the illegal settlers continues.
Mazowe/ Concession -  There has been a steady increase of illegal settlers on Pentland Farm and on Warmingdale Farm. The planting of the irrigated maize crop on Tavydale has come to a halt after illegal settlers demanded that all farming operations cease. The labourers on Normandale Farm have approached the owner and demanded that he pay them higher wages.
MASVINGO - Apologies for no sitrep today, but there has been a break down in landline communications which it is hoped will be rectified by Monday when the next sitrep will be forwarded.
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US$256 Million Disappears From Reserve Bank

Financial Gazette (Harare)

October 4, 2001
Posted to the web October 4, 2001


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is investigating the disappearance of
over US$256 million meant for pre-shipment financing of tobacco and input
support for the growers, it was learnt this week.

Authoritative sources this week said the missing funds were part of a US$381
million offshore pre-shipment financing deal struck by the government early
this year to finance tobacco purchases by merchants during the 2000/01
marketing season.

According to our sources, only US$125 million had so far been used and the
remainder of the funds is unaccounted for.

The sources said efforts to get clarification from the RBZ on the
whereabouts of the money have so far proved fruitless and that the central
bank has made an undertaking to investigate the matter.

"We are saying more than two-thirds of the crop has been sold and we expect
that more than US$250 million should have come into the country but it has
not," said a tobacco industry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

RBZ spokesman Ignatius Mabasa this week however said only US$308 million had
been negotiated by the External Loans Coordination Committee (ELCC) with
foreign financiers for use in buying tobacco.

He said as of September 11 2001, tobacco merchants had used US$135.4
million, suggesting that there was a balance of US$173 million.

"For 2001, ELCC approved total offshore finance facilities amounting to
US$308 million," Mabasa said, responding to questions from this newspaper.

"As at 11 September 2001, cumulative drawings by tobacco merchants amounted
to US$135.4 million, suggesting that there was a balance of US$173 million
still available."

The Financial Gazette had seen correspondence to the RBZ and the Ministry of
Finance by some farmers who wanted to know the whereabouts of the money.

The sources said the RBZ was also probing the disappearance of another
US$12.8 million from the Tobacco Trust Account, a facility set up last year
to help tobacco growers access hard currency to import inputs.

Mabasa did not respond to questions sent to him on this issue.

Under the terms of the pre-shipment arrangement, about 20 percent or US$25
million of the offshore funds were supposed to have been deposited into the
trust account to finance input purchases by the farmers.

"We were supposed to have had US$25 million in the Tobacco Trust Account but
when we checked on the account on September 12 we were shocked to learn that
there was only US$12.8 million," one source told the Financial Gazette.

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From the Daily News

Chinamasa dares Britain to freeze Mugabe’s assets

10/5/01 8:36:54 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

THE British government can go ahead and freeze President Mugabe’s assets and
those of his “henchmen” if they find them, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
said foreign governments should not just talk of freezing assets they allege
are owned by Mugabe and senior government officials, but should act. He was
responding to a question from Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC, Glen
Norah) who had said the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was quoted on
CNN as saying his government would soon freeze “certain assets of people
that are in government”.

She said Blair had “harsh words” for “Mugabe and his henchmen” in a speech
to the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton this week.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga wanted to know whether the government would renege on
the Abuja agreement if the British proceeded to seize the assets. Chinamasa
retorted he was not aware of the statement alleged to have been made by

He said of Misihairabwi-Mushonga: “The sort of talk from the honourable
member is very reckless and careless. It assumes we have assets all over.
Please let them go ahead. Why do they have to talk of intentions? We don’t
have assets and they’re free to freeze them, to acquire and do what they

The British Broadcasting Corporation quoted Blair as having said the world
as a community should focus on Africa for it “to be healed”. Blair called on
the international community to back a partnership for Africa, between the
developed and developing world, based on the New African Initiative.

“This would offer greater investment, aid and debt relief for Africa,” he
said. “But it’s a deal: on the African side, true democracy, no more excuses
for dictatorship, abuses of human rights, no tolerance of bad governance,
from the endemic corruption of some states, to the activities of Mr Mugabe’s
henchmen in Zimbabwe, proper commercial, legal and financial systems.”

Chinamasa angered the opposition MPs when he attacked them, especially
Misihairabwi-Mushonga for “parroting what the enemy says”.
“It is not fair for MPs on the other side to report over and over lies about
the leadership of their country to a point where these allegations achieve a
life of their own. Come forward, if you have evidence that we have assets
all over,” he said.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga shouted “I’m not a parrot!” to Chinamasa as he replied
“Yes, you are!” with Paul Themba Nyathi (MDC, Gwanda North) objecting to the
Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who overruled his point of order saying “to
parrot is to repeat”, and, thus, was not derogatory
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Zimbabwe's Mugabe gets a tuk-tuk

BANGKOK - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe yesterday wrapped up a five-day tour of Thailand after receiving an unusual gift from his hosts - a three-wheeled motorised rickshaw known as tuk-tuk.

In a ceremony at the Government House, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra presented the Zimbabwe President the key of the rickshaw taxi before both leaders boarded the Thai-made violet-coloured vehicle.

It was driven around by Deputy Industry Minister Pichet Satirachaval inside the compound.

The tuk-tuk, so called because of the putting sound of its smoky two-stroke engine, has long been a symbol of Bangkok's traffic-clogged streets. But Thai manufacturers have refined the vehicle's engine and are hoping to export it.

A tuk-tuk, which is open at the sides and has a canopy on top, seats three or four people in the back besides the driver in front.

The deputy industry minister said the gift is for the President to test the vehicle on Zimbabwe's streets. The Thai government hopes that Zimbabwe will soon place orders for tuk-tuks, he said.

Bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and Thailand has dropped this year, totalling 483.4 million baht (S$19.3 million) in the first half, compared with 2.07 billion baht last year. --AP

Zimbabwe President Takes a Taxi Home From Thailand

Updated: Fri, Oct 05 8:23 AM EDT

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Visiting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who got a test
ride in one of Thailand's noisy three-wheel taxis, or tuk-tuks, on Friday is
now taking it home.

Mugabe, who sat alongside Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the
backseat, was presented with his brand new 500cc ride after the test drive.

And officials of the company who gave him the tuk-tuk hope it can soon make
inroads into Africa.

"We are expanding fast and our new plant being opened later this year would
raise our monthly production to about 800 units from 200 units now," said
Sakda Sangsawaet, marketing executive of Pholasith Tuk-tuk International

Mugabe ends his five-day visit on Monday.

Sakda's firm now sells tuk-tuks to more than 30 countries, exporting around
2,000 of the vehicles a year, each priced from $1,900 to $2,500.
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Mugabe Mortgages Country - Libya to Cream Off Assets

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

ZIMBABWE is to pay a heavy price for loans from Libya with farms, hotels and oil installations pledged to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime as payment for his help, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.

The Libyans, who recently provided a US$90 million line of credit to supply fuel to Zimbabwe, have cast their eyes on stakes in two financial institutions and a major hotel group as well as oil facilities and land as payment, government sources reveal.

President Mugabe was recently in Tripoli to conclude the fuel deal. Sources said the Libyans were eyeing a stake in two commercial banks in which the government has a shareholding. Although it was not immediately clear what the Libyans proposed to do with their stake, there are suggestions that the banks would form part of a broad-based Libyan investment drive in Zimbabwe which will require local capital as well as external sourcing.

The Libyans also want to run safari operations in Zimbabwe, specifically designed for rich Arab tourists who want to come here to shoot game.

The sources said under the deal, the Libyans would be apportioned 8 000 hectares of industrial and farming land. The sources said Libyan entrepreneurs would produce fruit and food crops on the land, solely for the Libyan market. The North African country would also use part of the land to set up industries to produce goods for their market. The industries, the sources said, would use as much local raw materials as possible to manufacture goods.

The sources said the Libyans were interested in land in Mazowe Valley and Nyanga. They had also indicated an interest in setting up a fruit canning plant or going into partnership with an established local fruit and vegetable conglomerate.

"What this does is to set up a little Libya in Zimbabwe because these guys want to come in a big way," a source close to the arrangements said.

"They want the land to be fenced off so that Zimbabwe will not have access to the plants and there is this unfortunate possibility that they will bring in their own work- force," the source said.

"The major worry is that such a huge undertaking is being done without the full knowledge of parliament.

"Fuel is an important resource for use but I am not sure whether this will be for the good of the country in the long run," the source said. The Libyans were in the country last month to inspect facilities in the fuel industry and areas of possible investment in tourism.

In terms of the fuel agreement, Tamoil, a Libyan-owned company, will supply a total of US$360 million worth of fuel to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim).

Nicholas Kitikiti, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, was quoted as saying that the fuel deal would meet 70% of Zimbabwe's normal requirements. He said negotiations were also under way between Noczim and a Monaco-based Libyan company, Oil-Invest, to form a joint-venture oil company which would be involved in fuel imports and the retail trade in Zimbabwe.

The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank would finance the deals with the two Libyan companies and Noczim. Zimbabwe would be paying in Zimbabwe dollars.

Fuel industry sources said the Libyans' quest for control of the Mutare to Harare oil pipeline and underground storage tanks in Mabvuku had been blocked by senior politicians who felt the facilities were too strategic to let go of.

There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity between Harare and Tripoli since the visit to Zimbabwe by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in July and subsequent visit to Tripoli by Mugabe the following month.

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From the Daily News

Makoni blames the rich for forex crisis

10/5/01 8:38:06 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

BUSINESS people and the rich and famous are worsening the country’s
precarious foreign currency situation by borrowing from cheap government
facilities and using the money to invest in shares on the Stock Exchange,
buying luxury cars or foreign currency which is then traded on the parallel
market, Parliament heard yesterday.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni, said such
behaviour by people who borrow under the pretext of investing in their
businesses was worsening the foreign currency shortage.
“Businesses borrow from the Reserve Bank and then invest in shares that are
fundable on the Stock Exchange or luxury vehicles you park in front of the
House,” he said. “It is behaviour of this kind which is undermining the
impact of the measures which we took to stimulate the growth of the

Makoni said the government had last year agreed on the use of a credible,
rational and predictable exchange rate policy but this had not been
implemented. His colleagues in the government had not supported his
intention to devalue and stabilise the dollar, he said. Makoni said he had
consulted widely and would soon announce measures to mitigate shortages of
foreign currency. He said the answer to the problems, especially
unemployment, lay in restoring stability and predictability in the
macro-economic sector.

Makoni said it was regrettable that inflation had soared to over 76 percent
due to, among other things, the overpricing of goods and services, high
electricity tariffs and petroleum products, high supply of money, huge wage
increases in the private sector and the contraction of the productive sector

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From the Daily News

Ex-CIO boss to stand trial for $17m fraud

10/5/01 8:13:33 AM (GMT +2)

By Luke Tamborinyoka

LOVEMORE Mukandi, the former deputy director-general of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) now living in Canada, is to be extradited to
stand trial for a $17 million fraud.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
on Wednesday told Parliament Mukandi would face trial in Zimbabwe next

“Mukandi was removed from remand by the presiding magistrate in his case and
was granted freedom. Efforts are under way to extradite him to stand trial,”
said Chinamasa. He was responding to a question from Pearson Mbalekwa (Zanu
PF Zvishavane) on why he was reluctant to prosecute Mukandi, David Nyabando
and other CIO officers accused of fraud.The officers allegedly defrauded the
CIO of more than $17 million through a scam involving the construction of
five safe houses. Mbalekwa asked why Mukandi was allowed to go to Canada
while his case was pending.

“I am unaware of the reluctance on the part of my ministry. Sufficient
evidence was obtained after thorough investigations and the matter has been
set down for hearing in November 2001,” said Chinamasa. He said he did not
know who had given Mukandi permission to leave the country when he had a
pending case. He said there was no visa requirement for visiting Canada and
Mukandi could have taken advantage of that.

Earlier, Nicholas Goche, the Minister of State Security, denied Mbalekwa’s
allegation that Mukandi had deposited £400 000 (Z$32 million) into the
personal account of a senior CIO officer serving in London. He had later
transferred it into an account belonging to the late Teddy Jamu, another CIO
officer in London. Mbalekwa, a former CIO officer, alleged that Mukandi
later withdrew the money for his personal use.

Goche said he was only aware of £135 000, deposited by Mukandi in two
batches of £60 000 and £75 000 in 1996. He said the money was used to buy
seven Land-Rover vehicles for security operations.
“The officers in London produced documentary evidence for the transaction,
and if the honourable member has more information, he is free to give it to
me so that I can order fresh investigations,” said Goche.

Mukandi and his boss, Shadreck Chipanga, now the Zanu PF MP for Makoni East,
were dismissed in 1999 after repeatedly clashing. They were replaced by
Happyton Bonyongwe and Retired Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini, respectively. In
1998, media reports alleged that the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, had built a
multi-million dollar mansion in Chivhu, her home town, and registered it in
Mukandi’s name. Both denied the allegations with Mrs Mugabe saying if the
house belonged to her, she would have had it registered in the names of her

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From Zim Independent

EU gives Mugabe breather

Godfrey Marawanyika
PRESIDENT Mugabe has temporarily survived the 60-day European Union
ultimatum issued in June demanding an end to political violence and any new
farm occupations, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. It has now been
postponed to the end of October.

The June ultimatum also required the president to uphold court rulings and
stop harassment of the media.

The European Union was due to review Zimbabwe’s case on Monday but has since
deferred consideration to October 29.

Brussels sources said the signing of the Abuja agreement last month caused
the deferral to a later date. The 15-member grouping decided to temporarily
defer the hearing to give Mugabe time to adhere to the Abuja agreement.

“We decided to postpone the meeting to a later date during the month so that
President Mugabe and his government try to adjust to the agreement,” said a
Brussels source.

“What we have done is to give him (Mugabe) more time to get his
administration in order to make the Abuja agreement workable.”

Last month, Nigeria brokered a deal between Zimbabwe and former colonial
master Britain where it was agreed Harare would restore the rule of law in
land redistribution with London providing financing for the purchase of
legally acquired land. The agreement came ahead of a new wave of farm
invasions that have seen the level of violence increasing.

The source said unless there was significant change in the environment the
EU was not going to change its stance towards Harare.

“We are still assessing the situation in Zimbabwe, but from information we
are getting, we are very concerned about the level of violence,” said the

The latest development also means that until the EU resolves the issue no
form of aid will be forthcoming from Brussels.

The EU has since last year taken a stronger stand against Zimbabwe, citing
the breakdown of law and order in the country.

Last month in one of their strongest attacks the EU condemned President
Mugabe’s government for not putting an end to political violence. The
322-strong EU parliament put Zimbabwe on its urgencies list.

The MEPs also heavily lobbied for cancellation of the £65 million allocated
in development assistance to Zimbabwe.

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From The Zimbabwe Mirror

UNDP to hold consultative meeting in Harare
Herbet Zharare

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in conjunction with the
United States -based Bureau for Development Policy (BDP), Regional Bureau
for Africa (RBA) and representatives from 20 African governments, will this
month convene a consultative meeting in Harare in preparation for next month
’s World Trade Organisation conference (WTO).

The meeting, which runs under the theme Trade and Sustainable Development,
will run from October 17-19 this year.

A UNDP official told The Zimbabwe Mirror that the objective of the meeting
was to prepare African Governments and their private sector partners for the
WTO ministerial conference to be held in Doha, Qatar between November 9-13
this year.

The official said Zimbabwe was the first African country to be approached by
the UNDP to host the meeting to be attended by participants from Southern,
Central and North Africa.

The official said the Harare meeting would help start and sustain a process
in which the human dimensions to trade are made an integral issue of concern
in the WTO negotiations.

The UNDP will sponsor two participants from each of the invited countries,
while the other participants would be sponsored by their respective

The official said that similar meetings would be held in other continents in
preparation for the WTO conference.

“This process is intended to allow greater regional representation and
participation at WTO negotiations. “The country or region’s specific trade
concerns and the building of solidarity and cohesion among appropriate
groupings will be facilitated. This should promote a greater potential to
influence the discussions through a “bottom-up” approach from country to
regional and global levels,” said the official.

The Harare meeting will draw participants from 20 African countries that
made proposals to the 3rd WTO ministerial meeting in Seattle and
participated in post Seattle trade initiatives for Africa. The invited
countries will be represented by participants from a government ministry
responsible for international trade while others would come from private
sector institutions, such as Chambers of Industry, Commerce or Trade
Promotion Agencies. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(UNTAD), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Africa Union (AU) have been
invited to give panel presentations on trade policy issues in Africa.

The events surrounding the WTO ministerial meeting in Seattle in 1999 and
follow up meetings as well as the development perspective to global trade
will be featured prominently in the Harare meeting deliberations. “The main
audience of the report will be global trade policy decision makers and
institutions such as the WTO and UNCTAD, developing countries trade
negotiators, influential trade experts, the media, private sector and civil
society organizations involved in or concerned about trade issues” said the

Over the past two years, successive WTO meetings have been marred by violent
anti-globalisation protests. In Seattle in December 1999, police had to be
called to contain the sporadic and violent demonstration, and the same
happened in Genoa, Italy this year. The WTO meetings have been attacked by
sceptics who view them as grand showcases for global capitalists.
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Japan Cancels Loan

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 5, 2001
Posted to the web October 5, 2001

Augustine Mukaro

THE Japanese Bank of International Co-operation has cancelled the $5 billion
concessionary loan to Zimbabwe meant for the Tel* One digitalisation
programme, citing gross corruption which saw the disappearance of tender
documents in March this year, it has been learnt.

The tender documents disappeared from the tender board offices in unclear
circumstances. Although two former tender board employees have appeared in
court over the issue, nothing has been recovered.

The phase two digitalisation project, which would have seen the creation of
87 500 new telephone lines on completion, has now officially been cancelled.
The government failed to present a report on the disappearance of the
documents forcing the financiers to refuse to extend the sponsorship period.

As a result, Nippon Telecommunications Consulting Co Ltd, a Japanese company
working for Tel*One on a consultancy basis, is closing shop. Nippon provided
the technical engineering services on the digitalisation programme to

Yausaki Kawabata, Nippon Telecommunications Consulting (NTC) managing
director, confirmed his company would be closing operations by the end of
this month.

"We received the official notification that Japan Bank for International
Co-operation (JBIC) has cancelled the $5 billion concessionary loan to
Zimbabwe for gross corruption and irregularities in the tender procedures,"
he said adding that: "Just like in any other cases which are happening with
donors, Japan is not going to extend their sponsorship of the phase two
digitalisation project because your government has failed to give a report
on the missing bids by the given deadline.

"It has also failed to pay back the grant it was given by Japan," he said.

"By October 25, we are abandoning the project and going back to Japan
because of the lack of finance to continue with the exercise," Kawabata

He said the government of Zimbabwe on behalf of the PTC, the forerunner of
Tel*One, should inform the tenderers that the project would no longer

Kawabata said the cancellation of the project would force a number of
Japanese companies operating in Zimbabwe to drastically scale down their

"Most Japanese firms were not concentrating on one business but had
diversified into mining and farming; but the biggest project they were
eyeing was to win the digitalisation project," Kawabata said.

"Two Japanese companies, Itochu and Mitsubishi, had tendered for the
project, so the cancellation means there will be no jobs for them and they
might be forced to close down (in Zimbabwe)."
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Movement for Democratic Change

Press Release
September 27th 2001.

Wheat Price Increases.

The news that the Grain Marketing Board has agreed new prices for wheat with
the Grain Producers Association is welcome. The previous price set by the
Ministry of Agriculture was well below the level of market prices prevailing
at the time and below farmer’s production costs. This decision will prevent
any delays in the delivery of the crop to the GMB and all we have to be
concerned about now is that the GMB has the funds to pay for the product on
delivery.  Delays in farmer’s payments were a serious problem last year.

However as a result of this decision, the new selling price of wheat to the
millers will be some Z$4 000 a tonne higher than the producer price –
representing the GMB’s margin, and this will also be significantly higher
than the price that was being paid by millers direct to farmers. The
reintroduction of the GMB as the sole buyer has therefore brought into the
market an extra stage in the system, which must be financed. As a direct
result of this measure, the price of wheat flour to the bakers has risen to
Z$65 000 a tonne and the price of bread will rise again next week – probably
to over Z$60 per 700 gm loaf.  A year ago the same product was selling at
Z$15 per loaf. This is a 4-fold increase in price in 12 months.

The reaction of the Ministry of Industry and International Trade to the
increase in bread prices will inevitably be that the producers of bread are
“profiteering” and that “price controls will be re-introduced to protect the
consumer”. The Consumer Council will then threaten a boycott and this
combined with the harsh reality that bread is now beyond the budget of most
families, bread sales will plummet and the jobs of the 14 000 personnel in
bakeries around the country will be under threat.

All of this will only serve to disguise the real reasons for this situation.
In 1999 the country was essentially self sufficient in wheat production for
the first time in our history. This was a success story attributed to the
ingenuity of our crop breeders who have produced new varieties that will
grow under irrigation in the winter. It was also a tribute to our farmers
who were able to produce the crop at prices competitive with those of the
major wheat growing countries in the world.  In addition to becoming
self-sufficient we were able to export over 100 000 tonnes of wheat products
to our neighbours.  While this was happening over 800 new bakeries – the
great majority owned and operated by indigenous black Zimbabweans were
established and the quality of bakery products improved and prices became
more competitive on the local market.

In the past two years all of these gains have been lost to a senseless,
illegal and irresponsible attack on the food system. This attack has as its
main goal to ensure that Zanu PF retains its power in March 2002.  Wheat
production has declined by a third, necessitating imports; rising costs have
forced hundreds of new bakeries out of business.  The cost of raw materials
to the industry have increased so much that bread – a basic staple in the
diet of the majority of the urban population and an important component in
rural diets, is now simply too expensive to eat.

The private sector is struggling to maintain supplies to the industry by
buying foreign exchange in the free market that is the only source of
foreign exchange today and this has increased wheat flour prices from Z$20
210 per tonne a year ago to Z$65 000 a tonne today.

At the beginning of 2001 the MDC warned of this impending disaster and
called for the international community to make foreign exchange available
for wheat imports at a reasonable price. It was argued that if the donor
community made funds available to the millers at a reasonable exchange rate
(we suggested at the time 90 to 1 for US dollars) then the millers could
hold the price of wheat flour steady until the new crop came in in October
and November.  Because this would have resulted in food supplies reaching
Zimbabweans outside of the Zanu PF controlled system, the Ministry of
Agriculture refused to request this assistance and the offer by donors to
fund wheat and maize imports remains stalled by government refusal to meet
the condition of political neutrality in its distribution and sale.

It is this government that is therefore responsible for the current food
crisis. It is this government that has consistently claimed that “there was
no need to import food”. It is this government that has undermined the
countries food system and then refused offers of help – simply on the
grounds that they wanted to control the supply of food to the people.

When prices of bread products rise in your local supermarket next week,
understand what is causing this rapid rise in our basic food items.  The
only solution to this crisis is to complete the changes we started to
implement two years ago this month.  Put the blame squarely where it lies –
at the feet of a corrupt and irresponsible regime that has lost its right to
govern this country.

E G Cross
Secretary for Economic Affairs, MDC.
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ZIMBABWE: Agricultural authority sued over tobacco sales

JOHANNESBURG, 5 October (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and Manicaland governor Oppah Muchinguri are being sued by an Odzi company after they allegedly illegally sold over US $ 3,000 worth of tobacco from Tara Farm, owned by farmer Philip Bezuidenhout, who faces murder charges, the 'Zimbabwe Independent' reported on Friday.

Bezuidenhout was in the news in July when he ran over a resettled farmer in Nyazura and is currently facing murder charges. He is out on bail and is expected to appear in court on 28 October, according to the report. The farmer vacated the property after the incident, leaving behind the tobacco, which has now been sold by ARDA. Nashrite Services, the company which filed the suit in the High Court, through its lawyer Chris Ndlovu of Ndlovu & Gonese in Mutare, wants ARDA to stop selling tobacco from Tara Farm and to allow the farm owner to return and collect his equipment.
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From the MDC Mailing list

Speech delivered by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai on the occasion of the
launch of MDC's health policy in Masvingo at Charles Austin Hall on Thursday
October 4 at 5.30pm.

 MDC's Health Policy: Putting life back into our hospitals

Ladies and gentlemen we welcome you to yet another MDC policy launch. To
date we have launched our economic and education policies. These policies
explain the joy and relief that awaits the people of Zimbabwe should they
vote for MDC in the coming presidential elections. We promise the people of
Zimbabwe a new kind of politics that delivers results.

Today we launch our health policy. The Movement for Democratic Change
believes that the health of Zimbabweans takes precedence over everything
else. We will put life back into our hospitals and clinics. The health of
Zimbabwean citizens is not merely of some importance, but it is of
fundamental importance. To no one will we refuse or delay the right to good

The MDC takes seriously the importance of the health sector and recognises
its centrality to national development. No prospects for development will be
realised if the population suffers from ill health. It is against this
background that an MDC government will provide sound health services that
are equally distributed and directed towards priority problems.

An MDC government will provide for smooth co-ordination of the three pillars
of health providers -- public, private and the traditional health services.

The promotion of health will be prioritised within all spheres of social and
economic activities through provision for and enforcement of standards for
safe water, sanitation, housing, waste disposal and food hygiene across
rural, urban and in the resettlement areas.

The MDC will improve the working conditions of all health workers. We will
recruit and train more nurses and doctors, above all, we will keep and value

MDC recognises the role of traditional health services and will legislate to
protect the country's plant species for medicinal purposes.

Public funds for health will be mobilised in the short-term from funds
released from restraint on borrowing and from reduced executive/cabinet
spending; from increased charges and levies on private services and from
internalising health costs into private sector development projects.

Greater finances and health care resources (including drugs and staff) will
be directed to the primary care clinics and district hospitals.

MDC will audit the public health infrastructures within local authorities to
ensure capital investment to all urgent areas relating to water treatment,
waste disposal, sewage, ambulance services, mortuary services and other
public health services.

The MDC understands AIDS to be a national disaster in terms of the Civil
Protection Act, with mandatory integration of AIDS into all ministry and
private sector programmes, including public and private budget provisions
for this. The MDC will recognise through budget allocations the increased
demand on health and social welfare services. It will also establish a
voluntary action fund to support community based programmes on AIDS.

The MDC will give and mobilise strong leadership to the implementation of an
effective national response to AIDS that intensifies and sustains awareness,
promotes openness and effective support for victims and AIDS orphans.

The MDC will take the lead role of co-ordinating stakeholders (NGO's,
churches, traditional healers, schools etc) working on HIV/AIDS to ensure
that priority areas are addressed and that no duplication occurs without any
gaps to ensure an effective and sustained co-ordination mechanism.

AIDS has taken advantage of fault lines in our societies, political, social
and other inequalities, hence the MDC realises the need to come up with a
multisectoral approach for effective prevention and effective care in
dealing with these fault lines.

There is a need to increase the financing of health care and social support
services. It is the responsibility of the government to protect people who
are vulnerable and to ensure that the rights of the children and young
people with, or affected by HIV/AIDS are protected and respected.

There is a need for the provision of free air-time and other media coverage
for AIDS/STD educational programmes through government supported print and
electronic media. Education on HIV/AIDS must be introduced from primary to
tertiary level.

The MDC will promote a framework of human rights in relation to HIV/AIDS
that ensures that HIV status won't prejudice constitutional rights or
opportunities for employment, housing, and other basic needs.

As MDC we are committed to providing an excellent health care to all
Zimbabweans. We will pay our health services workers better, we will provide
more hospital beds and more doctors and nurses. There is no reason at all
why Zimbabwean citizens will have to sell their houses just to get medical
treatment. We want to create a climate where Zimbabweans are not just heard,
but listened to.

In conclusion, allow me to say to you my dear colleagues and fellow
countryman, together we will complete the change that we started in the 2000
elections. This change will ensure that these policies become a reality. The
power to complete this change is in our hands so let's use it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your time.

Morgan Tsvangirai,
MDC President.
4 October 2001.

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From the MDC Mailing list

I have just come in from another rally at White City Stadium. This was to
commemorate our 2nd anniversary and was attended by our National leadership.
It was a beautiful day for the rally and by my best estimate there were
between 18 and 20 thousand people present. The grounds of the stadium were
full - many more than those who attended the last meeting at this venue when
we were campaigning for the mayoral elections.

Again I was struck by the fact that everybody except the few who came in
their own vehicles, came on foot - there were no busses and the use of the
mini taxis was minimal. The crown was 90 per cent men and the majority were
quite young. It was very disciplined and there were no Police present at
all. Our own security looked very tight.

The only whites at the meeting were Trudy and myself, apart from a young
lady who sang a song in Ndebele and English at the start. Prayers were taken
by a Minister from a local Church. Entertainment was by a number of groups
and individuals. I was impressed by the poetry which was very good.

We were addressed by the top leadership, both Morgan and Gibson spoke and
these speeches were very powerful. I was taken by the amount of humour in
all that went on and what a contrast with the Zanu rallies which are so
menacing and humourless. The contrast with Mugabe could not be greater.
Morgan got a lot of laughs and it was also very clear that he is totally
accepted as the next President of the country. Mugabe is finished - he said,
to a roar of assent from the crowd.

The event was very well organised and controlled and at the end they fed 20
000 people in an hour and a half - no mean feat. The music and the sound -
so often less than satisfactory, were excellent and professionally managed.
I think we may, just may, be growing up - impressive for a two year old. I
had 15 young people on my pickup going to the rally and coming home and we
rocked and rolled through town. One person gave us the Zanu clenched fist
and I was glad they felt free to do so. But for the rest, it was the "chisa
mpalma" all the way home.

The next six months are going to be tough. Much tougher than the last two
years, but what a team and what a great bunch of people. I am so glad I am
in the midst of this movement and grateful for the chance to share their
enthusiasm and commitment to changing this situation in which we find
ourselves. I am looking forward to this scrap and cannot wait to get stuck
into the campaign. If you feel down about the situation, then this is an
indication that you are not involved. Its the last turn of the circuit in
the particular race - lets give it all we have got.

Eddie Cross
30th September 2001
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From the ZHR NGO Crisis Conference Co-ordinating Committee, 1 October

  Abuja - a briefing paper


  The Abuja Agreement is an important first step towards the resolution of
  crisis in Zimbabwe. It requires that land reform in Zimbabwe be orderly,
  transparent, fair, just, in the interests of all the people and that the
  rule of law must be restored to the process. This is effectively an
  acknowledgement that the process of land reform previously has been
  disorderly, unfair, not in the interests of Zimbabweans as a whole and not
  within the framework of the rule of law.

  Whilst the Agreement is welcome in setting proper standards for land
  some of the terms of the Agreement are extremely hazy. A more concrete
  of action, with target dates for completion, will need to be drawn up if
  present violent, chaotic and destructive land acquisition process is to be
  replaced expeditiously with a fair and orderly programme.

  Before there can be peace and stability in Zimbabwe, there will also be a
  need to address urgently a whole range of issues outside the area of land
  reform. The main issue is the gross misuse of power. Political violence
  have to stop and functional democracy will have to be restored. Unlike at
  present, Zimbabweans must be free to support the political party of their
  choice and to express their opinions freely, political parties must be
  allowed to campaign freely, there must be freedom of the press, and the
  of law and the independence judiciary must be upheld. The Agreement refers
  obliquely to these other important issues by stating that the "crisis in
  Zimbabwe also has political and rule of law implications.

  The focal point of the Abuja Agreement

  The Agreement focuses upon ways to resolve the land issue. It states:
  is at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe." This is not correct assertion.
  The main cause of the crisis in Zimbabwe is bad governance. There has been
  serious misrule of power. This has consisted of systematic, violent
  intimidation of opponents of the Government, gross mismanagement of the
  economy and endemic corruption by Government officials. This led to
  catastrophic economic decline and, in turn, to rapidly diminishing popular
  support for the ruling party. When it was faced with the prospect of
  power, the ruling party embarked upon ever more desperate and destructive
  measures to cling to power.

  No sensible person disputes that major land reform must take place in
  Zimbabwe. The only dispute is how land reform is to be achieved. After
  of failing to address the land issue properly, the Zimbabwean Government
  chose to orchestrate a sudden, massive, violent land grab of white owned
  farms. The land invasions were not a spontaneous popular uprising by
  landless peasants. They commenced days after the people rejected the
  Government sponsored draft constitution in a referendum. They were carried
  out on a large scale. Government vehicles were used to transport the
  occupiers. Once on the farms, Government agencies provided some of the
  occupiers with money and food. As occupations spread ZANU (PF) officials
  State security agencies played a prominent role in encouraging, organising
  and co-ordinating the invasions.

  It is clear that the Zimbabwean Government has used the whole land issue
  deflect attention away from its violent onslaught against political
  opponents and critics, and its subversion of the rule of law, the
  independence of the judiciary, the freedom of the press and the political
  neutrality of law enforcement agencies.


  The Zimbabwean Government has agreed to the following:

  1. Land reform must be implemented in a fair, just and sustainable manner,
  in the interest of all the people of Zimbabwe, within the law and
  constitution of Zimbabwe.


  The commitment to fair, just and sustainable land reform is to be
  although the Zimbabwean Government's interpretation of what is fair and
  sustainable is likely to be radically different from that of the
  international community.

  The reference to carrying out land reform within the law and constitution
  has opened the way for the Zimbabwean Government to claim that it has
  previously been carrying out the programme within these laws. It must be
  remembered that the constitutional provisions and laws in terms of which
  is purportedly acting are those passed by it to allow for its wholesale

  In 2000 it amended the Constitution to insert s 16A. (Inserted by Act 15
  2000.) This provides that if Britain fails to establish an adequate fund
  pay compensation for compulsorily acquired land, the Zimbabwean Government
  will not be obliged to pay nay compensation for agricultural land acquired
  for resettlement. It further provides that where compensation is payable,
  variety of factors that will be taken into account in assessing the amount
  of compensation payable. These include the history of the occupation of
  land, the price paid for it and the value of improvements. Another factor
  the resources available to the acquiring authority in implementing the
  programme of land reform.

  In 2001 the Zimbabwean Government passed the Rural Land (Occupiers
  Protection from Eviction) Act. This Act prevents a farm owner from
  a court order to evict land occupiers who have occupied that land in
  anticipation of being resettled on that or other land by the land
  acquisition authority and who qualify to be resettled.

  On the other hand, the provision in the Agreement in terms of which
  commits itself to restoring the rule of law to the process of land reform
  programme is an admission that land reform has not previously been carried
  out in accordance with the rule of law.

  2. It will ensure that there are no more occupations of farmlands.


  The Zimbabwean Government must show its good faith in relation to this
  provision by instructing all war veterans and ZANU (PF) supporters not to
  invade any more farms. The law enforcement agencies must be given
  instructions to prevent further farm invasions and to evict immediately
  persons invading new farms. It should be noted that over 1700 farms are
  already occupied.

  3. It will speed up the process by which farms that do not meet set
  are de-listed.


  This is a very vague provision. The "set criteria" should have been
  out and some target timetable should have been drawn up for the completion
  of this process. There should be public disclosure of what the criteria
  so that farmers can apply for de-listing where the criteria for
  are not met.

  4. It will move occupiers from farms that are not designated to farms that
  have been legally acquired.


  This is a vague provision. Again no time period is given within which this
  will be done. Regarding this provision, Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge,
  already said: "We will be dealing with land which has not been designated
  and which the Government has no plans to acquire. The majority of the
  occupiers are occupying land that has been designated." Interpreted in
  way, it is estimated that as little as 5% of commercial farms would be
  affected by this provision.

  5. It will try to reach an agreement as quickly as possible with the UNDP
  a fair and sustainable programme of land reform


  Whilst it is appreciated such an agreement cannot be arrived at overnight,
  there have already been past discussion between the UNDP and the
  Government and the UNDP has already put to the Zimbabwean Government a set
  of proposals in December 2000. Given the urgency of restoring order to
  resettlement in Zimbabwe, some time frame should have been set for these
  discussions to be finalised.
  However, there is another provision which may help to move the process
  forward, namely the provision calling on Zimbabwe's international partners
  to engage constructively with the UNDP and the government of Zimbabwe in
  pursuing an effective and sustainable land reform programme on the basis
  the UNDP proposals of December 2000


  The UNDP December 2000 proposals are contained in a letter to President
  Mugabe from Mark Malloch Brown dated 15 December 2000. In this letter
  says that the Zimbabwean Government has two options. The first option is
  continue with the current internal Fast Track land reform programme. This
  "offers early speed and the possibility of nominal resettlement in 2001."
  But "immediate resettlement with investment and services to follow is
  unlikely to succeed in achieving its goal of viable, long-term
  particularly in the current economic environment."

  The second option, and the one favoured by the UNDP, is a more systematic,
  investment-backed approach. He goes on to point out that their consultants
  who have many decades of experience in land reform, have no doubt that the
  second approach would "deliver the ultimate victory." This latter approach
  would ensure "a well established successful community of new Zimbabwean
  farmers, the minimum disruption to the agricultural sector as well as the
  broader economy, fair compensation to the current owners and support for
  displaced farm workers." Although this approach would lead to a slower
  and "delay of resettlement until the first confidence building steps have
  helped to secure a resumption of donor funding," it would avoid the real
  risks of the first approach and result in a much more comprehensive and
  sustainable outcome."

  In the aftermath of the Abuja agreement, however, the Zimbabwean
  shows little signs of being prepared to pull back from Fast Track
  resettlement and to adopt a slower, more planned and sustainable scheme of

  6. Financing

  The United Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to make a significant
  contribution to such a land reform programme and undertook to encourage
  other international donors to do the same.


  Once agreement upon a fair and sustainable land reform programme has been
  arrived at, the United Kingdom and the international community must be
  prepared to donate substantial funding to ensure the success of the

  Other aspects of the crisis


  Contrary to the assertion by Professor Jonathan Moyo that the Agreement
  not have any condition requiring the Zimbabwean Government to curb
  on commercial farms, the Agreement expressly states that the Zimbabwean
  Government commits itself to "take firm action against violence and
  intimidation." This must be taken to cover both political violence and
  violence on the farms.

  Freedom of expression and freedom of the press

  Over the last few years freedom of expression has been seriously curtailed
  and the Government has mounted a concerted campaign to harass the
  independent press.

  The agreement states that the Zimbabwean Government commits itself to
  freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution.

  Areas not covered by Agreement

  There are a number of areas not covered or not adequately covered by the

  It does not contain provisions to prevent the Zimbabwean Government from
  continuing to undermine the independence of the judiciary by packing the
  High and Supreme Courts with judges who are likely to biased in favour of

  It does not contain provisions to prevent the incitement of racial hatred
  members of the Zimbabwean Government.

  It does not contain any explicit provisions requiring the Zimbabwean
  Government to ensure that the law will offer protection to all people and
  that the law enforcement agencies apply the law impartially to everyone
  instead of selectively against opponents of Government.

  It does not contain any explicit provisions requiring the Zimbabwean
  Government to hold free and fair elections and to allow all political
  parties to campaign freely in advance of these elections. The only
  is a very weak and nebulous one that Zimbabwe's international partners
  "respond positively to any request from the Government of Zimbabwe in
  support of the electoral process."

  All these issues are only covered indirectly by the reference to the
  Zimbabwean delegation giving a commitment to the Harare Declaration. The
  Declaration encompasses rights such as democracy, democratic processes and
  institutions, the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary,
  fundamental human rights, individual liberty under the law,
  non-discrimination, and freedom from racial prejudice and intolerance. The
  problem with this commitment is that the Zimbabwean Government has
  repeatedly denied that it was violating the Declaration in the face of
  overwhelming evidence that it was.

  Although these issues are not explicitly covered in the Agreement, it is
  clear that the leaders involved in the quest to resolve the crisis in
  Zimbabwe are fully aware of the need to deal with these issues. President
  Mbeki has often referred to the need for the need for respect for rule of
  law, human rights and core democratic values. In opening the meeting of
  SADC leaders in Harare, President Muluzi expressed the leaders concern
  the increasing political instability in Zimbabwe. We are grateful to these
  leaders for their deep understanding of the broader problems and for their
  vigorous efforts to have these matters properly addressed.

  CHOGM Protests

  The CHOGM meeting in Brisbane may have been postponed, but the two
  simultaneous protests in London and Pretoria are very definitely still on.

  On Saturday 6 October, there will be two large, colourful, and peaceful
  demonstrations - one in London, and one in Pretoria. It is very important
  that a strong protest is registered, to make sure that the delegates to
  CHOGM fully appreciate the importance of holding the government of
  to the public promises it recently made in Abuja and Harare. Please make a
  HUGE effort for this one. We cannot emphasise this strongly enough.

  London : Starts at noon on Saturday 6 October outside the Zimbabwe High
  Commission in the Strand, followed by a march to Trafalgar Square. Tel
  607 900 for details.

  Pretoria : Starts at noon at the Union Buildings (corner Vermuelen and
  Streets), followed by a march to the Zimbabwe High Commission at 798
  Street, Arcadia. Tel 082 885 0771 for details.
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From The Financial Gazette, 4 October

US$256 million disappears from RBZ

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is investigating the disappearance of over US$256 million meant for pre-shipment financing of tobacco and input support for the growers, it was learnt this week. Authoritative sources this week said the missing funds were part of a US$381 million offshore pre-shipment financing deal struck by the government early this year to finance tobacco purchases by merchants during the 2000/01 marketing season. According to our sources, only US$125 million had so far been used and the remainder of the funds is unaccounted for. The sources said efforts to get clarification from the RBZ on the whereabouts of the money have so far proved fruitless and that the central bank has made an undertaking to investigate the matter. "We are saying more than two-thirds of the crop has been sold and we expect that more than US$250 million should have come into the country but it has not," said a tobacco industry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

RBZ spokesman Ignatius Mabasa this week however said only US$308 million had been negotiated by the External Loans Coordination Committee (ELCC) with foreign financiers for use in buying tobacco. He said as of September 11 2001, tobacco merchants had used US$135.4 million, suggesting that there was a balance of US$173 million. "For 2001, ELCC approved total offshore finance facilities amounting to US$308 million," Mabasa said, responding to questions from this newspaper. "As at 11 September 2001, cumulative drawings by tobacco merchants amounted to US$135.4 million, suggesting that there was a balance of US$173 million still available."

The Financial Gazette had seen correspondence to the RBZ and the Ministry of Finance by some farmers who wanted to know the whereabouts of the money. The sources said the RBZ was also probing the disappearance of another US$12.8 million from the Tobacco Trust Account, a facility set up last year to help tobacco growers access hard currency to import inputs. Mabasa did not respond to questions sent to him on this issue. Under the terms of the pre-shipment arrangement, about 20 percent or US$25 million of the offshore funds were supposed to have been deposited into the trust account to finance input purchases by the farmers.

"We were supposed to have had US$25 million in the Tobacco Trust Account but when we checked on the account on September 12 we were shocked to learn that there was only US$12.8 million," one source told the Financial Gazette. "We then approached the RBZ but they said they were investigating. We were surprised because they are the ones in charge of the account and, if they do not know where the account is, then who else is supposed to know?" The trust account is jointly administered by the central bank and tobacco growers. About 170 million kilogrammes out of a possible 193 million kgs of the golden leaf have so far been sold at Zimbabwe’s three tobacco auction floors.

From The Financial Gazette, 4 October

RBZ chief courts Malaysia on forex crisis

Leonard Tsumba, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), is in Malaysia to discuss various bilateral issues, including Zimbabwe's crippling foreign currency and fuel crises and revival of a stalled trade and payments arrangement between the two countries. RBZ spokesman Ignatius Mabasa this week confirmed Tsumba's visit to Kuala Lumpur and said the central bank chief would hold meetings with Bank of Malaysia governor, Malaysian bankers and business leaders whose companies export to Zimbabwe during a visit that ends tomorrow.

During his stay in Malaysia, Tsumba is expected to hold discussions with representatives of Malaysian oil company Petronas on ways of improving fuel supplies to Zimbabwe. "He is going to negotiate with them on other ways they can assist Zimbabwe in the procurement of fuel," Mabasa told the Financial Gazette. He could however not go into the specifics of what the discussions would centre on but sources said Tsumba might take the opportunity to negotiate a facility under which Zimbabwe would pay Petronas in local currency for fuel imports.

Zimbabwe, short of foreign currency as its exports collapse in the face of biting economic hardships at home and a boycott of the country by international lenders, has been plunged into a fuel crisis in the past two years. Mabasa said Tsumba would also discuss Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis with his Malaysian counterpart. The fuel and foreign currency shortages are the most visible signs of Zimbabwe's three-year-old economic crisis – the worst since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980 - which many blame on 21 years of gross mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe. Economists and industry groups have warned that the fuel and hard cash crises could decimate Zimbabwe's manufacturing industry, which has so far lost more than 600 firms in less than two years.

The Zimbabwe-Malaysia Trade and Payments facility, abruptly suspended by the Zimbabweans earlier this year, is also expected to come up for discussion during Tsumba's visit. "The governors will review the performance of bilateral trade and will look for ways to revive the facility," Mabasa said. The Zimbabwe-Malaysia Trade and Payments facility, which became operational in August 2000, was officially suspended by the RBZ in July, although banking industry sources said the pact had not been in operation since early this year. Under the agreement, imports and exports were paid for in the local currencies of the countries, with imports by Zimbabwe being offset against proceeds from exports by local firms to Malaysia and vice versa. The difference would be settled in hard currency after three months. The decision to suspend the facility on the Zimbabwean side was caused by the lack of interest in the arrangement by local exporters, which resulted in a huge trade imbalance between the two countries.

From IRIN (UN), 4 October

Civic Groups Want Independent Poll And Right to Educate Voters

Civic organisations in Zimbabwe told IRIN on Thursday that for next year's presidential poll to be free, voter education should be encouraged and a genuinely independent electoral commission established as soon as possible. Local human rights watchdog ZimRights this week announced it had produced a manual on voter education which could be used as a guide by organisations and individuals involved in preparations for next year's presidential election. "We've done lots of research and it's clear that many Zimbabweans do not vote because they are afraid of the process," David Jamali of ZimRights told IRIN.

ZimRights was trying to get to poorly-educated rural Zimbabweans who, Jamali said, had "been the victims of government misinformation". He said rural people told ZimRights that the government had informed them that by using computers they could tell who had voted for who. The decision to go ahead with the manual is seen as defying a planned move by the government to ban civic organisations from carrying out voter education ahead of the poll which pits President Robert Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. "We have been working on this manual for more than six months and we tried to answer most of the practical questions on voter education," Jamali told IRIN. The manual, "You And The Vote", provides information on the importance of voting and urges Zimbabweans to exercise their right to choose by participating in elections. Distribution of the manual was being held up by lack of funds, Jamali said.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has said the government is considering banning civic groups, churches and aid agencies from conducting voter education programmes because they have "hidden agendas". The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of 38 civic organisations, told IRIN it was concerned by ruling party statements in parliament in August suggesting that civic organisations be barred from conducting voter education. "We will continue to maintain a dialogue with government and lobby for the constitutional right to educate our people about why voting is important," Rindai Chipfunde of ZESN told IRIN.

Mugabe's government had ruled out the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to conduct next year's presidential election and was instead formulating a code of conduct to clamp down on activities of Zimbabwean and foreign election observers, the 'Financial Gazette' reported on Thursday, quoting official sources. "The issue of the IEC is out," a senior cabinet minister told the newspaper. The action could set the government in direct confrontation with opposition and civic organisations demanding the formation of a genuine IEC as a minimum condition under which a free and fair ballot can be staged.

"Without an IEC the (presidential) elections will be a foregone conclusion," Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), another influential civic coalition, told IRIN. Madhuku dismissed the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), which has conducted elections since independence, as "an arm of the civil service totally under government control". Government wants the ESC to stage the presidential poll, which must be held by the end of March. The NCA also wants international and Zimbabwean election observers to be deployed across Zimbabwe well ahead of the ballot. But the government wants the work of election observers, both local and foreign, to be regulated because it accuses them of interfering with Zimbabwe's internal politics. "We have held parliamentary and presidential elections since independence using the system which we have in place and these have been successful. So what is new about next year's election?" a minister, preferring not to be named, told the 'Financial Gazette'. He added: "As for election observers, we do not have problems with them, but we will put in place rules to monitor their conduct so they will not interfere with the electoral process."

One international election observer body contacted condemned the possibility of government regulation of election observers, but declined to be quoted for fear of souring relations. "At the end of the day we have to be invited in by Zimbabwe's government to monitor, so a relationship has to be maintained," the source said. The US and the 15-nation European Union have demanded the deployment of poll observers to check on the validity of the presidential election. But David Pottie of the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) told IRIN that regulation of election observers could be a positive step if it was part of an overall strategy to make the poll more transparent and better organised.

From The Financial Gazette, 4 October

Muluzi Blasts Continued Violence

Harare - Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the chairman of the 14-nation Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), has once again blasted the continued violence in Zimbabwe caused by the government's controversial fast-track land reform programme. Responding to questions from the Financial Gazette, Muluzi yesterday said President Robert Mugabe had assured African leaders at meetings both in Abuja and Harare that his government was committed to the restoration of law and order. Muluzi, in the statement read to this newspaper by his aide Willie Zengeni, said in his capacity as SADC chairman he "condemned any disregard of the rule of law by any stakeholder in the land conflict in Zimbabwe". His view, he said, was that dialogue between all stakeholders should continue because that was the only way forward.

A similar statement by Muluzi at a meeting of SADC heads of state on the land crisis in Harare last month drew the wrath of Zimbabwean officials, with the government-owned Herald newspaper accusing the Malawian leader of abusing the hospitality accorded to him by his hosts. At the end of that summit, the SADC leaders who included South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki gave Mugabe up to a month to restore law and order on the farms and to hold talks with all stakeholders to resolve the land crisis. Since then, at least 30 new farms have been invaded by ruling Zanu PF party supporters and violence continues on the farms.

Analysts say the Malawian president is under tremendous pressure from his own countrymen worried about the fate of their relatives working on commercial farms in Zimbabwe, most of which have either been targeted for seizure by the government or are occupied by its supporters. Thousands of commercial farm workers have been beaten and thrown out of their properties by Zanu PF supporters and their self-styled war veterans since the politically-motivated invasions began in earnest in February last year. This week alone, hundreds of farm workers were left homeless and without food when 16 invaders, including some war veterans, torched about 70 houses at Barrymore Farm in the Virginia farming area near Macheke.

It has been estimated that about 350 000 farm workers will lose their jobs by the end of this year if the crisis on the farms is not resolved. Most of the workers at Zimbabwean commercial farms are of Malawian and Mozambican origin and some have families who have lived on the now occupied commercial farms for generations. Muluzi in August warned that the Zimbabwean land crisis was likely to have a devastating effect on the economies of its neighbours if not resolved urgently and properly. In his statement to the Financial Gazette this week, Muluzi however said "he had no reason to doubt President Mugabe's commitment" on the restoration of law and order. He said the fact that violence on the farms and rural areas continued despite the commitment made by the Zimbabwean government when it signed the Abuja agreement with Britain on the land question last month could be because "sometimes it takes time to convey messages to people involved in such acts".

The Malawian leader, who has assumed the role of regional peacemaker, said his facilitation of meetings recently between Congolese President Laurent Kabila and Rwanda's Paul Kagame was to help earlier efforts by regional leaders to find peace in the Great Lakes region. "The task of bringing peace anywhere in the world is never a one-man show," said Muluzi's statement. He said he was pleased that Kabila and Kagame had, in Blantyre for the first time, met face-to-face for five hours and even joined him for dinner in a "relaxed manner". Muluzi also held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Blantyre this week in his effort, he said, to complement earlier attempts to find peace by former Botswana president Ketumile Masire and Zambia's Frederick Chiluba.

From IRIN (UN), 4 October

UN Warns of High Rate of Deforestation

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was among the top 10 countries with the highest net loss of forest area between 1990 and 2000, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned in the 'State of the World's Forests 2001' (SOFO), published on Wednesday. The findings are based on FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, its most recent and comprehensive assessment of the status and trends of forest resources worldwide. FAO said that the major causes for the loss and degradation of forests were conversion to other land uses (mainly agriculture), pests and diseases, fire, overexploitation of forest products (industrial wood, fuelwood), poor harvesting practices, overgrazing, air pollution and storms.

Efforts to improve forest management will only be successful if forest crime and corruption can be reduced, FAO reported. "Illegal and corrupt activities threaten the world's forests in many countries, particularly but not exclusively in forest-rich developing countries." Commenting on forest-based wildlife in developing countries, the FAO noted that "unsustainable hunting, especially commercial hunting, is the major cause of what is known as the 'empty forest syndrome' - the elimination of most of the animal life by hunting". The meat of wild animals, widely known as bush meat, has long been a staple of rural people in many parts of the world but, with urbanisation, the demand for the commodity is increasingly being met by commercial hunters and traders.

Among existing regional intergovernmental initiatives related to forests, recent developments have occurred in the Congo basin. Two initiatives to enhance cooperation in forestry among central African nations include the Conference on the Central African Moist Forest Ecosystems, a multi-stakeholder, governmental and non-governmental process; and the Yaounde Declaration and its related efforts, which are essentially governmental. "These two processes are mutually reinforcing and have the potential to coalesce in the future," FAO reported.

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