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  • Christine Chumbler
    Aug 13, 2002
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      Journalist Killed in Troubling
      Circumstances

      Reporters sans frontières
      (Paris)
      PRESS RELEASE
      August 12, 2002
      Posted to the web August 12, 2002

      Paris

      Reporters Without Borders today expressed its concern
      about the death of freelance journalist Don Kulapani on 8
      August during the hold-up of a bar in the capital, and called
      on the authorities to conduct a full investigation into this
      killing, which has coincided with attacks on journalists by
      the ruling party.

      "We ask you to fully clarify the circumstances of the
      journalist's death and to establish that it was not linked to
      the exercise of his profession", Reporters Without Borders
      secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior
      Minister Monjeza Maluza. "The fact that it coincides with
      recent attacks on journalists by the UDF's youth league is
      troubling, to say the least", Ménard said in the letter, which
      requested that Reporters Without Borders be kept
      informed about the investigation's progress.

      A freelancer who used to work for The Chronicle
      newspaper, Kulapani was in a bar in the capital, Lilongwe,
      on 8 August when four armed men entered and opened
      fire, hitting the journalist. They then stabbed him many
      times. The assailants took cases of beer, musical
      equipment and cash from the till before making off.
      Kulapani died as a result of these injuries.

      The journalist's death comes soon after the release of a
      statement by the ruling UDF denying news media claims
      that it had a unit tasked with silencing investigative
      journalists who "embarrass" the government. In early
      August, the National Media Institute of South Africa
      claimed to have discovered a UDF plot to attack
      journalists of the Daily Times, Weekly Chronicle, Pride
      and BBC for having accused the UDF of intending to
      change the constitution to allow President Bakili Muluzi to
      run for a third term in 2004.

      Young activists have been implicated in beatings of
      journalists who support the opposition party, especially
      journalists working for the Chronicle, Kulapani's former
      employer. The Daily Times had already alleged in
      November 2001 that the UDF had complied a list of
      journalists who "discredit the party" and that it intended to
      use its youth wing to attack them.

      *****

      Tension Rises on Zimbabwe Farms

      By Angus Shaw
      Associated Press Writer
      Tuesday, August 13, 2002; 8:56 AM

      HARARE, Zimbabwe ** White
      farmers facing eviction reported
      Tuesday a wave of threats and
      intimidation by government officials
      and ruling party militants trying to
      force them off their land.

      Farmers leaders said five farmers in
      southeastern Zimbabwe left their
      land early Tuesday after local
      officials, armed police and soldiers visited their
      farms and told them they were
      violating the eviction laws.

      No physical action was taken, but five farmers went
      to stay with neighbors
      not affected by eviction orders, the Commercial
      Farmers Union, representing
      4,000 white farmers, said.

      In other incidents in the north of the country,
      militants threatened violence if
      farmers did not abandon their properties, said
      Justice for Agriculture, a group
      calling for the evictions to be challenged in
      court.

      A black settler on one of the farms in the Banket
      tobacco and corn district
      fired a pistol in the air in an effort to drive the
      owner and his black workers
      away Monday, said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for
      the group.

      In other incidents near Harare, a black manager
      employed by a white farmer
      was assaulted by militants Monday and three other
      farmers were under
      pressure from black settlers to leave, she said.

      A deadline for nearly 3,000 white farmers to leave
      their land expired last
      week as part of the government's often violent land
      reform program. But the
      government has taken no direct action to enforce the
      eviction order.

      The government says its program was a final effort
      to correct colonial era
      imbalances in land ownership. Critics say it is part
      of the increasingly
      authoritarian government's effort to maintain power
      amid more than two years
      of economic chaos and political violence mainly
      blamed on the ruling party.

      The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
      Association, which has led
      the often violent occupation of white-owned farms
      over the past two years,
      said its members would not take the law into their
      own hands to remove
      defiant farmers.

      "It is now the responsibility of the government of
      Zimbabwe to make sure the
      laws of Zimbabwe are obeyed in all respects,"
      chairman Patrick Nyaruwata
      said.

      President Robert Mugabe said Monday he would not
      tolerate opposition to
      his plans to redistribute white-owned farms to
      blacks. He said he would not
      allow whites to retain massive farms, though he said
      he was willing to let
      "loyal" farmers keep some land.

      Mugabe did not refer to evictions in a second speech
      marking a Defense
      Forces Day holiday Tuesday.

      He said the land redistribution program was "being
      finalized." Military
      personnel had been given farms and more would
      continue to get land.
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