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

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New York Times
Zimbabwe's Writers Explore Despair and Violence Under Black Rule
By RACHEL L. SWARNS


ULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - Every year after the dry, hungry winters, old women pray
for the spring rains to cleanse the earth and revive parched fields. The
first rains, known as gukurahundi in the Shona language, are usually hailed
as a symbol of life, fertility and prosperity.

But here the term gukurahundi is also a symbol of blood and violence.

It is the name given to the killings that began a few years after white rule
ended in 1980. Just as blacks were beginning to enjoy their newfound
freedoms, their newly elected leader, Robert Mugabe, sent soldiers to
cleanse the land of rival black insurgents. By 1988, thousands of people had
been killed here in the province of Matabeleland.

The years of terror left many people traumatized, fearful and silenced.
Public discussion of the violence still remains taboo in many places, which
is why Yvonne Vera's new novel, "The Stone Virgins," has attracted such
attention.

Ms. Vera, one of Zimbabwe's most prominent writers, describes the violence
through two sisters whose lives are shattered by the battle between soldiers
and dissidents. Thenjiwe is decapitated by a black insurgent. Nonceba
survives, but the attacker slices off her lips. Her struggle to heal
reflects, in many ways, this nation's struggle to acknowledge and come to
terms with its raw, self-inflicted wounds.

Government officials often chronicle the suffering endured by blacks during
decades of white oppression, but they speak little of the blood spilled by
black soldiers and guerrillas. No one knows how many people died in
Matabeleland. Some say more than 3,000; others more than 10,000. And some
book critics here are already comparing the troubles of the 1980's as
depicted in Ms. Vera's novel to the political violence that batters this
country today.

Over the past two and a half years, President Mugabe's militant supporters
have killed scores of black opposition party members, human rights groups
say. Journalists, writers and artists who have criticized his government
have been harassed, arrested and jailed.

Ms. Vera, 38, who runs Zimbabwe's National Art Gallery here, is not a
political activist, and her novel is not a political tract. She loves
Zimbabwe, she says, and spends her time nurturing young artists and huddling
over her computer, constructing the haunting imagery, dense narratives and
lyrical language that characterize her novels.

But she could not ignore the violence swirling across the country. She was
frightened at times that the government might take action against her. But
she wrote the novel anyway, believing that Zimbabweans must confront the
troubled past to move forward. "I asked some friends and they said, `Don't
write it,' " Ms. Vera said as she sat in her art gallery, describing the
warnings she heard whenever she discussed the violence of the 1980's.

"It has been a silenced subject," she said. "There has been an absolute fear
of even talking about it. For two years I did not write it. But it was not
possible for me to have that self-censorship.

"I wanted to say, This is how it was. Just that. These destructive people
were created, and they roamed the land. I cannot pretend to have been
unaware of the relevance now. We weren't past this violence; we have
remained in that."

By confronting the troubles of the past and acknowledging their continuing
relevance, Ms. Vera is following one of Zimbabwe's most striking literary
trends.

Black writers here have written eloquently about black suffering under the
white government and the jubilation that followed Mr. Mugabe's election in
1980. But since the late 1980's many writers who were in their 20's when
white rule ended have focused on the damage and disillusionment experienced
by blacks during and immediately after the struggle for self-determination.

In "Shadows," Chenjerai Hove, 46, describes how some black guerrillas
commandeered homes from their supporters and abandoned the children they
fathered in rural villages. In "Harvest of Thorns," Shimmer Chinodya, who is
also in his mid-40's, depicts the brutal public killings of blacks who were
viewed as collaborators with the white government.

In her collection of poems, "On the Road Again," Freedom Nyamubaya, a poet
and a former guerrilla, describes how many female fighters, including
herself, were raped by their commanders.

And Ms. Vera - in her first published work, "Why Don't You Carve Other
Animals?" a collection of short stories released in 1992 - describes how
Chido, a female fighter, returns from the war and finds herself jobless and
misunderstood as the country celebrates its new freedom.

Irene Staunton, who has edited and published many of these books, including
"The Stone Virgins," calls them Zimbabwe's unofficial truth commission. Eva
Hunter, an associate professor of English at the University of the Western
Cape in South Africa, agrees.

"Yvonne Vera is very concerned about recapturing some of the truth of the
liberation struggle, the truth of the past," Ms. Hunter said. "Her emphasis
is on the communal suffering, what happens to the people who are not in
uniform. She sees recapturing that past as important for individual and
national healing."

Ms. Vera, who grew up here and earned a doctorate in literature at York
University in Downsview, Ontario, has never shied away from controversial
subjects in her novels.

"Without a Name," published in 1994, tackles infanticide. "Under the
Tongue," published in 1996, deals with incest. "Butterfly Burning,"
published in 1998, deals with abortion. All are still available in
paperback. The liberation struggle, the constant backdrop, sometimes spills
into the lives of her main characters, mostly women on the sidelines of
battle. The man who rapes his daughter, for instance, has returned home from
fighting the white government.

In "The Stone Virgins," the people of Kezi are celebrating the end of the
war and the arrival of the country's first black government. Triumphant
guerrillas gather with their supporters at Thandabantu Store. Villagers are
giddily envisioning the day when the government will bring running water to
their community.

But a few years later, violence explodes across the land. Thenjiwe is killed
by a black dissident. The shopkeeper is tortured and burned to death by
soldiers. The hospitals are full of silenced, broken people with
psychological wounds that may never heal.

It would be easy to demonize Thenjiwe's killer, but Ms. Vera chooses not to.
Instead, she steps inside his mind and finds an ordinary man, like many of
the sons, brothers and neighbors who went to war hopeful and returned numb,
damaged, forgotten. In her novel, both killers and victims are battered by
war.

Sibaso, the insurgent who kills Thenjiwe, complains that people have
forgotten the sacrifices that guerrillas made to win the country's freedom.
"They remember nothing," he says of his countrymen. "They never speak of it
now, at least I do not hear of it."

Then he speaks of the damage within him.

"The smallest of my fingers no longer bends," Sibaso says. "Something went
quiet inside my head. I heard it stop like a small wind . . . I bit my thumb
and felt nothing. I bit hard and reached the bone. This is how I lost the
flesh there. I wanted to reach something, to restore feeling."

Hope and despair intermingle throughout the novel. Mutilated and battered,
Nonceba tries to rebuild her life in a country where government officials
move steadily to expand access to education, health care and jobs to blacks
even as they send soldiers to the battles that terrorize the countryside.
Amid the violence, there is still some sense of progress.

"You see her taking her own steps toward independence," Ms. Vera said of
Nonceba. "We don't see her heal. We see her extremely wounded, but we
certainly see her looking ahead."

Ms. Vera was determined to describe that kind of damage and healing, but she
also seemed careful to avoid language that might outrage the government.

Her violent character is a dissident, not a soldier. She does not apportion
blame to either side in the conflict, even though most people attribute the
majority of killings to the government. The explosive word gukurahundi,
which evokes such emotion and anger here, never appears in "The Stone
Virgins."

The novel is expected to be released in the United States early next year.
It was published here in May and Ms. Vera has had no trouble so far. But she
still admits to a lingering sense of unease. Some artists and journalists
who have criticized the government, including Mr. Hove and the musician
Thomas Mapfumo, have left the country after reporting threats by government
supporters.

She wonders, sometimes, whether she will be next.

"I shouldn't panic, but I panic," Ms. Vera said. "The subject is taboo. Am I
seen as a government critic? I don't know. I don't want to be embroiled in
politics."

"One thing is for sure: I don't want to leave Zimbabwe," she continued. "But
I don't want limits, barriers to my creative energy. What I like is to make
someone witness what is occurring in my work. If they can do that, it's a
big step in breaking silences."
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Daily News

      Poverty drives urbanites to Chishawasha squatter camp

      10/7/02 9:29:21 AM (GMT +2)


      By Precious Shumba

      POVERTY, destitution and unemployment have driven at least 1 000
residents in Harare's Mabvuku and Tafara suburbs out of their homes since
1999.



      Some of them have erected pole-and-mud shacks at a squatter settlement
sprouting at Caledonia Farm in Chishawasha, about 15km from Mabvuku. Peter
Banda, 31, a squatter at the camp, said at the weekend he left Mabvuku in
2000 to join other residents running away from economic hardships. Banda
said Pamela Tungamirai, the former MP for Mabvuku, enticed them to support
Zanu PF by offering them residential stands at Caledonia Farm in 1999. The
farm was jointly owned by one Bob and J F Neill, who left for Australia in
2000. "We joined Zanu PF," Banda said. "We got these stands through the
party. The party political leadership promised to establish proper sanitary
facilities and piped water, but that has not been done."

      Banda, who has found a new profession as a bricklayer, said every
month-end the settlement receives new residents who find themselves unable
to pay the high rents in the urban areas. Zanu PF has established other
illegal settlements at Whitecliffe Farm, renamed Tongogara Retreat, along
Chitungwiza road and in Kambuzuma. Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary
for information and publicity, denied Zanu PF had promoted the establishment
of illegal and unplanned settlements outside Harare over the years. He said:
"It is not true. Individual members of our party may have done that, but we
do not know anything about that." There are neither toilets nor is there
clean water at Caledonia, raising the potential for a disease outbreak. In
separate interviews with The Daily News, the settlers said they were
allocated the stands by the Zanu PF leadership in Mabvuku at the height of
farm invasions in 2000. During a guided tour of Section 4 of the settlement,
The Daily News crew witnessed people drinking water from unprotected shallow
wells.

      Most of the residents, who refused to be named, said they lived in
constant fear of the self-proclaimed "section commanders" in the sprawling
settlement. The so-called section commanders allegedly charge new settlers
about $3 000 for the 625-square-metre stands. "Everything here revolves
around the party," he said. "But we have serious problems with war veterans
and Zanu PF supporters from Goromonzi. "They demand that we cease to belong
to the Zanu PF structures in Mabvuku and join them. But those in Mabvuku
will have none of that. If we attend any meetings called by any one of them,
we are harassed or beaten up by the other side."

      Luckson Mudururi, 33, said their children stopped attending school
during the last rainy season because of flooded streams. Mudururi, who
claimed he settled on the farm in May 2000, said most of the settlers relied
on traditional medicine to cure their sick due to the long distance to
Mabvuku Clinic. "Even if we travel that far, we do not have enough money to
pay for treatment," he said. The sprawling settlement has been condemned by
villagers in Chishawasha, who said it had become a hiding place for
fugitives from the law. Evelyn Makosa, 38, from nearby Chishawasha communal
lands, said some of her colleagues had fallen victim to stock theft, robbery
and physical threats from some of the illegal settlers.
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Daily News

      Police ransack Bennet's home

      10/7/02 9:09:28 AM (GMT +2)


      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      BARELY a week after Roy Bennet, the MP for Chimanimani (MDC), was
released from police custody on bail for allegedly contravening a section of
the Electoral Act, police and State security agents allegedly ransacked his
Ruwa home searching for communication equipment. Property worth thousands of
dollars, including radios, rifles and ammunition, was confiscated during the
raid.



      About 10 officers, including members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation and Criminal Investigation Department, armed with a search
warrant descended on Excelsior Farm, leased by the Gardiner family, where
Bennet rents a house. Bennet said the property seized included seven 9mm
bullets, video cassettes and compact discs. He said two rifles and radios
belonging to the Gardiners were also confiscated. "They pitched up in three
vehicles and seized radios which I use to communicate with my farm security
guards," Bennet said. "They went into my guest bedroom and took 500 rands
left on the bed which belonged to Stuart Girvin, a South African and my
business partner," Last week, the lawmaker was dragged before the courts,
together with Girvin and Menson Magwaza, after they allegedly took pictures
of Zanu PF activists handing out maize to voters near a polling station in
his Chimanimani constituency. This was during the weekend rural district
council elections.

      The trio was released on bail after spending almost two days in police
custody. Police have been on the lookout for the MP since the controversial
land reform programme. Bennet has reportedly refused to move off his
Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani. His workers have been intimidated,
harassed and assaulted or standing by him. As a result of the raid by police
and security agents, Bennet has been evicted from Excelsior Farm. Isobel
Gardiner confirmed that her husband, Norman, had ordered Bennet to leave
their property immediately, owing to constant police harassment. She said:
"We gave the Bennets up to the end of last month to vacate the farm but they
have not yet done so because he is finding serious problems in securing
alternative accommodation. My husband has extended their stay here to 15
October, after which they have to leave no matter what. We feel we are being
victimised by the police because of his presence on the farm. They just have
to go."

      The police have reportedly visited the farm at least six times looking
for Bennet. And when the police came, she said they said they wanted to
arrest him.
      "After they searched our house and confiscated our property, they
ordered us to escort them to Bennet's house so they could conduct a similar
search but we refused," she said. "Nevertheless they went ahead and
ransacked his house in the presence of Bennet's domestic worker." "They
pitched up in three vehicles and seized radios which I use to communicate
with my farm security guards," Bennet said. "They went into my guest bedroom
and took 500 rands left on the bed which belonged to Stuart Girvin, a South
African and my business partner," Last week, the lawmaker was dragged before
the courts, together with Girvin and Menson Magwaza, after they allegedly
took pictures of Zanu PF activists handing out maize to voters near a
polling station in his Chimanimani constituency.
      This was during the weekend rural district council elections.

      The trio was released on bail after spending almost two days in police
custody. Bennet has reportedly refused to move off his Charleswood Estate in
Chimanimani, on the grounds that it falls under an Export Processing Zone
and cannot, therefore, be compulsorily acquired according to law. His
workers have been intimidated, harassed and assaulted for standing by him.
As a result of the raid by police and security agents, Bennet has been
evicted from Excelsior Farm. Isobel Gardiner confirmed that her husband,
Norman, had ordered Bennet to leave their property immediately, owing to
constant police harassment.
      She said: "We gave the Bennets up to the end of last month to vacate
the farm, but they have not yet done so because he is finding serious
problems in securing alternative accommodation. My husband has extended
their stay here to 15 October, after which they have to leave no matter
what. We feel we are being victimised by the police because of his presence
on the farm. They just have to go."

      The police have reportedly visited the farm at least six times looking
for Bennet. And when the police came, she said, they said they wanted to
arrest him. "After they searched our house and confiscated our property,
they ordered us to escort them to Bennet's house so they could conduct a
similar search, but we refused," Isobel said. "Nevertheless they went ahead
and ransacked his house in the presence of Bennet's domestic worker."
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Daily News

      Pay promise to teachers panicky reaction - MDC

      10/7/02 9:24:45 AM (GMT +2)


      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      THE MDC says the government's promise of a hefty pay rise for teachers
is merely meant to avert the impending nationwide strike by the teachers.
Fidelis Mhashu, the opposition party's shadow minister of education, accused
the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, of
misleading the nation by promising teachers a major pay increase with effect
from January next year.



      "Chigwedere's promise to give teachers a 'hefty' package smacks of
panic ahead of the impending industrial action by the nation's teachers.
"For more than 22 years, pleas to improve the living conditions of teachers
have fallen on deaf ears as President Mugabe and his regime have been on a
honeymoon," Mhashu said. He was responding to a statement by Chigwedere in
Parliament last Wednesday that the government was working on improving
salaries and conditions of service for teachers. He said those in rural
areas would be awarded a hardship allowance while those in urban areas would
be given an option to transfer to their residential areas to reduce
transport costs. The teachers have threatened to go on strike as most of
them earn less than $30 000.

      Mhashu said: "What is needed is a clear programme and policy and not
ad hoc decisions made in beerhalls while the nation's teachers, among the
most dedicated in the world, starve. "Very few people will take Chigwedere
seriously on his promise of a hefty increment when in the past the regime
has made big promises and delivered nothing." He said when other civil
servants were awarded a 155 percent increment last year, teachers had
received 65 percent.
      He said an MDC government, as stated in the party's education and
economic policies, would improve funding for education and review the
salaries of teachers. He said the government had remained silent while
teachers, mainly in the rural areas, were beaten up or expelled from work by
Zanu PF supporters.
      Mhashu said the brain drain was not only caused by low pay, but by
harassment by Zanu PF supporters.
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Daily News

      South African boys' school send food to children in Matabeleland

      10/7/02 9:13:34 AM (GMT +2)


      By Haru Mutasa

      St Andrews Prep boys have helped make a difference to the lives of
Zimbabwean children in Matabeleland. Joan Scholefield, the assistant bursar
of the private boys' school in Grahamstown, South Africa, made an appeal to
the boys after she watched the investigative journalism programme Carte
Blanche on children affected by the events in Zimbabwe.



      Scholefield said: "I watched Carte Blanche in July where they
interviewed the Catholic bishop of Matabeleland. "One part of the programme
showed children whose parents supported the MDC. The government had seen to
it, as a form of punishment, that the families did not receive food. "It
broke my heart when I saw a child trying to crack open a marula nut because
he was so hungry. I wanted to cry. It is unbelievable what the leader of
that country is doing to his people!" The response was phenomenal. During
their town-leave afternoons, students walked to supermarkets and purchased
food from their pocket money. Parents, impressed by the attitude of their
children, also became involved. Two weeks later a trailer-load of dried food
was on its way to Zimbabwe.
      Networking with friends in Bulawayo, Scholefield contacted Brother
Dennis Turner, the co-ordinator of the Edmund Rice feeding scheme, which
supplies a meal a day to more than 1 500 children in rural Matabeleland.

      "I wanted the food to go to the children and I made sure that
happened," Scholefield said. Cooking oil, sugar, beans and flour were handed
over to an overwhelmed Turner, 70, of Christian Brothers' College, (CBC) in
Bulawayo. "I cannot tell you how grateful he was," said Scholefield, "He is
an Irishman who has lived and worked at CBC for most of his adult life."
Dennis teaches Religious Education at CBC. His pupils, were on school
holiday when Scholefield visited. The college teaches entrepreneurial skills
to the rural children when they are not attending classes. When asked how
life was in Zimbabwe, she said: "It is awful there for the common person. I
saw women with babies strapped to their backs scraping grain up from the
side of the road that had fallen off trucks passing through. Everywhere
there are lots of street children begging for food and money."
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Keep the government out of all levy funds

      10/7/02 9:10:56 AM (GMT +2)



      IT IS a miracle that after all the relentless buffeting, Zimbabwe
still has an economy to talk about. The manufacturing sector still has quite
a sizeable number of vital companies in operation.


      Of particular note are, mercifully, companies that manufacture
essential commodities such as cooking oil, soap and processed foods.

      Even though they may be operating at drastically reduced capacities
due to the acute shortage of foreign currency with which to import additives
which cannot be locally sourced, the sector is still a source of some form
of solace.

      The mining sector too is still tottering along in a show of remarkable
resilience.

      Apart from these two, however, the economy of this country, in
particular agriculture and tourism which had become the country's two major
foreign currency earners, has virtually collapsed.

      And the cause of that collapse can, in the main, be traced to
corruption in both the public and private sectors.

      The government has imposed one fund after another for causes which, on
the face of it, are legitimate and noble, even though they have clearly
overburdened the wage-earner whose income tax on its own is already one of
the highest in the world.

      There was, for instance, the Drought Levy. It was one of those
necessary evils as it was generally believed the government had no choice
but to stave off starvation by literally forcing the "haves" - mainly the
urban workers - to share the little they had with the "have-nots" - mainly
rural peasants.

      After all the devastating drought which robbed them of their
capability to feed themselves was not of their own making. But what then
followed after the money started flowing into the fund became one of the
worst case studies in the misuse and abuse of public funds by any government
anywhere in the world. In a bid to prop Zanu PF's fast-waning political
fortunes characterised by rapidly dwindling support in both urban and rural
areas, the government decided to use drought relief food as a way of
regaining that lost support.

      Positive proof - producing a Zanu PF membership card - became the sole
ticket to getting food aid for the starving rural people.That the practice
was profoundly evil could never be in question.

      But there was a more painful aspect to it. Elderly rural people known
to have sons or daughters working in towns and suspected to not support Zanu
PF were denied that food aid.

      It was so painful because they were the parents of the people, the
urban working class, who were paying for the purchase of that food.

      Here was a classic case of the government biting the hand that fed it.
None of the other funds the government has since set up, including that of
controversial National Social Security Authority, has been spared the blight
of official graft.

      The latest is the Aids Levy. Even as the outrage over the government's
extremely ill-conceived decision to unlawfully dip its fingers into that
fund to take out $60 million for allocation to a beauty pageant, which is
supposed to be privately sponsored, continued rising to a crescendo, news of
more abuse surfaced last week.

      A report by Eric Harid, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, released
last Tuesday, made the alarming revelation that $96 million of the taxpayers
' money was embezzled from that same Aids Levy fund.

      It is indeed alarming, but hardly surprising considering that the
people who control the fund were hand-picked by the government from among
Zanu PF's most faithful supporters and everyone ought to know that wherever
there is Zanu PF there is corruption.

      The only solution is to keep government completely out of the
administration of any such funds.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Zanu PF oddly doing the imperialists' job for them

      10/7/02 9:12:37 AM (GMT +2)



      SOMETIMES it is helpful to remind ourselves that our problems, great
as they are, are part of a global situation that is changing rapidly, and
usually not for the better.


      Zimbabweans - and Rhodesians before them - have been accused of acting
and thinking as if their problems and achievements were something very
special, deserving more attention than everyone else's.

      We sometimes need to remind ourselves that other people have problems
too.
      If they don't have a bad government and growing poverty, they are very
lucky.
      But if they don't have drought and famine, they may have floods and
disease.
      So it is worth quoting a letter I received from a Nicaraguan friend,
who knows something of our situation because she worked at their embassy
here in the days when "Free Nicaragua" under the Sandinistas and
newly-independent Zimbabwe looked hopeful places.

      Both have changed since then. She starts by saying: "Don't worry if
the news is bad, that is the norm in the world today."

      Yes, I can agree with that. I can even feel a little consoled by it.
We are not struggling on our own. But I was a bit shocked when she went on:
"If you are bad, we are equal or worse."

      What can be worse, I ask myself, than a politically motivated plan to
starve half our people to death, the theft of our elections and the constant
threats of violence by people who are never challenged by the "authorities"?
(I am not exaggerating about the plan behind the coming famine: Didymus
Mutasa said recently: "We would be better off with only six million people,
with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all
these extra people."), but read on and you can see that Nicaragua's
situation may be as bad as ours.

      "The corruption here is horrible. It has robbed the country of more
than US$1 billion (Z$55 billion).

      Of course, the money is in northern countries' banks, but we are
continuously being pressured by the international financial institutions to
pay more taxes, to put people out of their jobs. And, of course, they do
nothing to stop the robbery of the politicians, their closest partners.

      "I just came from a field trip and found communities, even close to
Managua, where people are eating only a tortilla a day. Some of them faint
and have serious health problems. I work almost half of my time in rural or
poor communities, and can appreciate the fast worsening situation.

      "Recently the USA has been putting a lot of pressure on the
government, to punish President Aleman and fellows. Yesterday their
ambassador said that if Nicaragua doesn't do its job, the USA will extradite
him and put him in jail in the USA.

      "Unfortunately for Aleman, he had signed an agreement with them,
thinking to take revenge on the Sandinistas.

      "The USA is worried about the immigration of thousands of people to
their country and not our condition.

      "On the other hand, with the (pan-American) trade agreements, we are
left with nothing, but more poverty. Since under them, even natural
resources are being sold to transnational companies at ridiculous prices."

      If you still say our situation is unique and as bad as it could
possibly be, I would suggest that there may be people in Nicaragua who feel
the same about their situation.

      Our situation, whoever we are, is always special from our point of
view because it is ours.

      Nobody can experience my situation the way I do. That is true, but
look again at the description of Nicaragua and you see it is part of a
global picture, so it is difficult to say which part of the picture is
really the worst. There is a global war going on.

      President George W Bush's "war on terrorism" is a part of it. That is
the military part of
      a world war waged by the rich against the poor.

      The livelihood of poor communities throughout Central America is being
destroyed at a greater pace than ever before: that is part of the big
economic war.

      The military "war on terrorism" leaves the US in control of the
oilfields of Central Asia and if Afghanistan got destroyed in the process,
that is just what they call "collateral damage".

      It is recolonisation and it is happening very fast. So a lot of what
our leaders say about the evil intentions of the big powers is true.

      But if they really believe what they are saying, they behave very
strangely.

      It was quite a good idea to refuse to repay International Monetary
Fund loans, but it would have been reasonable to cut foreign currency
spending on luxuries like official limousines and overseas trips.

      And the President should have stopped using a helicopter for travel
within the country.

      It is not a very good idea to spend what little real money we have on
buying the services of people like Ari Ben-Menashe and Nicholas van
Hoogstraden to get us dubious friends and overpriced jet fighters.

      It was necessary to remove the intransigent white farmers, but not
very intelligent to drive away the workers who were best able to continue
farming those farms productively.

      Companies are forced out of business if you make importers sell goods
for less than they paid for them, and if you don't pay for the goods you
buy - such as party T-shirts for the election.

      Since Tony Blair doesn't seem to want to come here on holiday and his
wife isn't pining for the delights of shopping in our flea markets, you
"sanction" Britain by turning away the few British tourists who do come -
undermining what is left of your tourist industry.

      In short, Zanu PF is doing the imperialists' job for them.

      I wonder why.
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe may be headed for worse famine

      10/7/02 9:06:00 AM (GMT +2)


      Farming Reporter

      The dry spell that is currently affecting Zimbabwe is likely to
continue to early next year, a situation which is likely to worsen the
famine plaguing the country.


      Jean-Marie Fritsch, the senior scientific officer at the World
Meteorological Organisation's department of hydrology and water resources,
said this was the likely scenario after Sadc's Drought Monitoring Centre in
Harare released a bleak forecast for the region.

      Speaking at a conference on water management at Alliance Francaise on
Thursday, Fritsch said the forecast report released in September held little
promise of a wet season.

      The report said there was a 40 percent chance Zimbabwe would receive
average rainfall between January and March 2003 and a 35 percent probability
of below average rains in the same period.

      The most alarming statistic was there was only a 25 percent
possibility of above average rainfall early next year.

      Fritsch said, "A forecast is never 100 percent accurate so the region
might or might not get sufficient rain as the weather is unpredictable. We
have experienced such situations in the last few years."

      He said there was need for short-term and seasonal weather monitoring
systems to ensure that countries in the region were at least minimally
prepared for weather extremes like drought and floods.

      Fritsch also noted there was need for increased regional co-operation
on the exchange of information on weather patterns as weather was not
restricted by borders. The global water situation is near catastrophic as
only two percent of all water bodies are fresh and therefore fit for
consumption. A billion people world-wide are threatened by lack of clean
water sources. The situation is compounded by the fact that out of the world
's six billion inhabitants, 2,4 billion have no access to sanitary
facilities.

      This has prompted some people to say the wars of this century will be
over water as opposed to oil. The just-ended Earth Summit in Johannesburg
resolved to reduce the number of people without access to clean water and
sanitary facilities by half by 2015.

      Fritsch urged the hydrological community to catch up with their
meteorological counterparts in the struggle to ensure the availability of
water to everyone.
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Daily News

Feature

      Bound by the very chains of our freedom

      10/7/02 9:06:12 AM (GMT +2)


      I LOVE Zimbabwe since it is my only motherland.

      I will never deny my special attachment to Zimbabwe. It would only be
through the workings of insanity that I should find myself foolishly denying
myself that exclusive right of belonging. I also think that only an insane
person would want to deny me my claim.

      My love for Zimbabwe may not mean that I will acquiesce to open abuse
by the apparent derangement of authority.

      I will not let the rabid talk of colonialism and slavery take me down.
I shall not let my spirits get bogged down with idle talk of some persons on
a senseless defence of a hegemony gone haywire.

      I shall remain what I am - a Zimbabwean given to the freedom of
speech, movement and association as enshrined in our unadulterated
Constitution.

      I fear that there are some people who think Zimbabwe is theirs to run
exclusively and in the process ruin it extensively.

      I fear to be found under that umbrella where I am meant to belong to a
person, not an institution.

      I fear being pronounced as property of someone. I think this fear
applies to most Zimbabweans. The people belong to Zimbabwe, and not to an
individual.

      Zimbabwe too belongs to Zimbabweans, black, white, coloured and all.
There is no way an individual can sanely proclaim that Zimbabwe and her
people belong to him or her. If a person is given to such preposterous
claims, the results are always catastrophic.

      My observations are as a result of the stormy Earth Summit held in
South Africa.
      That there was a diplomatic mix-up at the Earth Summit is not a
subject to be denied. Our own television station, which is obsessed with
diplomatic scoops, is basking in the glories of an undiplomatic diplomatic
row.

      The footage of the diplomatic coup is being played with unlimited
zeal, uncensored and un-appended. As a Zimbabwean that is where I detect
something gone terribly wrong. I sense that the "diplomatic coup" has more
to it behind the scenes than what we see at its face value. I see disaster
following the diplomatic coup. My assertion is that all diplomatic coups are
not always diplomatic!

      Allow me to take you back in time to Baghdad in 1990. In that fair
Persian city there existed a man called Saddam Hussein, and sadly he still
exists today. The man was overly obsessed with building what was termed big
guns; guns that could fire trajectiles in similar circumstances as ordinary
rifles do, but with chilling and devastating effects.

      Saddam thought that he was big. He grew big-headed and he amassed his
army on his borders with Kuwait. I remember Javier Perez de Cuellar, the
United Nations Secretary General then, meeting with Tariq Aziz, the Foreign
Minister of Iraq, in an effort to diffuse the situation. The UN Secretary
General left empty-handed as Iraqi forces marched into Kuwait on the day
after the meeting.

      Saddam annexed Kuwait in a military operation that took a few hours.
The world was amazed at the speed with which Saddam took over the little,
oil-rich country. Saddam surprised many people as he went into another
military confrontation after a long and costly seesaw war with neighbouring
Iran. The oil wells of Iraq once again managed to oil Saddam's war machine
into top gear.

      When I heard of Saddam's exploits, I thought the world had finally
made a real man out of so many men who were mere impostors. I liked Saddam.
I revered him for his exploits and courage.

      When Desert Hope was instituted, I thought that the Americans and
their allies were going to meet their match.

      I had read of the impressive record of the Republican Guard in the war
with Iran. It is said that each time Iran made territorial gains into Iraq,
the Iraqis would unleash the Republican Guard who would account for
themselves excellently. I saw the Republican Guard pulverising the
American-led force should war start.

      Inevitably, war started with American jets firing salvos of cruise
missiles into Iraqi towns in an operation called Desert Storm. Saddam
welcomed the commencement of hostilities as the beginning of "the mother of
all wars". In my blind support for a dictator, I began to imagine the
humiliation that was going to be suffered by the American Allies.

      When Saddam fired his first Scud missiles into Israel, I admired the
man as a great visionary with a great spine.

      Within a month of the war, Saddam's resistance began to wane. I lost
faith in the man I had previously seen as a hero.

      Up to today, Saddam Hussein has lived in the embarrassment of that
defeat, and in a few weeks' time, he may be handed another one. This time he
may never live to retreat into a bunker in one of his many palaces, but he
may find himself living next door to Slobodan Milosevic.

      People may wonder why I had to digress from the issue I alluded to in
the first place. The issue was on colonialism, imperialism and the feeling
of belonging to the institution called Zimbabwe, minus the crude feeling
that resembles someone who is institutionalised in a mental health care
facility.

      So, the Earth Summit gave us the "Iron Man of Africa". The advent of
the "Iron Man of Africa" takes us back to two "iron persons" that have been
given to us by history - Margaret Thatcher and Saddam Hussein.

      On the contrary, we are the laughing stock. We are hungry and sick.
      We are chained by the very chains we thought we were freeing ourselves
from when we went to war.

      We are nowhere!
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Planet Ark

South Africa offers to mill GM food for stricken region


ANGOLA: October 7, 2002


      LUANDA - South Africa offered last week to mill 600,000 tonnes of
genetically modified grains sitting at its ports while hunger-stricken
countries in the region decide whether or not to accept the gene-altered
foods.


      Regional leaders said in a communique at the end of a two-day annual
summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that they had
allowed individual countries to make the choice of accepting or rejecting GM
food aid.
      "Summit welcomed with gratitude an offer of 100,000 tonnes of maize by
South Africa to be distributed through the World Food Programme and the
milling at its own cost of 600,000 tonnes of GMO maize currently stored at
South African ports," the communique said.

      The United Nations estimates 14.4 million people from Zimbabwe,
Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland are facing severe food
shortages. Of these, only Zambia has outrightly rejected GM relief. Lesotho
and Swaziland have not made their stand known, but the uncertainty and
reluctance has led to lengthy delays in shipping.

      South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki said having the food sit at the
port was sending mixed signals. Whereas the region was asking for food aid,
it looked like it did not actually need it.

      "We decided that we shall carry the cost of milling as part of South
Africa's contribution to solving the problem," he told Reuters in an
interview in Angolan capital Luanda.

      ZAMBIA STANDS BY POLICY

      Last week, Zambia's President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa said the country
had not changed its mind.

      "Zambia stands by its stance to reject GMO maize. Other countries have
accepted it because they have no choice," he told journalists in Luanda
before flying back to Lusaka.

      "The debate (by heads of state and government on GM-relief) was
lengthy, open and constructive but we made our stand known. We made it clear
that we are opposed to GMOs in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence
about its safety," he added.

      Mbeki said there was also GM maize destined for Malawi sitting at the
port of Nacala in Mozambique, but Malawi did not have the money to mill it
before sending it to the hungry.

      "President (Bakili) Muluzi (of Malawi) told me that had he known we
could mill the maize, he would have had it discharged in Durban instead of
Nacala," he added.

      If a country accepted GM relief, it had to launch awareness campaigns
to ensure that GM maize was not planted and it was milled into flour before
distribution, the group said.

      South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe already have legislation on
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) while some member states are in the
process of enacting GMO legislation.

      The leaders renewed their appeals to international donors to avert a
major humanitarian crisis, adding they had received $183 million for food
aid and $12 million for non-food items against a joint SADC/UN appeal for a
total $611 million.

      "Summit called upon the SADC Secretariat to intensify its resource
mobilisation efforts," it said, referring to its fresh calls for
international donors to come to its rescue to avert a major humanitarian
crisis.



      Story by Manoah Esipisu
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Excerpt from
All Africa News Agency - BULLETIN No. 39/02 (c)

The land reform policy in Zimbabwe for example has had a dramatic impact on
the commercial food surpluses which were produced before. And there is the
discussion about genetically modified food to which some of the countries
have strong objections.

A school in a village 700 kilometres southwest of Harare reports that
pupils fall asleep in class from exhaustion. It is said that many now eat
only one small meal a day and that the poorest are forced to beg for a
handful of corn meal from their neighbours.

Resorting to one meal per day for a family has a severe nutritional impact
especially on children, pregnant women, elderly and disabled people.  An
estimated six million of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people are threatened by
the hunger crisis. The government has declared the hunger situation in the
country a national disaster.

With the current drought and disruptions on commercial farms it is
estimated that the grain harvest will drop by more than 50 percent this
year compared to last year. Most of the maize crops, the major source of
food in the country, wilted due to the persistent drought from January
through March in most parts of the country.

The maize harvest dropped  by around percent compared with the yield of 1.4
tons in 2000/2001. In addition all other crops were also affected by the
mid-season water deficit resulting in total crop failure in most parts of
the country.
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From News24 (SA), 6 October


Zim tanks running on empty


Harare - The government on Sunday blamed severe gasoline shortages on
hoarding of fuel 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 on Monday, the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper
reported. It quoted the energy ministry as 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 rumours 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 $9m 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 signed a
new oil deal with Libya on September 11 to supply $30m 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 Aug. 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%.
More than half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people face severe food shortages.
The Sunday Mail, meanwhile, reported 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.
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From The Zimbabwe Standard, 6 October


Makoni school heads may not talk about starvation


By Farai Mutsaka


Zanu PF Makoni district chairman, Nathaniel Mhiripiri, who is known for
terrorising opposition supporters in the area, has warned headmasters and
teachers in Makoni not to talk publicly about the current food shortages or
any other hardships facing the country, The Standard has learnt. Addressing
headmasters from Makoni at John Cowie Primary school on Tuesday, Mhiripiri
warned that starving villagers in the area would receive no food assistance
if they failed to rid the area of opposition supporters. "Mhiripiri said
Zanu PF would willingly provide food aid if there were no MDC supporters in
the area. But if the villagers continued to tolerate opposition elements in
the area, they would not benefit from any government assistance," said a
headmaster who attended the meeting. Another headmaster also at the meeting
said they were surprised at Mhiripiri's presence there. He had arrived in
the company of Makoni North MP Didymus Mutasa, war veterans and members of
the Zanu PF Women's League. "The regional director (Lina Nhiwatiwa) told us
that the ministry had found it necessary to invite Mutasa and his team as it
was important for teachers, as professionals, to work with the government of
the day," said the headmaster.


Despite being hard hit by famine, villagers in Makoni have not been
receiving food aid and they suspect they are being punished for supporting
the opposition. In both the 2000 general election and the March presidential
poll, the ruling party managed to beat the opposition MDC by a few thousand
votes. The headmasters said Mhiripiri told them the ban was being imposed to
stop them from publicly speaking about the current problems facing the
country and inciting the public against government. "Everyone present was
surprised when Mhiripiri said we could not even speak on any issues relating
to hardships, food shortages and food distribution as this would incite the
public against Zanu PF. He also told us in no uncertain terms that we would
be in trouble if we were suspected of having links with the MDC. Mutasa,
however, said those doing Zanu PF work should continue to do so as they were
serving the government of the day," said a headmaster who attended the
meeting.


Mhiripiri could not be reached for comment throughout last week. His
colleague, Mutasa refused to speak to The Standard when contacted for
comment: "I don't want to speak to you people from The Standard because you
lie too much," he said. Pressed further, Mutasa said: "I thought it was you
people who are always talking about freedom. Why then are you refusing me my
freedom not to speak to you. I am entitled to that. You are now harassing me
by forcing me to speak to you. Please put your receiver down because if I
cut my phone you will say I am rude." Efforts to get comment from Nhiwatiwa
were fruitless as she was said to have taken the day off on Friday. Mutasa,
a former cabinet minister who also held the influential post of Zanu PF
secretary for administration, was booted out of government and subsequently
demoted to secretary for external affairs in the party's supreme body, the
politburo. Although Mutasa is said to have been quiet throughout the
meeting, his presence was nevertheless intimidating. "He sat quietly
throughout the meeting, but then people were terrified by his presence,"
said a headmaster.


Political violence has engulfed Makoni since the 2000 general election. Only
last month, scores of aspiring MDC candidates for the local government
elections were intimidated out of the election by marauding ruling party
supporters and officials. "It was such a sensitive meeting that most
headmasters felt that to resign was the only option. There is too much
politics involved now and we are always at risk of being harassed. Sometimes
you have teachers spending days on end doing Zanu PF business and we cannot
even discipline them. They have become a law unto themselves. We cannot
continue to work in such an environment," complained the headmaster.
Teachers countrywide have been the targets of harassment and intimidation by
ruling party hooligans and war veterans who accuse them of spreading
opposition propaganda to illiterate villagers. Efforts to obtain protection
from the ministry of education have been in vain with education minister,
Aeneas Chigwedere, warning teachers that they had to face the music if they
involved themselves in politics.
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Inter Press Service News Agency

RIGHTS:
Anti-Racism Meeting Targets Europe for Compensation

Bert Wilkinson

Africans and descendants of Africans have agreed to establish a global
organisation to help them fight for compensation from nations that
participated in the slave trade.
The Pan African Movement was the main outcome of a week-long meeting of more
than 500 delegates that concluded on Sunday in Barbados, and is to deal with
issues ranging from racial profiling to poverty to the need for reparations
from Europe and the United States for the trans-Atlantic slave trade that
cost an estimated 350 million lives.

BRIDGETOWN, Oct 6 (IPS) - Africans and descendants of Africans have agreed
to establish a global organisation to help them fight for compensation from
nations that participated in the slave trade.

The Pan African Movement was the main outcome of a week-long meeting of more
than 500 delegates that concluded on Sunday in Barbados.

Participants said the body would deal with a plethora of issues, from racial
profiling to poverty to the need for reparations from Europe and the United
States for the trans-Atlantic slave trade that cost an estimated 350 million
lives.

The conference was billed as the first major follow-up to last year's United
Nations anti-racism gathering in South Africa that designated slavery as a
crime against humanity.

The new organisation ''is very important to us'', said Muntu Matsimela, a
U.S. delegate. ''We have to work for the realisation of the goal of complete
compensation and restitution,'' he told the conference to loud applause.

Delegates said the new body is important, because the reparations issue is
gathering steam in several regions of the world, including the United
States, where attorneys in March filed a class action lawsuit against three
companies with ties to the slave trade.

Leaders of the reparations movement argued here that many precedents exist
for nations compensating peoples for historical wrongs, such as Germany
paying Israel for the horrors of the Holocaust.

''The Durban declaration on race as a crime helped to make reparations a
legitimate case and any such case has to be taken seriously now. The rest is
for us to do,'' said Khafra Kambon, chairman of Trinidad's emancipation
support committee.

The conference decided to proceed with lawsuits in the next year against
Britain, Germany, Belgium and France and to launch actions against Portugal,
Spain and Holland later.

In the case of Britain, Jamaican attorneys have already started proceedings,
serving a writ on Queen Elizabeth when she visited Jamaica in February.

Buckingham Palace has acknowledged the Queen's receipt of the documents and
this week the Jamaican High Court heard pre-trial motions in the case.

Delegates say France is being targeted because it forced Haiti to pay 150
million Francs to declare itself a republic after Haitian slaves defeated
French colonial forces in 1804.

Haitian governments were made to pay the money from 1825 to 1922 as
compensation for French property destroyed during the slave uprising.

Delegates say the money could have been used to kick start development
projects on the island of eight million.

Matsimela said the new body would also help collect and gather information
on black issues, including current work by unrelated groups to sue
governments and corporations for reparations.

The move to set up the world body was one of the key decisions taken at the
meeting, marred only by a majority floor vote on Wednesday to expel all
non-Africans from the conference.

Delegates like conference chairperson Jewel Crawford argued that blacks
needed their own space to discuss issues and that the expulsion of others
was merely the democratic process at work, not a policy decision of
organisers.

Angered by the decision and calling it reverse racism, several delegations
and parts of others abandoned the meeting on Friday, following hours of
failed negotiations to reach a compromise.

Participants from Cuba, some French overseas territories, part of the South
African team, and the lone black Colombian and Russian delegates left the
meeting.

''Many of the delegates in the room felt that this was an African family
meeting and that slavery was too painful to discuss in the presence of
others,'' said U.S.-born Crawford.

The Barbados government, which on the one hand partly funds the local Pan
African Movement and on the other depends on tourist dollars from mostly
white visitors, distanced itself from the decision.

The conference also passed resolutions demanding an end to modern day
slavery in Mauritania and Sudan, following a presentation by Bakary Tandai,
the lone Mauritanian delegate at the meeting.

Tandai said that at least 900,000 people out of a Mauritanian population of
2.3 million are slaves or live in slave-like conditions.

''The conference condemns all forms of slavery in the two countries and the
destruction of black African culture by forced Arabisation,'' a resolution
stated.

Zimbabwe land reform got a sympathetic hearing following an account by
delegate Sabelo Sibanda.

''Be it resolved that we recognise President Mugabe and the Government of
Zimbabwe as the structure to deal with the land reform program in Zimbabwe,
and we applaud and support the courage and foresight of President Mugabe for
embarking upon the land reform program,'' another resolution said.

The meeting also called on African governments to grant full citizenship to
Africans living around the world as a result of the slave trade, saying they
should be allowed to claim a piece of the motherland.

''The conference resolves that African governments give all Africans in the
diaspora the immediate and unfettered right to return to any African state
to claim their ancestral citizenship rights,'' said a resolution.

Government should also prepare information packages to make it easy for
interested persons to resettle on the continent, it added. Such documents
would explain ways of buying land, investing in the economy and assimilating
into local cultures, among other things. (END)
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iafrica.com

Cops bust China-bound perlemoen load
Posted Mon, 07 Oct 2002

Limpopo police and customs officials at Hoedspruit international airport
were on Sunday questioning the pilot and co-pilot of a Swazi plane that was
illegally ferrying perlemoen worth an estimated R3-million.

Police believe the consignment originated in Cape Town and was being
smuggled to China via Zimbabwe.

The plane reportedly had developed engine problems which forced it to land
at Hoedspruit.

Captain Moatshe Ngoepe said the possibility of more arrests being made could
not be ruled out.
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Breaking News
(On behalf of Justice for Agriculture)

Reports received from the Lowveld indicate that over 60 cane farmers are
packing to leave on instructions issued today by Government, Police and Army
officials, who upon issuing the instruction to leave said that their order
supercedes any existing High Court Rulings.

At 10:00 am, 7th October 2002, the assistant District Administrator, Mr
Mateko, called for all farmers to attend a meeting, where they were informed
that they have all to be off their farms by 08:00am 8th October 2002. The
meeting was addressed by a group numbering approximately 20 made up of local
officials, lands committee chairman, Officers in charge, Zimbabwe Republic
Police, Central Intelligence Organisation, and a representative from the
Presidents Office who remained silent throughout.

The group instructed that all farmers, Section 8 or not, were to leave.
Approximately 55 farmers attended the meeting. 15 of them had been arrested
previously and had had their cases thrown out. Others had Court orders in
their favour and some had no valid acquisition notices. In response to a
question regarding the authenticity of this order when there were High Court
orders in farmers favour, the assistance DA and a Police officer said that
their instructions were above High Court Orders.

The 60 farmers each employ about 60 staff, approximately 360 employees face
retrenchment by month end when the cane is reaped. This could translate to
1980 people displaced by this sweeping and illegal order.

Farmers in the area have been promised by the DA that they will not be
evicted as their farms fall in the maximum farm size regulation and several
are single owned farms.

In a related development, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) phoned a
farmer at 10:30 last night and he was called into an hour long meeting in
their offices from 11 to midnight. The farmer was told that all farmers
would have to get off or else......

Sugar, the majority of which is grown in the Lowveld, is one of the
commodities in short supply in Zimbabwe. We await news of developments
tomorrow.

Ends
7th October 2002

Contact Jenni Williams on 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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MSNBC

Animals, wildlife among casualties of political of chaos in Zimbabwe

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oct. 7 -        NYABIRA, Zimbabwe - Bonnie, a golden Labrador, wagged her
tail playfully for the last time Monday before she died.
       She is one of 600 dogs that once guarded now-abandoned white-owned
farms being put down by veterinarians in a blitz of euthanasia.
       The dogs, along with hundreds of domestic pets, horses, swans and
even goldfish, are innocent victims in Zimbabwe's political unrest, animal
welfare workers say.
       ''People have suffered in this, but the animals have no mouth to
speak, no ability to make other plans, they are the silent victims of the
tragedy,'' said Meryll Harrison, head of the independent Zimbabwe National
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
       Harrison strokes Bonnie's fur gently, and veterinarian Anthony
Donohoe pumps the phenylbarbitone into a vein in the dog's right foreleg
that will take the fatal drug straight to her heart and vital organs in a
second or two.
       ''It's all right, sweetheart, it's all right,'' Harrison holds and
comforts the Labrador as she slumps, her eyelids flutter and she quietly
dies.
       Her body is laid alongside the dogs that came before her. Farther
away, a 12-foot deep grave has been dug for the 24 dogs put down Monday in
the once thriving farming community of Nyabira, 20 miles northwest of
Harare, the capital. Graves nearby hold the remains of 130 other guard dogs
put down since Friday.
       About 440 others will also die, abandoned by the security company
that owned them when it collapsed a week ago.
       ''I cannot think of anywhere else in the world where 600 dogs have to
be put down because all we can provide them with is a dignified death,''
Harrison said.
       The security company provided crop guards and protection for some 300
white farmers in the Trelawney and Darwindale tobacco and corn district. It
shut down after most of the farms were seized under a government program to
take white-owned land and give it to blacks.
       The government has targeted 95 percent of the nation's 5,000
white-owned properties for confiscation. Many of the farmers were ordered to
leave their land by Aug. 8. Ruling party militants have attacked or
threatened many of those that defied the eviction order.
       Since 2000, when the militants began occupying white-owned farms and
the government said it would seize the land, animal welfare officials have
seen animal abuse and cruelty on ''a huge scale,'' Harrison said.
       As farmers fled, horses, chickens, domestic pets, hamsters, cranes,
geese, swans, hand-reared lion cubs, at least one tamed baby elephant and
even goldfish were abandoned, she said.
       Some animals had their tendons cut by militants. Some were clubbed.
Others were slashed, axed or torched to death in hay.
       In the collapsing agricultural economy, farmers were forced to sell
pregnant cows for slaughter. Where fences were broken down, sheep ran loose
and pigs fled their sheltered styes.
       ''We found sows lying exhausted and sunburned, unable to move, and
boars unused to each other that had fought each other to the death,''
Harrison said. ''We saw a cow with an ax embedded in its back and horses
with open blade wounds.''
       Conservation groups have also reported the hunting and killing of
more than half of the nation's small game animals as well as endangered
rhinos bred in nature preserves.
       Deer and African antelope have been sighted in some impoverished
areas for the first time in 40 years. They apparently fled a wave of
poaching on seized game farms, and now face the traditional snares and traps
and half-wild dogs usually used by local hunters to kill rabbits, rodents
and birds.
       Conservationist Gill Munn said her animal welfare group rescued 83
horses, but had to put down 27 of them while searching for homes for the
others.
       Donohoe said his veterinary practice in Harare was putting down about
60 domestic pets - about 10 of them cats - each week as farmers and others
leave in the worst economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980.
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BBC
 
Monday, 7 October, 2002, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Zimbabwe fuel shortages worsen
Queuing for petrol
Fuel shortages are gripping the country again
The fuel crisis gripping Zimbabwe is all the fault of hoarders and foreign truckers taking advantage of heavily subsidised prices, according to the government.

On Monday a commission of inquiry is expected to deliver a report on the fuel shortages, which have seen queues extending for hundreds of metres outside petrol stations.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper - whose government-related content is largely dictated by information minister Jonathan Moyo - said the inquiry had found that private distributors were hoarding fuel to drive up prices.

But independent media outlets speculated that Zimbabwe's deal with Libya, the source of most of the oil the cash-strapped country uses, was in trouble.

Bargaining with Tripoli

Energy Minister Reuben Marumahoko told the Sunday Mail that the state-owned Noczim fuel company was releasing the usual amounts of petrol and diesel.

Zimbabwe's normal daily consumption of 1.9 million litres of diesel and 1.2 million litres of petrol was being met in full, he insisted.

That meant it had to be distributors causing the trouble, he said, although he also blamed foreign truckers - probably helped by immigration officials - for coming into Zimbabwe to fill up with subsidised fuel.

But the South African Sunday Times newspaper saw it differently, and warned that Zimbabwe's catastrophic foreign currency shortage, as well as the damage to agriculture from the government's land reforms and from drought, meant it was unable to fulfil its side of the bargain with Libya.

A new deal with Tripoli for US$30m (19.2m) of petrol a month was signed on 11 September this year, but $63m in outstanding arrears from the old deal meant Libya wanted hard cash before releasing any more fuel, the paper said.

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Reuters

      07 Oct 2002 19:48
      Zimbabwe opposition urges UN crisis intervention

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      HARARE, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
urged the United Nations on Monday to work with regional and international
bodies in finding a solution to the country's political crisis.

      Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is
mounting a legal challenge to President Robert Mugabe's victory at March
elections -- which the international community has also condemned as
fraudulent -- and wants the courts to order a re-run.

      The MDC says supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party have
maintained a campaign of violence since the polls, and that several
opposition supporters have been killed.

      "The new infrastructure of state sponsored violence and terror that is
now in place is...a clear demonstration of the regime's determination to
settle the issue of its illegitimacy by military means," Tsvangirai told
some 300 participants at a public meeting in Harare on the country's crisis.

      "Perhaps it is now time that the United Nations, through the Security
Council...joins the democratic forces in Zimbabwe, SADC (Southern African
Development Community) and the Commonwealth in finding an internationally
guaranteed lasting peace to the Zimbabwe crisis," he added.

      The 14-nation SADC unexpectedly replaced Zimbabwe last Thursday as
deputy chair of the group at its annual summit in Angola in what diplomats
said was a sign of the region's displeasure with Mugabe's policies.

      The Commonwealth, a grouping of mainly former British colonies, has
imposed travel sanctions on Zimbabwe's ruling elite over the discredited
March poll.

      Zimbabwe was plunged into its current crisis in 2000 when
pro-government militants, led by veterans of the 1970s liberation war, began
invading white-owned farms in support of a government drive to redistribute
the land among landless blacks.

      Mugabe says his resettlement programme is aimed at correcting
imbalances in land ownership created by British colonialism.

      The opposition says the government has used the land issue to divert
attention from an economic crisis it blames on Mugabe's mismanagement since
assuming power at independence in 1980.

      Acute food shortages are affecting over six million Zimbabweans. The
government blames the shortages solely on drought but critics also point to
farm disturbances linked to the land reforms.
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