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Zim news update

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  • Christine Chumbler
    Zimbabwe war veterans threaten embassies April 26, 2001 Web posted at: 12:28 PM EDT (1628 GMT) HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Ruling party militants will target foreign
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 26, 2001
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      Zimbabwe war veterans threaten embassies

      April 26, 2001
      Web posted at: 12:28 PM EDT (1628 GMT)

      HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Ruling party
      militants will target foreign embassies
      and aid agencies to protest against
      alleged support for opponents of
      President Robert Mugabe, militant
      leaders say.

      Attacks against businesses were stepped
      up on Thursday as Mugabe acted to stop
      Zimbabwe's courts from overturning last year's occupation of white-owned
      farms.

      The militants' leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, threatened action against foreign
      embassies and aid agencies, saying they were funding and colluding with the
      opposition Movement for Change.

      "We will be visiting them soon to express our displeasure and to warn them to
      stop interfering with our internal matters," Hunzvi said. "Our next target will be
      to deal with them once and for all."

      Mugabe's party has accused Britain, the former colonial power, the United States
      and the European Union of backing the opposition.

      Western diplomats in Harare said on Thursday they were taking the threat
      seriously and that ambassadors would draft a joint submission to the
      government.

      Police have taken no action against ruling party militants who have stormed more
      than 20 businesses, factories and other facilities in the past two weeks
      demanding payouts for laid-off workers, compensation or pay increases.

      The opposition said the raids were aimed to win back the vote of urban workers
      who largely supported the opposition in parliamentary elections last June.

      The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, representing thousands of factories
      and commercial businesses, said on Wednesday it had been inundated with
      reports from its members of "external interference in labour matters" usually
      handled by the Ministry of Labour.

      It called for swift action to end the intimidation.

      Britain has led international criticism of Mugabe over the violent take-over of
      white-owned farms and what it says has been his systematic intimidation of the
      press and judiciary.

      Hunzi's supporters, many of them too young to have fought the white regime in
      the former Rhodesia, occupied more than 1,000 of the country's 4,500
      white-owned commercial farms in the run-up to parliamentary elections last
      year.

      The Rural Land Occupiers Bill, published on Thursday, seeks to "restrict or
      suspend" legal proceedings against those who had occupied land by the start of
      last month.

      The law, which is virtually assured of passage through the parliament dominated
      by Mugabe's ZANU-PF, would overturn court orders against the occupations
      and prevent further court action, effectively legalising the tenure of occupiers.

      The draft law appeared likely to reverse the Zimbabwe Supreme Court's
      December instruction to Mugabe to produce a "workable" land reform
      programme in six months.

      *****

      Zimbabwe war veterans step up urban
      violence


      April 25, 2001
      Web posted at: 12:51 PM EDT (1651 GMT)

      HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe's war veterans on Wednesday
      stepped up attacks against businesses in their attempt to shatter urban political
      opposition to President Robert Mugabe's campaign to win re-election next year.

      War veterans who spearheaded last year's violent seizure of white-owned farms
      have targeted a string of Harare firms that have laid off staff to forcibly demand
      from mainly white-run management that workers be re-instated with
      compensation.

      The intimidation is seen as an attempt by the veterans to gain urban votes for
      Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, which failed to win a single seat in the capital
      Harare in last year's violent and closely fought parliamentary elections.

      Firms suspected of funding the Movement for
      Democratic Change (MDC) -- the most
      significant opposition to Mugabe since
      independence from Britain in 1980 -- have also
      been at the forefront of attacks.

      Business organizations warned that the veterans'
      actions -- including beatings, death threats and
      raiding offices -- threatened to further endanger
      an already disintegrating economy.

      The latest firm to feel the veterans' wrath was Meikles Holding Group, which
      runs the country's leading hotel.

      Meikles management was forced into negotiations with the veterans who
      demanded higher wages and improved working conditions, the state-run Ziana
      news agency reported on Wednesday.

      During the negotiations, the veterans forced Meikles chief executive Tim
      Cameroon and general manager Fidelis Goredema to chant ZANU-PF political
      songs, Ziana reported. Meikles officials were not available to comment.

      Veterans who fought a seven-year independence war against Ian Smith's
      Rhodesia in the 1970s were also sitting at ZANU-PF's provincial headquarters to
      hear complaints lodged by workers against employers at various transport and
      clothing firms.

      Business concerned

      Managers at the Zimbabwean division of U.S. metal giant Macsteel were forcibly
      taken from their Harare offices on Tuesday for questioning, the independent
      Daily News reported.

      Veterans also stormed Harare's largest private clinic on Tuesday to demand that
      managers reinstate 16 workers who lost their jobs in 1998. The hospital was also
      forced to pay $5 million ($90,909 U.S. currency) to the group, a hospital official
      said.

      "The attacks will steadily increase towards the presidential elections. The
      veterans want to cripple what they perceive as the revenue base of the MDC,
      namely the employers, in the same way as they attacked the farmers to stop the
      MDC," said Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZCI) economist James
      Jowa.

      "The second objective is to get the vote of the workers. It's creating a lot of
      business uncertainty," Jowa said.

      The main Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said it has been inundated
      with reports from its members concerning external interference in labor matters.

      CZI warned that industry faced "irreparable damage" because of intimidation by
      the veterans and urged the government to step in to stop a slide into anarchy.

      The veterans are led by Joseph Chinotimba, who orchestrated last year's forced
      seizure of white farm land and led a mob of self-styled liberation war veterans
      into the country's Supreme Court in a protest against independent judges.

      Mugabe, 77, said this month he would seek re-election for another six-year term
      in presidential elections next year.

      He has accused the MDC of being a front for whites bent on retaining economic
      might and vowed he would never allow them into power. Neither Mugabe or
      ZANU-PF have condemned the action by war veterans against opposition
      supporters or white farmers.

      The MDC won nearly half of the 120 seats contested in parliamentary elections
      last year and says it would have beaten the ruling ZANU-PF party but for a
      violent campaign that left at least 31 mainly opposition supporters dead.

      ******

      Zimbabwe court boosts
      opposition

      Zanu-PF stand accused of a systematic campaign of
      intimidation and violence
      The High Court in Zimbabwe has nullified the
      result of last year's election in the
      constituency contested and lost by the
      opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Mr Tsvangirai's
      Movement for
      Democratic Change has
      challenged the results
      in 37 constituencies,
      saying the election was
      marred by a systematic
      campaign of intimidation and violence,
      orchestrated by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

      The result was the first successful court
      challenge, and reduces Mr Mugabe's ruling
      party's narrow majority among elected MPs.

      In another development, South Africa made its
      strongest diplomatic protest yet to Zimbabwe
      over political violence in the country, which
      has seen South African businesses in Harare
      attacked.

      Rulings due

      Further high court rulings on MDC challenges in
      three other constituencies are also expected.

      In delivering his
      verdict, Judge Kenneth
      Manyonda said: "It is
      my duty to pronounce
      that the respondent
      [Zanu-PF candidate]
      was not duly elected
      and that therefore no
      one was duly elected."

      As a result of the
      decision, a by-election
      must be held.

      'Justice delivered'

      Mr Tsvangirai said he was looking forward to
      the new vote.

      "First let me say that our position has been
      vindicated and that we can't wait for a re-run
      of that seat," he told reporters outside the
      courtroom.

      He added: "I'm very confident that justice has
      been delivered, and that's why we came here
      in the first place."

      At least 32 people were killed in the run-up to
      last June's parliamentary elections.

      One previous MDC challenge was rejected by
      the courts, while in recent days another MDC
      case was withdrawn.

      Zanu-PF party won 63 of the 120 elected
      seats in parliament, whilst the MDC won 56.

      Another 30 seats in the parliament are
      uncontested ones.

      Assaults condemned

      South Africa summoned Zimbabwe's High
      Commissioner on Thursday to protest about a
      wave of assaults and kidnappings of South
      Africans in the country.

      South African officials say they have received
      reports of attacks on staff from eight
      companies, believed to have been carried out
      by Zanu-PF supporters.

      "Our concern is that within this situation,
      South African businesses are entitled to
      protection," said senior Foreign Ministry official
      Sipho Pityana.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki has been
      criticised in Africa and beyond for what some
      see as a failure to condemn President
      Mugabe's economic and political policies.
    • Christine Chumbler
      Zimbabwe land reform breakthrough Zimbabwe s Government has agreed to end violence against opponents and restore rule of law in exchange for financial aid to
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 6, 2001
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        Zimbabwe land reform
        breakthrough

        Zimbabwe's Government has agreed to end
        violence against opponents and restore rule of
        law in exchange for financial aid to implement
        land reforms, it has been announced.

        Commonwealth
        negotiators meeting in
        the Nigerian capital
        Abuja arranged the
        deal, made public on
        Thursday in a
        communiqué described
        by the BBC's Dan Isaacs as "very forthright".

        Zimbabwe has also agreed to allow close
        monitoring of its human rights situation and of
        its presidential election, due for next year.

        The country had previously said it would not
        accept Western election observers, accusing
        them of bias.

        The government of President Robert Mugabe
        promised to ensure that any land acquired from
        white owners was given to the intended
        beneficiaries - poor black farmers.

        It also said it would
        safeguard freedom of
        expression and the
        press. Zimbabwe has
        expelled a number of
        foreign correspondents,
        and local journalists
        have complained of
        intimidation.

        At the start of
        Thursday's session in
        Abuja, Nigeria's foreign
        minister made it clear
        that Zimbabwe's
        neighbours were becoming increasingly
        concerned as the 18-month crisis continues.

        "Africa cannot afford another war, not least a
        racial war or one with racial undertones," said
        Sule Lamido.

        "The signals coming from the crisis in
        Zimbabwe cannot and should not be ignored,"
        he said.

        Until now, the issue of land reform in Zimbabwe
        has been regarded by other African nations as
        largely an internal matter.

        Mr Mugabe and his government have been
        happy to keep it that way, accusing the
        former colonial power, Britain, of meddling in its
        affairs and of failing to pay reparations for land
        taken during colonial times.

        Instability

        Correspondents say the increasing political
        instability in Zimbabwe, along with rising
        unemployment and food shortages, is creating
        acute problems.

        The worry now is that the instability could
        spread across Africa and sour the climate for
        critical foreign investment.

        It is in this light that
        the Nigerian
        Government took the
        significant step of
        bringing Zimbabwe,
        Britain and other
        Commonwealth
        members together
        ahead of October's
        Commonwealth heads
        of government summit
        in Brisbane, Australia.

        Meanwhile in Brussels,
        the European
        Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for
        targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe's
        Government.

        Legislators urged the 15 European Union
        member states to freeze the foreign assets
        and impose a travel ban on President Mugabe
        and his associates.

        The resolution said Mr Mugabe's policies had
        created "a climate of fear and despair" in the
        country.
      • Paul DEVER
        Wow!!!!!!!!!! Mugabe finally learned from Kim Jong Il...the master of carrot and stick (who learned it from his father), and the use of offensive weapons
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 7, 2001
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          Wow!!!!!!!!!! Mugabe finally learned from Kim Jong Il...the master of carrot
          and stick (who learned it from his father), and the use of offensive weapons
          against its people and agree to stop fi paid....

          Can't find a better profit margin than that...


          Let's see...the equivalent here would be someone who began poisoning people
          on a large scale, then agreeing to stop if s/he is paid....I thought we
          called that extortion...

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