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

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Zim Independent

High Court rules farmers can return
Vincent Kahiya
THE High Court has ruled that a magistrate cannot set as a bail condition
the eviction of a farmer arrested for defying a Section 8 notice.

In his ruling this week, Justice Lawrence Kamocha said magistrates did not
have the powers to do so, as it was "wrong in law to impose such a

Hundreds of farmers have in the past four weeks been arrested for defying
eviction notices. A number who have been granted bail have been ordered by
magistrates not to return to their farms. But Justice Kamocha upheld an
application by farmers to have that condition removed.

He was ruling in the case in which 10 commercial farmers appealed to the
High Court to have their bail conditions revised.

"They were aggrieved by that condition and appealed to this court," said
Justice Kamocha.

"Quite clearly the magistrates did not have the power in law to impose such
conditions which can only be imposed on people who have been convicted. The
appellants have not been convicted."

State counsel Elizabeth Ziyambi had argued that a magistrate had the
discretion to impose any condition in a bail application.

"I did not understand the state counsel to suggest that the magistrate has a
licence to impose conditions which are contrary to the law," Kamocha said.

Heads of argument by lawyers representing the farmers pointed to political
pressure that had been brought to bear on magistrates. - Staff Writer
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Zim Independent

Army used to enforce land grab
Blessing Zulu/Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT is expanding the role of the Zimbabwe National Army which it has
conscripted to implement its land programme, it emerged this week.

The army has of late been heavily involved in the enforcement of the land
reform programme with officers reportedly evicting commercial farmers who
defied the August 10 deadline.

Unofficial army sources this week said new recruits, mainly graduates from
the Border Gezi Training Centre attested into the army, would be deployed
onto the farms to effect evictions and help with logistics.

Justice for Agriculture, a commercial farmers' representative grouping
challenging the legitimacy of the ongoing evictions, confirmed there was an
increase in the army's involvement and use of firearms.

"Prominent faces of war veterans who spearheaded farm invasions since 2000
have suddenly disappeared," JAG spokesperson Jennie Williams told the
Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.

"War veterans have been replaced by well-known military personnel who are
behind the latest wave of ultimatums and evictions taking place in
Mashonaland West, Central, and East."

She said the use of firearms, reported this week, had not previously been

"Firearms were used before but not at this rate, which makes the farming
community suspect there is a change of personalities commanding the land
seizures," she said.

JAG said at Renoc Farm owned by the Cochranes in the Karoi area, about 25
shots were fired on Wednesday.

"A group of 60-70 people arrived at the farm and three were armed with
automatic shotguns and an FN," JAG said.

"At Mema Estates in Banket, one Major Murombedzi armed with an Uzi automatic
rifle and in the company of two Libyans and others, forced the owner to flee
his house last Saturday. At Wicklow Farm in the Selous area near Chegutu,
the farm owners were last Thursday forced to temporarily leave their farm
for security reasons following the police, army and CIO giving them 24-hours
notice to vacate their farm," JAG said.
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Zim Independent

Zim unlikely to be on Club agenda
Vincent Kahiya
ZIMBABWE is unlikely to be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs
Ministers meeting to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General
Assembly in New York tomorrow.

However, the South African government has said President Thabo Mbeki would
try to meet with his counterparts in the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe,
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, to discuss the growing crisis across the Limpopo.

Zimbabwe is unlikely to come up in the foreign ministers' meeting as the
troika, which is a higher authority, currently had the sole mandate to deal
with the problem.

This week South Africa's deputy Foreign minister Aziz Pahad said Mbeki would
try to meet Obasanjo and Howard.

"If they are all there at the same time, it is expected that they will try
to meet to tackle the Commonwealth find in some way a solution
to the situation in Zimbabwe," Pahad told Reuters.

"There is an economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the food situation is quite
dramatic, tensions are still very high."

Opposition MDC Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe could
not escape world attention.

"There is no bigger issue in the Commonwealth today than Zimbabwe," said

"Mbeki is embarrassed with what took place in South Africa," he said in
reference to the attack on British Prime Minister Tony Blair by President
Mugabe and his Namibian counterpart Sam Nujoma, and the booing of US
secretary of State Colin Powell.

"He knows that Blair and Powell were not happy and when Mbeki hugged Powell
at the end of his speech it was like an apology.

"Mbeki knows that his projects like Nepad and the African Union will not
work as long as Mugabe remains a constant reminder of the past that other
leaders like Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal) and John Kufuor (Ghana) are trying to
get away from," he said.

A statement from the Commonwealth secretariat office this week said
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon will convene a meeting of
Comonwealth Foreign ministers at the United Nations Headquarters in New York
tomorrow. This will be a first-ever such meeting and follows a decision
taken by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their summit in Coolum last
March that the secretary-general should explore opportunities for greater
interaction amongst Commonwealth Foreign ministers.

The meeting will among other things look into the developments in the
Commonwealth and the outcome of recent meetings such as the G8 Summit as
well as other issues of concern, including terrorism and Nepad.

Pahad this week said land reform in Zimbabwe must be done in an orderly way
within the rule of law and the constitution.

"(We must) . ensure that the principle of willing buyer, willing seller
becomes a reality
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Zim Independent

Only $900m for resettlement exercise
Blessing Zulu
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's much-vaunted land reform exercise is headed for
collapse amid revelations that the government has set aside a paltry $900
million for infrastructure development in resettlement areas, a figure which
falls far short of the required amount.

Government is scrambling to fund the land reform programme as all eight
provinces require an estimated $20 billion for the exercise to be a success.

Sources in the Ministry of Rural Resources and Water Development said the
money would be used over a period of two years.

"The government has budgeted only $932 284 246 for all the eight
administrative provinces, mostly for development of roads, clinics and
schools up to the year 2004," said the source.

"Part of the money will be used for transporting newly-resettled farmers,
their livestock, provide training and extension services."

The government is battling to raise $76 billion from financial institutions
who have so far refused to comply, asking government to provide acceptable

To date no guarantees have been put in place.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Independent revealed government would be floating a
$30 billion bond to assist in the agrarian reforms, and would compel all
pension funds to subscribe to the bond.

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Zim Independent

Govt steps up farm evictions
Augustine Mukaro
THE government is following up President Robert Mugabe's threat that white
farmers should leave their land by conducting another wave of mass evictions
which started last weekend.

On his return from the Earth Summit in Johannesburg last week, Mugabe said
the government would take steps to ensure that "unrepentant" white farmers
were not entitled to land in Zimbabwe.

Last weekend farmers in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and
Matabeleland North were given 24-hours to vacate their farms. There were
long convoys of trucks on the Harare/Chinhoyi Road at the weekend as evicted
farmers moved their belongings to urban areas.

Justice for Agriculture (JAG) chairman Dave Connolly said different
government agents implemented the evictions.

"In Matabeleland North the order to evict was from the governor's office; in
Mashonaland Central, East and West police and army officials were involved
in the visiting of farmers," Connolly said.

Farmers' representatives said the clampdown is likely to spread to all
farmers who defied the deadline. This has forced most farmers served with
Section 8 notices to dispose of their farming equipment as their hopes of
returning to the farming business are dashed.

A visit to yards selling second-hand farm equipment in Mt Hampden revealed
that farmers were disposing of their equipment after losing their farms to

"We are no longer taking any more equipment, the yards are full," Greg Hinde
of Tsoko Farm Sales told the Zimbabwe Independent.

"We are getting daily enquiries from displaced farmers throughout the
country wanting to dispose of their equipment. The equipment here is just
the tip of the iceberg because the past two years witnessed the sprouting of
farm implements sales companies throughout the country," he said.

Mashonaland West/South regional executive Ben Freeth said last Friday
government agents were issuing 24-hour ultimatums.

JAG vice-chairman John Worswick said most of the farmers ordered to leave
have had their eviction notices ruled invalid by the courts.

"The farming community has come under a new tense atmosphere because of
these ultimatums," Worswick told the Independent this week.

"We thought things were just progressing quietly, but now it seems there's a
major drive on."

JAG has urged farmers to stay put. Worswick said the deadline was part of a
government strategy to intimidate the farmers. The ultimatums and arrests
came exactly a month after the deadline for some 2 900 white farmers to
leave their farms, which most ignored. Their defiance sparked a police
clampdown, with more than 300 farmers arrested.

CFU Masvingo regional executive Mike Clark on Tuesday said two Gutu farmers,
Boet Jacobs and Jannie Erasmus of Bath Farm, were harassed by the police and
spent a night in jail.

"This is merely the intimidation and provocation of farmers to make them
give up and leave the land of their birth, Zimbabwe," Clark said.

In one incident, a farmer in the Doma area in Mhangura was barricaded in his
house on Saturday night after being "visited" by an army major who claimed
to have taken over the farm. The farm shop was looted on Sunday and a
tractor taken.
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Zim Independent

Chiyangwa, Zvoma clash
Godfrey Marawanyika/Blessing Zulu
THE Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, has dissociated parliament from any
involvement in the formulation of a new economic blueprint being spearheaded
by Philip Chiyangwa, chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs,
International Relations and Trade.

Chiyangwa this week shot down Zvoma's remarks saying he had clearance from
Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa.

NMB Bank of Zimbabwe are facilitators of the blueprint which is aimed at
charting the way to economic recovery.

Two weeks ago the Zimbabwe Independent reported that the committee, headed
by Chiyangwa, was meeting to draw up the economic blueprint.

Chiyangwa said the draft document would be finalised this week before being
handed over to President Robert Mugabe. Economist Newton Madzika is
compiling the final report.

While it is not doubted that Chiyangwa did meet with a number of players in
the banking and industry sectors to draw up his blueprint, his role is not
recognised by parliament itself.

In a letter to the Independent last week Zvoma denied that representatives
of banks and industry had met with the portfolio committee.

"In the first instance, there was no meeting between a parliamentary
committee and any stakeholder on the day mentioned in the Zimbabwe
Independent article," Zvoma said.

"Committees for the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament stood dissolved
when parliament was prorogued at the end of the second session and have not
been reconstituted at the time of the alleged meeting."

Zvoma said while parliament, its committees or individual members could make
inputs into any policy formulation, none of the committees in the House was
discussing any economic blueprints.

"In this particular instance, neither parliament nor any of its committees,
acting as the legislature or in collaboration with private organisations,
are involved in the drafting of an economic blueprint for the country," he

Chiyangwa this week said he had clearance from the Speaker to hold the
meeting adding the planning of the blueprint was not new.

"I do not report to Zvoma, who is he?" Chiyangwa said.

"Talk to the Speaker, he knows about this. Zvoma is not an MP and he is not
my boss. If he wants to resign and stand as an independent candidate in
Chinhoyi then he should do so, but he must know that I will beat him in
broad daylight. I am not a farce," said Chiyangwa.

Mnangagwa said when contacted for comment: "I am aware that the Clerk of
Parliament has written a letter to your paper, and that is the position of
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF youths to train in Egypt
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE Zanu PF information department has sent five youths on a media course in
Egypt, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

Sources said the youths, who recently assisted Information minister Jonathan
Moyo to mount a whirlwind propaganda drive in South Africa ahead of the
Earth Summit, left for Cairo last week for a crash course.

The youths were led by the ruling party's website manager, Thomas Matondoro,
a former Financial Gazette business reporter who helped Moyo distribute
placards and mobilise Zanu PF supporters in Hillbrow, in league with Pan
Africanist Congress members, to demonstrate support for Mugabe's land

The names of the four others were not available yesterday. They are expected
back after three weeks.

A spokesman for the Egyptian embassy confirmed five youths were in Cairo but
said they were attending an "international workshop", without providing

Zanu PF sources said another batch of youths was expected to leave for a
crash course in Cuba under the auspices of the Young Communists in a deal
confirmed by the Cuban embassy recently.

The development is part of government's strategy to vigorously market
Mugabe's current revolutionary posture and counter what it sees as its
demonisation by the media.

A ruling-party source, who was also in Johannesburg, said the strategy would
involve the creation of new NGOs and sponsoring of existing ones with a Zanu
PF outlook to pose as civil society. This was seen in Johannesburg where
Zanu PF supporters were flown down to wave anti-Tony Blair placards and show
solidarity with the president at the summit.

Included were representatives of groups like the Inyika Trust, the Gaddafi
Sisters Foundation and the Joseph Chinotimba-led Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions.

"Most of those people went there specifically to demonstrate and not to
attend the summit," a source said. "Some of the placards previously ascribed
to South African demonstrators were seen at Harare airport on the
president's return and have been seen here before."

Youth department officials declined to comment on Wednesday.
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Zim Independent

MDC to sue Zanu PF for barring candidates
Blessing Zulu
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is taking legal action
against the ruling Zanu PF for barring its candidates from contesting rural
district council elections, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The government has set September 30 as election day in all rural district
council and urban areas where there are vacancies.

MDC spokesman for legal affairs David Coltart confirmed his party would file
papers against Zanu PF.

"We are certainly taking legal action against Zanu PF for barring our
candidates from registering in the local government elections," said
Coltart. "This regime is acting in breach of the constitution and the
Electoral Act."

Coltart said they were not underestimating the local government elections as
they were crucial to the party.

"Zanu PF is using these councillors in food distribution, food for work
programmes and giving funds to the aged," he said. "All these programmes are
now politicised and used as campaign tools by the ruling party. Our members
are not benefiting from them and we hoped our councillors were going to make
them non-partisan programmes for the benefit of all Zimbabweans."

United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan raised the issue of
politicisation of food distribution when he met President Robert Mugabe on
the sidelines of the UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg last week.

The ruling party is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to retain its
stranglehold on its rural fiefdom.

"They are using a variety of tactics to tip the balance in their favour,"
Coltart said. "They are manipulating the boundaries. Some of our candidates
have mysteriously disappeared from the voters roll. In some instances the
officers simply demand that they need long birth certificates and most of
our members who did not have these were simply turned way.

"Those who were duly elected were being targeted and most of them had to
flee for their lives," he said.

Coltart said the situation in the country was getting grave. "The electoral
process is deteriorating and the situation now is worse than the
presidential election. The actions of Zanu PF is a mockery of the electoral
process making it a complete farce," he said.

Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira denied the allegations being
levelled against his party.

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Zim Independent

Police still probing VOP blast
Loughty Dube
POLICE have not abandoned investigations into the bombing of a private radio
station, Voice of the People (VOP), and are examining evidence collected at
the scene of the crime, ZRP spokesman Bothwell Mugariri said this week.

The offices of VOP in Milton Park, Harare, were bombed and destroyed last
month by unidentified attackers.

Mugariri said investigations were still on and the police would keep the
public informed of any progress made.

"We are still investigating all pieces of evidence collected at the bombing
scene and once we are through with investigations we will move ahead from
there," said Mugariri.

The bombing of the VOP offices came 22 months after unknown assailants blew
up the Daily News' $100 million printing press in Southerton in similar
circumstances. No one has been arrested over the incident and police have
not released the results of their investigations.

"The suspects we arrested last week were released after we completed
investigations on them," Mugariri said.

The VOP is a private station not licensed by the Zimbabwean government but
broadcasting from the Netherlands where it has a transmitter that transmits
signals sent by computer back to Zimbabwe.

Heavily-armed police last week stormed the house of Hatfield MP Tapiwa
Mashakada and arrested him for allegedly bombing the VOP offices.

The police said they were acting on an anonymous tip-off that Mashakada was
responsible for the bombing.

Alexio Musundire, the MDC chairman for Chitungwiza, was also asked to hand
himself over to police.

The chairperson of the VOP Board of Trustees, Faith Ndebele, said they had
not heard anything from the police on investigations concerning the bombing
of their offices.

"The police have not communicated with us on investigations into the bombing
and we do not have information on how far investigations have gone," Ndebele

She said they were still compiling an inventory to establish the property
damaged in the bomb blast.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo has alleged that VOP might have been used
by "terrorists" to store explosives.
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Zim Independent

Maize stocks critical
Augustine Mukaro
MAIZE stocks have dwindled to unprecedented levels and could run out early
next week unless the government gets fresh supplies, the latest United
Nations humanitarian report has said.

Over the past two weeks shops have not received any supplies of mealie-meal
while bread shortages have become a common feature of people's daily lives.

"The maize in the country is expected to run out during the second half of
September unless the planned imports are quickly moved into the country,"
the UN report said.

Government is understood to have suspended grain imports until the end of
the year arguing that food aid would cater for the country's needs for the
next four months.

Milling industry sources this week confirmed the government had not floated
new tenders for the importation of grain.

"If I was in a position of influence at the Grain Marketing Board I would
float tenders now because the logistics of bringing the maize into the
country is a nightmare," a source said. "If tenders are floated now, such
maize will only get into the country after six weeks at the earliest."

Food imports by humanitarian organisations, government and private players
recently granted permits to import food continue to be slow despite
government's acceptance last week of genetically-modified foods to stave off
a looming famine.

The UN report says a mere 382 965 tonnes of food had by mid-last month been
brought into the country since April.

"Food imports continue to be slow at a time when the majority of the rural
households have run out of the 2001/2 harvest," the report said.

Zimbabwe has a maize deficit of 1,1 million tonnes.

The report says despite concerted efforts to import maize being made, there
were no known plans to import wheat.

"Despite speculation that wheat stocks have already dried up because of the
current bread shortages and that this season's harvest would only be
available on the market in October, no plans are in place," says the report.

Humanitarian organisations and private companies have complained
government's bureaucratic set-up was delaying movement of imported food.

Private-sector sources said the donor community is prepared to provide grain
to Zimbabwe but the only available grain would be GM- engineered.

"The donor community, particularly in the US is prepared to avail grain that
would feed the country until next season's harvest," sources said.

Private players who have obtained licences to import food include Plan
International which has already shipped into the country 2 117 tonnes of
food, Oxfam (GB) which has been granted a permit to import a maximum of 10
000 tonnes of food per month, and recently Zimbabwe Regional Disaster
Alleviation Trust which obtained a permit to import 700 000 tonnes of which
600 000 tonnes would be maize.
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