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Inside Politics

Showcasing Zimbabwe's madness in South Africa

9/5/02 8:02:30 AM (GMT +2)

IF South African leaders and others from the rest of the world at the
Earth summit in Johannesburg had doubts about what ordinary Zimbabweans are
facing on a daily basis, then the utterances and behaviour of Zimbabwe's
leadership there gave them an insight into what afflicts our country.

Such is the desperation to showcase Zimbabwe's madness at any world
forum that thugs are hired to stage so-called solidarity demonstrations on
the chaotic land reforms and sheer misrule of Zimbabwe.

When a government resorts to stage-managing protests to sell its
illegitimate actions and wayward governance to the world, the circle of
madness is surely complete.

When a country's leader draws attention not by clout or respect but
through demonstrations and ridicule, it shows how you have become a misfit,
a laughing stock of the world.

When as a leader you become a subject of ridicule, even among the
majority of your own people at home, then it is time to go.

When as a country your ministers become pre-occupied with organising
such useless protests, which are supported by a handful of people but you
say thousands of people attended, you should know that that country is

The so-called 1 000 people who are said to have demonstrated in
support of President Robert Mugabe while wearing ZANU PF regalia are what
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo should rightly know as rented crowds.

As for us Zimbabweans back home, we were not fooled by the rented
thugs nor hired Sam Nujoma of Namibia because we are used to these tricks
which have become part of our daily lives.

We now know the purpose of the advance team to the Earth Summit
comprising people such as Moyo: to ensure that paid-up demonstrators are in
place and those who are bussed in from Harare get on with the business of
holding posters whose message we are all too familiar with.

Mugabe's tumbling political fortunes have forced him to court the
support of unknown groups such as the December 12 Movement in New York's
Harlem and Australia's Aborigines.

That is how the mighty have fallen and become irrelevant in our own

That is how desperate Zimbabwe's leadership has become to cling to
power in the face of regional and international isolation and condemnation
of its misrule.

Mugabe's road-shows, which bare out his true colours, have been
showcased at every international forum in the past three years. In the past
week, the South Africans and the world had a chance to catch a glimpse of
the madness gripping Zimbabwe.

The problem with these stage-managed solidarity demonstrations and
hired speakers such as Nujoma is that they create a false sense of
popularity on the part of Mugabe, popularity which Mugabe knows he
unfortunately does not have even back home.

It is for the same reason that Mugabe has surrounded himself in the
past 22 years with people who tell him what he wants to hear. These are
individuals who fear him so much that they can even salute his shadow or

That is why in most instances Mugabe does not know the real situation
of poverty stricken-Zimbabweans in his own backyard because his ministers
are doing all they can to paint a rosy but fake picture to him.

The behaviour of ministers trying to shield Mugabe from open criticism
and to know how deeply unpopular he has become should come to an end.

Most ZANU PF officials and ministers now take it as their daily
challenge and obligation to shield Mugabe from the reality on the ground in

That is why ministers like Moyo and John Nkomo lose sleep crafting
legislation like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and
the Public Order Security Act which makes it a crime to criticise Mugabe.

Indeed most of these politicians do that in the knowledge that as long
as Mugabe is in the dark and believes he is on top of the situation, the
longer these politicians will remain relevant to him.

In fact, one may not be wrong after all to think that the propaganda
that we are constantly subjected to in this country is also aimed at Mugabe.

That is why I insist that the tragedy of this country is that Cabinet
ministers and ZANU PF politicians are the greatest bootlickers and puppets.
Their behaviour, as they jostle to please Mugabe, stinks all the way to

Enough of this madness and stage-managed demonstrations that are
sponsored by none other than ministers who have become a source of pain to
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Homeless white farmers push up demand for residential property

Staff Reporter
9/5/02 7:03:44 AM (GMT +2)

DEMAND for residential properties in Harare and in most major cities
has shot up in the past eight weeks as cash-rich white farmers displaced by
the government's controversial land reforms move into urban areas in search
of new homes, industry players said this week.

In some cities such as the eastern border town of Mutare, which is
surrounded by hundreds of farms and plantations, homeless farmers have
snapped up nearly all houses that are on offer, leaving the market
struggling to meet rising demand.

The property industry has reaped a financial windfall in the process,
with some estate agencies in Harare for example saying prices for houses and
rentals had gone up by as much as 50 percent in the past two months.

Nick Masaya, an official of a leading Harare real estate firm, said
his company had registered between 50 and 100 farmers a week seeking
residential houses to buy or rent in the past eight weeks.

"The increase in the number of the displaced farmers looking for
accommodation has fuelled the rise of rentals and residential properties by
about 50 percent," Masaya told the Financial Gazette.

An official of Eagle Estate Agents in Mutare said demand for
residential property there since the eviction of farmers by the government
last month had been so high that there were few or no houses available to

Several estate agents in Bulawayo and other smaller towns said they
were receiving no less then 10 enquiries a day from farmers who wanted to
buy or rent a house.

"We have been receiving accommodation and property sales inquiries
from at least 10 farmers a day over the past six weeks," said an official of
real estate firm Fox and Carney.

The property industry had remained stable after a controversial
presidential ballot earlier this year led to the further isolation of

But many would-be-sellers who held on to their properties hoping that
a new political dispensation would lift prices as confidence returned into
the economy were forced to sell their properties at lower prices.

That was until the government ordered 2 900 white farmers to vacate
their homes by August 10 or face jail as the government winds up its
two-year-old seizure of white-owned farms to resettle its supporters.

Masaya said his company sold or rented out $435 million worth of
accommodation space in July this year compared to $300 million the previous

The Harare real estate firm had total sales of residential property of
$135 million and $155 million for June and July last year.

Masaya said while the inflation rate, now pegged at 123.5 percent, is
contributing to higher sales, it was clear that there had been a marked rise
in demand for residential property.

He said several farmers were preferring to rent houses or town
apartments in the hope of repossessing their farms some day.

Several farmers evicted from their homes are challenging the legality
of the government's action in the courts.
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Mbeki must get tough

9/5/02 7:59:22 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE'S crisis is snowballing into the biggest challenge facing
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who himself has had to swallow the
bitter truth of the failure of his policy of quiet diplomacy on his rogue

In unprecedented scenes which underlined Mbeki's predicament on
Zimbabwe at the Johannesburg Earth Summit this week, Namibian and Zimbabwean
leaders used the meeting in choreographed speeches as a platform to rebuff
Mbeki's soft approach to resolving Harare's crisis, which has been caused by
none other than the government.

Indeed, behind-the-scenes manoeuvres had been made to prevent the
Zimbabwe question from hijacking the global summit on poverty, the
environment and sustainable development, but this message was rejected by
both Sam Nujoma and Robert Mugabe.

The two men turned a sombre and sedate occasion into a war of words
against British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with Nujoma repeatedly and
crudely gesturing with his hand towards Blair in scenes which stunned most
world leaders.

Predictably their verbal tirades focused on the racism that has
coloured the land question in Zimbabwe, an increasingly popular and only
excuse by the besieged Mugabe, but glaringly omitted to address the real
cause of the crisis: the government's stark misrule.

No doubt, Mbeki's ambivalence on Harare must have contributed to the
hyperbole in Johannesburg, which shocked many into finally realising why and
how Zimbabwe has crumbled.

But it also must have been a rude wake-up call for Mbeki to urgently
review his blind support for organised chaos in Zimbabwe, which the
government calls land reform.

Mbeki's country, as indeed all others in southern Africa, have already
been soiled by economic and political contagion from Zimbabwe's lawlessness
but stand to suffer even more unless the South African leader firmly stamps
his foot down now to say enough.

We are encouraged however by Mbeki's public admission two weeks ago
that his quiet efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis had failed and that it
was time to take vigorous action to end the madness.

Indeed the success of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD), a brainchild of Mbeki and other democratic African leaders for the
continent's revival, is threatened with collapse unless Mbeki and his peers
assert themselves in the face of a regime that will do anything to stay in
power against the will of its own citizens.

Mbeki faces a simple question: why should Africa and the international
community believe in NEPAD if he and his colleagues are unable to order one
of their errant members to adhere to even the new blueprint's minimum
conditions of governance?

For Mbeki, whose country has huge influence on Zimbabwe's fate, this
question becomes more troubling, if embarrassing, as the crisis deepens.

It also throws light on why the Southern Africa Development Community
has failed to hold Mugabe to account for the many promises which he made but
failed to deliver to other regional leaders before and after the deeply
flawed March presidential election.

Mbeki and other world leaders, especially France which is increasingly
aligning itself with the oppression of Zimbabweans, must reject the racist
card being waved by Mugabe to justify violence against real or imagined
political foes in Zimbabwe under the guise of land redistribution.

As we have often stated before, the murder, rape and torture of a
farmer or any other Zimbabwean has nothing to do with delivering the land to
the hungry. It is the highest criminal offence possible, which needs to be
punished most severely.

The real purpose of the violence is to crush Zimbabwe's emerging
democratic voices and to perpetuate Mugabe's misrule at whatever cost to
Zimbabweans and the country itself.

If leaders such as Mbeki remain silent about the lawlessness and do
nothing about it, they unfortunately become co-conspirators to the crime, as
indeed other world leaders did during the Nazi pogrom.

Surely this is not the image of a new Africa that Mbeki wants under
his bold NEPAD, let alone the legacy upon which South Africans and the rest
of humankind should judge him in the years to come.
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Zim Independent


Friday, 6 September 2002

From 'rapturous ovation' to derision

IT is remarkable how state-media reporters can see and hear things
invisible and inaudible to other reporters present. First there were the
"thousands" of people who, we were told, demonstrated in support of
President Mugabe at Johannesburg airport and outside his hotel in Sandton
when he arrived for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

It now transpires that many of these demonstrators were part of a Zanu
PF rent-a-crowd sent down to Johannesburg by the ruling party to show
support for the president's land policies. Zanu PF now funds a number of
NGOs masquerading as civil society. Yes, there was a handful of PAC
supporters present. But as they represent less than 3% of the South African
electorate, they cannot be said to be very representative.

President Mugabe's speech on Monday received a "rapturous standing
ovation", the Herald's Innocent Gore told us. But anybody watching the
televised coverage would have heard only scattered applause from some
sections of the audience. Indeed, there was a point at which Mugabe paused
to allow applause but it wasn't forthcoming. The loudest applause, it would
seem, came from a "Red Indian" chief from Alaska, a delegate from Suriname,
and "two young Americans" from Seattle. Hardly a "rapturous" reception!

Elsewhere the applause emanated from the usual cheerleaders -
Nyekorach Matsanga, Tafataona Mahoso, and Claude Mararike. Who do they
represent apart from the discredited regime they speak for?

At the Wanderers ground where WSSD delegates were visiting the Ubuntu
Village and craft fair, Mugabe's speech, carried on a giant screen, excited
only laughter and derision, according to our correspondent in Johannesburg.
For many young South Africans, it would appear, he has become a figure of
fun; in Desmond Tutu's words, a caricature of the African dictator the
continent's leaders are working so hard to expunge from the public mind.

But Mugabe's speech, for all its bile and venom, was revealing in one
key respect. He regards Zimbabwe as his private domain. It is "my Zimbabwe"
lock, stock and barrel. His to exploit, pillage and ruin. That point will
not have been lost on observers.

Meanwhile, visitors to the International Union for the Conservation of
Nature's exhibit at the prestigious Nedcor headquarters in Sandton will have
been disappointed by Zimbabwe's efforts to promote sustainable development.
Next to well-designed stalls for Burkina Faso and Madagascar was the empty
stand of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism last week. Only a sign
saying who the owner of the stand was. The environment and tourism are of
course endangered species in Zimbabwe!

Are the Herald's diplomatic sources poorly informed or just plain
ignorant? The newspaper reported last Friday that "impeccable diplomatic
sources" had said British premier Tony Blair would visit Mozambique
"specifically to meet white farmers, some media people and opposition
elements in Zimbabwe".

Television footage on Sunday showed Blair touring British-funded aid
projects. The crowds of people who gave him an enthusiastic reception all
appeared to be Mozambican. Zimbabwe was mentioned when Blair, together with
President Joaquim Chissano, met the press. Blair compared the progress being
made in Mozambique to the economic collapse taking place next door.

Zimbabwe was obviously high on the agenda of talks Blair held with
Chissano. But Mozambique's contribution to sustainable development in the
region appeared to be the main focus of the visit. As for meetings with
Zimbabwean opposition groups and white farmers, the Herald's sources turned
out to be less-than-impeccable!

The Herald also worked itself into a lather over British military
exercises with South Africa. These were designed to finalise evacuation
plans for 20 000 British citizens in Zimbabwe, "mostly white farmers", we
were told. So their numbers have swelled from 4 500 to 20 000 in the midst
of adversity? And aren't these regional military exercises exactly the same
as those Zimbabwe used to participate in before it became a pariah state?

The revived media awards ceremony appears to have been an unmitigated
disaster. The organisers complained there were insufficient submissions, ZBC
pulled out at the last minute, the private media evidently felt the whole
thing was a waste of time with categories being tailor-made for specific
journalists, and the whole thing predictably led to some rather dull people

But we did like Herald editor Pikirayi Deketeke's comment on his
newspaper's performance. He said it showed that: "We have not sought to
restrict our coverage to hate journalism."

Terrence Hussein, who has seamlessly made the transition from Jonathan
Moyo's lawyer to Robert Mugabe's, does no service to his cause by sounding
like a cheap recording of the Information minister.

Responding to reports that a prominent South African advocate will
head the MDC's legal team in challenging President Mugabe's re-election, he
declared he was confident of the outcome.

"I do not think any lawyer from anywhere, not even from the moon,
would try and distort what the law says," he said in suspiciously familiar

"We are extremely flattered by the fact that the MDC could not
assemble a local defence team to match me and Advocate Kara."

Don't we recall Hussein instructing a leading South African advocate
called Cassim on behalf of government when it attempted to block the MDC's
electoral appeals after the 2000 election? Clearly, he couldn't assemble a
local team on that occasion that was up to the job. Let's see if he can this
time. And why do we need to be told where his colleague Adv Kara has
practised around the world including "the US, Turkey and the Caicos Irelands

Don't we recall Kara advertising opinions sympathetic to the
government's legislative agenda in the pages of the Herald? We suspect his
CV actually referred to "the US and the Turks & Caicos Islands", a British
dependency in the Caribbean which is a long way from Turkey. But that's what
happens when you entrust your credentials to those award-winning turkeys at
the Herald!

Munyaradzi Huni told us recently that "Brain Donnely", the British
High Commissioner, was "known in many circles" as "an intelligence officer
putting on a uniform".

He meant of course the opposite. But at least the government media now
refer to Donnelly as a "trouble-shooter". They used to say "rabble-rouser",
thinking it meant the same thing.

Huni, filing from Johannesburg where he has been sharing with Herald
readers his latest intelligence on the nocturnal activities of private-media
editors, said the British and Australians had threatened to "make noise" on
the sidelines of the WSSD conference over Mugabe.

We assume the use of quotation mark indicates a direct quote. But why
should the British and Australians use an expression like "make noise" that
is unknown outside Zimbabwe? Or more to the point, exclusively Huni's?

Jonathan Moyo's toyboy needs a few lessons in credible attributions
that do not look too home-grown. It would also be useful if he could
distinguish Tony Blair's ambit from his armpit!

Huni's colleague George Chisoko has thrown caution to the wind in his
reporting of the land issue from Johannesburg. Commenting on the land claims
of South African communities, Chisoko slipped the following sentence into
his report: "Zimbabwe is implementing a successful land reform that stands
to be the pride of Africa."

No attribution of course. This was entirely George's own work we can
safely assume!

What position does Timothy Stamps now actually hold? He has not been
"entirely dropped" from government, the president told journalists after the
swearing in of the new cabinet. He would continue doing "light work" and
remain "a part of us".

What on earth does this mean? Either somebody is a minister or they
are not. Either they earn a salary or they do not. What is this "light work"
nonsense the president has dreamed up? Is it the same work several of his
closest colleagues have been doing on full salaries for a number of years?

Which leads us to the hagiographical coverage given to Vice-President
Joseph Msika in the Herald recently. Described as "a towering political
figure", the bumbling and occasionally foul-mouthed veep seems coy about his

"I'm older than Bob," he confessed. But later in the interview he
suggested such familiarity was a thing of the past.

That's what "we used to call him," he quickly corrected himself.

He admitted to not knowing what to do at first. "President Mugabe said
just go in and do it and I called Dr Muzenda and he advised me," Msika said.
He didn't elaborate.

"The first day in office I was feeling a little bit lost but I'm now
beginning to get the feel of it," he said in an interview.

The Herald piece was designed to mark the award of an honorary degree
to Msika by UZ. While the transformation of that once august institution
into little more than a government degree factory run by party apparatchiks
has been evident for a while, the citation reveals just how partisan and
debased it has become.

"When the history of Zimbabwe comes to be written his image will tower
high among those who have slaved to make sure we have our land and dignity,"
it read in the language of the Department of Information. No mention of the
destitution and famine Msika's policies have spawned.

Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri has again been advertising his
political credentials by complaining bitterly about lenient court treatment
of MDC suspects in murder cases. He even went so far as to suggest that such
kid-glove treatment led to further murders. It gave the impression that
opposition members can commit crimes and get away with it, he claimed.

"It's a worrying trend. We don't know who they are going to kill
next," he said.

The MDC should seriously consider its legal options over such a
shocking statement.

Chihuri said nothing about why the police had made no progress in
their investigation into the torture of Standard journalists or the bombing
of the Daily News premises. Nor did he refer to why the police had not acted
with regard to the alleged CIO killer of Tichaona Chiminya who is on the
loose. Then there are of course the cases of David Stevens and other farmers
whose killers walk free.

All this creates the impression among the public that it is ruling
party members who can commit crimes and get away with it.

But as to why the courts are obliged to release suspects, he deserves
a response. It is because many of the police charges are seen as
politically-motivated, insubstantial and poorly investigated. In other words
they have no prospect of success, even in our government-friendly courts.

Chihuri is responsible for that state of affairs and his remarks in
Johannesburg will only have confirmed the impression in South Africa that
Zimbabwe's police chiefs are unwilling to provide professional and unbiased

Does anyone still remember Chen Chimutengwende? One of Muckraker's
informants says on the evening of the swearing in of the war cabinet he saw
Chen together with Swithun Mombeshora having a quiet drink at a hotel bar
behind Chen's New Africa International Network offices in the Avenues.
Joining them a little later was Leslie Gwindi. Then Amos Midzi arrived. A
hushed conversation ensued punctuated by giggling and a large amount of
fidgeting on Chen's part. Whatever was going on here?

Finally, the latest requests to launder large amounts of money come
from ladies claiming to be the widows of Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent
Kabila. The latter, Aisha, says she is still resident at the presidential
villa in Kinshasa but, needless to say, the US$22 million she holds from the
fund her husband accumulated before his assassination can only be accessed
through her brother in Johannesburg.

Another case of sustainable development in the region?
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Zim Independent

JAG refutes Mugabe's claims on farms
Augustine Mukaro/Loughty Dube
JUSTICE for Agriculture (JAG), a splinter group from the Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU), is in Johannesburg today to rebut claims President Mugabe made
at the just-ended World Summit for Sustainable Development on the land issue
in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, with support from ally Sam Nujoma, told the summit that some white
farmers owned 35 farms each and the world - especially British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair - was demonising him for rectifying land imbalances in

Mugabe said no farmer would be left without a farm despite the on-going
eviction of single-farm owners.

JAG spokesperson Jenni Williams said yesterday JAG would this morning hold a
breakfast meeting in Rosebank in Johannesburg to clear the air on the real
situation regarding government's chaotic fast-track land reform programme as
well as its impact on commercial agriculture.

JAG will also make a presentation on the special beneficiaries of the
government's much touted "People First" programme.

Williams said while President Mugabe lied to the World Summit that no
single-owned farms were being acquired by the state, 1 024 single-farm
owners had already lost their properties.

"President Mugabe continues to usurp any and all speaking opportunities to
pretend that no single-owned farms are being acquired and that his
government is abiding by its criteria," Williams said.

"Justice for Agriculture calls on our president to explain why there is such
a chasm between his words and the deeds on the ground. We call on him to
accept that he has compromised agriculture and reduced proud Zimbabweans to
piteous beggars in just two years. More and more land that was once
productive lies fallow," she said.

"We demand an explanation as to why Mugabe is not accountable to his
constitution and to the legal instruments ignored in implementing the land
reform programme."

Meanwhile, the embattled CFU faces collapse as major stakeholders and a
majority of its membership have joined JAG in challenging government's
illegal evictions.

The CFU leadership is insisting on luring government into dialogue to forge
an understanding in solving the land reform, a move sources said had driven
away an estimated 90% of its members.

"CFU's top leadership have adopted an appeasement approach," an official

"The approach has not helped people on the ground ever since the start of
farm invasions. Instead of coming up with dialogue we now have a monologue
in which farmers continue to grovel to already blocked ears."

Mashonaland West/South regional executive Ben Freeth said the appeasement
stance had forced the CFU's regional offices, which are the backbone of the
organisation, to abandon it.

"Regional offices cannot sit back while their members lose their property at
the current rate. They have to stand for what is right," Freeth said.

He said the CFU leadership has shut down the organisation's website, a move
viewed as barring information to the international community.

Freeth said government was continuing with the eviction of farmers.

"Eleven farmers were evicted yesterday from my region alone and were given
24 hours to remove all their belongings from the farms. As I speak the
district administrator has dispatched more people to evict the farmers," he
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Zim Independent

New farmers ignore govt ultimatum
Blessing Zulu
DESPITE claims by government that the controversial land-grab exercise has
been a resounding success, the Ministry of Lands might be forced to
re-allocate land as new settlers under the AI and A2 models have not heeded
calls to take up their pieces of land ahead of the deadline last week.

The government set August 31 as the deadline for all farmers to move onto
the land they were allocated. Threats that they would lose their pieces of
land by the expiry of the deadline have largely been ignored.

An official from the Ministry of Agriculture said the process was set to
start again.

"The government has to start the process again because most of those
allocated land have not moved onto their plots," the official said, adding
they were being overwhelmed by the task of sorting out the papers.

"There is too much centralisation and this is bogging us down. We are yet to
send letters to some beneficiaries and some of them might be dead by now and
we might be forced to undertake the exercise again. This must have been done
at district level," said the official.

Minister of Local Government and the chairman of the inter-ministerial task
force on land, Ignatius Chombo, admitted that Agriculture minister Joseph
Made was being overwhelmed.

"Every offer of the A2 farm is signed by Made and Made alone," said Chombo.

"There is a huge volume of work. Though we are a bit behind we are confident
that we will be through in a few weeks time. A1 started well before A2 and
this explains why we are meeting the target there."

Chombo also said those who have been allocated land and had not taken it up
risked losing the farms. "There are many people on the waiting list and
those who do not take up their pieces of land will lose it to those who are
desperate for it," he said.

War veterans association secretary-general and national land taskforce
committee member Endy Mhlanga said those responsible for the bureaucracy sho
uld move out.

"We are aware that some ministers may be delaying the process and we urge
war veterans to alert us on such people," said Mhlanga.

He took a swipe at those ministers who were spending time doing paper work
and not hastening the process.

"We want fewer people in the offices and more people on the farms so that we
can maximise production on the land. We are telling our members that those
farmers who are not serious must pave way for others," he said.

MDC agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela described the process as chaotic.

"Genuine farmers have moved onto the pieces of land that they have been
allocated," Gasela said.

"Those who have not moved are afraid of the responsibilities of feeding the
nation. The majority of them thought it was an easy job and others were
merely coveting houses on the farms."
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Zim Independent

Settlers turn tourist lodges into homes
Vincent Kahiya
TOURISM infrastructure worth millions of dollars has gone to waste on game
farms where resettled farmers are converting lodges and hunting camps into
residential properties.

The most affected infrastructure is in the south-eastern Lowveld and
Matabeleland provinces where senior government officials and politicians
have targeted game farms with lodges and other tourism infrastructure.

This is despite promises last year by Environment and Tourism minister
Francis Nhema that the resettlement programme would not affect game farms,
which he said would be placed under the jurisdiction of his ministry.

MP for Gwanda South Abedinico Ncube who was allocated Tshabezi Ranch in West
Nicholson has taken over Todds Hotel owned by the Richardsons, the former
owners of the estate. The MP has also laid claim to a kiosk, dwelling
houses, a service station and servants' quarters on the ranch.

Last month Ncube wrote to Yvonne Richardson demanding that she pays rent to
the MP or vacate the premises.

"We are instructed to demand as we hereby do that you pay rentals to our
client in total sum of $50 000 per month for the premises with effect from
August 31 or alternatively vacate on or before August 10," reads a letter
from Ncube's lawyers, Mabhikwa, Hikwa & Nyathi.

The Independent this week heard that this was a common trend on game farms
where operations have come to a halt.

"People who have been offered game farms are not the least interested in
tourism," said Johnny Rodriguez, chairman of the Conservation Taskforce.

Rodriguez, who was in South Africa this week to lobby for the conservation
of Zimbabwean game at the Earth Summit told South Africa's Beeld newspaper
that game worth US$45 million had already been lost to poaching.

"The wild dogs are all dead. Animals like cheetahs are long gone, and 50% of
our black rhino has been wiped out. Even pythons - up to four a day - are
slaughtered and eaten in reserves," he told Beeld.

The Independent learnt this week that tourism in the south-eastern Lowveld
has collapsed as lodges and safari camps in the Save Conservancy have either
closed down or been converted to other use. The beautiful Senuko Lodge is
almost deserted as tourists are shunning the area.
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Zim Independent

Pension funds ordered to raise $30b for land reform
Godfrey Marawanyika
GOVERNMENT has ordered pension funds to underwrite a $30 billion bond issue
to finance the land reform programme, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

This follows failure by the government to woo banking institutions to
finance the land programme after it refused to give assurances on how banks
would recover loans.

The Ministry of Finance, through the Registrar of Pension and Provident
Funds, has informed pension funds to subscribe to the bond issue once

In a circular to members, the acting Commissioner of Insurance and Registrar
of Pension and Provident Funds, Clara Maya, said government would be issuing
bonds with a prescribed asset status "in the near future" to finance the
ongoing land reforms.

"In view of the land reform programme, government will be issuing bonds with
a prescribed asset status in the near future to finance the ongoing agrarian
reforms," said Maya in a circular headed "Agro bonds $30 billion prescribed
assets status".

"Fifty percent will be earmarked for lending to the new farmers to finance
agricultural inputs and 50% will be for infrastructural development. Your
urgent attention to support the ongoing agrarian reform will be most

Pension funds are required by law to have 45% of their investment in
prescribed assets. Over the past two months government and financial
institutions have failed to agree on funding of the land reform exercise
which requires a staggering $160 billion. Banks have already incurred losses
estimated at $11 billion in the first six months of the year as a result of
the fast-track resettlement programme.

The amount is expected to finance two million hectares of maize, 147 000ha
of soya beans, 295 000ha of cotton and 191 000ha of tobacco. About $500
million is required to rebuild the national herd.

Of concern to bankers is the issue of loan repayment and ownership of debts
as government is failing to come up with an acceptable guarantee. Sources
within the sector this week said they were not sure when the bond would be

"No one seems to be sure what is going to happen but we believe the bond is
coming to the market," said a source. "It now appears everyone has to
support the reforms hence the issuing of bonds will be cheaper for

Government is still to float long-term paper due to the unwillingness of the
market to subscribe.

"All the two and three-year bonds which the government last floated were
under-subscribed so we are waiting to see how the ones they are about to
float will be responded to," said the source.
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Zim Independent

Resettled farmers duped
Blessing Zulu
THE chaotic land reform exercise has taken yet another twist with the
revelation this week that new farmers under the model A2 scheme must refund
government's outlay. This is so it can compensate displaced white farmers,
the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and
chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land, Ignatius Chombo,
confirmed that the land allocated to farmers under the A2 model was not

"The government will pay the money for immovable property to the commercial
farmer who will be leaving and the new settler will be compelled to refund
government the amount paid as compensation," said Chombo.

Chombo's disclosure this week adds to the growing list of policy aberrations
in the resettlement exercise as new farmers were not informed about the
compensation requirement when they applied for land. The government's policy
document on agrarian reform does not refer to a cost recovery plan involving
resettled farmers.

Over and above the purchase of immovable property new farmers under the A2
scheme have to pay for the land through leases and land taxes.

Observers said this attempt to recover costs was a clear demonstration that
the government required international support to implement a proper land
reform exercise.

Chombo said farmers served with Section 8 notices were allowed to move out
with their movable assets.

"The new settlers can negotiate with the commercial farmers to purchase the
movable assets but where there is disagreement, the farmer is free to
auction his equipment to the highest bidder," said Chombo.

The commercial farmers and the new settlers are supposed to carry out an
audit of immovable assets before the former leave. The government also
assists in this process.

"An inventory will be taken after every immovable asset has been evaluated
and this includes boreholes, sheds, the homestead and even the electricity
transformers," Chombo said.

He said the government was funding settlers under the model A1 programme and
the infrastructure on these farms would be used communally.

Chombo echoed Vice-President Joseph Msika's words at the Commercial Farmers
Union AGM last month that new owners would only obtain title deeds for their
newly-acquired properties if they were paid-up farmers.

About 54 000 of the 160 000 people who applied for land under the A2 model
are set to be affected by the development as the compensation will run into
billions of dollars.

The structural problems are being caused by the government's insistence on
going ahead with land reform without the support of the international
community. The government, which is demanding that the A2 model be a full
cost-recovery programme, is also frantically trying to raise $160 billion to
fund the same farmers.

Speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterated the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) position that the land reform programme should be legal and
properly organised to avoid adverse effects on production.

Justice for Agriculture spokesperson Jenni Williams said the issue of
compensation was fraught with problems, as movable assets have been looted
preventing farmers from securing recompense in this regard.

"Hopes for further compensation have almost entirely been abandoned,
especially now that the Zimbabwean government is bankrupt and inflation is
running at 123,5%," said Williams.

"Economists estimate over $20 billion worth of moveable assets have been
illegally impounded or looted since February 2000," said Williams.
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Zimbabwe drops objections to GMO crops-WFP
Reuters, 09.05.02, 2:44 PM ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has dropped its objections
to genetically modified crops in a step that should encourage other
countries in the region to accept badly needed food aid, the World Food
Programme said Thursday.

"We made great progress today on the GMO issue," WFP Executive
Director James Morris told reporters after a meeting with Zimbabwe's
president, Robert Mugabe. "It will enable us to do our job.

Morris is also U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy
for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa, where aid workers say up to
13 million people face a looming famine.

Like several other countries in the region, Zimbabwe has
expressed opposition to feeding its people with maize from the United
States, which cannot certify its food donations as GM-free.

Until now, the government has only said it may allow aid workers
to distribute ground maize, to allay fears that GM grain would be planted

Zimbabwean government officials were not immediately available
for comment.

Copyright 2002, Reuters News Service
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The Times

Lavatory paper pads empty supermarket food shelves
by Jan Raath

MY LOCAL supermarket looks like a prison. TM is a drab, undistinguished
single-storey building with roll-down steel doors out of keeping with the
wealthy, upmarket neighbourhood it serves.
Inside, the walls and the shelving are painted an aged, institutional
yellow. The clientele are an eclectic mix of races, nationalities and
languages. The contents of the shelves are not nearly so varied: they
graphically illustrate Zimbabwe's precipitate decline.

In keeping with the neighbourhood, there is little the store does not stock
for President Mugabe's ruling elite and the diplomats who live near by:
Scotch, olive oil, macadamia nuts, asparagus.

But do not go looking for staples. There is no maizemeal, which is to
Zimbabwe what rice is to Asia, no sugar, cooking oil, salt or matches.
Bread, milk and margarine make increasingly rare appearances at such stores.

The management has learnt how to deal with the problem of depressingly empty
shelves: they create an illusion of abundance by filling the gaps with
lavatory rolls.

A rare delivery of basic foods is signalled by a round-the-block queue of
thin, downtrodden black people. Inside the supermarket, the same people
finger packets of cling-wrapped meat at the butchery counter, turning them
over and over before reluctantly putting them back. Most of them can barely
afford to take lumps of fat and bone to the checkout. White pensioners look
to be on the brink of tears as they squint at the price stickers.

Before the Mugabe horror show started 2 years ago, under Zimbabwe's price
control system 500 grams of Zimbabwean fillet steak would cost Z$80 (1.40);
now it is Z$1,200 (20.70). A beer was Z$15; now it is Z$120. Uncontrolled
prices have fared little better: a 250g packet of good local Caerphilly
cheese was Z$35; now it is Z$450. A 1kg packet of kitty biscuits used to
cost Z$350; now I pull off the Z$4,500 price sticker in shame before packing
it away with my other purchases.

Coins have become a nuisance. The only useful unit of currency is the Z$500
note, which is called the Ferrari because it is red and goes fast. The
central bank says that we will have a Z$1,000 note before the year is out.

The only reason that people queue at the supermarkets is to buy their basics
at state- controlled prices.

In the townships, maizemeal and other staples are stacked in grimy stalls
outside beerhalls and at bus stops, but they come at about ten times the
legal price and no one outside the elite can afford the black market.

Ask after the health of any Zimbabwean below the rank of company executive
and invariably the reply will be: "Hungry."

Stanley, my security guard, works four nights a week. He spends his three
off-days taking a bus to Hurungwe 100 miles north of the capital, where
relatively cheap maize is available, and buys a few bags.

He loads it on to the bus back to Harare, where he catches another bus for
Zaka, 100 miles further south. If a police roadblock on "anti-hoarding duty"
does not take his maize, his parents there will have food for a week.
Stanley gets back just in time for the 6pm Friday shift.

"We must all leave this country," he says. "We can leave Mugabe to rule the
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Mugabe defends his nations land reform policies and denies food aid is being
withheld from opposition


HARARE, Zimbabwe, Sept. 5 - In a rare interview with foreign journalists,
President Robert Mugabe defended Zimbabwe's land redistribution program
Thursday and denied that his seizure of white-owned commercial farms had
worsened the nation's hunger crisis.

''It's absolute nonsense,'' he said, describing his program to
redistribute the land to blacks as an effort to better the lives of the
poor. ''If anything, it's the only way you can empower people to produce,
not just enough for subsistence, but more. To enable them to enjoy life.''
Zimbabwe faces its worst hunger crisis in a decade with an estimated
6 million of the nation's 12.5 million people at risk of starvation. The
World Food Program has blamed the crisis on a drought during the growing
season and on Mugabe's land program, which has crippled the commercial
farming industry in a nation that was once the breadbasket of southern
Last month, 2,900 white commercial farmers were ordered to leave
their land, though some had crops in their fields. Many disobeyed the order
and about 300 were arrested. Most were freed on bail but have been forbidden
to return to their farms.
Mugabe said Thursday he had no intention of leaving anyone landless.
White farmers, some of whom own several large farms, would be allowed to
keep one farm of ''appropriate size.''
''We have said and sworn that no one should go without land, but they
want much more, greedy, greedy, greedy colonialists. We cannot satisfy their
greed at the expense of the rest of the people. We want to distribute land
fairly and justly,'' he said.
However, many of those being evicted only owned one farm, and many of
those farms were relatively small, said Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for
Justice for Agriculture, a farmers' support group. Critics also have charged
that the best seized land has gone to politicians, military and police
officers and Mugabe supporters instead of the poor.
Mugabe dismissed the farmers' criticism, accusing them of using
''Blair tactics,'' a swipe at British Prime Minister Tony Blair, leader of
the former colonial power here, who has repeatedly condemned Mugabe as a
''What the farmers are saying to the world is that they are being
evicted. We are not evicting them from the land that we allow them to stay
(on),'' Mugabe said.
Mugabe has shunned foreign journalists over the past few years,
accusing them of bias against his regime. In recent months, he has refused
to allow most of them into the country.
But Thursday, he joked with four foreign reporters before his meeting
with WFP head James Morris. He said he was thrilled at the warm reception he
got Monday at the World Summit in neighboring South Africa, when he gave an
impassioned defense of his government's policies.
''I feel good. I feel good. It's an approval of our position. A
position of truth, as opposed to the British position of lies and
dishonesty,'' he said.
''If you want to raise the issue of rule of law, the issue of lack of
democracy, we are here. We fought for democracy against the British. We
brought democracy, one man one vote. We brought human rights,'' he said.
Zimbabwe has been wracked by political unrest for more than two
years, when the fledgling Movement for Democratic Change began to pose the
first challenge to Mugabe's rule since he led the nation to independence in
More than 186 people, mostly opposition supporters, have been killed
in violence. Among the dead were 11 white farmers.
Human rights activists have accused Mugabe of using food as a
political weapon by keeping government aid out of opposition districts and
making recipients show ruling party membership cards before they could
receive corn.
Mugabe strongly denied that.
''Everyone who needs food will be fed regardless of politics,
religion or any other persuasion the same way as the government runs its
system of education. We don't say that because your children belong to this
party your children must not go to school,'' he said. ''We don't go that far
with our politics.''
Mugabe also confirmed his country's agreement with the WFP to accept
a shipment of genetically modified corn donated by the United States.
Zimbabwe had initially resisted accepting the corn, fearing it would damage
its efforts to export agricultural products to Europe. But the government
agreed to mill the corn before distributing it to ensure it is eaten and not
planted, Mugabe said.
The WFP's Morris said he and Mugabe discussed how best to tackle the
hunger crisis and how to get the country producing food again.
''Everyone here now understands the magnitude of the challenge,'' he
Also Thursday, the Southern African Development Community Regional
Early Warning Unit said that Zimbabwe, of all countries facing famine in the
region, was most in need of food aid.

Mugabe Defends Land Reform Policies
The Associated Press, Thu 5 Sep 2002

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe denied
Thursday that his country's controversial seizures of white-owned farms had
contributed to the massive hunger crisis that threatens half his people with

``It's absolute nonsense,'' he said in a rare interview with foreign
journalists. He described the redistribution of the farms to blacks as an
important program for uplifting his nation's poor.

``If anything, it's the only way you can empower people to produce,
not just enough for subsistence, but more, to enable them to enjoy life and
to enable the country also to continue to export maize,'' he said.

Zimbabwe faces its worst hunger crisis in a decade with an estimated 6
million of the nation's 12.5 million people at risk of starvation, according
to the World Food Program.

The WFP has blamed the crisis on a terrible drought that hit during
the growing season and on Mugabe's land redistribution program.

Last month, 2,900 white commercial farmers were ordered to leave their
land, though some had crops in their fields. Many have disobeyed the order
and about 300 were arrested. Most were freed on bail but have been forbidden
to return to their farms before trial.

Mugabe said Thursday that white farmers, some of whom own several
large farms, would be allowed to keep one farm of ``appropriate size.''

``We have said and sworn that no one should go without land, but they
want much more, greedy, greedy, greedy colonialists. We cannot satisfy their
greed,'' he said.

However, many of those being evicted only owned one farm, and many of
those were relatively small, farm leaders have said. Critics have charged
that the best farms have gone to politicians, military and police officers
and Mugabe supporters instead of the poor.

Earlier Thursday, state-run radio said Mugabe vowed that the white
farmers who had defied eviction orders would be forced out. ``Time is not on
their side,'' Mugabe was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe has been wracked by political unrest for more than two years,
when the fledgling Movement for Democratic Change party began to pose the
first real challenge to Mugabe's rule since he led the nation to
independence from Britain in 1980.

Human rights activists have accused Mugabe of using food as a
political weapon by keeping government aid out of opposition districts and
making recipients show ruling party membership cards before they could
receive corn.

Mugabe strongly denied that.

``Everyone who needs food will be fed regardless of politics, religion
or any other persuasion, the same way as the government runs its system of
education. We don't say that because your children belong to this party your
children must not go to school,'' he told journalists after meeting with WFP
head James Morris. ``We don't go that far with our politics.''

Mugabe also confirmed his country's agreement with the WFP to accept
the shipment of genetically modified corn donated by the United States.
Zimbabwe will mill the corn before distributing it to ensure it is not
planted, he said.
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Sydney Morning Herald

Mugabe basks in praise for confronting Blair
September 6 2002

President Robert Mugabe has returned home triumphant from a spat with the
British Prime Minister at the United Nations earth summit in South Africa
and again warned white farmers to hand their land to blacks or leave the

"I never thought we would find so much support. People applauded until I had
sat down and they all rushed to congratulate me," he told hundreds of
supporters taken by bus to Harare airport to welcome him.

During his speech on Monday he accused Britain, the former colonial power,
of interfering in Zimbabwe's affairs. "Keep your England and let me keep my
Zimbabwe," he told Tony Blair to enthusiastic applause from a number of the

Mr Blair had earlier told the summit: "Zimbabwe is potentially one of the
richest grain nations in the world and yet, because of the way he [Mugabe]
has ruined the country, it is having to import grain for its people. It's a
terrible, terrible tragedy."

Britain has spearheaded European Union and Commonwealth sanctions aimed at
isolating the Mugabe Government over allegations of huge voting fraud and
rights abuses during the March presidential election.

Though Mr Blair and some other delegates were harshly critical of Mr Mugabe
and his seizure of white-owned farms for blacks, the 78-year-old President
and his wife, Grace, were cheered and applauded at all their public

Mr Mugabe is also under fire from the West for his decision to hand 2900 of
the remaining 4500 white-owned farm to landless blacks at a time when
6million people - about half the population - are facing the threat of

Opponents say his land policy, which recently led to the arrests of more
than 300 white farmers, is undermining agriculture and contributing to the
food crisis, which is also affecting six drought-stricken southern African

Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain
in 1980, says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial injustice,
which left 70 per cent of the country's best land in the hands of white

On Wednesday he again hit out at the white farmers. "Amongst them are those
who have been going to Britain and asking Britain to impose sanctions on us,
asking Britain to send troops to Zimbabwe," he told his supporters.

"These do not deserve to be in Zimbabwe and we shall take steps to ensure
that they are not entitled to land in Zimbabwe."

The 78-year-old leader made specific reference to two white MPs from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Roy Bennett and David Coltart.

They were "not part of our society", he said.

"They belong to Britain and let them go there. If they want to stay here, we
will say: 'Stay here, but your place is in jail'."

Mugabe Vows Crackdown on Farmers
The Associated Press, Thu 5 Sep 2002

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's president has vowed to crack down
on white farmers who oppose his plan to redistribute land to blacks and are
defying orders to abandon their farms, state media reported Thursday.

President Robert Mugabe said half the 2,900 white farmers served with
eviction notices disobeyed a recent deadline under a government program to
seize land from whites.

``Time is not on their side,'' Mugabe was quoted by state radio as
saying. The increasingly authoritarian leader said his government would take
action against those who defied orders.

Despite a potential famine in southern Africa, Mugabe has continued
with the seizures of 95 percent of the white-owned farmland in the country,
bringing to a standstill an industry that once helped feed southern Africa.

About 6 million Zimbabweans are threatened with starvation.

Mugabe also lashed out at two prominent white lawmakers from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

``Your place is in prison and nowhere else. Otherwise your home is
outside the country,'' Mugabe said of the two politicians upon his return to
Zimbabwe from neighboring South Africa where he attended the World Summit on
Sustainable Development. Mugabe was greeted at the Harare airport Wednesday
by thousands of supporters who were bussed in.

The state Herald newspaper said Mugabe told the crowd that the
government also was planning to seize stakes in foreign-owned companies and
mines that he said were ``scooping out our wealth.''

``They can't continue like that, using our wealth,'' Mugabe was quoted
as saying.

About 300 white farmers have been arrested since an Aug. 8 eviction
deadline, police said earlier this week. Most were freed on bail but have
been forbidden to return to their farms before trial.

Scores of others fled their farms fearing arrest.

The government began targeting minority white farmers, who owned most
of the country's commercial farms, in March 2000. The program added to
political unrest in the country and critics say many prime farms have gone
to politicians, military and police officers and Mugabe supporters instead
of the poor.
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Zim Independent


Theft is no way to build prosperity

THE racist land seizures taking place in your country are typical of a state
in complete economic and social collapse, and this sort of failure and
destruction is typically associated with the takeover of the state apparatus
by criminal gangs.

Criminals operating with state sanction usually target media outlets first.
Congratulations for being courageous.

But experience has taught us that courage is of little value when faced with
evil, cruelty and stupidity, unless it is also backed up by hard force and a
solid willingness to take effective action. I am curious to know what people
in Zimbabwe intend to do about the current wave of social destruction? Will
people watch quietly from the sidelines, or are there forces which will act
to arrest the decline of the nation?

I am appalled that someone like President Robert Mugabe can still move about
freely in the world. Certainly, if he were to come to Canada, it is my
opinion that he would not be welcome, and that any Canadian making any
economic transaction with Zimbabwe would be guilty of transgressing a moral
law, if not an explicit economic one.

We have our own problems of corruption, malfeasance and fraud in this
country, and those of us who reject these are doing all that we can to
influence the course of events in both public and private sector

This is, of course, difficult and unrewarding work. But it is necessary.
There is more of an "axis of evil" between stupidity, greed and criminality
in the hearts of individual men and women than there is between nations.

But Zimbabwe provides a particularly interesting and extreme example of just
how effective a small group of state-sanctioned criminals can be at taking a
prosperous, successful economic and social system, and utterly destabilising
it by a series of actions.

Scholars will use the "Great Zimbabwe land theft" as an example for years to
come, of why it is so important not to allow criminality to infect the
apparatus and the machinery of the state. Zimbabwe had almost made it. It
almost achieved take-off to a modern state where security, justice and
economic prosperity were available to most of its citizens.

Now, of course, it is on a direct track back to the marginal existence and
bottom-tier status of a typical third world "basket-case" nation. This is
very unfortunate.

But the difference now is that few in the so-called first world will care.
So many of us have been burned by liars and misled by our own versions of
your Robert Mugabe that we realise we must begin to use different models.

It is now too late for the white farmers who have had their property stolen
from them. It is also now too late for people who have invested in or
transacted with Zimbabwe. The economic death-spiral which has been
engineered will now continue with unrelenting certainty to its conclusion,
and that will be the complete marginalisation and impoverishment of your

But bad as this is, it need not be an end which results in a violent
bloodbath. This is because, although it is too late for some, I suspect it
is not too late for the people of Zimbabwe.

It is possible to survive a complete economic crash. Ecuador in South
America did so recently (they now use the US dollar as their circulating
currency), and in 1998 so did South Korea, which collapsed under a mountain
of debt it could not pay. Both nations - and their peoples - survived and
prosper today. But the key was that in both cases, there were changes of

Bad, stupid, dishonest people went out, and good, smart and honest people
came in. In this way, an economic crash can work to the advantage of the
people of a country. A real and necessary "revolution" can occur - a
revolving of the whole social order where the good guys who support
honest-dealing, and insist on the rule of law, can come into power and
displace those who are criminal, fraudulent and who support arbitrary
measures and the private enrichment of public figures.

If I were advising the people of Zimbabwe (which, of course, I am not), I
would suggest to them that they try to use the growing crisis as an
opportunity to engineer real reform in the country. Real reform of course
means that the state apparatus is run by honest men and women and not by
"big men" trying to enrich themselves. Land title must be inviolate if you
are to avoid bloodshed and chaos, and the apparatus of the state must be
used to enhance the security of private persons - not to subvert and impair

Again, I would caution Zimbabweans that this problem is one they must
address for themselves. There is no longer much patience with arrogant folks
from Africa who strut around whining about the colonial past.

The 1836 Rebellion in Toronto, which resulted in Ontario being garrisoned by
the British for 20 years, was mostly over land tenure, as a rich, political
elite held the best land, and used state-control to restrict market-based
access to this choice property.

The solution was not to use an army to apportion good land, but to use a
fair registry office, and an honest, democratic government - one which was
as subject to the rule of law as was any other entity.

In this way, access to the land was based on fair economics and clear title.

This is the only model which works in the long-term as it allows land to be
hypothecated, pledged, inherited, traded, and, most importantly, taxed. The
most important job the state has is to ensure security of private property.
Even in the so-called first world many of our political figures foolishly do
not recognise this.

As for me, I have studied informally the land tenure features of other
"successful" African states such as Ghana and found them to be stupid and
dangerous - essentially programmes for conflict and warfare waiting to
happen. To see something that was wise, you can take a hard look at the
success that South Africa is having, in part due to the enlightened approach
that was taken by Nelson Mandela, which explicitly did not alter land tenure
rights or features, despite considerable pressure to do so.

Perhaps the future belongs to the honest, the effective, and the just. If
that is the case, then in weeks ahead, the people of Zimbabwe will have a
chance to use the burgeoning crisis to create a new future for themselves.

Perhaps, like the folks in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell, in Russia when
communism was purged, in Ethiopia when Haile Mariam Mengistu was ejected,
and in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk abolished
apartheid, you will have a chance to create some special history of your

And the interesting thing about failure and destruction for a social
scientist is that it can often be seen as the beginning of something that is
better than what came before.

The success of modern Germany and Japan, both of them bombed into ruins 57
years ago because of their social experiments with fascism, shows just how
paradoxically beneficial destruction and failure can sometimes be.

If the people of Zimbabwe can grasp the key lessons from this crisis - that
theft is not a way to build prosperity - and also use the crisis as an
opportunity to effect real change, then perhaps a more attractive and
prosperous future is possible.

Perhaps Zimbabwe could even show the rest of Africa the best way to
construct the path to prosperity.

Mark Langdon,

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Zim Independent


What if blacks were told to go back to Africa?

IMAGINE if one day an unpopular American president decided that all his woes
were the fault of black Americans.

Using all the resources at his disposal (press, police, army, party
followers, US treasury resources, supportive neighbouring countries), this
president declared that African-Americans should "Go back to Africa".

Using spurious judges and legislators, he makes black Americans non-citizens
unless they can renounce any vague claim they might have to citizenship of a
country in Africa in which their parents or even grandparents were born;
without this, they lose American citizenship. Next, he declares their
businesses illegal and gives them 90 days to close down and leave.

After the 90-day period, and in spite of numerous court cases proving the
president's case illegal, he sends in the army, police and mobs of drunk,
drugged, illiterate white Americans to force the black Americans out of
their homes.

They are forced to pay compensation to their workers (who are now all out of
jobs), and to hand over the keys and title deeds of their homes and
businesses either to mobs of axe-wielding, drunken, illiterate white youths
or to senior white civil servants, policemen or army commanders, and even to
the American First Lady. If these black Americans refuse to go, they are
arrested and locked up in filthy overcrowded cells awaiting their "court

Can you imagine the uproar around the world?

V Scott,

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Zim Independent


Stop defending the indefensible

IN recent months the army and the police have staged an unprecedented
display of naked brutality and excessive force upon the cowered but stoic
suffering Zimbabweans.

Degrees of violence, intimidation and coercion have been unleashed upon us,
the already pulverised poor who are warehoused in the shackles of poverty
and repression in our own country. It can only lead to a bloody denouement
some day.

The people have genuine grievances which require sympathy and real
solutions. Unfortunately their cries are falling on deaf, inhuman ears.
Rather than address these pertinent everyday problems bedevilling society,
the ruling party has exacerbated the situation through an ill-conceived
fast-track of draconian pieces of legislation serving the parochial
interests of those in power. Even the national broadcaster ZBC has not been
spared being used as a tool for emasculating the masses for it now vomits
political hogwash at the expense of news.

Bankruptcy in ideas, use of force, confrontation, hate-mongering and
arbitrary arrests of imagined or real enemies cannot permanently sustain the
power of a government in this era.

Such irresponsible and dictatorial action speaks volumes of the measure of
insecurity cowardice and powerlessness of the ruling class. The government
should, therefore, wake up from its deep autocratic slumber and stop
harassing its own innocent citizens.

The police and the army must desist from this pathetic attempt to defend the
indefensible. These heroes-turned-villains fought a protracted struggle
which resulted in our Independence. They must surely know that no amount of
force will stop a determined people on the path of freedom.

Washington Nyikadzino,

Glen View 7.
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Zim Independent


The black voice has let us down

AS a black Zimbabwean who has been a direct victim of the Mugabe regime, I
was left speechless when I read a comment in The Voice newspaper of August

Most black people who were born in the UK and other parts of the Caribbean
have been supporting or seeing President Robert Mugabe as a hero.

But I would like to challenge them to visit Zimbabwe and see for themselves
that the once jewel of Africa has been destroyed by inept and corrupt
leaders who hide their failures behind colonial injustices and racism when
they have been in control for the past 22 years.

Land redistribution in Zimbabwe became part of Mugabe's agenda after the
emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change and his defeat during the
2000 referendum when people said "No" to a clause which allowed him to
"forcefully take land from whites. If the people of Zimbabwe voted "No",
then where does Mugabe get the mandate of allowing criminals to attack white
farmers and opposition party members?

Mugabe has been in control of 22 Zimbabwean budgets and none of them
allocated resources for land redistribution. Land redistribution cannot be
used as a weapon for silencing the opposition as is the case at the moment.
The fight for reparations for slavery should not be justified by supporting
the brutality and tyranny Mugabe is meting out to ordinary Zimbabweans.

Right now Britain has more than 200 000 black Zimbabweans whilst the whites
left in Zimbabwe are now less than 50 000. If Britain were to say;
"Zimbabwe, let's exchange the whites in Zimbabwe for blacks in the UK", who
will be the loser?

It's high time we called a spade a spade. Mugabe is fighting for his
political survival since he knows the International Criminal Court is around
the corner.

I support President George W Bush's view when he labelled Mugabe a war
criminal. Who doesn't know that more than 20 000 Ndebeles and Shonas have
been massacred since the liberation struggle?

It's high time blacks in the UK assisted to cultivate democracy in Africa
because no matter whether we become millionnaires, popstars or celebrities,
we are not going to get the respect we fight for if Africa is in a mess.

Duran Rapozo,

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Problem-solving requires political will

KOFI Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations said: "We've got the
means and capacity to deal with our problems. If only we can find the
political will." He may not have been aware of it, but he was undoubtedly
expressing the heartfelt wish of most Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe today has many problems, including widespread poverty, imminent
starvation, an economy which is progressively becoming derelict, a
monumental, unsustainable national debt, pronounced shortages occasioned -
in the main - by an immense lack of foreign exchange, social services in
general (and health services in particular) verging upon total collapse due
to inadequacies of state funding, the insufficiency of foreign exchange, and
an ever-greater "brain drain".

Compounding all these problems are two key factors. Zimbabwe has steadily
damaged its international relations to an extent that to a majority of the
global community, Zimbabwe has become a pariah, and that virtually all acts
of the Zimbabwean authorities are motivated by their desires for
self-preservation, their adherence to ideologies which have been proven in
many parts of the world to be against the best interests of the people as a
whole for almost a century, and by widespread contempt for law and order,
human rights and democracy.

Zimbabwe also has the means and the capacity to deal with its problems. The
means include the inherent and latent resource to be the granary of central
and southern Africa, with Zimbabwe's ample good soils, water resources and
generally favourable climatic conditions, whilst planned, comprehensive
water conservation can enable occasions of adverse climate to be of minimal

The means also include an industrial infrastructure which has been the
second-most developed in the region, able to meet many national needs, and
also those of neighbouring countries and others in sub-Saharan Africa. In
addition, Zimbabwe has the potential of a very substantial mining industry,
as distinct from one which is presently contracting at a great rate. And
Zimbabwe has a vast, near unique, tourism resource. Agriculture, industry,
mining and tourism are but a few of the means available to Zimbabwe to deal
with its problems.

It also has the capacity. It has a population of approximately 14 million
(more exact numbers will become known once the results of the recent census
are released), and the vast majority of the populace is an extremely able,
hard-working, cheerful and ambitious people whose concerns for the wellbeing
and advancement of their families far exceed any political considerations on
their part.

Admittedly, many of the competent and skilled have left Zimbabwe for
pastures further afield in a desperate need to obtain employment and
maintain themselves and their dependants. But at this stage Zimbabwe still
has a skills resource base, and that base could be progressively expanded if
an environment came into being wherein those undergoing skills development
in the universities and other tertiary institutions, on the factory floors,
the mines, and elsewhere, would no longer be attracted to distant economies,
but perceive a future for themselves in Zimbabwe. That would re-create the
capacity to its full potential, reversing the brain drain and enabling
Zimbabwe to recover from the devastation which it has inflicted upon itself.

But, as Kofi Annan said, having the means and capacity does not suffice;
Zimbabwe must have the political will! Government steadfastly pretends that
that will exists, and attempts to delude the people that it is supposed to
care for by alleging that the ills that have befallen Zimbabwe are due to
the evil machinations of foreign governments and of whites (It defies belief
that less than 30 000 whites should have such immense and uncontrollable
power over a nation of 14 million! Any thinking person realises how spurious
the allegation is).

Zimbabwe's economic distress is not the consequence of acts of Britain, the
European Union, the US, the Commonwealth, whites, commercial farmers,
industrialists, shopkeepers, bankers, or the many, many others that
government sees fit to blame. It is also only minimally attributable to
negative climatic conditions.

Government is fast running out of others to blame, and one awaits with
intrigue to see how it will justify blame upon those not yet included in its
accusations. Presumably it will, in time, find ways of accusing polar bears,
the rhesus monkey, American's red Indians and the man on the moon!

Instead, some introspection is needed by government. It needs to reassess,
impartially, the efficacy of its policies. If it does so without
preconception and bias, it will recognise the deficiencies in those policies
and seek to replace or modify them. It must also stop deceiving itself into
beliefs that "Zimbabwe can go it alone". It cites the Malaysian success to
justify those beliefs, but Malaysia's circumstances were totally different
to those of Zimbabwe.

It had a sound, well-established economic infrastructure, a well-developed
industrial base, and an ability to generate required foreign exchange with
relative rapidity. In contrast, Zimbabwe has an economy in ruins, massively
unsustainable foreign and domestic debt, a totally bankrupt government, and
a diminishing skills resource as those with required skills flee to other

The necessary political will must include a genuine desire, and an intense
endeavour, to reconcile with the international community. Only such
reconciliation can bring about very much needed restructuring and
rescheduling of debt, balance-of-payments support from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), development funding from the World Bank, substantial
inputs from donor states, foreign direct investment (FDI), and trade. It
must also include vigorous action to create a united nation of Zimbabweans,
free of discrimination founded upon race, tribe, gender or creed.

That political will must also include the elimination of "double-talk".
There is much of that in Zimbabwe today. At rallies, on radio, in the press,
and elsewhere, government asserts repeatedly that whites are welcome to
continue farming, provided that they accept that they can only have one
farm, not exceeding specified sizes (usually incapable of economically
viable operation), do not retain title, and accept usage of such land as
allocated to them, irrespective of condition, and frequently comprising
rocky outcrops and other non-arable lands.

Concurrently with the recurrent statements that, under those conditions,
whites can continue farming, government has expropriated 90% of all farms,
and in a majority of instances they are farms owned by farmers who own no
others. Government needs to align its deed with its words.

A change in political will also requires a move to realism. How realistic is
it to deprive a farmer of his farm, prevent him from removing his equipment
and his assets other than household and personal effects, fail to pay him
compensation, render him virtually bankrupt, and then demand that he pay
many millions of dollars of severance packages to his departing employees,
and call upon him to fund irrigation and other agricultural inputs for new

Most of all, the political will must include determination to re-establish a
wholly democratic society with absolute maintenance of law and order, and
that that law must be consistent with international norms and with the
preservation of human rights.

If those characteristics are not part of the political will, and are not
unreservedly re-established, then all other potentially positive acts and
transformation of political will can only be ineffective, and Zimbabwe's
decline can only accelerate.
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Zim Independent

Mugabe's war cabinet intensifies crackdown
Dumisani Muleya/Mthulisi Mathuthu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's "war" cabinet seems to be stepping up political
repression against individuals and groups resisting its failed policies.

Analysts warn Mugabe's "war council" sworn in on Monday last week amid calls
for it to be more combative will intensify its scorched earth policies and
suppressive measures as government comes under mounting internal and
external pressure to change course.

Coming as it did soon after Mugabe's threat that his government would impose
retaliatory sanctions against Western countries, the "war council's"
exertions have already begun to show.

Human Rights lawyer Brian Kagoro said Mugabe's strategy was to target
individuals and institutions refusing to purchase wholesale his
revolutionary rhetoric and populist prescriptions.

"We have to understand the idea of a war council from Mugabe's warning that
he was going to react to sanctions against his government," he said.

"They are now targeting radio stations, individuals and other institutions
seen as anti-Zanu PF. There will be a massive abuse of immigration laws and
other individual rights."

On the very same day the cabinet was sworn in, Information minister Jonathan
Moyo, who had been subdued for some time, resumed his torrent of hostile
rhetoric with renewed vigour lashing out in all directions against alleged
government detractors.

Apparently inspired by Mugabe's confrontational drum-beating, Moyo marked
his dramatic comeback by launching a flurry of attacks against human rights
NGO Amani Trust over a report which implicated members of the national youth
service, war veterans and other supporters of the ruling Zanu PF in raping
teenage girls.

Instead of dealing with the substance of the report, Moyo blamed the British
and Americans. Harking back to the past, he accused the Western countries of
trying to protect their "racist colonial interests in their unjust ownership
of land in Zimbabwe".

The minister, who was retained in his post for his ability to reflect Mugabe
's aggressive posture, said police were expected "to do the right thing
about Amani Trust".

And two days after Moyo's warning police raided Amani's office and arrested
its medical director, Frances Lovemore, before charging her with "publishing
or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state". Police also
seized the human rights group's documents and announced they were hunting
for its director Tony Reeler.

Amani Trust has been documenting shocking human rights abuses in Zimbabwe
and rehabilitating victims of state-sponsored violence. The group's reports
have irritated government, which is anxious to camouflage its grisly human
rights record.

Amnesty International said the raid on Amani Trust and attacks on dissenting
groups were appalling.

"We view the arrest of Dr Lovemore as an attempt to intimidate human rights
defenders," it said.

The Attorney-General's Office has refused to place Lovemore on remand.

Scaling new levels of vitriol, Moyo also blasted the Australian, New
Zealand, and Canadian governments for condemning Zimbabwe's violent land
reforms and growing repression.

Analysts said the upsurge of repression in Zimbabwe was hardly surprising.
They said Mugabe was barricading himself while becoming more belligerent.
His leadership was commensurate with the power he could muster to keep
people under control and in his service.

University of Zimbabwe analyst Masipula Sithole said the rise in Mugabe's
panicky repression was not surprising given his political insecurity and
paranoid disposition.

"He has always tried to create a war-like situation every time he wanted to
launch a sinister programme," he said. "The only difference between the
1980s and now is that it has so much to do with personal political

During the early 1980s Mugabe's regime created a phony civil war situation
in the Western part of the country and the Midlands in a bid to snuff out
former opposition party PF Zapu and consolidate power.

Political scientists say repression in societies where it has been latent
always springs up when the leadership concentrates power claiming real or
imagined internal strife or foreign danger.

Leaders in authoritarian political orders cite salus populi suprema lex
esto - a Latin maxim popular with dictators which means state security or
public safety is the supreme law to justify repression. After swearing in
his reshuffled cabinet, Mugabe declared similar intentions by boasting he
had stitched together a militant team poised for political combat against
foreign enemies.

"We have just sworn in our new cabinet and deputy ministers who are really
an economic war cabinet on one side and taking into account the actions by
Britain and its allies, they are on the other hand a political war cabinet,"
he said.

"If you look at them, they are men and women full of fight and punch."

The following day police raided the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC)'s Harvest House offices in central Harare claiming to be
looking for a suspected criminal in connection with the murder of Zanu PF
official Ali Khan Manjengwa.

State security agents have frequently raided MDC offices including the house
of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai variously claiming to be looking for
subversive materials, arms of war, explosives, or - more recently - vehicles
used to transport illegal immigrants.

Tsvangirai and several other MDC officials are currently facing treason and
murder charges while others have been charged for all sorts of alleged
offences ranging from violence to accusations of insulting Moyo.

Two days after the "war" cabinet came in, the independent Voice of the
People (VOP) radio station was bombed into silence by unidentified

Taking advantage of the prevailing lawlessness, the attackers ripped apart
the station's offices and destroyed all its equipment and records.

Although police said they were investigating the incident, their track
record shows that little emerges from their probes. The Daily News's bombing
in 2000 and 2001 is a case in point. Since the attacks no one has so far has
been arrested or successfully prosecuted.

Instead of condemning the bombing of the shortwave radio station and
speaking in remarks that sounded like justifying the attack, Moyo said "for
all we know they could as well be a terrorist organisation stockpiling

Amnesty said the rise in state suppression was linked to the forthcoming
local government elections.

"The recent arrest of Dr Lovemore, the bombing of the office of the radio
station and the assaults on magistrates is evidence of a clampdown on
critics of the government as the September elections draw nearer," it said.

Two magistrates were recently attacked in Manicaland and Mavingo provinces.
On August 16, in the south-eastern town of Chipinge, district magistrate
Walter Chikwanha was dragged from his court by suspected "war veterans" and
assaulted at the government complex. No one was arrested. The attack was
alleged to have been in response to Chikwanha's dismissal of an application
by the state to remand five opposition party officials accused of destroying
state tractors.

Just more than a week later, Godfrey Gwaka, the magistrate for Zaka
district, was stabbed at the Zaka service centre. It was suspected that the
attack was related to recent judgements Gwaka made on political issues.

Amnesty again condemned the attacks against the judicial officers, saying
the incidents revealed the extent to which the rule of law had been eroded
and shredded in Zimbabwe.

"The attacks on the magistrates reflect ongoing attempts on the part of
government authorities and state-sponsored militia to undermine the judicial
system," it pointed out.

Moyo, who since last week had been energetically firing at opponents from
the hip and picking quarrels at the just-ended Earth Summit in Johannesburg,
was not alone in the intensification of government's political warfare.

Mugabe breathed fire and brimstone at the summit telling British Prime
Minister Tony to "keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe" - as if the
country was his personal property.

Agriculture minister, Joseph Made, who was also kept in his position for
being a pliant political tool, has been giving him a helping hand by
engaging Western countries in a contrived conflict over genetically modified

In a bid to present government's agrarian reform as successful, the minister
earlier this year claimed Zimbabwe had an abundance of grain when stocks
were nearly depleted. Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, another official
hawk, has been attacking farmers of late after a protracted crusade against
the judiciary.

European MP John Corrie said Mugabe's repression against the opposition,
civil society and the purges of farmers bore the hallmark of a warmed-up
Stalinist orthodoxy.

"Stalin used the same techniques to exterminate the kulaks in the 1930s, and
Mugabe's tyranny has led to the eviction of hundreds of thousands of
innocent black farm workers," he said. "Mugabe will stop at nothing to
secure absolute power over Zimbabwe and throw his country into darkness."
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Zim Independent

Zim gets little from summit fighting talk
Staff writers
DESPITE President Robert Mugabe's fighting talk at the Earth Summit in
Johannesburg this week, Zimbabwe achieved little at the meeting due to its
preoccupation with confrontational politics.

Government officials and civic society leaders, co-ordinated by regional
environmental organisational Zero to make a national input at the summit on
issues such as energy, water, sanitation, health, education, environment,
and globalisation, failed to deliver due to lack of interest.

Zero was contracted by government to co-ordinate non-governmental
organisations and other stakeholders to contribute at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development which ended yesterday.

Hordes of government officials including ministers attended. Some like
Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and Patrick Chinamasa, went ahead of the
president to set Zimbabwe's belligerent agenda.

However, little - if anything - came out of the Zimbabwe delegation's visit
as they failed to attend key discussions. Ministers concentrated on a media
blitz while NGO representatives went shopping.

Sources said some of Zimbabwe's delegates spent their time loitering at the
plush Sandton City complex as if they were on holiday.

Environment Africa (EA) this week expressed disappointment at the Zimbabwean
delegates' failure to deliver at the summit.

"Although a number of Zimbabwe government officials and non-governmental
organisations are attending the summit, their absence from discussions and
debates taking place in Johannesburg is disturbing," EA said.

EA general manager Innocent Hodzonge said Zimbabwean representatives were
absent from key meetings.

"The Zimbabwe government delegation was missing during crucial debates on
energy and water, environmental cross-sectoral issues as well as
sanitation," Hodzonge said.

He said when he visited the Ministry of Environment and Tourism stand at the
summit this week, he found it empty.

"This is very disappointing taking into consideration that many officials
had previously travelled to Bali, Indonesia, in preparation for this summit
and had participated in compiling the agenda but were now failing to
contribute to the culmination of these efforts," he said.

While the Zimbabwe delegation was largely inactive, Hodzonge said,
"progressive governments were working hand in hand with NGOs and were
involved in discussion sessions before each debate".

Sources said Zanu PF supporters, including information and publicity
officers, were involved in demonstrations showing solidarity with President
Mugabe on the land issue. The PAC and the landless lobby joined delegates
ferried down to Johannesburg by Zanu PF "NGOs" to provide an impression of
international support for Mugabe.
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