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

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Sunday Times (SA)

Libya cuts off Zimbabwe's fuel


Dingilizwe Ntuli


Zimbabwe's fuel crisis intensified this week amid reports that Libya had
turned off its supply following non-payment.


Zimbabwe has experienced recurrent fuel shortages since 2000 and Libya has
supplied 70% of Harare's fuel needs since August last year.


President Robert Mugabe recently visited Tripoli to hammer out a new deal
with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Although Mugabe tried to renew the
$360-million (about R3.6-billion) deal with Gaddafi, the Libyan oil company
TamOil, in which the Libyan government is a major shareholder, called in its
$63-million debt.


TamOil is believed to have told Mugabe that fuel deliveries would resume
only upon payment.


The fuel crisis is set to worsen as financing agreements signed with other
suppliers expire in a fortnight - and the chances of their renewal are
minimal because of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange shortage.


The shortage is so severe that the government failed to pay for 100 million
litres of various fuels from Kuwait's Independent Petroleum Group's stocks
in the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe's storage tanks in Harare.


But despite the overwhelming evidence of mounting fuel shortages, Mugabe's
government insists fuel supplies are adequate and claims the "artificial
shortages" are due to hoarding by traditional distributors.


Deputy Energy Minister Reuben Marumahoko said the government was surprised
by the shortages because "enough fuel for daily consumption was being pumped
out of Noczim's main depot in Harare".


"There is no need to panic because the country has enough fuel.


"Right now, we have called in all the distributors to find out where the
fuel is going and we are still investigating," Marumahoko told Parliament.


He said the country's daily consumption of 1.9 million litres of diesel and
1.2 million litres of petrol was being released from the depot and there was
no need to panic.


However, his utterances contrasted with long queues at the few garages that
still had supplies.


Most garages in the capital, Harare, and the second largest city, Bulawayo,
had dried up, crippling the country's already fragile public transport
system and leaving commuters stranded.


Most fleets have already been grounded by shortages of spare parts and the
fuel crisis is set to compound the problem.


Commuters have resorted to walking the long distances to their places of
employment as it is taking them an average of two hours to catch public
transport in the wake of the crisis.
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El Pais (Spain)

Hitler, the Arab Playboy and the Son of God

By John Carlin

In order to transport half a million dollars in unlaundered
cash safely from one country to another there are two basic
 requirements. First, you must possess a business class ticket,
 because the weight of half a million dollars exceeds the the
 hand luggage limit on Economy. Second, you must disembark at
 an airport where customs officials may be relied upon not to
 ask questions.
 Harare International Airport has provided precisely such
 facilities in recent years; foreign associates of the
 Zimbabwean government have provided the business class tickets
 and the millions in cash. Once inside Zimbabwe, the money has
 been employed, among other things, to pay off senior
 government officials and others close to President Robert
 Mugabe; to engage in currency exchange rackets; and, abetted
 by the military and other elements in the Zimbabwean state
 apparatus, to purchase "blood diamonds" in the war zones of
 the Congo.
 In tracking the trail of the cash, el Pais has obtained dozens
 of documents, including three signed affidavits, and spoken to
 the investigation has centred chiefly on the testimony of two
individuals who worked closely for more than two years within
an elite clique of Zimbabweans and foreign business people who
have been making big money out of the mayhem of war. The two
 individuals' story reveals the corrupt schemings of Robert
 Mugabe's inner circle and reinforces the perception -- held by
 the European Union and the United States, among others - that
 Mugabe is the leader not so much of a national government as
of a small gang that has spent the last four years getting
 rich thanks to a war that has cost more than two million lives
 in the Congo; that deems its own survival to be of more
 pressing urgency than the impending death by famine, as the
 United Nations has warned, of six million Zimbabweans.
 In conversations el PaŪs held in Washington that ranged from
 Congress to the State Department to the Pentagon and in London
 with officials of the government and members of the House of
 Lords, the words that kept on recurring to describe Zimbabwe's
 ruling elite were "mafia", "pillage" and "criminal". The
 consensus, summed up by one congressional staffer in
 Washington, was that the Zimbabwean government was "a criminal
organisation run for the benefit of Mugabe and his cronies".
 "Mugabe always was power-hungry, but not - I thought -
 corrupt. I never imagined he would end up presiding over the
 most corrupt regime in Africa," said Robin Renwick, one of the
 chief architects of the Lancaster House agreement which gave
 independence to Zimbabwe and, as it turned out, uninterrupted
 power to Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party for the last 22 years.
Lord Renwick, later British ambassador in South Africa and
 Washington, has been one of the more vocal proponents of an EU
 visa ban and assets freeze imposed this year on Mugabe and 71
 of his associates.
 Russ Feingold, the Democrat who chairs the US Senate's
Sub-Committee on Africa, has pushed for similar sanctions in
 Washington. Senator Feingold, who has met with members of
 Mugabe's inner circle, said that Zimbabwe's "elites" had
 "strong incentives to retain power regardless of the cost to
the country as a whole"; that it was dificult to avoid the
 conclusion "that public office is being used almost solely for
 private gain". Or, as Renwick more bluntly put it, "the
 Zimbawean army has been rented out in the Congo for the
 benefit of Mugabe and the mafia around him".
 Ed Royce, the Republican who heads the House of
Representatives' Africa sub-committee, is outraged by what he
 calls Mugabe's use of "food as a weapon", deliberately
 "starving people" his political opponents. The judiciary is
 neutered, the press is gagged (North Korea-style, no foreign
 press are allowed in Zimbabwe today) and meanwhile, Royce
said, "Mugabe's cronies live high by pillaging the Democratic
Republic of Congo".
Walter Kansteiner, the US assistant secretary of state for
 Africa, spoke of the man-made "tragedy" of Zimbabwe when he
spoke to el PaŪs. Traditionally an exporter of food, a country
 with a solid infrastructure and one of the highest educational
standards in Africa, Zimbabwe had been a beacon of light in a
 dark continent. It had emerged, in Kansteiner's word, "from a
 harsh colonial past into a country that clearly valued
 democratic tradition". Not any more, said Kansteiner, who -
 choosing his words diplomatically - described the business
 deals the Mugabe regime now engaged in as a "a little bit
 murky".
 The revelations of the two individuals from inside the
Zimbabwean "mafia" who spoke to el Pais, in conversations held
 in London and Marbella, help reveal the depths of the
 Zimbabean tragedy and shed new light on the murk; on a
 state-sanctioned criminal network whose accomplices and
 interests extend from Africa to Europe and the Middle East.
 The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they said they
 feared that if their names were published they, or their wives
 and children, might be killed. Because of their very real
 concerns, the two sources shall be known in this article as -
 choosing two names entirely at random - Ali and Moses.
 The story they tell has two protagonists, Emmerson Mnangagwa
 and Thamer Said Ahmed Al Shanfari, both of whom have been in
 the spotlight of a long-standing United Nations investigation
 into the looting of the Congo's mineral wealth. Mnangagwa is
 Mugabe's crony in chief: his closest confidant, the key man in
Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation - the secret
 police -- ever since independence, and the man with whose
 blessing almost any crime may be committed in Zimbabwe with
impunity. Al Shanfari, Mnangagawa's crony, is an Omani
 entrepreneur described in a secret South African intelligence
 document obtained by el PaŪs as "the Zimbabweans' most
 important foreign business partner". Mnangagwa, known in
 Zimbabwe as "the Son of God" because of the general
 supposition that he is Mugabe's anointed successor, is the man
 illegal cash and diamonds through Harare Airport. Shanfari,
the playboy son of a former Omani oil minister, is the man who
 starts the ball rolling by buying the business class tickets
 and arranging the transfer of the large sums of cash from
 Europe on which the commercial transactions in the Congo
 depend. Shanfari is the president and chief executive officer
 of a company called Oryx Natural Resources that owns a diamond
 concession in Mbuji-Mayi, in the Congo, jointly with the
 governments of Zimbabwe and the Congo.
Ali, more hands-on in his dealings with Mnangagwa and Shanfari
 than Moses, recalls how three different individuals paid by
 Shanfari would take it in turns to pick up sums ranging from
500,000 to 750,000 US dollars in cash from a bank account in
 London and a bank account in Brussels, both in the Oryx
 company name. The money itself did not belong to Oryx (a
company whose auditors are the same as Enron's, Arthur
 Andersen) but to at least three Arab business associates of
 Shanfari's. One of them was a Lebanese diamond dealer; one an
Iraqi arms dealer; one a Sudanese businessman who had been
involved in the bankruptcy scandal of the Abu Dhabi-based Bank
 of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1992.  Ali and
 Moses said they knew personally, from first-hand evidence, of
 ten such trips, involving a total of around five million
 dollars. "But we know there were many more of these missions,
 even though we were not directly involved," they said.
 Shanfari's couriers, ex-soldiers who could be relied upon to
 obey and follow orders, would catch a plane at Gatwick Airport
 ("there was no problem with the x-ray machine: money just
 shows up as ordinary paper"), take their business class seats
 and fly south to Harare, where - thanks to Mnangagwa and the
complicity of the Zimbabwean military -- they would breeze
 through customs. "The money would then be distributed in
 various ways," said Ali, who says he saw much of what happened
 with his own eyes. "Part of it would go to the PLO Embassy in
Harare. The ambassador was a very nice man. As well as being
the longest-serving diplomat in Harare - his car's number
plate was CD1 - he was a foreign exchange dealer. He gave us
Zimbabwean dollars in return for the US, lots of them, in big
cardboard boxes." Large chunks of this money would then go to
Emmerson Mnangagwa. "Emmerson would get a cut after every
 trip. What would happen would be that Emmerson would come
 round to Thamer's house for a barbecue or a dinner - he has a
huge ranch house outside Harare -- and while they were eating
 one of Thamer's trusted people would put two or three of these
 cardboard boxes stuffed with money into the boot of Emmerson's
car."
Another of the beneficiaries of Shanfari's largesse was
Mugabe's young wife, Grace, a woman who has acquired a
 reputation as something of an African Imelda Marcos on account
 of her profligate spending down the years in the shops of
 London, New York, Madrid and other western capitals which she
 has visited in recent years - usually flying Air Zimbabwe, a
 state airline which the Mugabes have a habit of comandeering
for their own private use. Ali and Moses said they were aware
 of boxes of money having been delivered by car to the First
Lady at her home. A third beneficiary was General Vitalis
 Zvinavashe, head of the Zimbabwean armed forces, famous for
having uttered the following memorable line last March on the
 eve of Zimbabwe's flagrantly stolen, "Any change designed to
 reverse the gains of this revolution will not be supported."
 Another individual who received cash hand-outs from Shanfari
 was Sydney Sekeramayi, Mnangagwa's most serious rival to take
 over as president eventually from Mugabe. Sekeremayi, today
minister of mines and energy, wrote a letter to Shanfari dated
7 July 2000 when he was Minister of State Security in the
 President's Office - meaning head of intelligence -- thanking
 him for monies received. Elections had just taken place in
 Zimbabwe and Sekeramayi had retained his parliamentary seat.
The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by el PaŪs,
carries an official Zimbabwean government letter head and
 contains Sekeremayi's signature at the bottom. It reads:
 "Dear Mr Thamer Al-Shanfari,
       I am writing this letter to express my sincere appreciation for
 the generous moral, material and financial assistance you
   rendered to boost my election campaign. My re-election as the
  Member of Parliament for Marondera East was greatly facilitated
   by your support.      Thank you very much.
       Dr S.T. Sekeremayi"
 The crucial cogs in the state apparatus having been duly oiled
 (Moses calculates that Mugabe's people took between 10 and 20
per cent of the cash that arrived on the flights from London
Gatwick), the remaining money set off into Kinshasa, the
capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On planes
provided by a company called Avient -- of which the ZANU-PF
 treasurer and close Mugabe associate J.C. Joshi is a director
 hat also had a side-line supplying Antonov aircraft and
 Ukrainian pilots to the Congo military. Mnangagwa, who did
 business deals with his Congo counterparts, saw to it that
 there would be no awkward questions asked by the customs men
 at Kinshasa airport.
 "The procedure was quite straightfoward," Moses explained.
"We'd meet with a guy called Alphonse in Kinshasa, a Belgian
 diamond dealer, and we gave him US dollars for uncut stones
 that had been extracted in the Congo's big diamond area
 Mbuji-Mayi. Then we'd go back to Harare with the diamonds and
 from there we'd take them down to South Africa to have them
cut. That was the tricky part."
A couple of individuals who Ali and Moses know very well and
who were employed by Shanfari transported the diamonds to
 Johannesburg in their underpants. "Enough diamonds to fill a
 tea cup," said Moses. "Easily half a million to a million US
 worth on each trip." Once the stones had made it through
 Johannesburg airport the rest was easy. "We got the diamonds
 back into Harare - never a problem because we had the
 infrastructure of the military to assist us and of course
 carte blanche in the airport itself.
From there the diamonds, certified as if they hade been
extracted legally
 from a mine owned by Oryx, travelled on to Antwerp where they
 were sold legally. The people who put the money into the
system in the first place got the same amount back - but now
certified by the Antwerp diamond buyer as having clean
 provenance. It was pure money-laundering. Everybody was happy.
 Thamer's Arab friends had achieved their objectives. Thamer
 took a big cut. Emmerson and the others made easy money."
 Sometimes, though, Shanfari tried to get a little too clever,
 according to Ali and Moses. "It worked beautifully, until the
 day that it didn't." This is what would happen. The US dollars
 would travel from Harare to Kinshasa but not, initially, to
 buy diamonds. To be changed, rather, into Congolese Francs. At
 the office of an associate of Shanfari's called Akram that Ali
 describes as having been "just full of foreign currencies".
 Akram was Akram Moorad, nephew of the lebanese diamond dealer
 who was among Shanfaris cash suppliers in Europe.
"Thamer called the Congolese Francs 'chicken feed'," recalled
 Ali. "There was tons of the stuff, loaded inside big silver
containers, that we'd take back to Harare. Later, in the dead
 of night, we'd load the boxes onto a Lybian plane - a private
 plane in from Tripoli -- at Harare airport which would take
the money to Kisangani, which was the heart of rebel country
 in the Congo war. Here they desperately needed Congolese
Francs." Congolese Francs are the local currency but cash has
been hard to obtain. The distance between between the capital
 Kinsahasa and Kisangani is more than 700 miles. In war-time
 getting from one place to the other has proved almost
 impossible. Getting US dollars presented less ofa challenge,
 because they could be shipped across Congo's borders with two
 countries friendly to the Kisangani rebels, Uganda and Rwanda.
So they bought Thamer's Congolese Francs in US dollars,"Ali
 continued, "but Thamer got back double the rate he'd sold them
 at in Kinshasa. Double!"
 It was a great business, (though there are suggestions now
 that some of the dollars received might have been forged). But
 it was risky. "Because if either the Zimbabweans or the
Congolese found out the money was going to those they were
 actually at war with, there would be hell to pay for Thamer."
 As far as the Zimbabwe authorities were concerned, Moses
 explained, the Lybian plane was taking the money to Oryx's
 mine at Mbuji-Mayi, to pay for staff and equipment.
 was a cock-up, someone wasn't tipped off on time, and they
 caught us - Congolese military security --with 750,000 US
 worth of Congolese Francs on our way back to Harare." An
 employee of Shanfari's was jailed, as was Patel the Kenya
Airways man. Shanfari's employee was released after Mnangagwa
intervened directly on his behalf with the Congolese justice minister.
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COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 04 October 2002

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.

REGIONAL NEWS

MANICALAND
Chipinge - 46 head of cattle were stolen from a farm.  Three skins were
found in the possession of a meat trader.
Chimanimani - Mr R Bennett was arrested on 29.09.02 and released on
01.10.02.  A number of residents and farmers have left the area and there
are very few commercial farmers left.
Burma Valley - There have been cases of heart water in the area.

MASHONALAND CENTRAL
No report received.

MASHONALAND EAST
Harare South - One farmer who was on an 'attempted murder and reckless
driving charge' had his case thrown out of court.  One farmer held a meeting
with the female labour who were not happy with their package.  The issue was
resolved.  The manager had a visit by two men escorted by the police telling
him to vacate his home by 08.10.02.  The owner of the farm said the farm
only had a Section 5 but they stated that matter was between the farmer and
government. In general, one beast was slaughtered and S.I.6 problems
continue.
Other areas no reports received.

MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
No report received.

MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Chegutu - on 27.09.02 at dusk on Mafuti Estate, the owner's wife went out to
switch on the security lights, and taken captive by two unknown assailants.
They demanded to know where the husband was and forced entry into the house
with her.  The owner tried to give some form of assistance to his wife.
Being 71 years old he was soon overpowered and a knife held to his throat.
Demands were made, and they were roughly pushed about.  The assailants
looted the homestead, taking the TV, video, some cash and other valuable
items and demanding the farm weapons. The owner stated these were in safe
keeping in Harare at Feredays. The assailants did not believe this and the
knife was pushed to his throat a little harder. The owner offered to give
them a letter to Feredays for them to have the weapons released to them.
Seeing that there was nothing more to gain they left. The couple have been
very traumatised by this incident and have since voluntarily moved off the
farm to a rented home in Chegutu. This farmer was one of the first to offer
his whole farming operation to Govt., under the ZJRI Initiative back in
2000. He has had two meetings with the land compensation committee and only
been offered 10 million the first time over 5 years and 12 million the
second time also over 5 years. This estate was valued at 36 million dollars
in 2000. On Tiverton Estate in the absence of the owner, a "war vet" by the
name of Massa Tolini, broke through the security fence on the evening of
28.09.02 and forced the farm guards to break into the owners home to bring
out a sofa. This was placed on the front porch, and the "war vet" declared
from this action that the farmer had been evicted. On the morning of
02.10.02 he broke into the home with assistance and physically started
removing the owner's furniture. The first load arrived in Chegutu town by
the owner's tractor and trailer on 03.10.02 at about 2300 hrs. It is
presumed the continued removal of the owner's furniture and belongings from
his homestead continues. Dispol Minor was appraised of the situation and the
DA has not been contactable to discuss this issue. The owner of Concession
Hill farm, who has an invalid Section 8 according to the operation of the
laws of Zimbabwe, arrived back from holidaying in New Zealand to be placed
under arrest the evening of 02.10.02. A phone call was made to the Governor
of Mashonaland West South and the Police were told to release the owner. The
owner appeared in court and was remanded on ZW$ 5000.00 bail to 25.10.02.
The owner has been remanded according to the High Court rulings handed down
in Harare and is allowed to go back to his property pending the outcome of
the case.  The owner and a driver on Umfuli Banks received threats and an
eviction order from an A2 settler. The piping has all been commandeered with
the settler declaring it his property. Police were notified.
Kadoma - 90% of the farmers are off at this moment. A couple farmers are
still negotiating at this stage with no apparent success.  On Milverton the
owner still has 1200 head in the feeding pens and is trying to buy time to
finish them off.  The politicians said he can stay but on the ground the
settlers and the lands committee seems to be winning. The power struggle
could come to a head.  The only unaffected farms to date are three dairy
farms and two horticulture, paprika and vegetable farms are still fully
productive.  Settlers from Alabama are getting water daily for their panning
from the owner's only borehole. This borehole will not sustain this, in
addition cattle and bulls are being pushed into his dairy cows.
Suri Suri - There are 12 farmers left on their farms, at varying levels of
production. Subdivisions are a mess.
Battlefields - Two farmers are left on their farms. Combining of barley is
about to start.
Selous - those farmers who have signed LA3 forms are not allowed to
continue.  Section 8 farmers were arrested and are off their farms. The bail
conditions have been relieved, however there is no production on these
farms. Three members have had all their charges dropped. This area is losing
several key community members.

MASVINGO
Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.
Chiredzi - Burning of grass continues where cattle are put into paddocks for
grazing. Poaching is now to the extreme as hunger takes over.
Mwenezi - One of the country's foremost cattlemen, desperate to save his
land, is now forced to cut the throats of quality calves dropping. The 499
quality cows and heifers are to be fattened up and will be sent to the
abattoirs for slaughter. This is the only way out as FMD has broken out on
the property. It has also been reported that approximately 40 000 head of
cattle from the Beit Bridge communal lands have been unleashed onto the
commercial farms during the last month.
In spite of the new outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease the owner's cattle
are being rounded up and penned, in an effort to force them off. There have
been a number of serious confrontations, and one elderly owner was beaten.
Another was thrown in the back of a vehicle and driven to Beit Bridge to
have serious threats of eviction personally given to him by the authorities
there. The political twist being portrayed on the outbreak is that it has
started as a result of an infection in the owner's dairy herd. In reality,
the properties have been swamped with cattle from the Beit Bridge communal
areas. This is an area where the disease has been smouldering for over 6
months now, despite haphazard vaccinations.  It would appear that the wife
of a local MP and Minister is the main force behind the evictions and has
threatened to burn and destroy the local lucrative ultra-city motel complex.
Owners and employees have been harassed for several weeks now and the owners
have also been accused of poisoning the one water supply. This water is
naturally extremely unpalatable and salty.  Cattle on the commercial farms
are now stranded and cannot move because of the new FMD outbreak. The
situation is now even more serious due to the unleashing of thousands of
communal cattle onto the farms that will destroy the limited grazing very
quickly.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Tagati Ranch had stockfeed stolen and the owner followed
the thieves with his security guards into the Chaka area. He and his
security guard managed to apprehend the culprit and radioed the Police to
inform them. The Police had no transport and informed the owner he should
bring the culprit into the Police Station. A crowd of village settlers then
crowded the owner's vehicle and after much struggle and the security guard
firing two shots into the air, was he able to escape beaten and bruised.
Save Conservancy - Poaching and snaring continue.

MIDLANDS
A Mr. Hungwe, reputed to be a Major General in the Army, has taken up an A2
plot in the Shurugwi area and evicted the workers who were living on that
section of the property.

MATABELELAND
No report received.


aisd1@cfu.co.zw    Visit the CFU Website www.mweb.co.zw/cfu


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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DISCLAIMER:
Unless specifically stated that this is a Commercial Farmers' Union
communique, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in
an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private.
Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not
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JAG SITREP 6th October 2002

MATABELELAND

Esigodini

 On Chonalanga farm, belonging to Mr Buchan, war veterans broke into the
fenced worker's area on Friday, and demanded that they leave by 16h00
yesterday afternoon. They disarmed the security guards, but the workers
reused to leave. A truckload of youth militia arrived at midnight, and were
chased away. The returned en masse, with three handguns, and beat two
workers into unconsciousness. A report was made to the police by the
workers, but they were informed that the police could do nothing.

 At 16h00 on Saturday 06/10/02, a Zanu PF truck arrived  and the workers
were told that if they did not leave they would "face the consequences". By
the end of the day, all the workers (110 families) had been chased off the
property and another two had to be hospitalised because of further rough
treatment. The foreman, who had been furnished with a camera, cannot
currently be found. The workers have reported that all their houses have
been burned out, and documentary evidence of this is being gathered. They
are now homeless, and many are moving either to Masvingo, or to Bulawayo,
whilst the majority are located on the roadside outside the farm.

 Workers on the neighbouring farm, Benville farm, have also been approached
today, and instructed to leave the premises.

Nyathi

A British national, Rachel Ranson, was arrested and charged with
obstructing the course of justice. She has been released after paying a
sixty dollar fine. Rachel was taken into custody by the police after
refusing to hand over the keys to the gate of Bill McKinney's farm, where
the family was in the process of packing up their belongings. She was made
to sit in the back of a police vehicle for several hours whilst the police
went around to several other farms to deliver eviction orders before
finally being taken to Nyathi police station to be charged.


MASHONALAND

Mtepatepa

John Browning of Benbridge Farm in Mtepatepa was informed that he had one
and a half hours to leave his farm at 10:30 this morning. No official
notice was delivered, but a verbal order to vacate was given by Callistas
Dengu (ex-member of parliament) who arrived with a number of men this
morning. Two individuals remain behind to ensure that the property is
vacated.

____________________________________________________


JOB OPPORTUNITIES:


1.- Ex-pat job available in Northern Nigeria
3,500 ha cereal farming operation
Lovely homestead
CV's to be sent to Mary Cosgrove at above contact
Interviews to be conducted in Johannesburg
Start immediately
Ideal for hard working farmer who wants a brand new start

2.- Job in RSA - no further details available - ph Sakki Van Der Clos 021
9398365 or 021 9399909

3.- Junior Manager required for 94 ha tobacco,15 ha paprika, maize, & 26 ha
coffee. Contact Willie Watson on 064 7535

4.- Instamac (Pvt) Ltd , a local construction company with a large volume
of business, are looking to hire Construction Site Management and
Workshop Management . Details available on request.

________________________________________________________
OPEN LETTER FORUM: if you have any views or opinions that you would like
to air, please send them to justice@telco.co.zw headed JAG Open Letter
Forum. We hope to have this facility available for anyone to voice their
opinions.

THE JAG TEAM

Hotlines:
    (091) 317 264       If you are in trouble or need advice,
        (011) 205 374       please don't hesitate to contact us -
           (011) 863 354        we're here to help

_______________________________________________________
Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to jag-list-admin@mango.zw
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News just in .. British national Rachel Ranson (26) has been charge with
'Obstructing the course of justice and has been fined Zd$ 60 and released
from custody.

News Release
(On behalf of Justice for Agriculture - JAG)

A total of 65 farmers from the Matabeleland region have, as of Saturday
5 October, been evicted from their homes by members of the police force
and war veterans. More than half of these (26 in total) were arrested
during the early August nationwide sweep of commercial farmers,
following the expiry of Section 8 Notices. They were however either
released on bail, or the courts had ruled in their favour.

Matabeleland Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Farming Associations number
14 - Beit Bridge / Bulawayo Landowners/ Figtree/ Gwaai Valley / Gwanda /
Insiza/Shangani / Inyathi / Marula / Matetsi / Matopos South/ Mberengwa
/ Umzingwani / Nyamandlovu / West Nicholson. There are 319 members of
the Commercial Farmers Union on a total of 562 farms.

Estimates to hand indicate that these latest evictions leave only 25% of
the farms with resident owners with varying degrees of operation.
Matabeleland is an arid region with most farming operations being
ranching, game farming and animal husbandry (Ostriches) and some
cropping such as paprika and maize.

This latest spate of eviction seen over 15 workers assaulted and scores
evicted along with their owners.

In Nyamandhlovu, 4 game scouts from Mike Wood's GlenCurragh Farm were
locked up on Thursday night, without food or water, by war veterans.
Mr. Wood's dogs, which had not eaten since his eviction, were finally
fed on Friday morning after one of the female settlers pleaded with her
counterparts to allow the maid into the yard to give them food.

On Wally Herbst's farm, war veterans demanded that the dogs be removed,
the animals had to be driven off the property and abandoned under
pressure. Meanwhile, two war veterans, both about 30 years old are now
ensconced in the main house on Thursday evening.

In Umguza district, Clive Biffen managed to remove some items off the
farm, however, war veterans barricaded the road on Thursday. Mr. Biffen
called the police who came out and impounded the vehicles.  Police are
refusing to release the items before they are inspected.

In Gwaai, armed police broke into the premises of Nemba Safaris, where
there was an Australian hunting client. A war veteran spat in the face
of the professional hunter, the client had to be evacuated for his safety.

Three men arrived on Jonathan Taylor's farm, at about 10am on Thursday
morning stating that they were the new owners of the property. They were
Sipho Gama (of Bulawayo), Ben Ncube (of Lupane) and Colin Ndebele (of
Lupane). They proceeded to help themselves to 4 lister engines, 1 water
tank, 1 band saw and 1 disc harrow, all valued at approximately Zd$ 5
million.

They also told the staff that the tractor must not leave and they would
be moving in later in the day.  Taylor has had to cancel his next safari
as a result of this eviction.  A report was made to the police, who
arrived later in the afternoon and told the staff not to remove any of
Mr Taylor's property, including firearms belonging to the game scouts.

It is of interest to note the chain of command being followed by the
eviction parties. The Lands representative, Melusi Sibanda reports to
the Mrs Mafa, the regional lands officer who reports to the Matabeleland
North Governor, Obert Mpofu. They are supervised by a member of the
Central Intelligence Organisation, Mr Moyo and the Officer in Charge of
Nyamandlovu, Mr R. F. Ncube with Officer Commanding Rural North Chief
Superintendent Moyo and Assistant Commissioner Sibanda and his
Provincial Police Chief for Matabeleland North. This exercise falls
under the total control of Deputy Commissioner of Police - Mr Matanga,
himself a beneficiary of a farm in Mashonaland.

In Umzingwane, Matabeleland South, on Scott Buchan's farm, war veterans
broke into the fenced area and tried to get the workers to leave the
farm village. They disarmed the security guards (took their handcuffs
and torches), and 20 workers, mostly women, went to the police station
to report the matter. There were still about 50 workers left in the
village. A Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus later arrived
with the notorious youths known as "green bombers" who proceeded to
harass some of the workers.

A further onslaught ensued when 8 war veterans arrived at midnight and
told the workers to leave by 4 pm on 4/10/02. The workers resisted and
the war veterans retreated only to return with reinforcements an hour
later, 20 strong and armed with 3 pistols.  Four workers were beaten
unconscious.  Two workers were able to run away and went to the police
to report the matter, however when the Police 2nd in Command arrived, he
said his hands were tied and there was nothing he could do and told the
workers to leave.  The four workers are in hospital.

Late update 4 pm Saturday

Yesterday, Johan Kriedl (70) (Austrian subject)- He did not move so on
3/10/02 about 20 people arrived in 4/5 vehicles at approximately 16h20pm
- they put him in the back of one vehicle and took some of his clothes
and put them on the front seat and drove to the Esigodini Zanu PF
offices.  This group left 4 men at the house and they promptly looted
household good. The group took him to the Zanu PF office in Esigodini (a
small farming town Matabeleland South). He was assaulted and is badly
bruised and shaken as one of the invading party shot Kriedl's pistol
into the air above Kriedl's head. Mr Wally Kriedl, upon hearing of his
father's predicament, traveled to the farm only to himself be "abducted"
to the Zanu PF offices. Pressure being brought to bear by the Austrian
Embassy, resulted in the farmer and his son being transferred to the
Police station and then subsequently released. Mr Kriedl went to see the
Lands Committee today (4/10/02), who told him, they would extend his
eviction period and give him another 12 hours and further pressure
resulted in an extension to Monday.

5/10/02 - Bill McKinney's property.  Armed police and Lands committee
arrived at the gate.  The two girls went out of the fenced area to talk
to them and locked the gate behind them. They refused to let the police
into the yard and hand over the keys. The police threw Rachel Ranson
(26) (A British subject) to the ground and handcuffed her and put her
into the back of the vehicle and have taken her to the police station.
Having left the farm at 11 am the Police truck arrived just after 3:30
at Inyathi Police Station and we await news of what Rachel will be
charged with.

Ends
Saturday, 5 October 02
NB: PHOTOGRAPHS OF RUTH CHATHAM, THE ELDERLY COUPLE FROM GWAAI WHO WERE
MANHANDLED BY POLICE, ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST.

For more info, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 or on email jennipr@mweb.co.zw
Or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829 Office email: prnews@mweb.co.zw
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
www.iabc.com
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IOL


Zimbabwe's fuel pumps run dry again

      October 06 2002 at 05:01PM



By Angus Shaw

Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's government blamed severe gasoline shortages on
hoarding of fuel on Sunday, and industry executives reported a slowing of
imports from Libya.

Long lines of cars waiting for gasoline returned to fuel stations in Harare
in the past week, after more than two years of frequent shortages.

A report on new fuel shortages by a team of government investigators is
scheduled for release Monday, the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper
reported.

      Officials suspect private distributors are hoarding fuel
It quoted the energy ministry saying the main Harare depot of the state
National Oil Company had sufficient reserves to meet the capital's fuel
needs.

Government officials suspected private distributors were hoarding fuel and
that had lead to panic buying, causing gas stations to run dry, the
newspaper said.

Private oil industry executives, who did not want to be named, said panic
buying may have been triggered by rumors that a new oil deal with Libya had
run into trouble.

The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the fuel procurement monopoly, said
last month it was trying to raise US$9-million to pay outstanding freight
and pumping charges for a consignment of Libyan gas berthed at the
Mozambique port of Beira, causing delays in delivery.

Its silence on whether delivery of regular supplies could be paid for by the
economically devastated southern African country has fanned rumors of
worsening shortages.

      Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence
Zimbabwe signed a new oil deal with Libya on September 11 to supply
US$30-million worth of gas a month for the next year.

Part of the cost would be met by Zimbabwean beef, tobacco and fruit exports
to Libya. The north Africa country would also receive investments in
Zimbabwean mining, tourism and agriculture, but a hard currency component
for operational costs of delivery and some of the oil was included.

With agricultural production disrupted by drought and the seizure of
white-owned farms, all food export quotas to Libya have not been met. Libyan
investments in the country were seen as yielding only long term returns.

Zimbabwe's previous yearlong fuel contract with Libya expired August 31,
with arrears on that deal still outstanding, according to industry
executives.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain
in 1980 and has been wracked by political turmoil since 2000.

Production of tobacco, the biggest hard currency earner, is expected to be
more than halved next season due to disruptions in the agriculture-based
economy.

Tourism has collapsed, with hard currency receipts down by an estimated 80
percent.

More than half Zimbabwe's 12,5 million people face severe food shortages.

The Sunday Mail, meanwhile, reported the two deaths in a food stampede as
shortages of the corn meal staple worsen.

Two infants died as youths forced their way into a food line outside a
Harare milling company earlier this week, causing panic, it said. - Sapa-AP
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MSNBC

Twenty-two injured as Zimbabwe train hits elephant



HARARE, Oct. 6 - A passenger train derailed, injuring at least 22 people on
board, when it hit an elephant while on its way to Zimbabwe's prime resort
town of Victoria Falls, state radio reported on Sunday.
       The radio said the injured where ferried to nearby hospitals in the
nearby mining town of Hwange. The area is teeming with wildlife, making it a
popular tourist attraction.
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News24

SADC stance on Zim baffles DA

Cape Town - South Africa's Official Opposition on Sunday described as
amazing the description by southern African leaders of Zimbabwe's land grab
programme as rational and fair.

Democratic Alliance foreign affairs spokesperson Colin Eglin, commenting
after a meeting of Southern African Development Community leaders in Luanda,
Angola, last week, said the African leaders' comments did not auger well for
the future of Africa's recovery programme - commonly called Nepad.

"Once again the SADC leaders focused on the issue of land in Zimbabwe while
again ignoring the gross abuse of power and human rights, despite the fact
that all SADC leaders - including (Zimbabwe's) President (Robert) Mugabe -
gave a commitment to protect basic human rights and the rule of law," said
Eglin in a statement.

"No one is arguing about the need for a land redistribution programme in
Zimbabwe. However, the Democratic Alliance is amazed that the leaders of the
SADC described President Robert Mugabe's land grab programme as 'rational,
fair and equitable'.

"The fact is that the Mugabe regime has violated that country's constitution
and ignored the courts. It also treated legitimate white landowners in a way
that can certainly not be described as 'rational, fair and equitable'.

"In the process tens of thousands of farm workers have been deprived of
their livelihoods while the country was left facing starvation."

Had Mugabe acted in a constitutional, rational and democratic way, "he today
would have enjoyed the support of the international community in general and
international donors in particular," said Eglin.

"Through his irrational and undemocratic way of operating he has deprived
the people of Zimbabwe of this support."
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Newsday

Zimbabwe's seizure of white farmland hurts black workers, too

By Samson Mulugeta
AFRICA CORRESPONDENT

October 6, 2002


Nyamandhlouvu, Zimbabwe - As the sun slid beyond the horizon, the black
workers at Spring Range Farm gathered to say goodbye to the grizzled white
farmer who had provided their sustenance for decades. Some wiped away tears
as they shook his hand.

But others had hard questions about their future.

"We are asking what will happen to us," said Kiwa Khiwa, speaking for 40
others sitting in a semi-circle inside a shed. "How much will you pay us?"

Peter Hubert, 72, swallowed hard, his sun-parched farmer's face creasing
into a tight smile. He could hardly admit to himself that he was losing his
15,000-acre cattle ranch, where he had toiled for 28 years. And here were
his workers asking for their severance pay.

Hubert, along with 2,900 other whites with large-scale commercial farms, has
been issued his final eviction notice by the government. In the past few
weeks, the government of President Robert Mugabe has intensified its
land-grab policy, jailing white farmers and ordering them to stop farming
even as aid agencies warned of massive food shortages across the country.

The crisis over land ownership, precipitated largely by the government as a
political tactic to prolong the 22-year reign of Zimbabwe's only leader
since the end of white minority rule, has thrown the countryside into
turmoil. The chaos has devastated the economy and upended the rule of law.

At Spring Range Farm, as on similar ones around the country, the crisis has
strained the ties binding the white farmer, his black workers and the 159
new squatters and their family members trying to edge Hubert off his farm.

The scene here last week is being repeated in some form across Zimbabwe. It
is the last chapter of a century-old struggle that began when Cecil John
Rhodes led a vanguard of British and other white settlers in engineering a
massive dispossession of local blacks off the best land in the area that
later became known as Rhodesia.

The lingering effect of that colonial past meant that, until two years ago,
4,900 large-scale white farmers owned a third of the country's land,
including 70 percent of the most productive farms.

At independence in 1980, Britain, the former colonial power, agreed in
principle to finance land redistribution in a system known as "willing
seller, willing buyer." But progress has been slow and contentious, and for
nearly 20 years land reform was not a pressing priority for the Mugabe
government.

Politics, however, made it one.

When in 2000 a coalition of blacks and whites defeated a constitutional
amendment designed to give Mugabe more powers, the former guerrilla leader
began wielding the issue of land ownership as a political sledgehammer. The
country's dwindling white population, down to about 50,000 today from around
140,000 in 1980, quickly became the scapegoat.

Mugabe unleashed "war veterans" - the ranks of mostly jobless former
guerrillas who fought alongside him in the war of liberation - to invade
white-owned farms. To stifle resistance, he rammed through parliamentary
laws restricting civil liberties and press freedoms, drawing almost
universal international condemnation.

The land policy has scared off foreign investment and sent the economy into
a free fall; it shrank by more than 8 percent last year, the worst
performance in Africa. Inflation hovers above 100 percent.

The crisis also has exacerbated food shortages caused by a drought that has
struck southern Africa. Without immediate food aid, about half of Zimbabwe's
12.5 million people face starvation, according to the United Nation's World
Food Program.

The threat of famine has so far failed to deter the government.

For the past two years, Hubert had resisted repeated demands to vacate his
ranch, even as squatters slowly encroached and his operations suffered. But
when police arrested neighboring farmers last month, he felt obliged to turn
himself in at the local police station, was detained for a few hours, and
ordered to clear out his farmhouse.

He complied, vowing to continue his court fight while living in a rented
cottage in nearby Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city. Hubert's
daughter, who lives in England, had rushed to his side with her 2-year-old
son. Hubert's two sons, who live in the United States and in Australia, were
not able to come.

The small garden in front of Hubert's abandoned house is now choked with
weeds, and the high-ceilinged rooms inside the farmhouse are virtually
empty. He recognizes that the battle may already be lost, and now he is
meeting with his farmhands to work out the terms of surrender.

Hubert told them that the total cost of the severance would be $180,000,
which he could not afford. While the farm is worth hundreds of thousands of
dollars, much of it is tied up in equipment and in the ranch infrastructure,
as well as his 500 head of cattle. Perhaps, he offered, he could give each
worker two head of cattle.

The workers reflected on the offer for a moment. Then Makrae Siabanda, 72, a
retired tractor driver, spoke. "Could we have this in writing?"

Thus approached the end for Spring Range Farm, a vast stretch of pasture
land in Matabeleland in southern Zimbabwe that has been in the family of
Hubert's wife, Barbara, since its 1904 purchase from the Rhodes family.
Barbara Hubert died of cancer last year and was buried on the farm. Hubert
hopes to join her at the family plot when his time comes, though of course
nothing is certain. For now he intends to fight to retain at least part of
the farm, so he can pass it to his son, Jeremy, a 37-year-old veterinarian
now teaching at Louisiana State University.

"I've reached my 'sell-by' date," said Hubert, a slim man of military
bearing with a smoker's raspy baritone. "But I'd be damned if I am going to
be driven off my bloody land without putting up a fight.

"A fight in the courts, of course," he quickly added.

The son of a British military officer, Hubert was born and educated in
England, where he met his future wife. Barbara Rushmore came from a long
line of Rhodesian cattle ranchers. They married and in 1969 moved to
Rhodesia so Hubert could work on his wife's family farm.

For nearly three decades, the farm prospered. Then, two years ago Hubert's
property was listed as a target of acquisition. Soon, 100 war veterans were
at the farm gate.

"I challenged them to attack an old man," he said. "I would pick one among
them and say, 'How old are you? Forty? I could be your father.' I know that
the Ndebele respect the old." The Ndebeles are the predominant ethnic group
in the area.

"I don't want to be a martyr," Hubert said. "I just want to retire with
something to show for my life's work."

For Hubert's workers, the future is at least just as uncertain. Soon, they
will join the ranks of the 250,000 black farmworkers who have been left
jobless following the government's "fast track" program of land
acquisitions. In an unintended consequence of the chaos, hundreds of schools
on commercial farms have closed, disrupting the education of tens of
thousands of farmworkers' children.

Most of the farmhands live in small clusters of adobe huts, excepting
experienced cattle herders such as Ephion Ncube, 40, who lives in a
five-room concrete house with his wife and three children. Hubert referred
to Ncube as the best cattleman on the farm, but "a bit of a troublemaker."

The life of a farmhand here was a poor but stable one. Ncube, a 6-footer
with a penetrating gaze, said he earned $90 a month. "It is hard to get by
with this salary," he said last week in his spartan but neatly kept living
room. Pictures of tigers and elephants ripped out from magazines decorated
the walls. A framed certificate of appreciation for 34 years of service at
the farm hangs on one wall. Hubert had given it to Ncube's father, Thomas,
in 1987.

Life on the farm was not one he wished for his children, said Ncube, who was
born at Spring Range Farm. But Hubert helped pay for his children's
schooling, he said. With his employer gone, Ncube said he was unsure whether
he could keep his house and the small compound where he raises some
chickens. "The war veterans have called a meeting to discuss the future,"
Ncube said. "I have no idea what's in store."

Here on the farms dotting the Matabeleland scrubland, uncertainty is the
chief effect of the onslaught on white farmers by the Mugabe government. At
an informal gathering of neighboring farmers last week, the mood was of
frustration and anger. Frequently, the word "thieves" was mentioned in the
same breath as "government officials."

One of the neighbors is Harry Greaves, a powerfully built man of 37 with
reddish brown hair and beard. Greaves owns a multimillion-dollar business on
a 47,000 acres that includes poultry, corn and vegetable farming, cattle
ranching and big game hunting.

A fourth generation Zimbabwean, Greaves' Polish Jewish forebears were among
the original settlers who headed north after the 1894 Johannesburg gold rush
cooled down. He was recently forced to flee his home, built by his
grandparents in 1930.

As he drove around his property last week, his two-way radio crackled. He
grabbed the mike to give orders to his staff in Ndebele. "It was practically
my first language," he said. "Most of the people around me for the first
five years of my life were black."

Still, he feels the gulf between the races. "When you grow up around here,
there's a definite 'us versus them' feeling," said Greaves as he drove his
Toyota truck into the deserted compound of his family's safari lodge, one of
his biggest investments, now a picture of desolation. A pile of leaves
filled the empty swimming pool. The reception area has been stripped of
furniture. The only soul around was caretaker Skokie Ndhlovu.

In halting English, Ndhlovu, 39, said he feared for his future. "My life is
going down, yes please," said Ndhlovu, a father of seven. "We now have no
animals and no tourists, yes please."

As he gave a tour of his holdings, Greaves passed the mud huts and small
plots occupied by newly resettled black families - 900 in all. "Welcome to
the agrarian revolution," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

With so much uncertain, Greaves has cut back his farming. He has cut chicken
production this year to 17,000 - half of last year's total - and planted
corn on 35 of 321 acres, enough to feed the poultry and the farm's staff.
Greaves said he didn't want to plant corn and then be forced to give it to
the hungry settlers on his land without compensation.

"You're confronted with all sorts of moral problems," he said. "I feel sorry
that they are hungry, but these are people who have destroyed 15 years of my
life's work."

Greaves is preparing for the end, he said. He is considering investing in a
local gold mine.

The same tension exists a few miles down the road at Hubert's ranch. Kiwa
Khiwa, the farmworker who raised the delicate matter of a severance pay, was
born and raised at Spring Range Farm, where his grandparents are buried and
where his mother, Rhoda Sibindi, still lives and works as a domestic servant
for the now empty Hubert household.

With his secondary education and good command of English, Khiwa is often
designated as an unofficial leader of the farmworkers. With prominence has
come trouble from government supporters.

"They say I am with MDC [the opposition Movement for Democratic Change],
that I am a sellout," said Khiwa, a tall, athletically built 43-year-old who
lives at the farm with his two wives and seven children.

Khiwa gets along well with Hubert, but is confused by the torrent of
anti-white propaganda from state-owned media. "I don't know who is right and
who is wrong," he said, toying with the crucifix hanging from his neck. "I
am thinking about my future because I don't know where to go. My grandfather
died here, my mother is here now."

A recent fixture on the farm was Marvin Tshabalala, the immaculately groomed
"base commander" for the local war veterans and so an influential player in
the fortunes of the Hubert farm. Hubert had befriended Tshabalala from the
outset, and he often showed up at Hubert's farm to discuss common problems.

Still, both men were aware that Tshabalala and 158 other former guerrillas
and their families had set up their homesteads on Hubert's property. Each
war veteran had built a homestead on 40 acres of land where he farmed small
plots and kept animals.

In the last days of Spring Range Farm, Tshabalala has chosen to take on the
unlikely role of peacemaker.

"We don't say all white people are bad," Tshabalala tells the farmworkers.
"People are starving; they are eating roots in the rural areas. I am a war
veteran myself and I have no problem saying that we are in a big mess."

As last week's meeting between Hubert and his employees broke up, Tshabalala
hitched a ride in Hubert's pickup truck, and soon they were at Hubert's
abandoned farmhouse. They sat on the veranda, sipping tea in the gathering
dusk.

As both men readily acknowledged, this was a strange tableau. During the
civil war, Tshabalala was a Soviet-trained captain in the guerrilla army. In
the 1970s, Hubert was a police reservist who helped hunt down those he
called "terrorists," people like Tshabalala.

"It's strange sitting here like this," Hubert said. "We would have shot each
other if we'd met in the war."

An hour later, Hubert drove along a dirt road to drop off Tshabalala at his
home in a section of Hubert's farm now under occupation by Tshabalala and
his comrades.

Tshabalala jumped off Hubert's truck, and shook his head in the darkness.

"I feel pity for the old man," he said. "I wish I could see a way out of
this mess."
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From The Sunday Times (UK), 6 October

Electric torture in a Mugabe cell

Tom Walker, Diplomatic Correspondent

It was a nondescript sort of room, about 12ft by 9ft, and the windows at the top of one wall looked out onto flowerbeds, but the police paraphernalia lying around left Tom Spicer in no doubt as to why he had been brought there. Scattered about the floor and tables were pieces of leather, handcuffs and blindfolds. As he had been led down to the basement of Harare central police station he had already seen a battery in one room with wires leading from it. "They told me I was going to be tortured, I just didnít know how they were going to do it," said Spicer, 18, a college student and the sole white youth activist for Zimbabweís opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The electric shocks were the worst of the four-hour ordeal. Blindfolded, Spicer felt a wire inserted into his ear, and he began experiencing the sort of pain meted out on a regular basis by President Robert Mugabeís increasingly lawless police. Diplomats have begun comparing the brutality with the darkest days of Idi Aminís rule in Uganda, a quarter of a century ago. "Itís fairly indescribable," said Spicer, a fifth-generation Zimbabwean whose parents once supported Mugabe and everything he stood for. More than a week after his torture he still cannot eat, his arms are sore and some of his muscles numb after straining against the handcuffs that bound him. He is at least able to walk again, after being beaten - again blindfolded - on the soles of his feet while a policeman sat on his knees. "They told me they were going to kill me," he said. But Spicer insists nothing he has been through has deterred him from supporting and working for the MDC. The opposition partyís swelling popularity has so irked Mugabe he has given his security forces virtual carte blanche to collude in the thuggery that besets a nation which was once - at his inauguration as president 22 years ago - a beacon of hope. "Itís definitely not put me off. Iím a Zimbabwean, and Iíve got the right to campaign for the party of my choice," said Spicer. "All my friends are supporting me."

Among them are Cosmos and Barabas Ndira, Reuben Tichareva and Tendai Maluzi, the four young blacks arrested with Spicer by the police in Mabvuku, a poor township area on the eastern outskirts of Harare a week last Thursday. The group were interrogated about a recent murder that had taken place while Spicer had been away on holiday with his parents, and were also quizzed about a series of alleged arson attacks. The blacks were asked why they liked a "white boy", and told they should be killing whites, not befriending them. The group were beaten and forced to chant slogans in support of Mugabeís party, Zanu-PF, which Spicer refused to do. He was then separated from his friends and his torture session began. During the four days of their detention the teenagers were allowed no access to lawyers and Spicerís mother, Edwina, 54, a documentary film-maker, had only managed once to get a doctor anywhere near her badly injured son. Eventually on Monday the group was released, on bail of 10,000 Zimbabwean dollars each, about £115.

The irony for the Spicers is that they are a liberal family who left the then Rhodesia during the Ian Smith era in the 1970s and returned in the belief that Mugabe was setting up a genuinely pluralistic, multiracial and tolerant society. Tomís father Newton is a former civil servant who works with the communal and small-scale farmers that Mugabe has championed in his land seizures. "Tomís predicament catches headlines because he is white but this is nothing to do with race," said Edwina Spicer. "The British press has laboured on about the farmers but the point is the lack of any rule of law. Tomís case highlights what is happening to every other young activist in the country. This is just my childís story: there are thousands more." "Weíre bringing a court action," said Tom Spicer. " I honestly do hold out hope." Hundreds of MDC supporters have been killed and injured since Mugabeís clampdown began two years ago, and last week Roy Bennett, the partyís only white farmer MP, was badly beaten by police. Along with Stewart Girvin, a waiter from London born in Zimbabwe, he was charged with illegally filming food distribution at a polling station. During his detention the police allegedly threatened to brand Girvin with a soldering iron. Tom Spicer is returning to his studies at Harareís Speciss College, where he will take A-levels in geography and history in two weeks. "Iím not planning much further ahead than that," he said. And what would he say to Mugabe if he met him? "If I told you I think Iíd probably be arrested again."

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