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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Chinamasa's wife grabs prime farm

      9/20/02 9:36:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      MONICA Chinamasa, the wife of the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, has joined other VIPs in the
scramble to take over prime farms under the pretext of resettling landless

      Jenni Williams, the spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, a
farmers' group fighting for the cause of evicted commercial farmers and
those facing dispossession, said the minister's wife arrived on Rockland
Farm in Marondera last week and produced a letter from the Lands Committee,
dated 28 July 2002, signed by the district administrator. The letter
authorised her to take up 432 hectares of the property, which is owned by
Peter Baker, and comprises the homestead, all the buildings and the most
productive fields. Chinamasa yesterday said his wife had been lawfully
allotted the farm in a transparent manner and there was nothing sinister
about it.

      He said: "I am aware that she was allocated that farm after she
applied for it. There is nothing irregular about that because she was
legally allocated that land." Chinamasa said his wife was in the process of
occupying her property. She joins other high-ranking Zanu PF officials,
senior civil servants, business people and top military officials who have
acquired prime land under the government's controversial fast-track land
resettlement programme. The farm, which was issued with a preliminary notice
(Section 5) in July, does not have a compulsory notice of acquisition
(Section 8) order, Williams said.

      Chinamasa early this month threatened to sue South Africa's Business
Day newspaper for publishing an article which said he was allocated Lot 1 of
Mirror 2 in Chipinge, and Nyamazura 1 in Mutare. On Wednesday night,
Parliament passed the controversial Land Acquisition Amendment Bill after
heated debate in which the government conceded it had bungled by failing to
serve Section 5 notices to bondholders. The Bill, which now awaits President
Mugabe's assent before it becomes law, seeks to increase fines for
commercial farmers who resist eviction and to validate preliminary
acquisition orders.But the MDC said the government was only bringing the
Bill to overturn recent High Court rulings which had declared Section 8
eviction notices illegal.
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The Innocent Victims - 16th September 2002


Mahatma Ghandi once said “The moral worthiness of a nation is judged by the way it treats its animals” - we in Zimbabwe have hit rock bottom.


On Thursday 12 September 2002 Meryl Harrison and  her inspector (from the S.P.C.A.)arrived in Karoi primarily to be a witness to one of the most barbaric acts that I have ever seen in my life.  The people involved were Major Maponga, Frank Ndambakuwa, Hondoma, and members of the Mapanadengu family (wanted for the murder of Nelson Chambati), and at least another seventy settlers.  These cruel individuals arrived at Renroc Farm whilst the owner and his wife (our good friends Ian and Joanne Cochrane) were feeding their horses as their labour had been forced to go on strike by the above mentioned miscreants. 


Contrary to the way the media has played the event down, it is Ian’s belief that horses were led back into the stables , grass was placed around the animals and ontop of them and then set alight whilst the animals were left to fight for their lives.  One of the horses broke out immediately and suffered minor burns, the second horse however, was unable to break free initially and was very severely burnt, so much so that it could not see and therefore had to put out of its misery - nearly six hours after it was burnt.  On top of burning the bales of hay, these brave men fired many shots at and around the Cochrane’s premises, creating pandemonium with the livestock and instilling fear in the Cochrane family. 


This lesson in primitive brutality is the reason why Zimbabwe’s white farmers will choose  to move off their farms on mass over the coming weeks. 


Throughout this entire campaign it has been my belief that this despotic reigime would buckle under pressure, see the folly in their policies and revert to legality, or be deposed through the ballot.  It is now however my belief that this is now an irreversible process and there will be enormous tragedy before this is over. 


Meryl turned out to be a blessing in disguise and using the police for an escort she went to our farm to assist with the enormous animal welfare problem that had been caused by these brave soldiers of land reform. 


On Monday 9th of Sept, 2002, before going on to the Cochrane’s, Maponga and others arrived at my farm, forced all the labour to return to their homes and demand severance packages from myself, as he was now going to take over the farm.  This group of men opened all the pig stys and forced all the pigs out of their stys into the hot sun with no water or food.  For those of you who know anything about pigs, tiny babies are very vulnerable at the best of times and many of them died from stress.  The boars which are extremely verocious when mixed,  had an enormous  fight, and  three out of our five pedigree boars fought to the death, also killing one of the sows in the process. 


I believe the cruelty that our animals were subjected to  was partly vindictiveness because I had my ‘Section 8’ set aside in court and refused dispol Makonis’ instructions to leave my farm.  The second motive was to create confusion so that pigs could be stolen.  I am told that over the three nights that it took for the S.P.C.A. to come to my assistance certain war veterans and our resident pharmacist were selling pigs in Chikangwe (the local township).  Though it is very difficult to ascertain accurate figures as the records have been mysteriously mislaid, we have been able to establish that every night for a couple of hours the war veterans had been turning off all the farm lights. 


Meryl Harrison was shocked by the level of cruelty and informed me that I could sue Maponga and O.I.C. Maduwakure (who I first reported the case to on Monday and who failed to act) with S.I.1909 the prevention of cruelty to animals act.  If found guilty of this act the fine is Z$ 20 000-00 per animal.  This would have very damaging consequences on the guilty parties pensions as it involved more than 580 animals in all, (pigs, sheep, dogs, horses and cattle).  I have taken statements from 13 of my workers and have some serious soul searching to do.


After initially failing to get permission from the settlers to move the animals to safety, Meryl Harrison eventually had to get extra police support in the form of Peace Branch Chikaura a name that keeps cropping up on our farm and the pigs were moved to a neighbouring farm awaiting disposal.  El’s pigs were turning over  roughly  Z$ 1 000 000-00 per month and in the course of 4 days one vindictive human being has turned a slick operation into an enormous emotional dilemma.  The loss of meat value alone will be in the region of  Z$ 2 000 000-00 due to the fashion that we will now have to dispose of the pigs.  All 193 cattle were also locked into the barn complex with no food or water and I am told that beef has been on sale cheep in Chikangwe, but because we cannot get near the place we cannot establish our losses.  On top of number losses we can expect huge weight losses due to the fact that these animals had not been fed and watered for four days.  We will be able to verify our losses once the butcher gives us his report on numbers received.


The horses were then loaded onto a lorry and our childrens beautiful pets are now at the lion farm, inevitably awaiting destruction. 


When you are forced out of your home and your business is summarily closed down, horses become an unacceptable expense.


After this I then had to receive the dogs and cats which had also not been fed or watered for four days.  Thumper, Terrileigh’s cat looked terrible but otherwise the pets were not too bad.  As we are having to move into Harare we made the very hard decision to keep one of the four cats and three of the nine dogs, the rest heartbreakingly had to be put to sleep.  I do not know how to explain this to the children, it will be very hard for their young minds to comprehend.  The sheep all pregnant and lambing were moved to a neighbours farm and will have to be booked into the abbatoir as soon as they have weaned their young. 


As I sit back and try to comprehend what is happening in our beloved country I cannot but wonder what the long term consequence of the total destruction of law and order will bring upon us…and as I see more and more barbaric acts directed at the silent victims I wonder what Gods plan is for us.  On discussing these gross violations of our rights and dignities, I hear of another family in the Doma farming area who have just had to euthanaise 28 pets and realize that we are now living in the killing fields.


 I sincerely hope our updates do not offend anyone but it is now time that people start communicating about our fast track land reform and the consequences thereof.   It is only through communication that the causes both past and present can be brought out in the open and dealt with accordingly.  It is only through communication that we can stop the decay in our country. 


Break the silence !!!

C.., E.. and the kids.

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Pahad under fire about Zim

Pierre Steyn

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Washington - Members of the American congress have bombarded foreign affairs deputy minister Aziz Pahad with questions about the apparent reluctance of South Africa and other African states to take Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to task.

Pahad had addressed the house of representatives' sub-committee on Africa about the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). He said the United States could play an important role in ensuring Nepad's success.

Congress members wanted to know how embracing Mugabe and his policies could be reconciled with the principles of Nepad and the promise by African leaders that they would monitor each other to ensure high standards of democracy and political freedom.

Ed Royce, republican chairperson of the sub-committee, told Pahad that he had heard a lot about silent diplomacy, but that he could not understand how that could improve the situation in Zimbabwe.

Royce held up a copy of Wednesday's Financial Times - where it was reported that "the chaos in Zimbabwe is threatening Nepad" - while questioning Pahad.

'Moral stand must be taken'

He said: "Not long ago, South Africa asked the world to stand by its principles and unite against apartheid.

"Now, a moral stand must be taken against Zimbabwe," he said.

Pahad replied that South Africa had taken a stand regarding Zimbabwe.

President Thabo Mbeki had made principled declarations regarding Zimbabwe and asked for a free and fair election, for violence to come to an end, for the rule of law to be honoured and for legal land reform.

In his testimony before the committee, Pahad said Nepad could not be rejected before it was even implemented because of one crisis (Zimbabwe).

Amo Houghton, a republican from New York, said he and his family had investments in Zimbabwe that "simply disappeared".

Pahad said: "You must understand that something like this poisons our minds."

Pahad was to address other American legislators and officials in the Bush government on Thursday and Friday.
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  Thought you might be interested.
    The email at the bottom of my email to Rush Limbaugh was received
yesterday from my ex-wife in South Africa - it was sent out by HER parents
who were Zim farmers until then!!
    Rush Limbaugh is the US's most popular talk show host - he is a
conservative and Republican and was speaking out about Zimbabwe and the
farce of the conference in Johannesburg.
    I could not resist the opportunity to write to him, to again try to do
my bit to help Zim.
    So much also for the (name deleted) and their support for ZAWT, who are
still doing nothing except raise money for themselves and labourers - see
the lower email's reference to the "horrendous severance packages the
farmers PAID out"




    Thank you so much for speaking up loud and clear for all Americans on
Zimbabwe AND the next one .. South Africa!

    We Rhodesian-Americans and South African-Americans (to use an
'idiot-amatic' expression of our Black "African-American" brothers!), had to
leave behind most of what we had EARNED many years ago to re-create new
lives for our families elsewhere.

    But we have never stopped SHOUTING to the world to stop this TERRORIST
Mugabe from his ongoing atrocities - most of us still have family and
friends there who simply didnt have the wherewithal to leave, or, who firmly
believed the world would finally force Mugabe and his ilk out of office
making him fully accountable.

    I have copied you at the end of this, an email OF TWO DAYS AGO from a
retirement age farming couple. It was sent to me by my ex-wife in South
Africa. They are her parents! You have it as it is - real, true and live.
They were born in Rhodesia, and have successfully though modestly, like MOST
of the farmers there, farmed cattle, maize and tobacco and raised three
children. They were loved by their labor force who all lived and thrived on
the farm - this relationship was given to them as a reason they did not
suffer any terrorist incident during the 12 year Rhodesian bush war. For
their protection I've replaced names, redtyped possible give-aways and
edited out just general family chitchat)

    I have other emails from school friends there (I am one of the 'Lost
Children of the Empire,' which was a '60 Minutes' documentary on the British
migrant children scheme to its colonies after World War II), but those
emails are typically filled with the beatings and murders of White farmers -
which have been already quietly reported upon here over the years gone by in
the build up to this time. 60 Minutes didnt even have the courtesy to
acknowledge my corrections and updates to its documentary!

    But so as not to make this email an epistle, here are some topically
startling facts for you and your listeners on Zimbabwe and South Africa:

    1) Rhodesia was named after Cecil John Rhodes who just happened to give
the world 'Rhodes Scholars' - such as the 'Hero (harlot?) of Harlem' -

    How's that for irony? White Imperial racism educates a Democratic US
President to champion Black Power!

    2) During the Rhodesian bush war we called people who SAM missiled a
commercial airliner out of the sky killing holidaymaking families,
TERRORISTS. The world instead called them Guerillas and Freedom fighters!
Rhodesia also called people TERRORISTS who again SAM missiled another
commercial airliner with holidaying families, which the pilot this time
managed to crash land - but the injured survivors were then found, abused
and murdered - a couple of survivors witnessed the savagery from bushes
they'd crawled to. Mugabe, a Catholic and favorite of the Catholic Peace and
Justice Commission and Nkomo were responsible!!

    More irony. Rhodesia waited and listened for the world to say something,
until the country's provincial Archbishop delivered in the pulpit one Sunday
his famous 'Deafening Silence' speech. The irony? The society of nations
(including Britain and USA) put Mugabe and Nkomo in power of course!

    3) Rhodesia was only 85 years old and despite being landlocked, was
already nearly self sufficient with its then 250,000 Whites and 8 million
Blacks (even through 12 years of economic sanctions); with most
poverty-related disease eradicated; crime unproblematic under one of the
world's top UNARMED police forces (the late Queen Mother was its Honorary
Commissioner of Police), and a Rhodesian Dollar worth more than a USD,
before it was all handed over as a then multiracial society to Mugabe in

    The Communist and Western worlds rejoiced and provided a senseless
multitude of aid programs, while he massacred the followers of his partner
in crime Joshua Nkomo, established Swiss bank accounts for his then wife and
himself and took himself and his mates on a binge of corruption and murder.
Within 10 years Mugabe had collapsed the infrastructure, currency, economy
and pension funds and the next 10 sees the country as a one-party Aid's
Paradise with massive begging bowl, still blaming Whites and evicting
farmers!  Ironic isnt it?

    4) Johannesburg conference? No it isnt? And therein lurks a far bigger
indictment over these conference-mad, caviar-scoffing hypocrites, even if
Zimbabwe is being laid barren by one of its protégés.

    Get your mapbook out Rush. The conference is being held in Sandton a
city in its own right some 10 miles away, which used to be a suburb. So why
Sandton when Johannesburg was the richest and most dynamic city in
sub-Saharan Africa? Why not in the great hotels that were there?

    Because the great city of Johannesburg that the world knew was over-run
and became a slum. Huge office towers are empty, with hotels, shops,
corporate headquarters and government having fled to newer, safer and saner
regions, leaving whole blocks of boarded up facades and littered streets to
informal bazaars and the squalor of new 'settlers' Of course some will liken
it all to cities around the world where sensible business left the downtowns
to their congested, parking-less fate. But a trip to Johannesburg by someone
who knew it just 10 years ago will reveal a different picture.

    So 'sustainable development' is seriously discussed in the new South
Africa (with its falling currency, huge crime rate, White emigration,
Zimbabwe level Aids, continuing government ineptitude, corruption and
nepotism), just a stone's throw away from where the old successful South
Africa is being left to disintegrate - now thats ironic too.

    But what puts the irony cherry on the top is, where the big
demonstrations and boycotts and clamor by those with the greatest following
and credibility for fighting so-called injustices, racism, corruption,
inhumanities? Where the Mandelas and Tutus now? Its like the 'Silence of the
Lampoons' especially with Mbeki really being a conspirator with Mugabe and
taking South Africa the same route (for the same reasons!!) .

    For, did you know that Tutu is the patron of a newly formed British
(liberal!!) charity (Zimbabwe Agricultural Welfare Trust ( check
out its BS website), which is begging the world to fund it so it can "assist
the beleaguered farming community in Zimbabwe!!!" Yeah right. I challenged
it and established that the proportion of money that had been distributed
was only to farm laborers!!! The farmers weren't receiving any useful help
or money (see reference to pay-outs in email below).

    Their organization's personality list told me why - this crowd comprised
the usual band of anti-Rhodesian and anti-apartheid vociferants. But when I
asked why they were begging and not using their armory of highly effective
international pressure contacts and tactics, to rather get rid of Mugabe and
his regime, they wrote back to me saying " ...... you're an extremist!!

    Thank you Rush from every Rhodesian, Zimbabwe-Rhodesian, Zimbabwean, who
has only ever wanted peace, prosperity and long life for themselves and all

    Peter Baker

    PS Watch how the Democrats use our money for South Africa next!
    PPS For reference: "The Zimbabwe Ruins" was the name given by Rhodesia
to southern Africa's oldest stone structures (+- 800 years). When Mugabe
changed the name of the country to Zimbabwe, he renamed the ruins"Great

    From: (E-mail address)
    To: (Their address book was here)
    Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2002 5:39 PM
    Subject: Our plans

    Dear Family & Friends......................Well, I think we have come to
the end of our time on (Name), and must now look forward to the future.
Under the terms of our Section 8 order, we have  (all but) ceased farming
operations, and are engaged in packing up our belongings to move into town.
.............we have leased a flat. We aim to move off the farm before our D
Day, which is (September 26th).  I hope the powers that be give us that long
!  ............... Our farm is exceptional in that  in spite of our Orders,
and inspection by the Lands Dept., we have had no settlers or squatters, or
interference of any sort, and have been able to pack up quite a
............quantity of  both household and farm goods and move them to safe
(?) havens in peace. We are eternally thankful for this great mercy. At our
age, and with every one of our immediate neighbours having already gone, or
been evicted, we have little desire to stay and 'battle it out' The last of
our cattle will go on Thursday, and the labour will be paid their horrendous
severence packages and signed off on Saturday. Being completely surrounded
by the  'New Farmers', as they are euphemistically called, theft and
housebreaking on the few white occupied farms left is rampant, to the extent
that the insurance people are refusing to renew policies. Let me tell you
that they have unilaterally refused to pay out even for a stolen electric
borehole motor covered under my existing policy !! I am sending you all the
latest CFU (My note: Commercial Farmers Union) sitrep (My note: situation
report) so you can see what is REALLY happening in the country.
    (Name) has had a lot of problems on (Name), but wants to carry on, but
in a limited, i.e  politically acceptable way.  Because of his staunch
support for the MDC (My note: silenced opposition party to Mugabe), he is a
trifle persona non grata, but we admire his courage, and wish him well.
    We feel for (Son's name), who has put so much thought and work into his
new house, but now sees the chances of his ever living in it rapidly
slipping away.
    We ourselves are not going to look back, in fact are looking forward to
a completely different way of life. I hope that (Wife's name) will get her
painting back on track, and we will find a church and congregation that we
can fit into.
    Please remember us, and all farmers, in your thoughts and prayers, and
may we have the strength, mental and physical, to meet the new circumstances
which lie ahead.  We will advise you all of our new PO Box,
................., when we get it.   Lots of love................. (Name of
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     Sent: Tuesday, Sep 10 2002 08:59
     Subject: Tesco Helps Racist Kill British Citizens!!!


Please pass this on to your head office.  I will be taking this up with my
MP and also writing to the press and other media on this serious matter of
Tesco trading with a racist nation that has British blood on it hands.

I refuse to buy your products because you are continuing to buy goods from
Zimbawe despite the fact that British people are being beaten, robed, raped,
murdered and displaced by an illegal and racist regime!

Could Tesco explain why it is buying food from a country with a despotic
regime where millions are starving due to a racist leader displacing white

Our people are being displaced, beaten, arested, raped and murdered, while
your company continues to trade with the people responsible!!!



Sent: 19 September 2002 03:40
To: ''
Subject: RE: Tesco Helps Racist Kill British Citizens!!!

Thank you for your e-mail.

Firstly, I would like to offer you my apologies for the delay in us
responding to your e-mail.

I was sorry to learn that you feel we should not be selling products from
Zimbabwe in our stores.

Freedom of choice is one of our top priorities therefore, Products from this
region remain on sale in our stores so that our customers may decide for
themselves what they want to buy. There is a variety on offer if our
customers choose to buy alternatives to these products.

Our customers like to select, or not select, products for many different
reasons. That is why we provide lots of information on our products
including their country of origin so that our customers can decide for
themselves what they choose to buy.

I am sorry you are  disappointed with our decision however, I do hope that
you understand why we have chosen not to remove products from Zimbabwe from
our shelves.

I do hope that despite our decision, we may continue to look forward to your
much valued custom.

Kind regards

George Batchelor
Customer Service Manager

If you wish to contact us please click on one of the following links.

UK customers -
Republic of Ireland customers -
Dear Mr Batchelor,

Your loyalty to Great British public is somewhat miss placed here and I'm
surprised you don't see the OBVIOUS contradiction!!!

As the lives of tens of thousands British citizens and the descendant of
British settlers are being put at risk as these people are ETHNICALLY
cleansed from their homes and farms, raped, murdered, beaten and imprisoned.
Contrary to popular press reports, as a proportion of the population white
Zimbabweans are the main target of the murder and brutality (closely folloed
by the Zimbabwian people as a whole) and hundreds are currently being
imprisoned against their will for breaking no law.

You must be proud to call yourself British, when you can muster the gall to
ignore the plight of our people in a distant land, to which this country has
extensive links.

Your company appears to be dealing directly with the Mugabe regime and as
such is complacent in the whole scandal of land grabbed farms.

IF you have no concern for the lives of British people and the descendants
and relatives of them, then spare a thought for the millions of Zimbabwean's
who are currently facing starvation, as your company takes much of the
remaining productive produce out of the country.

Millions of Zimbabwean's struggle every day under the tyranny on a senseless
dictator, while your company continues to trade and deal with that very
regime.  How your company can justify "ETHICAL trade with government farms",
you say "keep farm workers in employment", when that very government is
responsible for displacing hundreds of thousands of farm workers, their
family's and their employers is BEYOND me!!!  It is a smack in the face of
the obvious!!!

No greater encouragement to the Mugabe Despot could be given than to ensure
trade continues with the very country he is abusing in his tantrums and
tirades, the British citizens he is murdering, stealing from, ordering the
rapes and imprisonment of.  Your company continues to deal with, I hope you
are very proud to call yourself British.

But this campaign will not stop here, it has only just begun and if Tesco
will not listen to its customer base, most of whom have no idea you continue
to trade with a Despot who kills their kith and kin then prepare to face
exposure in the media and the press where the public can hear your pitiful
excuse and judge for themselves where continuing to shop at Tescos really is


Jarrett Smith
Hi all,

Please write to your MP, the Forign Office, the Prime Minister, and post
your comments to Tesco at the email address below...

Below is their response to one such complaint about Tesco's dealing direct
with land grabed Farm's....

Like the British High Commission turning away our kith and kin because they
don't have a British passport I'm sure you too will feel something is very
sick with both Tesco and the British government...
T Date: Thursday, September 19, 2002 3:32 AM
Subject: RE: Tesco Helps Kill White Farmers

Thank you for your e-mail.

Firstly, I would like to offer you my apologies for the delay in us
responding to your e-mail.

I don't believe we will stop sourcing from Zimbabwe, as this is a very
important country into our supply base. We do however work with only 4
suppliers, who are all involved with the government at the highest
level. If
we pulled out of these farms there would be a major deficit in the
income of
this area & it would revert back to a third world state! We work
with the ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative) to ensure worker welfare is
maintained and we also have regular meetings & input into these farms
discuss the wider political situation. As regards to "blood on our
Tesco are not in a position to speculate on politics, but offer
that give our customers value for money & satisfy their needs.  Our
in Zimbabwe provide much needed jobs for many people in Zimbabwe.

We also experience often perfect growing conditions in this country for
products that can be very difficult to grow.

Most of our growers have invested hugely into their farms in Zimbabwe
count on us to support that investment. If Tesco pulled out of these
this would have serious implications on that business and the people
work for it.

We source product according to season and availability.

Sourcing from 3rd world countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia is
fundamental to our overall procurement policy. Not only are we able to
provide our customers with continuity of supply with such products as
Salad Onions , and flowers when products from the UK are out of season
are able with our
suppliers in those countries to provide benefits to employment of the

The businesses developed in these countries are significant in terms of
number of people employed. Without support from British Retailers, not
Tesco, the well being of the population would be worse. Foreign
currency,particularly sterling , is of key importance to the local
and desperately sort after by local governments to invest in local

In addition we, Tesco, have donated around £50,000 to various
Schooling and sports facilities for one of our large flower producers
Lake Naivasha in Kenya; Environmental protection and educational
around Lake Naivasha.

It is by supporting businesses in the examples given that we are able
make a difference to some of the people in the 3rd world.

Kind regards

Halay Reid
Customer Service Manager

If you wish to contact us please click on one of the following links.

UK customers -
Republic of Ireland customers -

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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
September 9 - September 15 2002
Media Update # 2002-33

*   General comment
*   Public media falsehoods
*   Fuel and bread shortages
*   From our subscribers


The week witnessed yet another classic example of the public media's
flagrant disregard for basic standards of journalism by distorting
information about the opposition to suit Zanu PF propaganda. In his address
at a public seminar, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai gave an overview of how
the current government had denied citizens their basic human rights. He
said: "The total emasculation of people's political power has been
complemented by another strategy to reduce the majority of the population
economically to the level of Stone Age scavengers available for manipulation
and abuse by Mugabe and his cronies" The public media, deliberately or
otherwise, deduced that Tsvangirai had described the resettled farmers as
"Stone age scavengers". Nowhere in the speech did Tsvangirai specifically
make reference to resettled farmers. Despite clarifications from the MDC
adverts run in the private Press, the public media made no efforts to
correct their gross misrepresentation of facts. Instead, they went on to
source comments from members of the public who attacked Tsvangirai using
distorted information as ammunition. MMPZ strongly condemns this conduct by
the public media and cautions that such irresponsible reporting is a recipe
for further polarisation of Zimbabwean society. The Zimbabwean media can
ill- afford such reckless abandon in an environment where the government
appears determined to silence voices critical of its dictatorial policies.
But it is the selective application of the repressive law, the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that makes any partisan
efforts by Government to regulate the media an illusion.


ZBC (9/9, 8pm) led the public media in distorting Tsvangirai's statements.
Reporting his statements as breaking news, the station reported that
Tsvangirai had "again attacked the land reform programme describing the new
farmers as 'stone age scavengers'". However, neither the statement that ZBC
used nor Tsvangirai's actual speech categorically referred to resettled
farmers. ZBC quoted him saying: "The total emasculation of the people's
power has been completed, complemented by another strategy to reduce the
majority of the population economically to the level of Stone Age

However, for inexplicable reasons the public media continued to interpret
the statement as an attack on resettled farmers. Therefore, it was not
surprising that in its follow up, ZBC continued to malign Tsvangirai and the
MDC. 3FM (10/09, 6am) took it further providing government and its
sympathizers with a platform to gain political mileage from this naked lie.
It quoted Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo saying
Tsvangirai's utterances "are a typical example of a puppet singing a
colonial song" adding that he "does not deserve to be taken seriously".
Taking a cue from Moyo's comments, ZTV (10/09, 6pm & 8pm) also described
Tsvangirai as a "political puppet" and his utterances as "shocking" adding
that "political analysts, observers and ordinary people" had said "the
continued ranting by opposition leader Mr. Tsvangirai is a sign that the
party is now desperate for leaders and on its way out". Unnamed observers
were quoted, in the same bulletins, as having said: "By continuing to
criticize the land reform programme the MDC leader is digging his own
political grave as the majority of Zimbabweans and the international
community at large support the agrarian reform". To substantiate this claim,
ZTV rebroadcast Namibian President Sam Nujoma's speech at the Earth Summit
(in which he appeared to support Zimbabwe's land programme) and footage of
US Secretary of State Colin Powell being booed at the same event. The same
report also made reference to a letter published in The Daily News
criticizing MDC. In the same bulletin, ZTV linked Tsvangirai's remarks to
his presidential election campaign rally in Mutare earlier in the year in
which he criticised ZANU PF's fast-track land reform. ZTV then interviewed
selected members of the public to comment and legitimize its falsehood. It
was not surprising then that those quoted attacked Tsvangirai for being a
sellout. Interestingly, one woman who was quoted criticizing Tsvangirai was
also in the news the previous week (3/09, 8pm) praising President Mugabe's
Earth Summit speech. It is unclear to MMPZ whether this is mere coincidence
or part of ZBC's survey methodologies.

ZTV (10/09, 8pm) also quoted National Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG)
President Shakespeare Maya saying: "As for the MDC, quite unfortunately they
have had their heydays . they've had a bushfire effect in terms of support
but that is all waning because in the period that they have had all that
support they have failed to establish an effective leadership..." David
Nyekorach-Matsanga, director of a London-based organisation Africa Strategy,
was also quoted in the same bulletin criticizing the MDC as "a scavenger
party of the British government." To its credit, SW Radio Africa (10/9)
broadcast Tsvangirai's speech in its entirety, leaving the interpretation to
the audience. The Herald (10/9), picked the ZBC lie and said: "MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was at it again yesterday when he attacked thousands of
people who have benefited from the land reform programme by describing them
as 'Stone Age scavengers". The article, like ZBC, equally accorded space to
Minister Moyo to launch a vitriolic attack on Tsvangirai. Unmindful of
spreading falsehoods, the paper (11/9) claimed that "most Zimbabweans" had
described Tsvangirai's statements as "insulting and patronising rubbish from
an irrelevant opposition politician." MDC's Sekai Holland's clarification on
the speech was buried deep in the article and swamped with anti-Tsvangirai
comments. Media & Information Commission chairperson, Tafataona Mahoso was
also quoted basing his criticism of Tsvangirai on the public media
falsehoods. The Herald's misinformation provided ZANU PF advocates with the
arsenal to de-campaign the MDC ahead of the rural district council elections
scheduled for September 28 and 29. The paper (12/9) in its article Shun MDC,
electorate urged quoted the Association of Rural District Councils (ARDC),
president Jerry Gotora milking the distortion to castigate the MDC and
Tsvangirai. He was quoted as having said: "Tsvangirai's place was not among
Zimbabweans but he belonged to the gutter with the likes of Tony Blair and
other die- hard Rhodesians."

Rather belatedly, The Daily News (11/9) clarified to its readers what
Tsvangirai had said, as did The Zimbabwe Independent (13/9) in its comment,
We are indeed a nation of scavengers. The comment stated: "But Tsvangirai
was undoubtedly making a wider point. That as a nation we have been reduced
to scavengers. Mugabe was in Libya this week scavenging for fuel.
Businessmen have to scavenge for foreign currency. People living in the
cities scavenge daily for the means to sustain their families. Mugabe has
pauperised all but his kleptocracy." Similarly, The Daily News (9/9) ran a
story, together with photographic evidence, of Musana villagers who had been
reduced to eating wild fruits and roots, allegedly due to hunger.


The public media made sustained efforts to convince their audiences that the
country's fuel supplies were guaranteed countering reports in the private
Press that there was a looming shortage of the commodity. Furthermore, the
public media only reported on the worsening fuel situation after the signing
of an oil deal between Zimbabwe and Libya. ZBC (ZTV, 10/09, 8pm) broke the
news that Zimbabwe and Libya had signed a new oil deal. Radio Zimbabwe and
3FM (11,09, 6am) carried a similar report. In its follow up ZBC (ZTV, 11/09,
8pm) quoted Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi as having said
the signing of the deal "will ensure adequate supplies of petroleum in the
country", adding that while there were queues (12/09, 8pm), "there are
adequate fuel stocks to last the country more than a month". ZBC (ZTV,
12/09) then downplayed news reports that fuel was running out in the country
stating that panic buying and hoarding began after "rumours . in one of the
opposition newspapers . that bulk procurement contracts had expired last
week coupled with unavailability of foreign currency in the country to meet
fuel purchases". In the same bulletin ZTV also quoted Fuel Marketers
Association chairman Mr. John Makova saying the current shortages are "not
associated with the shortage of the commodity but as a result of the
challenges of its distribution network" adding ". it is only the logistical
problems that are affecting us at the moment .". The station also sourced
comment from Fuel Facts, an organization monitoring the fuel situation in
the country, which reportedly stated that, "the major problem was
logistical" and urged motorists to "conserve fuel by driving at low speed
levels". In both cases there was no elaboration on what logistical problems
these were nor did the station attempt to find out why motorists were being
urged to conserve fuel if it was available. Instead, ZTV's (12/09, 8pm)
continued to suppress news of the shortage quoting unnamed market analysts
rambling "the demand for fuel also goes up when schools reopen pointing out
that the trend is that fuel demand increases by 30% when schools reopen".
The report even insinuated that white owned service stations were causing
the shortage. Unnamed indigenous business fuel station owners were reported
to have said: ". there was no fuel shortage in the country and they did not
know why the bigger White-owned garages were not ordering fuel from NOCZIM."
Likewise, The Herald (12/09) which also waited for the signing of the oil
deal to report on the fuel shortage, attributed the scarcity to "panic
buying by motorists". Earlier, the paper (11/09) merely celebrated the
signing of the pact and flaunted it as the panacea to the country's fuel
crisis without even giving details on how Zimbabwe would pay for the fuel.
Conversely, the private media revealed that the deal was only a stopgap to
avert the crisis, as queues were likely to re-surface soon. For example, The
Financial Gazette (12/9), Zimbabwe's fuel crisis far from over, reported
that although the Libyans were paid in local currency, the cash-strapped
government still needed hard currency to meet pumping and port costs
incurred in Mozambique. The Zimbabwe Independent (13/09) added that the oil
deal was a temporary relief as fuel queues were likely to emerge "as soon as
the country started defaulting on payments". Unlike the public media which
hid details of how Zimbabwe would pay for fuel, The Business Tribune (12/9)
reported that the government was set to lose $224 million by selling its
shares in Rainbow Tourism Group below market value, to raise funds for fuel.
The paper added that the government had sold its 59 per cent share to Libyan
and French investors, thereby flouting Zimbabwe Stock Exchange regulations
barring foreign investors from owning more than 40 percent of listed
companies. In its comment The Tribune criticised the government's over
dependence on Libya saying that could lead to a compromise of Zimbabwe's
national integrity and advised Mugabe's government: "Perhaps this is the
time to woo back the friends who have ostracised us now even if it means
making political u-turns. After all flexibility is a basic tenet of
statecraft." The Daily News (13/9) weighed in with MDC's Energy and
Communications shadow minister, Silas Mangono, saying: "The so- called
Libyan investment in infrastructure development is actually an exchange of
Zimbabwean assets for Libyan oil without adhering to internationally
acceptable standards of competitive bidding in the disposal of our national

The week also witnessed critical shortages of bread among other scarce
commodities such as cooking oil and maize meal. As in its previous reports,
the public media accused millers and wholesalers of causing the shortage. As
proof, The Herald (10/9) gave front-page prominence to the police raids on
bakeries, milling companies and wholesalers where several tonnes of wheat,
flour and maize were allegedly recovered. The paper reported that the motive
behind "hoarding" was to pressure government to increase the price of bread.
The article also accused farmers of hiding maize "to thwart Government's
efforts to alleviate hunger in the country" and cited a Concession farmer
who allegedly concealed 60 tonnes of maize, as an example. (The report was
also carried on ZTV, 8 & 9/9, 8 pm). Radio Zimbabwe and 3FM (10/09, 1pm)
followed up on The Herald story and reported that the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) had impounded thousands of tonnes of wheat, cooking oil and flour from
milling companies, wholesalers and bakeries. The public broadcaster did not
ask how bakers would conduct business if their basic ingredients were being
impounded. However, The Daily News (12/09) revealed that the police were
overzealous in their raids as they even impounded food belonging to United
Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF). Following this revelation, The
Herald (14/9) then reported that Mugabe had apologised for "the wrong action
by the police". Meanwhile, other reports in the private media reported that
the GMB was to blame for the shortages. For example The Financial Gazette
(12/9) reported that 22 000 tonnes of wheat were withheld in Maputo, because
the GMB had not paid handling fees to Mozambican authorities. The Herald
(13/9) quoted an unnamed GMB official denying the report. Also, SW Radio
Africa (10/09) quoted an Aroma Bakeries official who said the bread shortage
was caused by reduced wheat supplies to bakers, which the GMB had cut from
100-150kg daily to 20kg per week.


Earth Summit headline inaccurate Thank you for the regular monitoring
updates which I receive via EISA. However, the title 'MUGABE HIJACKS EARTH
SUMMIT' for Update 2002-32 is inaccurate- and undermines your credibility as
a reliable monitor of Zimbabwean media. Clearly President Mugabe didn't
hijack the WSSD, nor did he come close (or even try). From the content of
your report, I would imagine a more appropriate title would have been:
'Mugabe speech dominates reporting of Earth Summit'. It's not as catchy, nor
as inflammatory, as the original. But at least it's accurate. Which is, I
think, what the Media Monitoring Project should be about. Steyn Speed

From MMPZ: Our alert subscriber is right.

Thanks for your continuing assessments of both the print and public media. I
just wanted to say the bombing of VOP should be discouraged in the strongest
terms. I am waiting to see justice. May you, in future reports, assess all
major areas of media coverage like entertainment, sport, food shortages,
money markets, and the Miss Malaika pageant. Shadreck Ends

The MEDIA UPDATE was produced by the Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare,
Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:
Feel free to respond to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to
everything but we will look at each message.
Previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project,
please visit our website at
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Sent: 19 September 2002 13:23
Amnesty Petition Zim to Mbeki


Amnesty International is gathering names for  a petition to Mbeki to put
pressure where
it is needed to improve the appalling human rights situation in Zimbabwe. If
you have an
internet connection, it seems to me worth a minute or two to add ones name
to this list.

Go to <>

There it says "Let President Mbeki know the people of Zimbabwe need him"
with a form to
fill in, and a SUBMIT button.

The main Amnesty site is at <>

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From The Daily News, 18 September

Government evicts resettled villagers to pave way for Shiri

Staff Reporter

Traditional leaders from Svosve communal lands in Marondera who have been living at Eirene Farm for the past three years have accused the government of forcibly relocating them from the farm to pave way for Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the Commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe. Denias Machingura, a village head from Chief Svosve’s area who had settled with about 42 families at the farm, said he feared their removal would adversely affect their agricultural operations for the 2002/2003 season. "We had grown about 42 hectares of wheat as a village at Eirene Farm," he said. "The unexpected relocation of people will mean that we will abandon our tobacco crop. We have been relocated to Mapuranga Farm which was a cattle ranch." Yesterday, the settlers were busy building some pole-and-mud and huts at Mapuranga Farm. Their property was heaped in the open, covered with plastic and grass. Tempers nearly flared as they narrated their plight to The Daily News. Machingura said they thought the government would give them time to start their new farming season peacefully but that was not the case.

Machingura said: "Who will compensate us for the brick houses we built at Eirene Farm? Is it Shiri? Or is it the government? Nothing has been explained to us except force from the government officials. We have been threatened for telling the truth here by people who think they own us. They have forced themselves on our lives saying we should accommodate senior army, Central Intelligence Organisation and police officers for our security. They are busy enriching themselves." Machingura said their forced relocation to Mapuranga Farm by Christopher Chingosho, the provincial administrator (PA) for Mashonaland East, was an insult to the Svosve people who spearheaded land invasions in 1999 before war veterans and Zanu PF supporters led the illegal occupation of farms in 2000. He said Mapuranga Farm was owned by a farmer only identified as Vrystaat and was specifically for cattle ranching. The soils, Machingura said, were unsuitable for crop production. Machingura said the government had reduced them to "animals by moving us to places where there is no drinking water and shelter". Other traditional leaders, among them Edward Jera, Musekiwa Chakanongwa, Musimbe Bhebhe, and Abel and Wilfred Marimo, said they were called to the PA’s office in Marondera about two weeks ago where Chingosho told them that they had to be relocated because Eirene Farm now belonged to Shiri. The leaders said the volatile meeting was attended by Shiri, Constantine Chiwenga, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Chief Enock Svosve and other government officials including Chingosho, who addressed them.

Meanwhile, settlers at the nearby Bonchana, Yutkik and Mushangwe farms yesterday were bitter with the government’s latest move to relocate them, saying it would backfire due to the deepening rift between them and the army top brass. Settlers at Mushangwe Farm said they had been warned to prepare for relocation because Chiwenga was now the new owner. The traditional leaders said the government misled villagers by pegging the farm under the A1 resettlement model when it knew that the farms would be allocated to senior government officials who wanted the farmhouses and the farm equipment. Yesterday the settlers, who invaded the farm at the height of the illegal farm invasions in 2000, accused the government of using them following its controversial victory in the March presidential election. The village heads said the government only wanted the masses to forcibly evict white commercial farmers so that it could allocate prime land to senior army, police and government officials.

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From ZWNEWS, 19 September

Chinamasas extend land holdings

Mrs Monica Chinamasa, wife of the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, has joined the growing list of prominent personalities taking farms intended for resettlement of landless peasants, the farmers' group Justice for Agriculture said yesterday. Mrs Chinamasa arrived at Rockland Farm in the Marondera area on Friday last week, armed with a letter signed by the District Administrator which allocated her 432 ha of the property, including the homestead, all other buildings, and the most productive fields. She insisted to the owner, Peter Baker, that she be allowed to move onto the property immediately. The farm has only received a preliminary Section 5 notice of acquisition, and no Section 8 order has been issued. Patrick Chinamasa recently threatened to sue South Africa's Business Day newspaper for publishing an article in which it stated that the Minister had been allocated Lot 1 of Mirror 2 farm in Chipinge, as well as land on Nyamazura 1 farm in Mutare. P and M Chinamasa were allocated a 99-year lease on 257 ha of Nyamazura 1 farm in Mutare in 1998. Their names appear on the so-called Dongo List – a list issued by the government in response to a parliamentary question by then MP Margaret Dongo. The Dongo List shows details from the government’s own records of land allocated to "VIP" beneficiaries of previous land redistribution exercises. Minister Chinamasa’s sister also recently expressed interest in a farm in the Hurungwe area.

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Australia holds little hope of change in Zimbabwe

CANBERRA, Sept. 19 - Australian Prime Minister John Howard said on Thursday
he was not optimistic that Zimbabwe would co-operate with a Commonwealth
panel meeting next week to consider action against President Robert Mugabe.

       The Commonwealth in March suspended Zimbabwe from its councils for a
year over Mugabe's controversial win in a presidential election condemned as
corrupt by Western nations but stopped short of full suspension or imposing
       Zimbabwe has been in crisis since 2000 when pro-government militias
invaded white-owned farms to give to landless blacks, and now up to six
million people -- almost half the population -- are short of food due to
disruption to farms and drought.
       Howard, who is part of a Commonwealth troika set up to monitor
developments in Zimbabwe, said Mugabe has continued to act in total defiance
of Commonwealth and world opinion.
       ''At this stage I'm not too hopeful that we can achieve Zimbabwe's
co-operation but we will try,'' Howard told reporters.
       ''There are some initial options regarding Commonwealth membership
that are open to use and then of course individual Commonwealth countries
can take action if they wish.''
       Zimbabwe's crisis deepened earlier this year when Mugabe ordered
2,900 commercial farmers to quit their land without compensation under his
controversial land scheme.
       Some members of the Commonwealth, which groups 54 mostly British
colonies, have said it is important to take the same action over Zimbabwe as
Fiji which was suspended and faced limited trade sanctions after a
nationalist coup in May 2000.
       The International Monetary Fund last week began the formal process of
suspending Zimbabwe's membership for failing to pay millions of dollars in
       ''I think Zimbabwe has just thumbed its nose at the Commonwealth
opinion. It's thumbed its nose at world opinion,'' Howard told a Sydney
radio station.
       Howard is set to meet South African President Thabo Mbeki and
Nigerian head of state Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja on Monday with Mugabe
invited although his attendance was uncertain.
       A Nigerian official has said Mugabe will hold talks with the troika
but Howard said the group has had no official confirmation that he would
       Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from
Britain in 1980. He says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial
injustices which left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the hands
of white farmers.
       Howard said he would travel to London after the meeting, on September
24-25, to brief Prime Minister Tony Blair and other ministers on the outcome
and discuss developments regarding Iraq.
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      Wheat harvests set to ease bread crisis

      Staff Reporter
      9/19/02 6:47:25 AM (GMT +2)

      BREAD shortages that have gripped Zimbabwe in the past month are
expected to ease shortly because of the harvesting of the 2002 winter wheat,
which began this week.

      Deliveries of the crop to the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
are expected to begin early next month, but baking industry officials say
the respite will only last until next January before wheat stocks run out

      Wheat growers, most of them white farmers, began harvesting the crop
in the lowveld region this week and those in the highveld will do so from
next month.

      The lowveld wheat crop matures faster because of high temperatures
compared to the crop in the highveld region where temperatures are lower.

      Farmers this week said Zimbabwe's wheat output this year would plunge
to 165 000 tonnes from last year's record 360 000 tonnes chiefly because of
the government's chaotic land reforms that have disrupted farming operations
across the country.

      Commercial farmers, producers of 90 percent of Zimbabwe's wheat, this
year only planted 35 000 hectares compared to 60 000 hectares in 2001.

      Hundreds of white farmers who grow wheat have since stopped farming
altogether because the government has seized their land for redistribution
to landless black peasant families.

      The government's critics say the controversial land reform scheme has
mostly benefited top ruling ZANU PF party and government politicians and not
the poor black families who are the supposed beneficiaries.

      Commercial Farmers' Union's (CFU) president Colin Cloete said efforts
to harvest the wheat crop were being hampered by the continuing arrests of
farmers by police over the farmers' refusal to comply with the August 8
deadline for them to surrender their land.

      Cloete said: "Harvesting is just starting in the lowveld in areas like
the Save but there were a number of arrests (of farmers) over the weekend
which will affect harvesting."

      For example, he said, the government last Friday ordered the arrest of
12 farmers in Zimbabwe's lowveld. Among these were wheat growers who had to
abandon their crop in the fields.

      Several thousand tonnes of wheat could dry out prematurely across the
country due to lack of care and irrigation either because farmers would have
been chased off the land by ZANU PF mobs or because they would have been
locked up in jail by the law-enforcement agents.

      The price of bread has shot up to about $150 a loaf, up from about
$90, as the wheat shortages bite harder.

      Bakers said while the new crop would be a useful stopgap measure,it
could only last the nation up to January next year because of the rising
demand of wheat.

      The shortage of the staple maize meal is partly responsible for the
increase in wheat consumption as more consumers are forced to resort to

      Zimbabwe's paltry wheat supplies this year have lasted this far only
because the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has maintained strict rationing,
limiting millers to only 24 000 tonnes a month.

      Bulawayo baker Eddie Cross said that at the current consumption
levels, this year's wheat crop would last only until January, unless GMB
continued with its rationing.

      Cross said: "The crop that is coming in from the lowveld is quite
small and we will have to wait for the Mashonaland and Midlands crop which
will come in October but the whole local crop will probably last three
months or four.

      "The government should start importing more wheat now while we are
still consuming this year's crop or else we will be stuck in the same
situation that we are in."

      The GMB in February this year surprisingly suspended plans to import
144 000 tonnes of wheat from Brazil, saying the country had enough stocks.

      The GMB says it has so far moved into the country 2 500 tonnes out of
22 000 tonnes of wheat it bought from international suppliers.

      But millers say they have not seen any of the wheat imports on the
market and that the quantities of wheat which the state grain utility says
it is importing are far below Zimbabwe's requirements.
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      Fuel talks dogged by investment rules

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      9/19/02 7:48:00 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S skewed exchange rate and the country's stringent foreign
investment regulations almost cost Harare its major source of fuel as Libya
demanded more concessions in the oil-for-investments deal, the Financial
Gazette established this week.

      Authoritative government sources revealed this week that one of the
sticky issues at last week's Tripoli meeting between Libya and Zimbabwe was
the relaxation of Harare's foreign investment rules and greater concessions
for the North Africans, who have apparently accumulated several billions of
local dollars since the two states entered into a fuel-for-investments deal
in August 2001.

      The sources said the Libyans were concerned at the limited investment
opportunities for the huge amount of Zimbabwe dollars they have accumulated
in the past year.

      Zimbabwean law limits the amount of foreign investment in any local
firm to 40 percent of the share capital and foreigners who want to take up
more than that threshold must apply for exchange control approval from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      Libyan firms have so far taken up significant stakes in several
Zimbabwean firms, including the Jewel Bank and the Rainbow Tourism Group.

      "The Libyans were also worried about the exchange rate they would use
when converting some of the (local) money into hard currency," said one
source who attended the Tripoli meeting at which the US$360 million fuel
deal was renewed.

      Libya came to the aid of Zimbabwe last year through the deal under
which the North Africans provided fuel in exchange for Zimbabwean goods and
shareholding in some firms.

      A clause in the initial agreement between the two countries stipulated
that the Zimbabwe dollars convert to foreign currency if not used within a
few months.

      It was however not possible to establish this week how much the
Libyans have accumulated in local currency and what proportion had already
been converted into US dollars.

      The Financial Gazette was also not able this week to get a comment
from Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who signed the renewed fuel deal last
week on behalf of Zimbabwe, or from Energy and Power Development Minister
Amos Midzi.

      Zimbabwe's exchange rate is officially pegged at 55 against the US
greenback compared to between 640 and 670 to the American unit on the
parallel market where most of the hard cash is traded.

      The Libyans managed to squeeze additional concessions from Zimbabwe
last week by widening the areas of cooperation.

      Besides the oil, tourism and financial sectors, the Libyans were
offered stakes in mining, a move that would allow the North Africans to
enter into joint ventures with Zimbabwean firms and revive collapsed gold

      About 50 gold mines have closed in the past two years due to the
deteriorating economic climate.

      Zimbabwe would export beef, fruit and tobacco to Libya.
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      Chombo, govt chefs threaten to sack Mudzuri

      By Cyril Zenda
      9/19/02 7:46:23 AM (GMT +2)

      ELIAS Mudzuri, the first opposition mayor of Zimbabwe's capital
Harare, says the government is threatening to dismiss him because it says it
is not happy with his performance, particularly his refusal to comply with
ministerial directives.

      Speaking for the first time since being summoned to a high-level
government meeting last week, Mudzuri said he had been warned that he risked
being thrown out of office by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.

      The meeting, called by Chombo, was also attended by his deputy Fortune
Charumbira, State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, Youth Development
Minister and ruling ZANU PF's national commissar Elliot Manyika and Kenneth
Mutiwekuziwa, the deputy minister for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises.

      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi also attended, among several other
senior ruling party officials. Army chief General Constantine Chiwenga, also
due at the talks, did not turn up.

      Mudzuri, a member of the opposition MDC party, said this week he did
not understand why the team of ministers and senior government officials,
apart from Chombo, were present at the meeting since their portfolios did
not involve local government issues.

      "It was like they wanted to tell me policy issues but it transpired
that they were warning me that I could be fired," he told the Financial

      "They told me that I was not performing, I am interested in firing
people and I am not responding to directives. I have responded to the
directives and I am doing the best I can. If anything, the minister (Chombo)
must leave me alone to exercise my mandate," he said.

      Legal experts this week said under the current local government laws,
it is possible for Chombo to sack any council that has failed to deliver.
Chombo's predecessor, John Nkomo, in 1999 sacked a ZANU PF-dominated council
led by mayor Solomon Tawengwa, replacing it with a state commission.

      Mudzuri said it was up to Harare residents, who overwhelmingly voted
him into office in elections conducted in March, to decide whether they
wanted their mandate taken away by a government minister.

      As far as he was concerned, he was doing his best under most difficult

      He said in the short time his council has been in office, it had tried
to spearhead development as much as possible, but its efforts were being
constantly thwarted by Chombo's directives, lazy and politicised heads of
department within the council and financial constraints.

      He said Chombo's directives were making it difficult for the council
to perform because most of them were unreasonable and increased bureaucracy.

      "The directives have been coming in, but they are not policy
directives, just directives. Actually some of them violate policies of the
council and even national policies. They hamper my ability to perform."

      He said Chombo wanted to approve everything that the council handled
involving financial and human resources, resulting in costly delays in

      Mudzuri and Chombo have clashed repeatedly over the directives, which
seek to impose ZANU PF workers and policies on the opposition council.
Mudzuri has refused to comply with some of these directives.

      Mudzuri said most of the heads of department in the Harare City
Council had grown under a culture of non-performance and had been
politicised, making it difficult for them to meet set targets.

      "Some of the senior managers here are not doing what I expect them to
do. As a manager, I should be able to manage through my managers but there
seems to be lack of interest to work in a number of my senior personnel.
Some of them are good but a bigger number is not interested in working," he

      "As a manager, I manage through my managers but the minister feels
that I should do more. But the minister administers council resolutions, he
doesn't administer me."

      The mayor has clashed with town clerk Nomutsa Chideya, city health
services director Lovemore Mbengeranwa, controversial public relations
manager Leslie Gwindi and council police officer and war veterans leader
Joseph Chinotimba.

      He said a preliminary survey conducted by the council on minimum
capital requirements by residents showed that at least $40 billion was
needed for facilities such as roads, footbridges, water and sewerage
systems. This year the council is operating on a $23 billion budget.

      Mudzuri said Chombo's charges of non-performance were unfair because
his council did not have enough money to deliver and has been repeatedly
denied borrowing powers by none other than Chombo himself.

      "Since March, we have been seeking powers to borrow for capital
projects but the minister has refused. He says we have not done a
turn-around programme and this means this year we will not do much."

      He said the council had spent $777 million on resurfacing Harare's
road network of 3 000 km, which had virtually collapsed, and was working on
other projects to improve the quality of the city's water, sewerage and
public lighting system.

      Some of these projects could not be done quickly however because of
the acute shortage of foreign currency required to import some of the

      Mudzuri said before his council came into office, only 30 percent of
the city's sewerage was being treated compared to nearly 60 percent now.

      "Leadership is about having to embrace everybody and work with
everybody. I have been elected as an MDC mayor but I take policies which
make us not to be an MDC council but one which serves every citizen," he

      "I must take care of everybody who pays rates and I should not be

      Chombo was not available for comment

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      Famine stalks Mat South

      From Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
      9/19/02 7:57:54 AM (GMT +2)

      TSHELANYEMBA, Matabeleland South - It's about 9 am on a windy Saturday
morning at Tshelanyemba Business Centre, about 200 kms southwest of

      Sithembile Ndlovu, an old woman of 81, leans against the wall of one
of the derelict rural shops in this dirt poor and drought-sapped village of
Matabeleland South.

      She gazes at the standstill queue of about 2 000 peasants who have
braved the windy conditions to try to buy a small packet of the staple maize
meal from the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      Looking frail and clad in a tattered overcoat and cheap rubber boots,
she says she has been in the queue since 6 am.

      Word had apparently gone out earlier in the week that GMB officials
would be in the area to sell the maize today.

      She says the food crisis in her village has reached alarming
proportions because rains have failed here in the past two years.

      She claims she has not had a decent meal for days and that the free
mealie-meal and beans being distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP)
and other non-governmental agencies has been erratic and inadequate.

      Gogo (grandmother) MaNdlovu, as other villagers call her, says were it
not for the benevolence of her children who work in South Africa's
Johannesburg, she would be eating porridge pounded from roots of a common
tree here known as Umthobi.

      "We were told that GMB officials are coming today to sell grain. We
have nothing in our granaries except for a bucketful of meal-mealie that we
got from the food relief agencies mid-last month," MaNdlovu says, her hands
trembling probably because of a combination of hunger and age.

      During bountiful years, she used to have three meals a day -
breakfast, lunch and supper.

      The breakfast could consist of maize porridge, a cup of tea and a loaf
of bread. Lunch and supper would normally be sadza (maize meal) and meat,
supplemented by fresh vegetables. Those days are gone now.

      She can't afford to kill one of her five cows as these are her only
wealth left.

      "We hope these people (GMB) come because the food we get from these
relief agencies is not enough," she says.

      "Not many of us here can afford a decent meal. The shops are empty, as
you can see for yourself, and our hope now lies on these government people
who are said to be coming today," she says, pointing to the dusty and rugged
road leading to the village.

      She continues: "The grain might come but another problem is that we
are poor villagers. We have no money to buy this grain. The government
should just give us for free. The WFP is giving us for free so why not our

      Waving two $500 bills, she adds: "This money that I have was sent by
my daughter who is working in South Africa."

      About 2 000 villagers thronged the rural business centre here last
Saturday morning and patiently waited for the GMB officials to show up so
the visibly hungry villagers could buy the government grain at $550 per 50

      The villagers are part of about six million Zimbabweans - or half the
population - who are threatened by hunger caused by a harsh drought and the
government's chaotic land reforms which have disrupted farming in the
agro-based economy.

      A tour of the shops showed nothing but empty shelves. Storekeepers
said they had not had any deliveries of mealie-meal, bread and cooking oil,
among other basic commodities, in the past six months.

      The villagers' relatives in towns such as Beltway, about 200 kms away,
were reported to have also stopped sending groceries due to Zimbabwe's
economic crisis.

      Several youths said they were seriously thinking of illegally crossing
the border into neighbouring Botswana and South Africa to look for jobs.

      "I am following my uncle down south," said Themba Sithole, 21,
standing by the veranda of a bottle store here. "I can't just sit around and
starve to death. I am going."

      Sithole said the 13.8 kilogrammes of mealie-meal given to him by the
WFP mid-last moth had been exhausted and said children were now suffering
from malnutrition.

      Government officials here agreed, but gave no figures of the children

      Edward Ndlovu, a self-declared war veteran and village headman,
mistook this reporter for a GMB official, telling me: "When are your people
coming? Last week you people said you are coming and you did not keep your

      "We will take this matter to President Mugabe because you GMB people
want to starve people from Matabeleland. Go and phone your people. People
have no grain."

      I pulled him aside and told him the purpose of my visit. He then said:
"You must report positively so that food is brought to my village. People
see us wearing fresh clothes and don't believe that some of the old people
here are surviving on tree roots."

      He said no one had so far died from hunger.

      Lovemore Moyo, the opposition MDC legislator for the area, complained
in a separate interview that his supporters were being denied the chance to
buy food by ruling ZANU PF officials. They were also being denied free food
from the WFP.

      "The world is being lied to that everyone is being allowed food," he

      But Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, ZANU PF's deputy commissar, denied the charge.
"These MDC people cry like babies. They always complain when starring
defeat. The government is not denying anyone food. These are lies," he said.

      When this reporter left the village just after 3 pm, the GMB officials
had still not arrived, signalling another long and anxious wait for the

      "They (GMB) are going to come because last week they were in Gwanda.
Villagers there bought the grain. If they don't come today, they might come
tomorrow," said another villager, Gloria Ndou, still in the standstill queue
at the business centre.

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      Villagers turn to wild fruits for survival

      From Grace Mutandwa Arts & Lifestyle Editor
      9/19/02 7:59:05 AM (GMT +2)

      RUSIKE - Since early morning, the frail-looking women, children and
even some of the elderly people have been out in the bush, scouring the
forest for wild fruits.

      Only the very old and the sick sit around the homesteads, basking in
the weak sun. For almost three weeks now, they have kept their eyes peeled
in the hope that a lorry or two will deliver the much-needed staple maize

      After poor rains last season, hunger is wrecking untold suffering on
this small rural community at Rusike village, about 50 kms east of Harare.

      "We had very poor yields because of the drought," one of the village
elders, Edmund Basvi, told our news crew at the weekend.

      Basvi, who from his looks must be in his 70s, said his wife and
children had already left the homestead with other villagers earlier that
morning headed for the forests to hunt for wild fruits, honey or anything
edible which they could find.

      He said the last time his family of eight children and six
grandchildren had a proper meal of sadza (mealie-meal) and vegetables was
nearly a month ago after he had been able to secure a 50-kg bag of maize
from the local depot of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      "My wife and the other children have gone to look for wild fruits
which we have been surviving on for the past three days. I have eight
children and six grandchildren who live with me so we need a lot more maize
and food," Basvi said.

      But he and the other 400 hunger-stricken families here are not alone
in their plight. Six million other Zimbabweans or half the country's
population could starve to death unless international donors chip in with
more than 800 000 tonnes of emergency food aid between now and the next
harvests in March.

      The poor rains last farming season that affected five other southern
African countries are partly to blame.

      But aid agencies and agricultural experts say in Zimbabwe,
traditionally a net food exporter, the severe food shortages were
exacerbated by President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reforms under which he
is seizing land from large-scale producing white commercial farmers for
re-distribution to his supporters.

      The experts say the peasant farmers, who have no adequate skills
training and farming inputs, are unlikely to maintain high productivity
levels in the agriculture sector, the engine of Zimbabwe's economy.

      In the case of Basvi's family, the government's land reforms have been
a drawback in another way.

      Basvi says he could have been in a better situation if only three of
his sons had not heeded the government's call to invade white commercial
farms and instead put more effort on the family fields at Rusike.

      "We failed to grow as much as we usually do because my sons who
normally help me were out on the commercial farms trying to get land. Only
one of my three sons got a piece of land so the other two are back," the
ageing Basvi lamented.

      But village headman Silas Bangure, who with other headmen is in charge
of food distribution, says it is the deepening economic crisis, with rising
prices and shortages of nearly every basic commodity, that has worsened the
plight of most villagers.

      While the shortage of maize had forced many here to change their
diets, substituting their staple maize meal for bread and tea, he said the
latter commodities were no longer available as a five-year-old economic
crisis deepens and takes its toll on the nation.

      Commentators say the government's failed economic reforms triggered
off the economic decline. But it was the seizure of private farms by
government supporters, with Mugabe's open approval, which accelerated the
economic meltdown.

      Foreign investors and capital have fled the chaos, hundreds of
companies have shut, leaving thousands of workers jobless in a country with
60 percent unemployment and inflation, fuelled by the government's rampant
spending, stands at a record 136 percent.

      Bangure said: "We have not had any bread deliveries for more than a
month. At the beginning of the year, one could buy as much bread and flour
as possible but the shops have run dry and the shop owners tell us that they
have been told by their suppliers that wheat is in short supply."

      Baking industry players this week told the Financial Gazette that the
bread shortage will ease a little as farmers start reaping this year's
winter wheat by the end of the month.

      But they warned that the respite would be short-lived because farmers
could not plant enough last season in the midst of farming disruptions
caused by the government's land reforms and farm seizures.

      Almost giving up hope, Bangure related how the erratic deliveries of
maize by the GMB had dwindled over the months from once every week to once
very two weeks and now to once every month.

      "We are worried that the deliveries might stop altogether and yet we
are not asking for free handouts. All we want is for the government to get
the maize to us and we will pay for it," he said.

      But for now, while the elders wait for the next lorry to bring in
food, hunger is gnawing deeper into the social fabric, with vice now on the
rise in the village and its surroundings.

      As villager Emerina Shangure quietly confided to our news team: "Crime
has gone up. You cannot leave the house unattended now because these young
men have all turned into petty thieves, stealing anything to raise money to
buy beer."

      As our crew moved from one household to the next, one could not fail
to notice how the traditional offer of food even to the enemy was now a
never- never here.

      The cold hearth in the traditional cooking hut showed no signs of a
fire having glowed there for weeks, underlining the magnitude of the human
suffering in a rich farming country which once fed its poorer neighbours.
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      UK gives more food aid

      Staff Reporter
      9/19/02 7:57:57 AM (GMT +2)

      THE British Department of International Development will fund a meal a
day for about 1.5 million Zimbabwean children and some vulnerable adults for
the next six months at a cost of more than 14 million pound sterling ($1.2

      The British High Commission in Harare this week said the money had
been allocated from the 45 million pound sterling pledged in June for
humanitarian assistance to southern Africa by Secretary of State Clare

      This will enable international non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
in Zimbabwe to provide supplementary feeding to children and vulnerable

      The British aid agency has also given 18.75 million pound sterling to
the World Food Programme (WFP)'s regional appeal for food aid, of which
seven million pound sterling will be used for Zimbabwe.

      A further five million pounds has been allocated to NGOs to provide
agricultural inputs to small-scale farmers to assist with agricultural
recovery in the coming farming season.

      The British High Commission said: "The balance of the 45 million pound
sterling pledge has been given through the Southern Africa Development
Community to assist vulnerability assessment committee work in the region
and to strengthen WFP logistical capacity in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South

      "Some of the money will also go towards feeding programmes and
agricultural recovery projects in other countries in the region."

      The High Commission said all humanitarian assistance from the British
government was apolitical, targeting those in most need, and that London was
committed to continuing assistance to Zimbabwe, working through
international agencies and NGOs that adhere to this principle.

      Meanwhile the SOS children's villages in Zimbabwe have launched a food
aid support programme for more than 500 children, mostly in child-headed
families in Harare's high-density suburb of Glen Norah.

      The organisation said this week it expected the number of
beneficiaries to rise to 750 by the end of the year. Most of the children
lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

      The organisation is a private child welfare group that runs three
villages in Zimbabwe and provides long-term family-based care to orphaned
and destitute children.

      It is active in 131 countries where, apart from providing a family
life for the children, it runs schools.
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      Govt to ship maize via Namibia

      Staff Reporter
      9/19/02 7:56:23 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government plans to move some of its imported maize through Walvis
Bay in Namibia, citing logistical problems and congestion at South African
and Mozambican ports which it says are delaying the shipment of maize to
starving Zimbabweans.

      But officials in the shipping industry said moving grain through
Walvis Bay was not only uneconomic but almost impossible as the Namibian
port did not even have the capacity to handle large shipments.

      The government on Monday dispatched officials from the state-run Grain
Marketing Board and the ministries of agriculture and transport to Namibia
to explore the possibility of using Walvis Bay.

      "There are a lot of logistical problems we are facing in Mozambique
and South Africa which have caused us problems in maize imports," a Ministry
of Agriculture official told the Financial Gazette.

      "We hope to ease the shipment problems by bringing in some of the
maize through Walvis Bay, hence the need to send officials to explore that

      Unofficial figures show that the government has so far imported up to
500 000 tonnes of maize but it was not possible to establish this week if
all the maize has landed in Zimbabwe.

      Zimbabwe is facing unprecedented food shortages blamed on chaotic land
reforms, bad planning and a drought that has hit five other southern African
nations. The country needs urgent food imports to feed six million people,
mostly villagers.

      An official at South African-owned Spoornet railways in Harare said
Walvis Bay had no bulk handling facilities to handle large quantities of

      But most importantly, the official noted, there were very few bulk
wagons between Walvis Bay and Windhoek to move the maize, meaning that
Zimbabwe would have to move its own wagons, which it does not have, from
Bulawayo to Walvis Bay.

      The other option was to use the road, but only a limited amount of
cargo could be moved at a time this way.

      "The way I personally see it is that Walvis Bay has many constraints
because it is small," the official said, preferring not to be named.

      "You might need to use road, which is still very far but then you
cannot carry that grain in bulk but in small amounts, which is a minus when
you want to move it speedily to starving people."

      While South Africa's ports of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East
London are very far, there is Durban and Richard's Bay and Mozambique's
Maputo and Beira, all of which have a railway network and bulk handling
facilities and are easily accessible.

      This makes it easier to move grain by rail straight to silos in
Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Rutenga, Mutare and Harare, where it is bagged and

      Renson Gasela, a former GMB chief executive and now opposition MDC MP,
said Zimbabwe had not fully explored its options in using Durban, Richard's
Bay, Maputo and Beira, adding that Walvis Bay was not geared for large
volumes of goods.

      Gasela said in 1992, when Zimbabwe also needed large amounts of maize
following another drought, the government had even mooted moving maize
through the Tazara railway line from Tanzania through Zambia because Walvis
Bay could not handle the large maize imports.

      "This (proposed use of Walvis Bay) is madness and totally uneconomic.
How do you move the maize by road?" Gasela asked. "Walvis Bay is a small
port compared to Durban, Beira and Maputo which are nearer and have not been
fully explored.

      "Ten years ago, the GMB was able to move much more maize using only
part of the very same system that the government now says is congested."

      The chairman of the national taskforce on drought relief, Nicholas
Goche, was quoted by state radio earlier this week as saying the government
had secured one million tonnes of maize and 50 000 tonnes of wheat and
suggested that some of it would be shipped via Namibia.

      He did not say when or where the grain was bought and how much it

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C'wealth 'may expel Zimbabwe'

EXPELLING Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth will be one option discussed when
Prime Minister John Howard meets with his South African and Nigerian
counterparts next week.

Mr Howard said today he was doubtful if the Commonwealth troika, of which he
is chairman, could convince Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to cooperate
with the rest of the Commonwealth.

He said if Zimbabwe remained defiant the troika would talk about its options
regarding Zimbabwe's Commonwealth membership, while individual countries
could look at imposing sanctions.

Mr Howard, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President
Thabo Mbeki are the three charged with monitoring the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"I'm going to Nigeria to meet the South African President and the Nigerian
President - we comprise the Commonwealth troika - to talk about Zimbabwe's
failure to respond to the concern we expressed at our meeting in London six
months ago," Mr Howard told reporters.

"And at this stage I'm not too hopeful that we can achieve Zimbabwe's
cooperation but we can try.

"Zimbabwe has been in total defiance of Commonwealth opinion.

"Our major concern is about the way in which the election was conducted.

"There are some limited options regarding Commonwealth membership that are
open to us and then of course individual Commonwealth countries can take
action if they wish."

Mr Howard said he was unaware of plans by Mr Mugabe to attend the meeting,
although he had been invited.

Nigeria's Junior Foreign Minister Dubem Onyia has said Mr Mugabe and British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were expected at the meetings.

But Mr Howard said it was unlikely either would attend.

"We have invited President Mugabe, whether he comes or not I don't know," he

Mr Howard said that after his two-day meeting in Abuja starting on Monday,
he would travel to London where he would meet with British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and Mr Straw.

"I will obviously talk to both of them about Zimbabwe," he said.

"Britain and Australia are both concerned about what is occurring there and
I'll naturally talk to them about Iraq.

"It will be a brief visit, I'll just be in London for a day and a half.

"But I think it's an opportunity as I'm so close to go onto London and have
a discussion with both the prime minister and the foreign secretary about
both of those subjects."

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Mugabe snubs Howard

ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe has ignored an invitation to meet Prime
Minister John Howard in Nigeria next week.

Mr Howard is due to meet Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South
African President Thabo Mbeki in Nigeria on Monday to consider sanctions
against Zimbabwe.

Today he said Mugabe had also been invited to the meeting, but had failed to

The African leader has so far ignored international pressure to reform
Zimbabwe's economy and political processes after electoral corruption and
human rights abuses.

White farmers have been driven off their farms by so-called war of
independence veterans, leading to greatly reduced rural produce and fears of

Mr Howard said he did not want to create false expectations about what might
be achieved at Monday's meeting.

"I don't want to raise hopes that we can do anything magical about it, but I
have a responsibility in relation to the Commonwealth," he told 2GB.

"I think Zimbabwe has just thumbed its nose at Commonwealth opinion, it's
thumbed its nose at world opinion."

Mr Howard said the Commonwealth's main concern with Zimbabwe was a corrupt
election earlier this year, and he said his responsibility was to get Mugabe
to respond to those concerns.

"If he doesn't, then obviously there are some responses as far as
Commonwealth membership is concerned," he said.

"We have invited him to attend our meeting and I've had no response to that

"He's a completely unpredictable person, but he has been invited to attend
and whether he attends or not is a matter for him."

Mr Howard and his Nigerian and South African counterparts were chosen by the
Commonwealth to decide its response to the Zimbabwe situation and earlier
this year had the nation suspended from the international body.
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Comment from Focus (Helen Suzman Foundation - SA), September 2002

Walking the tightrope between life and death

Patrick Laurence, editor of Focus, examines the extent to which African governments are culpable for the food crisis that looms over the sub-continent

The launch of the African Union (AU) in Durban, amid sumptuous banquets, extravagant pageantry and grandiloquent oratory, coincided with a growing chorus of concern from international aid agencies over the food crisis in Southern Africa, manifest most vividly by photographs of skeletally thin children. While politicians engaged in debate about the precise form of the AU, the location of its envisaged Pan-African parliament and the extent to which it should be empowered to intervene in the affairs of member states, the Johannesburg office of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) was anxiously assessing the amount of food aid needed to avert disaster. Opened in June, shortly before the formal inauguration of the AU in early July, the WFP's Johannesburg office was established to serve as a logistical centre for the inflow of food aid to the stricken region. At the time the WFP calculated that it needed nearly $US 510 million or 1 million tons of food to assist the estimated 10,2 million people who were "at risk of starvation". It anticipated, however, that the number of people in dire need of food would rise to 11 million by September-October and peak at nearly 13 million by March next year. But even those figures "could rise", the WFP warned, if the pending planting season in October-November did not produce a better crop than the present one.

The executive director of the WFP, James Morris, specifically drew attention to the food shortages in Southern Africa in an open letter, dated 9 July 2002, to the AU at its founding conference. He noted that the threat of famine in Southern Africa a decade ago in 1992 had been successfully countered by a combined relief operation involving the UN, members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and major donor countries, including the United States and members of the European Union. He noted, too, that the food crisis of 1992 "marked the first official co-operation by the apartheid regime in South Africa with its neighbours" in a major humanitarian operation. Whether Morris mentioned the participation of the "apartheid regime" to shame African states into contributing more decisively to the food relief programme is not clear. But he was unequivocal about the need for greater support from African states. "I cannot emphasise enough that the WFP very much needs donors beyond the United States and the European Union and soon," he said. "It is a dangerous business to rely so heavily on only a few donors." Then came his challenging question: "What better symbol is there of African unity than one African state reaching out to help another in time of need?" A press statement issued by Morris two days later left no doubt that the situation was urgent. "Throughout the region people are walking a thin tightrope between life and death," he said. He added a sombre corollary: "(It) may soon lead to a catastrophe".

The AU and what might be loosely labelled its development arm, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), thus faced a major challenge before they had time to find their feet. The challenge served as a litmus test against which the rhetorical flourishes about African solidarity and fraternity, and the accompanying commitment to good governance on the continent, would be measured in the not too distant future. The challenge could magnify before the end of the year. From mid-2002 meteorologists warned of the possible return of El Nino, the climatic phenomenon that ushered in the prolonged drought of 1992. The Johannesburg office of the WFP was aware of the danger when Focus went to press. It was in constant contact with meteorologists and was attempting to include the El Nino factor in its calculations. "We plan for the worst and hope for the best," Luis Clemens of the WFP remarked.

The crisis gripped at least six countries in Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. If Angola were included the tally would be seven. The full impact of Angola's devastating civil war was becoming apparent as aid agencies began to assess the situation in areas formerly controlled by Unita rebels after the signing of a peace treaty. The treaty was a sequel to the killing of the Unita leader, Jonas Savimbi, in a shoot-out with government forces in February 2002. Oxfam summarised the situation thus: "Peace in Angola has revealed a hitherto largely invisible humanitarian crisis in the zones previously controlled by Unita and (it) also requires a massive international response". Only three Southern African countries were not threatened directly by the crisis: South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, though two of the "horsemen of the apocalypse", hunger and pestilence (in the form of HIV/Aids), were seldom far from the shanty or hut door in the poorer areas of even these relatively prosperous countries.

But the crisis that raised the spectre of famine over Southern Africa in 2002 differed from the threatened calamity of 1992 referred to by Morris. Where the present crisis was generated by a combination of factors, the 1992 had a single cause, abnormally low rainfall. As Judith Lewis, WFP regional director for South and East Africa, observed in an interview with Focus, the cause of the 1992 crisis could be delineated in three words, "Drought, drought and drought". The present potentially disastrous situation had multiple causes, however. They include below average harvests, due to drought, in combination in several countries with, ironically, flooding. The flooding often impeded either planting or harvesting depending on whether it came before or after the drought. The resultant low levels of production often came in the wake of two or three years of meagre harvests, meaning that there was little or no surplus capacity to cope with the latest failure. Lewis remarked of Zimbabwe, "Commercial production is 59 per cent down from last year's bad year". A similar situation prevailed in several of the affected countries.

Additional causes of the dire plight that threatened millions of people across Southern Africa included the general poverty of several countries (Lesotho, one of the poorest countries in the world, comes to mind), "high and chronic levels of malnutrition" and, of course, the highest prevalence of HIV/Aids in the world. As Oxfam recorded in a briefing paper: "The causes of the food crisis are complex and vary from country to country. But in different proportions they reflect a mixture of poverty and vulnerability, bad weather...bad advice from donors and economic collapse. High rates of HIV/Aids and (a range of debilitating diseases) have further sapped people's ability to cope". On the impact of HIV/Aids, Oxfam observed that recent data pointed to levels of 30 per cent or more in the most productive age group (15-49) in several areas of the stricken countries. A direct result of the high prevalence rate was the increasing dependence of sick people on smaller numbers of able-bodied and healthy workers. Oxfam added in its analysis of the crisis: "In Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is common for grandparents to be caring for ten or more children, due to Aids-related deaths".

There was another cause, however, one that pointed to varying degrees of government culpability for the crisis in most, if not all, of the affected countries. It was referred to as "misgovernment" by the WFP, as "poor governance" by Oxfam, and, more obliquely, as "biases that protect the interests of elites" by the United Nations Development Programme. There was a corollary these observations: whether caused by negligence, greed or prejudice, governmental sins of omission and commission aggravated the food crisis. The clearest case of government responsibility was in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF government adopted land policies that disrupted and even halted agricultural production across wide swathes of the country. It did so by either turning a blind eye to the seizure of farms from productive (white) farmers by self-styled "war veterans" or by itself expropriating the farms, putatively for the benefit of the landless peasantry but often to fulfil the manorial ambitions of Zanu PF barons. Not content with that destructive intervention, it then ordered the few white commercial farmers still in possession of their farms to cease all farming activities.

As the WFP stated in a fact paper: "The decrease in the area planted (by commercial farmers) had a significant adverse impact on national food production. Commercial farming operations were disrupted by the ongoing land reform activities and widespread illegal invasions". It noted, too, that the near depletion of foreign exchange reserves (due to Mugabe's profligate and ill-advised policies) meant that the government did not possess the funds necessary to import grain for near starving people. Private sector imports of food and international food aid were the only viable options for meeting the food deficiency. Even there, however, government policies impeded the inflow of food supplies. Government imposed price controls meant that the selling price was set below the cost of importation. It therefore acted as a disincentive to entrepreneurs to import grain. Ongoing reports that the Zanu PF government was withholding food aid from political opponents compounded the problem still further. Suspicions that aid was manipulated to benefit the Mugabe government did not encourage donors whose aim was to provide humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. When Mugabe was not accusing Britain of being behind the food shortage, he blamed the crisis on drought. But as Ed Osborne, a former secretary of agriculture in Zimbabwe, noted in a letter to Business Day, Zimbabwe had planned ahead during better days to meet the contingency of drought by a dam-building programme to sustain irrigation farming. For that reason the WFP's Lewis commented during the interview with Focus, "Water is not the issue in Zimbabwe". The European Council undoubtedly had Zimbabwe in mind when it expressed deep concern that "certain political decisions" had "contributed to a further deterioration of the already alarming humanitarian situation". But the Zimbabwe government did not have a monopoly on unwise political decisions.

In Malawi the government, in an apparently irrational act, sold its entire strategic grain reserve last year, thereby depriving itself of what Lewis described as a viable safety net. The decision was made when there were already early warnings of an impending food shortage. As the WFP observed, the 2002 harvest was estimated to be "10 per cent less than last year's poor harvest". The International Monetary Fund was accused of imprudently advising the Malawi government to sell the reserve because of the high cost of maintaining it, an allegation that it denied. The debate about who was responsible for the decision was overshadowed, as Oxfam noted, by a wider two-pronged question, as yet unanswered. Who benefited from the sale and what happened to the money? In Zambia, as in several of the affected countries, there was little or no effective contingency planning for drought. The assumption appeared to be that there would be another season of "rain-fed" production. Past experience of drought appeared to be a minor consideration. There were reports, too, of genetically modified maize lying idle in warehouses on the orders of politicians while people hovered on the brink of starvation. It should be noted, however, that the new minister of agriculture, disturbed by the food crisis, pledged to provide sufficient funding to maintain strategic food reserves in future. In the meantime, however, there was still the unanswered question of whether donor money was siphoned off for self-enrichment by government officials during the two-term presidency of Frederick Chiluba. By rescinding a decree granting Chiluba immunity from prosecution, President Levy Mwanawasa, who came to power in January, cleared the way for that question to be interrogated in court.

In Swaziland there was King Mswati's decision to purchase a R50m jet aircraft for his personal use, and without parliamentary approval, while nearly a fifth of his subjects were threatened with starvation. It was reminiscent of the indulgent extravagance of Louis XV1 in 18th century France. In the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho poverty long preceded the present drought. "Even in years of reasonable harvest and stable prices," the WFP noted in its account of Lesotho's food crisis, "some two-thirds of households are estimated to live below the poverty line and nearly half are classified as destitute". Even so, successive Lesotho governments could not evade total responsibility for, in the phraseology of the USAID development agency, "the poor soil management that has led to serious environmental degradation". In Angola the death of Savimbi and the end of the civil war disclosed, as recorded earlier, terrible scenes of devastation, suffering and poverty in areas that had been occupied by Unita. But it simultaneously deprived the MPLA government of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of the excuse it had used for years for the paucity of development in areas under its control. The reason offered by the Angolan government for the poverty of its citizens was that funds derived from the oilfields and diamond mines had to be diverted to finance the war effort against Unita. It served to explain why international aid agencies were feeding a estimated 1 million destitute Angolans. But, as Global Witness noted at the time, there were suspicions that money was being channelled into the pockets of corrupt officials. The finger pointing did not exempt the presidential couple, Jose Dos Santos and his wife Ana, a businesswoman who had a stake in one of Angola's biggest diamond mines. President Dos Santos and his wife were once described by a diplomat as "a handsome couple, elegantly and expensively dressed, looking for all the world as though they're living in southern California". The plight of the poor in Angola and the extent of their hunger could be the product of corruption in government ranks as much as the need to finance the war against Savimbi.

Lewis was warm in her praise for the Southern African Development Community and the South African government (and its disaster management task force) for their co-operation with, and logistical support of, the WFP relief operation. "We are looking to the SADC in terms of policy correction," she said, referring to the need for Southern African governments to develop policies that guarantee food security in the decades ahead by taking account of the recurring dangers of drought and flooding. For the SADC, whose member states are components of the AU, to succeed, however, it would have to address the problem of "misgovernment" with greater rigour than it did in the face of strong evidence of governmental abuse of power and chicanery in Zimbabwe during the election campaign leading to the March 2002 presidential election. If the defunct Organisation of African Unity was a trade union of political leaders bound by an agreement not to criticise one another, as Uganda's Yoweri Museveni once remarked, the AU and SADC have yet to establish that they are any better.

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